Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 Professional,Nintendo DS. The English localization is not based on this version, unfortunately.
There are also multiple spin-offs of the Monsters series on mobile phones, such as Dragon Quest Monsters: Wanted! for Android, only available in Japan of course.Note that the Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road games, which include two arcade games and one Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road Victory for the Nintendo Wii, are a Collectible Card Game series that plays quite differently from the Monsters series. The cards had a barcode on the back, you scanned 3 cards in the arcade console to determine your party in the arcade, and you fought various monsters in an arena hosted by the arena master from Dragon Quest VIII. When you first started the game, it spat out 3 random cards, and you could get more random cards by putting in more money.
Tropes present in this series include:
Affably Evil: Dr. Snap, who is seen as a hard-working and great man, not to mention a brilliant scientist and superb monster scout himself. He even helps The Hero in training his monsters.
A God Am I - Dr. Snap wants to make a world for monsters by eliminating humans.
Big Badass Wolf - The form the Incarnus spends most of the game in Joker and Joker 2's post game and it's ultimate form.
Bilingual Bonus - If you finish Joker 2 in an English mode, US DSi... the credits change to English. (Just in case the big US and EU flags during the part where the Japanese commercials talk about a worldwide tournament weren't a big enough clue.)
Bonus Boss - In DQM2, after clearing the Pirate World, a King Squid appears in the world and will join you if you defeat it. However, it appears less than halfway through the main game, while being as strong as the demon lord bosses at the end of the main game. So while you gain access to it early, you won't reasonably be able to take it on until near the end of the main game or after some extreme grinding.
Cap - The first two games were pretty much cap-free, with 999 being the only stat limit, and all monsters had it. This changed in Joker — individual monsters now have distinct caps. Oddly enough, the monster with the highest total caps? The humble Lump Wizard. (The second-highest was the See Butterfly.)
Terry's Wonderland had odd caps for agility (Maxed at 511), and Intel (255), but every other stat could be maxed to 999.
Lump Wizard being a reference to the Dragon Quest manga, Dai No Daibouken, where Dai's adoptive grandfather was a Lump Wizard, and really really powerful due to his age/training/being too stubborn to be weak/etc.
Cassandra Truth: In Monsters II, nobody believes you about the island sinking, especially not powerful Monster Masters. Not even your character's parents believe you.
Catch Phrase - The King in the first game. "Busy, busy, busy..."
Chest Monster - The mimic line — Cannibox, Mimic, and Pandora's Box. They make good monsters if you capture one — good spells, very good attack, the only drawback being low MP... which is fixable. There are pot and statue versions, as well.
Com Mons - Slime and the other Mascot Mooks et al. In Joker 2, they gave this a nod in the "X/XY" system. Every family (other than ???) has an "X" and "XY" monster, based on the common monster of that family — Slime, Dragon, Conklave, etc, and breeding them with themselves results in a higher tier version of the same critter. This can be repeated again for a still higher tier version of the same Com Mons you ran into at the start of the game.
To elaborate: You can get a Rank C Slime X by breeding 2 level 20 Rank F Slimes, and you can get a Rank S Slime XY by breeding 2 level 50 Slime Xs. These variants look exactly the same as the original variants, but have much higher stat growth and caps, and in the case of the XY versions they have a bonus "Ultimate" skilltree thrown in, as well.
They try and fail to make the standard Slime a lethal joke monster by giving them Mega magic, but the effort to breed one actually able to get that move is far less effective than just getting a Rainhawk that would be a superior monster. However they succeed in Joker by making it part of the Disc 1 nuke.....
They also suceed in the first two games in a different way, Slimes are really common and easy to recruit. Another common monsters are those of Insect family and Beast family. After you can breed, breed Slime with an insect for a Snaily, who has high attack, massive defense and agility, and decent all around stats, and grows at ridiculous rate. With a Beast, you get the Spotslime who has good growth rate, and decent stats. And if you reach +5 with the slime, you can get a Spotking, who has awesome stats and still retain its growth rate, and has tons of inherited skills(especialy if you add a Healer in the middle of the process).
Defeat Means Friendship - Happens sometimes in the pre-Joker games. Chances are improved by feeding the enemies meat in battle.
