Released back in 1988 Japan, making its way to Europe in 1991, this was Godzilla’s first entry on to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I remember playing this back when I was a kid. Whilst I was a PC gamer, a friend of mine had an NES and picked up this game. I was over like a shot lol We took turns playing this game for ages. Absolutely loved it! Still have fond memories and hearing the music gives me goose bumps. I’m telling you this because I have great nostalgia for this game, and therefore this review should be taken with a pinch of salt!
Ok, so booting it up and you are greeted with a picture of Godzilla in an awesome pose and epic music (for an 8-bit game). There is a basic cut scene explaining that Planet X has sent a declaration of war, Godzilla and Mothra are our guardians to fight the army of space monsters.
Now we are greeted with a hexagonal map. There are two enemies one side, Godzilla and Mothra the other, with different titles in-between, i.e. a blackhole, plants, mountains. These are the level types you’ll be playing on. You choose your character and can move 2 spaces as Godzilla or 4 as Mothra. Confirm your choice of tile and the game begins!
What we have here is a very basic side scroller. Being on the NES you only had two buttons plus start and select. So you can kick and punch, or if you duck down you can use your tail. You can also jump by pressing up and the select button lets you use your atomic breath which recharges over time or there are orbs you can collect to recharge quicker. This sounds great right, you are Godzilla (or Mothra) battling you way through various alien levels. Well, this is where I snap out of my nostalgia. This is nothing but frustrating! Maybe I’m just getting old, but trying to avoid or destroy the projectiles is not going well, and having to destroy all these rocks so I can walk is getting annoying. I don’t really feel like the king of the monsters anymore. Mothra on the other hand can fly over all these pesky rocks, but when you get hit you get knocked down, and I found times where I was just stuck from attack after attack until I died.
Now I’m sure I did better as a kid, and there are play throughs on YouTube of people completing this game without dying once. So it could be that I’m just not that good at this game, but my opinion at this time is that it’s unnecessarily hard, and that detracts from the fun significantly. Anyway, once you’ve done a level the enemy gets a turn to move on the map and will head straight to you. Once you finally meet you get to fight. Now the two legendary kaiju are going to battle! It’s just the two of you, literally, there is no background, it’s all black. This is something I never even thought about as a kid, but now it stands out as a really bizarre design choice. Even more frustrating is that the boss can just leave the fight. A message pops up saying they’ve decided it best to live and fight another day, so they just leave the map. The battle is very basic, just like the normal levels. The graphics are good (again, for the time), but animation was so limited then, and with no city or even planet in sight, the impact of what should be an epic battle is somewhat lost.
As you complete more battles you will level up, this increases your health and power bars. Something you’ll definitely need for the later levels and bosses. There is no other progression, but I’m actually surprised they even had this feature.
Much like the games of this era if you want to save, you can’t in the modern day sense. It wouldn’t remember which tile (stage) you are on, but it would remember which board (level). However, you can get a lovely password to save the exact point you are at.
There are also cheats in this game. If you enter certain codes in the password screen you can unlock stuff. DESTR0Y ALL M0NSTERS Lets you fight all the final monsters. Whilst S0UND gives you access to the Sound Test.
I really feel that had this been on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) or any console afterwards for that matter, then they would have had the power the realize this title much better. Lets face it though, you could say that about a lot of the earlier games! Overall this is good fun. The art, the music, the idea are all good. I just wish it was a bit easier. Reviews online suggest it wasn’t a bad game, but not great either. A distinctly average score of 5/10 from what I saw, though if you were a fan that’d probably creep up to a 6 or 7. The final thing I have to say on this is, why is Godzilla blue?