Rumor Guide

Video Games

Everyone has heard one. Whether it be beating Final Bout nine times to get Gotenks, or doing twelve backwards-flips uphill in the snow to unlock Bulma in Budokai 3, everyone has heard something from a friend who knows a guy who has unlocked Pilaf. Unlike with a print-manga or animated show, video games are interactive and can be examined, especially with the power of computers. We can literally dissect the game’s files to see what really is contained on the disc… and what is not contained on the disc. We have more than just that, though — there are some other random little misconceptions to go along with the rumors, and we are here to make sure you are getting the most accurate information you can find!

Gotenks and/or Pilaf Are Playable in Dragon Ball: Final Bout

STATUS: False (the “Pilaf” part is kind of our fault…).

The rumor that Gotenks is a playable character in Final Bout goes back a long way. There have even been corresponding “codes” to go along with this rumor (the most prevalent/widespread being that you must beat the game nine times in a row on hard difficulty with Trunks). However, Final Bout came out in 1997. You would think that over the course of all these years someone would have a screen shot or even hacked the game’s coding to reveal some images, some sound files… something. Alas, there is nothing.

Meri (of Temple O’ Trunks) took advantage of people on April Fool’s Day in 2002 with a screen shot showing Gotenks and Pilaf as playable characters on the character selection screen.

Final Bout April Fool's Day

You would think having Pilaf on there would give it away (never mind it being April Fool’s Day), but unfortunately people are NOW asking how to play as Pilaf when they ask how to play as Gotenks!

Taiketsu Was the First Video Game to Feature a Playable Broli

STATUS: False.

When the game was first announced and released, Atari hyped up Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu — WebFoot’s upcoming foray into the land of fighting games, coming off of The Legacy of Goku, also on GBA — as being the “first game” to feature “Broly” as a playable character, most notably in a promotional pamphlet included with FUNimation’s initial 2003 DVD release of the eighth Dragon Ball Z theatrical film:

Advertisement for Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu

Well, that is half true.

Taiketsu was certainly the first American-made game to feature Broli as a playable character, but hardly the first-ever game to feature him at all. Back in 1993 (nearly a decade before Taiketsu), Dragon Ball Z: Super Butōden 2 was released for the Super Famicom (SNES) in Japan, and debuted a couple characters that Americans would not see in either anime or especially video game form for nearly another decade.

Broli Sprite Comparison

The sequel to the popular 2D fighting game from the prior year, Super Butōden 2 has a story mode that takes place around the time of the Cell arc from the manga as well as Dragon Ball Z Movie 9. The game has a secret code (Up, X, Down, B, L, Y, R, A on the screen as Gohan flies forward with the overture music) that allows the player to choose Son Goku and Broli (the former being dead at this point in the story, and the latter being another movie-only character). Of course, most (newer) American fans had never heard of this game, never mind played it enough to know of the hidden characters available to them.

Steve Lukather Performs the Budokai Video Game Music


Believe it or not, Steve Lukather of guitar-playing and Toto fame does indeed perform the insane guitar work you heard in the various Budokai fighting games released on the PlayStation 2 / Gamecube. While his official site — which, incidentally, heavily plagiarizes from this very website! — only hints here and there to various Japanese recordings without citing all of them in detail, he is clearly listed by name in all three main games’ closing credits.

Steve Lukather

He can also be seen playing alongside Tower Of Power and Hironobu Kageyama in the bonus DVD included with the Dragon Ball Z & Dragon Ball Z 2 (Budokai & Budokai 2, respectively) dual-soundtrack. The accompanying DVD is actually region-free, so worldwide Dragon Ball fans can import and see for themselves with little-to-no effort!

Super Saiyan 4 Goku is Unlockable in the First Budokai Game

STATUS: False.

This obviously makes very little sense. With the exception of the bonus character of Great Saiyaman, the game’s own story does not even reach into the Majin Boo arc of Dragon Ball Z, let alone introduce characters and transformations from Dragon Ball GT. The prevalence of this rumor seems to stem for a “method” for unlocking Super Saiyan 4 Goku actually making its way to the respective GameFAQs code page for some time.

