Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II

We check out the next installment in the Game Boy Advance series.

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When Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku was released last year, it was met with mixed reactions. Fans of the popular anime series were pleased that they could interact with so many characters from the series. However, players were ultimately left hungry for more when the game was over. The game's short length was just one of a few complaints that gamers had. We had a chance to check out a previewable build of the game's sequel, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II, and are pleased by what we've seen. Developer Webfoot Technologies appears to be addressing player concerns with the first game and turning out a more well rounded game.

Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II features many familiar faces from the popular series.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II features many familiar faces from the popular series.

For those unfamiliar with the Dragon Ball phenomenon, the franchise has been an anime staple and has gained a loyal following. The series revolves a group of warriors who protect the earth from a wide range of absurdly powerful villains. The series has expanded to films, branched into more than a dozen different story arcs or "sagas," and has grown to include a huge cast of characters. The original Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku took place during the Saiyan saga at the beginning of the Dragon Ball Z storyline, which accounted for its short length. However, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II's story condenses the dramatic events of the Trunks, Android, and Cell sagas and will offer a considerably longer game experience.

The game opens with a briefing on the events leading up to the Trunks saga and a tutorial on the battle system in the game. Following the introductory sequences mentioned, you'll take control of Gohan, the first of five playable characters in the game (you'll eventually be able to play as Piccolo, Trunks, Vegeta, and Goku over the course of the game), and travel to West City. Once there you'll be charged with meeting the outrageous demands of Hercule, who is set to receive the key to the city for his heroic deeds. Once you've satisfied Hercule, you'll spend some time running around the town conversing with its inhabitants and performing various tasks to move the story along--all of which are standard RPG conventions. In addition to the main quest contained in the game, there are also a handful of side quests available, such as rescuing a group of lost Nameks, completing exhaustive training with Master Roshi, and collecting a large number of golden capsules scattered around the world map.

The game's story condenses the events from three sagas into one epic adventure.
The game's story condenses the events from three sagas into one epic adventure.
During your work to complete the various tasks laid out for you, you'll come in contact with Bulma, who gives you a modified scouter. The device enables you to view data on the monsters, villains, and heroes that you come into contact with during the course of the game as well as view an overhead map of the locales you'll visit. While the first game suffered because it had only a handful of locations to explore, this time around there are more than 200 maps to visit, scattered over various portions of the earth, and you can now freely travel to where you need to go by way of a 3D overworld map, which is reminiscent of the airship sequences found in the SNES-era installments of the Final Fantasy series. Throughout your travels, you'll encounter such familiar locations as the Capsule Corporation, Master Roshi's Island, Kami's Lookout, and the Cell Games Arena, among many others.

While Webfoot has worked to expand on the original game experience, one element of gameplay that has been relatively untouched is the combat system. You'll once again have a melee attack and an energy attack at your disposal. As your characters grow stronger over the course of the game, their moves will be upgraded periodically. Combat takes place in real time, as in most action RPGs. But, while the combat system may seem a bit simplistic, enemy placement and the game's overall difficulty have been balanced pretty well. Combat will serve as a key component to progressing in the game, since Dragonball Z: Legacy of Goku II features many areas that are accessible only once a certain character has reached a specific level. The system ensures you'll have to spend equal amounts of time with all the characters at your disposal, as you'll need to use them all during key points of the game.

You'll be able to travel to different locations via a 3D overworld map.
You'll be able to travel to different locations via a 3D overworld map.

The solid action in Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II is complemented by a strong presentation, thanks to Webfoot Technologies' familiarity with the Game Boy Advance hardware and its expertise with the source material. The game's opening features a snippet of FMV that looks good. The actual game looks similar to its predecessor and appears to recycle some sprites. However, the cast of characters is carefully re-created in remarkable detail. Fans of the series should be able to instantly recognize their favorite characters in the game. The environments in the game sport a comparable layer of polish and look very good. The audio in the game is a mix of decent sound effects and approximately one hour of original music.

Piccolo is just one of the playable characters in the game.
Piccolo is just one of the playable characters in the game.

Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II is shaping up to be a promising follow-up to the original Legacy of Goku. While the gameplay doesn't seem to depart much from the earlier installment, it can be easily said that there should be much more to enjoy this time around, mostly due to the sheer length of the three sagas the game covers. Fans of Dragon Ball Z will want to keep an eye out for the game when it hits store shelves later this month.

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