Evolution of Dragon Ball Video Games (1986-2019)

Evolution of Dragon Ball Video Games (1986-2019)


Woah! Ay what’s popping?! What are you guys doing
in my house… that’s totally my… house… Well… Since you guys are here I did wanna
talk about Dragon Ball for about 15 to 20 minutes… So uhh… Let’s get to it. When it comes to anime that most people have
heard of, it’s hard to find a series better known and better loved than Dragon Ball. Goku and friends and Yamcha have influenced dozens of classic shows and comics, inspired professional
athletes, and are responsible for the one old ass meme where Goku’s power is over
8999. First appearing in 1984 as a serialized manga
written and drawn by the legendary Akira Toriyama for Weekly Shonen Jump, Dragon Ball began
as the story of a monkey-tailed boy on a quest to collect seven mythical wish-granting orange balls. Over the past three decades the series has grown to become one of the top grossing
media franchises of all time. Dragon Ball gave way to Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT,
Dragon Ball Super, and more, including the recent epic, Dragon Balls to the wall theatrical
film, Dragon Ball Super, Broly. Where a local man is just too angry, to die… And just like Ghost In The Shell, Dragon Ball has never been made into a live action movie… [SFX: HAUNTING MUSIC…] While Dragon Ball is certainly best known
as a manga and anime, it’s also one of the top selling and highest grossing video game
franchises still active today. To date there have been over 50 million Dragon Ball video
games sold — a massive amount that beats out classic gaming franchises such as Street
Fighter, Mega Man, and Kirby. People don’t want to just watch Goku — we want to be him.
In fact, counting arcade, home console, handheld, and mobile releases, there have been roughly 100 Dragon Ball games produced since 1986. And here’s the list… Dragon Ball: Pilaf no Gyakushu… Dragon Ball: Taiketsu Son Goku… [TIM LYU READING THESE DRAGON BALL GAMES REAL FAST. LIKE REAL REAL FAST.] Dragon Ball Z: The Legend… Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout… Dragon Ball Z: Collectible CD Picture Cards… [TIM LYU READING MORE DRAGON BALL GAMES REAL FAST. LIKE REAL REAL FAST.] Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit… Dragon Ball: Origins, Dr. Slump: Arale-Chan, Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World… [TIM LYU READING MORE, MORE DRAGON BALL GAMES REAL FAST. LIKE REAL REAL FAST.] Jump Force, Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot… Whew, yeah… Goddamn… I need a Senzu bean… While plenty of North American and European
video game fans likely grew up with series like The Legacy of Goku for the Game Boy Advance
or Dragon Ball Z Budokai on the PlayStation 2 there are dozens of Dragon Ball video games
that have never S een the light of day outside of Japan. It’s these games that I’m here to talk
about today. The retro Dragon Ball games you may have missed. The good the bad and the
ugly of Japanese exclusives, as well as a localized title that went horribly wrong.
Take off your weighted turtle shell and stay SO… this is The Early Retro History
of Dragon Ball Video Games. Less than two years after the debut of the
Dragon Ball manga, in February of 1986 The Weekly Shonen Jump series
premiered as an animated television show, produced by the famed animation studio Toei.
In August of that same year, with its popularity on the rise, the very first Dragon Ball video
games were released in the form of two dinky standalone LCD handhelds. Named Dragon Ball: Pilaf no Gya-kushū
and Dragon Ball: Tai-ketsu Son Gokū, Each Game & Watch-esc handheld
featured multiple different game modes revolving around the Dragon Ball storyline at the time. The creator of these handhelds, Epoch, was
also responsible for developing and publishing the very first home console Dragon Ball game
for their Japan-exclusive Super Cassette Vision system. Dubbed Dragon Ball: Dragon Dai-hikyō
(or Dragon Ball: Dragon’s Great Exploration) the game featured an interesting top down
shoot’em up gameplay. The 8-bit title put players in the shoes of the heroic Goku as
he rode on his iconic yellow cloud, the flying nimbus, through wave after wave of oncoming
baddies. It was only by using his trusty power pole and small energy blasts that Goku could
take down incoming enemies and reach his final destination. To this day Dragon Dai-hikyō and it’s two
handheld predecessors stand as the only games in Dragon Ball history to have zero involvement
from beloved Japanese toy manufacturer and game developer Bandai, known today as Namco
Bandai. Unfortunately for Epoch, the Dragon Ball brand
wouldn’t be exclusive to the Super Cassette Vision for long. A team at TOSE software had
also been hard at work on their own Dragon Ball title for Nintendo’s hit home console
the Family Computer or Famicom. Published by the aforementioned Bandai, It would hit
