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Video Game / Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi

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The fighting video game series, known as Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! in Japan, based upon the popular Shōnen manga series.

Unlike the Budokai series, which was developed by Dimps, this series was developed by Spike. The first game was PS2 exclusive, the second and third titles also found their way to the Wii.

Gameplay in this series is focused on freeform movement, literally being able to go wherever the player wanted; take cover and power up or fly right into the opponent's face, it's all your call. There were also destroyable enviroments for the players to knock each other into (or destroy on their own), which may also contain the Dragon balls. (In versus, it's health, ki, and favorite gauge restoratives from BT2 onward.)

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    Tropes present in multiple games, and/or the series as a whole 
  • Adapted Out: Zig-zagged. Bio-Broly is decidedly not included in the story modes of the games. Including 3 where the story mode has all the sagas and movies but that film. On the other hand, World's Strongest wasn't included in 2, but appeared in 3.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
    • Sparking! and Sparking! Neo uses "We Gotta Power!" and "Cha-La Head-Cha-La" as their intro themes, where as in Tenkaichi 1 has an all new original song made for the game, and 2 having "Gatebreaker" as its main theme. Averted in Tenkaichi 3, in which all versions uses "Super Survivor", though the English version got a guitar instrumental version of it instead.
    • While this is more like Alternative Foreign Soundtrack, the Japanese Sparking! trilogy re-uses the Shunsuke Kikuchi anime soundtrack whereas the North American and PAL releases has Kenji Yamamoto (Tenkaichi 1, though it just reuses some tracks from the Budokai series), Takanori Arima (Tenkaichi 2), and Toshiyuki Kishi (Tenkaichi 3) handling the games' soundtracks.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI will actually dash into beams and keep edging on opponents despite their gearing up for an attack...among other things.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Kamehameha and other charge type beams look great and do a lot of damage...but they take so long to charge that a character can easily dodge them with simple liberal use of the control stick.
    • Sometimes though, this can be circumvented by hitting the opponent with a Heavy Smash, thus stunning them for a few seconds, giving you plenty of time to charge it up to near-full power.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: In the Space stage, every character can fight on it regardless of whether or not they canonically have the ability to survive a vacuum.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: The first two games' story modes have the player always controlling the good guys (minus one specific battle in the Frieza Saga's What If? story), even in battles they canonically lose in. The third game would avert this by having them play as whoever is supposed to win.
  • Battle Intro: Plenty of specific match-ups have their own dialogue, most of them taking their lines from the anime.
  • Berserk Button: Broly can go into MAX Power just by saying Goku's (original Saiyan) name.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The explosive wave is the most common Blast 1 attack in the game, but it's a very effective and cheap defensive move when pressured.
    • Full Power Energy Wave. It's just a laser and half the cast shares the move, but it's quick, strong, and efficient.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Since this is Dragon Ball, this is to be expected. Interestingly, though, this is inverted a lot of the time; many of the attacks are named after a phrase the character says.
  • Character Customization: Ultimate Tenkaichi's Character Creator aside, all the games allow you to tweak the stats of existing characters.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Ginyu's Self-Harm Blast 1 does exactly that, but at least you get a modest boost to your stats for a little bit.
    • Tenshinhan's Ultimate Blast eats up a portion of his health at each launched blast, since the attack can be used as many times in a row as wanted.
    • Janemba's transformation into Super Janemba is the only transformation in the game that takes up a certain amount of health upon activation.
  • Charged Attack: Rush attacks and Ki blasts. some Blast 2 attacks can do this in Tenkaichi 2 and 3.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Certain transformations (mostly Oozarus) tend to be worse than their preceding forms.
  • Combo Breaker: The series has a lot of variations, but uses up Ki and the opponent can counter your counter attack, to having a Beehive Barrier sort of shield appear with a secondary Mana Meter that's not the Ki Gauge, but the delay is longer than the opponents recovery time, so you can't start a combo with it, and an easily executable knockback wave Cast from Hit Points that gives a fair chance to fight back and start a combo.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Players get a unique KO screen (with text that says "PERFECT!" overlaid over the screen) if they manage to defeat an enemy without taking any damage at all.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Most characters, such as Broly, Cell, Majin Buu, and even base form Goku's supermove that would annihilate a stage that isn't the Tenkaichi tournament, Hyperbolic Time Chamber, and simply "Alien Planet", as their Ultimate Blasts will turn both Earth and Namek into a charred wreck. Cue a Distant Reaction Shot of either planet getting destroyed.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: As entries of the games have been released, character animations have become more distinct and each blast attack are given a unique name or animation for a specific character that is based heavily on the anime scenes.
