Review: Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy Of Goku II (Game Boy Advance)

Game: Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II
System: Game Boy Advance
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Webfoot Technologies
Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 6/17/03

Let’s face it. Fans of the show Dragon Ball Z (Even you. You know who you are.) in the United States have it rough when it comes to games based on the show. Most attempts at milking the franchise have ranged from coming up a bit short, to horribly, HORRIBLY stinking. Ports such as DBGT: Final Bout and Ultimate Battle 22 are horribly dated and not worth the time. Legendary Super Warriors may have covered all of the sagas, but it was a CARD BATTLE game that was extremely difficult to figure out. The American fighter, Budokai, had its moments, but had bad execution with the combat system and capsule collecting.

Then there’s “The Legacy of Goku,” the worst out of the bunch. The game offered no deviation, a story with HUGE chunks cut out, and a combat system which it hard to PUNCH, much less kill things. And now we come to its sequel: The Legacy of Goku II. This is the product of thousands of people buying a bad game and asking for a better one. And believe it or not, Atari delivered. The delivered a GOOD DBZ game. I’ll say it again. This is a GOOD DBZ game. Let that sink in for a while”¦

STORY

Like the last game, LOG II follows the events of the TV series, this time, taking its Story from the Android and Cell sagas. 16 years in the future, a young boy named Trunks is the only fighter left after two powerful androids killed the remaining warriors. Goku, however, died of a heart sickness years before. Having recently lost his friend and mentor, Gohan, in an epic battle, Trunks decides to go into the past and give Goku medicine to make him well, and change history for the better. But in doing so, new problems arise”¦

GAMEPLAY

Through the course of the game, you’ll have the option of playing as five different characters: Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, Trunks, and Goku. To be honest, this makes the title of the game “The Legacy of Goku” a bit misleading. Not only are you playing as four other characters, but also you’ll be playing as Goku himself for a very limited amount of time.

The controls remain simple. A still punches, while B still fires a Ki blast. The control pad is used to walk, while double tapping a direction will allow you to run. L allows you to cycle through each character’s different attacks. As you progress through the game, you can press R to bring up a map of your current surroundings, and Select to activate your “Scouter,” which I’ll be covering later.

Combat in this game has been refined considerably, while still maintaining the simplicity found in the first game. Punching still seems to be the best way to dispose of enemies, but your punches now have much more of a range to them. You won’t have to literally stand right on top of enemies for damage to register. Beam attacks have also changed, this time for the better. Each character begins with a simple Ki-Blast attack that uses very little of your Ki meter. As you go on, you’ll gain access to brand new attacks, unique to each character. For example, Gohan will learn the Masenko attack, which is a ranged, grenade-like energy ball that flies farther depending on how long you hold the button. Piccolo has the “Special Beam Cannon,” which fires a constant stream of energy when holding B. Trunks has the “Burning Attack,” which will temporarily freeze enemies on screen. Each character has his own strengths and weaknesses, which will help you as the game goes on. And since this takes place during the Cell saga, each character will be able to transform into Super Saiyans whenever you wish, giving them temporary boosts in power and speed. (Piccolo won’t get as big of a boost, but will be able to regenerate health.)

Now that we covered what you can do during battle, we come to the RPG aspects of the game. In comparison, LOG2 is LIGHTYEARS ahead of its predecessor. With the addition of more playable characters, the main story is now MUCH more fleshed out and accurate. Those who’ve watched the series will feel right at home here, knowing exactly what happens, and most likely where to go next. Those who don’t watch the show as won’t be left out, however, like the first game. The Android and Cell sagas are translated nicely into the game, with every major event included. My only problem is that character speech was taken directly from the American dub of the show, which stinks. Most people will not mind, however.

In addition to the main quest, there are plenty of side quests to keep you busy, and unlike the first game, you can go back to them any time you wish. For example, there are 7 missing Nameks you’ll need to find during the course of the game. You can either choose to find them now, or wait until you finish the main quest first. Either way, the quest will still be there for you to pursuit. All of the side quests are game exclusive, and do a good job of lengthening the game. Some seem out of place, however, such as finding someone a sandwich so a parade can start, or forcing a local yokel to turn down his loud music. Such quests were prevalent in the first game as well, but they are better executed here.

A staple of the DBZ universe involves characters getting stronger and stronger to the point of being completely ridiculous. LOG2 takes this staple and integrates a feature I’ve never seen in an RPG: forced leveling-up. What will happen is this: during the game, you’ll encounter several doors (all character-specific) that can only be opened when that character reaches a certain level. So if your Vegeta is Level 27, and you encounter a Level 30 door, you’ll need to fight more baddies to proceed. Some of this may be tedious if you go through the game to fast, but I find this system to be strangely innovative. Who would have thought leveling up would give more rewards than just stronger characters?

GRAPHICS

One of the few redeeming features (okay, the ONLY redeeming feature) from the first LOG was decent graphics. (Any game that has fluid animated openings on a friggin’ HANDHELD will impress me. Even if it is just a big animated gif.) This game takes those graphics, and improves on them immensely. The environments are downright BEAUTIFUL on the small screen, with greatly detailed cities, forests, islands, and mountain areas. With over ten giant game maps to explore, you’ll have plenty to marvel over.

The character sprites are decent, but still look a little small in comparison on the screen. Luckily, the majority of the bosses are two to three times the size of your fighters, so it’s easier to distinguish things in a boss fight.

SOUND

The game sports a great soundtrack, which includes music directly from the American dub. Unlike the voices in the dub, the music ranges from tolerable to enjoyable, and is translated very well into the game. There are also some original tracks as well, which sound superior.

Sound effects are mostly average, with your simple punch and beam noises, but also included are effects taken directly from the TV show. The sound of characters flying and turning Super Saiyan are completely intact, and add much more as you progress through the game.

FUN FACTOR

As said above, there are many side quests to keep you busy during and after the game. And some of these side quests offer great rewards. Finding the seven Nameks, for example, will allow you to travel to the Namekian home world. Once there, you’ll be able to fight a special hidden boss, which appeared only in the DBZ movies. There are also 25 “Golden Capsules” to look for, if you’re up to the challenge. You’ll also have access to a Scouter, in which you can “scan” friends and enemies for their vital information. Once done, you can view them any time you want when you return to the Capsule Corporation.

Another interesting feature is the inclusion of the “Level 50″ doors. As you’ve probably guessed, your characters need to be Level 50 to open them (which is the maximum level in this game). If you get your characters to Level 50 and open the doors, you’ll obtain special trophies. Collect all the trophies, and you’ll unlock a 6th playable character. Although, when you find out who this character is, you might think it’s a sick joke the developers pulled on you, but believe it or not, it’s worth it.

But here we come to the catch-22 of the game. As fun as it is, the game is primarily aimed at fans of the show. Those who watch the show on a regular basis probably have the game right now, and others who don’t watch will pass it up completely. For those who don’t watch the show, I advise you to rent it at least. It’s a surprisingly solid RPG, and with the story translated near flawlessly to game form, you won’t be missing anything important.

Gameplay: 7
Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Fun Factor: 8