Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore
Leave it up to Tecmo to fashion four different versions of the same game. In the case of Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore it seems as if American PS2 audiences will get the best of the bunch. While it won't feature Acclaim's Shadowman (as the Japanese DC version will), DOA2: Hardcore will include all-new arenas, special combination moves no matter which two characters you pick, multiple tag-battle arenas, loads of secret costumes, and the return of Bayman. Kind of a surprise, since Leon is essentially a carbon copy of the red-hatted marine, but oh, well. Tecmo's Team Ninja has high hopes for DOA2: Hardcore when it arrives in time for the PS2 launch in October. Maybe Tekken Tag Tournament won't be the only superb 3D fighter on the PS2 this fall.
Download Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Now in its fourth incarnation (the U.S. DC version, the Japanese PS2 version, and the enhanced Japanese DC version preceded it), Dead or Alive 2 finally reaches the PlayStation-loving masses in what Tecmo hopes is the definitive version of the game. The changes gamers will notice right away are the new story mode stages (the VF3 like rooftop stage and desert stage), the half-dozen tag-battle stages (the DC version has only one), and the addition of loads of extra costumes. Tengu, the boss character, becomes playable once unlocked, as does the Leon-esque Bayman, who now returns from the first game. There is a wealth of other little secrets, but the highlight is the gameplay itself. Much faster and far more visceral than Tekken Tag. DOA2 Hardcore is the fastest 3D fighter around, and the best fighter on the PS2. Team Ninja has finessed the gameplay so it is much more than the Virtua Fighter wannabe critics once labeled it. There is plenty of technique to master, especially in tag-battle, with its multi-tiered levels. The downside is that the Al can be incredibly cheap, having no problem pulling off the counters and reversals that human players struggle with due to sluggish timing. The control is also less responsive than the Dreamcast version, but not so much that it really changes the gameplay. The story line is also so superfluous with plenty of laughable dialogue. Still, a must-have for new PS2 owners.
One of three fighting titles now available for the PS2, DOA2:HC is the platform's best. The rushed Japanese PS2 version has been cleaned up a bit, and the action, while similar to Tekken stylewise, is a lot smoother. The multi-level, interactive backdrops really beef up the gameplay, as do the punchy sound effects and fluid animations. One of DOA's best features is the reversal system, which lets you counter attacks with a well-timed button press and really affect the tide of battle. Hardcore adds a few extra modes and some story elements over the DC DOA2. but isn't different enough to warrant owning both versions, so buy accordingly.
I really enjoyed DOA2 on the Dreamcast so naturally I really enjoy it here too, but not quite as much. Perhaps it's just me. but DOA2 Hardcore doesn't seem to be as responsive as the DC version -- sometimes I noticed a small lag in trying to counter moves or switching characters. It wasn't sluggish to the extent that it really hurt the game, but it was certainly annoying for someone who was weaned on the DC release's timing. The graphics are phenomenal though, and the new modes, costumes and stages are keen, making this a must-purchase for fighting fans--and even with its small problems, there's no doubt DOA2 plays better than Tekken Tag.