Developer: Pipeworks Software
Release Date: November 20, 2007
When you think about it, Godzilla fans have had it easy this console generation.
While fans of many other licenses have had to sit through their series being run through the wringer, either by incompetent developers or misguided game design. Godzilla, however, has been in the capable hands Pipeworks Software, who managed to get it right the first time and build a decent Godzilla fighting engine right out of the gate. Said engine is a strange mix of Super Smash Bros. and Soul Calibur, and contains enough flexibility and authenticity that it really feels like you're duking it out with a bunch of 60-foot-tall monsters … with less sloth and clunkiness than such a concept might suggest.
A lot of you may be wondering about Godzilla Unleashed, which is understandable. The previous two games, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (which never made it to PS2) and Godzilla: Save the Earth, while both quality, were released with very little hype accompaniment. Here's a rundown of the fighting system to get you up to snuff.
Each monster has three levels of basic attacks, which you'll be using in a 3D arena (usually set up like a city, buildings and all). The monsters have little in the way of actual flashy special moves, but the ones they do have can be activated with directional taps followed by button taps — much like Mortal Kombat or any Japanese-produced 3D fighter you can name. Thus, it's very possible to work with the game's engine to perform juggles, grapples or to just knock a monster to the other side of a city. You can also chuck buildings, breathe fire (or sonic waves, or lasers, depending on which monster you're playing as) and generally wreck house. Whenever you're fighting, though, human defenses such as tanks and military choppers will be constantly hounding you. While their firepower is puny compared to yours, they can gradually whittle you down, so that's another valid threat with which you'll have to deal. It's all very satisfying stuff.
After playing around with the preview build, it would appear that aside from a few tweaks here and there, little has changed outside of what I've described above. The action's a little faster and fluid than before, though. Depending on your perspective, you can either call this being lazy, or sticking with what works. Either opinion's valid, but smashing things good is still fun regardless.
The game boasts over 20 monsters, including all of your favorites and a few obscurities. Anguirus, Godzilla 2000 (along with that horrid American '90s one that all Godzilla fans try to forget), King Ghidorah, the mechanical monster Kiryu, Megalon, Mothra, Rodan … pretty much everyone you've ever heard of in rubber monster-town is here, and then some. There's even an Ultraman-type superhero in here, if you're good enough at unlocking things. Players are invited to throw down with all of these freaks in up to four-player matches spanning some epic city locations, such as San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney and Tokyo (hey, never mess with the classics).
The big news this time around is the game's all-new Story Mode (first Dragonball, now this; is this becoming an Atari trend?), which allows you to play as a number of factions and creatures within each faction. Depending on which side you pick (you've got the Earth-Defending Monsters, Aliens, the Global Defense Force and Mutants), you can play as a number of Toho's stars in a quest to save the earth, destroy it or just take the darned thing over for yourself. Quests differ from monster to monster and faction to faction. They're also non-linear — you can tackle any mission any way you want, and based on both your choices and how well you do in each mission, more will open up, and objectives will change.
Arguably best of all, this game has language settings. You can set voices to English or Japanese or set subtitles on or off. This means that you can get the authenticity of watching a custom Godzilla flick anytime you want, with all of the cheesy Japanese dialogue that goes with it! Score!
Godzilla: Unleashed will be rising from the waters in about a week's time. If you've followed the games thus far, or even if you've just been a long-standing kaiju fan, mark this one on your radar. A proven fighting engine, a huge cast of monsters and a sprawling, branching story mode means zero disappointment.
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