Though all 3 of the DBZ games have been out for quite some time now, they continue to sell as more and more people are becoming obsessed with the ongoing action soap opera that is Dragon Ball Z. The second in the series, Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22, is the most traditional of all of the fighting games. It is the easiest to learn and the only one (aside from the American version of GT) where you really don't have to know a lick of Japanese in order to play and win. It is named 22 since all 22 of the games characters are available the first time you turn it on. No more having to fight to earn all of the secret characters.
Like I said the game itself is very traditional much like any of the Street Fighter games. The backgrounds are all in 3D and the fighting itself is all in 2D like the first two Tekken games. The character graphics are very detailed and look almost identical to the way that they are drawn in the series. Each character can punch, kick, fly and throw a projectile in addition to all of their special moves. The fighting takes place on two planes as each character can float as well. This floating feature is really the only thing that separates Ultimate Battle from every other 2D fighting game.
After DBZ: Legends was released the people at Ban Dai decided to capitalize on their license by releasing a game that was more about the characters of the cartoon and less about complicated gameplay, and that is exactly what UB 22 is. There is no story or quest mode and very little depth at all. The game boils down to one character against another fighting until someone falls. There are two different kinds of battle modes. The first is a simple 1 on 1 battle that has all the characters on an equal playing field much like an arcade fighter. The other mode, Build Up, is much more interesting. In it you choose a character and begin at level 0. You then have the option of picking your opponent. What makes this level interesting is that each challenger has his or her own level based on their strength in the TV show. If you beat that character then you level rise to what his was. For example it would be wise to attack someone like Son Goten who only starts with a level of 3 than to try and attack Super Boo who has a level of 21. However, if you beat him then you will rise to his level of 21.
The biggest drawback to this game is the slowness of it. It is almost impossible to do moves in succession so the game becomes very calculated and a little tedious. Also, the load time is enormous. There are some nice looking animations before each match but after a while they can get annoying and you will probably just end up turning them off. The slowness is forgivable though since the cartoon battles are very calculated and each move is very detailed. Therefore, the fighting in the game looks more like the cartoon than it would if it were fast and repetitive like a Street Fighter match. That is really all there is to say about this game. If you are a huge DBZ fan I recommend getting this version especially if all you want to do is fight with DBZ characters. It the easiest to just pick up and play and really fun as a party game for DBZ fans. All of the characters are there so pick your favorite and get ready to kick some ass Japanamation style.
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