Godzilla: Domination! is basically a miniaturized version of Atari's console fighting game Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. Up to four players can compete against one another using their favorite gigantic monsters. The arenas are large cities full of buildings and structures that you can topple or hurl at your opponents. As the title suggests, your goal is to dominate and emerge as king of the monsters.
http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2002/gba/godzilla/0001.jpgA city, an opponent, and bad breath. Tokyo's in trouble.
Some may remember that SNK actually made an arcade game series called King of the Monsters. Godzilla: Domination! draws more than just a little inspiration from this lesser-known series. The arenas and fighting moves are almost identical. Even the way power-up items emerge from demolished buildings is similar. Nevertheless, King of the Monsters was never really more than a weak excuse to mash buttons, and Godzilla: Domination! makes great strides toward incorporating legitimate gameplay into the formula. Up to four players can play at one time, and match types include one-on-one, tag team, battle royal, and three-on-one. As far as moves are concerned, each monster can punch, kick, jump, and guard. Special attacks are performed in midair or by pressing the standard attack buttons for a few seconds. Especially nice is the way you gather energy in order to perform each monster's three different super attacks--the more buildings you destroy, the more energy you amass. All told, there's still a fair amount of mindless button mashing, so you shouldn't go into the game expecting the same level of strategy you'll find in Street Fighter Alpha 3 or Fire Pro Wrestling 2.
The cast of included monsters is somewhat small, but it's a choice group nonetheless. In all, there are six combatants: Godzilla, Mecha Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan, and Megalon. For those of you unfamiliar with Toho's monster stable outside of Godzilla, all you need to know is that King Ghidorah is the dragon with three heads, Rodan is a bird, Mothra is a moth, and Megalon is a beetle that can project lightning bolts. Another monster, the humongous Mecha-King Ghidorah, also makes an appearance as the game's final boss. The monster designs are colorful and feature a cartoon style that exaggerates every aspect of the concept. It's satisfying to watch these behemoths use their superpowers against one another while smashing buildings and leaping off mountains as if they were small hills. The graphics themselves aren't quite as smooth or as detailed as those in other fighting games on the GBA, but the large cities and a vast array of attack and recovery animations compensate for these shortcomings fairly well.
Although the cast is recognizable, six playable characters doesn't seem like nearly enough. There are easily a dozen or more monsters in Toho's stable that are perfectly suited to this sort of game. Some of the omissions are downright notable, such as Mothra's archenemy, Battra, or the rivals Space Godzilla and M.O.G.E.R.A. For that matter, it would have been nice to kick around Jet Jaguar or Godzuki, just so longtime rubber-monster aficionados could release decades of pent-up hatred. The fact that there are only seven different arenas also makes the small size of the roster seem more significant.
http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2002/gba/godzilla/0002.jpgGodzilla vs. Mothra is a battle as timeless as Ali vs. Foreman.
There also isn't too much you can say about the game's audio, except that the background music isn't terrible and the crunchy buildings certainly fit the concept. More importantly, each monster has its trademark cries and growls, which is pretty much what you want to hear if you're a fan of these characters.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter how many characters or settings there are in Godzilla: Domination! It's fun to play and it captures the spirit of giant fighting monsters really well. Yes, there are better traditional fighting games out there that will probably spend more time in your GBA than this one--but Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah aren't in those games.