Monster Hunter, a franchise that began in 2004 and has continued to come up with new games, with new monsters, to this day. While not every monster has left a lasting impression on every fan, there are a number that either find their way back in future titles or wait for their time to come. And that’s where this article comes in. In celebration of Monster Hunter Rise’s release on the Switch next month (March 26th), I wanted to take the time to talk about some of my favorite monsters from the franchise. Please note: there is no particular order based on which I favor the most. Also, there will be some favorites that didn’t make it on the list. There are so many others that I wanted to put on this list, but I had to narrow it down to ten. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. Another thing to add is that there are monsters on this list that made it here solely for their design. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t enjoy their hunts. I enjoy hunting almost every single one on this list, but some are monsters that I only hunt a handful of times due to their difficulty. Also, there won’t be any Elder Dragons on this list. I will be writing a separate article on my favorite Elder Dragons, so keep an eye out for that one. Now that that has been addressed, let’s take a look at ten of my favorite Monster Hunter monsters.
What can I say about this hauntingly beautiful monster? She started the Temnoceran class of monsters in 4 Ultimate, with a new member of the class, Yatsukadaki, appearing in Monster Hunter Rise. I love this monster solely for its design and how the armor and weapons look. While the hunts aren’t particularly difficult, the way it swings around on its web and fires balls of webbing to slow down prey and enemies, it’s just fun to watch. Also, if hunters aren’t quick enough to break free from the webbing, Nerscylla also has a nasty, poisonous stinger on the tip of its abdomen (not to mention those poison crystals on its back). While I love this monster, it makes me sad that it’s the only one of its class. However, since we’ve been shown a little bit of Yasukadaki in one of the Rise trailers, I have high hopes that we’ll see Nerscylla again alongside its cousin.
I just love this big guy. Ever since I first saw him in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, I knew that he would leave a lasting impression on me. As the first of the amphibious class of monsters, the Tetsucabara is a frog-like (more toadish in my opinion) monster with massive tusks on its lower jaw. Thanks to said tusks, the Tetsucabara is able to lift up large boulders and even launch those boulders at enemies. Along with lifting boulders, it can use those powerful jaws to catch and crush its prey. While it may seem like a slow monster, Tetsucabara is more than capable of charging at enemies and uses its legs to jump high into the air to squash any poor soul that it lands on. While it’s mean and threatening, it also has an oddly cute charm when it’s just standing around. What makes me happier is the fact that we’ll be seeing this big guy again in Rise, so that means that we’ll be able to create its equipment once more.
8: Gore Magala
As the flagship monster of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Gore Magala offers so much to both veteran and new players. Not only are the hunts with Gore Magala a nice challenge, but its overall design is so memorable. Given that parts of its design are a nice nod to the Xenomorphs from the Aliens franchise, with how it looks and the lore behind its birth (y’know, chest bursters), it makes Gore Magala all the more awesome. When it goes into its engraved stage, the whole design becomes ten times cooler. The hidden feelers folded onto its head pop up and its wings unfold, revealing a gorgeous color of purple and blue. Along with the extra color, the wings give Gore Magala an extra pair of clawed limbs that won’t hesitate to give any hunter a bad time. And let’s not forget the weapons and armor! The equipment has a very gothic look to them, most weapons having an eye included in the design, and each is addressed with a German name. The whole ensemble is one that I miss the most and hope to see it again in a future game. Oh, and that whole frenzy virus mechanic, that was a pretty cool idea that the developers came up with. I loved how it affects almost all of the monsters in the game and players could end up hunting a frenzied version of that monster.
7: Yian Garuga
Sure, it can be annoying and a pain in the butt to hunt, but I occasionally find some enjoyment in hunting it. As the combination of a Yian Kut-Ku and a Rathalos, Yian Garuga can shoot fireballs and secrete poison from its tail and affects any unfortunate hunter that is hit. Along with the status ailment attacks, this thing is quick and rarely stops moving. It also has a nasty habit of letting out a piercing screech that stops hunters in their tracks. Sure, that can be annoying, but it stops being a problem when hunters have gear with High Grade Earplugs skill. All-in-all, Yian Garuga might not be a hunt for everyone, but both its own design and the design of its equipment makes each fight all the more worth it.
How could I not include this adorable new monster to the list?! While not everyone finds Dodogama even remotely cute, this peaceful monster found a special place in my heart. Whenever I’m out hunting a different monster in the Elder’s Recess, I always keep an eye out for the big guy just to say “Hi Dodogama. Bye Dodogama” as I’m passing by. As previously stated, Dodogama is a peaceful Fanged Wyvern that won’t attack hunters unless they attack him or if he’s already fighting with another monster. He will spend most of his time just waddling about and eat rocks, which he’ll spit out as explosive projectiles. But yeah, Dodogama is that one chill neighbor that won’t cause any trouble unless someone else bothers him.