In Joker, a variation is used through scouting. You don't actually HURT the the target monster when scouting, but you "show them your strength". Depending on how strong your mons are, the target may join you in admiration or refuse to be dragged around with weaklings.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat - A rather interesting case of this being meta: The early online tournaments for Joker were, of course, teaming with cheaters. Naturally, this means that the tournament scene would be littered with nothing but Gold/Darkonium/King Metal Slimes, (thus making the whole ordeal incredibly painful) right? Nope, you run into teams with three different forms of Incarnus, which absolutely sucks compared to the metal slimes. One could argue that it's to get their name higher on the tournament list (which is, by the way, horribly skewed), but... come on.
In the original Japanese release, Incarnus was marked as "guest", meaning he wasn't usable in the online tournament at all — and the Japanese tournament servers had better sanity checking code to prevent things like using 3 versions of him at once.
Disc One Nuke - Players with knowledge of how Slimes turn into King Slimes*
8 Slimes jump together and fuse.
allows for an early game, powerful monster in the first 2 games — any Slime that is +5 or above, bred with another Slime, results in a King Slime with vastly improved stats and spells. In Joker, this was turned into a "Quad Fusion" — any monster with 4 grandparents who are Slimes is a King Slime. King Slimes in Joker are Rank C, which means you can jump from Rank F to Rank C in one go, skipping the first 3rd of the game. In addition, King Slime is one of only 2 monsters (the other being a postgame exclusive dragon diety) that receives "Courage" (mistranslated as "Cleric" in the US version) as a skillset. Courage is based off the Dragon Quest III hero's skillset, and thus includes the best physical attack, lighting spell, and healing magic in the game, meaning that not only is the King Slime a huge stat increase, it has incredible abilities, to boot.
The King Slime combine was nerfed in Joker 2 due to this specific problem, but a pair of similar combines were added in it's place — Great Sabercat (breed 4 Great Sabercat Cubs) and Great Dracky (4 Drackys), both monsters available in the first map. These two monsters have downsides (traits that make them sub-par) but can be bred away to make other rank C monsters that are equally powerful, and still allow you to skip ranks F, E, and D.
In both Joker and Joker 2, you can simply breed monsters to get a similar monster of the same rank. In Joker 2, doing this enough times in the same rank will move you up a rank, no matter what — for example, breeding a Beast monster and continually choosing the Beast monster child will have you go through 1-3 "generic" beast monsters for that rank. Upon reaching the final generic monster of said rank, breeding again with almost anything will cause the resultant child to be a generic monster of the next highest rank, all the way up to Rank A (there are no generic rank S monsters). With enough time and effort, it's entirely possible to have an entire team of Rank A monsters the second you can breed monsters, trivializing the rest of the game.
Manipulating Slimes combination in the first two games can lead to this. Taken Up to Eleven in the second game, after you can breed, you also get Sailor Ring which increases defense growth. You started with a Slime and its likely that you caught some Insects. Snaily +1 equipped with Sailor Ring while levelling its first few levels can Solo the Aquatic wild monsters of the second world after a bit of grinding(while having awesome spells from Slimes to boot).
If you want to take it further, the second world supplied you with monsters with awesome skillsets, namely Healers, and the optional mandatory recruitted Octo. The third world(which the same Snaily can solo relatively well with a +3 and a Sailor Ring enchanced growth) has Grizzly who has some useful skills, and there's an Armorpede breeding opportunity ready to make some vicious Snaily that can solo the entire main game from that point while making the lower class Tournaments a total joke(and get a Magic Key for another nuke).
In particular for DQM2, the simple, low cost, and easy to obtain Increase spell (which raises the defense of your entire party when used). Up until the Sky World (which is past the halfway point of the main game), very few enemies have skills that deal damage regardless of defense, have support moves to weaken, or just simply have really high attack to still hurt you despite defense boosts. So to get through anything up past the halfway point, you can simply use the Increase spell a few times in a battle and then be left completely untouchable (especially easy if you're using high defense monsters).
Dub Name Change - Pretty much a given. Most notable with Caravan Heart and the Joker games.
Outside of Japan, most of the boss monsters and their new names had an Early-Bird Cameo because of this (as their respective games had not come out yet overseas).
