Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, released as Dragon Ball Z3 (ドラゴンボールZ3 Doragon Bōru Zetto Surī) in Japan, is a fighting video game based on the popular anime series Dragon Ball Z. It was developed by Dimps and published by Atari for the PlayStation 2, and released on November 16, 2004 in North America through standard release and a Limited Edition release, which included a DVD featuring a behind the scenes look on the game's development.
Europe soon saw a release on December 3, 2004, and obtained a new edition in Fall 2005 which included character models not available in the North American release, as well as a few items and the ability to switch the voices over to Japanese. Japan later saw a release from Bandai on February 10, 2005, and also included the extras that the North American release did not have. Soon after, the Greatest Hits version was released in North America and contained the extra features, including the ability to play with the Japanese voices. The game was re-rendered in HD for the 2012 PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection.
Budokai 3 is a fighting game with cel-shaded graphics to mirror the look and feel of the combat in the series. Where Dragon Ball Z: Budokai included characters all the way to the Android Saga and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 introduced characters from the Buu Saga, Budokai 3 now has characters from the DBZ films, Dragon Ball GT, and even the original Dragon Ball.
- Ki – The Ki system is completely revamped from the past two Budokai games. Each character now has a base Ki level, Ki will increase/decrease slowly until it is at base Ki level. If Ki is higher than the base Ki, then a bonus in attack is acquired (under base Ki level, a defense bonus is gained until you are back at normal defense level). Transformations, now instead of draining Ki slowly, can increase base Ki (this also evens out transformations as having less than base Ki will reduce a character's defense). Additionally, auras have been redone, and now look very close to the auras seen in the anime.
- Transformation – In the previous two games, a transformation gradually drained ki, and being knocked down with less than the ki level needed to transform would revert the transformation. In Budokai 3, a transformation will instead increase the base ki level, and is only reverted if a character is hit with less than one ki gauge, or if they allow hyper mode to run out. Additionally, some transformations (like Cell, Broly and Frieza's) are irreversible.
- Beam Struggle – If two beam attacks collide, instead of canceling each other out, a beam struggle is activated. The two characters rotate control sticks in order to push the two beams to one character or the other. If the fighters are close to each other and use Energy Wave Blasts on each other, they can damage each other or cause a Double K.O. with low health.
- Fatigue – A new fatigue meter is added to the HUD, it increases during battle. It is most important during an ultimate attack, but if fatigue is maxed out, a character will become exhausted if knocked down with less than one Ki gauge full.
- Dodging – By pressing guard just before being attacked, the character will dodge the attack completely, at the cost of a little ki.
- Teleport Counters – Before any attack connects, a character can teleport behind the attacking character and counter-attack at the cost of 3 ki bars. If only 2 ki bars remain, the character cannot teleport anymore; they have to charge up ki in order to teleport again.
- Items – Item capsules can be equipped and used in battle. Items can only be used once, and have various effects ranging from increasing health to granting temporary Ki Blast immunity. If a character is interrupted while trying to use an item, the item is lost.
- Hyper Mode – By pressing L2, a character enters Hyper Mode. They turn red, their ki slowly decreases, and they lose the ability to block. In Hyper Mode, a character is immune to most weak melee attacks, if Hyper Mode is allowed to run out, the character is fatigued and loses any applicable transformations. Hyper Mode is necessary to start Dragon Rushes and Ultimate Attacks. Hyper Mode is rather wildly reviled by veteran players due to the constant drain, the fact that the user slows down, and how easy they become to avoid until they are out of Ki and left helpless by fatigue. Hyper Mode does take up time as the fighter will have to turn the analog stick to get out of exhaustion, and the fighter can get attacked by their opponent.
- Dragon Rush – If a character knocks another character away while in Hyper Mode, that character can start a Dragon Rush. A Dragon Rush is a three part game of chance, where both characters choose one of the four buttons. If the defender can pick the same button as the attacker, the Dragon Rush is ended, however, after each part, the number of buttons is decreased. If all three parts connect, the attacking character launches a powerful finisher.