Of course, no-one actually unlocked the transformation/character, because it is not in the game. The game is many years old, has been released on multiple platforms in multiple countries in multiple languages, and no-one has uncovered a Super Saiyan 4 Goku… especially since we all have our 100% complete capsule sets, already!

Golden Ōzaru is Unlockable in Budokai 3

STATUS: False.

This rumor began in very late October 2004. An image began making its rounds across message boards and other sites, and we all know what happens from there. Suddenly, the “rumor” that you can play as a Golden Ōzaru becomes “fact”.

As you can see, the image making the rounds was originally just a preview screen shot from a popular video game news website. Their logo was edited out of the bottom corner, Piccolo was edited away, etc. It is actually a damn fine editing job, and perhaps the best “fake” in-engine game image we have seen. Dranet’s 22 October 2004 update showcases a quote from the original artist (“Genki”):

My goal was the fun with this picture, not to believe to people the Golden Ohozaru are in the game.

So there you have it.

Bulma is a Playable Character in Budokai 3

STATUS: False through normal gameplay means (All releases; American/European/Japanese)

This was quite possibly the biggest rumor going around the fan community during the PS2 generation. With in-game screen shots, movie clips, DVD extras, cheat devices… it is no wonder this rumor reached such monumental proportions.

A month or so before the game was released, we at Kanzenshuu (at the time still Daizenshuu EX) asked Steve Simmons (FUNimation translator for the Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT TV series as well as several of the video games) if there were any “extra” hidden characters that fans had not unearthed the existence of yet. He informed us that pretty much everything was out of the bag, with the exception of Bulma possibly being playable in some sort of capacity (even he was not 100% sure, himself). It was left at that until the game was released.

As with the previous two games in the series, Budokai 3 was actually first released in North America, with the third game coming in November 2004.

Almost immediately, fans noticed Bulma’s presence in the 11th stage (of 12 total) in the game’s “Training” mode. As part of the training stage, and complete with an in-game character model, Bulma teaches you how to use capsules. She does not respond to attacks, and does not so much as move in any way (other than the standing animation). You can sidestep around her to confirm that there is indeed a complete in-game model, however.

Soon after, we managed to rip some audio files from the game. Contained on the disc is a collection of all of the World Tournament announcer’s “name-calls”; before a match the announcer will say, for example, “Goku versus… Vegeta!” Contained within this batch, at the very end, was “Bulma versus…!” and “Bulma!” (present as “ADX_USA_4532.adx” and “ADX_USA_4533.adx”).

So we have an in-game model and a character announcement. What else is there?

Along with the North American “Collector’s Edition” version of the game came an extra bonus video DVD entitled Behind the Screams. The DVD contains interviews with most of the FUNimation voice actors, including several scenes with Tiffany Vollmer (the FUNimation voice actress at the time for Bulma) performing various fighting sounds and noises into the microphone. Logically speaking, it not make sense to record a series of in-game character voices for a character that is not going to actually be playable in the game, so that seemed like something.

We have an in-game model, character announcement, and voice actress footage. What else is there?

As a little more time passed, fans were able to come up with Codebreaker / Action Replay codes for the PlayStation 2 game that would unlock every capsule in the game… including, apparently, ones that were never finished. It is possible to view the “Bulma” capsule with these codes, which reads the same as any other character capsule (“Bulma be used in Duel, Tournament, and Practice Modes. Can be played when acquired!”). Sadly, however, Bulma does not actually appear in the character selection wheel, even with this capsule code activated.

The Japanese version of the game came out a few months later in February 2005. It contains a few bonus materials such as new unlockable costumes for Goku (with a halo), Piccolo (Demon King Piccolo), and the future version of Trunks (long hair with armor).

After the Japanese version’s release, some fans claimed to have been able to get further than the American version’s glitches (a showcase of merely the Bulma capsule) and actually obtain a semi-playable Bulma.

