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Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (NES) artwork

Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (NES) review

"Welcome to Godzilla 2, where every mission is a tedious uphill struggle against a collection of nearly undefeatable colossi. Not unless you want a jaw-jacking challenge with little reward will you find this game entertaining. The first mission will be enough to convince most to stop playing all together and forget that Toho ever developed their own Godzilla game."

The ghostly wailing of sirens pervades the city. Panicked citizens take to flight, leaving their homes and livelihoods to destruction. Titanic beasts emerge from the seas, skies and mountains, drawn to the towering power plants in Japan's industrial zones. They house no sympathy for humanity, and pay no heed to the concrete obstructions left all over Japan. The country, however, has learned to fight back. Rousing the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF), jets and tanks engage the monstrosities in combat in the hopes of saving their homeland and driving off the behemoths.

A sly smile forms on your face. The JSDF never wins against the monsters in the movies. Even here in Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters, you think taking them out will be no sweat.

...That is, until you realize you are the JSDF. Signals got crossed at Toho's headquarters, as they didn't realize the main pull in a Godzilla game is playing as Godzilla. The idea of controlling the military may not seem a bad concept on the surface, but anyone who's seen a Toho film or two knows it's a death sentence. Military scenes in kaiju flicks are there to emphasize the impotence of human weaponry against the massive antagonists that star in these films. In other words, you're screwed.

You gulp and pick the first mission, hoping it won't stay as true to the source material as you think it will. Godzilla emerges from the sea in the north, Baragon bursts up from the mountains in the south. Your only hope lies in your assortment of fighter jets and tanks, with a few squares designated for cities and bases for deploying more weapons. You send a jet against Godzilla and the screen shifts a la Shining Force. Into a new screen you go to do battle when a slot machine interrupts combat Three random symbols appear, each one signifying a temporary boost in either your stats or Godzilla's. Despite the blue crosshairs, denoting your increased hit rate, you miss Godzilla. He belts out a nasty wave of his blue radioactive breath and you let out an agonized squeak. Most of your HP vanishes from the meter, and with one blow you're almost dead.

You're determined to see this lizard go down. You send another jets, do the casino thing again, and this time manage to hit Godzilla. Not a single notch disappears or even dims on his ridiculously long health meter. With little effort, he dispatches both jets within a few turns. This is obviously a lost cause.

You send a small contingent down to meet Baragon, hoping this encounter won't prove as futile. Luck is on your side, as you nail a few jackpots and drop Baragon's HP slowly. Over several turns, you pump missile after missile into his armored body until the beast tunnels underground. You slump back in your chair and let out a long sigh of relief. You've driven off one of the monsters!

Godzilla 2 likes to tease you. It loves watching you seethe, throw a tantrum, toss the controller, and turn off the system in a fury, and it has the source material on its side. Of all the things that stayed true to the Godzilla franchise, Toho picked the two worst for this setup. For starters your JSDF weaponry is weak, as most monsters can easily pick off your pieces. Not only do you lack defense, but offense. Defeating even a single monster takes more turns than it should, and even making a dent in any monster's health requires an exhaustive amount of repeated attacking and hoping for good slot results. Oh, but the knock-out punch is coming. It's a lesser known fact that one of the special abilities that most Toho creatures, Godzilla included, possess is super regeneration.

Your little victory is short lived. Baragon burst out from the crags and roars in triumph, with all the HP you spent so many turns whittling away fully restored.

Welcome to Godzilla 2, where every mission is a tedious uphill struggle against a collection of nearly undefeatable colossi. Not unless you want a jaw-jacking challenge with little reward will you find this game entertaining. The first mission will be enough to convince most to stop playing all together and forget that Toho ever developed their own Godzilla game.

The concept, a tactical Godzilla game, is not the turn off. Defending Japan against men in rubber suits is a fresh idea, but would have been better played either with more capable weaponry and less slot machines. A balanced challenge, if you will. Toho could've also had you control Godzilla and a few of his buddies as they stomp major parts of Japan with the JSDF or some contrived alien force as the enemy. The occasional Godzilla villain like Gigan or Mechagodzilla could have appeared in a few missions as bosses. This is a no-brainer! Instead they wrought a title rife with far too much of an emphasis on luck.

Too much of a dependency on luck demeans the intellectual value of strategy. What's the good of formulating a plan if it hinges so much on the flip of a coin or the roll of a die? This is a delicate balance that the best strategy videogames, titles utilize luck and numbers, have mastered. Toho did not realize that part of what makes a luck-based game fun is that, despite stiff adversity, they are winnable. When you and your opponent are near equal planes in terms of strength, then it's your brains that will win the day and not your brawn. Never in games like Front Mission 3 or Gemfire or Fire Emblem did I feel that victory was out of reach. My failings in any of those games came as a result of bad strategy, and not because my opponent was outrageously overpowered.

You'll rarely hear me say this about any hard game, but Godzilla 2 is so difficult that it isn't entertaining. It's just tedious and infuriating.

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Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (February 15, 2012)

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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