While the Dead or Alive series has never quite reached the giddy heights of the Street Fighter or Tekken franchises it has been a favourite of hardcore gamers for one simple reason. It's good looks. Fans of the series will know we aren't just talking about the quality of the graphics either. Entry number three in the series sees the Dead or Alive gang appearing on Microsoft's hot new hardware and taking full advantage of the extra graphical goodies that it has to offer.

Judging a game by it's visuals is an easy trap to fall into. If we chose to take this route for Dead or Alive 3 then you would see us bungie jumping from the Sky Tower painted green screaming that this game was the new messiah and that you should throw out every other game in your collection. It looks that good ... trust us. That's not to say that Dead or Alive is a failure in the gameplay department, far from it. It's just that the gameplay innovations don't come anywhere near the quality of the visuals on display.

Tecmo haven't just concentrated all their resources on a graphical overhaul either, as gameplay tweaks have been introduced aswell. However, if you've played the previous installment of Dead or Alive, you will have a good idea of what to expect. The counter heavy fast paced gameplay is back in a big way. For those of you who were frustrated by this style before there will be little relief we are afraid. There is still the potential for embarrasing defeat at the hands of a "button masher". If you take the time to really master the style then there are ways and means of reducing the chances of this but compared to other fighting games there is still an annoying element of randomness. Having said that DOA 3 is still an awful lot of fun to play, you just can't take yourself too seriously when playing against human opponents. Just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

Continued on next page...