8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury Review


Stop the madness! Is this one of the rare DBZ games that I didn’t own before now? Yes, I finally took the plunge and got the game at long last. It’s a very solid sequel to the last one and the gameplay continues to be quite excellent. Leveling up never feels like a grind here and the game seamlessly throws some of the movies into the plot. It’s all handled very well and while the game is not particularly long, it makes for an enjoyable experience.

The game’s plot adapts the Buu arc from DBZ as you’ve probably guessed. If you’ve never watched DBZ before, it involves the world’s strongest heroes coming together to defeat an evil genie. They’ll need team work and a lot of heart in order to win this round. The text boxes do a good job of adapting the whole arc and keeping in enough details to ensure that you still know what is going on the whole time. It’s a good way of blasting through the arc while still knowing enough to bluff your way through a quiz.

The gameplay is the same as the two predecessors. It uses an overhead view as you can punch or shoot energy blasts. If you can block, then I’m not sure how as I never bothered. Punching is the way to go here and with each level up you can power up a stat. Go for Strength and ignore everything else. The rest are borderline useless by the end while strength will allow you to one shot all minions. This allows for easy level ups and then you can build up your defense. You can also turn Super Saiyan which gives you extra energy and increases your speed. I didn’t notice it actually amping up the strength of my attacks, but it must have had some kind of effect. The gameplay is easy to pick up and you’ll likely have it mastered in no time.

One thing that I’ve always really liked about this series is how easy it is to level up. You can gain 50 levels in a quick 30 minute run and even faster if you’re in the right place. At times, you’ll get a whole level up for each individual minion that you defeat. Considering that they go down like flies, this results in a huge rank up to your characters. It’s quite impressive to be honest and is the single best RPG at the leveling system. It puts titles like FF VII to shame where you’ll have to fight for a very long time to make any kind of head way. I’m still rather sore at that game for making the climax so much work. It’s not so much the difficulty but the fact that if you save in the wrong place…you’re doomed. It’s just going to be game over for you from then on. More on that in another review though.

The game holds up really well when it comes to the graphics and the soundtrack. The sprites are all pretty fun and the images that the game uses for the text are unintentionally funny as well. The characters are constantly yelling and panicking throughout which doesn’t always fit the lines, but that’s part of what makes it enjoyable. As for the soundtrack, there are a number of good themes here. One of them is a remix of a rock theme from the anime, but sadly it cut out all of the rock elements which was a little disappointing. DBZ 2 is still the best when it comes to the soundtrack because of the great Cell theme, but the music here will still get you into a nice groove.

There isn’t a whole lot for replay value after you beat the game. You can max everyone out and grab a bunch of items, but that won’t buy you all that much time. The fact that there is any post game content is still a plus though. The actual game’s story is roughly 6 hours so maybe you could take it to 10 or so by the time you’re done with everything. You’ll likely be buying this game for a very low price so the time is not bad. Especially when you consider how good the game is. Quality over quantity and all that right?

One thing I’d highly recommend is stocking up on food while you can. Save your money for most of the game and then just buy as many Onigiri’s as you can for the final part of the game. I’d also recommend leveling up Vegeta a little since you’ll need him at the end and otherwise it’ll be a little tough to beat Buu. Ideally you want to be at around level 130 or so because then you can finish him quickly. Never use any money to buy equipment since the enemies will all drop a lot of it towards the end of the game. Also, put on the heavy boots and gear to get level ups faster. It makes quite the difference and considering that the game was already easy to level up in…this almost feels criminal.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury is a solid way to end the DBZ adaptions for the GBA. It was a really good trilogy and a very underrated one for DBZ. Granted, I’ll still take Budokai and Tenkaichi any day, but this was a great way to play on the portable. The series did everything that it could with the RPG format and I can’t imagine another title taking it out. Maybe if they ever made a big budget DBZ RPG with anime cutscenes and an awesome plot I suppose. For the GBA though, they maxed it out. I highly recommend checking this game out and seeing what you think of it. Now I just need to get the GT GBA game and I’ll have completed that saga of Dragon Ball adaptions. The gameplay shift is a little unfortunate, but I like beat em ups as well so it should be fun. Until then!

Overall 8/10

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Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan Review


Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan has been my favorite DBZ film for a while now. I could never get past the fact that Broly is such a great villain and I loved the fight scenes. The soundtrack doesn’t hold up very well, but that won’t be an issue depending on what version you watch. This is still the best film to watch from a battle perspective and it can hold its own against any other film.

