Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Nine

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Bosses-- some say they are a gaming relic that are best left forgotten. Sure, for a game that is narrative-based or attempting to mirror a Hollywood film, they really don't serve a proper purpose. However, many genres like platformers, RPGs, action games, among others have boss battles that are absolutely well placed and properly executed. Best Boss Battles in Gaming History celebrates these, having reached its ninth part, and as always, we list five of our favorite fights against some of the mightiest of tyrants. This edition's selections include bosses from Metroid Prime, inFamous, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, for starters.


Metroid Prime (Metroid Prime - Wii, GCN)


Deep within the Impact Crater of Tallon IV lies the ultimate threat to the planet, Metroid Prime itself. We'll be focusing on the first form of the boss, a crab-like entity that changes color like Madonna changes outfits at one of her concerts... or so we're told. However, Samus can use the creature's color-changing ability to her advantage. Every color that Metroid Prime turns corresponds to one of Samus's weapons. For instance, if the boss turns a shade of red, then Samus should use her Plasma Beam to deal some serious damage. If she wants to speed up the pace of the battle, she can charge up the more powerful version of the Plasma Beam, the Flamethrower. The boss won't just sit there taking its lumps, however. It will shoot a large laser from its underside, as well as fire off missiles as well.


After enough abuse has been given to this unwelcome being, Metroid Prime will eventually turn around, burrow into the ground, and head deeper into the planet. Samus makes chase, of course. She's come this far, after all! During this next phase, Metroid Prime will continue changing colors like it did in the previous phase, but it will also return to its natural black hue. At this time, it shuffles forward, ready to smash into Samus. However, there are three trenches in this corridor where the battle takes place. By curling up into her Morph Ball, she can safely move into one of the trenches and have Metroid Prime shuffle ahead without taking damage.


Once more the creature will dig deeper into a new corridor where the battle will resume. Here, Metroid Prime will continue its pattern, but also throw in some new tactics. One is a tractor beam that pulls Samus towards the menacing monster before it slices its two front legs into Samus-- unless, of course, she evades at the last possible moment. Second, Metroid Prime will shoot out poison to sap away at Samus's health. Finally, Prime will unleash two slow-moving energy spheres that home in on Samus's position. These can be shot at to destroy them. Soon, Metroid Prime will retreat for the last time before showing Samus and the player its true form. A challenging test of endurance, Metroid Prime is a fantastic boss-- and that's just phase one.

Kessler (inFamous - PS3)


It all ends where it began, Ground Zero. Cole MacGrath and Kessler stand in front of one another. Cole remembers Kessler's voice. It is the same one that he heard when the Ray Sphere went off. Kessler tells Cole that he has always been with him. Not thinking anything of it, Cole engages Kessler, and the final battle in Sucker Punch's inFamous transpires.

Kessler has a variety of moves in his arsenal. He is two times more powerful of a Conduit than Cole, after all. He can create tremors by pounding the ground with his fist, pull Cole to a vulnerable position, manipulate electricity through his own body, utilize several abilities that Cole had-- only much stronger versions, and even generate electric clones of himself that could badly damage Cole.

However, this augmented power comes at a price. Unlike Cole, Kessler's powers drain the user's body. In the battle, this causes Kessler to need a moment's rest at times, falling down to one knee. It is here that Cole can overload the foe's body with his own brand of electricity, doing some hefty damage in the process.


The fight itself is fun, but what it represents is so much more profound. After the encounter and the personal insults about Cole's mother and girlfriend Trish, the truth bombs are dropped. Kessler is actually Cole MacGrath from the future, using an alias. Kessler had become a bitter, ruthless, cold-hearted man, due to the deaths of his wife and two children (Cole and Trish were married in Kessler's future) due to his own actions. The battle represented Cole facing his future, albeit unknown to him at the time. His subsequent choices will determine the fate of the world. That's deep, man.

Mizar (Jet Force Gemini - N64)


An asteroid, careening towards planet Earth... A trio of mighty heroes... One final showdown with a tyrannical leader of an insect empire... This is the finale of Jet Force Gemini. Juno steps out of a cavern and sees his home planet sitting before him. Soon, Mizar rises from in front of the cliff. This creature is the only thing keeping Team Jet Force Gemini from saving their planet. Defeating Vela and Lupus effortlessly, Juno manages to hang in there and stay strong.

