(known as Dragon Quest Monsters in Japan) is the first game in the vastly expansive, and successful, Dragon Quest series.
Released on the Game Boy Colour in 1998, Dragon Warrior Monsters follows the story of Terry, who has been forced into a quest in the magical land of Great Tree in order to save his kidnapped sister, Milly. Those who have played Dragon Quest VI will notice that this is the same Terry and Milly represented, but in this first game, they are small children. When Terry arrives in Great Tree, he is greeted by the King, who gives him his monster-a Slime called Slib (in a side-note, I kept Slib in my party and trained him right up until the end of the game. He never left my side-maybe it was those wide eyes and infectious grin of his?). With Slib at his side, the King tells Terry that if he wins the Monster Trainer's Starry Night Tournament, he is granted a wish. Knowing Milly's current predicament, I think we can all guess what Terry's wish would be right now. So, the player spends the entire game catching and training monsters, and traversing up the tournament ladder until they reach the final.
Like most RPGs, Dragon Warrior Monsters relies heavily on the levelling-up system in order to progress further in the game. The game becomes increasingly difficult by the end, and the player will find themselves defeated more often than not if they do not train and level up their monsters, and assign them new skills. The monsters are not as overly cute as those in Pokemon, but each has a cartoonish, and interesting design nonetheless.
Whilst it is true that Dragon Warrior Monsters shares follows the same game play as the Pokemon series, there are certain aspects that definitely set it apart. For instance, the breeding system is vastly complex. Not complex in a way that gamers would have difficulty understanding how to make their monsters breed, but in the sense that there are so many different choices during breeding. This means that many monsters will breed with almost any other, so players are never quite sure what breed will hatch out of the egg. For me, this was one of the most exciting parts of the game.
The breeding aspect may remain one of the most memorable aspects of the game, but what I also have fond memories of is the music (an adventurous, often cheerful sounding retro score), the huge variety of wild and wonderful monsters, and the large level of exploration involved. I have always been a huge fan of RPG's, and I find I am in my element if a game contains a huge amount of exploration, free-roaming and levelling up. Thankfully, Dragon Warrior Monsters contains all three of these aspects.
Overall, Dragon Warrior Monsters is an excellent game that combines a complex but significantly impressive breeding system, enjoyable RPG elements such as the exploration and item collecting sections, memorable music, and a satisfying story. Many people may dismiss this straight away as being a Pokemon copy, but I urge you to give it some credit-it is worthy of being classed as an excellent game. So excellent that it still remains one of my favourite games, even today.