Monster RancherThe game.
Monster Rancher is a game for the Sony Playstation. You raise monsters off CDs (any CD you have gives a unique monster) and then fight them against other monsters. In Japan, the game is called "Monster Farm". In the US, this "life-simulation" game was more popular than originally anticipated. The translation / adaptation of the game is slightly problematic at times, but otherwise good (as translations go).
What you need to play.
You need a Sony Playstation, a Monster Rancher game CD, and a Sony memory card. It helps to have a lot of free time and a good collection of CDs (music, game), but such are not required.
How long is it?
No, it's not a traditional RPG, but it does have RPG elements. To complete it, I'd say 40 hours bare minimum.
Is it a digipet / tamotgotchi offshoot?
No, it isn't. Tamotgotchi and "virtual pets" are a way of life, you can't turn them off. This is a game. It goes off when you want it to. It won't come on by itself. And it's not a kids thing, it takes a lot of patience, discipline, and natural parenting skills to raise well-disciplined monsters.
Monster stats descriptions. For most, only the level matters, not the number itself.
Lif - Life when you fight. How long monster lives.
Pow - How much damage your power attacks do. How well you destroy obstacles in expeditions. Could affect monster lifetime slightly.
Def - How much damage you'll take when hit. Could affect monster lifetime slightly.
Ski - Determines your hit %.
Spd - Lowers opponent's hit %.
Int - How much damage your int attacks do. How well you find things and avoid getting lost on expeditions. How obedient your monster is.
And in most things, only the level itself is important. Except with Life.
Will regeneration rate. Is he too slow?
It seems to be determined mostly by your primary species. Some species (like golems) are just naturally slower than others. Pixies seem to be the fastest common species, with golems the slowest and everything else in-between these two extremes.
Secondary species can play a slight but significant (~20%) role, for instance an allure (pixie naga) regenerates noticeably faster than a vixen (pixie golem). But in some cases it plays absolutely no role -- an ape regenerates at the same very slow speed no matter what his secondary species is.
It should be noted that species that regenerate slower do have better moves than ones that regenerate quickly.
The best monster types.
Just about any monster type is playable for starting out. A lot of it depends on your tastes. If you want something that can take a lot of damage, try a plant or worm. If you want something that can really dish it out, a golem. If you want something cute, go with a bunny or pixie.
The least favored monsters among players is probably the Dino, since it has no extraordinary abilities.
The best way to get your first monster.
Go the shrine, try out some CDs. Save the ones you like, trash the rest by going to the market. Then save the game and find two that you like that also have an offspring you like. Combine those and you'll likely get a pretty good starting monster.
(worst monsters) ones you can get at the shop
(okay monsters) ones you get off Cds
(best monsters) ones you make by combine two you got of CDs.
Prolong your monster's life.
If you work them into the ground, you might find your monsters lasting only 2 years or less. Stay away from Taffy, just rest normally. Also stay away from pills, vitamins, and other drugs/steroids. These can substantially shorten the life of your monster.
Also there are two items, a magic egg and a golden peach that can be found during the jungle expedition. Feeding these to your monster can substantially prolong his life by a year or more.
Finally, don't work off all your power in the circus, even if you don't think you need it. This may shorten the life of your monster by almost half a year.
What abilities to raise, to what.
It helps to have at least 250 life, and 150 defense. Defense and Life kind of go together. Avoid having a really high life and poor defense, or vice versa. 700 life and 70 defense is about as good as 350 life and 170 defense.
Choose either Power or Int, and max that out. What attacks you have should help you make this choice. For instance Pixies should choose Int and Bunnies should chose Pow.
Finally Skill is important. Get it to 300 at least.
Speed is nice if you're a race that can train it well, but is otherwise too chance-based.
Getting permission to raise rares.
That's probably a rare monster. Rare monsters are, we'll, rare. Either you can become a master breeder, or you can make a monster of the same class in the game by "ordinary" methods first. For instance if you want to breed a rare doodle, you must first get a doodle in the game.
Does each CD really give me a unique monster?
Yes. Even if the breed is the same, the stats themselves will be unique.
Beat the game with a new monster? Or breed?
It's theoretically possible to beat the game with a starting out monster, but easier said than done. Breeding helps greatly, use it. Breeding two well-raised (ie. no drugs, plenty of rest) monsters will give you a new monster that lives longer than a normal monster.
Some attacks use Int.
Scroll over in the monster view screen to get to the attacks your monster can do. The yellow ones use power to determine damage, the green ones use Int rather than Pow to determine damage.
Attacks with the same rating, but different hit percentages.
The grades for attacks aren't a hard scale, they just give you the general rating. It's like in school, An 89% or an 81% will get you the same grade, a B, yet they are different scores. Two attacks with the same rating will probably have slightly different hit%, damage, etc.
