The Voice of the Night (Dean Koontz)

Dean Koontz | July 1991 | 339 pages
Dean Koontz | July 1991 | 339 pages

Browse any horror section in any book store and chances are, you’ll find a bunch of Stephen King and Dean Koontz books. Mr. Koontz is a name I’ve heard a lot about, and in early 2020 I picked up a bunch of his books for cheap. My goal in 2020 was to read my first Stephen King book, as well as my first Dean Koontz book. I accomplished that when I finished IT, and in November I read The Voice of the Night. This book is said to be Koontz’s best work. Koontz has a mixed reputation. Some people enjoy his work, while others claim he’s pretty trash. I’ll have to read more before I come to my own conclusion, but after reading Voice of the Night I can say he ain’t half bad.

Here are some cool variant covers
Here are some cool variant covers
Back cover of the Star edition (1985)
Back cover of the Star edition (1985)
Another Star variant
Another Star variant





Dean Koontz pulls no punches. The book opens immediately with our two main characters — Colin and Roy. Roy is your typical asshole whose mantra in life is to kill or be killed. As you might guess, Colin is the complete opposite, and that’s where the dynamic lies. Colin wants Roy to like him. Roy’s intentions, however, are a little more sinister…


Like… REALLY sinister. Colin does his best to give Roy the benefit of the doubt. He can’t tell with absolute certainty whether or not Roy is just pulling his leg. For instance, in the passage above we see Roy fantasize about people dying in a terrible train wreck (hence the cover of the American edition). That’s just something normal people don’t daydream about…


Like most sociopaths, Roy is charming and manipulative like a used car salesman. He leans into Colin’s desire for belonging and friendship. You may be able to fool naive Colin, Roy, but ya sure can’t fool us!


“Death isn’t the end. It’s the center… it’s the most exciting thing in life.” Oooh-kay. Poor Colin still can’t see the 5 alarm fire and red flags that are pouring out of Roy. This book is very dialogue heavy. Which means it makes for a rather quick read that constantly moves at a brisk pace. It’s an interesting character study, for sure.


I like how Koontz continually ups the ante. Things start out “small” but gradually escalates like a well crafted thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.


Apparently, Mr. Koontz was not a big fan of the 1963 cult classic!

Can't wait for the 2021 rematch!
Can’t wait for the 2021 rematch!


“Even in the fast-dwindling, purple-amber light of late evening, the sudden sprinkle of sweat on his forehead and upper lip was visible; darkly glistening jewels.” Loved that description! And although Roy is a psychopath, I love the diatribe he spews here. Not that I believe in it, but I love how Koontz continues to build Roy’s aggressiveness and mad world views.


And this is where we get the Star 1985 cover from.


We get to see how Roy’s negative influence starts to creep up on Colin. The passage above says it all. Disturbing stuff…


Colin’s broken relationship with his father explains a lot. He’s constantly belittled and demeaned. Perhaps that is why he is seeking belonging with a guy like Roy. From one asshole father to an asshole “friend.”


My favorite passage from the book. The way he describes the darkening sky puts you right there as we rapidly approach the climax of the book.



A lot of people hate on Dean Koontz, but many have praised The Voice of the Night. I’m glad this was my first Koontz book. I definitely enjoyed it, and I am curious what other works of his I might enjoy. I plan to read more in the years to come. I’m sure some I won’t like (at all). But for this book, I loved the back and forth dynamic between Roy and Colin. It’s all fairly predictable, but it’s an intriguing character study. While it doesn’t crack my favorite reads of 2020 list, it definitely ranks somewhere in the upper half echelon. Speaking of 2020, kiss my ass! Goodbye 2020 and hello 2021! Happy New Year y’all!


Ultraman (SNES)

Pub: Bandai | Dev: Nova | October 1991 | 4 MEGS
Pub: Bandai | Dev: Nova | October 1991 | 4 MEGS

One of the earliest SNES games released in North America, Ultraman owns the distinction of being the first 1-on-1 fighting game on the Super Nintendo. If you were around any game rental store back in late 1991, chances are you too came across a boxed copy of Ultraman: Towards The Future. To its credit, the box art is pretty snazzy, blasting your senses with its frenetic energy and seemingly hi-octane larger than life action. Back in those days, the box art was often your first impression of a game, and Ultraman certainly made a nice splash in that regard. Flipping to the back of the box revealed promising screenshots of a fighting game with monsters. What could go wrong, right? Sadly, as it turns out, much.


If you were a monster and video game lover like me in those days, then the box art of Ultraman and the description on the back undoubtedly had you sold. Taking the box to the counter, you handed it over to the clerk as you watched your old man plunk down the dollar ninety nine. You felt like the luckiest kid in the universe — Street Fighter II with monsters!? Is this real life? I would soon come to find out that mentioning Ultraman and Street Fighter II in the same breath was the gravest of sins…


The King of the Monsters
The King of the Monsters

Some kids grew up with greats such as Cal Ripken Jr., John Elway or Michael Jordan as their idol. I, on the other hand, grew up on the 24-inch pythons of the immortal Hulk Hogan and the fire spewing, train chomping big guy himself, Godzilla. Thanks to my dad, Uncle Jimmy, some local mom and pop rental shops and the infamous Godzilla POWER HOUR, I rarely missed any of the big guy’s adventures. If someone was decked out in a rubber suit stomping around miniature cities, chances were I was probably there with a grin plastered across my kisser as cheesy as the monster movies of my youth itself.


While I loved all monsters small and big, my absolute favorite was without a doubt GODZILLA. Remember all those old box covers for the Godzilla movies? Most of them are seared into my retina, with Godzilla 1985 in particular sticking out. Who could ever forget that classic yellow golden border or the menacing up close money shot of Godzilla (complete with fangs and all) leering over Tokyo. A blurb by Joel Siegel “THE BEST GODZILLA IN 30 YEARS… HYSTERICAL FUN.” Good times.

I must have read the back of this box 50 times! ove that iconic shot of Godzilla looming over Tokyo
I must have read the back of this box 50 times!
Love that iconic shot of Godzilla looming over Tokyo


One Saturday night in 1989, my parents took me to this fancy mall. Being 20 minutes away from home and a little farther out than our neighborhood mall, this mall was less frequented and thus carried with it an extra air of mystique. It was like that exotic mall that truly had all the good shit. I can recall the excitement welling up in the pit of my stomach as my dad wrestled to find a parking spot on that hectic Saturday night. I still remember bypassing the escalator and running up the stairs to make my way to the inviting neon purple glow of the classic SAM GOODY logo. The sign seemed so huge as a kid — it looked like it stretched on for miles and miles.

Ah, the nostalgia...
Ah, the nostalgia…

It’s funny how as kids the simplest pleasures brought us such great satisfaction. For me, going to Sam Goody back in the late ’80s was one of those simple joys, especially at this particular mall that felt larger than life. I wasted no time making a beeline toward the SCI-FI section. I scoured over the Godzilla movies to see if there were any I had missed. Due to this mall having a certain mystique, in my head as a kid I rationalized that maybe it might carry exclusive Godzilla movies. Ahh, the innocence of being six or so!


After my disappointment of not seeing any new Godzilla films, I was ready to leave when I saw it… GAMERA VS. GAOS. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the distinctive VS. on the side of the box. I knew those two magical letters could only mean one thing: MONSTER MOVIE MADNESS!


I could hardly contain my excitement as I plucked out the VHS box to examine its glorious front and back cover. It was my first exposure to Gamera. Even at my young age I could tell Gamera was clearly a Godzilla ripoff, but it was the thrill of discovering something brand new in a genre you hold near and dear to your heart. I shoved the tape in my dad’s face. My old man whipped out the ol’ credit card and like so many times before, he made the magic happen. The rest of the evening I walked around the mall with my mom, dad and brother happily clutching the SAM GOODY bag, occasionally glancing inside to admire that cheesy yet glorious Gamera vs. Gaos box art.

Such an awesome back cover
Such an awesome back cover
I remember gawking at this as we went through the mall
I recall gawking at this as we went through the mall

What can I say? I loved giant monster movies. Fast forward to 1992 where I would meet my latest daikaiju addiction…



January 1992. I was 8 years old and woke up every Saturday morning around 7 to catch all the latest cartoons. One Saturday I caught the first episode of Ultraman: Towards The Future. I didn’t know who Ultraman was at the time. But I knew the show featured giant monsters and that was good enough for me. I remember watching Ultraman fighting a nasty alien creature (Gudis) with limbs that would make Dhalsim green with envy. Best of all, his brain was on top of his head!

Gudis came back later in the series revamped as Gudis II
Gudis came back later revamped as Super Gudis

Ultraman, like Gamera, was no Godzilla but I cheered on Ultraman nonetheless. There were 13 episodes in all — the last one airing more than 25 years ago on March 28, 1992. I never missed an episode and loved the camp value.

The toyline was pretty damn badass
The toyline was pretty damn badass

Ah… the memories (of what wasn’t). Dreamworks Toys released an Ultraman lineup in the spring of ’92 to go along with the US TV series. The figures were around 10 inches tall. Kerwin, my brother’s best friend at the time, asked me what I wanted for my 9th birthday. I told him I wanted Majaba. Kerwin assuredly told me, “You got it, Steve-O.”

Wait a second... Majaba that ain't
Wait a second… Majaba that ain’t

Fast forward to the summer of 1992. Right off the bat I knew something was off when the wrapped present with Kerwin’s name on the tag was about 5 inches tall. I opened his gift and out came Launchpad McQuack. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Darkwing Duck and Launchpad’s a cool cat but he ain’t Majaba! Way to get a guy’s hopes up, eh? Nonetheless, in the end I was grateful for his generosity. After all, he was my brother’s friend. He wasn’t obligated to get me jack. Speaking of Kerwin, after my family moved in 1996 my brother lost touch with him. He managed to track him down around 2003 where we found out that Kerwin was in Las Vegas trying to earn his DJ stripes. Big guy, wherever you are out there, I hope you are in good health and peace of mind. Even if you got me Launchpad McQuack instead of Majaba as you promised me, you big fat bastard :P



In the late ’80s and early ’90s my brother Kevin and I frequented a little mom and pop shop named Evergreen Video. Oh how I loved that place. I can still hear the little chime that rung each time you entered the hallowed halls of Evergreen Video. The smell of the oakwood shelves permeates to this day. As documented in Memories of Renting, Tom was the source that corrupted us. One day in early 1992 my dad and I made our traditional Saturday afternoon trek to rent the latest video game. Tom recently bought some SNES games to keep up with the changing of the guard. At that time we didn’t have the internet and I had yet to follow gaming magazines religiously. So imagine my shock and excitement when I saw Ultraman! I’ll never forget how it came with a HUGE blown up 8×11 black and white photocopied manual as opposed to the original booklet. I guess Tom was protective of his instruction manuals!

FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2008

Peering in the defunct remains of Evergreen Video
Peering in the defunct remains of Evergreen Video

On this night (now nearly 10 years ago, damn) my cousin Vivian threw me a graduation dinner with the family. We ate at this Chinese restaurant that coincidentally just happened to be a couple stores down from where Evergreen Video once stood proudly. I hadn’t been to that area in eons. On my drive to the restaurant, I couldn’t help but reminisce about all the fond memories of my dad taking me there every Saturday to rent the latest NES game. The wave of memories came flooding back as I pulled into that parking lot. It was my first time being back in that plaza in a good decade or so. I decided to pay a quick visit to the defunct remains of Evergreen Video before heading inside the restaurant. It was sad standing there and seeing the place devoid of any sort of life. Tom’s friendly smile behind the register counter was long gone. As I stared through the glass door like a frozen statue, I couldn’t help but wonder where was Tom and his family — were they OK? Were they continuing to live the American Dream? My conscious stream of thought was shattered when my phone rang.

“Steve! Where are you? Only you would be late to your own party!” Vivian joked.

“I’m right outside. Be there in half a minute…”

Taking it all in one last time
Taking it all in one last time

After a scrumptious dinner celebrating my graduation from grad school, we found ourselves hanging out in the parking lot. It was good to see all of them again. Billy, Vivian’s crazy husband, enthusiastically shared his latest cash cow scheme with my brother and me as we made our way to our cars. Never change, Billy. My cousins invited me to movie night but I told them I’ll catch them in a few. First, I had some unfinished business to take care of: I wanted one final glimpse at my dear old friend. There was now only a glimmer of sunlight striking the top of all the stores’ windows in this plaza. It was surreal and felt like a scene right out of a Hollywood movie. I stole one last peek in the empty store where Evergreen Video once stood. Turning my back to the store, I stood there for a minute to take in the cool night air, reflecting and also thinking about the future.

