Super Dragon Ball Z review

Watch as Frieza's Death Ball scratches those hard-to-reach places on Goku's back

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    Old-school arcade battles

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    Plenty of special moves

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    Versus mode with upgraded characters


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    Lame single-player modes

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    Relatively tame special attacks

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    repetitive opponents

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If you have no idea which purple alien destroyed the planet Namek, and "Spopovitch" sounds like a type of Norwegian breakfast sausage, don't worry. Super Dragon Ball Z isn't really about Dragon Ball Z; it's about smashing that purple alien through brick walls.

Of course, fans will still be treated to a healthy dose of authentic DBZ flair. The environments are nicely detailed, replicating the look of the original manga surprisingly well, and DBZ creator Akira Toriyama personally designed the new, unlockable supervillain, Mecha Frieza. Another nice touch is the inclusion of Chi-Chi (wife and mother to several of the main characters)for the first timein a DBZ fighter.

Even so, the fighting is far less over-the-top than what's found in any of the previous DBZ installments, especially the button-mashing Budokai games. That's because there are some serious developers behind it: the creators of Street Fighter II. They've given us multi-layered destroyable arenas, a large arsenal of "ki" attacks (read: giant fireballs) and an abundance of kicks, punches, throws and combos. The controls are relatively simple and universal, so once you've mastered one character's special attacks, you've mastered all of them.

The new fighting system definitely has a Street Fighter feel to it, and the combination of flying, teleporting, powered-up Super Saiyan action and old-school game mechanics makes the first hour or two a blast. After that, however, things start falling flat.

More info

DescriptionThough not a new classic, the introduction of legendary Street Fighter II designer Noritaka Funamizu makes Super DBZ at least a decent departure from the Budokai series.
Franchise nameDragon Ball
UK franchise nameDragon Ball Z
US censor rating"Teen"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer