King Piccolo, Raditz, Nappa, Vegeta, Frieza, the Androids, Cell, Majin Buu, Baby, Zamasu… the list of iconic Dragon Ball villains goes on and on, and almost all of them have fortified their position in the cultural footprint left by the franchise.
Whether they are acting as bosses, playable characters, or simply making cameo appearances, it’s always exciting to see your favorite villain in action once again (like with Janemba in FighterZ) and we’d even go as far as saying that they occasionally enhance the quality of whatever game they’re part of.
Unfortunately, villains, both new and old, don’t always help a project. In fact, they occasionally make them worse, and in our list of the 10 Villains That Ruined Dragon Ball Games (And 10 That Saved Them), we’ll be dealing with both ends of the spectrum.
20 Ruined: Omega Shenron (Dokkan Battle)
Dragon Ball’s Dokkan Battle is a surprisingly awesome mobile game which combines aspects of board games, puzzles, RPGs, and more into an addictive little package.
Despite its overall high quality, though, it suffers from a few bosses who practically break the game with their ridiculously overpowered nature, and Omega Shenron is one of them.
Relentlessly powerful and practically invulnerable, defeating this beast requires a ton of skill… and luck.
19 Saved: Dr. Lychee / Hatchiyack
FMV games are almost always garbage, and the same could definitely be said about The True Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans.
Despite offering a few intriguing elements, most of this Playdia exclusive falls flat… except for Hatchiyack and Dr. Lychee.
In an era before Dragon Ball GT took the concept, it was novel to see an anti-Saiyan revenge scheme spearheaded by a maniacal Tuffle scientist and his abominable creation.
18 Ruined: The Cringeworthy Xenoverse Villains
The Xenoverse games have an immense amount of fans, and we can’t really blame them, as it’s an awesome feeling to create a custom character and interact with the Dragon World.
Alas, while the Xenoverse stories show some promise, they never reach their full potential due to the lame villains. Hailing from the Demon Realm, these sorry excuses for worthwhile adversaries feel like the culmination of every bad enemy trope imaginable.
17 Saved: Saibaking
Dragon Ball Fusions is a trippy (but excellent) 3DS game that allows players to create all kinds of bizarre, non-canon fusions, like Piccolo and Krillin’s “Prillin.” While the game really isn’t in need of “saving,” per se, it’s still elevated to an even greater height thanks to the existence of the absurd “Saibaking.”
Created by multiple Saibamen merging together, the Saibaking demonstrates that its people can do so much better than just beating Yamcha.
16 Ruined: Super Buu (Budokai 3)
Beloved though they may be, the Budokai trilogy has not aged particularly well as the years have gone on, with FighterZ basically burying them once and for all.
Budokai 3’s Super Buu doesn’t exactly help matters, either, thanks to his incredibly annoying story mode fight that brings back some of the worst memories of ruthless and unfair fighting game encounters.
15 Saved: SSJ4 Gogeta (Dokkan Battle)
Much like Dragon Ball Fusions, Dokkan Battle isn’t exactly in need of any kind of “saving;” it’s a great game in its own right. That said, its high-level battle with SSJ4 Gogeta brings the entire experience to a whole new level.
It’s true that SSJ4 Gogeta isn’t a “villain,” but he may as well be thanks to his overwhelming supremacy.
Successfully defeating this god-like adversary is one of the most satisfying DBZ experiences in existence.
14 Ruined: Ultimate Battle 22’s Existence
Ultimate Battle 22 teases players with its awesome intro and characters who were literally drawn and animated by the very same people who did so for the show, only to laugh in their faces once the game actually begins.
At a time when Western DBZ games were rare, this turd was tossed to us like a bottle of water to a parched prisoner, only for the water to be poison. All the pieces were in place for this to be an average experience, at least, but nope… it’s garbage.
13 Saved: Frieza (DBZ: The Legend)
A Japanese and European exclusive, Dragon Ball Z: The Legend is a unique “fighting game” that not only manages to perfectly capture the look and feel of the show, but somehow nail the actual flow of combat.
Like others on this list, DBZ: The Legend is already really good, but once you do battle with Frieza, you immediately understand exactly how superb the game really is.
Every punch, energy blast, and continent-destroying attack fully proves that the developers truly understood what makes DBZ tick.
12 Ruined: Ultra-Instinct Goku (Dokkan Battle)
Earlier, we said that Dokkan Battle’s Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta fight was an awesome experience that essentially made the entire game even better than it already was. The high-level challenge against Ultra-Instinct Goku is the exact opposite.
Like Omega Shenron before him, Ultra-Instinct Goku’s fight is an exercise in futility, as you’ll need a team of the most broken characters possible to even stand a chance.
