Monster Rancher EVO

Monster Rancher EVO

Monster Rancher EVO

Truly monstrous.

Thought for the day: perhaps the travelling circus is a jinx. Excellent TV series Carnivale didn't make it past a couple of seasons, and Pee-Wee Herman's career suffered a severe downturn since the disastrous Big Top Pee-Wee (although touching himself in an adult theatre probably didn't help). If the travelling circus theme is a curse, then, it's one that's now caught up with Monster Rancher series.

Let's consider Monster Rancher EVO from the very beginning. The opening cut-scene features the sole monster of the circus running away out of shame at being such a terrible entertainer, and introduces us to our stereotypically plucky hero Julio and his compatriots. Bereft of any monsters, they have no show and it appears they'll have to give up. Unsurprisingly, out of nowhere Nayuta appears, a girl with the ability to create monsters using 'saucers'. She creates a new monster for the troupe, and the game begins proper.

Now, even if we try to ignore this ludicrous introduction (a circus of three people whose show consists of one rubbish monster juggling? A girl who appears out of nowhere, for no reason, and is unavoidably critical to the plot? And so on) the game doesn't ever seem to get off the wrong foot it's started on. You begin with only one monster and no space to create others, and the game slowly introduces you to its aspects.

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