Well, it’s finally happened. They day I had to actually play this game again. I really do wonder if the bizarre irony that one of the worst fighting games I’ve ever played in my life just happens to be based off one of the worst anime on the planet. A show so wretchedly reviled that its canon is virtually ignored by Akira Toriyama as any means of progressive story. When the man who made a long-running manga series about a cyborg girl who pokes poop doesn’t think your material is worth acknowledging, your work is considered slightly less favorable than scrubbing the fungus off Satan’s toenails. Yeah, I hate Dragonball GT immensely. Even though I don’t even care for DBZ at all anymore, I won’t pretend that I never enjoyed it up to a certain point (the Cell story arc demolished it all for me. Keep posted, that rant is coming…). Grand Tour, however, takes what many fans liked about both (the adventure aspect of Dragonball and the high octane action of Z) and butchers it with all the subtly of euthanizing a sick dog with a chainsaw.
With the exception of the BlackStar Balls premise, which was at the same time a really good idea and very damaging to the integrity of our “heroes”, GT’s stories (even by Dragonball standards) are repulsive, lazy, insulting, and ultimately very boring. Its villains lacking any kind of impact or believability that the same heroes that had to CHEAT to defeat the nearly invincible Majin Buu are locked into a dead even struggle with a generic android named Rildo or dancing alien nitwits with a boombox. There’s suspension of disbelief and “How high is that hook?” All of your favorite Z characters like Piccolo and Gohan are rendered completely useless as you’re forced to endure more lame Goku shtick (for the 1,000,457th time!!), accompanied by Trunks, who is not even in the same universe of awesome his Future counterpart (and by that, I mean he sucks on toast.), and Pan, a female character so beastly, shrill and bitchy, I wanted her dead and chopped up in several body bags after 4 sentences. If the idiocy of the Cell and Majin Buu story arcs put my love of Dragonball in a comatose state, GT mercy killed it. Funny, considering I played this game, not aware of what GT was. I didn’t have the internet until 1999, so I couldn’t look up anything. The only info I had was from watching the series on television and filling in the blanks myself.
From what I’ve played, these early Dragonball Z fighting games on the Super Famicom aren’t very good, but have a distinct charm about them that kept me playing for a short while. Final Bout is the only game bearing the GT logo, and when I turned it on, the original anime intro looks promising.
It goes downhill from there. Fast!!!
GRAPHICS & ANIMATION: The character models are passable for 1997 standards, but considering by this point two Tekken games had existed on the same console and saw graphical enhancements with each entry. This is produced by Bandai…wait….
To a degree, they captured the character’s likeness on the models well enough, slightly putting it above the decals on Lego faces. At the very least, they nailed backgrounds down to perfection!
Since 99.6% of Dragonball fights take place in desolate wastelands, it probably wasn’t hard for Bandai to rally together a couple of fourth graders to slap together some barely garish watercolors to render into a “3D environment” You could argue that it looks good, but much like the show, it’s like sensory deprivation! There’s only a given amount of time that I can tolerate looking at the same shades of pee-colored yellow-green and blue looming the damn horizon before I’m holding hostages at gunpoint, begging for a fight scene to take place in the middle of a metropolis! If you can make out that the other half of these backgrounds are lifted from any of the three series, you’ve done better than me. Room of Time and Space and dying Namek are easy to spot, but not familiar with rotting leaf grey dirt and what looks like knocked over stack of foam plates in the background/city. 3/10
SOUND: I assume that since FUNimation decided to go out of their way and reprint the game with their logo on it, I that they would get the voice actors of the more modern run to reprise their roles and redub English voices! I collected some of the best examples of the amazing dub work done here for the prebattle sequences.
