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Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure Review





Developer: Dimps Publisher: Atari
Release Date: June 6, 2006 Also On: None

I’ve never been a big fan of Dragon Ball Z, but I have had friends who were, so I have been remotely aware of the fact that there was an earlier series in the franchise simply called Dragon Ball. Atari evidently knew that too, and they have gone back to the Dragon Ball days for their latest licensed game based on the Dragon Ball Z universe, Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure. While Dragon Ball adds nothing overly new and innovative to either the platformer or fighting genres, it does manage to put forth a decent package worth the consideration of Dragon Ball Z fans.

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I would hesitate to call the graphics in this game amazing, because they aren’t, but they match very well the animation style of the cartoon, at least what few episodes of Dragon Ball Z I’ve seen. While it is true that the enemy design isn’t very ambitious, with there being mainly palette swaps done on a relatively few types of enemies throughout the game, what characters there are are colorful and animate fairly well, including the bosses. Graphically, the game is what it should be: true to the cartoon.

The sound effects are likewise true to the cartoon but not anything overly innovative or impressive. My one major complaint here is that, from what I know of the series, whenever a person performs a kamehameha, they yell out kamehame, emphasizing the last “ha” when they release the projectile. That’s nowhere to be found in this game except in text during one of the cut-scenes. And Atari, don’t even try to tell me it can’t be done because Nintendo’s had voice samples in their Mario games on the system for years. The music is okay but is nothing overly exciting either. Overall, the sound could have been done better, but at least it doesn’t deter from the game at all.

So far as the gameplay is concerned, Advanced Adventure is a combination platformer and traditional fighting game. I will begin with the traditional fighting game portion of the offering. You can play against the computer or, if you can find another person with the game, you can play against another person. Since this game is based only on the original Dragon Ball, the obvious problem of a lack of characters is readily apparent. Also, for the most part, what characters there are all have basically the same move set, with minor differences. Add to this the fact that much of the fighting is in button-masher format, with little strategy involved, and the fighting game fails to be the primary draw of this package.

The story mode also has some of these matches within it, but they work the same as playing against the computer in the fighting mode, so I’ll not say anything more about that here. The platforming is very basic and generic. You run and jump through levels, defeating enemies with punches and whacks from some stick that Goku carries, occasionally using special maneuvers with a bar that stores up special move energy. There is one that attacks enemies on all sides, one that does massive damage to a single enemy if you can land a certain blow on him by attacking many times in some sort of fast-moving illusion, and of course what Dragon Ball game would be complete without the ability to perform the kamehameha.

I’ll say this though. Even though the game is generic, it is quite fun. Some of the bosses are even creative. The levels are reasonably lengthed and the story is such that those who don’t already know it won’t die of boredom from how it’s presented and might actually learn something about the history of the Dragon Ball Z universe. If that isn’t enough, Atari actually put three difficulty levels in this game so there’s motivation to play the game more than once, and there’s also stuff to collect, so the replay value is reasonably high despite the lacking fighting game.

Overall, if you are a Dragon Ball Z fan, you should seriously consider picking this game up. If you aren’t, but are simply in the market for a decent platformer, this game might meet your needs as well. Just don’t buy this looking for an enthralling fighting game because that is one thing that this game is not.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.5
Written by Martin Review Guide