Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans

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Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans, released in Japan as Dragon Ball Kai サイヤ人 来襲 (ドラゴン ボール カイ サイヤ人 らいしゅう, Doragon Bōru Kai: Saiya-jin Raishū), is a role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. The game was developed by Monolith Soft and produced by Namco Bandai Games in North America and Bandai in Japan, Europe, and Australia. It was released in Japan on April 29, 2009 and in Australia, Europe, and North America in November 2009.

The game is a turn-based RPG that allows players to take on the role of six characters from the series, starting from the 23rd Tenkaichi Tournament through the Saiyan Saga. The game is one of the first in the Dragon Ball franchise to be published by Namco Bandai Games in America, as the company would later acquire the gaming license from previous license holder Atari in July of that same year.

The game was met with fair criticism with gaming critics complementing the battle system, its visuals, and its ability to stay true to the series. It would go on to be the third best selling video game in Japan.

Gameplay

Presented in traditional 2-D animation sprites, the game consists of three modes to help navigate, the map of the Dragon World, the area maps, and the battle mode. The world map will be available from the start, and will allow players easy access to each of the areas throughout the game. On area maps the player will navigate through various places such fields, forests, caves, and towns on the top screen. The touch screen will display available equipment that can be used while in fields. These items are available courtesy of Capsule Corporation Dyno-Caps which can be bought, given, or found in various spots and or treasure chests. Many of these areas have obstacles such as rocks and brush which the player will have overcome with Ki Blasts. Some of these obstacles, however, require stronger levels of Ki Blasts. The battle screen will take place at the screen with the party facing off with a monster or a boss, their stats and the command select icon presented via the touch screen. The game makes little to no use of the stylus, forcing players to rely on the control pad.

In combat, the player's active party members will consist of only first three members of their party or less. Players can swap available members at any time throughout the game. Each character will have a few set attacks and techniques at the player's disposal while the rest are locked. When the player wins a battle, each member of their party will earn Ability Points or AP. Ability Points can be used to buy or upgrade skills in in a character's skill menu. When certain skills are unlocked or upgraded new skills will become available. Each character will have a "Rage Gauge". This meter will gradually fill throughout the course of combat. When a character's gauge is full, they can perform an ultimate attack. If two or more characters gauges are full, the player can execute a Sparking Combo. By which the chose characters will perform a tag team attack. When an ultimate attack or a Sparking Combo is performed the gauge returns to zero. Players also have the ability to block enemy attacks with the Active Guard or A Guard. This allows a chosen character to only take minimal damage when their corresponding button is pressed at the moment before an attack.

Characters

Playable

Non-playable

Characters who appear in design only

A few characters have their designs reused as normal villains:

Development

The game was first announced in the December 22, 2008 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump with the title Dragon Ball Z Sutōrii: Saiya-jin Raishū (ドラゴン ボール ゼット ストーリー サイヤ人 来襲, Doragon Bōru Zetto: Sutōrii Saiya-jin Raishū). The article stated that the game would be an RPG in development by Monolith Soft that would take start at the 23rd Tenkaichi Tournament and extend into the Saiyan Saga, and it would be released sometime in 2009. Several screenshots were shown in the article, one of which depicted different looking graphics command icons. In the February issue of V Jump, it was announced that the title had been changed from Dragon Ball Z Sutōrii: Saiya-jin Raishū to Dragon Ball Kai: Saiya-jin Raishū to tie-in with the Dragon Ball Kai revision. On May 25, Namco Bandai's European branch released a press statement announcing that they would be releasing the game throughout Europe under the new name Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans. On June 2, Namco Bandai's US branch issued a press release stating that they would release the game as Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans throughout North America. The announcement also mentioned that the game would include numerous alternate storylines for a better understanding of the Dragon Ball universe, a three character party and combo attack system, that certain Ki attacks would be needed to solve puzzles or unlock secrets, and that their release date would be sometime in the Fall of 2009. Following that statement, the company issued another press release stating that they had acquired the North American license from the previous license holder, Atari, and would publish future Dragon Ball games for, at least, the next five years starting with Attack of the Saiyans, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast, and Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo. In November, Namco Bandai issued a press release stating that the game was available throughout all North American markets.

