If you know me, you know that I love watching anime and I also like spend time with video games. As an anime fan, I grew up to the anime Dragon Ball Z and as a kid, I did both by playing the games, collecting the toys and watching the anime. Dragon Ball is an iconic anime/manga series that revolutionized many Shonen Jump titles and it helped gave birth to other titles like Naruto, One Piece, Bleach and My Hero Academia. Most of us grew up watching classic anime like Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, YuYu Hakusho on Toonami after school and that’s why you still see adults who are still showing support for these titles. Back in the day and even still today, Dragon Ball is one of the series that is still making video games. From the Budokai series to the Xenoverse and now to the upcoming Kakarot game, Dragon Ball is still alive and kicking on consoles and PC. Doesn’t matter how many times Naruto releases the Ultimate Ninja Storm and Clash of Ninja games or other companies tries to new titles like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball is one of the popular series that knows how to sell in the video game world. In a video I watched from a YouTuber named DevilArtmis, he goes over a quick review on all the Dragon Ball games he played up to 2019.
I may have not played every Dragon Ball game but I do want to share the games I played from 2002 during the era when the Game Boy Advance and GameCube was the highlight of gaming. I am going to briefly discuss these titles by systems.
Game Boy Advance
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku
Back in 2002, my favorite first Dragon Ball games I ever owned was Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 1 and The Legacy of Goku. I remembered watching the commercial and I always wanted to play as Goku and fight his enemies in the palm of my hand. When I got this game, I got killed easily from enemies like wolves. The bosses such as Raditza and Vegeta was tough and this game made me want to transform into a Super Saiyan. Fortunately, I knew a cheat code that gave me invincibility and I was able to breeze through the game’s difficulty. Besides this cheat code, this game was tricky with the enemy difficulty and the combat was pretty average. I pretty much spammed solar flare and ki blasts. You also play as Goku and you go from the Saiyan Saga to Frieza Saga and ending the game, you transform into Super Saiyan and fight Frieza.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II
The Legacy of Goku II took everything from the first game and made it better. The game takes place in the Android Saga and you start off as Gohan and then later you unlock characters Piccolo, Trunks, Vegeta and even Goku. The combat in this game got improved and it was fun to punch back at your enemies. The game even included the ability to transform so it makes fighting more fun. This game also has some fun moments such as the ability to fight Cooler, Frieza’s big brother, and unlock the ability to play as Earth’s “greatest” hero Hercule.
Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury
Just like Legacy of Goku II, Buu’s Fury took another step on the fun factor. This game allowed you to play as Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Kid Trunks and Goten during the last saga of DBZ called the Buu Saga. They brought back the transformation ability but they also gave fans the ability to fuse; you could fuse together and play as Gotenks and Gogeta. Just like previous game, they added two bonus enemies to fight and they were Janemba and Broly. I felt like this was a fitting way to end the Dragon Ball Z The Legacy of Goku game series.
Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu
Developed by the people who created The Legacy of Goku series, Webfoot Technologies created a 2D, Dragon Ball Z fighting game. This game actually introduced me to the movie villain Broly. This game was pretty to play because you had to input moves almost similar to Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. If you were fortunate you could pull off the Kame Hame Ha or a Special Beam Cannon attack on your opponents. If you weren’t lucky, you should stick with uppercuts and sweep kicks.
Dragon Ball GT: Transformation
Based on the noncanon series, Dragon Ball GT: Transformation is a game where you can play as your fan favorite characters like Goku (kid and Super Saiyan 4), Trunks, Pan and others and beat up bad guys from the show. The story only went up to all of the Baby Saga and it doesn’t go to enemies like Super Android 17 and the SHadow Dragons. The gameplay was like the beat’em up games like Streets of Rage and Final Fight. It was fun and I wished I had someone to play with in co-op.
Dragon Ball Advanced Adventure
I actually got this game from a swap meet and the copy I got was already completed. Even so, it was a fun game. It was side scrolling game where players got to play as Goku in the original Dragon Ball series and go all the way up to the Evil King Piccolo saga. It was fun to explore places and use Goku’s iconic attacks like the Power Pole and Kame Hame Ha. I wish the classic Dragon Ball got more attention like DBZ.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai 1
I got this game a bit later after I got the Legacy of Goku and it was Christmas gift. Budokai 1 was really fun game and it had a good, solid start. The story mode felt like watching the anime with impressive cutscenes and the soundtrack was worth listening too, Unfortunately, you will never experience the soundtrack in the HD collection because of copyright infringement and some censored violent moments. The story went up to the Cell Games arc and it even had what-if story chapters like what if Frieza defeated Goku and Cell accidentally absorbs Krillin instead of Android 18. The only Buu Saga character we got in this game was Great Saiyaman. Even though the gameplay was average, it was still fun to experience Dragon Ball Z through the story.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
Following up the first game, Budokai 2 brings in new characters from the Buu Saga; however, we did ended up replacing other characters such as Zarbon and Dodoria. We got to play as three different Buus, Dabura, Videl, the Supreme Kai and even the fusion characters Gotenks and Vegito. The game even offered interesting fusion characters like Buu absorbing Vegeta and fusion characters Gokule and Tiencha. The story was interesting and creative but it wasn’t like Budokai 1. Instead of playing chapters, you play in this gameboard like levels and you walk aroundin each turn for a specific goal. The game was fun nonetheless and but the story mode can get repitive when unlocking content and the only way to get the Buus was to play the Babidi Spaceship mode and take on his challenges.
Dragon Ball Z: Sagas
I got this game from a past birthday. Unlike the Budokai games, you play the game almost like The Legacy of Goku games without the RPG elements. It was an adventure game where you play as the characters and reenact DBZ moments from the Saiyan Saga and to the Android Saga. Once you beat the game will be able to replay the stages with characters like Broly, Bardock and Yamcha. This game offered a 2P co-op mode where players can work together in the story. This game was fun while it lasted but it wasn’t the best DBZ game. I could list many things wrong with this game but I will say that I didn’t like how you had to keep fighting in order to transform and flying doesn’t offer much except for getting to the end faster than running.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Budokai 3 combines everything from 1 and 2 and added new fighting features and made it feel like you were having an epic DBZ fight. This game was and is the best DBZ game, This game included characters from Saiyan Saga to the Buu Saga and even included bonus characters The bonus characters were kid Goku from Dragon Ball, Bardock, Broly, Gogeta (including SS4 Gogeta), Cooler, the Super Saiyan 4 forms of Goku and Vegeta and Omega Shenron. I like how they made the story feel like you are exploring the world and you could even search for Dragon Balls. This game would later be ported to the PS3 and Xbox 360 of the Budokai Collection but with censored attacks and replaced music due to copyright infringement.
Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World
Infinite World was the last Dragon Ball Z game for the PS2. This game was almost like Budokai 3 but also wasn’t great. The game removed Dragon Rush and Hyper Mode and it gave us this aura shield ability where you can be immune to attacks but it brings your fatigue down. This game even included more characters like Baby Vegeta and Janemba. The story mode was kind of different because it did follow the story but you had to do certain tasks.
Super Dragon Ball Z
Super Dragon Ball Z is game that is heavily underrated but it is also fun. Coming from the Japanese arcades, SDBZplays as if you are playing a Tekken game. The character roster was small, but what makes the game interesting is that the animation tried to replicate the manga designs and you could also unlock abilities from fighters and use them for your own custom character.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 1
Taking a step further we have the 3D arena like fighting game of Budokai Tenkaichi. This game changed everything and the game felt immersive as you fly around in an arena stage and fight on ground or air. Unfortunately, I didn’t like you couldn’t transform in-game like the other future titles. You couldn’t pick base Goku and have him transform all the way up to Super Saiyan 3.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
The first game was a huge success that it made the jump to the Wii. I got the PS2 and I really like the improvements of the game. You could transform in-game and get to try over a hundred characters from the classic DB, DBZ and part of GT.
Just like Budokai 3, Budokai Tenkaicihi 3 took everything from the past titles and went beyond. Before Xenoverse 2, BT3 included so many characters from DB, DBZ and DBGT rounding up to a total over 150 characters including transformations and fusions. The game did its best to make you feel like you can relieve epic moments such as being able to use the moon to transform and creating your own team in free battle. If you had the Wii, you could play online with others but the online for the Wii wasn’t very dependable and the connections was really laggy.
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
The very DBZ game for the PS3 and this is another underwhelming game. Burst Limit felt like a combined game of Budokai 1 and 3. The game roster was small and it went up to the Cell Games, but it also had fighting features that almost resembled Budokai 3 which also brought in Bardock and Broly (these two characters very popular at the time). This game was fun but it’s a shame that this game was lackluster-ed. I wish the story was a bit involving and If there was a chance for a sequel, I hope it would go to the Buu Saga.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2
Did you know that Raging Blast 2 and Burst Limit was games I got from birthdays? Not the same day but they were different gifts from different years. I never played the first game of RB2 so I missed out on playing the story mode and trying out the what-if chapters. Instead of a story mode, the game made you participate in missions based on the characters you choose. The combat resembled Budokai Tenkaichi and the character roster was big despite them not including GT or classic characters. This game also featured the first time anyone could play as Tarble and Hatchiyack. Tarble is Vegeta’s younger brother and is from the Japanese OVA Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return and the English Dub for him was Todd Haberkorn. Hatchiyack was a villain from another OVA titled Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans in which Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Trunks and Piccolo had to fight an enemy that terrorized Earth in order to get revenge on the Saiyans. The English voice provided for the villain is none other than Chris Sabat.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
I got this game a week after the initial release and I was a bit iffy on how the game was going to be played. However, this game was amazing with its visuals and character choices. The game did its best to replicate anime moments and actions and made it feel like it was close to the source material. This game is fun to play and hard to master. On online, you would face against experts who who how to do infinite combos. Android 21 makes her debut in the game and she is just amazing. The DLC characters made it worth coming back. We had some pretty cool characters like SSGSS Vegito, two versions of Broly and even Jiren. This game did its best to have characters from Z, GT and even Super. In regards to characters, this game has its moments where it ticked off the fans. We had many versions of Goku and other people was uneasy with Super Broly’s new voice due to ongoing controversy.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Just like Raging Blast 2, I skipped the first game and I wanted to play this game on my recent Nintendo console which is the Switch. If you know about Xenoverse, Xenoverse 2 was an expanded version of the first game with much more improvements such as allowing players be creative in creating their characters and having them learn new abilities. The gameplay felt like a free-form style of Budokai Tenkaichi where you are free to explore and also fight in a big arena. As much as I had fun with this game, but I don’t like how this game is constantly releasing DLC characters. We are in 2020 and we had so many characters joining the game and they can only be unlocked if you buy them. I miss playing a DB game and unlock them the old fashion way.
Conclusion: Now what?
We are in 2020 and Dragon Ball is still the most popular anime and it has an impressive video game record. With the upcoming Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot game in the horizon, we can rest assure that Dragon Ball will continue to live on through the fans. Whether we play the same story or try a new exlcusive feature, Dragon Ball games can make us feel powerful and feel free. What Dragon Ball games have you played? What was your favorite game?
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