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Leonardo Ross
Leonardo Ross

Monster Rancher All Episodes

Borrowing shamelessly from both Pokémon and Digimon, this four-part series follows a young video gamer who finds himself in an alternate world where humans and "good monsters" are allied in a fight against "bad monsters." After first gaining success as a video game, the Japanese-animated TV series Monster Rancher premiered in both Japan and the U.S. in 1999. Appealing mainly to adolescents, the stories are wildly varied in tone, but distinguished by slick, colorful animation and several exciting action scenes. Still those who might be interested in this series would probably be better sticking with the Pokémon series.

Monster Rancher All Episodes

The animation is fairly attractive, although it lacks the directness and purity of Pokémon: I Choose You Pikachu and the overall polished design of Digimon. Each episode is interrupted by a brief rap interlude, in which the singer urges viewers to "unlock your disk," a reference to the means by which monsters trapped in disks are freed. The voice-acting by the English dubbing cast ranges from grating to merely adequate.

These monsters might not fit inside a pocket-sized ball (like Pokemon), nor can they evolve with the help of a digital device (like Digimon), but they once held their own during the 1990s heyday of monster-raising games. This is the Monster Rancher series, developed by Koei Tecmo, and also known as Monster Farm in Japan.

The bulk of Monster Rancher gameplay is spent between raising and battling. But the most interesting part of the game was how you obtain your monsters: by generating them from your own real-life collection of CDs and DVDs.

Monster Rancher 4 introduced the ability to raise multiple monsters at a time, allowing room for friendships between monsters, tag teams, and group battles. A spin-off game, Monster Rancher Battle Card was an interesting TGC take, and a short two-season anime adaptation rounds off most of the media within the franchise.

With a mostly solid track record of producing good games, one wonders why Monster Rancher never took off the way other monster-battling games did. Perhaps the less cute and more realistic designs made the monsters less marketable, especially to an overseas audience that would much rather spend time with Pikachu than with the brown-bodied, tusk-rearing Worm. It could also be that the hybrid gameplay of raising and fighting was too involved and complicated for the late 1990s audience.

While fans of Pokémon might recognise the general structure of these games, there is a distinctly different focus to Monster Rancher. Here, the game centres around training a single virtual monster to compete in battles before breeding them with other virtual monsters to create new and strange creatures, repeating the cycle until players reach the upper echelons of the monster training world.

The thing about the tutorial in both these games is that it is incredibly brief. You are dropped into the world with the expectation that you will make mistakes and missteps on your route to climbing the ranks of the monster fighting leagues. This can lead to some frustration, particularly since the battle mechanics seem to rely fairly heavily on luck and focusing on the distance between the two monsters before selecting a move. It takes some getting used to and never really feels as reliable as it should be.

All good monsters must have an end, however. With a lifespan of around three years, monsters will fade away and die eventually. Before they go, trainers should ideally breed them with another monster, creating a new type that possesses some of the traits of both its parents. There is an amount of randomness to how breeding goes, so it is probably wise to save ahead of time. There are some strange combinations out there, too, and some of the monsters are truly wild-looking.

From the basic giant wolf variety to a full-on dragon to Suezo, a limbless Mike Wazowski-alike, there are plenty of different types of monsters to breed and raise. Figuring out the best combination to tackle certain opponents is the key to progressing through the tournaments that the story is based around, although the story is just a flimsy excuse to get players to enter the tournaments and breed yet more monsters.

Monster Rancher 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. As a monster raising simulator, it really is totally unique from almost everything else I've played to date. And the disc gimmick was one of the coolest hardware tricks I've ever seen.

Lame and lazy remastered, they could had just remake both games and had us jam cartridge onto our Switch to unlock new monsters. Not sure why they didn't go that route, the Switch had over 1000 cartridge games now, that's enough for basically unlocking all the monsters. Imagine what great monster would come out of a Celeste, Ori, Pokemon, or Ninja Gaiden cart. Such miss opportunity indeed.

The original games back in the day didn't mandate that you HAD to use PS1/PS2 games...The fact that it gave new life to any old CDs you might've had around the house is what made it special. If you could only use Switch carts (which cost on average $50-$60), people would run out of monsters real quick.

Loved this game and the generating monsters from CDs, I used to spend days going through all the CDs I could find. Only one ever gave me a unique monster and that was Fatboy Slims - You've come a long way, Baby album. It was the Sumopion! A scorpion mixed with a sumo wrestler!!

I'm however very surprised that neither the review nor the official game's pages mentioned that the 'music database' to summon monsters actually contains many games too.I didn't test it much for now, but there are games from the ps1 era all the way to some of the most recent switch ones (ack, I think I even saw Bayonetta 3 there XD). 041b061a72


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