While it could easily tide over Godzilla fans for a while, it ultimately relies on the strength of its license to compensate for its weakness as a game.
Dating back to the 1950s, Godzilla is the undisputed king of movie monsters and a world-renowned icon that may be campy but certainly deserves every ounce of his fame. Japan's Toho Studios has created literally dozens of films to date starring this enormous radioactive lizard. Seeing any of them in this day and age, sometimes it's painfully apparent that proud Godzilla is really just a man in a rubber suit. But even after all these decades, you still can tell that tremendous effort and artistry must have gone into the making of these classic sci-fi films. The most well known of all of Godzilla's appearances has to be 1968's Destroy All Monsters, sort of a battle royal for Godzilla and his many terrific adversaries. It's this movie that was inspiration for a 3D fighting game for the GameCube, where players can assume the roles of nearly a dozen giant monsters and try to defeat all their opponents, with little regard for the cities in which the battles take place. It's a great concept, and Godzilla nuts will find it irresistibly appealing. Unfortunately, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee turns out to be quite shallow, and while it could easily tide over Godzilla fans for a while, it ultimately relies on the strength of its license to compensate for its weakness as a game.
Destroy All Monsters Melee is simple and shares elements in common with other multiplayer-focused beat-'em-up games like the GameCube's own Super Smash Bros. Melee or Capcom's Power Stone series. Generally speaking, though, it lacks these other games' smooth frame rates, its controls are pretty clunky, its collision detection doesn't look quite right, and the pacing of the action is a bit slow. Then again, none of those other games had Godzilla in them.
A number of different modes of play are available in Destroy All Monsters Melee, and while you might be inclined to cut straight to the four-player melee mode with a group of pals, you'll probably need to spend some time in the single-player adventure mode first. That's because initially just a measly three monsters are selectable: Godzilla (the '90s-era version), the spiny Anguirus, and the buglike Megalon. The rest must be unlocked by slogging through the adventure mode repeatedly, where you'll always take on a tough Mecha Godzilla as the final boss. Beating him, much less getting to him, may prove to be a challenge even on the easy setting for those who aren't very experienced with fighting games, since the computer fights dirty, often making a beeline for offscreen power-ups. Plus, you have only three chances to get through the adventure mode, and if you don't make it, you'll have to start over. There's also a versus mode for two players, a survival mode that puts more time pressure on you to defeat AI-controlled monsters, a team battle where you're only trying to defeat opposing team members, and a destruction mode where you merely try to wreak more havoc within a city than your opponent.
While the game has a good number of modes, your goal in most of these is to pound your enemy (or enemies) into submission using your monster's various attacks. Battles generally take place in urban environments that look boundless but in fact have artificial borders that confine the action to a relatively small area. These shimmering green "fences" also serve as a danger to be avoided, or exploited--monsters sustain some damage when they touch the edges of an arena, and you'll often be able to knock a foe into them, then smack the foe some more as it bounces back. You're otherwise free to run (or in some cases fly) about the area as you see fit, knocking down buildings as you go.
Beyond giving you some freedom of movement, Destroy All Monsters Melee functions like a conventional, rudimentary 3D fighting game. There isn't a ton of variation between the different controllable monsters when you get past their distinct appearances, and in fact, a few of them are essentially identical. As any of the monsters, you can execute several different attacks at the touch of a button, and you can also block, fire a beam weapon, and pick up and toss your opponent. Throws, overhead hits, and sweeps can all be used to crack an opposing monster's defenses, and each monster also has a number of special moves that are extremely easy to execute just by moving the analog stick in a direction while pressing a button. Many attacks in Destroy All Monsters Melee cause the monster on the receiving end to go flying, and should you find yourself knocked down, you can execute a couple of recovery moves to keep the opponent from pursuing his attack. All the constant knockdowns serve to add some drama to the proceedings, but since the game is filled with lumbering creatures that aren't exactly quick on their feet, you may find yourself annoyed at spending more time flopping around on the pavement than standing toe-to-toe with another monster.
- Player Reviews: 42
- Game Universe:
- Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (GC, XBOX, PS2),
- Godzilla the Series (GBC),
- Godzilla: Save the Earth (XBOX, PS2),
- Godzilla Unleashed (DS, PSP, WII, PS2),
- Godzilla: Domination! (GBA),
- Godzilla the Series: Monster Wars (GBC),
- Godzilla Generation Maximum Impact (DC),
- Godzilla Trading Battle (PS),
- Godzilla Generations (DC),
- Godzilla (GG, SAT, PBL)
- Number of Players: