Godzilla: Monster Mayhem

Okay, just to clarify: Robert Smith doesn't appear in this game. That was just for South Park fans who, by the way, will probably love this game.

Godzilla isn't an easy character to dabble with. He's got over 60 years of cult fandom behind him, and some very particular requirements when it comes to successfully capturing his personality in a game or film.

Take the 1998 Hollywood dilution of the brand, for instance: Godzilla is cast as a mindless, destructive animal whose only purpose is to provide sport for America's World Police. None of the kitsch humanity that the original Toho pictures imbued the character with was retained – and the legions of fans were naturally repelled by it.

His latest incarnation in Gamelion's Godzilla: Monster Mayhem is unlikely to produce much longevity, but the developer can at least hold its heads high for having recreated the Japanese mega-lizard so faithfully. The game's genre and style coupled with the character's appearance and personality fit the canonical heritage of Gojira extremely well. While this might not mean a great deal to those who've never really boarded the Godzilla train, it will immediately endear itself to J-pop fans who love the large lizard.

The game splits itself into two distinct sections: Confrontation and Destruction. Before you can get into the meat of Destruction, you're obliged to take on the role of Godzilla himself and defeat a superb selection of his many movie nemeses. These range from classics such as Hedorah and Mecha Godzilla, to the more obscure beasties like Angurius and Magalon. But all are excellent renditions of their big screen counterparts and provide a suitably large scale battle for the original fire-breathing monster.

The battles take place in a variety of cities across the globe; each primed for megalithic destruction as the two monsters battle it out. Fighting games on the mobile platform are tricky to achieve with much finesse, but Godzilla: Monster Mayhem makes a wise decision to forego any pretence at gaming elegance and adopts a button thrashing brawl-a-thon exuberance instead. Jabbing furiously at the buttons is actively encouraged, as the more hits you can work into a single attack the more extravagant the move.

You can pick up and body-slam fallen enemies, knock them off their feet with a swipe of the tail and unleash Godzilla's fire breath when your attack meter reaches its peak. The guttural roars and screeches of the reptilian megaliths add a lot to the brawling, as does the intense techno soundtrack that sets a high speed metronome for the button-mashing reptilian wrestling matches.

As each adversary is defeated they become available in Destruction mode, although this second phase of Godzilla: Monster Mayhem isn't actually unlocked until you've defeated all of the main monster's antagonists. It seems a little obtuse on the part of the developer to make you finish an entire game before being allowed to play the second mode (a matter which will ultimately hamper the game's already limited longevity), though it's by no means an impossible task and you'll soon be eligible to turn your wrath upon the world's cities.

Destruction mode is a 3D arcade-style smash-'em-up, whereby Godzilla lumbers through the cityscape demolishing buildings and trouncing the army as they attempt to bring him down. It's a hell of a lot of fun, though the time limits set against levelling a city are quite strict. Even though you might find yourself attacking the same urban area a good few times, at least you have a superb selection of camp J-pop fantasy monsters to choose from.

As I've suggested throughout this review, Godzilla: Monster Mayhem probably isn't going to be a game you're still playing in six months' time, but the immediacy of its intense entertainment value still makes it a great game here and now. Some of the best aspects of the monster-bashing show are the low-budget cinematics, however, and it's this feature that will undoubtedly delight anyone with a love for retro Japanese cinema.

The characters are faithful to their big screen counterparts in every way – to the extent that they actually look like men in big rubber suits, performing poor impressions of how they might expect a giant lizard to swings its arms in slow motion. It's wonderfully amusing, in the most kitsch way, to watch Godzilla: Monster Mayhem playing out like a 1960s Japanese B-movie, and encourages even the most serious gamer to forgive its unrefined, shallow gameplay for providing such a brilliant rendition of camp sci-fi schlock.

Godzilla: Monster Mayhem

Thumb-achingly shallow gameplay bolstered by some wonderfully schlock-tastic, B-movie, J-pop cinematics. A must for kitsch loving retro-heads everywhere
Spanner Spencer
Spanner Spencer
Yes. Spanner's his real name, and he's already heard that joke you just thought of. Although Spanner's not very good, he's quite fast, and that seems to be enough to keep him in a regular supply of free games and away from the depressing world of real work.