Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bad Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Four


  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
  • Gears of War 2
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Mega Man X6
  • Yoshi's Story

Bad Boss Battles in Gaming History is back, everyone, for another installment! It's time once again to take these bosses to the woodshed, but this time I'm not going to defeat them, I'm going to roast them for being the total opposite of good. Whether they're annoying, misplaced, not any fun, hard for all the wrong reasons, too easy, or something else negative, I'm putting these five boss battles in their rightful place as bad ones!

Atoq Navarro - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)

Before we begin, I'm referring to the entire chapter, Chapter 22 - Showdown, in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune as the fight with Atoq Navarro, the final boss of the game. What occurs is a series of shootouts that has hero Nathan Drake ducking behind cover in the form of crates to pick off Navarro's henchmen and blasting the destructible boxes that Navarro hides behind.

The basic but still annoying premise of this chapter is to blast the boxes that Navarro uses as cover so they break apart, giving the main villain reason to retreat. Drake must time his shots carefully, as Navarro is equipped with not only his three mercenary henchmen in this first outing, but also a high-powered shotgun that can take an unassuming player down in seconds. With Navarro retreated, Drake can focus on the mercenaries, killing them before making chase.

The next setup has three more mercenary enemies, Navarro, and boxes for Drake to take cover behind. However, the latter can be destroyed by the henchmen and Navarro, so it means that Drake only has a set amount of time to take care of all four before he's proverbially naked, able to be killed quite quickly.

Once Navarro's cover is destroyed by Drake, he once again retreats. When the mercenaries are dead, Drake can run after him. This last arrangement has Navarro hiding behind indestructible cover, so here Drake has to pick off each of the three mercenaries one by one before Navarro runs away to a final platform.

It's here that Navarro stands out in the open, shooting in several bursts. When the shots finish, Drake can exit cover, move into Navarro's proximity and start a quick-time event, displaying Drake punching the snot out of his rival. A second time this is done, and the finale of the game occurs with Navarro's foot getting caught in a rope's loop, pulling him underwater to drown.

The timing required for the majority of this chapter is so precise that it makes for a highly frustrating experience for a player without the proper knowledge. Not only that, but throwing in a cliche quick-time event when Uncharted: Drake's Fortune had little to none prior to the endgame, makes for an unexpected change in gameplay. It all adds up to a painful to play chapter, and a very good reason why I don't generally like to replay the first Uncharted game.

Lambent Brumak - Gears of War 2 (360)

From the chapter in the book of "Bad Boss Battles" called "Total Letdowns of Bosses" comes this final boss from Gears of War 2, a title that had plenty of other issues with it outside of a disappointing final boss to worry about. Throughout the game it seems that a villain known as Skorge will be the final challenge to defeat in order for the Gears crew to successfully (but temporarily) save the day. In fact, Skorge is all but given the red carpet treatment to be the final villain to face.

However, players are thrown a curve ball when Skorge is defeated in the penultimate chapter. While some games would then have a more powerful, more dreaded, and more awesome challenge to take what was perceived as the main villain's place, Gears of War 2 instead gives players an incredibly weak on-rails sequence that ends with thirty seconds of holding down one button to take down the Lambent Brumak, the final boss of Gears 2, with the Hammer of Dawn weapon. "...That's it?" is a common thought or utterance to come from one's mind or mouth after the brief and deflating confrontation takes place. Ironically, the developer behind Gears of War 2, Epic Games, made a totally un-epic finale to their game.

Little Horn - Super Meat Boy (PC)

It's no coincidence that the boss that awaits you in the world called Hell is also the one that feels like hell playing. Super Meat Boy is an otherwise wonderfully designed game with clever, tight and responsive platforming that is quite fair. Usually when you die, it's because you didn't play well enough. However, the boss in the Hell world of Super Meat Boy is the antithesis of great design. Good bosses telegraph their attacks so you can be observant of that and hopefully evade them. Little Horn in Super Meat Boy is not a good boss.

In this boss fight, Little Horn pounds his big meaty hands on the platform he resides behind, as well as taking his forehead and smashing it to the ground, requiring you to dodge his offensive advances. The issue here is that again, there's no way to determine what attack is about to do, meaning that defeating the boss on one's first try is nigh impossible. Instead, you will most likely face Little Horn dozens upon dozens of times in order to simply memorize his attack pattern, as his attacks go in the same order every time. This is not good design, and it's confounding to me how a team that did everything else so terrifically with Super Meat Boy did so inexcusably horrible with this one boss fight.

High Max - Mega Man X6 (PS1)

Let me get this out of the way-- Mega Man X6 is a poor Mega Man game, and the second weakest Mega Man X game on home consoles. It's got a fetish for one-hit kill spikes, and it suffers from massively horrid level design. Now that I've let out that bundle of sunshine, let's talk about the boss of the second level of Gate's Laboratory, High Max.

High Max is a greatly annoying boss to fight due to his high defense, high health, and just how long the battle with him takes. Even if you cheese the fight through running into him with Commander Yammark's special weapon and purposefully take damage to do so, the fight is still a lengthy one.

The boss starts out by summoning two powerful force fields on both of his sides. At least one of these needs to be destroyed through giving an insane amount of damage to it for it to be removed, thus allowing you to unleash your attacks directly to High Max. You only get to hit him a minuscule amount of times before he calls back his extra defense.

The fact that one needs to actually cheese through the fight to take down High Max more quickly makes the battle such a bad one to me. Otherwise, you're stuck damaging the boss for small amounts of health each round his force field is down. It's just another thing to add to the pile of why I don't particular care for Mega Man X6.

Cloud N. Candy - Yoshi's Story (N64)

From a frustratingly time-consuming boss to an insultingly easy boss, Cloud N. Candy is but one of the bosses that can be battled halfway through the Yoshis' journey in the Nintendo 64 cult classic Yoshi's Story. It's obvious that Nintendo developed this game with children in mind. It's a simple game to beat, but it's a much more challenging one to master. Sure, you can just randomly eat any fruit to collect the 20 you need to complete a level, or you can do the incredibly challenging act of finding and munching down all 20 melons in a given level.

Nevertheless, there is no level of mastery needed for the battle again Cloud N. Candy, a cute play on words of "cotton candy". The boss slowly moves around the battlefield (or should it be a called a "massacre-field" since the boss is so darned simple to beat?), making large, floaty jumps in the process. All Yoshi has to do is take its tongue, lick, and lap up parts of the boss. With each successful lick, the boss becomes smaller and smaller. No worries about taking damage, as each time Cloud N. Candy has a piece taken off of it by Yoshi, it heals Yoshi. You can just jam on the tongue button to turn a once large mound of clouds into nothing within seconds. If only there were more danger and complexity to be found with this boss, which in its current state has next to zero, so Cloud N. Candy wouldn't be yet another boss to be considered by me as bad.

Side-note: Doing a no-damage run on this boss is not considered impressive!


Have your own disliked boss battles that you've had the misfortune of playing? Let the SuperPhillip Central community know in the comments below!

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