Franchise that you need to play!
As the game begins, Goku is seeking out the number 4 Dragon Ball, which is the one his Grandfather had originally. His quest puts him in the crosshairs of the Red Ribbon Army, a group that’s been seeking all the Dragon Balls once again. From there sparks fly along with fists, and Goku is faced with wiping out the Red Ribbon opposition before they can get their hands on everything. The villains all seem to be taken straight out of the cartoon, and the English voice actors all seem to reprise their roles here, which is nice to note. The voice over work is of a decent quality, so once again, fans should be happy to see that.
The game offers up a few control options too, which was cool to have included, since motion controls don’t seem to offer up anything here. The game can be controlled with a Wii remote and nunchuk, the Gamecube controller, or the Classic Controller. For the majority of the review I defaulted with the standard remote and nunchuk combo, but I think the game benefits from a standardized set up like the Classic or Gamecube controller, and I’d suggest that as a default if the option is open to you. The button combo’s aren’t complex enough to require it, but there’s enough stuff mapped to button presses that having them easily available to your thumb makes more sense on a regular control pad than the remote. Still, any control option works well enough.
As Goku, you have all the basics of a brawler in place, including a life bar and a special attack bar that builds up over time to unleash your Kamehamaha, a devastating fireball attack that wipes out most regular enemies in one hit. Along with that, you have a series of attacks that you can string together, including a few hits that come along with a bo staff (it just seems to pop up randomly), including jump attacks and combo’s as well. Goku can also defend by blocking and dodging, and certain things will allow him to lock on to an object and make use of it. Also, enemy attacks will have certain weaknesses, like the missile launchers that Goku can actually kick the missiles back to, so his repertoire of moves is surprisingly involved.
However, the game does fall into the same traps that other similar 3D Brawlers have, especially when they’re not based on some type of arcade mindset of short length with reasons for replay. The game does try to give you replay reasons, there’s a series of chests divided up between the stages in each world that you can find to unlock concept art, music and other stuff, but the length of the game is long enough that by the time you hit that halfway point you really start to grow bored with it. I never felt like the mechanics evolve much past what you’ll see in 1-3, and even the boss fights get to be tired affairs of wearing down an enemies invincible shield, beating on them for a few seconds, and then doing the same two steps over and over. Occasionally they’ll make use of the lock on system to do something interesting, but it’s still not enough to completely satiate my need to have something exciting and new happen here. I do think that the pitfall is length, and while the game doesn’t clock in at double digit numbers, it still manages to outlast it’s welcome by a few hours at least.
Outside of the main mode, there’s also a tournament mode that allows you to go one on one with the CPU or another player, taking on the roles of characters from the show. I’m not entirely sold on this mode either, the controls and style of fighting are still taken from the main game, so it’s a brawler vs. mode instead of an actual fighter, and it doesn’t compare favorably to other fighters that actually use the license already. It’s certainly no reason to pick the game up, if you want a Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z fighter, there’s better options available if memory serves me right.
Finally there’s the shop option that’s run by the witch Baba. Here you can spend the Zeni that you get in the Adventure mode of the game on stuff like BGM, character models, and other extra tertiary stuff. The only real integral part of the shop comes from the power upgrades that you can get for Goku that apply to the adventure mode, so you want to be sure that you don’t ignore the shop completely, even if the other stuff doesn’t really appeal to you.
We are delighted to give this one a 9/10.