True to the spirit of the Godzilla movies, the creatures in Destroy All Monsters Melee don't go down easily. No single move causes a lot of damage, so a sustained attack is the only way to win. The power-ups that occasionally appear can seriously help your cause, too. One gives you back a good chunk of your life bar, while another causes your monster to enter rage mode, during which you can execute a powerful special move that's practically unavoidable. Some monsters also deal double damage while in rage mode, which gives them an unbalancing advantage. Two other, less useful power-ups are available: One instantly refills your beam weapon energy (which recharges quickly anyway), and another summons that no-good, two-timing, double-crossing Mothra to blast whoever didn't grab the item. At any rate, some power-ups can make a big difference, and the flying creatures of Destroy All Monsters Melee--including the birdlike Rodan, the three-headed King Ghidorah, and Mecha King Ghidorah--have the advantage of being able to get to them more easily than most. Any creature, flying or not, can also use some of the small buildings (or other such blunt objects) as projectile weapons. It can be pretty satisfying to uproot a house and use it to finish off tough guys like Gigan and Destroyah.
Too bad there are no finishing moves to be found in the game.
Visually, Destroy All Monsters Melee can be pretty satisfying at times, though the game's graphics aren't exactly polished and aren't impressive overall. The frame rate is never quite smooth, and it can fluctuate noticeably at times, like when you knock down a bunch of buildings and the screen fills with clouds of dust. Plus, the whole game just runs slower in some levels, apparently because they're more densely detailed than others. The monsters themselves are fairly convincing representations of their cinematic counterparts and often look their best when they're firing their blazing energy beams at one another.
However, none of the monsters gives a convincing sense of the scale of the action--admittedly, though, this is a criticism that can be leveled at most Godzilla movies, too. For better or worse, then, because of the fast animations and quick recovery times on many of the moves in the game, the monsters in Destroy All Monsters Melee seem more like human-sized fighters duking it out in a miniature city than like the multistory behemoths they're supposed to be. The game's miniature cities do look decent, though, and some are based on real-world locations like Tokyo, London, Seattle, and San Francisco. You can destroy pretty much anything in any of the environments, which is nice.
Rent it if you want to entertain your Godzilla-fan posse for a while.
The audio in Destroy All Monsters Melee is probably just the sort of cacophony you'd expect from the game. Most importantly, the monsters make their signature noises, and loud. The rest of the effects, such as when attacks connect and when monsters tumble to the ground, are serviceable though lacking in variety. An announcer introduces the monsters before a bout and proclaims the winner, but he sounds like he's talking about monster trucks rather than Godzilla and company. The game's music plays very, very softly (by default) amid the action, and though it's based on some of the outstanding symphonic music heard in the Godzilla films, it's often overwhelmed by the rest of the audio.
It's hard to be too critical of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, since even though there isn't a whole lot to it, you probably wouldn't expect this sort of game to offer a ton of depth. But since there's not much lasting value to look forward to once you get the character roster unlocked, Destroy All Monsters Melee is best suited as a rental. Anyway, it'll definitely get the job done if you and people you know are fans of the classic films, and it makes a decent party game in any context, though the pacing isn't quite as quick as your guests might like. There've been a number of Godzilla games in the past, and pretty much all of them were bad or at best mediocre. So if it makes you feel any better, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee is actually the best Godzilla game to date.