Dec 5, 2007
Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash provides the perfect example of a promising game concept failing to yield a good game. In theory Double Smash sounds like a fantastic fit for the Nintendo DS; control two of your favorite Godzilla universe-based beasties simultaneously in a side-scrolling beat-'em-up. Take to the skies on the upper display as a winged menace such as Mothra, and unleash destruction on the bottom screen as the skyscraper-stomper himself, Godzilla. Toss in a long line-up of playable ferocious favorites - Megalon, King Ghidorah, Battra, Fire Rodan - and single cart co-op play, and we're on this like radioactive sludge on a Tokyo sewer pipe. So, why is this brimming-with-potential title nearly unplayable?
For starters the visual presentation is weak; it's apparently meant to look stylized and anime, but it comes off too rough around the edges. PC-based Flash games and early GBA titles have delivered better graphics. Despite globe-trotting to the world's biggest cities, the action slowly scrolls past bland and repetitive backgrounds; whether you're in Tokyo or Sydney everything looks pretty much the same. And the monsters don't fare much better, as your favorite fire-breathing bad-asses are reduced to ugly, detail-starved smudges.
The creative well runs just as dry in the gameplay department; on both screens you'll button-mash through some limited character animations - jump, punch, kick - destroying a few fighter plane models up top and projectile-spitting boats below, over and over again. The action is broken up by mid and end-level boss fights, but even here, where the game could have redeemed itself, we're subjected to plodding encounters offering almost no challenge. Using the same basic move set, you'll slowly tick away at each boss' too-long life meter, with absolutely no fear of dying.