Always sad to see one of your favorites go bye bye
Always sad to see your favorite stores go defunct

It was a very raw and exciting time in my life. I was 24 years old, I just earned my teaching credential and I was this close to realizing my dream of having my very own classroom of students to teach and positively impact. As the final shards of sunlight pierced the storefront, I decided that was enough pontification for one night. I placed my childhood memories back in the box, texted my cousins that I was on my way and fired up my old 1992 Honda Accord.

The night was still young… AND SO WAS I



Originally written June 2008. Revived April 2018!
Originally written June 2008. Revived April 2018!








Not bad... pretty close!
Not bad… pretty close!

Ultraman is fairly accurate to its source material. That’s good. Unfortunately, the gameplay is very stiff and limited. But hey, minor kudos for replicating the look, eh?



Beating a monster for good is somewhat cumbersome. To do so, their energy bar must signal “finish” AND you must blast them with a Level 4 power shot. And because they can recover health, make sure they’re really “finished” before firing your L4 shot. Nothing’s worse than seeing them recuperate a smidgen of their health right as you fire your L4 beam — d’oh!



L1 sends forth the basic KNUCKLE SHOOTER. You also have the option of firing off four consecutive L1 shots if you’re at level L4.


L2 fires the moderately improved ARROW BEAM. You can emit two of these beams at L4 if you wish or one at L3 and then one L1. At least you get choices, right?


L3’s MAGNUM SHOOTER does quite a number but you’re so close to L4… why waste it in one single shot? I tend to use L3 the least.


L4’s BURNING PLASMA is Ultraman’s ticket home. “HADOKEN!”


Crappy game but I do love the art style!
And you thought Uncle Fred at Thanksgiving was bad



Gudis is an evil space virus determined to destroy and consume every life form in the universe. Once infected with the Gudis virus, the victim is unable to control itself and becomes part of Gudis’ plan. The power of Gudis continues to grow and multiply as it assimilates other creatures into itself. Stop the vile monster before it reaches the city!

ProTip: Avoid enemy projectiles





Bogun is a gruesome genetic mutation. With a horrific head at each end of its sluglike body, Bogun defends itself and attacks you using its strong antenna. Unfortunately, Bogun has already infiltrated the city. Hurry up and exercise damage control!

THABTO. Shout out to Ghost Wrtier ;)
THABTO. Shout out to Ghost Writer ;)
Just like me after Taco Bell
Just like me after Taco Bell
Oh you wish
Oh you wish




Degola is originally a God of the Australian Aborigines. In full force, Degola appears as a whirlwind, destroying everything in its path. This whirlwind, however, is merely to disguise the Gudis infected creature within. Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: it’s a force to be reckon with that must be terminated pronto.

I always found Degola to be a bit intimidating as a kid
I always found Degola to be creepy disturbing as a kid
I rest my case!
I rest my case!
Whos finishing whom first? The drama...
Who’s finishing whom first? The drama…


The way monsters died in this game was pretty glorious
The way monsters died in this game was pretty glorious



Barrangas, emphasis on the last three letters, can emit a toxic gas from its hideous body. I dig the quiet peaceful looking city backdrop. What a shame it’s actually anything but peaceful!

Just like me again...
Just like me again…
Aw damn, that ain't cool
Aw damn, that ain’t cool
"Quick, Ive got less than two minutes!"
“Quick — I’ve got less than two minutes!”




Look who’s back and uglier, stronger and deadlier than before! Super Gudis is a wormlike creature that slithers alarmingly quick. Make sure you leave his bloody carcass scattered in pieces across this miserable war torn land!

Didnt I just say that?
Didn’t I just say that?
Damn straight! Another nail-biting finale
Damn straight! Another nail-biting finale



Zebokon is usually a lethargic lumbering monster who lives in the depths of the forest. But after being infected with the Gudis virus, Zebokon has gone mad and is now attacking anything that moves. He has one hell of a battering ram to boot. Dark and ominous thunder clouds decorate this atmospheric backdrop.

[Har har -Ed.]
[Har har -Ed.]
What is he -- a Samoan wrestler?!
What is he — a Samoan wrestler?!
Look all around, there's nothing but blue skies. I can see clearly now...
Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies.
I can see clearly now…



Majaba, a giant pesticide-mutated grasshopper, is very quick and jumps really friggin’ high. Its razor-sharp claws will tear apart any metal known to mankind.


Kamacuras (AKA Gimantis) was one of the lesser monsters from Toho’s kaiju cannon. Majaba definitely takes some form of inspiration from Kamacuras.

He even finds time to work out in the heat of battle
He even finds time to work out in the heat of battle



Kodalar scared me as a kid. He even defeated Ultraman in the TV series finale and is the only monster able to claim that. Tough son of a bitch!


Major hang time
Major hang time

[Did Ultraman turn into Hacksaw Jim Duggan? -Ed.]
[Did Ultraman turn into Hacksaw Jim Duggan? -Ed.]


Kilazee comes from the darkest corner of the galaxy. He’s no King Ghidorah, but he is Ultraman’s final test.

Eat your heart out, Spider Man
Eat your heart out, Spider Man






Ultraman gives the universe a golden shower... [Um... yeah... -Ed.]
Ultraman gives the universe a golden shower!
[Um… nevermind… -Ed.]
Ultraman no longer needed... for now...
Ultraman no longer needed… for now…




"How dare you piss on our contract!"  *rimshot*
“How dare you piss on our contract!”  *rimshot*
Without the slobber, please
Without the slobber, please
See? They're not such a violent lot
See? They’re not such a violent lot


Tainted love, tainted love. Don't touch me, please
Tainted love, tainted love. Don’t touch me, please
You need someone to hold you tight. But I'm sorry I don't pray that way!
You need someone to hold you tight.
But I’m sorry I don’t pray that way!


Flying straight to the trash
Flying straight to the trash bin

Ultraman: Towards The Future was critically panned. In fact, some even dubbed it Ultraman: Towards The Trash Bin. As bad as it is, it wouldn’t quite make my top 10 worst SNES games list. There’s a handful of crappy SNES games out there that are even more unplayable than Ultraman.



Ultraman captures the look of the TV series well and had the potential to be decent. Unfortunately, the execution was terribly flawed. You can only use Ultraman, there’s no two player mode, the moveset is limited and compounding that error is the stiff control. Ultraman moves around like he just crapped his pants. Where’s the agile karate kicking warrior as seen on the cover, eh? Sure, some monsters require small strategic changes but due to the limited amount of moves at your disposal that strategy is extremely marginal. Visually, the game fares a bit better. Though the graphics didn’t wow anyone even back in 1991, it’s got a certain rubber monster charm to it. The sprites could be bigger though, and the lack of animation is quite disappointing. On the plus side, the cheesy monster roars fit right in and some of the tunes are even a bit catchy. But it’s not a good sign when a game’s high point is the box art…

I hate when that happens
I hate when that happens

In spite of all its warts, there’s something oddly charming about Ultraman. I guess first generation SNES games have a certain charm to them. Of course, things were a lot different back then. My dad rented the game for $1.99, my brother invited all the kids on our block to our house and we played it like it was the last video game on Earth. If nothing else, I’ll always cherish those memories of a more innocent time in my young life. Ultraman was a victim of lazy programming but I’m proud it’s part of my SNES library due to the history I have with the game. It’s there purely for the nostalgia of a simpler time. Oh, and that badass cover art.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 3
Longevity: 3

Overall: 3.0

Dino City (SNES)

Pub: Irem | Dev: Smart Egg | September 1992 | 8 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Irem | September 1992 | 8 MEGS

Ah, Dino City. Although I never played it as a kid, it holds something of a special spot in my gaming heart. I remember seeing the ads and previews in magazines and wanting to play it so badly. Alas, I never did. My SNES resurgence in early January 2006 allowed me a chance at gaming redemption.



Did you know Dino City is based off the 1991 made for TV film, Adventures in Dinosaur City? That was news to me not too long ago. So technically, Dino City is a licensed game. And a pretty good one at that (in an era where licensed games were often times more bad than good).

The big bad of the movie -- Mr. Big (Not Art of Fighting)
The big bad of the movie — Mr. Big (Not Art of Fighting)

Dinosaurs have fascinated me for as long as I can remember, dating back to when I was but a wee four year old child. It started with Godzilla in 1987. Followed by Dino Riders in 1988. Jim Henson’s Dinosaurs sitcom (TGIF!) in 1991. And of course Jurassic Park in 1993.

Godzilla (AKA Gojira)
Godzilla (AKA Gojira)
Dino Riders
Dino Riders
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

In addition, there was a dinosaur game quietly released on the SNES in late 1992 that always caught my eye. Sadly for me, I never got to play it back in the day and so it became one of countless childhood curiosities. I still remember EGM’s preview of Dino City

I must have read this blurb 50 times over...
I must have read this blurb 50 times over…
Such a bizarre box art. Totally early 90s!
Such a bizarre box art. Totally early ’90s!



After returning to the SNES scene on January 17, 2006, I decided to hit the flea market on an innocent chilly Saturday morning of February 4, 2006. It was my first trip to the flea market in four years. Ironically, before heading out that day I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I have a funky feeling I’ll run into a copy of Dino City.” Sure enough, it was meant to be. It was just one of those mornings! Click here for more.








Yesterday was November 21, 2017. That meant the Super Famicom, and Super Mario World, turned 27 years old. Dino City clearly borrows a bit from Super Mario World — it even incorporates riding on a dinosaur.


I recommend using Jamie and Tops
I recommend using Jamie and Tops as well







There’s no difficulty option but Timmy is definitely the “hard mode” due to his dino buddy’s short range attack.







Nobody’s surprised when this goes haywire.







Reason all you want — it’s not going to save you from being sucked into an interdimensional warp!













Flexing those beautiful Mode 7 muscles!

Know what this reminds me of?
Know what this reminds me of?
One of my favorite scenes from Pee Wees Big Adventure
What a nostalgic scene from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure







Cavemen are no match for your darts. Jump on the Trampos for an added boost, but don’t do it while they show off their spikes.







Princess Peach this ain’t! Meet Crazy Cindy. Shout out to my girlfriend Cindy who thankfully isn’t crazy.


That sounds kinky… Cindy has a problem indeed :P







Levels end with two doors. Sometimes they lead to a bonus stage. Regardless of which door you select, you still have to go through all the stages. I appreciate Irem giving us a choice, though.







Transitions in video games are one of my favorite small details, and Dino City does it extremely well.







Sometimes you can’t go any farther while riding your dinosaur. In such cases, hop off to solve whatever obstacle blocks your way.

Definitely a cool feature!
Definitely a cool feature :)


Moments like this make playing Dino City a blast.







Tossing darts at cavemen never gets old. Reappearing tiny ledges are well represented here.







There’s something ultra satisfying about these sliding stone slabs.







Although not mind-blowing or anything, the visuals in Dino City are lush and vibrant. It just screams “late 1992 SNES” era. In fact, when I think of SNES graphics from that era, Dino City is always the first game my mind thinks of.







Watch out for those damn Dino Traps. They’ll swallow you up and spit you out if you get too close, costing you a precious heart.







Rather clever and fun this is.







Shooting or stomping on baby seals is almost too heart-wrenching to do, but it’s your ass if you don’t!







Disable the Skull Munchers by jumping on top of them. This is where you’ll push their jaws down into the frozen ice for good, rendering them harmless. I love the sweet sound effect they make as they buckle under your weight.







Stages that start out a bit unconventional or unique are always pet favorites of mine. Take the opening of this stage f’rinstance. I just love how weird and different it is.







ProTip: Avoid the falling rock.







Another nice transition. It’s the small stuff!







Springer said it best: “I’ve got better things to do tonight than die.” Jamie and Tops couldn’t agree more! The first boss is a weirdo by the name of Crasher.







Crasher operates a block throwing contraption. Nail the blocks to break them apart. The pieces will crash into Crasher, damaging him to the point where his spectacles will momentarily fly off his face. Funny detail. Dino City isn’t a long game but thankfully offers you a password at the end of each stage.













