Monster Rancher Battle Card: Episode II
|Editor Rating:||6.5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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The Monster Rancher series has always been an excellent alternative to Pokemon. While this has less to do with collecting than it does raising and breeding, the anime-styled similarities are too significant to ignore. Monster Rancher Battle Card Episode II (Episode One is the Game Boy Color game), adopts the Magic the Gathering-styled card collecting craze and welds it on Suezo and company. As always with the Monster Rancher series, your CD collection comes into play, as the game reads your CDs to generate monsters. You pick from five different cards at a time, with any unused cards adding to your GUTS level. GUTS points are basically attack points culled together, and various attacks or defensive moves cost varying amounts. While the translation is stiff and spoken in a deadpan, literal tone, the game is surprisingly deep, offering some rich strategy and plenty of replay value. It can get tough sometimes, though, and you had better learn the rules well if you plan on beating the latter parts of the game. On the downside, unlike Monster Rancher 1 and 2, Battle Card ditches the endearing 3D character models for faster-loading 2D bitmaps, which look fine but offer little in the way of animation and special effects. Anyone looking for eye-candy will be sorely disappointed. Still, what do you expect from this genre? If card-battle games are your thing, Monster Rancher bce will satisfy.
I didn't like the Pokemon card battle game, but games like this and SNK's Card Fighters' Clash have made me reconsider my hatred of card games. Deck management is more intuitive and it's a lot easier for the beginner to get into than Pokemon. The battle system here is cleaner and more logical as well. Too bad it suffers from the same dry, boring English translation that most TECTO games do with frequently misspelled words, awkward sentences and card descriptions that often don't make any sense. The two-player mode is disappointing, an area where it could've excelled. A solid one-player trading card game, but nothing special.
The problem I have with most card battle games is the amount of stupid rules that do nothing but bog things down in micromanagement. Thankfully, Monster Rancher isn't like that. In fact, it's almost simple to a fault. I had a handle on the battle system within the first five minutes and never looked back. However, one of the catches that really bugs me is this: Since you can only use one team of three monsters at any given time, why can't you have the same monster set for multiple teams? It's not like they conflict. Anyway, Battle Card is a simple game with mostly decent mechanics, but feels like it belongs on the GBC, not the PlayStation.