Though Dead or Alive 3 doesn't revolutionise the fighting genre, it does offer a great gaming experience and its graphics easily surpass every other fighting game on the market--on any system. There are eight modes of play in DOA3, including Story mode, Team Battle, Tag Battle and Sparring mode. The latter mode is customisable and is a nice way for new players to learn how to play the game, while Story mode lets you take one of the 16 available characters through a series of matches, culminating in a fight against the über -powerful Omega. Once you defeat Omega, a short movie specific to your charaue is laughable) but the end-movies are pretty cool and it's fun playing through the game as each of the characters. The real meat of the game, though, is its combat, and DOA3 delivers in spades. Each character has specific attacks--such as Zack's Devil Elbow or Bass Armstrong's Stun Gun Chop--and once you get the moves down, the entire affair can unfold like a carefully choreographed ballet with combatants blocking blows, counter attacking and landing devastating punch-and-kick combos. Adding to the game's appeal are the massive and detailed multi-level arenas (which were introduced in DOA2), where a precise kick or punch can send a combatant plummeting through the air down to the arena's next level. It's obvious that DOA3 was designed to be a showcase for the Xbox's graphical prowess and it shows--the game's graphics are awesome. The character models look amazing and feature highly detailed clothing and accessories, and the animations are extremely smooth. The environments are also outstanding, and feature lots of little touches such as fluttering leaves, snow-covered ground that can be torn up during the course of a fight, great-looking water and superb background structures. So while DOA3 doesn't rewrite the rules of the fighting genre, its great graphics and intense fighting--especially in multiplayer--make for an enjoyable gaming experience. --William Harms
- The tremendous detail in the environments are all the more impressive when you consider just how massive they really are.
- Striking character models, powered up from previous incarnations.
- The single most gratuitous use of processing power is in the form of a female fighter in a Karate gear.