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- Every Monster Rancher game has a mountain of hidden stats, such as monster lifespan, fatigue, and stress. While these are all numerical values, you can never see said numbers, and the games generally don't tell you how they affect your monster—or how various items affect those stats. Because you almost have to micromanage your monster's stats, this can get extremely frustrating.
Monster Rancher 1
- To obtain a Ghost, have a monster's nature at Bad or Worst, raise it to Class C, and let it die. Unlock a new monster from the Shrine and enter the first tournament possible. This will give you a 1 in 16 chance at having your monster be cursed. Holly will notice a strange mark on your monster the following week, and you can use this monster in combining for a Ghost.
- To unlock Doodle you need to raise a pure Monol (Monol/Monol) and max his fame to 100. He must also be a C rank minimum. Then you need to decrease his fame a lot (around or below 25). He will then appear drawn all over as a Scribble, a special sub-breed for Monol. Finally you must mix him in the lab with any other monster to get him.
- The combination seasoning for the Dragon needs to be used with a Dino/Naga and a Naga/Dino in order to successfully create and unlock the breed.
- No unlockable breeds except ??? monsters are available from CD, meaning you'll have to recollect the combination items or get those specific CDs if you want to breed that monster beyond the first type you get.
Monster Rancher 2
- The New Years' Cup seems designed to kill monsters if you don't know what it is ahead of time, as it has a low 500G purse and is Rank F, which going by the alphabet would mean weaker then the standard E Cup. The F actually stands for free-for-all, and if you enter a fresh monster you'll be faced with A level monsters and likely end up killed.
- Getting the Niton, Zilla, and the Undine species requires you to raise a Hopper to Rank B, then have it on your farm during December through February with 0 fatigue and less than 30 stress. It will dig up a hot springs with an Undine slate. While getting the hot springs automatically nets you an item that you can use to fuse and make an Undine, the game only hints that you've now unlocked Niton by saying other water creatures can be raised—the only way to find out for sure is by trying to regenerate a disk with a Niton on it. Zilla also requires the springs, but has the added caveat of defeating the Zilla King in battle through Torble Seas errantries.
- Going on expeditions in 2 fall on specific weeks with specific requirements to be met, none of which are mentioned. Finding certain items and monster unlocks is also only possible with high enough INT, with some requiring 500 INT or more.
- Torles Expedition: Week 1 February, C-rank minimum, must have 210 Life and 50 Fame.
- Parepare Expedition: Week 1 October, C-Rank minimum, must have 140 Life and 40 Fame.
- Kawrea Expedition after the first: Week 1 June, B-Rank minimum, must have 280 Life and 50 Fame.
- Unlocking the Beaklon/Beaclon in Monster Rancher 2 requires you to raise any Worm to be at least four years old. Over the course of its life, it must consume 30 Cup Jelly items, and cannot be past C Rank. On the fourth week in June, it must have 80+ loyalty, 0 fatigue, and very low (<7) stress. If all of the conditions are met, it will metamorphose into a Beaklon. If you screwed up somewhere, it turns into a Worm hybrid monster.
- Unlocking a Mock requires you to raise a tree from seeds at the item shop, gotten by being B-rank, for many years until it dies, and to have at least one monster die. What makes this worse is that if you get all of the shop's expanded stock before hitting B rank, you miss out on Mock for good.
- To unlock Wracky, you have to have a monster with high Fame beat at least 1 of the Major 4 tourneys. You'll get a Wracky doll in the mail, and after you let a monster die, a Wracky will appear in your barn.
- For a Ducken, you need to get the 5 doll parts from Random Drops of Cup Jelly, and do it again after finding glue from a mountain exploration.
- Unlocking Joker, which requires you to explore a well-hid area in Kawrea and have a small chance to get the item, which can be hard to find even with INT over 500. Can lead to repeated Soft Reset if it won't spawn.
- Unlocking Ghost involves letting a monster die and giving it a shrine, not a cheap funeral. After five years, you get the chance to upgrade its shrine if you have enough money. Then, after another five years, you get another chance to upgrade the shrine, and you'll need more money for it. Say yes, and a year later you'll find a stick, which you can use to combine two monsters to finally be able to get Ghost.
- Unlocking Metalner in 2 requires that you have beaten two of the Major 4 and have upgraded your stable at least twice. Starting in the first week of September, as long as the weather is clear, you will randomly get an event that has Metalners visit your farmland. This event must be repeated for the next two consecutive weeks (likewise with clear weather), and on the last one, you get an item to take to the Shrine and unlock Metalner. You're going to need to do some Save Scumming once you're in the last week of August because sometimes the events will not occur.
- To unlock a Jill, it requires an expedition to the Torles mountain and a monster with 500 INT for the Big Footsteps to show up, in an area in the top-right corner of the very large map. Then you need to send a B-Rank or above monster on the Papas Mountains Errantry and there's a random chance for Bighand to show up. You have to defeat Bighand to get the Big Boots for combining and unlocking the Jill, but Bighand's stats are on par with the Major 4.
- Gold Suezo can only be found by combining a Silver and Bronze Suezo.
- The wild monster King Ape can only be found with a B-Rank or higher monster in the Parepare Jungle, but only after the shop sells Magic Bananas but before it sells Nageel. Any time after that, it's locked out forever.
- Several tournaments/bosses are also hidden:
- The three strongest opponents are only found in the FIMBA vs IMA match, a Tournament that only appears once every several years, needs you to qualify for it by winning a tournament a month before that (this get explained in game and said match is often found by coincidence), and to face them you need to be Rank S and above. Then, after you can actually enter the Tournament and fulfill the requirements, you need to Soft Reset until the game Randomly Drops said monster for you to fight, but the chance is really slim for meeting even one of those monsters. The closest you can get to a hint comes in Fridge Brilliance (it's a meetup battle between two continents, so it's a normal thing to expect them to have powerful monsters that is at least on par with the Major 4 instead of the standard S class you usually meet).
