Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia
Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia is the sequel to Master of Monsters for the Sega Genesis. Some sequels are worse than the originals, others are better, and some serve no purpose other than to destroy the reputation of the original. (The latter is the case with this game in case you couldn't figure that out). Whereas the original was a good game, the sequel is bug-filled and impossible to enjoy. This game is a strategy game where you play as a master that can summon monsters, you do battle with other masters. You can choose from one of 6 masters in your attempt to overthrow Gaia (whom you use to be a disciple of). You can also play stand-alone maps where you fight other masters for the shear fun of fighting them. Of course the game features multi-player capability as well.
Master of Monsters is a turn-based strategy game. Each player takes turns moving the armies, and attacking the enemy. During your turn you can summon new monsters, move monsters you've already summoned, attack other monsters, etc. You need to use strategy to determine which monsters to summon, and what to do with them once they are summoned. If you want to win you'll need to have a good army of monsters. Or at least, that's the way the game is supposed to be, in reality monsters are nearly worthless, as your master quickly becomes a demi-god.
Unlike in the original game, your master is free to move anywhere on the map. Your master can freely roam about attacking any pathetic monsters that get in your way. This might no be so bad if your master wasn't so much more powerful than standard monsters. To make matters worse, as you kill other monsters you master levels up and becomes even more powerful. While summoning monsters is not completely worthless, normal monsters are badly overshadowed by your master. This really detracts from the fun of the game, and greatly reduces any strategy.
The game has other features beside moving around and summoning monsters. There are spells you can cast too. Each master gets different spells, so you should choose a master with spells that you like. The spells can be fairly helpful. There are spells to attack the enemy at a range, spells to heal your monsters, and more. Unfortunately, as with the monsters, spells are overshadowed by the standard attack of your master. Why cast fireball on an enemy, when you can just go over and attack them?
If you do want to use monsters (and you probably will need to use some monsters, just not many), there is a good variety of monsters to choose from. As with spells each master has their own monsters, so pay attention to this when choosing a master. Personally though, I liked the way monsters worked in the original a lot better. In this game monsters don't transform when they level up, they just get a little more powerful. Rather boring in my opinion. To make this worse, as you go along in the campaign you can summon monsters at levels higher than 1. This makes leveling up monsters rather pointless.
The game does add different items that you can find though. This is an interesting feature, but it really can't save the game. You can assign items to a monster and it makes them more powerful. There are items to make monster faster, stronger, etc. The problem is you can change assignments of items, and since you'll quickly be able to summon monsters more powerful than the current monster you have, you end up with the item being on a weak little monster. Of course there's the fact that monsters aren't very useful too.
You can also fuse monsters together to create a new monster at special shrines (curiously there is no mention of this in the manual). This has the potential to be one of the game's best features, too bad I've never been able to get anything other than a puny ass slime.
The game also has windows displayed that give you information on your units, as well as other information. The problem is the windows are cluttered up and hard to read. The game also makes it quite difficult to easily go through each of your monsters and give them commands. In the original Master of Monsters it was quite easy, this game was completely redesigned, and not for the better.
My main complaint about this game, however is the bugs in it. I've seen web pages where people listed dozens of bugs/glitches. However I'll focus on the two that I thought were the worst. First is the fact that once your master reaches level 99, it causes problems, and I've heard it can even crash the game. I've never actually played long enough to see this bug for myself, but from what I've heard it's pretty bad. Considering how important your master is, getting to level 99 is very easy. In fact you'll probably reach level 99 well before the campaign is over. The problem is that if you get more experience, you'll level up and cause the bug to show itself. So this means you can't rely on your master anymore.
A bug I have encountered is the randomness bug (or should I say non-randomness). Every time you start the game it seems to have the same set of random numbers. The way this bug manifests itself is that you'll see patterns of attacks hitting and missing. Basically it goes something like 5 attacks miss, the next 4 hit, and then 3 miss, and the next 6 hit, so forth and so on. The percentage chance your monster hits is completely irrelevant, it always follows the same pattern (which seems to be large periods of misses followed by large periods of hits). This bug may get better if you play the game for a long period of time, too bad I could never bring myself to play it for more than 10 minutes.