The goal of this battle is to shoot Mizar's back with attacks as the foe retreats into the background after it attacks. Speaking of attacks, Mizar's eye beams return from the initial battle with the beast back at its palace. It also fires meteorites at Juno, which can usually be dodged through sidestepping back and forth. Mizar then shoots off a meteor that hits Juno's platform, leaving a shockwave that must be leaped over.

By far, Mizar's most dangerous attack is when he flexes his metallic claw and shoots a pulsating laser on Juno's platform. Being on the edge is suicide, as the laser sweeps left to right. Even walking through it once is enough to take out a quarter of Juno's health, so playing a game of jump rope with it is the best idea, unless you want to fail your mission.

After Mizar's finally defeated, it is revealed that Mizar is actually a robot, built by one of the Tribals (you know, those furry little bastards that you have to rescue all of them to get to this point in the game?) because he was jealous of his brother. Makes sense to me. Why don't we all try to destroy the universe when we get jealous of a sibling? With no help left, Jet Force Gemini's faithful robotic buddy Floyd arms himself with a warhead, flies into the core of the asteroid and detonates, sacrificing himself for the greater good. Mizar was a boss battle that we struggled heavily with, but we didn't get frustrated. We just persevered and gradually took more and more health off the big overblown bug before finally beating the boss. Those are the types of battles that we think back fondly on.

Indalecio (Star Ocean: The Second Story - PS1)


Final boss battles have taken up four of the five places on today's installment of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History. This is the fourth and final. The self-made leader of the Ten Wise Men, a group of super-powered individuals hellbent on destroying the universe, Indalecio is the final boss of Star Ocean: The Second Story and its PSP port, Star Ocean: Second Evolution. He stands before the Quadratic Sphere, ready to use it with the Crest of Annihilation to obliterate all worlds.

Depending on whether a certain innocent-looking Private Action is viewed, Indalecio's power varies. He can be relatively tame and easy to defeat, or he can be one of the most difficult bosses in the game, without question overpowering the creatures and bosses seen in the game's secret dungeon-- perhaps even the game's supposed ultimate boss.

In this form, he is Unlimited Indalecio, having a commanding 1,500,000 HP and 20,000 MP. He can move insanely fast across the battlefield, and his magic takes far less time to summon, making him an unquestionably difficult boss to defeat.

Otherwise, regular vanilla Indalecio is still a serious contender. Though his HP is a million points lower, he still possesses a multitude of abilities, magic, and moves that can decimate an unprepared party. Divine Wave can eliminate melee fighters fairly quickly if the player isn't fully paying attention, uses many powerful magical spells, and he cannot be dazed in combat-- unlike the other nine Wise Men before him.


When half of his HP has been depleted, he pulls out his ace, making him much faster and stronger than before. In this final part of the battle, he can unleash the spell Divine Comedy, something that can wipe out a party even at max HP. Indalecio is definitely one tough hombre, regardless of whether his limiter is on or not. Just God save your soul if you have Indalecio's limiter off.

Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time - SNES)


The arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was great fun. We remember asking for as many of our parents' quarters as they could muster, as we frantically inserted coins into the machine at our local arcade in what is now a defunct mall. Then the game came to the Super Nintendo. What the port lost in having four players simultaneously going after the Foot Clan, it gained in having all-new content, such as levels and the subject of this boss entry, Shredder.

We're not talking about the battle with Super Shredder, which is found at the end of the game. No, we're talking about the boss battle that occurs in the Technodrome, after Tokka and Rahzar are no more, and the elevator has been ridden.

This fight is exceptionally innovative and an absolute blast. You see the battle from Shredder's point of view. You can see him sitting behind the controls of his battletank machine while the Turtles deal with his attacks and several Foot Soldier fodder. However, the seemingly endless supply of Foot Soldiers is actually a benefit to the Turtles.

You see, there's a move in the game where you can take a Foot Soldier and fling them into the screen. This is the required method to damage Shredder's machine. This is all the while dodging the mechanized menace's advances. Soon, Shredder's toy is broken, and he sends the Turtles back in time. A really cool retro battle for one of the best beat-em-ups of all time, the first fight with Shredder in the SNES version of Turtles in Time is nothing short of spectacular.

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Do you have suggestions for bosses that we have yet to cover in Best Boss Battles in Gaming History? If so, drop us a line in the comments section. We'll be sure to check 'em out. If you're not sure what bosses we've already covered, look no further than here!



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