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Death by Degrees is an action-adventure video game, developed by Namco. It is initially a spin-off from the Tekken series of fighting games starring Nina Williams. Originally announced with the title "Nina", its eventual title was chosen as a reference to its multiple-degree fighting system, the game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005.

The game received mixed reviews by critics, but found more acceptance among fans of the Tekken series.

Plot

Nina Williams, world-renowned assassin, has been hired by the CIA and MI6 to join a team which is attempting to infiltrate "Kometa", a notorious criminal organization. The team's strategy involves gaining access to the target through a fighting tournament being held on the "Amphitrite", a luxury cruise ship owned and operated by Kometa. A leaked video on the Internet showed a Kometa ship exploding within the Bermuda Triangle, and it is feared that they are working on some kind of superweapon in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. Nina's official cover involves infiltration as a competitor in the tournament. However, Nina is also the team's "sweeper"; should her partners fail, she must finish the job. Nina enters the competition, but is quickly discovered and captured. She soon receives a communication informing her of the team's failure and the death of one of the agents named John Doe (killed by Kometa executive Edgar Grant), and that she must now conduct the operation herself. Nina must fight her way through Kometa's forces and expose the truth behind its criminal activities. As she progresses in her mission, Nina fights the Kometa's top executives, starting with the personal bodyguard and lover of Lana Lei, Bryce. She then moves on to photograph a meeting of the directors, with the help of MI6 agent Alan Smithee.

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Death by Degrees Promotion.

Nina barely escapes the cruise ship with her life, and is taken to a Kometa Island research facility. Here, she encounters Lukas Hayes, a scientist who informs her about Kometa's plan to use satellites to heat and activate methane hydrate on the ocean floor. The result is bubbling which causes ships to lose their buoyancy. The weapon thus has the power to destroy naval vehicles from afar, sinking them to the bottom of the sea. Hayes' plan was to find a new energy source and alternative to fossil fuels, but his research was twisted into a form of warfare. The project is Salacia, the mysterious operation CIA and MI6 have heard rumors of. Nina realizes that she must stop the project, and takes on the second Kometa executive, Enrique Ortega. However, he is joined by Anna Williams (Nina's sister), hired along with the Tekken Force as bodyguards. After briefly engaging in combat with Anna, Nina continues on her mission and manages to kill Enrique. Lukas Hayes, however, is also killed as Lana Lei arrives and recovers a case which houses the electronics to operate Salacia's satellites. With Alan's help, Nina escapes the compound by helicopter, chasing Lana Lei back to the luxury cruise ship.

For a second time, Nina must fight her way through the Kometa boat, only this time against advanced cyborg soldiers, another of Lei's weapons projects. After recovering the keys to her quarters, Nina finds Salacia and engages with Lana. After her defeat, they are interrupted by Alan, who is revealed as Kometa executive Edgar Grant. Shooting Lana, he acknowledges that he is also a sweeper, there to destroy all evidence of his part in the atrocities. Before he can kill Nina, however, Lana shoots him dead, and escapes to a secret room. There, Nina witnesses her powering Salacia, targeting methane hydrate pockets all around the United States coastline. Nina finishes Lana off before she can continue with her insane plan, and makes her way to an escape pod as a self-destruct mode is activated on the boat. Her pod, however, explodes, and Nina lands on the ship's edge. As a rescue helicopter comes for her, she is knocked down by none other than Anna Williams. The two sisters face off as the ship nears destruction, and almost both fall to their deaths. However, the two grudgingly work together to escape and grab the helicopter rope line, with Nina having a flashback to the events prior to her father's death, in particular the moments following when the two sisters comforted one another. Anna drops Nina into the ocean after saying that they are now even. Nina watches on as rescue boats approach from behind her, the Kometa ship exploding and sinking, as Anna leaves on the helicopter.

Gameplay

Unlike Tekken, Death By Degrees is an action adventure game. The game is fully controlled by the analog sticks. The left analog stick is touch-sensitive; through various degrees of holding, tapping or pressing along with other buttons allows the player character Nina Williams to walk, run or evade. The right analog stick is used for offensive moves.

Nina has access to basic kick combos using the right analog stick, delaying the inputs can grant Nina additional moves. Nina can grab enemies with the R1 button, giving her access to several throws. Grabbing an enemy from behind lets her execute a neck break, killing the enemy instantly. Holding L1 gives Nina access to her special moves, many of which are carried over from her Tekken moveset.

Nina can also use both melee weapons and firearms. She can find these weapons in the game world, mainly from Honeycomb locks - a puzzle game where you must place the honeycomb pieces in order. She can equip the weapons by holding L1, but is unable to access her special moves while holding the weapon. Melee weapons have a durability, and constant use will result in them breaking. Firearms will be discarded when they have run our of ammo. Infinite durability/ammo for each weapon can be unlocked once the game is complete; by aquiring mysterious gold coins scattered throughout the game, a second playthrough will allow access to these weapons through certain Honecomb locks. The amount of coins you find will determine how many weapons  you can find with the infinite upgrade.

A special feature of this game is Nina's Critical strike. As you fight, Nina fills up a Focus gauge. When this gauge is filled, Nina can unleash a devastating attack against an enemy. By pressing L2 and the right analog stick towards an enemy, Nina will use X-Ray vision to locate the enemies weak point. She can then execute a precise strike, causing massive damage to the opponent, often breaking the bones of the enemy. Using experience points, Nina can execute up to 3 hits during her critical strike.

During the game, Nina will gain experience points for every enemy she defeats. These points can be used to unlock additional moves, techniques and increase her health and focus bar.

At certain sections of the campaign, Nina will use a sniper rifle to shoot enemies. She is unable to move during these sections. 

