Godzilla has managed to remain relevant for 65 years, not even Matthew Broderick could destroy the giant walking nuke as it stomped to a run of more than 30 feature films in that time. Naturally, a giant monster destroying things and battling other giant monsters is well suited to video games, so Godzilla has had quite a few of those to its name too, and with Godzilla: King of the Monsters arriving in cinemas soon, we thought it would be a fine time to list some of the best Godzilla games ever made.
Much like the films, there’s some good, some bad, and some pretty ugly ones over the years (2014’s Godzilla game was certainly all three), but the best games captured the spirit of the radioactive behemoth to some degree, even if they weren’t exactly ‘great’ games.
So here you go, seven of the best Godzilla games, without a Godzooky in sight.
City Shrouded in Shadow (2017) PS4 -Japan Only
Granzella, the creators of the extremely undervalued Disaster Report series (survival horror, but against natural disaster rather than monsters or ghosts) took their formula to the next level with City Shrouded in Shadow.
Rather than playing as the monsters, you play as human characters, trying to escape the carnage caused by the many legendary monsters trashing the place. Godzilla’s roster of behemoths is bolstered by characters from other prominent series including Ultraman and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
To play as a human witnessing the destruction Godzilla is causing firsthand is a fairly unique twist among the Godzilla games made over the years, and while the game is a tad clunky, it works pretty well at replicating the peril of escaping city-smashing giants.
Sadly, the game has yet to see the light of day outside Japan. So importing and winging it on the Japanese text is currently your best and only option.
Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (1988) NES, Famicom
Monster of Monsters is debatably the first genuinely good Godzilla game, and while it hasn’t aged too well in gameplay terms, it does still look the business for an 8-bit title.
A 2D side-scroller, Monster of Monsters allowed players to control Godzilla and Mothra as they team up to fight back against alien invaders who have roped in a bunch of other Toho monsters into fighting on their behalf (a surprisingly) common theme in the Godzilla film series. The hub resembles a chess board, which Godzilla and Mothra must clear by finishing their attached levels and defeating the monsters on them.
Godzilla’s name may be on the marquee, but this game featured monsters from a whole host of Japanese sci-fi films, including The Mysterians, Frankenstein Conquers the World, and Space Amoeba.
Godzilla (2014) PS3, PS4
Look, given this is only five years old, and among the newest examples on this list of the best Godzilla games, you’d be forgiven for thinking it might finally be the ultimate Godzilla game. Alas, it’s a bit of a disaster, looking about a generation behind visually speaking, and not balancing the rather treacly combat with fair threats, but importantly, it often feels like a celebration of the franchise and surprisingly true to the battles of the Toho films. You can trash cities and fight monsters as not only Godzilla in several of his designs, but also Rodan, Battra, King Ghidorah, Gian, Mothra, and more.
It also features online multiplayer, which is honestly an absolute hoot.
If you can find it cheap, there’s some joy to it. Unfortunately for those in need of that catharsis, you can’t kick the shit out of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla.
Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (2002) Gamecube, Xbox
Arguably, Pipeworks Software made the best Godzilla games, and Destroy All Monsters Melee is often cited as proof alongside the follow up Save the Earth.
This was a brawler style game where you fight other monsters in order to release them from the control of evil alien race the Vortaak, who have enslaved the kaiju in order to take control of Earth. Eleven classic monsters from the Godzilla series were playable including the first ever monster rival to Godzilla, Anguirus, and Godzilla 2000’s Orga.
Godzilla: Save the Earth (2004) PS2, Xbox
The follow-up to Destroy All Monsters Melee takes place a couple of years after the events of that game, and builds on all it did right with new modes, mechanics, and adds Mothra, Jet Jaguar, and Battra to the roster.
It’s not a huge leap from Destroy All Monsters Melee, but it does smooth many of its rougher edges.
Super Godzilla (1993) SNES
Much like the 2014 Godzilla game, Super Godzilla had plenty for the hardcore, but as a game, it’s a bit less enthralling. You simply aim a dot around a rather basic map, while animated images of Godzilla appear above that sort of reflect your actions. Mercifully when it came to fighting other monsters you get a 2D fighter template.
For the time, the game really captured the sound design of the movies quite well, which was pretty much unprecedented at that point. The story is utterly bonkers too, with aliens giving powers to monsters and Godzilla having to go on a quest to become strong enough to best the threat of Mecha-King Ghidorah and later, Bagan.
Godzilla: The Series (1999) Gameboy Color
If one good thing came out of 1998’s infamous Godzilla movie, then it was the animated series that followed it. It brought back the redesigned King of the Monsters and let him fight other Kaiju in a largely unrelated plot to the film, which just makes sense really. It got a licensed video game of course, because it was still the 90s, and while basic, this side-scrolling fighter let you wallop monster and machine alike as Godzilla in portable form.