Monday, April 21, 2014

Dragonball Z Gaiden: Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku Finale - The Trouble With Tuffles

 
DBZ Gaiden - and DBZ Month - winds to a conclusion as our heroes face the ghosts of the past.




 The main theme from The Thing plays as Gokou arrives on Antarctica and immediately rescues some poor husky from a crazed Norwegian.

One instant transmission to a dog rescue kennel later and the human race is OVER. Thanks a lot, Gokou!

This monster is a deserter from the ranks of the others, and asks our heroes for leniency. They oblige, but then Ned Stark chops off his head. DAMMIT! THE WHITE WALKERS ARE REAL!

Sometimes you get to exchange one of your item cards for another...and you can choose from basically any item. Senzu revives a character, Small Heal is a 30% heal, Full Heal is 100% (thus rendering small obsolete), the character cards summon that character to launch a fairly-strong energy attack, Skill lets one of your characters do an energy attack with boosted power, 2 Card Up lets you upgrade some of your card numbers, Repel gets you out of a battle, Teleport zooms you to anywhere on a map... not sure about the last few because I never used them. Full Heal is what you want to go for every time, though a Teleport or three can save a lot of time over the course of the game.

The deserter proceeds to set a trap for our heroes. It was all a ruse! This is what we get for being so trusting!

 ...between people being nice just to double-cross our heroes, and the weird metallic Tuffle bad guy, the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans universe is almost proto-DBGT.

 This is the closest I ever got to a game over in this game. Everyone is in critical state and it took all of my Full Heals up to this point to fix them before the battle got underway. Yikes.

You may notice that the HP of the characters is a bit higher than it was earlier. After completing chapters, everyone gets an HP upgrade. That's the closest thing this game has to leveling-up.

Back at the main city, the five heroes are united in time to investigate the final gas machine. What follows is the most memorable scene from the movie.

 Freeza, Kooler, Lord Slug, and Turles all appear and challenge the Z-Fighters to a pier-six brawl. How? They're all dead!

This is an odd collection of foes, to say the least. First up is the dastardly tag team of Turles and Lord Slug. Weird that Turles is a part of this Saiyan-eradication goon squad, since he himself is a Saiyan. ...One who never really fit with the story, but whatever.

I've always felt like Raditz and Turles should have switched places, since Turles looks way more like Gokou than Raditz did. Raditz could have shown up later as Nappa's enraged cousin or something.

Luckily, Tien has my back. I summon him to dish out a devastating 4 Man Fist!

 "Oh Myyyy."

Gokou locks horns with Turles! I assume these are beefed-up versions of their original selves, because Turles wasn't SSJ-level much less SSJ 1.5.

Meanwhile, Gohan deals with Lord Slug. No word on if Disturbed's "Stupify" plays here like in Movie 4.

Next up is the duo of Kooler and Freeza, seen on-screen for the only time ever in the DBZ canon. ...well, "canon".

Kooler sticks to his first form (which might be his fourth for all we know), while...

 Freeza sticks to his final form. Weird that Kooler wasn't in his last form.

After those battles... you fight the four of them again. For some reason. The fights are exactly the same. At this point the awesomeness of the situation gives way to boredom a bit, as you're essentially autobattling your way through these.

King Kai takes time out from watching people have sex to let Gokou know that their foes are ghosts. YA DON'T SAY. Once our heroes believe really hard that they're fighting noncorporeal enemies, the bad guys all poof.

MAJOR BACKSTORY DUMP! Still don't care about the Tuffles at all. I'd rather get some backstory on what the hell Gregory and Bubbles are. I like to think that Gregory is part of a race of oversized vicious biting insects that dominated their home planet after swarming up and eating through everything else living.

Behind his exoskeleton lurks a violent past.

Next we need to go to the Dark Planet, but first crystals are needed to power the spaceship. Unfortunately, those crystals are only found on the volcano island, which was destroyed in the fight with the Ghost Warriors. Time to hunt down the Dragonballs and wish the island back.

See that blank space in the middle there? That's a Dragonball location. They're a bit hard to find on these massive overworlds.

Simply landing on the right space nets you a 'Ball. There's a Dragon Radar to point you in the right direction, at least.

There's a Dragonball hidden on this screen too. See if you can spot it!

....I really have no idea.

This game was completed many, many years before DBZ Abridged, but it also features a super-inept Gokou. Here he is confusing Pilaf for Dende.

After some Pilaf stuff that I don't care about (see Movie 14), I get equipped with Unobtainium. Off to the Dark Planet! 

 New "world map", only this one is... space. Of course, we can't get to the Dark Planet due to cosmic storms. First, there are two nearby planets that must be investigated. Unlike the movie, this game doesn't completely skip over them with a one-screen synopsis.

One is a desert planet with an insanely-tall tower in the middle of it that resembles a stripper pole. If only beloved children's muppet Chaozu were here!

A claustrophobic cave dungeon follows, and our heroes fight a palette-swap of Freeza. It's all somewhat uninteresting...moving on.

