Dragon Ball GT Transformation & Advanced Adventure (Game Boy Advance Review)


I’m going to do something I didn’t think
I’d ever do…go back to an earlier review, in this case Dragon Power and the Famicom
game that it derived from, Dragon Ball Shen Long No Nazo. This isn’t like Bucky O’Hare, where the
muddy garbage audio quality was the issue. For Dragon Power, with the exception of some
excess camera mic hiss, the quality is fine. My reason for wanting to enter Dragon Ball
territory again is due to dissatisfaction with a certain aspect of the original video,
but not one that is readily apparent from an outside perspective. Let me explain. I’ve actually gotten more hardcore into
Dragon Ball since I put out the first two videos. The majority of my dwindling DVD collection
is Dragon Ball related, the showcase of which being my most recent purchase…the legendary
Dragon Box sets. I’ve even started to read the Viz translations
of the manga, which maintains the traditional Japanese page and panel flow from right to
left. It’s very enriching and it makes me feel
like I’m getting the most authentic Dragon Ball experience. The truth is, though I’ve known about Dragon
Ball for many years, I only became a fan fairly recently. At the time I produced the original videos,
I had only watched the Funimation dubs of the series and that was the extent of my knowledge
base. Since then, I’ve gotten heavily into the
original Japanese version of the series and it didn’t take long after doing so to see
that Funimation and before them Ocean, changed a number of things when they Westernized Toriyama-san’s stories. As a result of this, both of my earlier videos reflect
the changes used in the Americanized version of the series, which do not always stick with the original
intentions of the source material, and that is the reason why you’re watching this right
now. While I still enjoy the Funimation dub, it’s
hard for me to watch it now that I’ve made the transition to the original version. That’s why I wanted to make another video
that reflects my new knowledge as a Dragon Ball fanatic and showcase the Japanese terms, so that means no more Kamayamaya wave or Flying Nimbus. My initial intention was to create what would
be considered the Kai version of the Dragon Power review, meaning I would edit out the
filler and I would replace the Funimation terms and pronunciations with Japanese faithful
ones…so…it would have been the same video with a twist. Here’s a taste of what that would have looked like. Help Umigame find his way back to Roshi the
White. Shows Nora acting like the bipolar, gun toting
Lunch. I think I’d go Oozaru on them. Not very interesting to watch is it? Ultimately, I decided to begin this new review
with an updated analysis of the game that started it off. These two titles were published by Bandai
and released in 1986 and 1987, respectively. The actual Dragon Ball game retained the names
and looks of characters from the manga and anime, while the latter really did a hatchet
job in importing it to the U.S. Kamesenin looks more like a wizard than the Turtle Hermit
master. Son Goku, while retaining the Orange Gi and
Saiyajin tail, looks less like the Planet Vegeta born child sent to Earth to destroy
humanity and more like a Cabbage Patch doll and looks like the lovechild of Alfred E.
Neuman & Moe from the Three Stooges.. And let’s not forget…Nora, Pudgy…ahem…Lancer. In replaying both of these games to get reacquainted
with them for this re-review, I was strongly reminded of two major flaws, one of which
I somehow praised in the first video. Call me a flip flopper, but I’m changing
my stance on…the music. “While it doesn’t capture the essence of Toriyama, the music is fast-paced & appropriate for a martial arts based action title.” I must have been under the influence when
I wrote the initial review, because the music is not good…at all. It IS far too repetitive and while it isn’t
as bad as the Fist of the North Star music, it still gets grating after a while. The 8 bit rendition of Makafushigi Adventure
on the title screen of Shen Long No Nazo is still amazing, but everything else is unfortunately
the same. Both Dragon Ball and Z had plenty of fantastic,
energy filled pieces by Shunsuke Kikuchi, couldn’t they have interpreted them in 8
bit form as well? If they had, it certainly would have helped
to compensate for the game’s biggest and most unforgiving flaw: the decreasing health
bar. Again, I get it…Son Goku’s greatest adversary
is and will always be his stomach and I appreciate the inclusion of this weakness in the game,
but I also hate it with a passion. I know it most likely wouldn’t be a fun
or fulfilling experience, but I want to make progress. I want to get to the end. I’ve read that the later part of the game
involves the Tenkaichi Budokai and boss fights with Kuririn & Gyumao and I want to
see that, but that damn health bar and lack of Hoi Poi capsules completely ruin any chance
that will ever happen. To finally close the book on Dragon Power
aka Shen Long No Nazo, the game, as much as I want to like it, just…isn’t…good. I could excuse Dragon Power, as it’s
a chopped up re-interpretation with very little to do with the manga, but I hold Shen Long
No Nazo up to a higher standard and it sorely disappoints on all levels. Fear not, there are good games based
on Dragon Ball franchises, and I’m going to cover two…well, one great game and one
