On this day in 2001, Microsoft entered the video game market by releasing the Xbox.
In addition, the Dead or Alive series is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, but it seems that the first game isn’t only celebrating their anniversary because the third game in the series, Dead or Alive 3, is also celebrating their anniversary as well.
Dead or Alive 3 was originally released on November 15, 2001 exclusively for the Xbox in North America, followed by a Japanese release on February 22, 2002 and a European Release on March 14, 2002. It was the first DOA game in the series to not have an arcade release and the last game to have a Teen rating until Dead or Alive: Dimensions 10 years later. It was one of the 14 launch titles for the Xbox, with the other two known ones being Halo: Combat Evolved and Project Gotham Racing.
Upon its release, Dead or Alive 3 became the third best selling game on the Xbox, with over one-million copies sold within the first five months of its release. It also became one of the first three game in the Xbox lineup to gain Platinum status.
For the competitive scene, Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive Ultimate were the first two games that started the scene in North America. It was considered to be one of the favorite games among the community.
Now here’s the thing: There are several things that many people don’t know about Dead or Alive 3 in terms of the game’s influence, the characters, and more. In celebration of Xbox’s 15th Anniversary along with DOA3’s, here are some things that you don’t know about the game.
Many people are familiarized with Dead or Alive 3’s gameplay. In the North American version, the gameplay remains unchanged from Dead or Alive 2, but added several things into the mix such as unrestricted 3D-axis movement, a minor focus into juggling combos, Attack Change mechanic on Tag mode, and the ability to KO your opponent via knocking your opponent off a multi-tiered stage when that said character has low health.
In contrast, the Japanese and European versions, dubbed as Dead or Alive 3.1 and 3.2 respectively, received several changes that would make the North American version jealous. For starters, they have a CG intro, Time Attack Mode, and extra costumes. Of course, the North American version received the same content as the JPN/EU versions as a booster disk that you could get in an issue of the Official Xbox Magazine in 2002 and Dead or Alive Ultimate in 2004. Gameplay changes, on the other hand, were not brought over to the North American version.
In terms of gameplay, DOA3.1 and 3.2 has noticeable differences compared to 3.0. The Free Step in 3.1 was slightly improved in terms of evasion. In terms of sidestepping and SS attacks, it feels more similar to Virtua Fighter since linear attacks would be useless, half-circular moves can be avoided if you SS into the right direction, and full tracking moves will be impossible to sidestep.
Wall pressure is a lot different compared to DOA3. If your opponent attacks you while you are teching from the wall, there was a possibility that you could attack your opponent before he recovers. Tech rolling pretty much allowed you to go around your opponent, and some characters that have special sidesteps are now more evasive than they were in 3.0.
Other than that, characters who have their back turned can now face forward faster in 3.1, which makes it hard for other characters like Kasumi to punish. The Fox Stepping glitch that was used in 3.0 is removed in 3.1, and the graphics and animation were slightly improved. For example, there are now mirror reflections on the Ice stage and Lost World, and water vapor will rise when you hit a pool of water.
Tom Brady, who was part of the DOA community back in the day, made a compilation of how DOA3.1 works.
Yosuke Hayashi is the current head of Team Ninja since Tomonobu Itagaki departed from the team in 2008. What many people don’t know is that this is the first game that marks the debut of Yosuke Hayashi when he first joined Team Ninja back in 2001 while Dead or Alive 3 was still in development.
Virtua Fighter has always been the main influence for Dead or Alive since it shares the same button layout and influence in gameplay. In terms of Dead or Alive 3, Virtua Fighter 4 was their main influence.
In an interview with Virtua Fighter 20th Anniversary, Hayashi recalls a time where he played the first Dead or Alive game and realized the similarities between that game and VF. That caused him to look deeper into VF. By the time DOA3 came out in consoles, Virtua Fighter 4 was already out in the arcades that same year. He and his development team would go to the arcades to play the latest build of VF4 and report their findings back to the team.
One thing worth mentioning is that the snow stage in DOA3, ironically called Snow, is based off of Aoi’s stage in Virtua Fighter 3.
Hayate’s Cartwheel is Broken in 3.1
If you think Marie-Rose’s special sidestep was broken, then you have no idea what Hayate’s was like back in DOA3.1.
When Hayate made his debut in DOA3, he had a cartwheel that acts as a special sidestep. In DOA3.1, it had the ability to bypass every move you could think of such as strikes, throws, etc.
Because of this, the DOA community made a decision to ban the cartwheel overall rather than the character. The cartwheel never appeared in future DOA games since then.
Did you know that there’s a gameplay mod for Dead or Alive 3?
Gultigargar, a well-known member in the DOA community, created a gameplay mod titled Dead or Alive 3++, which you can only find on FreeStepDodge.
Dead or Alive 3++ changes hold frames to 18 active frames, which is the same as DOA3.0’s. In DOA3.1, hold frames were originally 22 active frames. In addition, all the characters received balance changes such as nerfs and buffs in terms of frames, damage, and changes in properties.
In order to play this game, you need a copy of Dead or Alive 3.1 (which is the JPN version of DOA3), and a modded Xbox or a modded Xbox 360. Click here to download the patch and play.
It was said that there were files hidden in the game that contains some of Tengu’s moveset. While it was unclear if Tengu was supposed to be in Dead or Alive 3 or not, it seems that Team Ninja may have carried the files used in Dead or Alive 2 since it contains some of his signature moves and throws, and then used it for Dead or Alive Ultimate since Tengu re-appeared in that game.
Dead or Alive 3’s legacy still lives on to this day. It sold over one million copies in the first five months after release. It was ranked #15 on Complex’s Top Fighting Games of All Time, and Cinema Blend named it as one of the Xbox games that shaped the 6th generation.
Right after the release, Team Ninja would later reuse some of the elements in future DOA games. Dead or Alive Ultimate reused some of DOA3’s gameplay mechanics, and included Hitomi as an unlockable character if you had a save file of either DOA3 or DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Mind the trash talk in this video below.
Some of stages in DOA3 reappeared in other DOA games. Lorelei has the most appearances since it appeared in DOA Dimensions, DOA5 Ultimate (and Arcade), and DOA5 Last Round. Other stages such as Lost World and Forest reappeared in DOA5 Ultimate, while Azuchi reappeared in DOA5 Last Round.
As part of Xbox’s 15th Anniversary and DOA’s 20th Anniversary, DOA3 has made memorable moments in its gameplay, characters, and presentation. Whether you prefer 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2, you cannot deny that this game is a favorite among casual and competitive players alike.
Happy 15th Anniversary to Xbox and Dead or Alive 3!
Until then… Train Up, Fighters!