Design: Randall Montanari
While the big names in fighting games nowadays are probably still Tekken and Soul Calibur, the Dead or Alive series has been chugging along for years now, earning a respectable following with its brutal hand-to-hand combat, multi-tiered arenas, and, uh, interestingly modelled female fighters. Subtle this game isn't, but for what it lacks in tact, it makes up in sheer physical mayhem.
Dead or Alive 4, the latest entry into the series, is the debut of the series on the Xbox360, and of course incorporates full Xbox Live online play. It features a few new characters (as well as hordes of returning pugilists), many new arenas, and plenty of game modes that will satiate even the most bloodthirsty of fighting game fans. GameSpot's Game Guide to Dead or Alive 4 is going to help ease you into the basics of the game; while we're not going to give you full move lists for each character, we are going to give you plenty of tips that'll help you figure out what all the fuss is about (these will be especially helpful if you don't normally play many fighting games), as well as descriptions of each of the characters in the game, telling you what separates them from the rest and letting you know hot to best take advantage of their relative strengths. To top it all off, we've got a listing of all of the hidden unlockable characters and other items in the game.
These are some general tips to help get you started on learning Dead or Alive 4. If you're unfamiliar with the Dead or Alive series of games, or fighting games in general, then hopefully these will get you up to speed.
Sparring for Practice
One of the remarkable changes in the fighting games that have been released in the past few years has been the standardization of the practice modes included with them. If you recall playing games like Street Fighter II or the original Virtua Fighter back when they first hit home consoles, then you'll probably recall scant or nonexistant practice options, which would force you to find move lists in mlagazines or websites and attempt to figure them out while fighting the computer.
Luckily, though, most fighting games now have extensive practice options, and Dead or Alive 4 is no exception. If you want to put a fighter through the paces, it's best to enter into Sparring mode and fiddle with the options that are available to you. Unfortunately, the Sparring mode is almost unexplained in the manual, so here are a few pointers on what you can use the options here to do.
Com 1st Action: This sets the action that the computer player will perform. When you tell the computer to perform a specific action, it will repeat that action until you tell it do something else.
The Normal settings control movement, allowing you to set the computer to stand, crouch, or move back and forth. The Guard settings let you tell the computer to constantly guard, which can help you figure out which combos to perform to penetrate a guard. Blow will tell the computer to repeatedly perform a specific kind of attack. Hold will let the computer attempt to hold and counter your attacks. Throw will tell the computer to throw you in a variety of ways. Combo will let you instruct the computer player to perform a variety of short combination attacks. COM Level will let you flip over the computer into AI mode, resulting in an infinite-health fight between you and the computer. There are different difficulty settings for the AI, ranging from one to eight, with eight being the most difficult.
Com 2nd Action: The Com 2nd Action setting will tell the computer what you want it to do immediately after you attack it, which can be useful for practicing quickly shifting from attack to holding or throw-countering. Most of the options here are the same as those listed above.
Counter: When you set the Counter option to either Counter or High Counter, every blow you land on your opponent will result in a counter, allowing you to gauge their responses to your attacks. Normally counters are only performed when you react to your opponent, or when you perform especially damaging blows, but these settings will let you stagger your opponent with every hit.
Exercise: Each character has their own Exercise setting, which will run you through the bulk of their moves one after another, giving you prompts on how to complete them. If you click the right analog stick during this session, you'll be able to get a preview of how the move should look. Completing the Exercise for each character will unlock their system voice, but will also give you a good idea of how versatile your character is, and will show you combos that won't appear if you just try to button mash. Performing all of the moves in the list can be difficult, but you can always click the right analog stick to get a preview of what you're supposed to be doing. Combo throws are generally going to be the most difficult maneuvers to pull off in sparring, especially combos with half or full-circle analog stick movements incorporated in them, like Hayate's complicated Raijin throw.
Command List: Selecting this option will pop up a list of all of the combos and moves that your character possesses, sorted into different categories for ease of browsing. Unfortunately you can't get a demonstration of the move from the command list; you'll have to try it yourself or in exercise mode to see what it is.
Log Display: You have two varieties of command logs to choose from. The first, Command Input, will show you what buttons you're pressing in real-time, which can be helpful if you're trying to compare what you're doing with what the move you're trying to perform is like. Attack Attribute is probably going to be a better choice for most of your practicing, as it'll let you know whether you're striking high, medium, or low. Try to learn the combos that have a good distribution of height and use those more often than combos that rely on a bunch of strikes at the same level.
Reset Position: If you want to get your characters back on even ground, this command will instantly warp them back to where they started in the arena. If you're in sparring mode (as opposed to Exercise), you can click the right analog stick to do this at any time.
One of the more difficult aspects of Dead or Alive 4's gameplay for newcomers is defense. While there is a block button (X by default), turtling is by nature a bit more complicated than it is in games like Soul Calibur, mostly due to the critical blow system, which will result in a staggered fighter pretty much everytime your opponent manages to land a blow on you. It takes a good deal longer to recover from a critical hit than it does in most other fighting games, forcing you to either block the first blow in a combo or attempt to hold one of the strikes in the middle of a combo to prevent the entire thing from landing.
Blocking attacks is still quite doable, but seems to be more important in online matches than when playing against the computer. Most of the AI opponents are very aggressive, choosing to close in on you and unleash combos or throws; attempting to block in these conditions will be difficult. The unpredictability of online play leads to a bit more utility for blocking, especially when you learn an opponent's patterns. If you're playing against someone who repeatedly backs away after knocking you down and comes in with a running dash move, then set yourself up with a block (or hold) and get set to fight back. Button mashers will often fall back on standard combinations which, when learned, can sometimes be easily blocked. Just be certain not to rely on blocking too much, as experienced players will hit you once or twice, then quickly throw you for large amounts of damage.
