I have always had a fleeting infatuation with Godzilla, the icon, but there are so many collectibles out there, I have stayed away. Then something landed on my radar. It was just intrinsically too bad ass to ignore. What if there were a playset that truly captured the spirit of Godzilla? What if there were a toy that really latched onto a child (or man-child)'s inferiority complex, and need for primal destruction? What if that toy were from the land of the rising sun, and seemed weird and wrong, yet felt so perfectly right all at the same time? I'm talking of course of the elusive Godzilla Crumple Zone Playset.
Made by Bandai, I first spotted this set in my local comic book store. It beckoned to me, but it was $40. So I hesitated. I figured I'd buy it the next time I saw it. That was two years ago and I never saw it online for cheaper (much less factoring in the shipping on something so large), and it remained near the top of my un-attained grail list, for now.
What is it about this playset that has my eyes glazing over like a sorority sister at a Krispy Kreme? Basically you get a miniature city, with miniature buildings that a miniature Godzilla can knock down. Some of the buildings (and bridges!) are segmented to fall apart in a heap of glorious wreckage. Others just knock over real easy, like a Check'N Go. You also get a bus, a firetruck and a fighter jet! Wait, there's more! You also get a Mothra (one in larva stage, one as an adult!!), Baragon, and King Ghidora, so you can have the battle royale of the century!
It's a bit overwhelming when you're checking out the box, trying to wrap your head around how much stuff is actually in there, and then as you're setting it up it feels like it never ends. The only downside to the set was that once you do have it in your grubby little hands, all you can think of is how much further they could have gone. I do like the fact that the tower falls over when you press one lever, and a section of road "launches" (or attempts to launch) one of the vehicles when you press another. I found this set for $30 on Toyzz.com. (with free shipping when I bought it). I know the money is mainly going to the import factor on this set. Seriously, this did not hit major retail stateside and was pretty difficult to track down. I just thought for $30, there'd be a little bit better playmat, maybe a few more vehicles, maybe a little bit more articulation, etc.
Overall, I love setting up a city, covering it with monsters, and then knocking it all to shit. It's great. I do like this set, but I think Bandai clearly wanted it more aimed for kids than collectors. If you're a Godzilla fan, this lends itself to some pretty sweet displays. If you can find it for $30 or so, it's probably worth it to you.
Not to leave you with a psychologically scaring image, that will invariably haunt your nightmares for the next 17 years, but I thought this would help you see the scale of the 3" Godzilla. Nighty night.
Check out the Microman Godzilla figures, with city buildings you can print and assemble and put in your display.