Guest Author - James Shea
“Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury” for the Game Boy Advance is the third game in the “Legacy of Goku” series. The game tells the events of the last third of the Dragon Ball Z series.
For those who don’t know about either Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z, a brief history. First off, we have Goku, who was sent from his home planet when his father had a vision that it was going to be destroyed. Yes, it does sound a lot like Superman, doesn’t it? Goku is a Saiyan, a race of intergalactic super-warriors, and so he was at first rather belligerent. He received an amnesia-causing bump on the head, however, and so became the nicest person you could imagine. After his adopted father, the elderly martial artist Son Gohan, was squished by a side effect of Goku’s Saiyan Heritage (looking at the full moon makes them into giant apes, for some reason), he lived by himself.
Goku had many adventures, searching for the Dragon Balls (ancient artifacts capable of granting a single wish), fighting the evil Red Ribbon Army, and fighting in several world tournaments. He met many friends, including the daughter of a rich inventor, a bandit-turned-martial-artist, a shape shifting pig, and an old hermit master. Eventually Goku beat the powerful Demon King in a world tournament, and the world seemed at peace. That’s where Dragon Ball ended.
In the Legacy of Goku 1, Goku fought the remaining Saiyans (Raditz, Nappa, and Vegeta). He died while fighting Raditz (though Raditz died, too), and trained under King Kai, the heavenly ruler of his part of the universe. Using his training he killed Nappa and seriously injured Vegeta, who escaped in his ship. However, the Dragon Balls had been rendered useless due to the fact that their creator had been killed by the Saiyans. Goku, his training partner Krillin, Goku’s son Gohan, and the aforementioned inventor’s daughter, Bulma, all went to the creator’s home planet, Namek, to search for another set of Dragon Balls. However, Vegeta’s boss, Frieza, also wanted the Dragon Balls so he could wish for ultimate power. Goku defeated Frieza by becoming a Super Saiyan, a mighty warrior who was rumored to appear only once every 1000 years.
In the Legacy of Goku 2, Goku, Gohan, and the rest of the good guys fought against evil super-strong androids, with the help of Vegeta, who was (temporarily) on the side of good, and Trunks, Vegeta’s son from an alternate future where the androids had taken over. During this time both Vegeta and Gohan became Super Saiyans, thus taking away the “a Super Saiyan comes only once every 1000 years” thing they had going. Gohan eventually defeated Cell, the strongest android, who even Goku died fighting. That’s about where “Buu’s Fury” begins. This game covers the last 1/3rd of the series, the main threat this time around being Majin Buu, an evil creature bent on destruction of the universe (surprise!).
If you by chance have played “The Legacy of Goku” or its sequel, then the gameplay will be rather familiar to you. There are five characters (Goku, his son Gohan, his other son Goten, his rival Vegeta, and Vegeta’s son Trunks), and each character can use melee attacks or character-specific energy attacks. Defeating enemies gets experience for your characters, but unlike the automatic level-ups of the previous two games, now the player can put points into physical strength, energy power, or endurance. Along with stats, the characters’ energy attacks also level up. The power and range of the attack all increase when an attack levels up, and the attack’s graphics change too. These things add a bit more customization to the game. Each character can now equip themselves with items. These range from weighted clothing, which slow you down but give you more experience, to armor, to crystal pendants. The enemies have changed somewhat, too. There are more types, for one thing. Also, on the formerly safe world map, bandits ride in submarines and airships. Several characters and plot-lines from the Dragon Ball Z movies make appearances, including the Legendary Super Saiyan Broly, and the evil Janemba.
My biggest problem with the enemies in this game is that the basic enemies are too tough while the bosses are too weak. The problem with that is that basic enemies tend to be normal humans, using guns or fists. One would assume that a person that can punch holes through mountains and survive city-destroying blasts would be a bit more resistant to an average mercenary’s punch. The selection of characters is sort of lacking, too. In the last game, there was a variety in the characters, with the alien Piccolo and the sword-wielding Trunks (who was from an alternate future). Goku, Gohan, and Goten are all basically the same. They all use a Kamehameha (the trademark beam of Goku’s style) or some version of it (Gohan has an electric version, and Goten mispronounces it as “Kamekameha”, though it has the same effect).
The only two innovations to the game, attack-wise, are Goku’s Instant Transmission (a teleportation technique), which can be used to quickly attack enemies, open chests, or flip switches, and the Fusion technique, in which two warriors fuse together. Goku and Vegeta fuse twice (with two different methods that create two different warriors, Gogeta and Veggito), and Goten and Trunks fuse to form Gotenks. The fusion forms have different attacks than the normal forms, though the only form that can be used more than once is Gotenks.
The graphics in this game are pretty good, but sort of “cute” rather than tough. There’s nothing exceptional…at all. Even though Dragon Ball Z has all sorts of super powered explosions and such, this game has the bare minimum of special effects. They are mostly of the “there’s a generic explosion and the enemy is GONE!” kind of thing, rather than blasts that leave giant holes in the landscape. The character portrait art is pretty good, though.
The sound is awful. The music is tinny and annoying, and the sound effects are boring. There’s no character voices, which it has been proven the GBA can do. It is definitely a game that is good to play with the volume off.
Overall, this is the kind of game you have to be a real DBZ fan to enjoy. Even with the amount of background story I gave, there are still things that will confuse the average person. Considering it’s the third game in the series, and since even the first game didn’t explain that much, I’d stay away from this if you’re casually looking for a game.