store shelves just two months after Dragon Dai-hikyō, in November of 1986. Bandai’s game, Dragon Ball: Shenlong no
Nazo (or Dragon Ball: Shenlong’s Riddle) was a bit more in line with the plot of the hit
manga and anime, at least at its start. The game’s 14 levels gave players the chance
to adventure across multiple different settings including a mountain, a desert, and even into
outer space, as they defeated roving enemies, collected items, and pummeled their way past
an onslaught of recurring bosses. Though the levels were linear, they featured
a sense of exploration somewhat similar to the original Legend of Zelda, which had been
released for the Famicom’s Disk Drive add-on just nine months prior. While North American audiences did get their
hands on The Legend of Zelda in 1986, they still had not been introduced to the masterpiece
that was Dragon Ball. This posed a major problem for Bandai, who wanted to release Shenlong
no Nazo on North America’s new Nintendo Entertainment System. They had a choice to
make: leave the game as it was and hope American players accepted it… or localize the hell
out of it. and I bet you can guess which option they went
with. By the spring of 1988 Shenlong no Nazo had
been transformed into… Dragon Power! Bandai had entrusted the localization of this game
to their Bandai America branch and the team had certainly taken some liberties with the
story… and characters… and gameplay. Bandai America had decided to lean into the source
material for Dragon Ball itself, tweaking the game to mildly represent Journey to the
West, a classic Chinese epic tale that’s often known in other parts of the world as simply
“Monkey.” This alternate title makes more sense when you see what they did to poor Goku,
who went from a boy with a monkey tail to a monkey who kinda looks like a boy. This
character design change was even more bewildering when you take a closer look at the box art
for the game. Apparently this overly tan gentleman in a
white gi is supposed to be Goku. Who normally looks like this, AND who looks more like this
in the actual game the box is promoting. It’s baffling… baffling stuff… Goku’s design and terrible box art aside,
there were also a host of other changes made to make Dragon Power less confusing and more
appropriate for younger players. Instead of scouring the land for the seven Dragon Balls,
players were in search of the seven “Crystal Balls.” Goku’s iconic Kamehameha attack
was unfortunately rebranded as the “Wind Wave,” which sounds more like a devastating
fart than a powerful attack or maybe both… Shouts out to Coup De Boo. While Goku did keep his name, Bulma became
Nora, Yamcha became Lancer, and Oolong became Pudgy. While those characters were simply
renamed, Master Roshi received an entire 8-bit makeover, going from a bald hermit wearing
sunglasses and a turtle shell to a robed martial arts master with a flowing white beard. This
change also came with a new, far less creepy attitude towards Bulma, er, I mean Nora. As anyone who’s seen Dragon Ball can attest,
Master Roshi is often portrayed as a dirty old man who’s constantly trying to sneak
a peek or cop a feel when he comes across a beautiful lady. In early chapters of the
manga and episodes of the television series Master Roshi asks to see Bulma’s underwear,
a plot point that also shows up in the original Shenlong no Nazo. To correct this somewhat
uncomfortable interaction in a game intended for children, Bandai America changed the request
to see Bulma’s unmentionables into a desire for… sandwiches. Because who doesn’t want
a nice lunch, right? While the gameplay of Dragon Power was nearly
identical to that of Shenlong no Nazo, four of the 14 levels, each comprised of a different
round of a martial arts tournament, were completely cut from the game. But hey, even with its
cut content and butchered story Dragon Power was still featured in the very first issue
of the now defunct Nintendo Power magazine in the summer of 1988. It may have simply
been a half page preview but Dragon Ball, disguised as Dragon Power, was there from
the very start. Surprisingly, Shenlong no Nazo was also localized
for one other country years later — France. The European powerhouse was the first region
outside of Japan to officially dub the Dragon Ball anime in 1988, and its popularity led
to the release of the NES title, now Dragon Ball: Le Secret du Dragon, two years later.
Unlike the North American version, there were virtually no changes from the Japanese original
outside of converted language. They even got the same box art with all the cool characters.
Meanwhile we were still stuck with Kung-Fu David… Moving on! Shenlong no Nazo was followed by
two more Dragon Ball games for the Famicom in 1988 and 1989 respectively. Both Dragon
Ball: Daimaō Fuk-katsu and Dragon Ball 3: Goku Den decided to scrap the action adventure
gameplay of their predecessor, replacing it with an interesting card-based RPG system.
Instead of wandering about a vast overworld, Goku was confined to a game board, where he