Early Bird Boss: The Hood Squid, the third boss of DQM2 and the first boss of the Pirate world, is the first boss to pose a real threat to the player. While it doesn't have that threatening of skills and its stats aren't outrageous, it's much stronger and durable than anything the player has fought thus far, while the player doesn't have that strong of monsters nor have monsters with access to much skills (as well as likely lacking any healing skills).
Excuse Plot: In fact, the game doesn't even bother. The framing (i.e. the Monster Scout Challenge) is exactly the same as what the creators were thinking: "go catch some monsters".
Expy - Warden Trump is totally not Gendo Ikari; he even does the GendoPose. Compounded by the NERV / CELL connection, and the fact that his quiet son has four friends who have a strong connection to heavenly beings.
Evil Twin - Terry? in the first game, who looked like an older version of the protagonist wielding a sword. This may have been intentionally done for die-hard fans of the series; see Shout Out below.
Fire, Ice, Lightning - Played with here. Lightning and Darkness are used in some of the strongest spells and skills. Wind is a better fit for the "typical element trio" than either of those.
The Chick - Hawkhart (YMMV? It's certainly the most feminine of the five!)
This leads to the generally accepted theory that Wulfspade started in Ace Mode but the orc knocked him back to normal mode, so while he goes back into Ace Mode the other four take over.
Forced Level Grinding - In Joker, when you have to deal with quadrilinear synthesis, you'll have to do a ton of grinding to raise and synthesise the ridiculous requirements, many of which require high end metallic slimes (which in turn require you to get a lot of the very difficult and annoying to get lower end metal slimes).
Fusion Dance - What "breeding" has been presented as since Joker. Potentially a Woolseyism, as it explains where the "parents" disappear to, averts Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, and allows for the third "gender" used in the breeding system (neutral, as opposed to positive and negative). The lack of defined genders also can be a relief for some people who would otherwise go to the trouble of catching a monster again if it turned out to be a girl after planning to give it a boy's name.
Global Currency Exception - There's an NPC in both of the first two games who will trade you medals for rare monster eggs. Including the Big Bad, once you beat the game. ...Uh. In Caravan Heart, it's medals for rare monster hearts.
Gotta Catch 'Em All - You get bonuses for it. Although some people just pick one or two families until the post-game.
Guide Dang It - Breeding most of the boss-type monsters. (Some are based on Dragon Quest mythos, such as the boss of Dragon Quest II requiring his Dragon as one of it's parents.)
"Quadrilinear" synthesis combos were especially bad about this in Joker, with nearly all of them requiring ridiculous and nonsensical combinations.
Dragon Quest Monsters 2 had the Dream Egg system, which would allow you to get any monster in the game, except for the three hidden monsters (contrary to popular belief). While the game gives you a vague description of how it works, how it really works (which is really convoluted) is not explained.
Infinity–1 Sword - The higher rank monsters of the non-??? monster families in the various games, as well as any of the bosses that join you automatically. Most of the series' Dragons are included in the "higher rank monsters" list, and most of those are used in the creation of Infinity+1 Sword monsters.
DQM1 / DQM2: Any of the bosses that join you automatically (especially early game), any metal slime family monster.
Caravan Heart: Reincarnated human party members.
Joker: King Slime (VERY easily available, gets an overpowered skilltree based on the Dragon Quest III hero's spells and abilities)
Joker 2: Swarm, Conklave (Swarm gets 5-6 hits a turn and can equip anti-Metal Slime weapons, Conklave gets 4 hits per attack, attacks 1-2 times a turn, and can equip anti-Metal Slime weapons). Joker 2 also added specific Infinity–1 Sword monsters, in the form of X (Rank C) and XY (Rank S) versions of iconic Rank F monsters (Slime, Green Dragon, Conklave, etc). You get these by breeding 2 of the normal monsters together when they're level 20, or in the case of XY, by breeding 2 Xs at level 50.
Joker 2 Professional: Any monster can now do the X/XY system, meaning that with work, you can turn any monster in the game into a Rank S IMOS. (This also means there are over 800 monsters in the game. But hey, nobody argued with Battle Road Victory.)
Part of the Level Grinding will come naturally, as you attempt, for the Four Hundred Billionth Time, to get a certain monster you need for a combination to join you.
