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by Tecmo

Check out our Monster List.

mr3_ss_5_550-01.jpg (7604 bytes)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. Tecmo’s 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.

mr3_ss_9_550-01.jpg (7771 bytes)You 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.

mr3_ss_12_550-01.jpg (7774 bytes)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 personality.

mr3_ss_10_550-01.jpg (6672 bytes)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.

mr3_ss_4_550-01.jpg (9791 bytes)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.

mr3_ss_6_550-01.jpg (8005 bytes)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 don’t 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 have. 

Check out our Monster List.

Jake Carder   (10/27/2001)


Ups: Lots of creatures; cel-shaded graphics; monsters come from every disc; put your picture in the game.

Downs: Gameplay hasn't been changed much (maybe that's an Up?).

Sony PlayStation 2