Our heroes are enjoying a nice day at the park when a spaceship arrives. It is filled with aliens who work for a Saiyan. He wants Vegeta to rule them on a new planet Vegeta. The Saiyan Prince is not interested until the Legendary Super Saiyan is mentioned. Vegeta can’t let this opportunity go by and he rushes off. Krillin and friends manage to tag along as well. Goku is sent by King Kai to take out the mysterious Saiyan as well and everything converges once Broly reveals himself. It is safe to say that the film never looks back from that point. This is the kind of film where the positives heavily outweigh the negatives so I will talk about some of those first.

This DBZ film probably had the best animation for a big DBZ film until Battle of Gods. The latter is much newer of course so everyone is a little more stream lined, but they still look very good. That being said, I think the animation in this film is able to capture the fights a little better. You really feel all of the blows and there is more destruction to he seen as the Z fighters battle Broly. So, I prefer the animation style in the Broly film, but Battle of Gods certainly keeps up with it. The only other film to reach this high level would be the Bojack film. The DBZ show already had pretty good animation, but you can instantly tell that this film has reached theatrical level.

It is a given that the fight scenes are amazing so I don’t really need to go into detail here. It is good to see Goku show off his hand ti hand skills even if they are ineffective. This film also had the iconic scene where Goku uses the Kamehameha, but it has no effect on Broly. That was definitely a scary moment for us all! The battles also take place in a city for the most part, which is pretty awesome. This is extremely rare for DBZ or just about any show for that matter. Cities will always make for the best backdrop in a fight and I wasn’t disappointed here. Getting thrown through a building will always send a chill down my spine. (I’m sure I would endure such a hit though…)

This is before Broly became a mindless monster in the sequels so he is actually pretty cunning in how he attacks the heroes. He catches Goku off guard by attacking from behind a building and he is constantly surprising the heroes when he appears from out of the blue. Considering that he can’t teleport and that the heroes can sense ki, it is a great speed feat. He is pretty deranged and the reason for his behavior is odd, but that may make it more realistic since a nut’s true nature can be ignited by any small spark. Broly is really everything that you could want in a villain and he really acts as a symbol for your average Shonen opponent. Through thick and thin it will always be fun to face off against such a strong looking opponent.

Goku looks very good as you probably suspected. He is easily the best character in the film and he certainly fights to the end. His unwavering determination and incredible strength have helped him become a top tier fighter so it makes sense that he puts up the best fight against Broly. Goku also doesn’t hold back for very long in this film, which shows how much he respects Broly’s power. You won’t be able to stop rooting for Goku here and he is basically the perfect main character. The film did a good job of keeping his character intact.

Unfortunately, most pf the other Z fighters do not look very good. Gohan feels a little underpowered as he doesn’t put much of an effort into the fight. Goku quickly makes him retreat and you can definitely agree with his decision. Gohan is still noble and it was good to see him helping the oppressed, but he should have looked like more of a fighter. Piccolo’s role is brief, but it is a good one. Once again, he gets to help Gohan out in a pinch and he revives all of the heroes for round 2. Zenkai Boost time! He is outmatched by Broly, but everyone was so it isn’t really a bad moment for Piccolo fans. His role in the films is definitely similar to Tuxedo Mask’s, but in a good way. Trunks is a fighter who is really a non factor here. He should be (remotely) close to Goku in power so you would expect more from him. He Is from the future after all. He mostly just get knocked around by Vegeta and the enemies the whole film. It’s great that he tagged along, but he should have lasted a little longer in the fight.

Unfortunately, the film’s greatest negative may have been its portrayal of Vegeta. They forgot that he is the Prince of all Saiyans and his bravery is matched only by his power. He is uncharacteristically afraid of Broly to the point where he refuses to fight the Saiyan and cannot move. He doesn’t even react as he is being mocked by Paragus and Piccolo just drops him 100+ feet into the ground without Vegeta even struggling. He finally does join the fray and only lasts for about a minute. The writers wanted to show that he is clearly inferior to Goku and that’s just not acceptable. At this point, they were roughly equal in strength and Vegeta would never back down from a fight. You have to watch the film to see just how bad it is, but the whole thing is preeeeetty bad. He also spends most of the first half of the film getting tricked by the villains. (And he doesn’t notice Broly’s attack on Goku during the night even with his perfect ki sensing abilities.

One sideplot that I thought was totally unnecessary was the part where we find out that the Saiyans had enslaved the locals and were forcing them to build the fake cities. I suppose that it adds some drama, but it would have been nice to have seen the Z Fighters stop the men before the whipping began. At their level of super speed it should have been an easy feat for them. Letting innocents get hit in the crossfire is not fun to see and the film could have done just as well without it.

