Godzilla Generations (Dreamcast, 1998)
Godzilla Generations was a Japanese exclusive launch title for the Sega Dreamcast. Developed by General Entertainment, the goal of the game is to destroy as much of any given city in the time allotted, while fending off the JSDF. It was followed a year later by Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact.
One of two characters available the start. As the Millennium Series had not yet started, this Godzilla is based off the Heisei Era (my personal favorite Godzilla era), which ran from 1984's The Return of Godzilla through 1995's Godzilla vs Destoroyah for a total of seven movies. Godzilla uses the traditional atomic breath, swipe of the tail left and right, a block, a health regenerating roar, and a super move of red fire atomic breath.
One of two characters available from the start. Curiously, MechaGodzilla is based on the Showa period version. The Showa Era ran from 1954-1975 for a total of fifteen movies, although MechaGodzilla only appeared in the final two films (1974's Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla, and 1975's Terror of MechaGodzilla) of that period. I suppose this version probably goes along with the "generations of Godzilla" theme. Both Mecha movies are a big improvement on the second half of the Showa Era, which had gone in a kid friendly, comedic direction. Then MechaGodzilla shows up and is ripping jaws apart and having blood everywhere. It was dope. MechaGodzilla uses an eye beam, missiles from its hands to the left and right, a block block that doubles as a damaging force-field, a health regenerating roar, and a super move that simultaneously shoots the eye beam, chest beam, and missiles.
Obviously, this is the OG. Gorija kicked off the whole kaiju movie craze in Japan in 1954. Godzilla 1st can do the atomic breath (patterned after the original, more spray-like breath), tail whips to the right and left, a block, and a health generating roar. Godzilla 1st is the only character in the game not to have a super move. Unlocked after finishing Normal Mode with Godzilla or MechaGodzilla.
The adopted son of Godzilla that debuted in 1967's Son of Godzilla. The character of Minilla was the start of marketing the Godzilla series to children, and was generally used for comedic purposes. In the game, he is the shortest and weakest character. His moves include the smoke ring atomic breath, tail whips to the left and right, a block, a health regenerating roar, and a super move of charging wildly while flailing his arms. If there is one thing this game really captures, it's the hilariously ugly looking design of Minilla. Unlocked after finishing Normal Mode with Godzilla 1st.
Officially named "Zilla" by Toho. This is the Godzilla of Tri-Star's Godzilla from 1998. This was the first game to feature Zilla. Zilla is by far the fastest character in the game, and also the longest. Zilla can use atomic breath, tail whips to the left and right, a block, a health regenerating roar, and a super move of sprinting across the map. I found Zilla to be the best character to play as. Unlocked after finishing Normal Mode with Minilla.
Most definitely the strangest character in the game. Dr. Serizawa was the creator of the Oxygen Destroyer in Gojira. He sacrificed his life and work to rid the world of Godzilla, while destroying his blueprints to make sure his Oxygen Destroyer wouldn't be used as a weapon against humans. In this game, he happens to be the same size as Godzilla and has a fun time destroying cities. Seems a little out of character, doctor. Serizawa has the bizarre ability to shoot a laser beam out of a cannon that his hidden behind his eye patch, swiping to the left and right with the Oxygen Destroyer, a block, a health regenerating kneel with apparent halo of light from Heaven, and a super move of unleashing the Oxygen Destroyer in lightning form. It appeared to me that the OD super move was the most powerful in the game, destroying everything on screen.
The first thing you notice about this game is, unlike Maximum Impact, this game actually features the music for all the characters. It goes a LONG way to soothe the pain of the extremely slow and repetitive game play. It's the same basic idea as what I played in Maximum Impact, except instead of being on the rails, this is a free roaming game. The goal is literally to destroy the entire city within the time limit. At the same time, you have to fight off the JSDF. In addition to the free roaming, you also have four other characters, and five other moves. It's weird that the sequel would have LESS of everything. One improvement made for Maximum Impact is the ability to lock on to targets. This game has no such feature and using your atomic breath on enemies (especially tanks) is horrible.
