Dead or Alive (Japanese: デッドオアアライブ Hepburn: Deddo oa Araibu) is a fighting game and the first entry in the long-running Dead or Alive series. It was released in 1996 in arcades, followed by home ports for Sega Saturn in 1997 (Japan only) and Sony PlayStation in 1998 (all regions).
The gameplay of Dead or Alive was unique at the time of its debut because it featured different choices in gameplay than other 3D fighting games (at least at the time).
Its most defining features were its speed and countering system. Dead or Alive put an emphasis on speed, and relied more on simplistic commands and reaction time. Furthermore, its countering system was the first in the fighting genre to utilize different commands that corresponded to each type of attack. There are two kinds of holds, an Offensive Hold (OH) and a Defensive Hold (DH). The latter are executed by holding back or forward on the directional pad along with the guard input to either force away or counter-damage an opponent.
The game also introduced an environmental system of the "Danger Zones" that surround the outer edges of the fighting arena (depending on the options, it can also completely consume it) and can send a character in the air so the opposing player can execute a juggling air combo. However, this can be avoided with a Ukemi (defensive roll).