hey've got this one right. Usually these licensed kids' games are right horrors - dodgy cash-ins programmed in a few weeks by sweatshop game developers on 50p an hour. Not so this newest Dragon Ball Z fighter. It's actually good.
First up, it's Dragon Ball Z through and through. You are Goku, the big-haired warrior hero. Sometimes you're Gohan, sometimes Piccolo, sometimes one of the other flying superfreaks, but always a recognisable DBZ character. They're all in here, and the animated look is pulled off incredibly well by the Wii.
The action has the cartoon feel to it too. You know the cartoons? They're insane. The characters are so powerful that when they smash someone in the stomach their victim flies backwards for miles. That, happily, happens in this game. As well as numerous ludicrous combo attacks, each character has a super-powerful charging kick or punch that hoofs your opponent skywards. It's hilarious.
Take one hard shot to the guts and your body arcs up in the air and flies backwards for five seconds. If you do this to your opponent you can watch their body fly off into the distance, gradually reducing to a speck on the horizon. You can then fly after them, thanks to an easy lock-on move that points you in the right direction, and carry on the fight.
You might land underwater, or hovering up in the air, but wherever the action ends up you're able to continue kicking your prone opponent, hammering in fireballs and kicks while they're waiting to recover. It's all-action, non-stop fighting. There's not a huge amount of strategy to the combat, mind. You pretty much hammer the game's two attack buttons as quickly as possible, pausing only to power yourself up by holding down the charge button or to manoeuvre yourself into a better position.
The plot of the main Dragon Adventure single-player game is a huge, continuing adventure where constant fights are stuck together with a flimsy story. It's predictable nonsense and the cut-scenes often bear no relation to what's just happened. One fight has you as Goku accompanied by a second character, both fighting the same bad guy. We kicked the bad guy into next week using only Piccolo - then the cut-scene popped up telling us that Goku had been pummelled to the point of death, even though he didn't join the fight at all.
Still, adults shouldn't waste their time evaluating the plots of kids' TV shows. The sheer number of characters and plots makes this essential for DBZ fans, and if you are a fan you're already quite used to odd stories.
This game looks like the cartoon as well as acting like it. The characters are great, well designed and the extra power of the Wii brings them to life brilliantly. The fight arenas are massive, plus they're full of trees and buildings that you can smash enemies through. It's one of those games that's just satisfying to see and play.
Dragon Ball Z is a huge and enjoyable fighting game. There are well over a hundred characters to choose from, stupidly huge combos, teleport attacks and specials, plus enough levelling-up and stat-building to keep your powers expanding. The fighting may be simple and too combo-centric, but it's hard not to have a good time smashing alien warriors through trees and houses. Loud, stupid fighting fun.