Budokai Tenkaichi: A Love Letter For Dragon Ball Fans

Budokai Tenkaichi


Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi isn’t just a fighting game; it’s a portal to the explosive world of Dragon Ball. It captured the hearts of fans for a reason, offering a unique blend of combat, a massive character roster, and an environment brimming with the series’ signature destruction. I gave Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 1, 2 and 3 a go recently, and I could see why players continue to hold Budokai Tenkaichi in such high regard, especially since the fourth title, Dragon Ball: Sparking! Zero, is said to be released soon.

Living the Dragon Ball Dream: Unmatched Character Roster

Budokai Tenkaichi
Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (image credit: Atari Community)

Budokai Tenkaichi throws open the doors to a dream Dragon Ball fight. Want to see Nappa clash with Gotenks? How about a grudge match between Krillin and Yamcha? With a roster boasting over 160 characters in later instalments, the possibilities for dream battles are endless.

From iconic heroes and villains to obscure characters from filler arcs, Budokai Tenkaichi lets the players experience any character that has ever appeared in the game at least once. It can be played even by the most casual Dragon Ball enjoyer. Mastering the unique move sets of these characters adds another layer of enjoyment, too, allowing players to truly embody their favourite fighters.

3D Arenas Unleash Dragon Ball Devastation

Purple Comet Attack performed by Burter and Jeice (image credit: Anemicne)

Plenty of Dragon Ball games are confined battles to 2D planes, but Budokai Tenkaichi throws players into sprawling 3D arenas instead. This freedom of movement allows for battles that truly capture the epic scale of the Dragon Ball universe.

Imagine blasting your opponent across a vast desert landscape, or recreating iconic moments like Goku’s Kamehameha clash with Vegeta on a crumbling cliffside.  The destructible environments add another layer of immersion as well, so that we as players can feel free to smash through buildings and alter the battlefield itself. Dodging attacks becomes a thrilling dance as players weave through crumbling structures and exploding debris, recreating that anime-like scene we so crave.

Fast-Paced Combat: Feels Like the Anime

Goku vs. Frieza in Budokai Tenkaichi 3(image credit: Anemicne)

Speaking of anime-like scenes, Budokai Tenkaichi’s combat system perfectly captures the breakneck speed and raw power of Dragon Ball fights. The controls are intuitive, allowing players to chain together combos, unleash devastating special moves, and trigger epic transformations mid-battle.

The game strikes balance between technical depth and accessibility to cater to both hardcore fighting game fans and casual players. Sure, players can cheese their way with some overly powerful (OP) characters, but in general mastering the timing of dodges, counters, and Ki blasts creates a satisfying skill ceiling. Flashy special attacks and transformations also provide enough spectacle for casual players to just enjoy the fight scenes.

Story Modes Let You Relive (or Rewrite) Dragon Ball History

Vegeta in story mode in Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (image credit: Anemicne)

The Budokai Tenkaichi series offers several story modes that let players experience iconic moments from the Dragon Ball Z timeline. What truly makes them stand out, though, is the inclusion of “what-if” scenarios. Players can rewrite history, controlling characters from different sagas as they face off against unexpected opponents.

Imagine Goku fighting alongside Frieza, or a showdown between Cell and Buu. These hypothetical battles add a layer of replayability and cater to fans’ love of Dragon Ball speculation. 

A Love Letter to Dragon Ball Fans

Beyond the core gameplay, Budokai Tenkaichi is brimming with Dragon Ball fan service.  The soundtrack is a powerful mix of iconic themes and original compositions that perfectly capture the series’ energy. Hearing those familiar tunes while unleashing a devastating special attack adds a layer of nostalgia and excitement. The game also notably features numerous unlockable costumes and alternate character forms. That way, we players can personalise our experience and recreate iconic battles with the right visual flair.

Try Out the Game if You Haven’t

Goku and Vegeta in Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (image credit: Bardock)

You can try playing the games on an emulator if you wish.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi holds a special place in the hearts of fans. Sure, some might criticise the game’s technical aspects or the repetitive nature of certain modes, but it’s a celebration of the Dragon Ball universe, and that it offers a chance to step into the shoes of iconic characters and unleash their power in a world that truly feels alive. The series may not be the most technically advanced fighting game, but its love for the source material and its focus on pure, unadulterated Dragon Ball fun is what truly sets it apart.

It’s practically a dream of Dragon Ball fans. For them, Budokai Tenkaichi remains the ultimate Dragon Ball fighting game experience. Hopefully Budoken Kentaichi 4, or Sparking! Zero as they call it, comes out soon — the trailers and gameplay reveals are exciting enough to try it out once it’s released.


  • Muhammad Hariz

    A ’00 Malaysian freelance writer for MugenMilano. Occasionally writes for fun; otherwise, going to the gym and playing video games would be the R&R for Hariz. Having a keen interest in the area of gaming and technology, Hariz’s written materials would mostly be tech-related and gaming news, particularly in adventure, horror, and fighting genre. Doesn’t stop him from writing other interesting topics, though, as long as it is worth checking out.

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