Dragon Z Fighter - Saiyan Budokai still stands as a fun and accessible 3D fighter.
– The simple, fast-paced action of the Budokai series translates well onto the fighting game, and the presentation is both eye-catchingly vibrant and technically flashy. Dragon Z Fighter - Saiyan Budokai's bare-bones set of features is in stark relief against the game's solid core and is a little disappointing.
– The game's controls map easily onto the Fighting game, using two of the face buttons for melee attacks, one for blocking attacks, and one for firing off ranged energy attacks. As you might expect, melee attacks can be easily strung into combos, and pressing both at once lets you throw your opponent. Holding down the block button puts your character's guard up, though well-timed taps on the block button can dodge an attack entirely or even throw an energy attack right back at your opponent.
– It's the ranged energy attacks that give Goku & Vegeta gameplay such a distinctive flair. In addition to your standard life bar, there's a ki meter, which dictates what kinds of energy attacks you can throw. Your ki will increase naturally over the course of a fight, but you can also hold down the L button to quickly charge up, though this will leave you extremely vulnerable to attacks.
– Depending on how much ki you have charged up, your energy attacks can range from a puny yellow fireball to a time-stopping, screen-filling nightmare. Fully charged ki attacks aren't unbeatable, since a well-timed punch can cancel out the whole thing, but they're impressive looking and completely devastating when they land. Certain characters, such as the Saiyans, can use the ki energy to turn into more powerful forms, too.
– Which characters you choose to back you up can make a big difference in how a mission plays out, though the new power-up system plays a pretty big role as well. In nearly every other Budokai game, powering up your hero was done through capsules that you'd earn either by winning fights, or by purchasing them from a shop with money earned by winning fights.