Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout (Playstation, 1997)


As a kid I was super into this game. It was the first DBZ related game we got in the US that I know of, and it was pretty awesome just to be able to finally play as some of these characters in a game. Does it hold up after all these years?

.....no. But it was something. Also gonna have a lot of notes about what I thought of this back in 1998 or so when I played it, with limited DBZ exposure at the time. Suffice to say a lot of it was interesting!

First of all, the anime intro of this game is siiiiick. It shows a bunch of fights that don't really happen in the show, and some DBGT stuff (this is, technically, a Dragonball GT game), with rockin' music.

Here's the much-better second title screen once you start it up.

The initial character selection: Gokou, Pan, Kid Gokou, Trunks, SSJ2 Vegeta*, Mystical Gohan, Perfect Cell, Kid Buu, Freeza final form, and Piccolo. As a kid I remember wondering why Freeza looked so weird compared to how he looked in the show, and figured he must have other forms like an RPG boss, or maybe he looks like this under the armor.

This screen is kind of lacking, but at least it gave you the big 3 DBZ villains. Above that are the 3 main DBGT characters: Pan, Kid Gokou, Trunks. ...I guarantee you almost everyone who played this in 1997 ignored them and went right to guys like Vegeta and Gohan.

* - Yeah, SSJ2. More on that later.

The first fight in "story mode" seems to always be against one of the villains. Also this isn't much of a story mode. It just throws opponents at you until you win like 12 fights, then you fight a DBGT bad guy, then credits.

Right off the bat, this game has very good music. The visuals are decent, if a bit primitive given this was early in the 3D era. This looks like Namek on the verge of falling apart.

You can punch, kick, fly up on the screen to fight in the air, fire energy blasts, or power up to refill your Ki (basically MP) to fire more energy blasts. Powering up is fun. Every movement seems to have a delay, though. Not input lag or anything like that, just a straight up delay between pressing a button and the command executing. The game feels super sluggish, which is probably one of the reasons it isn't on anyone's "best fighting game" list. It really got by on the name value and being the only thing available.

This little rascal is usually the second opponent you fight (the first being a villain). Not sure why. Even weirder is that you always fight Regular Little Gokou later.

(Yeah, you can spell Gokou in several different ways, depending on what version of things you're looking at)

This fight is actually tough because most of your attacks fly over the head of the little bugger.

Meanwhile he can hop all over the place pummeling you with his small hands.

Every so often the CPU will blast a super attack like a Kamehameha, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to block or counter them because all the action freezes. If I remember right you're supposed to mash all the buttons when this happens, or input a command for your own attack at a specific time and then mash buttons. Well, I just took these attacks right on the chin 'cause they don't do that much damage and I don't know what's goin' on.

Here's Trunks, another situation where the game has you fighting a Super version of a character before the regular version. This is DBGT Trunks, so basically main timeline Trunks only older than he is in DB Super.

It's kind of cool that this game has both main timeline older Trunks AND Future Trunks (who is probably a similar age to this version). I hate this Trunks' outfit though. A bandana-mask like he's about to rob a train and shorts like he's going on a safari. I bet these DBGT outfits were the result of boardroom meetings of figuring out what The Keeds think is cool.

Here's Little Gokou, as promised. He pummeled me all over the place while I tried to land a hit on the little bastard. I don't wanna talk about it.

Finally, Gokou vs Super Gokou! ...how many damn Gokous does this game have?

This one takes place in The Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Cool thing about these fights is that when you win one, you unlock that character. So I could play as Super Gokou now, but first I have to lose a fight to get back to the character select.

Luckily a loss is supplied in the form of Pan, DBGT's most obnoxious character. I just hope future Dragonball mainline properties don't emulate this version of Pan when she's this age in the main Z/Super canon.

I try out Vegeta, the only Super Saiyan available at the beginning. He handles kind of poorly in this game, unfortunately. He's kind of hunched over and none of his attacks are straight if that makes sense, they're all kind of off-center and miss easily. He does have one big explosion super attack that depletes all his Ki energy to do mega-damage which could be good against an un-aggressive CPU.

