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Godzilla
Godzilla vs. 3 Major Monsters

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Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!

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Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters

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by Matt Wallace - January 26, 2015

Godzilla - Commodore 64 (1983)

Godzilla (Commodore 64)

It may come as a surprise to many fans of the series that the very first video game to feature Godzilla appeared on the Commodore 64 in 1983 only one year after the release of the incredibly popular, and very lucrative, 8-bit home computer. Much like the first film, it did not feature any additional monsters (a popular aspect of the film and video game franchises that would become a mainstay for both in subsequent entries).

Aptly named Godzilla and developed by Glen Fisher of The Code Works, the video game was first featured in a range of books aimed at allowing users to program video games directly into their Commodore 64s by providing the necessary lines of code to do so. This particular book, titled Commodore 64 – Fun and Games, was published via Osborne and McGraw Hill Books and released the same year by Fisher himself and two other programmers. Although the game never saw an official commercial release given that it was never licensed by Toho, users were eventually able to copy it onto floppy disks which could easily be shared.

The video game itself was a relatively primitive turn-based strategy game where the player assumes command of the Japanese military to thwart the monster's ultimate goal of destroying Tokyo (represented as a small white circle on the screen). Godzilla appears randomly on one of the 25 quadrants that make up the playing field; composed of tiles representing either land or ocean, and the player must inflict enough damage on the monster to destroy it before it reaches Tokyo. Military forces are split into three categories; land, air, and sea, and it's up to the player to decide whether to attack Godzilla, or move their units into position. When your units attack Godzilla, damage is dealt, but their numbers dwindle as indicated by the numbers on the right-hand side of the screen. As Godzilla moves from sea to land, a counter in the upper right-hand side of the screen begins to show the number of people killed on the monster's path to Tokyo although these numbers do not seem to have any actual effect on the outcome of the game.

At first glance, winning may seem deceptively easy, but given that Godzilla's starting position on the grid is chosen at random, chance plays a big role here. The closer Godzilla appears to Tokyo, the more difficult it will be for the player to win. You are also given the choice to launch missiles at Godzilla or even detonate an atomic bomb which, while dealing heavy damage, destroys everything around it within a radius of 8 quadrants. If Tokyo happens to be within that radius, the player loses.

Of course for fans of the series, the irony of utilizing atomic weapons in this game is not lost upon them given that Godzilla himself was created via atom bomb tests in the iconic 1954 film. The franchise as a whole for that matter can easily be viewed as a cautionary tale regarding man's use of scientific discoveries for either good or bad; a theme which is featured prominently in many of the series' films. Coupled with Japan's first-hand experience witnessing the devastation caused by such weapons during the Second World War and the influence these events had on the series' creator and the impact on the country's psyche as a whole, the inclusion of the atomic bomb as a weapon actually intended to defeat Godzilla is certainly an odd choice.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Glen Fisher

Publisher:

  • Code Works

Genre:

Themes:


Godzilla (Commodore 64)

Godzilla (Commodore 64)


Godzilla vs. 3 Major Monsters (ゴジラ対3大怪獣) - MSX (1984)

Japanese MSX Cover

1984 saw the release of Godzilla vs. 3 Major Monsters developed by Bandai for the MSX Home Computer, the first authentic Godzilla video game in the series that was officially licensed by Toho and much like the first film, it was released for the Japanese and Western markets. Although unlike the American version of the first film, Raymond Burr will not interrupt you mid-game to deliver clunky exposition.

Many fans outside of Japan never had the opportunity to play this particular entry or even knew it existed given the Home Computer's poor reception and subsequently less than stellar sales in the United States and United Kingdom. As a result, the console's importance in video game history and its overall impact on a number of iconic franchises that still persist today is lost on many. Godzilla wasn't the only major series to debut on the MSX. Among other popular video game franchises, the MSX was also home to the first ever Metal Gear Solid title; arguably one of the most well-known and important video game series to ever exist in gaming history.

