Updated: Jan 3, 2019
DISCLAIMER: This story will have graphic imagery. If you are squeamish, I highly recommend not reading any further.
In the brief instant before the transition between Entropy and Extus, I was hoping that I would get Godzilla and Anguirus back. As the board appeared, I saw that my wish was half granted. I had Godzilla back, but no Anguirus. I would have preferred both, but despite Anguirus's neat abilities I would have chosen Godzilla if I had to pick between the two.
Extus had two different colored temples, white and pink, a pyramid, what looks like some modern buildings, and two other icons I couldn't figure out at the time. The new bosses were Kumonga, Gorosaurus, and Not Ghidorah (whom I was dreading to see, let alone fight).
With Godzilla back, I was excited again and eager to explore, yet still cautious. I went to the quiz level first, just as before. This time, Face's questions were more random than ever:
1. Do elephants breathe?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #2
2. Have you ever been molested by a family member?
Answer: No, Reaction: Weird Face #6
3. Have you ever raped anyone?
Answer: No, Reaction: Weird Face #8
4. Is green your favorite color?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #10
5. Is the computer the pinnacle of modern technology?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #4
6. Are you a tough guy?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #12
7. Can you fly?
Answer: No, Reaction: Weird Face #9
8. Can you stand on your head?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Weird Face #7
9. Do you hate raccoons?
Answer: No, Reaction: Confused
10. Do you feel blame?
Answer: No, Reaction: Weird Face #11
11. Would you like a new monster?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Surprised
12. Will you miss me?
Answer: Yes, Reaction: Sad
I was happy that I was getting a new monster, but that last question kind of bothered me. "Will you miss me?"
"Is Face referring to when I finish the game," I thought. Ever since the revelation of the game's truly otherworldly nature, I wasn't sure what to think of Face or anything else in the game. But something about that last statement gave me a genuine feeling of sadness from Face.
As I was thinking about this, the game had gone back to the board. I have a new monster, but I have no idea who it was supposed to be. The sprite had a slight resemblance to Rodan, but the head was totally off. I moved this mysterious newcomer to a white temple icon and started the level. When I started the level, this screen appeared with the text, "FIND THE GEM." Presumably instructions for beating the level.
After that, I got my first look at my new playable monster. A hairy, dark blue creature with bat wings and a skull like face. His name was Solomon.
At the start of the level, I found that my path was blocked by a beam of light and a small pillar with a plate on it. I figured that this beam of light was blocking the exit, so I have to find the gem and drop it on the plate to deactivate the beam.
How was I going to do that, I didn't know. There wasn't anything in the original game that required you to find an item to beat a level. I'd have to find out when I obtained the gem. The only direction I had to go was left, so on I proceeded.
Solomon was an interesting monster, to say the least. He was capable of both flight and a heat beam, both of which proved to be very useful. He could also kick and slash with his wings, but he couldn't duck.
The white temple's music was a vocalizing choir or a video game approximation of such. It's hard to describe, but it had a very "holy" sound to it.
It wasn't long before I started running into waves of strange new enemies. They did little to stop me. I ran past them while slashing and I didn't take any damage. There was a "pause" between each wave of enemies after you had killed about ten of them. There wouldn't be any for a minute, then the next wave would appear.
After five minutes, I noticed holes in the floor. Guillotine mouthed creatures were rapidly flying up and down these crevices, so I had to time my jumps carefully because I didn't know if I'd get another shot at this. Luckily, I was able to get through without a scratch. I'm just lucky, I guess.
After that, I found myself at the end of the hallway facing some kind of mini-boss monster. It moved fast and had some kind of projectile that it shot in four directions, but I killed it quite easily using Solomon's heat beam. When the battle was over, I grabbed the gem, which was inside the creature's head. I found that I could pick up and hold the gem by walking over to it and holding down the B button. I made the long trek back to the start and deposited the gem on the plate to deactivate the beam.
I left the stage and was shown what was probably the strangest quirk with Solomon. Every time you complete a stage or defeat a boss with Solomon, this screen appears. I have no idea what "STILL THE BEST 1973" means. Neither the date nor the phrase has any meaning or significance to me that I can think of and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it.
The next level I played was one that I called "Bronze Pyramids." I used Godzilla and found that he had been leveled up to twelve since I last played as him in Dementia.
The bronze pyramids were fairly normal as far as these levels go, but the visuals were quite interesting, almost unusually colorful and lively. The music had a fittingly Egyptian style to it as it was slow and mysterious sounding.
