|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Media Vision||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai Games America||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Dragon Ball Z in a gaming institution. Though the anime ended ten years ago, there is always at least one game released every year with the Dragon Ball Z franchise name attached to it. However, before the action-packed Saiyan sagas of the Z universe, there was Dragon Ball. This series still featured Goku as the main character, but he was just a little boy who was learning martial arts and happened to get himself in plenty of awkward situations with a teenaged Bulma and other kids like Chi Chi and Yamcha. Featuring plenty of light humor and fun action sequences, Dragon Ball is certainly one of the most beloved anime series of all time, despite being eclipsed almost totally by the Dragon Ball Z series. Much like the anime that inspired it, Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo can never aspire to becoming the fan staple that games based on the Z franchise are. However, for what it is, there is plenty of fun to be had.
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo starts at the beginning of the Red Ribbon and continues through the King Piccolo saga. The story is reproduced quite faithfully, and fans of the Dragon Ball anime and manga will certainly enjoy all the key moments from the series being played out in the game. The game uses several animated cutscenes to move the story forward, as well as some in-game text-based plot scenes as well. The story is a focal point of the game and is presented quite well.
However, one of the game's biggest shortcomings becomes very apparent early on: the visuals. The game looks like a poor GameCube title. Character animations have a plethora of jagged lines, environments are devoid of any kind of detail, and they have plenty of repetitive textures. Right from the opening cutscene, this game's visual shortcomings were obvious. I really wish more time was taken with the visuals, as it is easy to watch the opening cutscene and dismiss the entire game. They say first impressions count for a lot, and this game certainly doesn't leave a good one.
But if the visuals are this game's biggest shortcoming, then the gameplay is its principal strength. Dragon Ball takes the form of a 2.5D side-scroller and has plenty of fun levels complete with running, jumping, puzzle-solving, and boss battles. In terms of reinventing the wheel, there is absolutely nothing new here. However, if you are a fan of old-school platforming, then Dragon Ball will feel comfortably nostalgic, which is great.
The game even has plenty of gimmicky levels that use special floating discs to help Goku bounce around areal levels, and there are some secret items that can be found by taking certain paths when your character is airborne. This portion of the game reminded me a lot of the old Sonic games back in the Genesis era, which was definitely a good thing. I can't imagine the developers of the game thinking that the game they were creating existed in a vacuum, and by hearkening back to old-school games (the kind that were around when the original Dragon Ball anime was being aired) was a smart move, especially for older fans of the series.
Control in the game is fairly simple and you can use either the Wii-Mote and Nunchuk combination or the Classic Controller. While both schemes are easy to use (thank goodness there are no poorly-implemented Wii motion controls), the classic controller structure feels a little more organic. Having the block/attack/target buttons all on one side of the controller makes for quicker combat, and it also allows for more precise movement. But no matter what control scheme you use, the controls are very responsive and you should have no problem getting around the Dragon Ball world and kicking but with Son Goku.