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It has finally come. Publisher Tecmo has teamed up with developer Team Ninja to create this ultimate "sports" title, the next in the Dead or Alive series, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. This Xbox exclusive joins BMX XXX as the two most controversial games this season and quite possibly in video game history. DOAX is a 1-4 player sports game that will be released November 2002. And what a release it will be.

"Sex undoubtedly highlights Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball," says Game Informer, issue 112, and I couldn't have put it better. from all the screenshots and movies I've seen (yes, I'm an addict) the features of this game look beautiful. But does the only thing DOAX have to offer is a bunch of beautifully rendered ladies bouncing around on the beach, tantalizing your innermost fantasies?

No. Well, yes. I mean, no!

Title: Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Tecmo
Date Published: January 24, 2003
Platforms: XBox

The game will be an accurate and intriguing sports title, using real beach volleyball rules, promises Team Ninja's leader, Tomonobu Itagaki, with various courts, balls, articles of clothing, perhaps the lack thereof, (last one added by me). Every minute detail seems to be covered. Character models are, of course, to perfection, but even aspects beyond those lovely girls; the sand effects, tanning and burning, character personalities, and the variety of gameplay all direct me to force my friend to buy this game instantly, for he is a lucky owner of an Xbox and I own Gamecube (and of course, the term "lucky" is used loosely.)

Back to the aspect of gameplay, this game will offer you a chance to understand the personality of your girl. In your quest to win at this Dead or Alive tournament, you must find her best partner, discover her clothing likes and dislikes, and learn more about her off the court. If you fair well, you and your teammate might even engage in more intimate activities. (I saw it with my own eyes, and feeding that strawberry from one girls hand to the other's mouth was definitely not lacking in the sexual innuendo!)

Finally, Itagaki leaves us with the promise of being able to perform "distraction" moves. Let your imagination soar, fanboy.

" Despite the hoopla that will ensue surrounding DOAX's itsy teenie weenie polka-dot bikinis, we hope that it isn't unappreciated for this reason, especially if Tecmo manages to create an amazing volleyball game." - Game Informer, Issue 112

Note: I have found some sources that that say this game is being developed by Tecmo and/or published by Microsoft. The official Japanese Tecmo site (www.tecmo.co.jp) and my trusty magazine say Team Ninja is the developer. Stay away from these bad sources, they are stupid people, inflamed over the Xbox.

I'm sure that you've all heard about the "graphical" advantages that Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball has to offer. However, I feel that a key aspect of the game has been overlooked: the gameplay . So, I'm here to give tell you a little about the non-graphical aspects of the game.

The game takes place after Zach has won the Dead or Alive 3 tournament. After winning the tournament, he spent some time in a casino, where he became a multi-millionaire. So, now having money to spare, Zach purchased a small island in the south seas (which he named "Zach Island"), where he has built a resort, complete with a hotel, a casino, shops (accessory, sport, etc.), multiple volleyball courts, and a swimming pool. It was on his new island that Zach also planned to hold the Dead or Alive 4 tournament. However, the only fighters that Zach invited to his new "tournament" were females, and instead of the traditional fighting tournament, it was instead a volleyball tournament. The eight participants invited to this tournament were Kasumi, Hitomi, Tina, Helena, Leifang, Christie, Ayane, and a new addition to the Dead or Alive series, Lisa.

Once you pick your character, you arrive at the island, and are taken through an introductory session that explains the different sites in the island. Also, it is here that the key concept of a (volleyball) partner is explained. In order to play volleyball, you need a partner, and to get a partner, you need to get characters on your good side. You do this only by buying them presents. Finally, once you have a partner, you can challenge other couples to a game.

The actual volleyball games, which I find very addicting and fun, only utilize the left analog stick, the A button, and the B button. The analog stick controls your character's movement, the A button sends the ball over to your opponents side, and the B button sets the ball for your teammate. The game developers compensated for this limited button use by detecting how hard you push the buttons (a softer push of the B button will make you set the ball softer). The first team to reach seven points is the winner, and receives some prize money (for to buy gifts and swimsuits). Additional prize money is awarded based on how many "Nice" points you get. You can receive a "Nice" by executing a move with perfect timing (a serve), or spiking the ball.

Another way to gain money is to play the "hopping game", which is located at the pool. The basic premise of the game is that there are squares of floating material in the pool, and you have to guide your character across, without falling in. There is only one button necessary for this game (the A button), and it is used to make your character jump. The distance of your jump is determined by how hard you press the button.

The other way you can spend money (or gain money) is in the casino. At the casino, you can play roulette, poker, blackjack, or slot machines.

Finally, at the end of your tournament "vacation", your character decides that it is time to leave. However, you can continue to play (from the beginning) with the same character, or you can select a new one. The only real purpose to play through the story mode multiple times is to collect all the swimsuits, so that they are usable in the exhibition mode. The exhibition mode can be accessed from the main menu of the game, and lets you play volleyball with 1 - 4 players.

Overall, I actually found this to be a very amusing game. Not only for the numerous sexual references, but the volleyball is actually really addictive, and fun! However, I would advise against the hopping game, and the casino, as they generate very little cash, and waste valuable volleyball time. I recommend this game to anyone who's an avid fan of the Dead or Alive series (for whatever reason), or anyone who enjoyed Beach Spikers (the only other volleyball game for a next generation console).

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