War of the Monsters is a 3D fighting game for the PlayStation 2 developed by Incognito Entertainment and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released on January 14, 2003 in North America and April 17, 2003 in Europe. It was later released in Japan on March 25, 2004.
The game is set in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth where their hazardous fuels have spawned giant monsters that battle one another in city environments. The game pays homage to Kaiju and 1950s Science fiction films.
The plot is set in the 1950s where a fleet of alien saucer warships invade the Earth, causing massive damage. The scientists of the world's nations manage to create a series of secret weapons, which, when activated, let loose shock waves that short-circuit the saucers and cause them to crash. Unfortunately, each flying saucer is fueled by a green radioactive liquid, which leaks out from destroyed crafts as they crash. Through this, the fuel infects creatures, humans, and robots, creating a war between the monsters. The player acts as one of these monsters and battles against the rest in fictional cities across the globe and the remaining UFOs.
The story mode of the game starts out in Midtown Park where a giant gorilla called Congar defeats a wave of military forces but is fought and defeated by the lead monster.
In Gambler's Gulch, the lead monster also defeats the reptilian beast, Togera. After Togera's defeat, a military class mech called Robo-47 and the military show up and attack the lead monster but are defeated as well.
At a military base at Rosedale Canyon, the lead monster is confronted by a horde of irradiated giant ants and a mega robot, Goliath Prime. Prime and the ants are all defeated.
In Metro City, the military decide to test their new weapon, Mecha-Congar, on the giant mantis Preytor, who was attacking the city. Before they could fight the lead monster appears and defeats them both.
The lead monster then travels to Century Airfield and defeats twin Raptros dragons.
Then, at the Atomic Island power plant, the lead monster defeats a swarm of Kineticlops, living electrical monsters, by causing a nuclear meltdown. In the resulting ruins, the lead monster must battle a large, three headed plant creature called Vegon.
Two Robo-47s stop a UFO attack in scenic Bay Town and then try to slay the lead monster. Both are repelled and beaten.
In the Pacific island of Club Caldera, the rock monsters Magmo and Agamo fight each other with the lead monster caught in the middle. Both are beaten.
After defeating two Ultra V robots at "Tsunopolis", the lead monster is abducted by a UFO that takes it back to the mothership. There the lead monster has to fend off three Zorgulons before being abducted once more when the mothership explodes, causing the UFO to crash into the North American city of Capitol. There, the alien leader Cerebulon attacks in a multi-layered tripod battle suit. After Cerebulon is defeated, the lead monster victor watches as the true Cerebulon, a small timid insect like creature, flees.
In War of the Monsters, players take the roles of large monsters in city environments. The game plays as a fighting game yet works differently than the traditional one-on-one structured rounds. Instead, fights can include up to 4 players in a four-way simultaneous fighting structure. The camera is in third person perspective, allowing the player to focus solely on their character.
Monsters have two status bars in each game, health and stamina. Like the standard fighting game formula, every time a monster takes damage, their overall Health bar drops until it is completely depleted, resulting in player defeat. Stamina determines how much energy a monster can attack with. The bar drops if a monster picks up another foe or performs a ranged attack. If the bar is full, a monster can perform special attacks, whereas if the bar is completely drained, they become temporarily immobilized.
Also unlike most fighting games, players are allowed to roam freely within the city area, which allows climbing of jumping from buildings and cliffs. Monsters can use the environment to deal out damage to their foes by making weapons of various objects found within the city, such as vehicles and rubble as projectiles, steel girders and stone columns as clubs and radio antennae as a spear to impale others, temporarily stunning them. There are also some environment pick-ups, which can increase health or stamina, appearing as green or blue orbs and floating radioactive signs. Buildings can be destroyed if a monster directly attacks or is thrown into it. In some cities, taller buildings can topple over sideways that can crush other monsters, killing them instantly. In the Adventure mode, along with a series of set fights with other monsters, Bosses are also present. They are much larger than the standard playable monsters and required certain strategies to defeat. "Tokens" can also be earned through Adventure mode, which can be spent at the "Unlocks" shop to unlock more cities, monsters, and monster skins. And you also can unlock mini-games like dodge ball or city destruction.
