Dead Or Alive is a great fighting game to play, either on the Saturn or Playstation.
Story - As the game was an arcade game and a fighting game , there is no story, if there is, its certainly not mentioned in the game, while all the characters have their reasons for fighting, its not important.
Gameplay- Dead Or Alive plays somewhat differently from the later entires in the series. The game is actually closer to Virtua Fighter 2 then anything. The game uses a 3 button system . one button for punching, one for kicking, and one for holds and grapples. holding backwards will act as a guard. This system is close to Sega's Punch/Kick/Guard system used in Virtua Fighter 2. This deceptively simple system is actually very complex as these three buttons are used in a combination with others to create combos and special moves. Each character has well over 30-40 moves each using combinations of these buttons. using back and punch , will yield a totally different move to pressing down-forward and punch. Each character is also very different, From the slow Gen Fu to the quick and nimble Kasumi, every character is different in their fighting. Added to this is the danger zone, which is an area around the arena, where if a character falls , an explosion occurs and the character takes damage, this adds additional strategy to the game as players try to avoid the danger zone (or push each other into it )
Controls are excellent as well, and very responsive, while the Saturn pad is perfect for fighting games, the PS1 pad is not bad at all , and is perfectly playable. It also helps that both versions run at a very fast 60 frames per second with no slowdown.
Overall , the gameplay in DOA is great, fast paced, yet complex and has quite a bit of depth, it strikes a good balance of accesibility and depth.
Graphics and Sound - DOA originally debuted on the Sega Model 2 arcade board (licensed to Tecmo by Sega) , it featured 3D backgrounds, high polygon counts , shadows and sharp looking textures. Neither the PS1 or the Saturn could match the Model 2 and so the graphics were reduced. The Saturn version is based on the arcade, it took the 3D backgrounds , and turns them into layered 2D objects, placing the backgrounds in a way to appear 3D, and result was good as the characters did not seem to lose much detail in the process.
The PS1 version released a year later, is a mixed bag graphically, while it does feature some smoother character models , as well as some nice lighting effects (which were hard to achieve on the Saturn), its not as good (at least in my opinion) as the Saturn version, The backgrounds were changed completly, due to the Saturn having the VDP2 background processor, the backgrounds were replaced in the PS1 version with single layer backgrounds that look like wallpaper and still 2D, though some are pleasing to the eye. The characters are a bit blockier then the Saturn ones, due to a lesser polygon count, . The explosions in the dangers zone, which were 3D explosions on the Saturn , have been replaced with 2D explosions on the PS1, which aren't as good. Finally, the textures in the PS1 version are also not as sharp.
That said, the PS1 verision is still great looking , and some people do prefer the smoother look of the polygons. As far as Sound is concerned, again , the Saturn version copies the arcade soundtrack while the PS1 version features a new soundtrack , again with mixed results. While some tracks are really good, some are just dumb, and sound cheesy in a bad way and full of.....suggestive noises...... Though again , overall the soundtrack for the PS1 version or the Saturn version isnt bad at all.
PS1 Extras - The PS1 version , while maybe lacking in the graphical department, did get additional content, each of the female characters now have twice as many costumes as the Saturn version to unlock, and the male characters also gained new costumes.
The PS1 version also adds two new characters , Bass the wrestler and Tina's father, and Ayane the Ninja , sister to Kasumi and the daughter of Raidou, the final boss.
In Conclusion , Dead or Alive is a great fighting game with enough depth for fighting game fans, yet is quite accessible for beginners, despite its closeness to Virtua Fighter. The game features great production values on both systems, and is a recommended purchase. Sadly, the Saturn version was only released in Japan , until it was included in Dead or Alive Ultimate on the Xbox years later. That said , it is one of the more popular games on the system and is easily found for a very affordable price. The PS1 version was released worldwide , and thus is easier to find , and cheaper. Regardless of which console, DOA is a great fighting game and highly recommended.