Super Dragon Ball Z review

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

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

The more "serious" arcade-style approach effectively drains the game of all that over-the-top, high-energy DBZ action we're used to. Attacks that once devastated entire planets now amount to little more than glorified hadoukens, and are easily blocked.

Although the combat is certainly different, it hasn't necessarily increased in depth. The easier computer opponents can be defeated nearly every time by repeatedly performing a one-button "homing attack" that sends you hurtling into your foe. The harder enemies are better at blocking, which tends to turn battles into long distance energy-attack contests that test your ability to repeatedly press down, down-forward, forward and Triangle.

Two single-player modes are available in the game, but neither are very redeeming. Original mode is a direct port of the arcade game; you'll battle a series of random competitors, three rounds each, with unlimited continues, until you reach Cell. Your reward for beating Cell is a short, uninspired cutscene followed by the credits.

The second mode, ZSurvivor, doesn't do much to improve the situation. You must battle nine competitors consecutively with increasing difficulty, one round each, with one health bar. Between each match, you have a chance to gain bonuses, some of which will increase your health, attack power or defense, keeping you on your feet round after round.

Patched over the shallow single player modes is an experience and leveling system based around "Character Cards," profiles that allow you to customize and upgrade specific characters. As you play either Original Mode or ZSurvivor using a Character Card, you'll rack up Battle Points and collect Dragon Balls. Battle Points are used to learn new skills and attacks, while collecting seven Dragon Balls enables you to summon the magical dragon Shenron and wish for new abilities, attacks, characters, and extras.

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