Dragon Warrior was one of the defining series of RPGs back on the NES. Most DW fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Dragon Quest VII, the first Dragon Warrior game to appear on the PlayStation. But fans of the series as well as fans of Pokemon (the game, not the phenomenon) should definitely take a look at Dragon Warrior Monsters.
DWM puts you in the role of a small boy named Terry. Your sister has been kidnapped and dragged to a mysterious kingdom populated by monsters and monster trainers. You, in hopes of freeing your sister, must become the world's best monster trainer. Many of the game's monsters have been taken from earlier incarnations of the series, so expect to see the little dew-drop slimes, crazy-looking bats, and the like. You'll walk through various landscapes, fighting and, if you're any good, catching monsters to add to your roster. Battles occur in typical RPG fashion, with your monsters doing all of the fighting. Unlike in Pokemon, all of your monsters fight at once, and you occasionally battle more than one foe.
As you progress, your monsters will level up, and you'll earn money and items. The money is mostly needed to enter monster fighting tournaments, though you can, of course, also buy things like healing herbs and warpwings. You progress through ranks in these tournaments, much as in Bio Motor Unitron for the Neo Geo Pocket or Monster Rancher for the PlayStation. If you win the tournament, you'll be allowed to represent the kingdom in a larger tournament, which in turn will get you closer to freeing your sister.
The graphics in the battles are great. The monsters all look very sharp. Out of battle, you're represented in typical small-guy RPG fashion, with your train of monsters following behind you. The soundtrack is well composed, and as such the music is always a welcome part of the game.
If you've already "caught 'em all," and you're looking for a game to tide you over until Pokemon Gold and Silver are released near the end of the year, Dragon Warrior Monsters is exactly what you're looking for. It may not have the cutesy, over-merchandised appeal of Pokemon, but the rock-solid gameplay makes it a worthwhile endeavor.