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Dragon Ball Z: Legends
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Ban Dai
Publisher:  Ban Dai
Features:  
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://www.bandai.com
Though all 3 of the DBZ games have been out for quite some time now, they continue to sell as more and more people are becoming obsessed with the ongoing action soap opera that is Dragon Ball Z. The first game (and in my opinion the best) that came out was Legends and it was for the Japanese Playstation only. That is indeed a shame because it captures the insane essence that the DBZ cartoons are made of. There is multiple fighter combat in a fast-paced long-round environment.

The graphics in this first installment are very cartoonish much like the actual show. The fighting takes place on a classic DBZ open field and just like the cartoon there are multiple enemies on the screen at any given time. Out of all of the DBZ games this one looks and feels most like the fighting sequences in the cartoon. In the initial story mode you can choose from 1 to 3 players to go against the enemy. Do well and you will unlock other characters to use in the fighting modes. You can also go up against your friends or the computer (without a story line) in a Vs. mode.

The control is really unlike any other fighting game that I have ever played, but works fairly well with the idea of the game, which is fast and furious. Instead of having a punch and a kick like most games there is an attack button, a block, a projectile button, and one button that charges up the character. All of these options fit very well with what the characters do on the show. The movement is restricted-- you can only move towards and away from the enemy. This may seem restrictive at first, but it proves to be useful when the action gets so fast and confusing that you lose track of where the enemy is.

Speaking of fast action, this game has so much happening at once that you will probably get your ass whooped a few times before you get a handle on what is going on. At any one time you can be in charge of up to 3 characters. You rotate control of them performing different attack while the computer takes over for the rest of the characters. It is a little odd when you think about the fact that the computer is fighting itself most of the time, but in defense of it, the computer controlled characters seem to mimic your fighting strategy a bit. Possibly the most innovative part f the fighting strategy is the power balance bar that governs who wins and loses each part of the battle. There is a gauge at the bottom of the screen that will move in the direction of whichever team is inflicting more damage making each battle like a tug-o- war. If the gauge goes to the then one of the characters of the winning team will do a special move against a player form the other team. This means that even if you are down and out in a battle you can still come back if you do enough attacks in a row. This also means that the round can last a very long time and can even be infinite if the sides are equally matched.

The aspect of the game that stands out the most is its difficulty level. It is very hard to control the characters and see everything that is going on especially since the computer controlled opponents see and know all. Just when you are about to perform a move, the enemy gets to you first and begins beating you severely. Still once you get the hang of it you will find that there is a nice level of strategy to the attacking. You can attack from close or far just like they do in the cartoon. You also have to use your stronger attacks at opportune times or else you will use up all of your energy and be too tired while your opponent romps on you. One of the major drawbacks is the lack of fighting options. There are a very limited number of ways each fighter can attack and most of the moves are exactly the same with each character.

If you are a big fan of the cartoon Dragon Ball Z then you probably will want one of the games so you can enact your own battles. I have to say that no other game comes closer to simulating the real battles than Legends. The graphics have the same look as the cartoon and the fighting is fast with multiple enemies and allies. None of the other DBZ games really have the feel of the actual show; they are just generic fighting games. Legends, however, puts you smack dab in the middle of all of the Japanamation action. EEAAAAAAAHH!!!

Chris Shade


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