The first person to get this far seems to have been dsxgate, posting on the GameFAQs Budokai 3 forum. dsxgate claimed that they were not entirely sure of the process, but it seemed to involve a combination of Action Replay codes (mostly involving free capsules in the shop) and obtaining a complete 100% unlocking of every single last thing in the game (including all level 99 “Dragon Universe” characters). Others have claimed similar results with similar requisites, but only dsxgate actually provided two movie clips to show this.

Via these combinations of glitches, Bulma’s capsule appeared for purchase as the very last item. When obtained, Bulma appeared as a third costume for Videl (similar to the other new actual costumes in the game, such as Piccolo-Daimaō for Piccolo). Since Bulma appeared as a costume for Videl, the voice used is not Hiromi Tsuru (the original voice actress for Bulma), but instead Yūko Minaguchi (Videl’s voice actress). Bulma was able to fly, but seemed to only have two attacks (which are also Videl’s), and while she can perform “Dragon Rush,” she did not have an ultimate attack.

We at Kanzenshuu were able to confirm the same list of character announcements, similar to the ones present in the American version of the game, appear in the game’s audio files spoken in Japanese — the very last ones included are “Buruma-senshu tai…!” and “Buruma-senshu!” (present as “ADX_JP_4532.adx” and “ADX_JP_4533.adx”).

An incredibly popular sub-group of fandom grew around the game dedicated to using Action Replay / Codebreaker codes to reassign character models/skins onto other characters. Fans at the time were able to dip into the character models for Freeza in his hover chair and Bobbidi, and since then full-game customizations have been released that modify the entire cast of playable characters.

Some of the Pro Action Replay V2 codes to try on your own, as recorded on our forum back in February 2006 by reader AceSharp, include:

Master Code
EC878530 1456E79B
EC878530 1456E79B

^ This needs to be activated all the time. If it isn’t, then the following codes don’t work.

1CD7B8E0 14960125
1CD7B8E4 14960145

^ This code replaces Videl with Bulma. You can’t switch between the costumes for some reason.

Freeza in his Hoverchair
1CD7A808 1456E7E6

^ This one replaces Freeza’s regular colour scheme with him in his hoverchair.

Kamikaze Ghost
1CD7CD40 1496F715
1CD7CD40 1496F715

^ This code replaces Gotenks with a Kamikaze Ghost (yeah, you can actually fight as one!) You can get a Super Saiyan 3 Ghost by transforming, and a Super Boo Ghost by transforming into what would normally be Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks for some reason.

So what is the final verdict? Quite frankly, we really do not know. All signs seem to point to the fact that Bulma was absolutely intended to be used as a playable character in the game (first in the European/American release, and then again in the Japanese version):

  • The translator for the English version of the game seemed to think there was more to the story
  • A character model was created and can even be viewed in the game’s training mode
  • There is a character-unlock capsule for her that can be acquired in the game, though it does not actually unlock anything
  • The tournament announcer has two lines recorded for the character — for her to be used to fight with and against — both in English and in Japanese
  • The English voice actress for the character recorded fighting noises

For some reason or another, it seems as if Bulma-as-a-playable-character was just never completed. To this day, there are no official codes or strategies for “unlocking” Bulma without the help of a cheat device.

Capcom is Producing a DBZ Fighting Game

STATUS: False… sorta.

Capcom has never owned the rights to Dragon Ball video game production in either the US or Japan, and most likely never will. Bandai has exclusively produced these games in Japan since the beginning; Atari (formerly Infogrames, and now completely re-aquired by Infogrames) held the international rights up through 2010, when the rights reverted back to Bandai (now as a larger conglomerate of Bandai Namco).

In 2005, however, slightly more truth came to this rumor when it was announced that Banpresto would be creating an all-new DBZ fighting game for arcades entitled Super Dragon Ball Z. In charge of this game would be ex-Capcom producer Funamizu, along with his studio Craft and Meister. Unlike typical Capcom games, however, Super Dragon Ball Z would retain the recent cel-shaded style of 3D graphics. The game was released to Japanese arcades 22 December 2005, and eventually saw a home console release worldwide on the PlayStation 2.

