Sunday, September 10, 2023

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Part 16 - The 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament (B-Side)


It seems like a lot of DBZ games count these last few episodes of DB (with older Gokou) as part of DBZ. The Super Famicom fighting games generally start with this fight, for example. I'd say this DLC is actually a really good place to start Kakarot, rather than the beginning of the main story, so it's kinda like the game got a new and much more exciting intro chapter.

In any case, here we go, last Kakarot episode...until they put out the final DLC.

We jump back in with the semi-final matchups. First and foremost is Gokou vs. Tien, the winner of the 22nd World Tournament.

It was pretty solid booking in the original Dragonball to make sure Gokou avenged his loss to the previous winner en route to finally winning this tournament.

I mentioned how flight is disabled in this DLC and that adds a new wrinkle to everything, plays quite a bit more like a regular fighting game rather than a DBZ fighting game. It's still an RPG-hybrid all things considered and you can still level up and do sidequests and go around talking to people.

Gokou's Kamehameha is very beefy despite this being an early point in time.

He also has this REALLY COOL move where he fires a Kamehameha away and uses it as kind of a rocket boost to plow into his opponent with a flying punch.

Eventually Gokou gets rid of some weighted clothes so he can compete more effectively, since Tien is putting up such a fight. This has to be rough for Tien, realizing that his opponent was WEARING WEIGHTS this whole time.

Tien has a trick he's been keeping secret. He can split into a bunch of images! ...that are all much weaker than his normal self!

Fairly easy fight here where I thunder my way through the Tien clones like an adult going all Dynasty Warriors against a gang of kindergarteners.


They did do some damage just by virtue of their sheer numbers though. The hardest fights in Kakarot are always the multi-foe fights. I still remember how inexplicably tough the fight with Burter and Jeice was.

Gokou's internal voiceover: ::static::

Not sure if we ever found out how powerful Mr. Popo is. It'd be crazy if he were like a DBS-level fighter and just never lifted a finger to fight any bad guys in DBZ because he simply doesn't care.

Regardless, here's the part where Kami disguises himself as a human to fight Piccolo.

He attempts to trap Piccolo in a bottle, and it backfires, so now he's trapped.

A lot of this DLC is cutscenes, definitely a disproportionate amount compared to other DLCs. It's alright though. The playable fights being centered around Gokou makes sense. But why didn't they let us fight Chi Chi?

Piccolo has put our heroes in quite the predicament.

Meanwhile, Roshi has snuck off. It could be BOTH things. Like MJF, he is killing two birds with one stone.

This is it, the main event and the primary focus of this DLC when it comes down to it: Gokou versus Piccolo.

"I have reached a new power level... of 300!"

Damn! That's like...a quarter of the average adult Namekian male!

Piccolo UNLEASHES FIREBALLS! I use my go-to and spam the Kamehameha from a distance.

Ring-outs aren't gonna help me here, but it's worth noting that the CPU didn't ever get any ring-outs either.

The warping in this game moves so quickly that it's hard to get a good screenshot. Here Gokou unleashes a teleporting air-combo!

Have I mentioned how good this game is? It sure captures the feeling of the show. I can't wait for the last DLC (hopefully it isn't really Uub).

The smoke clears and Piccolo is still ticking, as is Dragonball tradition. You can gauge the bad guy's HP by his level of smugness after the smoke clears.

That fight was just the beginning. Now Piccolo is getting serious!

I think the audience should probably like...get out of there. Looks like most of them did.

Also it's kind of interesting to note how small-time the tournament looks here compared to the later Buu Saga tournament (25th). Even when it had more people in it earlier, there's been hardly anyone in the crowd of the 23rd compared to the massive stadium of the 25th.

Since the 24th was the first one won by Mr. Satan, it's reasonable to conclude that Mr. Satan raised the profile/popularity of the World Tournament enough for it to have a huge crowd for the 25th. Sort of like Hulk Hogan boosting the WWF enough that Wrestlemania could exist.

Also enough time went by that the 24th was probably a reboot of sorts. I'm putting too much thought into this.

Oh yeah, so back to the fight, Piccolo inflates to EPIC PROPORTIONS.

While multi-foe battles are the hard part of Kakarot, giant foes tend to be some of the easiest. Everything they do is easier to avoid and there's a lot more room to land hits. This is certainly not intentional but yeah.