Teamwork, baby! It’s a thing of beauty :)







Barrel-tossing Rockys and spiny hedgehogs try to put a damper on your day. Don’t get crushed by that moving platform. The Super Mario World influences are clearly evident.













Teamwork makes the dream work!







You’ll occasionally run into the random odd bonus stage. I’m a sucker for whenever a platformer displays an arrow in the form of collectibles. It’s exactly the kind of stuff I would program too if I were in control.







Cutting it awfully close there!







Speaking of cutting it close! Yo Tops, let’s not try to kill Jamie, OK?







Monster Moles look like double trouble, but they’re actually quite a cake walk.







Prepare for the roller coaster ride of your life as Stage 3 opens up with a bang.







Knock off the Rockys and ride into your station.







Slightly reminiscent of the huge swinging chandeliers from Super Castlevania IV, no? The Careless Circus as this level is known is arguably the most infuriating level in the game. Those bees are a bitch!


There are many more levels in Stage 3 not shown here; you’ll have to discover those for yourself. The boss of this stage is the Trampo Bird.







Things get hectic here in a hurry. Thankfully, you’re safe now. Right?







Technically, yes, but only if you keep moving. Crazy Cindy and Retarded Rocky actually go leaping to their doom. Seeing Cindy’s grin as she plummets to her death is a bit disturbing!













There’s no time to waste as a bald beefy barbarian attempts to crush you alive. Survive the terrifying ordeal and you come to a block that is just out of your dinosaur’s reach. Dismount and hop onto the block to activate it so it can move closer to your dino friend. Nice.







Leaps that see you barely landing on the next platform is so damn satisfying.







Influences to Super Mario World are readily apparent.

Eat your heart out, Yoshi
Eat your heart out, Yoshi


This is easily the game’s most bizarre boss.







Usually you’re riding your dino but here you have to go at it alone for a bit. Freeze the fish to use them as makeshift platforms.







Sometimes you’re required to jump off of two fish which makes it far dicier.







Nasty enemies are out to get you, sans dinosaur, if you make it this far.







Thankfully you can freeze their asses. Come to the end where your dino buddy is back in play and pick from the two doors.







There are so many levels awaiting you. Play Dino City to discover the rest.







Watch out for the Fire Birds guarding Stage Five. If you can make it all the way to the very end of Stage Six, you’ll face off with the movie villain himself, Mr. Big (no relation to Mr. Big from Art of Fighting fame).







Defeat Mr. Big and get treated to a rather cute, almost anime-esque ending.








Password systems (or lack thereof) have plagued a many Super Nintendo games. The last two games I reviewed (Jurassic Park and its sequel, Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues) could sorely have used a save or password feature. Thankfully, Dino City gives you a password at the end of each level. The 12 character passwords are fairly reasonable and easy enough to decipher; the same can’t be said for some other SNES games with a password system. Way to do it (reasonably) right, Irem!








Although Dino City upon first glance appears to be a “kiddy” game thanks to its bright and bold graphics not to mention the overall aesthetics, it’s anything but. The game is surprisingly far more difficult than you might first assume. It’s not impossible or anything, but it’ll take some practice and persistence. I also like how you get two different characters to play as. Timmy and Rex make beating the game far more difficult since Rex punches whereas Tops (Jamie’s dinosaur) throws darts. The difference between the two increases slightly the game’s longevity, not to mention it serves as sort of a “normal” and “hard” mode for a game that is already moderately difficult to begin with. So don’t walk into Dino City thinking it’ll be a walk in the park. Some stages start out easy but they can get tough in a hurry!

Like how a roller coaster starts easy then gets crazy
Like how a roller coaster starts easy then gets crazy…
Bosses are pretty easy -- it's the stages that are tough
Bosses are pretty easy — it’s getting there that’s tough
Choose Jamie and Tops if you want an easier game
Choose Jamie and Tops if you want an easier game
Not your typical easy SNES "kiddy" game!
Not your typical easy SNES “kiddy” game!
Shame they didn't used a more appealing box art
Shame they didn’t used a more appealing box art


EGM's sister publication, Super NES Buyer's Guide
EGM’s sister publication, Super NES Buyer’s Guide


Dino City fared pretty well with the critics. It was considered a great looking game that played pretty well. EGM gave it scores of 6, 7, 7 and 8. Super Play rated it 83%. It’s not often talked about in retro gaming circles but when it does come up, most people seem to vouch for Dino City. While it isn’t good enough to be considered a full blown hidden gem, it’s a quietly solid and underrated little game.






I remember thinking back in the day that Dino City looked like it would be a pretty good game. I never got to play it then but just based off the previews, it looked like a fun platformer. After returning to the SNES scene in early 2006, I found a copy at the local flea market for $5. It’s such a rewarding feeling when you finally fire a game up years and years later only to discover your gut was right on the mark. Dino City is pretty much everything I expected it to be. It’s far from perfect but there’s this sort of charming and whimsical quality backing it. The visuals are lush and scream “Late 1992 SNES Era” if that makes any sense. I love the small details like day to night transitions (even if it only happens once) and the sprites (not to mention the levels themselves) all look pretty great. The music is fairly charming as well — the intro piece actually reminds me a lot of a tune that would have fit perfectly in the Mega Man universe! The game controls pretty well and I rarely found myself blaming the control whenever I died (which happened a lot by the way — your typical easy SNES kiddy game this ain’t). It’s not a long game but Irem was kind enough to give us a password system to deflect possible player fatigue. I will never fault a 16-bit game (especially platformers) for having a (reasonable) password system, and this one thankfully does.


But now for some things that could have been improved. First of all, I loved the idea of dismounting from your dinosaur and playing solely as the child protagonist. I feel this feature was slightly underutilized and could have been further expanded upon and explored. The few instances where you are required to dismount are pretty effective, so it’s a case of there should have been a little more. Secondly, the levels are far too short for their own good. They feel more like bite-sized action zones than actual levels. Although there are a good deal of levels overall in the game, most of them are disappointingly short. Just when you’re beginning to sink your teeth into them, they suddenly end. It kind of takes away from the game and kept it from going to that next level. But all in all, Dino City is a pretty good little platformer that kind of has been forgotten to time. Riding a dinosaur also helps to differentiate it a bit from the rest of the me too pack of which there were plenty on the SNES. I appreciate this game for what it is. Even little things like most stages having two different exits made me smile. Maybe it’s not quite good enough to attain that ever attractive title of “hidden gem,” but it’s certainly an underrated little game that’s well worth playing and can easily occupy you for a weekend or two.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Longevity: 6

AwardOverall: 7.5
Bronze Award


King of the Monsters 2 (SNES)

Pub: Takara | Dev: Now | June 1994 | 16 MEGS
Pub: Takara | Dev: Now | June 1994 | 16 MEGS

If there was one thing I loved as much as video games when I was a kid, it was monsters. I was obsessed with Godzilla growing up. Any giant rubber suited monster movie was right up my alley. So combining the two — video games and monsters — was a grand slam for a kid like me. At least, in theory. Execution is entirely another matter. I remember being excited to play Ultraman: Towards The Future. After playing it, Towards The Garbage Bin seems like a more appropriate subtitle. Then came the SNES version of King of the Monsters. I loved the arcade version especially for its tag team bedlam mode. Not only was that gutted from the SNES port but they also scrapped two of the six monsters. 0 for 2 now. Would King of the Monsters 2 be the third strike, or would SNES owners finally get a decent monster game?



My local arcades didn’t carry King of the Monsters 2. I was never able to play it, sadly.


I saw screenshots of it in magazines and it looked awesome.


The new monsters looked great, making me want to play it even more.


Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I searched high, I searched low. Nada. It wasn’t until a fateful Saturday afternoon back in June of 1994 that my best friend Nelson and I ran across the Super Famicom import version of King of the Monsters 2.

It was like witnessing the Holy Grail
Nelson and I nearly crapped our pants


We couldn’t believe that standing before us were the import versions of Fighter’s History, King of the Monsters 2 and Muscle Bomber (Saturday Night Slam Masters). The North American versions were either weeks or even months away from release. Nelson grabbed Fighter’s History and so I had to make a choice between King of the Monsters 2 or Saturday Night Slam Masters. I loved Slam Masters but this was a clear no-brainer to me…

Time to put my great white whale to rest!
Time to put my great white whale to rest at long last!
Featured also in Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman
You can read the rest of the story right here




... an evil alien race crashed the party! Winner takes all!
… an evil alien race crashed the party! Winner takes ALL


On the original site, anyhow :P
On the original site, anyhow :P


DESTROY ALL MONSTERS!! King Famardy awaits...
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS! King Famardy awaits…


Atomic Guy
Atomic Guy
Cyber Woo
Cyber Woo
Super Geon
Super Geon

The roster stands at just three. It’s a little disappointing, considering the original gave you double the choice. Hope you aren’t too attached to the likes of Poison Ghost, Beetlemania and Rocky…




















Before you square off with King Famardy, you must first travel to six different parts of the world to romp and raid. At the end of each short level, there awaits a big and ugly monster for you to fight. Trust me, none of these guys will ever win a beauty contest! I like the cryptic touch of only being shown their silhouettes.



There are a couple bars to pay attention to. Your own, the boss bar and your power bar. When your power bar is fully charged, you can unleash a vicious special attack.


As seen here, each boss gets progressively tougher and tougher. Some of the bars get so long that they can be a little bit intimidating!


Trying to go #2...
Trying to go #2…

Charge your power bar by holding L. You cannot move or attack when charging, so you leave yourself wide open to enemy attack. With two players, it’s a lot easier to have your buddy entertain the boss while you charge, or vice versa. On your own though, you better pick your spots. As the old saying goes, charge wisely.


Just like the first game, grappling is still the main point of attack. Toggle back and forth like a mad man all while cursing and hollering like a raving mad lunatic. Trust me, it’s a lot more fun that way. Unlike the first game, however, here it seems the victor of a grapple isn’t random but actually awarded to the one who toggles faster. Imagine that — what a concept…


New is the ability to block. By simply pressing R, you can thwart the opposition’s blows. It’s a welcomed feature and adds some strategy to the fold, particularly in the 2 player game.


Height: 321 feet tall Weight: 126,000 tons Advantage: Speed
Height: 321 feet tall
Weight: 126,000 tons
Advantage: Speed

Formerly a (mad) scientist, he transformed into Astro Guy during an experiment gone wrong (or right…) when the Monsters first appeared in 1996. The ambitious scientist was looking to discover a way to make the human body immune to radiation. Well shit, look at him now. Surviving the ruckus of the original war, Astro Guy evolved into Atomic Guy. He’s now stronger and faster than ever. Master of lightning, fireballs and fashion!

The Megaton Thunder is my favorite move in the game
The Megaton Thunder is my personal favorite






Electrocute them like there’s no tomorrow!

Suplex City, Bitch
Suplex City, Bitch



Height: 367 feet tall Weight: 132,000 tons Advantage: Power
Height: 367 feet tall
Weight: 132,000 tons
Advantage: Power

Ahh, everyone’s favorite Godzilla knockoff, or at least, mine anyhow. Super Geon doesn’t move as fast as the others but his immense strength more than makes up for his lack of speed. Equipped with sharp spikes, fangs, claws and one very nasty disposition, Super Geon is ready to tear down any obstacle in his way. Looking more like FIN FANG FOOM here than Godzilla, this dragon beast makes the earth quiver with one of his mighty Earthquake leaps.

The Geo Sword is pretty wild
The Geo Sword is pretty wild
But nothing can compare to a little summer BBQ
But nothing can compare to a little summer BBQ


Height: 295 feet tall Weight: 180,000 tons Advantage: Balance
Height: 295 feet tall
Weight: 180,000 tons
Advantage: Balance

Woo underwent the most drastic transformation of all the monsters. An overgrown gorilla in the first game, he is now a lean, mean, fighting machine. No one knows for sure how he came to be in this state, but rumor has it he was assembled by the government as a top secret weapon. Some say the original Woo is dead and that this is something new altogether. Whatever IT is, the very hope of mankind may very well lie in Cyber Woo’s cold, steel hands!

He has the best balance of power and speed
He has the best balance of power and speed








Launching missiles into their ugly faces? Sign me up!

