Review by Shrogran

"More fun than a dude in a rubber dinosaur suit!"

From the makers of Twisted Metal: Black comes War of the Monsters, a fire-ball spitting, skyscraper demolishing, tail whipping good time! Taking cues from old B-grade monster movies, WotM combines interactive environments, (somewhat) charismatic creatures, and a solid game engine.

The story is simple, yet suitably campy. After an assault by UFOs on Earth's major cities, the world strikes back and defeats the alien invaders. The catch: the flying saucers crash and leak radiation, spawning hideous colossuses. Most of the characters are inspired from other sources--Congar the giant ape is clearly a King Kong rip-off, while Togera bears a suspicious resemblance to Godzilla. Incog even takes a page out of the old Mazinger-Z anime with the giant robot Ultra-V, who uses a detachable rocket fist as his long-range special move. Fans of the Iron Giant animated movie will associate themselves with Robo-47, a decommissioned military robot awakened by the alien goo that moves and makes noises much like the ol' Giant. With 10 playable characters (two of them are locked), most gamers will find a favorite monster. Extremely interactive arenas provide the cast of characters with fun stomping (literally) grounds.

While you won't find any real-world cities like in Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, WotM's battlegrounds create a much more unique experience. From a Las Vegas-themed strip of casinos and exotic hotels to a San Francisco-ish city called Baytown, the various locales are absurdly interactive. This is where a huge portion of this game's fun comes from. See that firetruck? Pick it up and bash your opponent's head in with it. Wreck a building and a steel girder will fall out among the debris. Get that sucker and hit projectiles away by using it as a baseball bat. Yank a radio antenna off a building and impale your enemy, slowly sapping his health and allowing you to whack him with a combo as he mashes buttons to pull it out. The list goes on.

If you aren't holding something, you're at a disadvantage. Luckily, you'll never be at a loss for a weapon. But even then, without one, the characters can pull off combos of surprising size (12 hits), and the tight, intuitive controls allow for easy access to those combos. Blocking, counters, air recoveries--they're all here, lending the game amazing depth. A couple of gripes about the controls: if you're not locked onto an enemy (L1 + R1, makes your monster focus on the enemy and makes for easy circle-strafing), the analog stick is a tad sensitive. Also, it's more difficult than it should be to target one monster among two others. You can be locked onto an opponent across the city while one to your left can wail away on you. This could have been remedied by having a button that cycles through available targets, but these aren't big problems. You can always use the directional pad for movement, and all you have to do to focus on a different enemy is turn in their general direction and press and hold down L1 & R1.

The graphics are quite nice, but what else should we expect after seeing what Incog did with Twisted Metal: Black? Clipping occasionally occurs with the characters, but doesn't really detract from the game. The various flames and fires look surprisingly realistic, and the cities are well-designed with neon lights, volcanoes, and landmarks. The monsters are very fluid (except for, y'know, the robots who aren't supposed to) and bear lovely detail.

The sound is another strong point. All of the radioactive titans make very specific and memorable noises. Togera's trademark roar, Robo-47's clanking as he runs, and Congar's howls and more will stick with you. In addition, WotM's soundtrack sounds very professional, reminiscent of campy monster movies, and suitably melodramatic.

So, the verdict: BUY IT! I definitely recommend War of the Monsters to PS2 owners and fans of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (who might find Incog's gem a run for G:DAMM's money).

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/26/04

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