Guest Author - James Shea
Yet another fighting game representing the Dragon Ball Z series, Super Dragon Ball Z does little to distinguish itself from its fellow DBZ games.
The game is mostly similar to other games in the DBZ universe. Based on an arcade game, the style of the game very much reflects this origin. There are 18 characters (five of whom need to be unlocked) representing most of the main characters in Dragon Ball Z. Each character differs slightly in terms of their four stats (attack, throw, ki - or energy - and "action"). The characters themselves do not differ drastically, though many have unique gimmicks (such as Trunks' sword, or Piccolo's stretching arms). Even their energy attacks are mostly generic, except for one or two signature attacks per character. In this regard, it is more similar to regular fighting games than other Dragon Ball Z games. Besides the standard attacking and blocking, the characters can also jump - holding down the button makes you levitate. This is better executed than some other DBZ games, namely the first Budokai, but on the whole air fighting is difficult to pull off.
There are 7 stages, each with several of the features familiar to DBZ fans - breakable objects and the ability to go to new parts of the stage by smashing through walls and floors. These locales are nothing special for the most part, and are the same ones used in every other DBZ game.
Unlockable items in the game are "wished" using the 7 Dragon Balls, which are collected in story mode. Everything from new moves to stat upgrades to new characters and levels to even a few extras like new outfits and game data is unlocked with the Dragon Balls, meaning that they must be collected every time you want to unlock something.
The graphics have a neat, cel-shaded quality that is done a little better than the cel shading in the other DBZ fighting games; this is perhaps the only advantage the game holds. The backgrounds, however, are mostly terrible. The audio is standard, using the same voice actors that have been in every single DBZ game, movie, and tv show episode since it came to the US.
Most of the features in this game are done more thoroughly, and better, in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and its sequels. As an arcade game, this might have been all right, but it really didn't need to be ported like this.