Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dragon Ball Z: Kyoushuu Saiya-Jin Finale - The Merciful End

 With Nappa and Vegeta imminently arriving, how many hours of grinding will it take to win at Assault of the Saiyans? Tune in to find out!

 First up, Gokou traverses the enemy-less map of Snake Way. This...takes a very long time. Considering the lack of enemies - or anything happening - it doesn't really make a lot of sense to make the player move through this area. It's literally ten to fifteen minutes of nothing to show us Gokou running down the path. A brief cutscene could have accomplished the same thing.

At the end, our hero finds King Kai's little planet. Time for more training! Ya know, when it comes down to it, DBZ is maddeningly shallow. Yeah, it's awesome badassery sometimes, but it'd be amazing if it had a sensical plot and deeper protagonists.

From here on out, the game divides the rest of the heroes up into pairs. You choose which characters are paired. Each pair goes to a different map where they have to train to defeat Garlic Jr minions. I put Gohan and Piccolo together as is tradition, and the game rewarded me with a cutscene of Piccolo giving Gohan a pep talk. Also paired Kuririn/Yamcha and Tien/Chaozu.

Piccolo is still built-up from the Raditz chapter, but Gohan starts off at paltry level 1 with a 150 power level. Matter of fact, every character in this game starts at level 1. What's next? You guessed it, more grinding to bring Gohan's levels up. On the bright side, said grinding is extremely easy with Piccolo here to annihilate everything.

After getting Gohan to the point where he can survive while Piccolo does the heavy lifting, I take on Garlic Jr's goons. This fight isn't as bad as Raditz.

Victory nets me one of the Dragonballs. Have to get all of these to wish Gokou back.

Speaking of Gokou, between the character pair scenarios, the game cuts back to Gokou's training. He does various minigames that are accurate to the show. First, he chases Bubbles the ape around Kai's planet.

After a long struggle, he finally rolls enough good numbers to catch Bubbles. You're pretty much at the mercy of your cards in this game, and way too often (like here) it saddles you with lots of low numbers.

Next pair is Kuririn and Yamcha. I like that we get different overworlds for each of these chapters. They could have easily just reused the textures for the Raditz overworld over and over.

That look on Kuririn's face can only mean one thing: Time for more grinding! Without an overpowered Piccolo to take care of business, this grind-fest is a lot more of a slog. It isn't as bad as the Raditz chapter since the enemies here give more exp, but it's still pretty bad.

The Garlic Jr goon trio is again the boss here. Had to grind up to about 800 power level on both characters to be able to win this fight, and even then I had to use up a lot of my best item cards to survive.

Annnd back to Gokou. Now he must face the greatest challenge of all: Gregory.

 After another minigame, Gokou flattens the talking insect with a mallet and gets a +1600 bonus to his power level. Man, being dead is SWEET in the land of DBZ. Gokou in the afterlife is running in circles and fighting a giant beetle for +1600 bonuses while my living characters are fighting dozens of battles for +12 or so each while I slowly lose my mind.

Next up, Tien and part-time Russian shell toy Chaozu. They're in the desert. Didn't they go off on their own in the show? I know Gohan and Piccolo did. No idea about Kuririn and Yamcha. I guess they were left together by process of elimination. Kuririn and Yamcha, the unwanted children of DBZ.

Tien has a particularly strong (and expensive) special attack where he splits into four and launches energy blasts.

Chaozu, meanwhile, is the weakest character in the game (aside from perhaps Yamcha)... but he has a special attack that stuns enemies for one turn. It's quite valuable since it often works on bosses.

Chaozu may be weak, but Tien is actually the third-strongest character in the game besides Gokou and Piccolo. Yes, he's stronger than Gohan. Then again, in this game everyone gains power at the same rate, so there's no possibility of anyone outpacing anyone else as things go on. Their advantages are given to them at the start, and Tien starts strong.

Still, TONS of grinding is needed to bring these guys up to par so that they can handle the Garlic Jr Goon Squad. In 2014 I find this game to be profoundly boring, but I imagine in 1990 the hardcore DBZ fans in Japan probably had a fun time with it. Back then grinding wasn't the pariah that it is now.

The best item card in the game is Shenlong, which fully restores the entire party's HP/BE. Only saw two of these in the entirety of the game. I used one against Raditz and one to get past this fight, since I'd run out of other good item cards trying to eke out a win with Kuririn/Yamcha.

Speaking of, here's Garlic Jr's castle. All three pairs have arrived, ready for action.

 Also, THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY. The characters are finally combined into one single party. Presumably because moving six characters around one at a time would have been too ridiculous. After controlling two different characters for the entire game up to this point, I can finally move around with one character. The game is instantly about ten times more playable.

At this point it's time for YET ANOTHER grind-fest. This time you have all six characters benefitting, and the enemies give a lot more exp than they ever have up to this point. Makes you feel kinda silly for spending hours building up those individual character pairs when you can rocket all of them at once in Garlic Jr's castle. Regardless, they're going to need a few hundred more points to stand a chance against Garlic himself.

