Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (known in Japan as Dragon Ball Z: Sparking!) is a 3D sci-fi fantasy free-form fighting game developed by Spike and published for the PlayStation 2 in Japan (by Bandai on October 6, 2005), North America (by Atari on October 18, 2005), and Europe (by Bandai on October 21, 2005).
A fighting game adaptation of the Dragon Ball manga and anime series, Budokai Tenkaichi is the first game in the series to be developed by studio Spike. Although it is marketed similarly to the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series, it bares little resemblance to Dimps's series. Although the game is set up like a traditional fighting game, it uses a "behind-the-back" camera system (which is split-screen in multiplayer matches) and movement similar to third-person action games (with the ability to "lock on" to enemies). Movelists are also simplified, with each character sharing the same commands for their special abilities (usually using the "Charge Ki" button).
Unlike the Budokai series, Budokai Tenkaichi features a large roster of playable characters (and their transformations) throughout the entire Dragon Ball Z arc (with some characters from the animated films, Dragon Ball GT, and the original Dragon Ball). While Budokai requires players to transform their characters mid-match, Budokai Tenkaichi instead has players start the match with a persistent transformation. Each character (and transformation) also has their own statistics (including starting health and Ki).
The game later received its own line of sequels, expanding both the gameplay mechanics and the large character roster.
The fights are situated in a huge, open-air 3D enviroment. The player has the ability to move quickly on the ground, thanks to both the dash feature (Somewhat similar to Supersonic Warriors for the GBA), and the Dragon Dash. The Square button allows for fighting moves (mostly punches, with a few kicks thrown in), Triangle is for Ki Blasts, X for Dashing, and Circle for Guard. By using the Square button, you have a few fighting moves, but can easily altered by using any of the directional buttons.
Unlike the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series, players can not transform their fighters mid-match. Instead, they can start the match from any unlocked transformation.
Playable from the Start
- Goku (Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan 3, Super Saiyan 4, kid, and kid Great Ape versions)
- Gohan (teen Super Saiyan, teen Super Saiyan 2, adult Super Saiyan, adult Super Saiyan 2, adult "Great Saiyaman" and adult "Ultimate" versions)
- Vegeta (Saiyan Saga, Great Ape, Android Saga Super Saiyan, Android Saga "Super Vegeta", Majin Buu Saga Super Saiyan 2, "Majin", and Super Saiyan 4 versions)
- Zarbon (transformed)
- Captain Ginyu
- Frieza (second, third, final, 100% final, and Mecha versions)
- Trunks (future timeline, future timeline post-training, future timeline Super Saiyan, future timeline post-training Super Saiyan, future timeline post-training "Super Trunks")
- Dr. Gero
- Android 19
- Android 17
- Android 18
- Android 16
- Cell Jr.
- Cell (semi-perfect, perfect, and super perfect forms)
- Goten (normal and Super Saiyan)
- Trunks (normal and Super Saiyan)
- Gotenks (normal, Super Saiyan, and Super Saiyan 3)
- Vegito (normal and Super Saiyan)
- Majin Buu (Fat, Evil, Super, Super w/ Gotenks absorbed, Super w/ Gohan absorbed, and Pure forms)
- Baby (Super Vegeta 2 form)
- Super 17
- Cooler (final form)
- Broly (Legendary Super Saiyan form)
- Bojack (transformed)
- Gogeta (Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 4)
- Master Roshi
- General Tao
- Great Ape