Godzilla has been terrorizing our screens for almost a century now. First appearing in a 1954 Japanese film, the creature is widely regarded as the King of the Monsters.
Since its first appearance, Godzilla has made its way to various other forms of media. You may already be familiar with the creature’s latest on-screen onslaughts - the 2014 film Godzilla and its sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
However, you may not be as familiar with Godzilla’s first foray into video games. In this article, we’re going to cover the very first video game incarnation of the King of the Monsters.
What Is Godzilla (1983)?
Godzilla first cut a swath of destruction across the Commodore 64 and forced players to destroy it or be destroyed themselves. Set in Japan and its surrounding waters, the game saw players commanding military forces in a near-futile attempt to stop Godzilla from decimating the country and, in particular, its capital city of Tokyo.
While such a premise might seem overly-simplistic by today’s standards, this terrifying set-up was the bane of players’ existence back in 1983. Besides the limited hardware and reductive graphics of the time, it was clear that Godzilla’s first video game appearance was a faithful homage to the creature’s first-ever silver-screen rampage back in 1954.
Despite it never achieving very much success, fans will agree that the game is about as Godzilla as it gets. If you’re a massive geek for monster lore like me, make sure to check out this page for a full run-down on the King of the Monsters.
The game gave players control of military resources and challenged them to combat the massive threat that Godzilla posed to all of Japan. If that were the design brief of one of today’s video games, we’ve no doubt that it would be an awe-inspiring spectacle of destruction to behold.
However, this was 1983, for crying out loud. Sure enough, gamers were greeted with the low-tier sprites and grid-based views that were common to many other games of that era.
Still, the actual gameplay was fairly engaging, all things considered. Today’s gamers may still even be able to have some amount of fun with it.
The game gives players an overhead, grid-based view of Japan and its surrounding waters. The titular beast can randomly spawn within any one of those 25 square tiles, forcing players to think on their feet, especially if it appears worryingly close to Tokyo.
From the moment it first appears, players are able to issue orders to troops located within the same grid as the monster. These orders could take the form of land, air, or sea attacks, as well as missiles and atom bombs. The former three are the most basic of actions, while the latter two are more specialized, destructive attacks.
Once an order has been issued, the game displays how successful that attack was, with reports of how many troops/units were lost, as well as how much damage was dealt. After this, Godzilla moves to another tile until it is killed, or it reaches Tokyo.
The most powerful device in your arsenal is the atom bomb, which can be used to stop Godzilla in its tracks, but it comes at a considerable cost. If the bomb is targeted at a land-based tile, civilians and troops alike will perish, and if it detonates too close to Tokyo, again, it’s game over for you.
That’s pretty much all there is to it. Terrifying monster of mythical proportions? Check. Military forces and resources at your disposal? Check. Civilian lives at stake? Check. Weapons of mass destruction? Check.
For a video demonstration, check out this video.
Since Godzilla’s Commodore 64 appearance, the beast has terrorized plenty of other home video game consoles. It all started here, though, with a grid-based view of Japan and a low-quality sprite of the King of the Monsters.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Maybe it would be wise to take care to stay out of Japanese waters for a while, just so we’re sure that no big and scary monsters emerge.