Holding is an incredibly important skill to learn, although it does require split-second recognition of enemy moves, or a fair amount of luck. To hold an enemy attack, you have to anticipate it, then move the analog stick or d-pad in a corresponding direction while tapping on the X button. If done correctly, you'll negate the damage from the incoming attack and either immediately counterattack, or perform an avoidance move that will put you in position to deal severe damage. (These avoidance moves usually result in you standing behind your opponent with their back to you.) In most games, "holds" are called "counters," whereas in DOA4, the word "counter" refers to performing an action in such a manner that you interrupt an opponent's action at just the right time to do significant damage to them.
Here's a list of the all the holds that are available to you. Note that some characters have different or more advanced holds, such as parries. We'll talk about those in the specific character descriptions; look at Leifang's section if you're interested in seeing some of these in action.
|Incoming Move||Counter Technique|
|High Attack||u/b, X button|
|Middle Punch||b, X button|
|Middle Kick||f, X button|
|Low Attack||d/b, X button|
Just telling you about holds makes them sound simpler than they actually are; actually pulling them off in the game is another thing entirely. Learning how to apply a hold is usually best done in sparring mode, against a computer controlled opponent. Bass is usually a good choice, since his attacks are relatively slow and easy to see when they're coming.
To practice counters, then, load up a sparring match with one of your favorite characters and select Bass. The first way you'll want to practice counters is to set the computer AI to a certain kind of attack, such as High Punch. If you do, then Bass will continually spit out high punches at you, allowing you to attempt to pull up and back on your pad, then hit X to hold the throw. You can set him to throw mid punches, low kicks; whatever you like. Just take the time to learn when you can enter the block command, and you'll be repelling everything he throws at you in no time.
Next up, you'll want to get a little more complex and learn how to perform holds in the middle of an enemy counter. As you gain experience, these will become the most common type of holds for you to perform. You can certainly try to hit holds before your enemy attacks, especially if they're a button masher and like to just slam out strike after strike, but attempting to hold indescriminately will leave you wide open to throwing maneuvers, so you have to be careful not to hold too often.
To start mid-combo holds, set Bass' AI to the Combo setting and pick something easy, like his (P, P, P). Every character has a basic triple-punch combo, and more often than not, these punches will wind up registering as high punches. Try blocking the first blow that Bass throws at you, then quickly tapping your high attack hold combo before the next strike lands. If done correctly, you should be able to hold his attack from the middle of the combo.
Of course, most of the time you won't be able to block all incoming attacks, and will find yourself actually being hit and taking damage from them. That's all right, though; as long as you stay on your feet, you can still attempt to hold an incoming strike. For instance, even if you let Bass' first punch hit you, you should still be able to counter the second hit. It'll take a while to learn the most popular combos for each of the characters in the game, but doing so, and learning how to hold in the middle of them, will make you a much more efficient player. (Although it must be said that, to some extent, this is more talent than skill. If you naturally have slower reflexes than your opponent, it'll be difficult to make holds against very rapid opponents.) If you get knocked off your feet, though, and are hit while you're in midair, you're helpless and cannot attempt to counter out of it.
Three Kinds of Holds?
Now would be a good time to explain a bit about the holding terminology. There are three different kinds of reactions a successful hold will get. Either it'll be a normal hold, a counter hold, or a hi counter hold. If no text appears on the screen when you make a hold, then it's a normal hold, but both the counter and hi counter holds will have text popups when you pull them off. So what's the difference?
Normal Holds: Normal holds occur when you hit the hold combo well before the enemy blow actually lands. Counter Holds: Counter holds occur when you input the hold just before the incoming attack lands on your character. You perform the hold as normal, but deal 25% more damage than you usually would. (Note that not all holds actually deal damage.) Hi Counter Holds: Hi counters occur when your hold input occurs just as the enemy blow actually lands on your character. You perform the same hold as normal (occasionally there'll be an extra auditory exclamation from your character), but you deal 50% more damage.
Most of the time, normal holds will only occur when you attempt to hold before your enemy starts a combo. If some chump online is doing nothing but triple-punch combos, then you can attempt to hold well before his next combo comes out and essentially guarantee a hold. If you wait until just before the blow lands, though, you're likely to get a Counter Hold for a bit more damage. The window for performing a Hi Counter Hold is very small and is tough to hit, even for good players, especially when you consider the small amount of lag that is unavoidable when playing online. They will occur most often when you hold during the middle of a combo, especially in rapid combos from a character like Helena or Ayane, where you either land your hold just in the nick of time, and thus get a Hi Counter, or don't input the command quickly enough and get pummeled anyway.
Vary Your Attacks
One of the important aspects of playing online is to be unpredictable when attacking. While you can't control how your opponent attacks, you can definitely try to shift up your attack patterns to throw them off their defensive game and make it more difficult for them to block and counter your moves. Here are a few tips to help you out!
Use A Wide Variety of Combos : Every character has plenty of different combo strings to choose from. If you use the same combos over and over again, you're going to find yourself getting pummelled, as your opponents will read your attacks and start adapting to them. The computer will do this naturally, but even if you're playing online, you have to consider that everyone who isn't in the game already is watching you play, and you can bet that they're all paying attention to what your favorite moves are. If you always do a low leg sweep to get up from a knockdown, they'll constantly do low holds to counter you, and so on.
Obviously enough, knowing as many of the possible combo permutations for a character helps open up the options in this category. Try to practice with your favorite character and go through their sparring exercises multiple times until you get the hang of the different combos that are available.
You Don't Always Have To Use or Finish Combos: Sometimes it can be just as effective to put together a string of two or three unrelated strikes as it would be to punch out a standard combo. Staccato bursts of strikes throw your enemy off their game and make it difficult for them to react, especially if you manage to get them in a stagger so that they can't put up their guard.
By the same token, if you want to mix things up a bit, try shaving off the last couple of moves of a combo and shift from it into something else. This goes double for combos that rely overmuch on one kind of attack, like Zack's strings of rapid kicks. Try hitting a few of the kicks, then stopping them and attempting a throw; your enemy will likely be attempting to counter your kicks, and will be set up for your punishment.