Lost Forever - Averted. Every monster can be bred later (with some very specific exceptions — Watabou / Warubou, for example), and most of the games have randomization for items, meaning that the Sirloin you just wasted is replaceable. Even the spoilered monsters are available using the Dream Egg system in Dragon Quest Monsters 2, although, well goodluck.
If you don't know anyone else who plays: Captain Crow wasn't quite this in Joker 1 (you just had to re-find and re-fight him after using him up), but in Joker 2 once he's used, he's gone. The workaround is to use the game's Tag Mode — Tag Mode enables you to capture a friend's monsters, at the cost of the resulting monster being a "guest" and thus unusable in online play. Fortunately the "guest" tag can be removed after 5-20 generations of breeding.
Played straight in Joker, though - the servers went down on the last day of March! (The same day as the launch of Joker 2 Professional in Japan.)
Luck-Based Mission - In Joker, to gain brief access to the Metal Menagerie (a place consisting entirely of metal slimes), without buying a pricey and one holdable at a time Metal Ticket, the player has to complete Madam Rummy's "Slime Challenge" (where you have to defeat a certain number of slimes in her garden before time runs out). Clearing the challenge though is a tedious process that requires luck to win; the spawning locations aren't consistent, the amount of Slimes in each encounter is random (usually it's the max amount of 3, but it can randomly be less), and the Slimes will randomly use the skill "Clang", a first strike move which makes them impervious to anything thrown at them that turn (essentially it wastes time, when you're on a time limit). So to win the challenge, you have to hope the Slimes spawn favorably, you don't get individuals or groups of two when you encounter them, and that they don't use Clang too much.
Magikarp Power - Through skilled breeding and training, any monster can have any skill, and completely maxed-out stats. Or at least, in the first two games.
An example is the humble Slime. The first monster you get in every game except Joker/Joker 2 (where it's the first monster you catch), Slimes can learn Madante (Magic burst), the most powerful magic spell in the game. Or at least, could, if they could ever hope to get their stats that high.
Metal Slime monsters tend to be this. At the start, they only have a decent defense and speed stat, and their unique immunity to magic — but defense scales oddly, meaning their single digit hit points won't save them. They also level up slower than anything else in the game. However, give them a few levels, and perhaps a few healing or support abilities, and they become some of the most game breaking monsters you can use.
Mascot Mook - The iconic Slime is usually the first monster you get or capture, and in each game the Slimes make up an entire evolution tree on their own, with a few of them being designed specifically for the Mons games.
Metal Slime - And Liquid Metal Slime, and Metal King Slime, and Metal Kaiser Slime, and Gold Slime... Somewhat difficult to catch, but makes incredible monsters as when they are a part of your team, they retain the outrageous agility, defense, and immunity to negative status and all magic... But gain more than single digit hit points and actually get good spells.
Taken Up to Eleven in Joker 2 Professional — Liquid Metal King Slime, which is a giant flying Liquid Metal Slime. Why? Why not!?
Mons - Of course. Amusingly, the game isn't a (total) ripoff of Pokémon — the monster system is much more in depth, and the main series has had monster catching all the way back in Dragon Quest V for the Super Nintendo, while Pokémon was still in development, and wouldn't be released for three years. (The timing is right that some fans suggest that elements of Pokémon were inspired by Dragon Quest V's monster catching.) Of course, much of Pokémon's game mechanics (along with every other JRPG) take a page from the book of Dragon Quest.
Missing Secret - Robbin' Hood in Joker. It can't be found in-game, synthesized, OR won online. The only way to get one in-game was to complete both the Monster and Skill libraries... Which would've required a Robbin' Hood in the first place. Leopold, Empyrea and Trode became these once the wi-fi tournaments for Joker stopped. Empyrea and Trode required ALL monsters (including them) and Leopold required a complete skill library (including a skillset that only Leopold had).
Mythology Gag - Every single dungeon in the first Dragon Quest Monsters is based on an iconic boss fight from a previous Dragon Quest game. For example, the first 2 dungeons are from Dragon Quest I, and have you fighting the Golem and Dragon, who join you. A dummied out version of the Dragon Quest VI bonus dungeon was also included, but removed for time. Dragon Quest Monsters 2 has "evolved" versions of all the iconic bosses, such as Asura Zoma, Lord Dragon, et cetera, as well. You discover in Caravan Hearts most of the way through the game that you're in the world of Dragon Quest II, centuries after the events of the original series.
