I said this on the King of the Monsters page, but it bears repeating, due to misinformation spread by Wikipedia: ADK had nothing to do with the development of King of the Monsters. Neither did Takara, as they only developed/published the home ports. Again, look at ADK's rap sheet on MobyGames, and their page at the Game Developer Research Institute. As if I really need to remind you, the primary objective of Gaming Hell is to give the truth about video games. Except when we're obviously, blatantly lying. Like that time I said I actually played Perfect Cherry Blossom, ha ha ha what do you take me for?

If King of the Monsters is the brandy-fuelled party of the nineties, then the sequel is the crippling hangover the next day.

I'm not even kidding either, 'cause SNK didn't fuck around when it came to capitalising on the success of the first game. They released the damn thing not even a full year after the original (11 months and 18 days, to be precise) which wouldn't have been surprising in the least if it'd just been the same thing, but more so. What happened, however, is that SNK produced something that plays very differently from its predecessor, and in turn, created one of the most insanely unfair games in video game history.

According to the intro, it's 3 years later and, during the events of the last game, Poison Ghost, Rocky and Beetle Mania were unceremoniously killed, with Geon, Astro Guy and Woo being the only survivors. No doubt the three of them were ready to rule the world under their collective iron grip, but! It's the year 1999, and you know what that means- aliens are crawling out of the intergalactic woodwork, and a particularly evil alien called Famardy (that's King Famardy to you if you're playing the Japanese version) has decided he wants a slice of the pie we call Earth. Our anti-heroes won't stand for it though- they got to this planet first. So, the monsters decide it's time to law down the law, power themselves up, and with their new appearances, our renamed heroes- Super Geon, Atomic Guy and Cyber Woo- get ready to defend the earth from the most disgusting monsters in the solar system.

Not that they're good guys, or anything.

So, what's new in the world of King of the Monsters? Quite a lot, actually. The three-button Punch, Kick and Run setup from the last game has been replaced by the similar three-button Punch, Kick and Jump layout, which irons out the only real complaint about the controls in the original, at the cost of being able to run at all. The other major changes include a bevy of items for your perusal (they're detailed below), a new power system (just picking up one Power Up icon upgrades your monster, giving them one new special attack and an extra bar on their health bar) and, when at maximum power, a total of three charge-up specials. Finally, you can uproot some of the taller buildings and throw them at your enemy. Amusingly, this also includes a few famous structures, so if you want, you can throw the Eiffel Tower at your enemy, just for the sake of comedy.

The structure of the game has also seen a big change. For one, before each fight you have to make your way through a short side-scrolling stage, where you'll be attacked by both human artillery and alien creatures alike that often drop items for you. Also, the wrestling elements have been downplayed considerably- there's no electrified rings anymore, and you don't have to pin your opponent to wipe them off the face of the Earth; you simply have to wear their health bar down. When you realise that the enemy health bars are much, much larger than yours, of course, you realise that this isn't such a good thing, and it causes other problems, but we'll deal with them as we get to 'em in-game. Aside from these changes, though, it's the same basic concept- monsters tearing shit up, but now on a global scale. Should be great, right? Right?!

As I said, one of the new elements is the addition of items. These appear when you trash buildings or hit flashing enemies, and not all of them are good...

Pick one of these up and your monster changes colour, you get one extra attack and one notch added to your life bar. Pick up another and you'll be fully upgraded.

Life Up
They come in three flavours- small, medium and large- and give you a bit of health back, depending on the size.

These just give you points, and they're the most common items you'll find.

Hey, it's SNK's ridiculously obscure mascot, G-Mantle! I've only seen him on Stage 4- jump on the Nazca lines when the boss battle starts- but is he hidden elsewhere?

An evil, evil, evil item. If you touch this, you'll lose all your Power-Ups, robbing you of your extra Special attacks and parts of your life bar.

Hmm, I wonder what this does. You know, for once, I'm genuinely stumped... Oh, all right, it does damage if you touch it. Do I have to tell you everything?

This item could be anything. You won't know what until you touch it. It's best to just brush it lightly in case it's a bad item.

Finally, let's have a look at our 'heroes' and my, how they've changed since we last saw them!

Super Geon

Ripoff of Godzilla

A Button Special: Earthquake
Super Geon jumps off-screen into the air, then lands on the ground, knocking down the enemy.
B Button Special: Flame Breath
Super Geon spits fire from his mouth which travels across the ground, making its way across the screen.
C Button Special: Iron Horn
Super Geon rips a horn off his head which becomes a weapon you can either smack enemies with (press Punch) or throw (press Kick). Getting hit or jumping destroys it.

