Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dragonball Z: Gekishin Freeza Finale - Valar Morghulis

The best of all the DBZ RPGs continues as Gokou takes on Freeza in a shocking finale for the ages.

The Eldest Namek paws at Kuririn's shiny bald head and gives him super powers. Too bad Vegeta couldn't get a sweet upgrade here. He would have been able to take on the Ginyu Force. Between that and all the dead Nameks due to his interpersonal skills, imagine how much easier things would have been for everyone if Vegeta had been a good guy this whole time?

Speaking of people skills, Kuririn doesn't have any. Saichoro is welcoming him in to enjoy fine Namekian tea and Kuririn is all "fuck that, give me your Dragonball". No word on if Saichoro laughed hysterically when Kuririn said he'd guard it from Vegeta and Freeza.

Meanwhile, back in the afterlife... Piccolo does some King Kai planet training just like Gokou did in the previous game. Yep, more training...yawn.

 Luckily, it's again a mercifully short minigame. All of these training minigames are quick and to the point, hardly the extended grind-fests that they were in the first game. Piccolo finishes the minigame and gets 55,000 BP. Seriously? Imagine if Gokou had gotten anywhere near that for -doing the same thing- before. He could have flattened the Saiyans!

Truth be told, Piccolo might be the ultimate Deus Ex Machina character in this series. He always gets whatever massive power gain he needs to beat the villain of the moment (but not the villain's next form). And it always makes you wonder why he didn't pull this Deus Ex Machina technique out of his ass earlier during another dire imminent threat. Case in point, his training with King Kai, his fusion with Nail, his fusion with Kami.

 Now that Kuririn is powered-up, I take on Kuei! ...and get my ass kicked. Kuei only has a power level of 18000, but it sure doesn't seem like it because he takes Kuririn to beatdown town. Need to get the other party members back into the fold before I can stand a chance against any of these guys.

Side note: When I first saw him in DBZ, I thought Kuei was Freeza. Was waiting for Freeza to appear, had no idea what he'd look like, and then when Kuei showed up I was like "AHA! That must be Freeza!" for about ten seconds.

Speaking of Freeza, he finally appears on the world map and paces around outside his spaceship. He's fight-able now, but doing so would be a profoundly bad idea at this stage. This guy is definitely the King Joffrey of DBZ.

"I want to caress these Dragonballs!"

Note: When you save your game, the current chapter has a title. Like Chrono Trigger. The chapter I'm on right now? "Get Balls!"

After getting my other characters to Saichoro for the power-up (and it's a huge power-up, seems to quadruple their strength), I give Kuei and his entourage another shot.

 At this point, Vegeta finally becomes playable... sort of. He joins the party, but he can't be controlled like the other characters. He does whatever he wants! He also has a six-digit power level, which I'm pretty sure is a gross exxageration of what he was at when he first started to turn to the side of good. In the show, he got stomped by Recoome, who is 70,000 at best.

In any case, between Mega-Gohan, Vegeta, and the other characters being amped up, I completely obliterate Kuei. Would have been cool if Kuririn had pulled off the solo, but it was not to be.

 Next on my hit-list: Dodoria. I like how once you're sufficiently powerful, you can chase down these guys who once hounded you around the world map.

Dodoria also has a goon squad... and some ripe B.O.

Vegeta is the MVP of these fights. Even if he isn't controllable, the A.I. is very good. He usually pulls off his best attacks frequently.

FINAL FLASH! ...why don't any of the character portraits have pupils?

Gohan adds a Masenko of his own. Piling on the super-moves here. Dodoria has no chance whatsoever.

Zarbon is by far the toughest of the three roaming goons. He has two forms and the power level of his second form is way beyond anything else up to now. He's also a beautiful man with a glorious cape and a circlet suited for the prettiest of princesses.

Can't get over the total weirdness of seeing flying Japanese geisha Chaozu fighting against Freeza Saga enemies. In the show, Chaozu spent this whole saga dead and being trained by King Kai. He then proceeded to never do anything else of note in the show except hover around his boyfriend Tien.

Zarbon gets angry. And you won't like him when he's angry.

 He proceeds to inflate like a helium balloon, and his power level spikes from like 27000 to 55000. Know what's weird? These armor suits that the bad guys wear seem to be made of some really high-tech material. They expand and contract as needed with their wearer. At one point Vegeta turned into a fifty foot tall ape and his armor didn't so much as crack.

