Godzilla fans are a strange lot. They put up with a lot of abuse as far as their favorite character is concerned. Kaiju fans are different than other traditional geeks in this sense. While Star Trek or D & D nerds tend to take their hobby extremely seriously to the point where they feel compelled to dress up as various fictional characters in bad costumes and cheap make-up and strut their lameness in public, Kaiju fans understand that a fondness of men in Giant rubber monster suits rolling around with each other is at best slightly embarrassing, and at worst could be construed to say negative things about one's sanity and sexuality. One has to have a decent sense of humor when one becomes obsessed with what is essentially a glorified muppet show with explosions, and thus when people make fun of the genre you don't hear the same kind of whiney lameness that you do from other groups. That's why you'll never see someone in a jury wearing a Godzilla suit.
Nowhere is this tolerance for crappy product more evident than in games. For the most part if a game stars a Japanese giant monster that's a good signal that the game is going to suck donkey balls for the most part. Pretty much all Godzilla games before Domination bite the big one (with the exception of a few TG16 and Snes fighting games,) or at the least do not adequately fulfill the expectations one would have of a game that stars a giant monster. You would think said monster would destroy stuff and step on people instead of slowly navigating overworld maps or plodding left to right with half his body missing. You would be wrong.
Which brings us to our current review. This particular entry in the Godzilla world of bad video games actually does a pretty good job of not sucking for the most part. However those expecting to destroy cities and mangle crowds of innocent people fleeing your unstoppable tidal wave of radioactive death will be disappointed.
The game starts off with some very well drawn full screen portraits of various monsters, Godzilla, Rodan, Baragon, Mechagodzilla, Hedorah, which makes you think there might actually be some asskicking in this game. Then you hit the start button and find out it's actually a cutesy platform/puzzle title with creepy little marshmallow versions of said monsters. Thing is the box artwork gives absolutely no indication of this. I'm sure more than one person felt a little ripped off.
In the game you're a tiny little Super Deformed Godzilla that looks more like Bub or Bob from Bust A Move than the king of the monsters. What is the Japanese obsession with turning otherwise menacing characters into curtsey little munchkin versions of themselves? They do it with everything over there - Gundam, Ultraman, politicians, sports figures, Freddy Krueger, etc. It's like if I drew a big headed midget version of Adolph Hitler they would put it in a kiddie show. Must be one of those cultural idiosyncrasies that don't translate well. Anyway..
Your goal is save Minya the baby monster, which consists of you smashing a bunch of rocks across an ungodly amount of levels. Not much of a plot, but it makes as much sense as evil western robots from the future who mutate their pet bats into a giant three headed dragon (Godzilla Vs.King Ghidora,) a pharmaceutical company bringing back a gigantic gorilla as a publicity stunt (King Kong vs. Godzilla,) or talking Cockroaches that build an amusement park in their first step in their plan for world domination (Godzilla vs. Gigan.) Please remember that I actually like these movies.
As you smash rocks the bad guy monsters attempt to kill you by running into you. Baragon and Angilas just charge you down and can be beaten by punching them. Hedorah is invincible and will only be knocked back a bit, but you can kill him by dropping a rock on his head. Rodan flies at you from strange angles, forcing you to run away until you can get a clear shot at him. Waste too much time and King Ghidorah shows up, who is invincible. The levels are laid out pretty simple, climb up on vines, smash rocks, dodge falling rocks, etc, all set to happy-scrappy 8-bit music that makes you feel like doing a little monster jig in your head. The puzzles do get pretty tough after the first 20 or so (there's a ridiculous amount of them, like over 100.) Smash all the rocks and you uncover an arrow which shows which way to proceed on the overhead "map," and you better pay attention to this else you'll end up inadvertently redoing levels you've already completed.
There is one level where as soon as it starts a rock falls on you and kills you. I don't know what's up with that.
Overall it's a well thought out puzzle game with light platforming elements, not really much in the way of action, aliens, or enemy monsters dying in a huge explosion after you fry them to death with your radioactive beam while hundreds of trapped people instantly eat it as the whole building they're in spontaneously explodes, but it's fun nonetheless.
Graphics: Tiny little midget mushroom versions of our favorite giant monsters. They are at least clear and animate well. The rest of the levels aren't much to look at but you can tell what everything is at first sight, unlike some other Gameboy games out there.
Sound: Happy, happy music that will infect your soul.
Gameplay: Tight puzzles that ramp up with a good difficulty curve. The other monsters don't have much A. I. to speak of (and in fact just make a beeline for you.) However that also means they fall into your traps quite easily. Not much action to speak of, but punching out Angilas or crushing Hedorah to death under a giant rock is pretty satisfying.
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