I can't seem to get the proper monster off a CD! Everyone else gets a Pixie off FF7, but I get some dumb Dino. I want a pixie!
There are different versions CDs. If you have a Japanese import of FF7, you're just out of luck. Try some of your other CDs, you'll find a Pixie sooner or later.
Deciding what monster to use.
Basically, each species has one ability its best at. There's at least two species for each ability.
Lif - Plant, Worm
Pow - Golem, Bunny
Def - Jell, Monol
Ski - Dino, Suezo
Spd - Tiger, Int - Pixie, Gali
??? - Naga
Here is a summary of what you can expect from some popular monster types.
Naga - A favorite of some, but has problems advancing to the very high levels. Very poor int. Good for exploiting as a money monster. Also good for a secondary species.
Bunny - Okay power-based moves and quick will regeneration. But Lif, Def is a problem, especially later on. So try Plant, Worm, Monol, or Jell as secondary species.
Gali - Though slow, they have decent all-around abilities, and good int. The 'Flash Bomb' Attack is great (A hit, C damage, ...) if you don't start with it, it's not very hard to get.
Golem - Max out your power. And try to choose your secondary species to increase will regeneration (if that works).
Plant - At first glance they have poor attacks, but nonetheless a solid monster type. With good will-draining attacks and fast will regeneration, you can keep many monsters at bay. Combine with a Jell to get some kind of blue plant with excellent life and defense. Train your Int and use only Int moves.
Pixie - A great variety of attacks, mostly int-based, and fast will regeneration. Needs some help with life and defense. Breed with a plant to get a Serene, which has better life. Or a Gali to make an Angel, which has good all-around abilities and better attitude.
Can I breed an ape with anything that will make him regenerate will faster?
No. Apes are lazy to the extreme, and they regenerate slow no matter what. My favorite is an ape and a hare to make a George.
Monsters, intelligence, and sentience.
While they don't talk, monsters can express emotion and appear to be able to consciously think. They are quite varied in abilities, some being barely sentient and instinctively drawn to combat while others are highly intelligent. A highly intelligent monster may even be able to read known languages or decipher ancient ones.
Also, there are indications that ancient cultures and religions worshipped monsters as Gods. Indeed, some monsters have a close or almost unseemly resemblance to humans, whereas others are fearsome and scary-looking. Some religions are no doubt based on monster-worship, though it's hard to say which religions in particular.
Monsters: How do I get [something specific]
NOTE: Everything here, I've personally confirmed myself. There's strange stuff like Ghosts that shows up, it could just be random.
Spoil two monsters. Rest them and feed them Apple Pie repeatedly. Then combine and use the magic banana you find on the Jungle expedition.
Doodle / Sketch
Take a Monolith to at least Class A, get its fame to close to 100 (at least 80). You might not actually need to get to class A, but just have a high fame. Then compete in a low-level tourney, like a class C, and it's fame drops to around 50. This turns your Monolith into a "Scrible" (Monolith / ???). Then breed with anything to make a "Doodle", which looks like, we'll, try it. Thanks to "DRichar117@aol.com / 'Deezul'" and "Boggolem" for figuring this one out.
Here are some rules that can help you get one. It is still highly random, even if you follow these rules, it works about 1 in 6 times.
B level monster. "evil" monster (ie. Evil Hare (Hare Monol)). Raise your monster cruelly. Get him sent to the hospital, have him run away, etc. Once Holly says he should be retired, get him tired and enter a tourney. Get him KO'ed until he dies. Don't give him a funeral. Make a new monster, start out at 0 years. Within a year, win the official E cup with your new monster. If you're lucky, he has a skull mark on his chest, and can be bred to make a ghost. Otherwise it failed, try again.
This generally doesn't work the first time, and it helps to have killed some other monsters also.
Thanks to "jBeving@badlands.nodak.edu" for providing these rules and everyone else on Monster Ranchers' Co-op who experimented with breeding this truly rare monster.
Collect the four doll pieces in the Reno (Desert) expedition. You get them in random buildings, just look for big buildings and search. Then get a monster to A-class and then wait a while. Eventually you'll be invited to an invitational tourney in February. Win it and get the doll head. Tesca will put together the five pieces to make the clay doll. Go back to Reno and find the stone pillar with the writing on it. It's at the far (north) end, and you have to have a high power to break through an obstacle, then a high int to read the writing. When your monster succeeds, he'll get a circle on his back. Breed him with anything else and use the clay doll. The offspring will be a Henger monster.
Get the mirror on the Titus expedition. If you have a good monster, and the magic mirror, you'll eventually be invited to some invitational tourney in November where it's just you and a magic monster. If you win, Karn will tell you that to breed a magic monster: combine a Monol and a Gali with the Mirror.
