This was the 3rd Godzilla game released within one years time. That’s a lot of Godzilla, especially for an American audience. Thankfully, these have been some of the best games ever featuring the saurian and now that he’s gone multi-platform, he’s unstoppable.
Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee lives up to its name in every way. A fast paced, button mashing, destruction fest, G: DAMM is an instantly enjoyable game. Originally released for the Nintendo GameCube in late 2002, the game far surpassed expectations for a Godzilla video game. Granted, those expectations weren’t exactly high since his previous games weren’t exactly stellar, but it was still better than anything G-fans could’ve expected. It took a few months for the XBox version to get released, but rest assured, the short wait was worth it.
Gameplay has remained unchanged from the GameCube edition, just about the only thing that hasn’t been touched on. Taking the best parts of Nintendo’s own Super Smash Bros. and dose of Capcom’s underrated Power Stone, this fully 3-D melee fighter is a gem that deserved way more attention that it received. Though certainly not without some glaring flaws (which should’ve been fixed), this is still a game that no self-proclaimed Godzilla fanatic should be without.
Veterans who have fought their way through the Nintendo version should have little trouble picking this one up and grasping the controls. A few of the buttons have been switched around (Though they really had to be since the GameCube has that weird button configuration); it should only take one or two bouts to get the hang of it. Some of the moves have been condensed into one button (such as the throws), but can still be done the old-fashioned way if you can’t break the habit. There are no new moves to speak of, but given the short development time, this is to be expected.
Playing through the game to unlock everything it has to offer is still an all too brutal affair. The computer is devastating, regardless of what difficulty level your playing on. Its blatant use of cheap shots (Megalon), throws (Gigan), and everything else it can throw at you (Mechagodzilla), can be simply impossible to overcome at times. Rest assured that frustration is well rewarded.
You begin the game with a measly roster of 4 kaiju that expands quickly by beating the adventure mode. Only one new monster has been thrown into the mix and that is the latest re-design of Mechagodzilla, MG 3. By no means a bad thing, I think most Godzilla fans would’ve preferred Mothra or Titanosaurus (Note: Mothra is in the game, but only available as a power-up). The art gallery is still here also, though I found nothing new. There are new stages, but the wrestling ring is the only notable addition.
Since we don’t get added monsters, the additional modes more than make up for this issue. The new destruction mode is by far and away the most welcome new feature. You and up to 3 friends are tossed into a city to do nothing but destroy. Yes, you can still beat each other up, but you’ll only earn points if you destroy a building while doing it (Of course, tossing them into buildings works well too). The addition of computer-controlled opponents into the multi-player modes is a savior. If you unable to have 3 other people play along, the XBox itself is more than willing to take over the slack. Be forewarned that the computer is easily as cheap as it is during the adventure mode also.
If you haven’t already copied your Godzilla soundtracks to your X-Box, do it now. I mean right now…. As your reading this. Though it may not say it on the case itself, rest assured this game supports the custom soundtrack feature perfectly. Yes, you at home can now experience Akira Ifukube’s classic tracks while you destroy Tokyo, just the way it should be. This is definitely the games best new addition for hardcore Godzilla fans. The provided in-game music is, to say the least, terrible.
As for the rest of the sounds, they’ve all been taken from the GameCube version and plopped unto an XBox disc. The difference? All of these sounds now come from 5 different directions if you have a 5.1 surround sound system. You’ll enter a near dreamlike state when you hear rescue vehicles approaching from behind you, Mothra and helicopters flying into the scene…from behind you. There are also a few new quotes from the announcer and armed forces tossed in to freshen things up. The game simply sounds immaculate.
Not only have the developers added in a new monster, stages, modes, and soundtrack feature, the graphics have been completely revamped. One look at the buildings is enough to make your jaw drop. The windows reflect everything in their environment, a stunning effect to say the least. The monsters have been re-done to utilize the extra horsepower the XBox provides and it shows. Every one of the beasts is now fully bump-mapped, lighted, and textured so much better than the now seemingly obsolete GameCube version. Though the bump mapping doesn’t work all the time (Godzilla just doesn’t look quite right) rest assured that most of the kaiju are flawless, Megalon deserving special mention.
For monsters such as Mechagodzilla, their metal frames reflect their environment perfectly. Mecha King Ghidora’s wings are a sight behold as he ascends from the sky and you can actually make out buildings glistening on them. As yet another added bonus for our eyes, a few weather effects have been tossed into the mix that adds to the look, but have no effect on gameplay. Owners of HDTV’s will also be pleasantly surprised to see the game supports 480p, quickly becoming the standard resolution format for X-Box games.
Add it all up and you’ve got an improved version of an already outstanding game. Though a few more months of development time to fix the computer AI characters and make the game more balanced would’ve been greatly appreciated, this is still a great game on just about every level. The improvements in the graphic and sound area are most welcome. Add in the custom soundtrack option and you’ve got perfection as far as aesthetics go. The new destruction mode is a dream and the ability to tackle the computer in multi-player modes was a needed feature when the game was released last year. It’s still hard to forgive the lack of gameplay improvements.