could only move a certain number of spots at a time. Once he had moved players could
gather information or fight opponents to further their adventures. When in battle players were
dealt a random hand of attack cards, which they would rearrange to form their battle
plan for that round. Whichever character played the most powerful card landed a hit on their
opponent, whereas similarly powered attacks ended in a draw… It was a somewhat slow and repetitiv-… It was a somewhat slow and repetitive format,
but at least their were little animation up top showing how the action unfolded with each
card. Neither Daimaō Fukkatsu nor Goku Den were ever released outside of Japan, although
Goku Den was rereleased in 2003 for Bandai’s handheld flop the WonderSwan Color. RIP… As the ‘80s gave way to the ‘90s Dragon
Ball slowly transformed into Dragon Ball Z. Goku had grown from a hard-headed child to
a muscle bound child and his adventures had taken on a slightly more mature tone. The Famicom was still hanging on at this point,
despite the fact that its more powerful 16-bit brother, the Super Famicom, had launched in
1990. The user base for the Famicom was so enormous that Bandai kept the Dragon Ball
train rolling, releasing Dragon Ball Z: Kyôshū! Saiyan
(The Assault! The People of the Saiyan), Dragon Ball Z II: Geki-shin Frieza
(A Fierce God Freeza!!), and Dragon Ball Z III: Ressen Jinzōningen
(A Violent Battle of Artificial Humans) in 1990, 1991, and 1992. All three
games kept the card battling system implemented in the previous Famicom entries, adding far
more freedom to move about the sectioned overworlds, and a host of elaborate battle animations. And then… it happened. Bandai finally, FINALLY,
released a Dragon Ball fighting game. But guess what!? This time you had to use actual
cards to play. Dragon Ball Z: Gekitō Tenkaichi Budokai
was released at the tail end of 1992 alongside a special new Famicom peripheral – the Datach
Joint Rom System. This funky add-on actually attached to the top of the Famicom, allowing
players to scan compatible cards directly into their games. Gekitō Tenkaichi Budokai
locked every single fighter behind their corresponding card, meaning the game was completely unplayable
without both the Joint Rom System and the various fighter and item cards. The game featured roughly 30 different fighters,
forcing players to scan in different versions of the same character if they wanted to play
as a more powerful form. The final Dragon Ball game of the Famicom era, Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Saiyajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku (Plan to Eradicate People of the Saiya) was released alongside an Original Video Animation (or OVA) of the same name. The card game featured the same card-based RPG gameplay seen many times before and a wholly original storyline
about the Z warriors taking on a nefarious new villain named Dr. Lychee who was hellbent
on riding the universe of the Saiyan race. 1992 saw the release of a Dragon Ball game
for the Terebikko, which was less of a video game console and more of a… home phone.
The Terebikko plugged right in to your TV or VHS player and allowed users to interact
with special VHS tapes via its large button and phone attachment. In Dragon Ball Z: Atsumare! Gokū Wārudo
[Dragon Ball Z: Gather Together! Goku’s World] players could answer trivia
and help progress the plot of the Cell Saga. Ring Ring! Hello? Oh… It’s Cell, and he wants to kill you… At this point Dragon Ball has already been
the focus of nine console offerings in a mere six years, not to mention countless LCD handhelds
and whatever the hell Terebikko is. And thus we enter the Super Famicom era. The first game
to show up was a bit underwhelming, an enhanced remake of the first and second Dragon Ball
Z games for the Famicom known as Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu
(Super Saiyan Legend). Next in the lineup was a big one. A title
that remains Japan’s best selling Dragon Ball video game of all time —
Dragon Ball Z: Super Butōden. This classic 2D fighter pitted 13 of the series most popular heroes
and villains against each other in a variety of well-known Dragon Ball settings. And you
didn’t even need any cards! WOW. Unlike many fighting game of the time, Super Butoden allowed players to maneuver their fighter as far away from their opponent as they wished, even up
into the sky for aerial attacks. This revolutionary feature was accomplished by splitting the
screen with a colorful line when players reached a certain distance from one another. Super Butoden was followed by three sequels
and one spin-off, two for the Super Famicom, one for Sega’s Mega Drive home console (which
you may know as the Genesis), and the final entry for the ill-fated Sega Saturn.
Each game featured a tweaked roster and vastly improved gameplay from the original. In a
surprising move, Super Butoden 2 was released in North America and Europe in 2015 as a digital
