Finding new interests is an exciting thing. We get a taste, decide to further investigate, and before realising it, we're down a rabbit hole. In a literal sense, mine was larger than most. Being gifted Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee one Christmas day, it became my first experience with the King of the Monsters. Placing this iconic character into a 3D fighting game, Pipeworks Studio had a hit, and this soon became a trilogy. Godzilla Unleashed was a disappointing end but, Godzilla: Save The Earth? That was the real sweet spot.
Before I get into the game, it's important to remember Godzilla's historical context. An allegory for nuclear tragedy, he reminds us what such dreadful weapons can do, the impact it held on the Daigo Fukuryū Maru's crew. Most entries contain a political message, but during the late Showa era, that point was lost amidst light-hearted storylines. When Toho started wheeling out alien invasions, champions of Seatopia and a cybernetic space chicken, it didn't land the same way.
These later entries weren't deep, but they brought us some cheesy entertainment. Who could forget Godzilla repeatedly drop-kicking a giant beetle. Melee brought these cheesy aspects on board, and in 2004, Save The Earth built upon it. There wasn't much of a story, though it didn't need one either. The Vortaak had returned, taking control of Earth's monsters once more. Their goal? Obtaining G-Cells, Godzilla's DNA. When G-Cells created known fiends like Orga and SpaceGodzilla, calling his genetics potent would understate matters.
With a roster of 18 playable Kaiju, fan-favourites like Mothra and Mechagodzilla were present, but Save The Earth tapped into Godzilla's obscurities too. That included Jet Jaguar, a robot that can just grow to Kaiju size. Like before, we found these titans brawling across multiple cities, fighting until they ran out of health. Godzilla films have brought some iconic but ridiculous fights. It's that absurdity which Save the Earth translated well, in a way rivals like War of the Monsters simply couldn't.
Seeing these characters interact in ways the films can't provide was immensely satisfying. You'd never catch King Ghidorah picking up entire buildings with his heads, just to throw it at his mechanical counterpart. When Kaiju basketball is an option... what do I even need to say there. Better yet, we could bring our friends along too. Want a 4-player free-for-all? Sure, let's go. Destruction mode? It's a race. Team battles? Meet me on Monster Island. Or Tokyo. Or even a giant boxing ring.
Nothing since has captured this magic. Godzilla Unleashed was hampered by poor controls and 2014's PS4 Godzilla game was a different beast entirely, no pun intended. I'm not claiming Save The Earth reinvents the wheel here. It's ridiculously silly, filled with tributes to the lighter aspects of Godzilla's history and makes for an enjoyable 3D Brawler. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.