pretty good one. Mystery game no. 1… Dragon Ball GT Transformation for the
Game Boy Advance, is based on the non-canon anime only series. I see so much hate towards GT online and I
just don’t get it. Yeah, the show isn’t great, Toriyama had
minimal involvement with it, and they pretty much de-powered Son Goku, but I like it. I like that it goes back to the less serious
tone with an emphasis on adventure like the original series, while still retaining plenty
of action packed fights. I’ll grant you that it is my least favorite
of the Anime, but it’s still an enjoyable watch. Wait…Single Player & Story Mode…shouldn’t
they be one and the same? The answer is they pretty much are, as both
modes share the same levels. The difference is that Single Player mode
has none of the cut scenes and gives the option of playing with an expanded roster of characters. GT the series details the adventures of Goku,
Trunks, & Pan across the galaxy in search of the Black Star Dragon Balls and Transformation
stays accurate to the events of most of the sagas. In the Story Mode, you can cycle through the
trio with the Select Button on the handheld & X or Y when playing on the Game Boy Player. Unfortunately, you can’t switch on the fly
and if the action gets too intense, a character low on health is most likely going to die. This is only temporary though, as picking
up green pear looking things, which I believe are supposed to be Senzu, resurrects any fallen
comrades, just like the show. Speaking of action, this game is steeped firmly
in the Streets Of Rage/Final Fight beat em up style, so I give it points for that. The control scheme is very standard: A jumps
and B attacks. A dashing attack can be performed by pressing
a direction twice and B and special moves are accomplished by pressing A and B simultaneously. Where this game differs from typical brawlers
is in the implementation of Ki blasts. Pressing R in quick succession shoots out
a volley of energy blasts, but holding R and then pressing B at the apex of the charge
produces a more powerful Ki blast. Overusing these attacks will deplete the green
energy meter, but holding the L button will produce a yellow Saiyajin aura around the
character, in the process filling up the bar. When you think of Ki, attacks like the Makankosappo,
Kienzan, and of course the Kamehameha come to mind, but for this game…throw all of
that out the window. The charged Ki blast is the only typical Dragon
Ball move included. Oh, and forget about going Super Saiyajin. The fight against Baby at the end of the game
as SSJ4 Goku is the only Super Saiyajin level playable during the course of Story Mode. At the least they could have included a bar, like
the Power Rangers movie games, where you can power up when the gauge is filled, but I guess
they decided to just omit the most trademark element of the series. Disappointed! Enough about the negative though, let’s
focus on the positive. As mentioned before, you can play as all three
main characters, all depicted excellently from the series…for the most part, and Gill
even makes an appearance, mirroring Pan’s every move. The Funimation cast is featured, including
Sean Schemmel, Stephanie Nadolny, Eric Vale, and the man himself, Christopher Sabat, and
the quality is surprisingly good. While I prefer the Japanese cast, this is
a nice addition that helps reduce monotony. It would have been nice to have these voices
present during the cut scenes, but I guess the fact that they’re included at all should
be applauded. One thing I don’t like about those cut scenes
are the way the characters are depicted. While the art style is ripped directly from
the anime, they only use one drawing per character. This means that whether they’re
celebrating the gathering of the Dragon Balls or are in the clutches of the evil Dr. Myuu,
they always look pissed. When even light hearted Son Goku looks like
he hates the world, you know you have a problem. This game really does stick very well to the
events of the anime, moving from Imeca to Luud and all of the other important settings,
but condenses it down, removing some of the filler material, fortunately including the
Para Para brothers, perhaps one of the biggest WTF moments in all of Dragon Ball. As mentioned before, the conclusion takes
place on the new Planet Plant and the fight with Baby. This isn’t the end of the anime though,
which included the Super 17 and Shadow Dragons Sagas, so the ending is a cliffhanger. A sequel to Transformation was planned, to
be released in 2006, but being that the game nor the series it was based on did very well
in America, the title was axed. Dragon Ball GT Transformation is a pretty
good brawler. If it had been released on the Playstation
2 or Game Cube I might not have been as forgiving of its flaws, but for a handheld beat em up,
it’s not bad. The game gets a passing grade from me, but
just barely, so I can’t really recommend picking this one up. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s pretty good,
but far from great. Speaking of great, it’s time for mystery
game no. 2… Dragon Ball Advanced Adventure, also for
the Game Boy advance. This was recommended to me by 123girrr, one
of my subscribers, who said it would make up for the mediocre Famicom game I previously
covered. He wasn’t kidding. Advanced Adventure is a brawler just like
Transformation, but it’s SO much better in every way. Credit for this improvement most likely belongs
