Friday, September 28, 2012

Dragon Ball Video Games: A Retrospective Part 1

Let's kick it off with some retro stuff.  Dragon Ball games on the Famicom/NES.

 They all suck. The one's that I've been able to play anyway. Some of the Famicom games utilized a card reader that never saw a western release and thus these games will not play properly on either a legitimate NES (regardless of whether or not you have a Famicom-to-NES adapter for the cartridge) or an emulator.

The only of the Famicom Dragon Ball games to see an English release was Shenron's Riddle/Mystery of Shen Long (depending on how you translate it), which was renamed Dragon Power with everything that made it identifiable as a Dragon Ball game altered. Considering Dragon Ball had yet to air in North America at the time (this was even before the 5-episode Harmony Gold dub of '89), this made sense. Unfortunately, as said before, the game sucks anyway.

Mystery of Shen Long/Dragon Power is honestly the best of the NES/Famicom Dragon Ball titles so that should give you fair warning if you're going to try any of the others. It's an overhead beat'em-up game that very loosely follows the plot of the anime. There is absolutely no polish in the game, it has dozens of glitches, poor graphics even by 8-bit standards, and next to no thought put into level design and difficulty curve.

The other, even worse, games are all 'Card Battle' games; with the absolute worst of the bunch blending in simulated board game mechanics. For the unfamiliar, Card Battle games use a combat system similar to turn based RPG's except instead of being able to command each of your characters to do absolutely anything you want, you have to choose from a hand of cards, each with their own meaning. It probably sounds dumb, and it kind of is, but the mechanic is not a totally lost cause (more on that in the Gameboy Color portion).
As a gamer, these games are not worth your time. As a Dragon Ball fan, these games are still not worth your time. Don't bother with any of them.

Next time:  Super Famicom Games Part 1.  Don't worry, it'll be a lot more positive.

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