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Monster Rancher 4

Developer: Tecmo | Publisher: Tecmo
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/13/03 | Genre: Strategy

There have been many video games of you obtaining a monster to train, like Pokemon, Digimon, mostly aimed at the younger age group, yet Monster Rancher 4 set the age to everyone, with fun around every corner. Did Tecmo release a Monster Rancher that will give a kick to it? Or did it jut not work out with the RPG style gameplay?

Through the years back in the old Playstation one video game years, Tecmo released a video game that took the video game world by surprise. With the release of the popular anime show Monster Rancher, people went for this game right away. Though the games look like they are aimed at more of a childish age group, the monster rancher series has always aimed for everyone, because training monster are not so pretty. Though Pokemon and Digimon are both set as child ages because they were more of child shows in the past, Monster Rancher though, is set for everyone, because even adults can enjoy the action they are watching or even playing.

Monster Rancher 4 is a good example of a game that tries too hard. The game you are a kid (you get to name him of coarse) and your story begins when you are asked to raise a farm of monsters in other words Ranch Monsters formally known as Monster Rancher. You 1st take a young Guru, a small tiger that has a lot of power. Though you can get many other monsters, if you own other games. If you have not played the video games let me explain. You go to the shrine, you get monster at this place. You select a disc and swap the disc with the game (when it says so) if you do this, the disc will give you a monster that it has been programmed for, if unknown video games are put in the drive, they usually give you a plant, and really, if you get one of them, DO NOT KEEP IT! They are extremely bad! My favorite would probably be the Joker and Kasumi (which you get from Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore) as well you can receive a monster if you for any, DVD, and CD type of disc. (So music CD's are usable). This will be having you up all night trying to find the perfect monster.

The Monster Rancher series has been known for the fighting system, and the newer and improved fighting system really impressed me. There are a few new techniques you can earn in this game, such as counters (which sometimes are bad) and the new battle area's. The battle system is like any other, with the back and forth technique, even though you are only allowed to move back and forth, not side to side. Tecmo I believe should help players be more active in a 3D area. Also you are limited to the number attacks that you are allowed to hold in one battle. Only 9 in total, so you must make room for certain ones if you want better attacks.

Tecmo for Monster Rancher 3 decided to go Cel-Shaded graphics. I personally liked the Cel-shaded graphics overall, it gives a real feel to the quality of the game that was the show in those kind of graphics. Just like in my Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 review, I enjoy Cel-shaded graphics because they just take away the reality so they bring you to another world in different shapes and sizes. Though in Monster Rancher 4 they went the way that most video game companies are doing, normal 3D graphical art. Though this isn't a game you would say have the BEST graphics, they can well be improved, The only problems are the graphical stages, and you, the character� you look like a low polygon model, where the monsters look more realistic then the main character. The graphics can be well improved. Tecmo looks like they slacked off in this game for quite a bit of characters.

Who really likes the voice actors says Tecmo; lets just do so the viewers have to do all the reading! Well, how about NO! That is one of the biggest problems in the game, you have to read every bloody thing! There are no voice actors, and that goes down the list for Monster Rancher games, no MR game has ever had voice actors, other then the squeaks that you hear from the monsters, which easily can be done by a computer. Really though, if there is a Monster Rancher 5 (and I hope there is), they really need voice actors, because I am getting annoyed of reading every dialogue for myself (sure it may sound lazy, but animated figures, NEED VOICES!)

Remember the adventures in all the Monster Rancher games? Well guess what! In Monster Rancher 4, it makes the game an official RPG. You are able to go through dungeons by running around with your character and your monster(s) and run into random battles. Also the dungeons are more along the story line then most of the other Monster Rancher's where you have to go in the dungeon to complete most missions or objectives. This way the game is much more fun, where you acquire more techniques and skills if you level up in the dungeons. Have you ever played Dark Cloud? Or even .Hack// series? If you have, then you will know that this adventure mode is JUST like them. Run around looking for the right way to go down the dungeon, sound familiar?

There are many many monsters! Tecmo put together for us, over 350 monster within the game that you can choose from. Though you must unlock them with the proper CD or DVD. Each monster with his / her / it's own unique techniques. From giant blades impaling the enemy, to just a kiss of death, the games monsters are all but better then any other collector of monsters. Raising them can be an experience that you will not forget at all.

Raising your monster has never changed. Select a training exercise and watch them train. That is just what you will be doing in Monster Rancher 4. But you there are 2 new additions added to the training system.

1. There is free time, where you are able to move around when they are training, or sleeping

2. Your monster cannot fail on any exercise.

I guess Tecmo was getting mad because people were not have fun when there monster was failing all his training exercises. But your monster can do some bad on exercises, with a percent on the side showing how they did, if they did you can scold them and they will try harder, yet I just like praising them.

Yes there is a story! Of coarse there is! Once again in all the other Monster Rancher games as well most of the other games, you must save the world from an evil monster killing all monsters. It's now only up to you and a lovely tree talking girl to help these poor innocent monsters escape the wrath of the enemy. Train your monster hard and fight like your mean it!
Remember the good old days of just raising one monster? Now in Monster Rancher 4, later on you are able to raise 5 monsters at a time! Wow isn't that amazing! So do you know what that means? More money yet you have to buy a lot of damn food for them, and fight may battles. Also here is a hint, when in a dungeon, make sure your characters don't die! You wont get a GAME OVER, your monster's lifespan will go down� that's all. :'(

Overall the game is very good! Most unexpectedly good. Though some things in the game bug me, such as that, what ever happened to celebrating your monsters birthday? They don't even celebrate that any more. Also, when you retire your monster (freeze him / her / it, they will retire FOREVER! So you are unable to regain him. Don't make that mistake.
But mostly all the rest of the game is decent. Monster Rancher 4 deserves a B+ average for a fine job.

�Who ever thought raising monsters would be so much fun?�

By Adam Beck - 01/29/04
ESRB Details: Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence
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Screenshots for Monster Rancher 4

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