Nintendo Wii says that the king of all monsters is finally unleashed, so let us see if the nostalgic plastic monster can deliver
August 1, 2007 – The Godzilla franchise has attacked the world in every memorabilia-like form there is. Toys, puzzles, action figures, and even video games have dawned with the likeness of Godzilla. Started in the 1950s, Godzilla quickly grew in giant monster fame and, like a virus developed by Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corporation, even us Westerners overseas became infected. With Godzilla being the popular power house that he is, his likeness in video games has been plentiful but not always filling. The Nintendo Wii is aiming to change things with use of its new Wii system and innovative Wii-mote and Nunchuk.
The story begins with strange alien crystals growing from the earth’s surface. As the crystals grow, they begin to tear apart cities and buildings and reconstruct the environment in bizarre ways. As if that isn’t bad enough, the giant crystals also strangely attract all the monsters of the universe to its locations. If two monsters meet at the same location, a battle of massively destructive proportions begins. Of course, we puny humans are not just going to sit by and let the monsters run things, so the Earth Defenders comes in with tanks-a-blazing. As the story unfolds, you’ll see how the Earth Defenders, monsters, mechas, and aliens all play a part in the non-linear storyline.
What I’ve noticed from the trailers is that if you’ve played any of the previous Godzilla games, not much has changed aside from maybe one or two extra layers of texture mapping. Regardless, the graphics have always looked good, but so far don’t seem to be anything that hasn’t been done on the GameCube or PlayStation versions. If you have played the previous versions, then you know the basics of gameplay. You play as one of the 16 monsters: Godzilla 2000, Megalon, Gigan, and Kiryu, to name a few. Not all characters were revealed yet, but Pipeworks said there will be both flying and burrowing monsters from the Toho pantheon and even some new Toho approved beast to control. I can’t imagine how much more bizarre Godzilla enemies can get, but then again, I have sat through an episode of the Power Rangers.
The single player mission is said to be a non-linear experience. By that, I mean the story follows a specific arch but depending on who you play as determines what allies or enemies you will make as the story progresses.
As I said, the large alien crystals are attracting all the monsters to their locations, and Pipeworks gave some insight as to why. The enigmatic crystals give the monsters unimaginable new powers, which make them stronger, faster, and a host of other new abilities. As you battle in-game, you can interact with the crystals at will; this adds some very interesting mechanics to the gameplay. For instance, if you sustain too much damage during a fight you can run over to a crystal and begin healing yourself. Of course, interacting with the crystals has consequences. As you absorb crystal energy you increase your “critical mass” meter, which turns you into an aggressively mad power house. Godzilla, after hitting critical mass, had his flesh melted off and red energy coursed through his glowing veins. Critical mass is similar to “Rage” in the previous installments, but critical mass makes you stronger, faster, and also weakens defense while making you tired.
Pipeworks claims that the real fun comes from the “Power Surge” you get from completely giving into the crystal’s power. Power Surges are one-time abilities that you get in the single player campaign and they offer a wide array of special abilities such as immunity to weapons, regeneration, and extra health. Power Surges are designed to replace the Rage mechanic from previous installments and can make a fight with multiple foes a lot easier. There are also allies or enemies who can become infected by the crystals and go mad with power. If you destroy all the crystals, then they will either be freed from their madness and join you as an ally or you can destroy them and take their power. So you can take all the power for yourself and have no friends, or save others and make a lot of allies. Naturally, the more powerful you get, the more enemies you will make, which gives you a strategy to work with. If several monsters are fighting on the battlefield and one becomes too powerful, you can join together against the strongest threat. Pipeworks is hoping to give players lots of creative options and replay ability with the new features.
With Godzilla being on the Wii most of the fun will likely come from tossing your arms around using the Wii-mote and Nunchuk. You punch and kick by pressing the A or B button on the Wii-mote and you can jump by pressing the Z button on the Nunchuk. In order to jump you must hold down the Z button and raise the controller up. Moving both the Wii-mote and Nunchuk upward will pick up small buildings, and a throwing gesture will do just that. It wouldn’t be Godzilla if you couldn’t do his trademarked fire breath attack and by pressing the C button you can charge and fire away!
