6 Games Like Dead or Alive [Recommendations]

If there is a videogame which gained a place in history is undoubtedly Dead or Alive. First produced by Koei Tecmo and developed by Team Ninja in 1996, Dead or Alive is one of the best fighting games ever made, to such an extent that even Hollywood realized its high potential and turned it into an action movie, in 2006. Born from an idea of Tomonobu Itagaki, Dead or Alive was a revolutionary game at its debut. Indeed, it introduced some new elements to 3D fighting game genre, such as emphasis on speed, quick combos, and simple commands which allowed a shorter reaction time, that were going to be borrowed by other big publisher later. Furthermore, its countering system was something never saw before, allowing to do powerful counterattacks if the player was able to perform a defensive action at the right time.

The success of the game encouraged the realization of more games with the same title which turned Dead or Alive into a franchise including many sequels and spinoffs. The game was first released in arcades, and then realized for Sega Saturn system, PlayStation, and Xbox. Inspired by Sega’s Virtua Fighter which mainstreamed a great success before Itagaki’s brilliant idea came out, Dead or Alive is also well-known for its particularly appreciated female characters which led to the creation of a Beach Volley fighting spinoff exclusively focused on them. Innovative, simple, fast-paced, featuring good-looking characters, Dead or Alive has everything a fighting games-obsessed player could dream for. However, Dead or Alive isn’t the only game of its genre to have made history and it shares its vital space with many other masterpieces that worth at least a try. Do you want to know more about it? Then, keep on reading!

Similar Games to Dead or Alive

1. Street Fighter x Tekken

  • System/Platform: X360, PS3 PC VITA, IOS
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom, QLOC
  • Release Date: Mar 6, 2012

When we talk about fighting games, Street Fighter and Tekken probably are the first titles which come to mind. For years fans of one or the other have been discussing about which of the two was the best, but since the games’ fighting systems have always been too different due to unique characteristics, the debate never came to a conclusion. So, what if a crossover which features them both were created? Street Fighter x Tekken is that amazing title fighting games’ players from all over the world were waiting for. Published in 2013, the game is the product of a partnership between Namco and Capcom and was well received by the critics which especially complimented the roster and the mechanics.

As in any other fighting game, Street Fighter x Tekken’s plot is very simple; a mysterious object called “Pandora” falls on Antarctica continent and gets found by a group of researchers. No one is able to understand where it comes from or for what purpose it was created. The only certain thing is that Pandora releases a water-like energy that strengthens people around them when they are involved in a battle or a conflict. Given its huge potential, the two protagonist battle teams are after it.

There are some elements which Street Fighter x Tekken and Dead or Alive share. First of all, they are both successful fighting games which focus on martial arts and features multiple side options aside from the arcade mode – mini games, mini campaigns. Then, they share a mode called Burst Kumite which is almost identical to Dead or Alive’s Survival mode; in this mode, you have to fight an infinite number of opponents chosen from the roster at random, or players you have faced online before.

Street Fighter X Tekken Cinematic Trailer - Episode 1


2. Tekken 7

  • System/Platform: PS4, XONE, ARC, PC
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Games
  • Release Date: Jun 1, 2017

Of course, this list couldn’t be missing Tekken, one of the most popular fighting games ever. Tekken’s popularity is probably due to his unique fighting system, which allows all kind of players – so not only fighting games’ lovers – to enjoy a match with one of the many characters available in the roster. This is because of the high playability of the game, which makes fighting easy also for those players who don’t want to spend too much time on practice; combos or special moves are extremely simple to perform. This is probably the main common point that Dead or Alive and Tekken share. In fact, what made Dead or Alive a great game was the fact that its battle system was easier to learn compared to other games of the same genre, so that it was possible to maneuver characters with few combinations of keys. Although Tekken – especially the 7th – is a little more technical, the gameplay is at least as enjoyable as Dead or Alive’s.

