In every generation, there is a rather large radioactive mutant that goes on marches of rampant destruction and mayhem. They knock down buildings, crush expensive government equipment, laugh in the face of pitiful military technology, and more often than not fight other large monsters. This genre has been spearheaded by none other than a certain Japanese mass of rubber and clay...err, I mean flesh and uranium. That's right, it's Godzilla. For obvious reasons, however, large radioactive mutants don't often feature in video games. Don't get me wrong, there have been some attempts. Godzilla has been featured in a few action games on systems past. There's also Rampage, although that game focused more on the mindless destruction aspect of giant creature films. One of the first true monster fighters was the obscure King of the Monsters for the Super NES. However, many would prefer just to forget about that game. It appeared for quite some time that gaming just wasn't ready for giant monsters.
Then along comes Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. Thanks to modern polygon processing power and other such graphical revolutions, we are presented with 11 monsters in full 3D, thrown mercilessly into an interactive environment. Each monster is equipped with it's own unique abilities (well, most are unique, but we'll get to that later), as well as the standard punches, kicks, grabs, blocks, and so on. In these ways the game is reminiscent of Super Smash Bros, Power Stone, and the like. There are no fancy multi-button combos or 20+ hit attacks. As far as basic moves go, you get as many moves as you can make out of three attack buttons and four directions. Though this game isn't so much about moves as it is strategy. By no means can you afford to just punch and kick in place and expect to win. Godzilla Melee's levels are pretty expansive (or at least as expansive as you can expect when two 150 ft-tall monsters are taking up the screen), and your opponent will have every opportunity to pummel you from afar if you stand around for even a second. Each character is also equipped with their own special attacks. They mostly fall into the uranium-heat beam category, but each is different in one way or another.
The game's control is what you would expect from anything the size of Godzilla - a bit sluggish. While speed varies to a degree between monsters, even the fast ones come up short on just about everything from walking to reaction time. This is to be expected, as we are talking about large, sluggish beasts after all. Then add in towering skyscrapers and other large obstacles, and you will soon find that giant monsters just weren't meant for urban life. Thus, everything in the game happens a bit more slowly than you'd expect from the average fighter. Patient gamers need only apply. On a higher note, the monsters are well-balanced for the most part and there are no particular characters who will consistently dominate.
The graphics are largely pleasing to the eyes. The monsters generally look believable (more than in the movies, anyway). Up close their textures start to look a bit bland, but not blindingly so. The developers remained very true to the movies, equipping each monster with their own sound effects and specials from the movies. The music as another story, however music isn't pivotal in mindless destruction games. The main thing is to avoid being distracted by it, and this game's music manages to stay largely unnoticed. More obvious are the calls of the monsters, the crashing sounds of toppled buildings, and the voices of military people on walkie-talkies which serve to warn you if there are any meddling humans nearby.
Speaking of toppled buildings and meddling humans, Godzilla's interactive environment has a lot to offer if you like things to be unpredictable. Each level has it's own layout, some with more obstacles and objects than others. All are populated by aliens and varying forms of human weaponry, and a few have their own unique surprises. Monster Island, for instance, has a large arena covered by molten rocks that will slowly depleat a monster's health if stood on.
Overall, Destroy All Monsters is a fun and simple title that makes up for it's lack of replay value with it's value as a multiplayer title.Back