Fighting games that don’t take themselves too seriously, such as Super Smash Brothers and almost border on party game are always a blast for me. Nothing is better than inviting a couple of friends over, throwing down and just having a good time. Sadly there aren’t near enough of these types of games. One of the most memorable games that fall into this category, and happens to be also one of my favorite games of all time, is War of the Monsters.
A first party fighting game from Sony Computer Entertainment of America for PS2, War of the Monsters was essentially a love letter to the giant monster B movies of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Players can pick from a variety of six story tall monsters, from a King Kong and Godzilla look alike to giant robots, fighting other characters in large environments that could be interacted with. The graphics are well done, each monster had a great distinct look, and the music captured the mood and theme of the game, cheesy B movie monster flicks, perfectly. Presentation wise the game was top notch, but gameplay is where War of the Monsters really shines.
Each monster has a few basic combos they can unleash to dish out damage and a special attack, but smart players will use the giant sandbox environment to gain an advantage over their opponent. Throughout the course of the fight buildings will be trampled and destroyed, allowing players to throw and wield debris from the destruction. Cars and diesel trucks could be hurled at opponents with explosive results. By the end of the fight the entire playing field would be in rubble, with only one monster remaining as the victor.
The gameplay is fun and entertaining, simple yet deep enough to play for hours. Eventually basic strategies would develop, such as combo opponent, run away to find a sharp pole, throw said pole, stun opponent, deliver combo again. Single player lacked a strong narrative to pull all the monsters together, and aside from the very basic monster backstories there really is no narrative to speak of. Players pretty much just fight enemy monsters on one stage after the other until the end, fighting a couple of boss battles along the way. Multiplayer mode is a blast, letting two players duke it out with two other AI opponents. It’s a shame that the game didn’t have four player multiplayer or online play, likely a result of the PS2 only having two controller ports without the adapter. Still, War of the Monsters is a great and fun filled game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There was definite room for improvement, but hey that’s what sequels are for right?
Sadly a sequel never came to pass. Sigh. Thankfully gamers can still enjoy one shot at giant monster greatness. If you are a fan of A. destruction B. giant monsters C. fighting games or D. all of the above, War of the Monsters is guaranteed fun.
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