If all else fails, stay back and power up / spam Kamehameha.

Wait, if Namekians can inflate to epic proportions, why didn't any of them use this against Freeza and his minions? Or their ability to fuse? Why didn't Lord Slug take a break from gorging himself on vicodins and fly to Namek to help out? He could have at least beaten up most of the Ginyu Force.

Won without too much trouble, and that's it for Giant Piccolo. He never does this again for the rest of the series for some reason.

Next is another fight, and Piccolo is powering up to some new level. When it comes down to it, this battle pretty much set the tone for the entirety of Dragonball Z.

We get some tasteful sideboob as Launch orders Kami to GET IN THE HOLE.

This is because Piccolo is about to completely decimate the entire area. Well, so much for the World Tournament. I think the crowd totally vacated the scene. No wonder it's like 17 years until the 24th World Tournament.

Gokou of course survived Piccolo's mega attack, so we get another battle.

They throw in some beats from the show towards the end of the fight which is a nice touch.

Annnnd that's it for Piccolo. Or at least for controllable fights. Really fantastic DLC here. The best thing about it is that it can be played really early in the main game, or even before it, while most of the other DLCs function as story chapters for much later points. More on that in a bit.

But wait! Piccolo may have been defeated, but now he's cheap-shotting Gokou! The savagery!

He zaps him with various rays like some kind of douchebag while Gokou is immobilized, only for...

...Gokou to spring forth and defeat him with a devastating headbutt, as that's the only body part he has left to attack with.

Flying headbutts are super-OP in early Dragonball and win several fights.

That one announcer guy who is also the referee and commentary still here for some reason, and calls the win for Gokou since Piccolo landed outside the boundaries of the now-destroyed-anyway ring.

And with that, Gokou has FINALLY won a World Tournament. And against the strongest opponent from any of them too.

Gokou's all beat up, but it's nothing a Senzu can't cure.

Now we get a quick roll of Dragonball archive footage:

Gokou meeting Communist Officer Kim Jong Oolong.

Wait a minute, what is this Roshi voiceover talking about?

He means "hero" singular, not plural.

Oolong didn't do SH*T.

More tasteful side-boob from Launch as she rides the world's luckiest cloud.

But more importantly, super-early Dragonball versions of Gokou and Kuririn, and My God they are lovable characters here.

The Senzu not only heals Gokou, it also... repairs all his clothes. Piccolo is unimpressed and swears he will return for revenge... in Dragonball: Evolution II! Starring James Marsters in a non-speaking role.

Gokou couldn't care less and flies off with Chi Chi to go consummate their marriage.

Roll credits, and a great ending that leads right into the beginning of the main game. Good times.

We also get a picturebook of Dragonball scenes. A lot of DBZ fans sleep on the original Dragonball series and they shouldn't, it really is good.

Chi Chi is very happy to get married to Gokou. She doesn't know yet. She doesn't know.

...she's gonna find out soon though because Gokou has no idea how to do literally anything. Well, good luck Chi Chi.

There's also a postgame for this DLC (like all the others). However unlike the others, this one isn't interesting, and consists mainly of fighting random cat-goons working for the Pilaf Gang in order to help local sheriffs out. I ended up skipping this one because there isn't really anything to see here.

DLC Postgames
DLC1 (Beerus) - More powerful versions of Beerus to fight that require max levels.
DLC2 (Golden Freeza) - More powerful versions of Freeza to fight that require max levels.
DLC3 (Future Trunks) - SSJ2 acquisition and fighting Dabura to prevent Buu.
DLC4 (Bardock) - Kid Vegeta training and clearing planets.
DLC5 (This one) - Fighting random goons to weaken Pilaf's criminal syndicate. Yeah, alright.

I mentioned that the DLCs all have particular points they fit into the main game. Here's how I'd play it:

-World Tournament DLC (Leads into the beginning of DBZ)
-Main story up to the early Namek Saga
-Bardock DLC
-Main story up to the arrival of Trunks
-Future Trunks DLC
-Main story up to the end of the game
-Beerus DLC
-Golden Freeza DLC

It remains to be seen what the 6th and final DLC will be, but I'm looking forward to playing that and seeing where it fits into all of this. Again, I hope it isn't End of Z, which is pretty overrated at this point and likely going to be officially "taped over" eventually when the timeline reaches that point.

If you have nothing better to do today, here's DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION.