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Playstation 2












T (Teen)



Q3 2004



- Nice visuals

- Nice music

- Good voice acting

- Fans of the anime series will find a lot to like



- If you don't like the anime series, this game will be a lot less appealing

- Highly questionable comebacks by the computer



Review: DragonBall Z: Budokai (Playstation 2)

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Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament

Score: 7.2 / 10


For a couple of years now, Atari has been presenting gamers with fighting games based on popular anime in the form of recent Dragonball Z releases on the PS2.  Now the publisher is giving anime fans something new as they bring Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament to the Playstation 2.  Much like its Dragonball counterpart, Yu Yu Hakusho isn’t a terribly complex fighter, but it does a decent job at what it sets out to do: being fan service.  


yu-yu-hakusho-12.jpg (25086 bytes)          yu-yu-hakusho-21.jpg (54531 bytes)


Players will get the standard mix of game modes, such as arcade, and story modes, as well as a card mini-game (respectable fun, but you’re better off with a full-blown card-type game a la Yugioh).  However, most people will find themselves spending most of their time in the arcade or story modes.


As far as story goes, expect something of the Dragonball variety in this game.  There’s a constant stream of cheesy dialogue, as players follow the exploits of a group of young fighters trying to be the best darn fighters they can possibly be.  It’s straight ahead fan service that will definitely appeal to fans of the Yu Yu Hakusho anime series, but outside of this limited group, many will be tempted to skip the cut scenes that advance the story.  One thing that is nice about the game’s story mode is that it isn’t always a matter of just about beating one opponent after the next.  Players may have very specific tasks to complete, like standing toe-to-toe and punching the opponent, or being limited to certain moves, and so forth.  On top of this there are quite a bit of unlockables to get in story mode, but a lot of the time what you get are new cards for the mini-game, and not much in the way of new characters or arenas, making it all a little bit anti-climatic.




- Playstation 2 Game Reviews

- Fighting Game Reviews

- Reviews of Games from Atari


The arcade mode is fairly straightforward, allowing players to rain fists down on opponents.  The fighting itself is far more suited to those who enjoyed the recent Dragonball games on the PS2 (also from Atari).  Much of the complicated moves are pre-packaged, meaning that instead of flowing from one punch to another, while tossing in a kick, or special move (all of which can be interchanged at a player’s whim), the player hits a pre-determined 


combination of buttons to pull off a combo.  It’s a far more rigid, less open-ended approach to fighting that will turn off long time fighting fans, but this game isn’t intended for that crowd in the first place.


What will annoy players, regardless of whether or not they are fans of Yu Yu Hakusho, are the highly questionable comebacks opponents often manage to pull off.  You can be merrily pummeling the tar out of someone with victory clearly in sight, when out of the blue you’ll find yourself unable to land a blow, and your opponent can suddenly land combo after combo until you find yourself looking at the “Would you like to continue?” message…or hurling your controller through the air.


But despite the questionable bouts of super-human skill the computer-controlled opponents have at times, they look quick pretty.  Sporting very well put together cel-shaded visuals, it really feels like you’re playing an anime, and with cut scenes straight from the series this feeling is that much stronger.  This alone will keep fans of the show very happy.  On top of this the music is very appropriate for the fights, but best of all the voice acting is top-notch, keeping true to the anime series.


The most important thing to keep in mind when considering whether or not to buy this game is whether or not you are a fan of the Yu Yu Hakusho anime series.  This title is complete fan service to those who like the anime, and will largely be enjoyed by these people, just be careful of the occasional cheap comeback by the computer.


- Mr. Nash

(November 6, 2004)

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