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Video Game / Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans

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Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans is a 2009 Eastern RPG for the Nintendo DS developed by Monolith Soft. It is one of the first Dragon Ball games to be released in the West by Namco Bandai after Atari's license had expired. The game was released under the Dragon Ball Kai name in Japan to coincide with the debut of the Kai anime.

The game follows the Dragon Ball story from the Piccolo Jr. Saga through the Saiyan Saga of Dragon Ball Z, divided into 15 chapters which are further broken up into a total of 80 missions, with bonus missions available following Vegeta's defeat. Gameplay is presented with traditional 2D sprites, and the controls rely on the D-pad and buttons rather than the stylus. Overall, the game received generally positive reviews, and was the third-best selling DS game in Japan upon its release.

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans contains examples of:

  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: During the Dragon Ball hunt the Z-Fighters discover that somehow, the Two-Star Ball was broken in half. Goku rightfully figures that Kami can repair it, citing the fact that he was able to restore the originals after Demon King Piccolo killed Shenron.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In order to round out their movelists, the playable characters get attacks that they didn't use until many in-story years later, such as Piccolo having the Hellzone Grenade and Light Grenade (both of which debuted in the Cell Saga).
  • Adaptational Wimp: In his original appearance, Broly would have crushed the pre-Namek Z-Fighters like grapes. Granted, you have to be Level 70 or higher to even dream about fighting him, but still...
  • Adaptation Expansion: We get to see where Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien go when they part ways to go train on their own prior to the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai. Later, King Kai expands on Goku's training by sending him down to Hell to stop Raditz from making trouble, and even letting Goku go back to Earth for a day to help search for the Dragon Balls!
  • Back from the Dead: The game takes advantage of a plot point from the manga (namely, that the virtuous dead can be granted a single 24-hour visit to Earth) to allow you to use all six characters throughout the game. Besides allowing Goku to help hunt for the Dragon Balls to wish himself back, it also lets you use Tien, Yamcha, and Piccolo to fight Vegeta even after their deaths at the hands of Nappa.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Broly's Necklace gives you +50 to every stat. That said, getting it involves defeating Broly, the game's Superboss, and most powerful enemy.
  • The Bus Came Back: Several important characters from the original Dragon Ball turn up as part of this game's Adaptation Expansion. Pilaf attempts to steal the Dragon Balls again, General White wants to resurrect the Red Ribbon Army (and brainwashed Android #8 into helping him), Tao Pai Pai is still seeking revenge against Tien...
  • Call-Back: Several characters who were largely absent from the Piccolo Jr. Saga onward make return appearances in this game, either as boss characters or story-driving NPCs.
    • Baba's ability to bring deceased fighters back to Earth for one day allows Goku to help in the search for the Dragon Balls so they can be used later to resurrect him. King Kai basically considers it an extension of his training.
    • As for the game itself, some of the music is adapted from the original Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo game for the NES.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Just like in the manga, Tien's Tri-Beam (Kikohō) attacks do backlash damage to him; this is also how the game represents the dangerous side-effects of the Kaioken.
  • Charged Attack: While most Ki Blast super attacks do this in their animations, only the Spirit Bomb and Special Beam Cannon actually take multiple turns to charge.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: While the game is pretty good with giving you save points throughout most of the game, there are no more save points at all once you enter the cave you must pass through before confronting Vegeta. This means that, even after beating the game, if you want to access the bonus missions again, you have to go through Vegeta again.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The early part of the game, covering the final events of the original series, has Goku help Annin repair the Furnace of Eight Divisions. Later on, when the Z-Fighters find a Dragon Ball frozen in seemingly unbreakable ice, Goku goes back to Annin and asks if they can use the magic fire from the furnace to help retrieve the Dragon Ball.
  • Collection Sidequest: Two, in fact. Monster Carrot drops an item that lets you turn defeated enemies into carrots (at the cost of not getting any Zeni), which you can then give to a person in West City for rewards when you hit certain milestones like 50 carrots delivered. Likewise, Tien's Evil Containment Wave (Mafūba) can be used to capture non-boss enemies, with Kami handing out rewards.
  • Combination Attack: Sparking! Combos, which combine moves performed by characters when their "sparking" meters are full.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The characters walk around the map, never once thinking to fly; granted, this is almost certainly because the game would be much shorter (and much less fun) if the Z-Fighters could just ignore obstacles and random encounters by flying directly to their objective.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The party's stats, growths, and skillsets are a pretty accurate reflection of their ranks on the source material's power scale, both in this arc and for future ones:
    • Goku starts strong and stays that way, only ever potentially eclipsed by Gohan, but must often fight alone.
    • Gohan is The Load carried only by his "Anger" ability until he suddenly skyrockets in strength.
    • Piccolo stays strong and competitive, but is never dominant.
    • Tien begins the game as your best fighter, but he falls off before long and is pretty overshadowed by the end.
    • Krillin is weak for the whole game and ends up being most players' dedicated healer (that is to say, doling out Senzu Beans).
    • Yamcha is about as weak as Krillin, but his poor reputation grants him an item that turns him into a Lethal Joke Character.
    • Ultimately, the six characters don't play that drastically differently—after all, rather than traditional RPG classes, they're all martial artists.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Superboss. What the hell is Broly doing here? Given what time the adaptation takes place at, Adaptation Expansion or not, he doesn't fit in anywhere, and the most likely reason that he's even in the game in the first place is due to his insane popularity.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Every map has some kind of object (boulders, stalactites, collapsed rubble) blocking your progress that needs to be blown up with Ki blasts to progress. There are three levels of obstacles (identified by what colors they flash: orange, white, and black), and you gain the ability to destroy tougher obstacles over the course of the game.
  • MacGuffin: Mister Popo creates his own set of Dragon Balls and sends them down to Earth shortly before Piccolo and Kami die, rendering the originals inert. They don't have the one-year cooldown period, but are much weaker; on the other hand, using them is the only way to unlock the Superboss.
  • Magikarp Power: Gohan starts out horrifically underleveled and with piss-poor stats. Once he hits level 35, he starts growing like a weed, and by the time he reaches level 99 he's one of the strongest characters in the game.
  • Mana Potion: With an item never seen before, Ki Drinks, which can restore between 30, 50, and 100 percent of your ki upon consumption.
  • One-Hit Kill: Krillin's Destructo Disk (Kienzan) attacks all have a flat chance to instantly kill enemies they hit, as does his "Y-Yajirobe?!" Sparking attacknote . On the other side of the equation, the Dodo type enemies also have instant death attacks.
  • Regenerating Health: One of the abilities you can earn allows you to regain health during battle mode. Especially useful against lesser Mooks, where you don't have to rely so much on healing items.
  • Retcon: It was never mentioned in the series whether or not Monster Carrot was still on the moon when Jackie Chun blew it up during the 21st Budokai, but this game shows that he did indeed manage to get back to Earth in time, though it's not explained how.
  • Sequel Hook: The Stinger shows Frieza in silhouette, hinting at a sequel which was never made.
  • Superboss: By collecting Mr. Popo's seven Dragon Balls, you can wish "to fight the ultimate enemy", Broly. Yes, that Broly.
  • Take Your Time: The developers were generous enough to give the player a Point of No Return warning just before the final stretch of battles against Vegeta, but from a narrative standpoint it's still pretty funny that Goku can wander off to go Level Grinding, finishing up side-quests, and hunting down Mr. Popo's Dragon Balls (several times over) and Vegeta will just sit there and let him.
  • Turn-Based Combat: Though the Active Guard mechanic adds an Action RPG element.