Review by MTLH

"A cute little puzzle game with a twist."

Probably everyone knows who Godzilla is even if they have never seen one of his films, television series or comics. You could say this typically Japanese monster has become iconic in his own right. That's something that doesn't apply to the Game Boy game bearing his name. Developed by Japanese studio Compile of Puyo Puyo fame and released in Europe in 1991, Godzilla quickly receded into obscurity. As will be explained, that really is quite undeserved.

The visuals are both rather simple and surprisingly cute. Godzilla and his foes are nicely detailed in all their cutesy glory but their animations only display the bare necessities. The environments don't contain any backdrops even though there do appear to be are a few different themes such as jungle or ice. It isn't that the graphics are bad but rather that they barely rise above functional. The more accurate pictures of the cast that pop up during the game are lovely though.

The soundtrack consists of a few tunes which are almost all uncharacteristically happy and bouncy. Although they don't really seem to suit the subject matter, they are quite fun to listen to and also quite hummable. Sound effects are simple but effective, getting the job done without playing havoc on your nerves.

Godzilla is a puzzle game in which the titular monster must rescue his son Minilla from a labyrinth. He does this by demolishing large boulders. Each level contains several of them and they must be smashed to bits. The puzzle element mainly concerns reaching the blocks in the first place. As Godzilla can't jump, he must use the various vines and ladder to get around. In order to get to certain out of the way boulders, Godzilla must punch other blocks into position so they form a bridge. Figuring out in which order to do this can be a real conundrum albeit also one that can get fairly repetitive after a while.

Hindering Godzilla in this endeavour are his fellow monsters. These emerge from gateways dotted around most of the levels and they try to reach him in the most direct way possible. This frequently leads to the whole group bumbling around walls and other obstacles that are in their way, a flaw on their part that can be exploited. When a monster is dispatched he will reappear a few moments later. Most can be killed by Godzilla's punch while all can be defeated by dropping a block on them.

A neat feature, one that elevates the whole game to a slightly higher plane, is that the levels are placed on a map. This consists of smaller squares arranged in a larger one measuring eight by eight. Destroying all the blocks reveals that level's various exits, indicating where on the map Godzilla can go. There are also several dead ends and roundabouts, requiring the player to explore the map and finding the correct route to Minilla. It isn't necessary to complete every single level while it's perfectly possible that others will be encountered more than once. The subsequent non-linear nature of the game forms a welcome addition as it dispels it's aforementioned repetitive nature to an extent.

All in all, Godzilla offers sixty-four levels. As mentioned, not all have to be completed and some have to be done more than once if you encounter a dead end. Progress is saved through two types of password. A shorter one for just the level itself and a longer one that also records the progression on the map. Godzilla starts out simple enough with levels that only require the reptile to walk around and smash boulders in his stride. Eventually more thought is required as well as some serious forward planning. There is also a time limit to take into consideration as after a few minutes an indestructible enemy will appear that follows Godzilla around. All in all, the game isn't all that hard but will last longer than you might expect it to.

Godzilla is a welcome surprise. Even if it's adherence to the source material is doubtful, the game is a neat little puzzler with cutesy visuals and a catchy soundtrack. The game may start out simple enough but the later levels will certainly pose a decent challenge. The addition of a map is a great idea, adding an enjoyable exploratory element to the gameplay. There are a few issues though. The visuals could have been much better while the individual levels will eventually get fairly repetitive. There simply isn't all that much variation in the kind of puzzles Godzilla will face. The non-linear nature provided by the map negates this to some extent so that it doesn't become a genuine annoyance. All in all, Godzilla is a fun but unimposing puzzle game that wouldn't look out of place in any Game Boy collection.

OVERALL: a 7,4.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/08/13

Game Release: Godzilla (EU, 12/31/91)

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