with Dimps, the developer of this title. Dimps is well known for their work on the Playstation
2 Budokai games, which are well known and mostly unanimously loved by fighting and Dragon
Ball fans. Advanced Adventure follows Son Goku from his
meeting with Bulma that sets him out on his quest to his interactions with Emperor Pilaf,
The Red Ribbon Army, & beyond. This is truly a game worthy of the Dragon
Ball name. Son Goku looks awesome and his main method
of attacks, besides his fists and feet, is the trusted Nyoibo and it works fantastically. It can deflect gun fire and other projectiles
and it can be powered up to increase the attack range. Goku can extend the Nyoibo at marked spots
to reach higher elevations and a super Nyoibo attack is performed with the L button, but
this drains from the meter that controls the power of the Kamehameha. That’s right, this game, unlike Transformation,
has the Kamehameha, but like the Nyoibo, it too needs to be powered up. I guess this is to show that Goku has not yet mastered the technique, but for some reason the attack is initially red, not the traditional
blue hue, present only when the beam is fully powered up. I’ve never seen a red Kamehameha before. Not even the Kaioken Kamehameha during the
Saiyan Saga was red. You might think that I’m nitpicking, but let
me tell you, I haven’t even begun to pick nits. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this game and
it may be the best game based on the original series, but there are a number
of flaws. Would you believe that Transformation actually
does a better job of sticking to the source than Advanced Adventure? It’s true. The overall story arc is depicted faithfully,
but there are a lot of little details that are changed or left out that really annoy
me. I certainly understand why they didn’t include
Muten Roshi asking for a peek at Bulma’s panties and I can even let go of the fact
that they have Kamesenin TEACH Son Goku the Kamehameha seeing as it’s in the context
of showing the player how to perform it in game, but Goku BEATING Jackie Chun and Tenshinhan
in the 21st and 22nd Tenkaichi Budokais?! What kind of revisionist history is this?! Goku never fought Chaotzu! How come Goku still has his tail after the
encounter with Grandpa Gohan? Not to mention all of the typos and less than
faithful, yet funny dialogue lines in the cut scenes. Regardless of these inaccuracies…I LOVE this
game. How could you hate a game that has several
stages where Goku rides the iconic Kinto’un. THE KINTO’UN! And in spite of my issues with the outcome
of the fights at the Tenkaichi Budokais, the matches are depicted extraordinarily well,
with charging, blocking, and pummeling foes into the sky. While fine details of the story may be incorrect, the grand scope of the tale is depicted in a respectable manner. From Gyumao to Murasaki to Tao Pai Pai, all
are present and accounted for. Hard as it may be to believe, Yamucha is the
hardest boss in the game. No contest. It’s funny that Yamucha is depicted as tougher
in the games than he actually is in the manga and anime. Story aside, let’s get to what matters most:
gameplay and control, and both are top notch in Advanced Adventure. Goku here has great control over the Kamehameha
as he does in the series, meaning Ki for the blast can be gathered while moving around
or even attacking. Goku can get out of sticky situations with
ease by agilely jumping from danger’s path or bouncing off walls to ascend out of reach
platforms. There are some very difficult parts, and Muscle
Tower in particular is an endurance test, but with the right power ups and determination,
Advanced Adventure can be beaten in a few hours. Like Transformation, Advanced Adventured doesn’t
end where the anime does, but concludes with the fight against Piccolo Daimao, not the
23rd Tenkaichi Budokai. Even when the story mode is finished, there
are still more options to explore. There’s the One-On-One mode, with the option
of playing as Goku, Kuririn, Tenshinhan, Grandpa Gohan, Tao Pai Pai, and Jackie Chun in the
Tenkaichi Budokai play style, but the coolest extra feature is the option to replay the
Story Mode, minus the cut scenes, as Kuririn! Kuririn even gains access to a black Kinto’un,
since he can’t fly the original one. Kuririn is pretty bad ass. He’s even tougher than Goku at the end of
the Story Mode. He can jump higher, his punches and kicks
deal more damage, and he has the fully charged up Kamehameha from the start. Mondo cool indeed! Looking past all of my fan boy whining, Dragon
Ball Advanced Adventure is one of the best Dragon Ball based games I’ve ever played. The action is fast and furious, the story
is mostly well detailed, the voice samples from the Funimation cast is superb, and I
give Atari props for keeping Goku punching through Piccolo Daimao in the ending uncensored. Whether soaring through the sky on the Kinto’un
or beating bosses with the Nyoibo, this game lived up to my high expectations and far surpassed
them. I can’t recommend this enough. If you are looking for the ultimate Dragon Ball experience in a video game, this is it. In short, Advanced Adventure is awesome, Dragon
Ball in Japanese is amazing, now it’s time to cue the Kuririn owned montage! Oh, Kuririn…he may have been no more than
a glorified punching bag through most of Z, but at least he got 18 in the end. Oh, and he kicks ass in this game. Go Kuririn!

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