Here's the boss. One of the lamest villains in the DBZ series. He looks like Dende here for some reason.

 This is the hardest fight in the game. Why? He has two forms, and the first alone is a bit dangerous.

 The second form, on the other hand, is quite powerful. He has a power level of 3500, and my party wasn't able to do much of anything to him with their levels all around 1000 (except for Piccolo at 1700).

I spent another while grinding (groan) until they were all around 2000, with Piccolo at about 3000. That made this fight much, MUCH more winnable.

Using a Scouter item card shows you the stats of your foe, which is quite awesome.

 Those stats remain onscreen from then on, too. So you can see the boss HP as you chip away at it.

After a hard-fought win over Garlic Jr, we cut back to King Kai's planet. Gokou's final challenge is to battle King Kai, something that definitely did not happen in the show. Gokou is out-matched by Kai, but you get multiple chances to win the fight. Kai doesn't regenerate between fights (while Gokou does). I guess this means King Kai is basically the Doom Gaze of this game.

Defeat Kai and you get a Quickening and a half. +5600? Seriously? My God.

Meanwhile, the Useless Brigade wishes Gokou back with the 'Balls. Why is Bulma's hair color all weird? It's like it got afflicted with whatever changed Piccolo's skin tone.

The Eternal Dragon cometh. I wonder if he ever gets sick of seeing this crew.

 Meanwhile, Vegeta and Nappa arrive and lay waste to a city. Don't worry, I can see their parachutes! They're okay!

The combined Z Fighters (minus Gokou) are in a canyon-like new overworld now for the three final battles. First up? The six Saibamen.

 These Saibamen are green, unlike the earlier jobber versions that were beige or light blue. They're also serious business, and pose a significant threat due to their numbers. Pretty much have to concentrate attacks on one at a time.

But wait! Gokou is here, and he has all kinds of super-moves like Kaioh-Ken x4 Kamehameha (160) and Spirit Bomb (200). The latter is a massively overpowered attack in this game. Unfortunately, Gokou doesn't have the BE to use it yet.

 Our heroes proceed to completely whoop up on the Saibamen, thanks to Gokou who can drop one of them by himself every round. Not sure why I got him so early. He's supposed to show up some time during the Nappa fight, depending on how well you did at the minigames on Kai's planet. I guess I did really well with them, because he showed up at the beginning of this fight and completely trivialized it.

Victory gets everyone a ton of exp and a bunch of levels. Gokou's BE goes from 100 to 450, so now he can launch two Spirit Bombs in any given battle. Here you see the final stats for the party: Piccolo, Gohan, Kuririn, Yamcha, Tien, Chaozu, Gokou. Too bad I can't rearrange the party and put Gokou in front so that I don't have to scroll down all the way to issue commands with my new uber-character. In other news, Chaozu's power level is oddly high, while Gohan's is oddly low.

Second-to-last fight is, naturally, Nappa. With his 4000 power level he isn't that much of a step above Garlic Jr, so I probably would have been able to scrape past this battle even without Gokou.

WHAM! Tien gets some payback for how Nappa mangled him in the show.

Meanwhile, Gokou busts out his new super-move. The Spirit Bomb, unlike most DBZ games, has no drawbacks or charge time. It's just a regular move that does massive damage. In this case, it takes off more than half of Nappa's 1000 HP. A second one finishes him off, but I let the rest of the party do that with various specials.

Time for the final battle with Vegeta. No Great Ape Vegeta here, it's just the regular version.

He also has a ridiculous 18000 power level. By the standards of the rest of the game, this should mean that most of my party can't even scratch him. This is, for the most part, the case. Most characters do single-digit damage.

 Vegeta has a rapid energy blast that does HUGE damage (about 350), nearly enough to one-shot someone.

 Gokou is, unsurprisingly, the only one who can really do damage in this fight.

 Those two Spirit Bombs are absolutely necessary for victory here. Land both of them and the fight is over. Miss one and you'll be making up the difference for a while.

The finishing blow did 666 damage. What are the odds?

Credits roll, and that's it for this game. Ya know, as incredibly mediocre as this game is, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit once the characters finally combined into an actual party to take on Garlic Jr's castle. Everything before that was tedium, made worse by truly ridiculous amounts of level-grind padding.

Post-credits, we get a chilling image of Freeza. To be continued in the next game? Yes indeed. And the next game is a huuuuge improvement over this one. Stay tuned.


  1. Gotta say the last run of this starting with the six Saibamen was pretty cool. The character portraits make me think that if these NES RPGs were done in the style of Destiny of an Emperor they could have been a lot better.

  2. You ran down a path for 15 minutes? Hahahaha!
    Piccolo gave a nice pep talk.
    Ohh good now that your teams are 2 ppl each it'll be easier to grind. And as you said, that part of the game was much better.