Review by KeyBlade999

Reviewed: 08/31/12

Oh my Godzilla, it's good!

~ Review in Short~

Gameplay: An amazing puzzle-platformer where you are to destroy all of the boulders in 64 levels.
Story: There isn't much of one, and what is there is absolutely not needed.
Graphics: Fairly inconsistent in quality at times, but generally better than most GameBoy games.
Sound and Music: There are several catchy background tunes you'll find in the game. Overall, very good.
Play Time: About two or three hours for a speed-play, and about twenty for a comprehensive playthrough.
Replayability: Very high. Mainly enhanced by the extreme non-linearity of this game.
Recommendation: Although not exceedingly easy to find nowadays except on on-line stores, if you can find it, it is definitely a great game to own. By far one of the best games I've ever played on the GameBoy.

~ Review in Long ~

By some point, the majority of us have heard of the legendary "Godzilla" movie. This game is very loosely based on that monster movie, and it has a rather unique turn on it. Many movies-turned-games tend to have your basic 2D or 3D platformer style, like the Super Mario games.

Of course, we also know the tendency of such movie-based games to be rather horrible. The Spider-Man games had hit a horrible rut until around 2012. The first few Harry Potter games had questionable quality at best. As it is, the current majority of movie-based games are, by a large margin, games I wouldn't ever really recommend to you.

But Godzilla on the GameBoy is different. It is special.

This game has very little history behind it. Godzilla was based off of the older movie by the same name. It was developed by Toho Co., Ltd. It was released in 1990 for Nintendo's handheld GameBoy console.

Game Progression:
The game of Godzilla seems to focus on Godzilla finding his lost son in a matrix of sixty-four scenes. Each of these scenes requires you to destroy all of the rocks in the area, then use a teleporter arrow to go to the next level. You'll continue this until you reach the fixed level where Godzilla's son, Minilla, is.

It isn't all that simple, though. As I said earlier, the sixty-four scenes are arranged into a matrix - that is to say, the levels are on an eight-by-eight grid. You can move from scene to scene through the teleporter arrows. Multiple ones can appear in each level though, and you're never told which scene Minilla is in. This results in a lot of playing to find Minilla.

Additionally, not all paths lead to Minilla. In fact, there are virtually an infinite number of paths to take, and many of them can end fruitlessly. That is where the gameplay seems to slack off - the end result of fruitless travel can often require a lot of annoying backtracking unless you end up using one of the extremely numerous passwords in the game.

The Scenes:
As said earlier, the game is divided into sixty-four scenes, or levels, each with paths extending to other scenes. Much like the neurons in your nervous system, there is no true set path to take - like those electrical signals, you end up picking one and going, then hoping it pays off. (Which it rarely does.)

What you do in these scenes in extremely important. In each scene, your goal is to destroy all of the rocks. Godzilla does this by punching them into each other or the walls ringing the scene. Godzilla is not alone in these scenes, usually - there are several types of enemies around that can be endlessly generated from various monster generators in the area. Some of these are unbeatable, including the dreaded Gidrah, a three-headed dragon who appears when you take too long to finish a level. Godzilla has a health bar that is drained by being touched by these enemies, and you'll lose one of your lives when it empties!

There are more dangers than that, too! Spike pits abound throughout later levels - so much as touching them has more than just a tendency to make you lose a life. Errors in the programming seem to be unable to handle this, thereby causing the game to basically hang and freeze, effectively forcing a game over! Rocks can also fall on poor Godzilla, crushing him into mush, also killing him. With all of these dangers, it is quite lucky Godzilla is able to gain another life at the end of a scene.

The scenes are sometimes linear in their idea of destroying rocks - a few can easily be said as "find a rock(s) and punch them to the wall" to finish the level. But some are excruciatingly mind-bending. You need to remember, this is a platformer. There are vines and platforms which the rocks can stay on. Gravity is in effect. The scenes have extremely varying terrains. In some scenes, it is almost impossible to destroy the rocks short of using a walkthrough. This is because the puzzles' solutions are just so "out of the box". I recall in one level, I had a stacking of about eight rocks and had to punch them to the left without getting rid of any of them. It was hard to find the solution - it took me hours...

The Non-Linearity:
Each scene in the game can usually go to one of two other scenes in the matrix, though sometimes you just get one, as with the dead-end paths. With only one scene always having Minilla within, it is quite easy to comprehend just how hard it would be going on guess basis to find Minilla. Using the shortest path, for example, if you veered off of said path, you would have about a 0.1% chance of getting it right at the end, assuming you didn't know where Minilla is. And you do not, which excruciatingly further decreases your odds.

In a guess-and-see type of campaign, you will end up finding dead-ends quite easily, and will end up backtracking for a few hours, or just using passwords. Either way, you'll end up playing this for longer than anyone would having known the game thoroughly. And that makes it a bit interesting, for the game will rarely be the same twice.

Continuing Old Games:
Unlike most other video games, Godzilla has three viable methods for restarting an old game. There is the general "Continue" option. This reloads the scene and scene matrix you had when you last were playing this game. However, this only works for a single session of your console being on - after that, the "Continue" option reverts to being just a new game.