The character portraits are probably the best thing this game has going for it besides the music. They did a good job with these. Here's Future Trunks, who has clearly been through the ringer compared to regular Trunks.

Having watched DBGT back when, the impression I got was that everyone in GT was weaker than their Z selves due to years of inaction. Except Gokou who dwarfed everything else and none of the GT villains (outside of the 2 or 3 big ones) were any actual threat to him which made for a pretty boring show.

What I'm saying here is that Future Trunks here, having trained in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and fought Cell, is probably waaaaaaaaaaaay stronger than GT Trunks who has the same form and is a similar age. Cause GT Trunks is basically useless.

Future Trunks has a good battle theme in this game, and a moody/oppressive stage that might be from his timeline, unsure.

Piccolo is a pretty challenging foe in this game, and probably the "lowest tier" character the game has as far as big mega powerlevel characters go. I guess Pan is lower actually, probably by a lot, but whatever she has the Plot Armor. None of the human characters show up in this. So as someone who had only seen like, Saiyan Saga in the translated DBZ dub on Sunday mornings, I was a little surprised to see Piccolo here and still-relevant when none of the other characters from that saga were featured (and clearly had been long-since outclassed).

Piccolo's big thing is that he can extend his limbs like Dhalsim.

Not only is there Super Gokou, there's also Super Saiyan Gokou! I guess one is Z and one is GT. This shot is gonna look a bit weird because I tried to make a composite shot to mixed results.

Super Saiyan Gokou is Buu-era, judging from the one Potaru Earring, so it stands to reason that it might be Super Saiyan 2 Gokou. ...except he's just Super Saiyan 1 in this picture. Yet he's Super Saiyan 2 on his character select portrait. So that's inconsistent. More on that later.

Both Gokous are pretty identical in hair and abilities, so yeah, it's basically just an outfit change. Would have been cool if one of them were Super Saiyan 1 and one were Super Saiyan 2 for real. The lack of any Super Saiyan 3 characters in this game is also kind of glaring, but DBGT had to kind of bury SSJ3 because it was so much better-looking than their new Super Gokou 4 form.

The second-to-last fight is noted Gokou/Vegeta fusion Vegetto, and he's a real bad-ass. Always fights at a way higher level than the other CPU opponents and is probably the toughest fight in the game outside of maybe the miniature characters.

"Let's see you daaaaance sucka you got nothin' on me!"

This fight beats me a few times so I have the chance to rotate characters a bit. As a kid I remember being very confused by this Vegetto guy. Is he a relative of Vegeta that no one knew about? Some other Saiyan who had a similar name? Who is this guy? He's definitely the coolest and most impression-making character in the game for someone unfamiliar with the material.

His combo attacks have really good music accompanying them. Yeah, when a character goes into a full combo (called a Meteor Smash) it basically switches over to a minigame of sorts and the music changes.

Also, Vegetto doesn't really use his arms much, just batters his opponents with his feet. Playing as him, you can punch if you really want to.

Time to give Mystical Gohan a try, finally.

He is probably the easiest to play as character from what I've tried here. Similar moveset to Gokou, moves fairly quickly, attacks have good reach. This let me finally eke out a win over Vegetto.

Get past that beast of a fight, and you're face to face with...

Me in 1998: "who?"

That's right folks, it's Super Baby. There he is.

Well, fighting a giant Oozaru as the final boss of a game is unique at least, don't think any of the other multitude of DBZ games did this.

Super Baby is bigger than the screen so you can't really see him. It's also worth noting that Super Baby is "dumb thicc" according to many Gen-Zers. But will being thicc save him from Gohan?

The key to this fight is to get up in the air and wail on the top of his head, since most of his attacks fire at mid or low level.

In particular, this giant death ball is a real menace.

