Rancher is one of those games that can suck you in completely
for days on end, followed by an equally strong burnout. I surprised
myself by spending endless time playing, but eventually, once
it seemed as though I had figured it all out, the thrill was
gone. Still, for while it lasted, it was a fun ride.
is the latest installment of Tecmo's popular monster-breeding
games, inspired no doubt by the Pokeman phenomenon. In this game,
you breed strange, fantastic creatures, and train them to fight
in gladiator arenas against other creatures. It all plays out
like videogame cockfighting, but without the gambling or cheeky
a monster breeder, you have many responsibilitites, from buying
a suitable barn for the animal, to feeding, to training. Consulting
the calendar, you will see countless tournaments and fights,
some for fame, some for money, but the most important are the
league championships. You begin in the lowest division, and through
hard work and determination, work up the ranks, grabbing trophies
actually enjoyed playing through the tournaments, even though
it becomes terribly repetitive after a time. Through proper training,
your monster learns a variety of attack skills (as well as other
personality traits), and some are pretty cool. There's a certain
rush to be had by clawing back from certain defeat to deliver
that final, desperate knockout blow. The fights play out with
a certain degree of tension, since most attacks have a low hit
does an admitable job creating a whole world, with an RPG-ish
storyline and characters who drop in from time to time. For the
most part, your companion is a young woman who dreams of becoming
a champion breeder, as, well, sees you as her meal ticket. Am
I being harsh?
number of plot developments break up the routine, and your farm
may even be attacked by a stray beast or two. The best variation
are the treasure hunts, where you set off to explore ruins in
search of valuables, set to an impressive three-quarters overhead
view. I really wish there were more moments like these.
can't say how this compares to Pokeman, since I'm obviously
far too old for that, but Monster Rancher
2 is a quality title
that should keep you happy for a time. Be warned however: once
you figure out the formula for creating super-powered fighters,
the game just becomes an excercise in going through the motions.
Train one turn, rest one turn, spar one turn, rest one turn.
I just give that away? Oops.