The game has tank controls similar to the Resident Evil series. Instead of the camera following behind you like a traditional third person game, it instead cuts to new, terrible angles frequently that make you either unable to see what you're aiming at, get stuck going the opposite way of where you want, and generally just ruining your whole experience. It is truly one of the most atrocious cameras I've ever seen in a game. The camera is the biggest enemy by far, and you're constantly fighting with it. Being that you're playing as giant monsters, the controls are very slow. That makes sense, but is also agonizing after a couple of stages. The further you progress, the more interesting the scenery is to destroy. The one thing this game really does well is the destruction. It's very satisfying to blast through buildings, stomp through town, whip things with your tail, and just generally destroy everything. EVERYTHING explodes, even trees. Towers will melt and bend if you use your atomic breath. It really feels like you're Godzilla. You start with your super move charged and can recharge it by destroying more buildings.
In the upper right corner of the screen is your map. It shows all the buildings and where enemies are. You HAVE to use it. There is no possible way to just walk around the stage due to the terrible camera and controls. The bottom right has your timer and a counter for how much of the city you have destroyed. The left corner has your health and weapons energy bars. Your actual, non-camera enemies in the game are variations of tanks, jet fighters, helicopters, and Super Xes. As the game progresses, the enemies become stronger, get better weapons, and there usually are more on the stage. It's basically pointless to try to use your atomic breath to kill anything besides whatever Super X you are fighting. It's almost impossible to hit the tanks with your breath due to the controls and camera, so the easiest way is just to walk over them. For flying vehciles, it is easiest just to let them run into you. If you're MechaGodzilla, you can just your your force-field. You can also trick them into flying into buildings. But you don't actually even have to kill them. On my playthroughs to unlock the rest of the cast, I found out you can just destroy a little of the city and let the timer run out without killing any enemies and still pass the stage. As long as you destroy SOME stuff, you can go do something else for the next 10 minutes.
I decided to play with MechaGodzilla, just as a change of pace from only being able to play as Godzilla in Maximum Impact. While Mecha does have the most projectiles, he's also ultra slow and every step he makes is the same pounding clank. Forever. Every step. Every stage. The same sound effect the entire time. I didn't even figure out I had more than one weapon until a few stages in, thinking that if the sequel only had one attack, then surely the first game would be just as simple. The video is completely unedited from start up to credits. It took twice as long as playing the sequel, because I could never get 100% destruction on a stage, so I had to wait out the timers. To get 100%, you don't just knock down the buildings. You have to knock them down, walk over them a few times, get rid of every tree/stoplight/car...all things that don't show up on the map. Once they buildings are down, they no longer appear on the map, but their rubble still has to be taken care of, and only on a few stages do the little things like trees show up on the map. You basically have to walk every inch of the stage to get 100% destruction. Some stages even have things outside of the stage boundaries, which means you either have to risk being out too long, or get lucky and hope the camera is cooperating with you when you try to shoot whatever is out there. You're graded after each stage and you get a badge at the end of the game.
Unlike its sequel, this does have a few other options. In addition to the extra characters, there is a VMU game, a time trial mode, and you can unlock original trailers to sixteen of the films in the series.
It's not a good game. Neither is Maximum Impact. They're both extremely easy and repetitive. Both have the same basic idea and game play, and both are two of the ugliest looking Dreamcast games I've ever seen. They both have terrible controls. On the plus side for this game, it does have far more varied offense, you are fully able to roam the whole stage, you have four other characters to play as besides Godzilla, and it has the real music. On the negative side, the camera and controllers are horrible, and everything the game can do is done in the first stage. If either of these games were generic monster games, they'd get a F+ grade. With the Godzilla license, they're a solid D-. I can't recommend either game unless you are a Godzilla completionist. Even then, all you need to do is play the first stage of each and you've played the entire game.