NINTENDO DS REVIEW: DRAGON BALL Z: SUPERSONIC WARRIORS 2
Dragon Ball Z Supersonic Warriors 2
Excellent tutorial
Good production values
Two player Wi-Fi
Repetitive
On the shallow side

DBZ superfans will get more out of this than the average gamer. by Cole Smith

December 20, 2005 - If you are starting to get weary of the Dragon Ball Z series then Supersonic Warriors 2 is going to do nothing to rejuvenate your enthusiasm. This sequel is so close to the original Supersonic Warriors that it feels like they are nothing more than unlocked modes of the GBA game.

It was a real chore at first getting through this game to do the review. The button mashing control system gives you very little vested interest in the combat. One can't argue that the game is fast paced and at first the button mashing appears to be the appropriate natural reaction to combat. It's only later in the game that we become more confident in our abilities and want a little more depth. The fighters do get more difficult as you progress but this isn't depth, it's just more difficult.

Anyone familiar with the Dragon Ball Z series knows that the basic premise is fighting. The combat takes place in various environments taken from the TV show and the fighting occurs on land, over sea and in the air. There are no links or combos which makes for a very shallow fighting system. All fighters respond to the exact same control scheme although they have different strengths and weaknesses. Characters have the ability to use hand-to-hand combat as well as energy attacks. Goku for instance has incredible energy attacks while his melee attacks are rather weak. Vegeta has very powerful hand-to-hand attacks with weak energy.

Not all fighters are equal in strength. Like an RPG they have different points assigned to their powers. You can have up to three characters under your control in all modes except the Story mode but they can't exceed a specific number of points. That's to keep you from having all strong characters in your stable. You can start with one very strong character or three weak ones. Or you could try one weak one and a medium-powered character. Later in the game you can expand the points to include one strong, one medium and one weak character. You can swap these guys on the fly.

Blocking is facilitated by the B button and unlike previous games it's not a timed move. It will always work for you if you press the B button but each time you use it a meter will fill and when it's reached capacity you will be unable to block the blows and you'll suffer some damage. You can also swap fighters tag-team style on the fly. If one fighter is getting low on health you can swap him for a fully-loaded character. You might find that a particular fighter is better suited for the current enemy. Groups of characters can even be combined to unleash a devastating group attack.

One of the better is the tutorial mode. It's presented in a story fashion that lets you experience the various powers of the characters while performing light missions. Here you will learn how to access strong and weak attacks, energy attacks, blocking, swapping and throwing. The controls are very responsive but that brings me to the dual screen and touch control which is not very well integrated.

All of the action takes place on the top screen and the controls are relegated to the bottom. It appears that this game was intended for release on the GBA and then abruptly diverted to the DS with a few tweaks here and there to make some use of the DS's capabilities. It wasn't very well thought out. By using the touch screen you have to memorize the positions of the touch areas since taking your eyes off the main screen can cause you to lose your concentration. In such cases it would be preferable to use physical buttons so you could access them by feel. Eventually you do get used to it but it can be frustrating for the first few hours.

A "What If" scenario is available in the Story mode. You'll fight different characters from the series including friends. You can't select the characters that you fight or fight as in this mode. Each has a different story that you have to explore. The only way you can do this is by completing various objectives and unlocking different branches of the story that are located on a grid. Some of the objectives include defeating the opponent within a specific time period, defeating them with a Perfect Victory, defeating them with a Special K.O. or just having the most health left at the end of a bout.

Almost all of the unlockables are found in the Story mode including special attacks, new characters and the ability to become a super Saiyan. All of these unlockables can then be used in the other modes which include Free Mode, Battle Mode, Z-Battle and Maximum. The two-player mode requires two copies of the game. You are limited to the Verses mode. Each player can use up to 12 points but you can only access characters that you've unlocked in the Story mode. It plays real smooth and might be worthwhile for fans of the series although it's unlikely that it will stimulate the average gamer.

The sprites are bit too small. They are colorful enough and look good but at times the camera is too far away to make them stand out. The environments are well done with 3D backgrounds that add some much-needed visual depth. Sound effects, music and voiceovers have been captured from the original TV show but it's presented in drips and drabs. Still, it's a nice touch and will keep fans of the show "in touch" with their favorite characters.

Dragon Ball Z's first appearance on the DS is not what I would consider a special occasion. It's a deluxe version of the GBA title and not a heck of a lot more. If you're a diehard DBZaholic you might get more out of than most.

Features:

  • Utilizing the Nintendo DS touch screen and double-monitor system brings the intensity of Dragon Ball Z battles to life.
  • Goku fights through an all-new challenge in the portable realm.
  • The game also offers unique DBZ plotlines and intriguing "what-if" scenarios.
  • Switch between characters on the fly
  • Two-player Wi-Fi Mode

By Cole Smith
CCC Staff Writer

Rating out of 5
Dragon Ball Z Supersonic Warriors 2 (DS)
3.3
Graphics
Looks like the TV show but only from a distance. The sprites could be bigger.
3.5
Control
More moves would give this game more depth. The controls are responsive and tight, perfect for button mashing if that's what you like.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Sound clips taken from the TV show include voiceovers, sound effects and musical themes. Could always use more of them but the card is limited in size...
4.0
Online
The multi-player components are a bit of a novelty but a good addition nonetheless.
3.8
Play Value
You'll probably be bored by the end of the Story mode but the two-player mode will give you a bit of a boost.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: DS
Dev: Banpresto
Pub: Atari
Released: Dec 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Cole Smith

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best