There are also two password options. "Password 4" is one. It uses four-character passwords that will bring you to a scene, but pretty much leave it at that. "Password 18" uses eighteen-character passwords. This allows more information storage - namely, all it does is show your progress through the matrix on the map.

These passwords are obtainable by looking around in the pause menus of the game. They are given for each level, although Password 18's vary depending on your progress through the scene matrix. All in all, though, the continuation of gameplay is extremely convenient.

The game of Godzilla doesn't really have much of a story to it, period. The basic idea is that Godzilla has lost his son, Minilla, somewhere in the matrix of sixty-four scenes, and it is your goal to find him. There is very little else mentioned other than that. Since the main focus of the game is the puzzle-platformer gameplay, there is absolutely no true need for this storyline, although it does make for a more intense wait for the ending of the game.

The GameBoy console is pretty notorious for having sub-par graphics, at least through my experience. Very few games actually have decent graphics, and those tend to be the rarer ones, such as the Bubble Bobble series. Some of the more popular games, such the GameBoy Pokemon games, really tended to fail in this category.

In comparison with the competition, Godzilla does pretty good, actually. Sure, it is "meh" quality compared to some of the modern games, but, in 1990, those are good graphics. There is a fair variety of colors, typically red, green, white, black, and brown. The animations and frame-rate are very smooth and hold up well under even the toughest of pressures, something modern games have trouble with.

All in all, the graphics in Godzilla are not too bad. There could be a few improvements, including a little variation (at least) in the many green tiles, but you deal with what you get.

If I had to pick one reason why to buy this particular game, I might end up picking this. I have played dozens of GameBoy games in the past, and yet, this game shines at the forefront of my mind as having great music. While the title screen's theme is definitely going to deter you a little, playing the scenes really tends to give you a nice variety of good music.

There are, at a guess, about six or seven tracks for the background music altogether. Some scenes will have such-and-such, while others will have other tracks. Some of the tracks aren't entirely great, but the majority of them have nice, catchy, upbeat 8-bit-style tunes. I absolutely loved some of them.

The sound effects are, in stark contrast, a bit weird at times. For example, let's say you get hit by an enemy. You'd expect to hear something like a "thunk", right? Here, it ends up being this odd whining noise like something is being drained from you. It is absolutely baffling and creepy. Aside from that, and the enemies falling away, you'll pretty much only hear Godzilla punching rocks, which is tolerable, I guess.

PLAY TIME: 10/10.
This game can go extremely back-and-forth on the amount of time it'll take to win a game. For example, assuming you know how to get to the levels you want, it'll take you about two or three hours to speed through the levels to the end. Under the same circumstances, you'll probably take about twenty to twenty-five hours finishing every scene.

That's assuming you know it all, of course. I did not when I first played. Since I was writing an FAQ for it, I ended up forcing my way through all of the scenes, and I highly doubt it took less than fifty hours. Sometimes I even want to think seventy-five or one hundred. All of the meandering around, backtracking, repetition - it gets annoying eventually if you don't know what you're doing.

All in all, the game is pretty good on keeping you hooked for hours at a time. The main problem is the needless backtracking, though that can be solved with the use of a simple Password 18.

One of the key elements in being able to replay a game and still enjoy it can be summed up in one, single, hyphenated word: non-linearity. It is almost an impossible task to play the same game twice in a row if it is linear unless it is excruciatingly fun. Take Pokemon Red/Blue for instance. I played once, had about twenty hours of fun. Played again and yawned all of the way through. Pokemon, and quite a few other RPG series (including my GameFAQs alias's namesake found in the Kingdom Hearts series) like it, tends to be linear. Fun for a playthrough every now and then, but bad for back-to-back plays.

Godzilla, although not being an RPG like the aforementioned, is definitely the exception to the rule. Non-linear progression through levels is perhaps the best way to up the replayability in any game. It is almost impossible not to enjoy back-to-back plays of this. If you speed through, you can pick other paths. If you go comprehensive, I doubt you'll remember the solutions to all sixty-four scenes.

Godzilla can be replayed with ease. I have no trouble playing through it again, and again, and again. And these playthroughs come without the consistent yawns of boredom that tend to characterize me when playing a game again too soon. Godzilla will be easily replayed, be it back-to-back, or once a year.

Of course, there is the other important factor. Can a game be easily replayed ... if it is not fun to play? The answer to that is a resounding "no". Godzilla is fun to play and one of the few games that is able to challenge the mind to an unusual extent, beyond even modern puzzle-platformers. Godzilla is a great game to play, and replay.

THE END. Overall score: 9.5/10.
And so, you have finally come to the end of my opinion on the rare Godzilla game for the GameBoy. Godzilla is one of the rare gems in the compilation of GameBoy games, perhaps even better than some of the currently-defined gems such as Pokemon Yellow. This game will challenge you mentally and make it fun.

The game will last a long while for a playthrough, and will last ever longer with its non-linear gameplay severely making it easier to play again and again. The graphics are good; the music is great. The only true flaw in this game is its storyline, but even that can be ignored. In short, I would have to say get this game if you can. It is hard to find nowadays off-line, but, if you can find it, I would definitely shell out the money for it if I were you.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: Godzilla (US, 10/31/90)

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