The other planet is a massive lake of fire. Maybe this is a tiny sun? It has a few islands on it, but not much else.

A few fetch quests and minigames follow as I get sleepier and sleepier. Much like the movie, this game reached peak interest levels with the Z-Fighters versus the Ghost Warriors. Would have liked more of that and less fetch quests and random monsters. The possibilities were endless, as far as foes from the past who could have reappeared.

Know what this game needed? Ghost Burter.

 Therrrrre you arrrrre!

Like a falling starrrrrr!

Speaking of which, things happen on these weird alien planets as you get items to bring to other towns and yada yada. It's all over quickly, at least. Having a bunch of fetch quests dropped on you right when you think you're going to the final area is no fun.

Under the lava (maybe it's just sunset-lit water?) is a bubble-city. This is actually a pretty cool idea.

There's also a pretty, pretty pony. His tears are a crucial ingredient for dispelling the storms (....) so you need to go to another planet to trade for a sad book for him to read. .....ah, whatever.

FINALLY I arrive at the final dungeon. Had about three hours on the clock at this point, but the final dungeon takes nearly that long to get through so I was only about halfway.

It's A SERIES OF TUBES. Takes forever to travel down these hallways. Let's go to the big map...

This guy did some great maps for the game, and they were crucial for finding my way around the overworlds. This last area is very linear in comparison, as you can see. It consists of (very slowly) making your way down overly-long hallways to fight four guardians.

The four guardians are all Doc Robot here, and with their 8,000 HP they take exponentially longer to defeat than any other foes up to this point.

Seriously, these fights just go ON AND ON AND ON. They're dangerous, but if you use items to heal after each one and avoid random battles, this last dungeon never really presents much of a threat. It just eats up time like no other.

The Doc Robots have a sweet attack animation. It's too bad all four of them are identical cut-and-pastes of each other, and that these fights drag on for so long. It gets very boring very quickly. Would have been better if each one copied the battle program of one of the four Shadow Warriors earlier.

A bunch of Full Heals are requisite to have before setting foot in the final dungeon. Ten of them is plenty. And that's about it for preparation. Final Fantasy III, this ain't.

Here's Dr. Wily Dr. Raichi. Much like Dr. Gero, he's deceased but lives on in a mechanical body. At least, I think. They say he's a ghost. I don't know, the Tuffles have never been consistent in appearance or made sense.

He, of course, wants revenge for his race being exterminated by the Saiyans, despite Gokou explaining that he and his friends aren't the same as the tyrannical Saiyan army of yesteryear.

FINAL BATTLE TIME! Dr. Raichi is an incredibly annoying fight. He has 9000 HP, which means he ISN'T over 9000. Physical attacks never land on him, only energy attacks do. Given the random nature of battle card selection in this game, you're basically whittling him down with weak fireball attacks for twenty-five minutes.

Unlike the Doc Robots, this guy does make use of the super-moves of the earlier bosses. Pretty cool.

After a long, long, boring fight, he makes reference to Hatchiyack keeping he and the other Ghost Warriors going. Pure, primal malice transformed into energy is an interesting concept... I think this would have been a better storyline if the show had explored it rather than the proto-DBGT movie.

I thought Hatchiyack would be up next, but instead we get a second battle with Raichi. It's an exact cut-and-paste of the previous battle, takes just as long, and ends up being just as boring. Not sure why this game has such an obsession with cutting-and-pasting and repeat fights, but it isn't fun. Once you've won a fight once, the interest isn't there anymore. You're just repeating your actions and chewing up time.

Though I will say that his Eraser Shock is a killer move. Strongest attack in the game.

After Raichi is defeated a second time (all told, the two-part final battle took almost an hour of autobattle on its own), the Z-Fighters blow up the last Tuffle machine and exterminate the stored life-forces that remain of the doomed race.

Suck it, Tuffles.

In any case, Hatchiyack is nowhere to be found. Perhaps I missed a trigger? It's bizarre that the game made you fight Raichi a second time; Hatchiyack should have been the second fight. Maybe the developers ran out of time. The final boss of the movie is kind of a major omission, don't you think? Just weirdness all around. This might be even more anticlimactic than the second game ending without SSJ Gokou.

Unfortunately for her, the one thing he won't be eating is Chichi.

Credits roll. Gohan being in SSJ2 in this one portrait continues to bug me. This game could have been outstanding given all the surface improvements, but they scaled back in way too many areas and it comes across as a rushed-out-the-door project.

And with that, DBZ Month has concluded. That's right, no more for me.

There's only one proper way to end DBZ Month:

Legendary popcorn showaa!



2 comments:

  1. Ooohhh... MIRACLE ZENKAI POWAA. I like how Burter of all people gives you the Cartman's mom reaction.

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  2. Too bad something with such potential was nerfed by the devolution of the game engine.
    The "proto-DBGT" idea is interesting. Toriyama wasn't involved in DBGT so I'd like to know the history of the concepts. Wouldn't the Android saga be related too, featuring another evil scientist?

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