-- THEY STOLE ITS EGGS... NOW HUMANITY MUST PREPARE FOR THE INEVITABLE... 「GIANT MONSTER COUNTER ATTACK !」 --
DAIKAIJU NO GYAKUSHU - which can be translated as 「GIANT MONSTER COUNTER ATTACK」 or 「GIANT MONSTER STRIKES BACK」, whichever you think sounds more awesome - is an top-down perspective side-scrolling shooting game. It was developed by TAITO and was unleashed on the game centers in 1986.
The game was sold both as a stand-alone arcade board or as a conversion kit for 「LAND SEA AIR SQUAD」.
Thanks to an old magazine article from 1986 I was able to discover that DAIKAIJU NO GYAKUSHU performed good commercially. The article also reports how a lot of arcade operators complained about the game's incredibly high difficulty level, and how they were forced to lower it down in order to avoid losing costumers.
Certainly the main selling point of the game back at the time was its unconventional premise. Instead of placing the player in the typical role of the fighter space ship or army commando trying to save the world. You get to play as this bad ass daikaiju looking to get revenge on humanity.
It don't think it needs saying that playing as a giant monster that can shoot laser beams from its eyes and spit fire from its mouth it's fairly awesome, more so if you're a fan of Japanese daikaiju films.
TAITO did an excellent job in giving the playable daikaiju character the approrpriate weight and controls, so you never feel that you're only playing as a fighter ship in a daikaiju skin.
Another cool detail is how your score is measured in the billions of yens worth of damage that you've done to human civilization.
That said the slow movement and reaction of the daikaiju does make you an easy target for the enemy, which this time around is none other than the Earth Defence Forces.
Personally I wouldn't have minded this if they had given the daikaiju a reasonably decent damage resistance. After all if you've seen any daikaiju films before you'd know that's how it's supposed to be like as daikaijus always get pummeled left and right by the EDF.
Of course in the movies conventional weapons most of the times are useless against them. Something that's totally not the case here as you take huge amount of damage from every single enemy attack.
Thus you can forget all about overthrowing humanity, since far from playing the role of a terrorizing force of destruction, your daikaiju feels more like a haunted beast with no hope of survival.
■DAIKAIJU TO EDF : GRRRRR !
In spite of its awesomely novel premise, DAIKAIJU NO GYAKUSHU suffers from some relevant design flaws that keep it from being in the same league of the best TAITO shooting games from the 80's.
The first problem with the game is its frustratingly hard difficulty level. Something that was very talked about back when it was first released as it posed a big problem for arcade operators.
On the default「NORMAL」difficulty setting the game feels almost like it's set on a「Survival Mode」where you can try and see for how many seconds you can remain alive before the EDF makes short work of you.
While your fire breath attack is capable of destroying any incoming enemy bullets. The realistically sluggish movement and fire rate of the daikaiju makes it pretty much impossible to avoid getting hit. It also doesn't help that the daikaiju can only withstand a ridiculously low amount of damage, so you practically will be dead before you know what hits you.
Lowering the difficulty down to EASY is really the only way to get some enjoyment out of the game. And even then the experience will still remain unfairly challenging for the most part.
And yet surprisingly enough the atrocious difficulty level is not really the game's biggest problem. Rather it is the dull and uninspired stage and enemy design that comes as the game's biggest drawback.
There's only 5 stages in the game and they all don't look very different from each other. Same story with the bosses which are also essentially the same battleship with only a different number stamped into it.
Furthermore once you clear the fifth and final stage the game just loops back from the beginning without giving you so much of an ending or even a simple message telling you that you've just cleared the game.
Of course considering the impossibly hard difficulty and the lack of a continue option, I'd be quite surprised if someone back then actually managed to get that far into the game in order to become disappointed by this.
It's really disappointing that TAITO wasn't able to come up with a more compelling shooting game to back up such an awesomely cool premise that obviously had a lot of potential. I mean, what could possibly be more fun than trying to wipe out humanity using a GODZILLA-class bad ass daikaiju?
And yet it would seem like the programmers ran out of ideas as soon as they decided on the daikaiju concept.
But while the daikaiju twist might have been reason enough to sell the game back in the mid 80's. I think nowadays most shooting and daikaiju fans will be hard pressed to find a good enough reason for wanting to play the game more than once.