22 selectable characters, all well known and famous among kids and youngsters, are fighting each other to win - win what, you might ask, but let’s be realistic – such questions are not to be asked when talking of beat-em-up games!
However, is there a reason for a game to take nearly 6 years from its Japanese to a European release?-Yes there is!
After Poke/Digimon it is now Dragon Ball Z’ s time to occupy youngsters minds, be it school, be it TV, card games or movies, Son Goku and his countless friends/foes are unavoidable. Since the climax of the DBZ mania in Germany has been reached it is the right time to release an old PSX game from Japan in order to keep kids entertained and cash-flow constant.
That’s about all from the marketing point of view but how about the game itself?
The list of DBZ Fighting games is long - but only a handful is worth your consideration.
Up until now three Playstation DBZ fighting games have been released: DBZ Legends, DBZ Final Bout, and last but not least DBZ Ultimate Battle 22.
The mysterious “22” in the title refers to the rather large number of selectable fighting puppets, a colourful bunch of very well known faces among DBZ fanatics. To access 5 secret characters you will have to beat the game several times.
So 22 + 5 equals a total number of 27 and leads the game’s title ad absurdum.
“An ultimate challenge in which Super Goku has to defeat various enemies”
The option menu resembles Super NES DBZ titles and above all options are scarce, 1P versus COM/2P, Tournament and “Build up”.
1P versus COM enables you to fight your way (which way?) through the living wall of 21 opponents, a hard task to accomplish due to several reasons:
1. Battles are both tough and time extensive... or let’s put it that way: tough because of time extensive battle modes.
Your character moves slowly around the virtual area, it’s hard to hit your opponent as usually he’s blocking, and if he’s not he’s up in the sky. There is no such thing as suspense, no combos and – worst of all – no action.
What’s the use of more than 7 special moves per character if you can’t even hit your opponent the way you want to?
2. Music is below average, and not in the slightest way, encouraging – the same goes for sound effects - 5 minutes are more than enough to make you get up from your comfortable chair to turn down the volume of your TV.
3. Graphics are way old-fashioned and outdated – a few plain and colourless polygon areas are all DBZUB22 offers to its youthful player. The 2D sprites could have been cut out from any SNES game, and if it was not for the slightly swifter movements nobody would even recognize it as a PSX game.
Just like in so many other Fighting Games it is possible to tune up your character by training – this mode is called “Build up”, and could have been innovative back in 1996, but not today.
Although Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Battle 22 is already 6 yeas old, this is no excuse for everlasting no-action fights, monotonous annoying music, bad graphics and an overall lack of motivation. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone, not even to hardcore DBZ fans, for there is such an huge lot of “wiser” and more entertaining ways to waste your money.