It is always nice to see a good side scrolling action game every now and again. In the case of the latest release in the Dragon Ball series, Revenge of King Piccolo is not a good side scroller. It is as generic as they come, and it feels like it belongs on one of the older Nintendo systems, not on the Wii.
The game’s story follows a young Goku throughout the entire Dragon Ball series as he is on the hunt for the legendary Dragon Balls. If you are a fan of the series, you will note that the game does follow the series close enough, despite how much it skips around. If you are not a fan of the series, you will most likely be incredibly lost.
In terms of the presentation, the game is a mixed bag. All of the voice actors from the original English dub of the anime reprise their roles, and the voice acting is generally good. The game has the same anime style cell shading you would expect from any other game in the series, but at this point it just does not hold up to more recent releases. The game looks like it belongs on the PS2, and with very repetitive and annoying music that does not represent the stuff you would hear in the anime. And let’s not forget the “cutscenes” that feature just cutouts of the characters, which are generally very static and do not tell the story at all.
The gameplay itself is rather tedious, and is a very basic brawler. You move from left to right beating up on the very similar looking enemies, and every once in a while you face a boss. The bosses do not require much strategy at all, and they all can be taken down rather quickly once you figure out their very basic pattern. On the plus side, the controls are easy enough for anyone to get into, so the game could be enjoyed by much younger audiences.
The game progresses through six different levels that are each divided into smaller sections, and due to a lack of challenge it does not take long to get through a chapter. The entire game might take you 5-6 hours top to finish, and that is not much considering it is covering practically the entire anime. But with the gameplay designed as bland as it is, you might be thankful the game is not any longer.
You get a select set of combos (and a special move, which for Goku is his signature Kamehameha Wave), but none of them make much of a difference in the end. The enemies all are practically the same, and there is little to no strategy involved in most of the combat (with both bosses and regular enemies).
The game does feature a tournament mode, which uses the same basic controls from the adventure mode but applied to a fighting game style. The controls and combat seems to suit this mode more so than the standard side scrolling beat ‘em up found in the main story mode. Sadly, with a very slim picking of characters and not much else to do in the mode, it will not hold your attention for too long.
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo feels like a game that is stuck in a completely different era. It plays like an old school beat ‘em up, but at the same time, we’ve come to expect more from our games, especially one that is at full retail price. This might be an enjoyable rental for a young one to pass the time with, but overall this is a game that even Dragon Ball fans will have a hard time enjoying.
ESRB: Rated E10+ for ages ten and up; rated for some cartoon violence and mild language
Pros: Follows the Dragonball story pretty closely; good voice acting; simple controls make it easy for anyone to play; tournament mode can be fun
Cons: Boring, static cutscenes; repetitive and tedious gameplay; the game looks pretty dated; annoying music; very sparse on content