pre-order bonus for the Nintendo 3DS. By pre-ordering Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butōden fans finally
got their hands on the fighting game a whopping 22 years after its original launch in Japan.
Strangely, the game remained in Japanese. While the Butoden series satisfied Dragon
Ball fans’ desire to throw down in the safety of their homes, the developers at Bandai-owned
Banpresto worked tirelessly to bring the fight to arcades. Their first title, simply called
Dragon Ball Z, was housed in a unique cabinet designed by Akira Toriyama himself. The cabinet
resembled a robot wearing Goku’s signature orange gi and holding a large monitor. Because
when you’re the creator of Dragon Ball you can request things like that. Running off
the Sega System 32 arcade platform, the game offered players 8 characters and a fighting
experience similar to the wildly popular Street Fighter series. The Dragon Ball Z arcade game was followed
by a direct sequel with the added subtitle “Super Battle,” expanding on the number
of playable characters, including everyone’s favorite – Mr. Satan? The final Dragon Ball Z arcade game of the
‘90s was entitled V. R. V. S., as in Virtual Reality Versus. Though it didn’t *really*
feature any virtual reality, the game did put players over the shoulder of their favorite
Z warrior to give the fighting a more immersive feel. Kinda like Punch Out, but with Goku.
Aside from a new perspective, the game also pitted players against another exclusive baddie
– the demon Majin Ozotto.Those who managed to best all the fighters were also treated
to this lovely tune as the credits roll. [SFX: STRANGE DRAGON BALL MUSIC…] And if at this point you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s so many Dragon Ball games, Tim. Surely that’s most of the ones that never made it out of Japan.” Well I’m here to tell you ya wrong… From 1994 to 1996 alone there were nearly a dozen more Dragon Ball games released. This included two RPGs for the Game Boy
(Dragon Ball Z: Goku Hishōden and Goku Gekitōden), three more games for the Super Famicom (Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Totsugeki Hen,
Kakusei Hen, and Hyper Dimension) The first and worst Dragon Ball game for the PlaySation
(Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22), and a host of other titles for home consoles
you and I probably never heard of. Unless you’re that one guy that knows it all…
and… good for you… There were the choose your
own adventure style games for the Bandai Playdia [Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Shin Saiyajin Zetsumetsu
Keikaku – Chikyū-Hen and Uchū-Hen] Phew. a Dragon Ball art design title for the Apple Pippin called
[Anime Designer: Dragon Ball Z], and a weird strategy-based fighting game for the PC Engine
[Dragon Ball Z: Idainaru Son Goku Densetsu]. Oh, and another fighting game for the PlaySation
and Sega Saturn [Dragon Ball Z: The Legend]. Now what you have to understand is that it was
at this point, in the latter half of 1996, that Dragon Ball, in the form of the
Dragon Ball Z anime, was finally introduced to a wide North American audience. While the hype
around Dragon Ball was slowly fading in Japan after the end of the anime and manga, the
craze was just beginning elsewhere. The first official Dragon Ball game to be
released in North America, one that hadn’t been corrupted by “Dragon Power,” was
the 1997 fighting game Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout. Only around 10,000 copies of the blocky
3D fighter were produced for the North American market, as Dragon Ball’s popularity was
still in its infancy at the time. Surprisingly, the game was also released in the UK and other
regions of Europe where Dragon Ball wouldn’t be introduced until the early 2000s. It was
only years later, after Dragon Ball had found an audience, that Final Bout would be rereleased
in both North America and Europe. So there you have it. A lil sneak peek into the
retro history of Dragon Ball video games. It’s hard to believe that the pixelated
antics of early titles like the Famicom’s Shenlong no Nazo have now Super Sayian-ed
into high quality hits like Dragon Ball Xenoverse and the recent fantastic Arc System Work’s
Dragon Ball FighterZ. Not to mention… The best Dragon Ball game of all time… Thank you so much guys for watching! And if you’re not a paid user yet… Check the descriptions down below! And you can use the code to get 14 days FREE for Crunchyroll… on me! You can watch… Dragon Ball Super on it. Alright… Bye Bye. Hey… You guys… wanna see me transform into a Super Sayian? Check this out… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAaaaAAaAAAAAARGGHHHAaAAAaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAaaaAAaAAAAAAaAAAaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAaaaAAaAAAAAAaAAAa GarrGEETHHEGUUUEHHAHHHHHHHHAAZ [Heavy panting cause Tim just reached like
Super Sayian 300] Yeah baby… See ya… See ya next time!

