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Monster Rancher Battle Card Episode II
"It is a well constructed battle card game that should appeal (and offer some alternative) to the many Pokemon fans out there as well. "
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Developer  Tecmo Game Type  Strategy
Distributor  Tecmo Preview Date  Aug 00
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      Certainly at first glance Monster Rancher Battle Card cannot be mistaken for anything other than a children's game. With the whimsical music and stark yet cute graphics presentation many gamers may not give this title a second glance.that would be their loss however!

Starting the game you are attending a birthday party for a character named Colt. Also in attendance are your teacher, Master Pabs, and Colts best friend, Cue. Colt is presented with a Monster Plate and a full collection of Monster Cards to place into the plate. Colt eagerly fills the plate with the cards and then mysteriously vanishes. Seems poor old Colt has been transported to a place called "Paradise of the Monsters" along with all of the Monster Cards. Master Pabs, Cue and you decide to go in and rescue him. Unfortunately you need to obtain a crapload of Monster Cards to place back into the Monster Plate so you and the team can be transported to Paradise as well. Seems the only way to obtain these cards is to go into town, meet people and battle them for their cards in Battle Card games.

The game actually begins at a place called the Farm. I suppose this is either Cue's residence or your own. At any rate, Cue is always going to be by your side to assist you in getting through the game. She will offer clues and helpful advice whenever you need it.and sometimes even when you don't. Before you start you must form your team. To do this you are asked a series of questions and depending on your answers you are awarded 3 specific types of Monster Cards and some Monster Skills to go along with them. Now you can go into the menu options and form your team and then name it. You are now ready to venture off to the Battle Card Center where you get to meet and engage people in battle. It is also here that the occasion sanctioned events by MCA are held. Participation in these events can result in obtaining some rare Monster or Skill cards that cannot be obtained anywhere keep your eyes open for these events!

Entering into the world of MRBC, gamers will notice that it is a happy place.a very, very happy.sickeningly sugary sweet happy.okay I will stop. Anyway, all of the characters that you will meet will carry on a nice friendly conversation.commenting on how good they are at Battle Card playing and how they are going to kick your butt in a game. All of the talk is quite bubbly and fluffy and will have you clicking through the text in no time flat.and that would be fine because all the talking really does is set up the battle that is to come. It is much better to just get right to the battle itself.

Upon accepting and entering into a battle you will be brought to a card screen. You opponents cards are placed on the top and yours are placed on the bottom. Five Skill cards are dealt out to each player and the one whom starts is determined by the selection of the FIMBA disc symbol.

Each battle begins with the Attack Mode. You can review your five Skill cards and determine which one you will want to use. Cards vary in type. There are two types of cards: Attack and Defense. Under Attack there are four subset cards - power, special, intelligence & environment. Some of these cards can be used with others to forms Combo's that can really prove to be devastating to your opponents. Defense contains two characteristics: dodge and block. How you use these cards is up to you but there are a few conditions. Attack cards can only be used during an attack phase and defense cards can only be used when you are being attacked. Oh, you also need to use the appropriate Skill Card that matches that Monster Card. One other have to have accumulated enough Guts point to do anything!!

The battle mode is built on a system called "Guts". All of the cards have a Guts face value associated with them (1 gut, 2 gut, etc.) and to use that card you need to have enough Guts points to execute. To obtain Guts points you are asked at the end of each battle to select from your cards which ones you will label as a Gut card. For instance, if you have five cards you can mark 1, 2, 3, 4 or all five cards as Guts. Whichever ones you select are sent back into the deck and you are awarded a Gut point for each of the cards you turned in. The reason this is called Guts is simple.each time you select and turn in a card you are taking a chance that you are handing back a card that you card have really needed in the next hand of battle. But hey, no Guts no glory!!

The battles are three on three meaning it is three of your top ranked monsters squaring off against 3 of your opponents monsters. Attack cards with a higher Guts rating typically result in a much higher degree of assault value. Battle continue, alternating between players, until all three of either your or your opponents monsters are KO'ed. Of course during battle there are many, many selections and strategies that can be used so each battle is very fresh and exciting.

Should you lose a battle, you can save your opponents monster and skill information in a place called Recipes. Recipes can then be later studied and strategies formulated so that the next time you face off against that opponent you are better prepared for victory. A total of 10 recipes can be saved at any given time. To be honest, if you actually lose 10 times during this game you suck big time and don't deserve to be here to begin with.

As you progress through the game you are given different locations by people that you will converse with. Once these locations are mentioned you can access them by selecting Move from the menu list and moving to the place from the world map that pops up. Each place will have its own special characters that you can do battle with and win specific Monster Cards or Skills. Ultimately you will obtain enough Monster Cards to fill the Monster Plate so you and your new found friends can go and rescue Colt.

While all of this makes for quite an enjoyable gaming experience the real hook comes in the form of you being able to create your very own Monster Cards and Monster Skills. MRBC gives players the ability to load any CD based disc into your Playstation and generate Monsters and Skills. Not only does this little tidbit come in handy for creating some truly awesome Monsters and Skills but it also increases the replay value to heights. Running through piles of CD's is almost like a game in itself just watching to see what some of your favorite artists discs will produce. I know this kept me busy for hours at a time.

The only real downside to Monster Rancher Battle Card is the fact that the core of the game really just consists of one card battle after another. For some gamers this could get to be too monotonous and the novelty may wear off quickly.

All in all MRBC is one of those guilty pleasures that will in all likelihood end up sapping away many free hours of your time. It is a well constructed battle card game that should appeal (and offer some alternative) to the many Pokemon fans out there as well.

Game Options:
• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 1
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): Yes (5)
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: No
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes

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Staff Opinions
Tom_R   "Okay, I must admit it.I absolutely love the Monster Rancher series of games. MR 1 and 2 had me draining away my time and almost caused me to missed a deadline or two at the shop. The seemingly endless amount of variety, monster and gameplay just kept me hacking away into the wee hours of the night.

Now along come another Monster Rancher title, Monster Rancher Battle Card Episode II (what a friggin' mouthful). But this Monster Rancher title is very different from the past two games.this one isn't about breeding and raising monsters to do battle but instead uses Monster Cards to do battle instead. The whole object here is to collect as many Monster and Skill cards as you can by betting cards with opponents prior to battle. Win the battle and you get the losers card.

While this game certainly doesn't have the best graphics or sounds (it may actually have some of the worst)..gameplay is really where it's at and it is here that MRBC delivers big time.

For all of you Pokemon fans and Monster Rancher fans this is a definite "buy" title. It will keep you entertained with its diversity of characters and depth of gameplay for months. For everyone else, you may want to rent this one first to see what the fuss is all about and determine for yourself if you like this type of thing. "
Graphics  10/20
Playability  46/50
Sound  6/10
Lastability  18/20
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