- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Here’s a look at some hardware and software that’s available:

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. and Son of Godzilla, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment for DVD-enabled computers and entertainment centers (rated PG, $24.96 each) and Godzilla: Save the Earth, from Atari for Xbox (Rated T: Content suitable for ages 13 and older, $39.99).

Japan’s giant lizard celebrates 50 years of bringing mayhem upon the world, and that gives fans of the King of the Monsters some great multimedia fun.

Way back in 1954, director Ishiro Honda and the Japanese film studio Toho produced “Gojira,” the first movie to introduce an actor in a Godzilla outfit, and 30 films later, the legend continues to survive by spawning its own genre of behemoth battle films.

Sony has reissued all of the great — and not so great — Godzilla flicks on DVD this year, making for one heck of an intense kaiju (Japanese for giant monster) party.

The films have all been digitally remastered to sound and look crisper than when they first appeared in theaters, and although the discs offer very little in extras for high-tech fans, they still deliver a cinematic testament to cheap special effects, really silly dialogue and a bunch of guys overacting in rubber suits.

Nostalgic types will love the 1969 film “Son of Godzilla,” which features the king pummeling Kumonga (a gigantic spider) and Kamacuras (huge praying mantis), to save his newly hatched offspring. Dubbed Minilla, the little guy has a curious fascination with his dad’s tail and kind of puffs little smoke rings, not quite having mastered devastating radioactive breath.

Current fans will love the 2003 sequel to “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla,” titled “Godzilla: S.O.S. Tokyo,” which highlights a conflict between Godzilla and his robotic equivalent, with Mothra flying in to monitor and join in on the city stomping and battle royal.

After folks get a full course of digital video featuring ol’ radioactive fire breath and his monstrous brothers, a third-person action game will immerse them further in the lore and action of the behemoths.

Godzilla: Save the Earth succeeds as the perfect party game by allowing four players to select from 18 classic monsters, choose a city or environment and commence a fight very similar to the ones in the classic films.

Just imagine King Ghidorah (a three-headed fiend seen in “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” in 1991), Orga (a space alien first seen in “Godzilla 2000”), Rodan (a prehistoric flying reptile first seen in the 1956 “Rodan”) and Godzilla in a melee as they destroy each other and the likes of Manhattan, San Francisco, Tokyo and Seattle.

Each character has all of his signature moves and performs a variety of attacks on opponents. Mothra especially shines, arriving as a larva to unload webbing on an opponent. It then transforms itself from its cocoon into the familiar airborne character that can unleash a poison gas cloud and use it wings to create a gust of wind to blow over enemies.

Clever nuances familiar to Godzilla fans reign throughout the carnage, such as stomping on an opponent’s foot and watching him spin about in pain; picking up a building to throw at him; grabbing an opponent and pile-driving him into the ground; and swatting away those pesky jets, helicopters and tanks trying to inflict damage.

The title also strives to celebrate the Godzilla legacy by giving a single player various challenges to collect points as his beast plays target practice with battleships, escapes from an extraterrestrial’s spaceship and tries to wipe out 70 percent of a city in a set amount of time.

These points can then be used to unlock film photographs, illustrations of the characters, new cities and more monsters.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski at The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com).

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