E3 2005: Tecmo have a few things up their sleeve
Dead or Alive 4 has been the target of much interest, both positive and negative, since it was first unveiled back on Tuesday night. This X360 launch title will not offer anything fundamentally different to the last incarnation, Dead or Alive Ultimate 2. Rather it will continue that titlefs quest for refining as many elements of the package as is feasible. So expect some gameplay enhancements, such as more interactive fighting areas, a more complex countering system and a roster of fighters that will join old and new together. Of course the graphics will be given a major shot in the arm thanks to the power of the X360, and while opinions are divided about the work done so far, the DoA series has always been a graphical marvel, so the chances of DoA 4 being DOA are pretty slim. The Live aspect of the game will also benefit from the move to next-gen hardware, with full voice chat lobbies and online clans being painted red and waved in the faces of boisterous fight fans.
While we can only hope and pray that Tecmo will send Ryu Hayabusa over to the X360 for another Ninja Gaiden. Before you go off and light another prayer stick, let me tell you that we do know that the company is working on a sexed-up version of the instant classic for the first Xbox. Ninja Gaiden: Black will incorporate both of the downloadable Hurricane Packs from Live and a host of brand new cut-scenes and hidden unlockables, including a copy of Ninja Ryukenden, the original Ninja Gaiden arcade game. Ninja Gaiden: Black will also have a new Mission Mode and will challenge gamers with a further two levels of difficulty, gDog Ninja" and gMaster Ninjah, just in case you found the previous hardest difficulty level beneath your standard of excellence. This should be relevant to about 1000 people in the world. Sharpen your shuriken for the September 2005 release.
Going even further back in time, we find the Tecmo Classic Arcade compilation, which will be shipping for the Xbox this summer. Featuring a selection of ten old-skool Tecmo arcade hits, Tecmo Classic Arcade will include the shoot-em up Rygar, Solomon's Key, Bomb Jack, Tecmo Cup and football game Tecmo Bowl. While only two of those games ring a bell, the compilation is sure to attract the interest of retro gaming fans.
Tecmo have become my favourite Xbox developer after the brilliance of Ninja Gaiden, DoA Ultimate and Project Zero 2 made for some of most enjoyable review work Ifve ever had. And while I look forward to all these revamped and resurrected games, (especially the next Project Zero, currently being developed as Fatal Frame 3 for the PS2) I hope Tecmo have something new and exciting up their sleeves for the future.