- Elder Cup. The game never tells you about the match, and unlike other special matches, the game doesn't even give a confirmation message with in-game mail. Your monster must be at least 6 years and 3 months old and the Freshmen Cup will be changed into this. Monsters are very unlikely to live this long unless you rigorously follow a guide's training methods.
- Combining monsters effectively also requires a guide.
- It used the raw numbers of the monsters as a base;
- Then corrected them by multiplying by the level of gain for the stat;
- Puts those stats in rank order 1-6 by tie-breaking;
- Then compares the rank order between monsters to see how many of them match up;
- Then looks at the baby's stat baseline order to see how well it matches with the parents, also having the growth multipliers applied to it for stat order. Unless there is very high coordination between these elements, the monsters combined will simply not be that good.
- What Disc Chips do on combining. Different chips give different effects, such as stat bonus, battle specials, additional lifespan, etc.
- Several monsters' tech chains are rather convoluted.
- Hare's Kung Fu Kick chains from Kung Fu Fist and then Spin Kick.
- ColorPandora's Delta Attack, an INT tech, chains from Triple Shot, a POW tech.
- A huge amount of Bajarl's big techs chains from Right Jab and its following techs.
Monster Rancher Battle Card
- There is absolutely nothing to indicate that there's anything after getting the Master Rank in the GB game. You have to fight Holly/Colt once more to unlock the final dungeon.
- A-Rank tournaments in the PS1 game don't have monsters listed in their titles, but by winning them you get two monster cards.
- Mixed-breed monsters can be found throughout the PS1 game if you're playing on Hard Mode, but unlocking them yourself requires you to get every main monster card in the game and win them randomly as prizes.
- Unlocking Gray Wolf in the PS1 game requires you to visit the Lab 50 times, and you need to visit another location before going back to the Lab for it to count as another visit.
Monster Rancher 3
- Certain rivals only appear at certain training locations, which isn't hinted at.
- The unlockable monsters are not hinted at anywhere, and you can go the entire game without knowing you've unlocked them. Pancho, Durahan, and Dragon unlock automatically when you beat certain ranks, but the game doesn't tell you this, while others must meet specific conditions to unlock.
- To unlock Joker, your monster must be at least Rank A, trained in Goat, and have all storylines in other locations complete. You'll be warned of a trainer named Kai. Once he arrives, defeat his Naga, and he will invite you to a tournament on the second week of November. Once you beat the tournament you can unlock Joker. Jokers are quite difficult to obtain even after you unlock them, as they require specific discs and don't have in-game saucer stones.
- To unlock Zan, your monster must be at least Rank S, trained in Brillia, and have all storylines in other locations complete. After monsters ambush you, a man named Nahze will show up with a Zan. Defeat the Zan, and he will give you a Black Egg to unlock at the shrine. Zans are quite difficult to obtain even after you unlock them, as they require specific discs and don't have in-game saucer stones.
Monster Rancher 4
- During the missing Mocchi quest at Kalaragi Jungle, the exit doesn't spawn on floor 6 while there are 7 floors total. If you don't know that you have to go to a specific spot in a specific room of the exitless floor (dead center in the topmost circular room), you may think something's wrong with the game and turn back, gaining a lot of tiredness in the process.
- Rainbow Discs are only found in post-game dungeons and, aside from conventional rare monsters, can create 4 specific breeds that cannot be found with any CD or DVD, including Flazer, KingTutDuck, Blobster, and ArborMogi.
- The game never hints at it, but if you keep talking to specific shopkeepers over and over and over again, they will upgrade their shop. Certain food items can only be bought from upgraded shops and many people have gone through the entire story without knowing about the shop upgrades, thinking that these items can only be won in tournaments.
- Chaos Monsters, found in Rainbow Discs, can be combined with the Antlan Rangers to make Dark Antlan, which is never hinted at in-game.
Monster Rancher Advance 2
- Unlocking the Serket (a special sub-species of Arrowhead) requires you to create a purebred Arrowhead with a fully Arrowhead family tree, in which each Arrowhead was A-level or higher, and combine it with a Joker at B-level or higher.
- Advance 2 has examples taken from nods to previous games, and the anime.
- The Ragnaroks comes from the Monol - Gali myth whose origin can be traced back to the first game and Ragnaroks' card entry in the second game.
- Phoenix, which requires you to get 5 orbs from Mocchi, Golem, Suezo, Hare, and Tiger, referencing the Phoenix in the anime whose soul was split into those five monsters.
- Unlocking the Doodle requires you to raise a Garu-type monster to a specific level, with certain stats, and have it look in a very specific place in one of the ruins after having unlocked every other monster species.
Monster Rancher DS
- You're warned about turning the game off without saving, but what happens if you do is not obvious at first—your monster's combining potential is drastically lowered.
- What the technique symbols mean is hard to guess at first, with the move ranking system going X, Triangle, Square, Circle, Double Circle, and Star instead of E-S like most other games.
- Some monsters can be found through explorations, but only on certain months and certain locations; Joker is found during March on Angsworth Way.
- Henger is an unusual case in that it's found on your ranch by a tree, but it must be after year 1005 and you must be at least Rank B.
- Zan's expedition is very time-consuming, as once you're Rank B you must find seven event crystals in a certain order at Kalaragi Jungle.
- Beaklon is found at Murmouge Coast during Summer, and challenges you to an arm-wrestling competition. If you fail this, you're unable to unlock Beaklon at all as he will not respawn due to a bug.