Zinogre is literally Thor’s pet dog that escaped from his backyard and is on a rampage. This Fanged Wyvern is one that never stops giving hunters a run for their money (or zenny in this case). It’s fast, it hits hard, and it has one of the most iconic battle themes in the series. In every Monster Hunter game in the series that I’ve played so far, Zinogre always finds its way back to me to show what it means to face the lighting storm. No matter the outcome of the hunt, I always come back, even if it’s simply to hear that theme song and the familiar howl as Zinogre charges up to bring in the electrical pain. Also, Zinogre armor and weapons always have an awesome design.
As another monster that I’m hoping will make a return in Rise (and it looks it will be), this Amphibious monster offers a fun fight with its unique design. While not everyone enjoys hunting Zamtrios, I personally believe that it brings a nice challenge to the field. Being a quadrupedal shark that lives in the snowy regions, plenty can happen when you face this monster. Not only does it disappear under the ice to hunt his prey, like the sharks in our world, Zamtrios also likes to put on its icy armor when things get rough. That is not the only trick up its sleeve, oh no. When backed into a corner, Zamtrios will inflate itself into a ball-like shape to roll and/or jump after its opponent or even shoot balls of ice out of its mouth. There are so many ways the hunt can go and I love it! This is another monster that has awesome gear for hunters to craft and I can’t wait for new fans to experience every moment that they can with this awesome monster.
3: Glavenus (Including Hellblade Glavenus)
It’s a mean t-rex with a blade for a tail, which can be set on fire with its teeth. Along with an awesome theme song, the Brute Wyvern Glavenus offers a good challenge for both new and veteran hunters. As one of the flagship monsters from Monster Hunter Generations and Monster Hunter Generations X, not only does it have that awesome tail, Glavenus also enjoys firing fireballs for long-distance attacks. No matter where you stand, this mean monster has plenty of ways to keep you on your toes. After some experience with fighting/hunting Glavenus, I realized that it reminds me of Nero from Devil May Cry 4 & 5 (both the colors and the way it fights with its tail); so whenever I hunt Glavenus (which isn’t too often), I always call it “Nero.” As for Hellblade Glavenus, while it’s the deviant (or more difficult version) of Glavenus, I still remember receiving a wonderful challenge hunting it and enjoying its design. Given that it came back in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, I have high hopes that this bladed wyvern will do the same in Rise.
This agile, cat-like Flying Wyvern has a way of returning to numerous titles in the Monster Hunter franchise and has become a favorite to numerous fans. Also, given that this is a list of some of my favorite monsters from the franchise, I have to put one feline on the list and Nargacuga was the perfect one. Not only do I love its overall design, this monster also has some of my favorite equipment in terms of design. Due to its attack patterns and fighting style, it was one of the main monsters that taught characters to master the dodging technique. Along with its cat-like reflexes and long tail, it can fire spikes from its tail. Not only does it offer an intense fight, when enraged the Nargacuga’s eyes glow red and leave a small trail of red lines while it moves about. Nargacuga will also let out an ear-piercing roar similar to that of a cougar, hence its name (despite being more panther-like). Like a number of other entries on this list, I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Nargacuga.
1: Paolumu (including Nightshade)
This cute, fluffy bat flying wyvern left such a lasting impression in both of its designs that I just had to add them to the list. Both versions offer an enjoyable fight and are just fun to observe in their natural habitats. Heck, even the first encounter cutscenes show both sides to these monsters. With the regular Paolumu you just see it floating about with its neck puffed out like a balloon and it looks adorable. All of a sudden, it snarls and shrieks at you, revealing its horrifying angry face. After that, you become more cautious whenever it appears. While it uses its hard tail for heavy attack, Paolumu uses the air to either draw in hunters or to knock them away. Sure, it can become annoying, but once you figure out how to work around it, the hunt becomes more manageable. Now the Nightshade Paolumu, that’s a fight that requires a reworked strategy. With Nightshade, not only does it use the same attack style as the regular Paolumu, but it also breathes out sleeping gas. That combined with its usual air tricks can lead to a difficult hunt. Whether you love or hate hunting either version, you have to admit, that introduction cutscene left a lasting impression.
No matter which game you play, Monster Hunter always has at least one monster that makes you go “that’s the one, it’s my favorite.” And that’s one of the reasons why I always find myself returning to this incredible world that CAPCOM has created. Every new entry to the franchise always has such creative monsters to observe and hunt. Even if there are some that don’t stand out or don’t seem creative, there will always be a hunter that will find something special about them. Now that I’ve shared some of my favorites, let me know which ones are some of your favorites in the comments. Also, I can’t wait to share which Elder Dragons are some of my favorites. I’m so excited to get started on that list. Until then, keep your weapons sharp and your healing supplies well-stocked. This is Tracy Preston/CuriousCat-13: signing off.