PC | 3DS, DS, PSP | Wii | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360 | Retired: GBA | GameCube |PlayStation 2| Xbox |

News | Reviews | Previews | Features | Classics | Goodies | Anime | YouTube

only search AE












Funimation Products



T (Teen)



Q3 2003



- Lots of Dragon Ball Z stories

- Customizable moves set for characters

- Unlockable characters and skills



- Fighting model is simplistic

- Unbalanced characters

- Tedious method of unlocking extras

- Not much here for non-fans of the show



Review: Dragon Ball Z Budokai (PS2)

Review: Ultimate MUSCLE (GC)

Review: Bloody Roar 3 (PS2)

Review: Guilty Gear X2 (PS2)



Be notified of site updates. Sign-up for the Newsletter sent out twice weekly.

Enter E-Mail Address Below:

Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai

Score: 6.0 / 10


Being well past the age of majority, this is my first encounter with Dragon Ball Z.  I’ve never watched the show or played any other games from the franchise, but I have heard about it and know of its popularity among the younger crowd.  This being said, Budokai offers a fairly pedestrian fighting game and fans of the genre have many superior competing titles to commit to.


dragon ball z budokai gamecube review          dragon ball z budokai gamecube review


While fans of the series will likely lap up every bit of content offered by Budokai, most of the storyline was lost to me and much of it seemed overwrought and silly.  Unlike the days of He-Man, the plot seems to offer no redeeming lesson or much tension or excitement.  Keep in mind though that this is coming from a non fan of the series that was raised in the days of Ghostbusters, the original TMNT, the aforementioned He-Man, and Gi-Joe.


There is an extensive story with some fairly long video clips that are interspersed with the matches.  The graphics here seem to be a very good recreation of the cartoon series, from what I've seen.  This makes for a very interactive feeling when playing through the story mode; much like actually playing through the battles in the show.





- GameCube Game Reviews

- Fighting Game Reviews

- Reviews of Games from Infogrames

There are three “episodes” to fight through, and most seasoned fighting gamers should be able to cruise through these in about two hours.  However, there is still quite a bit of content to unlock and play through for the Dragon Ball Z fan.  After unlocking all the characters, it is possible to edit and purchase extra moves for each character.  This can be done in the world tournament mode where “zenie,” the Dragon Ball Z currency, can be won.  To purchase extra moves and combos, a player purchases different 


capsules which represent different moves and extras.  Each character’s capsules are specific to them, and the customization of skill sets is done by the changing of capsules for a specific character.  Some capsules are rare and are offered a lot less frequently in the shop.


Unfortunately, as you progress in the game, you will receive many duplicate capsules as you have no hold over what capsules you can purchase.  Purchasing capsules ifself also becomes a chore later as the prices of capsules remains the same throughout the game and pressing the A button 50 times to spend all your money to buy capsules becomes old very fast.


dragon ball z budokai gamecube review          dragon ball z budokai gamecube review


What really holds Budokai back from reaching out and grabbing a non fan of Dragon Ball Z is the mediocre fighting model.  Combinations are easily executed through button mashing, and offer very little challenge in the timing of their execution.  There are no combo breakers, so that aspect of defensive challenge is removed.  The special moves are very simplistic in the combination of buttons required to execute them, and the timing in their execution is very forgiving.


There are a couple of interesting ideas though.  Players can also take flight in their battles.  This happens when a player or an opponent is knocked into the air.  Instead of falling straight to the ground, they will hover in the air and continue battle in flight.  Players however still always default to a two dimensional plane so in practice, this really doesn’t add any dimension to the strategy of the battle but it still seems like a fairly cool idea.  There is also a ‘ki’ gauge that builds up as your character successfully executes attacks on your opponent.  This energy can then be used to execute special attacks that do more damage and plain just look cooler.


There is a dodging and deflecting system that is decent so this at least does require some skill.  Most battles however seem to degenerate into something like the following; combo while opponent blocks, block while opponent combos, ad nauseam until one of you, usually the computer, makes a mistake.


While Budokai offers its legions of converted a decent enough experience the rest of us out here will likely find it lacking in some key areas.  Fans of Dragon Ball Z probably won’t care too much about some of the simpler fighting mechanics and the tedious method of unlocking all the capsules, but newcomers to the Dragon Ball Z universe will likely be left scratching their heads as to why the series is so popular.


- Mark Leung

(December 21, 2003)

Digg this Article!  | del.icio.us 

Advertise | Site Map | Staff | RSS Feed           Web Hosting Provided By: Hosting 4 Less


 - CivFanatics-   - Coffee, Bacon, Flapjacks! -    - Creative Uncut -      - DarkZero -     - Dreamstation.cc -   

 - gamrReview-     - Gaming Target-    - I Heart Dragon Quest -    - New Game Network -

- The Propoganda Machine -    - PS3 : Playstation Universe -     - Zelda Dungeon - 

All articles ©2000 - 2014 The Armchair Empire.

All game and anime imagery is the property of their respective owners.

Privacy Statement - Disclaimer