| paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Platformer; loc=JPN] |
|I don't know squat about Dragon Ball but this is a fun, combat-heavy platformer with great action and nice sprites from Dimps, that band of ex-SNK developers (see also Inuyasha, entry 132, for more 2D work of theirs).|
You play the spikey-headed monkey-tailed kid Gokou and run around bashing super-deformed baddies with your staff, your fists, your feet, and Street Fighter-style fireballs. Mostly this takes place in platforming levels which, though simple, have a nice clean and colorful look to them. Later levels start to get longer and have traps like big balls that roll along chasing you. At the end of the level you usually face a unique boss fight, and then there are also boss-fight only stages as you march around the map. There's also been an interesting "flying" level where Gokou skims along on a mobile cloud, beating up flying creatures.
Gokou can get off some pretty nice chain combos by mashing the attack button, but he can also do fancier stuff like twirl his staff to block incoming bullets, juggle-kick people in midair, and throw people into others with the end of the staff. As you play through you find little collectible items, some of which enhance his abilities--I've found one that makes his staff extend for extra range at the end of a combo, for instance. Also, although I didn't start with the ability to fire off Gokou's signature fireballs, I "learned" the ability from a weird old dude after a half-hour or so of playing.
The single-player campaign seems to go pretty quick, and I've read that it can be beaten within hours. Apparently there are more unlockable things, like a mini-game mode, being able to play through story mode with other characters, and unlocking other characters for play in a fighting-game mode complete with a tournament, or something. I only have two characters available for that so far and because of the limited move sets, the fighting mode isn't really that fun.
Still, single-player is plenty good, with very nice graphics and sound. The bosses are bigger and more interesting-looking than the normal baddies but thus far haven't been incredibly huge or creative, and mostly you just watch their simple pattern and bash them in between. I suppose it could start to feel repetitive but the control is spot-on and it's always a joy to jump in and chain a jumping kick-dive into a punch flurry followed by a multi-hit staff combo.