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Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu
game: Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu
one star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Atari
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 19th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 19th, 2004

By Eric Qualls

Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu is an absolutely horrible game. Maybe instead of bothering to release new games based on DBZ, Atari can just come to every DBZ fans' house and take $30 or $50 and punch us in the face or something. The Budokai games are halfway decent, but every other game based on this franchise has been an embarrassment. Taiketsu is one of the absolute worst games the series has ever seen which is saying something because there have been some incredibly bad Dragon Ball Z games. Fighting fans won't like it, and DBZ fans won't like it, so who else is there? No one, that's who. Unless you get a free copy, avoid this game at all costs.

There isn't any story to speak of in Taiketsu, which is a shame. All you get are a handful of locations and characters from the series and nothing else. Considering all we have seen in the series, it seems strange that the characters would just get together and fight for no reason, but that is all you do in Taiketsu. There are a few unlockable items such as character bios, images, and music, but there is really very little in Taiketsu that has anything to do with the series it is based on, other than a few characters that only sort of look like Goku, Vegeta, and all the rest.

The fighting engine in Taiketsu is trash and makes the simplistic Budokai games look godly in comparison. Each character only has a couple of combos and special moves that are unique to them, and every character uses the same punches and kicks and energy balls and everything else. In essence, the only difference between the characters is the way they look. The hit detection is completely broken and the result is some strange quirks in the gameplay like characters occasionally passing straight through each other or bouncing wildly away from each other if a character jumps into the other one. Also, it is hard to know if your punches and kicks actually connected and even the most powerful special moves and combos do extremely small amounts of damage so fights tend to last a lot longer than they should.

Taiketsu's most heinous offense towards the fighting game genre is that it openly encourages button mashing as the way to win. The moves in the game are so easy to pull off that mashing buttons is simply the fastest way to execute them and actually win the match. There is a sky battle mode where both characters jump into the air and exchange a flurry of punches and kicks, but the only way to enter the mode is mash buttons and they only way to win these sky battles is to, you guessed it, mash buttons. This is like fighting games for dummies and anyone with a shred of skill should be turned off by the gameplay within seconds of inserting the game into their GBA.

The graphics and sound in Taiketsu are lackluster at best. The pseudo 3D characters only look like who they are supposed to if you really squint at them. The environments also lack detail and only sort of look like what we have seen in the series, but then again, it is usually pretty difficult to tell one barren wasteland apart from the next. The animation of the characters is choppy and looks really bad. Some of the special moves are seemingly too much for the graphics engine to handle and there is lots of pixelation and flickering and ugly sprite tearing. The sound is every bit as bad and the music is generic 16-bit fighting game music and doesn't sound like anything that has appeared in the series. It really makes you wonder why so many licensed games appear on the GBA when so few of them have anything to do with the license they are supposed to be representing.

If you are absolutely desperate to see some DBZ action on your GBA, check out the two Legacy of Goku games instead because Taiketsu is horrible. This is without a doubt one of the worst fighting games I have ever played. You are actually encouraged to mash buttons, and that just isn't the way a serious fighting game should fly. On top of all that, the characters all play exactly the same way, there is a severe shortage of moves, the hit detection is awful, and it simply is not fun to play this game. Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu is a bad game that will leave both DBZ fans and hardcore fighting game fans disappointed. The only good things about it are the slick looking box art and the Atari stickers that come with it. Please, I beg of you, don't reward the complete lack of effort that went into Taiketsu by buying it because of the license alone.