DS Review

Godzilla: Unleashed

Fantastically ungainly, says Tom

As a child, with the exception of a few editions of the Beano comic, I was not much of comic book nut. It may be for this reason that the Godzilla craze sort of passed me without so much as a whisper. It would seem that with a die-hard fanbase the atomically charged Godzilla fiend cannot rest. Indeed my own interest has been somewhat heightened after watching one of his siblings cause havoc in the motion sickness inducing Cloverfield. With the thought of causing some havoc and mayhem on a global scale, I was ready to take the aforementioned behemoth for a spin.

It's not long into the game that you realise it is more capable of destroying your gaming soul than unleashing devastation on the unlucky chosen city. Upon loading you are forced to enter the Story Mode, in which you must first select a ground-based monster, not surprising that most will opt for Godzilla and then to choose an airbourne companion, I my case Mothra. So the story begins, or so I would like it to have done, but what follows is a jumble of incomprehensible screens that mention something about crystals from outer space crashing to earth subsequently changing the climate. There is some sort of father and son team working for the military to try and gain control of the situation via cut-scenes between levels but it is hard to follow. These are delivered in a mock anime approach that can be done well but in this instance just looks cheap. Something that is never explained is why the military is trying to take down Godzilla and chums when they are helping earth be rid of the invading beasts, but then, little does make sense in this title.

Then, with a slight drum roll, we reach the gameplay aspect. Unfortunately nothing improves here, indeed for what is the backbone of the title there is little to no enjoyment to be had. The setup has Godzilla located on the bottom screen with Mothra occupying the top. Only one monster can be utilised at one time with switching performed by the use of the shoulder buttons. What follows is some of the most tedious side-scrolling action I've ever played. Every level in the game follows the same pattern. Our ferocious fiends then battle an onslaught of planes and rocket-based ground attacks that can be swiped away with the use of a combination of melee attacks or the preferred beam/breath attack. With those pesky planes dealt with the demons must then destroy the crystal deposits situated in the host city. This involves some mind numbing combo action; you must continue to press the displayed button combos. These follow the pattern of B-Y-B, Y-Y-B, etc until fifteen or so are completed. Upon completion, the level carries on with the barrage of small aircraft fire until the level boss appears. Godzilla: Unleashed

These manifest themselves in the Godzilla enemies of more lizards, snakes and beasts. These invading enemies are defeated with a combination of sucker punch and some dodging, sometimes even that is not required as I found it possible to happily sit at the top of the screen, safe from the enemies the screen below and use my breath attack to slowly chip away at their health, a whole screen from the beast and the attack nowhere near it! Once the said beast is defeated another awful cut-scene is displayed and then the action continues in another city with exactly the same set up barring slightly different planes.

The single player will take about an hour and half to see through, in which you cannot save so it must be undertaken in one tedious session. Upon completing; survival, challenge and endurance modes are unavailable to test how long you can do each on the already played locations. The main reason for completing the game is so you can embark on the same story mode again but with some more unlocked characters: the joy never ceases. On top of this there is some concept art and gallery items that you can browse at your own leisure but since nothing is inspiring its not really worth spending much time over. In addition to the single player mode you can team up in a co-op mode to inflict boredom on some other helpless being as you both tackle the monsters.

I've not been playing the DS as long as some, but in that time I have played some truly great titles that have been well thought out and applied brilliantly to the two-screen touch device. I simply cannot understand the half-arsed approach that has been taken with Godzilla; I played more engaging games 15 years ago on the GameBoy. With every level taking exactly the same design but with a slightly different background it reaches new levels of repetition. The only slight appeal this might have is with younger gamers that can pair up in the co-op mode but fans of the Godzilla series should be furious that the mighty beast has put its name to this pile. The only marks I can award this are because somehow the developers managed to couple together something, get it to work and then have the audacity to pass it off as a game.

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