Monster Lab PS2

 

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The PS3, Wii and Xbox360 are the next gen consoles to own, the games are great and varied, but even with the popularity of these consoles it still amazes me that  games are still coming out for the PS2. Many of the games that come out for the new generation of consoles have a PS2 counterpart, that just goes to show only good things about the PS2, it’s been around for quite a while and it seems like it’s still going strong

Today I’m checking out Monster lab for the Playstation 2 console, and it’s certainly a game that doesn’t fit squarely in any genre of gaming, it’s got aspects of role playing, puzzles and even action and adventure mixed in for a nice rounded out game. If you didn’t figure out from the title, the idea behind Monster Lab is to create monsters, and you get to do it Frankenstein style and you’re creations are truly nightmarish or frankensteinish made up of a hodgepodge of parts that you find and combine together on your adventures.. In the game you create and battle you monster up against other monsters you encounter, the actual fighting is turn based, role playing style, so there’s no button mashing involved. One thing that keeps the game fun and interesting is the ability to create, and upgrade your monsters as you play, then there’s also many mini-games as well that make it even more fun and that keeps things from getting tedious or repetitive. Monster Lab might sound like a kids game, but I had quite a bit of fun playing it, and it’s got a lot of things going for it, and a few things that aren’t handled so well either, but the pros heavily outweigh the cons of this game. Overall it’s a well thought out and nicely designed game, that looks and plays well and should keep your attention for quite a while.


First up here’s the boxshots :

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When you first start Monster Lab you think that you’re going to be creating a monster, well you don’t get to right away, you’re thrown right into battle against some monsters troubling a nearby village. So you immediately get an idea of how the game is going to work, or at least you think you do, there’s much, much more to the game than just battling monsters. The main theme of the game though is to free the all of the villagers from the terror that the evil baron is putting them though, he’s terrorizing them with his own monsters and he’s basically a dictator over the lands, so you’re here to liberate them from the baron.

As soon as you start playing you’re also going to learn about the main drawback of the game, there’s tons of load screens, to the point it gets very annoying at times, just when you’re really getting into it a load screen pops up breaking the flow of the game.

Here’s a video of the intro, menus, and opening scenes of the game:

On your first quest you found some parts actually that you bring back to the lab, parts are a main staple in the game, you use them to create and upgrade your monster. To create the parts you go into mini games, depending on how well you do in the game is how well or of what quality you end part turns out to be. Mini games are also part of the main story as well, to complete tasks in the game you play mini-games ranging from digging with a shovel, racing, to tracing a circuit with an electrical pen, that’s just a short list of them, there are many more as well.

When creating your monster you basically have full control over them, head, body, arms and legs, there are three main types of parts in the game, Alchemical, Biological and Mechanical and they all have strengths and weaknesses over the other types.

In this next video it’s the process of creating a Monster, it begins with a mini game, welding, you’ve got to fill in the gap with the welding gun as complete as possible while the screen scrolls along, the better job you do the better the part is. It’s also your first real mission in the game and sort of a tutorial on how the combat system works.

There is a lot to creating monsters actually, the possibilities are numerous of the things you can do or create with the parts that you find during the game. When you’re creating the parts it’s a surprise as to what you’ll get so that makes it all the more fun really.

Specifications:

Monster Lab

Monster Lab is set in an eerie, supernatural world where the evil Baron Mharti rules the region with a cruel hand. Gamers take on the role of an apprentice scientist who must perform a vast array of intricate experiments to create creepy monsters from over 150 monster parts. From mechanical to biological to alchemical laboratories, players take control of their monstrous creations and explore the land, searching for ingredients to make stronger monster parts, hunting out and defeating enemy monsters, discovering quests to embark upon or simply competing in the numerous mini-games available. Monster Lab gives players the ability to challenge and compete with friends in ferocious multiplayer combat and collect monster parts and recipes in an obsessive pursuit of knowledge and power. The ultimate goal is to vanquish the evil Baron Mharti and liberate the villagers through mastering experiments, creating a powerful army of monsters and conquering all of the vast environments. Only then will the player rise through the ranks and become a Mad Scientist worthy of defeating the Baron!

Monster Lab is an original title set in the supernatural world of Uncanny Valley, where the evil Baron Mharti rules the region with a cruel hand. Players take on the role of an apprentice scientist who must perform a vast array of intricate experiments to create their very own monster from over 150 available monster parts. Bringing these creatures to life, gamers can explore the land as they search for ingredients to make monster parts, hunt down other gruesome monsters to defeat in combat, and uncover fun quests and challenges as they attempt to vanquish the evil baron and liberate the villagers of Uncanny Valley.

Players explore six chilling locales in their pursuit of mastering the Mad Science disciplines: mechanical, alchemic and biological, and choosing either solo play or competing against friends in multiplayer combat online and off. Along the way, they will experience mini-game challenges and experiments that will keep the game interesting and fun.

"An eccentric art style with wacky characters combined with the ease of a pick up and play game makes Monster Lab appealing to action RPG gamers of all ages," said Robert A. Lindsey, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Eidos, Inc. "With a compelling and engaging storyline, Monster Lab will keep you locked away in your lab for hours trying to build the perfect creation."

Monster Lab is co-published in North America by Eidos, Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and is rated "E 10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB. It is available for Wii for a suggested retail price of $39.99, as well as The Nintendo DS and PlayStation2 computer entertainment system for a suggested retail price of $29.99. For more information, please visit EIDOS | Monsterlab.


The last video I’ve got for you is a couple mini games and lots more monster fighting.

Another small complaint about Monster Lab is the controls, they seem sluggish, especially when doing the mini games where some level of skill is required, it’s almost as if there’s a pause between the time you do something that time the movement appears on the screen, this at times makes you overshoot your target, or mess up the project you’re working on.

Fighting or battles are almost my favorite part of the game, yes they’re fun and exciting, but the mini-games can be great as well, there’s just so many different kinds it really keeps things interesting. During the battles it does take a bit of skill and you’ve got to pay attention to what your opponent looks like, or really what he’s made of, certain types of parts can do more damage to other types than they will to others, if you paid attention to the video #2 he explained this near the end actually. One thing nice about the battles is that you can recharge your energy, each attack takes an amount of energy from your monster, and you’ve got to pay attention to this or you’ll run out and won’t be able to attack.

It might seem like a kids game, but it’s not really for younger children, as there is quite a bit of thinking and strategy going on in the game.

It is fun though, the graphics are decent overall, especially considering it’s the PS2 that we’re using to play it on. The game is very halloweenish, with goofy, comical  horror tones, the  monster parts and mad scientist thing going on sort of reminds me of like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, it has the whole goofy, comical stylings going on. The game doesn’t take itself seriously, and this is a good thing, it’s just good fun all around.

The dialogue can be downright awful at points, but kids will like it, it’s very childish humor that I’ve sure will be appreciated by the youngsters, I’ll admit I did laugh at a few points though.

Here’s just a bunch of screenshots taken from various parts of the game:

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Conclusion:
Monster Lab is a great game really, the only thing really to not like about this game is the load screens and if you can deal with them then you’re sure to have a lot of fun with it.

It’s a game that most anyone will very much enjoy playing, it combines aspects from many genres of games to create a game that is lots of fun to play.

Pros:
Fun and interesting
Replayability
Graphics are decent
Colorful and humorous dialog (corny at times though)
Very different from other games out there
Fairly easy for most ages

Cons:
Lots of loading
Controls can be difficult at times

Grades:  
Overall score-8-10
Design score-8-10
Performance score-8-10
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