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Video Game / Monster Racers

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Anyone who's familiar with more than one Mons Series has probably noticed at least one primary thing about them: Overwhelmingly, they tend to be combat-oriented. Sure, there's the occasional Pet Interface among them, but even then, outside of the friendly virtual-pet interface, monsters like to fight each other. Someone at Koei must have looked at this, and thought, "Well, why do monsters have to do bodily harm to each other to be fun? How about monsters who engage in some healthy competition, like, say... racing?"

As you might've gleaned from the title, the 2010 Nintendo DS game Monster Racers is exactly that. A monster-raising game where, instead of fighting each other, monsters engage in friendly races with one another. The game combines the monster-catching and stat-building of the Mons genre with two-dimensional, Platformer-style races. Not only does it buck the turn-based RPG trend, it also does away with convention by being set in the real world (well, "real"). The presence of strange monsters is explained (sort of) by the fact that, a few years ago, a random, star-shaped island appeared in the Pacific Ocean, and shortly after it appeared, monsters that love racing each other started appearing on all the continents.


One thing that isn't unfamiliar, however: You play as a young boy or girl on a quest to become the world's greatest monster racer. That quest will take you not only to Star Island, but all around the world, from the Australian Outback to Mt. Fuji and beyond. On your quest, you'll take on the Star Seven—the greatest racers from each continent—and maybe a few villains as well. Good luck with that!

Not to be confused with Monster Rancher, which is a simulation series.


This game contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Bruce just can't get Misaki's name right. She eventually suspects he's doing it just to mess with her. When he does finally get it right, he has no idea why she's so shocked. Or is he?
  • Aerith and Bob: Unavoidable, given the international nature of the cast. The main group of kids includes Misaki, Gen, and Zoltan, with enemies Rosalita and Don Jung. Oddly, the Star Seven all have very Western names, including Japanese Edwin...except for Tatanya.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: All of them, even if they're in India. All deserts have oases too, it seems.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The Sweden Cup, one of the very last tournaments you can unlock, has every single terrain type in it, serving as a culmination of all you've seen in the game.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: And look for the telltale sparkle on the ground that indicates Star Crystals are there.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Actually inverted for once: The Japanese boxart has a rather fierce looking picture of Furion, while the American boxart focuses on the very cheerful protagonists.
  • Anime Hair: Edwin, which may be invoked in that he's the Asian Star Seven member. Moses too, to a lesser extent.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Done three times for the final boss: At first, from a storyline perspective, it seems obvious that it's Elder Aku, and indeed, said does appear to you after you beat the gauntlet of Recurring Bosses he set up for you... but then the camera pans away to reveal the True Final Boss... Professor Olaf! Except that the professor just bungled in there, and the real final boss is actually Misaki! Surprise! Played with some more in the post-game content, when it turns out the two fake bosses actually are even harder bosses.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Spanish translation is a bit bad, but in a funny way at least.
  • But Thou Must!: If you don't want to take Misaki on as your assistant, your PC's dialogue option is thoughtful, polite, and appropriate as a rejection. You think she's having any of that? Of course not.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Moses. Given that he has Anime Hair to the extreme, it's probably bleached.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted. As you go through the game and win tournaments, your fame builds, and you actually start to build up a fanbase. People do indeed treat you better because of it.
  • Elemental Powers: Done in a different fashion from most, in that a monster's elemental powers factor in what surfaces they're best at running over. So fire-type monsters can run on lava without taking damage, and water-type ones can swim at full speed.
  • Escape Rope: There's the regular Rope Ladder, which returns you to the map screen, and there's the Warp Ladder, which immediately takes you home. There's really no difference between them, though, since there's really no reason you can't go straight home from the world map.
  • Goomba Stomp: Jumping on your opponents will damage them and temporarily slow them down.
  • Mascot Mook: Furion, in addition to featuring prominently on the box art, is also the signature monster of current Master Reinhart. However, it's actually one of the Olympus Mons, and one of the very last you're likely to catch.
  • Monster Wrongs Group: You get kidnapped by a group of them in Africa, but they let you go when they find out you're nice to monsters. Moses is similarly serious about the treatment of monsters, but he's much more laid-back. He won't challenge you until you've proven your kindness to monsters to him, however.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Implicit with a number of the Eurasian monsters, many of whom have high Power.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Monster racing has been around for ten years, but aside from a little Mad Science here and there and the ease with which you can travel the world, not much is different.
  • Nitro Boost: They're littered around the courses. The Great Barrier Reef also has special wave-shaped ones.
  • Olympus Mons: Each continent has its own legendary monster, which becomes available in the Playable Epilogue. They're all based on legendary mythical beings from that continent's history (except North America's, which is based on Tyrannosaurus rex), and it's implied that they were the inspiration for those beings.
  • Palette Swap:
    • This is a power you as the player actually have. You can give your monsters "Monster Orbs," which allow them to change color. The more orbs you give them, the more dramatically you can change their colors. It also helps unlock new skills, as a bonus.
    • And let's not forget Exotic monsters! Exotic monsters are essentially this game's version of Shinies- they literally are palette swaps, they're significantly harder to find (and harder to befriend, too), and using Monster Orbs, while increasing their loyalty, doesn't change their palette. They also get a significantly cooler encounter theme.
  • Playable Epilogue: Wondered about those strange altars scattered across the globe, in all the various dungeons you visited? Of course you did! Once you beat the game, a whole new story arc opens up where you can explore them all to meet the game's Olympus Mons.
  • Post-Final Boss: Misaki. The previous boss fight is against three of the toughest racers in the game all at once, on a battlefield filled with ups, downs, and lava, and their monsters have absolutely brutal skills and turbos. By comparison, even though Misaki has a legendary monster, the battlefield is relatively mundane, and has an easy-to-run-on surface. You also only have to race one person at a time.
  • Power Crystal: All of the monsters have one or more on their body somewhere.
  • Pre Existing Encounters: You can also use an item to freeze them in place and avoid battle, but some of them don't move anyway.
  • Punny Name: The game overfloweth with them. The traveling billionaire Phil T. Rich, for example...
  • Recurring Boss: You must rematch all of the Star Seven in a row before facing the final boss.
  • The Rival: Zoltan, whose name alone clues you in to his attitude.
  • RPG Elements: Monsters have stats, skills, and levels, and your gain EXP from races, but races aren't like RPG fights at all.
  • Secret Test of Character: The whole game is one. Misaki and her grandfather were trying to find people worthy of looking after the monsters and ensure they never fall into bad hands.
  • Sequential Boss: Before facing the final boss, you must rematch each of the Star Seven. You do get breaks in-between to save, but trying to leave or losing means you have to start all over again.
  • Shiny Sense: Star Crystals on the ground have a telltale sparkle.
  • Shop Fodder: As a substitute for Global Currency, you can find bronze, silver, and gold ingots scattered around the world. Their only use is to be exchanged for money you can actually spend, and avert the question as to why everyone in the world is using the same currency now.
  • Silent Snarker: The PC has a very expressive range of facial expressions, despite never saying anything. They get a lot of mileage out of the "exasperated" one.
  • Stage Mom: Tatyana's parents, who constantly insist that she's their "hope for the future" and pressure her into doing well. Sure, their daughter is the Star Seven of Eurasia, but she's happy to lose to you because it means a lot of the pressure is off her.