Shin Force | Microsoft Xbox Review
Shin Force
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Xbox Reviews

Shin Force ~ Dead or Alive ~
 Dead or Alive 3
Team Ninja
1x DVD
Q1, 2002 (Japan)
Nov. 14, 2001 (USA)
3rd Person
Arcade Stick
     > Ever since the first Dead or Alive for Saturn, I've been a believer in Tecmo's ability to produce upper echelon games.  When they released Dead or Alive 2 in America first and exclusively for Dreamcast, Tecmo really scored points with me.  Now, it seems that companies are gracing Microsoft's Xbox with their elite games, as it supposedly has the most power in the current console market.  Tecmo has DOA3 now, while Sega has Panzer Dragoon and Shenmue II on the way...
     > First off, I'd like to say the pictures below can't possibly reveal the true beauty of this game in motion.  Everything about this game has been improved (visually) over DOA2.  Here are my thoughts on the major areas of interest.

     > Each character has the most life-like animation I've seen to date in a fighter, or any other game for that matter.  Yes, they even surpass DOA2.  The action isn't slow either, and the frame rate is rock-solid.  The only time things slow down (with dramatic results) is when some one hits a "danger zone", which spawns a huge explosion and slight blurring effect!  Check out the DOA Animation section for more.

     > The locales are simply amazing!  For instance, I love the beach at sunset with the palm trees gently waving and the sea gulls hovering around quite naturally.  As in DOA2, you can knock your opponent through certain barriers, or over edges to cause extra damage and reveal new areas of the level.  There's nothing like knocking some one through a huge window and watching him/her hit neon signs on the way down to a rain soaked street!!

     > What about the babes?  I didn't forget -- I merely saved the best for last.  Kasumi is still my favorite babe, although Christie (new) and Ayane are very hot.  Heck, they're all gorgeous!!  Anyway, as compared to DOA1, the series has evolved with less emphasis on bouncing boobs *frowns*.  The action is fast, but you can still see that mother nature has blessed these women *smiles*.  I think you'll really enjoy Helena's ending movie, as it's quite interesting...

     > Simply mint -- as I expected.  Now, a true six-button layout controller would help a lot, but the standard pad is sufficient.  Probably the most difficult thing to pull off consistently is forward running during the last battle.  Other than that, if you've played DOA2, then you should be able to waltz right into this game without a hitch.  If you haven't, don't worry, because the learning curve on this game moves just as fast as the characters.

     > Each character has a unique fighting style, power, and speed.  Basically, you can jump, run, punch, kick, block, and throw.  Different button/pad combinations produce a plethora of individual moves!  Throw in combinations, critical hits, and reversals for a solid control scheme.

     > For the most part, DOA3's music is good to great.  It features original music by Aerosmith (Amazing, Nine Lives, and Home Tonight), plus more songs that mirror much of what DOA2 had to offer.  The sound effects haven't really changed much, but they're as clear and deep as ever.  Top that off with realistic environmental effects and you have a great sounding fighter!
     > First, the game offers a ton of different things to tweak, like difficulty, sound, language, and controller settings.  Choose from Story, Time Attack, Versus, Survival, Tag Battle, Team Battle, Sparring, and Watch Modes!!  Lastly, select one of 16 fighters -- 7 female and 9 male.  The new fighters are: Hitomi (German/female/Karate), Brad Wong (Chinese/male/Zui Ba Xian Quan), Christie (English/female/She Quan), and Hayate (Japanese/male/Mugen Tenshin Style, Ninjutsu Tenjin Mon).

    > The most fun will be had with four people, of course.  The computer, however, puts up a decent fight and doesn't allow you to just punch your way to victory.  There are various things to unlock as well, such as the Movie Mode, which is accomplished by finishing the game with each character.  Overall, there's plenty to keep you busy and interested.

    > The bottom line is simple.  If you're getting an Xbox this Holiday Season, then DOA3 should be the first game you buy.  It's exclusive to Xbox for at least 3-6 months, while a PS2 version would reportedly require downgrading.  Either way, you can't go wrong with a game created by Team Ninja.
Overall: 9.5 | Graphics: 10 | Control: 9.5 | Sound: 9.5 | Fun: 9.0
~ Shinobi ~

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