In 2018, Arc System Works released Dragon Ball FighterZ, a three-versus-three, team-based fighting game, arguably in the direct style of Capcom and Marvel’s Vs. series. Echoing the style of their previous work such as BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, the game’s presentation is a fully-3D-rendered cast of characters placed on a 2D field. The game’s special move inputs adhere more closely to traditional fighters, fireball motions included.

Akira Toriyama Designed Mecha Freeza in Super Dragon Ball Z

STATUS: False.

Something that has been passed around as accepted fact over the years is that Toriyama went on to design a special upgraded version of Mecha Freeza for the PlayStation 2 home release of Super Dragon Ball Z. We here at Kanzenshuu even incorporated this into our accepted knowledge base without really questioning it.

It turns out this may not actually be true.

The source for this information may be a preview article penned by Chris Roper on IGN back in May 2006. In the article, Roper noted:

While the character set is “limited” to 18, there are a handful of playable characters not yet seen in a DBZ game. Chi-Chi, Goku’s wife, makes her first appearance, for example. Not only that, but original Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama has created a Mecha-Frieza specifically for the game. Talk about official…

We reached out to Roper, who — understandably so — had no real recollection of where that information would have come from at the time.

Our attention then turned to what might have been that original source for this type of tidbit. We were directed to the June 2006 issue of V-Jump where the home port was also being previewed.

While the magazine does indeed introduce the new design for Mecha Freeza, there is absolutely no mention of any involvement by Akira Toriyama. This is precisely the kind of place where such involvement would not only be mentioned, but heavily promoted. Not being there does not in and of itself disprove his involvement, but it is a massive hint.

Shortly after the June 2006 issue’s release, a couple users of the Japanese board 2ch discussed Toriyama’s “supervision” of the character design:



It’s in V-Jump, the arcade Super Dragon Ball Z
It had this serious Mecha Freeza design image supervised by Akira Toriyama.
It looks like he actually had a bunch of heavy weapons incorporated into his body, and there was a bazooka equipped on his shoulder.
The home version apparently goes on sale for the PS2 around June 27th
Incidentally, the Full Armor Mecha Freeza-sama apparently isn’t coming out for arcade, but as a home exclusive.

That’s because Earth-games are actually quite well-done, you know.
And on top of that, “supervised by Akira Toriyama”… you know it’s gonna be good.
I was down about the rainy season coming up,
but now I’ve got one thing I can look forward to. You have my gratitude.

The authors of these separate posts (from the same 2ch thread) seem to have been under the impression that Toriyama was involved with Freeza’s new design, but there is no proper source for this supposed “supervision”. It may have been a multilingual game of telephone porting information over from the IGN preview or simply misremembering information from the magazine.

To be extra careful, we also grabbed the May 2006 issue of V-Jump where it is first previewed through the October 2006 issue (which would have been released in August; the game itself was released in June). As expected, nothing called out any special design work by Akira Toriyama. The August 2006 issue even included a bonus pack-in “Super Dragon Ball Z: Seven Super Words” booklet detailing behind-the-scenes information; no special mention is made of Mecha Freeza’s design with regard to Akira Toriyama.

Around the same time as the V-Jump issues detailed above, the American print edition of Viz’s Shonen Jump was also actively previewing the game. While advertisements — such as those shown below from the August 2006 issue — did indeed note that “Cyborg Frieza” was an “all-new character to unlock” there remains no mention at all of any involvement from Akira Toriyama other than with his creation of the original manga.

Even the game’s official website at the time — which had previously included an original sketch and message from Akira Toriyama to celebrate the arcade launch — made no special mention of any involvement in the new Freeza design. The six new additions to the home version roster were each given a brief synopsis, but the Freeza one simply mentions the new upgrades.


The evil overlord who was supposed to have been defeated on Namek has returned from the brink of death!
He fights by making use of the numerous future weapons built into his mechanical body.
Among his skills, apparently there are even as-yet unknown weapons he can be equipped with….

