At a Glance: Dragon Power is based on Dragonball Z, a show where people talk about how they're going to kick each other's asses until the episode uses up its 20 frame animation quota and ends with "To Be Continued". That isn't important right now, though. In fact, throw away everything you know about Dragonball Z, because this is a whole new fucking ball game. I hope you like punching lots of repetitive palette-swapped enemies, because guess what you'll be doing for most of this game!
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 98k
Dragonball Z is a huge hit with various people at my college who wear oversized anime shirts that look like they were designed by someone on a bad acid trip. My theory about the show is that it's softcore gay porn intended to serve as a gateway into much gayer anime videos. Today's Dragonball Z fans will grow up to be tomorrow's Anal Rape Man Chronicles fans.
Game Plot: Goku is on a quest for 7 crystal balls that will make the dragon emperor grant him one wish. I don't know what kind of wish is worth the hours of torment required to finish this game, but since this is a Japanese game, it probably involves some young boys' feet and a pool full of baked beans.
I am attempting to review Dragon Power without getting flamed into oblivion by DBZ fans, and to that end I will use this paragraph to state three positive things about the game. First of all, true to its title, Dragon Power contains both dragons and shirtless anime characters striking poses to power up their super moves. Second, the cartridge is ultra-durable and great for throwing at people when they ask you why you're playing Dragon Power. Third, if you like the Dragonball Z cartoon, you'll be blown away by this game, since it contains more animations than the entire TV series combined.
Goku's sprite looks like a retarded cousin of Ernie from Sesame Street. On the game over screen he does a spiteful dance of pure hatred, mocking you like some kind of mongoloid albatross. It's the most evil thing I've ever seen in an NES game, including Barbie Super Model.
The most annoying thing about Dragon Power is that as you're playing, your health constantly decreases. You'd think that if Bandai wanted to make the game impossibly difficult, they'd have at least come up with a more creative way of doing it. Snowboarding ninjas, anyone? Or how about some pirate ghosts?
Enemies: In the proud tradition of marvelously screwed-up NES games, Dragon Power's enemies include dogs with hands sticking out of their heads, flying cats, and a crazy bitch on a hovercraft. Sometimes when the enemies die, they drop bombs that explode and turn into food, and if you need me to tell you how awesome that is, you shouldn't be reading this site.
Number of Levels: 10 levels of pain and suffering in a barren 8-bit wasteland. "Brown" seems to be the theme of choice for this game, giving you the feeling that you're walking across a landscape made out of giant turds. The intermission text between the levels looks like it was composed by throwing a typewriter down the stairs and then using Babelfish to translate the resulting text into Klingon.
Punch - Goku rules the streets with devastating combo moves and secret martial arts techniques! Or not. Actually, it's just a punch and half of the time it misses.
Wind Wave - To use this attack, you have to stand still for a second and let it charge up, which isn't good when you're facing mutant dogs that want to put swords and other things in your ass.
Power Pole - When Goku's fists of fury just aren't enough, the Power Pole will extend his attack range by 2 millimeters. "Power Pole" may sound a little sexually suggestive, but Bandai decided it was better than the weapon's original name: the Mega Dick.
Jump - Well, it's a jump. What more is there to say? I guess I could pretend this is Unreal Tournament and give it a gimmicky name like "Gravitational Disruptor". Protip: Be careful when jumping over pits or you may find yourself in the advanced state of Gravitational Disruption reserved for things that fall off the screen.
Number of Bosses: The two bosses I saw were a giant samurai and a giant samurai accompanied by a bee. Both fell victim to my complex strategy of standing next to them and pressing punch until I had worn my B button down to a fine nub. All of my punches seemed to land at about groin level, which amused me probably a lot more than it should have.
Defining Moment: The dialogue, the enemies, the bosses, take your pick. This game is so utterly insane it could've been used as the virus that blew up the alien spaceships in Independence Day.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).