Godzilla has never had much luck with games. From his Dreamcast and Gamecube appearances and as far back as the C64, games with the name of the mighty lizard seem to be almost bearing a warning; “Stay away, lest you end up screeching like the eponymous beast”.
While his films are far from cinematic masterpieces, they can definitely be enjoyed. Comedic dubbing and amusing costumes go a long way in producing an entertaining flick. The same cannot be said for video games. If you are shelling out 50 bucks for a game, a few cheap laughs not justify the purchase. Considering what else can be done with the money, those laughs are more likely to be whimpers as you realize you have purchased another turkey.
It is quite ironic that the best Godzilla games aren't affiliated with him. Rampage and Global Defence Force spring to mind as fun romps that are inspired by his exploits. They instill a feeling of being in a ‘monster movie done right’. Indeed, for a no-frills slice of gameplay, the budget title Global Defence Force cannot be faulted. But here is the good news: Global Defence Force and Godzilla Unleashed share some similarities.
Both have a budget look, take you to locations all over the world and contain simple 'destroy all enemies' missions. The biggest difference seems to be that Godzilla Unleashed forgot to bring the budget price tag and compelling gameplay. It is only natural for a full priced game to be under much more scrutiny than its budget kin.
Godzilla Unleashed is an arena beat-em-up, where Godzilla and his super-sized chums are dropped into locales such as London, Sydney and Tokyo. Each of these offers a familiar and colorful location in which you have the pleasant task of fighting to the death. It is an obvious setup and seems like a sure-fire success. Unfortunately, it falls flat on a number of levels.
The frame rate is highly suspect. Whether you are rotating the camera, moving characters or using special attacks, everything seems jittery and slower than it should. The jerky animations certainly don't help matters. Perhaps partly because of this, attacks just feel inadequate. Here we have giant beasts laying into each other, but they barely seem to flinch from each others blows. I had long given up the hope of seeing anything impressive, and suddenly I punched one enemy and he flew all the way across the level. I have no idea how this happened or why, but it did. Inconsistency, thy name is Godzilla Unleashed.
Even the throws are wimpy. Anybody who has seen a Godzilla flick will remember a sequence where one monster grabs another and swings it around for a few seconds before hurling it miles away. These throws are in the game, they just have no...throw to them. A better name would perhaps be 'drops'. Whether it is Godzilla, Baragon, Ghidora, Rodan, or any other character in this game, they all throw like sissies. It is bizarre and just looks naff.
Of course, these lame throws could be because every character (and I have unlocked them all) controls like lead. There is a fine line between a character moving with weight and a character handling like frozen treacle. Godzilla Unleashed controls like the latter. How characters control like oil tankers while their attacks have the impact of feathers is a mystery to me.
While on the subject of controls and attacks, the controls are interesting. The game appears to have a set of moves that vary depending on whether you are holding different directions on the analogue stick, but the camera is so erratic that it decides attacks at random. The only constant attacks are the 'throws'. They are mapped to the L2 button and, once opponents are held in the air, a press of X, Square or O will perform different drops. It is possible to block with Triangle, but blocking seems to have no real effect on how much damage characters take.
No Pros and Cons at this time