keskiviikko 24. lokakuuta 2012

REVIEW - Godzilla - Monster of Monsters! (1988)

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: December 1988


Godzilla might not cross every one of our Western folks' minds when it comes to the greatest movie monsters of our time, but in Japan, this huge, hideous creation of "the bomb" is a legendary standard on which pretty much all modern daikaiju literature, film and other media's based on. Godzilla has been the subject of many alternate backstories since the atomic bomb craze of the 50's toned down, and a 1988 video game - published by Toho, who to this day own rights for every piece of Japanese Godzilla media - couldn't use the original, so they made Godzilla Earth's guardian, a hero instead of a hulking monster with his mind set on destroying the planet, fighting off multiple intergalactic threats. This game, called Godzilla - Monster of Monsters!, is somewhat of a cult title, and I couldn't live without including it in this Monster Mash and using it to kick off a Godzilla mini-marathon. I could live without the game, though - not much of a surprise.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound...

On an unspecified date in the 21st century, Pluto and Neptune inexplicably switch positions, resulting in the emergence of Planet X. The inhabitants of Planet X, an army of monsters, declare war on Earth, and it's up to Earth's guardians Godzilla and Mothra to put an end to their march of destruction.

Let me tell you right now that I'm not doing this marathon out of fandom. I just thought it would be cool to do a mini-marathon on Godzilla like I once did with Dracula and Frankenstein, 'cause Godzilla is one of the most popular standards when it comes to movie monsters. I, myself, have never been a fan, and to be perfectly honest, every time I think of Godzilla, I can't get that moronic Matthew Broderick flick from 1998 out of my head. The only great Godzilla I know of is the namesake song by Blue Öyster Cult. So, forgive me for not really being ecstatic or even very knowledgeable about this issue. I know the 'Zilla basics, and I know the art of gameplay, and I think that in this case, that's all I need.

You know what would make this game a lot
better? Tokyo in ruins.
In short, Godzilla - Monster of Monsters! is an incredibly pointless, confusing mix of a side-scrolling beat 'em up, shoot 'em up, and a board game. It's not exactly ugly, but the semi-transparent characters are a little distracting and there's some serious lagging and glitching going on all the time, even when there's nothing too demanding happening on screen. The level design is dull beyond belief. The game carries on with the same copied and pasted backgrounds from the beginning to the end... which comes pretty fast, though, assuming you're interested after figuring out what the game's doing to you. I was expecting a lot out of the music after hearing the awesome, but horribly synced theme song, but all you get is a few simple loops once you get to the game.

So, what is the game doing to you? At first, Godzilla looks like just about the easiest game ever. Godzilla himself is so damn overpowered, over everything imaginable, and health power-ups pop up all the time. By beating one of the bosses - each of which is a monster from a Toho movie, which is actually pretty cool - you level up, which basically means even more maximum health for your non-consumption. You can't possibly imagine how far you can go by simply sliding through the level with Godzilla's tail in an offensive position! SLIDING!!! Mothra can fly and shoot projectiles, which are her assets... for once, you don't need these assets, though, since just busting your way with Godzilla by mashing - or simply holding - buttons is so God damn easy. Also, even if bosses are able to pin you down in a corner and mashkill you to ultimate defeat without you having any chance to defend yourself, which is one of the worst common bugs that ever plagued video games, in this game you can give them the same treatment! The bosses are complete pushovers. However, getting to them turns out hard quite quickly.

Flight control, this is Mothra. I'm getting shot
at. By what, I have no fucking clue.
Enter our favourite enemies: the invisible ones. I could stop this review right here and get to the next game without elaborating at all, and give this game a shit rating. I'll certainly pull the last stunt, but just to be fair, I'll tell you what's wrong. So, I'm walking - or flying - through an intergalactic battlefield I've seen about a hundred times already. Shit's flying from left and right, I'm getting shot at, but what's great about our big ugly is that he can slam projectiles to atoms with his fists and actually destroy just about every obstacle and hazard there is. Perhaps the invisible ones were a conscious choice then, to fuck with the player - can't destroy these, can't dodge them either. I'm watching my character twitching in place, getting his health drained, by something I do not see at all! OK, so Godzilla's dead, but I'm given the chance to redeem my game by using Mothra. I'll use her to fly over whatever the hell that was back there, right? Well, whatever it is, it's in the air, too. Game over, and I really do have to start over, after beating about a fourth of the whole game. In ten minutes, I might add. Well, I finally got over that part, but it turns out it wasn't the only one of its kind. Now I can end the review.

Seeing that the game was made by the very same people who had been doing everything revolving around "the monster of monsters" for over three decades already, I'm still not convinced to be missing a whole lot for not being a Godzilla fan. Godzilla - Monster of Monsters! has some fashion of authenticity when it comes to the visual side of character design, I'll give it that much, but it is not a good game. Moving on to the sequel, which I hear is wholly different, but expecting just as much.

+ The protagonists and antagonists make up for an interesting all-star daikaiju cast for fans
+ The theme song is sequenced terribly, but it has the potential to rock!

- Incredibly boring and repetitive in and out, for starters
- Laggy and twitchy
- The difficulty level switches between a soft breeze (just about every standard level and the pushover bosses) and near-impossible (invisible havoc), there's nothing in between
- The board on which you advance has no point to its existence, there's no strategy to this game

< 4.3 >

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