Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Thirteen


  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Puppeteer
  • Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow

There's a certain art that comes from making an exquisite boss battle. It's all too easy to come up with a great idea for an encounter, only to have it executed poorly. The tussles with foes on Best Boss Battles in Gaming History are the exact opposite of that. These are wonderfully designed, memorable, absolutely awesome, and amazing battles that resonate with players, no doubt leaving an impression on them long after the boss in question has been beaten. This is the thirteenth installment of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History, and as long as game creators keep designing great boss battles, this segment will continue to live on!

If you missed a previous installment of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History, look no further than these twelve links!

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six 
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve

Head past the break to see the five bosses I have listed for this edition of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History!

Armstrong - Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, 360)

The titles that Platinum Games puts out have something in common-- well, other than generally not lighting the sales charts on fire. They require you to use all of the skills you have learned throughout your journey on the final boss. For Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, that final boss is the war-hungry, power-craving Senator Armstrong. In the future, we don't use steroids to bulk up, son. We use nanomachines!

The ultimate showdown in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Raiden taking on Senator Armstrong in an arena surrounded by building debris and flames. Armstrong, showing off his tremendous pecs, produces shockwaves that strike out from the center of the arena with just one fist. These are easy enough to avoid by simply running in a circle, and then attacking Armstrong's back while he's exiting the striking animation. Just don't stand too close for a while, as Armstrong will create a powerful aura, blowing Raiden back, resulting in damage.

On more than one occasion, Armstrong leaps to a high wall and lifts up a gigantic piece of debris, and then chucks it towards Raiden, who must use his sword slicing abilities to great effect. Raiden needs to slice the large hunk of junk thrice in the instructed directions to destroy it or else take serious damage.

Once enough damage has been dealt, Raiden and Armstrong engage in close quarters combat, or as you Metal Gear Solid 3 fans may shorten it as CQC. With the pressing of certain buttons and sword slash directions at appropriate times, Raiden successfully fends off Armstrong's advances, taking his blade and jabbing through the crooked government official's abdomen. With a few final slashes, Raiden calls for the end of the battle, taking his hand and jamming through the chest of Armstrong.

With final breaths and severe internal injuries, Armstrong delivers one final speech, this time for Raiden instead of a roomful of constituents. Rarely do boss battles in Platinum Games' titles disappoint, and this tradition stays true with Metal Gear Rising with its fierce, frantic, and adrenaline-inducing final fight with Senator Armstrong.

Ghirahim - The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

We go from a game that has you controlling sword slashes with an analog stick to a game that has you controlling sword slashes as close to 1:1 as possible via motion control. By the time you get to the first main dungeon of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you can pretty much aimlessly waggle the Wii Remote to cheese your way through enemy encounters. However, once you reach the first dungeon's boss, the eccentric self-proclaimed "Demon Lord" Ghirahim, you quickly understand that randomly and wildly shaking the Wii Remote will result in you getting your butt handed to you.

Right away in the encounter, after Ghirahim's introductory monologue, if you hack randomly at the boss, Ghirahim will most likely block your sword strike, holding the tip of Link's blade with his hand. He gives a clue about how to attack him when Ghirahim says as long as Link continues to telegraph his moves, he won't defeat the Demon Lord.

Here's where the motion control sword slashing comes in. Lord Ghirahim's hand will always be held in one direction, usually following Link's sword. You need to hold Link's sword in one direction and attack from the other, catching Ghirahim off guard. In the meantime, Ghirahim will power up and charge towards Link during battle, as well as chuck five daggers either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally in a row.

When the proper strategy has been figured out, this boss battle isn't that difficult. However, it's listed on this edition of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History due to how novel and innovative the encounter is. When you figure out how to do battle with Ghirahim on your own, it's such a rewarding feeling. You indeed feel like Link, the supreme swordsman that he is, and with this boss fight, you now know how you should enter combat with the game's later foes, including a second and third battle with Ghirahim.

Deathstroke - Batman: Arkham Origins (Wii U, PS3, 360)

Last night I posted a new gameplay trailer of Batman: Arkham Knight, a game I'm feverishly anticipating. It seems like a good time to mention a second boss fight from the Arkham series of Batman games (the first being Arkham City's Mr. Freeze fight), the battle with Deathstroke in Batman: Arkham Origins. Not only is watching your opponent important to do in Skyward Sword's Ghirahim fight, but it's also important in Batman's battle with Deathstroke, one of the many assassins wanting to cash in the bounty on the bat's head on Christmas Eve and Day.

