War of the Monsters
Review by David Dragoon
"Old B-movies and Rubber suit Monsters of the past, unite in this witty and underrated game."
I also have fond memories of the ''classics'' like Godzilla, King Kong, It came from space! and B-movie Alien spin offs and clones,Tobor. (Tobor, Robot get it? Its a classic robot movie of which the 4th costume of Robo 47 looks somewhat like, a homage maybe?)
Anyway this homage of movies of the past is a great sliver lining but now lets get to the review......
War of the Monsters has a lot of polish and great ideas, but the game has gone into the ''sleeper hit'' plane of existence. As the old saying goes they don't make ''games'' like they used to. But I digress this game has some flaws.
One is the controls, as the strange lock on system they made, making you use L1 and R1 shoulder buttons to lock on different from the Zelda system and there are only three control sets for the game. While this feature may turn off some players, the game has many strong points, and in the game the control of the monsters are rock solid although some of the beefier monsters feel like walking tanks.
Gameplay is classic beat and break'em up in a style of its own. Being able to use almost all items stuck to buildings really add a great new aspect to the battles, as using rubble evens the playing field with some bosses and foes. Sure this is mindless fun, but some aspects keep it from the pits of the monotony of other mindless destroy everything games. Bosses are pretty hard but very beatable even for new players on easy mode, but if you put it in hard mode you get a real workout.
The sound is very clear and the sound effects are what you think they would be, smacking a foe with rubble and smashing them into buildings makes you almost feel the impact. The music is very retro and great, although one or two sounds out of place a bit but the orchestra really did enhanced the music.
Graphics of War of the Monsters are not gonna blow you away most of the time but they do the job for the game very well. Rubble and falling buildings look realistic and detailed enough. Also the monsters and bosses themselves look very detailed. Congar has all the fur of your classic
gorilla monster, Preytor has the shining carapace and glowing eyes of your typical insect monster and Kineticlops has a electricity body, small abdomen, bone like claws and feet,and gloating eye in the middle that makes it stand out. The levels also are very different from each other with secret ways to wield even more destruction to buildings and your foes with a real Tsunami in the Tsunamiopolis, earthquake in Baytown, and others.
Replayability is high with unique tokens that you earn by destroying buildings and defeating stages in story mode or endurance mode and you use them to unlock cool costumes that are basically more homage's to movies of a age past, new stages, and monsters (the skeleton dragon is a favorite). The War of the Monsters is not too shabby with stages and costumes to enjoy beating up your friend with your favorite monster.
The game art of War of the Monsters standsout. Here I rate the game's art here, but you don't really need to heed this, this is just my opinion on the artist's layout and designs. Owen Richardson is Ingo Inc.'s production artist and he did a fantastic job with detail images of lava men, robots with internal weapons and flying fists, and even a Toki monster. The building layouts are also impressive and in the end this is not typical game art. Still its sad the game turned out to be sleeper hit in the end.....
My conclusion is that War of the Monsters deserves some respect in the level of polish and work done on the game makes it the best ''mindless'' action I have played in a very long game. While this game is not really for everyone used to ''mainstream'' action games, it really stands on its own two feet to be the sleeper hit of the year in my book next to Ratchet and Clank. Rent this if you want some great fun but I say you should pay the sticker price, the game art and poster are only icing on a very solid cake that will fill you for a while.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/12/03, Updated 04/12/03
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