Love the simplicity of the Ray Gun
Love the simplicity of the Ray Gun
Huge Frogger: OH SHIT
Huge Frogger: OH SHIT
Cyber Woo: Only *I* get to destroy EARTH!
Cyber Woo: Eat your heart out, MEGATRON!


HUGE FROGGER (American City)
HUGE FROGGER | American City

The entry soldier of King Famardy’s line of defense. Huge Frogger looks like a nasty bugger that might give you fits, but he’s a bit of a wimp. Don’t overlook him though. He can still be slightly formidable thanks to his abilities. These include teleportation, laser beams and razor sharp elbow horns. He’s also got humongous feet and he’s more than happy to use them to smash your face in! He’s far too cocky for his own good, though. Occasionally, he’ll stop to just laugh at you. Be sure to make him regret that foolish decision! After you see his face, you’ll understand why he hides it behind that huge mask.

Good pep talk
Good pep talk
Excuse me, are we in Wisconsin?
Excuse me, are we in Green Bay?

Apparently, Huge Frogger isn’t a huge fan of Brett Favre. He appears for a brief skirmish. However, the wimp will eventually teleport and meet you again at level’s end.

Weirdest name for an enemy I've seen in a while!
Weirdest name for an enemy I’ve seen in a while!



Y'kno what they say about big feet
Y’kno what they say about big feet…
A face only a mother could love
A face only a blind mother could love
NO! I wanted frog legs!
No frog legs for me :(
EIFFLELYTE | French City
EIFFLELYTE | French City

Great original city names so far, eh? This guy is quite a piece of work. His face is a disgusting tissue-y mass that has a parasitic alien brain sucking on it. He’s gifted with freaky strength. He’ll lift you high and pound you into the ground several times over before you can scream GODZELLER. Thanks to his ability of being able to stretch his limbs, he can strike from almost any distance. Once defeated, his blob-like brain will detach from the body for a desperate final battle!

Did you NOT learn from Godzilla 1985?
Someone didn’t learn from last time…
Godzilla 1985 AKA Return of Godzilla
Gotta love the Super X clone
Gotta love the Super X clone
King of the Monsters 2 brings you right back!
King of the Monsters 2 brings you right back!
Godzilla: Don't even try it, pal
Godzilla: Don’t even try it, pal
We all know how this turns out...
We all know how this turns out…
Where do you think Gen-An came from?
And I thought Gen-An was ugly!

[It was Steve. Yup, totally Steve. All Steve -Ed.]
[It was Steve. Yup, totally Steve. All Steve -Ed.]

Gotta love the Eiffle Tower in the back there
Gotta love the Eiffel Tower in the back there
Love the cheesiness of this game
Love the cheesiness of this game
He's the Dhalsim of monsters
He’s the Dhalsim of monsters
What a freaky abomination
What a freaky abomination





Dhalsim but with the strength of Zangief… on steroids!

Godzilla never faced a foe like this before!
I don’t even want to imagine the smell
Super Geon, YOU FREAK!
Super Geon, YOU FREAK!
Damn, I guess we're just all freaks in the end
Damn, I guess we’re all just freaks in the end



It ain't over yet...
It ain’t over yet…
CLAWHEAD | Grand Canyon
CLAWHEAD | Grand Canyon

Bogun. Freaking Bogun from Ultraman. That’s the first thought I had when I saw Clawhead. What a grotesque creature. Hands for feet, creepy eyes tucked inside the mouth (which is bizarrely placed at the bottom), a pair of killer horns and two faces that could give Freddy Krueger nightmres! This two-headed menace guards the Grand Canyon with malice. What exactly is lurking in that hideous mouth beyond those eyes? Pray that you won’t have to find out…

Bogun. Uncanny resemblance...
Uncanny resemblance…
This excellent artwork comes from Hawanja
This excellent artwork comes from Hawanja




Shake it loose
Shake it loose
Now you can chuck it
Now you can chuck it



So this stage is called Grand Canyon, but Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota. Last I checked, I’m pretty sure the Grand Canyon is still located in Arizona. WTF were y’all doing, SNK? Or rather, what were y’all smoking…

Someone's been hitting the gym
Someone’s been hitting the gym


It's really not TOO far off
It’s really not TOO far off…

Let’s see… American City, French City… yup, by stage four they clearly said “f*ck it.” That’s why we now come to… DESERT. Remember the messenger from earlier? The brain that spewed all those threatening messages but then always scurried away? It now takes a stand. And to help it take that stand, it employs the hideous body of one, Beetle Master. Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would like a word with you, good sir. Oh, and whatever you do, DON’T say his name at night three times. Or else he’ll appear out of thin air to eat you whole. You’ve been warned…


Tap the A button madly to recover
Tap the A button madly to recover in time
Or else...
Or else…
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore


This pic was made around the 2008 Olympics :P
This pic was made around the 2008 Olympics :P
Oh yeah, well, we shall see about that, Krang!
Oh yeah? Well, we shall see about that, Krang!


Screw Bacon! I'm the one that stuck around!
Screw Bacon! I’m the one that stuck around!
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the desert
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the desert
You gonna kiss me or fight me, huh?
You gonna kiss me or fight me, huh?


Beetle's got some tricks
Beetle’s got some tricks
Talk about using your head
Talk about using your head
Always makes me wince
Always makes me wince
What goes down...
What goes down…
... must come back up [Uh, I don't think that's it -Ed.]
… must come back up

[Uh, I don’t think that’s how it goes -Ed.]

This remind you of another SNK property?
Shades of Hwa Jai
Fatal Fury (SNK, 1991)
Fatal Fury (SNK, 1991)
Fighting til the bitter end
Fighting until the bitter end

While none of the monsters will be winning any sort of beauty contest, Sack Eyes truly takes the cake. He is one repulsive bastard. He’s also tougher than a two dollar steak. If his looks don’t kill you, his deadly repertoire will. His squalid face is the stuff nightmares are made of, and that throbbing red blob-like substance around his neck is every bit as dangerous as it is unnerving…




Again, these pics were made around 2008 Olympics
Um, pal…
I hope Super Geon can swim like Michael Phelps!
I hope Super Geon can swim like Michael Phelps!
Rip the base apart to find goodies
Rip the base apart to find goodies
Hmmm, I wonder what's under that rock...
Hmmm, I wonder what’s under that rock…
What a shocker
What a shocker
OUCH! No more baby Geons...
OUCH! No more baby Geons…
Nope, never seen this before
Nope, never seen this before
Oh yeah, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (Toho, 1995)
This did come out King of the Monsters 2, though
King of the Monsters 2 came out in 1992, mind you
LAVICUS | Lava Zone
LAVICUS | Lava Zone

Meet King Famardy’s right-hand man, er, monster. Lavicus is tougher than nails. As the last line of defense, anything less would be disappointing. He’s not so bad with two players. But by your lonesome? Good luck. Just how tough is he? There is NO stage. You just fight him right away. The developers must have thought, “Why delay the inevitable ass-whupping? Let’s just feed them to Lavicus.” Best to get it over with, then.


Lavicus’ Lava Zone is rather lovely. It’s simple but therein lies its wicked effectiveness. The lava flows as the monsters duke it out. Jump up on the hill if that’s your thing, or settle the score right there in the bright scorching molten lava.

More great art from Hawanja
More great art from Hawanja


The fire hurts, but not the lava. Only in video games!
The fire hurts but not the lava. Only in video games!

Congrats! You’ve made it to the last stage. Fatter than Santa but not nearly as jolly, King Famardy is a sight for sore eyes. He moves a lot faster than one might anticipate, and he comes equipped with a host of tools from which he can use to decimate you. Kill him and the world is yours to rule as King of the Monsters.



[What, no dig at Beijing this time? -Ed.]
[What, no dig at Beijing this time? -Ed.]
Famardy after this? HA! You wish
Famardy after this? HA! You wish, son
Thank goodness for small favors
Thank goodness for small favors

Thankfully, in-between each victory you’re given a supply of power-ups and such. Little L’s are for small health gain, large L’s for moderate health gain, P’s for leveling up, and if you’re lucky enough, the odd 1-UP will crop up here and there. However, one small catch. There’s only enough time to grab two, so pick the best ones. With two players, each player nabs two.

Here comes the king
Here comes the king
What great detail on the back there
What great detail on the back there

If you thought his front side was fugly, you ought to see his back side! I love the intricate details here, especially the scales. Check out the feet protruding from Famardy’s back. That should warrant a visit to his local alien doctor, one would think.

[How my mother-in-law get in this game? -Ed.]
Someone could use a Tic-Tac
Aw, is the "king" scared of a little wittle roar?
Aw, is the “king” scared of a little, wittle roar?
He already got hit with the ugly stick
He got hit with the ugly stick long before this
Get a room, you two!
Get a room, you two!
Actually, this doesn't look all that consensual...
Actually, this doesn’t look all that consensual…
If this happens, it's nighty night
If this happens, it’s nighty night







They look like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
They look like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!


If successful, you're blown sky high
If successful, you’re blown sky high




On the other hand, IF you lose...
On the other hand, IF you lose…


[Shoot, imagine if Trump is ever President. Oh... -Ed.]
[Shoot, imagine if Trump is ever President. Oh… -Ed.]


It's a gooey mess when you die
It’s a gooey mess when you die



First, if you’re browsing this on a desktop or laptop, click on the music video and follow along with the text-embedded pictures below.









It’s always times like these
When I think of you
And I wonder
If you ever
Think of meeee
Cause everything’s so wrong
And I don’t belon –

Um, ahem. The real ending, then…


Still waiting on King of the Monsters 3 :(
Still waiting on King of the Monsters 3 :(



While I still miss the tornado tag team feature from the first game, I have to say it’s still a blast to team up with a buddy to take out the computer alien bosses one at a time. It’s a 2-on-1 handicap match essentially, and I cannot think of another SNES game that operates like such. Even beat ‘em up bosses tend to throw lesser henchmen at you, while this is strictly a 2-on-1 affair. It really makes playing King of the Monsters 2 unlike any other SNES experience.

It's all about that 2 Player mode
It’s all about that 2 player mode

Playing with a buddy also lends a certain strategy you don’t get when playing alone. It’s a short game but it’s pretty damn fun with two while it lasts. My favorite strategy is charging my power bar and then having my friend block while I attack from behind with my charged up special move. All is fair in love and war! Too bad though there isn’t an option for you and a friend to take on two alien bosses at a time. The three options are: 1P vs. CPU, 1P and 2P vs. CPU or the ho-hum 1P vs. 2P mode, where it’s just you and a buddy trying to win 3 out of 5. Unfortunately, you can’t control the alien boss monsters in this mode, which was a wasted opportunity.

Show 'em who's boss!
Show ‘em who’s boss!


A completely different change in gameplay!
A completely different change in gameplay!

The Sega Genesis version of King of the Monsters 2 is radically different from the SNES version. While the SNES port mimics the arcade game, the Genesis version opted to go the Street Fighter II route. It is strictly a 1-on-1 fighting game, but instead of a single plane, players are allowed to use the entire screen. It’s actually what I envisioned my own childhood game, MONSTER FIGHTER, to be back in the early ’90s. A blend of King of the Monsters meets Street Fighter II. The Genesis version received pretty solid reviews. Some people liked the fact that it cut out the side-scrolling beat ‘em up sections and got straight down to the action. If nothing else, it’s an interesting footnote in the history of the King of the Monsters series.

Best of all, you can use the bad guys
Best of all, you can use the bad guys


The ad was SO cheesy :D
The ad was SO cheesy :D



I remember doing this and getting my free King of the Monsters 2 key chain back in the day. Too bad I lost it. But yeah, these freebie give away prizes Takara used to do back in the ’90s was awesome.



Throughout the annals of history, there have been some great philosophical questions posed.

“What came first: the chicken or the egg?”

“To BE, or NOT to be?”

“How much wood can a woodchuck chuck…
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

And then, on July 7, 2008, a five year old student of mine asked me one of life’s greatest questions:


But let me back up the DeLorean a bit here. In college I studied to become a teacher, with a minor in Theatre Arts. Wherever I could, I implemented drama into my presentations and public speeches. I was in a Humanities class in 2006 and after one of my dramatic presentations this is what my professor wrote on our class’ online message board:





I didnt know about print screen back then :P
I didn’t know about print screen back then :P

In the summer of 2008, I found myself teaching a public speaking camp to a group of five and six years old. On my first day of class, I began by introducing myself and asking my students to share some basic info about themselves. I’ll never forget these two twin boys. They were five and when their turn to speak came, they said they loved video games.