Time to talk Power Levels. Judging from Broly’s power in this film, I’d place him at Super Perfect Cell at the very least, so he’s around SSJ2 level. Even Perfect Cell had a decently tough time with SSJ Goku and the latter couldn’t deal any damage to Broly whatsoever. The combined might of Piccolo and the other Saiyans couldn’t deal any damage either. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a villain overwhelm the heroes so badly apart from this film and it was pretty exciting. I still wouldn’t say that he could beat SSJ2 Gohan, but his LSSJ form is very impressive and it’s basically a variation of the Super Saiyan 2 transformation. His regular SSJ form isn’t impressive though as Goku was easily humiliating him in his base form. That’s a pretty big jump in power eh?

I was also glad to see Broly casually break a planet with a little energy blast. That’s the kind of power that I believe DBZ characters to possess even if they don’t show it. That being said, the planet that the heroes were fighting on should have been destroyed when Broly’s energy started to consume him. Just powering up and dropping those energy bombs should have scattered the planet in a million pieces. It’s cool to see things get blown up everywhere, but the planet should have gone with it. Naturally, this didn’t happen due to plot reasons, but it’s scenes like this that encourage Superman fans in their never ending debate against Goku. For the record, I’ve always thought that Frieza could solo the Comic Universes, but you can probably google my debates on that. Ignoring that part, I thought that the film did a pretty good job with the power levels. It was fun to watch and I wasn’t wincing too much. If I had to mention one thing that they could have changed…it would have been for Goku to have actually gotten some good damage in on Broly.

We can’t forget about the ending! I barely even count it and I luckily ended up purchasing a version of the film that cuts out the final punch. It’s gotta be intentional since it’s just way too convenient to end there. The final punch makes no sense since a weakened Vegeta adding a little strength to Goku should have just resulted in another broken fist. Goku was way too weakened to take Broly down and the ending probably ranks in the top 3 most inaccurate endings of all time. It’s seriously that bad and it’s a classic example of how you should not end a film. The writers just dug themselves in too deep by making Broly so strong.

The soundtrack is something that I’m pretty mixed on. I love the beat and rhythm of the tunes so don’t get me wrong on that front. They’re easily Attack on Titan level and it makes the whole film feel very theatrical and epic. An example of this is the opening where Trunks heads inside the ship after Vegeta. This would be an ordinary moment without the soundtrack, but it’s more like a heartfelt goodbye from Trunks and the heroes know that they may never see him again. The music really conveys a whole lot of emotion with it and it’ll make you start tearing up a little. The downside is that the lyrics aren’t always great and it almost sounds like they’re rapping at one point. So, I Love the themes and they’re awesome, but the lyrics wreck it. Try to find an instrumental version of the songs and you’ll see what I mean. So, for better or worse, it makes the film feel a lot bigger in scope, but it’s probably not a worthy tradeoff.

Krillin and Master Roshi’s sideplot is pretty awful though and it has no purpose in this film. The writers probably just wanted to add in Roshi somehow and this was the only way that they could think of. It beats Roshi’s plot in other DBZ films, but it’s still pretty bad and I wish that it hadn’t been there. It wrecks the tension and epicness that the scenes had.

Overall, Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan makes for a great film. It is easily one of the all time best in cinema and the action scenes are intense! Vegeta’s portrayal was very poor though and it is certainly a downer in this excellent movie. The slave subplot was also rather unnecessary and it just makes Vegeta look even worse. The soundtrack has a cinematic feel to it, but some of the songs are not very good. Again, this may not be a problem depending on which version you watch. There are some intense moments during the fight, like Broly hitting Goku so hard that glass breaks for a few miles, but nothing very violent. The worst moment is probably a baby getting stabbed in a flashback, which was admittedly pretty brutal, but it’s over very quickly and then you can just enjoy the popcorn fun. The previous scene that I mentioned isn’t as bad as it sounds since it’s in silhouette form for the most part, but you can have a hand on the remote while keeping your eyes peeled if you wish. I highly recommend this film and it definitely captures the essence of DBZ! You won’t be disappointed and maybe Broly will become your favorite DBZ villain as well.

Overall 9/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z Cooler’s Revenge Review


It’s been a while since I went back to watch one of the old DBZ films. What better time than Christmas season right? This has always been one of my favorite DBZ films and it’s certainly the best one that didn’t feature Vegeta. It’s pretty short, but it makes for a pretty great film to check out.

