Sunday, March 13, 2016
Gameday Sunday: Dead or Alive Paradise (PSP)
With the imminent release of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 (though, sadly, not a US release), I thought it fitting to look back on one of the more forgotten DOA titles, Dead or Alive Paradise for the PSP.
The popular fighting game franchise made it's debut at both arcades and on the Sega Saturn in 1996. Instantly setting itself apart from a market saturated by Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Samurai Shodown, Street Fighter, and their ilk, Dead or Alive became a hit for game publisher Team Ninja and their publisher, Tecmo. Spawning a series of sequels, remakes, and spin-offs DOA still shows no signs of slowing down. The most recent iteration, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, was released on 2015, features the largest character roster in the series' history and continues going strong online with players the world over competing against each other daily. DOA5 also has garnered some notoriety for its vast library of DLC which, at last count, would cost nearly $350 to purchase completely. But that price tag is about to go up, as this month will see the release of yet another playable character as DLC, with Naotora Li from Samurai Warriors making a guest appearance.
Yet, outside the main DOA fighting titles, Team Ninja fashioned one of the gaming world's strangest spin-offs with Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, released on the original Xbox in 2003, featuring the girls of DOA on an island resort, playing volleyball, resting by the pool, and gambling at a casino. This was followed up by Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 in 2006 for the Xbox 360.
Also in 2006, Dead or Alive Paradise hit the PSP. Designed as a port/remake of Xtreme 2, Paradise is an impressive title in its own right for the PlayStation Portable. Featuring nine playable female characters, Paradise sports the series' trademark volleyball gameplay, poolside mini-games, along with poker, blackjack and slot machines. There's also the relationship dynamic where characters can give and receive presents from the other girls. The shopping feature from previous installments is included, where gamers can buy swimsuits, accessories, and food. There's an in-depth photo mode, where you can snap pics of the girls and save the photos to your PSP for later viewing (you can also listen to your own MP3 songs, if you have any stored on your PSP, which makes for a nice custom soundtrack feature).
If you progress your relationship with the girls enough, you can unlock "Venus Clips" that present footage of the characters in their swimsuits. You can go back to and edit this footage as well, creating your own little "Paradise Flicks" as the game booklet calls them.
Disappointingly, Paradise lacks any online gameplay, even though the PSP was capable of such a feature. It's also missing the jet ski, beach flag, and water slide mini-games from Xtreme 2. Nevertheless, Paradise is worth a play for DOA fans and those who enjoy the Xtreme series. It's nice to have a portable version and the graphics are fantastic given the PSP's limitations. With that said, Paradise was one of the most harshly reviewed DOA titles to date, with many reviewers commenting on the "sexist" nature of the game. And even though the ESRB rated the game 'M' for mature, they still had some scathing commentary to add, including that the game featured "creepy voyeurism" and "contains bizarre, misguided notions of what women really want...Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs." Though, for a number of male (and possibly some female) gamers, that description might well be the very definition of Paradise!