Multiplayer options allow 2 players via split screen, which can be set to merge into one screen when both players a close enough to fit on the same screen.
Congar- A homage to King Kong, Congar is a gigantic ape. Originally a monkey sent into space, Congar's ship collided with an alien saucer on re-entry, and Congar was mutated by the ships radioactive fuel, and survived the crash. Congar's special attack is an incredibly powerful close range roar, which knocks back anyone caught in it.Congor landed on a island and found it's way to the city.
Ultra V- A Japanese giant robot, Ultra-V was created by the Japanese government using the fuel from a saucer to power it, however it quickly went out of control and escaped. Ultra-V's special attack is an extremely long range grapple, launching his hand at an enemy and pulling them straight to him.
Robo-47- An American giant robot, Robo-47 was built by the American military, and for unknown reasons abandoned in an army barracks. An alien saucer crashed nearby the building and the vaporized fuel crept inside awakening Robo-47. Robo-47's special attack is a long range homing rocket that can lock on and chase its target exploding on impact.
Togera- A homage to Godzilla, Togera is a monstrous prehistoric lizard, having slept at the ocean floor Togera was revived when a crashing alien ship sank into the ocean, its leaking fuel then inhaled by Togera awakening it. Togera's Special ability,is to breath a green flare that depletes health.
Kineticlops- A giant eyeball suspended in an body of electricity, Kineticlops was created when a police men, investigating power lines struck by a crashed saucer, was electrocuted by the power from the saucer, turning him into kineticlops. Kineticlops's special attack is firing sustained bolts of electricity which hit the closest enemy, and forks to others nearby. He is also a playable character in Downhill Domination, another game made by Incognito.
Preytor- A homage to "Them!", Preytor is a giant Praying-Mantis. Preytor grew to its enormouse size when a scientist fed it some of the alien ship's fuel, causing to grow eat the scientist and go on a rampage. Preytor's special attack is throwing a giant leech onto its enemy that drains their health. Preytor is the only one of two monsters that can fly.
Raptros- A prehistoric dragon, Raptros's special attack is firing a stream of fire from its mouth. Like Preytor, Raptros has the ability to fly. Raptros's origin is never revealed in the game.
Agamo- A giant living statue, Agamo was born when an island native poured some of the alien saucer's fuel into a giant carved pyre, causing it to come to life, and rise out of the ground. Agamo's special attack is ripping off his stone head and using it as a weapon, which can be triggered to explode. Agamo has a special costume which can only be unlocked by having a saved file of "Twisted Metal Black" on an inserted memory card, which turns him into a giant mechanized version of "Sweet Tooth".
Magmo- Made of molten lava, Magmo is a four armed lava golem, born when an alien saucer crashed into an active volcano. Magmo's special attack is launching a barrage of fire balls that can lock on and chase their target.
Zorgulon- A giant alien invader. Zorgulon appears to resemble the aliens from Mars Attacks!. No origin is revealed however due to Zorgulon being an unlockable character, but the creators revealed his origin being an alien from a far off planet, whom was king of the aliens that invaded Earth in the spaceships, but consumed the radioactive waste and became addicted. He came to Earth looking for the waste from the spaceships. Zorgulon's long range special involves the creature summoning a squadron of UFOs to attack a target.
Goliath-Prime- A mega robot and the game's first boss. When you begin, you will first do battle with a total of eight of the Red Ant version of Preytor, (three, three, then two.) While dealing with this easier battle, it's a good idea to get the boulder down from the pillar for later.
- Once the ants are defeated, your first boss, Goliath Prime, will appear atop the bunker. He will hurl timed grenade-balls at you in groups of three. While they are blinking green or yellow, pick them up, lock on Goliath and hurl them back as quickly as possible. Be sure to avoid the grenades blinking red, as they're set to explode. Once you have successfully hit Goliath eight times, he will join you on the ground.
