Fighting game fans have more than Street Fighter to look forward to on the 3DS.

If Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is the only fighting game that gets any attention during the 3DS’s launch window, it’d be a real shame. I might be even more excited about Dead or Alive: Dimensions.

Dimensions brings Dead or Alive to a Nintendo system for the first time. Along with Street Fighter, it was another 3DS title at that showed me we’ll have to start reconsidering our view of what a handheld can bring to the table.

The game features 20+ characters, including at least one brand new addition, for what I was told will be the biggest roster of any Dead or Alive game. Each character can be still customized with many costume unlocks. The 3DS has an advantage for players that want to try out every character because while the top screen is used for the action, the bottom screen features a move and combo list in addition to touch controls for hold, throw, and guard. Performing moves in Dead or Alive requires much more than quarter circles and charge moves, so this is very helpful.

If you’re worried about not having played any of the previous Dead or Alive titles, Dimensions actually covers the entire story from Dead or Alive to Dead or Alive 4, in addition to new content. Cutscenes tie each level together, with your fighter perhaps jumping on a helicopter after her win.

Dimensions also includes 15 stages, which are definitely a big part of the game’s allure. I really felt like the 3D effect mattered in Dimensions‘ case, making these stages pop out as the fighters quickly moved around while beating each other up. A contributing factor to this is how the stages are so dynamic, featuring snow and other environmental factors. One stage I played was on a rope bridge, with fighters able to knock each other off onto the ground below. During scenes like this, Dimensions is definitely a title that shows off the 3DS’s capabilities well.

Tecmo Koei America senior vice president Amos Ip also revealed something quite surprising. Dead or Alive: Dimensions will feature a Metroid: Other M-themed level. When I asked if this hinted toward Samus as a secret character in Dimensions, no confirmation was given, but I’d say there’s a chance.

Ip said that Dimensions was developed as the ultimate game for Dead or Alive fans and will include 1000+ figurines and other collectibles. Like Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, it also features the ability to fight online. For fans that want a more technical 3DS fighting game, it looks like Dead or Alive: Dimensions is going to be the best choice for now. Sadly, I asked if this means that we’ll see a 3DS version of Dead or Alive Xtreme in the future, but was denied.

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