Some games are built pretty much just for the fans. They’re designed to give the devoted sports lover or movie buff that one-level-up experience of spending a little video gaming time playing as a favorite athlete, adventure character or superhero.
Bandai Namco’s Godzilla was clearly created exclusively for the true mega-fans of a certain colossal lizard as it focuses on some 50 years and 35 films full of rampaging radioactive dino destruction.
As in any self-respecting old-school Japanese monster flick from the 1950s, Godzilla has arisen once again from the ocean depths and is screeching toward Tokyo. Which means mankind is on the brink of destruction if we don’t quickly come up with some line of defense. It seems the 50-meter-high creature is hungry and on the prowl for something called G-energy: an über-powerful nuclear substance that flows through the monster’s veins and that humans tapped into and started using after previous Godzilla attacks.
In this case, however, the Godzilla gamer really doesn’t want humanity to get its save-the-world act together quite yet. As a Japanese commander sends in “G-force” troops and political leaders discuss how best to contain the threat, you actually wade into those cityscapes as the big bellowing behemoth.
The gaming goal, then, isn’t to save the world, but rather to demolish skyscrapers, crunch tanks underfoot and battle other titanic beasties in an attempt to find and drain a variety of G-energy generators. And with each massive tail smash, each building crumbled and each generator sucked dry, your own personal Kaiju grows bigger and stronger, its foes grow fiercer and the action shuffles ever closer to a big, final, cinematic showdown.
That’s pretty much all you get here, from a story perspective. There are a number of different gaming modes that challenge you to invade or defend a given city, gain new evolution-based skills, play as different beasties for king-of-the-monsters bragging rights, or battle against buddies in online multiplayer contests. But the real joy of this game (if joy is what you call it) is in the staged battles between the many, many classic Godzilla foes.
By that I mean you get to reenact famous movie moments with everything from Rodan to Mothra, Mechazilla to Space Godzilla, Battra Larva to King Ghidorah. Each recognizable elephantine enemy has its own attack skills and moves that must be identified and outmaneuvered by your own personal Zilla. And, yes, even the latest Hollywood Godzilla from 2014 is tossed into the battling mix.
Foul language includes exclamations of “oh my god,” “gosh darnit” and at least one shout of “what the h—?” And this game obviously encourages massive amounts of physical devastation. But much like the old monster movies themselves, the true messiness and deadliness of a mountain-sized monstrosity flipping over a giant Ferris wheel and grinding apartment buildings to dust with feet as big as a ballpark is kept well out of the camera’s view.
Still, even those die-hard fans I was talking about earlier will quickly realize that people are dying out there—and that you’re the one responsible while guiding Godzilla’s every thunderous move.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.