Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball is one of the most successful anime series of all time, and it’s amassed an impressive legacy that’s lasted more than three decades with still no end in sight. Dragon Ball has proven itself as an essential anime and manga series, but its popularity has also turned it into a robust video game property with more than 50 games to its name. By and large, Dragon Ball video games celebrate the franchise’s protagonist, Goku, but there are still plenty of other titles that let some of the series’ supporting players, like Piccolo, shine.
Piccolo has experienced some of the most substantial character development across Dragon Ball and remains a fan-favorite character. Fortunately, there are plenty of Dragon Ball video games that allow audiences to control the impressive Namekian.
10 Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan To Eradicate The Saiyans
Release Date: August 6, 1993
Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans is a fascinating Dragon Ball relic that first found life as a card battle RPG from Bandai for the original Nintendo. However, Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans was later adapted into a pair of OVA installments, the basis for a Playdia exclusive, and later a 2010 OVA remake.
Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans introduces a new Tuffle threat, Dr. Raichi, who intends to get revenge on the Saiyans for his home planet’s destruction, while also incorporating ghost warriors of some of the series’ fiercest foes like Turles, Lord Slug, and Cooler. Despite the game’s focus on Saiyan vengeance, Piccolo is the lone outlier and one of the game’s more unique playable characters.
9 Dragon Ball Z
Release Date: November 1993
Dragon Ball Z excels on home video game consoles, but it’s also had a rich life in arcades, and Banpresto’s Dragon Ball Z from ’93, also known as Dragon Ball Z Arcade, is the franchise’s first official arcade game. Dragon Ball Z borrows a lot from Capcom’s Street Fighter series when it comes to its gameplay, controls, and destructible backgrounds.
There are some deep cuts with the game’s roster of nine characters, like Recoome and Burter. However, Piccolo makes the cut and is one of the game’s better characters due to his malleable arms and Special Beam Cannon attack.
8 Dragon Ball Z: Buyu Retsuden
Release Date: April 1, 1994
Super Nintendo owners had a lot of options with their Dragon Ball Z games, but Dragon Ball Z: Buyu Retsuden was the Sega Genesis’ answer to the SNES’ Super Butoden series. Buyu Retsuden isn’t demonstrably different from the first two Super Butoden games, but a diverse roster, rich graphics, and an entertaining story mode that covers the events of the Frieza and Cell Sagas make Buyu Retsuden an entertaining 16-bit fighter.
The game’s 11-character roster features some diverse fighters from the series, like Captain Ginyu and Android 18, but Piccolo is also front and center. Piccolo’s prominent role in Buyu Retsuden makes sense considering the character’s significance during Dragon Ball Z‘s earlier story arcs.
7 Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden & Super Butoden 2
Release Date: March 20, 1993 & December 17, 1993
Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden is a trilogy of 16-bit fighting games for the Super Nintendo that collectively cover the entirety of Dragon Ball Z, as well as several of the series’ movies. Super Butoden 2 is particularly innovative due to its branching storylines that engage in “What If?…” storytelling.
Piccolo stands out in the first two games, especially around a sea of Saiyan. Piccolo is a prominent character in the first two Super Butoden entries, but he’s taken out of the third and final entry in the Super Nintendo series in favor of more Buu Saga-centric characters like Supreme Kai, Dabura, and Goten.
6 Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension
Release Date: March 29, 1996
Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension is the final Super Nintendo Dragon Ball game and as a result, it’s easily the most visually impressive of the 16-bit console’s offerings. Hyper Dimension spans Dragon Ball Z’s Frieza and Buu Sagas and there’s nuanced gameplay that allows characters to pull off devastating “desperate moves” when their health gets in the red.
Hyper Dimension has a fairly selective roster that doesn’t include many familiar faces like Krillin, Trunks, and Goten. There’s also a greater emphasis on fused fighters like Vegito and Gotenks. However, Piccolo is still along for the ride and Hyper Dimension includes some of the best use of this character in any Super Nintendo Dragon Ball game.
5 Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22
Release Date: July 28, 1995
Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 translates the one-on-one chaos of the Super Butoden series to the PlayStation with an upgraded experience that’s rich in aerial combat, ki beam power struggles, and explosive attacks. The biggest selling point in Ultimate Battle 22 is its impressive roster, which is made up of 22 characters (or 27, with the assistance of cheat codes).
With such a diverse roster that includes ancillary figures like Zarbon, Android 16, and Great Saiyaman, it’s only natural that Piccolo makes the cut. There may only be one version of Piccolo included in Ultimate Battle 22, but his versatile attack arsenal makes him a true force of nature.
4 Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy Of Goku II
Release Date: June 17, 2003
The norm with Dragon Ball games is that they’d be made in Japan and possibly receive North American and European localizations. The Legacy of Goku trilogy for the Game Boy Advance were breakthrough American Dragon Ball games that were later released in Japan, rather than the other way around. Legacy of Goku only has Goku as a playable character, but Legacy of Goku II features a more creative roster that expands to include Future Trunks, Gohan, Vegeta, and Piccolo.
Piccolo is a standout character during the battle on Namek and the start of the Android invasion. Sadly, Piccolo isn’t playable in the trilogy’s final entry, Buu’s Fury, but “Illusion Piccolo” does appear as a challenging boss battle.
3 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Trilogy
Release Date: November 2, 2002; December 4, 2003; November 16, 2004
Dimps struck creative gold with their Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube and this series largely dominated the anime fighting game market during the 2000s. The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games effectively translate the anime’s heightened action sequences with cutting-edge ki attacks, in-battle transformations, aerial combat, and suspenseful beam struggle showdowns.
The advent of a Dragon Ball fighting game on PS2 hardware wasn’t lost on audiences and comprehensive rosters that include dozens of characters from all Dragon Ball series and many feature films means that there’s lots of variety on display. Namekian representation is low across these games, but Piccolo is present in each entry and is one of the more popular Budokai fighters.
2 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Release Date: January 16, 2020
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot remains a top Dragon Ball title that continues to release substantial DLC material that covers not only the events of Dragon Ball Super but also the original Dragon Ball (including Goku’s epic showdown against Piccolo during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament). Curiously, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an open-world action RPG title rather than purely being a fighting game.
Goku is the character that players control most often, but the game’s roster gradually expands as the player gets deeper into the series’ story. Kakarot is rather selective with its playable heroes. Once again, Piccolo is the only non-Saiyan character to make the cut, and every sequence that features the Namekian really makes an impression.
1 Dragon Ball FighterZ
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a multi-console Dragon Ball game that’s been out for more than five years and is still one of the most popular fighting games of this generation with a dedicated fanbase. Dragon Ball FighterZ has a cel-shaded 2.5D visual aesthetic that truly feels like the player is in control of the anime. Dragon Ball FighterZ has more in common with the Marvel vs. Capcom series than Street Fighter due to its three-player and assist character gameplay instead of strict one-on-one combat.
Dragon Ball FighterZ has six separate versions of Goku and continues to add new characters through DLC additions. Fortunately, Piccolo makes the base roster and stands tall among Dragon Ball Super‘s godly warriors.
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