The fight has Batman locked in close quarters combat with Deathstroke, aka Slade. Dodging, evading, countering, and attacking when there is an opening are paramount to prevailing in this encounter. Plenty of times you'll need to pay attention to Deathstroke's advances, as he'll constantly give players the warning of an upcoming attack which Batman needs to block or, better yet, counter.

When Deathstroke's been damaged a bit, he'll not only lose his mask, but he'll also lose his starting weapon, a pole that brings the pain. Deathstroke will then switch to a sword, becoming even more dangerous, even using dirty tactics like smoke bombs, using a grappling hook to send explosive barrels Batman's way, and leaping from out of the smoke to unleash a flurry of sword strikes that Batman must block with his gauntlets.

What makes this battle so incredible and noteworthy is that these two combatants are pretty much evenly matched. Of course, Batman fans can easily make the argument that a rookie Batman would never defeat Deathstroke in a fair fight, but indulge me regardless. The battle is not about jamming aimlessly on a button to win. It's about patience, persistence, and picking your shots. It's really gratifying to play this battle on a higher difficulty, taking Deathstroke down a peg with proficient countering and blocking. It may not be as great a battle as the one against Mr. Freeze in Arkham City, but it is unquestionably one of the series' best nonetheless.

General Tiger - Puppeteer (PS3)

With Christmas approaching, it seems like a fine time to bring up a game that with oodles of charm, fun, and whimsy, Puppeteer for the PlayStation 3. The game is already packed with loads of creativity, and this oozes into the boss encounters as well. The first major boss of Puppeteer is General Tiger, the final foe blocking hero Kutaro's way to Act II.

An important gameplay mechanic in Puppeteer deals with Kutaro's main weapon, a pair of magical scissors, able to cut through fabric with ease, and allowing Kutaro to reach higher places. This is mechanic, as expected, is indeed used in the fight against the formidable General Tiger.

The boss starts out by charging up his left claw with lightning, and then pounding it hard onto the battlefield, producing an electrical shockwave on the ground that Kutaro needs to time to successfully leap over. As soon as this shockwave has been avoided, General Tiger swipes at Kutaro with his right claw. Using the shield maneuver that Kutaro learns, our hero can block this attack, giving some serious ouchies to General Tiger's hand.

After two times the tenacious tiger's hand gets damaged by Kutaro's shield, it idly hangs above the left side of the screen, ready for our protagonist to leap onto. When General Tiger's teeth draw close to Kutaro, he can use his mighty and magical scissors to give the boss a good wallop to the face. This causes General Tiger to rise upward, hiding his face very high into the air so Kutaro can't reach it... or so he thinks.

As stated before, Kutaro can his scissors to cut up fabrics, using them to climb up certain surfaces. General Tiger's fur on his legs is one of these, conveniently enough. Once you arrive on the level of General Tiger's face, all it takes is some sheering to destroy one of the boss's big teeth.

General Tiger wouldn't be so interesting of a boss battle had it not been for Puppeteer's creative gameplay mechanic. However, the spectacle of the fight, the ingenious way the magical scissors are used in battle, and the design in general make it a terrific and memorable encounter.

Blue - Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow (GB, GBC)

It doesn't matter what Pokemon game comes out in the future or what came out after the original Pokemon games. Nothing will ever surpass the first time you faced off against your rival for the title of Pokemon Master.

With all eight gym badges acquired, a successful stroll through Victory Road, and all of the members of the Elite Four taken down, you would figure as your younger self that your journey to become the number one Pokemon trainer would be official. ...Not so fast. The final challenge was a battle against your rival, who you fought several times throughout your adventure to obtain all eight gym leader badges. However, this time around, your rival's team of six Pokemon are fully evolved and ready to demolish whomever stands in their way.

Just going through battling the Elite Four's total of 24 Pokemon before the fight with your rival, who I'll call "Blue" for simplicity's sake, is tiring enough, but then you have the greatest battle before you. With a collection of Pokemon on his team including fierce-flying Pidgeot, psychic-extraordinaire Alakazam, rock-hard Rhydon, flame-breathing Arcanine, the three-headed Exeggcutor, and finally the highest evolution of whichever Pokemon was picked at the beginning of the game, Blue is no pushover. Quite the opposite, in fact. His Pokemon are leveled around the low 60's, making leveling up a specific team of your own very important.

However, when that last Pokemon falls, no doubt while you're nearing defeat yourself, a giant burden is lifted off from your shoulders. You are a Pokemon Master! You are the national champion of the Kanto region! Take your bow, and take your place among the giants that make up the hall of fame!

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