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September 22, 2004
DragonBall Z Budokai 3 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
26/11/2004AtariDimps1-2$89.95

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Nice cartoon graphics.
To many the DragonBall Z series is the greated anime ever. Indeed the DVD sales are massive proving the series has a loyal and very large fanbase. In America and Canada alone the first two titles have amassed sales of almost 6 million units! A staggering figure given that the first two titles could hardly be described as the best fighting games ever. But publishers Atari and Bandai as well as developers Dimps (who worked on the first two titles) are promising more of everything this time around including new graphics, features and gameplay.

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Check out the explosion.
Atari are promising that this third game "finally fulfills every aspect of DBZ combat, including (and especially) flight, counter-attacks, super high-speed bouts, and Ki (energy) management." DragonBall Z Budokai 3 will allow you to customise your Dragon Ball Z characters and includes heroes and villains from DBZ, DBGT, and Dragon Ball movies. As with previous games it is possible to win the battles by ringing out the opponents. There is one very welcome new feature in the game - the ability to fly. From the brief video trailer made available it looks like you will be able to fly considerable distance. For what purposes remains unknown, however it's almost certainly to do with the game modes such as Dragon Universe.

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Yep, you can now fly.
Game modes in Dragonball Z Budokai 3 include Dueling, World Tournament, Training, Skill editing and Dragon universe. Dueling is for one on one action where you can fight with a human or computer opponent using a standard or saved character that you have built up in the Dragon Universe mode. World Tournament is where you get to fight the game’s 40-odd characters for money in one of three different skill levels, Novice, Adept and Advanced. Winning tournaments earns you money (Zenie), which you can use to buy skill capsules in Bulma’s Skill Shop, thus increasing the ability of your character. You can then enter Training to practice the game’s combos and skills, working out which ones are right for your character. Dragon Universe is the game’s story mode, with a long involving plot and plenty of characters to battle and unlock.

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That's one hell of a punch.
This third game uses the same chain combo system of previous games with the addition of skills that allow massive attacks to be linked into the end of the various chain combos. From simple ‘Kamehameha’ fireballs to massive fireballs that must be built up by performing rotations of the analogue pads and various button presses. Some of these attacks fill the entire screen with amazing pyrotechnic displays of power that are typical of the awesome battles seen in the DBZ cartoons. Players can charge up energy and transform into different levels of Super Saiyan to enable new attacks, and a whole new physical look (much more ominous!).

New to this game are skills including the ability to teleport behind your opponent to avoid attacks and then counter attack them, and the ability to continually teleport and smash your opponent after any attack that knocks them backwards some distance. The second skill ends up looking like a ‘pinball effect as you smash your opponent back and forth across the arena – sort of like a game of tennis when you’re the only player and your opponent is the ball! You can even have instances where both players launch a massive fireball beam attack against each other at the same time, and here players must enter button configurations to overpower the other’s beam and inflict damage on them.

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That's spectacular lighting.
As you can see the graphics in this game really are impressive and faithful to the spirit of the TV shows. The game includes an all new aurora glow that surrounds a player when they power up or launch multiple consecutive attacks against an opponent. As you can see in some of the surrounding screenshots it is an impressive effect against the cartoon styled backgrounds and characters.

Everything is shaping up very nicely with this game and at last their may be a DragonBall Z title worthy of purchase. With a release set for November 26th in Australia you'd better start saving, or better still, pre-order from the reatailers above to avoid disappointment. This one is going to be massive.