Updated: Jan 3, 2019
DISCLAIMER: This story will have graphic imagery. If you are squeamish, I highly recommend not reading any further.
When I got back to the game, I was getting very upset and confused.
I thought about the way the monster looked at me. The game COULDN'T have heard what I said, that's impossible. It had to be a random occurrence. But why did it happen precisely at the moment I insulted the monster?
Nothing about this game made any sense. The new Godzilla monsters, the weird replacement monsters, out of place imagery like the green temples, quiz levels, and the red monster chases. It didn't seem to add up in any kind of meaningful way.
If it was a prank, it wasn't funny in any way I could understand, and they clearly put far too much effort into it.
If they were trying to make a genuine sequel with the new Godzilla monsters, then why did they add...everything else?
Maybe it was some kind of art experiment? Some group project made by a group of really talented and crazy people and they lost the cartridge somehow? Or they intended for some random person to find it?
It was all just fruitless guessing. As far as I could tell, there was only one way to figure out what the deal with this game was. To play it through to the end. Maybe, just maybe, there would be something in the credits, an explanation by the creators as to why they made this. Or it could be something much more cryptic and strange, maybe even something more horrifying.
Before I got a good look at the Dementia board, I considered replaying Trance to see if the red monster would look at me again. But I decided against it. I wanted to keep moving forward. I was also somewhat worried that backtracking might cause the game to become even more strange.
The Dementia board music sounded a lot like the Saturn music, except it was slowed down and played with a piano-sounding instrument. Like most of these new map themes, it had a dangerous suspenseful feel.
While listening to the music, I looked at the Dementia board. There were four boss monsters this time: Space Godzilla, Manda, Gigan, and Baragon. I was surprised that there were two new Toho monsters this time. But the best was still to come.
I started the quiz level. Here's another list of results in the same format as the last one.
1. Can you swim?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Happy
2. Do you like fish?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Sick
3. Can penguins fly?
Answer: No, Reaction: Sad
4. Can it spin in all directions? (There was no clarification of what Face meant by "it" so I just guessed)
Answer: No, Reaction: Surprised
5. Do you breathe oxygen?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #6
6. Do you like cats?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Confused
7. Is water wet?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Angry
8. Have you ever broken a bone?
Answer: No, Reaction: Happy
9. Do you like your job?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Hurt
10. Would you like a new monster?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #11
I wasn't entirely sure at the time as to what Face meant by "new monster," but I couldn't resist answering "Yes" just to see what would happen. The result was mind blowing.
The game took me back to the board and I had a new playable monster in the form of Anguirus! Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to play as Anguirus, since he was my second favorite Godzilla monster (And plus I never liked Mothra all that much).
Before I get into the level description I'll talk about Anguirus a bit:
Using the up and down buttons you could choose whether Anguirus stood in a bipedal stance or crawled around on all fours. It wasn't a huge difference, but being able to stand was helpful in boss fights, and crawling sometimes helped dodge obstacles and attacks.
He could punch and kick like Godzilla, but no tail whip. Instead, he something far more interesting: the ability to curl up into a spiked ball of death and roll around. You could still take damage, but it was lessened. It was good way of clearing out stage enemies, but unfortunately doing this also drained the power bar.
But the spiked ball wasn't his only special ability. When you press "Start," he would fire a beam of energy from his mouth. It resembled Titanosaurus's sonar attack, and if this were a hack it may have been inspired by the Roar attack from Atari's Godzilla fighting games.
Also of note is that when playing as Anguirus, the level meter gets glitched up. Judging by the life and power bar, I'd say he's on level 10.
Now, on to the level:
As you might have guessed from the level icon, these levels are green palette swaps of the ground and background tiles from the Blue Mountains levels. But what immediately caught my attention was the water, which has a transparency effect.
Was that even possible for an NES game? I know the Super Nintendo could do it, but I had never seen a transparency effect on an NES.
The Green Mountains music was played with the same instrument as the Blue Mountains, but the melody was totally different. It was a simple song with a lot of abrupt pauses, followed by a loud note every few seconds.
Anyways, I went through the usual strolling the level. And again, there were no monsters or anything, but pretty soon I had reached a cliff above the water.
There was no where else to go other than into the water, so down I went. The water transparency made things a bit harder to see, but it's tolerable. After going into the water I encounter two new enemies: a giant piranha and some kind of spiky bottom feeder thing.
I liked the piranha because I could easily tell what it was. It was a sane enemy design that would appear in a real game and there were very few enemies like this. They didn't take much hits to kill, but they were quite annoying, and could considerably trim down your life if they got close enough. They also tend to travel in packs.
