Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 (ドラゴンボールZ アルティメイトバトル22, Doragonbōru Zetto Aruteimeito Batoru 22) is a 2D/3D fighting video game based on the Dragon Ball Z anime series. It was released for the PlayStation in 1995 in Japan and 1996 in Europe.
The game is called “Ultimate Battle 22” because it features 22 characters at the beginning of the game. Five more characters can be unlocked, and upon unlocking the characters, the title screen instead says “Ultimate Battle 27”. The game is notable for using actual cel drawings from the animators as character sprites and cutscenes before the fights which were a novelty at the time of its original release in Japan (these cutscenes were removed on the European and US releases). When Ultimate Battle 22 was officially released by Atari in North America, eight years after its Japanese release, no English dub track was produced and the pre-battle cutscenes were removed.
Another fighting game, titled Dragon Ball Z: Shin Butōden (which never received an American release), was released for the Sega Saturn a short time after Ultimate Battle 22 in Japan and is very similar to Ultimate Battle 22. Notably, the character selection is the same, the sprites from Ultimate Battle 22 were reused in Shin Butōden, and for the most part, both games share the same music.
The 22 characters are comprised of:
- Goku (Super Saiyan)
- Teen Gohan (Super Saiyan 2)
- Vegeta (Majin)
- Future Trunks (Super Saiyan)
- Tien Shinhan
- Frieza (Final Form)
- Zarbon (Base)
- Captain Ginyu
- Cell (Perfect Form)
- Android 18
- Android 16
- Great Saiyaman
- Goten (Super Saiyan)
- Trunks (Super Saiyan)
- Gotenks (Super Saiyan)
- Supreme Kai
- Majin Buu
- Super Buu
There are also five secret characters. Those characters are:
- Kid Goku
- Master Roshi
- Mr. Satan
- Goku (Super Saiyan 3)
- Gogeta (mistakenly called Vegeto in the US release)
- Ruined City
- Cell Games Arena
- Kami’s Lookout
- Hyperbolic Time Chamber
- World Martial Arts Tournament
- Barren Planet
- Crystal Room
- Like Shin Butōden, this game marks the return of almost every character from the Super Butoden series. Missing characters are Frieza (100% Power), Dr. Gero, Imperfect Cell, Cell Jr., Zangya, Bojack, Broly, and adult Gohan (Super Saiyan 2).
- The method to unlock the five secret characters is mentioned in the instruction booklet that comes with the game. To unlock them, the following buttons must pressed in order while at the title screen: Up, Triangle, Down, X, Left, L1, Right & R1. After inputting the code, a sound is heard and an intro which features the five hidden characters is shown. After that, the title screen changed from “Ultimate Battle 22” to “Ultimate Battle 27” (due to the addition of the five hidden characters) appears.
- Mr. Satan is the only character in the game who does not have a strength meter, due to the fact that he does not use ki but instead uses weapons.
- Mr. Satan and Master Roshi are the only characters who cannot fly in the game. Kid Goku also cannot, but uses Flying Nimbus instead. Later video games, starting with Dragon Ball Z 2: Super Battle and the Budokai games, remedied the “Mr. Satan cannot fly” issue by giving him a jetpack.
- If two Kid Gokus fight each other, the one who loses the match transforms into Oolong after he falls, revealing him to have been an impostor.
- Even though Goku is a Super Saiyan in this game, his in-game sprite is a Super Saiyan 2.
- This is the last game to feature the original VA for Master Roshi as the VA died during the production (the sad ending theme is mostly a tribute to his death, as his name is mentioned), suprisly, Kohei Miyauchi also voices him in Dragon Ball Z: Shin Butōden https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8ini7mIhNc .
- Despite this game being released in the USA during the USA anime dub run, the voices are japanese rather than english (no other DBZ released in USA had that case, other than Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout and Dragon Ball Z: Super Butōden 2 (as a bonus of Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butōden)
- Gogeta is named Vegetto in the USA version of the game, as the movie Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn didn’t air in the USA yet
- When forming Gogeta, Vegeta apears in his Majin state during the VS character (Gogeta) intro (Japanese version only)