“And what is your favorite game?” I asked.


I almost fell over. The next day was Show and Tell. Guess what the twin boys brought to the party?

HOLY SHIT (yes, this is the actual shot from 2008)

During break time, they were telling me all about their favorite monsters from the game. One of the twins was describing Cyber Woo to me and at one point he stopped. “Mr. Steve, who is the robot monkey?” I couldn’t help but laugh as I answered his thought-provoking question. Damn, it’s hard to believe it’s almost been 10 years since I taught that summer camp. Jeez, those twins are now 14 and in high school! I feel old now.

You could say I was shocked
You could say I was shocked

Later that day, I asked one of the twins who his least favorite monster was. He said Atomic Guy because “he’s weak and this little kick is all he can do.” Then the kid actually replicated the kick to a tee right in front of me, TWICE. It scared me how flawless his form was! It just goes to show you how genuine and real their passion for King of the Monsters 2 was. They restored my faith in humanity! :P

Baron demonstrated the wimpy kick on cue
He demonstrated the weak kick on cue



The SNES translation didn’t win any awards or anything, but critics agreed it was a great port considering the hardware limitations of the 16-bit SNES compared to the mega arcade power that was the Neo Geo. EGM gave it scores of 7, 7, 7 and 8. Super Play rated it 74%. It’s definitely one of the better arcade to SNES translations ever made.



That Saturday June afternoon of 1994 saw a dream of mine realized when I finally got to play King of the Monsters 2. I’m not quite sure if I liked it more than the first one but I know I had a blast playing it with my best friend, Nelson. And that’s what video games are all about. King of the Monsters 2 is filled to the brim with bright and bold colors. At times it is a visual feast. One look at the game and you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s a Super Nintendo game circa 1994. The monsters animate well, look terrifying and the special moves are a treat to behold. Atomic Guy’s Megaton Thunder, for instance, really lights up the screen. The giant monsters are intricately detailed as are the stages you wreck. It is this believability of the behemoths that makes the game work and also makes it fun.


Of course, there’s more to a good game than great visuals. As for the sound, King of the Monsters 2 has some solid rocking tunes which really help add to the whole B-Movie feel of the game. Sound effects are a bit hit and miss, though. Some are out of place or oddly missing altogether. Where’s the sound when my guy is crushing small buildings? What’s up with the fact that jumping on water sounds the same as when I’m jumping on the ground? So with the good comes some bad.


As for the gameplay, it’s a lot more sound than the original. This time, it really feels like the person who toggles the D-Pad faster actually wins. I do miss the tornado tag team mode, but I welcome the ability to block as well as the mode where you and a buddy tackle the alien bosses one at a time. Having only three monsters to select from is kind of lame, but on the bright side, unlike the original, their grapple moves are exclusively theirs. Only Atomic Guy can perform a front suplex while Super Geon makes good use of the spikes on his back like only he can. He heaves his foe five hundred feet in the air before the poor victim comes crashing down on a bed of nails. Ouch! Or Atomic Guy shocking the shit out of fools.

Beautiful artwork by Hawanja!
More beautiful artwork by Hawanja

I also like how you have to march through each unique stage before fighting the boss. These little beat ‘em up sections range from cities to Grand Canyons to even an underwater sea bed where a mutated aqua slug resides. The stages are kept short too because the main focus here of course is on the seven boss monsters. The minor enemies you deal with as you romp through each level present minimal threat, but it’s still a blast to strike down foul land sharks, wretched one-eyed freekazoids and what have you. And of course, along the way there are various power-ups as well as bad ones, like the BOMB icon (to keep you on your toes), the Power Down icon, and the Roulette where you’re taking a chance with whatever icon the game decides to give you.

Let the wild rumpus start!
Let the wild rumpus start!

No one will ever mistake King of the Monsters 2 as one of Super Nintendo’s very best, but it serves its niche well as a creature feature. SNES fans got the shaft with the original but here is a bit of redemption. Yeah, the game is incredibly short, and there’s only a scant three monsters from which to use, but man is it fun playing with a like-minded friend. It’s hard to believe it’s now been 23 summers since that fateful June day that Nelson and I shitted our pants seeing the import version of this game sitting high and pretty on the top shelf over at Game Hunter. The exuberance surging through our ten year old bodies and the sheer thrill of finding this unexpected gem before us was the perfect way to kick off one of the last great summers of my childhood. I guess I’ll always remember King of the Monsters 2 most of all for that innocent summer day in June of 1994. I’m also happy to say that it’s a pretty solid little 2 player romp. If you love your wanton monster mayhem, then don’t miss out on King of the Monsters 2.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Longevity: 6

Overall: 7.0


Rampage (NES)


Ah, Rampage. Hard to believe the 1986 arcade game turned 30 last year. Next year will mark 30 years for the 8-bit NES port. Who didn’t play this game back in the day? I remember seeing the lovely cover at my local mom ‘n pop rental shop EVERGREEN VIDEO and absolutely going nuts. I loved monsters and the cover promised monster mayhem and destruction. My old man handed a Washington over to Tom, Evergreen Video’s owner, as my dad did every Saturday afternoon when my brother and I would go to rent the latest NES title. Remember when games were that cheap to rent? Hell, remember when renting games was a thing?! But I digress. That whole car ride home, all five minutes of it, was the longest five minutes of my life. I couldn’t wait to play Rampage. We rushed to our game room, popped it in and the rest is history. The fact that I remember it fondly to this day nearly 30 years later says it all.


More amazing than your eyes can believe!

Man, I remember gawking at this VHS cover at Toys R Us in the late ’80s. Toys R Us used to have a super small VHS section that contained Disney movies and the odd Godzilla film. Long before Capcom made crossovers popular in the late ’90s, there was 1962’s KING KONG vs. GODZILLA! I had no clue such a film existed so I nearly crapped my pants when I first saw the box sitting pretty on the shelf. Suddenly I no longer cared about buying that latest ThunderCats toy or the newest Nintendo game. Rather, all I wanted was to walk away with just a movie… from Toys R Us! We’re talkin’ TOYS R US here! You know it had to take a pretty damn special movie to possess any kid to want to do that. King Kong vs. Godzilla was that special. My parents bought it on sight and I remember being a bit disappointed when I finally saw the movie. Still, I liked it enough and had no regrets of not buying Leonardo: Scuba Diving Edition!

Can't wait for their rematch in 2020!
Can’t wait for their rematch in 2020!

Speaking of King Kong, I just watched Kong: Skull Island the other night. It was pretty good, and I am excited for this new “MonsterVerse” that Legendary has created. Crossover franchises are all the rage now, and I can’t wait for King Kong vs. Godzilla to hit theatres on May 29, 2020. That’s sure to be epic.

One of the best shots in any monster film ever!
One of the best shots in any monster film ever
My body is ready. TAKE MY MONEY
My body is ready. TAKE MY MONEY

After discovering the internet in the late ’90s, I purchased a subtitled version of King Kong vs. Godzilla. I enjoyed it a lot more than the English dub. So, how does this all relate to Rampage? Well of course…

I hope you weren't too fond of the wolf guy!
I hope you weren’t too fond of the wolf guy…


I'll say!
I’ll say!

A used… pink bathrobe
A rare… mint snowglobe
A Smurf… TV tray
I bought on eBay!

My house… is filled with this crap
Shows up in BUBBLE WRAP
Most every day
What I bought on eBay!

Tell me why I need another pet rock
Tell me why I got that ALF alarm clock
Tell me why I bid on Shatner’s old toupee
They had it on eBay!

I’ll buy… your knick-knack
Just check… my feedback
“A++!”  they all say
They love me on eBay!

Gonna buy a slightly damaged golf bag
Gonna buy some Beanie Babies, new with tag
From some guy I’ve never met in NOOOORWAAAY
Found him on eBay!

I am the type who is liable to snipe you
With two seconds left to go, whoaaaa
Got Paypal or Visa, whatever’ll please ya
As long as I’ve got… THE DOOOUGH!

I’ll buy… your tchotchkes
Sell me… your watch, please
I’ll buy… I’ll buy, I’ll buy, I’ll buy…

Hey! A Dukes Of Hazard ashtray
OHHHH YEAH… I bought it on eBay!

Wanna buy a Pac-Man Fever lunchbox
Wanna buy a case of vintage tube socks
Wanna buy a Kleenex used by Dr. Dre, used by Dr. Dre!
Found it on eBay!

Wanna buy that Farrah Fawcet poster
Pez dispensers and a toaster
DON’T KNOW WHY… the kind of stuff you’d throw away
I’ll buy on eBay!

What I bought on eBay-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y!

Stop staring at me and do it you goof!
Stop staring at me and do it you goof!


[That's not kinky at all... -Ed.]
[That’s not kinky at all… -Ed.]

Jump safely off, or fall down and lose health
Jump safely off, or fall down and lose health
Hey, I did originally write this review in 2008...
Hey, I did originally write this review in 2008…
Better enjoy it -- there's not a whole lot...
Better enjoy it — there’s not a whole lot…


[No wonder he moved, and it ain't coz of the hairy ape -Ed.]
[No wonder he moved, and it ain’t coz of the ape -Ed.]

See that little guy?
See that guy?
[I knew there was something funny about the ape -Ed.]
[I knew there was something funny about the ape -Ed.]
I mean, look how beautiful Vegas is! So let's check it out
I mean, look how beautiful Vegas is! So let’s see…
Bloody hell, man. That's it?!
Bloody hell, man. That’s it?!
Love that sign. Brings some much needed variety
Love that sign. Brings some much needed variety

Indeed. The best part of the game is scaling a building that allows you to clobber that one, the one behind it and the one next to it as well. That, along with playing with your brother or friend, was as good as it got in Rampage.

Hmmm, where have I seen this before?
Hmmm, where have I seen this before?
Ah yes of course... THE KING OF MONSTERS!
Ah yes of course… THE KING OF MONSTERS!
[Damn you Bowe, I had money on you that night -Ed.]
[Damn you Bowe, I had money on you that night -Ed.]
Fan Man dropping by...
Fan Man dropping by…

November 6, 1993 marks one of the strangest incidents ever witnessed in sports history. It was a rematch between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield. During round seven, a fan parachuted down just missing the ring. The bizarre incident caused a 21 minute delay.

Holyfield eventually won the bout after the fight went 12 rounds. He regained his World Heavyweight title. It was the only loss Riddick Bowe would ever suffer in his boxing career.









Every five or so stages, you conquer another region. No password or save system made beating this game a daunting and tedious chore.


The boys are back in town ♫ ♫ ♫
The boys are back in town  ♫ ♫ ♫

I was a bit saddened when we never got a Super Rampage on the SNES. I thought that spelled the end but Rampage saw a revival during the 32-bit generation in the form of Rampage World Tour. I bought a copy back in 2003 and it’s OK for what it is, but I was disappointed there wasn’t a three player mode. There was no excuse for that especially since the Saturn could more than handle it. Therefore the port always came off as incredibly lazy to me.

The last Rampage game to date
The last Rampage game to date

Rampage: Total Destruction came out on the Wii in 2006. Who knows if Rampage will ever be resurrected again (in video game form).

Well, speaking about a resurrection...
Well, speaking about a resurrection…

Coming to theatres in April 2018 — Rampage starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Rock is no stranger to video game movie adaptations. This will be his second video game film, with his first being 2005’s Doom. That was not a good movie. Hopefully Rampage turns out OK, and I think it will. We’ll find out in about a year!



Even nearly 30 years ago, I knew Rampage wasn’t a great game or anything. It’s best played with a like minded bud for no more than 15 minutes. Is there a more mindless one trick pony game than Rampage? It is what it is. It can be fun to pop in for a few minutes once in a blue moon but it’s not something you’ll want to play often. I’ll always remember Rampage for its cool box art and allowing kids to live out our fantasy of being a towering monster crushing buildings left and right — even if it fell way short of what we imagined. I guess there’s only so much you can do with this sort of format. Rampage is one of those games that gives you the nostalgic feels but the memories far surpass the actual experience, if that makes sense. It’s certainly a memorable relic from the good old NES days of late ’80s yore.

