Review by Kain Stryder
Reviewed: 05/29/03 | Updated: 05/31/03
An INSANE Improvement From The Previous Title.
After probably what was not a really good way to start off the games based on Dragon Ball, Bandai quickly turned from making a horrible platform game that was just plain horrid to something that was actually fun and even better, more detailed and just a huge improvement from the first game. Their improvement was Dragon Ball 2: Daimaou Fukkatsu, which was the first Dragon Ball RPG for The Famicom. But, did this game add up and prove to be a smart move by Bandai to turn from a platform game to the RPG format style for Dragon Ball? Let's take a look.
Story: Yet again, the game borrows its story from the Manga/Anime, which isn't that bad, since most Anime games pretty much are like this. (Though, Dragon Ball has been done to the death I don't know how many times, since I've lost count.) The story is set right after The 22nd Tenkaichi Boudouki and everyone finding Kurirun dead, along with a note with the Demon symbol on it. Master Roshi explains that Piccolo Daimaou, an ancient evil being, has somehow come back and Goku rushes off to stop him and revive his dead friend, Kurirun. You play through the game up until Goku fights Piccolo Daimaou and then it ends like it did in the Manga/Anime.
Simple story, again, since this is what took place in the Manga, except the game DOES throw in some originality to it all, with adding in some things from the past, such as the revisiting of Muscle Tower, Tao Pai Pai's return, Tsuru Sennin coming back and even a completely original area to explore: The Candy Region. Even Pilaf himself comes back and many of Goku's Friends as well. Hey, even Penguin Village is in this. A pretty basic plot from the Manga/Anime, but we get some new things added in, which gives the story a new plot twist that makes it good. Over all, a far cry from what the first game's story was.
Controls: Simple. Perhaps, too simple. Seriously, you move around on a board, like on a board game, landing on different areas that provide different happenings. Sometimes you enter a battle, sometimes you meet Bulma and can get a item to help you and maybe even play a card game while you're at it or get some quick training in with Master Roshi. Just, over all, very, very simple controls. Nothing to hard about these. I mean, is there ever ANY RPG that had controls that were difficult to master? I think not.
Graphics: Man, this game's graphics are nothing to laugh at. If you thought Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo's Graphics sucked, these will NOT disappoint you. This time around, Bandai used graphics that more closely look like the characters from the Manga/Anime. It's also got a more darker look and feel to it all, since this time around, it's not just some happy journey to gather the Dragon Balls. No, not even close. People are dead, the world is in chaos and Piccolo Daimaou is starting to kill one by one every Tenkaichi Boudouki fighter and Goku's next on the list.
The only problem I had with the graphics, though, was orange was used ALOT. Well, I guess it's ok, since Dragon Ball 3 used alot of blue/purple. That and the colors are a tad dull, but hey, this was made in 1988 and hell, for it's time, these were really good and you have to admit that. Even some of the graphics were taken from the Manga/Anime, so you can't go wrong there. But, they aren't the best ever, but still very, very good.
Sound/Music: For 1988, I guess it was ok. The music for one did fit the mood and even had a real scary tone to it at parts, since this is a dark game and a dark time in the Dragon Ball Series. I'll say this; the music does fit the mood and everything, even the real shocking parts, but I didn't really care for it. It'll get annoying after a while, but hey, no Famicom music was ever really THAT good, but for it's time, it's average. Hey, at least it fits well. That's pretty rare for a Dragon Ball game.
As for the sound effects, they fit as well. Not a whole lot of them, but they're there and they fit well. I think the best sound effect/music part of the game that kind of gave me a slight creepy feel to it was Piccolo Daimaou's Castle and how if you don't take Kurirun's Warning fast enough and you come back to see him, he's gone and some woman's face is laughing at you, as the place just falls apart and kills you. That really creeped me the heck out. Heh, but, over all, average sound for a very old game.
Game Play: Man, I wish I could give this area a higher score, but I can't. The gameplay is pretty low, due to the instant Game Overs this game has all throughout the game. First off, it's a RPG and usually, those are pretty fun, but this game is an old school one, like real old school menus and stuff. This is also the first Dragon Ball game to have the card system that'd be used for every Dragon Ball/Z RPG to come throughout the years. To say the least, this card system works very well and is really original, which is where this area gets some points. Also, you only play as Goku in this and no one else helps you, so it's more or less like Dragon Warrior if you want to think about it. That and Goku maxes out at a VERY early Level, which sucks.
Unfortunately, with the instant Game Overs throughout this game, it's not THAT easy of a RPG, where you just train hard enough, move on and repeat. Not at all. How would you feel if you made a wrong choice, you suddenly lost everything and had to restart the whole game, unless you got a password? I thought so. It's not fun. I'll give you an example of this. When you play the game, at one part, you need to find Bulma in the city. During this, you're in the sewers with Launch or rather, her other self. You have a choice at one point to try an option and to continue on, you need to raise the flood gate. You do, but water pours out and kills you. Guess Goku and Launch can't swim and you die.
That's just an example. And these are everywhere, trust me. I don't know about you, but to play a game and get far, have trained hard enough and then get sent back to the beginning, I don't exactly go ''Haha, silly game! You got me! I guess I'll do this all again!'' No. That's when I go play a different game. But don't get me wrong. Other than the instant Game Overs, the game is pretty much your old school RPG, where you train, explore, interact with people, etc. For 1988, it was a breakthrough to the RPG genre and if you're a RPG fan, check this one out, even if you're not a Dragon Ball fan. For you fans, you may want to look at it, but there's other games better than this. As for replay value, there is none. You'll beat the game, thank God and then move onto something else.
Over All: Well, this game was alot better than Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo, but with the instant Game Overs, this game got shot down heavily. If those were removed, this game would've had a higher score and might've been fun to go through a few more times, but since you can't do anything differently and it's ALWAYS the same game, it's really not worth going through over and over. You'd just be doing it for fun. The story was great, even with some new surprises added for originality and fun, the controls were VERY simple, the graphics were amazing for their time and a HUGE improvement, but the gameplay was below average for a RPG and there's no replay value. Oh well, let's just hope that the next Dragon Ball game is even better, shall we?
Anyway, if you had to rent or buy this game, for RPG fans, if for some odd reason you're able to rent this, do so and give it a try if you liked old school RPGs. As for the Dragon Ball fans, buy it. It's a collecter's item pretty much now and if you loved Dragon Ball, you may just love this game. I personally own the game and if you can score it for $15 like I did with everything included, go for it. It's pretty rare now, so your chances of seeing it again are not very good. Also, just a note, you need to know Japanese to play this game, but you can get by through trial and error, but it'll take you longer.
Final Rate: 7/10
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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