DRAGON BALL GT FINAL BOUT

DRAGON BALL GT FINAL BOUT

Platform: PlayStation 1
Developer: Bandai
Release Date (NA): 11/12/1997 (initial release)


I’m not going to sugarcoat this: this game sucks.

AHEAD OF ITS TIME, BUT IN A BAD WAY

The year is 1997. The Dragon Ball series in the United States of America is still a pretty obscure property that was only starting to pick up steam. One year from this point, the popularity would boom with Funimation taking the reins and the show appearing on the Cartoon Network Toonami afternoon cartoon block and on overpriced VHS cassettes.

Dragonball Z VHS case
Seriously, 15-20 American dollars for three episodes?!

But in 1997, if you were a fan of the series, you were probably waking up at 5 AM or some ungodly hour on Saturday morning to watch an episode on a local station, hoping to see Goku come beat the shit out of the Ginyu Force but instead being disappointed to find the Tree of Might airing again, signalling a restart of the episode order.

Stand by… for disappointment!

Not surprisingly, the initial run of the Dragon Ball GT video game was a pretty limited run in North America. And why not? Not many people had even heard of the series. In 2004, the game was reissued in the US with new Dragon Ball GT artwork on the cover, to coincide with the American release of the Dragon Ball GT anime series, so that at least made sense. Unfortunately, the game still sucked, and by this point the PlayStation 2 was in full swing with better Dragon Ball games coming out.

THIS IS THE FINAL BOUT (BECAUSE I WANT TO STOP PLAYING THIS)

There are a few modes of play to explore before you get fed up with this game.

There is a one player “Story” mode where you select a character and then fight all the other ones, including the secret characters. Calling it a “story” is extremely generous but the game seems to think it is deserving of that.

I’m going to spoil the entire Dragon Ball GT Final Bout story for you right now. The story is your one character must fight all of the other characters one at a time, until you’ve beaten them all. Once you have, your character then watches the credits roll with no other fanfare. That is it. Gripping storytelling, folks.

Pilaf holding a knife to an alligator
I don’t even remember what this scene is from, but I guarantee it’s part of a better story than this game’s.

Being a fighting game, you have the standard 1 vs 1 versus mode where you can battle a friend or a single computer opponent. And should you ever somehow find yourself in a bizarre scenario where you have eight (probably drunk) people wanting to play this piece of shit, there is an eight player single elimination tournament mode included as well.

There is also a “Build Up Mode” which is actually kind of neat, in theory. The idea here is you pick a character and then battle the others of your choosing. Your character has an “experience” level and as you use moves they will get stronger. The idea here is you can build a character to your playstyle, save it on a memory card, and then go fight somebody else’s built up custom character too. I remember being young and bored and powering up Trunk’s regular weak energy blast to the point where a single one could take bars of life off of everybody. I wish I had that kind of free time again.

THIS IS A PLAYSTATION 1 GAME FROM 1997, BUT I’M STILL GOING TO BE VERY CRITICAL OF ITS APPEARANCE

The graphics aren’t much to look at now, but at the time, they were pretty good. The attack effects are garbage though. The character models, for the most point, look pretty good.

Goku's sausage link tail
Well, except for SS4 Goku’s sausage link tail.

The characters move like they are battling underwater. There is such a delay in every action you take; be it a jump or a humble karate kick. Speaking of delays, there is no concept of hit stun to be found anywhere here, as it takes longer for fighters to recover from being hit by a special move than it does for the warrior to recover from using it. This means it is extremely easy to chain the same move into itself over and over until one player is dead and absolutely pissed and threatening to go home because his idiot friend won’t stop using Cell and the same damn move. DAMMIT JAY!

The voice acting is pretty bad, but so bad it’s hilarious. I remember getting most of the enjoyment from the game from the pre-fight matchup screen, where the characters taunt one another with terrible phrases.

Another odd thing about the voice acting in this game is that the character select screen used these English dubbed voices, where the fights themselves used the original Japanese voices. This caused a lot of confusion to fans who picked Goku and then found a fighter that sounded like someone’s grandmother (the wonderful Masako Nozawa, who still voices Goku and sons now at the age of 80!)

LESS DIVERSITY THAN THE CROWD AT A COLDPLAY CONCERT

The back of the box says there are 8 hidden characters in this game. This is an outright lie as there are only 7! They couldn’t even get this part right!

Back of the case of Dragon Ball GT Final Bout
False advertising highlighted.

Speaking of that, of those 18 17 characters, a very good percentage of those are Goku.

Picture of Dragon Ball GT character select
The same gentleman is outlined in red.

Let’s crunch the numbers. We’ve got:

  • Goku (GT)
  • Kid Goku (GT)
  • Super Saiyan Goku (DBZ)
  • Super Saiyan Goku (GT)
  • Super Saiyan Kid Goku (GT)
  • Super Saiyan 4 Goku (GT)
  • Vegetto (who is half a Goku)

That’s 6.5 Gokus out of 17 characters, making this game 38.2% Goku! I suppose this is true to the series, as Goku is the only character that does anything, but for players of a video game, it would be nice to see some more diversity in the roster.

Vegeta with mustache from Dragon Ball GT
We should have at least gotten Vegeta with mustache!

LIKE GT THE SERIES, THIS GAME SHOULD BE STRUCK FROM THE RECORD

In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t much care for this game. However, at the time of my original purchase, I did manage to wring some fun out of it, so it isn’t totally without merit. It’s tough to recommend this game nowadays though, beyond the obvious fact that it is a PlayStation 1 game. Fortunately, there are better options if you are looking for spiky haired anime men yelling at each other, so you needn’t bother yourself with this Grand Bore.

FINAL RATING: 1.5 OUT OF 7 DRAGON BALLS

Yamcha dead

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