Review by Dakeeb

"Banpresto scores another hit"

All right, I'm here to tell you a little something about Dragonball: Advance Adventure. And here it is: it is a good game.

In case you want more detail, let me start off by saying that this is not a Dragonball Z game. This is tracing the story back to its roots, with a little boy named Son Goku. Some hardcore DBZ fans may be disappointed by this, but I assure you that this is an excellent game even without the DBZ label. Which may explain why it's so good, come to think of it. Anyway, on with the reviewing:

Story: 9/10

For once, fans may not know the story by heart, as they're exposed more to DBZ. So here it is: A young boy with a tail named Son Goku (or Gokou, according to the game) leaves his grandfather's house one day and meets a girl named Bulma. Together they go in search of the 7 mystical Dragonballs. Goku proceeds to beat the living crap out of anyone who gets in his way: Yamcha, Pilaf, Shu and Mai, the entire Red Ribbon Army, Tao Pai Pai (Taopaipai), Tenshinhan and Chaotzu (Chaoz), and King Piccolo (Piccolo) all suffer his wrath. He also makes some friends: Krillin (Klilyn), Master Roshi, Yajirobe, and Korin will make appearances to cheer Goku on.

The story has all the whimsy of the manga/anime, but you'll be at a bit of a loss if you can't understand Japanese. I can't myself, I'm lucky because I knew the story beforehand. Still, no sense in taking points off for that (that would be silly). The cutscenes will help you a little, so pay close attention to them.

The game does not go through the entirety of Dragonball: it stops after Goku defeats King Piccolo. So the game is played wholly as kid Goku and not adult Goku. I have no problem with this myself: if you want to see adult Goku fight Piccolo Jr, play Supersonic Warriors.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics are perfect. The characters look and move exactly like they do in the anime, with perfect fluidity and no slowdown. The backgrounds have a lot of detail, and there's the standard amount of interaction with them like you'd find in any sidescrolling beat-em-up game: you can jump on platforms to get higher up, you can destroy specially placed rocks and crates, and you can fall down pits. That's pretty much all there is to say in the graphics department.

Sound: 7/10

The music is fun to listen to, I will say that much. But it gets quite repetitive, as there are only about three tracks for the many different levels interspersed throughout the game. Bosses and Tournament matches have their own tracks. If you treat the music as pleasant background noise to your quest then I have no problem with it.

Sound effects are what you'd expect. You get a smacking sound when you hit someone or are hit yourself. A whoosh noise for jumping and moving quickly, etc. The original Japanese anime voices are in the game: you'll hear Goku, Krillin, Piccolo, and the other characters grunt, yell, and scream "Kamehameha!" with perfect clarity, and very high-quality. Good voices and sound effects.

Gameplay: 9.5/10

This is what I've been waiting for in a DB game. The gameplay has such variety and is so enjoyable. Each level has you, as Goku, running from one end of the stage to the other, beating up enemies as you go. This gets a tad repetitive after a while, but I only take off half a point there, because beating up bad guys is just that much fun. There are about a million different moves that Goku can use: various combinations of jumping, punching, kicking, and special attacks. Examples: Goku can jump-kick someone, he can kick upward in the air, he can whack people with his Power Pole, or do a Kamehameha, or slam someone to te ground with his Power Pole...the list goes on and on, and you won't be bored the first time through. Throughout the game you'll find certain items that increase your maximum health, the length of your Power Pole, and your ki energy (so you can make attacks like the Kamehameha do even more damage).

And that's just in the sidescrolling portions of the game. For fighting in Tenkaichi Budokai matches, and against certain other enemies (Tao Pai Pai, Grampa Gohan, and King Piccolo) , there's a whole new combat system implemented. These fights resemble a fighting game more than a beat-em-up, which is all the better. Two games in one!

Anyway, when you go into this second fighting system, you have to forget everything you learned about your character (not specifically Goku; see below), because he'll have a whole new set of moves and combos. In these fights, you and your opponent will punch, kick, and block each other without actually doing damage. Each successful hit will wear away you or your opponent's defense meter. When one of them reaches zero, that fighter will have won the struggle, and will get the opportunity to execute a very cool-looking combo on the other. Usually this involves punching them a few times, kicking them into the air, then flying up after them and doing another combo to sent them flying back toward the ground. Energy attacks like the Kamehameha are also available in this mode, but the other special attack (like Goku's Power Pole Ultra-Spin) will not be, presumably because weapons aren't allowed in tournaments.

Overall, there's a lot of variety in the gameplay, and you will be wanting to play this game when you're sitting in a class or a meeting, waiting for it to end. Come on, I know you've been through that. I have on many occasions.

Replayability: 8/10

So you've defeated King Piccolo and the game is over. Or is it? No, no it is not. Now you can play through the whole thing again...as Krillin. And you'll find that Krillin plays completely differently from Goku, with a whole new set of attacks and a whole new way of moving. Examples: pressing the L button with Goku makes him swing his Power Pole around and around, damaging all enemiesl doing the same thing with Krillin makes him perform a Taiyoken (Solar Flare), which paralyzes all enemies. What makes Goku jump-kick someone will make Krillin slam them onto the ground (Krillin is generally much more airborne then Goku). So it's almost as if you're playing a completely new game, which is excellent.

In addition to the revamped Story Mode, there's also a Tournament Mode available now. You can fight Budokai-style as Goku, Krillin, Grampa Gohan, Jackie Chun, Tao Pai Pai, and Tenshinhan, and against any of them. DB: AA makes a pretty decent fighting game, which is impressive considering that's not even the main purpose. When you beat Story Mode again as Krillin, you will unlock King Piccolo for use in this mode as well.

An Extra Mode also appears in the menu, which consists of all the levels from Story Mode, except some of the doors that were closed before are now open. In these rooms you can find fun little items, including portraits of various characters in the game. When you beat Extra Mode with these portraits in your possession, you can play through Extra Mode as that character. And they all play as differently as Goku and Krillin. This game never ceases to entertain and challenge.

All in all, a terrific game. It's a pity Banpresto didn't make such games as the Legacy of Goku series or the Budokai series, because they would have turned out much better. Enjoy Dragonball: Advance Adventure, whether you're a DB/Z fan or not. It's a lot of fun either way.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/02/05


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