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October 28, 2003

DragonBall Z: Budokai

It seems fairly possible that a title that was released almost a year ago for a different console and then released again on the GameCube would garner little attention. Especially since the game was met with several luke-warm reviews from the media. While that may be the case, sometimes a huge fan base can negate negative reviews. Enter DragonBall Z: Budokai for the Nintendo GameCube. Despite it's extended shelf-life, it sold by the truckload and Cubers want to know what all the fuss is about. What exactly is the fuss all about, anyway? PS2 fans still loved it, despite its flaws. I remember when fans would come pouring into EB or GameStop looking for DragonBall GT: Final Bout for the PSX. Now that was a terrible game. However, Budokai may offer plenty for the fans of the series and still have something left over for casual fighting game fans.



For those of you who don’t know what this game is all about, here’s a brief synopsis. DragonBall Z: Budokai is a fighting game based off of the popular DBZ anime and manga series. The complete roster of fighters includes Goku, Gohan, Teen Gohan, Great Saiyaman, Vegeta, Piccolo, Krillin, Trunks, Tien, Yamcha, Hercule, Raditz, Nappa, Recoome, Captain Ginyu, Frieza, Dodoria, Zarbon, Android 16, Android 17, Android 18, Android 19 and Cell. While 23 fighters is quite a lot, there’s not too many that you start out with. In order to unlock most of them, you’ll need to play through the Story Mode, which is actually the meat of this game. Players go through the entire Saiyan Saga scenario and straight through to the Cell Saga. While the fighting may not be as deep as anything offered by Soul Calibur II or Dead or Alive 3, there’s plenty here to keep the gameplay interesting and rewarding for even the smallest fan of the series.

So after almost a year on a different system, the developer has to be able to make some improvements on their title, right? Thankfully, developer Dimps was able to improve on the visuals for the GameCube version. This is definitely a good thing since, as seen in the screenshots, the GCN version looks amazingly well polished and beautifully shaded, as compared to the PS2 original. However, while the character models look great, the backgrounds are still a bit bland and in desperate need of some life. Since the game moves at a steady 60 frames-per-second, that’s more than enough to make up for it, though.

word on the street

While many fans of the series have enjoyed the past incarnations of DragonBall Z in videogame format, there are still some who believe that it could be done a lot better. Personally, I enjoyed DragonBall Z: The Legacy of Goku II more than I ever thought I would have. However, here’s what a Dojo Disciple had to say about the subject—

HeavyC: The perfect DragonBall Z game would be something along the lines of Marvel vs Capcom or potentially an epic RPG. However, we keep getting stuck with these unimaginative games over and over again. Budokai might be a decent title, but I already know it can't live up to the potential this franchise has.

press release notes

  • Special character graphics enhanced only for the Nintendo GameCube
  • Follow the DragonBall Z animated series from the Saiyan Saga to the Cell Games!
  • Face off with up to 23 mighty DragonBall Z warriors!
  • Unlock, customize, and trade devastating skills with friends to create the most powerful fighters in the universe!
  • Fight in 5 epic play modes
  • Fine tune your skills against custom AI opponents


While the PS2 has a full on sequel to the Budokai series coming up soon, GameCube owners can easily check out the original. The $29.99 price tag certainly won’t hurt, either. Later this month, get your Ka-Me-Ha-Me-Ha on… or something to that extent.

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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