Monster Hunter Tri Diary 6 – Lagiacrus

The Lagiacrus is a very special monster in Monster Hunter Tri. It is the “flagship monster”. The Lagiacrus is featured on the box art of the game and on the cover of pretty much any book on Monster Hunter Tri. The über-special-edition of Monster Hunter Tri even includes a small statue of the Lagiacrus.


Aaaaw, you’re a cute little Lagia…ARHGH! You bastard! I’m going to kill you!

The Lagiacrus is also the MacGuffin for the thin story in Monster Hunter Tri. In the single player mode you arrive in a village apparently under threat from the Lagiacrus. Even though you can’t fight it right away, it remains as a goal you work towards. Before you can fight it “for real” you even encounter it twice in teaser quests. Even Yahtzee favorably mentioned the teaser encounter with Lagiacrus in his otherwise negative review of Monster Hunter Tri.

The Lagiacrus also showcases two important new features in the franchise. It is a “Leviathan” – a brand new class of a monsters in Monster Hunter Tri. Leviathans are long, lizzard-like monsters. But that bit is only interesting for the die-hard Monster Hunter geeks. For the more mainstream player, it’s more interesting that the Lagiacrus can swim, so the fight against him takes place underwater. Underwater combat is one of the big new features in Monster Hunter Tri and the Lagiacrus does a great job at demonstrating that feature.

With so much build-up, the battle against Lagiacrus came with a great deal of gravitas for me. I was expecting an encounter of epic proportions. Luckily, Monster Hunter Tri delivered. I did in in a second try but remember that fights in Monster Hunter can take up to an hour. At my first attempt, I was defeated quickly. In a typical Monster Hunter fashion I changed my strategy. I played more defensively and attacked more carefully – not unlike the strategy I used for the Barroth. However, the Lagiacrus is huge and agile. It jumped out of the water a couple of times. I had to constantly adapt to new environments and use different tactics. As the battle grew longer and my supply of healing potions ran out, each successful hit against the monster was accompanied by a rush of adrenaline. And indeed, Lagiacrus grew visibly exhausted as well. It escaped to rest in a nearby cavern. I followed him, delivered the final blow and released a big sigh of relief.

But in an ingenious dramatic twist, the game is not over yet. Even though it is the flagship monster, the Lagiacrus is actually not the final boss. This becomes evident even before you the battle. The battle becomes available before you unlock the final trier of missions. It’s an effective trick to create an aura of mystery around the final boss with little effort. It also enhances the monster’s effectiveness as a showcase. Because it appears earlier, it can be encountered by a larger portion of the audience. And because there are follow-up missions that include it (like a mission where you need to capture it), you fight it several times.

Games are often weird in that sense. The final boss in a game is often the climax of the story. But that’s not how a dramatic arc unfolds. In theater and literature, the story continues after the climax in the Falling action and Dénouement. It those two parts of the story that emphasize the climax and make it stand out more. Games often forget that. There is rarely any game-play after the climax. As a result, it’s often not the final boss which we remember most vividly about a game.

Monster Hunter Tri seems to break that tendency. Lagiacrus is certainly a remarkable monster and killing it was a thrilling adventure. I’m looking forward to find out what the final stretch of the game has to offer.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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