The arcade marquee is forever burned in my mind
The arcade marquee is forever burned in my mind

King of the Monsters (SNES)

Pub: Takara | Dev: Genki | October 1992 | 8 MEGS
Pub: Takara | Dev: Genki | October 1992 | 8 MEGS

It’s early Christmas morning as I write this, and believe it or not, this game will forever be connected to Christmas. 24 years ago, in late December of 1992, my mom bought me King of the Monsters on the Super Nintendo. It was the first game she ever bought for me without first conferring with my brother. And it took something of a Christmas miracle to pull it off, so you can see my nostalgic desire to write about this game on this day. Sure, the SNES port was butchered. But the memories of this game live on to this very day. It was not only the first SNES game my mom ever bought for me but it was also one of the earliest arcade games I can remember experiencing. In fact, I remember it as if it only happened yesterday… *cue fuzzy flashback sequence*

***SOME TIME IN MID 1991***


The 2nd* arcade game I can remember playing was at Safeway with my brother, Kevin. It was like any other typical Tuesday night in the old neighborhood. The year was 1991. My bro and I tagged along with our dad to the local grocery store, doing our best to convince pops to buy us those delicious dinosaur fruit snacks. And if we were lucky, the WWF ice cream bars as well. We would be ecstatic if pops caved in to even just one of them. On this trip, no such luck however. We made our way to the end of a very long line. Kevin and I weren’t exactly the best behaved kids in the history of kids. Neither of us could stand still to save our lives. Unknowingly, it was a cunning strategy, for we spotted an arcade cab nearby in the corner where they sell the coal. Pops was more than happy to oblige, plopping two quarters in our hands, in exchange for a few minutes of peace and quiet. Off to the races we disappeared like two chalky ghosts in the night.

*The first arcade game I played was Street Fighter II.

When we arrived at the cab, I gazed up in amazement like it were the Sistine Chapel. What an amazing sight the Neo Geo MVS cab truly was. These were machines that housed four different SNK arcade games. I remember seeing Sengoku, a side scrolling beat ‘em up. But when I saw King of the Monsters for the first time ever, I knew I had found my match. It pitted six giant monsters against one another in a duel to the death. My brother and I were instantly sold. He picked the Ultraman clone, Astro Guy, while I chose the Godzilla lookalike, Geon. We played the tag team bedlam mode, which allowed me and my brother to team up simultaneously to rampage against two computer foes. Being an avid fan of Godzilla and monsters, I found myself enamored. My brother and I couldn’t shut up about it on the car ride home. That night I fell in love with King of the Monsters.

***DECEMBER 1991***

They scared and fascinated me all at once
Chuck E. Cheese’s was an awesome place for a kid to be

December 1991. My parents took me and my brother to our favorite place, Chuck E. Cheese’s, to celebrate the end of the year. My mother was rather strict so these rare opportunities where she allowed us to binge on our desires were not taken for granted! They ordered two large pizzas and got us 50 tokens. I knew where I was going to be for the rest of that night — at the King of the Monsters cab determined to beat it! It took me some time and way too many quarters to count but at last I did it, all while my mom sat back at the table eating unwanted leftover pizza crust and watching the whole thing go down.

This only took me an hour and about 5,000 quarters
This only took me an hour and about 500 quarters

I stepped back, drenched in sweat from wrestling with the joypad, and stared back at my mom who sat there smiling. I looked back at the arcade to watch the ending. My boy Rocky destroyed the news studio as a wide grin formed on my kisser. I recall thinking to myself, “I can’t wait for this to come home on the SNES!”

***DECEMBER 1992***

There was a certain magic in the air that night…
There was a certain magic in the air that night…

My mom and I used to go to the mall all the time. It was one of our traditions. She took me after school every Friday, rain or shine. I loved it because this was a time in life when the world was a different place. Even as young as 8, my mom allowed me to hit up my stores while she went shopping for clothes. This gave me a great sense of independence and for about 30 minutes I was on my own completely! I always visited Suncoast, Kay Bee Toys, Walden Books, Sam Goody, and of course, the classic SOFTWARE ETC.

Now rarely did she ever end up buying me anything once we reconvened, but that was never the point. It was fun enough thumbing through books, EGM magazines and drooling at the various action figures. It was the feeling that it produced. Just knowing you were on your own for half an hour made going to the mall a fun time. But the best times always came during Christmas season.

That little blond kid was me just a year or two ago...
That little blond kid was me just a year or two ago…

The mall Santa was there taking pictures, kissing babies and shaking little hands. At nine and a half years old now, I was too old for that stuff, but not old enough to not still believe in the magic of Christmas. So instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, I simply sat back from afar to admire what had been, and what once was.

My mom came over asking if I wanted to meet the mall Santa, but I told her I was too old. She looked at the kids rushing up to Santa just 20 feet away from us, lost in her thoughts. Somewhere in her aging face I saw her loosen up, as if she suddenly missed the days when I was that young scampering around. Perhaps it was the right kind of Christmas magic I’d need for what was about to transpire on that most magical December evening…

This was like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

There it was, plastered in big and bold blue letters. I always made it a point to hit up SOFTWARE ETC. each time we visited the mall. Of course, I could only dream of my mom complying to buy me a video game. Still, like a moth to flame, those bold blue letters always sucked me in. I stood there that evening in sheer awe of the endless shelves of SNES goodies — games in which I could only dream of owning. And then, there it was. High on the shelf I saw it, shining like a beacon of light. KING OF THE MONSTERS for the Super Nintendo! It was just one short year ago that I’d beaten the arcade and thought to myself, “Man, I can’t wait for this to come home!” And now, it finally has. Only one problem, of course. How can I convince mom to buy it? Standing there, staring at the pristine shiny King of the Monsters box, my mind desperately raced through everything I could think of in order to weigh the odds in my favor.

I didn’t have very long to think…

“C’mon honey, we gotta get back home now.”


“What is it?”

What kind of compelling, poetic point would I make?
What kind of compelling, poetic point would I make?

“That…” I pointed to the King of the Monsters box sitting on the top shelf. “I want that.”

OK, so much for poetic language and convincing arguments.

My mom gave me “the look.” Uh oh. In the history of “momkind” the look has never been good news. Whether it was a look of frustration, disappointment or disgust, the look has denied kids an untold number of desserts, toys and video games. This task, I could tell, was going to be about as easy as Quantum Physics.

“Honey, that’s fifty five dollars.”

“No, it’s fifty four ninety nine!” I quickly countered. HA! I thought I had her — ahh, the bliss of being nine years old…

“Well actually with tax it’s about sixty,” she corrected.

Well DAMN. Talk about backfiring!

And then, out of nowhere, it hit me. My trump card. I explained to her how it was my favorite game, how I had to have it, and how much joy it would bring Kevin and me. And that if she bought it, it would count for not only my Christmas gift but also my birthday as well.

My mom grabbed the box to examine it closer. “Hey, isn’t this the game you played all night last year at Chuck E. Cheese’s? Is this the same one?”

It was just the right kind of Christmas magic I needed
It was just the right kind of Christmas magic needed

I nodded furiously and watched as my mom bit her lower lip, contemplating what to do. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she took the game to the counter. I stood there in awe watching as they swiped her credit card. It was the first video game she bought for me. Outside I could hear the chattering of youngsters and the HO-HO-HOs of the mall Santa. The Christmas season was ringing in full force, and this bit of Christmas magic only punctuated the moment. I couldn’t wait to get home and play it…


Exactly. What could possibly go wrong? Well...
Exactly. What could possibly go wrong? Well…







Right away we noticed there was no Player 1 and Player 2 vs. CPU 1 and CPU 2 option. In other words, there was no tornado tag team mode — hands down the best thing about the game.

Disappointment city right off the bat
But hey, at least we get all six
But hey, at least we’ll get all six
Love me some Poison Ghost
Really love me some Woo!
And really love me some Woo!
Wait, WHAT THE ****!
Wait, WHAT THE ****!

The HELL?! What gives? Where was the King Kong wannabe, Woo? And what about the Smog Monster AKA Hedorah, where was his twin, Poison Ghost? So not only did Genki scrub the best mode of the game, but they also scrapped two of the six monsters. Man, was I disappointed.


But you know the funny thing? I was a kid and even I knew it was a pretty butchered port, but there was a big part of me that somehow managed to still enjoy it quite a bit. It was weird. So much of the game had been gutted, but it was still King of the Monsters in my living room. And, at the time, that accounted for something.


Never leave home without it
Never leave home without it

In the early part of 1993, my mom took me to places like ROSS. I remember one time I brought the King of the Monsters manual with me. I walked up and down those aisles with my head buried in the booklet. As mediocre as the port was, I kind of became oddly semi-obsessed with it. Well, at least my mom got her sixty dollars’ worth, eh?

I studied the tactics over and over again...
I studied the tactics over and over again…







Special Attack: FLAME CRUSHER

When an ice glacier melted due to the abnormal warm weather in the Russian mountains, it unleashed the horror that is Geon. Unhappy to be roused from his deep slumber, he takes it out on anybody, or anything, that gets in his way. His hobbies include destroying cities and gobbling trains. The first character I selected, I have a soft spot for ol’ Geon. I tend to use him the most — his level 3 FLAME CRUSHER is quite a sight to behold.

No doubt a nod to the real King of Monsters
No doubt a nod to the real King of Monsters
A little horny, the git [... -Ed.]
A little horny, the git [… -Ed.]
Level 1 Flame Crusher
Level 1 Flame Crusher
Level 2 spirals for extra damage
Level 2 spirals for extra damage
Level 3 Flame Crusher, whoa!
Level 3 Flame Crusher, whoa!

Special Attack: ROCKY BOMBER

No one knows for sure where this mountain of rocks comes from. Rumor has it Rocky is a monster evolved from the Sphinx, Egypt’s God of Protection. Others believe he descended from the stars, angry with the way 20th century mankind has mistreated the environment. But one thing is for sure, he’s got a nasty disposition! Don’t let this pile of stone fool you — how Rocky can move so well is a mystery. I like Rocky. He has a cool roar and was the monster I used to beat the arcade game 25 years ago. Guess we been through a lot over the years, eh, Rocko?

Clearly inspired by this guy. Or not
Clearly inspired by this guy. Or not


Delivers one hell of a running clothesline. Any wrestling fan would approve!

Level 1 Rocky Balboa, I mean, Bomber
Level 1 Rocky Balboa, I mean, Bomber
Level 2 rotates for extra velocity and power
Level 2 rotates for extra velocity and power
Level 3 has only four, but still strong
Level 3 has only four, but it’s still just as strong

beetlekotmBEETLE MANIA
Special Attack: BEETLE MISSILE

An ordinary beetle residing in the Amazon, one fateful evening that all changed when the mad creature underwent a horrific and mysterious transformation. Lacking any kind of intelligence, he destroyed even the forest in which he was born! However, his skills are plenty. With a hard body shell and tremendous fighting spirit, Beetle Mania now roams the earth in search for the next great fight. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of civilization as we know it!

I thought it was deja vu...
I thought it was deja vu…

Beetle Mania was clearly based off Godzilla’s 1973 nemesis, Megalon. Like many others in the Godzilla universe, I too am a fan of the “one hit bug wonder.” It’s too bad he wasn’t resurrected for Godzilla: Final Wars like how his battle mate Gigan was, but I digress. I always found Megalon’s suit really cool.

Well, so much for Geon being a dad
Well, so much for Geon being a dad
Level 1 Beetle Missile
Level 1 Beetle Missile
Level 2 -- love that elegant green hue
Level 2 — love that elegant green hue
Level 3 Beetle Missile (that's a lot of antlers!)
Level 3 Beetle Missile (that’s a lot of antlers!)

astrokotmASTRO GUY
Special Attack: FLASH WAVE

Holding the distinct claim of being the only, uh, human, to a certain degree you understand, Astro Guy originally started out as a mad scientist. Naturally, through experimentation he transformed himself into a super musclebound creature to fight the monsters suddenly appearing all over the world. What began as noble intentions to protect cities and rid the world of monsters was soon corrupted by the absolute allure of having no equal. Now what his true intentions are is anyone’s guess…


Obviously inspired by SPECTREMAN! Ah, the tin wonder played a role in my childhood. I remember how bulky the cases were for the Spectreman tapes. It really caught your eye on the video store shelf. My dad bought me the one where he battles both an Alien and the “Monster Hedgehog.”

