"Why? Why for the love of all that is righteous in this world can’t there be a decent Dragonball Z game, or portable fighting game for that matter? That is probably what I continued to say to myself time and again, after I disgustedly played through one terrible title after another. The only reasonably decent Dragonball Z title that had come out would have to be the Budokai series, but even those were sub-par. For those that are out of the loop, Dragonball Z is a very popular anime series, based ..."
Why? Why for the love of all that is righteous in this world can’t there be a decent Dragonball Z game, or portable fighting game for that matter? That is probably what I continued to say to myself time and again, after I disgustedly played through one terrible title after another. The only reasonably decent Dragonball Z title that had come out would have to be the Budokai series, but even those were sub-par. For those that are out of the loop, Dragonball Z is a very popular anime series, based on fighting to save the planet. Anxiously I waited for a game that could encompass all that is Dragonball Z, be great, and be a game that even newcomers of the show could get into. My hopes finally came in the form of a gem called Supersonic Warriors.
Now I am a big fan of particularly simple, combo based fighters. Games like Super Smash Brothers Melee and Street Fighter II: Turbo were always favorites of mine because of their simple premise and hidden depth. While I am playing a fighting game I want to be able to utilize combo’s simply, so I do not have to break the controller to do a freaking uppercut or jump, for that matter. Since we are talking about a Game Boy Advance game, we would not have to worry about that now would we? It plays down like this; you are given around fifteen (give or take) characters from the show and 4 playable modes. These modes being the excellent story mode, quick Z battle mode, challenge mode, and of course, the basic training mode. Fans of the show will dig the Story mode for its interesting twist on certain characters that you would never had thought would happen. Frieza being actually able to take on Cell in a one on one match? Krillin actually surviving in every single saga that he is in? I do not want to point out too much, but there is a lot here for a fan to take in.
Z Battle is where most of the generic fighting matches will be taking place. You can play one on one or team battle against a computer opponent or friend. In one or one, basically pick one character and power level of your choice, simple eh? Team battle is a bit more interesting because you can choose up to three characters, but that all depends on the power levels you chose. Each character has three power levels, and with each new stage the character will get new moves, better damage execution, and a possible costume change. The last mode is challenge mode, which pits you up against three opponents in a team match and overcoming them will let you advance to the next challenge. Each challenge match yields a lot of points which you will need to buy more story modes and power levels. I probably make it sound complicated to some of you, but it really is not. Just remember if you buy a level three power level for one character and a level one, you will only be able to use the level one selection. You have to make sure you unlock the previous level of power before it will let you play a stronger one. Just a little bit of friendly advice.
As I played along through each mode I was amazed by the detail and nice graphical presentation of the game when compared to its poor counterparts. From Legacy’s tiny sprites and inane character choices to Taiketsu’s run-down 3D graphics, the Dragonball Z games have always had pathetic visuals. However, Supersonic seems like it was taking right out of the anime and onto your screen. The character sprites are very detailed and even when moving far off screen, you can still make them out very well. The fight motions are wonderful, with my favorite being the grapple moments you have with your opponent. The backgrounds are nothing special, but they are pleasant and do not provide any distraction of game-play. A little more interaction with the backgrounds would have been nice, but with the great overall look of the game, I can put it behind me…really I can. Light effects are wonderful as well, from Vegeta’s “Final Flash” to Piccolo’s “Scattered Shot,” each technique is wonderfully colored and explosions are plenty. From video flows audio and I was surprised to find the music was quite nice. It was nothing spectacular, but each tune fit well with the background it was associated with. The sound effects on the other hand are very realistic to the show, with all of the explosion, grapple, and wave sounds. The voice acting is well done as too, with the actual voice actors for the show filling in some of the excerpts, each character says.
What was that combo I was thinking of? Oh A+B, I think that is what it was… oh, and just to let you know that is as complex as it gets. Well, sort of, each button serves its own purpose on the Game Boy Advance. The A button will act as your slow, build-up punch/kick, while the B button is the quick attack button that will usually lead into the grapple sessions. Holding A at certain moments of attack and special attacks will block the opponent’s technique, and comes in handy a lot. However, there is a downside to blocking because of the pressure type bar at the top of the screen. If you take too many attacks or block too much, you will eventually be tired out and “stunned” generally anywhere from two to ten seconds. Giving your opponent a chance to throw you into the ground or just kick your lifeless body.
Along with the pressure bar is, of course, your health bar and energy percentage. You can build up your energy by simply holding R, and hitting the A, B, and the control pad buttons while holding it, will unleash your energy attacks. There are a small bottle of moves that are a bit frustrating to pull off at time, but once you master them, they are pretty awesome to behold. Now you may be thinking if the game-play is as shoddy and slow as Budokai or other console versions. No! My friend this game is all about speed. Spending most of your time in the air, you will be zipping, colliding, and sliding all over the place. Now this is not a bad thing, the game plays well and moves at an excellent rate. So, leave the Tylenol in your closet, you will not need it today.
With a wonderfully finished feel to it, Dragonball Z: Supersonic Warriors is definitely the best fighting game on the Game Boy Advance. If you are looking to get your hands on a great fighting title, are a big fan of the series (I know I am), or just need a game to play on a long car trip, this game is an absolute must. Plenty of action, diverse characters and modes, and an unbelievably addictive feel to it, Supersonic excels in all areas where it matters in a fighting game. The multi-player is quite a blast too, so get two SP’s together and get ready to throw down. So, do not get skeptically frightened when you pass by your Game Boy aisle and see Goku on the cover of this game, he may just surprise you.
Community review by destinati0n (October 05, 2004)
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