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GameCube / Review / Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
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Publisher: Atari
Developer: Dimps
Release Date: Available Now
ESRB Rating: Teen
Graphics: 3.5
Control: 3.0
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Review by: Four-Eyed Dragon
Posted: 10/27/03 [view screens]

Although its PS2 debut was a year ago, Budokai still reigns as the best Dragon Ball Z fighting game yet. Nothing's changed in the GameCube version, so whether you're a Saiyan lover or an Android hater, you'll come out smiling after a few rounds of hard-knock bouts.

One Flew Over the Goku's Nest
Budokai faithfully follows the entire Saiyan Saga through Cell Games in its deep Story mode. It's like watching the Dragon Ball Z cartoon but in a different perspective. In this mode, you take control of key characters during the fight climaxes of each episode---be there when Goku trains in the underworld or when Vegeta, Perfect Cell, and the Android family come visit Earth. Truly, playing this mode is the best part of the game.

Compared with other fighting games, however, Budokai stumbles inside the ring. Button-mashing seems to be the best way to take down an opponent---moves for every white-knuckled baller are performed with the same exact button combinations. This in turn only makes your battles with all 23 warriors seem repetitive without any learning curve. Additionally, there's a slow button response, so all you get when attempting to perform multiple hard-hitting combos is frustration.

The Power of the Dragon
Visually, Budokai perfectly mirrors the Dragon Ball Z animated series. You're transported straight into the plain, bright, cartoony adventure, complete with underdetailed environments and simple-looking characters. The inclusion of the actual voice-overs and theme music from the cartoon definitely adds to the game, too. Fans of the show will also feel at home with the in-depth character-customization feature that enables you to build your own specialized Saiyan warrior.

Anyone who is at least remotely interested in the Dragon Ball Z craze should check out Budokai. For the rest of the bruiser club, however, you'll be sorely disappointed with this average brawler. There are certainly better GameCube fighting games out there to play instead.

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