of the Monsters
Review By: J.
being a little kid? Remember spending hours setting up a toy
city, complete with Lego buildings, Matchbox traffic, and little
green army men pedestrians? Remember how much fun it was to then
take a giant Transformer and a big plastic dinosaur and crush
the whole city to pieces? Well, apparently so does Sony
developers Incog. Taking inspiration from classic 50ís B-movie
horror flicks, Incog created War of the Monsters, a
gleefully destructive bash-um-up that feels like the realization
of childhood fantasies everywhere. Not since last summerís
blockbuster Spider-man film has my inner child felt so
developers have concocted a story to give a reason for all the
destruction, but who honestly cares? Do you really need a reason
to have this much fun? For whatever reason, giant creatures have
to beat the living hell out of each other in one of ten fully
destructible environments. This can be done alone (through the
Adventure and Endurance modes) or with a friend in one of the
gameís multiplayer modes. The single player game is rather
shallow and short, and is only good for earning points that
unlock mini-games and new monsters, but WOTM doesnít
even need a single player experience. The multiplayer alone is
strong enough to carry War of the Monsters, at least for
Much like Grand
Theft Auto 3, screenshots donít do this game justice. You
really need to see War of the Monsters in action in order
to appreciate it. Not until you see someone pick up a car, beat
someone in the head with it, then send them flying ten city
blocks into a row of skyscrapers that proceeds to collapse and
crush them to death do you realize what this game is all about.
Or a roof-top-to-roof-top chase that ends when one monster
catches the wrong end of an oil tanker and dies in a fiery
explosion that sends him shooting across the map and through a
billboard. Or someone get impaled by a radio tower and drowned
in a tidal wave that covers the entire level. Or someone gets
hit in the back of the head with a
tank-turned-deadly-projectile. Or someone get picked up and
tossed around like a rag doll. And just wait until you do all
these to a friend! Iím telling you, this is some of the most
fun you can have with your Playstation 2 and a friend.
been complaints about a lack of four-player slip screen options,
but this request is highly impractical. Play this game for two
seconds and youíll realize that you can barely keep track of
all the action from a split screen prospective. Just imagine
squinting at one fourth of the TV, trying to figure out what the
hell is going on! It would be impossible! Also a four-player
mode would render Incogís clever camera trick (in which it
switches from a two-player split screen into one full screen
whenever the two of you face-off) unusable.
multiplayer oversight that canít be as easily justified,
however, is the lack of online connectivity. This game just
screams for network play, and considering that Incog has
experience with network code after Twisted Metal: Black
Online youíd think it would have been included in the
game. Sure, there would probably be some lag issues with so much
carnage and widespread destruction going on at the same time,
but isnít that what they invented broadband for?
in WOTM go hand in hand with the playing experience. If
not for the detail that went into the presentation and the level
of interactivity with the environment, War of the Monsters
would be half as good. The engine that was used for the game
lets you destroy everything standing. Buildings, power-lines,
train tracks, you name it. In some levels it is even possible to
unleash a natural (or highly unnatural) disaster that will
wipeout the entire map! On top of that, practically everything
can be used as a weapon, from helicopters to entire homes! It
all makes the levels feel like living, breathing, playgrounds of
destruction begging to be brought down around your feet, or at
least most of them do. A few levels are a bit on the sparse side
when compared to the urban maps, but even those are still
colorful and well made.
models are also well constructed and nicely detailed. While
there arenít as many playable characters as I would have
liked, the alternate skins are more than just palette swaps.
They are more like manipulations of the base character models
and really do feel different from their original.
The music in
the game does a very nice job of setting the tone. Itís your
typical, epic score that sounds like it could pass for an
Indiana Jones soundtrack. The sound effects also add to the mood
greatly. Close your eyes and it does sound like a 50ís giant
monster horror film! The action sounds as dense and chaotic as
it really is.
only real fault is its lack of depth. It does hide some depth
underneath its simple premise, there is actually a surprising
number of combos for each creature and more strategy involved in
winning than just button-mashing, but itís not necessarily
enough to keep you playing after the initial thrill has worn
off. A deeper single player game (or at least many things to
unlock from the existing one) or online capability could have
easily corrected this. However, a steady second player will
insure that this "initial thrill" will last for weeks
and bring you some of the most mindlessly stupid and unabashedly
over-the-top fun youíve had in the meantime.
visuals, style, and presentation.
character designs and alternate skins.
split screens an awesome idea.
destroyable environments rule.
and unlockable extras will push replay value up some.
player is pretty weak.
- Some levels
arenít as interesting as others.
- Could use
more playable characters.
- No online
It may be
short, it may be a bit shallow, it may be lacking in depth, but War
of the Monsters is one of the coolest PS2 games ever release.
It has a great look and feel, and makes for one of the most
enjoyable multiplayer experiences ever. Everyone owes it to
himself or herself to give this game a try!