Joker 2 was announced at E3 2011 for a US release, but not the Joker 2 Professional version released in March, which added over 500 new monsters, rebalanced the game, and added post game content. In addition, the online multiplayer aspect of the game will be completely disabled due to the servers running the 2 Professional software, which is not compatible with Joker 2. The original version was still a fantastic game, however, and the Professional version might come anyway in the future (if it sells well) due to Nintendo's habit of localizing all the latest Dragon Quest games. Either way, given Nintendo of America's track record for localizing Dragon Quest games, it's likely we'll get the 3DS DQM, which is bound to be a massive improvement over J 2 P due to new hardware.
Localization was actually completed around the time Pro was released. It's theorized that release was delayed because it could never compete with Pokemon Black And White..
Olympus Mons - Most of the bosses from the main series, and all of the ones from the game itself, are recruitable, mostly through breeding, with Mythology Gag after Mythology Gag included in the process. For example, to get the true last boss of Dragon Quest II, you need to use his dragon. In most of the games, the last boss is available using Mini Medals after you finish the credits.
One Game for the Price of Two - Dragon Quest Monsters 2 came in two versions, Cobi's Journey and Tara's Adventure. The main differences between the two lied not in the main quest (although they had different random encounter tables), but in the Playable Epilogue, where both versions featured completely different bonus worlds to explore. Each one had its own little plot. And, of course, following the trope to the letter, the best (non-randomly generated) bonus world required an item from both games to access.
The almost immediate re-release of Joker 2 as Joker 2 Professional may be seen as this as well. A persistent rumor is that they discovered a game breaking multiplayer glitch and had to patch it, and used the modifications to the game to justify forcing people to upgrade.
Plot hole - Terry and Milayou in Dragon Quest VI are a badass swordsman and a Distressed Damsel but in these games? Incredible monster tamers/breeders. Especially bad since as revered champions in the Kingdoms they fight for in the local tourneys you would think someone would go look for them especially since Milayou was last seen dating the prince of one of those kingdoms. Or that they would use a warpwing to get back or use a warp tile like in DQM1 or doors in DQM2. While it is possible for them to have lost all their keys and items that allowed interdimensional travel its never explained what happened to their monsters or why Terry is now a swordsman or you get the picture at this point.
Power Nullifier - Mute status effects for spellcasters, surround status effects for melee, "trip" and other "waste a turn" effects for everyone.
Regional Bonus: The overseas release of Joker 2 fixed some bugs. As well, the formerly nigh-unscoutable meddle slime (which is an early game Metal Slime) could be scouted as a regular Metal Slime, which is a boon because, being a different enemy, the lowered scout rate from scouting an already scouted monster does not apply.
Samus Is a Girl - The "Mystery Trainer" in the original whom everyone speaks of in fearful terms. But not only is she a girl, she's your sister. You know, the one you THOUGHT you were "rescuing?"
Secret Character - In Dragon Quest Monsters 2, there are three hidden monsters (Dimensaur, Lamia, and Kagebou), that can't be legitimately obtained ingame by any means. The game's library will also never have any data on them or even count them (even after you obtain the monsters). The only way they could be obtained were through prizes from promotional contests (though since these contest have long since stopped happening, the only way to get them now is through cheat devices). Many myths and theories were thought of to get these monsters ingame, particularly through the Dream Egg system, but all of them have been debunked or never had any proof to back up the claims.
Shout Out - In the first game, the main character's default name is Terry, and his kidnapped sister's name is Milayou. In Dragon Quest VI, there are two characters that have those names SPECIFICALLY, and Terry is searching for Milayou in both games. Moreover, the boss of the last required gate makes you fight against a swordsman named "Terry?" who is implied to have sold his soul to become the strongest swordsman in the world, just like Terry of DQVI. "Terry?" even tells the main character to take care of his sister and not lose himself to the pursuit of power.
