TGS 2005: Dragon Ball Z: Bukuu Ressen Hands-On

Anime tag battles are on the way to your Nintendo DS.

TOKYO-The anime and manga known as Dragon Ball Z has spawned what seems like a million different one-on-one fighting games. Traditionally, most of these games have been pretty awful, but this generation of console hardware has seen a drastic U-turn for the series with the release of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games. These games are fairly competent fighting games that, more importantly, manage to get the feel of the series down properly while still delivering some decent action. Now, Bandai is turning to the DS for the release of a tag-battle fighter called Dragon Ball Z: Bukuu Ressen.

This game is a tag battle game that uses a ratio system similar to that in Capcom vs. SNK. Each character is assigned a certain number of points, and you can select up to three fighters, as long as those fighters' points come in under a certain number. This sets up some different strategies; for instance, one powerful five-point fighter can go up against a few two-point fighters. When you have multiple fighters on your team, you can swap them in and out at will using the touch screen.

The rest of the action is handled with the D pad and buttons, and it essentially follows the DBZ formula. Most of the fighting takes place in the air, as all of the series' characters can skywalk. You can block, attack with your fists and feet, and hit a button to toss out a series of fireballs. Throwing fireballs uses up your onscreen ki meter, so you'll occasionally have to recharge to continue fighting with fire. All in all, the game looks decent and seems to play well.

The version of Dragon Ball Z: Bukuu Ressen being shown at the Tokyo Game Show is listed as 90 percent complete. The game is currently on track for a Japanese release later this calendar year and will be coming to North America in November under the subtitle Supersonic Warriors 2.

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Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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