With the addition of the strange crystals that play a big part in the game and the non-linear story path, it looks like Godzilla: Unleashed may last longer than an hour’s worth of fun like its predecessor. Add in the destructible cities, the barrage of bullets from the Earth Defenders and multiple monsters with shifting alliances and things are looking pretty good. It is still early in development, but keep reading for updates.
Old Monsters in a New Way
Feb.26, 2007 – Godzilla is one of the oldest lizards I have ever known. Clocking in at around 53 years old this year, you have to ask yourself how he gets around so well. Later this year, we all will be asking ourselves that same question when Godzilla: Unleashed hits the Nintendo Wii. Pipeworks Software and Atari are bringing Godzilla to the most unique console in a most unique way, by changing nothing and everything at the same time. So, sit back and let the anticipation build for the one true King of Monsters.
The main story will find the monsters divided into four separate factions trying to figure out what they are going to do in their transformed world. Extraterrestrial crystals have grown from the ground and have caused the world to change, and now they must defend or destroy it as they see fit. It will be interesting to see which groups some of the more memorable monsters are placed. Recently, the four groups were confirmed as Aliens, Mecha, Mutants, and, the big favorite, Earth Defenders. The path the story will take greatly depends on the factions you choose, since each faction has their own set path. It has been revealed that 16 monsters will be available for play. However, only four have officially been confirmed – Godzilla (styled after Godzilla 2000), Megalon (1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon), Mechagodzilla (1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla), and Gigan (1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan Final Wars). It has also been revealed that two new monsters that have been TOHO approved will appear in the game. Just in case you do not know, TOHO is the person responsible for introducing the world to Godzilla, also known as Gojira, in 1954.
While graphics for the GameCube game developed by Pipeworks Software, Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee, were impressive, the animation displayed on the screenshots shows that they have upped the sleek scaly designs of Godzilla and friends. The environments of the apocalyptic world are nothing to shun away from either. The cityscapes of the Destroy All Monsters were a little bland and lacked a level of detail to make them realistic. In Unleashed, we are in for hyperactive detailed cityscapes to match the post-apocalyptic storyline. Unleashed also features an amazing new dynamic building destruction system that is far more advanced compared to what was in the original game. Striking buildings now produces massive gouges, cracks, and realistic rubble. You will be able to rampage through buildings, leaving an impressive wake of destruction in your path. Full-screen effects such as bloom and heat haze enhance the ambience of each scene with blinding explosions and glaring sunsets. You will actually see the heat coming off Godzilla’s atomic breath as it blasts through everything in sight. The buildings, however, will not just crumble the way they did previously. Now they will actually char and deform according to the type of attacks they receive.
The multiplayer of the game will be reminiscent of the previous titles, meaning that up to four players can combat for the title of King of Monsters. The dynamics will be set the same way as DAMM, mainly because the four monster battles have become an integral part of the Godzilla mythos. There are also talks of incorporating the WiiConnect 24 element of the Wii. The details of whether this means downloadable content or online competitions are unknown right now, but as the game nears its release date we can guarantee more information will become available.
Now for the big question, how will the controls work on the Wii? The game will be played with the Nunchuk, meaning the Wii-mote handles attacks, and the Nunchuk handles movement, jumping, and so forth. Because of the Wii-mote and Nunchuck combination, monsters can now execute any or all of their primary actions independently, which means that you can charge while jumping in the air, fire your weapon during attacks, and move freely at all times. Godzilla can be walking in one direction, attacking with his claws in another, firing his weapon in a third direction, and swinging his tail at a rear target all at the same time. Pipeworks has focused on putting the maximum amount of control into your hands at all times. Pipeworks Software has insured that structuring the story and the fighting mechanics to keep players engaged from start to finish comes first.
Godzilla has entertained us for over fifty years through 28 movies and, counting Unleashed, eight games. With a record like that, it comes as no surprise that Godzilla is the most recognizable lizard in the world. Come this fall, the big lug will enter our hearts in a new way through the innovative Nintendo Wii. If I knew how to type the Godzilla roar, I would, because that is the only sound to truly capture and sum up the expectations of Godzilla: Unleashed. Check back with us as the game draws near for more details.