I strolled through the level fighting off various enemies, but none were too difficult (although the ants could be a pain if you ran into too many at once). My favorite was this giant reptile that I encountered halfway through.
At the end of the level, I came to a giant pyramid and I engaged in a mini-boss fight. Although, this one was a bit different because I had to fight two of these monsters at the same time. Individually I could have dealt with them easily, but fighting them both at once was challenging. I sped things up by tricking one of them into barbecuing his brother by jumping when he was using his flame breath.
After defeating the twin monsters, I noticed something strange after returning to the board. I was now able to move my monster pieces anywhere on the board without limits. Normally, Godzilla could only move three spaces each turn and Mothra could only move five.
I wanted to try Solomon some more, so I moved his piece over to one of the brown pillar looking icons with colored dots and started the level. When I got to the level, I then realized what the level icon represented, totem poles. I was greeted by two of them right at the beginning. The music had a Native American sound to it. It seemed to be using the same instruments as the forest level on Entropy. It was noticeably different, but just as foreboding.
I walked around for three minutes with nothing else in sight besides the totem poles. I didn't realize it until then, but I wasn't expecting another level with nothing "alive" in it, even after all the activity in Entropy. While walking by all of those multicolored faces, the level left me feeling like I was being watched.
Only about ten minutes after I started Extus, I was already halfway through. After getting back from the totem pole level, I tried out one of the TV screens to see how strange they were this time. Even more strange than before, apparently. The music for this was the Uranus theme.
I switched back to Godzilla to play another level and this level was quite the surprise. It was a normal city level! The colors were gloomy, but even still this was quite a shock. This was the kind of level that I would expect to see in a Godzilla game and I was kind of mad that I didn't get to play it earlier. The music was the Earth theme.
I found it strange that a level fitting for a Godzilla game would show up this late. But there is no point of crying over spilled milk, I suppose.
I moved Solomon over to a grey-ish green icon, which turned out to be a giant high-tech laboratory of some sort. Lots of mechanical drones in this level, but Solomon cleared through them just like the white temple enemies. The music has a gritty, industrial beat. There was also a strange, flying cyborg enemy, which was annoying because it would fly away when I jumped to attack it.
Also of interest were these large stasis tanks holding some kind of monster inside. As you would guess, sometimes the monsters awaken and shatter the glass. I tried to get past the stasis tanks as fast as possible because the monsters inside proved to be vicious little bastards upon release.
At the end of the level was an elevator, which I used to go down to the bottom of the level where the exit was. Along the way, I was shot at by security drones. I couldn't leave the elevator, so my only defense was the heat beam.
The last level type was this simple thing that I call the "Heart Temple" for obvious reasons. There was nothing, but a big hallway filled with floating enemies shaped like human hearts. They're incapable of causing you damage, so what you do is run through the level smashing as many as you can to get all of the power-ups. One run through these levels would get the life meter back up to full and I would greatly appreciate these levels later.
The heart temple music reminded me of a circus tune. It had an overly cheerful sound to it, which gave the level a really weird feeling.
Having seen all of the level types, I chose to fight Gorosaurus with Solomon. The music for this fight was Gezora's theme. It was during this fight that I realized that Solomon is overpowered. A single well aimed slash can take down as many as four of the enemy's life bar. Due to this, the fight was over quickly. Gorosaurus had no projectile attacks or anything else that could match Solomon's deadly claws. I kept the fight going just long enough to see if Gorosaurus would use his iconic "kangaroo kick" and I was greatly pleased when he did.
Even though I knew Solomon was my fighting ace, I used Godzilla to fight Kumonga just for variety. I briefly considered Mothra, but of course I chose Godzilla in the end. Kumonga was also a simple opponent. No heat beams or anything. He attacks by jumping on you, stabbing with his mandibles, and also uses his signature web shot to paralyze you. Once you get webbed, Kumonga will sometimes take the opportunity to attack, but it's mostly a way to buy some time like Gezora backing you into a corner until the time runs out. His music was Hedorah's theme.
With Gorosaurus and Kumonga defeated, I was at the end of Extus. Before I fought Not - Ghidorah, there was something I had to do. I wasn't expecting much from it, but for documentation's sake I took a look at the other TV screen. This is what it was:
I don't think there was much reason behind the TV screens. If I were to guess, I'd say it's some random, uncontrolled manifestation of the game cartridge's abilities. Or maybe this make perfect sense to the "game?" Who knows. Anyways, Mr. Faucet's theme was the Saturn music.