64 thoughts on “Evolution of Dragon Ball Video Games (1986-2019)”

  1. captain free video games on pc

    i really 🤔 i dont know about titles #DRAGON BALL video game series on ps2 , ps3 and xbox 360 only one video game DRAGON BALL that make me exited to played it is #KAKAROT i cant wait to played 😁👍

  2. When I lived in Okinawa (1986 to 1992), there was an arcade game that looked SIMILAR to that telephone game that would give you cards for playing. I'm pretty sure that was the first arcade version. I still have like 4 of the cards; All silver, glitter style cards of unimportant sequences. I think maybe that telephone game you showed was a home version of that very same arcade machine. Weird.

  3. I haven't watched Dragon Ball yet, i haven't played any of the games, i haven't read the manga, but despite all that, i'm watching this video for Tim Lyu.

  4. Genaro the Fake Politician

    What a coincidence that a video on Dragon Ball and video games comes out after Smash announces more DLC fighters!

    He still won't be in.

  5. I'm sorry Super Saiya Densetsu was a bit of a let down? That game was awesome, yeah it was a "remake" but it's still among my favourite DB(z) games. I'm glad Hishouden and Gekitouden got a mention but would have loved for some gameplay footage to be given, they're very fun, cool and interesting games and the the world needs to know about them. This was a great video as a DB fan and player of all DB games that I can get my hands on, I endorse this message.

  6. To those that don’t pay attention to your sub feed- the thumbnail used to be two gokus. I’m pretty sure you know why one of the only females is on the thumbnail;)
    Edit: they freaking switched it back >~<

  7. Okai crunchy let's get things straight I love you… You allowed me to finish Jojo but… Cmon… You media player is HOT GARBAGE.

  8. I've already played Dragon Ball Z Kakarot 15-20 years ago it was called Legacy of Goku, Legacy of Goku II, and Buu's Fury on the Gameboy Advance

  9. MysticMylese TheMercifulMinecart

    Ok that start was dope… I was about to comment on the thumbnail then I saw it 😅 I didn't expect that instant transmission transition.

  10. MysticMylese TheMercifulMinecart

    1:16 we sign a oath to never speak of that day again. Omg you took of your shades just at the right time.😅

  11. Perhaps I've misunderstood what you said, but it seemed like you implied that Bandai Namco re-releasing Butoden 2 on the 3DS was the first time the Butoden series had been released outside of Japan? I apologize if I misunderstood that, but just in case, the Butoden series was actually also released in France and Spain :).

  12. I'm comfused..
    I have a game and watch style DB game.
    It's from 89, and in the shape of a dragon radar.
    Never seen it anywhere else..
    Got pics

  13. {•Ivy Productiønz •}

    Hey Crunchyroll.. is there any chance that everybody has unlimited anime..? I’m an iOS user and it’s hard to do anything

  14. Dragon Ball Z: Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu (The Legend) because we had to recreate the exact scenes from the anime to get the highest score to unlock stuff, for example when fighting Freeza we should let Krillin die and not win with him at all otherwise Goku won't turn SSJ.

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