The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series is a series of fighting games based on the Dragon Ball series and developed by Dimps for PlayStation 2, GameCube, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The series debuted in 2002, and consists of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai (2002; PS2, 2003; GameCube), Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 (2003; PS2, GameCube), Dragon Ball Z 2 V (special update of Budokai 2; PS2), Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (2004; PS2), Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai (2006; PSP), Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road (2007; PSP), Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (2008; PS3, Xbox 360), Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World (2008; PS2), Dragonball Evolution (2009; PSP), and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection (2012; PS3, Xbox 360).
Dimps is currently developing the Xenoverse series.
The Budokai series plays like a typical 3D fighting game. As well as including the regular punch and kick buttons, there is the ability to shoot Ki Blasts, which can also be used in specific special moves. The special moves are mainly taken from the ability to teleport, fly freely, and have Beam Struggles between two character's beam attacks. Although these mechanics have stuck with the series, other ideas such as the "Hyper Mode" were later replaced in favor of other techniques.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, released as Dragon Ball Z in Japan, was published by Atari for the PlayStation 2 on November 2, 2002 in Europe and on December 3, 2002 in North America, and for the Nintendo GameCube on October 28, 2003 in North America and on November 14, 2003 in Europe. It was the first Dragon Ball Z game to be released in all Europe and aside from specific releases in France, Spain and Portugal like it was with the earlier Butōden games. The game was released in Japan by Bandai on the PlayStation 2 on February 13, 2003, and on the Nintendo GameCube on November 28, 2003.
The game follows the Dragon Ball Z timeline starting with Goku and Piccolo's fight with Raditz up to Gohan's final battle with Cell, and has a total of 23 playable characters. Features included in the game are a story mode, a versus mode, a tournament mode, a practice mode, and an items shop which allows the player to purchase various customization abilities using Zeni gained through the various challenges in the story mode and tournament victories to customize and make the most powerful warriors. The story mode also includes a few "what if" episodes to play, retelling iconic events in the Dragon Ball history with a few twists. A cel-shading effect is added to the graphics in the GameCube version. The game is mainly noted for it's story mode, which follows the plot of the TV series using 3D cutscenes.
The North American versions feature English voice acting from the North American Funimation dub, while the European versions feature the original Japanese voice acting and several European languages text translations.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, released as Dragon Ball Z 2 in Japan, is the sequel to Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, still developed by Dimps and published by Atari for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in North America on December 4, 2003, and on the Nintendo GameCube on December 15, 2004. The game was published in Japan by Bandai, and released for the PlayStation 2 on February 5, 2004.
The story mode in the game is known as Dragon Adventure and plays like a board game, as the player assembles a team of Z Fighters to challenge the various enemies in the series starting from the Saiyan Saga up to the final Kid Buu Saga. The game has a total of 31 playable characters, including fusions of different fighters and Majin Buu's various forms. The game also features a versus mode, tournament mode, practice mode and a mode called Babidi's Spaceship which includes minigame-like conditions to fights, in order to raise the Kili gauge.
The Japanese version of the game added several new costumes, as well as a new stage in the game's story mode. Some of the added costumes were added to the North American release of the GameCube version. Once again, the North American versions feature English voice acting from the North American FUNimation dub. The European PlayStation 2 version also features it, while the later European GameCube version switched back to the original Japanese voice acting, because of negative feedback from most European Dragon Ball fans which were used to the Japanese dub since the 16-bit era.
Dragon Ball Z 2 V
Main article: Dragon Ball Z 2 V
A special, limited edition of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 was released exclusively on Japan for the PlayStation 2 on February 5, 2004. This version was sponsored by the V-Jump magazine. It features the extra stage in the story mode and the bonus costumes from the original Japanese version, and adds more, with the most notable being the addition of Cooler as an alternate costume for Frieza.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, released as Dragon Ball Z 3 in Japan, was published by Atari for the PlayStation 2 like its predecessors. It was released on November 16, 2004 in North America in both a standard and Limited Edition release, the latter of which included a DVD featuring a behind the scenes looks at the game's development. In Europe, it was released on November 19, 2004.
The game's story mode yet again plays through the events of the Dragon Ball Z timeline, and the game includes several characters and events from the Dragon Ball Z movies (like Cooler, Broly, and Bardock), Dragon Ball GT (like Super Saiyan 4 and Omega Shenron), and the original Dragon Ball series itself (Kid Goku). Other features the game includes are a versus mode, an items shop, a tournament, and a battle ranking stage where the player has to challenge the AI in a hundred fighter challenge. Moving a spot above after beating who ever is next in the ranking. The fighting mechanics have also been enhanced from the preceding 2 games making the game closer to its anime counterpart in terms of combat (which was well received by fans of the series and gamers alike). Budokai 3 has a roster of 42 playable characters.