Vary High, Medium, and Low Strikes: When sparring, click your left analog stick to shift your readout to show the height of your attacks. In most cases, to prevent your foes from countering you, you'll want to try and use combos and strikes that hit high, low, and medium in rapid succession, rather than relying on simple combos with numerous blows that all hit at the same height. Low strikes are especially important to use, since they'll damage an opponent that's guarding high, and will often knock them off their feet, especially if they hit an opponent that's already staggering.
We're not going to go horrifically in-depth with each of the characters; instead, we're going to focus on what makes each of them unique and tell you about that.
When we do show you moves for each of the characters, we'll use shorthand abbreviations of the moves that you'll be performing. Here's a chart of those:
|b||Tap back (away from your opponent)|
|F||Tap the Free button (X on the 360 controller)|
|P||Tap the Punch button (Y on the 360 controller)|
|K||Tap the Kick button (B on the 360 controller)|
Of course, there are combination moves and diagonal taps that we talk about as well. When you see something like (d/b, P+K), that would mean that you'd move down and back at the same time (forming a diagonal on your stick or d-pad), then hold down both the punch and kick buttons at the same time.
Kasumi is an interesting character for many reasons. While she doesn't rely on brute strength to get the job done, she has a dizzying array of quick strikes and more than a few teleportation moves to dazzle your opponents and pull them off guard, allowing you to sneak behind them and attack from the rear, or just confuse them mightily.
Like Leifang and a few other characters, Kasumi can reverse high and middle attacks by pressing forward-up and forward-down while using the F button. Also like Leifang, these reversals do no damage to your opponents, but on the plus side, when you pull them off, you'll teleport behind your opponent's back, allowing you to quickly pound them from behind to often devastating effect. If you're going to play as Kasumi, you'll want to learn and know these reversals. Using them properly will give you a big advantage over opponents who aren't expecting them. Note that these reversals will usually warp you behind your opponent, but if they're up against a wall, you'll just disappear and reappear in the same location. Still, you can usually pop up a quick slam via a punch or kick, or perform a quick throw for the most damage.
Note also that Kasumi has a few moves that can only be performed while she's in her Hashinpo mode. Unfortunately, if you're trying to perform this maneuver during sparring, it can be difficult to find out precisely what it is. The movement requires you to hit P+K, then hold down the d-pad in the direction of your enemy. (Note that, with the default controls, the left trigger replicates P+K.) During this little dash, you can throw in a punch, kick, or throw maneuver to knock your enemy a good distance away.
Ryu, as the world's most super ninja, is indeed a master of the devious arts in DOA4. While some of his moves are difficult, the bulk of them are actually fairly easy to pull off, and he's quite fast to boot, making him an excellent choice of character for new players. The one drawback to specializing in Ryu is that he's quite popular online, meaning that your opponents are going to get quite familiar with your movelist, forcing you to dig deep into his set of moves if you want to surprise them.
Perhaps the most well-known aspect of Ryu's moveset are his Ongyoin moves, all of which are performed while he stands in the Ongyoin stance. While standing still, you can enter an Ongyoin by pressing back and P+K; there are also a number of other offensive moves that can be ended with an Ongyoin by holding back on the stick after they're completed. You should be able to tell what kind of attack you're going to be letting loose by the button press; otherwise, all of these moves are in your sparring program.
|Moves That End in Ongyoin||Technique|
|Tenma-Ongyo||f, P+K, hold b|
|Riei-Ongyo||d/b, K, hold b|
|Haja-Ongyo||f, K, hold b|
|Shingyoso-Ongyoin||d/f, d/f, P, hold b|
|Soryu-Rengyoin||f, P, K, hold b|
|Ren-Kijin-Ongyo||P, P, d, K, hold b|
|Joma-Rengyoin||P, P, P, K, hold b|
|Fugyoin||u/b, P, hold b|
There are numerous moves that can only be performed while you're in the Ongyoin stance; luckily, most of these are grouped together under the Unique Moves list in Ryu's command list. Some of these are straight teleports, while others will let you either throw your opponent or land a devastating attack. The two most popular are arguably the throw maneuver, Fudo-Zanshu (a normal P+K) and the rocket-head attack Fudo-Kaganui (f, P), especially among newer players. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to react to these unless you're good at countering. You can dodge the throw by ducking, but you can only block the Kaganui with a high guard. (You can counter it if you know that your opponent will perform it, but entering into a counter will leave you wide open for the throw if they mix up their attacks.)
Kokoro is an interesting character, albeit one without anything especially unique about her. Her style is one of hesitation, intended to throw your opponent off-balance, so that they have a hard time seeing what's coming. She's not for new players, and button mashing won't get you very far if you intend to use her, but the fact that she's fairly rarely used online should hopefully work in your favor when dealing with online foes.
One of Kokoro's unique characteristics is that she has many moves (15 or so) that can only be used when her back is turned towards an opponent. Turning your back on your foe is risky under any circumstances, but if you're a skilled player, you might want to try taking advantage of these moves; they can be a surprising twist for your online opponents, especially, although of course a quick opponent will take advantage of your inability to block or counter by pounding you repeatedly. If you want to quickly turn your back to your opponent, try using her Haika-Tai move, up/away + K. You'll be confusing people in no time.
Hitomi is another fairly standard character, relying on quick-strike karate blows to drop the hammer on her foes. She's not exceptionally damaging, but her speed works to her favor in that you can strike between a slower character's blows or throw them off-balance with a mixture of high and low strikes. Besides that, she's not particularly unique, except for the fact that she constantly reminds us of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Brad Wong is Dead or Alive's token drunken master character, capable of greatly confusing opponents with a wide variety of difficult-to-predict attacks. He moves quite differently from any other character, and has a number of different stances that will open up almost entirely unique movesets.
Brad can actually be a decent character to play as even if you don't know all of his moves; if you're just getting into some button mashing, using him can let you pull off some odd maneuvers that will confuse your enemies and make it less likely that you'll be countered, at least if you're playing online. But if you take the time to learn his many permutations, and can quickly examine your opponent's movements and react to them, then you'll be much more effective than a simple button masher. Of course, that's easier said than done; Brad has over 150 moves in his movelist, compared to the 60-90 that most characters possess.
