Godzilla Unleashed
Developer: Pipeworks
Publisher: Atari
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2, 1-4 with multitap
Words By:

Our world is on the brink of apocalyptic annihilation, havoc and destruction reign over our lands. The battle lines of gigantic proportions are drawn... Yeah right, well that’s the blurb from the box. Or a better description might be: If you've already played Save the Earth, don't bother buying this, because unless you strain your eyes really hard this is ostensibly the same game minus online play, and its graphics and gameplay might break your PS2’s ageing heart. But then again, there's a reason why I'm not in marketing...

Yep, and the same problems return with this “new” Godzilla title. There’s no real feeling of scale or power (in much the same way as the Transformers games) and the graphics are poor. No, they’re worse than poor, they look like ‘placeholder’ or storyboard graphics for a current generation game, and that won’t do even for the grand old PS2 I’m afraid.

Of course, the game's problems as perceived by me could be seen as strengths by hardcore Godzilla fans (and yes, they do exist). The monsters look like toys toddling round a toy city, but not well-modelled, or detailed, or animated toys. They don’t look like men in suits smashing up buildings made out of foam either – in fact that would have been an improvement, and given it some kitsch appeal. Godzilla Unleashed's is all about fighting various other gigantic monsters in the capital cities of the world. With crumbling buildings, and vaguely recognizable architecture that you can pick up and throw at your opponents, as well as teeny-weeny tanks and helicopters buzzing around it could have been entertaining, sadly it’s not.

Gameplay? Oh yes, it’s a button basher, plain and simple, to pretend anything else would be preposterous, and while I don’t wish to do a disservice to my cat’s gaming prowess, I’m sure he could manage to beat me in a few fights if I taped his paws to the joypad. The controls are basically this: Punches are thrown by pressing the ‘X’ button, kick attacks are ‘Square’. Your strong attack is executed with the ‘O’ and ‘Triangle’ is for blocking. The ‘L1’ button is the grab button, ‘R2’ is jump, and ‘R1’ fires your long range weapon. This setup took a while to get used to but the main problems are the game’s reaction speed, or rather, the lack of it. The constant requirement of punching, kicking and “fierce” attacks are terribly sluggish, and that means that there's very little or no skill or timing involved in the combat. Grabs and throwing buildings and opponents seems the best bet and does the most damage, although this also seems to be a hit and miss affair as you can be stood right next to a building and your monster will blankly refuse to latch on to it and pick it up… Aaaargh!

If you’re dedicated (or bored and lonely) enough, Unleashed may have one thing going for it, and that's the 20 or more monsters you can play as. Unfortunately, to unlock most of them you'll have to play through the story mode - again, and again, and again (and again). Yawn. So maybe hardcore fans would live through it, but they may lose their hair, eyesight, hearing, wives, girlfriends, families, pets, and the will to live etc. while they do it. Save The Earth’s best feature (online play), has also disappeared, meaning that there’s only a 2 player option, or 3 or 4 with a multitap (has anyone still got one of those?). And anyway, good luck finding anyone to play it with you.

We’ve seen even within the last year or so that the PS2, whilst definitely in its twilight years, can produce some impressive and pleasing visuals. Sadly Godzilla Unleashed’s developers Pipeworks seem unaware of this fact, and even worse, seem unaware of the core gameplay requirements that make a good smashing ‘n’ fighting game.

Best Bits

- Umm…
- 20+ monsters to play with?
Worst Bits

- Poor graphics
- Poor sound
- And unforgivably, poor gameplay

by: Jensen Buttons

Copyright © Gamecell 2008