As for the bottom feeders, they're easy to deal with. They swim along the bottom of the screen towards you and are easily crushed with the roll attack or easily avoided by jumping over them. In this screen cap you can see me about to run one of them over and there's a pack of piranha behind it.
After beating the level, I moved Godzilla onto the blue castle icon. I started the level and I got a title screen with the text, "UNFORGIVING COLD."
The level itself looked like a castle dungeon made of blue bricks, with rows of identical white statue faces on the walls. These statues had a permanent look of horror on their faces.
There was some flickering gray static, which didn't really obscure my vision, but it adds to the very unsettling mood of these levels. The music was a twelve second loop of a low pitched choir vocalization that sounded very familiar to me.
Whenever I played through one of these levels I get this sudden, horrible feeling of anxiety. I had the feeling that the farther I progressed through the level, the closer I was getting to something unspeakably evil.
There weren't any enemies, but these were the some of the longest levels in the game. I only played one level, but it took seven minutes to complete.
I didn't want to admit it to myself at the time, but I realized something while playing the blue castle level. This game has the power to make the player feel certain things.
I don't mean in the sense that you get irritated when playing a crappy game, or get unnerved by something scary in a game. What I mean is that certain events in this game can instantly make you start feeling something.
I know that it sounds completely insane. I don't blame you for not believing me. I wouldn't believe any of it either if I didn't play the game myself. But there is something very, very wrong with this game, and I still don't know how to explain it.
So...it was time to fight Baragon's replacement.
Although Baragon was originally the smallest monster in the game, but his replacement was the largest. It was so tall in fact that the "ground" was noticeably lowered and Not - Baragon's head still barely avoided collision with the bar at the top of the screen. And he was just as frighteningly bizarre as he was huge.
You're may be wondering how he attacks without any arms. Well, he has the most powerful kick in the game, but his other fighting technique is much stranger.
First, he blasts a cloudy breath of pixels down at you, which causes you to freeze, then he walks back to the right corner of the screen and...extends a huge gatling gun from his abdomen.
That might seem amusing to you, but it wasn't for me when I was playing this game. This attack is almost as annoying as Gigan's buzz saw, and Not - Baragon could have been unbeatable if he consistently used it. Thankfully, he only did it twice while fighting him.
Once you unfreeze, you can run and start damaging the gun, which does extra damage to him. This helped me to destroy him and then it was time to play the third level type. I decided that I will use Anguirus to fight Gigan and Manda, and then use Godzilla to fight Space Godzilla (It was only fitting).
Before getting into the battles, I'll describe the third type of level: The Arctic.
The Arctic is exactly what you would guess from the name, an icy tundra with a few water segments.
The music reminded me a bit of "Northern Hemispheres" from Donkey Kong Country, but in 8-bit form. A very dangerous sounding song. It made me think about being trapped in a tundra and freezing to death.
There were two new enemies in this stage. The first was a creature frozen in a block of ice. They block your way and you have to use Godzilla's heat beam to melt the ice. They look a bit like a smaller version of Not - Gezora, only without the eye. When freed, they would do a strange crawling movement and push you backwards. It doesn't cause any damage, but it is a bit annoying.
After dealing with the Iceman, I kept walking for a minute or two and came upon a water segment. I jumped in and this time I managed to get a screen cap showing how the water splashes when you jump in. I don't know how they programed that, but it's pretty impressive.
Here you can see the other new enemy, a little thing I call "Spike Walker." They walk towards you and explode randomly (or instantly if you attack them), sending spikes in every direction. The spikes don't do much damage, but they did get me dangerously close to falling into a pit a few times. Oh, speaking of the pits. Down into the water, the game has a platformer element: bottomless pits. There weren't any of these in the original game, since it was strictly an action game, but the pits were a neat addition.
After getting back on land, I encountered a very unexpected miniboss: Maguma, the walrus kaiju. I know that this game has obscure monsters to begin with...but wow. Not that I'm complaining, it's a pretty cool cameo for an underappreciated monster.
Maguma's fighting tactics were very simple. He had a freeze beam and he could charge into you. Not very challenging, but certainly more entertaining than the Matango miniboss in the original game.
One really interesting thing about Maguma is that he doesn't die when you defeat him. Instead, he turns tail and retreats. This was the first time I had ever seen an enemy monster change direction, let alone retreat. I tried to chase after him, but he disappeared after I got into the water. Poor guy.
And that does it for the Arctic. I'll talk about the Manda fight next.
I forgot to mention before, but the music that played during the new monster fights is re-used from themes that are actually in the game.
