And things seemed to be going so well for Goku. Last year’s Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 for the PlayStation 2 seemed like it could be the herald of a new era for games bearing the Dragon Ball Z license. No longer would the license carry the weight for shoddy gameplay and slapdash presentation! In fact, the games would be good enough that you wouldn’t even have to like Dragon Ball Z to enjoy the games. But alas, Atari has quickly turned around and churned out Dragon Ball Z: Sagas, a short, ugly, slightly buggy, and brain-dead beat-’em-up that all but nullifies the good work of the Budokai games.
Hopefully, those same fans are ready for yet another rendition of the same Dragon Ball Z stories, starting with Raditz and ending with the Cell Games. These stories have been done to death, but this particular retelling is especially limp, relying on 30-second montages cut together from the DBZ cartoon to relay a whole season’s worth of story. The last episode of Dragon Ball Z was aired in Japan almost a decade ago, and even most American Dragon Ball fans have moved on to Dragon Ball GT. It’s time that Atari did the same.
The game couches the story in a series of arrow-straight beat-’em-up levels populated with enemies that even the game itself cannot avoid referring to as mindless. It’s really a blessing in disguise that their patterns are so predictable, since your own attacks are pretty limited. You start off with basic punch, kick, and energy attacks, though you can eventually earn more combos and abilities by picking up coins found throughout the game. But, even once you’ve purchased all of the additional abilities, the gameplay still just feels sloppy and unresponsive, with bad collision detection and animation that regularly forces you to wait several seconds while a futile piece of animation plays out before you can continue fighting. Even the energy wave attack, which is a Dragon Ball Z signature that brings a sense of incredible power to the fights, feels hollow here.
You’ll spend the lion’s share of your time fighting saibamen, faceless Ginyu thugs, low-rent androids, and other fairly generic enemies before squaring off against characters you might actually recognize, like Vegeta, members of the Ginyu Force, and the Androids. These boss fights are definitely more challenging than the bulk of the game. However, simplistic movement and attack patterns and overly large life bars turn these fights into lengthy, joyless grinds. It’s not a matter of if you’ll beat the boss, but rather how long you’ll have to suffer through the same basic tactics over and over again. Like any classic beat-’em-up worth its salt, Dragon Ball Z: Sagas includes a co-op mode for two players, which is a nice gesture, but one that is completely undercut by the fact that the game itself simply isn’t any fun. That the gameplay isn’t very engaging actually makes the fact that you can finish the game in just a few hours somewhat of a blessing in disguise.
- Type: Beat-’Em-Up
- Players: 1-2
- Release: 22/03/2005
- Hosting: Megaupload
- Format : ISO
- Files number: 3
- Parts Size: 1.1 GB
- Size after decompression: ?? GB
- Tested with: NTSC