Cheap Game Tuesday: ‘War of the Monsters’
Ohboy ohboy ohboy!!! Yes, I know that Day of the Tentacle is out and it’s a perfect candidate and I love it but the remastered release price is a bit steep for a game I can finish in my sleep. If you haven’t played Tentacle, you should. But today we’ve got something cheaper, more obscure and TONNES of fun.
War of the Monsters came out on the PS2 some 15 years ago and, having a small run without reprinting, it went unnoticed by the larger gaming community. Outside of its small cult following it’s been all but forgotten. But now it’s on the PSN and only costs a couple of bucks during the Easter sale. It hasn’t been remastered in any way, so the controls feel a touch slow and the graphics are dated, but it holds up incredibly well.
The premise is this: aliens have attacked the Earth in a fleet of flying saucers and amid the ensuring battle their radioactive fuel winds up all over the place. What it comes into contact with mutates into giant, rampaging monsters. You begin by choosing your monster, the selection including homages to Godzilla, King Kong, Mazinger Z, the giant insect movies of the 50s, golems, lava monsters, dragons, retro robots, aliens and what is basically an eyeball in electricity. Along with 1-3 opponents you get dropped into a city environment to beat each into the ground. You have a couple of special moves, can climb the environment and pick up cars, rubble and whatever else to hurl across the map or use as melee weapons. By playing through the campaign mode you can unlock new fighters, skins and maps by facing down some impressively gigantic boss encounters.
Pretty much everything in the areas can be destroyed, making the game feel incredibly dynamic. Throwing your foes into a skyscraper will cause it to crumble, knocking down anyone who happens to be climbing it, creating more rubble to use as weapons. During a long enough fight an entire city can get completely leveled. On top of that each map has unique features, such as the holiday resort with a volcano that can be triggered by body slamming a particular crater and the Tokyo area featuring a tsunami (wait…). There a distinctive buildings and items that can be weaponised, making the Vegas based area especially colourful to smash up.
Although the controls can feel a touch slow to respond compared to what we’re useful, it is perfectly serviceable. You can leap long distances and destroy the world around you in an immensely satisfying way. Many games of this ilk don’t succeed in making the player feel like a powerful, giant monster rampaging through a city.
If you’ve long hoped for a great Godzilla game, or a good remake of Rampage, you’ve got it right here. Hopefully one day a sequel will emerge.