Godzilla GB


One thing I love about the Game Boy is simply how much crap was put onto it.

I'm not talking PlayStation style crap where every game was SHOOT ALL BAD DUDES or SAVE THE WORLD FROM MYSTICAL FORCES (WITH TURN-BASED BATTLING); I'm talking games that are wacky and obscure and nonsensical. Those kind of games. The good crap. You rarely ever see any good crap nowadays. Bring back good crap.

Of course, the magic of cheap pirate multi-carts sold in Spain by frighteningly friendly electronics store keepers is how most of those wacky titles came to my attention. Were it not for them, I never would've heard of Dead Heat Scramble, Motocross Maniacs or would've gotten Super Mario Land and Tetris without having to shell out like 30 for each of them. But as the oversized title suggests, Godzilla is what I'm focusing on at the minute.

 


Foregoing my mandatory rambling of the subject matter (I've seen a few Godzilla movies but can't remember shit about them), we're presented with this badass title screen, showing digitized Godzilla standing in an unmoving yet threatening manner while doom-laden music plays. Judging by that, the slideshow of giant monster villain enemies and the obvious subject matter, surely this is going to be about the legendary kaiju going about destroying cities, atomic breathing on windmills and stomping on Hank Azaria! After hitting that Start button, you can start a new game or continue with an eighteen letter password, which is something I wouldn't wish upon anybody. New game it is.
 


um
 


what
 


what's going on

See, instead of doing what Godzillas do by destroying cities, all you do is walk around, climb vines, punch enemies with your giant fist and destroy boulders. Would you believe that last part is your goal of the game? You have to destroy every boulder for an exit marker to appear, of which there are usually several.

The game pulls a Darius so you can go in various directions to different levels, though they all have the same music and same look so it ultimately doesn't matter a whole lot. It's like Boxxle; there's like fifty million levels with fifty million puzzles in each, but they all look the same. You could start at the first level or the last, and aside from the latter being kick-your-ass hard, you'd barely know the difference. I've no idea where this argument is going.

Since Godzilla can't jump, the matter of destroying boulders is easier said than done. He needs to push those boulders until they can't go any further, and only then can they be destroyed; but since he also can't climb up walls either, you'll have to use the blocks in combination with the vines to get anywhere with them. But since enemies are also trying to kill you, that hinders things a good deal as well! Most enemies can be clobbered with a punch, some merely get pushed back and need a shoving from a block to sort them out.

However, Godzilla is slow. Even in his super-deformed body he moves like a ton of Godzilla innards converted into bricks and then stuffed inside a super-deformed body. He's slow, and enemies are only a fraction slower than you. And since they subtract your health by touching you, this means running away from them can be difficult, let alone punching them due to Godzilla's big over inflated fist being incredibly touchy with how it works. And when it comes to the last level, where you have to sort out an absolutely ludicrous puzzle while having flying bastards ram their ass into you and drain your health to zilch, it's not very cool!

And you have to start the puzzle all over again if you die.
 


And if you flub, you have to die.
 


This ain't no leave-the-room-and-come-back ticket, you DIE FOR YOUR SINS.

Who knew Godzilla was so spiritual?

Needless to say, I haven't had the patience to complete the game, let alone get past the fourth level. I could if I wanted to, but the fact the big ol' kaiju moves like a slug in porridge just doesn't encourage me, and I'd much rather have him team up with that shelled guy and sock a few kicks into his monster foes rather than solve some Goof Troop brain bender. I'll stick with Pitman.

But I save that generic negativity to my negative reviewing section! There's a reason I'm covering this. See, in Japan, the game got a fairly different feel on things.

Yes, in a change not unexpected from the country, Godzilla is an utterly adorable little critter with a jacket and characteristic sass. Unlike the Western edition, this features a more upbeat title theme, which is more fitting for his rendition here.

The gameplay is still the same; you go through the same levels, undergo the same goals and face the same enemies, yet gameplay is much quicker and snappier. Godzilla is more nimble on his toes, garnering a faster pace and allowing one to zip through the first level in no time at all, my personal unenthusiastic goal being eighteen seconds, whereas our version of the fire-snortin' lizard is a slowcoach who takes almost a minute to do the same.

His enemies are quicker to spawn, however, and are generally a bit more varied in their movements, as well as featuring varying walking paces. Combined with a better sense of gravity and such like, it all makes for a faster, more engaging game, the speed also reducing the difficulty and therefore making it accessible to today's generation of patience-deficient children, plus me.

It's even got a 2-Player mode!

 

Sadly, instead of being the co-operative multi-player that I was hoping for, it's a challenge mode where you have to finish your puzzle before your opponent can. Dying, restarting and getting trapped are all rather hindering, but don't appear to actually mean anything. You can spend thirty minutes trying to solve the puzzle and the game will still allow you to keep on trying, even if one continuously dies and the other is simply taking forever. I'm unsure whether to dub that as fair play or torture.

But, yeah, quickening of pace aside, the game still isn't incredible. Fun when you're in the mood, but it feels so claustrophobic to me. Trapped in a room with infinitely spawning enemies, solving block puzzles until an exit miraculously appears and all with the same jaunty music appearing... it gives me the creeps. Never mind the Japanese version's cutesy appearance and such like, the English title screen music pretty much drones in my mind the whole time I'm playing.

 

This is your only chance of escaping your doom, Godzilla. Break these blocks without flaw and you can go on to living the good life of a radiation-mutated giant monster. Screw up, however, and you're dead meat, sunshine boots. You're dead meat if you mess it up.
 


You're DEAD MEAT.

At least one can imagine paradise lies on the bottom of the screen in Super Mario Bros.

 

In Godzilla, you just explode.

 

There's nothing pleasurable about that fate.