    • Raditz, for example, has a Gekiretsu Madan variant and his Rush Attack is little more than juggling the opponent in 2. 3 gives him a lone Energy Ball, and a new version of his Rush Attack where he attacks the opponent from behind.
    • Vegeta (Scouter) and Android Saga!Vegeta are also good examples of this as in the first game, they have completely identical movesets and Blasts to the point that without the scouter, one wouldn't even know who they are playing with. But by the second game, Vegeta (Scouter) received distinct Blast attacks (Such as Final Garlic Cannon and Dirty Fireworks) and both have their own transformations, making for an easier differentiation between them.
  • Fanservice: Even people who dislike the games admire the sheer amount of this put into each one of them.
  • Finishing Move: Ultimate Blast attacks.
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Downplayed. While giant combatants can still be defeated by smaller ones, they don't flinch against normal attacks and can't be harmed by (most) combo specialsnote . Attacking with Ki-based attacks, on the other hand...
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Zig-zagged. Fighters can deflect charged ki blasts and send them right back to their creator, but the latter may not fall for it and deflect the blast that was sent back out of their way.
  • Joke Character:
    • Most of the characters from the original Dragon Ball cannot fly, have lower health, and have weaker supers. Some of them lack ki blasts at all, having them replaced with a charged strong punch.
    • Hercule shares all of the weaknesses described above (although he throws rocks instead of a charged punch) with the additional weakness of being unable to flinch anyone with his uncharged punches. He is also completely useless against even the weakest of giant characters.
    • Videl is a more downplayed version, but her ki blasts are almost completely useless — even when charged — and she only has rush specials that do low damage. And like her father, she is completely useless against even the weakest of giant characters.
  • Kamehame Hadouken: It comes with the territory. A large percentage of characters have one, even if it's only the generically named "Full Power Energy Wave".
  • Ki Manipulation: Comes with the territory. Most Blast 2 and Ultimate Blasts are these.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • In spite of Hercule's flaws, he does have the advantage of having a near perfect counter in his "Present Bomb" technique: any character in range will automatically pick it up, even if they are attacking. This even stops rush moves in their tracks. A good player can strategically use this along with his somewhat fast charging speed to No-Sell an opponent's strategy.
    • Videl may have really weak attacks, but she charges super fast and her rushes come out near instantly. By the time her foe has come out of hitstun, she can usually use another.
  • Limit Break: MAX POWER mode.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Tenkaichi 1 had a pretty ordinary roster size for a fighting game, but 2 has 129 characters and 3 has 161.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class:
    • Meta-Cooler and Androids, with the exception of Cell, cannot charge Ki traditionally, and have to wait until the gauge fills up on its own to charge their Limit Break. Gero and Android 19 function slightly differently from other Androids, in that their gauge stops filling after a certain point, forcing them to either steal energy from their opponent by grabbing them, or absorb ki attacks thrown by their opponent (including specials). In addition, they are all immune to the "Drain Life" attack used by Androids 19 and 20 as well as Cell, and they cannot be sensed by Ki or Scouter.
    • Many of the human level characters, such as Mr. Satan, Nam, Tao Pai Pai, or Kid Goku, lack the ability to fly, instead trying to stay in the air, and a few introduced in 3 even lack Ki attacks, instead having a chargeable stun attack, along with the characters having no aura. 3's character customization allows you to circumvent the inability to fly by equipping a "Flight" Potara, as well as adding an aura.
  • Moveset Clone: Zigzagged. A number of the Oozaru/Great Ape characters are copies of each other, sharing a lot of abilities, namely rock throwing or mouth blasts. Fasha, Scouter!Vegeta, King Vegeta, and Baby Vegeta though, have their own distinct specials and moves. In Baby Vegeta's case, he's also much faster than the other Oozaru characters, on top of sharing the super armor and sheer power the other characters do.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Everything in the game. The most obvious examples are certain characters' rush attacks, which are often straight adaptations of combos performed by the character within the show, but how a character moves and fights is more often than not altered to match the show. For example, Super Vegito will mostly use his legs to attack because that's what he did when he fought Buu. Or Vegeta will headbutt like he did to Goku as Majin Vegeta. Piccolo's animation for his fully charged ki blast resembles the attack he used on Raditz at the very beginning of the series. It's jaw dropping how many details the developers worked into the game.