The two major stances for Brad are the Kasenko and the Dokuritsu-Ho. The Kasenko is less of a stance than a movement that can be interrupted by another movement. To initiate a Kasenko, enter either (b, f, P) or (f, b, P). Then, while the animation for that move is ongoing, you can unload with a variety of movements that are ordinarily unavailable to you. None of them are particularly overpowered, but can throw your opponents for a loop if they're expecting you to whip out a standard combo. All of the moves from this stance are available in the Unique Attacks portion of the Command List.
The Dokuritsu-Ho is a stance in the classic sense of the word; if you tap (b, K) while standing in front of your enemy, Brad will go up on one foot. From this stance, he has a number of feint attacks, such as the Dokuritsu-Yoho (d, d), which can be repeatedly entered to make him spin like a top. These stance moves aren't necessarily more damaging than normal combos, but again, they can let you bust out something unfamiliar that your opponent might not expect.
In addition to the stance moves, Brad has an incredible number of moves that can only be performed while he's either lying on the ground or has his back turned to his opponent. If you want to learn these moves, your best bet is to enter the sparring mode and repeatedly go through his Exercise mode. Although repeating 150 moves over and over again might seem tedious, it's probably the only way to enter them into your memory so that you can pull them off in actual matches; without adequate practice, you're going to be struggling to remember the dizzying array of actions that are possible with Brad.
Eliot is another quick-striking character. He doesn't deal an insane amount of damage with his combos, but he has a good number of feint animations with many of his moves, which a skilled player will be able to incorporate in order to show one attack before delivering something entirely different. Also worth noting is the fact that both of Eliot's mid-level counters, in addition to doing a small amount of damage, will also position Eliot behind his foe, allowing him to quickly start a new unblockable combo, or perform a behind-the-back throw for extra damage.
Like his daughter Tina (with whom he has a particularly...odd relationship), Bass is an old-school wrestler. While Tina possesses most of the moves that you might recognize from your misspent youth watching WWF, Bass' size and strength allows him to bust out with a number of particularly brutal attacks and throws, possessing such elaborate names as Grizzly Rancher, Wild Bull Head Butt, and the Atomic Hammer Crash. Needless to say, if you like throws, then you're going to want to give Bass a whirl; some of his combo throws can do over 150 points of damage when properly executed.
Like a few of the other wrestler characters, Bass isn't particularly fast, and although his attacks are powerful, they're likely to get countered if you play against an opponent that's seen them before. That doesn't mean that he can't be successful when used online, but you'll definitely have to try and mix up the heights of your attacks if you don't want to get rebuffed, especially against countermove masters.
Zack is an interesting character, to say the least, even apart from his distinctive fighting style. This DJ/explorer/urban climber/entrepreneur is a flamboyant part of the DOA roster, and can bring an interesting bag of Muay Thai tricks to bear in combat.
The most obvious members of Zack's movelist are the rapid-fire kick combos, such as Mad Beast and Mad Hound, which typically open with one or two punches before shifting over to a sequence of four kicks, either mid or low. Although these moves can do a decent amount of damage in a small amount of time, the final kick often has a delay in front of it, allowing your opponent to easily counter you. To avoid this, either shift from medium to low kicks, if possible, or just stop entering kicks after you've loaded in two or three of them. Almost everyone reflexively tries to counter the fourth kick here, so you can often catch them in the act and deliver a throw.
Nextly, Zack also has stance attacks that extend from his Duck move. You can duck by either hitting (d, P+K) or entering into it from a Sway (b, P, d). You can enter from this into some impressive punch combos, but again, the danger here is that virtually all of your punches will be at the same height. Although you can enter some hesitations into the middle of the stream, good players will still manage to counter you.
As a note, Fake Strike Knuckle turns the glowing antenna on Zack's third uniform on and off, as do all of his taunts.
Jann Lee is one of the best characters to use if you're just starting out with DOA4; this steroidal Bruce Lee clone has moves are quick, fairly powerful, and amenable to a button-mashing style of gameplay. His main drawback is that, since he's relatively well-used online, his moves will be fairly predictable to your opponents, especially the old hands who've been playing Dead or Alive for a while, since many of his common combos are more or less the same as they've been since the earlier iterations of Dead or Alive.
That said, if you do choose to get down with Jann Lee, you should take the time to learn combos and attacks that avoid massive numbers of high punches, which can be guarded or countered. Attacks like Combo Low Spin Kick (P, hold d, P, K) and Hammer High Combo (d/b, P, K) both have a mixture of high and low attacks, allowing you to penetrate guards and frustrate an opponent's attempt to counter your strikes.
Leifang is an interesting character, and one that's suited to a more technical style of gameplay that many others. While she's not overwhelmingly powerful, she has a few options that will make her an excellent choice if you enjoy reversals or otherwise frustrating your opponent's ability to attack.
One way in which this tendency for control reveals itself is in the way that Leifang has the ability to use opposite-direction reversals to negate enemy attacks and throw the opponent off balance, according to the following table.
|Incoming Move||Reversal Technique|
|High Attack||u/f, F|
|Middle Attack||d/f, F|
When performing one of these reversals, Leifang will intercept the incoming blow, negate the damage, and shove the opponent to one side, giving you a very small window of opportunity to counterattack before they regain their footing. (When dealing with attacks that can't be reversed in this way, such as jumping kicks, Leifang will instead sidestep and dodge the attack.) Note that there is no reversal for low attacks.
Although these moves don't in and of themselves result in any damage to your opponent, one large benefit to this reversal system is that you can use one command input (d/f, F) to reverse both middle punches and middle kicks. While Leifang's attack style probably isn't well-suited for new players, this can help you counter middle attacks if you can't quite get the hang of the different movement directions for the two styles of mid attacks.
