Super Dragon Ball Z is a cel-shaded 3D fighting video game, based on the manga Dragon Ball written by Akira Toriyama. It was originally released in Japanese (December 22, 2005) and European (2006) arcades running on System 246 hardware, and later for the PlayStation 2 (Japan: June 29, 2006; US, July 18, 2006; AU, July 28, 2006). The game was developed by Crafts & Meister, headed by Noritaka Funamizu (a former Capcom fighting game producer who worked on the Street Fighter series and Darkstalkers). The game features 18 playable characters, destructible environments, and a game engine geared towards fans of more traditional fighting games.
Shifting away from the gameplay of recent series such as the Dragon Ball Z / Budokai and Sparking! / Tenkaichi games, Super Dragon Ball Z brings its style back to a more traditional formula made famous with the Capcom, SNK, etc. games of the 1990s. "Fireball motions" and their ilk provide the majority of special move inputs, along with "dial-a-combos" (as seen in Mortal Kombat 3 and the Tekken series) for closer, hand-to-hand combat. Some characters (Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Trunks, etc.) have brief power-ups into their Super Saiyan forms. Characters have "super moves", throws, juggles, dashes, etc. that can trace their roots back to these earlier 1990s games.
There are a variety of modes for gameplay:
Original mode is a basic arcade mode, in which the player can use either a normal, or custom character to fight their way through 7 opponents (receiving a Dragonball for each victory) and gain experience on the way.The 6th opponent will be Freiza and The 7th opponent will always be Cell.
Z Survivor is a "survival" mode in which the player fights various opponents for as long as their health remains above zero. Battles all take place in the world tournament ring (with the same background music each time), and last a single round. If the player wins the round, they play a "roulette"-style game in which their selection endows them with items such as additional experience, extra health, Dragon Balls, etc. If using a custom character, the player will gain experience.
Training mode can help a player perfect their skills against a computer opponent of their customization (non-moving, responsive, etc.). Battles take place within Vegeta's training room.
Versus mode is a standard two-player versus mode. Players may use either the default characters or their own custom versions from either memory card slot.
In Shenron Summon mode, upon collecting seven Dragon Balls with a custom character, the player may enter this mode to summon Shenron. The player may then wish for various items, such as additional attacks, unlockable characters, etc. After making a wish, the Dragon Balls disappear and must be recollected in another game mode.
Source: Wikipedia, "Super Dragon Ball Z", available under the CC-BY-SA License.