First I discussed Avatar: The Last Airbender, ranking it lowest primarily because of it's likeness to some other games out there, and it being an obvious choice. Next I discussed Danny Phantom, a fun ghost-based game where young surly teenagers go ghost hunting and interact with a variety of strange villains.
Onwards we go...
#3 - Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
"The plots revolved around three roommates/students that just happened to be monsters. You had Ickis, a monster struggling to be half the legend his father was, Krumm, a smelly and hairy little guy that carried around his own eyeballs, and my personal favorite, Oblina. She was the nerd and over-achiever of the group. The monsters studying at the observatory had to remain hidden to humans unless completing their homework by scaring them. They then reported their actions to the Gromble (the teacher of the school, and the first cross-dressing cartoon character I have ever seen) and were graded on how they assessed the situation.
Unfortunately, Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm were always suffering some sort of mishap."
What Makes It Awesome?
Calling for unique challenges, widely diverse characters, strange powers, and intense creativity, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters rolls in at number three in the countdown.
I mean... think about it.
You get to play a monster. Normally you fight monster. Here, you get to PLAY the bad guy! Everyone always wants to try their hand at being eeeeeevil, but now you have a reason, homework!
This show circles around a "scare" school, where homework assignments include scaring various humans in specific ways (Think Monsters Inc). Along the way, the students run into a large number of problems, usually stemming from the fact that they're not supposed to be seen by humans unless they're actually scaring. Tie that with all of the fun monster school drama, and you have the makings of some pretty awesome game sessions.
A Snapshot: Plot Hook
The dull sound of tired conversation and silverware on ceramic filled the small diner as the roar of the midnight train rolled by on the nearby tracks. A ding from the kitchen sent Bernice into a one-eighty spin as she shuffled back to pick up the order. As she picked up the plate of pie, the angelic ringing of the door's trio of bells indicated a new customer entering, to which Bernice turned with a smile. "Welcome to Be-" The woman stopped, as no one new seemed to enter at all. Someone must have left, she thought - shrugging it off looking for the now empty table.
As she laid the pie down, a blood-curdling scream rang out from the kitchen. Turning on her heels Bernice ran into the kitchen as the lights flickers. That's when she saw it, and the entire diner erupted into utter terrifying chaos.
A group of particularly nasty monsters unaffiliated with the school have been making a series of scares in a nearby neighborhood with no regard for how many humans see them, and in many cases actually harming those they attack. In this adventure, our monsters must locate the rogue monsters and keep their activities quiet, while trying to scare some sense into them.
Why Number 3?
I love Aaahh!!! Real Monsters because it can be played in a few ways. One of which being a sort of light-hearted, childish manner. One of which being a more Hunter fashion where setting up and executing scares is all about forward planning, staking out your foe, and executing everything flawlessly. And the final of which being in a World of Darkness horror genre type setting, where you are the things that go bump in the night, but there are other dangerous things out there as well.
This game gives the players a chance to combat enemy monsters, plan and puzzle out complex scare assaults, and try to achieve a large number of goals all at once. It is far from typical and has the makings of a great game.
Stick around for #2 next week!