Also note that Leifang has a number of extra-damaging counter holds. These are complicated to input in the heat of battle, and are definitely best left for expert players, but if you can pull them off, then they'll let you frustrate your opponent on top of dealing large amounts of damage.
|Incoming Move||Reversal Technique|
|High Punch||f, u/b, F|
|High Kick||b, u/f, F|
|Middle Punch||f, b, F|
|Middle Kick||b, f, F|
|Low Punch||f, d/b, F|
|Low Kick||b, d/f, F|
Tina's moveset is definitely that of a wrestler: lots of powerful mid and high punches, complemented by a dizzying array of throws. Like Bayman, if you play as Tina, then you're going to have to be an expert at baiting your opponent into attempting to counter your moves, and then making them pay by locking them up in a combo throw and dealing an insane amount of damage to them, hopefully crippling them health-wise and letting you finish them off from a position of superiority. Just be careful not to actually get countered; since the bulk of Tina's strikes involve high or medium punches, a good player will see what's coming and pull out the hurt with a hold move. Try to incorporate hesitations in your combos, or just let loose with the first couple of strikes from a common combo, before cancelling out of it and moving in with a throw.
Like La Mariposa, Tina can use walls to her advantage. If your back is up against the wall, you can press (b+P+K) to leap off the wall and perform a body slam. (This maneuver usually performs a Moonsault Press when she's not near a wall.) It's an unexpected addition to your arsenal, and thus one that's difficult to counter, although it is easily blocked.
La Mariposa ("The Butterfly"; also known as Lisa in Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball) is a mask-wearing luchadora that wields a number of intriguing wrestling moves, but seems to be more focused on strikes than throws when compared to Bass and Tina, the other wrestling superstars of DOA. She's not as quick as some of the other strikers, but she does have a number of interesting moves which can beguile your opponents.
Three aspects of La Mariposa stand out. First off is her unique Corbata throw, which can be entered at the end of a number of different attack animations, some fairly simple, some (like the Reverse Tornade Combo) a bit more complicated, at least for your opponent to understand. Take a look at these in the Throws menu of your command list and give them a whirl. Some, like the Air Spin to Corbata (u/f, K, F+P) and the Turn Flip to Corbata (u/f, P, F+P), can be performed from a remarkable distance away from your foes and will let you pop their heads into the ground from long range.
Like Tina, La Mariposa can also utilize walls and other obstacles when her back is to them. If she's standing in front of a solid object, try hitting the Tope Con Giro (u/b, P, P) or the Missile Kick (u/b, P, K). With these, she'll jump backwards, plant her feet on the wall, and leap off, launching an attack that's difficult to spot from long range.
Lastly, La Mariposa can utilize her favorite arena, the TWA Coliseum, for some special moves. If you're up against the ropes in this arena, hit (b, P+K) to leap atop them. While we haven't discovered any way to actually walk up and down the ropes like she does in the opening movie, while you're atop them for a split second, you can hit either P or K to leap from the rope towards your opponent. These moves are long-distance attacks, but they don't do a huge amount of damage. Still, they're an amusing way to show off online, or punish a Brad Wong player that's waiting for you to get close so he can perform a lie-down throw. (Note that you can also perform these moves off of the ropes on the TriTower Helipad level.)
Bayman is going to be one of your worst nightmares when playing against the computer, especially when he pops up in the sixth or seventh slot of story mode. Bayman's an assassin, and a master of hand-to-hand fighting. He combines the brutality of Bass with the mid-level speed of someone like Brad, and tops it off with a full suite of reversals and extremely damaging combo throws. And he has one of the best outfits in the game, in his third costume, a full set of scuba gear.
If you check out Leifang's section in this guide, you should find most of the applicable reversals listed. Unlike Leifang, Bayman's forward-movement reversals actually deal damage to the opponent. He also had most of the two-direction counters that Leifang does, as well, so check his command list for those.
Since Bayman is focused mostly on throws and counters, try to learn his Death Swing, Shoulder Popper, and Arm Breaker moves. Each of these will let you input two counter commands when dealing with incoming punches. You can still counter punches by only inputting one of the two commands, but the extra damage makes it worth learning the combinations (they aren't that hard to pull off, especially if you use the analog stick).
|Incoming Move||Reversal Technique|
|High Punch||u/b, F, (wait), d, F|
|Middle Punch||b, F, (wait), b, F|
|Low Punch||d/b, F, (wait), d, F|
If you want to excel with Bayman, though, you'll need to learn as many of his combo throws as possible, and there are plenty of them to choose from. Before you can consistently pull them off, though, you'll have to get used to baiting your opponents into guarding or attempting to hold. Try punching once or twice before initiating a throw; if your opponent suspects that you're starting a combo, they'll often attempt to counter you, leaving them ripe for a long throw combo. This shouldn't be too hard to do, since many of Bayman's combos are exceedingly slow, anyway.
Christie is among the fastest-hitting characters in the game, relying on incredibly rapid strike combos to deal the bulk of her damage. While her individual hits aren't very powerful, she can string them into ten-hit combo strings with relative ease, assuming you practice with them. Against weaker online opponents, you can strike them into submission, but the usual risk of countering makes it dangerous to abuse her common combos, such as the Dokuja-Sanren-Kosho (b, P, P, P) and the Dokuja-Ran-Tsuifu (d/f, P, P, P). Unfortunately, neither of these moves have many alternate endings, so if your opponent sees them coming, they'll know exactly how to counter them; you may want to unload the first two punches and then stop, just to throw them off. However, sometimes you can actually move quickly enough to almost completely negate the possibility of mid-combo counters.
In most cases, though, you'll want to shift around your attacks to avoid being predictable, such as by using the Ren-Dokuja-Monro (P, P, d, P, P) or the difficult Zessho, Doku-Ren-Tokyaku (b, K, d, K, P, d, P, K), which unleashes a quick array of medium and low punches and kicks. In addition, Christie, like Helena, has an entire suite of moves that can only be executed from her Dokuja-Fujin stance (d, P+K). In addition to many confusing movement options during this stance, try busting out something like the Jashu-Rengeki-Sasso (u, P, K, d, P), which has a medium punch, a high kick, and then a low punch, and is very difficult to block.