11 Saved: The Truly Bonkers “Heroes” Villains
We didn’t really have anything nice to say about the Xenoverse villains before, so you might be wondering why we’re giving them praise when it comes to their inclusion in Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission.
The answer is simple: the game is already insane, their lack of meaningful characterization doesn’t matter due to the overall absence of a coherent plot, and they brought a ton of other really weird villains with them, such as Golden Cooler, Sealas, and SSJ4 Broly.
10 Ruined: Gotenks (Budokai 3)
Gotenks isn’t a “villain” in the traditional sense, but his absolutely obnoxious battle in Budokai 3 might change your mind.
This cocky and annoying adversary is just as cruel and unfair as Super Buu in terms of fight mechanics, but he’s MUCH worse thanks to his in-your-face personality, which only adds to the player’s suffering. Plus, his shorter body makes him way too hard to hit.
9 Saved: Ghost Warriors
In an era before Dragon Ball Heroes or Dokkan Battle, it was rare to see an army of previously defeated Dragon Ball villains, save for the rare cameo appearances in the shows or movies.
That said, things were way different in Playdia’s adaptation of The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, which featured Turles, Lord Slug, Frieza, and Cooler as relatively present and active adversaries, which helped give the game a little more class.
8 Ruined: Final Bout’s Controls
After years of being blown off by Japan, the West finally got a taste of a Dragon Ball video game in the form of Final Bout… and it was bitter. Despite the fan fervor in picking up this “hidden gem,” Final Bout is a disastrously executed fighting game plagued by a multitude of flaws, but its terrible controls are the worst of them all.
It’s so bad that “unresponsive” doesn’t even begin to adequately describe the nightmarish experience of actually trying to play the game.
7 Saved: Android 21 (FighterZ)
Arguably the finest Dragon Ball game in existence, the superb FighterZ is an exquisitely executed fighting game, blessed with gorgeous visuals, tight gameplay, and an enjoyably wacky story.
All of this is enhanced by the inclusion of an original character: Android 21.
Delightfully unusual in terms of personality and design, Android 21 doesn’t feel like a generic “original character” for a DBZ villain (like the Demon Clan) and is an absolute joy to see in action.
6 Ruined: Goku Black (FighterZ)
Yes, we realize we just gushed about Android 21 and how great FighterZ is, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain villains who seriously jeopardize the enjoyment of the entire experience… and Goku Black is DEFINITELY one of those.
In a rare case, the "true" villain of this story is how well Goku Black’s move set was designed, as he is a truly formidable opponent in the hands of skilled players. So much so, in fact, that it’s not wrong to say he’s a bit broken.
5 Saved: Basically Every Battle in Legendary Super Warriors
The criminally underrated Legendary Super Warriors for the Game Boy Color is a mix between a card game and a tactical RPG, and it’s absolutely awesome.
Every level is a potent challenge that will test the limits of your strategic and tactical abilities, which means that basically every. single. fight is an exhilarating experience that makes this game stand-out among the mediocre muck of its contemporaries.
4 Ruined: DBZ For Kinect
The title alone should tell you everything you need to know, but we’ll elaborate on its inhuman villainy anyway.
Why Microsoft was so fixated on the Kinect is something that we’ll never really fully understand. Aside from the fact that no one wanted it, it also didn’t work, and everyone who used one looked like an idiot.
While the Star Wars Kinect game might be the most embarrassing entry in general, the DBZ one is VERY close behind… but things might have been different if the Kinect had been better executed.
3 Saved: Cell, Frieza, Ginyu, Nappa, And More (FighterZ)
At this point in time, seeing old villains return through questionable means has become rather old hat, but FighterZ puts a spin on the formula by including laugh-out-loud hilarious writing and interactions for all of the returning enemies.
The gameplay of FighterZ’s story mode is still good, but it’s a safe bet that the only reason most people played through it was because of these truly wonderful and extremely funny interactions.
2 Ruined: Kid Buu (FighterZ)
Goku Black is one thing, but Kid Buu is an entirely different beast altogether.
Mastering Goku Black isn’t extremely difficult, but it does require training and skill. Kid Buu, on the other hand, is immensely easy to pick-up and develop a working knowledge of.
The ease of learning the character, coupled with his arsenal of incredibly cheap and hard-to-predict attacks has caused a lot of ire for competitive players… well, at least the ones who DON’T use Kid Buu.
1 Saved: DBZ Kakarot’s Unbalanced Showdowns
The upcoming RPG, Kakarot, isn’t out yet, but a single bit of info has given us enough confidence to put it on the list.
After the reveal, we were skeptical about the game and its gameplay, considering how many times we’ve gone through the ENTIRE DBZ saga in digital form (and almost always to middling results), but once we learned that the boss battles would be horribly unbalanced and force you to go beyond your limits to win, we were totally sold.
In other words, we’re really going to be living the true DBZ experience, and we can’t wait.