The plot takes place after the battle against Frieza. Goku and friends decide to go on a camping trip to have some fun. It’s a chance to get away from it all and relax. After all, they may not get a chance with the Androids coming along to fight soon right? Things are going smoothly until Cooler and his minions arrive. The Z fighters are going to have to fight extra hard if they want to win this round!

This film is under 50 minutes so things have to happen very quickly. Cooler and his minions attack within the first 15 minutes and the fights really start heating up once Cooler joins the fray to fight Goku. Let’s face it…we’re all here to watch these two titans face off. It’s like watching a Justice League film. It’s great to see the other fighters get involved, but you can’t beat a scene with Superman fighting the powerhouse of the month. Titanic clashes like those are not easily forgotten.

The fight does not disappoint as Goku and Cooler wreck the area pretty badly during their fight. Cooler ends up punching Goku so hard that the water all leaves the ocean for a few minutes. That’s certainly impressive and it’s the type of physical feat that reminds me why DBZ is a cut above the comic franchises. They also get to display their speed during this endeavor and then we are treated to a classic beam fight at the end. The fight really had everything that we could have wanted from DBZ as it even included the “This isn’t even my final form” routine.

The animation is pretty solid since Toei always knew what they were doing with DBZ. It naturally won’t look as polished as some of the latter films, (The first Broly film is the only one that was at a total theatrical level compared to the rest) but the animation is certainly above average. You can really feel the blows and the energy attacks look great. I still miss this classic animation from the 90’s. It was solid in just about every aspect of the word.

The soundtrack isn’t so great, but it’s tough to count it as a negative for the film per say since it changes depending on where you saw it. I recently saw it in the DVD (Movie Pack) version and the music is mostly uninspired. We don’t get the techno/rock themes that you’ve probably heard on Youtube and it just can’t keep up with the fights. They’re the kind of themes that make you think you were watching a silent film afterwards. They aren’t bad, but they just aren’t memorable. Of course, it could be that I’ve just heard them so many times while watching DBZ that they fail to register sometimes. Upon closer inspection, they do work sometimes…just not for the fights.

Cooler makes for a pretty great villain. He’s definitely likable and it’s hard to say whether he is…cooler than Frieza or not. They’re both pretty similar in various aspects although Cooler definitely has the better design thanks to his final form. Cooler’s ambitions are clear and he does want to beat Goku in a fair fight instead of just destroying the planet from space. His power is considerable and he wants to bring honor back to his family’s name. As far as the film villains go, he could be second or third. (Broly is naturally number 1)

Cooler’s minions are not very memorable. They strike a lot of poses like the Ginyu Squad, but they simply aren’t very charismatic. They’re seriously outmatched against Goku and even Piccolo can easily subdue them. I do like the concept of a Ki sword, but that’s definitely not enough to turn them into serious threats.

Piccolo is the only ally of Goku who makes himself useful here. Gohan unfortunately tends to get in the way and Krillin doesn’t even try to fight back. Piccolo definitely earns his keep though as he takes out several of the villains. This clears the way for Goku to deal with Cooler. Piccolo definitely looked good here and his fans would be proud.

Goku also looks even better than usual here. This was back during the Arc 1 days so he’s still a super nice guy who cares about the animals. I don’t think we ever see him get worried about the animals safety after this, but I suppose that it simply isn’t brought up. The movie did a swell job of punching the average film in the face by having an anti animal violence scene. That’s just one of the many things that makes this film a pretty big cut above the rest. You don’t really see that kind of thing typically. A bird gets injured and Goku quickly heals him before going off to fight against Cooler. Now that’s what a call a hero! He even gives Cooler a chance to back off before things got serious.

The one thing that is a bit of a stretch is the fact that everyone mistook Cooler for Frieza. They seriously do not look that similar at all. I can understand Goku mistaking him to an extent….or I can at least conceive the idea. I do not believe that Piccolo would ever make that mistake though. I guess they really wanted to cement how similar the two villains were, but that was just too hard to swallow.

Overall, Cooler’s Revenge is still one of the elite DBZ films. It’s only real negative is in how short it is, but that means that the film is mostly just one large action scene. We actually don’t have any annoying Roshi scenes to bog the film down either. This is basically a perfect film and it’s a model for how films should strive to be today. Goku’s Super Saiyan form never ceases to impress me and he looks virtually unstoppable while he is in it. After seeing his strength and speed I don’t see how anyone could say that Superman can defeat him. It’s hard not to bring that topic up whenever I talk about Goku. Either way, I definitely recommend checking this film out since it’s so great. It’s an easy 9 star film and it’s not even the best DBZ film! Stay tuned because I’ll be reviewing another DBZ title in the near future.

Overall 9/10