Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 is a 2D sci-fi fantasy fighting game developed by TOSE and published by Bandai for the Sony PlayStation in Japan (on July 28, 1995) and Europe (on July 1996). It was later released in North America by Infogrames on March 25, 2003.
Based on the Dragon Ball manga and anime series, Ultimate Battle 22 brings the gameplay from the original Super Butoden trilogy to the PlayStation. It features cel-drawn character sprites (from the animators of the original animated series), simple 3D backgrounds, and numerous characters and environments from different points in the series's timeline (with no story in Story Mode, making it more of a "dream match" game). Most of the game's assets were later used in the Saturn spin-off Dragon Ball Z: Shin Butoden.
The "22" in the game's name is due to the fact that the game features 22 playable characters from the franchise at the start (and the player can unlock 5 more, which changes the title screen to Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 27).
The game plays similar to the original Super Butoden trilogy of fighting games, with each players having access to three attack buttons (◻ for Punch, ✕ for Kick, and ○ for Ki Blasts), a button to toggle between ground and air layers (△), and quick Dash maneuvers (L1 and R1).
Build Up Mode
Along with standard arcade (1P vs. COM), versus (1P vs. 2P), and tournament (Championship) modes, the game features a "Build Up" Mode, where players choose a character (or load one from a memory card, if one is available) and level them up in consecutive fights. In addition, the game features a special versus mode (known as "Build Up Battle") where players can use their Build Up characters.
Along with extending the character's life bar (adding additional colored layers), players can increase the power of their character's specific attacks by using them in combat. This allows them to choose how even their repertoire is (by either making certain attacks very powerful quickly or slowly making all attacks powerful).
When playing this mode, players can choose any one of the game's roster as their next opponent, each of whom have different levels. Once defeating all characters, they unlock a new character for the roster, which they must defeat in order to progress through the next "Block" of characters (essentially the same roster with higher levels). There are five Blocks in total, each with one unlockable character:
In addition, players can carry their Build Up data over to Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, allowing them to start a new Build Up character (using the same player character if they appear in both games) with a higher level and a similar attack power.
As noted in the game's title, there are a total of 22 playable characters and transformations from the start. By playing through Build-Up Mode or using a cheat code, players can unlock five additional characters and transformations (for a total of 27).