STAFF REVIEW of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (Xbox)

Monday, January 27, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball Box art What drives this game?? I thought about it for some time because it really isn't the volleyball, and i think i have the answer...TESTOSTERONE. Not that it's a bad thing mind you. Some will find DOAX entertaining, and some will never admit to owning it. All in all DOAX plays more like an RPG than a volleyball game.

The appeal is really simple...Our favorite DOA lovelies scantilly clad on a tropical beach, bending, stretching, and hoping around for your visual pleasure. You have 2 modes to play with, Exhibition mode and Zack Island. If your really interested in playing multi-player volleyball (Max 2 players) hang around the exhibition mode, all the charecters and locations with a very simple controller scheme. Left stick to move your babe of choice. D-pad for ball direction. A for serving, blocking, and spiking. B for receiving and tossing (set). Thats it, thats all there is to it. Now for what is supposed to be the main game...Zack's Island. The premiss is Zack got rich and bought an Island, now he's having a volleyball tourny with all his old DOA buddies, the female ones that is. Your on Zacks Island for 14 days, in that time you need to make cash by playing volleyball, problem is i found myself not playing to much volleyball and generating an income from the poolside "Hoping Game" in which you need to time your jumps onto square floatation pillows lined up accross the pool. Speed and accuracy (hitting every float)earn you more cash. The more enjoyable method of earning cash was the Hotel Casino, where you can indulge in Roulette, Black Jack, Poker, and slots. The Casino is very realistic in terms of gaming rules and actually alot of fun. Oh, volleyball, thats what we are here for right...You need to convince one of the other DOA gals to be your partner, because it is 2 on 2 matches. Asking just won't do, so you need to shower your perspective teammate with gifts available at the Island shops. The goodies range from flowers to diamonds, I even came across a prototype XBOX. But the place to shop in DOAX is the Sports Shop that carries the most eyepleasing swimwear around. The items in all the shops change daily so you do get quite a few surprises. You can purchase anything you can afford and give anything as a gift to snag a partner, once your partnered you actually get to play volleyball. You get bonus cash for good plays and big cash for wins. Of course this doesn't stop your partner from ditching you after 1 or 2 matches, so you'll be back to buying presents for the gals. Mind you that all the ladies are fickle and may just toss those $5000 sunglases in the ocean, so choose your partner wisely if you can. You also get "mystery" presents from Zack every night, which you can open or keep packaged and give them to someone else. The items you collect can be kept in your items interface that consists of your outfits (bathing suits), objects, and items. It could take you quites some time to get all the objects in this game, more time than is given to our charecter...You get up, make some money pool side, or from the casino, spend it on gifts in hopes of getting a partner and by the time you have talked to a couple gals (and been turned down) the day is over and you go back to the hotel. You have no choice, you need to go back at night. You can visit the Casino for as long as you want before going to bed and starting the entire process all over again in the morning. Resting by the pool is also a feature of the game (the clock is still ticking on the day while you rest)...I call it the "Gauking" mode. Check out your DOA babe of choice from multiple angles and you can even zoom in to check out those big beautiful..*cough,cough*.."eyes". On the 14th day your off the Island and your vacation is over.Some of the charecteristics of your vacation remain as you continue a new 2 weeks with another charecter. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. DOAX is confusing because it does have some entertainment value, all be it a voyeristic one, but it isn't what I thought it would be. Is that a bad thing, your gonna have to judge for yourself. DOAX is more of a guilty pleasure than an extreme volleyball game. Rent it, get your DOA girl of choice in that micro-bikini that costs a mint, gamble away thousands in the casino and judge for yourself.

HDTV 480p enabled and the DOA graphics we have come to expect make a really pleasing combination. The locals are colorful and accurat, the water is fantastic, and sunsets never looked better. Bottom line, if the graphics weren't this good you wouldn't spend all this time trying to buy those "Bairly There" swimsuites for your babe o choice. The charecter movement during matches is fluid and accurate, dives to the sand are perfect with sand being kicked up just so. I can't help but feel this game will be a graphical show piece for gamers when they want to show off the XBOX graphics, and you can't help but feel like a stalker when your just watching Cristie stretch on a lounge chair poolside...Is that wrong?

In game Dolby Digital, a descent soundtrack that we all probably know by heart. Nothing fancy here. Thank goodness for the Custom Soundtrack option. Load up your favorite toon and watch Tina do a dance for you on the private beach.

Concentrate on the volleyball game next time, you can keep the bathing suites.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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