Why is it that game developers feel the need to take good franchises and completely ruin them when porting them to the Game Boy Advance? There’ve been too many such failures to count, and if Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu is any indication, this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. While Atari did a passable job with its DBZ: Budokai series, Taiketsu should serve to warn potential licensors of what horrible things game developers can do with their properties.
Taiketsu is a button-mashing fighter of the worst kind. It tries very hard to be an accurate reflection of the coolness of the DBZ universe, but due to severe gameplay issues, it ends up an unenjoyable and unplayable mess. For fans of the DBZ milieu, you’ve got plenty of the popular fighters, each with a special attack and a basic package of standard attacks. That’s right, each fighter gets one measly special attack, and good luck figuring out how to launch it with the annoyingly unresponsive controls. So while it may seem like a lot of fun to be able to play Goku and his uber-buddies from the TV show, they all end up about even in powers and attacks.
Speaking of attacks, the combat system is a mess, as the controls are frequently unresponsive to button presses and even a picture-perfect attack combo can miss wildly thanks to the graphics engine slipping up. A character that’s right in front of you one second is across the screen in another, and that’s not some special power, it’s just a good old-fashioned game flaw.
The GBA may not be a graphical fire-breather, but Taiketsu’s graphics make it look like Webfoot didn’t even bother to try. Choppy motion combined with pixilated chunky character models merge with moderately interesting backgrounds to make the visual presentation look like something from the days of the Atari Lynx. Can anyone say “Pit Fighter?” Mix those visuals with the hollow and uninteresting audio, and you’ve got a presentation that’s a pure mess.
With a weak as water AI, you’d hope that including a link-mode option for multiplayer might help things out, especially in the replay department, but again, the combat system and poor presentation keep the game from being anything you’d play more than a few times. And while there are plenty of unlockable items such as character bios and music, they aren’t compelling enough to keep you playing past the first few rounds.
Even the most fanatical of Dragon Ball Z fans would find it hard to obtain any enjoyment from Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu. It’s bad on just about every level, and offers up nothing you couldn’t find in any other GBA fighter outside of the DBZ license. Skip this one.
- Gameplay: 4.5
- Graphics: 4.5
- Sound: 3.5
- Replay: 5
- Overall: 4
- A good license takes a horrible beating.
— Craig Falstaff