Ah, childhood memories
I got the bottom left one. Such weird movies they were!

The theme song was the best part

Spectreman… Spectreman…

In a flash, like a flame,
faster than a plane,
a mystery with a name,


Power from space,
he’ll save the human race,
yet, they’ll never know the face of Spectreman!

We will never know the source
of his powers and his force
as he guides this planet’s course…


And don't forget Jet Jaguar!
And Jet Jaguar!
And of course, Ultraman
And of course, Ultraman
Does one mean basement dropkick
Does one mean basement dropkick
Level 1 Flash Wave. Just like Ultraman
Level 1 Flash Wave. Just like Ultraman…
Level 2 sees an upgrade to five
Level 2 sees an upgrade to five
Level 3 has nine! Nice
Level 3 has nine! Nice



You battle each monster twice. In the arcade this meant a grueling 12 rounds. At home it’s a much more manageable 8. And this is the only time I’m happy to see four monsters instead of the full six. Stage 1 is home to Geon, but since we’ve seen it already (see the screenshots above), let us jump straight to stage 2 where we take on Rocky.


The stages are based off real landmarks
The levels are based off real landmarks

As a kid I thought the stages were randomly constructed. Years later I came to realize they’re based on real life landmarks. Nice.




Osaka is gorgeous, isn't it?
Osaka is gorgeous, isn’t it?

Yes, some of these towering skyscrapers can be seen, and destroyed, in the two Osaka stages. With Okayama having no tall buildings really, switching over then to Osaka was a very welcome sight.

Just another homage, really
Just another homage, really


Ooooh, ahhhh
Ooooh, ahhhh
Just like 'em SOCK 'EM robots!
Just like ‘em SOCK ‘EM robots!

“Alright gentlemen. We went over the rules in the back but just to reiterate, I want a good clean fight, alright? That means no zapping below the belt. Remember, I’m fair but firm. Let’s touch gloves!”



Monsters love to play hide and seek too, apparently. Or hide and maul, as it were.

What's better than a piledriver?
What’s better than a piledriver?
Sending 'em through a building in the process!
Sending ‘em through a building!

Nothing was better than hitting a big move on your opponent and watching the poor hapless sap go crashing through one of the big monuments scattered about. Sure, you can demolish the big buildings with three punches yourself, but the real fun comes in the form of sending your rival through one!





Such a chivalrous gentleman, that Astro Guy
Such a chivalrous gentleman, that Astro Guy










Adding insult to injury was always fun.










Wham, bam, thank you m'am
Wham, bam, thank you m’am


The classic GET UP severed hand remains. Continue and experience a jolt of power as your monster gets resurrected.



Tokyo Tower beautifully replicated!
The throw inflicts the least amount of damage
The throw inflicts the least amount of damage
But can easily sending them through a landmark!
But can easily send them through a landmark!


Indeed you are not, Hideki-san
Indeed you are not, Hideki-san









Battleships are fair play
Battleships are fair play
Does little damage but fun to do nonetheless
Does little damage but fun to do nonetheless
Jump and grab a helicopter
Jump and grab a helicopter
You can also chuck the maser tanks
You can also chuck the maser tanks


[Hey, they stole your dating philosophy -Ed.]
[Hey, they stole your dating philosophy -Ed.]
kotmtricks1kotmtricks2Hit them with the strongest move in the game — the german suplex.

“What’s so cheap about this?”

For some ridiculous reason, this move leads to a re-dizzy. You can repeat this tactic 20 times in a row. No joke. Did someone not play test this thing? One might be thinking, “Well it must be pretty hard to dizzy them, right?” Not so. A few consecutive throws with their health bar on low does the trick. They get up in a daze, go behind them and press Y. Boom, german suplex. Then wait for them to get back up in a daze yet again, and repeat. For ultimate damage, while they’re on laying on the ground, unleash your special attack. Sometimes you can nail them twice with your projectile. Yikes.

The german suplex can also be applied in front during a grapple by pressing Y+B. But when your opponent is dizzy, simply pressing Y or B from behind works.

But hold on a second, if you thought THAT was cheap…

Unlike a fighting game, you can't block
Unlike a fighting game, you can’t block


No blocking means you're screwed
No blocking means you’re screwed

kotmtricks6kotmtricks7There’s only one answer to this, besides your opponent mistiming it. The Japanese military finally notches a small victory against giant rubber suited monsters!



Hey thanks, Genki. Appreciate it. I hope you’re not just sucking up…

Genki dude: Of course not… oh, here’s some fruitcake — for you!


Genki dude: Uh the holidays, sir.

Ahhh. Si, si…






jetmegFeel like it’s Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon all over again! Hmmm, come to think of it, seeing Godzilla and his buddies in a King of the Monsters universe would have been pretty cool. Imagine Godzilla and company in this style of game. I’m sure we would have ate it up! Well, at least we got Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen.



kotm-mm3meman3boxRocky’s bite animation always reminded me of the robot bloke on the NES Mega Man 3 cover! You see the resemblance, don’t cha?




Speaking of resemblances...
Speaking of resemblances…
Whoa, striking, isn't it?
Whoa, striking, isn’t it?

Credit this wonderful art here to Nathan Newell and his excellent cool site

That’s Black Hole Sunshine vs. Wood Beetle for the record, but damn do Rocky and Beetle Mania look like them!


Pretty decent looking ad, at least
Pretty decent looking ad, at least

It was all quiet on the western front. The game was released just before GameFan’s time and EGM only ran a quick one page preview. They ended up never reviewing it. Super Play rated it 79% though an actual review never appeared in the magazine. SNES King of the Monsters just never got much publicity. If only it did then maybe I wouldn’t have been so caught off guard with all the cuts!

I remember reading this little blurb over and over
I remember reading this little blurb over and over



Which port is better? I’ve never played the Genesis port but it does look damn impressive. Looks much more identical to its arcade brother than the SNES port does. How it plays though I have no idea. Released about one year after the SNES port, the tag team mode and two monsters are still missing, but everything else looks to be pretty good. Check the graphical differences between the Genesis and SNES ports below.

I'll take this over the eight small fireballs
I’ll take this over the eight small fireballs
Looking nice there, Astro Guy
Looking nice there, Astro Guy
Looks painful! Shame, Genki, shame
Looks painful! Shame, Genki, shame
Sound off below if you've played the Genesis port
Sound off below if you’ve played the Genesis port

GameFan gave the Genesis port some good loving with scores of 89, 87, 83 and 82%. “It blows the doors off the SNES version” and “makes it look like dog meat” were some of the comments recorded. The Genesis port was developed by SPS.


King of the Monsters? Try King of the Mediocre
King of the Monsters? More like King of the Mediocre

The arcade original was released by SNK in Japan on February 25, 1991. By freak accident, exactly 15 years later, I bought the SNES port (for the second time but this time with my own money). Back in ’92 I recall having a strange fascination with the port despite my knowledge of how butchered it was. Replaying the SNES port in 2006, I wondered how much my opinion might change or not. Turns out not much has. It’s a port that was stripped of its best feature and a whopping 33% of its original cast. It should have been so much better, but what remains is kind of still King of the Monsters. It was never a perfect game to begin with. Some key aspects missing definitely accentuate the flaws but what’s left isn’t unplayable by any means. You just have to take it for what it is, or simply leave it. Still, I couldn’t help but enjoy playing it for 15-20 minutes. Perhaps if nothing else but for the nostalgia of that unforgettable Christmas 1992 season. I acknowledge this game is ho-hum at best, but it is admittedly something of a guilty pleasure for me.

Always a gentleman, that Astro Guy
Always a gentleman, that Astro Guy

The graphics are the best part of this game. Though grainy and lacking intricate detail in the monsters themselves, the cities look pretty fantastic, especially the ones at night. Each stage gives you plenty of space to roam within the confines of two electrical barriers. Sound and music is decent, fitting for this game which has a Japanese 1960’s B-Movie feel to it. Sadly, it’s the game play that abandons it. What could have been! First, the grapple system. Is it based on timing? No. Button mashing? Not that either. Nope, it appears that the victor is totally random. And thus, grappling is a wash and never feels wholly satisfying. Secondly, to win a match you must score a 3 count on your rival. But in order to do so, you must pin them multiple times after their health bar has been fully depleted. Let’s say you pound on Rocky for three minutes solid once his energy bar has hit zero before going for the cover. He’ll still kick out at 2 (in John Cena fashion). What gives? It makes no sense to have to pin them several times every single time. It’s rigged to be like this, and it feels incredibly cheap. You should be rewarded for kicking the snot out of them, but you’re not. And then you have the two erroneous gameplay tricks as documented earlier, in addition to the missing tornado tag team mode and monsters.

O, where art thou?
O, where art thou?

Speaking of the monsters, and this by the way was prevalent in the arcade game as well, the monsters are exactly the same! Well, aside from their special move and rushing attack. No differences in strength, speed, agility, or any of that good stuff. The moveset is severely limited — you’re relegated to a throw, german suplex, pile driver and a bear hug or a bite hold in a grapple. How cool would it be if the monsters had their own unique moves, to go along with speed and strength differences? :(

Love the Japanese '60s B-Movie feel
Love the Japanese ’60s B-Movie feel

Yet despite all these glaring flaws, I still kind of like the game in some small ways. Call it nostalgia, call it what you want, but there are some games you just have a connection with (for better or for worse). Though they’re far from being great, or even good, you still play them once in a blue moon because in some strange and small way you enjoy doing so. We all have a few games for which that rings true. Nobody can say exactly why someone would like it, except for that person, and that person alone. Yeah, part of me is still annoyed that Woo and Poison Ghost are nowhere to be found and that the tag mode was scrapped, but like a good longtime friend you accept them for who they are, warts and all.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5
Longevity: 4

Overall: 5.5


Hey you gypped us first!
Hey, you gypped us first, damnit!

Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen (SFC)

The game to blame for my obscure Super Famicom fetish
Of Monsters and Mothra

It’s been nearly 10 years since my “Obscure Super Famicom Impressions” thread hit the internet (September 2006). Every two to three days I posted new mini reviews on lesser known Super Famicom exclusive games. The topic became a bigger hit than I ever dreamed it would, and sparked much retro gaming discourse on the forums. While I wasn’t the first guy to ever cover these import titles, my topic did open the door for a lot of people who had never seen or heard of them before. Many suggested I start a fansite to preserve my reviews. Message board posts tend to get buried over time and thus fade into obscurity. The overwhelming compliments and encouragement I received to start my own fansite became a driving force. That’s how my original site,, came to be. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of my obscure SFC mini reviews, I’m going to begin converting them over here one by one. And I can’t think of a better game to kick it off with than the first game that started it all for me.

Ever been curious about a game for 12 years? This was mine...
Ever been curious about a game for 12 years? This was mine…

I’ll never forget that sunny day back in June 1994 when EGM #60 arrived. During their prime, few things could rival the sheer joy generated from finding a brand new issue sitting in your mailbox. Oh yeah, once upon a time EGM was THAT good.

Imagine this scene: school was out. Summer was in full bloom. You had your trusty best friend and a full two months ahead of you for nothing but long, lazy days of horror movie and video gaming marathons. Super Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II were all the rage. Both were coming out soon and you just knew you were experiencing the very peak of 16-bit gaming. It was a hell of a time to be a ten year old kid!

January 2006. It was the Winter Break before my final college semester. I suddenly longed for some Super Nintendo action. The next several months saw me buying old favorites and gems left and right. Then at some point I remembered that day back in June ’94…

Flipping excitedly through the magazine, there it was on page 76.

The game that eluded me for 12 years! The EGM preview had me drooling like a fool

I love Godzilla. I love fighting games. It was a match made in Heaven.

Only one problem, of course.

Raking in a grand total of a whoppin’ two dollars a week, the game, being an enchanted import, seemed simply unattainable. Nowadays import is just another version of a game, but back then the word import actually held a certain mystique. You drooled at the cool previews and knew if anyone owned those games, in those times, that they were unequivocably HARDCORE.

So how does GODZILLA: KAIJUU DAIKESSEN stack up?

Pretty damn well.

You’re not going to find many combos or a whole lot of finesse, but considering the material it’s only fitting. The game relies on special moves a lot.

