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August 25, 2005
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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Graphics look improved...
The name Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi is quite a mouthful, but there's little doubt that millions of fans around the globe will be hanging on every tidbit of information about this game which admittedly at this stage is pretty thin on the ground. The Japanese anime series has a fanatical fan base and while early games weren't too much to get excited about - especially when compared to other fighting games like Tekken or Virtua Fighter - it seems that BanDai manage to slowly improve their Dragon Ball Z titles every single year.

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...over the previous game.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi is actually the fourth game in the series on Playstation 2 (well the fifth, but DBZ Sagas was crud and never made it out to Australia anyway) and looks set to improve the game yet again with a new developer hopefully set to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

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Flying plays a major role.
Certainly one of the biggest changes to the series is that the camera is now positioned behind your character rather then on the side of the combatants. Spike are also including over 60 playable characters such as favourites like Goku, Vegeta, Frieza, Perfect Cell, and Kid Buu. This number is up from about 40 characters in the previous title, Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3. The fighing once again takes place on the land or in the air with fully destructable 3D environments, but to be honest the levels are pretty sparse and aren't littered with objects to destroy - especially when compared to other action titles on PS2.

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The backgrounds are sparse.
One very cool feature which gamers will love is the ability to customise your own character with over 10 different attributes. We haven't seen this in action yet but it's an exciting prospect at the very least. In terms of game modes Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi will include the following; single-player Dragon; two-player Versus; Ultimate Battle; Dragon Capsule; Evolution Z modes; and World Martial Arts Tournament. Most are pretty self explainatory to fans of the series but as an added bonus videos from the animated series will also be unlockable as you complete missions.

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The effects are nice.
Visually the game does look quite plain however it retains the look of the animated series quite well with some superb anime styled characters and some gorgeous visual effects. The frame rate already looks fairly solid and hopefully by release it will be rock solid. Audio should see the return of all the voice actors from the TV series, but we'll have to await confirmation on that.

This game was released as Dragon Ball Z Sparking! in Japan a recently and as expected sold in decent numbers. The switch to developers Spike, who develop the Fire Pro Wrestling title in Japan and also a very cool little game called Crimson Tears which came out in PAL territories) could be a postive for the series. While previous games showed continual improvement the were rarely better then average. Expect a release in PAL territories in time for Christmas.