So what do you do when hardcore fighting game fans trash your Budokai series for being too simplistic to whet their appetite? According to Namco/Bandai, you enlist the help of Street Fighter Alpha co-producer Noritaka Funamizu, get Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama to create an all-new version of a classic Z character and re-configure the fighting system to be more in-tune with those of the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken.
So, does the 180 in schematics make Super Dragon Ball Z a worthy contender in the fighting game ring? Well, the answer comes as a mix of yes and no.
Super Dragon Ball Z comes to the Playstation 2 as a port of the arcade title published by Banpresto of the same name. The brawler assembles 18 fighters who do battle in a variety of destructible environments. The cast is an odd mix, pitting most of the key players in the Cell Saga against a few scraps from other points in the story such as Chi-Chi, King Piccolo and Majjin Buu (my favorite character Gotenks is nowhere to be seen. Sob.)
While 18 is a huge cut in the roster compared to games such as Budokai 3 and Tenkaichi, the goal for this one-on-one fighter was to up the depth placed into each character. However, Super Dragon Ball Z ultimately fails to deliver in that aspect.
In an attempt to stray from the punch, punch, punch, blast inputs of the Budokai series, more traditional quarter-circle, half-circle and double motions have been added for all of the characters’ special and ultimate moves.
Although super moves have received a makeover treatment, the rest of the game remains ultimately simplistic and fights still amount to nothing more than throwing ki blasts and building toward ultimate attacks. Attack strings still remain intact but remain a simple three or four buttons you have to press in order.
While this can be fun in small doses of competition, fights still lack the timing and finesse of games like Street Fighter and makes for a redundant and tiresome single-player trial.