Annnnd that's it for "story mode", just a bunch of fights plus this Super Baby guy. As a kid I had no idea who the hell Super Baby was in relation to anything DBZ. He was clearly a giant Oozaru who somehow went Super Saiyan, which is an interesting concept on its own, except they made it all weird by making him some other species that can make itself look like Saiyans or whatever. And also calling him "Baby". Well, whatever. Could have been a cool character if he turned out to be the "Legendary Super Saiyan" from 1000 years ago who went SSJ while in Oozaru form. The one King Kai talks about in the Saiyan Saga. Except I think they retconned that as Broly even though it makes no sense.

Well, during this game I never fought Gohan, Cell, or Buu. I guess it's random who you fight and it always leaves out a few of them.

Punch in codes after beating the game (or even before) and it'll unlock Super Saiyan 4 Gokou plus any other unlockable characters you didn't get already. This also changes the opening screen here.

There's the final character select. Did we really need two SSJ Gokous? At least the two SSJ Trunks-es are different in the sense that the bottom left one is DBZ ruined future Trunks and the bottom right one is GT normal universe Trunks.

It's worth noting that the Gokou on the left end is in SSJ2 in his portrait while the one on the other end is SSJ1. Here's a comparison shot of SSJ2 from the series:

So at least there's one difference. Also the SSJ2 one is in DBZ garb while the SSJ1 one is in GT garb.

Only problem is, in the close-up battle intro portrait, the SSJ2 one is just normal SSJ. And in battles he's just normal SSJ. No electricity, hair isn't standing up straight. So he's only SSJ2 in this small portrait.

The only actual SSJ2 character in-battle in this game is Vegeta, weirdly enough. Yep, Vegeta is full SSJ2 here and has the SSJ2 electricity during fights and everything. No one else does, at least from what I briefly observed.

Seems like a few people are missing here, but I suppose they had to fit more Gokous. Supposedly Gogeta (SSJ4) and Gotenks (SSJ) are both secret characters in this game that can be unlocked by beating the game on Hard without ever dying many, many times. How many times? Legend says that it's 9 times as Trunks (which one? dunno) to unlock Gotenks, and 20 times as any character, or maybe SSJ4 Gokou, to unlock Gogeta. However, I was unable to confirm this, and there don't seem to be any videos online of Gotenks or Gogeta gameplay. Just a lot of people talking about how to unlock them, which is consistent across the board...which makes me think it might be real. Even Gamefaqs has their unlocks listed. So why are there no videos of them anywhere?

Regardless, time to look at the big secret character we definitely do have, SSJ4 Gokou:

Beat the game on Hard without losing (once) and the new secret final boss is SSJ4 Gokou. He also has this awesome stage that looks like a battlefield at the end of the world. Of course, you can also play as him after beating him (or entering the code) and he's OP AF.

This is nothing new for DBZ universe games from the 90's. Several of the other early DBZ fighters also had a secret final boss for reaching the end on hard difficulty, or without dying, or both. For example, Super Butoden II has Broly as a hidden final boss.

He's a formidable opponent. Once he's unlocked, he's easily the best character in the game. Moreso even than Vegetto. I'm not that big on the SSJ4 design though. Biggest question for me now is who would win in a fight between SSJ4 and Super Saiyan Blue. Maybe someday we'll get a universe-crossover where Super characters encounter GT characters for a bit and the two Gokous will of course want to battle it out. It would certainly make GT actually matter in the grand scheme of things and finally put that debate to rest.

As for this game... it's really not good. But damn if I don't get a lot of nostalgia out of checking it out...briefly.


Super Kid Gokou stage theme. Always liked this one a lot. Ton of energy here. Also sounds like something out of Final Fantasy Tactics.

Future Trunks' stage theme, Hikari no Willpower. If I had to pick a favorite theme in the game, maaaaybe it'd be this one.

Gohan's stage theme. Now this is a "protagonist theme"

Vegetto stage theme. This one is serious business, and it's so menacing that as a kid I thought Vegetto was a bad guy.

One meteor smash theme, for Vegetto and a couple others.

Another meteor smash theme, for characters like Gokou.

Super Saiyan 4 Gokou battle theme, "Hero of Heroes". Tremendous theme for a battle at the end of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review! It brought back many memories of playing this game as a kid. I think if it'd had responsive controls it could have been a great fighting game.

    The intro is still badass!