Video Review: King of the Monsters (Neo Geo)

Go ahead and atomic drop that giant lizard through a football stadium. Godzilla movies meet professional wrestling in King of the Monsters, a 1991 arcade brawler from SNK.

Video transcript:

So as you probably know by now, I am a huge professional wrestling fan, and therefore I love professional wrestling video games. But I always thought that, what if these games had giant monsters instead of wrestlers, and instead of a ring, it was a Japanese city, and instead of steel chairs and tables, there were airplanes and skyscrapers for weapons? Well guess what? That game’s real, and it’s King of the Monsters for the Neo Geo.

Yes, it’s the Neo Geo Max 330 Mega Pro-Gear Spec. I’m not entirely sure what any of that means, but I do know that it’s 1996, a time when giant monsters suplexed each other for control of Japan. It is King of the Monsters on Neo Geo, and it’s amazing.

You can either play against the computer by yourself, go one-on-one against a friend, or team up with a friend to take on the computer. You choose from any of these six creatures here and fight through the streets, through Japan, destroying anything and everything in your way, whether it be a giant stadium, a bridge, it looks like here are some sort of industrial facilities — they are all your canvasses on which you paint your scene of insanity.

I actually always really enjoyed these games where you get to play a giant creature and destroy an entire city. And add to that, with this, the backbreakers and atomic drops and German suplexes, it just adds up to something that’s extremely satisfying and extremely fun.

Now I never actually did learn most of the controls for this game. It pretty much was just button-mashing the entire time. But that’s okay, I think, for some games, especially an arcade-style fighting game like this. I think this does what a lot of fighting games back then didn’t do well, and made it so it was fun, even if you didn’t know exactly how to control it. And I bet to fighting game fans that sounds extremely stupid, but I’m really bad at fighting games, especially ones where you have to memorize insanely long combos to be any good at. It just doesn’t interest me. Way too much time to sit and learn one character, much less an entire game.

But King of the Monsters eliminates all that and lets you go in and give somebody atomic drop through a stadium, you know, within five minutes of playing, and I think that’s commendable.

I am playing King of the Monsters on Neo Geo X, which, of course, is the re-release of sorts that was put out two years ago. And King of the Monsters works really well as part of a compilation. Like I said, it’s very much a button-masher, not a whole lot of depth to it. I enjoy that about it, but, I don’t know, maybe back in the early 90s this wasn’t worth the, you know, hundred-plus dollars brand-new Neo Geo games were going for. This is very much a game that’s better enjoyed putting a quarter in at the arcade rather than paying a lot of money for a new copy of on the original Neo Geo. But given that this is part of the bundle that comes with the Neo Geo X, I think it is a tremendous addition to that collection at least. Especially for somebody like me who doesn’t care for traditional fighting games, given a large portion of the Neo Geo library is comprised of traditional fighting games. So this is a nice change of pace, something a little different, and the fact that you can do co-op with a friend, I think is just a really cool addition to the game, and it’s something you didn’t see a lot with the Neo Geo.

The single-player portion of the game comes down to fighting through six Japanese cities against the other five monsters and the last monster being a palette swap of yourself. You collect these floating red orbs along the way, and I think these have something to do with powering up your character — after a while, your character will flash and then turn a different color. I’m not entirely sure that this made the character any stronger or anything. Bu who cares? You could throw airplanes. So whatever.

If you haven’t played this game yet and have a Neo Geo X, I highly recommend you dig it out and do just that. This game is also available on a few different collections, one for the PlayStation 2 and one for the Wii. Otherwise you’re going to have to track down one of the original copies for the Neo Geo or find it in an arcade, which — both of which are kind of unlikely. And that’s kind of a shame. I feel like this game should have been a bigger hit than it was. It’s just so silly and ridiculous and stupid, but fun and accessible. And there aren’t enough games like this anymore, and I know I go on this rant a lot, but there just needs to be more games that are just stupid and fun, like King of the Monsters.

Suplex a guy through a bridge. Go ahead. That’s what’s beautiful about this game, and that’s why I love it.

It’s King of the Monsters, and it’s for the SNK Neo Geo.

Eat, sleep, stay classic, repeat.

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