Video Game Review: Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES)

*written in 2014.

Back in the day, just about every kid in America had a Nintendo Entertainment System. Truthfully, I feel for those who didn’t. Reason being, at that time in history, the NES was Americana! Sure, it is a video game console imported from Japan but it was just as much a part of American culture as it was Japanese.

Like today, you can’t say Call of Duty isn’t American. Even though it is played on a Japanese console and part of a monstrous industry created in Japan. I guess Godzilla fits that mold to a degree, as well. A Japanese creation hat has transcended an industry and also become a part of American culture.

Well, putting video games and Godzilla together in 1989 gave us Godzilla: Monster of Monsters. It was released on the Nintendo in a time when I was at the height of both my video game playing and Godzilla worship. When the game dropped, I was at the store to buy a copy as soon as I had earned enough money to afford it.

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters certainly isn’t a game without flaws and in many ways, it is very repetitive. However, some of my fondest video game playing memories, from that era, where when I was fully engaged in this game. It was fun and in a time before fighting games were a normal thing, Godzilla introduced me to the style with its awesome one-on-one monster battles.

The monster battles were actually the big highlight of the game. There were literally dozens and dozens of levels, many of them just rehashes of themselves, which added to the repetitiveness of the game. The problem was that all one wanted to do was fight giant monsters and the levels became too abundant and too much of a roadblock to get to each epic kaiju battle. Honestly, that is my biggest complaint about the game.

The only other real complaint is that the mechanics of the monster battles are very primitive and tedious at times. In retrospect, it didn’t bother me back in 1989, as there wasn’t a lot to compare it to. It doesn’t play great today but at the time, it was awesome. The other issue with it, in regards to the battle mechanics, is that the fights tended to be super long, especially the further you went into the game, as the monsters become increasingly more powerful.

Today, despite the issues, I still find the game enjoyable and fire it up from time-to-time. And I should also make note of the graphics, which were pretty impressive for 1989 on an 8-bit console.

Rating: 7/10

Ranking All the Kaiju of the Toho Godzilla Universe

The Godzilla universe spans seven decades, four different Japanese eras and two American remakes. In that long history, he has fought many deadly foes and had several awesome allies. However, the franchise expands beyond that as well, as some monsters that had their own films have crossed over into Godzilla movies, comics and video games. Toho has created a massive kaiju universe over the years and even if there are different eras and continuities, in some way, all these monsters exist in the same general realm.

So I feel the need to quantify these awesome giant beasts with a list. Because I like making lists and who the hell doesn’t like reading lists. Sure, our opinions may differ but that’s what the comments area is for. So feel free to list your favorites and discuss the results.

Also, I included the MUTOs from the American film for comparison’s sake.

How am I ranking these? Well, it is a combination of who is the most powerful, bad ass and the coolest. And of course, number one should not be a surprise.

1. Godzilla
2. Mothra Leo
3. Destoroyah
4. Monster X (Keizer Ghidorah)
5. Mecha-King Ghidorah
6. Biollante
7. Cretaceous King Ghidorah
8. Shin Godzilla
9. Fire Rodan
10. Gigan (Millennium)
11. King Ghidorah
12. Dagahra
13. Mechagodzilla (Showa)
14. Desghidorah
15. King Caesar
16. Mechagodzilla/Kiryu (Millennium)
17. King Kong
18. Mothra
19. Zone Fighter
20. Godzilla Junior
21. Gigan (Showa)
22. Rodan
23. Anguirus
24. Jet Jaguar
25. Mechani-Kong
26. Hedorah
27. SpaceGodzilla
28. Mechagodzilla (Heisei)
29. Gargantuan Sanda
30. Battra
31. Orga
32. Varan
33. Gargantuan Gaira
34. Megaguirus
35. MUTO (female)
36. Frankenstein
37. Megalon
38. Dogora
39. Gezora
40. Baragon
41. M.O.G.U.E.R.A. (Heisei)
42. Ebirah
43. Titanosaurus
44. MUTO (male)
45. Gabara
46. Moguera (Showa)
47. Manda
48. Kumonga
49. Ganimes
50. Gorosaurus
51. Kamoebas
52. Maguma
53. Kamacuras
54. Meganulon
55. Giant Octopus
56. Giant Sea Serpent
57. Minya
58. Giant Condor
59. Zilla

Film Review: Dogora (1964)

Also known as: Uchū Daikaijū Dogora, lit. Giant Space Monster Dogora (Japan), Dogora, the Space Monster
Release Date: August 11th, 1964 (Japan)
Directed by: Ishirō Honda
Written by: Jojiro Okami, Shinichi Sekizawa
Music by: Akira Ifukube
Cast:  Yosuke Natsuki, Yōko Fujiyama, Hiroshi Koizumi, Nobuo Nakamura, Robert Dunham, Akiko Wakabayashi, Jun Tazaki, Susumu Fujita, Seizaburô Kawazu, Eisei Amamoto

Toho, 83 Minutes

dogoraReview:

Dogora is a fairly unique kaiju movie. It is actually more of a crime film that has really weird alien occurrences throughout.

The giant creature of this film is a humongous alien jelly fish. It reaches down from the heavens like a spectre from space and tears apart the structures on Earth below.

The aliens also come in the form of these floating blue blobs that are in search of diamonds. This crosses over with the big crime element of the film, where diamond thief gangsters find themselves in the clutches of this alien force.

The special effects in this film are top notch, especially since it is a Toho picture and it didn’t utilize the talents of Eiji Tsuburaya. He was probably in the process of creating his studio Tsuburaya Productions and the Ultraman franchise, at this point.

Like many of the great Toho kaiju flicks, this one is directed by kaiju maestro Ishirō Honda. It also features a stunning score from Honda’s favorite musical collaborator Akira Ifukube.

Toho regular, the beautiful Akiko Wakabayashi is featured in this as the female gangster and lookout. While I absolutely loved her in Ghidorah, the Three Headed MonsterKing Kong vs. Godzilla and the Bond film You Only Live Twice, this is my favorite role of hers. It was cool seeing her as a character with a real edge. She was also incredibly alluring.

Dogora is a really fun film. It is one of those lesser-known Toho productions that I never got to see until recently. While I like the lesser-known Space Amoeba and The Mysterians more, this picture fits in well with those.

The monster effects were cool, the atmosphere of the film was fantastic and the cast and crew did a great job in creating a fresh scenario for a kaiju movie.

Rating: 8/10