Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash - NDS - Review
For a brief time, it seemed that Flash games might have a strong future. They’re still out there. But aside from Alien Hominid, when is the last time we’ve heard of one going mainstream, not only with the Flash-seeking audience but all gamers? The cutesy graphics, paper cutout visuals and weak animations can only go so far. To make a great game using Flash, developers have to work really hard.
Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash could have been a Flash game. The graphics are simple, the load times are extensive, and the gameplay is as straightforward as a student project. But this game wasn’t made with Flash, and it wasn’t made for PC – Double Smash was designed exclusively for Nintendo DS.
Double Smash will remind you of a long drive. The speed limit starts low, like those rural roads that expect you to move no faster than 15 mph. The character selection screen appears as soon as you click the single-player mode. That isn’t typically something I’d note. But it had to mentioned, as it is the only thing that happens instantaneously.
Double Smash is not a fighting game like its Wii and PS2 siblings. This version is a mix of three action gameplay types. Two of 10 monsters must be selected at the start: one for aerial battle and one for a ground assault. The aerial creature (Mothra, King Chidorah, etc.) takes the top screen; the ground battler (Godzilla, Megalon, etc.) takes the bottom. You don’t control the monsters simultaneously. In most cases, you won’t need to switch between them except during a boss battle.
Top screen play is like a side-scrolling space shooter. Each aerial beast functions the same – one low hit (B button), high hit (Y), and a projectile (X). Press down and the A button simultaneously to fly down to the bottom screen temporarily. Look! The speed limit just increased to 30mph.
Bottom screen play is the opposite. The A button is now used to leap up to the top screen temporarily. Attacks are roughly the same: hit B and Y for two different strikes (no combos), and hold the X button for three seconds to charge your blast beam.
Monsters are switched by tapping either of the two shoulder buttons. The life meter of the monster not currently in use will be re-charged, and that’s about the only reason you’ll have to switch monsters. Double Smash is not like other action games – you can’t stop or backtrack. The game is constantly moving toward the goal (a boss battle), and you can pass entire levels without ever making a switch.
Each level is broken down into sections; the first centers on the monsters’ city walk. It’s their first time in skyscraper town, so do excuse their impolite behavior. A few warplanes are bound to fall, and if they don’t watch where they’re going, ships and fighter jets might also perish. Get ready to mash those buttons.
The next section removes all enemies, stops the game from moving forward (which it had done continuously up until this point), and displays a list of buttons. Those buttons, as we are all fearfully aware, must be pushed in the displayed sequence. Ouch – now the speed limit has dropped to parking lot levels, 5 mph.
When the first boss battle came, it was a chance to show that underneath Double Smash’s Flash-y exterior was a game we wouldn’t want to put down. But the speed limit barely approached 20 mph. That’s because, like the rest of the game, boss battles are typical and predictable. They have a weak spot, span both screens, and you can switch monsters (and go off screen temporarily) to evade almost every attack.
the first level and before controlling your first monster, the game attempts to
develop a story through a series of ugly stills. They may be skipped, but the
load times before and after each scene (which there are several of) must be
endured. The first in a series of loading periods lasts six seconds! This
isn’t PSP we’re playing – it’s the Nintendo DS, a platform that uses game cards,
which should require no loading. Most of its games don’t have any load times,
and those that do move so quickly you barely notice. But I guess that shows how
much Double Smash wanted to seem like it was made with Flash.
Having jerked the player around with load times, a sluggish intro, and gameplay that was unavoidably repetitive the moment the game began, it was hard to get excited about the battle’s continuation. The next group of stages proved to be exactly the same as the first. There were slight graphic changes, but it’s doubtful that anyone will care – Double Smash’s visuals are hideous.
Review Scoring Details for Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash
If it had been developed with any level of polish, Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash might have been a good arcade-style adventure. It’s too bad the game was packaged and shrink-wrapped before that could happen.
Very, very poor.
This won’t earn the game any bragging rights, but the sound – which is made up of repetitive music and scratchy, 8-bit-quality sound effects – is the best thing about Double Smash.
Step 1: locate the X, Y, A and B buttons on your DS. Step 2: press them.
Unlike the Wii and PS2 versions of Godzilla Unleashed, which are multiplayer brawlers, Double Smash is a copycat of old and tired ideas.
Only you can prevent forest fires. So please, don’t spread the flame by encouraging a friend to play this game with you.
After having hernia surgery, a friend (seeing how much pain I was in) turned to me and said, “It could always be worse.” Remember that while playing Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash. It could always be worse.