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Dragon Ball Revenge of King Piccolo

by Pedro Hernandez - November 17, 2009, 7:38 am PST
Total comments: 9


A title that's part platformer, part beat 'em up, part fighter, and all Dragon Ball.

The Dragon Ball Z franchise has become so popular that fans are likely to forget that before this there was Dragon Ball, a series that followed Son Goku as a child. Even though it featured many action sequences, Dragon Ball was cartoonier and more lighthearted, envisioning the fantasy world as one viewed with the innocence of a child. Despite Dragon Ball's relegation to the background, the Dragon Ball Z franchise is so strong that games based on the original series are still being made. Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo is the newest iteration of the expansive saga, and it successfully combines several gaming genres to create one title that fans should enjoy.

The game starts off with Adventure Mode, which follows the storyline of the original series and recreates many important events using animated and still cutscenes. Each saga contains a series of stages, presented in a manner similar to the Super Mario Bros. games (1-1, 1-2 etc.). One half of the game is platforming-based, allowing Goku to explore the levels, jump to higher levels, and even discover hidden treasure. When enemies approach, the game then becomes a beat 'em up akin to arcade titles like Final Fight. Exploration is locked until you beat all the enemies, with Goku using his trademark moves to vanquish his foes.

Goku has a basic combo attack, but during certain moments he can lock onto his enemies and perform an air combo or dash. He can also block and evade enemy attacks. Finally, in true Dragon Ball fashion, Goku can unleash his trademark attack, the Kamehame wave, an energy beam blast that causes a lot of damage. Once all enemies are defeated the game returns to platforming. When the player reaches the end of the level, a boss fight begins. When the entire level is complete, your score is tallied and you are graded on your performance. The quicker you beat the level and the less continues you use, the better your grade will be.

In addition to Adventure Mode, there is a Tournament Mode that works like a 3D fighter, recreating the series' iconic one-on-one battles. The fighting aspect uses the same engine as the main adventure, but works very well despite being a secondary addition to the game. All of Dragon Ball's characters are present as playable characters, but since Dragon Ball takes place years before Dragon Ball Z many of the characters born in that era - such as Gohan, Vegeta, and Frieza - are not present.

Like in many of the Dragon Ball-based games, there are additional bonuses to unlock. During your adventure you will collect Zeni (Dragon Ball's currency), which can be used to purchase 3D character models, cutscenes, voices, and music. You can also collect power-ups that will help your character in the tournament mode, an element common in the Dragon Ball Z fighting games.

Revenge of King Piccolo achieves something very few multi-genre games can: it successfully combine genres that complement each other well. While both the platforming and the fighting are limited compared to other titles, both of them work tremendously, creating a title that truly captures the high-spirited energy of the Dragon Ball series. Despite the 2.5D plane, Goku has enough freedom to walk around each level. This is convenient when battling enemies and evading their attacks.

Revenge of King Piccolo does have a certain level of redundancy, but the battles are very balanced and the pace is great. You will spend equal time exploring the level and battling enemies, making the experience that much easier to enjoy.

The only flaws present are those related to the story. While it is understandable that it can be hard to sum up the entire Dragon Ball storyline in just a few hours, the story is brief and not as engaging as the original source material. In other words, the story is there to explain why Goku is fighting X and Y villain, not truly diving into the character development fans of the series have come to expect.

The visual presentation is a mixture of highs and lows. The entire Dragon Ball franchise is one that is very colorful thanks to the exuberant art style of Akira Toriyama, the series' creator, and Revenge of King Piccolo preserves this very well. The characters are cel-shaded, giving them an anime look while still being in 3D. It makes for gameplay that looks exactly like the series that inspired it.However, the enemy models are re-used constantly, and the environments lack the level of detail seen in the characters themselves.

The music is also clearly inspired by the series, even if the individual tunes aren't that memorable or even integral to the experience. All of the original voice actors return to voice the digital versions of their characters, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because the whole package feels complete with the actors in place, but bad because not only are their voices very high pitched, but they also tend to narrate every option in the menu, which becomes grating.

Revenge of King Piccolo is a Dragon Ball title worth trying out, especially if you are a Dragon Ball fan that wants to take a break from all of the Dragon Ball Z fighting games. The combination of classic game genres make for a title that is balanced, engaging, and loyal to the franchise. Once more, if you are a fan, don't hesitate to try this one out.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7.5 7 8 8 7.5 8

The game sports a cel-shaded look that captures the energy of Akira Toriyama's universe. Character models look great, but the environments could be better. Enemy models are constantly re-used.


