Developer: Koei Tecmo
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: Switch, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 09/12/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Back in 1998, I found a game in my local game store called Monster Rancher. No idea what it was, but I begged my dad to buy it for me. It was a fantastic game for the PS1 and it was a head of the curve. Around 2000, I found Monster Rancher on TV and I loved the show.
Now in 2021, Koei Tecmo has released a DX version of Monster Rancher 1+2. Let’s see if it holds up to the test of time.
Monster Hunter 1+2 DX, stick to the original games stories. You are a new Monster Breeder, and you have to raise your monster of choice. Ener in to smaller tournaments to gain fame and money. To eventually enter the official tournaments and become the best.
It’s All About Balance
Both games follow roughly the same basic gameplay elements as the second installment have a few differences.
As I started with Monster Rancher is about raising your monster to excel in whatever way you like. Each monster has 8 stats to level up. For Example, Power, HP, Defence and so on. As a breeder, you have several ways to raise the monster. Giving them jobs will raise stats but lower others. You can send them off to special training schools, and they might learn new moves. It is also possible to rest your monster.
After each job or training, you can praise or tell them off. This will affect how the monster acts. A fine balance is needed. As they will not finish jobs or even do what you want in battles.
Float Like a Butterfly, Shoot Lazers Out Your Eye
The battles are just as good as I remember them to be. Each presenting a challenge. With these battles, it is all about distance; you have to maintain enough distance to be able to attack. While also thinking about when to retreat.
The attacks will depend on the training and breed of monster you have, and some attacks and monster breeds are stronger and weaker against different ones.
As with breeding, the battles are all about strategy and knowing how to move away from incoming attacks, and where is best to position yourself to shoot lasers at the opposition.
The best thing about Monster Rancher on PS1 was the stone disc system. It was well a head of its time. Once the town was selected, it is possible to go to the stone altar and interact with it. At this point, you could open the PS1, take out the game and pop in a CD, DVD or another game and you would get a new monster from the CD inside.
I remember spending hours going through every CD we had in the house (there were 100s) and games to see what monster I would get. It was amazing to see a new monster appear from any CD that was read. I mean, in 1998 it was mind blowing.
Now in Monster Hunter 1+2 DX, it is slightly different, but still as rewarding. Instead of inserting a CD, now you can search for a song and get a monster. And the list is MASSIVE. As well as songs, some games can be searched for too. Giving me hours of fun finding the right monster for me.
Even with the CD element eliminated, I still felt some nostalgia from searching songs.
There are a couple of extra additions to these versions;
– All save slots available from the beginning!- Freeze up to 20 monsters!
– Exclusive monsters from different countries added to the game! (“Monster Rancher 2”)
-A Fast Forward mode that allows you to skip through some scenes
-Training Records to keep the record of your previous actions!
– Two player mode, or fight against uploaded monsters
The best one being the additional monsters added to Monster Rancher 2.
A Little Shallow
This was almost inevitably going to happen. The main issue with Monster Hunter 1+2 DX, the lack of things to do. With this being a PS1 game, they were limited with the hardware. Now the game feels a bit empty as it is just train, fight, train fight and so on.
Monster Rancher 2 added a dungeon crawler type gameplay and a more story oriented game. And it is the better game by far. It, too, feels a bit hollow.
Overall, Monster Hunter 1+2 DX is a great re-realise of a classic that deserved to be more loved than it was. With loads of monsters and a CD system away a head of its time. The battles are challenging and training it all rewarding.
If you are looking for a focused breeding game, then Monster Hunter 1+2 DX could be the one. If you are a returning fan, go get it. Just remember, it is a PS1 game.