As is the case for many folks, watching classic kaiju films is a true highlight of Halloween. Massive beasts the likes of Godzilla, King Kong, Mothra, and Rodan are simply some of the most appropriate companions you could hope to ask for on the deliciously sweet October holiday. Sometimes these types of characters don't translate quite well into video games, but when they do, it's exciting to be able to crush entire cities and wreak bloody havoc.
Last time on 31 Games of Halloween, we entered the kaiju realm of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. But while that game was letting Xbox and GameCube owners destroy huge environments in 2002, PlayStation 2 fans were left without a kaiju title to call their own. That changed in 2003, when Twisted Metal: Black developer Incognito released War of the Monsters for Sony's wildly successful platform. Let's take a look at this amazingly B movie-esque monster movie fighter that far surpassed the exploits of Godzilla and company.
Why it stands out
Despite the fact that War of the Monsters features completely generic characters based on licensed movie monsters, it's still a really cool game. Its cutscenes have a cheesy popcorn flick vibe highly reminiscent of old school movies from the '50s and '60s. It's over the top and insane, and it fits right in with the kaiju themes it attempts to emulate.
Gameplay isn't exactly deep, but multiple elements make War of the Monsters a blast to play. Environments are massive, and rather than restricting you to a confined space, you can run around freely in the middle of battles. Destructible levels add to the craziness, and seeing cities crumble around you as you duke it out with other creatures is a total riot. You can also scale huge buildings and continue to brawl atop the roofs of skyscrapers.
Playing against the computer is fun and makes for a good deal of practice, but it's when you play against friends that you really see what War of the Monsters is all about. Like Destroy All Monsters Melee, this game is just better with friends, and seeing the mayhem that occurs across the many stages will have you and your pals laughing out loud, shouting at one another, and cheering when something rad happens.
Is it scary?
At this point, you're probably already aware that kaiju games aren't played for the scares. They're played for the thrill of being able to reenact awesome sequences from your favorite movies. No, King Kong isn't in War of the Monsters, but you can still take the massive ape Congar and scale a huge building like it was the Empire State Building. Or you can just brawl it out against Godzilla ripoff Togera and pay tribute to the classic '60s film King Kong vs. Godzilla. War of the Monsters isn't scary, but it sure is badass.
Why play it on Halloween?
If slasher flicks and zombies aren't your thing, then maybe offbeat monster movies are more to your liking. If that's the case, it's hard not to recommend checking out War of the Monsters. While it doesn't have infamous beasts like the ones found in the roster of Destroy All Monsters Melee (that particular game's main selling point), it's a much better title as far as gameplay is concerned.
Oh, and you don't need to worry about spending $70, $80, or even $100 for a copy of War of the Monsters on Amazon. If you own a PlayStation 3, you can snag the game, now a PlayStation 2 Classic, for just $10 via the PlayStation Store. Not a shabby price at all for some good ol' B movie monster madness.
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