- Ultimate Attacks – When in Hyper Mode, characters can launch powerful (and quite cinematic) ultimate attacks. Players use timing to stop a gauge just before it fills up. Depending on the results, the attack can have its power reduced, miss, or be sent back to the attacker. Fusion is also executed in the same way, but the mechanics for fusion are the same as they are in Budokai 2.
- Fusion – While still performed the same way, and still providing infinite Ki, Fusion Dance now instantly ends when the timer runs down to zero (whereas in the previous game, dance fusion was only reverted when your character falls over after the timer runs out). Fusion is also executed in Hyper Mode, just like an ultimate attack. If the opponent presses the same button while throwing the earring during a Potara Fusion, the character will catch it and crush it. After this happens, the player is unable to fuse.
- Super Saiyan 4 – Goku and Vegeta can now transform to the Super Saiyan 4 level, changing their Kamehameha and Galick Gun attacks into 10x Kamehameha and Final Shine Attack respectively. These attacks are also 72% stronger than their basic versions. They can also fuse as Super Saiyan 4's to form Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta.
- "Free Flight" – By holding up or down while doing a backward dash, characters can ascend and descend, where in the past, a player had to be hit into the sky. This is a helpful feature as larger characters have an easier time hitting smaller characters while others simply fight less effectively in the air.
As in Budokai and Budokai 2, each character is able to be customized by using a 7-slot skill tray. Players may choose up to 7 skills and give them to a fighter. Skills can take from one to seven slots (including ones such as Bulma's Armor and items which include things such as Senzu Bean and Vaccine). The throws are in the control system and the attacks where your character blasts ki attacks rapidly at a downed opponent have been incorporated into Dragon Rush.
The story mode in Budokai 3 takes place on a world map called Dragon Universe. This mode consists of 11 playable characters traveling around Earth or Namek during the four main sagas of Dragon Ball Z: Saiyan Saga, Frieza Saga, Cell Saga, and Majin Buu Saga, while collecting items such as money, capsules, Dragon Balls or unlocking other characters for use in the other game modes. The various characters are each unlocked by completing a required task within Dragon Universe (for example, Dr. Gero is unlocked by defeating Dr. Gero with Yamcha in the Androids Saga).
The Dragon Universe has a high level of replayability due to events in the game potentially changing from playthrough-to-playthrough. For example, in Goku's first playthrough the majority of the story proceeds as it does according to the anime. However, in the following playthroughs, certain choices can include Goku's fight with Frieza changing into a fight with Cooler instead. These choices can even lead to events such as fighting Broly before Kid Buu and Omega Shenron after Gotenks. With eleven characters available for play in Story Mode, and various choices available for each character, Dragon Universe has significantly more replay value than previous Budokai games.
The characters playable in Story Mode are:
In all non-optional battles in Story Mode, the player can unlock a bonus called "Story Reenactment". It's obtainable by doing specific conditions in each battle like performing or finish the opponent with certain technique, defeating the opponent within or after a time limit, using or equipping an item, winning with determined health or win by a ringout victory. Most of this conditions are based in events that actually happened in the manga/anime, although the what-if battles also had them. Taking in account all possible battles for each character in their different playthroughs, there are a total of 111 hidden story reenactments (Goku having 21; Kid Gohan, 8; Teen Gohan, 7; Gohan, 10; Vegeta, 20; Piccolo, 18; Krillin, 7; Yamcha, 4; Tien, 6; Uub, 4; and Broly, 6). However, only 20 story reenactments of the 111 unlock exclusive voice clips, while the rest of them only award the player with more Z-points.
Once the game is completed, if all seven Dragon Balls are collected, the player is able to make a "wish" which lets him/her choose one from three special capsules, which include Breakthrough Capsules (these allow a player to use all of a character's moves and abilities at once), "Memories of... Capsules", and Equipment Capsules.
The World Tournament allows players to compete against the computer or up to 8 players in a Martial Arts Tournament. If more than one human player is present no prize money is available, but with only one human player the following prizes can be won:
- Novice: 10,000 Zeni
- Adept: 30,000 Zeni
- Advance: 50,000 Zeni
- Cell Games: 50,000 Zeni
If a player reaches second place, they will win half the prize money. If a player enters the tournament with a Sparking Capsule and wins, the prize money will be multiplied. The more exclamation marks on Sparking, the more money is earned (for example, Sparking! gives the player a 10% increase while Sparking!!!!!!! gives the player a 400% increase).
Dueling mode allows a player to fight the computer at a preset skill level, or two human players to fight each other using any custom skills. A player may also watch a fight between two computer fighters.
It is possible to get a double KO during a duel due to attacks or ultimate attacks.
Made up of four sections: the Skill Shop, character editing, instructions, and help. A player may edit skills on either memory card.
Aside from Dragon Universe, the Skill Shop is the place to get your skill capsules. Sometimes Launch sneezes, so she can appear either in her good or bad side. The prices range from 1,500 Zeni to over 120,000 Zeni.
|Name||Returning Transformations||New Transformations||Costumes Available in all Versions||Available at Start|
|Name||Transformations||Costumes available in all versions||Available at Start|
The following are exclusive alternate costumes only available in certain versions of the game.
|Character Name||Costume Name||Versions Available in|
|Goku||Orange gi w/ weighted clothes and Halo||
|Piccolo||Demon King Piccolo (skin)||
|Trunks||Bulma's battle armor w/ sword, long hair||
- World Tournament Stage
- Hyperbolic Time Chamber
- Urban Area
- Grandpa Gohan's House
- Planet Namek
- Cell Ring
- Supreme Kai's World
- Inside Buu
- Red Ribbon Base
Japanese version extras
Just like Dragon Ball Z 2 (the Japanese version of Budokai 2) had a battle damaged outfit for Goku and a full outfit for Piccolo, including cape and turban, as well as featuring Kuriza as an alternate outfit for Frieza, Dragon Ball Z 3 has some new outfits as well: Trunks's 3rd outfit is long hair with Bulma's battle armor and his sword, Piccolo's 4th outfit is his father King Piccolo, and Goku's 4th outfit has a Halo above his head. While the American version of the game only had two movie clips to unlock (the instrumental and vocal openings from Budokai 2), three additional "Baba's Crystal Ball" capsules were added in the Japanese release, two are Japanese commercials for Budokai 2 and Budokai 3 and the third is an extended version of the various scenes shown in the credits, along with the full intro theme song. The only other real "extras" in the Japanese version of the game would be the vocal opening theme (which the original European release of the game had, anyway), and the fact that character mouths actually move on menu screens (which was not in either the original European and American releases of the game).
European version (Collector's edition)
The European "Collector's Edition" version of Budokai 3 was released in Fall 2005. Months before, the hype began to build that it would include not only the option to select the Japanese vocal track for the characters in the game, but that the Japanese version's extras would also be available for unlocking. The Platinum Version is identical to the Collector's Edition. The "Baba Crystal Ball Movies" are also available on this version after extensive game play. Several forums have posted the process needed to gain these capsules, which can be bought in the capsule store. However, the content of the movies are simply the original Japanese introduction to Dragonball Z: Budokai 2. One clip is the intro with vocal accompaniment while the second clip is the instrumental version of the intro.
American version (Greatest hits)
At first, the American “Greatest Hits” version of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 that was released in late 2005 did not contain promised extra features. It claimed to have the original Japanese voice acting cast in the instruction booklet and on the back of the box, but was deprived of such features. It also tended to corrupt saved data from the original version of Budokai 3. Essentially it was the original game disc repackaged again.
Atari has released a correct version of the game, but has made no effort to distinguish it from the incorrect version (aside from the shrinkwrap method mentioned below). Atari is now offering to replace incorrect versions of the game with the correct one.
It has been reported by some that the most recent shipment with the correct disc may be distinguished by the type of shrinkwrap it is packaged in. Atari apparently re-opened the packages to replace the defective discs, and re-wrapped them. These copies are wrapped in the same manner as a retailer would shrinkwrap, sealed around the edges and slightly loose as opposed to tight-fitting and folded at the corners.
The three extra costumes from the Japanese version can be unlocked in the American Greatest hits version by entering passwords, case-sensitive, into the Dragon Arena password entry screen.