The music fits the Dragon Ball theme well, but is very forgettable. The voice acting is pretty good thanks to performances by the actual voice actors. However, the voice acting can become grating due to constant repetition of lines and high-pitched noises.


The default Wii Remote and Nunchuck setup works pretty well, with motion control only required in rare instances. There are also Classic Controller and GameCube Controller options for a more traditional set up.


Despite being a game that combines multiple genres, Revenge of King Piccolo does it very well, with one genre rarely overpowering the other. The redundancy is kept to a minimum and the pacing is great. The fighting and bonus modes are also a welcome addition.


There are a lot of levels to explore, each telling a small part of the Dragon Ball saga. Each one has a secret item to collect, so a great deal of game time is likely to be spent hunting for every treasure. The fighting modes, as well as the collectables, also extend the game's shelf life in a significant manner.


Solid games like Dragon Ball Revenge of King Piccolo keep the franchise alive. It manages to integrate multiple game genres into one great title that series fans should enjoy. The story could have been better presented, but this is forgivable thanks to the resepectful use of the license.


  • Balanced game with a good pace
  • Colorful presentation
  • Lots of bonus content to unlock
  • Solid mix of gaming genres
  • Story lacks presence
  • The environments are not as detailed as the characters
  • Voice acting can get grating
Review Page 2: Conclusion


BwrJim!November 17, 2009

But the kids love it...  mine do.. ages 8 and 6

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 17, 2009

Quote from: BwrJim!

But the kids love it...  mine do.. ages 8 and 6

What are you talking about? I thought the game was great.

StogiNovember 17, 2009

That was a well written review. It's interesting that a DB game actually did what most games can't.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 17, 2009

Thank you very much :) .

Here's what I noticed... Most licensed games tend to suck because they are rushed to market to coincide with the release of a movie or cash in on a TV show. But Dragon Ball proves that a solid licensed game can be made as long as you give the developer the time and freedom to create it.

Revenge of King Piccolo is a game that could have gone wrong. The gameplay was definitely something that needed time in order for it to be polished and balanced. Had they rushed this it would have been a disaster (like Astro Boy, who also tried to incorporate different genres).

Another thing that surprises me is how the entire Dragon Ball franchise still inspires new games and merchandise even when all of the series are over and no longer running on TV. I kind of wish that other companies did this; keep the memory of the franchise alive, even when it ended its run. I mean create a new Duck Tales game, a new Tiny Toons game and such.

TJ SpykeNovember 17, 2009

Part of the reason new DB games kept being made is because the series didn't start airing outside of Japan until it had been off the air for several years. With the semi-decent DVD releases keeping it popular (semi-decent because they contain very few extras, and because they are chopping off part of the picture. For some retarded reason, the only closed captioning on them are of the English translation of the Japanese dialogue). Other than the crappy live-action movie, I am still pissed they screwed up this since fans had been waiting years for a live-action DBZ movie, they haven't had to worry about a movie to have a game ready for. The videos for this game have been pretty good, even though I am not a fan of the original Dragon Ball.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 17, 2009

I personally like Dragon Ball a tad better than Dragon Ball Z. I just like the charming, humorous story, and young Goku is adorable. I do, however, enjoy DBZ, even if half of the episodes are devoted to Goku and the bad guy staring at each other getting stronger.

KDR_11kNovember 18, 2009

Dragon Ball is based on a myth (Sun Wukong the monkey king) so it's not surprising it's still getting games.

BwrJim!November 18, 2009

and i liked the dragon ball live action movie.  I went in expecting everything they gave.  So I sat back, laughed at goku and his dorkiness and so on.  My son loved it as well.  Of course, I bet my son could destroy you guys in BT3, but the DB RoKP game is a fun double dragon type brawler.  Its bright and entertaining and really, when it comes to the dragonball universe, its best not to focus on the details and just enjoy what you are watching.

I remember someone saying that goku rode around like a dork and I said " he is a dork, didnt you ever see the series?" and they honestly couldnt remember what a bafoon baboon he was.. 

TJ SpykeNovember 19, 2009

Goku in the cartoon is not even close to being dorky. Happy and carefree, yes. Dorky? Not even close. That is just one area that I think the writers of the movie messed up in.

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Dragon Ball Revenge of King Piccolo Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Namco Bandai
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Dragon Ball Revenge of King Piccolo
Release Oct 20, 2009
PublisherNamco Bandai
RatingEveryone 10+
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