#197 – Dragon Power

Some caution suggested.
This is the American cover…
This is the Japanese cover…
Charming looks don’t pay the bills, Bandai.



GENRE: Action

RELEASE DATE: March 1988

Don’t let the name Dragon Power fool you: this game is based on the original “Dragon Ball” manga. Finding out the latter fact doesn’t do the game any favors, though. While I admire the quirky Japanese feel of the game, the actual gameplay is rough and tumble. You play as Goku, the beloved main character from “Dragon Ball” and your goal is to hit everything in sight, either with your fists or a Power Pole. The game has a top-down view, so while your progression isn’t strictly side-scrolling, it’s still linear. Most of the enemies are slow and can be felled easily, but always watch your health or POW meter. It’s constantly decreasing, for one thing, but the hit detection can be terrible, especially when fighting enemies with swords or other long-reaching weapons. One life, just like Dragon Fighter means you’ll be paying your dues and starting from Level 1, no matter how far you’ve gotten. Besides the supposedly authentic “Dragon Ball” flavor of the game (several of the characters’ names have been changed), there’s not much to recommend here. If the game didn’t have such poor hit detection, I’d say it could get by on charm and name value alone. I personally didn’t have the patience to suffer beating after beating nor did I care enough about “Dragon Ball” to power through Dragon Power. Worth it only for dedicated fans.


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3 replies on “#197 – Dragon Power”

This game is so fucking hard, and not in a fair or fun way. Not only is the hit detection wonky, but the fact that your life constantly depletes ala Adventure Island coupled with the fact that you have to replenish it with candy and food which is completely randomly generated and unreliable means you’ll often be running desperate to find food when you’re about to die and never finding any, while other times you’ll be showered with more food than you know what to do with. The fact that staying alive is entirely dependent on these random elements means the only way to get through is to be extremely lucky, which is horrid game design. It’s too bad, because this could be cool as the first Western-released Dragon Ball game if it wasn’t such an unfair nightmare.

I owned this one as a kid, and actually enjoyed it a lot… to this day, I still don’t know whether I had developed Stockholm Syndrome, or if I was just stupid. That being said, I eventually came to the conclusion of “fuck this game” after I FINALLY collected all of the Dragon Balls, assumed I had finished the game… and then learned LOL NOPE! There’s several more really hard levels after that!

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