Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku is an action/adventure RPG based on Dragon Ball Z. The game was developed by Webfoot Technologies, the first American company to make a Dragon Ball Z video game for the Game Boy Advance.
The Legacy of Goku is the first game in The Legacy of Goku series, its sequels being Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II and Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury, respectively. The package cover is an original illustration commissioned by Toei specifically for this game, and there is also an original poster packaged in the game box.
The game starts out at the beginning of the Dragon Ball Z series, when Goku visits his childhood friends Bulma, Krillin, Master Roshi and Turtle at the Kame House with his son, Gohan. Roshi has lost three of his Dirty Magazines on his island, so Goku must retrieve all magazines for him. Immediately after, Raditz arrives on the island and kidnaps Gohan. Goku starts his quest to rescue his son at his house in the woods. There, he meets an old man who somehow got trapped on a little island and is unable to get back; Goku has to collect several stones to make a way for the man to cross the river. He meets Chiaotzu and Tien Shinhan, who give him experience points. He also meets a mother pterodactyl whose egg has been stolen by an enemy pterodactyl. Goku says he understands how she feels and retrieves her egg.
Then, Goku arrives at a village located south of Spinach Wastes. The village elder wants Goku to solve problems in the village before letting him go to the north. In the village, Goku has to find Sue, a little girl has been gone missing, and bring her back to her parents. He has to get flowers for the boy who is in love with Sue, and he has to get a boat back for a boy that his older brother Cory thrown on an island. Goku also meets Yamcha and Puar who give him experience points. Finally, the elder wants Goku to retrieve his cat Neko that has gone missing. Once his cat retrieved, the elder teaches Goku the Solar Flare. Now, Goku fights with Raditz. When Raditz is defeated, Goku grabs him and Piccolo use his Special Beam Cannon, killing the two brothers at the same time.
In the Other World with Kami, Goku meets King Yemma and then travels on the Snake Way in order to train with King Kai. He meets Princess Snake in the middle of the Snake Way, who wants to eat him. Unlike the anime, Princess Snake never transforms into her snake form. Shortly after, Goku falls down into Hell where he has to collect lost spirits and bring them back to an Ogre outside of the Health and Fitness Center. Also, he meets Goz and Mez, and has to catch Mez in order to get out of Hell, as in the anime. Goku, being as hungry as he is, returns to the Yemma tree and picks up the apple to eat, when Mez shows up, telling Goku that only Yemma is allowed to eat that fruit. Goku tricks him, and catches him. Now, Mez opens up a crack so that Goku can get back to Snake Way. On King Kai's planet, Goku has to catch Bubbles and hit Gregory with a mallet. After this, King Kai teaches Goku the Kamehameha.
Back on Earth, Goku has to go through Kami's Lookout, a snowy area, and a city in order to join the area where Gohan and Krillin fight Nappa. At the snowy area, he has to save a boy up on a rock, because some wolves scared him over there, and bring him back to his mother in the city. In one of the houses in the city, a man that looks like Sherman Priest asks for capsules. There is also a bank robbery going on, the police are not doing anything and they count on Goku to kill the Bank Robbers. Goku travels through a Military Base to finally reaches Gohan and Krillin. Everyone else seems to have been killed by the Saiyans. Goku beats Nappa, and then Vegeta. After Vegeta is defeated, he transforms into a Great Ape and crushes Goku. Yajirobe appears and cuts off Vegeta's tail. Just after that, Gohan transforms as well and attacks Vegeta. Another cutscene ensues, with Goku telling Krillin to spare Vegeta's life. Vegeta takes advantage of this and heads off to Planet Namek.
After recovering from the injuries suffered in his battle with Vegeta, Goku arrives at Namek to help his friends gather the Namekian Dragon Balls in order to revive their dead friends. There, Goku meets a Namekian who pleads that he plants any saplings he finds on the planet, as it is the Namekian's only hope for the future. At another Namekian's request, he has to find three precious artifacts and place them in their protective pedestals in the heart of a Namekian temple. After this, Goku gets to Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta and fights the Ginyu Force (without Guldo). Then, he goes through an outpost for Frieza's forces to find Frieza's spaceship in order to heal himself in a Rejuvenation chamber and prepare for the battle against Frieza. After recovering, Goku proceeds to fight Frieza in all four forms (in the manga and anime, he only fights Frieza in his fourth form). Upon reaching his fourth form, Frieza kills Krillin, triggering Goku's Super Saiyan transformation. After Frieza is defeated, Goku barely manages to escape Planet Namek using one of the Ginyu Force space pods (although this is never shown). The game ends after the battle against Frieza, as the remaining Dragon Ball Z sagas are played out in the second and third games in the series.
- Princess Snake (Optional battle)
- Frieza (1st Form, 2nd Form, 3rd Form, Final Form)
The game, which was geared toward younger children, received negative reviews from the press and die-hard gamers who were expecting a more sophisticated experience. However, the game sold 1.4 million copies in United States making it a huge success for Atari.
Some of the most common critical gripes of this game are:
- Goku starts out ridiculously weak for someone who had previously won the World Martial Arts Tournament, to the point where even a common wolf can prove a challenge.
- Tedious chore-like quests (including retrieving a toy boat for a child), some of which were performed in between Raditz' kidnapping of Gohan, and Goku's subsequent rescue, which Goku should have done consecutively.
- Various contradictions to the manga and anime, ranging from the Kamehameha being taught by King Kai to Goku and fighting Frieza in all four forms.
- Poor graphical use; often, the player will try to fly somewhere, only to run into an invisible barrier, while wasting flight charges every second.
- If the player flies into a ki blast, the player will be invincible. No enemies will attack, however they will still follow Goku. This is deactivated when the player flies again.
- This is the only game in the Legacy of Goku series to not feature any movie characters as boss characters. Cooler is an optional boss in The Legacy of Goku II, and Broly and Janemba are boss characters in Buu's Fury (Gogeta could also be used as a playable character through fusion).
- This is the only game in the Legacy of Goku series that has actual cheat codes such as an invincibility code. The code of invincibility can be used by pressing up, down, left, right, B, A.
- Despite the game taking place during the Saiyan Saga and Namek Saga, Yamcha's sprite depicts him with his short hair from the Androids Saga. Yamcha's talking portrait correctly features his long hair from the Saiyan Saga.
- The game features an original piano/synth soundtrack by Ariel Gross. The next two games in the Legacy of Goku series would instead use music from Bruce Faulconer's FUNimation dub score.