Dragon Ball Z: Sagas is a 3D action-adventure video game developed by Avalanche Software and published by Atari, based on the anime Dragon Ball Z. It is the only Dragon Ball Z game to be released across all sixth generation consoles, the first Dragon Ball Z console game to be developed by a non-Japanese developer, and the first Dragon Ball Z game to be released on a non-Japanese console, the Xbox. It also ended up being the only Dragon Ball Z to be released on the Xbox, while the Japanese machines continued to get a steady stream of Dragon Ball related games, all of which are still made by Japanese developers.
Sagas has fighting-based gameplay with new abilities becoming available via upgrade. There are three basic fighting styles: Melee, Combo, and Ki. Melee attacks are often swift and leave the opponent temporarily stunned. Combo attacks are several consecutive punches or kicks to the opponent which may contain up to 10 hits. Ki attacks are energy blasts that rely on a rechargeable meter for power. The most powerful Ki blast is the “Special Move” found in the first level.
Levels and Sagas
There are about 19 levels in the game. These levels are split into sagas. The sagas, in order are: Saiyan saga, Namek saga, Frieza saga, Yardrat saga, Trunks saga, Android saga, and the Cell Games saga. In the levels of the game you must many quests, buy upgrades, and defeat enemies and bosses.
Up until this point, virtually every console game based on the Dragon Ball Z anime restricted players to a narrow play field. You could glide across the floor, shoot off into the sky and even toss your enemies into the surrounding hillside. But it was still restrictive. You couldn’t take to the skies and explore the heavens at will, for example. And you couldn’t use the environment to your advantage, either, save for the throwing-someone-into-a-mountain thing. It’s this very lack of freedom that Atari and Avalanche Software set out to eliminate with their latest game, Dragon Ball Z: Sagas.
Atari has described Dragon Ball Z: Sagas as a sandbox brawler, in that you can take characters from the Dragon Ball universe and run amok, demolishing everything in your path. It sounds like a dream game, especially for long-time fans of the show. The truth, unfortunately, winds up feeling far less glamorous. In fact, Dragon Ball Z: Sagas coughs up one of the most abysmal Dragon Ball experiences in creation. The problems stem from every aspect imaginable, from control and camera issues, to insipid AI and boss characters. After a few hours, you realize there isn’t much in Dragon Ball Z: Sagas that works as it should, or at least as developers intended. It’s a shame considering the source material, and the fact that Sagas was meant to take DBZ games into a new direction.
Dragon Ball Z: Sagassplits into different chapters, with each chapter starring specific characters from the show. An edited and re-cut segment from the popular TV series precedes every chapter and helps move the narrative forward. Sagas also hands out mission objectives at the start of every chapter, which a player can recall by pausing the game. Objectives range from collecting items, defeating specific enemies and protecting key characters. A small radar on the screen helps locate enemies and mission objectives. Thing is, much of the game winds up feeling the same. You’ll plow through waves of enemies, destroy a few dozen rock formations and battle bosses, but all of it feels the same. And none of it is particularly engaging. On the contrary, it’s either excruciatingly boring or just flat-out frustrating.
While each stage brims with fully destructible items such as boulders and trees, there’s just so much wrong with this game that it doesn’t matter. You won’t want to run around blowing stuff up, because actually progressing through the game is such a grievous chore. Who cares that you can kick an opponent 200 feet away and watch him explode into the side of a mountain. What gamers want is compelling gameplay, which requires finely tuned game mechanics. If a game fails on the most basic level, as Dragon Ball Z: Sagas clearly does, then it doesn’t matter if its anemic core is surrounded by layers of filler, such as destructible environments.
|Dragon Ball Z Sagas|
|Release date(s)||NA March 22, 2005|
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