What is different between the two games is the importance of the plot, instead. Dead or Alive focuses more on fighting itself, while Tekken series has a long plot which started with the first title and continued until the last title released. As the previous games, Tekken 7 is about the war between Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation, which has turned in favor of the last one. Indeed, Mishima’s leader Jin Kazama has mysteriously disappeared and now Nina Williams leads the company while attempting to relocate Jin. However, she gets submitted by Heihachi Mishima – Jin’s grandfather – who regains the lost company’s leadership. What is Heihachi’s purpose? And where is Jin?

TEKKEN 7 - Story Trailer | PS4, X1, Steam


3. Mortal Kombat X

  • System/Platform: PC, XONE, PS4, IOS, AND
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, NetherRealm Studios, High Voltage Software
  • Release Date: Apr 14, 2015

There are many games similar to Dead or Alive, and Mortal Kombat could be said one of them. However, what makes Mortal Kombat similar to Dead or Alive is not its fighting system or the fact they fall into the same category. Indeed, who have played both of the games before knows that, while Dead or Alive mainly features cute-looking characters battling each other, Mortal Kombat is a cruel, bloody, and more reality-based fighting game in which characters show no merci upon each other. Mortal Kombat takes place in a fictional universe consisting of eighteen surviving realms created by the Elder Gods. Each realm has its own heroes which are responsible for protecting their birthplace and conquer the other realms. However, the Elder Gods decreed that a realm can be conquered only by those who win ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments.

So, what makes Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive similar? Well, they actually share two important elements. The first one is a more realistic concept of martial arts performed by playable characters, while fighting games are mostly dominated by made up, physically impossible styles. The second one is the female element who, on the contrary, is kind of unnatural. We have already said that one of the things that made Dead or Alive popular is its female characters that made tons of fans go crazy with their generous shapes. And so Mortal Kombat does, too. Characters like Kitana, for example, are dangerous goddess of beauty, although in Mortal Kombat X they look more realistic than in the previous titles.

Mortal Kombat X | official trailer (2015)


Any Games Like Dead or Alive ?

4. SoulCalibur

  • System/Platform: DC, ARC, IOS, X360, AND
  • Publisher: Namco Bandai Games, Namco
  • Developer: Namco Bandai Games, Namco
  • Release Date: 1998

SoulCalibur is an interesting game, too. Created and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, SoulCalibur is a weapon-based revolutionary fighting game set in a historical fantasy universe where heroes fight each other through mythical swords. In particular, there are two kinds of legendary weapons: an evil sword called “Soul Edge” and a holy sword created to oppose it, called “Soul Calibur”. Soul Edge was once owned by Algol, a king who lost his son because of the demonic sword. It was actually the king who created Soul Calibur, after his precious child’s death. In the meanwhile, Soul Edge ended up in the hands of Cervantes de Leon, a Spanish pirate who, possessed by the sword, remained dormant for years in a port town, feeding on the souls of those who attempted to take the sword away from him. However, the pirate gets stopped by the young Prussian knight Siegfried Schtauffen. In the moment he touches the hilt of the sword, it released its evil in the form of a pillar of light – the Evil Seed – that corrupted mankind

Starting from its weapon-based combat mode, SoulCalibur features a long list of unique and innovative characteristics. For example, its gameplay system introduced the so-called “eight-way run”, which allows the characters to move in all directions by simply pushing the correspondent button, and this gives the player the feeling of being completely free of developing a personal battle strategy. However, it also shares some features with Dead or Alive, such as the counter system, for example. Indeed, similarly to Dead or Alive, SoulCalibur’s counterattacks allow the player a free move if the defense buttons are pressed at right time. Also, the roster is pretty interesting, including a wide range of dangerous, sex-appealing female characters.

SoulCalibur V - Official E3 Trailer


5. The King of Fighters

  • System/Platform: MOBI
  • Publisher: I-Play
  • Developer: I-Play
  • Release Date: Jun 13, 2003

The King of Fighters is probably the game on the list that shares the biggest element with Dead or Alive. Why? Well, first of all due to its very simple concept, which put more emphasis on fighting and characters’ appearance rather than on the plot. Sequel of the previous Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting franchises, The King of Fighters focuses, indeed, on a black-market arms dealer called Rugal Bernstein who, bored of the lack of competition, decides to host a fighting tournament and invites warriors from 24 different country to take part to it. Actually, the fighting tournament is a trap to lure worthy adversaries in order to kill them and turn them into stone statues Rugal can add to his collection of defeated warriors. Team Japan is among the hosted nations, and the young martial artist Kyo Kusanagi is part of it. Seeing his defeated father among the statues, Kyo decides to avenge him.

Then, The King of Fighters was the game which gave birth to Mai Shiranui’s character, who also appears in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. Indeed, Mai Shiranui’s first debut was in Fatal Fury 2, which was the game preceding The King of Fighters. She also appeared in later games from the same series, and was chosen to be a guest character in the new Dead or Alive coming out in 2016. Dead or Alive’s lovers will probably know it already, but the reason why Mai looks to be different from other characters – she yells the names of her attacks, for example – it is exactly because she was intended to maintain her features from the original game. Thus, playing The King of Fighters could be a good chance for all Mai’s fans to know more about her origins.

THE KING OF FIGHTERS: DESTINY – Trailer


6. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

  • System/Platform: ARC, PS3, X360, PC, PSP
  • Publisher: Arc System Works, H2 Interactive Co., Ltd., PQube, N3V Games Pty Ltd, Aksys Games, Zen United
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Release Date: Nov 20, 2008

Let’s close our list with BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Humanity was on the verge of extinction due to a creature that humans called the "Black Beast." Before the world was destroyed, six heroes saved it by creating "Ars Magus" – a fusion between magic and science – in order to defeat the Black Beast. This event would be later known as the First War of Magic. After the war, an association called the Novus Orbis Librarium (NOL) was created to rule the world with the use of Ars Magus. A great deal of dissent was caused by NOL because of which people who couldn’t use Ars Magnus became poorer and poorer. Dissent brought to another war won by the NOL, which imposed a harsher rule on the world by punishing any rebellion with death. Several years after the Second War of Magic, a rebel called Ragna tried to destroy the NOL. Indeed, Ragna possesses a powerful form of Ars Magus known as the Azure Grimoire. Will he be able to stop the evil organization?

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is a little different from all other fighting games mentioned, since it is more anime-based. Indeed, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger falls into fighting visual novel games’ category, so fighting is not the main focus, but part of a more complex system; playing BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is like reading a book and taking action when the story requires so. Actually, this system is not new to fighting genre, since many games belonging to this category features a Story mode. Dead or Alive is one of them, even if the text part is missing. One of the characteristics of Dead or Alive is, in fact, that – in latest titles – fighting is part of a plot, although the latter being very simple. So, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger takes up this element of Dead or Alive, offering players something more intriguing than just mere fighting.

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger – Trailer


Final Thoughts

A game like Dead or Alive is hard to forget, but not impossible to replace. Game publishers gave their best over the years to make sure we had the highest quality fighting games ever, and this list is a demonstration their efforts weren’t worthless. You won’t regret spending time playing these games, so enjoy and let us know if it was worth it with a comment!

Dareka Nobody

Writer

Author: Dareka Nobody

I’m an Italian dirty little girl obsessed with Japanese language, culture, literature, anime, manga, games, but also with writing, reading, and travelling, in general. I lived in Japan and I’m about to be moving there forever. When I’m not working, I translate yaoi light novels for a hobby. I’ve recently started a partnership with the website Novelleleggere.org where I publish my works. I run a page on Facebook about my translation and I’m also a blogger who likes to write about her experiences in Japan. Akiba addicted and enthusiastic Honeyfeed’s writer!

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