I was really into Dragon Ball Z when I first started playing imported video games, so naturally I was thrilled to find out Japan had a treasure trove of DBZ games I missed out on. Keep in mind, these were the days before Goku and Frieza had wrapped their fight up on Toonami, and most North Americans had never heard of Cell or even Trunks at that point.

The first of the games I played was Dragon Ball Z: Super Budoten 2, the fabulous brawler from the trailer you see above. In hindsight, it’s really not that great of a fighting game, and there are better options, even on the Super Famicom. However, you really need to understand how unbelievable it was to be playing a “Dragon Ball Z video game” in the late 90s. We had no such thing back then, and for a fanboy looking for an outlet, it was like heaven.

Of course, I didn’t recognize half of the characters because the North American canon hadn’t caught up with Japan yet, but who cares!? I was controlling Goku, bringing the pain to Frieza, and all felt right with the world! I’d do anything to be back in that mindset again, but with the entire world at our fingertips nowadays, there are no mysteries or surprises anymore.

If I were able to think like that again, I might see Dragon Ball Z: Super Budoten 2 as a great game.

It’s not, but it is free on the Nintendo 3DS if you pre-order Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Budoten. The newer game from Arc System Works looks pretty decent for a Nintendo 3DS fighter, and it will be available on Oct. 20 for just $29.99.