All in all, Christie seems to be an incredibly aggressive character. Since your strikes won't be doing as much damage as those of many other characters, you can't afford to get into technical battles of blocking; you need to press the attack and try to prevent your opponent from accomplishing their own offensive goals.
Ayane is one of the more devious characters in DOA4, capable of devastating speed and some ingenious little fake-out animations. She relies on strikes to deal damage and movement to try and avoid enemies or just confuse them, and does a good job of both, but especially the latter.
Attacks like Renten-Maifu (K, K, d, K), Senrai-Maifu (d/f, K, K, K, d, K), and especially the many different Eiko moves, such as (P+K, P, K) and (P+K, P, d, K) can turn Ayane into a whirling dervish, letting her spin around her central axis before delivering a powerful kick attack. These kind of hesitations are built into the moves, which can throw your opponents off of their games, since most strikes within a combo are usually delivered in as rapid a succession as possible. Try stuttering your inputs here to further confuse your opponents; the last K in the Renten-Maifu, for instance, can be input anytime before Ayane's foot hits the ground after the second kick in the sequence, letting you fake your opponent into believing that you're temporarily done attacking. Note that you can be hit while you whirl, of course, so if you're playing against a quick character like Christie, you can expect to be punched out of your combo if you rely on them overmuch.
Like Brad and Helena, Ayane has a number of moves that can be performed with your back to your opponent, and consequently, a number of her normal attacks will finish with Ayane facing away from your enemy. This can be dangerous for neophyte players and button-mashers; if you just hit buttons without knowing what will happen, you'll often wind up with your back to your opponent, and if you inadvertantly try to block or counter a move in this position, you'll be in trouble. That said, there are some very interesting attacks you can perform in this position, such as the Zanei-Soka (P+K, P, d/b), which sees Ayane deliver a pair of high punches before whirling away a bit and winding up in the backwards position again. If you wish, you can actually morph that move into (P+K, P, d/b, d/f), which will see Ayane whirl away, and then back in towards the enemy, or just end it, then (double-tap and hold f, F+K) to launch them up with a kick.
Of course, all of this is in the best-case circumstances. When playing against quick characters, you're likely to just get pounded unmercifully while you attempt to roll around, unless you're skilled at playing Ayane. She requires a lot more practice than is apparent at first glance.
In the hands of someone acquainted with his quirks, Hayate can be one of the most lethal characters in the game. Possessing adequate power, excellent speed, and some devious tricks, Hayate is well worth taking the time to learn. (Even if most people will probably never get all the way through his sparring exercises!)
Hayate's basic strength is in his movement skills; like most of the other ninja characters, he's quite quick, with a few moves that incorporate flips, such as the Tenbu-Byakko (quarter circle from d to b, P, P, P) or the Mugetsu-Shippu (u/b, P, f). Many of his more confusing actions come as a result of the Hayate-Gake movement (quarter circle d to f, F), which incorporates a bit of a feint. No damage comes as a result of that move, but you can add a punch, kick, or a throw to it and Hayate will cover the distance between him and his foe quite quickly and dish out the hurt. You can also double-tap forward to teleport behind your opponent, which is...well, it's pretty damn annoying, at least when you're playing against a good Hayate player online. You can also teleport out of the Mugetsu-Shippu move, as well; just start rapidly tapping forward on the d-pad while Hayate's in mid-air, and you'll hit warp speed and pop behind your foe. This teleportation is much easier to pull off than that of Kasumi, since you don't need to counter an attack to perform it, and is a bit quicker than Ryu's, although it can't be converted directly into an attack.
Another move that may be of interest is the Sharin-Tai-Renzan (d/f, F+K, K, P), which launches Hayate towards his opponent, knocks them off their feet with a leg sweep, then punches them through the air. This will penetrate anyone who's turtling up behind a high guard, and is difficult to counter due to the odd flip animation that precedes the blows. Give it a whirl!
Besides that, Hayate is perhaps most famous for possessing the most difficult maneuver in the game: the dreaded Raijin throw. We're not even going to try to transcribe it, and it wouldn't be of much use even if we did, since the only time you're going to be pulling it off is in sparring mode, if then. If you're absolutely dead set on performing the Raijin, then you'll need to find a way to perform the opening circle rotation without jumping. Some have suggested entering the circle while guarding, which will prevent you from jumping, but we personally have never been able to get this to work. A better suggestion is to throw a single punch just before starting the analog stick rotation. If you perform the first half of the rotation before the throw animation is done, then you won't jump, and you can hopefully get the first part of the throw off.
Even if you don't jump, though, you'll more likely than not perform some other kind of throw instead of the Raijin's first segment. A lot of practice will be required to just get this first segment down...and even when you can pull it off consistently, you'll still have to manage to quickly input two more difficult sequences into the controller before you can pull off the Raijin. Honestly speaking, the Raijin is something that's seemingly custom-made to throw you off your sparring exercises; you'll never see it actually performed by a human player in a match. (Although the AI, perfect as it is, will occasionally bust it out on you if you get Hayate in a late-round match during Story mode.) As such, it's probably best to just avoid the frustration and ignore Hayate's exercises, unless you really really want his system voice and the Tatami map.
Helena is somewhat difficult to unlock, or at least time-consuming to do so, requiring you to beat story mode with all 16 of the originally available characters before she becomes open for play. That said, if you manage to get her unlocked for online play, you should find her to be a unique fighter.
Helena is a fairly quick striker, somewhere on the same speed scale as Eliot, and somewhat slower than, say, Christie or Ayane. Her standard punch action is accompanied by an arm flourish animation that can be difficult to read for inexperienced players, and many of her standard combos do an excellent job of incorporating low attacks; she seems to have more low-height attacks than almost any other character. A good example of this is the Seiryu, Rensho-Sotai (P, P, d, K, K), which lets loose with a high punch, medium punch, then two low kicks to punish anyone who's attempting to block or counter the high blows.
