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Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES) artwork

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES) review


"Godzilla: Monster of Monsters was the game I had been dreaming of as a child. What young Godzilla fan and budding b-movie enthusiast wouldn't want to play a game where you pound the pavement as Big G, smashing civilization, torching familiar faces of the rogues gallery like King Ghidorah and Gigan, and giving the JSDF a torturous migraine? The thought gave me a nerdgasm. "



Godzilla: Monster of Monsters was the game I had been dreaming of as a child. What young Godzilla fan and budding b-movie enthusiast wouldn't want to play a game where you pound the pavement as Big G, smashing civilization, torching familiar faces of the rogues gallery like King Ghidorah and Gigan, and giving the JSDF a torturous migraine? The thought gave me a nerdgasm.

All that washed away when I beheld the first screen and saw not a single building nor tank nor anything I would have ever imagined in a Godzilla game. Replacing the expected crumbling skyscrapers was a grid built of hexagons, Godzilla and Mothra chilling at one end and two other monsters waiting at the other end, chomping at the bit for a one-on-one beatdown. I had signed up for Rampage-except-not-boring, not Godzilla Tactics.

There's nothing actually tactical about this game. The grid was Compile's way of departing from standard fare platformers with which the NES was lousy. They had dreams, aspirations. They knew this would be a niche title and thought that more was expected of them and that they should give fans what they want and be original. The depressing reality is that had they acquiesced to making a basic platformer, they would have been better off.

Each hexagon is a different level, and each icon inside each hexagon denotes a different level type. By “different level type,” I really mean “different repetitive environments in the background.” Move Godzilla over two mountain hexes and he'll play two dull levels with mountains in the background and maybe the occasional rock formation in his way. There's nothing much to distinguish a mountain from a jungle from an enemy base.

Afraid you'll get lost? Here, I'll draw you a map:

_____________________________________________

That's the map for every level. There are no pitfalls, turns, corners, branches or anything interesting. All that separates one level from the next is the junk in the background and the randomly-placed enemies. Each level is a straightforward romp in which you must punch and kick your way past everything that moves, guiding your large awkward sprite past planes, tanks, giant serpents, phoenixes, and even some mini-boss battles with familiar Toho faces like the warship Gotengo and space monster Dogora.

You'll start off bored to tears and eventually end bored and frustrated. By the time you get to the second planet, you'll be bombarded with the many random enemies and their projectile. With Godzilla's size, there's no way to dodge even half the attacks and your life steadily plummets as a result. Whether or not you survive is dictated by whether or not you're able to get off your breath attack at just the right time to destroy any problem children on the screen.

The grids aren't tiny, either. Traversing one can take ages, and that's loads of tiresome vanilla side scrolling, loads of button mashing, swearing, sighing, and not a whit of building destruction, running people, bad dubbing, or anything else I came to associate with Godzilla as a kid. Except monster-on-monster rumbles.

The only hope remaining is in the boss battles, which you'd hope would be engaging and action-packed. You can imagine me, grabbing that controller, legs shaking with anticipation as I approach that odd-looking squid thing on the grid. The game asks me if I want to fight? I accept and at the end of my dull side scrolling I face:

Gezora

...a monster that never fought Godzilla. True, he's part of Toho, but not a very big name by any stretch. Were this professional wrestling, Gezora would be one of those nameless jobbers you see at the beginning of a show, usually in an untaped match and featuring a name like Mike Randall or Dan Herschell. Gezora's only ally is yet another jobber, a giant robot from The Mysterians called Moguera.

Compile wanted to reward the audience for stomaching the tedium. Last long enough and you'll see 8-bit renditions of your favorite monsters. This was actually the high point of the game, but still not worth the price of admission. Looking back on them now and the way it casts such familiar faces as Hedorah, MechaGodzilla, or Gigan in a retro-gaming light, it's like having two of my favorite childhood memories wrapped into one phenomenon. Sadly, the internet has spoiled the game's one grand achievement, as one could easily Google said game and see all the screenshots necessary. You could save yourself all the heartache of playing this game.

Other than all that, the boss battles are every bit as boring as the rest of the game. There's no strategy except to run in and and mash buttons like this was Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Kaiju. Eventually you'll prevail, Gezora will die, you'll gain a level with more energy to use your breath attack or more life. Repeat the process for Moguera, go to level the next level and fight the same two monsters again with the addition of Varan. Each level resurrects the previous beasties, but adds another one.

Once you've trounced the rubber-suited rejects, it's time to move Godzilla over that far off satellite dish and send him to the next level. Mission complete!

Except you forgot about Mothra.

Interesting thing: if you kill Mothra off at the start of the level and then finish it with Godzilla, you'll advance to the next level. But finish it with Godzilla first and kill Mothra off afterward, you'll get a game over. Nice one, Compile. Very logical.

Mothra will make you want to rip your eyes out and donate them to science. She flies, unlike Godzilla, and can advance through some levels with grace and ease. She can even move more hexagons than he can, and shoot projectile. Whenever she takes a hit, though, she makes an irritating noise and flies to the bottom left side of the screen, with repeatedly hits sending her repeatedly to the corner. Mothra has a tendency to die a lot, especially when put against bosses where she does next to crap for damage. If you don't beat a boss within a non-posted time limit, the match is declared a stalemate and the boss slightly re-energizes, and that's assuming you survive.

It leads up to the question: Why the hell did they bother putting Mothra in this game? She doesn't add anything, certainly not depth or personality or variety. She adds challenge, sure, but for all the wrong reasons. I doubt anyone enrolled in this affair hoping to play as the mythic moth deity, even she is a big name in the Toho kaiju world. They could have easily found another role for her outside of having to play her.

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters gets to walk away with the mediocrity award only because it works well as a fan service. It's stable and playable, but it's not in any way interesting beyond being a fan service. Playing through one planet can take forever, and with the dull gameplay it's not something you would want to play forever. If you're a modern day Godzilla fan, you might only want to consider playing this one with Game Genie, and even then be sure you have a code for the final stage. Bypass all the nonsense and just get a look at all the different monsters. Either that or just Google them. Or better yet, just skip this game and get your hands on an actually good Godzilla game like Destroy All Monsters Melee or Kaijuu Daikessen.

Oh My Godzilla! Reviews
Godzilla (Commodore 64)
Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES)
Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters

Rating: 5/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (February 13, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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