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Godzilla: The Series
Review By: Lyenhardt
Developer:   Crawfish
Publisher:   Crave
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Action
ESRB:    Everyone
Date Posted:    5-15-00

Godzilla. The age-old, titanic lizard returns to the game's scene once again. However, this time, this Godzilla derives from the animated cartoon series. While it is a bit different than the traditional Godzilla, it still has the same roots of that ferocious dino-lizard we all know and love. This game features the gargantuan Godzilla, a group of scientists exploring strange events across the globe, lots of military arsenal, and much, much more.

As controller of Godzilla, monster-lizard supreme, your mission at first is to basically defeat the monsters that are being unleashed upon the city and the surrounding area (who else can defeat three hundred foot monsters?). You go through environments such as cities, jungles, shallow waters and deep waters, etc., fighting off mysterious military vehicles that are sent to attack our protagonist, Godzilla. At the middle and end of each stage, you are pitted against another huge monster. From just simply saving the city, the story unfolds (although rather shallowly. Can't expect much from a GBC game...) into finding out what is causing these attacks on Godzilla, and who the hell is behind all of this mayhem. While you are playing, some talk sequences go on, as the H.E.A.T team follows Godzilla along the way. Also, talk sequences help move the ankle-deep story at the end of each stage, too.

The gameplay mechanics are very straightforward. At the beginning of the game, you start out with only a few skills (only one skill on hard mode). Also, you start with a rather small health meter. As Godzilla progresses through the game and kills enemies, he learns the rest of his skills, and those skills gain 'levels', becoming more powerful, able to reach/hit longer distance enemies, and faster to execute. Your health meter also rises along with your skills, making it harder to kill the big lizard. Here is the list of skills Godzilla can learn/do: Fireball, Foot Stomp, Claw Swipe, Bite, Tail Swipe, and Block. Fireballs are available to use at the beginning of the game, and are shot in a wide variety of angles. They are long distance, and are pretty effective on all enemies alike. However, these have a meter of their own, and can be used up. But, the meter automatically fills up on its own; the Foot Stomp kills enemies only on the ground. It's mainly good for killing the human enemies, as it is easy to take them out in one massive stomp; the Claw Swipe is very effective on enemies striking from mid-screen range; the Bite is good for enemies that are head-level with Godzilla, and are close. It is also good for armored enemies; the Tail Swipe is a devastating attack to kill mid-screen enemies, and is also very slow and hard to recover from after using it; Blocking isn't an attack, just more of a defense. When Godzilla blocks, the damage is reduced by ninety percent. This to has a meter. When depleted, Godzilla cannot block until it restores, and it depletes rather quickly as you hold down the block button. This is the only skill that does not gain 'levels', and remains the same throughout the game.

With the aforementioned abilities, you must hone them wisely and accurately to guide Godzilla through the environments of the game. The action is 'consistent 2-D side-scrolling', meaning that the screen scrolls sideways at all times on its own. Godzilla cannot be manipulated to move forward, backwards, or sideways, as the screen carries you along the way automatically. Enemies range from heavy artillery tanks and helicopters, to evil aquatic life. They attack Godzilla from a wide frame of 'height levels', which means they attack from the top, mid, or bottom levels of the screen as an example. They can either come from behind Godzilla, in front of him, or above him to attack you. Depending on what 'level' they attack, you must incorporate the right skill to attack them with to be most effective. For example, using the Claw Swipe or Tail Swipe ability on a human character that is on the ground will prove ineffective, but a Foot Stomp would be more effective. Godzilla's life, or energy, is represented by a meter at the bottom of the screen. This meter will fill up gradually when Godzilla is injured, signifying self-rejuvination. As you progress farther on into the stages, you will fight it out with big monsters that are hell-bent on destroying things. The boss battles are fought with the screen not moving, unlike the stages you must go through with the screen constantly moving. In fact, you stand still and basically hit the big monster with attacks non-stop. You will have to fight that particular monster about two times per stage, and the last time signifies the end of the stage. After that, you are given a password, the method of continuing your game, and the next stage soon begins.