Beyond all of the sources noted above, we have also since taken a look at instruction manuals, strategy guides, and other previews for the game in multiple languages. There is not a single official confirmation anywhere — that we can find, anyway — of Toriyama’s personal involvement with the upgrade to Mecha Freeza in Super Dragon Ball Z.

When Toriyama is involved in something, that fact is reprinted several times over. While we have gone through every bit of promotion for the game in V-Jump, we admittedly cannot go through every single issue of (the now-defunct) Monthly Jump — never mind individual Weekly Shonen Jump issues — from that same time period. There are likely fun tidbits printed in those compilations, but that brings about another comparison: Toriyama’s design of Chilled for Episode of Bardock. While this fact was initially printed alongside the first chapter’s original publication in the August 2011 issue of V-Jump, the design was also reprinted in the massive 2013 Chōgashū (“Super Art Collection”). With essentially every major new contribution post-kanzenban from Toriyama added to the art book, the fact that there is no Super Dragon Ball Z Mecha Freeza design may be the final nail in the coffin.

It is likely that some combination of the Japanese fan discussion combined with the IGN preview created the false information that Toriyama was involved with the design. Where those people perhaps got the false impression of his involvement is a separate question entirely!

All DBZ Video Games Are Rushed, Unfinished Products

STATUS: Yes & No.

The feeling of “rushed” games was not felt widespread throughout fandom until the release of Dragon Ball Z 3 / Budokai 3, but it in fact dates back a full decade earlier.

Dragon Ball Z: Super Butōden 2 for the Super Famicom was released in December 1993. It was a massive improvement over the first game with a branching single-player story mode, improved graphics, responsive controls, and more. The series was becoming so successful that a third game was brought out not even a full year later in September 1994. The development time spoke for itself, but so did the game’s options: while the graphics continued to be touched up, the number of background stages and playable characters decreased, and there was no story mode to speak of (just the standard tournament and two-player modes).

As French superfan “Cold Skindetailed on our forum, digging into the game’s debug menu — actually carried over directly from the second game, if the pointers and missing data are any indication — reveals quite a bit about the game’s development. Most notable is an unfinished(?) tenth stage that appears to be a variation on the normal plains stage, though is fully playable via an Action Replay code (7E0BAB07). The outside stage features a stone Piccolo (having been spat on by Dabra):

Some extra character animation data is also present. An unfinished sprite of the future Trunks in his non-Super Saiyan form exists with golden hair in addition to frame data for swatting ki blasts aside, a feature that would come in the following (and final) Super Famicom fighting game, Hyper Dimension. Artificial Human #18 even has a six-frame animation for a secret attack that goes unused in the game, one that seemingly references her attack (alongside #17) on the future version of Gohan in Trunks’ TV special:

The 1996 PlayStation and Saturn release Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu actually comes packed with not-so-hidden text files right on the game discs. Among the various anecdotes and funny stories from the game’s development staff, Graphic Artist “N” notes:


Apart from that, we had designs on putting in Gogeta, Majin Ozotto, or even an original character (designed by the great Toriyama-sensei, natch), but due to the constraints of the schedule, we ever so regretfully had no choice but to abandon them.

“Ozotto” was an original creation from the 1994 Sega arcade game Dragon Ball Z: V.R.V.S. The monstrous villain would have been relatively contemporary to this game’s development, but unfortunately the schedule kept him, miscellaneous other characters, and even a brand-new Toriyama creation away from the final release.

Dragon Ball games took a nice (and well-needed) break after 1997’s Final Bout, but the next generation of games soon brought that “rushed” feeling back along for the ride. At first, many fans were simply expecting more from the PlayStation 2 game Dragon Ball Z 3 / Budokai 3; a mere 11 characters in “Dragon Universe” seemed strange (especially when more obvious choices could have been made), the “What-If?” fusions from the previous game were now gone, etc. However, it was not until we started digging through the game’s audio files on the disc, itself, that we unearthed even more evidence.

As you can read above with the Bulma rumor, it seems as if Bulma was intended to be a playable character in the game, but was possibly just not finished in time. Bulma’s name is not the only “extra” announcement on the game disc, however! Fans may be shocked to know that there are also announcements recorded for Artificial Human #19 (“Android 19”), Dodoria, Zarbon, and “Shin” (in addition to Bulma). These sound files have been compared to those in previous games (the first three noted in this list were standard playable characters in the first Budokai game); they are entirely different recordings, which means their announcements were recorded brand-new for inclusion on the Budokai 3 disc.

Artificial Human (“Android”) #19 announcement in Budokai 3 (US)

Dodoria announcement in Budokai 3 (US)

Zarbon announcement in Budokai 3 (US)

“Shin”(?) announcement in Budokai 3 (US)

Fans theorize as to what this “Shin” may have been. The first character that comes to mind is Kaiōshin, but he has his own regular name announcement (“Supreme Kai” in the American release), though this “Shin” announcement is immediately after “Supreme Kai” in the file structure. Other ideas include “Shen,” the pseudonym God went under during the 23rd Tenka’ichi Budōkai. However, since the game uses only FUNimation names, as FUNimation re-named the character “Hero” for the English dub, this makes little sense.

This all stems back to a comment made by the game’s producer, Daisuke Uchiyama, which inferred that any and all characters from previous games (such as #19, Zarbon, and Dodoria) would be returning for the third installment. Of course, we now know that the characters are not actually in the game.

Further exploring the game’s audio, we happened upon what appears to have been the beginnings of a “Dragon Universe” storyline for little (“Kid”) Goku! You can actually hear most of this audio in the game, itself, in the various “Memories of…” capsules.

Unused “Kid Goku” Dragon Universe English Dub Audio in Budokai 3 (US)

Interestingly, with this knowledge of “extra” files on the disc, we went back to the previous two Budokai games to see if we could turn anything else up. While Budokai 2 showed absolutely nothing of interest, the first Budokai game had some interesting items! Just like with Budokai 3, additional World Tournament character announcements can be heard (in the game’s data as “ADX_US_1441.adx” through “ADX_US_1446.adx”). Saibaiman (“Saibamen”), Cell Jr., and of all characters, Kewi (“Cui”) all have their names announced! It would seem that the developers had the idea of Saibaiman and Cell Jr. being playable since the very first game, but either a) never got around to including them, or b) used the announcements to test the characters and their techniques for game-development purposes, only.

Saibaiman announcement in Dragon Ball Z (JP) & Budokai (US)

Cell Jr. announcement in Dragon Ball Z (JP) & Budokai (US)

Kewi announcement in Dragon Ball Z (JP) & Budokai (US)

These names were recorded for a reason, and it is frustrating to not see what the final fruits of labor could have been. The first Budokai game has been out for ages now (on two game systems), and nothing additional has turned up with regards to the “extra” three character announcements (Saibaiman, Cell Jr., Kewi). Luckily, Budokai 2 seems relatively complete (ignoring the few extra items the Japanese release received, such as Kuriza, Goku/Piccolo’s extra outfits, and an additional “Dragon World” stage).

Even the Sparking! / Budokai Tenkaichi games got in on the fun. The Japanese version of the second game — Sparking! NEO — contains an extra sound file with the announcer naming “Ginga Senshi”… and the English release has its own translated version of “Galaxy Soldier” as well! This announcement is not actually used anywhere in the game. It may have once referred to a generic fighter, a test opponent, or perhaps a planned but otherwise unfinished character.

“Ginga Senshi” (“Galaxy Soldier”) announcement in Sparking! NEO (JP) & Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (US)

With the Dragon Ball franchise’s games typically stuck to a yearly development cycle, it is not unthinkable to have content constantly being pushed aside in order to hit deadlines. With so many of the games receiving sequels, it seems like most of the planned content eventually made its way into some game along the way, but there are always a few head-scratchers that we may never truly understand!