The video game itself is simple. The player controls Godzilla on an isometric playing field and must advance through three levels with each featuring a popular monster taken straight from the classic films. Although this game is called Godzilla vs. 3 Major Monsters, the inclusion of Kumonga as the monster for the second level is erroneous as it is in no way a "major" monster in the Godzilla franchise, but let's come back to that later.

Armed with Godzilla's infamous atomic breath, the player must first battle Megalon, a gigantic bomb spitting beetle-like monster with drill bits for hands who first appeared in the 1973 film Godzilla vs. Megalon. Drilling up through the ground, Megalon will move across the screen while the player attempts to use Godzilla's atomic breath (which can be fired in one of eight directions at a time) to destroy him while avoiding contact with the monster. If Godzilla is touched by Megalon, the player will lose one of their four lives. Although it only takes one successful hit, another Megalon will drill its way on to the screen and the player must continue in this fashion until the next level begins. It is also important to avoid the holes created by Megalon as falling into one of them will cost the player a life. While Megalon may not exactly be considered a "major" monster in the franchise, he certainly is a fan favorite.

When the player reaches the second level, two giant spiders named Kumonga (often referred to as Spiga in Western film releases) will peek out of the holes created earlier by Megalon and attack Godzilla. One of them will fire a short-ranged thread that can drag Godzilla toward it if the player does not act quickly and retaliate with atomic breath. The other will launch a flashing web-shot that must be carefully avoided as it will attempt to hone in on Godzilla and cost the player a life if it makes contact. If Godzilla happens to be getting pulled in by one of the spider's threads while the homing web-shot is fired, it can be pretty tough to avoid losing a life. This simple gameplay mechanic however, makes this stage a particularly enjoyable one as it can become quite frantic as the player attempts to destroy one Kumonga knowing that another could pop up from a nearby hole and attack.

The third and final stage features one of Godzilla's most powerful antagonists, an undeniable fan-favorite; King Ghidorah. This golden, three-headed, winged terror has made numerous appearances in every reincarnation of the Godzilla franchise and nearly every Godzilla video game that exists to date. Unlike the dim-witted Kumonga, who's final appearance in the entire franchise consists of less than a minute of screen-time before Godzilla whips him into the stratosphere by his own web, Ghidorah can, without a doubt, be considered a "Major" monster.

At the top of the screen, Ghidorah will appear moving back and forth Space Invaders style making his way to the bottom while the player uses Godzilla's atomic breath to push him back trying to avoid Ghidorah's short-ranged lightning attack (the actual name of this attack is "gravity breath"). If Godzilla can push him off the top of the screen without touching the monster or his "gravity breath," the player wins! What makes this stage unique is that Godzilla's son, Minilla (sometimes referred to as Minya or Milla) makes his first-ever appearance in a video game as well. Minilla stays towards the bottom of the screen and must not be allowed to touch Ghidorah. Although there is little point in his inclusion in this game since he just serves as a marker for Ghidorah to get to before the player loses a life, it's great seeing the little bugger so early in Godzilla video game history.

After defeating the final stage, the three levels begin to repeat themselves and get harder as the game speed increases with each repeat making the next round far more difficult than the last.

All-in-all, this is a pretty decent entry in the Godzilla video game series considering it's only the very first officially licensed title in a long line of games that would span over two decades. The graphics are comparatively simple by today's standards, but clearly represent what they are supposed to and each monster is identifiable and well designed.

The music is somewhat less inspired though compared to other entries in the series given that there essentially isn't any save for a quick opening melody that plays during the title screen and when the player loses all his or her lives. The sound of Godzilla's footsteps and atomic breath however, can be heard throughout the game while the player moves around the screen or uses his atomic breath. Both sound pretty good and come out crisp and clear on the MSX hardware.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

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Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)

Godzilla vs. 2 Major Monsters (MSX)


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Godzilla
Godzilla vs. 3 Major Monsters

Page 2:
Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!

Page 3:
Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters

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