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Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball

Review By:  J. Michael Neal

Developer:  Team Ninja
Publisher:  Tecmo
# of Players:  1-2
Genre:  Sports
ESRB:  Mature
Online:  No
Accessories:  Custom Soundtrack, Dolby Digital, HDTV 480p
Date Posted: 


I decided to do something a little different with this review, mix things up a little, so I present the “Fifteen Things I Learned Playing Dead of Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball”:

1)  Guys like breasts – It’s true. In fact, we love them so much that an entire game has been created around showing them off. A mainstream game too. No, I’m not talking about Tomb Raider 76: Revenge of the Block Puzzle; I’m talking about Dead of Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Finally, the franchise that gained infamy for being created as “Virtua Fighter 2 with really bouncy chests”, then gained respect for turning into “the fighter with a really kick-ass engine”, goes back to its roots and discovers its misogynistic side once more! Sure, there is more to DOA:XBV than women in thongs jumping around and bending in all sort of compromising positions, but not that much more.

2)  Everyone likes the DOA woman – I do have to admit, the women of DOA have a certain appeal. They have real personality and they are fun to play as. I mean, who can’t enjoy a kick ass, beautiful woman with a great fashion sense? Women love them, guys love them, albeit for different reasons, and everyone has their favorite. I’m a Christie fan myself. I think this game succeeds in adding even more depth to these characters by allowing players to watch them let their hair down and engage in normal activities outside the Dead of Alive tournament. Imagine The Sims Vacation expansion pack starring the cast of Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO and you kind of get the idea. At the end of the day you actually like these characters more after seeing them behave like normal people. It’s not like Midway’s failed fighting spin-off, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero that actually made you hate Sub-Zero for causing you to sit through such an awful game.

3)  The Xbox is one powerful S.O.B. – Can I get a witness? If DOA:XBV proves anything (other than guys like big boobs) it proves that the Xbox really is the most powerful console out there. Sure, the GameCube is no slouch, and the Playstation 2’s still got a trick or two up its sleeve, but the Xbox really is a beast. Pop in this game and within 30 seconds you’ll be blown away by Team Ninja’s mastery of the Xbox hardware. Sure, a lot of the visuals seem like gratuitous exhibitions of power, but considering how down-keyed most Xbox games have been in the visual department, I think it’s needed. Every console needs its “tech demo”, the game you put on when you want to show off your ultra-cool new console to a friend, and DOA:XBV fills that role nicely, seeing how it is probably the best looking console game ever released. Yes, even better than Splinter Cell.

4)  Team Ninja really likes pop music – The Baha Men, The Spice Girls, B*Witched. I’m sure for most of you reading this these “artists” provide the background music to many a nightmare. Today, however, they provide the background music to DOA:XBV. Sure, its not all bad, there is a Bob Marley track and a few from Reel Big Fish, but still, unless you are a Christina Aguilera fan or a lover of bubblegum reggae, you’d probably rather shove a Phillips-head down your ear until you feel a “pop” than listen to this crap. Luckily for everyone, this game takes advantage of the best Xbox feature no one ever uses: the custom soundtrack! Yes, you can program the day, and evening, radio station in the game to play any track that’s been stored on your Xbox hard drive. Even if you do approve of the game’s soundtrack, for some insane reason, there are probably a few songs you’d love to add to it, and you’d be surprised to find how well something like Green Day’s “Welcome to Paradise”, The Street’s “Let’s Push Things Forward”, or The Ravonettes “My Tornado” fit into the game.

5)  Volleyball is the easiest sport in the universe – Well, or at least on Zack’s Island anyway (which the fighter from the DOA series bought after winning the lottery). It’s pretty much distilled down to two buttons (Receive and Attack) and movement is kept to a minimum. In fact, a lot of the movement is automatic. For example, if your partner pops the ball up into the air, setting up a spike, your character will automatically run to the net and begin a spike, all you’ve got to do is hit the A button at the right moment. This over-simplification makes the volleyball in this game feel about as deep and challenging as Pong. But, it is very easy to get into, especially for younger gamers or first time gamers, and is actually kind of relaxing in its Zen-like simplicity. The one thing that does make the game a little difficult is the horrible camera you are forced to live with. Sure, it looks good and it catches the women at all the right angles, but it completely obscures the backcourt and screws up depth perception, making judging where the ball is going to land needlessly difficult, especially during two player exhibitions.

6)  Every woman averages the measurement 35-22-33 – Well, considering that every woman that appears in the game average that measurement, and they all come from every corner of the globe, that must be the norm, right? Right?

7)  Maintain a healthy relationship with your woman with a steady stream of firearms and steering wheels – In order to play volleyball you need two people, and in order to coax a second person into partnering with you, you need to bribe them with lots and lots of gifts. Each character has items they particularly love, based on their interests as specified in the manual, and you’ll have to stock up on them if you want to keep your partner happy. And we all know nothing brings a smile to a woman’s face like unwrapping a box of shurikens, a leather thong, or a book on cloning.

8)  Woman with large breasts can get paid a lot of money to get wet and jump around – I didn’t know that before this game. Did you? The “Hopping Game”, as it’s called, is a mini-game in which you have to make it across a pool by jumping from floating buoy to buoy without falling in. How far you jump is determined by how hard you press down on the face button, and the distance between buoys are randomized at the start of each game. You earn money by successfully completing it, and it adds up too. Who would have thought?

