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Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension

© 1996 Bandai
© Akira Toriyama
Review by Kitsune Sniper

This game is what many of us call a true masterpiece. The final Dragon Ball Z game to appear in the SNES/Super Famicom (and one of the last games released for the system) finally fixed all the mistakes and complaints of the previous games.

It features a roster of 10 characters straight from the series, featuring 6 heroes and 4 villains, from Gokou to Freeza to Vegetto. The game features a tournament mode, a versus mode (versus another player or versus the computer), a practice mode, and a story mode. The story mode is the best one in the series: you start by fighting Freeza, then the battle against Cell, then the Fat Boo / Kid Boo saga! And if you're good enough, you just might get to the special fights where you will fight for the right to challenge the one and only... Vegetto.

Graphically, this game is the best one on the series. Period. Absolutely all of the characters are drawn very faithfully to their manga/TV counterparts, from their close-up portraits to their screen personas. The backgrounds are unbelievably detailed; it almost seems that you're looking at a photograph or a portrait. The most impressive ones are the Planet Namek and Destroyed Satan City scenes.

The fighting engine got a total makeover. Apparently, the Bandai programming team finally played their own games and realized what garbage they'd made previously. Now the game plays like a Street Fighter clone, but with some major differences. You can't go very far from your opponent like the old DBZ Shin Butouden games, and all Super Attacks (like Gokou's Kamehameha) can now be performed like a normal special attack; the action does not freeze while the character starts to perform it. This allows a faster, more intense fight. Also, you can now evade attacks similarly to the King Of Fighters series. Also 'imported' from King Of Fighters '95 are counter attacks: when you block an attack, you can counter with a special attack of your own.

You no longer have separate life and ki bars; they are now combined, so that when you perform any kind of ki attack, it drains a bit of your life.

The music is also quite good. It's fast and full of rhythm; but some songs seem out of place, like the credits song (Happy By), or the extra fights song (Heart S). It is not at all like the series' soundtrack, but more electronic and drum-based. The voices are well sampled too, since they used the real voice actors (they're even listed in the credits! ^^)

If you find this game, BUY IT! It's that good! Great music, graphics, playing style, and story (if you can read japanese, that is - I sure can't, but I know the story). Congratulations go to Bandai for finally fixing the game engine and adding great music & graphics!

Now if they could explain why the hell did Dragon Ball GT - Final Bout really sucked, I'd be happy...