When swimming, the camera will enter the first person. Nina will have a breath limit which will result in game over if she doesn't resurface in time.

Some areas will require the use of a small drone called the Stingray to access. In this mode, you must fly a small robot through obstacles in order to gain info or unlock the next area for Nina.

Game Modes

Campaign - The main story. This can be played on easy, normal, hard and expert difficulty. New Game + is unlocked upon completing the game, allowing players to start a new game complete with the unlocked abilities and experience.

Anna Mode - Play as Anna in during the prison section of the game. Anna plays almost identical to Nina. She must recover 12 Tekken Force Data Cards and reach the rendezvous point.

Challenge Mode - Use Nina to over come 10 challenges. Completing 10 challenges unlocks the next level and an image in the gallery. There are 5 levels in total. The challenges range from reaching a certain combo, to killing a certain amount of enemies.

Sniper Mode - Similar to the sniper mode from the campaign, Nina must shoot targets under certain requirements in order to pass each challenge. There are 10 challenges for each level, with 5 levels in total.

Stingray - The player must take control of the Stingray, and guide it through areas to collect targets. There are 10 challenges for each level, and 3 levels in total.

Honeycomb Lock - Complete up to 100 Honeycomb puzzles.

Music Player - Listen to the game's soundtrack. Each song plays over a slideshow of images. Further images can be unlocked by completing the various challenges and difficulties.

Movie Player - Watch FMV cutscenes from the story mode. There is also a trailer for Tekken 5 to watch.

Characters

Nina Williams - The main playable character and protagonist. Nina is hired by the CIA to investigate a criminal organization known as 'Kometa'. Partnered with agents from the CIA and MI6, Nina acts as a 'Sweeper' - she will complete the job to gather intel should her partners fail. She enters an illegal fighting tournament hosted by Kometa on the cruise ship, the Amphitrite, and awaits further orders.

Alan Smithee - One of Nina's partners and an agent for MI6. He and John act as 'Sneakers', completing the mission while Nina provides backup. Alan and John's mission is to record a meeting between the Kometa executives, learning more about the criminal organization and their goals. A Former member of the SAS, Alan is an expert in survival tactics.

Lana Lei - A Kometa executive and owner of the cruise ship, the Amphitrite. Lana hosts the illegal fighting tournament on her ship, inviting the best fighters from around the world to participate. Her true motives are unclear, but as a Kometa executive she has access to an unlimited supply of power.

Enrique Ortega - A master swordsman and Kometa executive, Enrique has become disenchanted with the organisation's conservative ways. His base of operations is the Solitaria Penitentiary, from which he initiates his own plans.

Lukas Hayes - A former Kometa scientist involved with the mysterious 'Salacia' project, Lukas was fired due to the organisational policy change. An extremely gifted scientist, Lukas' current whereabouts are unknown.

Bryce Adams - Head of Lana Lei's security as well as her personal bodyguard and lover. Bryce is a sadist with a love of firearms.

John Doe - Nina and Alan's partner and the second 'Sneaker' in the team. When he goes missing, Nina's mission is to find out what happened to him.

Anna Williams - Nina's estranged sister and current member of the Tekken Force. Anna works alongside Enrique to recover Salacia. When she and Nina cross paths, the situation escalates due to their sibling rivalry.

Richard Williams - Nina and Anna's father. The sisters share painful memories about their father, and have yet to reconcile their past.

J Robots - The Type-J robot is a powerful battle machine created by Dr Bosconovitch for Kometa. The Type-J was the prototype, and has considerable flaws in it's design that make it highly dangerous. 3 other J Robot were made and are used by Lana Lei on her ship.

Heihachi Mishima - The leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu. He sends his Tekken Force to the Solitaria Penitentiary to aid Enrique in claiming Salacia.

Rippers - Cyborg Soliders created by Kometa. They are enemies Nina must face later in the game.

Doctor Bosconovitch* - A genius scientist who worked along side Lukas. He is the creator of the J-Type robots.

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Gallery

Death by Degrees/Gallery

Trivia

  • Death by Degrees is not canon in the Tekken universe.
    • This game celebrate the 50th anniversary of Namco since its founding, before merged with Bandai in 2006.
  • When first rumored to be in the works, the game was tentatively titled Nina. However, when more information eventually came to light, it was renamed Death by Degrees, a reference to its multiple-degree fighting system.
  • If the player replays the game from a completed save game file, Nina will receive certain weapons with infinite ammo. 
  • This is the only game that is made for a certain character i.e. Nina Williams here.
  • The makers said that profit was not the main motive to create this game but to serve the increasing number of Nina fans. The makers said that Nina was chosen to be the one because Nina was the most popular character at that time and still is and they said that no character became as popular as Nina. 
  • Once the game is completed, "Anna Mode" will be unlocked, offering the player the ability to play as Nina's younger sibling, Anna Williams.
    • Other unlockables include the Garment Bag, Challenge mode, Honeycomb mode, Sniper mode, Stingray mode, Music Player, and Movie Player.
  • By clearing Anna Mode, a secret boss fight against Heihachi Mishima will be unlocked.
  • Death by Degrees includes a demo version of Tekken 5 on a separate disc; Raven is the only playable character and Asuka Kazama is the CPU opponent.
  • There are various posters of other Tekken characters within the game's environments, such as Jack-5 and Julia Chang.
  • When you're at Lana Lei's room with Bryce Adams' corpse on the bed and once you defeated Lana, you can obtain Yoshimitsu's Manji Sword from the doll statue holding it at the right corner of the bedroom.
  • Nina can be customized with her outfits from Death by Degrees in Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
  • This is the first and currently, the only non-Tekken game with a "Mature" rating (although in Europe, later main series games would be later be rated PEGI 16 like this one).

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