There's no shame in liking the pretty ladies of Dead or Alive. Well, okay, there is (after all, we're talking about lusting after artfully arranged oversized polygons) but at least you're not alone. And whether you're a serious fighting game fan or you just ... like to watch, Dead or Alive Ultimate lives up to its name.
With the release of the Dead or Alive Ultimate, Tecmo makes the Xbox the one-stop shop for all things DOA; now the entire series is represented on one console. This two-disc set includes both the original version of Dead or Alive in all its crude polygonal glory and a buffed version of Dead or Alive 2 that truly represents the best of breed. That's the benefit of the development team having created two new titles for the Xbox before going back for one final polish on an earlier chapter - all the texture tricks and lighting techniques learned on games like DOA3 and DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball are put to stunning use on DOA2 Ultimate. Not only are the player models smooth and gorgeous, but you'll crash through stained-glass windows, smash through brick walls, and splash through reflective pools ... this is gorgeous combat.
The story behind the fighting, as usual, doesn't matter; lots of melodrama, some weird family relationships, and impossibly curvy chicks that harbor deadly ill will against other impossibly curvy chicks. It's a tempest in a D-cup. And honestly, Story mode's true function is to practice your moves and unlock alternate costumes. There are several other modes, including tournaments and tag-team matches, but by playing and replaying the Story mode on different difficulties, you can access as many as 20 outfits per character. It's fun to play dress-up! You'll feel rewarded for your technical skill when you pull off cool combos, but even if you're more of a button-masher, you can still do fairly well while you watch it wiggle and see it jiggle.
DOA Ultimate offers accessible gameplay and awesome eye candy. Throw in Xbox Live support and it easily becomes the only Xbox fighting game you actually need to own.