|Posted by JessicaAlbert13 on May 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM|
Often called a Pokemon copycat, the Dragon Quest Monster series has never been particularly popular. Not many reviewers care to go over the games, and even some Dragon Quest fans shrug when the spin off series is mentioned. Then there are purely Dragon Quest Monsters fans who adore the series and know nothing of the Dragon Quest series Monsters originates from. The Monsters series has morphed rapidly since its first release and has never quite stayed the same.
Perhaps if the games had closer ties to the main series players would be encouraged to try a Monster or two. Dragon Quest Monsters, the first in the series released in 1998 for the Gameboy Color, featured Terry from Dragon Quest VI as the hero. This game proved successful in Japan, telling the tale of young Terry saving his beloved older sister. The game was even released in America in 1999 despite the fact Dragon Quest VI didn't see American shores until 2011. Dragon Warrior Monsters wasn't as popular as Dragon Quest Monsters, but still the series proved to pique the interest of fans.
Then Dragon Quest Monsters 2 was released, both of them in 2001. This game took place in a world separate from any known in the Dragon Quest universe. The heroes were unknown characters, Iru/Cobi the boy and Marta/Tara the girl, once again siblings like Terry and Milayou/Milly. The unique factor of Dragon Quest Monsters 2 was that it was two games: Cobi's Adventure and Tara's Adventure, sold separately and both playable on the GameBoy Color. Tara and Cobi belong to a family of monster breeders and must venture from land to land recruiting monsters to stop their home island from sinking. There weren't many differences in the two besides the fact that one played as a boy and the other as a girl with slight variations in monster types and story.
Dragon Quest Monsters and Dragon Quest Monsters 2 were re-released together in 2002 for the PS1. This PS1 game included all three games wrapped in one package. What a deal! However this three-for-one PS1 game was never released in America. (That fact personally peeves me.)
After Cobi and Tara's Adventures came Dragon Quest Monsters 3. This game went back to the original Monster's formula and starred a Dragon Quest character. Keifer, the rogue prince of Dragon Quest VII, is the hero of Caravan Hearts for the GBA, Gameboy Advance. Keifer, Estard's young prince, escapes from his father's wrath by hiding in a closet. But a wicked monster is at work. He traps Keifer in the closet and transports the boy to another world. This world is well know - it's the home of the legendary Loto from the first three main Dragon Quest games! Keifer must rescue Loto's descendants and find a way back home! Caravan Hearts changed the battle system used before in the Monsters game. Now humans can be recruited into the ranks, and Keifer must keep his caravan well equipped and his party fed. Although America saw Dragon Warrior VII in 2001 Caravan Hearts was never released outside Japan.
That does it for the first three Monsters game. Terry, Cobi, Tara, and Keifer never venture into the series again. By the fourth Monsters game the series had taken a dramatic change, a change that completely changed the look - and title - of the series.
The fourth Monsters game was released for the DS in 2006 with 3D graphics, giving the game a look that mirrored Dragon Quest VIII's groundbreaking look. But no longer does the word Monsters do credit to the series. The fourth game's full title is Dragon Quest Monsters Joker. There is no '4' to indicate it is a part of the Monsters series. The game was released with the same title in America in 2007. The Joker series is a new Monsters series in its own right.
Dragon Quest Monsters Joker saw more popularity than the first three games, and created its own world, a world used later in Monsters Joker 2. The hero isn't a cute smiling boy but a tough looking lone swordsman type with spikey hair and a don't-mess-with-me attitude. Joker even begins with the hero being released out of a prison cell his own father put him in! The game's early story is strong, introducing us to the sinister Warden Trump and the mysterious creature known as Incarnus. What is Trump's motive and where did the Incarnus come from and why can it talk and change form? However the game's difficulty level can prove too much for a player, and the storyline begins to fall short in the middle. Overall, it's an OK game if you're a real Dragon Quest fan and the Monsters series interest you, but if the Monsters series proves too Pokemon-esque and grinding, stick to the main series.
Joker isn't over yet, though. Joker 2 is the latest in the Monsters on the same DS system as its prequel. Released in Japan in 2010 and a year later in America in 2011, Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 is a new gem in the Dragon Quest library. In fact, my personal opinion is that Joker 2 puts all all other Monsters and Pokemon games to shame! No longer can DQ Monsters be called a Pokemon wannabe with Joker 2 in the ring! Joker 2 is an amazing game with story, graphics, and gameplay that put it in a league of its own.
Stay on alert for when I publish Joker 2's review! -JessicaAlbert13 5-9-2012