Anyone who has played
games in the past few years is aware of Pokemon and the phenomenon it has created. Other
companies also have their respective monster franchises, Bandai has Digimon and Tecmo has
the Monster Rancher series. Tecmos series has some features not found in the others
that make it stand out on it's own. The first game of its type to hit the PS2, Monster
Rancher 3 is a game not to miss if you are a fan of the genre.
are a new trainer in the land of Tochinka and your goal is to increase your rankings by
winning tournaments. Along the way you will meet a variety of fellow trainers that offer
you a variety of information and also battle along the way. You can only train one monster
at a time, if you want to train another you can put the existing on to sleep for a later
time. This becomes crucial later on in the game. On average the life span of a monster is
four years, in that time you must raise their stats using a variety of training methods.
There are five training areas that will be available to you as the game progresses. The
various tournaments will raise your overall level, but earn you money to feed your monster
every month and buy accessories to make your monster unique. While it there is a lot to
accomplish, the game is setup so that younger gamers can play with no trouble at all. You
can even take your monster and try to defeat another human player in a vs. battle.
When you first start a game there are only six monsters to choose from. There
are a variety of methods to increase your options. First is when a monster that is when a
monster from a particular climate is trained in another they can adapt to that climate.
Secondly is the collection of saucer stones. When either trading them from another trainer
or discovering them collects four of these stones. Finally is the method of using Saucer
Stones. This is simply the process of swapping in CDs; PSOne, PS2, DVDs and even Dreamcast
games will generate new monsters. Some of these monsters require you to be at a certain
level in order to be able to train. The monsters generated form these disks are not
randomly chosen. The Monster Rancher 3 program picks the coding on the disks and creates
the monster from that. Every now and then you will get a creation that is unique and fits
whatever the disk was. For example inserting the DVD Saving Private Ryan generates
a unique beetle class monster resembling a tank. There are well over a hundred individual
monsters spanning over twenty classes each with their own strengths, weaknesses and
Monster Rancher 3 uses the Cell-shading process for the monsters that was made
popular by the Jet Grind Radio for the Dreamcast. This method works really well for the
fight scenes and creates the impression of cartoons in combat. By using this Tecmo
establishes a visual style that is eye catching and fitting for the game. It is a shame
though that the same technique was not used for the rest of the game. The environments use
the traditional graphics with nice lighting and vibrant colors, but staying uniformed with
the monsters would have much more of a visual impact. Monster Rancher 3 uses mainly menus
for the gameplay not counting the battles. The menus are clear and easy to navigate
through with little trouble. So controls are not that much of a factor in gameplay as
there is no real need for various button combinations. The main thing for success in this
game is the strategy that you take in raising your creature.
The audio is the kind that is not spectacular, but not a distraction as well.
Musically it is the same lighthearted tones that you normally hear in a game devoted to
the younger aged players. There are times though that the music set a sad atmosphere
whenever you have a creature succumb to its old age. In conjunctions to the music are the
various sound bits that are heard. Each class of monster has their own unique bellows and
squawks. The squawks correspond with the gestures informing us of their condition like if
they are happy, disgusted or even mad.
Monster Rancher 3 stays true to the formula from the previous two games. If
some things could have been changed, you would have an awesome game. That being said those
gamers who like this genre will enjoy it immensely. Those who are looking for loads of
action dont bother unless you are looking for a change of pace. If you already own
this or are planning on purchasing it go through you library of CDs, or whatever media you