Taking its cue from the highly successful Game Boy game Pocket Monsters (available in japan for the last two years) and its cheaper cousin the Tamagotchi pet, Tecmo's Monster Rancher prepares to bring a similar style of breeder game to America.
In Monster Rancher, you raise the monster of your choice (most of them resemble dinosaurs) over a long period of time, building them through work, training and general care in several categories: power, skill, intelligence, speed, etc. In addition, loyalty, will and popularity come in handy later on in the tournament portion of the game. Giving it even more depth are tons of items you can buy or sell and use in disciplining or rewarding your monster. Keeping tabs on the money is another key element of the game as well.
Monster Rancher combines 2-D RPG-type menus and story windows with 3-D polygonal battle sequences and monster animations, thus creating a cool mixture of game genres. No doubt, saving your best monsters for battle with a friend's will be one of the key selling points of Monster Rancher.
- MANUFACTURER - TECMO
- THEME - Simulation
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
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This game was a surprise to me, in that I had quite a bit of fun experimenting with it. I figured it for yet another virtual pet wanna-be, but after creating a few monsters and testing them out, I had a blast. Not only did every CD I tried produce a unique monster, each one had different strengths and weaknesses, thus a completely different challenge each time. Add to that the ability to breed two monsters into a totally new monster, and you've got a recipe for virtual monster-making fun unparalleled anywhere else on the market. The battle sequences are fairly straightforward, where the more skills and training your monster has the easier the fight. Your battle options don't require much strategy, but you'll definitely have to maintain complete control of your monster because the auto-fight Al stinks. The options for training are excellent, with many stats to raise, and several tasks along the way to keep it interesting. Watch out, however, for this is a time-waster! You'll easily lose a few hours once you get going, and it'll take a few days to advance your first monster into high levels, let alone any others you try to create for breeding. Probably my worst experience was the lame RPG expedition sequences. These are obviously thrown in haphazardly, and really didn't need be in here. Monster Rancher is solid enough without 'em.
Tecmo's Monster Rancher is a title that can devour hours almost imperceptibly. A mix of a Tamagotchi and a Barcode Battler game, It's probably an easy tie with Sony's PaRappa the Rapper for most original game of the year. Ruin excavation and a rough story line help break up gameplay that's about 45 percent raising monsters and 45 percent setting them off to fight. It's fun and super addictive, but you'll wonder where the time has gone.
Tecmo's Monster Rancher is one of the more unique titles to come along in some time. Being able to create your own monster from a CD is a totally cool concept that should be used more often. Once you get used to the specifics of breeding and raising your monster (which can be a little confusing at first), things get a lot simpler, and before you know it, you'll be hooked. If you're a fan of sims or RPGs (or better--both), check out MR.
What a cool idea! I'm not into the "virtual life" thing, but if it's going to be done, this is the right way to do it. The whole idea behind the game is hilarious, too. A world that revolves around people who raise monsters and then battle them? You gotta' love that. The graphics and sound fit well, but it's the virtually limitless possibilities of monsters that wins me over. And as hideous as some of the beasts are, you can't help but love 'em!
Monster Rancher's sort of a Tamagotchi dog fight where you raise a virtual pet, then earn cash by pitting it against monsters in a fighting arena. It may sound like a case for the virtual S.RC.A., but its gameplay is harmless, slow moving, and just plain weird.
In Rancher, there's much to think about but little to do. Training your cool-looking monsters through 10 off-beat activities, such as performing in a circus, grows on you after a while. But the simple menu-driven game-play, which offers just a few button presses, definitely won't jack your adrenaline. The tournament fighting is similarly slow-paced, featuring only sparse animation.
Monster Rancher gets some props for standing out from the PlayStation herd, but it won't cause a stampede.
- Jobs earn cash and build up attributes, but invest in some formal framing as soon as you can afford It.
- Before a fight, check your opponent's data for clues on how to beat him. That can also show you how you need to train later.