As a slightly less popular competitor to Pokémon, Digimon received a lot of hatred over the years for ripping off the idea of having your own monster pet that can transform into a stronger, much more badass monster pet. What people fail to take into account is that, in many ways, Pokémon might be considered the original rip off of such a game. Dragon Quest V, made in 1992 for the Super Famicon, was one of the first games to include a monster-collecting concept, which later evolved into the Dragon Quest Monsters games. It’s therefore probably best to start looking at monster-raising as an offshoot feature of a game, and that they were (probably) never trying to copy another game outright.
The game started with a short, highly informal survey that decided which of the two starter Digimon you would receive. This would be followed by a short movie clip of the protagonist being called upon by Jijimon and subsequently being pulled into his virtual pet device. Personally, being sucked into a video game was all I wanted at that age, so it was a beautiful start to the game. After being introduced to the inhabitants of File City, it is decided that you must to set off and find Digimon who have been led astray from the city, and beat them or persuade them into submission so they return to the city. It was a very simple premise.
“You might spend hours training your Digimon’s HP or Offense, but one too many craps will cause it to become just that”
However, as much as it pains me to say, there were multiple problems with this game. Despite being a virtual pet game, you could do little to interact with your Digimon, other than praise, scold, feed and battle with it. You could also very easily ruin your chances of getting a powerful, Champion Digimon, like Greymon, by failing to keep your Digimon’s cleanliness high. This was maintained by getting it to go to the toilet in time to poop, but if you didn’t get there in time, your Digimon may become an annoyingly weak green or yellow blob. You might spend hours training your Digimon’s HP or Offense, but one too many craps will cause it to become just that. The combat started off simply, as you allowed your Digimon to automatically attack enemies, and as you trained its ‘Brains’ stat it would learn new combat strategies. This, however, made combat rather bland and unsatisfying until you trained your Digimon enough, which eventually also became stagnant.
Having said this, Digimon World was still a Playstation classic. It had the extremely punishing factor most older PS1 games had, and gave you hardly any help or direction. The game urges you to digivolve your Digimon and survive in an unforgiving and hostile environment, and is ultimately highly rewarding. Cryptic areas, bosses and multiple plotlines are prevalent in Digimon World, which actually reminds me of From’s Dark Souls and you often feel as though it’s just you and your trusty Digimon companion taking on the entire world.