If you’re familiar with the Ocean Group of Dragonball Z from Pioneer, who handled the first release of the series in the U.S., you can draw some parallels to some of the performances provided, like Piccolo sounds vaguely like Scott McNeill. Other notable names like Steven Blum and Lia Sargent provided voices!! Those are two of my VA heroes!! Trunks and Cell both sound really good and Mystic Gohan sounds like Kyle Hebert. The idiocy stem from the fact that the in-game voices remain in Japanese, so the Z Warriors can go from sounding like legitimate voice acting to scratchy recordings in the original dialect that sounds as if it was recorded in 1984. Was there a reason why they decided not to dub over the Japanese dialogue? It gives off the vibe that the localization of this game was incredibly rushed and the end result is a product that comes off more half-assed than it already is! SCORE 4/10
CONTROLS: They don’t work. Simple. These are some of the most busted, unresponsive controls I’ve ever played on a Playstation fighting game. This is like the video game equivalent of choreographing a fight between your G.I. Joes. The only difference is that you can make your toys do what you want them to. Press a button, and a half a second later, Gohan throws a punch. Leap behind your opponent and you can bake a ham in the time it takes for them to maneuver around and face each other. try and have one of DBZ’s patented midair clashes and squeeze the controller into a fine powder as you struggle to even get on the same plane just to HIT them! Take your pick from the many “special moves” that either don’t work at all or work too well. Even after thoroughly reading the manual and trying to digest this information to utilize it properly, I still cant get certain things to work! More often than not, if you launch a Kamehameha, the CPU will COUNTER with a blast of his own. When this happens to you for the first time, you’re not sure what to do, so you mash buttons until his beam hits you and you look like a jackass. Well, when the word COUNTER appears, that’s an opening for you to try and retaliate with a blast of your own or defend. Even after practicing and getting the timing down, I can’t counter it. I just get hit, over and over. Even during the energy clash, they don’t tell you that rapidly hitting Triangle can return the fire. Well, unless your fingers are powered by nitrous oxide and you have the reflexes of a hummingbird, you’re gonna get blasted every time.
Meteor Smash is the closest Final Bout gets to fast-paced, but you don’t want it. All that happens is that the CPU will knock you around endlessly until he finishes his assault with a big blast that will obliterate your health bar, providing you know how to counter it, which is several series of button combinations while holding forward on the D pad. Since this game sucks at trying to teach you how to play it, you’re clueless as to how to even activate it. It’s an easy avenue for the computer to get the jump on you. SCORE 0.5/10 A record low out my 50 something game reviews!!
ANIME RELATION SCORE: WELL they did make something that slightly does what the show of which it’s based. Poorly. But even then, only Dragonball GT can screw this up. Notice something? A few things I will provide.
1. Despite being a Dragonball GT based fighter, the only playable character exclusive to said series is Pan. No Blackstar Dragons, General Rildo, or Super 17? No Uub, the only cool thing about GT, and he couldn’t make the damn cut!!?? I’m not counting Trunks or Super Saiyan 4 Goku, they’re merely palette swaps of already established Z characters. Speaking of palette swaps…
2.Unnecessary Super Saiyan forms. Super Goku and Super Saiyan Goku? Super Trunks and Super Saiyan Trunks? They’re just Z versions, you impotent morons!! And no GT Vegeta, or hell, NORMAL Vegeta!!? This game’s ass is on backwards, so it’s pissing shit.
3. Did this game really need to have 7 different variations of Goku? I hate Goku, with every fiber of my being and here he is, taking up 40% of the roster slots, which could’ve gone to Krillin, 18, Videl, or Tenshinhan. SCORE 2.5/10
Final Bout also tried something that…to this day, I’m not sure what it is supposed to be. You might select something called Build Up mode, which sounds self-explanatory. So you select it and go to the character select screen. Then you can choose who you want to fight from this menu. you then select an opponent……Get the ever living shit kicked out of you, and you never select Build Up mode again. You are supposed to be able to train your character up to a level and they gain strength in what ever it is you do the best. And if you loathe your friends enough, you can talk them into creating a separate file and level up their own character. You could potentially face them off, you and your friend’s Build Up character, after maxing their abilities. The goal is to get your friend to stop talking to you and this a surefire way to destroy a friendship. The only other thing of note is that in Tournament mode, you can choose to fight in the Tenkaichi Budokai arena…I think it looks neat.Tenkaichi Budokai Arena SCORE 6/10
IN CLOSING: This game sucks something fierce. I would rather play War Gods or Pit Fighter. It’s ugly as all hell, you would have an easier time getting a kite to fly in the direction you want it to go during a hurricane, the audio is downright terrible that someone should be legally arrested for it. None of the modes provide any kind of enjoyment on any conceivable level. This game is something that does nothing right. It might be a worse PlayStation fighter than Star Wars: Masters of the Teras Kasi. Fortunately, DBZ fans get much better games a generation later, but was the dark ages. You know, like men wearing tunics and no cod pieces…
FINAL SCORE 2/10
About that opening, why the hell is Piccolo trying to go toe-to-toe with Cell?