Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo Impression

Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo
Dragon Ball Z is one of the most well known, most watched anime of all time. It was also one of the first truly successful anime based video games here in the states with the excellent Budokai franchise on the last generation of game consoles. Each of these releases touched on the episodic storylines and characters from DBZ but what about the origin of Goku? No, not how he becomes Super Saiyan, but rather is adventures as a young boy. Dragon Ball, also getting released by FUNimation, tells the tale of a child Goku as he meets Bulma, searches for the Dragon Balls and takes on villains like the Red Ribbon army and King Piccolo. These encounters and relationships remain in DBZ, but seeing where they came from is important, and now that story, that era is finally getting the gaming treatment it deserves from Namco Bandai Games in the form of Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo on the Wii. Why is this a great game for Dragon Ball fans and Wii gamers in general, lets take a look …

– Gamers take on the role of a young Goku as he battles it out with the Red Ribbon Army on 3D stages that feel pulled from the anime. It’s on the Wii so there are motion based attacks for Goku to pull off combos, kicks and of course the Kamehameha. Goku’s job is to collect the seven Dragon Balls while fighting against the Red Ribbon Army but can also take the fight to Tournament Mode. Tournament Mode allows gamers to go head-to-head with buddies in a more traditional fighting game setting.

– The Wii is not next-gen, but it puts out one sharp looking game. Dragon Ball looks like an extension of the anime, is bright, vivid and a pleasure to look at. There are a ton of cookie cutter Red Ribbon Army troops, but everyone looks good highlighting just how unique Akira Toriyama’s original manga and anime has been. The levels looked pulled from the source material and while there are some blocky graphics and bleed but overall the game looks sharp.

– The soundtrack is standard background music, nothing too special. The intro theme is very catchy and fun, gets the mood set just perfect for a great DB gaming experience. The voice work is from the anime, sparse but captures the mood. It sounds like Dragon Ball and does so well.

– Levels are pulled from various settings in the anime, look great but don’t require too much creativity. The design is already set from the anime, no need for originality or newly created settings. The level structure makes Goku go up, down and all around, some feels needless, but it’s a game, a plat former that require little monkey boy to navigate the various levels.

– While Dragon Ball Z got all the attention, and still does, seeing a non-handheld Dragon Ball adventure is pure gold. The looks, sounds, everything about this game is refreshing and a trip back to a simpler time for anime gamers who cut their teeth on fan-subs of Goku and Bulma’s non Super Saiyan adventures. The simpler concepts and gameplay fit the Wii very well and Goku shines in reliving his early adventures.

you gotta love some Dragon Ball on the Wii. It’s easy for a licensed property, especially one as storied and plain awesome as Dragon Ball, to saturate the market with cookie cutter games to make a quick buck but in this case with Goku as a kid. The source material is rich and deep, unexplored on the gaming console landscape and it’s with this in mind that any anime fan with a Wii needs to get Revenge of King Piccolo and any parent looking for a fun game for their kids should also take a look.

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