Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, released as Dragon Ball Z 3 (ドラゴンボールZ3, Doragon Bōru Zetto Surī) in Japan, is a video game based on the popular anime series Dragon Ball Z and was developed by Dimps and published by Atari for the PlayStation 2. It was released on November 16, 2004 in North America through standard release and a Limited Edition release, which included a DVD featuring behind the scenes looks on the game's development. Europe soon saw a release on December 3, 2004. In Fall 2005, Europe obtained a new edition 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 in North America contained the extra features, including the ability to play with the Japanese voices.
Budokai 3 is a fighting game with cel-shaded graphics to mirror the look and feel of the combat in the series.
Where Budokai 1 had characters up to the Android Saga and Budokai 2 had characters up to the Kid Buu Saga, Budokai 3 has characters from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z movies.
- 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. 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 defence). Additionally, auras have been redone, and now look very close to the auras seen on 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.
- Fatigue - A new fatigue meter is added to the HUD, it increases during battle. It's 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, and their Ki slowly decreases, as 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
- 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, dance fusion 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.
- Super Saiyan 4 - Goku and Vegeta can now transform to the Super Saiyan 4 level, changing their Kamahemeha and Galick Gun attacks into 10X Kamehameha and Final Shine, 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 customised 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). Note: there are no physical capsules. 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.
Story mode in Budokai 3 consists of a world map called Dragon Universe. In this mode, you play as 11 characters, travelling around the Earth or Namek in Dragonball Z's four main sagas: Saiyan, Freeza, Cell, and Majin Buu, and collecting items such as money, capsules or Dragon Balls. After you complete the game, if you have collected all seven Dragon Balls, you are able to make a "wish" which lets you 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 stories in the Dragon Ball Z universe changes as well, after the first time it is played. For example, when Goku defeats Frieza once for the second time you played Goku's story, he gets 3 choices. One of them leads his fight to Cooler, and in the Buu Saga, after meeting Supreme Kai in the mountains the second time you play the story, Goku doesn't fight Kid Buu, instead he'll fight Broly, and after that Gogeta versus Gotenks, and then Omega Shenron. Broly is the only villain playable amongst Dragon Universe.
If you perform a certain action in Vegeta's Dragon Universe, you don't battle Kid Buu and instead battle Broly. If you beat him, this will take you to a scene with Bulma in West city. She will give you the SSJ4 Capsule. Then you go to the red dot and battle Goku. If you beat him, he concedes that Vegeta is better than him and Vegeta proceeds to his victory speech. In Yamcha's Dragon Universe, if he visits both Chi-Chi and Roshi and learns that Vegeta got him and Bulma broken up, Yamcha fights and defeats Vegeta in the World Tournament.
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.
Made up of three sections, the Skill Shop, character editing, and instructions. 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.
- Goku (Base, Kaioken, SS1, SS2, SS3,)
- Kid Gohan (Base, Unlock Potential)
- Teen Gohan (Base, SS1, SS2)
- Gohan (Base, SS1, SS2, Elder Kai Unlock Ability)
- Great Saiyaman
- Goten (Base, SS1)
- Vegeta (Base, SS1, SS2, Majin Vegeta *Via item)
- Future Trunks (Base, SS1, SS2)
- Kid Trunks (Base, SS1)
- Piccolo (Base, Sync With Nail, Fuse With Kami)
- Krillin (Base, Unlock Potential)
- Gotenks (Base, SS1, SS3)
- Vegito (Base, Super Vegito)
- Hercule (Base, High Tension)
- Supreme Kai
- Kibitoshin (Pottara)
- Captain Ginyu
- Frieza (1st Form, 2nd Form, 3rd Form, 4th Form, 100% Final Form, Mecha-Frieza *Via Item)
- Android 16
- Android 17
- Android 18
- Dr. Gero
- Cell (Imperfect Form, Semi-Perfect Form, Perfect Form, Super Perfect Form)
- Dabura (Base, Demonic Will)
- Majin Buu (Fat Buu)
- Super Buu (Base, Piccolo Absorbed, SS3 Gotenks Absorbed, Gohan Absorbed)
- Kid Buu
New Playable characters
- Goku (SS4)
- Kid Goku (new character)
- Uub (new character)
- Vegeta (SS4)
- Gogeta (Super Gogeta, SS4) (new character)
- Bardock (new character)
- Cooler (Base, Final Form, Meta-Cooler) (new character)
- Broly (SS1, Legendary Super Saiyan) (new character)
- Omega Shenron (new character)
- Saibamen (new character)
- Cell Junior (new character)
The biggest rumor on this game was that Bulma was playable, for the fact that she was seen in the 11th stage of the training mode, to explain how to use capsules during a duel. She could barely move, but it was a complete game model of her. Also in the DVD that comes with the special edition, her voice actor is seen recording fight sounds for Bulma. Note: Bulma is unlockable using a cheats disc. She has no moves and cannot set skills. This shows that they made a Bulma model, but for one reason or another they decided not to use it. Also, there are several unused voice clips that suggest that there were going to be more characters in Dragon Universe than there actually are. Notably, Kid Goku's Dragon Universe seemed to have involved him finding a time machine that takes him to the current DBZ era fighting Yamcha, Krillin, Piccolo (who he thinks he is still King Piccolo), maybe Vegeta, Teen Gohan (who thinks he stole the name from his grandfather) and Broly as well as hints that, as well as Syn Shenron and the Super Saiyan 4 forms of Goku and Vegeta, Super 17 was another Dragon Ball GT character to be included. Also, according to the World Tournament announcer voice data found on the disc, Zarbon, Dodoria and Android 19 were set to return from the first Budokai game.
