Super Dragon Ball Z is an incredible game that both 2d fighting fans and DB fans alike will love.

User Rating: 9.2 | Super Dragon Ball Z PS2
Dragon Ball Z games have come and gone, and with the current Budokai series, forgotten are the days of the past, with great DBZ fighting games that took after the 2d fighting style of street fighter, such as the Super Butoden series or Hyper Dimension on the SNES. But now that fighting style has been resurrected, and is back in force with Super Dragon Ball Z.

Graphics: Super Dragon Ball Z takes a different graphical route than the last 3 Budokai games and Tenkaichi, and opts for a style of cell shading thats closer to the manga. This stylized look works very nicely for SDBZ, all the way up to the way the opening menu is organized much like a page right out of the manga. The ki beam attacks such as the special beam cannon and masenko also take on the style of the way the attacks from the manga look. To further the manga style of the game, there are even sound effect bubbles that pop up when player hit each other, such as Bam!, Krak!, or Zang!

Sound: Many DBZ fans who love the original music from the japanese versions of the games and anime often have their hopes dashed once the game makes it over to North American shores. But not with Super DBZ. Albeit it doesnt have the original anime soundtrack in the game, it does have all the great and fast paced tracks from the japanese version, minus having "Head cha la" as the opening music. The sound effects are great too, whether it be from the explosions of winning a match with a Super move, or crashing through a wall/building/mountain, they all sound earth shattering.

Gameplay: Now this is what it all comes down to. If you are a fan of ANY old school 2d fighting game (or even newer ones such as Street Fighter III or Guilty Gear) you will feel right at home with this game. Though some of the younger (or older) DB fans who've been weened on the Budokai1-3 series may need some practice to get the moves and combos styles down. The special attacks are performed much like the 2d classics. Remember Ryu's hadouken motion? Thats the exact way to do a kamehameha wave with Goku. The Shoryuken uppercut motion? The way you Goku's Blast Fist uppercut (which looks remarkably similar to the shoryuken). No predetermined combos here folks, good old fashioned creativity is your friend while playing SDBZ. Chaining together moves is entirely up to you. Also while almost everything in an arena is completely destructible, some stages(like kami's lookout) allow you to knock your opponent off the side, making him come crashing to the ground(complete with action lines and everything), and then continuing the fight down below. Then theres the much talked about customize mode, which lets you select a character, build up their power lvls (complete with scanner Battle Power lvl numbers) assign them different skills and power ups, and even assign them a certain special attack another character might have i.e. Frieza using the kamehameha.

Lasting appeal: Well this is basically in the eye of the beholder. Super Dragon Ball Z, being an arcade game first and foremost, has the staples of an Arcade mode and Versus mode. But also includes a survival mode (which needs no description) so frankly, your mileage with this game may vary. Of course if you have other human opponents to battle, and are good with the game, it should last quite awhile. Though there are some of us who enjoy challenging the CPU on various modes, or just having a few quick cpu matches to better our abilities.

Wrapup: This game is what fans of older DBZ fighting games, and fans of 2d fighting games in general having been waiting for. Make no mistake, cliched as it may be, this game is tailor made for hardcore fighting gamers.