Review by Zoinks
"Definite improvements over the last installment, this game isn't without it's weaknesses though . . ."
These types of games deserve their own genre for I believe they are nothing close to the RPGs they are associated with. So there are a few categories I can't knock off on, and it is story. But on with the review . . .
Synopsis : This game involves acquiring monsters, than training them to the best of your ability to eventually become a master trainer. There are 400+ monsters to work with, but only 38 distinct ones. The remaining 350+ are variations of existing monsters.
Story - 1 : Umm, let me think . . . You want to become the world's best trainer. That is about it, not much of a story if you ask me. But thats not really what this game is about now is it.
Graphics - 9 : If you compare this game's graphics to it's predecessor, you will be amazed. All the monsters from the previous game have been polished and portraits depicting the monsters range from the artistic, to the horrifying, to the humorous, to the cute, etc. Battle graphics are also improved considerably from the last installment.
Sound & Music - 8 : The music in primarily composed of classical music which fits the peppy theme of this game. The sounds range from the cool to the annoying.
Control - 10 : Easy to pick up, but not really a big deal for these types of games.
Gameplay - 9 : This is where the game shines. For one thing, it is not easy to build omnipotent monsters for one reason - lifespans. Your monster does not live forever, so you must employ your abilities as efficiently as possible during its life. Simulating real life phases, your monsters improve the most during the peak of its life and improve the least during its infancy and during the end of its days.
The battle engine is well balanced as well. Using a Guts based system, where moves require guts to act, you must select the right move at the right time.
The monsters for the most part have their own strengths and weaknesses. There are a few monsters which are vastly more powerful than the others, but I won't tell you since its easy enough to figure out which ones they are.
Difficulty - 10 : When I first played this game, I found it rather difficult to rise through the ranks as the monsters you face vastly change in difficulty as your monster's rank changes. One rank might seem easy whereas the next may seem incredibly challenging. To top it off, your monster has a limited lifespan, so sometimes it requires a bit more preparation to plan your monster's progress throughout the league.
Replayability - 5 : I found that once you beat it once or twice, the game really begins to lose its appeal that it used to have. Not saying it gets old fast, but like all things, you will get tired of it.
Buy or Rent - Its really up to the person. This game isn't for everyone. I would recommend renting it first. If you find yourself addicted, then buy it. Otherwise don't waste your money.
Bottom line - The main requirement for this game is PATIENCE. Don't be discouraged by your monster's progress, as it can sometimes be a painfully slow process. I estimate it will take about 8-10 hours per monster to see its own life unless you do very little with it, then cut that time by 6 hours.
The 400+ monsters it boasts is nothing to be proud of when there are only really 38 true monsters. Each of the monsters is well thought of though.
This game is very innovative. It is not a knock off of anything. Pokemon and Monster Rancher arrived on similar dates and are very different games. Don't compare the two.
My personal experience was that I enjoyed the game, and a lot of time was devoted to this game. But now, I don't even touch it . . . it gets old.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/10/00, Updated 01/10/00
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