It was time for the opponent I had been dreading, Not - Ghidorah. Although I had gained courage with Solomon's combat advantages, I was still nervous. When I started the fight, I was immediately confused:
My opponent was Not - Gezora. I defeated the imposter with a few strikes and then Not - Moguera appeared. Then, it made sense. In order to get to Not - Ghidorah I had to fight all of the previous Replacement monsters first.
I tore my way through them until I finally made it to Not - Ghidorah who was...a Dorat. I have to admit that I got a kick out of this. Once I stopped laughing, I destroyed him with only two slashes. The music stopped and I thought I was going back to the board. But the fight wasn't over yet.
The real fight was against a Chimera, a monstrous hybrid of all the Replacement beasts. This was by far the most difficult boss yet. Every attack of his would cut down whole life bars per use, while attacks against him were greatly weakened. Solomon's slash, for example, was now lucky to take away one half a life bar.
During this battle, I gained great appreciation for two things. The time limit and the heart temple. Had it not been for those things I might never have beaten this boss.
To take down this behemoth, I came up with a strategy. I would switch between Godzilla and Solomon, as one began to get dangerously low on health, I would take him through the heart temple while fighting the Chimera with the other. I should count my blessings that Chimera couldn't regain lost health.
A very interesting thing about the Chimera was that the colored sections on his body corresponded to his different body parts. So each body part effectively had its own life meter. The head was invincible as long the other parts were present and would always be the last part to be destroyed.
In addition to being difficult, it was the longest fight so far. I tried to to remember how many times I got taken out of the fight by the timer, but I lost count around thirteen. Eventually, I had destroyed all of the components, but the head, which now flew around on its own at an incredible speed. Chimera fought well, but I was extremely determined. Once he was reduced to a head, he no longer had the power to defeat Solomon and I heat beamed him into oblivion.
And then Chimera was no more. I was exhausted after that damn drawn out fight and worried that might affect my performance in the chase level.
The base icon was replaced, but not by the hell beast face. Instead, it was a crucifix. I was completely stunned. I wasn't excited about seeing the hell beast icon again, but if there was only one good thing about those levels it's that they were predictable. I had a basic idea of what to expect.
Now, here I was at the end and the icon is completely different. What did it mean? And why a crucifix? It made me very uneasy.
I attempted to start the level with Solomon, but I couldn't. I got this notice that stated, "SOLOMON CAN'T ENTER HERE." It didn't say why, but I think it has something to do with Solomon's demonic appearance. Since Solomon was out of the question, I went with Godzilla instead.
Once I saw the level, the crucifix made sense. The level was a graveyard. I was still on edge thinking this was some kind of trick. The last level had always involved some running from the demonic beast and I wasn't going to be fooled into thinking this would be any different.
So I started out running, but after a minute without interruption, I slowed down. It was during this time that the music caught my attention. I knew it sounded familiar when I first heard it, but it took a while before I realized what it was. It was an 8 - bit rendition of "Prayer For Peace," a song from the first Godzilla film. A very sad, powerful song, even in this form.
At two minutes into the level, I encountered something that I was not sure how to react to. My first instinct was to run, but this blue statue-esque being simply floated in place. I felt compelled to just stare at it. Since this was a grave and it was floating over a chapel, I guessed that this was some sort of angel watching over the deceased.
It gave me a strange, but warm feeling. I wouldn't say "happy," but I felt that I was at peace somehow. I had never seen this being before, yet it seemed very familiar to me.
Just as I was going to leave, the hell beast appeared and its presence warped the music into a terrifying discordant screeching and transformed the level desecrating the tombstones as new ground appeared that was comprised of blood soaked bodies.
I could feel my heart now beating out of control. I had no chance of escape with the monster that close! It lunged for the kill, but the angel got in its way. The demon roared and started clawing through the angel's leg and tears of blood streamed from its eyes.
I wanted to save the angel, but there was nothing I could do. I had to honor its sacrifice and run. And so I ran through the hellish landscape as fast as I could. The beast soon caught up with me, still swallowing the body of the angel, whose legs it had torn off. And this sight made my terror change into anger. I now found myself hating this horrible monster. There was no doubt in my mind that it was pure evil and I wanted it to die.
When I got to the end, I remembered how it responded to my insult in Trance. I spoke to it and said, "You're going to pay." This was its response:
I had no idea how I would follow up on that threat.
And nothing could have prepared me for the horrors of the final world - Zenith.
TO BE CONTINUED ------------->