There have been many video games based on anime TV series. When playing a game based on their favorite anime, fans look for something that replicates the experience of watching their favorite show. Dragon Ball has had many video games dating back to the 1980s. While some have utterly failed to capture the fast-paced martial arts spectacle of the series, several have managed to recreate the feeling viewers get.
The Dragon Ball franchise has some of the most intense fights in anime. Whether it’s a fighting game or an action RPG, fans look for a game that can match that intensity blow for blow and ki blast for ki blast.
10 Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden
Street Fighter II took the world by storm in the early ’90s with its innovative gameplay. Toshihiro Suzuki capitalized on this and created a Dragon Ball Z fighting game: Super Butoden. This was the first fighting game based on the Dragon Ball franchise.
Despite a limited roster, Super Butoden brought the heat with fast-paced action and even a split screen into this combat affair. The game features flight as well as ki blasts. It’s not the best fighting game in the franchise, but Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden was fans’ first experience with fighting just like in the show.
9 Dragon Ball Z: The Legend
PlayStation One, Sega Saturn
Dragon Ball Z: The Legend was the series’ first plunge into 3D fighters, predating even Budokai. The game featured free roaming through 3D environments and had combat similar to Super Butoden. The game also had a large roster for the time: 35 combatants.
Fights in Dragon Ball Z: The Legend can be one-on-one fights or involve up to teams of three. Characters can be swapped out at any time to fight the other team. The Sega Saturn version was released in France, Portugal, and Spain, but not the United States. It came along a little early for English-speaking fans to enjoy.
8 Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku
Game Boy Advance
Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku was the first in a trilogy of Game Boy Advance games from Webfoot. The game was an action RPG that followed Son Goku and friends through the events of the Dragon Ball Z anime series. Gamers would go through various environments, beating up enemies and leveling up to increase their stat points.
The first game in the series covered the first two major sagas while the other two games followed the Cell and Buu Sagas, respectively. The first game received mixed reviews upon release, but it was still fairly popular among Game Boy Advance owners. Legacy of Goku gave fans a glimpse of what an action-packed DBZ game was like.
7 Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans was an RPG adapting the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai and Saiyan story arcs of Dragon Ball. The game involves both exploration and turn-based battles. Players trek across a map and use ki to blow up obstacles in their path.
The typical RPG elements are present in Attack of the Saiyans. Gamers fight enemies in a turn-based format and gain experience, which is used to level up and get stronger. Getting stronger is necessary on the maps since some obstacles require stronger ki blasts to clear.
6 Dragon Ball Xenoverse
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows
Dragon Ball Xenoverse was one of the first Dragon Ball games to include character creation. In this game, the player character must travel through time along the Dragon Ball timeline to solve anomalies and changes. The player goes through all of Dragon Ball, correcting the timeline so that the future runs smoothly.
The combat in Xenoverse is excellent. The player character can learn a ton of moves from Dragon Ball characters through training. Dragon Ball Xenoverse is one of the best Dragon Ball games to ever exist, and it’s because it feels just like the anime.
5 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
PlayStation 2, Wii
The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series is probably the most popular series of Dragon Ball games. It was vital in furthering Dragon Ball‘s popularity in the West. Budokai Tenkaichi 3 was the culmination of all those games. The game featured all sorts of things from all across Dragon Ball up to that point.
The roster was stacked and featured characters from the movies, the original Dragon Ball anime, and even Dragon Ball GT. The environments were destructible and came straight from the source material. The game even had online play, which was revolutionary at the time.
4 Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo was a Dragon Ball game that took place during the original anime. It followed Goku through the Red Ribbon Army and Piccolo sagas. Players would beat up enemies on screen in a beat-em-up-style adventure.
This game was an action-adventure affair as opposed to most Dragon Ball games. The combat is simple combos and ki blasts. The Heads-Up Display features HP and ki, as one might expect. Gamers get through levels as they fight villains and bosses.
3 Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension
Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension was a fighting game for the Super Nintendo. The game has a limited roster but makes up for it in presentation. The game’s sprites are amazing for a Super Nintendo game. The fight animations are also stellar.
Hyper Dimension has some improved features over Super Butoden. It features “beam struggles”: struggles against ki blasts when two fighters attack at the same time. Additionally, both health and ki are the same meter. In an effort to be more like Street Fighter II, Hyper Dimension brings something new to the table.
2 Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Google Stadia
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the sequel to Dragon Ball Xenoverse where the player character must once again solve problems with the Dragon Ball timeline. The player is given a mission from Elder Kai to correct the altered timeline. Two time travelers named Towa and Mira have changed the course of history.
Xenoverse 2 functions similarly to the first game. Gamers must go through the Dragon Ball timeline and right all sorts of wrongs. However, there are choices in the story that affect how the story will go. The game also contains several different types of ki blasts and race-specific missions.
1 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Google Stadia
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is one of the latest Dragon Ball video games as of 2023. The game is an action RPG where players take the role of Goku and fight through the various storylines and battles of the anime. Players can level Goku up by defeating enemies and completing side quests.