This fight can be difficult, but Vegeta and Gohan do the heavy lifting yet again.

In other news, the Ginyu Force arrives as soon as you take out all of the lesser goons. These guys mean serious business, something they let you know right away...

 ...with a SWEET posing routine! I like Recoome's Hulk Hogan pose. That or he's Heiling Hitler.

Gokou arrives on Namek just in time to help with the Ginyu Force. I read that he can arrive sooner than this and actually help with Freeza's three minions. That would have been cool, but they weren't much trouble without him.

Since I'm not working by the hour, I immediately whip out a Genki Dama and one-shot Guldo.

BYE BYE. How did this guy get onto the Ginyu Force, anyway? Before you say "sexual favors for Freeza", let me just say... eww.

Recoome is a considerably stronger opponent, and dishes out punishment with his devastating Eraser Gun. It's weird to see a character launching an energy attack from their mouth. Only this guy and Dodoria are known for it.

 While Recoome is 71000, Burter and Jase are both around 65000. Captain Ginyu weighs in at 120,000 and Guldo tips the scales at...10000. Which still makes him stronger than Nappa, somehow. In any case, none of these fights are particularly difficult. In DBZ RPG tradition, once you get all the training out of the way, the actual bosses turn into punching bags. Here's Jase, squaring off with unlikely hero Chaozu (who is somehow now up to 53700...these fights give way too much BP). Get 'em, squirt!

Burter is kind of interesting. He flies around while doing Shawn Michaels poses, and he has a unique look. While all of the other Ginyu Force members got real fights in the show (Guldo versus Gohan/Kuririn, Recoome versus Gohan/Kuririn/Vegeta, Jase versus Vegeta, and Ginyu versus Gokou), Burter kinda got sold short. His only real action was when he teamed up with Jase to completely fail to land any attacks on Gokou, then he more or less got one-shotted. Would have liked to see him in real action against Vegeta and company the way Recoome was.

At least in the games he can have real battles with the heroes. Next time I play a modern DBZ fighting game where you can choose a single character for the whole story mode (if such a game exists), I'm going to go with Burter for all the fights. While you may not have won anything in the show... you'll always be the champion of my heart, you magnificent blue bastard.

Burter's super-attack is this awesome green body crash. Looks like X's Nova Strike from Mega Man X4 and X5.

Enough about Burter. Here's the big boss of the Ginyu Force, the namesake Captain Ginyu himself. ...HOW DID VEGETA GET TO 176K? The power levels are skyrocketing to ridiculous proportions from these fights. What was the point of toiling in training minigames if levels were going to take off like a rocketship soon after that anyway?

Mid-fight, Ginyu unleashes his own super-attack... the body switch. Unfortunately for him, he inexplicably chooses to use it on Yamcha. Great call there, dude. He could have body switched with Gokou, or even Vegeta/Gohan, and been a formidable foe. Instead, he picked...Yamcha.

I was hoping I'd get to keep the Ginyu version of Yamcha on my team, as his 120,000 BP was quite an improvement over original Yamcha. Unfortunately, he automatically went back to normal after the battle.

Meanwhile, Freeza himself finally gets off his ass and does something. Namely, he heads to the swingin' bachelor pad of The Eldest Namek after realizing that there was one Namek who he hadn't harassed since arriving on this planet. Freeza has worse manners than the Spanish Inquisition.

 The oddly-named Nail, strongest of all Namekians, is the poor sacrificial lamb for Freeza. You can do everything in your power to win this fight, but it's impossible. More importantly, every turn you last buys Dende more time to get away from here before Freeza goes after him. So basically, you want to play this defensively and keep Nail alive as long as possible. Even if it's just three turns or so, that's a lot better than one or two.

For some reason, in my translation Freeza is named Doctor. Here's his strongest attack, and when he uses it the fight is over. It's enough to one-shot Nail even at full health. If he does this on the first round, just hit the reset button.

 And here's why Nail needed to last a while. Dende needs to fly back to the Z-Fighters, but Freeza takes off in hot pursuit. Freeza moves much further than Dende every round, and he WILL catch Dende if you don't last at least three turns with Nail to give Dende enough of a head start. I suspect there are a few players out there who got screwed here by saving after the Nail fight without having enough time for Dende to get away. That's an inevitable start-the-game-over situation.

