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Towering behemoths that were formerly humans that were exposed to Las Plagas parasites, and through an unknown method, grew to an immense size, acquiring great strength and brutality to compensate for their loss of higher reasoning.
These monsters have high stamina and will use their vast size and bulk to choke, crush, kick, charge and punch smaller prey. The only weak point on El Gigante is the accordingly overgrown Plaga attached to its spine. When the Plaga is destroyed, so is El Gigante. Once damaged enough, the Plaga will expose itself and El Gigante will fall to its knees, grabbing his head on pain, allowing the player to climb up onto it's back and use their knife to slash at the writhing Plaga parasite before the monster recovers.
If the player is too slow or presses the wrong attack button during this action, they will be thrown from El Gigante's back and the player lose their chance to inflict damage on the monster. Repeating this method (3 successful attacks, more specifically) will eventually kill El Gigante. One does not however have to respond to the action and can instead shoot the Plaga with a powerful weapon. Likewise, a well placed shot from a Rocket Launcher can also instantly kill an El Gigante. A startlingly efficient way of dealing with El Gigante is to fire three mine darts from the Mine Thrower (without the EX heat-seeking upgrade) in rapid succession at the exposed Plaga: the Plaga will then retreat into the thoracic cavity and the mines will detonate, killing the monster instantly.
Leon first encountered El Gigante as he passed through a path that ran next to a mine neighboring the village church. At first, during daytime, the beast was contained by heavy locks and a giant gate within the mine and can be heard breathing and grunting. But at nightfall, when Leon attempted to traverse the same path, a group of Ganados opened the door in hopes the behemoth would kill Leon so he would never reach the church. When released, the towering monstrosity crushed the Ganados and proceeded to attack Leon. If the player chooses to release the dog from the beartrap earlier in the game, he will arrive during Leon's battle and will provide a distraction, giving Leon a better chance at killing El Gigante.
Later on, in one of the two paths Leon could choose to reach the Village Chief's hideout, by fighting a second Gigante, this time in a deep, steep ravine where Leon had very little open space. There, it was defeated again by Leon, where he could choose to employ a heavy boulder on the edge of the ravine (which was noticed by Ashley), to crush the monster or fight it conventionally. In the mines beneath Salazar's Castle Leon confronted a pair of Gigantes (which carried the Los Illuminados emblems) in a blast furnace, where he could choose to open the floor to drop one of them into the molten metal below. This act fuses the mechanism however, forcing Leon to defeat the second Gigante conventionally.
Ada Wong encounters and defeats a second Gigante as Leon in the same village ravine in "Separate Ways".
- The El Gigantes are often referred to as "Cave Trolls" by fans due to their resemblance to the Lord Of The Rings creature of the same name.