    • Furthermore, whenever using either Piccolo (Junior) or Supreme Kai in the World Tournament modes in any game, the VS splash screen will display their names as "Majunior" and "Shin" respectively, said names being the pseudonyms they went under during the tournament episodes they debuted in.
  • No-Sell: Individual game mechanics aside, skills such as Saiyan Soul and False Courage will increase defense to the point that this is invoked with the buffed character taking the damage dealt by the attacks but otherwise being completely unaffected until either the buff expires or a certain threshold of damage is reached, which makes the technique fail automatically.
  • Not Quite Flight: Certain characters, namely most of the ones from the original Dragon Ball cannot actually fly in 2, and instead struggle to stay in the air, and fall after a certain amount of time. 3 keeps this limitation, but features an item that can cancel it.
  • Old Save Bonus: Budokai Tenkaichi 1 had a password machine that allowed the player to use custom characters created in Budokai 3. Budokai Tenkaichi 2 rewarded players with a Budokai Tenkaichi 1 save file on their memory card with 100000 Zenny, that game's (and the next one's) currency. The PS2 version of Budokai Tenkachi 3 allowed players to access one specific mode from each of the first two games using the Disc Fusion feature.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In these games, Kid Goku and Raditz can take on Majin Buu and Broly on relatively even footing.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The Japanese Sparking! version reuses the anime's Japanese score, rather than having the original composition that was used in the Tenkaichi international versions.
  • Shows Damage:
    • Typically, the amount of dealt damage (and optionally, the combo meter) will show to the side of the character dealing the blows.
    • In Budokai Tenkaichi 2, dropping below 20000 HP (yellow health bar with brown background, one green gauge glowing) will make the character adopt a "damaged" animation. Smashing him onto the ground or hitting him with any energy-based Blast 2 / Ultimate Blast will let real signs of damage appear, as a completely new texture takes over. However, if the character somehow heals beyond that threshold (such as in Training Mode, with some real hard beatdown), he will stay in his torn clothes, only reverting back to his "healthy" stance.
    • Budokai Tenkaichi 3 differs in two ways :
      • The threshold for entering "damaged" stance is 10000 HP. The clothing isn't affected, so a fighter can be thrown around, be struck by several blasts, or even die, and still have his clothing intact.
      • Rush Ultimate Blasts (such as Super Saiyan 3 and 4 Goku's Dragon Fist) will lead to the opponent adopting their damaged clothing. However, as pointed out, if their health is above 10000, they will still come back up as if they were just brought down to the ground. Energy-based Blast clashes (say, Galick Gun vs. Final Flash) will end up tearing the loser's clothes as well.
      • Common to the two games, as to express how dire the situation is for them, the characters will speak one-liners after the first time they are laid in the ground with their clothes damaged.
  • Sword Beam: Some sword-wielding fighters, i.e. Trunks and Yajirobe, have this as a basic charged ki blast or a Blast 2. They're unblockable by regular guarding.
  • Taking You with Me: Chiaotzu, Saibamen, Majin Vegeta, Semi-Perfect Cell and Android 16's Ultimates involve them blowing themselves up. Only Vegeta can use his own "freely", as the others need to grab the opponent first.
  • Water Is Air: In-series we've had a couple of scenes with characters seemingly floating and even charging attacks underwater, so it makes more sense than you'd think at first.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: For all their size, giant characters are just as vulnerable to beams as everyone else, and their large size leave them unable to dodge as effectively.
    • They sorta make up for it by being immune to grab and rush attacks.
  • What If?: All the games have this to some extent. In some, there are What If? battles, in others, whole What If? stories, but in all of them, you can get different scenes/quotes in story mode if you win fights under circumstances you're not supposed too.

