Guide to The Best Godzilla And Giant Monster Videogames

Atari

With the release of Gareth Edwards and Legendary Pictures' new "Godzilla" (2014) movie, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at some of the best videogames based on the franchise.  Despite having a huge collection of awesome city-destroying giant monsters and giant robots to work with, Godzilla's forays into videogames have been pretty rough over the years, particularly if you live outside of Japan.

  There were still a few solid releases here in the West, though, especially more recently.  One word of warning, however, a lot of these games have seen a surge in their prices, so you might end up paying more than you'd expect to scratch your Godzilla videogame itch.

Godzilla 2014

As of now the only game based on the upcoming "Godzilla" (2014) flick is a dinky mobile puzzle thing, which is hard to really get too excited for.  Instead we'll have to be satisfied with older Godzilla releases.

Godzilla Kaiju Daikessen

The rest of the games on this list were released in the U.S., but a list of the best Godzilla games would be seriously flawed if it didn't include the Japanese-only Kaiju Daikessen for Super Famicom (SNES).  This Street Fighter II-style 2D fighter was one of the first games to really nail what fans wanted from the franchise - giant monsters fighting each other.  The graphics still look pretty great even today and the use of sound effects from the movies and 16-bit versions of many of the classic musical themes really made it authentic.

 

Unfortunately, it never released outside of Japan despite a Western release being planned (and even previewed and reviewed in Nintendo Power).  You can buy import copies on eBay or Amazon for fairly reasonable prices.  Or you can always download a ROM (you'll have to find ROMS and emulators on your own).

  It is totally worth playing if you're a Godzilla fan.

Pipeworks Trio of Godzilla Games

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee - Starting with Destroy All Monsters Melee for GameCube and Xbox, the Pipeworks-developed and Atari-published 3D Godzilla fighting games released in the early 2000's are easily the peak of the Godzilla videogame library.  All of the distinct sound effects are here.  Most of the fan-favorite characters are here.  And the game plays amazingly well.  You can fight it out in a 3D city, destroying buildings, throwing buildings at other monsters, and generally just causing chaos.  Multiplayer is incredibly fun as well. 

Godzilla: Save the Earth - Another fantastic fighter in the same vein as DAMM, Save the Earth added a bunch of extra characters and refined the gameplay even more.  Released on PS2 and Xbox, Save the Earth is the favorite of a lot of Godzilla fans.  It isn't my favorite, however ...

Godzilla Unleashed - My personal favorite Godzilla fighter from Pipeworks / Atari is Godzilla Unleashed for Wii and PS2.  Unleashed has the worst reviews out of the three (not that any of them were reviewed particularly well) but don't listen to them.  Unleashed packs almost every monster from the entire series (it came out in 2007, after all, so it covers the Showa, Heisei, and Millennium series), so just the sheer volume of characters to choose from make it the one to get for Godzilla fans.

  It is also a fairly significant visual upgrade from past games and captures the distinct look of all of the kaiju really well. 

I feel like the Wii version deserves special attention, and not just because its the only version where you'll find 1954 Godzilla.  A lot of folks don't like it because you're forced to use the Wiimote and Nunchuk motion controls (no options for normal controls) but I feel like it actually enhances the experience quite a bit.  Punches and kicks are performed by holding a button and flicking the remote in different directions.  Throws you have flicking the remote and nunchuk together.

  Movement is handled by the analog stick on the nunchuk.  Once you get the controls figured out, it feels like you have more direct control over your monsters than a normal controller offers.  This is my personal go-to Godzilla game.

A couple of important notes.  All three of the Pipeworks Godzilla games are infinitely better in multiplayer than the single-player.  The story modes are all pretty dumb and bad.  Luckily, if you don't want to slog through them just to unlock all of the characters, you can use cheat codes to unlock all of the characters and stages, which is what I recommend.  Get a room full of Godzilla fans together and play these games and you're gonna have a good time.

Also, Destroy All Monsters Melee and Save the Earth are both backward compatible on Xbox 360, so no need to drag out your big OG Xbox to play them. 

Other Godzilla Games

The Nintendo DS version of Godzilla Unleashed is a 2D side-scroller where you play as a monster on the ground kicking and punching enemies but can swap to a flying monster to take out flying enemies shoot-em-up style.  It isn't particularly good, though.  Godzilla Domination for Game Boy Advance fares a bit better because it is a fairly decent 2.5D fighter with remarkably good visuals for a GBA game.  The rest of the Godzilla videogames released in the US are generally pretty middling. 

Godzilla PS3 / PS4

Bandai Namco released a new Godzilla game exclusive to PlayStation in 2015.  This game has you destroying cities in order to grow Godzilla into a bigger and more powerful form.

 The PS3 version is seriously lacking in features, unfortunately, and isn't really worth it.  The PS4 version has a lot more content - mainly in the form of being able to play as all of the other monsters instead of only using Godzilla in the PS3 version - and is the much better deal.  Reviews have been pretty poor, but we know better.  Godzilla fans will love it.

Other Kaiju Games Worth Playing  

Sony's PS2-exclusive War of the Monsters is a remarkably solid kaiju game.  All of the monsters are original designs (though with obvious influences) and the scale is much smaller than what you expect from Godzilla (they're big monsters here, not really "giant") but the gameplay is rock solid and fast paced with lots of destructible elements in the stages.  I also have to admit that I kind of enjoyed the Pacific Rim game released last year for XBLA.  It isn't a great game by any means, but once you get used to the slow pace and stiff move sets, it can be a lot of fun making custom jaegers and beating up the kaiju.  Other titles that might satisfy your giant monster craving include the classic Rampage series, Earth Defense Force 2017 or EDF 2025, or Peter Jackson's King Kong.