Godzilla's gameplay is of dull taste and innovation. Once you play this game, you will get the feeling that you have played an entity of this game before. One of the handfuls of problems with the game is the repetitive action. You scroll through the environments with a numbed lull, shooting, and stomping, and clawing, and swiping away at the many enemies that attack you. This just gets plain trite and repetitious after a while, doing the same thing throughout all of the stages, over, and over, and over. Also, at the end of the stages, you fight the boss of that stage. Godzilla remains still, as does the monster, and both of you basically swap hits. For most of the monsters, no real strategy is involved, as you can block and shoot a fireball at it. These battles also limit you on the abilities you can use for that battle. Mostly, you'll find yourself shooting fireballs at the boss. Even the game's controls are unresponsive and fairly bad. You can try to execute some attacks, and then a second or two later, the attack will execute (this especially happens if you are trying to perform combo moves when multiple enemies are coming at you from different height levels.), and sometimes, the attacks won't even execute at all. This can cost you some much needed health, as it is vital to stay healthy on hard-mode. And let me not forget to mention the storyline and dialogue. While they made an effort to obtain some humor along with the games little dialogue, the game fails at making someone laugh. Heck, you'll even get confused at times when, at least once in the game during a boss battle, the game splits from the fervid action all of a sudden to a dialogue sequence that gets you totally lost. The characters in the game even go out of their way for a while talking about the New York Mets, and that is just inappropriate for the type of situation and game.

On the flipside, this game does sport some good things about it. Godzilla's movesets are simple minded, but are effective nonetheless. They get the job done quite well, and without too much hassle. The controls, being unresponsive and a bit hard to get used to, are rather easy to manipulate once you set the pattern in your head. As for the storyline, it is obvious, straighforward, and somewhat "cheesy", but it does hold a small grip on you through the game. Overall, Godzilla's gameplay mechanics are simple and not just not innovative enough to make this game a worthy contender compared to the standards of the innovators of the GBC.

The visuals presented in Godzilla are mightily impressive indeed. I caught myself glancing around and raising my eyebrows a couple of times at some of the things in Godzilla. To begin with, the movements of the G-man are outstanding, achieving stunning complexity and beauty. He moves, in the game, just like a big lizard monster would. From the massive ground stomping, to the biting attack, it should impress you a little. All of the great movements are from the skills Godzilla knows, and even the beginning intro of the game sports a small scene of a slight impressing quality in accordance to motion. Expect to see some fluid and believable movements from such a big lizard. Not only is the motion of the G-man impressive, the backgrounds are, too. The appealing quality of the backgrounds is the vast variety in them. Unlike many other Game Boy titles, Godzilla shows you, the player, a decent variety of backgrounds. It really doesn't 'repeat' the backgrounds like most games do. Also, you'll be happy to hear that this game shows no sign of graphical flaws. Godzilla is probably the biggest character in any Game Boy game ever, and even with that factor riding the CPU, and the lavish color-palette and detailed backgrounds, there are STILL no bad graphical slowdown, glitches, or any of that dirt. Even the intro is well done. :)

Musically, this game is...umm…bad! There is no music in the gameplay whatsoever! (it does though during the intro and the ending, the same score!) You play the monotonous stages with no music at all. This hurts the game because you are forced to listen to the dull drumming of Godzilla's feet, up and down...up and down...up and down... through the whole stage. If music was added into the game, it would have made it that more enjoyable to play through (and you do get pretty bored). The sound effects are executed well, with the exception of a few of the sound effects. Also, some of the sfx just get plain old and boring, especially the stride of Godzilla. There are even some sound glitches on the stage, or so it seems. Sometimes sound effects will pop up at random when there is clearly no enemies on the screen, and this 'sound glitch' is mostly associated with the sfx of "enemy fire", or, bullet attacks.

Godzilla's legacy will always live on through the entertainment industries, be it the movies or videogames. With the newest installment to Godzilla's legacy, it does fall short, as have some of his previous entities before. Nevertheless, the game does have a few redeeming qualities, but not many. If you are a die-hard fan of the animated series, you'll definitely want to check this title out. It might be at least worth to play through one time. However, you will most likely want to avoid this game at all costs, because it just has too many flaws outside of the technicality of the game.

Overall: 5.1

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