9)  The women of DOA have major gambling problems – Nothing caps off a fine day of sunbathing poolside like losing a cool million at the Roulette table. Or at least that’s how these ladies like to spend their evenings, in Zack’s Casino playing the slots, Poker, Roulette, or my personal favorite, Blackjack. It’s easy to get hooked too, as these casino mini-games are not only a good source of income, but a fun way to flesh out an otherwise shallow gaming experience. Too bad two players aren’t allowed to gamble at the same time; it might have added some longevity to the game. Oh well, it does make a nice inclusion and makes it feel like you got a little more out of your purchase than just a virtual wet t-shirt contest. Hopefully you already know the rules to these games, though, as DOA:XBV does nothing to teach them to you, neither in the manual nor with an in-game tutorial.

10) Why women shop so much – Female shopping habits have always boggled the male mind. That is, until now. After playing this game a guy can finally understand why women spend so much time and money shopping. It’s all about coordination. Let’s say you go down to the Sports Shop and see a really nice outfit, something like an orange and yellow knit top and some little black short-shorts that you just have to have, you buy it but then you realize that you don’t have any shoes that go with it. So you run on down to the Accessory Shop and look around. You don’t see any shoes, but there is this really awesome hat that would look great on you. Too bad you have nothing to go with it. That can easily be fixed with another trip to the Sports Shop for another outfit that then requires another pair of shoes. Get the idea? Don’t feel bad if you don’t, because the moment you began buying new bikinis and such for your character you will. It’s really hard not to become a shopaholic, especially for completists who will want to collect everything there is to own in this game, including rare items and ultra-expensive outfits.

11) It is possible to make Zack even more unlikable – All you have to do is give Zack, the flamboyant, embarrassing, slightly creepy fighter from the Dead or Alive series, the voice of Dennis Rodman, the flamboyant, embarrassing, slightly creepy has-been athlete from the NBA. Hey, it could have been worst. Just thank god Gilbert Gottfried’s only contribution to the gaming world has been Kingdom Hearts

12) Japanese is a universal language – It’s so great to hear women from Germany (Hitomi), France (Helena), England (Christie), and the United States (Tina and Lisa) all speaking their native tongues… Japanese. Seriously though, it’s better than putting up with terrible, Final Fantasy X-style English dubbing.

13) It’s cheaper to kill someone than to buy a pair of shoes – An Uzi costs 8,000 “Zack dollars”. A pair of sandals costs 15,000. Applied to our inflation rate that’s like selling sub-machine guns for $10. Yet, although firearms are so readily available, there doesn’t seem to be any violent crime on Zack Island. On top of that, there isn’t a visible police force.  Really makes you wonder what Zack is doing right…

14) Team Ninja will make a habit of putting that annoying anti-piracy disclaimer at the beginning of all their games – It was at the beginning of DOA3 and it’s at the beginning of this one. Thank God they only show it the first few times you start the game. I mean, come on, do they honestly think they’re going to curb piracy by trying to intimidated people with that little warning at the beginning of every game? Why not put some effort into making anti-piracy technology and stop trying to nag piracy away.

15) There might be something more going on between Liefang and Hitomi – The wink? The playful frolicking? The strawberry? Is it just me, or are these two a bit too friendly with each other, if you know what I mean?

DOA:XBV isn’t a bad game. In fact, it’s kind of fun once it grows on you. The problem with the game is it’s shallow. Painfully shallow. There isn’t much to the game besides collection swimsuits, making friends, playing cards, and knocking a ball around, and while this may be really addictive for the first few days, a weak multiplayer game and simplistic volleyball mechanics kills any longevity the game might have aside from the item collecting aspect.

The volleyball and casino mini-games are about on par in terms of depth, which makes the game feel kind of uneven. Its not like Shenmue II, where a strong main game anchors several mini-games, as much as it feels like Mario Party, where a bunch of loosely related mini-games co-exist, minus the multiplayer. There is little aside from the title to let you know this is supposed to be a volleyball game. It could just as easily be a casino game with some volleyball, or an interactive fashion show with some volleyball and casino mini-games. This is probably the game’s biggest downfall. If they had focused more on the volleyball, drawing more depth from it, one could overlook the entire fan boy tailored T&A in the game. Since they didn’t, however, there is little reason to justify owning this game other than you are a total DOA fanatic, or you like bouncing breasts. Don’t get me wrong, this game really is fun for a while, it’s just that “while” lasts for about four days. Tops.


  • Thank the Lord! Custom soundtrack!
  • Beautiful visuals.
  • Yes, the women are hot.
  • Actually adds some depth to these characters.
  • Fun and addictive for a while, especially the card games.


  • Very shallow gameplay.
  • No real multiplayer aspect.
  • Terrible camera.
  • Horrible original soundtrack.
  • Makes you feel a bit dirty.
  • Might bring Dennis Rodman back into the public eye.

Final Verdict: 

If you love the DOA girls, or just looking for a fun, simple, guilty pleasure, you’ll probably want to give Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball a try. It really is fun while it lasts, although it doesn’t last very long. If you are looking for a bit of depth with your fun, or can’t shake the feeling of being a sleazy fanboy for enjoying a game that is 90% about gratuitous T&A, however, you might want to wait for Outlaw Volleyball. That game will have solid multiplayer (which guarantees longevity) and is only 30% about gratuitous T&A.

Overall Score: 8.4

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