Grab King Piccolo by the Balls
My older brother noticed that in each of my Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z or Dragon Ball GT or Dragon Ball BLT Hold the Mayo reviews that I keep mentioning that I'm "not a fan of the source material". I reread past DB(Z) reviews, and I came to the conclusion that he was right. So in this review I plan on not mentioning at all that I'm not a fan of the source material. I will do my best to keep the fact that I'm not a fan of the source material all to myself since I realize it can get very annoying constantly reading that SuperPhillip is not a fan of the source material. Now that-that is out of the way, Namco's been pouring out the bargain-priced love for Wii owners. There's been the creative Klonoa, the awesome and delectable Munchables, and now for Dragon Ball fans, Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo. At a price of only twenty dollars, is it worth a rent or a buy?
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo starts out after the events of Dragon Ball Origins. That's not to say this game's a sequel to that title at all. It starts from the beginning of the Red Ribbon Army saga and concludes with the battle against King Piccolo. What occurs between is a mishmash of quick cut-scenes (mostly just character portraits talking to one another), brief dialogue exchanges, and cut-out-the-fat storytelling. You need not know the source material (I didn't say anything regarding my possible liking or disliking of said material) in order to understand what's going on. Let's just say you won't need Cleland notes to understand the intricacies of the plot. It's straight up balls-to-the-wall action with the occasional horny Japanese joke thrown in for good measure. Each little story saga occurs throughout a stage. There's nine or so stages to play through each with numerous chapters, some have more than others.
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo is a brawler at heart akin to something like Final Fight or Streets of Rage. You move through levels, taking out foes, sometimes not being able to proceed until all enemies are thwarted. There's also plenty of platforming to be done as well. Leaping over dangerous chasms that won't kill you immediately if you fall down them, they'll just take out some of your health, and locking on to levers and handlebars to swing across chasms. It's all very simple, and it's nothing players haven't seen before. However, it's done well enough that the game is enjoyable even if you're not a fan of the source material. Which I hear some people might not be. The game itself is 2 1/2D with multiple parts of the game spent running around spiral walkways and being shot from the foreground to the background.
In each explorable chapter-- I say explorable chapter because some levels are just battles against a group of enemies or a boss or two (usually the final chapter in a stage)-- there's treasure chests to find. This brings up the replay value of the game considerably as does getting S ranks on each mission. This makes an otherwise short six hour game even longer. By obtaining treasure chests and achieving S ranks in chapters, you unlock new fighters for the multi-player mode.
Unfortunately the multi-player itself is too simple for its own good. Two opponents battle it out in an arena, and pretty much the only moves you can use are punches and kicks until your kai meter builds up. By that time, the fight is already over, so what's the point? It's just too basic of fighting for my tastes-- nothing at all like the Budokai series-- which to be fair, that game is focused on one-on-one battling unlike King Piccolo.
Controlling young Goku, our hero, feels very tight and responsive. You can choose from multiple control schemes-- Wii remote and nunchuk, classic controller, or Gamecube controller. I prefer the Wii remote and nunchuk as I can comfortably play with my hands apart. The only motion control to speak of is literal waggling-- something much zanier than an actual session of button mashing. This is so rare though that it doesn't really matter in the long run. Combat is pretty basic and often resorts to run, roll, and hit. Certain bosses are more difficult to predict and have fancier patterns to them. Those are incredibly fun to face off against.
In this game, as you beat enemies, get combos, destroy breakables, or complete chapters, you earn Zeni. Zeni can be spent at the game's shop to boost up Goku's health, but that's not all. You can also purchase music, 3-D figurines of the game's characters, cinema scenes, and voice samples from various characters. Again, this boosts up the longevity of the game by a reasonable amount.
Shifting gears, the visuals of Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo are very good, colorful, crisp, and full of cel-shaded goodness. The animations are nice as well as you'd expect from the anime industry. The voice acting is as... interesting as it ever was with hit-and-miss roles here and there. Finally, the soundtrack is rather unforgettable with rock guitar, memorable melodies, and pumping beats. It's an overall excellent presentation package. What else could you expect from developer Media Vision whose best-known title is Wild Arms?
Overall, Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo is a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something garbage-caliber and nothing like the greatness of Dragon Ball Origins. While the game falls short in some aspects such as easy gameplay, poor multi-player, and shortness, the strengths, a fun game, a colorful cast of characters, great presentation, and twenty dollar price tag, outweigh the negatives by a good sum. This is an entertaining brawler for as long as it lasts, and it should be amusing to fans and newcomers to the series, and those of us who aren't fans of the source material. Wait. That doesn't count, does it? It's not like I said "I like this game even though I hate the source material", right? Dammit!
[SuperPhillip Says: 7.25/10]