Like Brad, a good number of Helena's attacks are predicated on having your back facing your opponent. Again, this is a precarious situation in the best of times, but if you can transition to a rear-facing posture into an attack sequence quickly enough, you should be able to minimize your risk, especially if you can tell that you've stunned your opponent during the preceding combo. These combos can be wickedly difficult for your opponent to read, especially when you incorporate hesistations between the specific moves, which is possible with moves like the Horen-Toka-Sosho-Kyaku (b, P, P, d, P, P, K), which starts off medium and then shifts to a barrage of low attacks. If you’re wary about stringing together multiple low attacks, just let loose with the first punch, then unload a high kick to vary things up.
Helena's other primary ability revolves around her Bokuho stance, which sees her enter a crouch and attack from a hunched position. To enter the Bokuho, you can either hit (d, P+K) or (d/b, P+K). Our personal favorite moves from this position (and there are plenty of them) both let you open up to juggle combos. First off, her Tsuten-Sho throw (a simple F+P) will throw your opponent up into the air, allowing you to hit them as they come down. If you're standing in the open, your normal punch combo won't travel far enough to hit your opponent, but if you enter into a Kasetsu-Sho attack while you're still performing the throw animation (f, P, P), you should be able to connect with them as they drop. Just be sure that you start entering the move while you're still in the process of throwing, or it won't come out in time. If your opponent is up against a wall when you perform the Tsuten-Sho, you'll have a bit more opportunity to be creative, since they won't travel as far from you.
Secondly, if you enter into a Bokuho, you can perform a Teishitsu-Ryosho attack by hitting (P+K) again. This will cause Helena to launch an upward double-hand strike which will usually launch your opponent up into the air if it connects. They don't get quite as much air as they do with the Tsuten-Sho, but Helena will instantly revert into her back-to-the-enemy position, allowing you to bust out a long combo (such as the aforementioned Horen-Toka-Sosho-Kyaku) before they hit the ground. The air combos aren't incredibly damaging for the most part, but they can be a powerful psychological boost in online matches.
There's nothing particularly crazy about Ein, except for the fact that he and Hayate are the same person. Ein was the name Hayate used during the time of DOA2, when he had incurred amnesia at the hands of the Epsilon Project and had trained with Hitomi and her father at their karate dojo. Between DOA2 and DOA3, Ein had his memory restored, and thus he reappeared as the ninja Hayate in DOA3. Ein's appearance in DOA4 is thus apparently intended to portray Hayate as he was back in the DOA2 era. Thus, Ein is not going to have any of the moves that Hayate of DOA4 does, so being skillful with one character won't transfer over to the other; in fact, Ein's moves are more closely related to those of Hitomi than anyone else.
With all that said, Ein has no particularly spectacular abilities or moves to comment on. Some of his more interesting moves include the Raigyu (d/b, K, f, P, P) and the Kairai (d/b, K, f, P, d, K) are useful to try and vary the heights of your attacks.
Gen Fu is quite similar to Eliot (due to their master/student relationship), relying on quick strikes with some odd syncopations to throw defenders off their game. He doesn't have a lot of particularly unique features, although he can, of course, be brutally effective in the right hands. One of the major differences between him and Eliot is that Gen Fu's throws usually result in pure damage, whereas Eliot's throws are more finesse moves, resulting in Eliot standing behind the opponent and setting him up for more combo-based damage.
Although Leon is a different character than Bayman, they are quite similar in execution, mostly due to their similar emphasis on bruising punches and combo throws to deal damage. Leon is actually a bit more limited in gameplay for skilled players than Bayman, if only because he has far fewer options to counter incoming attacks.
Spartan 458 ("Nicole")
While an interesting character, Nicole is decidedly less full-featured than most of the characters in the game. Featuring only 56 moves in her sparring list (whereas most characters have 80 or 90), she's not going to be as versatile as the other characters you'll have unlocked by the time you finally get around to beating the game with Helena (which is the prerequisite for unlocking Nicole). She's particularly deficient in the area of kicks, since almost all of her main attacks involve punches. While she does have an amusing throw (the Plasma Grenade Stick), she's otherwise fairly generic. With practice you might be able to put her to good use, but apart from novelty, there's little to recommend her over many of the other more well-rounded characters in the game.
Although Tengu was once the dreaded end boss of Dead or Alive, he's somewhat less threatening in DOA4. He can be unlocked if you manage to beat the game with every character in Time Attack mode, which is difficult due to the puissance of Alpha-152.
When you do manage to bust out with Tengu, you'll find that he has a fairly standard suite of attacks. He's not powerful because his moves are particularly threatening, but rather mostly because of the fact that his animations are surprisingly unique and his character model is bizarre enough to be difficult to adapt to, which is compounded by the fact that he's barely ever used online. (As of this writing, he's used twice for every hundred times someone selects Ryu, but that number will increase as more people unlock him.)
If you're going to try and use Tengu online, take advantage of his bizarreness by using his unique moves, such as the Koboshi-Inago (u/b, P, P), which sends Tengu flying into a backflip before reversing direction and slamming into his opponent with a body slam. If you're looking for a way to confuse your opponents, try his unnamed flight maneuver (u/f, P, P, P). It unfortunately can't be melded into an attack, but you can use a normal throw attack on the end of it to perform his Jodo-Okuri throw.
Alpha-152 isn't a playable character in DOA4, but she does show up as the final boss in almost all of the Story Mode and Time Attack games. She is going to be very difficult for most players to defeat even once, let alone two out of three times in a row. (Note that neither people who play every fighting game that hits the market nor 12-year-old Japanese boys count as "most people.")
Of course, if you're an excellent player and can counter in mid-combo with regularity, then with enough practice, you should be able to counter Alpha's combos with relative ease, since she only has a few of them. (Try using mid-punch holds against her punch combos, and low attack holds against kicks.) The bulk of the problems when fighting Alpha are as follows: she can teleport out of your way to almost anywhere on the map, even when you're unloading a combo on her; she has a number of devastating combos, and throws that move much more quickly than do those of any other character (and her throw can also be performed from much farther away with barely a flicker of an animation to precede it); and her most damaging abilities take a long time to play out and can sap the majority of your life in one hit if they come in as a counter or hi counter. So yes, she's pretty much one of the most annoying parts of the game.
