Monster Rancher (video game)
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|Genre(s)||Life simulation game|
Monster Rancher, known in Japan as Monster Farm (モンスターファーム Monsutā Fāmu), is a console game released in North America on November 30, 1997, for the PlayStation system. It is the first game in Tecmo's Monster Rancher series, featuring the raising, fighting, and breeding of monsters.
Although it is possible to acquire a monster in-game, the series is known for the ability to acquire new monsters using Compact Discs (CDs). Players can use any readable CD, and the game creates a monster using the CD's metadata. Certain CDs would result in unique monsters: for example, some Christmas music albums will give the player a monster of type "Santa". Once the player has two or more monsters in reserve, they can be combined, creating a new monster with traits of both 'parents'. There are twelve basic types of monsters that can be combined, as well as eight special types players can receive as rewards by completing tasks or inserting a CD into the PlayStation. The common types are Dinos, Golems, Suezos, Hares, Tigers, Galis, Monols, Worms, Nagas, Jells, Pixies, and Plants. The rare types are Dragons, Magics, Apes, Ghosts, Hengers, Doodles, Nyas, and Disks. Monsters can be combined to create a new monster with a main type and a sub-type which are determined randomly.
Once the player has a monster, it can then be raised to fight other monsters. There are six stats that determine how the monster does in battle: Power fuels physical attacks, Intelligence fuels and defends against energy attacks, Life determines monster's hit points, Skill affects accuracy, Speed helps evade opponents' attacks, and Defense reduces damage received from physical attacks. Monsters train either by doing chores nearby, or can be sent to be trained by experts, where they have the chance to gain new attack techniques. It is possible to increase some of the monster's stats with food or vitamins, but vitamins comes at a price of decreasing one stat as well as shorting the life span dramatically.
Currency can be used to purchase items in the game, earned by winning monster fighting tournaments. The game can end if the player runs out of currency to manage the monster.
The primary way to advance through the game is through monster fighting tournaments. While in battle, each monster has attacks available to it, some moves are only available at close range, others from a distance. Players cannot control the monster directly in a fight, but can call for their monster to stay away or close in, and attack with whichever move is available at the current range.
The game received "favorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. The game was a hit in Japan, with domestic sales above 500,000 units by early December 1997. At the time, GameSpot reported that it was "enjoying brisk sales" in the United States as well.
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it five stars out of five, and stated that "The overall result is an addictive yet time-consuming title that deserves to attract a whole new and grateful audience to the narrow niche of life sim gaming."
- "NG Alphas: Monster Rancher". Next Generation. No. 33. Imagine Media. September 1997. p. 115.
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- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 38. Imagine Media. February 1998. p. 111–112.
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- Johnston, Chris (December 3, 1997). "Half a Million Monsters". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 10, 2000.
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