Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 3

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 3

dbzub221ps1.jpg (42201 bytes)Ever start playing a video game and then suddenly burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter? Welcome to Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22, a game so hilariously bad, you'll be on the floor in no time. Just about every aspect of this one is completely broken making this one a total bust from the start.

From the options screen after a seizure inducing intro, you'll have a surprising amount of modes to choose from. You can tackle either a one-player arcade mode, two-player versus, tournament, and the surprisingly innovative "build up." This lets you fight in matches with the same character to build up strength and then take them into battle against your friends built up fighter. Of course, this does require you to actually find someone else who will play this junk rendering this feature almost useless.

Once into the battlefield, you'll be treated to this games glorious 1-on-1 fighting engine, something so shoddy, it doesn't even has aspects of fighting games from the 8-bit area. Combos? Rare. 2-in-1's? Ha! Turbo speed? Nada. Precise and responsive control? Yeah, right. The controls are set up to give you a punch, kick, and fireball button. Yep, every character can fling fireballs at the touch of a button. You also have the magical ability to fly in the air and rain down firepower or have your opponent come up to continue the fight. Nice feature, but it's a shame the battles on the ground are the same as in the air.

The "22" in the title apparently comes from the number of selectable characters (We can only pray this is not the 22nd sequel in some long running series). Oddly (and baffling), you can unlock five other characters. How? Simple. Just look in the instruction book. The code is on page 20. There is no other way to unlock them and every time you turn the console off, you'll have to re-enter the code. In the long run, this is probably for the better since you have to slaughter all the characters in the arcade mode in one sitting to actually beat the game.

dbzub222ps1.jpg (43009 bytes)As if the entire experience couldn't get any worse, the graphics here are primitive. We're talking "early 16-bit" primitive. Sure, the backgrounds are polygonal, but most are composed of a single color. One abysmal stage has a completely flat grey background and sky with only a small temple... that's also mostly gray. There are a few decent backdrops (for a first-gen PS One game at least) including a fair cityscape and arena, but this the limit of the engine. The characters are all 2-D sprites and look entirely out of place with their choppy animation. Don't bother looking for lighting effects or anything along these lines. You won't find any.

Admittedly, some of the music here is pretty catchy. I'm not sure if it comes from the show or not (I'm the furthest thing from a fan you'll find), but you'll most likely be humming these tunes after playing this one. The annoying high-pitched voices on the characters is grating, but the music will calm you down after a while.

The PS One most certainly had it's share of awful software, but a game like this being released this late in the systems life is downright embarrassing. This serves no purpose on the system (or any system for that matter) and even die-hard fans of the series will have a rough time finding enjoyment. What's even more stupid is that this one actually managed a nationwide TV ad campaign. A lot of potentially classic games coming out currently don't even get that much.


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Last updated: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 11:46 PM