The "correct" version is basically a direct port of the European Collector's Edition, only differing in aspects such as the non-vocal opening, "Hercule City" spelling in Dragon Universe, extra costumes, and memory card data image.
The voice acting cast of the Dragon Ball Z anime worked on Budokai 3, making the game flow perfectly with the anime series. Special attacks often cut to scenes from the anime as well; after gaining experience in the Dragon Universe story mode and increasing character's stats, players are given a code that can be posted on Atari's website. When entered in the game, these codes allow players to battle each other's customized characters. The Limited Edition also includes an exclusive Chibi action figure of Broly wearing his in-game alternate costume, a DVD documentary titled "Behind the Screams" which features the U.S. voice actors, as well as a Budokai 3 Super Trailer video. The DVD also contains a URL linked to a webpage containing a sneak peek of upcoming Dragon Ball Z games.
|Character Name||Voice Actor (Japanese)||V.A. (U.S. English)|
|Goku||Masako Nozawa||Sean Schemmel|
|Kid Goku||Masako Nozawa||Stephanie Nadolny|
|Kid Gohan||Masako Nozawa||Stephanie Nadolny|
|Teen Gohan||Masako Nozawa||Stephanie Nadolny|
|Gohan||Masako Nozawa||Kyle Hebert|
|Great Saiyaman||Masako Nozawa||Kyle Hebert|
|Goten||Masako Nozawa||Kara Edwards|
|Piccolo||Toshio Furukawa||Christopher Sabat|
|Vegeta||Ryō Horikawa||Christopher Sabat|
|Future Trunks||Takeshi Kusao||Eric Vale|
|Kid Trunks||Takeshi Kusao||Laura Bailey|
|Krillin||Mayumi Tanaka||Sonny Strait|
|Yamcha||Toru Furuya||Christopher Sabat|
|Tien Shinhan||Hirotaka Suzuoki||John Burgmeier|
|Bulma||Hiromi Tsuru||Tiffany Vollmer|
|Chi-Chi||Naoko Watanabe||Cynthia Cranz|
|Master Roshi||Hiroshi Masuoka||Mike McFarland|
|Oolong||Naoki Tatsuta||Bradford Jackson|
|Puar||Naoko Watanabe||Monika Antonelli|
|Chiaotzu||Hiroko Emori||Monika Antonelli|
|Launch||Mami Koyama||Meredith McCoy|
|Yajirobe||Mayumi Tanaka||Mike McFarland|
|Korin||Naoki Tatsuta||Christopher Sabat|
|Kami||Takeshi Aono||Christopher Sabat|
|Mr. Popo||Dai Matsumoto||Christopher Sabat|
|King Kai||Jōji Yanami||Sean Schemmel|
|Bubbles||Naoki Tatsuta||Christopher Sabat|
|Fortuneteller Baba||Junpei Takiguchi||Linda Young|
|Guru||Junpei Takiguchi||Christopher Sabat|
|Nail||Katsuji Mori||Sean Schemmel|
|Hercule||Daisuke Gōri||Chris Rager|
|Videl||Yuko Minaguchi||Kara Edwards|
|Shin||Yuji Mitsuya||Kent Williams|
|Kibito||Shin Aomori||Chuck Huber|
|Old Kai||Isamu Tanonaka||Kent Williams|
|Raditz||Shigeru Chiba||Justin Cook|
|Nappa||Shōzō Iizuka||Phil Parsons|
|Bardock||Masako Nozawa||Sonny Strait|
|Broly||Bin Shimada||Vic Mignogna|
|Frieza||Ryūsei Nakao||Linda Young|
|Captain Ginyu||Hideyuki Hori||Brice Armstrong|
|Recoome||Kenji Utsumi||Christopher Sabat|
|Cooler||Ryuusei Nakao||Andrew Chandler|
|Dr. Gero||Kōji Yada||Kent Williams|
|Android 16||Hikaru Midorikawa||Jeremy Inman|
|Android 17||Shigeru Nakahara||Chuck Huber|
|Android 18||Miki Itō||Meredith McCoy|
|Cell||Norio Wakamoto||Dameon Clarke|
|Mister Buu/Majin Buu (Good)||Kōzō Shioya||Josh Martin|
|Majin Buu (Evil)/Super Buu||Kōzō Shioya||Justin Cook|
|Majin Buu (Pure)/Kid Buu||Kōzō Shioya||Josh Martin|
|Babidi||Jōji Yanami||Duncan Brennan|
|Dabura||Ryūzaburō Ōtomo||Rick Robertson|
|Uub||Megumi Urawa||Sean Teague|
|Pan||Yuko Minaguchi||Elise Baughman|
|Giru||Shinobu Satōchi||Sonny Strait|
|Commander Red||Kenji Utsumi||Josh Martin|
|Omega Shenron||Hidekatsu Shibata||Christopher Sabat|
|Supreme Kai||Yūji Mitsuya||Kent Williams|
|Saibaman||Toru Furuya||John Burgmeier|
|Cell Jr.||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Justin Cook|
|Shenron||Kenji Utsumi||Christopher Sabat|
