Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
System: X-Box
Publisher: Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja
Released: January 2003
Genre: Simulation/Sports (Volleyball)
Capabilities: High Definition TV compatible

Review Written: February 4, 2003

Videogame geeks around the world have gone crazy for Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Fans of the fighting series got the game they dreamed of. The gorgeous babes from the DOA series finally get their own game. All the beauties are here to play volleyball on the beach in the most illuminating bikinis out there. Tecmo expects the T&A factor will help boost sales for this title. Let’s hope it doesn’t suffer the same fate as BMX XXX.

Believe it or not, there is actually a story behind XBVB.  Zack won the tournament in Dead or Alive 3, and got so popular that he bought an island and opened up his own resort. He invited all the females from DOA to supposedly compete in the fourth tournament, but when they arrived they found out there was no tourney after all and the only thing to do was play volleyball.

Once I arrived on the island I was partnered up with one of the extravagant babes from the DOA roster. I was treated to a quick tour on the beach to start off the two week vacation. There isn’t that much to do. Some hotspots I visited only resulted in the women putting on a nice show as they relax by the pool or in the midst of the jungle.

There are shops on the island where accessories like bikinis and other gifts can be purchased. In order to preserve a good relationship with my partner I want to make sure to buy her an abundance of gifts so she doesn’t get bored with me and decides to partner up with someone else. As a matter of fact this can get quite cumbersome at times when there is nobody willing to partner up with me. Some of these partnerships are enthralling on how they develop. Some of my partners really took a liking to me and I couldn’t help to be any more intrigued at their growing pseudo-lesbian relationship.

Naturally, the meat of the game is volleyball. And it’s where you earn the most cash to spend on gifts and accessories. The usual staples of offense are apparent like sets, bumps, and spikes. However, you can’t control any of these. You heard me right, each move you do is randomly picked by the game. There were too many times when I had the perfect opportunity to spike the ball that the game decided it was the precise moment for a bump. The A button (which represents about 90% of the control scheme during game play) is pressure sensitive so make sure to press it hard enough so you can smash it over the net, or to lob it over when the right opportunity arises.

The sad thing is that XBVB doesn’t even use proper volleyball scoring. Games progress swiftly because the game ends when whoever scores seven points first, wins. Also points are scored on all occasions. For example, if the team in possession of the ball screws up a serve, the opposing team obtains the bonus of receiving a point as well. I guess Tecmo thought their game was too good to adopt the official volleyball rules. A horrible camera angle that took me forever to adapt to didn’t make matters any better. An overhead perspective such as the one featured in Beach Spikers on GameCube would’ve been perfect for game play, but we didn’t even get the option of choosing an extra view.

When night time emerges I had the option of going to the casino. There are several games to engage in such as blackjack, poker, and roulette. I didn’t take a liking to roulette, but I did enjoy blackjack and poker. This reminded me why I avoid casinos today. That is because I stink at gambling. The farthest I’ve came out ahead was only by $12, and my luck in here isn’t as good either. I was disappointed the casino wasn’t that interactive. Wouldn’t it of been cool to freely walk around the casino and go up to your game of choice to play and converse with the other guests of the island? Tecmo must not have thought so because they took the traditional (as in NES traditional) approach of showing a picture of a casino with the list of games for you to choose from.

The developers may have skimped out on making a casino, but you can tell where they spent most of their time. That is, of course, the luscious character models of all the women. This has got to be some of the most jaw-dropping visuals I have ever seen. The best digitized females are found right here! Each character has their own unique figure, and you’ll get the most eyefuls of them from their little performances they showcase at the aforementioned hotspots. The animation is what definitely makes the characters stand out. From the way their hair tangles in the breeze to the ever awing jiggle factor these provoking women are known for. Remember in DOA3 where your footsteps were left behind in the snow or mud you fought in? The same can applied here where footsteps can be seen as you trounce through the sand. Superb job overall resulting in one of the best looking games of all time.

I wish that the audio was as satisfying as the visuals, but that isn’t the case. For the most part, the voice acting for all the women is in Japanese. Sure, it keeps the Japanese origins of the game in tact, but it also ends up accomplishing nothing special for me. I was expecting some seducing voice acting from the ladies to accompany their gorgeous looks, but when all you end up hearing from them is “gawasaka hotashu kinlo” it’ll be destined to turn you off. The little bit of English voice acting there is only occurs from Zack, who happens to be voiced by former NBA Champion, Dennis Rodman. The little bit of voice acting he provides is decent, but it’s nothing that is award-winning caliber.

Tecmo picked the perfect type of songs to match the theme of XBVB. It’s mostly female hip hop and reggae from the likes of Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls, among others. Tecmo picked the right genre of music to represent DOA XB Volleyball, but then I realized that I hate this kind of music. The only people that might even take a slight of interest in it will be the teeny boppers this game is aimed for. Mercifully, XBVB supports custom soundtracks via a slick radio station feature that you visit at the island. It allowed me to pick which songs you want played, and which one’s to disable during game play.  

One clever feature that was implemented in game play is the ability to skip songs on the fly by pressing the black or white buttons anytime during your match. After hearing “Party Up” for the fifth time in one session, it was refreshing to know I can change the track just like that instead of going through tedious pause menus like in titles such as Tony Hawk. I only hope that other games that take advantage of custom soundtracks add in this touch as well.

One two week session can be completed within a few hours, but completing more is the object so I can dip into the plethora of bikinis and other goodies that can be unlocked. The multi player aspect is disappointing. This would be the perfect four player game considering all matches are two-on-two. But instead XBVB can only be played with up to two players, and only in vs. play. A co-op mode would’ve been perfect so I wouldn’t have to deal with the clumsy AI of my partners who tend to intentionally botch shots on me (this still occurs even if I have stellar relationships with my partner in story mode). Another pitfall is no capabilities for X-Box Live online play or System Link support.  


Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 3.7
Game play: 5.5
Replay Value: 7.0


Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball proves to be a memorable entry from the series that would’ve been suited better as a hidden mode of play for a regular Dead or Alive title. Tecmo shouldn’t have released this as a stand alone title, and its fault are readily apparent. While this may be one of the most guiltiest pleasures out on the market right now for all of us, the only people in my eyes who’ll shell out the dollars for this will be little Billy in junior high. Granted, its may be fun for a little while trying to unlock everything and watching relationships develop, but that’s about as far as it goes. For everyone else I recommend getting your money’s worth through a rental or going the cheaper route and getting a good old fashioned porno.

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