So far the themes have been:
Titanosaurus = Gezora's music
Biollante = Hedorah's music
Orga = Baragon/Moguera's music
Manda = Varan's music
Space Godzilla = Mecha Godzilla's music
As for the fight, Manda was a fairly crafty opponent. When it realized one tactic was ineffective it would immediately change to a different one. Manda used quite a few tricks like spitting fire balls, biting, and the most irritating of them all, constricting. It doesn't mercilessly drain your health like Gigan's cutter, but it was by far Manda's strongest attack. One last thing to note (that I found pretty cool) was that the Atragon showed up during the fight to help me out. Manda crushed it with ease, but it was still cool.
After I slayed Manda, I played through an Arctic level for health power - ups and then it was onto Gigan's replacement. When the fight started, I was very confused because there was nothing there. I thought this was going to be like the Titanosaurus "fight" back in Pathos, but just about the time when it would have brought me back to the map, a piranha appeared on screen.
But it wasn't there for long. As soon as it appeared, the speakers emitted an ear - piercing screech and Not - Gigan flew in and ripped the poor fish into pieces.
Well, that's one way to get the player on their toes. That abrupt entrance scared the hell out of me and got my adrenaline rushing. Which in retrospect was a good thing because Not - Gigan was one of the fastest and most unrelenting opponents in the game.
Not - Gigan was tough, but my new skills with Anguirus helped even the score. This was still an incredibly intense fight! Not - Gigan's attacks consisted of some kind of blood laser he spews from his mouth and a downward slash. I was expecting some hellish variant of the buzz saw attack, but thankfully there didn't seem to be one. The howl attack was invaluable in defeating him. I would have taken more screen caps of the fight, but I really had to concentrate.
After that, there was just one monster left to take down: Space Godzilla. As mentioned earlier, I used Godzilla for this fight. Space Godzilla's fighting technique was rather frustrating, but admittedly a very clever idea. Space Godzilla would use his energy to create two flying crystals, which would reach the ground and become the crystal spires. These spires not only block you from reaching Space Godzilla, but it also allowed him to constantly recharge to full energy, and blast you with a deadly, fully charged Corona Beam until you broke the spires.
Space Godzilla would eventually drain his own spires of energy until they shattered, but if you waited for that to happen then you would probably lose a lot of health. Heat beams actually seemed to recharge the crystal spires, so you had to use physical attacks.
When you finally got close enough to hit Space Godzilla, he was no pushover. When I punched him, he hit me back just as hard. Space Godzilla does everything in his power to knock you back to the left corner of the screen so he can create more spires.
By the time it was over, I only had five health bars left. But it didn't matter because I didn't need to fight anymore. I needed to run.
Here we go again. I decided right then that I wanted to see the end of this game. As terrifying as these levels could be sometimes, I had to beat them to get through.
I decided no matter what happened, no matter what the game showed me, I was going to get to the end. And I also made sure not to say a damned word while playing a chase level from here on.
For this chase, I tried Anguirus since his roll attack allowed me to move faster than Godzilla or Mothra. The chase started off like the first two, except there was a river of blood below the ground. I was beginning to get the hang of it and the extra speed from the roll helped me get an edge on the red monster. Especially since I didn't have to worry about the power meter and I could keep rolling endlessly.
Like the previous water levels, the ground inevitably reached to a stop. So I rolled off into the blood. To my surprise, the hell beast didn't follow after me. It just stopped at the edge and grimaced. "I guess it can't swim," I thought to myself.
So I went "underblood" and continued moving. There wasn't anything around, but I knew something was up. The chase wasn't going to end that easily, could it? Surely something else had to show up. And sure enough, I heard the bellowing roar, sounding slightly different...
...And the monster was chasing after me in a new aquatic body! I had no idea it was a shape shifter. After it reappeared, the chase started to get into the difficulty that I expected. Being submerged slowed me down, putting me and the beast at about the same speed. The only thing keeping me alive was fast thinking and reflexes.
I encountered some bottomless pits, in which mines floated up from. I assume that if you hit one, it would damage you and knock you back. Considering how fast the red monster swims, hitting the mines would be instant death. So I went through great effort to avoid them, but that wasn't all I needed to be wary of.
Halfway through the chase the hell beast revealed another surprise: a tentacle formed of intestines and tipped with a clawed set of jaws bursts out of his mouth, trying to pull me in and devour me. I only barely avoided both the claw and and the mines, but I could tell the beast was getting desperate because the chase was nearly over.
And about a minute later, I had spotted a bit of ground that served as the exit. I leaped with all the might I could muster (without breaking my controller). The beast screamed with rage and jumped out of the blood river in one last attempt to drag me down, but I escaped its grasp. This time.
I fell back onto my bed and took a deep breath, satisfied with yet another successful escape. Now, I was headed to the fifth world: Entropy.
TO BE CONTINUED ----------->