[A critical eye takes time to develop. RetRose Tinted is a regular feature in which I re-examine games of yesteryear to see if my memories of them live up to the reality.]
I was probably about eleven years of age when I first played Godzilla Monster of Monsters on a friend's NES. We were both pretty excited at the prospect of controlling the radioactive monster from the depths, having seen more than a few Toho films by this point.
What we got was a confusing mess. The map was confusing to us for some reason, possibly its hex-based design (it would be another year or two before I delved heavily into board games where such things are common). And the game gave very little direction to what should have been a simple affair: Control Godzilla, wreck s--t.
After that first experience, Godzilla was tainted in my mind. It was a "bad game" for many years and I would groan at the sight of the cartridge. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and merely prejudiced against something I simply didn't understand.
In the year 2XXX, Planet X declares war on the Earth. Sending their space monsters to conquer our planet, the only ones who can stop them are Godzilla and Mothra. In the game you control the two monsters as they try to defend Earth in a battle which spans across the solar system.
Honestly, none of it works too terribly well. The monsters move about as clunkily as they do on the silver screen and attacks are often less than responsive. On the plus side, because you are a massive beast, you're built to take damage. Most levels are really just a matter of moving to the right and pressing the attack buttons until you reach the other end.
After your monster has traveled across the land and reached the hex-space you commanded them to move to, the turn ends. Then, an enemy monster moves and will attack you if they can reach Godzilla or Mothra. Play continues in this vein, with monsters moving and fighting, until all of the enemy monsters have either been defeateded or have fled from whichever planet you're on.
Nothing particularly special here, yet I keep thinking about the game and occasionally boot it up just to see how far I can get. Despite the appearance that the map screen might give, there's no deep strategy at work here. Just mindless, relaxing carnage.