The Godzilla rip-off is back, sporting a new dragon-like look (which, apparently, was the result of feasting on the meat of his enemies), and he's a real mixed bag. Not only is he the slowest of the available characters, but so are his attacks- while his Kick is almost useful given that it's got the best range of any standard attack, you can also make a cup of tea and a few rounds of toast before even gets close to hitting your opponent. However! Super Geon has the absurdly broken Earthquake Special- 9 times out of 10, the enemy won't actually dodge it. The only boss who's good at dodging it is Clawhead, and Aqua Slug and Lavicus are invulnerable against it. Even so, if you really, really want to beat this game that badly, you could just keep doing this over and over. Unfortunately, when he's not Earthquaking the enemy, Geon has almost nothing going for him. So, paradoxically, Super Geon is technically the best character, but he's so fucking boring to play as. Just don't do it.

Atomic Guy

Ripoff of Ultraman

A Button Special: Atomic Thunder
Atomic Guy poses and the enemy is instantly struck by lightning, no matter where they are on screen.
B Button Special: Ego Attack
Atomic Guy fires out a gigantic face projectile in his own image.
C Button Special: Mohawk Chop
Atomic Guy rips off his mohawk and throws it at the enemy. If it hits, it'll stun then for a while.

After taking a year out eating radioactive waste to bulk up (and, it seems, grow a mohawk), Atomic Guy is here to take names and hand out punishments. He does so with authority because, unlike Super Geon, he's actually fun to play as. His attacks are quick and don't take several centuries to come out, two of his Special attacks are projectiles and they're extremely useful when you can use them (the other is a hit-you-anywhere-on-screen attack that simply won't work on the CPU more than once, maybe twice per battle... Unless you exploit it the right way, as you will see) and above all, he's fast. Considering that all the enemy aliens are going to be faster than you anyway, being nimble on your feet is just as important as strength, and so this is a Good Thing. Additionally, Atomic Guy's kick is lightning-fast and perfect for hitting enemies while they're down. Finally, he has a most righteous name.

Cyber Woo

Ripoff of King Kong

A Button Special: Split Attack
Cyber Woo's body detaches from his legs and starts floating as his legs jump around. You can use a spin attack by pressing Punch before the two parts meet up and become whole again.
B Button Special: Blitz Cannon
Cyber Woo transforms into a cannon and fires a ball of energy.
C Button Special: Hand Missile
Cyber Woo launches his hands out. If they connect, they'll grab the enemy and explode.

Woo was nearly killed at the end of the last game, so the Japanese government took his brain and implanted it into a new cybernetic body. When he found out he'd been exploited, the new Cyber Woo destroyed the lab that created him and decided to take on the evil aliens. He's no Atomic Guy, but he's not as mind-numbingly boring as Super Geon. Cyber Woo's main advantage- and what makes him different- is that rather strange Split Attack. It sounds rubbish- you only have one attack while you're doing it, your legs will pick up items for you (including Power-Downs!) and you can still be hurt. However, you can't be knocked down, and you can't be grappled. This is a Good Thing, you just need to make sure you're nowhere near the enemy when you reform, and that you only split up when you've got the opportunity. Also, his attacks have better range than Atomic Guy. Unfortunately, Cyber Woo is the weakest of the three characters, which really hurts his usefulness. If you can learn to get into the pattern of splitting up effectively, though, Cyber Woo might be a good bet.

Now that I've bamboozled you with more information on King of the Monsters 2 - The Next Thing than any human really needs to know, it's time to start playing. Unlike the last time we played a beat-em-up here, I'll be playing as all three characters rather than sticking to one, but just for the record, the easiest run was with Atomic Guy. For obvious reasons. Anyway, if you thought playing through Perfect Cherry Blossom was a masochistic, self-hating thing for me to do, you ain't seen shit yet. I'm not going to lie- there was a Rocky-esque training montage for this game. I had to really, really work on this motherfucker. Specifically, I took the Home Version challenge- Normal difficulty, 4 credits, no save states, see how far I could get. This was to attempt to develop a strategy for the game which, as you'll soon find out, was somewhat pointless...

... I'm stalling, as always. It's time to kick some alien butt- let's play King of the Monsters 2 - The Next Thing!

Are YOU a foolish enough dude to oppose Famardy?