War of the Monsters
Score: 9.0 / 10
of giant, rubber-suited monsters have had it pretty good over the years.
With the console and arcade markets fairly well dominated by the
studios from Japan, the home of the atomic monster phenomenon, the
critters have been seen in numerous games both at home and at the
Strangely, until now, my favorite of these games was an American
Rampage offered the full range of monster-movie clichés and,
best of all, allowed for up to three players to go at a city and each
other at the same time.
Sony’s new War of the Monsters (WOTM) takes the fun of Rampage,
alleviates some of the repetitive nature with multiple modes and more
creature options, and transforms the concept into a beautiful, 3D,
start with the beautiful part.
WOTM features bustling cites, complete with the requisite
military and civilian masses milling underfoot.
The cities are well detailed, and nearly everything in them can
be destroyed or picked up and hurled.
Better yet, even with tons of miniature people and a full
compliment of monsters with weapon effects in full array, the frame-rate
is rock solid.
Every battle plays out smoothly and with a great deal of
WOTM is one of those games that works as a spectator sport.
It is simply that good to look at.
Besides the technical prowess, the attractiveness of WOTM owes a lot to the art design. Though not particularly original, the art design of WOTM is reminiscent of both the great giant-monster movies of Japan and the broader genre of pulp serials. Each battle is introduced with a nostalgia inducing movie poster that never
failed to get my juices flowing. The art design carries over to the documentation included with the game, which includes a cool lobby-card sized movie poster and a manual designed like a 1950’s pulp magazine.
As the art-design pays homage to the films of the Atomic Age, WOTM’s game play borrows heavily from a number of earlier games. As mentioned in the introduction, there is a lot of Rampage in WOTM. Had Sony purchased the license and called it Rampage 3D, I doubt
would have blinked an eye.
However, the focus of WOTM isn’t on being the fastest, most
destructive giant monster on the block.
WOTM is a 3D brawler that reminds me a lot of Powerstone.
It shares the totally 3D freedom of Powerstone as well as the
urgent need to hunt for power-up in order to win the battles (especially
in the 2-player melees).
Still, the theme over powers any similarities and WOTM ends up
feeling fresh and exciting a lot more often than it feels like a
course, many people attracted to WOTM will be drawn in by the monsters
WOTM doesn’t feature as many choices as most modern fighters,
but the eight monsters available at start-up are easily distinguishable
and offer distinct strengths and weaknesses.
All of the Toho monster movie clichés are present (the giant
robot, the giant lizard, the giant ape, the giant insect) along with a
handful of more original designs like, my favorite: Kineticlops, the
(An aside, the manual features this bit of hilarity about
Kineticlops: “EYE WITNESSES claim that the effective range of these
electrical bolts can scan entire cities [emphasis mine]” Tee hee,
Add some 2-player mini-games to the standard campaign, free-for-all, and endurance modes found in nearly all fighters, and there you have WOTM. It may not be the best value for your bucks unless you have a regular opponent to play with, but fans of the theme need not hesitate. War of the Monsters is well worth a purchase.
- Tolen Dante
(April 12, 2003)
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