As an aside, Terry and Milayou in Dragon Quest VI are the ones who help you catch and add certain monsters to your party, making his starring role in Dragon Quest Monsters all that sweeter.
Every single dungeon in the original Dragon Quest Monsters ends with your character entering an iconic room from a different Dragon Quest game, and fighting a boss from said game. They even had plans to (but dummied out) add a 99 floor dungeon that ended in the Bonus Boss of Dragon Quest VI — "Dark Dream" / Nokturnus, the local Satan analogue.
Spell My Name with an S - Happens often from one game to the next. You should be able to easily figure out who is who though.
Spin-Off - The entire series to Dragon Quest, but more specifically, Caravan Hearts is a direct spinoff of Dragon Quest VII — Keifer is sucked into the Dragon Quest II world (a few centuries after the events of the Loto/Erdrick trilogy) and has to fix things that have gone wrong in the years since a hero last visited.
Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road is a spin off to this spin off.
Start of Darkness: In Joker, Dr. Snap's stolen research notes at CELL HQ suggest that dark matter can actually corrupt the heart of human beings. While there's no doubt that Dr. Snap was probably evil from the start, researching dark matter may have started it.
Rank Inflation - Classes of monsters in Joker go from F to A, then S (for Japanese "shin", aka "perfect"), then X. In Joker 2, they renamed X as "SS".
That's because Your sister that you were supposed to be "rescuing" is the "Mystery Trainer."
Randomly Generated Levels - DQM 1 had nothing but a City of Adventure and dungeons that were completely randomly generated, making it a very simplistic Roguelike. DQM 2 added some more static areas, but also random worlds (including random towns, random bosses, and 1-10 random dungeons each). Caravan Heart had a very static world map (it was the map from Dragon Quest II set centuries after the events of that game) but had very random dungeons. Joker and Joker 2 mostly removed this element of the series to make way for the 3D, although Joker 2's "Hell" has random elements to it.
Royals Who Actually Do Something - In the second game, the king of the Desert World actually goes out to address the concerns of his people instead of just sitting on his throne like every other member of royalty in the series.
Tastes Like Friendship - In the first two games, you can woo monsters to your side by feeding them quality meat.
Urban Legend of Zelda - Many theories have popped up on methods to legitimately obtaining the three secret monsters ingame in DQM2. As per typical for the trope, the proposed methods have ridiculous requirements, such as breeding an Orligon and Divinegon together who are both level 99, +99, and with maxed stats, while only having a 1/3 of working to get a Dimensaur, or some variation of the most popular "feed multiples of every possible item to a Dream Egg and then get only a miniscule chance of getting one of the three monsters when you finally hatch the egg". All of these theories have been debunked nor shown any proof of; in particular the popular Dream Egg myth was debunked when it has been figured out that the egg would get "full" (and thus would not accept any more items) before you could give it just 2 of every possible item.
Updated Rerelease - DQM 1+2 PSX, a Playstation remake of Dragon Quest Monsters 1 and 2, with improved graphics and the ability to do various things cross generations (breed between a DQM and DQM2 save, for example). Currently being fan translated.
Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 Professional, an Updated Rerelease... of a game that was out less than 6 months. 100 new monsters, new maps (possibly including the grotto system from Dragon Quest IX) and re-balancing tweaks.
Terry's Wonderland 3D, a remake of the first game. We don't know the details, but it's said its roster will include all the monsters from Joker 2 Professional.
Useless Useful Spell - Subverted. The status effect spells are actually pretty useful, especially against other Tamers. This is a common theme amongst the mons series and Dragon Quest proper; the tendency for western gamers to ignore these spells is what gives Dragon Quest such a reputation for Level Grind.
Villain with Good Publicity - Snap in Joker. To the point where everyone thinks that he was the one who saved the world, and people continue to believe that he was the good guy long after you beat the game.
Warmup Boss: In DQM2, the first boss Beavern fulfills this role, being a simplistic boss with no threatening skills. He's only slightly stronger than the normal enemies you been fighting, and is there to give players experience against an enemy that could pose a threat to them if they're playing poorly.
Your dad and his "evil" orgainsation might actually be one, since they seek to wipe out all the monsters. You know the ones that constantly attack and kill humans, and those demons who keep trying to destroy the world.