Breed any two monsters with the "cat doll" you buy at the shop. "Cat Dolls" become available in the shop eventually, you just have to wait. You can also (supposedly) find them at Titus Temple.
Items in the shop become unlocked at random times.
If the shop doesn't have an item you want, check the tournaments, you might be able to win one. Otherwise, you just have to wait. One item is unlocked around every 4 years, but the order in which the items are unlocked (except for the cat doll, which may always be in 1025) isn't fixed.
Feeding him treats.
It's best to use treats like a reward, just as you punish him when he's bad. If you give him treats like apple cake all the time, he'll get spoiled and lazy. For instance, try giving him a mango every time he does something good, like winning a tourney or learning a new technique. And give him an Apple Cake on his birthday. The only exception is that sometimes I'll give a completely new monster an Apple Cake and mango each week until his loyalty gets up to 20 or so. And whatever you don't feed him candy, it'll make him fat.
If your monster's loyalty is very high, it will spoil them and lower it. If you're being too strict with him and want to lighten up quickly, give him some apple cake and your style will change more toward easy/gentle/spoil.
Also, it's supposedly good to give it to him on his birthday.
What about feeding him Meat vs. Fish vs. Potatoes?
Meat: Raises Loyalty 3-4, moves style slightly toward easy. Fish: Raises Loyalty 0-1 Potato: Loyalty drops substantially. Never use!
Mystic Snake = Useless
It probably is. It's only useful if you've gotten too easy in raising your monster and want to push him back towards 'strict', or if you really want to punish him. But it seems rather pointless. Anyone else know?
Keep taffy use to a minimum.
If you wish to prolong monster life. The continuos work without rest stresses him out, and the continuous strain on his body appears to shorten his life dramatically. The only time I use taffy is if I'm desperate to make some deadline or compete in a tourney and my monster is all tired out.
I had one pixie where I used nothing but Taffy, and he got the "you should retire" message around 1 year, 8 months. Whereas a pixie raised in a good barn, bred from two well-cared-for monsters, without taffy and always fed meat regularly survives significantly longer than 4 years before seeing the same message.
Expedition areas refill, but slowly, and only if you go on an expedition.
Try to go to a different building each subsequent visit. Also some buildings are just plain better than others, the larger and more important it seems the better.
Different buildings will have different items depending on their building type. For instance a temple where monsters were born would have a lot of CD fragments, whereas a kings grave would have a lot of gems, jewels, or other valuables.
If you just wait around a few years, but don't actually go on that expedition, the buildings won't refill.
CD fragments improve the chance of getting a specific monster type.
A rainbow-colored CD fragment will enhance the chance of having a plant offspring, if there's already some chance of the offspring being a plant. Each CD fragment corresponds to a certain common breed. They also might increase the stats of your offspring, depending on how valuable they are.
God Statues substantially improve stats when combining.
Gives +50 in two stats, which stats depend on the particular statue you use.
Emerald, Diamond, Pure Gold, and Silver are made to be sold.
There is no other use.
Why combine monsters?
To get around age constraints for one. Also, to try to negate or alleviate the weaknesses of your particular monster. For instance, breed a pixie with a plant, to give the pixie more life. Finally, because it's a good way to get new breeds you just can't find on any of your CDs.
Getting what you want in breeding -- keep trying.
Try reversing the order that you select the monsters in. If you still don't like the offspring, go back to the ranch, wait a week, and then try again. Also, you can try using CD fragments to change the outcome.
Breeding good monsters.
Breed what the guy in the lab says is a "good combination". In general, the better the combination the better the stats will carry over from the parents to the child. Also, in a few cases the same combination reversed will go from bad to so-so.
If the monsters are two E-level monsters and you just want a certain offspring type, go ahead and combine no matter what the guy says.
Breeding is by no means an exact science. These are some pointers you can follow, to try to breed quality monsters.
Rank: Should be as high as possible, at least above B for each monster. Calendar Week: Plays a random role in the outcome, both the monster type and the quality. The ability scores of both parents play a large role in the scores of the child. If both parents have an attribute of around 400 in a certain attribute, it is possible, but unlikely that the child will inherit a 400 in that attribute. If both parents have an attribute of 600 or higher in a certain attribute, it becomes more and more likely the child will inherit a 400 in that attribute. It does not appear possible for a child to start with much more than 400 in a certain attribute. The child may begin with more than 3 known attack techniques, depending on how many the parents knew. There are no guarantees. Save previous to the outcome so if you don't like it, you can go back and try at a later time.
reference: Most of the information used comes from the "INDYMISFIT AND HyDrOsToRm'S NEW AND IMPROVED FAQ SHEET" and from my personal experiences with breeding. For a possibly more in-depth discussion on breeding, try reading his "FAQ SHEET".