The game released in Japan by Bandai on February 10, 2005. Like Budokai 2 before it, the Japanese version of Budokai 3 added several costumes not present in the North American and European versions. The North American Greatest Hits version of Budokai 3 adds these costumes, as well as the option to switch the audio to Japanese for the first time in North America. This version was also released in Europe as a re-release of the game under the title Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 - Director's Cut. From this release onward, all Dragon Ball Z games in North America and Europe were released with dual voice language options in English and Japanese in order to please all fans. This was also the first game to introduce Beam Struggles in the series.
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai was released in North America on March 7, 2006 and in Europe on May 25, 2006.
The game's story mode is based on the events of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn. The choices the player makes in the story determine how the story evolves. Another mode is the Arcade mode, a single-player mode that lets you brawl against the CPU in order to fight and gain the Dragon Balls. Next is the Z trial mode, which consists of two different types of play: survival, where you fight against CPU-controlled opponents for as long as you can, and time attack, where you see how fast you can make it through a predetermined set of opponents. Finally, there is the Profile Card mode in which the players will have their in-game character profile cards that lists their name and power level. The player can design their own card and customize them with the items from the game's item store.
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road, known simply as Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai 2 in Japan and Europe, is the sequel to Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai. It was released in North America on March 20, 2007 and in Europe on June 22, 2007.
The game features a brand new story that tells the tale of Majin Buu being released in Future Trunks' timeline. As Majin Buu is too strong for Trunks to handle alone, he uses his Time Machine to recruit the original Z Warriors for assistance, eventually succeeding in the destruction of Majin Buu.
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit was published in North America and Australia by Atari, and in Japan and Europe by Namco Bandai under the Bandai label. It was released in Japan on June 5, 2008, in Europe on June 6, 2008, North America on June 10, 2008, and in Australia on July 3, 2008.
The game allows the player the opportunity to let their character battle other characters controlled by the in game AI, or another player both on or offline depending on the mode of play the player or players choose. The game's Z Chronicles story mode allows players the chance to relive key points of the three sagas within the Dragon Ball story, with the aid of items called Drama Pieces that give what has been called an immense Dragon Ball experience. Burst Limit also dropped the inclusion of Beam Struggles.
The game became a top rated title for the PlayStation 3, and was nominated for a Spike Video Game Award for best fighting game.
Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World
Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World was published in North America by Atari and in Europe and Japan by Namco Bandai under the Bandai label for the PlayStation 2. It was released in North America on November 4, 2008, in Japan on December 4, 2008, in Europe on December 5, 2008. It is the last Dragon Ball Z game to be released on the PlayStation 2 console.
Dragon Ball Z Infinite World added emphasis on the inclusion of Dragon Ball GT characters as the anime had been fully released in North America and there was a high demand for the inclusion of these characters because of the consumer's demand for more, submersible playable characters.
The game is a fighting game, the player pits their character against other characters controlled by the in game AI or by another player, which depends on the mode that the player or players are in. The Dragon Mission game mode features other gameplay elements, making the gameplay less linear. Infinite World also cut the World Tournament mode in favor of a mode similar to the Dragon Arena mode in Budokai 3.
Main article: Dragonball Evolution (video game)
Dragonball Evolution: The Game was published Namco Bandai under the Bandai label for the PlayStation Portable. It was released in North America on April 8, 2009, in Japan on March 19, 2009.
A video game adaptation of the homonymous live-action film developed by Dimps, its game play is based on the Shin Budokai games.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection was announced and shown at the Japan Expo convention in France in July 2012. The game includes Budokai and Budokai 3, and was confirmed to be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in winter 2012 in Europe and North America. It was then released on November 2, 2012 in Europe and November 6, 2012 in North America.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection was chosen to only revive Budokai for it's story mode, and Budokai 3 for it's in game fighting mechanics and popularity, excluding Budokai 2 from the collection. Aside from the enhanced visuals, both games also have some differences from their original counterparts, such as the replaced soundtrack. There are no current plans for a sequel.
In addition, some characters have costumes based on different characters, such as Piccolo having a Nail costume in most games and a King Piccolo costume in some versions of Budokai 3, Frieza having Kuriza and Cooler costumes in Dragon Ball Z 2 V, among others.