- Here, he will chase you and if you're caught, he will pummel, then hurl you across the level. If you are out of his reach, he will ready for his charge attack by crouching and spinning his props. Your best method here is to get a pillar between the two of you, then strike while he is temporarily dazed after charging into the pillar. For his final attack, he will drop down low, spreading his arms wide and spin like a top. He will alternate between this and shooting a volley of missiles at you. During the spin attacks, it is best to be atop the pillars. He can whittle these down eventually, but you cannot outrun him during these attacks. For the missile attacks, ducking behind the pillars works best. The most effective way to defeat Goliath is to stay locked on him and repeatedly hit him with the boulder, trying to catch it each time it rebounds off him. Ranged and Special attacks can work when timed correctly, never attempt hand to hand, as you will lose.
Vegon- A three headed plant and the game's second boss.Vegon is a towering menace, beginning his attack by spitting toxic, acidic venom at you, which will cause decent damage. Quickly pick up a piece of debris and block. Each piece will sustain two to three hits. Grab another piece, lock onto the head poised to strike and throw. If you strike Vegon, he will recede into his pod and his roots will rise from the earth, whipping the air, seeking you. Spend as much time airborne as you can. When the roots subside, Vegon will emerge and the process must be repeated. Each head takes two hits to kill. Between each successful hit on Vegon, the root attack will repeat. When Vegon is above ground, plan to be near plenty of debris to shield you or throw when one of the heads readies to strike. The sequence is as follows:
- With three heads, two spits, then strikes from left..
- With two heads, three spits, then strikes from right..
- With one head, five spits then strikes.
Cerebulon- A giant version of Zorgulon and the game's final boss. Cerebulon will emerge from the crashed UFO in his mech suit. There is a force field protecting the head for the time being, so it is best to grab something to block with and get one of the remaining pillars between you, before he joins his hands together. The pillar will bear the brunt of the death-ray's might, but you will take some damage. Once the attack halts, Cerebulon's force field will power down just long enough for you to throw a vehicle and fire some projectiles at him. Quickly grab something else to block with and get behind another pillar while he readies to unleash another blast. By the time all six pillars have fallen, Cerebulon should have taken enough hits to move on to stage 2.
- Cerebulon will now be in a smaller pressure suit, but no less deadly. The method for the next stage is similar to Goliath and the boulder. There are three large, green pieces of the mech suit around the middle of the level. These should be grabbed and thrown immediately at him. You'll most likely manage two hits before he rushes you and hits with a high-voltage attack, after which he will retreat to the far side of the concourse, awaiting your next move. Repeat the process until he has sustained enough damage to discard this form.
- Cerebulon will now do battle in his true, final form. The odds have been evened in terms of size, but Cerebulon is quick, knows when to move away from your close range special and has a nasty ten-hit combo. Block often and strike with as many combos as you can. Long-range specials can be effective, but Cerebulon seems to be right behind you if you run. Once Cerebulon's health bar is exhausted, he will begin his death throes, falling to the ground, where a juvenille version bursts forth from his ruined brain, scurrying away from your roar of happily triumph for victory. (...or to live on in a new form?) Here you will be treated to your chosen character's origin movie, (with the exception of Raptros and Zorgulon which is their own ending.).
War of the Monsters gained generally favorable reviews upon release with an average critic score of 79% based on 73 reviews at Game Rankings.
Most reviewers praised the game's style and monster roster, being a homage to classic monster movies. IGN stated that "the game draws its inspiration from movies like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, King Kong, and the aforementioned Godzilla, the characters immediately appear to be offshoots from the great Ray Harryhausen", going on to say "each of the game's 10 gigantic beasts are as fun to play as they are to look at" while GameSpot said "a slick presentation gives the game the style of an old drive-in movie or news telecast, and it really works well to accentuate the game's retro theme and characters."
GameSpy was equally impressed, noting the destructible environments, that "WotM captures the joy of destruction more so than any game I've ever played. Did you think knocking over buildings was fun in Rampage? It's ten... no, twelvety times better in WotM".
Game Informer however complained about certain aspects of gameplay, that "the unblockable attacks are just downright unfair" and that "the lazy camera produces numerous blind spots throughout a battle". Game Revolution noted AI issues, that "the monsters routinely demonstrate a strong sense of self-preservation", which they called "extremely frustrating behavior".
Though not selling enough copies to become part of Sony's Playstation 2 Greatest Hits line. The game has become a cult classic among the PS2 comunity, particly of those who are fans of other Incog Inc. (now Eat Sleep Play) games like Twisted Metal: Black & Downhill Domination.