Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22
Game Info
Official Website
ESRB Rating
The Good

• It has the Dragon Ball Z license

The Bad

• Retched graphics
• Weak and tedious fighting
• Piss-poor controls and reaction-time


Originally released in Japan in 1995 for the Playstation, this Dragon Ball Z fighter finally makes it's way to the States at what is arguably the end of the console's lifespan. If the Playstation is good and done after such a long run, then it's quite obvious that this cash-in release surely put the final nail in the coffin. There is no real story behind this game, other than that you're given the choice of 22 Dragon Ball Z licensed fighters to duke it out with. From that point, you can try and relive the fights from the cartoon, in as much as the game will let you.

When you start the game, you're given the option to fight against the computer, another player, take part in a championship mode against other players, a Build Up mode (where you take one character and fight them against others to level them up) or a Build Up Battle with another player. Any of these modes will take you to the same type of one-on-one fight. Instead of having rounds, the characters have a double life bar which needs to be worn down to defeat your foe. Underneath that is a power bar which is depleted when you throw projectile attacks. This slowly recharges on its own, but can be recharged by powering up (holding the Circle Button, which also acts a the projectile button). Punches are thrown with the Square Button and kicks are down with the X Button. Pressing the Triangle Button will raise you into the air or return you to the ground. The L1 and R1 Buttons serve as dashes.

While there are some combo moves, as with any 2D fighter, most are so slow to execute, you won't even bother with them. Of course, you'll want to try and pull off the standard Kameha-meha, but you'll probably be surprised to find that you can win more fights without using the combo moves. And, don't waste the time to try and string together any combos, as I doubt any time was spent trying to get past throwing in standard attacks to make the game playable. If it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to see what characters were Trademarked (™) and which ones were Registered (®), there would be no reason to try out all the characters as they all fight similarly.

Visually, this game is a horrid mess. The backgrounds are bland and poorly put together. While they may be build with 3D polygons, they looks so bland and shallow that they wouldn't even pass for poor 2D backgrounds from a 16-bit era game. The characters may look like their Dragon Ball Z counterparts, but since they sport so few frames, they look more like paper dolls. Projectile effects are pretty boring looking. In fact, just about everything in the graphics package is so shoddily done, I wonder how many corners were cut to get this game finished.

Audiowise, the game is pretty mediocre. Sound effects are all taken from the same small sample of really annoying yells and screams. It won't take too long before you're wanting to stab yourself in the ears to stop the inevitable ringing. The music is okay, but it suffers from repetitiveness and, in the end, doesn't feel like it has much in common with the subject material.

If you could manage to find something playable in here, the game is also hampered with tons of cheap tactics that you can implement. The shorter kid fighters tend to be cheap as you have to get low to hit them and you can easily back someone into a corner and just keep pounding the same attack buttons over and over again.

To be honest, if it weren't for the ™ and ® attached to just about everything, I'd wonder if this was actually a pirated homebrew. Why did Bandai wait this long to release it here and not spend some time making it at least playable? There are many fighters, especially 16-bit Genesis and SNES fighters that both look and play better than this game. I can't even recommend this to Dragon Ball Z fans, as a far better fighter in DBZ: Budokai is already out for the PS2. Avoid this one, even with the 20 dollar price tag.

- - Vane

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