The giant inflatable Raizex and life-size blademaster armor replicas may have stolen the show floor of Monster Hunter Festa this year in Osaka, but Capcom put together something even more special for fans: a Treasure Hunt.
Now, now, I know – when you hear that you probably think they had us walk around the show floor hunting for some arbitrary thing like, say, stamps (don’t worry, they did that too), but the game promised a test of wit and Monster Hunter knowledge, and it delivered.
First, let’s talk about our supplies. The makeshift caravan provided you with a number of materials necessary to partake in the series of quests:
A) A map of Hunter Island, in which many secrets are hidden.
B) The Quest Riddles (Location and Item), coded instructions on where to go and what item to bring.
C) Toolkit – stickers to help decode the secrets of the map.
D) A folder depicting one of the four flagship monsters from Monster Hunter X, with a hidden purpose…perhaps an ancient decoding tool?
E) Item Cards, gathered directly from the game.
F) Your Quest Report, which you will file with the Guildmarm after discovering the location and item necessary to move to the next quest.
With that, we left the gates of our humble convention hall (read: took a seat at some benches) and went to work, beginning at low-rank with Quest 1.
Solving the riddle on the left will reveal the location of your next Quest. Solving the riddle on the right will tell you which item you need to bring. The location riddle reads, “When four lightning bolts strike the island, your path will become clear.” The item riddle simply reads “Jump over one.” A cursory glance at the Hunter’s Island map showed 7 clouds, but our toolkit only had four to place as we pleased. The item riddle had nothing but 11 Japanese characters to choose from. The solution?
Four of the seven clouds had a particular concave pattern that matched the convex patterns on the top of the lightning bolts. Fitting them into the clouds, each bolt struck one Katakana character, a jumble of words which when unscrambled, gave us ミツリン、pointing us to the Kechou-mitsurin（怪鳥の密林）、or Yian Kut-Ku’s Forest. The letter puzzle was simple –use every other letter (jump over one) to reveal the item name: Otobakudan（音爆弾）、Sonic Bomb. Filing the location name and item into our report, we handed our report to the Guildmarm, received Shock Trap and Spider Web item cards, and were given the okay to move on to Quest 2.
Again, we have a location riddle on the left and an item riddle on the right. The location riddle reads “Make the right facing statue hold the red bow, and the left-facing statue hold the blue one. Where their arrows meet, you must go.” The item riddle was another character jumble, telling us to “submerge the tablet under water, and read the rising bubbles.” Stumped? Here’s the solution.
Placing the red and blue bows in their respective statue’s hands shows that their arrows cross over the Sleepy Forest（眠りの森）、which calls itself the home of Monster Hunter X’s new Owl monster. That does it for the location – and the item? While we considered putting the map in our water bottle, we found a more sound solution on our Toolkit – a tank of water, which when placed over the tablet, reveals five letters –しびれわな (Shi-bi-re-wa-na) – or Shock Trap. We again filed our report with the Guildmarm, received Flashbug and Bitterbug item cards, and were approved for Quest 3.
Here’s where they start to bend logic a little, literally. The location clue reads, “When front and back become one and two boats set sail, the numbers will tell you where to go.” …well, that’s a bit more difficult, isn’t it? The item clue is no less vague: “Tether the giant monsters with a rope, and read the stars on this map in the order of colors it reveals.” The wordplay in this one made the task a bunch of fun, and requires some Monster Hunter and Japanese know-how to complete. So let’s take a look at the solution!
First and foremost – “when front and back become one” – the Hunter’s Island map has two sides, both of equal importance. The answer was to fold the map so that the sails on the front stand on the boats drawn on the back. Doing so also reveals a series of numbers pointing to Japanese characters which, when read in order, readリオレウスノスマチ, or Rathalos’ Nest.
The item section was a bit trickier – while there are a number of large monsters on the map (Rathalos, Yian Kut-Ku, Hororo-Holulu, Dinovoldo), there are only two that hold the classification of Giant Monster – and that’s Gamut. Tethering the two Gamuts together reveals the first character in a list of colors: Black, Peach, Green, White, and Burnt Orange (in that order, クロ、モモ、ミドリ、シロ、ダイダイ). Reading the stars in that order produced 「ひかるたま」or Flash Bomb.
We had no Flash Bomb item card…BUT! We did have a Bomb Casing and a Flashbug! With the location in and item now in hand, we drew up our report and submitted it to the Guildmarms. Getting a Wyvern Tear and Goldfish Bait in return, we got permission to move to Quest 4.
Like any proper Monster Hunter game, Quest 4 implores you to use methods established in Quest 3, bringing us to our location riddle: “Go to the place revealed by the four wyverns breathing flame.” Next, the item hint: “Touch Grass and Flower, and Shield and Heart. When pinned to the four crosses, read the message as you would a clock.” With flames and wyverns on front and back, it seemed more map folding was on the horizon – not just for the location, but for the items as well. Here’s the solution.
To make the wyverns breathe flames, you have to fold the map four times – in a very specific order. First the red wyvern, then blue, then yellow, and finally the black wyvern. Doing so will isolate single part of the map – the Howling Sands (or Tigrex’s Desert, depending on 轟の砂漠).
Next, unfolding the map again and turning it over, one will see a shield, a heart, a flower, and grass. Folding the map so that the shield touches the heart, and the flower touches the grass, and then putting that into the decoder (the flagship monster folder) so that the bars on each corner of the map join the bars on the folder to make crosses, revealed the item name when read in clockwise order : 「シビレナマニク」, or Tinged Meat.
We didn’t have tinged meat, BUT…! We did have a Raw Meat item card and Paralysis Mushroom! Combining the two in the game created Tinged Meat, and so it would so the same for us here. Brining our fourth quest to the Guildmarm, We received our final challenge of the day – and no new items.
The final challenge of the day was the Treasure Hunt’s most creative. It reads, “Change fire to water, and when you complete this task, go to meet the monster that appears. Search for clues around him.” The task also literally says: “For this task, you must actually leave the Treasure Hunt corner and search for clues.”
We needed to know what we were looking for first. Here was the solution.
“Change fire to water,” well, the only fire we’ve dealt with is of the wyvern variety – and that’s where our answer lay. Folding the map once more so that the black and blue dragons breath water on the front, and the red and blue dragons breath water on the back, the monster we were supposed to hunt was revealed: Raizex.
Raizex! We had to hunt for clues around giant inflatable Raizex in the middle of the show floor. Frantically leaving our post to find clues before the convention closed, we left the treasure corner – and learned of a secret item combination: among the leftover cards in our inventory, we had to combine Large Earth Crystal, Auristone Chunk, and Spider Web. Bringing the combination back to the Guildmarm, our quest was done for the day, and we got to take a photo with the Berna Village Chef and “QUEST COMPLETE” logo.
Oh, did you think the fifth “Challenge Quest” was the final piece of the puzzle? Ohoho, WRONG! After finishing the fifth challenge, we were given a new item card, a “Hunter’s Seal (狩人の紋章),” and told that the final puzzle would be released on February 22, 2016.
It seems there are still some mysteries hidden in that old map, and a whole sheet of tools to solve them. Here’s to hoping this riddle doesn’t end like Ralphie’s tragic Little Orphan Annie message A Christmas Story. Given the focus on Raizex and a lack of a Variant in the game, my high hopes is that Raizex is next in line to get a Variant, and that this is a Raizex Variant DLC quest…but that is nothing but a Monster Hunter fan’s desperate speculation.