    Budokai Tenkaichi 1 
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In the opening cinematic, Piccolo takes a painful-looking punch from Cell in the gut - then grabs his arm and smirks as Gohan hovers into view, charging a Kamehameha.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Aside from the Polygon Ceiling all warriors inevitably bumped their head on, there a a bunch of differences that made the first Tenkaichi game stand out as the experimental transition from Budokai's 2D roots:
    • There are no team battles, which means there are also no mid-battle fusions.
    • You can't transform mid-battle.
    • You only have one health bar, as opposed to the Budokai games and future titles giving you at least two to start and expand upon.
    • Rush-based Finishing Moves has infinite range, as opposed to later titles where characters would only dash a certain distance before stopping.
    • Goku has to be in Kaioken mode to use the Kaioken Attack
    • Bardock doesn't have his signature Final Revenger or Final Spirit Cannon attacks.
    • Movie based Sagas only has one fight, and only four was adapted (Cooler's Revenge, Bojack Unbound, Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan, and Fusion Reborn). Not only that, but Goku isn't even a Super Saiyan when fighting Final Form Cooler.
    • GT sagas also had one fight, and only two was adapted (The Baby Saga and the Super 17 Saga. Despite SSJ4 Gogeta being in the game, Omega Shenron was not, thus the Shadow Dragon Saga was excluded from the Z Battle Gate)
    • Only in What-If sagas were you allowed to play as the villains.
    • Certain characters that would've been logically obtained by playing the story mode were locked behind the Item Fusion menu. This included characters like Full Power Frieza and Super Vegito.
    • You can infinitely spam the combo Ki Wave attack, allowing you to cheese through certain fights.
    • The Heavy Smash command was mapped to the X button following a Rush Attack, as opposed to later games where it could be activated by Square, Triangle or square, square, square, square, Triangle. Like the Ki Wave, this can also be infinitely spammed.
    • You have to build up your combo in order to get a full charge, which varies depending on the character in question.
    • You couldn't charge up moves like the Kamehameha or the Special Beam Cannon.
    • Everyone could only carry 3 Blast Stocks max.
    • Only Beam VS Beam and Rush VS Rush struggles were possible, as beam attacks could instantly pierce through any energy ball attacks. Not only that, but you were invincible when firing your energy attacks.
    • Your Ki gauge wasn't split into five bars like in the later games.
    • Having your charge interrupted when trying to enter MAX Power/Sparking mode would reset the blue MAX gauge back to 0, forcing you to charge it back up again.
    • You have to enter an onscreen button combination to recover from an attack that sent you flying.
    • You have to wish for Kid Goku, Master Roshi, General Tao, The Great Ape and Great Ape Vegeta (Scouter) using the Dragon Balls, unlike later games where you could unlock them by playing through the story mode.
    • You have to wish for the option to use Password characters. You're only allowed one password character (as opposed to later games giving you 10 slots worth of password characters) and the passwords has to come from Budokai 3
    • Scrolling through certain characters transformations reveals transformations that would eventually be split off into their own character slot, such as Majin and SSJ4 Vegeta being listed under base Vegeta, and Mecha Frieza being listed under 1st Form Frieza.
    • Not a single Ultimate Move is capable of destroying the arena.
    • Dying Namek is not in the game.
    • Department of Redundancy Department was in effect, with Super Vegeta being labeled as Super Vegeta [Super Saiyan], same with Perfect Cell (Labeled as Perfect Cell [Perfect Form]) and SSJ4 Gogeta (Labeled as Super Gogeta [Super Saiyan 4]). Later games would labeled them as simply Super Vegeta, Cell [Perfect] and Gogeta [Super Saiyan 4].
    • The game randomly chose the battle music for you, unlike in previous games where songs were linked to certain stages/story battles, and in later games where you could freely choose which song to fight to.
    • Unlike in other games where the story mode is narrated by Kyle Hebert, the Z-Battle Gate in this game is narrated by Sean Schemmel using his King Kai voice.
  • Inconsistent Dub: A variation in the sense that not every line was dubbed. Trunks' Japanese voice can be heard when launching his Finish Buster ultimate, SSJ4 Goku speaks in Japanese after wining against SSJ4 Vegeta, and Kid Buu is permanently locked to his Japanese voice outside of story mode.
  • Mighty Glacier: The two Oozaru characters. Without the advanced fighting combos of later games, they were all but invincible.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: For the international release, the game lifts songs from the original Budokai trilogy.
