Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 05/14/02 | Genre: RPG
In the past there have been several games based on the popular anime, Dragonball, but most of them have been rather forgettable. Well, the folks at Infogrames and Webfoot Technologies set out to change all this and released Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku on the Game Boy Advance.
To give credit where credit is due, the game does an excellent job of following the DBZ storyline. Fans of the show will know exactly where they are, and what is happening at all times. That is easily one of the biggest draws for fans of the show, I found little moments of joy every time I talked to a character from the show, or visited a familiar locale. Speaking of which, you begin the game chatting with old friends at Master Roshi's, and are soon interrupted by Raditz. Once Raditz snags Goku's son, the real adventure begins.
The Legacy of Goku is an action RPG with the usual top-down perspective, and real-time combat. Defeating enemies and completing certain quests will reward you with experience points which are needed to make Goku stronger. When you first head out on your adventure, Goku will be fairly weak, and armed only with the standard ki blast as his energy attack. As you progress, Goku will become more powerful and eventually gain use of other attacks such as the blinding Solar Flare, and the popular Kamehameha wave. Unfortunately, the combat is a little frustrating at times. The biggest problem is the poor hit detection. You can be standing right in front of a stray cat, and miss with a straight on punch. At other times though, the punch may connect, you just never know for sure. Also, you have no diagonal movement. Up, down, left or right, those are the only directions you can move. This may cause you to become stuck on objects around you, and makes it difficult to maneuver while fighting enemies.
The graphics in the game are pretty good for the most part, every now and then it may be difficult to tell what something is supposed to be, but those instances are extremely rare. Character design is one of the game's bright spots as each DBZ character is easily recognizable to fans. Also, after important events you get a detailed picture showing what's happening, usually taken straight from the show; the intro to the game is a wonderful animation of scenes from the show. The only gripe I have concerning the graphics is that some enemies were too small and were difficult to see in bad lighting.
The sounds of the game are definitely nothing to write home about. Most of the time, I ended up playing with the volume all the way down due to the annoying music that played endlessly in the background. The one thing that is done well is Goku's voice yelling, "Kamehameha!" after launching the energy beam, but other than that, don't expect anything too spectacular.
If I was reviewing this game based on how well it followed the show, it would have gotten a higher grade, but I'm not. I'm reviewing it based on how fun it was to play, and while it wasn't an awful game, it certainly wasn't that good either. Sure, there were dozens of side quests that kept me busy, but that doesn't mean they were all that fun. For most gamers, this is just another GBA title that they should probably avoid. However, if you're a huge DBZ fan, bump the grade up to a B- as you'll definitely enjoy the settings and characters more than the casual gamer.