It is Monster Rancher, a game in the Pokémon/Digimon mould: get cute baby monster, smack it into submission, train it up into big badass fire-breathing monster, stomp other monsters. I've had it a day and I'm hooked.
There is an accompanying anime series which never achieved a great deal of success over here despite having all the key elements of a successful multimedia franchise: annoying bratty kid, infinite collectable monsters (there are x species of monster, each of which can interbreed with any other species, making x2 different kinds which is a heck of a lot of little plastic figurines) and the obligatory angsty tragic noble is-he-good, is-he-evil character who gets fanfic written about him (Tiger of the Wind, inevitably my favourite; it helps that he's a blue wolf with horns too).
I blame a combination of the scheduling on BBC2 at 7:30 am and the fact that the baddie is called 'Moo', which singularly fails to inspire awe and terror despite his villainous laughing and posturing.
Anyway, the USP of the game is that monsters are created by 'taking a Mystery Disk to the Shrine'. This translates as sticking a music CD in your PlayStation, which turns the data into a critter. Hours of fun. So I picked some appropriate albums and here are the initial findings:
|Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips||A green rectangle|
|How Does That Grab You? - Nancy Sinatra||A brown rectangle|
|Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd||A crocodile-skin rectangle|
Somewhat disappointing so far.
I then found two albums in a row containing, I was informed by the High Priestess, special secret rare mystery monsters that could only be unlocked by an experienced Monster Trainer. They were: Baron von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun by Grace Slick, David Freiberg and Paul Kantner, and Disraeli Gears by Cream. Hardly surprising really.
Then with the last CD in my pile I got the perfect monster: an ill-tempered-looking ginger cat standing on its hind legs (a Kato, according to its data sheet). Hurrah! And the album that spawned this beastie? Appropriately enough, it was the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. So I named my monster Caroline (I would have called it John B but sloopjonb might have objected).
So expect me to go quiet for a few weeks as addiction kicks in. Meanwhile feel free to suggest suitable CDs for releasing monsters.