Monster Rancher (モンスターファーム Monsutā Fāmu?, Monster Farm) is a video game series by Tecmo. Starting in 1997, several sequels have been produced. There is also an anime series based on the video games by the same name.
The world of Monster Rancher was once a highly advanced technology-oriented civilization. The people of this society were especially skilled at genetic engineering. Using gene manipulation, they were able to develop special designer pets and store their genetic information on stone tablets known as "disks", similar to CDs. Using these disks, the artificial animals could be regenerated at special shrines.
However, war broke out between the countries of the civilization. The pets were modified into biological weapons, and the war of the monsters began. The great civilizations completely annihilated each other, leaving nothing but relics behind, and much of the world's technology was lost. The monsters were sealed into their mystery disks and hidden away.
Centuries later, as humanity was just beginning to rediscover basic technology, people found the artifacts owned by the so-called "Ancients" and attributed divine properties to them. They also discovered the lost disks and shrines. Using these, monsters were again born. Only through the power of the phoenix could the lost discs be revived back into living monsters.
Thus started a popular new sport, Monster Breeding. Breeders or trainers raised monsters for battle to compete in nation-wide tournaments to see who could raise the strongest beast.
In Monster Rancher 1, Monster Rancher 2, Monster Rancher 3, Monster Rancher 4, and Monster Rancher EVO, monsters can be generated by inserting any CD into the game system. Monster Rancher 4 and Monster Rancher EVO can also use DVDs.
The characteristics of the monster (such as stats, breed, and traits) are determined by various integers stored in the game. To generate a monster, a random number generator is needed to define what characteristics the monster will have. However, because random number generators are only pseudo-random, the entropy of possible monsters would be limited by the pseudo-random seed. To resolve this, TECMO created a CD reading system that would generate unique random number seeds and, consequently, a large variety of random monsters. Discs contain digital information with a different sequence of values. When the game reads this information, the values found within the discs data are mapped to the range of integers in the game.
Some CDs and DVDs can be specialized to produce rare monsters. For instance, in Monster Rancher 4 the Harry Potter DVD generates a unique owl monster, and in Monster Rancher 2 and Monster Rancher 4 TECMO's Dead or Alive game creates a Pixie named Kasumi. Special CDs called pandora discs can produce multiple monsters. Often, the Monster Rancher game CD itself is a pandora disc.
In Monster Rancher Advance and Monster Rancher Advance 2, the system generates random monsters by using character sequences rather than CDs, due to the limitations of the Game Boy Advance game cartridges. Certain combinations of characters will determine the monster's breed, sub-breed, stats, and traits. Passwords found in-game can be used to generate rare monsters.
In Monster Rancher DS and Monster Rancher DS 2, the system is revised to take advantage of the Nintendo DS's input devices. Monsters can be generated by speaking into the microphone, drawing figures on the drawing tablet, or inserting a Game Boy Advance game cartridge into the second slot.
For Monster Farm Online, The unlocking system is changed entirely. Players select a monster species you have some knowledge of, with the basic purebreeds automatically available, and insert a CD or DVD to create their traits. This is so that players do not need to find a disc that is unique to one particular territory to get the rarest monsters.
- Monster Rancher
- Monster Rancher 2
- Monster Rancher Hop-A-Bout
- Monster Rancher Battle Card: Episode II
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance
- Kaite Shabette Hajimeyou!: Monster Farm DS (tentatively known as Monster Rancher DS for USA, International Release Date Unknown)
- Monster Farm DS 2: Yomigaeru! Master Breeder Densetsu (tentatively known as Monster Rancher DS 2 for USA, No International Release Date Announced)
- Monster Farm Online (Open Beta (Commercial Release in Spring 2008))