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Yep, even with my +800 Spear took several hits to dispose of the common monsters, at level 1 with a +10 weapon it'll take ages to finish any mission. And let's not forget that one hit from any enemy and you're history.
You can try yourself, save the starter equipment and then speedrun the game, finishing the Dragon arc is only a few hours. You'll probably be in your levels 20 or 30, but still, after completing the game, re start in No Future with the MenosBronze weapon and you'll see it's a lost cause.
The option only opens up with NG+, but it's probably possible to get it using a cheat device (e.g., Game Shark). Why you would want to, on the other hand, is a mystery. It would technically be possible to beat the entire game even at level 1 with your starter gear, but it would be incredibly tedious to actually kill anything, and you'd get swatted down the moment anything so much as brushed against you aggressively.
Atheism - A non-prophet organization. The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits
it should be posible to reach NG+ with a lvl1 character, just avoid exp crystals at all costs, but like the others have said even trying to kill a lvl 99 rabite at lvl1 with basic equipment would take forever