X = Weak Attack
Y = Strong Attack
B = Hold (grapple then press varying D-Pad combinations i.e. D, F to toss or bite)
A = Dash


There are two bars to keep an eye on. The Stun Meter and the WRATH spirit.

When hit, your stun and WRATH meter increases. When your stun meter’s full, you’ll be knocked out temporarily. When your WRATH is full, your monster will flash red and remain so until you either get stunned, or apply your Wrath attack.

Wrath attacks are basically “Desperation Moves.” Desperation moves became very common place in fighting games post-1993. Wrath attacks can inflict INCREDIBLE damage, instantly changing the tide of a match.

Some have two Wrath moves

When you’re in Wrath mode, attack damage (regular or special moves) nearly double. This creates a bit of strategy: do you go for your big move right away, or do you hold off and take advantage of the extra power? If you do the latter, you risk the possibility of being stunned and thus losing your Wrath move altogether. It’s prudent, then, to always keep an eye on your stun meter. The worst insult is when the opponent stops you in mid-animation of a Wrath move. Or if they jump away or over it. Management of one’s Wrath usually decides the outcome of a battle.

“Look ma! No strings!”

There are eight selectable monsters in the 1 player mode, and nine in the 2 player versus mode (with two being unlockable). Let’s take a look at them, shall we?


The KING of the monsters
The KING of the monsters

The big guy is a solid all-around choice. His ray works in mid-air as a bonus. Ideal for beginners.
WRATH: Hyper Atomic Ray
Damage: 46% (55% if up close stuns the opponent)
Godzilla’s body surges in a orange rage before unleashing his devastating death blow. Simple, but nevertheless satisfying.


Godzilla's very first rival who later turned into a lovable and loyal ally
Godzilla’s very first rival (1955)

Staying true to source material, the spiked wonder has no projectiles. Beloved by G-Fans for his fighting spirit, it’ll take an experienced player to use him effectively.
WRATH: Thunder Ball
Damage: 45%
Not very strong (by comparison) and to boot it’s easy to see coming. Poor guy.


As a kid Gigan scared the crap out of me
As a kid he scared the crap out of me

His laser eye beam exists! (Inside joke for the G-Fans out there). He’s the most combo-friendly fighter on the roster and the only one with a Dragon Punch (actually a Flash Kick). Gigan possesses a tremendous offensive repertoire.
WRATH: Buzzsaw Blitz
Damage: 53%
Gigan charges up to ½ the screen and unloads a blitzkrieg. Unblockable.


His movie gets hated on a lot but I enjoyed its tag team finale
Suck it, Beetlemania

Like Gigan and Godzilla, Megalon is very user-friendly. His torpedo-like attack can also be done in the air. When you hold down Strong Attack, Megalon’s driller-like hand spins and can score four solid hits.
WRATH: Armageddon
Damage: 64% (88% recorded on Biollante!!!)
Potentially the strongest move in the game, it’s a blessing it’s also real easy to avoid. I was speechless when it caused 88% damage to Biollante. Damn near ripped off her vines on that one!


Ah, the good old original beer belly MechaG
Beer belly MechaG!

Force field, missiles, laser-eye beams, chest beam, flight — all the powers you saw in the 1974 and ’75 movies are here. Many G-Fans to this day prefer this original pot belly version over its ’93 contemporary. Myself included.
WRATH: Violent Party
Damage: 55% + stuns opponent if everything hits.
MechaG unloads his entire arsenal! As seen in the movie :)


Godzilla's "Joker" if you will
Godzilla’s “Joker”

This huge 3-headed menace is a strong choice for beginners thanks to his overpowering brutality. For example, his laser beam can go LOW (right head), MIDDLE (middle head) or HIGH (left head). Input D, DF, F, attack. As he revs up, hold down for low, nothing for middle, and up for high. He’s as tough here as he was in the movies!
WRATH: Gravity Storm
Damage: 60% (68% if full-on)
One of the game’s most damaging Wrath attacks, Ghidorah unleashes Death From Above.


She's a beaut, well, in a monstrous sort of way
What a sprite!

What a hulking mass! She’s the game’s best sprite by a mile, which is saying a lot seeing as how the others are damn good in their own right. Bio cannot jump, just like in the 1989 movie. She’s also not the most agile sucker around. Therefore I find her somewhat difficult to control. Definitely one for the intermediate to advanced player.
WRATH: Acidic Shower
Damage: 55%
Very cool looking, does considerable damage and the two vines travel around ¾ the screen. After the vines spew acid on the victim, Bio unleashes a volley of acidic fireballs. OUCH!


Definitely 100x more fun to control here than she was in the NES game!
Better than she was in the NES game!

I was never a huge Mothra fan. But she’s fun to use. The only monster to constantly fly, she’s also unique due to the fact that she cannot block. [I’d sure hate to see her Twitter account -Ed.]. She is also one of two monsters (the other being Super MechaGodzilla) to have two Wrath moves.
WRATH #1: Cosmic Seal
Damage: 44%
Weak but really easy to implement. It’s a trade-off.
WRATH #2: Dark Echo
Damage: 69%
Mothra traps her victim in a magic powder cloud and from out of nowhere comes BATTRA for the assist!

There are three bosses but the last two you can only fight in EXPERT mode. The first boss is immediately selectable in the 2 Player mode. The other two are unlockable via code. The three bosses are MechaGodzilla II, Super MechaGodzilla and Guoten (seriously, a giant battleship? Give me a monster at least!)


Angilas is red with envy he doesn’t have one

I’m glad the developers didn’t force the issue and created one for Angilas for the hell of it. The game for the most part stays amazingly close to the source material. Just look at those stages. Most of them are yanked right out of the various Godzilla flicks. The few creative liberties taken (i.e. Gigan’s Flash Kick) are well implemented and still make sense within the Godzilla universe. If anything, these liberties breathe new life into these old monsters while their traditional powers keep the fanbase satisfied, like a warm cup of cocoa on a cold winter evening.

You one baaaad Mothra [… -Ed.]
While it doesn’t damage them any more than normal, I always love zapping them in the crotch whenever using Mothra. Yeah, I know. The little joys in gaming, eh?

Just kickin' it
Just kickin’ it

All of the monsters, sans Biollante and Mothra, can attack downward while jumping. Just hold down+attack in mid-air. For example, Megalon drills the air as his default jumping strike, but with down+attack his feet does the talking. Quite useful.


  • Zero slowdown. Kind of amazing when you consider the size of some of these monsters
  • Destroyable scenery abounds and magically regenerates for each round
  • Godzilla, Megalon, Mech, King Ghidorah and Gigan can all do their projectiles in mid-air
  • Godzilla doesn’t have a stage. You fight him on your own home turf, and your regular music is replaced by the ace Godzilla theme, replicated to a tee. Mothra’s remix is likewise excellent!
  • 2 player mode has options of 1-5 handicap, time limit on/off and a stage select
  • In 1 player mode, you select the enemy order (similar to the Fatal Fury series). Unfortunately though, there’s no character switching, so if you pick Mothra you’re stuck using her until you quit the 1 player game. Not a huge flaw, but a head scratcher as being able to pick a new character off a continue is common practice within the genre
  • Japanese language is very little. Game menus are all in English. And there are no victory quotes because, er, these monsters can’t talk. Ahem. *Blocks out the infamous dub scene from GODZILLA VS. GIGAN*
  • The Duo version suffered from having a limited moveset and only two buttons, one of which was used to jump. Thankfully, in the Super Famicom version jumping is done by simply pressing up. The moveset is also much greater and the visuals blow the Duo game out of the water. Just too bad the Duo version got Hedorah and the Super Famicom version didn’t. Love me some Smog Monster!
  • This game, as seen previewed in EGM earlier, was slated for a North American release under the name of Godzilla Monster Super Battle. Sadly, it was canned. It even got as far as Nintendo Power Magazine reviewing the NA port. But look on the bright side, at least SNES players were graced by the likes of Super Godzilla! *whomp whomp whomp* Man, did we get fleeced or what


Gigan’s laser beam does exist!
The controversy continues...
The controversy continues…

I remember renting Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) some odd 20 years later, circa 1992. It was at the local mom and pop rental shop, Video Mart. I loved that little store. It had some Godzilla tapes which I rented quite a bit. I remember seeing this box one day and was immediately captivated. Who is this new Gigan creature? He was such a unique looking monster and I fell in love with the design instantly. The box art showed him firing a laser beam from his forehead, but it never actually appeared in the movie. Nor did it appear in the movie Godzilla vs. Megalon, which came out the year after and featured Gigan’s second and final appearance. That was, at least, until Toho resurrected him 30+ years later to be the main villain for Godzilla’s final Japanese film, Godzilla: Final Wars. That is, at least, until Godzilla Resurgence hits Japanese theatres July 29, 2016. Whew, anyone confused yet? You just can’t keep a good monster down.

Anyway, for a long time before Gigan finally used his laser beam in Godzilla: Final Wars, G-Fans had plenty of discussion regarding whether he had said weapon or not in his bag of tricks. There’s actually a scene in the 1972 film where it looks like Gigan is about to MAYBE use it, but it flashed and sort of fizzled out. Hmmm, maybe monsters suffer from performance anxiety issues too. Uh, not that I’d know anything about that. Ahem. At any rate, some fans like to believe he had the power all along but it broke. Ah, fandom. Gotta love it. It was nice to see Gigan firing off his laser beam in Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen. The game beat the Final Wars movie by a good 10 years. Fans in 2004 rejoiced that Gigan finally got to use his laser eye beam, but Super Famicom players know better ;-)

Now see, where else could you learn such useless information as this but on RVGFanatic? In fact, why even go to college. I got you covered! [Don’t listen to this crazy man. Kids, for the love of Godzilla, stay in school -Ed.]


So many crap Godzilla games over the years. This is a fresh breath of radioactive destruction!
Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen is a fresh breath of radioactive destruction!

We’ve received so many crap Godzilla games over the years. Especially if you consider anything pre-1994. Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen is a more than a serviceable effort. It’s more than a mere wink and nostalgic nod. If you consider yourself a diehard G-Fan, and you enjoy fighting games, then you’ll probably love this. Playing it 12 years later in 2006 was a bit of a bittersweet experience for me. Sweet in the sense that the game lived up to the hype my 11-year-old imagination forged 12 years prior on that scorching summer day of 1994. But bitter because I didn’t get to play this as an 11-year-old kid. I know my old best friend Nelson and I would have loved this, and we probably would never have left our living rooms.

The 12 year wait was worth it :)

That’s not to say the game is perfect. If you like fighting games but don’t particularly care for the Big Guy, I wouldn’t go out of my way to play this. This game won’t convert any non-fan. On its own, it sports a decent if somewhat unimpressive fighting engine. It’s super basic and lacks combos (which makes sense when you think about it since these are behemoths and not karate masters of the universe). BUT with the characters, their trademark moves and roars, suddenly it all falls into place. The graphics are great and the sound is awesome. The replicated themes would send a shiver down the spine of any G-Fan. The kaiju sprites are simply amazing. This is truly the Godzilla game G-Fans deserve on the Super Nintendo (yeah, we won’t talk about Super Godzilla). The sights and sounds will take you back to the good old days when the Big Guy stomped all over your TV screen. I know for me playing this game brought back a ton of memories from all the various old Godzilla films I’d seen over the years. Let us also not forget how easy it’d be to half-ass a game like this, so major kudos to Alfa System for not doing so. They could have easily coasted on the coattails of a strong licensing brand, but you can tell Alfa did their homework (AND extra credit assignment) right as soon as you pop the game in. The visuals, sounds and the representation of the monsters are sure to give G-Fans a major nostalgic rush. Taking us right back to the dusty sci-fi section of our local mom and pop shop on Saturday mornings and way back to the Godzilla Power Hour. For that, I salute thee, Alfa System. A job well done!

Look at those sprites!

My only wish? More monsters joining the fray! Particularly Baragon, Jet Jaguar, Titanosaurus, King Seesar, Hedorah the Smog Monster, oh heck, even Minya! A speed setting would have been nice, too. But nonetheless, I am more than satisfied. It’s a tremendous fan service and really captures the essence of the Godzilla universe. Best of all, it gives us one Godzilla game worth playing on the Super Nintendo. It’s only fitting that the “King of Monsters” would have at least one quality game representing him on the “King of Systems.”

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 9

Overall: 9.0

Gold Award
Gold Award