Dragon Ball Z games have existed for a very long time, since before the 90s. So there are actually a lot of games to choose from, though not many of them actually left Japan. I’ve compiled a list of what I think were the top 5 Dragon Ball Z games besides Xenoverse. I figured with the release of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 this week, I’d write about some of the games I played over the years both recently and not so recently. These are my own personal favorites, and that doesn’t mean your list is wrong. I haven’t played every Dragon Ball game out there, especially not the Japan-only games. A few guidelines I set for myself; if it’s in a series of games, even if I love all of them, I can only pick one of them. It also can’t be Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1 or 2. Not because they aren’t my favorite games, because they would definitely fall into number 1 for Xenoverse 2 and number 2 for Xenoverse 1 if I didn’t have the one per series rule.
5. Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle is a mobile game. I don’t play many mobile games, but when I find one and I stick with it then I know it must be a good one. Dokkan Battle is a Puzzle-action game where you take a team of 6 Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and/or (in Japan for now) Dragon Ball Super characters with you onto a map to help solve disturbances in the time stream. It falls into the Xenoverse-type of story where you’re working with Trunks to fix time. Characters have different fighter types that are indicated by a color, such as Strike (Red), Power (Yellow), Intelligence (Purple), Technique (Green), and Agility (Blue). Using a rock-paper-scissors system, every color is strong against another and week against another while having no strength or weaknesses to the other two. Red Beats Yellow which beats Purple which beats Green which beats Blue which comes full circle and beats red.
The game does regular events that let you use Dragon Stones, an in game currency that can be earned from log-in campaign, campaign events, story quests, and with a microtransaction purchase, to summon a random character from a list of characters involved in their current event banner. When doing a quest or event you power up your character by sending them down a line of color coded Ki Orbs. If you match them to their color, such as a Red character on Red Ki Orbs, they’ll get twice as much energy as they would if they picked up any other color. Note that they can only travel down a line of Ki Orbs that are all the same color as each other, except if there is a Rainbow Ki which acts as any other color it’s behind. If you collect a certain number of Ki Orbs, your character can do a super move that does much more damage than they would otherwise. You can see which enemy is gonna be attacking where on a timeline, which you can move 3 of your 6 along to attempt to gain a color advantage, such as setting a Purple character to take a hit from a Green enemy character. There’s much and more I could talk about, but I think you should check it out yourself. It’s free on IOS and Android through their respective app stores.
4. Dragon Ball Z Attack of the Saiyans
Having come out in 2009 for the Nintendo DS, this isn’t exactly a new Dragon Ball Z title by now. But Dragon Ball Z Attack of the Saiyans had a very interesting premise. Set during the time right before the birth of Gohan and finishing up the last little bit of the original Dragon Ball series, the game ends after the confrontation with Vegeta as he and Nappa attack the planet Earth seeking immortality. It’s a top down 2-D Sprite Adventure-RPG where you control one of the original Z-fighters and complete quests. Battles are entirely turn-based RPG affairs, where you select between a basic attack, or several of the Z-fighters signature moves to utilize on attacking foes. There’s even team based attacks where your characters can do combination attacks together, such as having both Yamcha and Krillin fire off Kamehamehas on the same foe.
Take damage or lose one of your characters? Pop a potion or a senzu and get them back into the fray. As you level up your characters and progress through the game, you’ll gain AP which lets you purchase new abilities for Goku, Krillin, Yamcha, Gohan, Tenshinhan, and Piccolo. Your party can only consist of three of your fighters, though you can swap them out with any of your other characters at any time even during battle. An active guard relying on a button press adds an interesting dynamic that lets you attempt to take minimal incoming damage too. It’s available on Nintendo DS, which you can luckily still play on the Nintendo 3DS even today.
3. Dragon Ball Z Legendary Super Warriors
This game is the oldest game on my list. And one of the first, if not the first, Dragon Ball Z games I ever played. Coming out in
2002 for the Gameboy Color this game uses sprites to represent the various Z-fighters. The story follows Goku and friends as they face off against all their major villains throughout the Dragon Ball Z series, from Nappa and Vegeta to Kid Buu. This is a turn-based RPG that is played using in-game cards to utilize basic attacks which require button inputs, character specific super moves and techniques, not so character-specific techniques and support items. You start the game off using Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin. Characters such as Vegeta, Future Trunks, Kid Trunks, Goten, Gotenks and Vegito along with alternate or powered up forms are unlocked as they become relevant to the story and sometimes only if you meet certain requirements.