  • Third-Person Person: Mr. Popo talks this way in the game, retaining his original speech pattern from the Japanese anime and manga. This is the only English media where it’s present.
  • What If? In this game: Galactic Tyrant: Frieza defeats Goku and goes on to knock Cooler down a few pegs; The Ultimate Android: Cell beats Gohan and later fights Super 17; The Destructive Majin: Buu destroys the world and later fights Janemba; The Plan to Conquer Earth: The villains actually defeat the Z-fighters; and The Revenge of the Saiyans: The Saiyans rally together to kill Frieza.
  • Victory Is Boring: After killing everyone in his What-If scenario, Super Buu goes insane from having nobody left to fight or even talk to.

    Budokai Tenkaichi 2 
  • Badass Boast: Nearly half of the entrance and exit quotes, and the taunts.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The last battle of Raditz's what-if story pits him against his father while he's losing consciousness.
  • Berserk Button: In Raditz's What If? story, he flies into a rage and suddenly becomes a competent warrior when Piccolo calls him a weakling.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A particular problem in BT2's story mode where practically 75% of fights in Story mode more or less demanded a win, yet showed the "winning" character exhausted and whining about his unharmed opponent being too strong.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • In the story mode, Piccolo vs Raditz, Gohan and Krillin vs Dodoria, and Goten vs Gohan are battles that the player is supposed to lose, and if it's his first time playing those battles, likely will lose. Winning them is optional.
    • However, in the Buu Saga, the player eventually controls, of all people, Hercule, against Android 18 in a World Tournament stage.
    • Ditto in the Cell Saga, as he finds himself pitted against Semi-Perfect Cell for the Cell Games opener. This, however, is a Time-Based Mission, and the game explicitly requests to stay alive until time runs out.
  • Level Up:
    • If the player equips an attribute-enhancing Z Item to a character (such as +3 Health or so), and repeatedly fights with it, this item gains in efficiency as well. Since Goku is the one taking part of most (if not all) of the battles, starting off with basic +1 enhancers will inevitably lead to a One-Man Army. The enhancement's consequences can be seen when replaying any early mission.
    • The characters themselves are given a certain "level" which is the sum of their attributes, so any non-enhanced character will be at level 8, since there are 8 attributes at level 1. Each attribute can be raised to 20, making the level cap 160. Enter level 255 CPUs.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: A double subversion occurs, as Zarbon manages to set Frieza and Cooler against each other in his what-if story. Later on, Frieza finds out about Zarbon manipulating the events and confronts him, only for a mook to appear and inform him that Cooler has arrived, forcing Frieza to go face his brother.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Oozaru Baby and Broly.
  • Luminescent Blush: 18 sports one of these if you win in Tournament Mode.
  • Practical Taunt: several items provide various bonuses if the player taunts the opponent in the appropriate conditions.
  • Regional Bonus: The PAL and Japanese Wii ports got 5 extra characters (Appule, a Frieza Soldier, King Piccolo, Pilaf and Cyborg Tao.)
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: This game went the most overboard with the planet-frying attacks. 3 toned it back down slightly.
  • Taunt Button: Pressing L1 and up allows the character to taunt their opponent. Their Awesome, but Impractical aspect can be removed by equipping a Z item that makes them useful.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: by the end of the Raditz What-if story, he spares Goku's life despite having the chance to kill him. Lampshaded by Piccolo, saying that Raditz "became soft".
  • What If?: Three stories. What If? Raditz lost his memory when coming to Earth, like Goku did? What If? Zarbon betrayed Frieza and wanted the Dragon Balls for himself? What If? Goku and Vegeta focused on their rivalry instead of fighting Majin Buu? They're all unlocked by winning otherwise unwinnable fights.
    • And, a first for the series, What If? characters. Specifically, Oozaru forms of Saiyan characters who never had one on-screen before (Raditz, Nappa and Turles)

    Budokai Tenkaichi 3 
  • Adapted Out: Bio-Broly is the only serial movie excluded from the game.
  • Character Customization: Tenkaichi 3 lets you equip 'Strategy' items, that cause A.I.s of your custom characters to fight a certain way, such as focusing on defense, or focusing on using blast attacks from a distance.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Some Z-Items raise specific attributes starting from when the character takes 10 000 HP in damage. The more he's damaged, the more the buff is effective. Each attribute (attack, speed, defense, ki) benefits of one item, and they only take up a slot out of a maximum of 7 each, so they can easily be assembled together.
