Review by Kain Stryder
"Can This Game Get Any Better? I Submit It Can Not!"
Wow, I mean, wow. When I first got this game, I suspected it to be just another Dragon Ball Z letdown, since so many of the previous games weren't too great. Well, for the most part, I was wrong. Very wrong. This game is not only amazing and fun to play, but it's probably one of THE best Gameboy games out there right now. I know, I know, you're saying ''But it's Dragon Ball Z! That show sucks!'' Well, even if you're a fan or a hater, this game is still something to check out. Why's that you ask? Read on.
Story: Same old, same old, I'm afraid. Once again, this game's story takes place during the Namek/Frieza Saga. The game begins once Bulma, Gohan and Kurirun arrive on Planet Namek and ends after the fateful battle with SSJ Goku VS. Frieza. Boring, boring, boring, I know. It's the same over used story again and again, but hey, it's DBZ, what can you expect? I just wish they'd go FARTHER than Frieza for once, geez...
Controls: Simply put; easy. Though, they are a bit ''choppy'' at times and everything is like REALLY fast, they're fairly easy to master. The main game plays out much like a Super Mario Bros. game, only you can either walk or fly and if you bump into a enemy, you enter a RPG-like battle. Simple, right? Even the controls in the battles are easy AND fun to control. You're actually apart of the battle, instead of just selecting attacks and watching Gohan dish them out. No, sir, you play a Action RPG and move around to attack. Nice, huh? Over all, just really easy controls to learn. Nothing too hard to learn at all.
Graphics: Beautiful. Just, hands down beautiful. For a game that came out in 1995 and for the Gameboy no less, these graphics are just so damn awesome. I mean it. For Gameboy, these are probably the best this system is ever going to produce. If you thought DBZ graphics for past games sucked, these WILL blow you away. The Famicom had some REALLY good graphics and even the Super Famicom games had some ok ones, but these are just REALLY good. The fighting graphics are pulled straight from the Manga, so when you do a kick with Gohan, it's something he did in the Manga and even though they aren't animated images, they still fit together nicely.
Even the Super Mario Bros. style platform area looks very well done, for a Planet Namek atmosphere. Characters look ok, even though they're VERY small, but still, you're able to tell if that's Kurirun or Gohan. Character icons also look VERY nice, battles are drawn very well and even the cutscenes are INSANELY good. Just don't expect to be let down by the graphics. You won't be. If you are to play this game for the graphical reasons, you won't be disappointed.
Sound/Music: Eh, it was ok, nothing to really be happy about. Some parts I felt like were DBZ, others I didn't. But, the music DOES fit the mood, as the battle music is sort of dark and unhopeful, but once you win, it cheers up. Music for the cutscenes also fit very nicely. I guess the music fits well, but it just doesn't really have any catchy tunes you'll like. It's probably best to listen to your own music, but hey, if you like Gameboy music, give it a go.
As for the sound effects, they were great. When you hit a enemy with a punch or kick, you hear something that sounds accurate for a punch or kick, as well as for the Ki Blasts. Even the Zanzoken's sound was done very well, though, that's about it for sound effects, as this game doesn't have many of them. Heh. The battles are about the only time you'll ever hear them, except during a few cutscenes. But for what there is, it's done perfectly.
Game Play: One word: Fun. This and the graphics are the main reason to play this game. Even though it's in Japanese, you can easily still play it without too much trouble. The game consists of you going through the Namek/Frieza Saga and playing the events out. You can control Gohan, Kurirun, Vegeta, Piccolo and Goku. (Once you get them that is.) At times, you will control Gohan and Kurirun and at other times, just Vegeta, until the three meet up. Even though this game is fairly short, like, beatable in a few days or a day, IF you know what you're doing, the battles are very fun to play and exploring Planet Namek is a blast. There's alot of Minigames to play, (If you can find them.) as well as people to talk to, areas to cover, etc.
It's just a really fun game and with two different endings, it gives you a challenge, so there's definitely some replay value there. Another fun factor, though, is by far training Goku. At anytime, you can edit his daily training while he's on his way to Planet Namek, as well as see his current progress, Level, etc. You also can see how many days are left until he arrives and everything. It's just a nice little feature that was added in and when Goku arrives on Planet Namek, he's NEVER the same person. His stats can always be different, depending on how you trained him. Cool, huh? It's like a custom fighter.
Now, if you're wondering the downsides to this game, there are none, as far as I'm concerned. Pretty much just the constant battles can get boring maybe, as well as the game can get TOO easy if you train hard enough, I know. I was able to destroy The Ginyu Force with a few hits each. Sad, huh? Other than that, it's just a really fun game and if you like Action RPGs, you'll love this one, even if it is DBZ.
Did I mention there's a Tenkaichi Boudouki Mode? Yes, that's in here AND it's fun. You can play as any good guy you've currently met in Story Mode so far and they'll be as strong as they are in Story Mode at the moment. So if your Gohan is Level 13, this one is Level 13. The Tenkaichi Boudouki Mode is very fun, especially with a friend. I'm not too sure, though, but I think that Dragon Ball Z: Goku Hishouden and this game are connected in some way other than a sequel/prequel and maybe they both have some secret characters to play as in the Tenkaichi Boudouki Mode...hmm, I'll mention more of this in my walkthrough, which is on the site, so check there. Over all, though, just simply amazing for the Gameboy. Can't get any better, can it?
Over All: Well, there you have it. If I've convinced you to play this game now or at least to check it out, that's great, my mission is done. But no, really, do give it a shot, even if you hate DBZ, you may just like the battles and game play, even the graphics. Though, if you are a fan of DBZ, this is DEFINITELY a game to add to your collection and something to NOT pass up. I don't think this game could've been much better, except maybe if it were longer and went to Cell or something, then I'd have no complaints, but it's a short game to say the least. Not as short as Dragon Ball Z: Goku Hishouden, but still short. The controls are good, the graphics are amazing, the music and sound is good, gameplay is top notch, replay value is also good AND there's a Tenkaichi Boudouki Mode. How sweet is that?
Anyway, if you have to choose to either rent it (Psh, good luck.) or buy it, DEFINITELY buy this if you ever see it. As it stands, I've seen very few copies of this game around and I was lucky enough to snag one on eBay. If you for some reason can rent it, do so or borrow it from a friend who may have it. Either way, just give this game a chance and you just may grow to love it. Just remember, you need to know Japanese to really play this game, but if you have a good knowledge of DBZ and Action RPGs, you'll be fine.
Final Rate: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/27/03, Updated 06/26/03
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