The Best Monsters & Why - Monster Rancher 1
One of the questions that I see asked a lot online about this game and that was on my mind for awhile when playing Monster Rancher 1 is, "What is the best monster and why?" This guide was created to address this question and hopefully provide you all with a good amount of research and understanding of why I chose the monsters that I did.
Before I give you my top 5 list of which monsters I think are best I feel that I need to give you some background information. In this Monster Rancher game monsters that use Intelligence are far superior to Power based monsters for the sole reason that there are better Intelligence based Hard Work/Drills available to you.
The Mailman Work task raises both Intelligence and Skill - both of which are essential for an Int monster. The Circus Work task raises Speed and Intelligence and again, both of these are essential to having a powerful Int based monster. Power based monsters have no comparable tasks that they can run like these 2, they're stuck doing Light Work which is not even remotely as efficient as far as time goes.
For solely this reason, any monsters that deal damage with Intelligence based attacks will reign supreme throughout the entirety of this game. Many monsters in this game come with both Intelligence and Power attacks, for these hybrid type monsters I recommend you focus entirely on Intelligence instead of Power. During battle you'll want to strictly use Int based attacks and pretty much completely ignore your Power based ones.
In my experience, the only thing you'll want to use Power for in this game is for clearing obstacles on Expeditions. You'll need to raise a Power monster for this reason but other than that I would recommend avoid trying to raise on for battle purposes. By the time you get him strong enough to compete in the Big 4 tournaments he'll be close to retirement age.
The next most important things when determining whether or not a monster can be made into a power house is their Lifespan and stat growth. Every monster in this game gains stats at a different rate, if you've been playing long enough you've probably noticed that some monsters only get like 2 or 3 in a stat when doing some Light Works and others get up to 7 - it's because they have a difference in stat growth. In the 2021 remaster of this game you will also gain stats differently depending on the life stage of your monster, this is true in Monster Rancher 2 as well.
For more information about stat growth I recommend you check out the Legend Cup's Monster Data (1997) section. On this page you can sort by type of monster and look at all of their various stat gains; if you're playing on the updated Steam version of this game that was released in 2021 you should use the Legend Cup's Monster Data (2021) section instead. A lot changed with the remake/remaster.
Now, with all of that information out of the way let's take a look at my list of top 5 monsters in Monster Rancher 1!
Top 5 Monsters in Monster Rancher 1:
Ghost #1 Best Monster:
In my opinion the best monster in this entire game is the Ghost. They use mostly all Intelligence based attacks and they have great stat growth in all of the stats that matter most (Skill, Speed, Intelligence). You can make a Ghost powerful enough to easily beat all of the Big 4 tournaments by the time it is 3 years old from doing the Mailman and Circus Work.
Another reason that I think Ghosts are such good monsters is because they have a very long Lifespan. You will be done training your Ghost by the 4th year of its life and by that time it won't even be half way through its prime - assuming that you're raising him correctly. The only downside of a Ghost is that you need to unlock it, for more information about how to unlock the Ghost Monster follow the link and check out my guide.
Pixie #2 Best Monster:
Pixie is the 2nd most powerful monster for largely the same reason a Ghost is. The 3 main stats you want to raise on a Pixie are Speed, Skill and Intelligence and this monster gets good stat growth in all of them. As far as which Pixie is best, I would argue Pixie/Gali is best in the 1997 version of the game. Things may be slightly different in the remaster.
One nice thing about the Pixie monster is that you don't need to unlock it like you do with the Ghost. If you use the right CD at the start of this game you can have a Pixie as your very first monster!
Gali #3 Best Monster:
The Gali monster is my 3rd pick for best monster. As you can probably already guess the reason I chose Gali is because they use Intelligence based attacks and have good stat growth in all of the right areas. Unlike the previous 2 monsters on this list they can also use Power based attacks too which make them a good choice for eliminating Power obstacles on the Expeditions.
If I had to pick, the best Gali sub-type would be Gali/Pixie since they are the most Intelligence oriented pairing.
Hare #4 Best Monster:
I felt that I had to put a Power based monster on this list somewhere and out of all the Power based monsters my favorite is definitely the Hare. The Hare monster gets really good stat growth in both Power and Intelligence and if you want to, you can solely use their Intelligence based moves to win a fight and ignore Power entirely.
What I would recommend you do with the Hare is to focus on the Circus Work task to raise your Intelligence and Speed. Once your Speed is high enough do Mailman to boost your Skill too, after you've got all 3 of these stats to a satisfactory level you can focus into Power and boost that as well. Your Hare will become one of the best monsters you can use for Expeditions when you're done considering all of these stats are needed for Expeditions.
As far as the best type of Hare, I recommend Hare/Gali or Hare/Worm.
Henger #5 Best Monster:
Last but not least we have the Henger monster bringing up the back of the pack. Hengers are a lot like Hares in the sense that they have good stat growth in both Power and Intelligence and they have attacks you can use in both categories too. If you're planning on doing tournaments with this monster I recommend focusing mostly on Intelligence at first and raising that high enough to roll through tournaments then focus on Power after the fact.
The Final Sword attack that Hengers get is quite powerful and is one of their best INT based attacks, you can win most fights by using just this ability. As far as the best type of Henger goes, I recommend either Henger/Monol or the Henger/Gali. One of the biggest downsides to using the Henger monster is you'll have to unlock it first, for more information about how to unlock the Henger Monster follow the link provided.