It could easily tide over Godzilla fans for a while, but it ultimately relies on the strength of its license to compensate for its weakness as a game.
Dating back to the 1950s, Godzilla is the undisputed king of movie monsters. This radioactive lizard is a world-renowned icon who may be campy but certainly deserves every ounce of his fame, and Japan's Toho Studios has created literally dozens of films with him in the starring role. In this day and age it's sometimes painfully apparent that proud Godzilla is really just a man in a rubber suit, but even after all these decades, you still can tell that tremendous effort and artistry must have gone into the making of these classic sci-fi films. The most well known of all of Godzilla's appearances has to be 1968's Destroy All Monsters, sort of a battle royal for Godzilla and his many terrific adversaries. It's this movie that was the inspiration for a 3D fighting game that hit the GameCube last year and has now been ported to the Xbox with few noticeable changes. In it, players can assume the roles of nearly a dozen giant monsters and try to defeat all their opponents, with little regard for the cities in which the battles take place. It's a great concept, and Godzilla nuts will find it irresistibly appealing. Unfortunately, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee turns out to be quite shallow, and while it could easily tide over Godzilla fans for a while, it ultimately relies on the strength of its license to compensate for its weakness as a game.
Destroy All Monsters Melee is simple and has elements in common with other multiplayer-focused beat-'em-up games like Capcom's Power Stone series or the recent Kung Fu Chaos. Generally speaking, though, it lacks these other games' smooth frame rates, its controls are pretty clunky, its collision detection doesn't look quite right, and the pacing of the action is a bit slow. Then again, none of those other games had Godzilla in them.
A number of different modes of play are available in Destroy All Monsters Melee, and while you might be inclined to cut straight to the four-player melee mode with a group of pals, you'll probably need to spend some time in the single-player adventure mode first. That's because initially just four monsters are selectable (which is one more than on the GameCube, actually): Godzilla (the '90s-era version), the spiny Anguirus, the buglike Megalon, and the evil cyborg Gigan. The rest must be unlocked by repeatedly slogging through the adventure mode, in which you'll always take on the tough Mecha Godzilla as the final boss. Beating him, much less getting to him, may prove to be overly difficult for those who aren't very experienced with fighting games. Unless you're playing on the easy setting, the computer fights dirty, often making a beeline for offscreen power-ups. Plus, you have only three chances to get through the adventure mode, and if you don't make it, you'll have to start over. There's also a versus mode for two players, a survival mode that puts more time pressure on you to defeat AI-controlled monsters, a team battle where you're only trying to defeat opposing team members, and a destruction mode where you try to wreak more havoc within a city than your opponent.
The Xbox version adds a single-player destruction mode that's pretty pointless, hooks for downloadable content, as well as a couple of new levels to fight in and another unlockable monster. While the game has a good number of modes, your goal in most of these is to pound your enemy (or enemies) into submission using your monster's various attacks. Battles generally take place in urban environments that look boundless but in fact have artificial borders that confine the action to a relatively small area. You're otherwise free to run (or in some cases fly) about the area as you see fit, knocking down buildings as you go.
Beyond giving you some freedom of movement, Destroy All Monsters Melee functions like a conventional, rudimentary 3D fighting game. There isn't a ton of variation between the different controllable monsters when you get past their distinct appearances, and a few of them are essentially identical. As any of the monsters, you can execute several different attacks at the touch of a button, and you can also block, fire a beam weapon, and pick up and toss your opponent. Throws, overhead hits, and sweeps can all be used to crack an opposing monster's defenses, and each monster also has a number of special moves that are extremely easy to execute just by moving the analog stick in a direction while pressing a button. Many attacks in Destroy All Monsters Melee cause the monster on the receiving end to go flying, and should you find yourself knocked down, you can execute a couple of recovery moves to keep the opponent from pursuing his attack. The frequent knockdowns add some drama to the proceedings, but since the game is filled with lumbering creatures that aren't exactly quick on their feet, you may find yourself annoyed at spending more time flopping around on the pavement than standing toe-to-toe with another monster.
- Player Reviews: 15
- Game Universe:
- Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (GC, XBOX, PS2),
- Godzilla the Series (GBC),
- Godzilla: Save the Earth (XBOX, PS2),
- Godzilla Unleashed (DS, PSP, WII, PS2),
- Godzilla: Domination! (GBA),
- Godzilla the Series: Monster Wars (GBC),
- Godzilla Generation Maximum Impact (DC),
- Godzilla Trading Battle (PS),
- Godzilla Generations (DC),
- Godzilla (GG, SAT, PBL)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: