Friday, July 29, 2011

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part One

This article features spoilers, so please tread carefully. Warning given.

More popular in Japanese game design than Western is the concept of the boss battle. I love them, and I'm sure many of you out there do, too. Nothing like creating an epic ending to a level or area than with a climatic battle to stimulate the senses. This brand-new segment of SuperPhillip Central highlights some of my favorite boss battles of all time beginning with five for today. Check back frequently as I plan on having this be a long-running series of articles. Now with that jargon out of the way, let's get to the action!

The Colossus of Rhodes - God of War II (PS2)


The beginning of God of War II goes off with a big bang as Kratos finds himself stalked by a menacing statue known as the Colossus of Rhodes. As Kratos fights through wave after wave of enemies, solving simple starting puzzles in Sparta, and pilfering treasures from chests, the Colossus always has an eye of the God of War. Things come to a head when the Colossus slams its fist through a wall. Kratos must dodge this in a swift QTE segment.

When Kratos enters the final battle arena, the Colossus smashes one of its fists down and the Ghost of Sparta must leap over it to avoid damage. The boss then spawns enemies which Kratos must take down all the while avoiding the hand lunges of the Colossus. Each time the Colossus swipes its fist or fists at Kratos, Kratos should roll out of the way and then attack. This is the boss's opening.

After enough damage has been inflicted, the Colossus goes offline for a short while. This moment gives Kratos the opportunity to leap up to a ledge where a rock catapult is conveniently placed. With a press of the R1 button, the catapult launches, slamming the rock into the Colossus's once perfectly-formed face. While the Colossus is stunned, Kratos jumps into the catapult himself and launches his body into the big bad boss where at quick time segment, if successfully completed, has Kratos striking the Colossus's eye with his weapon.

However, the battle is just momentarily over. As Kratos steps into a room, the Colossus desires to step on Kratos with its monolithic foot. A mad press of the circle button keeps the player from getting squashed like a godlike bug. Once Kratos scales a wall, the second part of the confrontation begins. The process is very much the same. The Colossus slams its fists down while Kratos rolls out of the way to then attack it. Once the mechanized beast has been slain for to stun mode, Kratos needs to swing over to its arm and activate another QTE. This process happens again.

The final stage of battle begins with a blade sticking out from the top of a building. The Colossus slams its fists into the building's side, producing shockwaves that Kratos must hop over. Stunning the enemy will allow the God of War enough time to pull the sword from the rooftop and inflict the final blows to the agitated Colossus. So much for the grand Colossus of Rhodes!

Safer Sephiroth - Final Fantasy VII (PS1)


Considered the coolest baddie of any Final Fantasy game or a whiny, uncool mama's boy to others, Sephiroth's One-Winged Angel form (Safer Sephiroth) is the final test in Cloud and company's long, three-disc journey to save the world. After defeating the Birth of A God form, One-Winged Angel chimes in with chanting, an orchestral score, and the evil angel himself, ready to mercilessly destroy his enemies.

Without a doubt Safer Sephiroth's most powerful attack is his own brand of summon, Supernova. It's a catastrophic comet that comes from the depths of outer space and enters the Milky Way galaxy, obliterating each and every planet as it heads into the Sun. Once it enters the Sun, the big ball of light expands, completely engulfing Mercury, Venus, and what I will call Earth in an immense ball of fire. The attack will totally decimate low level parties and underdeveloped parties, so watch out.

However strong Safer Sephiroth's attacks are, they will allow Cloud's party to reach their limit breaks, the strongest moves in the game, quite easily. Who doesn't love using 4X Cut with Omnislash to send Sephiroth back to Hell where he belongs? Not I. Once Safer Sephiroth is defeated, one last Omnislash does the humanoid form of Sephiroth in for good. So long, mama's boy!

Twilit Fossil - Stallord - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, GCN)


Located within the dungeon of the Arbiter's Grounds is a unique item for Link to acquire, the Spinner. With it, the Hero of Time can ride certain marked walls in stellar fashion. The Spinner itself has spikes on its sides on all 360 degrees of it, making it useful in combat situations as well. It's the key to defeating the nefarious Zant's newest creation, the Twilit Fossil, Stallord, in combat.

The encounter starts out innocently enough. Zant revives the beast for battle, and Link must ride his newly-acquired Spinner and circle around the arena, avoiding the spikes circulating around the arena and spawning soldiers that Stallord summons and slamming into the base of the boss's spine to damage Stallord. After enough hits the mighty boss falls to the sand in agony. Do not celebrate just yet, however. The real battle is just about to begin!

The second stage of combat starts off with Link using the Spinner to rise up a tall column in the center of the arena. Little doth he know that Stallord's head is right behind him, knocking him off the column and starting stage two of the battle. The column and outer perimeter of the arena has Spinner marks on them, allowing Link to use the useful and innovative item to climb the walls until Stallord's head comes into view. When his mouth is full of fire, be ready to leap to the opposite wall to avoid a fireball blast. Eventually, Link will be at Stallord's level, and by jumping to the other side, Link will slam the Spinner into Stallord's face, sending it to the ground below. Link must then hop off the Spinner, fall down, and strike the boss's weakpoint, Zant's sword which summoned the beast in the first place. After multiple rounds of this the Stallord will be permanently put to extinction, and victory will be Link's once again.

Kefka - Final Fantasy VI (SNES)


Kefka is one of my favorite villains, and in Final Fantasy VI (which many consider one of the greatest RPGs of all time) he actually succeeds in destroying the world. After the heroes reunite after trekking it through Kefka's tower, the final battle is at hand. It's a four-part encounter that was highly impressive for its time. Players did battle with a selection of grotesque combinations of Espers. Each time a group was defeated, the player's party moved one step higher into the clouds, and the music shifted into a new movement of Dancing Mad. Once all three parts of the Esper monstrosities were put down, the final encounter took place. Kefka, with angel wings sprouting from his back, hovered down from the heavens. And with a menacing cackle, the fate of the new world was in the balance.

Final Kefka's attacks are as follows:

Regular attack - 1000-3000 damage
Fallen One - Brings all HP to 1
Havoc Wing - 6000-9999 damage
Hyperdrive - 3000-4000 damage
Goner - 1000-2000 damage
Fire 3 - 1000-2000 damage
Ice 3 - 1000-2000 damage
Bolt 3 - 1000-2000 damage
Meteor - 1000-1500
Ultima - 2000-3000

As Kefka's hit points dwindle into nothingness, one last speech hits his sordid philosophies home. Terra and friends have defeated the sinister jester, and now they embark on remaking their broken world.

Bowser - New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)


Bowser has had his Koopalings keeping Mario and company busy while he does who knows what with the imprisoned Peach Toadstool. Now with Mario in the final hallway leading up to the King of the Koopas, Bowser gets desperate. He launches fireballs through the hallway that Mario and friends must avoid if they want a chance to right Bowser's wrongs.

Eventually Mario reaches Bowser's innermost chamber where Peach is kept hanging in a cage. The battle begins with Bowser once again shooting fireballs that Mario must leap over. This battle can go one of two ways. The portly plumber can either shoot his own special brand of fireballs back at Bowser, or if that option is impossible, time it perfectly so when Bowser hops into the air, Mario can run under him, hit a switch, and send the Koopa King hurdling into the lava below. Peach is saved! Or is she? As Peach turns around, it is revealed that it's only Kamek disguised as her. That cross-dressing imposter!

Suddenly as Kamek uses his wand, Bowser rises from the lava like a phoenix from the ashes in humongous and glorious form. The chase is on now! The screen slowly scrolls to the right as Bowser shoots off gigantic fireballs at Mario who flees for his life. These great balls of fire destroy anything they touch such as the walls and floors of the castle. By tricking Bowser into aiming his fireballs at Mario, Mario can sneak through the holes that the fireballs make. Soon Mario reaches the halfway point where an item box rests. The home stretch is in sight. Now floating platforms hover in the air, swaying back and forth, ready for Mario to jump on them. Timing is key as one false move and Mario falls into the lava or gets rocked by one of big Bowser's fireballs. Once Mario reaches the end, he steps on a button which sends Bowser falling to the abyss. Mario and Peach are reunited, and with air balloons in tow, they finally head home. A great ending to a great adventure indeed.

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Have a favorite boss encounter that didn't make the list? Of course you do! Why not share it with the SuperPhillip Central community? Just leave your favorites in the comments section, and I'll take it from there. Until next time, this has been Best Boss Battles in Gaming History!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bomb-Dropper: Nintendo 3DS Worldwide Price Drop

Nintendo dropped a bomb after having profits fall heavily for their first quarter. Less than stellar sales of their newest handheld and the sharp decline of the Wii were the main culprits, but that's expected when one doesn't release many notable games, right? Regardless, Nintendo is looking to change their luck, and they're doing it in desperate fashion-- with a price cut to the Nintendo 3DS. In North America the Nintendo 3DS will now cost $169.99 as opposed to the intense and unaffordable price of $249.99 that the system originally retailed for. It's so drastic a measure that Nintendo is reportedly losing money for every 3DS sold now.


But good news for early adopters. You will not be messed over like you usually are by Nintendo. Instead you'll receive for free ten Nintendo Entertainment System and ten Game Boy Advance (don't you hate when people call it the Game Boy Advanced?) downloads. Ten of these titles have been revealed including such classics as the original Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island, the original WarioWare, and Metroid Fusion, for starters. New purchasers will eventually be able to download these games for a price with the NES games being available by the end of the year. No word on when the GBA titles will be ripe for the picking.

With titles such as Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 coming this holiday season, the 3DS may just have a fighting chance against the PlayStation Vita.

Suddenly last week's relative rant included in my editorial takes whole new meaning. Is Nintendo still doomed in the eyes of the media, critics, and fans? Who knows or even cares anymore-- I'm getting a 3DS soon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Top Five Reasons to Hate Capcom

For those who frequent SuperPhillip Central, you know that I loathe hatred in the gaming community. It's a cheap way to get hits, and there's already so much of it that I think people get tired of it and yearn for something more positive. Well, Capcom, one of my former favorite third-parties, has forced my hand with crappy move after crappy move, and I've compiled a list of five reasons to despise Capcom. Maybe you'll agree with some of them, hm?

5) Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3 being unveiled less than a year after the vanilla release

It was but this February of this year that gamers forked over sixty dollars American to play this beyond-hyped-to-Hell-and-back game only to realize their money was worthless. Less than a year later a newer edition would be announced with more fighters, stages, and balance. What was the purpose of paying sixty bucks in the first place-- to play the beta? To play test an incomplete game? As if Marvel VS. Capcom 3 wasn't already enough of a barebones fighter to begin with, and many other fighters in the genre are far more capable. SuperPhillip will not be attending this fight.

4) Charging twenty bucks for up-rezzed ports of Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica

Masters of rereleasing games, Capcom is rereleasing Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. The difference this time? HD. That's all. Who cares if you can play a superior version of Resident Evil 4 on the Wii with subjectively better and more fun controls for half the price, own a physical copy of the game, and not be bothered by DRM (more on that later)? Capcom certainly doesn't. Then again this is the company that wants you to repurchase Dead Rising 2: Frank West Version this fall. This is a slap to the face of many-a Resident Evil fan, and I cannot help but imagine that fans will eat this crap up and smile. Way to show Capcom, guys!

3) The DRM dilemma


DRM became a standard practice on the PlayStation 3 thanks to Capcom. DRM is a process where the digital game you paid for with your hard-earned money is tied to PSN, so if PSN goes down or gets hacked again (worst-case scenario), you cannot play it. This trend, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong, folks), began with Bionic Commando: Rearmed, and it will continue with the duo of Resident Evil ports. The excuse for this practice is to prevent game-sharing, but all it does is cause headaches.

2) Killing in the name of...

Breath of Fire, how we hardly knew ye... Darkstalkers... you, too, were a good friend. Let's not forget Power Stone, either. I fear we'll have to add Mega Man to the list as well. What do these franchises have in common? I'll be sad to divulge that information. They're properties that Capcom has put down to pasture over the past decade. Why focus on these when you can milk the same four or five franchises, farm out games to Western devs for cheap, and break big at the bank? The legacies of these games continue to be crapped on, and it irritates me that these properties are wasted when they could be greatly expanded upon.

1) Mega Man Legends 3's abrupt cancellation and Capcom's F.U. to the project's fans

When Mega Man Legends 3 was announced for the Nintendo 3DS, Mega Man fans from all over cheered in unison. Finally poor Mega Man Volnutt would get off that moon! Soon a development website came about asking for fan participation. Fans voted on Mega Man's suit, enemies to be included in the game, the look of the game's new heroine who would be called Aero, and much more. Then suddenly, out of the blue, the project was cancelled and dreams were shattered. All the input from fans was for naught. Capcom didn't even give a reason until a snobby Euro Capcom worker tweeted that it was the fans' fault for not giving enough to the project. Way to soften the blow. So not only is Mega Man Legends 3 dead, but it's not Capcom's fault but the fans. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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Capcom has done a lot this generation to anger fans. You thought you saw bad temper tantrums when Nintendo of America said "no" to localizing Xenoblade? That's nothing compared to what I saw when Mega Man Legends 3 was cancelled. With their continuing downward spiral, it's really a shame to see Capcom go from Capgod to Crapcom in such a short duration of time. You can bet that this blogger will be purchasing all Capcom games used from now on.

Monday, July 25, 2011

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Wii Party Edition

Time for an all-Wii edition of my favorite VGMs! Each and every of these five VGMs is a game from the Wii's lineup. Some call the Wii the worst console ever made. These people are loser manchildren who need coddling 24/7. If you can hear these VGMs over their constant crying, then maybe you'll have something to enjoy for the start of your hectic week. This week we'll be listening to music from Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Wario Land: Shake It!

v751. Wario Land: Shake It! - Mt. Lava Lava

Mt. Lava Lava in the underrated Wario Land: Shake It! for Nintendo Wii was a place full of rolling boulders, flowing lava, and promiscuously-placed enemies. The song itself has a funk beat to it which makes you want to get up and dance. Go ahead. No one's looking. Act like my main man, Wario, and shake your butt in the air like you're directing traffic. Aw, yeah...



v752. Wii Sports - Tennis Results

Tennis was but one of the five sports available in the phenomenal, ground-breaking Nintendo Wii launch pack-in title, Wii Sports. The other sports included bowling, golf, boxing, and baseball. Tennis featured your Mii automatically running while all the player needed to do was swing the Wii remote. It was a fun and accessible way to allow non-gamers into the fold. The results theme for tennis is very relaxing and quite soothing, don't you think?



v753. Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Puzzle Plank Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was SuperPhillip Central's Game of the Year of last year, and it faced some stiff competition. Never before did I play a game with such a smile on my face. From the colorful visual style to the whimsical nature of the game to the phenomenal level design to the excellently-composed music, Super Mario Galaxy 2 proves that gameplay outshines all.



v754. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz - Sinking Swamp


Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, for better or for worse, introduced a jump mechanic into the series. This made levels more complex and tricky to navigate. There were ten worlds in Banana Blitz, and the ninth and tenth were unlocked by completing worlds 1-8 without using a continue. Sinking Swamp was the ninth world, a world I never got to experience as my Monkey-fu wasn't up to snuff.



v755. Kirby's Epic Yarn - Mole Hole

Mole Hole in Kirby's Epic Yarn for Nintendo Wii was a vertical stage where Kirby transformed into a mole to burrow his cute little way from top to bottom, discovering treasures and gathering beads along the way. Kirby's Epic Yarn was originally a game completely separate from Kirby. The character was inserted in to increase the appeal of the game. While this trick worked, would you have liked to have seen a new IP from Nintendo? Not to say they haven't come up with any this generation! Don't get me wrong!



Wii've reached the conclusion of another wiik here at SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs. Enough Wii puns though. Those kill angels! Until next week, we put the VGMs on cruise control. If you're interested in hearing past and future VGMs along with a smorgasbord of other sounds, check out my Youtube channel. See ya'!

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