War of the Monsters takes place the near future when
sinister aliens invade the Earth, but the scientists have devised a plan to
defeat them. Using radioactive guns, they destroy this force but thereís an
unfortunate side-effect. The radiation has created fearsome mutated monsters
that proceed to go on a massive rampage throughout the worldís cities. You
take the role of one of these monsters, and your goal is to destroy as many of
the other monsters as you can before they can wipe you out. There are 10 in all,
though only 8 are available initially with the other two becoming available as
you beat the game. These characters are more than a little inspired by 1950ís
and 60ís science fiction anti-heroes such as Godzilla and King Kong.
Unfortunately, WOTM lacks the licenses to use any of those classic movie
villains. However, the archetypes are acceptable replacements with a giant
lizard, a huge ape, alien giants, massive electric balls, and other characters
that recreate the spirit of those classic cinema monsters.
WOTMís fighting system is quite extensive, and entertaining with a mix of fighting and destruction. The monsters go at each other with a variety of moves including both long and short range attacks and can pick up and throw objects, and destroy buildings with abandon. You can battle using your standard attacks that include punches and kicks.The monsters can fire long-range projectiles such as flames and other objects that can be used to hurt a foe from a safe distance. However, the projectile weapons have a limited amount of energy, but you can collect energy power-ups to restore these to full power. Players can also use defensive moves to get out of an opponentsí line of fire, such as jumping and climbing up buildings. This is quite intuitive and you can create a lot of damage by hitting the opponent multiple times. This sounds like just another fighting game, but the environments are truly interactive and can play a large role in the battles. One of the coolest aspects of WOTM is that you can pick up cars, trucks, trains, girders and other objects and throw them at enemies. You can also hold and use them as weapons at close range, which adds an interesting dimension of strategy to the battles. You can block an opponentís attack by pressing the shift button and going into the defensive position. Players can also look around when their monster is stationary, but can adjust the camera angle. Grabbing and throwing the enemies can also cause plenty of incremental damage. Another aspect of the fighting is that you can take advantage of an opponent when theyíre down by pummeling them while theyíre helpless. Finally, you can crush an opponent under a falling building if you time your attack just right, causing an automatic win.
There are some really cool special moves to perform a devastating combo on your opponent when the power-up indicator is at full strength. Each monster has its own set of special combo moves, but fortunately these are easy to perform and inflict a lot of damage. While itís a relatively straightforward game, hereís a surprisingly large number of moves that you can use which gives the game more depth than youíd expect. Controlling the monsters isnít that difficult thanks to the intuitive controls. Moving around is simple layers should be able to get right into the action without much effort, and the interface makes the fighting loads of fun. The difficulty balance isnít as complex as a traditional fighting game and WOTMís controls definitely tilted towards the simpler, easier to play command structure.
The fighting system is excellent, but War of the
Monsters has some significant flaws that detract from the experience. You never
know how close you are to defeating an enemy because there isnít a health
indicator for them. This gets annoying quickly, especially when you face
multiple opponents who are attacking simultaneously. To add further insult to
injury, the health power-ups you find barely add to your energy, which makes for
some frustratingly difficult battles. This would be bad enough, but the gameís
other major problem is the camera system. You frequently lose track of where you
are and enemies can disappear at odd angles. Fortunately, a small icon that
shows you where the enemies are, making them easier to locate. One mitigating
factor in all of this comes in the levels themselves, which are relatively
compact. Unfortunately, another problem stems from the confined battle arenas,
which allow the enemies to block you in, pummeling endlessly while you have no
chance to escape. This lack of freedom becomes annoying quickly, and limits the
gameís replay value. Even though the graphics look decent, the camera system
interferes with the gameplay because the substandard angles make it overly
difficult to target the projectiles at opponents, even with the lock-on enabled.
While you can become accustomed to these limitations, the gameís poor camera
system is extremely disappointing.
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