  • Composite Character:
    • Android 8 is based primarily on his incarnation from the original Dragon Ball, but some of his moves appear to be taken from The Path To Power, and one of his alternate outfits uses the film's blue and orange coloration.
    • Android 17 can wear the jacket from his Hell Fighter 17 incarnation, but for gameplay purposes, he's treated as just regular 17.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Goku, after having his entire range of abilities for the first two games, even ones he eventually just stopped using, has been split into "Early", "Middle", and "End", which all have abilities and transformations he'd have had at the time (Saiyan Saga, Namek Saga, and Cell-Buu Saga, respectively).
    • Adult Gohan was used to represent Future Gohan in 2. 3 has Future Gohan proper as an unlockable character with a more distinct moveset.
  • Fountain of Youth: Invoked if you pit GT Goku against Chi-Chi: Goku will wonder if his wife "got smaller" too. Chi-Chi acting much more similar to her adult self by calling Goku a troublemaker seems to confirm it.
  • Game Mod: Tenkaichi 3 has a very active modding community, including fan-made characters and transformations as well as adapting future sagas such as the Battle of Gods and Universal Survival Sagas. The only downside is that you have to be very fluent in Spanish to enjoy the story mods and certain characters.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • In the original series, Devil Man's Devilmite Beam only works if there are negative thoughts in the target's mind. In the game, it deals damage, but it depends on the character: the more evil they are, the higher the damage dealt. If the target happens to be pure of heart, nothing happens.note 
    • While you can't otherwise make a team full of the same character, you can make full teams of Saibamen, Cell Juniors, and Meta-Coolers, which reflect the former two's expendable status in canon, and the latter's abilities derived from the Big Gete Star.
    • A character with an Oozaru transformation that never demonstrated the ability to create an artificial moon needs to be playing on a night variant of a stage (which all have the full moon visible) to transform.
  • Guest Fighter: Arale Norimaki.
  • Idle Animation: Each character can only enter this animation once, which doubles as a taunt. In other words, if the character is idle long enough, they will taunt.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Completing a Tournament in World Tour Mode (where the tournament chosen cycles through 5 types depending on the in-game time) can net you different prizes like extra characters or arenas depending on the difficulty you beat it on. However, the difficulty is chosen for you at complete random, so you have to constantly shift the time forward until you get to the tournament you want and maybe the difficulty you want as well.
    • Yamcha's Game is a less-complicated example, as the game randomly chooses the character for you. Better pray to Grand Kai that you get someone like Goku or Pikkon and not someone like Yajirobe or Pilaf.
  • Marathon Level: Survival Mode, which contrary to most usages of modes named that, ends after fifty opponents. Of course, that's fifty opponents in a game where the most you can have in any other mode is five.
  • Morality-Guided Attack: The Devilmite Beam, which will not hurt Kid Goku at all but can one-shot Big Bad-level villains.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. In the story mode, you play as whatever character is supposed to win that fight, this includes Frieza, Broly, and others.
  • No-Sell:
    • Certain characters will have weak energy blasts bounce off by being in MAX power.
    • A Red Potara makes it so the most powerful Kamehameha from the most powerful characters in MAX power mode will only do two digits in damage. In a game where a health bar is 10,000 points.
    • Perfect Guard does this to anything that is blockable.
    • This is the effect of the Devilmite Beam on someone purehearted like Goku.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Red Potara CPU characters that require secret passwords to unlock. Needless to say, they can become quite the SNK Boss if you decide to fight against them. They all have the following Yellow Potara abilities:
    • Health +30000
    • All stats +3
    • Sturdy Body (won't be easily stunned)
    • Will also easily stun opponents
    • Guard Crushes remove a huge amount of Ki
    • Also, can't be Guard Crushed
    • Health and Ki are slowly recovered
    • Ki charges ultra fast
    • All 4 power ups
    • Vanish Attack/Dragon Homing +2
    • Blast 1 costs -1
    • Blast 2/UB/Ki Blasts costs half
    • Various movements will cost no Ki at all (Dragon Dashes, for instance)
    • Movements whose costs aren't nullified will only cost half Ki
    • Auto Afterimage while in Max Power
    • Takes no damage while guarding
    • Gains huge advantage in Clashes
    • Dodging a barrage type Blast once makes the character dodge the rest automatically.