Unfortunately, there's no cut-and-dried method of defeating Alpha-152 consistently. It seems like the quicker characters, like Christie and Ayane, are going to have an easier time defeating her than will slower characters, mostly due to the fact that Alpha doesn't really attempt to hold your moves very often, and when she does, she seems to almost always go for a medium punch hold. Thus, if you mash out a P, P, P, etc. combo, most characters will unload high punches and you can often get her but good, assuming she doesn't teleport out of the way. So, basically, try to button mash if possible. It won't always work, by any means, but if you can aggressively seek her out and try to button mash you can sometimes get good hits in and wear her down.
Alternately, you can try to use one of your running punch or kicks attack to strike from long range. Alpha usually keeps her distance from you, especially after she's unloaded a combo on you. If you feel that the timing's right, try using one of your running moves to cover the distance and slam into her. If you attempt to perform one of these while you're really far away, she'll probably teleport, but if you perform them while standing just outside of range of combo strikes, you can often connect with them. You can also try waiting for her to teleport close to you, then hit back and P+K to perform one of your charge moves that'll knock her away from you. It isn't foolproof, but should hopefully connect often enough to wear her down.
We still find that a host of things have to go precisely right in order to beat Alpha-152, especially if you're trying to beat her with a slower character. Be prepared to try her numerous times in a row before you get lucky and bring her down.
Many of the achievements for Dead or Alive 4 are difficult to unlock, unless you're quite skillful. There are 45 in all, but unless you're godly at the game, or have the tenacity to practice for hours on end day in and day out, you stand little chance of getting 20 Straight Wins online or achieving an SS rank. Some of the secret achievements, however, are well within your grasp...
You can check most of the achievements in the game simply by opening up your Xbox Guide and checking the achievements for DOA4; many of them are self-explanatory. The secret achievements won't appear until you unlock them, though, so you won't know what to do to unlock them until you actually do whatever's required! You can stumble through the game and attempt to unlock them in the course of your normal playing, but if you just want to cut the suspense and get right down to brass tacks, here's a list of all fifteen of the secret achievements.
Unlock Leon: 10 points.
Unlock Gen Fu: 10 points.
Unlock Ein: 10 points.
Unlock Helena: 20 points.
Unlock Spartan-458: 20 points.
Unlock Tengu: 20 points.
Get an Online Bronze Star: Obtained by beating a player with a win streak of 10-14 games. 10 points.
Get an Online Silver Star: Obtained by beating a player with a win streak between 15-19 games. 20 points.
Get an Online Gold Star: Obtained by beating a player with a win streak of 20 or more. 30 points.
Five Online Losses In A Row : Zero Points
Ten Online Losses In A Row: Zero Points
20 Online Losses In A Row: Zero Points
Get an Online Grade of D: Zero Points
Get an Online Grade of E: Zero Points
Get an Online Grade of F: Zero Points
Note that a number of these "achievements" actually give you zero points. Team Ninja apparently doesn't much care for unskilled players playing their games, but at least these don't show up on your online profile unless the person viewing it has also unlocked them by being as bad as you are.
Unlockables and Secrets
As with any good fighting game, there are plenty of unlockable costumes and characters in Dead or Alive 4. If you're curious how to unlock some of these items, read on...
|Leon||Complete Story Mode with Zack.|
|Ein||Complete Story Mode with Hitomi.|
|Gen Fu||Complete Story Mode with Eliot.|
|Helena||Complete Story Mode with all characters (not including the characters that can't be selected in Story Mode, obviously.)|
|Spartan-458 ("Nicole")||Complete Story Mode with Helena|
|Tengu||Complete Time Attack mode with all characters, including all of the above unlockable characters. You can set the number of rounds per match to one and still unlock Tengu, although you won't get any costumes for playing Time Attack in this manner.|
You can unlock costumes for characters by repeatedly playing through either Story Mode or Time Attack with that character. You can play through Story Mode on any difficulty to earn new costumes, but if you play through Time Attack, you have to play on the default settings in order to unlock new outfits. Of course, some characters (Ein, Gen Fu, Leon, Tengu, and Nicole) can't be played in Story Mode; for their costumes, you'll have to play through in Time Attack mode. You can also buy some of these costumes online if you wish.
The following table will let you know how many costumes are unlockable for each character. The number on the right includes the two costumes that are initially usable, so if Bayman has three costumes listed, that means that he only has one unlockable costume. Thus, Tengu isn't on this list; he only has the two costumes he begins the game with.
|Spartan-458||7 (These are just additional colors for the armor; not full-blown new costumes)|
In addition to different costumes, some characters have different hairstyles, which you can choose while selecting a costume. After selecting a character, you'll be able to select the costume; pressing different buttons (either Y, A, X, or Start) to select a costume will cause various styling options to appear. Not every character has styling options, however.
Character Changes Kasumi Pressing one of the different buttons will switch her hair between long, braids, and two styles of ponytail. La Mariposa Pressing the Y button while selecting a costume will result in a maskless costume. Pressing Y while selecting costume four (which is already maskless) will result in a mask being added. Leifang Pressing X or Y will usually result in long hair, while pressing A or Start will result in braids, although these options are reversed for her sixth and seventh costumes. On many of the earlier costumes, including the two initially usable ones, pressing Y will result in glasses being added. You can hold down the trigger or bumper buttons before hitting Y to change the color of the frames. Hitomi On Hitomi's eighth costume, pressing A or Start will result in brown hair; pressing X or Y will result in blond hair.
Each character has their own system voice, which you can use to replace the default system voice in matches from the options menu. To unlock the additional system voices, you need to use them in sparring mode and complete all of their Exercise modes, which will take you through their entire movelist.
There are three hidden stages in DOA4.
|Biolab Core||Complete Story Mode once with any character.|
|Nassau Station||Unlock Spartan-458|
|Tatami||Unlock all characters, unlock all system voices. (The Tatami is always available for sparring, even at the beginning of the game.)|