|World Tournament Announcer||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Eric Vale|
|Narrator||Jōji Yanami||Kyle Hebert|
|IGN||8.0 of 10|
|GameZone||8.1 of 10|
|GameSpot||8.2 of 10|
|Game Rankings||76.3% (based on 37 reviews)|
|Metacritic||77% (based on 32 reviews)|
The game was given much higher reviews than its predecessors Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 (75% on Game Rankings). This can be attested to the fact that many critics felt that the game did more to improve its gameplay rather than just its graphics and presentation.
The game sold 642,000 in Japan according to Famitsu's 2005 end of year charts making it the most successful Dragon Ball Z game on the PS2 in that region. In the United States it sold 1.14 million copies.
Bulma was rumored to have been planned as a playable character. This is supported by the fact that a full model for her exists in the game (it can be seen in the 11th stage in Training Mode), and there are World Tournament call-outs for her in both English and Japanese (additionally, the Limited Edition DVD shows her voice actress recording fight lines for her). It's possible to choose Bulma as an alternate costume for Videl using Action Replay codes in the Japanese version, though she is glitchy and cannot have skills equipped.
An unused model of Frieza in his hoverchair also exists. Presumably, it would have been used during exploration in his Dragon Universe.
World Tournament call-outs also exist for Zarbon, Dodoria and Android 19 (who were only in the first Budokai game), suggesting they were planned to return in this game. A call-out for "Shin" also exists, though it presumably would have been used for Supreme Kai. Unused dialogue in the dragon universe story has character interactions for Baby Vegeta, Janemba and Super 17 suggest that they were plan to be on the main roster.
Additionally, unused dialogue suggests that every character was planned to have a Dragon Universe story mode, but time constraints prevented that from happening. In the final game, only Goku, Kid Gohan, Teen Gohan, Gohan, Vegeta, Krillin, Piccolo, Tien, Yamcha, Uub and Broly have Dragon Universe stories. The unused dialogue also suggests the possibility of a lot of "what-if" stories.
- This is the first Budokai game that allows players to fire volleys of ki blasts.
- This is the first game in the Budokai series to feature characters outside the main story, which include Bardock, Cooler, Broly and Gogeta From the DBZ films, Omega Shenron and the Super Saiyan 4 transformations from Dragon Ball GT, and Kid Goku and Demon King Piccolo (only a skin for Piccolo, which is unlockable in some versions of the game) from the original Dragon Ball.
- This is the first game in which Goku (DBZ) and Vegeta (DBZ) uses their Super Saiyan 4 forms instead of their GT counterparts, quite frankly, GT Goku and GT Vegeta are not present in the game, and are instead replaced and played in part, in the final part of the Story Mode, by their Dragon Ball Z versions.
- There is an easter egg that lets Yamcha be instantly defeated by a Saibaman's Saibaman Bomb, since this is how he died the first time in the anime.
- When the Babidi's Mind Control capsule is equipped to Vegeta, any of his armor becomes battle damaged when transformed.
- When Gotenks uses Super Ghost Kamikaze Attack as a Super Saiyan 3, the ghosts that appear mimic his Super Saiyan 3 hair, which is absent in Budokai 2.
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 Official page from PlayStation website
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 at IGN
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 at Game Rankings