Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dragonball Z Gaiden: Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku (Famicom, 1993)

Dragonball Z Month ends with a bang, as I bring you a mega-post on the last Famicom DBZ RPG. This one follows the events of Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans.

"BANG" says Trunks as he motions for the Diamond Cutter.

This title screen is pretty sweet. So glad Piccolo got to keep being relevant in the age of Super Saiyans. This game transpires right before the Cell Games, but it doesn't have much of anything to do with the series at that point.

There's a Tournament mode, and it's even weirder than Gekishin Freeza's four-way battle royal.

 The five protagonists (and one random enemy) get dropped into the most lopsided bracket ever.

Either Gokou or Vegeta is more or less guaranteed to win this whole thing as they're the strongest characters; Piccolo is mid-tier, while Gohan and Trunks are strangely the weaker characters throughout this game. Half-Saiyans are supposed to be more powerful than regular Saiyans. Maybe it's a "higher potential ceiling" deal, or maybe Gokou and Vegeta are simply the top of their class regardless.

A shadowy villain is planning nefarious things against the Saiyans. Perhaps he plans... to eradicate them?

The plot is the same as the TV special. Smog machines get planted on Earth by the job creators shadowy villains, and our heroes have to fly around smashing them.

World map. It's a pretty small world. You've got the main city, Chichi's house, Roshi's house, the wasteland, the desert, the volcano, and Antarctica.

Bulma takes time out of sitting around in a tight dress to save the world...while Mr. Popo looks on creepily.

RANDOM MONSTER BATTLE! This is the only one of these games besides Gekishin Freeza to give us random monster battles that are part of the source material (as opposed to palette-swaps of bosses). The benefits of being based on a movie that was made for a game to be based on it.

These random monsters are quite weird-ass. Not sure what alien races these things are supposed to be. They're not Tuffles.

One weird thing about this game is that Gohan's in-battle portrait shows him in Super Saiyan 2. As you can see right above there, he's only Super Saiyan 1 in this game. Also weird how the cover of the game shows him in Super Saiyan 2. Hopefully they weren't trying to trick people into thinking this was a Cell Saga game following the previous one. More likely, this started out as a Cell Saga game and they decided to make it a gaiden as the show was taking too long to get to the end of said saga.

The first area is a wasteland. Much like the other RPGs, this game consists of running around huge overworlds, moving a few space at a time via numbered cards. The random battle rate is much lower in this game than in past games, which is a really nice change.

The training minigames are better, too. This one is ROUGH, and I ended up using a turbo function on the controller to barely win it. Seriously. This beam tug-of-war is pretty sweet for NES graphics.

Reward for winning? This. Because... there aren't any levels, or power levels, in this game. Training and random battles have zero benefit for you aside from item drops and Nothing, respectively. So while this game makes great improvements in many areas, it takes big steps back in other areas. When there's no point in fighting battles, they just become an annoyance... even with the lower encounter rate.

Not sure why it was so difficult for them to get this right. Gekishin Freeza was perfect, and power level building in that game is a lot of fun. The game before that gave you tiny, miniscule power level increases that turned it into an unfulfilling grind, while the game after that just gave you boring standard levels. And this game does one worse by giving you nothing at all to work at.

On the bright side, Chichi is in a much better mood now, and restores Gokou's HP whenever you visit. No word on how she does this, but my mind is going to some very dirty places.

This cutscene features DRAGON DRAGON.

The wasteland is full of time-wasting events. You end up chasing a bird across the overworld, only for it to tell you to go aaaaall the way back to the place where you first found it.

Boss fight! Well, sorta-boss. Still has the regular battle music. This game is NOT difficult, and every battle in the game can be won by throwing on auto-battle and watching the action. There are items, but they're only sporadically needed.

Gokou succeeds in destroying one of the machines, and heads off to Antarctica to meet up with the other protagonists.

Gohan gets the sweet pyramid area. More time-wasting abounds here, as you can't see anything inside and have to trek back across the overworld to a town... that this guy gives you a flashlight. Going here first doesn't work.

The pyramid itself is a very short "dungeon", and at the end Gohan finds himself face-to-wrap with...

 ...a dastardly mummy, who wants Gohan to play a minigame. Uuugh.

This minigame is the single most difficult, annoying thing in this whole game. The controls are pretty bad, and you have to react so fast to the movements of the mummy that you practically have to guess what he'll do before he does it. I ended up having to emulator-cheat to give myself said clairvoyant powers.

The mummy is unwrapped, to reveal... a cute girl! Evidently she wandered in here and... got wrapped up somehow. Why did she make Gohan catch her? Is this Toriyama's thesis on what women want?

Another "boss", as Gohan gets his moment to shine. Again, this is easily won with auto-battle. With the lack of level-grinding or strategy of any sort, there isn't a whole lot of variance in outcomes in these fights. It's a world apart from the one-on-one fights in the previous game.

 Gohan and his new girlfriend have SAVED EGYPT. Now, maybe Gohan can fly her back to civilization Aladdin-style.

OUCH. Nevermind, Gohan got shut DOWN.

Meanwhile, Piccolo is responsible for... Bumfuck Isle! Watch out for the hillbillies, Piccolo!

This woman lets Piccolo know that she has a headache. Can our heroes just STOP GETTING REJECTED FOR A MINUTE?

The boss that Piccolo has to face off with is probably the most memorable monster from the movie. He's a total idiot who believes himself to be the smartest and most powerful being around.

He plants mines all over the place, then ends up jumping right onto them when trying to get to Piccolo. This blows up the gas machine; it also took out the boss in the movie, but here you need to fight him.

 Piccolo recites his line from the movie, then battles Kawarz. It's another easy fight.

Meanwhile, Trunks has his own little chapter. It's the shortest of the bunch, consisting of him chasing down some monsters who kidnapped Bulma.

 Trunks is his wild-maned post-training version in this game. If the game were deeper, maybe he'd be able to go SSJ1.5 and become the strongest character yet super slow and less accurate.

Chibi Trunks and Bulma are being held hostage by monster-goons, and the ONLY MAN who can save them... is Future Trunks

 ...Future Trunks and Vegeta, who shows up at this point. He doesn't get his own chapter, and much like the other games he isn't controllable. Not that it matters that much since auto-battle is the way to go for everyone else.

 Trunks and Vegeta whoop up, and that's another chapter in the bag. Yep, not a whole lot to say about this game. It's way too simplistic, you can't grind or power up in any real way, the SSJ transformations are automatic rather than a power you can trigger like the previous game, and worst of all, autobattle can handle literally every fight in this game. There's no challenge.

I'll cover the second half tomorrow.


  1. Not a DBZ fan but this was cool stuff all around. Didn't Final Fantasy VI also have a porno in the Japanese version? Let's hear it for Japanese games!

  2. Piccolo's fights are usually the highlight of any given DBZ movie, and this seems to be about the same.

  3. Nothing to level up on? Odd. Uh, what happened when you used the Porno?

    Gohan getting shut down was the highlight of this game.

  4. I like how you complained about characters being unable or unwilling to power up to SSJ during most of their games/movies but now that this game takes away you having to do pretty much anything it's the ONE PLACE where you being able to change into SSJ by yourself would at least make it less monotonous.

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