Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu


posted 2/10/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
Platforms: GBA
Atari and Dimps surprised the whole gaming world when it produced Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, an excellent 2D fighter for the PS2 and the Nintendo GameCube. Now Atari has teamed up with Webfoot Technologies in hopes of recreating some of that same magic on Nintendo’s portable handheld, the GameBoy Advance. You know that old saying about going back to the well one too many times? Well yea, Taiketsu should be rebadged as example number one of what NOT to do when producing a portable game.

I’m going to be honest here, I actually enjoyed the Legacy of Goku games that Webfoot developed for the GBA but this game is just downright awful. It’s hard to accurately describe just how horrible and incomplete this game feels. Most of the time you get the feeling that the game started off as a generic fighter early on in its development cycle, waiting for a license to come along and fill in the spots. As a result you get a game that’s just horribly disjointed and never quite comes together quite right.

Let’s start off with the good; Taiketsu features a robust cast of characters comprised of the series mainstays. This means you’ll be able to do combat with miniaturized versions of Goku, Friesa, Trunks and Vegeta. And then there’s… hmm… well I guess you can buy the game to inadvertently taunt your tormentors. Imagine that bully’s surprise when he turns on your GBA only to run into this crapfest.

Time for the bad, and it doesn’t take much to encounter it. For one the fighting system is completely broken. It’s virtually impossible to fight with any sort of precision or obedience, mainly because the controls are just so sloppy and sluggish. Your hit zones are woefully inconsistent as is the damage doled out for each of your moves. Sometimes your enemies will remain unfazed by a giant blast while a small jab will send them across the landscape. To make things worse there doesn’t seem to be any sort of cohesiveness to the combat. Moves don’t necessarily link together properly so you’re left with some very simplistic combat tactics that seem far out of place in this day and age. Imagine Double Dragon as a 2D fighter and you can begin to see how archaic the combat system really is. Essentially the game boils down to a button masher, and a bad one at that. Step aside Mortal Kombat Advance, make some room for Taiketsu.

If you really want to lose some friends you can pick up an extra cartridge and do battle with a buddy, link-mode style. It helps to alleviate the frustrations caused by the game’s inept AI but it’ll probably prove to be more frustrating than anything.

I wouldn’t exactly think of the GBA as a system that houses excellent fighting games but there are a number of other solutions out there that run circles around this one. Games like Sammy’s Guilty Gear Advance and Atlus’ King of Fighters EX 2 show that the GBA is indeed competent when it comes to handling 2D fighters. There are a lot of games out there that show what the GBA is capable of, Taiketsu isn’t one of them. Stay as far as hell away from this one as possible.

Stay away from this game, seriously. If you value your sanity stay the hell away. It's not fun, it plays like trash and it looks even worse.

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