Welcome to Godzilla in Gaming, a series looking at Kaiju in gaming from the past, present, and what the future could hold. Entries in this series can including video games, tabletop games, and really any interactive Kaiju experience outside of film, TV, and rides.
First up, the 1990 Godzilla for Nintendo’s Gameboy handheld console.
I bought this cart off eBay several years ago and never even bothered to play it. I just wanted it in my collection. Now it’s time to fire up my trusty Gameboy Advance SP which I’ve had for some 15 years now and get my Godzilla on!
The game boots up to show Godzilla. Leave the screen for a short while and a cheerfully tune plays as pictures of the various kaiju are displayed. A cute little version of the kaiju moves along the both to display their name. So far so good. The art work looks pretty cool, but the music isn’t what I’d associate with Godzilla. Let’s start the game and see what it’s all about…
Well. Here I am. The King of the monsters, I am climbing vines and punching boulders…wait, what? Cute little Baragon and Rodan are coming after me and I just punch them to destroy them. Hedorah on the other hand appears to be invincible. I let him kill me and start the stage again, this time I punch a boulder off a ledge to crush Hedorah, kill the remaining monsters and two blocks with arrows appear, I walk into one and that’s the exit. Do I have to kill Hedorah with a rock on each stage? Will there be a boss battle? Let me continue to play…
Ok, so all I have to do is destroy all the boulders. Most of my enemies fall with a single punch, but Hedorah appears to be invincible again. This is most frustrating when he is in the way of a boulder. I can’t jump over him, and I can’t punch through him, so I have to restart the level.
As I continue to play it’s clear that this is actually a sort of puzzle game. The enemies continue to pour out of a tunnel and a timer ticks down. I have to destroy these boulders as quickly as possible and fight off the kaiju as they approach (with my fists). When the time runs out Ghidorah comes for you, and he can fly through all scenery! Some boulders also seem to randomly contain an item which freezes time briefly. That cheerful music also continues to play like something out of Bubble Bobble.
Well now I’m stumped. A bunch of boulders are inside an area surrounded by blocks, but I can’t destroy the blocks with my fists. Vines are all around allowing me to climb all around the area. I have no idea what I’m meant to do! However, by pressing some buttons looking for a save slot I’ve come across a few things. You can pause the game with the start button. This allows you to look around the map, I guess this would be to plan ahead as soon as the game starts. This current level has me thinking I need to use these boulders to somehow destroy the blocks I just don’t know how. I’m going to YouTube it…and now I’ve solved the puzzle. I could climb down a gap. Doh! Even worse, discovered I can kill myself with a rock ha-ha! Something new happened too. An image of Rodan appeared, then it told me I need destroy boulders to advance…this would have been handy at the start! Despite this, nothing has actually changed.
Time to take a break. Let’s see what options there are. There is an option called ‘Entire Plan’. This shows a screen of 64 squares, this would appear to indicate all the levels in the game. They all show arrows, so you can effectively ‘choose your path’ through the game. My final option is ‘Password’. I have two further options here. Password 4 or Password 18. These are either 4 or 18 letters that will save my progress…I’ve googled it. The 4 character password saves my position on the map, with the 18 saving the revealed map points. I’m not sure why you would only want to save your position as that suggests you might have to replay previous levels?? I’ll have to play around with this a bit more! I can confirm Google was right. But I could continue from the level, so it didn’t seem to matter not having the full history.
Throughout the game we seem get an image of various kaiju and a little hint or comment. But there have been no boss battles, just room after room of puzzle. Once you finally get to the end, *spoilers* Minilla says “Thank you”. No reason to replay!
I’m not going to give this or other titles a score. I think all my mumbling are enough to get my view across. So, in summary this is a simple puzzle game that was probably given a Godzilla skin in the hope it would achieve better sales. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, if you like this type of game then check it out, but when you think King of the Monsters, you don’t think punching blocks!