Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 Preview

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Publisher: Atari
Developer: Dimps

Platform: PlayStation 2

In Atari's words, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is "The greatest warriors. A tournament of champions. Only one can prevail"

Projected Release: November 16, 2004
Kyle Ackerman

The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series of games has been extremely successful – the first two games have sold more than 2.3 million copies. With sales figures like that, another game in the franchise is inevitable, and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 should be released on November 16.

The Man Behind the Fighting

Daisuke Uchiyama (DU) is the producer for the DBZ: Budokai franchise, and recently showed off some of the new features from DBZ: Budokai 3. When DU enumerated new details of the Dragon Ball Z-themed fighting game, we also got the chance to sit down and chat about his background.

DU began as a gamer whose parents disapproved of video games. In hindsight, he attributes some of his enthusiasm for games to his parent's refusal to purchase an NES. To get a chance to play, DU had to stay overnight at friends' houses to get access to a console.

He first felt the lure of game development as a career when, at age 15, he began to look analytically at the games he played. At first, he wasn't sure if he would pursue games by becoming a programmer, producer, or taking on another role. As DU decided to try his hand at creating games, he was increasingly successful, leading to his current position, which has him managing 5-10 projects simultaneously. As the game industry has matured, and DU has proven his talents, his parents have become strongly supportive of both his pastime and his career.


Much of what DU was showing off on his tour of the US was the revised DBZ: Budokai 3 battle system, but he did talk a bit about the prior games. The first Budokai game had a story mode that played more like an interactive episode from the animated television series, while the second game was like a board game with fights to resolve conflicts between pieces. DU was quick to praise the different strengths of both, but acknowledged that the first game's story mode was more popular with fans of the franchise. He wasn't giving away details on the story mode for the upcoming game, but he emphasized that DBZ: Budokai 3 was shaped by the fans.

And not just any fans. US fans have had a lot of influence over this game, which will be released in the US before Japanese fans see it. The main requests from fans were to have the ability to control the characters' ability to fly in the air and to add specific characters, while also making the combat more intense. So, the development team has been working to add depth to the combat system without complicating play.

Saiyan Overdrive System

The new combat system is described as the Saiyan Overdrive System, and it adds a number of features to the DBZ: Budokai series. The most obvious addition is the Bukujutsu Flight Mode, which allows players to fly around whenever they want, rather than waiting to be punched into the air. More subtle is the addition of specific counters. Characters can teleport behind their foes to land surprise blows, so a Teleportation Counter has been added. The Teleportation Counter allows players to turn the tables on those who blink behind them for a quick kidney punch.

Even more sophisticated is the similar, but more powerful, Teleportation Tornado Combo. The Teleportation Tornado Combo is more cinematic, and has the player making a series of counter moves. You'll see your character teleport around the screen, kicking and punching away, bashing the other fighter back and forth through the sky. The most visually engaging of the new modes is the Dragon Rush Attack. When initiated, the Dragon Rush Attack has both the attacker and defender pressing buttons to trigger different sequences of events that look exactly like the more dramatic moments from the animated show.

There are also beam fights. FI saw Goku and Teen Goku fire Kamehameha attacks at one another simultaneously, resulting in two beams that clashed in mid-air with a spreading disruption in the center. By wildly spinning the joysticks, the two fighters can drive the disruption towards one another in a sort-of reverse tug-of-war. When the clash of the two beams eventually reaches one fighter or another, that combatant suffers the ill effects of the energy attack.

More Than Fighting to This Fighting Game

Of course, combat isn't all that's changed. DBZ: Budokai 3 will have a total of forty characters. While many of them will return from the previous games, some of the characters that are particularly popular in the US will be added, such as Broly and Cooler. There will also be characters from Dragon Ball GT.

The characters will have unique animations and different styles of fighting. It's much more apparent now that the characters are different. Majin Buu, for example, hops all over the screen in a childish fashion, while Piccolo's arms can extend like tentacles across the screen. This allows battles to better capture the unique style of each character.

DBZ: Budokai 3 legitimately seems to extend the fun from previous games, with a number of improvements. Beyond the combat system and the characters, everything from the animations and auras to the backgrounds has received more attention. The backgrounds are interactive and seem more detailed than before.

Also, the buttons seem a lot more responsive than the previous iterations of the DBZ: Budokai series. We had a chance to spend some time with the game, and while button mashing is still an option, it's not necessary, and should now take second place to a considered and skilled attack. In fact, DU was kind enough to play against FI, and even kinder when he allowed FI to win in a match between Goku and Broly. From what we've seen, DBZ: Budokai 3 is promising to be even better than the previous DBZ: Budokai games.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on September 25, 2004 2:54 PM.

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