 This translation is quite buggy, to say the least. In any case, Dende gets back to the Z-Fighters (and their new buddy, Vegeta) and uses the Dragonballs to summon the Namekian Dragon. Wonder if he's related to Oracle Fish. All of this is so we can wish Piccolo back, since at this point Piccolo is on par with Gokou. Two super-characters are better than one.

 Freeza catches up, and the fight begins with my full party. It's more difficult than you'd expect, even though it's only base form Freeza. Even with their massive power gains, the party isn't really strong enough for Freeza yet. Need to haul ass back to Gokou's ship and train everyone in 100x gravity.

 But first... Piccolo arrives. He's another important piece of the puzzle. He's the second-strongest character at this point, pole-vaulting past Vegeta after absorbing Nail. I've asked this before: Why didn't the Namekians all get to fusin' when Freeza showed up? It seems to power them up astronomically. More likely, like I said before, it's a convenient plot device that they'd revisit in the Android Saga.

As Piccolo slowly makes his way across the overworld, the game keeps cutting back to the fight. I'm trying to run away, but it won't let me. It appears that the time has come for the Super Genki Dama.

 BOOM! This is the biggest attack in the game, and it takes off a good chunk of Freeza's health.

 Piccolo arrives at the battle scene and completes the party. Now it's just a matter of escaping the fight.

 Get back to the ship and you can train for a few rounds (until Freeza catches up to you, as he's also mobile on the overworld). This increases the power of your characters by leaps and bounds. Can only train one character at a time, though. Gokou should be first, then when he's maxed-out, train Piccolo until Freeza catches up. If you're lucky he'll be maxed-out too. Only takes a few rounds of Blackjack to bring them from 300k to 999k.

Freeza caught me too quickly while training, forcing me to run away and lead him in a big loop around the overworld just to gain some ground on him so that I could have more training time. Wow.

After training to significant levels, I put the beat-down on Freeza and he went to Form 2. Not much to say about this fight, as I won it in two 999999 BP Super Genki Damas.

 Form 3, Xenomorph, is a bit nastier... but still falls in two Super Genki Damas. As long as you keep restoring Gokou's BE, this fight goes by quickly.

The fourth form is a massive step up stat-wise, and takes something like four Super Genki Damas.

 Your best friend at this point? Senzu Beans. I had a few laying around since I never used any over the course of the game. They make the final battle simple, since they fully restore Gokou's BE and turn him into a Genki Dama cannon.

Quick look at the maximum power levels for Gokou and Piccolo. While Gokou did roughly 80% of the damage, Piccolo picked up some slack with about 15% of the remainder. Out of the rest of the party Gohan and Vegeta were also mildly helpful. The rest of the cast was pretty much there to absorb damage.

No telling what Form 4 Freeza's power level is. His second and third forms were also capped at 999999. Each one gets a significant bump in other stats.

Gokou musters up the life-energy of every living thing on Namek... which isn't much at this point...

 ...and WHABAM! All things considered, this final battle wasn't difficult, nor were any of the battles in this game. The challenge is in avoiding the bosses until you're sufficiently trained for them, since they COME RIGHT FOR YOU in this one.

With his HP depleted, we go to cutscene. Freeza tries to catch the Super Ultra Cutscene Genki Dama, but that goes as well as you'd expect, and he's defeated.

 Credits roll. Ya know, I feel like something is missing here... didn't Freeza pop out of the crater and kill Kuririn and stuff? Yeah, something is indeed missing.

 ...and that something is Super Saiyan. We get this brief post-credits shot, but that's it. Bizarre how they didn't include it in the final battle. It might be the one real negative against this game.

Instead, they save SSJ Gokou versus Freeza for the next game, in one of the oddest design choices I've ever seen. This fight would have been the perfect ending for this game and tied things up in a neat bow. Instead it gets thrown into the already-discombobulated Android Saga game. I'll discuss this more tomorrow.

In any case, this is the best DBZ RPG out there, at least that I've played. Good stuff, especially if you're a huge fan of the Namek/Freeza Saga.

Check out Legend of the Super Saiya-Jin for the considerably less-fun Super NES take on this saga, and leave a comment below.


  1. "shocking finale for the ages" = You win with the Spirit Bomb pre-SSJ! I was shocked.

  2. Yoo this was a really interesting read. I've never seen a game that played like this, and for that reason it'll be more memorable for me than a lot of more well-known games. I also learned a great deal about the DBZ plot.