Winning the Game.
First, you have to get an S-class monster. You don't actually need to win a league S-class tournament. Just win the four "master cups" which are invitational only. You get invited to these by keeping your S-class monster on the ranch, eventually you'll get mail inviting you to these tournaments.
Does the game ever end?
You can be almost assured it does not. People have played in excess of 200 years game time, and everyone still looks the same, no one shows any sign of aging, etc. Suspension of disbelief. If you run out of money, exploit a few monsters for money.
The best way to make money is to compete in tournaments. You should aim for having at least three monsters, preferably at different levels, that do nothing other than compete in tournaments. Make sure to keep them at a level where they can comfortably and reliably win the tournament. Whenever non-official tournament of that level comes up, and you need money, go to the lab and thaw out the appropriate creature. You want to keep you style "easy or gentle" with these guys, to maximize their lifespan. Once he's fought and won the tournament, rest him if needed, and then go back and freeze him. This way, you'll never run short on money again, and you'll be able to do nothing but train your "premium" monsters.
Beating the AI (computer controlled monsters).
No. Fortunately the AI has a few problems you can capitalize on. It's not discriminating enough in picking it's attacks. It just picks attacks randomly (appropriate for the range) and executes them. This means if you can keep a pixie at close or medium range, she'll waste a lot of her will doing kick, scratch, instead of fireball and sonic blast. So discriminate with your attacks, do the ones that you're best in and that nicely serve the situation. For instance a jell with a lazy int shouldn't even bother with the cannon attack, and pixies shouldn't bother with training power and using the kick or scratch attack.
The AI also won't adjust to your playing style and monster. If you can drain enough of his will, and keep it at a low level he might not attack at all. It doesn't like attacking unless he has 20+ will, so if you can drain will, use that attack to keep him under 20 or close.
At early levels take advantage of the computer being confused and do your most powerful attack then, since you can automatically hit anything confused.
Monsters reacting to attacks, shaking, falling down, etc.
This means the attack is a will-draining attack.
When a monster is hit and is brought to very low hp (around 10%) sometimes he will go into fury. This means that all his attacks do double damage. It might also raise the chance of getting a critical hit against that monster (the one with fury). You want to try to kill monsters with one final blow or a quick series of blows to stop your opponent from going into fury.
A critical hit is when the screen flashes red when the attack hits. Critical hits do double damage.
Going on Expeditions.
Two weeks after any official tournament except the one during March, Karn will ask you to go on an expedition if your monster is C class or above.
Don't skip expeditions if you have a capable monster. They're a great way to make money, and find valuable items that you can't get otherwise. You can always save the month before the expedition, go back to town, thaw out a bunny with good int and power, and send him in.
Expeditions: Search the big buildings, and rotate.
In general, go for the largest buildings if you want good money.
A major reason is to get the peach (reno) and plant egg (hartville). For the peach, search the round building in reno, you need a good int, it's very hard to find. For the plant egg, try the pyramid-like building with an ornament on top in hartville. These seem to be likely places for those important items.
Sell extra fire stones, wind drums, and calm stones. You can't use more than 1.
Sell any extras, you only need to keep one. The effect of these items is rather limited, but it is continuous, automatic, and free so they are well worth it.
Is it true you can make your own CD fragments? I heard a rumor you could.
If you want CD fragments you can use in the game, there are two ways to get them. Either find them on expeditions or win them in tournaments.
Sure, you can make your own CD fragments with a hammer and an unwanted CD, but don't forget to wear safety goggles. A pair of tin snips or airline shears work better than a hammer, since you have more control this way. Of course, this is totally useless since you can't use these CD fragments in your game. You should think twice before listening to pointless rumors, they are almost always false.
Can't threaten correctly?
You need to press forward until you see the "face to face" symbol pop up. Then you should be able to threaten and force him back.
World Wide Web Sites.
There's a great amount of "Monster Rancher" sites on the net, with everything from general information to search engines for which CDs generate what type of monsters. If you have a site, send the address to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll list it here.
MonsterWeb has pictures and lists of all the monsters, and more. Monster Ranchers' Co-op is a message board.
Acknowledgments and Thanks
A great deal of information from many sources was compiled to make this FAQ. Certain documents have clarified such things and helped in the refinement of this FAQ, and are good general references if you want to know about certain things in more detail.
Thanks to "INDYMISFIT AND HyDrOsToRm" for writing the "INDYMISFIT AND HyDrOsToRm'S NEW AND IMPROVED FAQ SHEET", which clarified a lot of things having to do with breeding, expeditions, and monster age. Thanks to the NRA (National Rancher Association) for providing moral and personal support necessary to create this help file.
-- Written by: Dan Hauck