Reception

Attack of the Saiyans was released in Japan on April 29, 2009, In Australia on October 23, 2009 in Europe on November 6, 2009, and in North America on November 10, 2009. Following it's release, the game would go on to become the third best-selling video game in Japan during the month of May 2009, falling behind two other DS games Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Ace Attorney Investigations.

With its sales, the game managed to earn positive review from various gaming critics. It earned aggregated scores of 73 on Metacritic, 72.89% on Game Rankings, and 7.5 on GameStats. Charles Onyett of IGN found the gameplay enjoyably and enough to be appreciated by any genre fan. He stated that if players were not Dragon Ball fans, however, they would not want to play the game. Robert Thompson of Nintendojo felt that the game would satisfy fans of both the series and the genre, but he complained about the Ki and Sparking Combo attacks being repetitive and the story shifting control of the characters, stating it could make unfamiliar gamers disoriented. Ryan Olsen of Kombo praised the battle system, calling it more engaging than the ones found in the average RPG. He called the game a cut and dry RPG, however, saying that the Active Guard system was the only exotic aspect of the game. Neal Ronaghan of the Nintendo World Report called the game vanilla with interesting twists, stating that the fans should be the ones playing the game. He would also draw comparisons of the Active Guard system to the Timed Hit system from Super Mario RPG and Rage Gauge to the Limit Break from Final Fantasy. Brittany Vincent of RPGFan called the side quests, like Kuririn's return home, an added treat to the long story. She pointed out that the game's difficulty was frustrating, however, stating that the game would cause players to revert back to the start screen many times, yet was still beatable. Joe Law of GameFocus criticized the Rage Gauge system, stating that it had been done better in other games, however, he sighted the game's overall length a good thing as he felt the game had no replay value. "jkdmedia" of GameZone praised the game, calling it the best RPG to make use of the Dragon Ball label and that the game was the perfect introduction into the franchise. Mike Moehnke of RPGamer cited the game as not being perfect, but being superior to Dragon Ball Z: Sūpā Saiya Densetsu. Mike Baggley of Extreme Gamer found positives in the story, the graphics, and battle system. He enjoyed the switch to an RPG stating that he was glad that they moved the series to this genre. He pointed out that anybody under the age of twelve would find the game challenging. Kat Bailey of 1UP felt that the game was made with children in mind, stating that the vibrant colors and the fast-paced gameplay would keep kids interested in the game.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Ironically, while Dragon Ball Kai is a revision removing the whole filler of Dragon Ball Z, this game contains many side stories to the original history of the anime.
  • Bulma's Mother's hair is green instead of blonde in this game. This is due to the fact that she is used as a standard female Human.
  • Kuririn visits the Orin Temple in this game.
  • It is explained that Monster Carrot is somehow able to come back to Earth before the Moon is destroyed.
  • Broly can be fought as a secret boss. To fight him, the seven Dragon Balls which have been made by Mister Popo must be collected and the wish to fight the ultimate enemy must be made. Broly is the strongest enemy in the game.
  • The Two-Star Ball is split in half and Popo claims that Dragon Balls are fragile, however, Dragon Balls are meant to be unbreakable.
  • At the end of the game, despite any announcement of another game yet, images of Freeza and Planet Namek are shown hinting at a sequel.
  • In the cast credits, the characters have their original Japanese names: Tenshinhan instead of Tien Shinhan, Son Goku instead of Goku, and Son Gohan instead of Gohan.
  • There is a real world reference. After Metro East is ruined, a generic pedestrian in the ruins says it is not a Chinese paradise.
  • The Japanese voices remain intact throughout gameplay in the English dub of the game.

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