Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi - PS2 Review

Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi Review

Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi

When first turning on the latest edition of the Dragonball Z series I was very apprehensive. Slightly childish music welcomes you once the game has loaded and one of the cartoon characters fires out instructions for you to follow at the bottom of the screen.

Once you have reached the main menu there is a fairly large list of things to do. The story mode is named 'Z Battle Gate' where you have to defeat enemies to unlock new gates and a new part of the story. There is 'Ultimate Battle', 'Duelling', 'Practice' and several other game modes for you to sink your teeth into. I favoured the two player button smashing action that 'Duelling' mode offers.

The menu system is fool-proof and the large lettering and bright colours make it perfect for all ages. The graphics are quite good during game play and are what you'd expect from a cartoon fighting game e.g. square pecks and larger-than-life scenery.

When you begin the 'Z Battle Gate' campaign you choose what gate you wish to enter. Each gate has a wide variety of fighters to challenge and you have to defeat the first enemy to unlock the second fight and so forth. There is a task you have to do for each battle and you are either required to beat them using any move available, defeat them with a finishing move or survive for a full minute (harder than it sounds). When you have beaten your opponent you earn Z items which can be added to your chosen character to boost their stats or give them extra powers. You can also perform a 'Z Fusion' on the items earned to merge them together to create a super item. When you complete certain story missions you unlock new characters to fight with and it's usually the character you are fighting with or against. There are over 60 characters to unlock, some completely new, or others more advanced and powerful versions of the characters already unlocked.

Now onto the game play. Once you have entered the Dragonball Z world there is no turning back. The story line captured my imagination and thoughts about corny music or childish characters were pushed aside when I entered the arena. The fighting system is easy to grasp but needs to be mastered before you can rival the greatest warriors in the Dragonball Z realms.

The first type of combat is close combat. When you are near enough to your opponent you enter close combat mode. You can circle your opponent and dart towards them. You can also throw high speed kick and punch combos to throw them off balance. The combos available are scarce but good all the same.
The second way to attack your enemy is using Ki attacks. These powerful attacks need to be charged before they are ready but are unblockable and take off large portions of your competitors' health. Each character has a different set of Ki moves so your fighting experience is never the same as long as you switch characters.

Due largely to the fact that Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi is aimed at young children as well as older gamers some of the clips and features can be a bit immature and annoying. For example the oversized pink baby called Buu who has a taste for killing. Also when you have beaten your opponent they emerge with fake scratches and square bruises that are slightly bemusing. If you watch the Dragonball Z series on TV you will know the kind of style and storyline this game possesses. However the Dragonball Z first timers will be amazed at how enjoyable this game is! The story mode is hard to prise yourself away from and the two player duelling is so intense and high speed that it will have you hooked for hours on end.

The game delivered in many departments and was a great fighting adventure, I don't think I have had this much two player fighting fun since the arrival of the first Tekken. Well worth a look!

8.5 out of 10