|Translation by Stardust Crusaders|
Dragon, dragon, dragon ball.... DRAGON BALL Z!!! Er, I mean just regular DRAGON BALL!!! Dragon Ball has always been, in my mind, ripe for RPGs. Imagine my disappointment as a young lad when nothing was served up for any of my favourite systems. Come on then, IMAGINE IT!... Yes, it was that heartbreaking. When I was first able to access the final games list that the Cyber Police had generated, I had to hide the semi I got from all the Dragon Ball games that were on it. It wouldn't do well for them to think I actually enjoy any of this (but I'm totally going to).
The game begins with Goku coming back to Kame house to find his friend Kuririn dead and the four star dragon ball gone! The sinister Piccolo is gathering the balls in order to wish himself young again! One of his minions must have taken the dragon ball! He has also ordered that all the powerful martial artists in the world must be destroyed! Heavy. Gathering his Nyoi-bo (a magic extending staff) and the dragon ball radar, Goku jumps on his faithful Kinto Un (a flying cloud) and heads off after the perpetrator.
|Goku, this isn't an appropriate|
time to be smirking.
True to the series, Goku promptly takes a beating and has to recover back at Kame house. Now the adventure starts in earnest! Let's gather dragon balls! First Goku must gather his posse. After rescuing the kidnapped Bulma from Ukelele (one of Piccolo's henchcreatures), Goku heads to the Henshin School to meet Yamcha, Puar, and Oolong.
|Oolong! You've... lost a lot of weight.|
At these encounter scenes, the game plays out like an adventure game, with options to talk, search, and move from area to area. Sometimes fights are to be had within these areas and other times instant death awaits. For example, at the Henshin school, Goku meets a couple of teachers along with Oolong and Puar (Yamcha is indisposed). The options are limited in this area and most choices result in dead ends. One of the teachers assaults Goku with offers of an apple and since all the other paths lead to dead ends, he accepts it. Big mistake. It's a "Goodbye Apple" which explodes and kills Goku. Wasn't quite expecting to die in a non-fight situation but lesson learnt. It turns out it was all a trap set by that darn Ukelele using some illusion or something to appear as Oolong. After the real Oolong and Puar are rescued, Goku travels north to find Yamcha.
Travel from location to location is done by using one of five cards that Goku has at all times. The number of the dragon ball determines how far Goku can move. At the end of his movement, a screen with five cards appears and he must choose one. These can contain anything from a fight to healing to having cards swapped around and so on.
|No, I'm pretty sure that's Burt Reynolds.|
These are the same cards that are used in battle as well. Here the dragon ball number determines whose card effect will succeed. Punches, kicks, combos and ki attacks make for the bulk of the cards received. There's also a flee card but we all know Goku isn't bright enough to flee when he should so it will never willingly be used. Ki attacks are further randomized by having to draw from a pool of five cards so no picking the Kamehameha every time. :(
|Yeah! Yeah! Kick that face right in its face!|
Upon arriving at Jingle Village, it surprises no one that Yamcha has been captured and is being kept in Muscle Tower. Now, the story has been deviating more and more from the original series, probably in order to cram as many cameos in as possible. That is not necessarily a bad thing as it keeps the number of surprises up. And really — who would want to rescue some crummy old village chief when you can rescue a gorgeous heartthrob?
|Hey, Yamcha, how YOU doin'?|
After returning to Kame house, the gang use a Hoi-Poi Capsule to get a submarine to explore an old underwater pirate base. The robot guardian from the show was present and fun to fight. All of his attacks were represented here and I was almost wishing that just one machine gun burst would end up hitting Goku (sick dodge skillz). The end boss for this area was a shock as it was no other than Tao Pai Pai (who should be half blown to bits at this point)! The toughest fight so far but luckily Goku had saved some high priority cards.
|Heh. Never get sick of that expression.|
With another dragon ball under our belts, Goku must enlist the help of Fortuneteller Baba to locate the next one. The ball is located in nowhere other than New Pilaf Castle! Can Goku penetrate the castle's defenses? What dangerous foes await him there? Will he find the next dragon ball? How did Oolong lose so much fucking weight? Stay tuned!
|Aww, cute. He thinks he's threatening.|