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   Dragonball Z - The Legend of Goku - Retroview  

...Huh?
by Andrew Long

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
None
COMPLETION TIME
3-7 hours
OVERALL

1/5

Rating definitions 

   Dragonball Z is a repetitious, wretched, regressive, irredeemably rotten bit of anime. Most anime fanatics are aware of this fact and outgrow the sophomoric attraction exuded by this unfortunate program; the rest take up residence in their mother's basements and imagine what a wonderful world it would be if only a lucrative market for DBZ fanfiction existed. Then, conceding this development thoroughly unlikely, they swarm onto message boards and declaim their ability to go Super Saiyan. The perpetrators of this animated monstrosity, Bird Studios at Toei Animations, meanwhile, aware of how many miserable and deluded individuals there are that actually take something from this tripe, proceed to whore out their ungodly creation by any means possible. Because they are evil. Thus it is that we arrive at the sorry point in gaming that is represented by Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku. To define this heap of rubbish as a game is actually a gross misappropriation of terminology, but assuming this premise is acceptable for the time being, one is surely compelled to admit that as far as 'games' go, this one is a miserable failure in pretty much every way possible. The gameplay is sadly nonexistent, the story a bewildering mishmash of nonsense that somehow manages to feel as though its second half is tacked on despite barely containing the action of a half-hour Saturday morning spot, and everything else in between suffers from a similar dearth of quality. In pretty much every way conceivable, The Legacy of Goku is not just one of the worst RPGs, but games, ever made.

   Legacy of Goku begins with Goku bringing his kid Gohan to show off to his friends. Apparently the game closely follows the plot of the series, so perhaps those who have wasted their time watching the cartoon might be able to offer up an explanation of why, for all appearances, Goku was flying through space oblivious to things like his friends' whereabouts, the tendency of his species, and how exactly he had a child with someone living on Earth, where he allegedly hasn't been in six years. The game certainly isn't much help in this respect, and the only help it offers is to have one of Goku's apparent archnemeses drop by to mention that hey, Goku's name is actually Kakarot for some reason and what he should be doing is blowing up Earth instead of kicking back and enjoying the tropical breeze (and Roshi's ample porno collection). Goku is dreadfully stupid, though, so instead of blowing up the planet he just sits and watches aghast as his son is kidnapped and - well, actually Vegeta doesn't blow up the world, which would kind of be what one would expect after his speech, but then, consistency is the defense of a small mind.

 Standing around in the lobby: surprisingly more entertaining than playing Legacy of Goku

   This introduction sets up what is surely one of the dullest and most disjointed chases ever seen in a video game. Legacy of Goku is an action RPG in the strictest sense of the word, but this isn't because any actual action takes place. Goku has three different fireballs he can choose to throw, including the exceedingly irritating "Kamehameha," an attack with a voice sample whose randomness is only exceeded by its range. He can also fly using flight points, of which one or two are gained with each level, to avoid trouble and to get to inaccessible areas. That's it. There are curative items, but as they are plentiful they don't really add much to the strategy. In general terms, all gamers need do to beat the game is fire a ranged attack at an enemy, fly ahead of the enemy, fire off another one, and repeat. Sure, Goku can go into a pounding frenzy a la Arnie vs. truck in Terminator 3, but that usually just results in taking damage unnecessarily, adding hours and hours to an awful game experience that makes even the four or five hours it will probably take to finish it seem like pure torture.

   Many terrible games achieve minor redemption through adequate player interaction, but such is not the case for Legacy of Goku. The interface is ugly and beyond minimalist, pointless limits are imposed upon how many curative items can be carried, and irksomely, the select button is used to check how many flight points remain, instead of the counter being visible constantly, an option which surely would have been easily accomplished, since the gameplay interface is uncluttered. This is, of course, no credit to the game; it's just so little thought went into things that there wasn't anything to gum up the machinery with, because had there been, this inept crew of developers surely would have found a way to do so. The translation is adequate, admittedly, but as it fails to provide players with much of an idea as to why things are occurring, or who the steady succession of villains are, even it isn't very good in the end. Ultimately, it should not be assumed that everyone who buys this game is fluent in the world of DBZ, even though there is no good reason for outsiders to go near it.

   Where Legacy of Goku doesn't come up all deuces is in its musical presentation. While none of the tunes are terribly distinctive, they do tend to have catchy melodies, and if it weren't for the woeful lack of attention paid by most developers to sound on GBA titles, it would actually be a pretty good job. Visually, on the other hand, the game is just average; it contains anime-style loading screens (why these are included is anyone's guess, as the loading ends in the space of a few seconds, but this is by no means the most baffling element of Legacy of Goku) and even a cutscene at the end, which shows something vaguely corresponding to the titanic events of the penultimate showdown between Goku and the final villain of the hour.
Caption Goku started to suspect that maybe the cricket was interested in more than just teaching him... whatever it is he's teaching him

   Lamentably, there is little else that can be said in favour of Legacy of Goku. It is fairly easy to die since the game's pitifully few areas contain rather steep jumps in enemy difficulty, but this is nullified by the fact that it is possible to save anywhere at any time, meaning players can simply level up by killing, saving, dying, and then resurrecting at full life and killing the same monster again. It is also possible to stockpile items in this fashion, should one ever fall below the maximum of six Herbs or three Senzu beans. It's a terrible system made worse by the universal saving demanded by a portable game, and while save points may not have been feasible, there would at least have been some challenge added by removing any experience or items gained through these sorts of shenanigans. That, though, would have required some actual game design, and with a knockoff as pitiful as this one, good work is at a steep premium.

it's funny because he's bleeding! "And that, son, is why you don't go Super Saiyan while riding a bike!"

   There is nothing original about Legacy of Goku, and that is a good thing, because were this game to have pioneered anything, it would raise the spectre of other brain-dead developers stealing it and using it again, something that should never happen with any element of this woeful title. From the story, apparently yanked source-direct from the equally awful cartoon, to the gameplay, it's all been done, and it's all been done much, much better.

   The story actually bears some dwelling upon, as it is one of the more egregious examples of Legacy of Goku's failings. The game can basically be divided into three segments: tracking down Gohan, wandering in the netherworld, and then fighting on the planet Namek. These vignettes are connected by only the most tenuous of threads, and can basically be summed up as a series of pissing contests, in which the combatants each declare themselves very powerful and then proceed to prove otherwise. Goku's friends also show up, bafflingly, at the site of every fight. They allege to offer assistance in combat, but in practice all they do is sit around angsting about whether or not Goku can handle things on his own. Because each such confrontation is played up as a major one, this setup also serves to make the latter two thirds of the game seem tacked-on, which is a bizarre thing to say about a plotline that blows its load in woefully quick fashion.

   So don't do it. Don't buy this steaming ball of offal, because it's just going to end up on your big pile of regrets. Sure, it might not be as bad as that mullet you had, nor as harmful as the narcotics you got addicted to, but it will surely erode your soul just the same, and besides, you can easily find something better to spend your money on. So steer clear of the Saiyan, for of the stuff of good games they are surely not made.

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