    • And probably the most overpowered ability of them all, the ability to finish an opponent off with a single Blast 2 attack, dealing 99 999 damage.
  • Shout-Out: The plot of BT3's What If? starring Androids 8 and 16 is very similar to the plot of Terminator 2: Judgment Day — An evil army/scientist (Dr. Gero/Skynet) sends a robot (Android 16/The T-1000) back in time to kill the younger form of a hero (Goku/John Connor), but another robot (Android 8/T-800) protects him. Only difference is that 16 undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and survives.
  • Situational Damage Attack: While most attacks are either fixed or charged, the damage of Babidi's Ultimate Blast depends on the amount of successful grabs beforehand, and Devilman's depends on the Character Alignment of the opponent — if they're more evil, they take more damage. Hercule's Dynamic Mess Up Punch will randomly either do 5000 or 1 damage.
  • We Have Reserves: In his movie, Meta-Cooler is mass-produced by the Big Gete Star. As such, he's one of the few characters that can be picked repeatably in Team Battle.
  • What If?: Four battles: What if Goku and Arale had a friendly match? What if Dr. Gero sent Android 16 back in time to kill Kid Goku? What if Bardock actually managed to rally a Saiyan resistance against Frieza? What if Devilman confronted Mecha Frieza's crew when they invaded Earth at the beginning of the Android Saga?

    Tenkaichi Tag Team 
  • Moveset Clone: A common cause of the game's lackluster reviews; all characters have the exact same gameplay that Budokai Tenkaichi has.
  • Word Sequel: Word of God said that every fourth game will have a different title from the others, which may have resulted in fans not accepting it as part of the series.

    Ultimate Tenkaichi 
  • A.I. Breaker: Almost all AI opponents will become completely helpless if you stay directly above them at blast range, allowing you to bombard them with Ki Manipulation at will. Most characters' shots can't hit straight up at all and the the few that can won't get too many hits in compared to you shooting down (although, some characters can't shoot down all that well, either). The AI is too stupid to fly up to you or run farther away to aim.
  • Background Boss: The giant boss battles function like this. You either have to throw Ki blasts at them when they are far away, or wait for them to do a melee attack so you can attack them directly.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: The first fight against Omega Shenron is supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight. He's got a ton of health and hits like a ton of bricks. However, for whatever reason they decided to make it possible to beat him (possibly due to gameplay limitations, or maybe just laziness). The following scene still plays out the same way regardless of if he curbstomped you or vice-versa.
  • Character Customization: Yes, that's right. Before Dragon Ball Xenoverse, this game is the first Dragon Ball Z fighting game to feature character customization, allowing players to create their own characters (albeit limited to Saiyan males of three body types).
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: After defeating Omega Shenron, no matter how badly you beat him and no matter how high your stats are, he'll strip you of the Dragonballs you've gathered, re-scatter them, then vanish, forcing you re-find the Dragonballs and re-fight most of the missions. Witness Lanipator's Angrish filled reaction to this here.
  • It Amused Me: In the "Hero Mode", the reason the Earth gets thrown into chaos with the Black Star Dragon Balls is because Omega Shenron thinks, quote, "peace is boring". Finding out that all of this destruction and suffering is for such a frivolous reason is what pushes the custom character to his Rage Breaking Point and allows him to turn Super Saiyan.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: The US version only dubbed new dialogue, but recycled voice clips for the grunts from previous games. This is actually normal, but it was jarring here since it was right after some voices had changed, meaning some characters (such as Gohan, Frieza, Android 18, Ginyu, Burter, Jeice, etc) have separate voice actors for dialogue and grunts/screaming/attack calls.
  • Spectral Weapon Copy: Custom characters don a spectral sword in order to use Future Trunks', Janemba's, and Dabura's special attacks. Oddly, this is even the case if they have a physical sword equipped.
  • To Create a Playground for Evil: The Big Bad of "Hero Mode" used the Dragon Balls to make the world a hellhole, purely for his own amusement. At one point, your character meets the Androids, who like the world as a hellhole and in fact are looking for the Dragon Balls so they can make it even worse.

Alternative Title(s): Dragon Ball Z Sparking


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