Pre-E3 06: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2

Although they started off with some cripplingly rough edges (not that fans like to admit it), the Dragon Ball Z fighting games on PS2 have grown into their massively beloved subject matter. The last Tenkaichi finally gave the player the freedom to fly all over the battlefield, machine-gunning punches, kicks, and energy blasts toward their target and countering similar attacks with superhuman power - just like it should be. This sequel adds in the two things that DBZ die-hards really thought the series still needed: more characters and mid-match transformations.

For those who haven't memorized every nuance of the lives each character of the DBZ manga and anime's roster, here's what that sentence actually means. There are, by publisher Atari's count, somewhere over 100 playable characters in this game. Granted, some will simply be slightly different version of the same character (for instance, when a character changes hairstyles), but there will definitely be some new blood as well, like the villainous emperor Slug and the blue-skinned, southern-accented, robot musclehead Android 13.

These two are taken from the DBZ films, whose storylines will be covered in a main plot that extends from the Saiyan Saga all the way through the end of Dragon Ball GT and the movies. Fans know what that means; suffice to say, that’s a metric ton of story, though just how it will be told has yet to be revealed. All the developers have said so far is that it will have a more "adventure-like" feel. 

Back to the brawling, each character will have five special moves in addition to the series' now-standard bewildering array of kicks, punches, energy blasts and the all-important countermoves. Many characters will also have the ability to morph into more powerful forms during battle.

For example, series lead Goku can go Super Saiyan, which turns his hair from black to glowing yellow and gives him extra romp-stomping power. Then, he can go Super Saiyan 2, and 3 and even 4, a level he didn't earn until very late in the original manga comic's storyline. Each transformation grants a tweaked look and new abilities, and sometimes, the differences are drastic. Slug, for instance, transforms into a giant.

Makes sense, really. After all, this game is destined to be huge.

May 9, 2006


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