Dragon Ball Z: Final Bout - PlayStation

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Viewed: 2D Side-on, Scrolling Genre:
Beat 'Em Up
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Bird Studio Soft. Co.: Bandai
Publishers: Bandai (JP/US/GB)
Released: 4 Oct 2002 (GB)
Nov 1997 (JP)
Unknown (US)
Ratings: 11+
Accessories: Memory Card


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Cult Japanese animation Dragon Ball is very popular in certain circles in Europe, and the series was always ripe for a selection of videogame titles. Final Bout, originally released in Japan in 1997 and the sequel to Ultimate Battle 22, looks like the last instalment to get a PSone PAL release. About as far eastern-flavoured a game as you're likely to come across, Final Bout loses something in the translation to English, but without wanting to sound patronising, that's what makes it so quaint.

Battle mode is a good place to start. Choose to play against the computer and see if you can beat every character put in front of you. Alternatively, and somewhat confusingly, there is also a two-player option in Battle mode.

The grandly-titled Transformation Tournament World Martial Arts Championship mode is where up to eight players can compete using two controllers. If you want to fight without Smash Meteors (powerful fireball-type explosions launched by command) choose to battle in the arena; fighting in the open air allows the use of Smash Meteors.

Finally, there's Build Up mode. Using this mode, your chosen characters are built up during battle. For example, if you train with the Special Hits of a particular character, they can become more and more effective. The same goes for Smash Meteors. You can even choose the conversion icon on the right-hand side of the Build Up screen to load data from other characters from Final Bout's predecessor, Ultimate Battle 22. Your built up characters can go into battle against other built up characters in a multi-player game, with data loaded from a separate memory card. In all three modes, there is a facility to set three difficulty levels, so as not to feel too intimidated at first.

We know that there are still many many 2D fighter fans out there in games world; Dragon Ball Final Bout may be the last of its kind for the PSone, so if you simply have to have more of Trunks, Super Vegeta and co., this is the game you need.