Legend of the Dragon Review
As anime made its way to the US and gained ridiculous amounts of popularity, video games based on those animes started to come out of the woodwork. One of the most popular of those has been the various Dragonball Z fighting games. They've all been pretty fun to play and, while not that deep, provide a non-fan of the show with a solid experience if they choose to pick up the game. This anime popularity has also led to a rise in similarly structured American cartoons. One of these cartoons, Legend of the Dragon, isn't as well known as some of the other anime-styled American cartoons (of which, Avatar jumps to mind). Naturally, another fighting-focused cartoon spawns a fighting game, this one on the Wii. I'll save you a bit of time before going into the review, though – this game is bad.
On starting the game, it doesn't seem too bad. It starts off by introducing the game's cast of characters. OK, not so bad yet. The menu works just fine, that's good. Heck, even the tutorial works pretty well and does a good job of teaching you the basics of gameplay. You'll learn how to do moves, how to counter and how to block. You'll even learn how to get into the game's gimmick of powering up and transforming your fighter. This all seems pretty cool and all – until you realize that it is all the game really has to offer. Unlike most fighting games, there are no varied special moves for each character, they all have the same combos, stuff like that.
Sure, each character does play a little differently and, if you're used to fighting game stereotypes, you'll know how each character plays. Small characters swing faster while big characters typically swing slower. They all animate differently for their attacks and each of them swings in a different way so this does add some variation to the game, but after just a few matches with different characters, you'll feel as if nothing has changed. Especially since none of these faster or slower attacks seem to do much difference in regards to the damage dealt out. So, the character looks different. Whoopee, it doesn't affect much of anything.
Now, being on the Wii, the game will have some motion controls, right? I mean, if you're going to have characters throwing energy blasts, doing flying combos and such, you could at least toss in a nice, solid gimmick of going through a fireball motion with the Wiimote or something. Well, sorry, no dice here either. Your use of the Wiimote is limited to motions that make no real sense with the action you're performing. Take one of the special attacks you can use – you trigger it by hitting the buttons on the Nunchuk then hitting left on the D-Pad. Then, you just move the Wiimote and Nunchuk up and down to overpower your opponent. Sure, I can see how they wanted to make the game more active, but all this does is forces you to flail your arms wildly and, if you're up against another human, probably get nowhere fast. Why there wasn't any sort of throwing motion involved, I'm not sure – you could have had the opponent throw up some sort of other gesture to try to block it off or, if timed right, reflect it. Now that would have been cool.
But hey, the game has a chance to redeem itself. Another one of your special attacks involves tossing out smaller balls of energy at your opponent. Now, the neat part with this is that you can throw them in four different directions and your opponent will get a chance to block in these four different directions. This was a perfect opportunity to have some Wiimote motions – say an overhead toss to throw it from over your head or a sidearm motion to throw from the side. But no – you just flick the Wiimote in the direction you want to toss the fireball to throw it (and half the time, the flicking isn't picked up or it gets picked up wrong). If you're going to just use small flicks for something like this, just don't use them at all and instead let me press a button.
Overall, though, I really can't recommend this game, even to fans of the show. It almost feels as if the developers spent more time on making this look and feel like a cartoon and just forgot to do much more than a basic game. If they had even a decent fighting system here, it would be a great pickup for cartoon fans at the budget price. As it stands, though, I'd even recommend fans of the series stay far away from this one unless you are the most rabid Legend of the Dragon fan known to man. If you're just after a cartoon fighting game, go get the Dragonball Z game on the Wii instead.