Once you beat the game, you can replay the game with freedom of character choice allowing for confrontations between Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Frieza or King Piccolo and Majin Buu. Fulfilling certain requirements on a second playthrough can unlock all the villains you see throughout the game too, including Nappa, the entire Ginyu Force, Frieza, Androids 16-20, Cell, Cell Jr, and all forms of Buu. You can play this game still using a Gameboy Color, Advance or Advance SP.
2. Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3
The only fighting game on my list, and many of you may have thought it’d be at the top. Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 was one of my favorite fighting games when I was younger. I played through the original 2, and while Budokai was fun and introduced a slew of cool mechanics, and 2 did… whatever it is that Budokai 2 did, Budokai 3 introduced a slew of new mechanics and characters and had a long enjoyable story mode. Honestly, there isn’t much I can say that hasn’t be spouted to the roof tops before. Characters from the start of the Dragon Ball Z series such as Raditz all the way to Omega Shenron from Dragon Ball Gt make an appearance here. With a large roster of characters only beat by Tenkaichi Budokai, this is the 2D fighter you would pick if you’re a Dragon Ball fan. Not to say that Budokai Tenkaichi 1, 2 or 3 were bad games, they just don’t make it into my top 5.
Even so I’d have to pick Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and it’d probably be in position 6 if this were a top 10 list. Just missed the bus. Budokai 3 gave characters unique combos and techniques that could be pulled off by performing a certain input of attack commands and hitting the ki blast button. Certain ultimate moves could be performed that put you and your opponent into a quick time event that would determine which of you would win if a Spirit Bomb was falling on one of you, though even if you won while having the Spirit Bomb dropped on you it would still damage you, if only a bit less than normally. It’s a fighter, you beat each other up. Not much more to it. It was available originally on the Playstation 2 in 2004, though it was released again with altered music on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 in 2012 in an HD collection alongside Budokai 1. See, everyone knows Budokai 2 was… eh.
1. Dragon Ball Z Legacy of Goku II
That’s right, my favorite Dragon Ball Z game of all time is Dragon Ball Z Legacy of Goku 2, which released for the Gameboy Advanced in 2003. This is a top down, 2D Sprite Action-RPG where you control Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Future Trunks, or Piccolo and navigate a mostly open world and fight enemies with fights, ki blasts, and super moves. Oh and you can go Super Saiyan or Super Namek in Piccolo’s case, which really only consists of him through his cloak and turban behind him. Legacy of Goku II takes place during the time directly before Frieza comes to Earth with his cybernetic enhancements looking to get revenge on Goku for humiliating him on Planet Namek and ends with the defeat of Cell by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. If you do everything right, as a completion bonus you can play as the savior who defeated Cell himself, Hercule. What a time to be alive. As you defeat enemies, you level up and make your characters stronger.
Capsules that can be used to raise your stats can be found around the world, giving you an incentive to explore and find all the goodies you can find that are tucked around the world. The game lets you fly around a world map between the locations, though you land at one particular location every time you touchdown and can’t fly when you’re in each stage. Most bosses are really boring as you just hit them around and keep them from doing things, but exploring the world and fighting enemies and growing stronger couldn’t be more fun and well done. And the music is some of the best in a handheld game. I particularly love the island stage music the most, which occurs after Trunks and Vegeta exit the Time Chamber to go and go to fight Second Form Cell. While Legacy of Goku 1 wasn’t that great, or even that fun, this game made many improvements upon the last and one of my other favorite games is the spiritual sequel that is Dragon Ball Z Buu’s Fury. It plays pretty much the same way, but I don’t like it nearly as much. It’d probably still be just under this one in my list if I let myself put it anywhere though. However, Nintendo, please listen to me, I have a mighty need for a re-release of this game. Can we please get this on the Wii U? Please? Or the Switch as a digital GBA title? Like you did with the Fire Emblem games. Love me some Fire Emblem on the GBA.
Well that’s everything on my list. I hope you enjoyed and if you haven’t tried some of the games on my list, you should definitely give them a whirl.
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