Dragonball Z, for those of you not in the know, is the wildly popular japanese cartoon (commonly referred to as anime), based on the comic (or manga) by Akira Toriyama; known for his work as a character artist on Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Warrior series. U.S. fans of DBZ have clamored for years about a game version of this popular series, only to meet with limited success. Finally, fans can rejoice as European publisher Infogrames is set to publish Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku for the Game Boy Advance, designed specifically with a North American audience in mind.
Following the path of the show, the game puts players in the warrior Goku's shoes as he trains to save his son, Gohan, from destruction. After teaming up with Piccolo to accomplish this task, Goku will fight powerful warriors from the Saiyan race, train with a martial arts master in the afterlife, and journey to the distant planet Namek to fight the evil tyrant Freeza. While this may seem like a tall order to DBZ newcomers, long-time fans of the series know this barely scratches the surface of Goku's many adventures.
In order to accomplish this task, players will need to master several different kinds of attacks. Melee attacks (kicks and punches) are Goku's standard arsenal, but as players advance in level, Goku will learn potent energy attacks. These start out small, such as simple ki blasts and the defensive Solar Flare, but pogress to stronger attacks like the deadly Kamehameha. In order to level up, players will need to guide Goku through various quests, most of which are simple fetch or beat-'em-up tasks. Along the way, Goku will encounter over 75 characters from the Dragonball Z universe.
The game plays out in a standard overhead style reminiscent of RPGs of yore. While the Game Boy Advance is perhaps not the most graphically advanced hardware on the market, developer Webfoot Technologies has done an admirable job of transferring the rich world of Dragonball Z into The Legacy of Goku. The attention to detail becomes further apparent through detailed character portraits and dialogue lifted straight from the show. Fans of the original Japanese version of Dragonball Z will find something to intrest them too, as many of Goku's quest contain both subtle and not-so-subtle references to the Japanese version, such as Master Roshi's love of naughty magazines. Additionally, players will be allowed to control several other characters from DBZ, such as Krillin, Piccolo, and Gohan.
Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku will finally allow gamers on this side of the ocean to experience the thrill of journeying with Goku through the world of Dragonball Z. Set for a release date of May 14, Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku is one adventure even the most jaded Dragonball Z may not be able to pass up. In the meantime, however, check out RPGamer's continuing coverage here while you wait.