Review #1 by Christian VanMeurs
Dragonball Z has got to be one of the greatest, if not just plain THE GREATEST shows of all time. So when I heard about Legends I was more than a little excited and had to import it. Well let's just say that I wasn't disappointed. The game is a Dragonball Z fan's dream come true. I don't think anyone could have recreated the excitement and the insanity that is Dragonball Z as well as Bandai has.
First off, the intro. By far the worst part of the game, the intro is fully 3D rendered FMV with still shots of the main characters thrown in here and there. Super Shenron looks cool, but I think any of the intro's from any of the movies would have done fine, and in my opinion, looked nicer. I mean, if we're gonna have a game full of 2D sprites, shouldn't the intro at least reflect that aspect? Nicely done, but someone had too much time on their hands...
Next there's game modes. The campaign mode runs you through the eight most famous battles in the series, each having their own selection of characters to use (up to 3 at once). It's story heavy, but unless you speak Japanese you won't know what the narrator is saying (and unless you have a Japanese PSX, you're not gonna hear the narrator during the intermissions like you're supposed to). Next is two player battle mode, where each player chooses up to three characters to fight with. Upon completion of the campaign mode, you will get the SP battle mode which runs you through an additional 30 pre-determined fights (characters are pre-selected). And in the option mode you can change from stereo to mono, but good luck figuring out which option that is.
Now we'll talk graphics. In case you were not aware, Dragon Ball Z Legends features 2D characters fighting in 3D landscapes, rendered in real time. The stages are vast and pleasant looking, and there are mountains scattered about. The characters, despite being horribly pixilated, resemble their television counterparts very well (although it can get confusing having 3 different Goku's and 3 Vegeta's on the screen at once). The fighter's special moves are particularly impressive; you've got to see Goku's Spirit Bomb. I really have no complaints with the graphics, it's easy to pick on the blocky characters but it doesn't affect the play of the game. The animation's decent, but there is one thing that really bugs me... Where are the freakin' trees? Most if not all of the screens I saw on the net showed trees in the backgrounds. I know this is nit-picking, but the owners of these web pages should at least make sure that their PSX screen shots aren't pictures of the Saturn version before they post them. All that aside, it does look a little barren without them.
Sound effects? Dragon Ball fans everywhere are going to get goosebumps the first time they hear Goku yell "Ka-me-ha-me-HA!" Bandai has either payed the actual voice actors and actresses from the show to do the game's voices, or they did a really good job at holding their tape recorders up to their televisions. Either way, the sounds are perfect.
So far this sounds like an ideal game for anybody. I'm afraid this is where the train de-rails, and only the true Dragon Ball fans survive. The control is completely different from any other game. Up advances you toward your chosen foe, Down retreats. Left and Right can be used to dodge around the enemy in a pseudo 3D fashion. There is an attack button, a block button, a fireball button, and an energy button (used for powering up, etc.). It is very awkward to play this game at first, and it takes a while to get used to it. But after a while, you'll be bustin' out 26-hit combos with ease. Another interesting thing about the gameplay is the manner in which you inflict damage upon your opponent. Instead of decreasing your opponents life meter every time you score a hit, you more or less play "tug of war" with the meter until it is all the way in one person's favor: then and only then will you unleash your mighty "meteo" and decrease the opponents life meter. I would like to applaud Bandai for their terriffic and innovative control scheme. While it takes a lot of getting used to, it really couldn't have been any other way and it works great! But don't expect Street Fighter in the sky because it's gonna disappoint you. My only complaint with the gameplay is the way you cannot execute your super moves during the fight. It would be nice if I could throw a Kamehameha at the opponent while I was actually fighting him, instead of cutting to an intermission more or less and just letting me watch. Oh well.
I want to write this review as fairly as possible. I myself am a huge DBZ fan and could easily write a book on how this is the most awesome game I have played in a long time. But I want to warn those that aren't big fans. This game is not gonna be for you. Maybe that's unfair to say, but I can't see someone that knows nothing about the show having as much fun with this game as someone who actually knows who Piccolo is. I suppose anyone could learn to like this game, but Dragon Ball fans are more than likely gonna love it. Oh, and by the way, if you're expecting something grand to happen when you beat the game, then you're SOL... Not gonna find it here. What you will find is the best representation of the show you could imagine, from rapidly punching your opponent to knocking him through a mountain to teleporting behind him and knocking him through another... too cool!