(Bandai, 1997)

My Game of the Month section not only focuses on some of gaming greatest, but we also like to point out some important milestones as well. For this month the StarSoldier would like to talk about a game that turned me from a game player to a game collector. The game is Dragon Ball GT the Final Bout! Like a lot of people out there, I had a real problem tracking this one on one fighter down but I was finally lucky enough to get my greedy little hands on this Playstation bad boy in 2003. For a chosen few this was their first real chance to play one of their favourite Japanese cartoons on a real North American Dragon Ball GT video game for the Playstation. So does this very rare Dragon Ball really justify its high price tag, read on and I'll let you be the judge?

If you're wondering why you can't find the original US Dragon Ball GT the Final Bout in 99 percent of the game stores out there then here is the story behind this unique title. Although the Dragon Ball series was fairly popular in
Japan, the same could not be said for the North American market in the late 90's and Bandai rolled the dice and finally imported one their Playstation games. Needless to say it didn't sell well because of some damaging reviews and there were only a mere 10,000 made. Although Bandai pulled the plug on the game's production, hardcore Playstation or die hard Dragon Ball fans were willing to pay upward from $80 to a scary $350 just for a single game. Being a video game collector this CD is one of the great show pieces of my sometimes sick hobby.

Moving on to the real game, here is what the Final Bout has to offer for game play. After you pop in the game you'll be treated to an intense looking anime cinema that really gets you in the mood to fight somebody. The game lets you pick a wacky cast of 10 different ranging from tough martial artist like Goku, young kids like Pan, and even alien characters like Cell. All the fighters can do various kicks, punches, special moves, and you can even throw super human projectile attacks just like you would see in the popular cartoon. Not too bad so far, eh?

Once I picked my character and listened to some cool trash talking (in English) the real game started................... if I could pick one word to describe the way this game looks it would be YUCK! All the fighters are incredibly blocky for a game that was released in 1997 and surprisingly the animation is chunky at best as well. With the combine effect of butt ugly backgrounds, terrible animation, and weak polygonal characters, Dragon Ball GT has to be one of the worst looking games on the Playstation.

To put the graphics in perspective just compare Bandai's Dragon Ball GT to Squaresoft's Tobal #1 (anyone remember that one?). Although both games were released around the same time, Tobal #1 is the far superior looking game. Although both games have Akira Toriyama
(famed Dragon Ball artist) style artwork, Tobal runs at a smooth 60 frames per second and still has some good character designs as well. What happened here?

I could stand for some poor graphics in a game just as long as the game plays well and all, but unfortunately we don't even get some half decent controls here. I noticed there was a few seconds of delay after almost every attack and while you lay frozen for a few seconds after a botched move, the computer will not hesitate to take advance. This game is no Tekken!

In one of the few shining spots this game does have some fitting music and adequate sound effects. I really liked the Japanese flare compared to usual boring soundtracks we hear in most fighting video game. Despite some good music here and there that alone can't save this title.

Bottomline: If you're looking for a Playstation rarity, this Dragon Ball GT game is an excellent find for that video game collector. I can think of many more rarer titles of there in the gaming world especially for systems like the Turbo Duo and Neo Geo but it was this game that came out of nowhere to become a legend. Unfortunately, the actual game itself is rather dismal because of very poor 3D graphics, unresponsive controls, and boring game play. Dragon Ball GT the Final Bout is great for collectors because you may never have the urge to play again once you give it a go. This game also proved that the public wanted more games in this franchise and currently the series is still going strong on today's systems. True, this game is horrible for people looking for a good, high quality fighting game but with its high value: Dragon Ball GT Final Bout is just too hard to pass to up.

Update: I originally gave this game a Extremely Rare rating for its ratity but with this game's somewhat high sightings on eBay and recent 2004 Atari re-release, the game isn't as scarce as once thought. Collectors should still see if they can find a copy.



*Uncommon Playstation

Dragonball GT Final Bout
overall rating: 15/100

Find Dragonball GT on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
Rated (T) for Teen

graphics: 1/10
sound: 6/10
gameplay: 4/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004

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