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ups: Destroyable environments
downs: Camera perspective, inadequate flight abilities, poor graphics

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Dragon Ball Z: Sagas
game: Dragon Ball Z: Sagas
two star
posted by: Blaine Krumpe
publisher: Atari
developer: Avalanche Software
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ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 02:53 AM Mon Aug 15th, 2005
last revision: 01:51 PM Tue Aug 16th, 2005

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Click to read.There was huge potential for Dragon Ball Z: Sagas, but alas, that was as far as the game could crawl. Gamers were essentially enticed to buy this game because of the action and adventure storyline (which is backed by some 300 or so episodes), and the ability to destroy the game environment.

However, this is superseded by some tremendous flaws that Atari should have fixed before this hit shelves. You will be able to turn Super Saiyan and run amok through the game environment, however, this fun aspect from the TV series far from makes up for the flaws and mistakes that the game designers left in.

Essentially, the game progresses through chapters that focus on characters from the TV series. Before each of these chapters you will be shown footage from the series that more or less moves the plot along.

From the get-go the action is fun, but it progressively deteriorates as you feel like you are doing the same actions over and over again. Mashing buttons quickly becomes the norm as you franticly try to face both close and ranged enemies. Continually punching and kicking deals with most of the enemies, however, you must strike first or teleport out of the way of oncoming projectiles. Here\'s where the frustration first sets it: the in-game camera is not under you control. It\'s preset to follow you at a certain distance and easily gets stuck behind features of the environment. Try fighting an enemy when a measly hill gets in-between you and the line of sight of the camera.... Then there\'s the incredibly frustrating targeting system. Your focus will always be set to the nearest enemy attacking you, even when you can clearly see there is a ranged enemy on your radar that is spitting deadly beams. You are unable to lock onto this enemy and fire back if there is another closer enemy trying to melee you to death. Trying to block or dodge you enemy\'s onslaught is also near useless as the blows and bolts of death come so quick and fast that self-preservation is only viable by striking the first blow.

Another eyesore in the game\'s design comes from the character\'s flying abilities, or lack thereof. This game only allows you to fly in horizontal left/right motions. Now why in the world didn\'t Atari realize that flying in all three dimensions would have helped this game out tremendously! However, this aspect of 2-D flight didn\'t surprise me that much; the afore-mentioned game problems severely leveled my hopes for the playability of this game. Your only way to get higher up flights is to jump off of nearby cliffs.

I will admit being able to destroy just about every aspect of the game environment is tremendously fun. You are able to throw your opponent into cliffs, buildings, through trees, and just wreak havoc on the surrounding landscape. But that landscape is rendered in low-resolution textures and looks like some very bad first generation Xbox titles. The characters themselves were all right looking, but nothing worth noting in their overall appearance and movements. There is also a large size of playable characters and villains that you will face, which adds to the gameplay, but only marginally. The soundtrack is actually ok for this game; I was neither blown away by it nor left wanting more. It was just in the background and not adversely affecting the game.

When it\'s all said and done, there is essentially 5-6 short hours of playtime, so if you are a fan of the DBZ series and like the world that is presented by these shows, you will come away with some sort of half smile. At the end of the game you are able to unlock additional characters; however, I really don\'t see the point of playing the game over again with these new units. Being a fan of the series myself, I found this game to be a down right strikeout; the potential was there, just not the follow through from Atari.

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