Monday, April 15, 2013

Bio-Art: Case Study- Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

You knew we would get to Monster Hunter at some point. It's not quite as scientific as most of the other bio-art entries, and such things might eventually merit a blog of their own, but a lot of the monsters in this game are exactly what this blog is trying to encourage: realistic, freaky creatures that make one realistically shit one's pants.  Really, it was inevitable; this blog has loads of amazing monster potential, and nothing has realistic monsters quite like the ones found in Monster Hunter.  (That said, all of the images here belong to Capcom et al., and are being utilized to review and advertise the game. Buy it. I did.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Monster Hunter, it is the child of Cabela's big game hunting simulators and Dungeons and Dragons. The jist is that you play a monster hunter, and are required to hunt monsters for fame, fortune, and resources. The more you hunt, the better you get, and the more things you unlock in-game. There's a plot, but most of your time is not spent getting intimate with it.

So, why is it being featured here? There are a few reasons. The first is, obviously, that we were blown away by how beautiful the art was in general. This is a gorgeous game that saps the power of one's 3DS like nothing else. It is also crack after a bit.

The second? So much effort went into these creatures that somebody, somewhere, did some serious research. Mating habits are detailed. These monsters have ecological niches to fill. They even death twitch after being killed. I actually see a lot of monsters sporting parts from animals found on this blog, so creature lovers, take note. Using real creatures as a basis works. These all look possible...for the most part.

That said, onto what we all came to see: MONSTERS!

First thing's first: There are a lot of dinosaurs in this game. They're usually referred to as wyverns, but "Call a Smeep a Rabbit" and all that. "Wyvern" seems to mean "anything big with scales" here; it may in part be a "lost in translation" deal, but yeah, dinos are dragons and dragons are dragons. The dino-dragon above is called a Jaggi, and sports traits of the Jurassic Park Diplocaulus (which in turn got its frill from the frilled dragon of Australia) and various small theropods, including raptors. Behaviorally, they act very canine, with Great Jaggi sounding like a wolf at one point.

The Jaggi is just one example. Another interesting not-dino, Aptonoth, looks like a mix between a Parasaurolophus, ankylosaurid,  and Chasmosaurus. It's a docile herbivore that doesn't attack you on sight, so take as many notes as you like. There is also one in the marina as a pet.

Arzuros is supposed to be a bear - sort of like Winnie the Pooh if he got hit by gamma radiation and ran out of honey. It also contains the distinct look of the ever popular honey badger, particularly in the golden fur.  If you know absolutely nothing about honey badgers, know that they don't give a darn about anything and eat cobras for fun. Throw in a tortoise and you get Arzuros. Why Transformers Beast Wars Fuzors never made this combination is beyond me; seems like something they might do.

Altaroth are almost direct imitations of honey pot ants. Not much more to say. Korea and Japan seem to love the creatures, though. Now you know what they're based off of - who says you can't learn stuff from video games?

Of course, we went ahead and did research beyond the first few quests. Meet Deviljho or "Evil Joe," one of the most terrifying bosses in the entire game. He looks like a tyrannosaurid mixed with Anhanguera. We'd like to think this guy's tail was inspired by Uromastyx, but geckos (like the leopard gecko) and gators are far more likely sources.

Design aside, Deviljho is...funny. He's supposed to be intimidating, but it's hard to make "it ate EVERYBODY" realistic. Humans aside, such a creature could not feasibly survive; the creators tried to combat this by making it nomadic, which is a decent way out that also adds randomness to Jho's appearance. Regardless of the occasional silliness, many of the MH3U designs are refreshingly realistic, intimidating, and very well-done.


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