War of the Monsters (known as Kaiju Daigekisen in Japan) is a 3D fighting game for the PlayStation 2 developed by Incognito Entertainment and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released in 2003 with January 14 in North America and April 17 in Europe and later released in Japan on March 25 2004.
The game is set in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth where their hazardous fuels have spawned giant monsters that battle one another in city environments. The game is presented in the style of a 1950's science fiction and monster movie, making homages to films in those genres.
In War of the Monsters, players take the roles of large monsters in city environments. The game plays as a fighting game yet works differently than the traditional one-on-one structured rounds. Instead, fights can include up to 4 players in a Four-way simultaneous fighting structure like the earlier Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee for the GameCube and is not camera restricted to other players, allowing the player to control their camera view from a third-person perspective.
Monsters have two status bars in each game, Health and Stamina. Like the standard fighting game formula, every time a monster takes damage, their overall Health bar drops until it is completely depleted, resulting in player defeat. Stamina determines how much energy a monster can attack with. The bar drops if a monster picks up another foe or performs a ranged attack. If the bar is completely full, a monster can perform special attacks, whereas if the bar is completely drained, they become temporarily immobilised.
Also unlike most fighting games, players are allowed to roam freely within the city area, which allows climbing of jumping from buildings and cliffs. Monsters can use the environment to deal out damage to their foes by making weapons of various objects found within the city, such as vehicles and rubble as projectiles, steel girders and stone columns as clubs and radio antennae as a spear to impale others, temporarily stunning them. There are also some environment pick-ups, which can increase health or stamina, appearing as green or blue orbs and floating radioactive signs. Buildings can be destroyed if a monster directly attacks or is thrown into it. In some cities, taller buildings can topple over sideways that can crush other monsters, killing them instantly.
In the Adventure mode, along with a series of set fights with other monsters, boss battles are also present. They are much larger than the standard playable monsters and required certain strategies in order to defeat. "Tokens" can also be earned through Adventure mode, which can be spent at the "Unlocks" shop to unlock more cities, monsters, and monster skins. And you also can unlock mini-games like dodge ball or city destruction.
Multiplayer options allow 2 players via split-screen, which can be set to merge into one screen when both players a close enough to fit on the same screen.
The plot is set in the 1950's where a fleet of alien flying saucer warships invade the Earth, causing massive damage. The scientists of the world manage to create a series of secret weapons, which, when activated, let loose shockwaves that short-circuit the saucers and cause them to crash. Unfortunately, each flying saucer is fueled by a green radioactive liquid, which leaks out from destroyed crafts. Through this and follow up effects, the fuel creates giant monsters as a result. The player acts as one of these monsters and battles against the rest in fictional cities across the globe and the remaining UFOs.
The story mode of the game starts out in Midtown Parkwhere a giant gorrila called Congar defeats a wave of Military forces but is fought and defeated by the lead monster. In Gambler's Gulch, the lead monster also defeats the Godzilla styled beast, Togera. After Togera's defeat, Robo-47 and the military show up and attack the lead monster but are defeated as well. At a military base at Rosedale Canyon (similar to Roswell), the lead monster is confronted by a Transformer style robot, Goliath Prime. The military then decide to test their new weapon, Mecha-Congar, on Preytor who was attacking Metro City. Before they could fight the lead monster appears and defeats them both. The lead monster then travels to Century Airflield and defeats Raptros and his mate. Later when Atomic Island suffers from a meltdown, a large plant Biollante like creature called Vegon is spawned as a result, that then must be defeated. Two Robo-47s stop a UFO attack in Baytown and try to slay the lead monster and fail. Even the combined might of Agamo and Magmo in Club Caldera could fell to the lead monster. After defeating two Ultra V robots at "Tsunopolis", the lead monster is abducted by an on looking UFO that take it back to the UFO mothership. There the lead monster has to fend off three Zorgulons before being abducted once more when the mothership explodes, causing the carrying UFO to crash into a Washington DC style Capital city. There, the alien leader Cerebulon attacks in a multi-layered battle suit like the Tripods from War of the Worlds. After Cerebulon is defeated, the lead monster victor watches as the last part of Cerebulon, a small timid insect like creature flees.
Each monster has their own unique end game cinematic that shows how they came to be.
|Official Playstation Magazine||5/5|
Most reviewers praised the game's style and monster roster, being a homage to classic monster movies. IGN stated that "the game draws its inspiration from movies like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, King Kong, and the aforementioned Godzilla, the characters immediately appear to be offshoots from the great Ray Harryhausen", going on to say "each of the game's 10 gigantic beasts are as fun to play as they are to look at" while GameSpot said "a slick presentation gives the game the style of an old drive-in movie or news telecast, and it really works well to accentuate the game's retro theme and characters."
GameSpy was equally impressed, noting the destructable environments, that "WotM captures the joy of destruction more so than any game I've ever played. Did you think knocking over buildings was fun in Rampage? It's ten... no, twelvety times better in WotM".
Game Informer however complained about certain aspects of gameplay, that " the unblockable attacks are just downright unfair" and that "the lazy camera produces numerous blind spots throughout a battle". Game Revolution noted AI issues, that "the monsters routinely demonstrate a strong sense of self-preservation", which they called "extremely frustrating behavior".