The world's greatest movie monster and his numerous, gigantic enemies are back in Godzilla: Save the Earth, sort of a sequel to 2002's Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee for the GameCube. The new game, available only for the PS2 and Xbox, features nearly 20 different, recognizable monsters, as well as what seems like a wide variety of modes of play, including an online one. However, at its core, Godzilla: Save the Earth is still a rather clunky, unfulfilling fighting game whose cast of characters is by far the best thing it has going for it. Hardcore Godzilla fans will appreciate seeing the decent renderings of some of their favorite monsters here, but they're unlikely to be terribly impressed by the action itself.
Godzilla and company are back to pound the heck out of one another, as well as destroy civilization while they're at it.
The main menu of Godzilla: Save the Earth is littered with options. You'll find action mode, versus mode, melee mode, survival mode, challenges, multiplayer, two different galleries (one exclusively for the latest movie, Godzilla: Final Wars), and a purchase mode in which you can spend points earned while playing to unlock additional monsters, cities, gallery art, and more. This seems like more variety than it really is, because, for the most part, the gameplay itself is pretty similar in all these modes. There are just some slight changes to the rules, such as how versus mode is a one-on-one affair where the last monster standing wins, while melee mode supports up to four players in a chaotic free-for-all scoring contest. Those who played Destroy All Monsters Melee will immediately recognize that game's stuttering, choppy, rather sluggish feel in this game's action. Destroy All Monsters wasn't great back in 2002, and its basic gameplay hasn't aged or carried over well here.
Even so, Godzilla: Save the Earth can be fun for a while. Each of the game's monsters has a fairly small selection of moves, including various punches, kicks, and other attacks involving tails, horns, beams, spikes, and other weapons. By and large, the characters play quite similarly, as almost each one will rely on its basic moves, beam attacks, and throws to inflict damage on others. However, each monster does have certain unique traits, which include resistances and vulnerabilities to certain types of attacks. This presumably gives the game some depth, but since the resistances and vulnerabilities are so specific (there are something like 10 different damage types in the game), in practice, the whole system is easily forgotten and ignored. Instead, you'll be focused on waling on your opponent (or opponents) while also steering clear of any pests in the vicinity, such as human military forces and their pathetic tanks and things.
As in Destroy All Monsters Melee, you'll also want to keep an eye out for certain power-ups in each battlefield that can either restore your health or energy or put you into "rage mode," making you stronger and capable of unleashing your strongest attack. Also like in the previous game, your computer-controlled opponents (at the medium or hard difficulty settings) have an uncanny knack for making a beeline toward offscreen power-ups, as if the life of a giant monster weren't hard enough as it is.
The additions to the cast are welcome, but the action itself still feels underwhelming.
One other power-up causes Battra to appear and begin bombarding the enemy from the skies, which effectively replaces the Mothra air strike from the last game. This is fine, however, because Mothra is now a playable character. He's a relatively interesting one, since he starts off in his larval form but can metamorphose into his moth form during battle. The other highlight of the new additions to the character roster is Jet Jaguar, a humanoid robot who resembles the better-known Ultraman. His main special ability lets him become gigantic or tiny in a split second. The other pretty impressive cast members include two versions of Godzilla, the telekinetically gifted SpaceGodzilla (according to the manual, "SpaceGodzilla grabs buildings and opponents with his mind, rather than his arms"), the cool-looking Destroyah, the beetlelike Megalon, three-headed Ghidora and the souped-up Mecha-King Ghidoran, the fast-flying Rodan, and a couple of different missile-spewing Mecha-Godzilla versions.