Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku
No, you haven't died and gone to meet King Yemma, DBZ fans. The first of Infogrames' games based on Akira Toriyama's mega-popular animated and comics series has arrived.
Legacy of Goku is an action-RPG based on the first three DBZ sagas: Saiyan, Namek and Frieza. As Goku, you battle evil and save the universe with fists of fury and fiery projectiles.
Don't know anything about DBZ? Allow us to give you the gist: In each episode of the show, a bunch of people (called Saiyans) with wily hair, rippling muscles and moon boots fight and talk about power levels for a half hour. These battles are commonly over control of the Dragon Balls (seven are scattered around the planet that, if collected, grant the gatherer any wish he/she desires) and sometimes span several episodes. We can assure you, LoG is shorter than the 185 half-hour shows.
Legacy of Goku gets a lot of things right--the graphics are some of the best I've seen on GBA, the sound is good, and it follows the convoluted DBZ storyline pretty darn accurately (albeit abridged). For those reasons alone, most hardcore DBZ fans will be able to overlook its problems. But I can't. The enemies are unfairly difficult, and close combat isn't an option, lust hitting a creature who is all over you (which is all of them) is next to impossible to do with any accuracy, much less delivering the multiple hits it takes to put 'em down. You're left using long-range projectile attacks that are safer but still difficult to land because your opponents move so erratically, as if they're going to act out a tribal dance before killing you. lust as you're fleeing this onslaught, part of that beautiful background you thought you were walking around inevitably blocks your movement, stopping you cold and giving your attacker a free shot. Wonderful. The gameplay (when you're not being chased by hordes of creatures) is pretty good, but simplistic. Bring an item here, find this person, plant these trees--nothing new, though if you've never played an action-RPG before, you may have some difficulty, especially in the Temple area of Namek. (The game has an unbelievably nasty habit of not fully explaining minor details, leaving a lot to trial-and-error.) This might be the best game ever spawned by DBZ, but it still falls just shy of good.
As someone who's never been a big fan of Dragon Ball, I came into The Legacy of Goku mainly just hoping for a solid action-RPG, regardless of the DBZ name. Now that I'm done, about the best thing I can say is that I don't necessarily regret the experience. Goku isn't bad--it's just that with a few adjustments, it could've been a lot better. The controls are too stiff (you can't even move diagonally), and battling enemies is both frustrating and boring thanks to touchy hit detection and extremely repetitive fights. It's too bad, 'cause the underlying game is pretty decent if a bit too short for an RPG. A good rental for casual RPGers.
I have a dark secret: I'm a Dragon Ball fan. Hey, it's not my fault. I've been reading the books since the series started, and I happen to enjoy the exploits of Goku and co. If nothing else, DBZ does a good job of condensing the "Z" storyline into a eight-hour game that functions, on the basest level, as a guided tour through the world of Dragon Ball. But that's the only reason I dig this mediocre action-RPG. Holding the game back are some clumsy controls and a wimpy combat system. The rest of the "action" is made up of a never-ending series of fetch quests that are useful for little more than killing time. This one's for younger kids and hardcore fans only.
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Over the years, hundreds of letters have stacked up in the EGM offices begging and pleading for one thing: a Dragon Ball Z game. Behold, Infogrames has granted your wildest wishes! (Ed. note: Now please stop. You got what you wanted. You happy?!) The first of their DBZ games (scheduled for release in May) is The Legacy of Goku, an action-RPG which puts you in the role of the legendary Saiyan to save the world and protect the seven Dragon Balls from evil. The action starts at the beginning of Z and includes the Saiyan, Namek and Frieza chapters.
You'll have a variety of attacks at your disposal--punching, kicking and (of course) the mighty Kamehameha!--to send your enemies flying. And just like the TV series, there's no shortage of bad guys. After all, isn't DBZ all about over-the-top fights with otherworldly foes?
Fans have been clamoring for a Dragon Ball game ever since the show started airing on U.S. television in the mid ’90s. But the heyday of good DBZ games out of Japan died with the 16-Bit Super Nintendo, and the one game that did make it to our shores-Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout- was largely recognized as crap. Infogrames hopes to do the license justice with a new round of DB titles. The first of these is the Action-RPG The Legacy of Goku, developed by Webfoot Technologies. You play as Goku through the first few DBZ story arcs, namely the Saiyan, Namek and Frieza sagas (sorry Trunks fans). The tale begins as your son, Gohan, is kidnapped by your Saiyan bro’ Raditz.
Legacy plays and looks similar to an old-school Zelda, but with a traditional RPG system of levelingup. You gain experience by completing side-quests (usually involving taking an item to another character) and defeating enemies. Sometimes you’ll even nab points by chatting with other characters.
As you progress, you’ll have access to more attacks and be able to fly for longer periods of time. All your favorite characters-from Bubbles to Yamcha - make appearances and quick cameos (see some of the lineup below). Webfoot President Dana Dominiak told EGM that the team went to great lengths to add references specifically for the DBZ hardcore-things that fans who’ve watched the original Japanese series would get, such as Master Roushi’s weakness for dirty magazines. Hopefully that attention to detail will translate into a game that fans will enjoy.