The Japanese version
Just like the Japanese version of Budokai 2 had Kuriza as an alternate outfit for Frieza, plus a battle damaged outfit for Goku and a full outfit for Piccolo, including cape and turban, Budokai 3 had some new outfits as well. Trunks' 3rd outfit was long hair with armor, Piccolo had his father King Piccolo and Goku served an Angel Halo Goku. Some games in this Japanese version had some glitches such as Bulma appearing as an outfit for Videl, when the game was complete. While the American version of the game only had two movie clips to unlock (the instrumental and vocal openings from Budokai 2), many fans thought there were extra movies to unlock, since the American strategy guide indicated that there were two additional "Baba's Crystal Ball" capsules to purchase. Unfortunately, these files do not even exist on the game disc, and therefore cannot be purchased. 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 been posted the process needed 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 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 action figure of Broly Chibi wearing his in-game alternate costume, a DVD documentary featuring the U.S. voice actors and a Budokai 3 Super Trailer video. The DVD also contains a URL linked to a webpage containing a sneak peak of upcoming Dragon Ball Z games.
|Character Name||Voice Actor (Japanese)||V.A. (U.S. English)|
|Son Goku||Masako Nozawa||Sean Schemmel|
|Kid Son Goku||Masako Nozawa||Stephanie Nadolny|
|Kid Son Gohan||Masako Nozawa||Stephanie Nadolny|
|Teen Son Gohan||Masako Nozawa||Stephanie Nadolny|
|Son Gohan (Buu)||Masako Nozawa||Kyle Hebert|
|Great Saiyaman||Masako Nozawa||Kyle Hebert|
|Son Goten||Masako Nozawa||Kara Edwards|
|Piccolo||Toshio Furukawa||Christopher Sabat|
|Vegeta||Ryo 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||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|
|Chiaotsu||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||Toku Nishio||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|
|Supreme Kai||Yuji Mitsuya||Kent Williams|
|Kibito||Shin Aomori||Chuck Huber|
|Elder Kai||Reizō Nomoto||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 Boo (Good)/Majin Buu||Kōzō Shioya||Josh Martin|
|Majin Boo (Evil)/Super Buu||Kōzō Shioya||Justin Cook|
|Majin Boo (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|
|Kibitokai||Yuji Mitsuya||Kent Williams|
|Saibaman||Toru Furuya||John Burgmeier|
|Cell Jr.||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Justin Cook|
|Shenron||Kenji Utsumi||Christopher Sabat|
|Tournament Announcer||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Eric Vale|
|Narrator||Jōji Yanami||Kyle Hebert|
The game was given much higher reviews than its precursors 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.
- This is the only Dragon Ball Z video game that features Kid Uub.
- This is the first Budokai game that allowed players to fire "volleys" of ki blasts.
- The Cell Games World Tournament option feature was reused for the Budokai Tenkaichi series with Cell as the annoucer and final opponent.
- This is the first Budokai game to be exclusive to only the Playstation 2 (both Budokai 1 and 2 were later ported on the Nintendo Gamecube).
- This is the first game in the Budokai series to allow you to play as all of Frieza's forms (in Budokai 1 you can play as Frieza in his 1st form, final form and 100% full power form; in Budokai 2 you can only play as him in his Final form).
- This is the first game in the Budokai series to feature movie characters such as Gogeta, Bardock, Broly, and Cooler.
- It is also the first game in the series to feature some of Dragon Ball GT (Goku, Vegeta, and Gogeta are playble in their SSJ4 forms and Omega Shenron is also a playble character).
- This is also the first game in the Budokai series to include Cell in his Super Perfect Form (Budokai 1 featured Power-Weighted Cell instead, and Budokai 2 featured just Perfect Cell).
- There is an easter egg that lets Yamcha be instantly defeated by a Saibaman's self-destruct move, since this is how he died the first time in the anime.
- This is the first game to feature special Vs. matches between characters by introducing battle quotes. It is later reused on the Tenkaichi series, Raging Blast (Along with the sequel), and Burst Limit.
- For some reason if you have Spirit bomb and no Super Sayian you will use just Spirit Bomb, however if you have Super Sayian 1 you will use the Super Spirit Bomb. If you are any Super Sayain and you use it you will use the Dragon fist in stating "Spirit bomb's fading."
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 at IGN
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 at Game Rankings
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 Shoryuken Wiki