Halo's DOA4 fighter unwrapped

Female Spartan warrior's story revealed by Bungie; "Nicole" trapped in 21st century guarding Nassau Station secrets. New screens inside.

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She's young, leggy, tall, and can kick your butt with both hands tied behind her back. Spartan 458, also known as Nicole, is Bungie's guest fighter in Dead or Alive 4, which is due to hit Xbox 360s soon. The idea was initiated by DOA series creator Team Ninja, and Bungie gladly accepted, given its respect for the game's publisher, Tecmo. However, when the top Ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki, asked for Master Chief, Bungie declined.

"Master Chief is busy, fictionally speaking. We left him at the end of Halo 2, involved in a very large scale galactic conflict with world-ending repercussions. Fictionally speaking, he just wasn't available for fisticuffs," cited Bungie as reasons for MC's exclusion. Bungie did want a Spartan in the mix, though the trick was figuring how to pull a futuristic cybersoldier some 400 years into the past.

On Bungie.net, the Halo developer today revealed the tongue-in-cheek story behind her appearance in Tecmo's brawler.

Nicole was abducted into the Spartan training program at the age of 6--like most enrolled in the Spartan program, including John "Master Chief" 117--and she was 21 years old when her ship slipped into a "bubble" in the space-time continuum. Charged with the duty of protecting the secrets of her classified mission, Nicole takes on all comers, even buxom DOA characters such as Kasumi.

Her measurements are an Amazonian 49-30-41, and her 6'8", 370-pound frame (7'2", 980 pounds with the Mjolnir armor on) would easily make her the Shaquille O'Neal of today's WNBA. Even with such a carriage to pull around, Bungie touts her agility in the arena. "When Nicole fights, you believe it. Punches are quick and brutal. Kicks are telegraphed, and pack incredible force," reads a post on Bungie's site.

Bungie insists that "Ms. Chief" will not be featured in Bungie's upcoming project or the Halo film, and that the character was created purely for involvement with DOA4.

In DOA4, Nicole will be able to turn on the active camouflage function featured in the Halo games, and pull off moves such as "the plasma stick" and "the grunt punt." Interactive features on the Halo-themed level include a Warthog with full suspension and breakable glass.

But how do the Bungie developers feel about DOA4? Glowing praise would be an understatement.

"The fact that there are moving objects on screen that can actually injure you is awesome, without being intrusive. The fact that you can not only hop over barriers, but turn that into a powerful attack, is genius. Making the backdrops truly interactive makes DOA4 seem deeper, without sacrificing the fluid simplicity you need from a fighting game. You'll have to play it yourself to find out just how fun, addictive and compelling it is. Of course, we might just be saying that because there's a Spartan in it."

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