And remember, there are other bugs as well, I've only mentioned two.
I should probably mention the multi-player capability. It might be the only thing good about the game. You can play up to 4 human players against each other. It might be fun, since a lot of the bugs wouldn't be as bad. Of course that would mean that you would need to find 3 other people willing to subject themselves to the torture that is Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia.
I have more complaint too, I just felt that putting all my complaints in the gameplay category would make this category far too long.
Since I've never finished this game, it's hard for me to measure the difficulty. However from the parts that I've played, and from what other people have said, the game seems fairly easy (if you ignore the major bugs). You master can simply walk over all the enemies, and even if you ignore your master, the enemy monsters still don't put up a good enough fight against your monsters.
This would be a good place to further complain about the level 99 bug. If you get your master to level 99, you can't level up again or it will cause problems. This means you can't get very much experience. If you a monster attacks your master, and you kill it you get experience. So once you're level 99, you have to hide your master for fear that it will crash the game. This tends to make the game much harder. Of course you could just use your monsters instead of your master, but a game that forces you to avoid using the best strategies because of a major bug, has serious problems in my book.
What could possibly posses you to play this game a second time?!? I'm still trying to find a reason to finish the campaign for the first time. This is one of the only games that disgusts me so much that I refuse to ever play it again. Looking back at the manual, it brings back memories of the original game, and I feel like I want to play this game again. I keep thinking, 'is it really that bad, maybe I should give it another chance'. But I have to force myself to remember that the game has no redeeming qualities. Simply put, the game has no playability, let alone replayability.
The graphics really don't help the game much either. The graphics aren't too bad, although they aren't particularity good either. I do have some problems with the graphics though. In an attempt to make the monster graphics look neat and look sort of 3-D, the game designers ended up making awful graphics for the monsters. It's not that they look bad, it's that you can't tell which monster is which. If you get a large group of monsters in one area (which is bound to happen), the monster overlap, making it hard to see what monster are there. The monsters are also not very well color coded, it's difficult to tell who the monster belong to.
Speaking of bad coloring, the towers have bad coloring. Most towers start out neutral (gray), and you need to capture them and turn them your color (blue). The problem arises when you realize that it is quite difficult to distinguish the gray towers from the blue towers. I frequently ended up trying to take a tower I already owned. I can only imagine that I missed some towers thinking they were already mine as well.
The anime cutscenes at the intro to the game, were the game's highlight. They looked very well done. The problem is, that the game's best point shouldn't be before the game starts.
Probably the best feature of the game. This is not to say that it has good music and sounds, but simply that everything else sucked so badly, that the sound category has the highest rating. The game didn't seem to have enough music, and what there was, wasn't exactly rememberable or anything. Not much else to say here. I guess this category is almost complaint free (Shocking I know).
I might have given the story a higher rating. But I didn't fell like it, the game is so bad it doesn't deserve a good ranking in any category. As the story goes, the 6 masters were once disciples of Gaia. Gaia decided to cleanse the Earth of chaos, or so you thought. It turns out that Gaia wanted to enslave mankind, and when his disciples tried to stop him, he sealed them in the magic tower. Elsewhere, a young man named Iros found a strange globe of light that let him summon one master to help defeat Gaia. I feel like I should complain about something here, but to save this review from being 3000 words, I'll leave this category complaint free.
Overall Rating: 2/10
Why a 2 and not a 1 you ask. Basically because at the core, this is a good game. If you remove all the problems, there is potential for a good game, just check the original Master of Monsters and you'll see that. The problem is potential does not make this game worth playing. It is bug-filled game, that has lousy controls, and is simply no fun to play. I rarely hate a game so much that I don't bother to finish it. This game tops every other game I've played, though. I figure I've only played about 2 hours total, and all but the first 5 minutes, I was doing nothing other than attempting to find one single reason to keep playing.
Now that you've read my review, I'll let you in on a secret. I don't hate the game as much as it might seem, sure the game is awful, sure I don't want to play it again. But part of me does like the game, part of me actually wants to play it again, give it another chance. I guess it's because I liked the original, I don't know. But any way you look at it, I really can't recommend this game. Get the original instead.<!/page>