Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee

Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 5/6/2003 for Xbox  

Quite frankly I never realized what was so intriguing about a guy in a giant rubber suit, pretending to terrorize a city when it’s obvious he was trouncing through a fake city composed of foam blocks and buildings. My disdain towards giant monsters took a turn for the worst when Godzilla 2000 was released, effectively killing any hopes I had of sympathizing with monster lovers who had a soft spot in their heart for the giant lizard. Then I saw Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee at E3 2002 and I instantly understood why legions of geeks adored the fire-breathing lizard. Although I only played the game for about 10 minutes I was anxious to see how it would play out in my living room. Simply put Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee is everything that a Godzilla fan could have hoped but for casual fans, this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

From the onset of the game you’ll realize that it was created with two-to-four players in mind. The single-player modes are painfully dull thanks to the hit-or-miss AI and some unforgivable gameplay elements. You’ll assume control of creatures who are hundreds of feet tall and the gameplay never lets you forget about this, making you feel like you’re in control of some oil tanker gone wild as opposed to a precise and calculated killing machine. Add in some rather shaky collision detection problems and you have a frustrating game that will only appeal to the most hardcore of Godzilla fans.

Those who have played Capcom’s Powerstone games or Just Add Monsters’ Kung Fu Chaos will be familiar with DAMM’s style of gameplay. You’re set loose in an environment where your main goal is to decimate your opponent by any means possible. Whether that be via your fists, your tail, or a solid chunk of building is up to you. There’s nothing wrong with the basis of the gameplay as it has proven to be a success both in the arcades and at home.

Essentially Destroy All Monsters Melee is a 3D brawler set in the midst of the hustle and bustle of city life. Take one monster, add another monster and let the carnage begin. Sounds simple enough and essentially the game really is. It’s a straight up brawler where rapidly pressing the buttons is more rewarding than coming out with a plan of attack and executing it. Everyone has an energy bar and when it’s depleted that monster is out of the battle, last monster standing wins the battle. As you’ll quickly learn the game was created with more than one player in mind and to get the most out of the game you’ll definitely want to have two or more friends for some maximum monster mayhem.

Where the game really begins to stagger is in the gameplay department. Everything in the game has an amazingly sluggish feeling that makes the game nearly unplayable. Response times between the button press and the actual execution of the action is atrociously lagging and it makes playing the game much more difficult than it should be. It’s impossible to perform any set of maneuvers with any sort of precision because the controls just don’t permit the sort of rapid-input that makes party brawlers so easy to pick up and play. Think of Smash Bros. on molasses and you’ll have a great idea of just what it feels like to play DAMM.

It feels like you’re penalized just for trying to attack your opponent, especially an AI opponent. Because you’re penalized so heavily for trying to be the aggressor chances are you’ll turn into the defender and wait for your opponent to make a mistake so that you can capitalize upon his error. That’s just the problem; this isn’t the type of genre of game that lends to that sort of gameplay. It’s not about blocking and countering, it’s about mashing, mashing and more mashing until your opponent is a bloody pulp in the corner. To make matters worse the frame rate is inconsistent throughout, jumping back and forth even when little to no action is occurring on the screen. The crippling frame rates make the game feel even more sluggish than it already does. As you may have guessed this makes matches trudge on far more longer than you’d like, there definitely is no such thing as “a quick game” when it comes to DAMM.
All of the monsters have shed their silly rubber suits and look pretty lifelike thanks to some pretty amazing graphics modeling. It appears that an exorbitant amount of manpower went into making sure that these monsters looked amazing and the end result is nothing short of stunning. Some nice bump mapping really give the characters some texture and depth, you’ll really want to check out the close-ups of these beauties. Every facet of them oozes of style and polish and they look great thanks to some additional external lighting effects. In addition to looking great they all animate smoothly and fluidly, just what you would might expect from these creatures if they were actually real. It’s just a shame that all the hours spent on the characters would come at a huge price.

To accommodate to the characters the rest of the game looks plain, barren and utter generic. Buildings can be destroyed and leveled but it just isn’t as satisfying here as it was in Sony’s War of the Monsters. It’s simply because the buildings have no distinguishing features or marks on them. Everything feels the same, almost as if the entire cityscape was built from Legos. All of them are blocky and rather barren-looking, it’s like getting the chance to run through a store and grab all the candy in the aisles but instead of the real deal, you get the cheap 99 cent store alternative. Sure it’s fun for a little bit but the insane generic-ness takes all of the pleasure and satisfaction out of it.

Even the water in the game is lacking life and substance. I realize it’s small to nitpick about something as trivial as water but when a game is on the system that features the graphics chip that started this whole water revolution, you have to expect more from it. Instead of getting bump mapped water that flows and animates realistically the game features boring water that looks straight out of 1998. It’s a real testament to the rest of the game as well as everything features some of the blandest colors and textures this side of a manila envelope.

Aurally this game is nothing short of disappointing. With gigantic monsters dueling it out on the screen I was expecting some window-rattling bass instead all I got was some wimpy bass that caused my system to barely break a sweat. There are some nice touches here and there such as effects that seem to have been lifted directly from the movies, but they’re low in quality and are often drowned out by the imbalance between the effects and the music. It’s often difficult to hear anything in the game clearly and the make matters worse, the sound quality is far less than desirable. Support for Dolby Digital 5.1 is included but you’d probably hardly notice the difference between a 5.1 and a 2.0 setup in this scenario. You can use your own custom soundtrack but it’s a small consolation that does nothing to improve the tepid and pedestrian audio elements.

To add some replay value to the game and while one may expect to see Rampage in 3D, it’s more like nap-time in 3D. The boring landscapes, in conjunction with the sluggish controls, make this a mode that you’ll probably want to avoid at all costs. There are some unlockables in the form of art and while it will appeal to hardcore fans it’s pretty useless for casual fans and gamers. There are some monsters to unlock by completing the game’s adventure mode and promised updates in the form of Xbox Live Content. It’s nice to see that Infogrames is sticking by the game and rewarding those who are supporting its cause.

Putting it succinctly, this game isn’t much fun. Horrendous controls and sluggish gameplay makes this one stumble out of the starting blocks before it can attain some firm footing to steady itself with. There’s some fun to be had when it comes to four-player action but other games offer a far superior experience. It’s an ultimately shallow experience that wears thin far more quickly than one would probably like. While it may be good for a weekend rental the only people who could probably really enjoy this game are Godzilla enthusiasts and even then, they may want to think about renting before buying.
If you’re in the mood for a great multi-player brawler I’d suggest Kung Fu Chaos or even Tao Feng. This game is just so sluggish that it’ll ruin any chances for you and your buddies to have fun.

Rating: 6.4 Flawed

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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