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PS2 / Review / Dragon Ball Z Budokai
Dragon Ball Z Budokai
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Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Dimps
Release Date: Available Now
ESRB Rating: Teen
Graphics: 3.5
Sound:4.5
Control: 3.5
3.5
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Review by: Four-Eyed Dragon
Posted: 12/06/02 [view screens]

Dragon Ball Z Budokai is a dream come true for every Dragon Ball Z fan. Not since the days of the PlayStation has there been a true DBZ brawler; but for enthusiasts of the video game fighting arts, Budokai may not last an entire round.

Audience Participation
Budokai succeeds where previous Dragon Ball Z games have failed. This fighter perfectly weaves familiar faces and voices from the popular cartoon into several captivating game modes. In the adventure mode, for instance, you play as different DBZ characters at the climax of particular high-flying battles, from the Saiyan to the Perfect Cell sagas. The story progresses after each contest and not only follows the Z story, but also plays as if you're actually watching the cartoon. Truly, by using the authentic DBZ music, incorporating the talents of the voice-actors from the TV broadcast, and re-creating the visual style and movement of each of the 23 well-known fighters, Budokai perfectly mirrors the anime show.

Personal Saiyan Cloning
Another highlight of Budokai is the unique custom character builder. By successfully playing through different game modes, you win skill prizes that can then be used to build up an existing DBZ fighter. For example, you can customize Trunks into a powerful offensive hitter or into a completely defensive warrior, and then use him in matches. There's almost no limit to the number of skills available, which can also be bought in the game's Mr. Popo store or traded with friends using a memory card.

Non--Dragon Ball Z fans, however, may have a hard time not only grasping the quirky DBZ story, but also wrapping their fingers around the repetitious controls. Though the moves look different from each other onscreen, performing a character's fantastic and flashy punches and kicks requires similar button presses. The same three button combinations are literally used for almost every persona, which results in gameplay with very little variety.

It's for the Fans
All told, Budokai should definitely be played by anyone who enjoys the Dragon Ball Z show. The game goes more than out of its way to appease the legion of followers who've been thirsting for a great DBZ fighting game. Everyone else, however, should put Budokai through its paces as a rental first. The simplicity in its core gameplay may detract rather than attract you.


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