To celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary, Koei Tecmo has announced the first two Monster Rancher games are being bundled together and re-released as Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX. The bundle is releasing on PC (Steam), Switch, and iOS mobile devices on December 9th.
The new collection features content never before seen in the western releases of the original Monster Rancher and Monster Rancher 2, which released in 1997 and 1999 on PlayStation. The newly re-added features include additional save slots, Freeze slots, and Hall of Fame Slots, as well as all-new features such as random battle rankings and a high-speed mode.
The Monster Rancher series were more akin to virtual pet and animal breeding games than creature collecting RPGs such as Pokémon. Their most unique feature involves generating new monsters by inserting physical CDs into the game console. It was a neat idea, but it’s cutely archaic in the modern era of digital content. The feature has been reworked so players can simply search a desired monster from a database of songs and CDs from around the world.
The series was more popular in Japan than in the US, but still spawned several more sequels and spin-offs into the PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance eras. The series has been mostly dormant over the last decade, however.
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX will launch on December 9. The new bundle has not been rated, but the original games were rated E for Everyone.