Dead or Alive has pretty much been forever ruined for me by that godawful film version starring Holly Valance, it's not even laughably crap like the JCVD Street Fighter film, it's just plain bad. To be honest, I was always more in favour of Capcom and Namco's efforts (and Midway, back when Mortal Kombat was awesome), beach volleyball games didn't help. But in Dead or Alive 4 I was surprised to find a game with depth, polish, and more addictive qualities than a bumper pack of Skittles.
With most merchants currently stockless, you can now pick up a copy for under a fiver thanks to The Hut (£4.93), saving you about a quid or so on Zavvi at £5.95, after which the price for new copies suddenly balloons upwards. There's something magical about decimals of £5, and something fantastically pedantic about waiting for an item to drop below a certain price point, but anyway. As per usual, hit the link for more.
When DOA4 released, it sold 1.1 million copies on the first day, more than any other fighting game before it, and it's not actually that hard to see why once you get into it. There are 22 playable characters and a multitude of multi-tiered, destructible, and interactive arenas for you to fight in. The move lists for returning characters have been updated and broadened out. The counter system is no longer absurdly easy to pull off, and it has been balanced out, making for a much more tactical fighter.
The training mode has been tightened up, there's a viewing mode allowing players to explore their action photography skills and upload stuff to Live, Story mode, Time Attack, Team Battle, Survival, and Versus, both online and off. there's content galore here, and a whole bunch of cinematic end movies to unlock and laugh at. The online lobby is brilliant, and you can pimp it out with unlockables the more fights you win and the higher your ranking.
In short, DOA4 is a huge success, refining the gaming mechanics of the series, polishing up the prrsentation, and showering the gamer with content. Not bad for a fiver, eh?
Thanks to Googer80 at HUKD