Sunday, September 4, 2011

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Four

This article contains spoilers. Please tread carefully.

To kick off the start of a new week, we have Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Four to satiate your thirst for boss blood. We have bosses from a variety of games and platforms, so there's something for everyone from Super Metroid to Gears of War. If you missed out on a previous installment, you can always click one of the following links to instantly be transported to your intended destination, free of charge.

Turtle Boss - Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)

From riding a tank and running over enemies to climbing and scaling ledges to avoid a fiery fate, the first level of Contra III: The Alien Wars, Contra's first foray into the world of 16-bit gaming, is full of danger. The final challenge in the level is a giant turtle boss. This enemy has four main attacks: 1) It launches creepy-crawlies to trip up our hero (or heroes), 2) It unleashes a myriad of killer bats at the player, 3) It shoots off small laser orbs which can trip up unsuspecting players, and 4) It opens its mouth and blasts a damaging line of fire at the player. Shifting between platforms is the main point of contention in this battle. The pulsating red core is the boss's weak point. Where else? Unload with everything you've got, and this turtle will go back to the prehistoric period where it belongs. There's many great encounters to be had in the Contra series, but this first level boss starts it all off.

Mother Brain - Super Metroid (SNES)

This boss battle isn't just memorable because of the second showdown between bounty hunter Samus Aran and Mother Brain, but also for the touching finish to the fight. Firstly, Samus must navigate through a passage of laser beams and bombs blasting at her all the while using missiles to blow up the doors leading to the resting Mother Brain. This is easier said than done as this is one of, if not the, most annoying rooms in the game. Once the resilient bounty hunter reaches her prey, she must launch a barrage of missiles into the glass case where Mother Brain sleeps while avoiding said laser beams and the pool of acid below. Once the case has been obliterated, a moment of repose can be had before the real battle begins.

The head, laying of the floor, rises up to reveal an entire monstrous body attached to it. Mother Brain shoots off grenades which torch the ground when they explode and fire beams which do major damage to our favorite bounty huntress. The weak point is the head, so Samus must aim carefully with her missiles, super missiles, and regular shots. With enough damage Mother Brain gets serious. She conjures up a technicolor beam which does an incredible amount of destruction to Samus's energy reserves. After around two or three goes of this attack, it seems Samus is finished.

Then suddenly the Metroid that Samus rescued in Metroid II, fully-grown and full of spite for Mother Brain, comes in to save the day. It attaches itself to Mother Brain, drains her energy, and then recovers Samus's health. However, Mother Brain revives herself and sends a devastating and fatal blow to the helpful Metroid. Newly invigorated and bestowed with a rainbow beam, Samus can now put the finishing touches on Mother Brain. Defeated, the big brain drops to the ground and eventually shrivels up into nothingness. With a quick vertical escape from the soon-to-be-exploding planet, Samus's mission and objective are now complete. The galaxy can rest once more as the operation was completed successfully.

Seven Force - Gunstar Heroes (GEN)

This side-scrolling and fast-paced level puts you right in the action against a boss of seven forms (hence the name Seven Force). The boss can transform instantly into one of seven amalgamations at its leisure. The first is shown in the picture above. It's the marathon man of the Seven Force boss battle. It runs after our heroes, occasionally hurling big and bad boomerangs or thrusting its mechanical arm forward. Thankfully the player can switch between riding the ground to riding the ceiling at any time to avoid these attacks.

The second form turns Seven Force into a large wheel with blades on all fronts. The battle changes from a horizontal affair to a vertical one. The boss shifts from left to right before scaling the wall. It takes quick wits and reflexes to dodge this boss's body. Once enough damage has been dealt to the boss, it will change attack pattern. Seven Force will rise to the top of the screen, spin, and shoot off a circle of laser orbs. Again, quick wits and reflexes are just what the doctor order to fend off such an assault.

The third part of battle returns the fight to a horizontal setting. Seven Force sets itself up on the leftmost side of the screen and unleashes a multitude of lasers and walls to trip up the Gunstar Heroes.

The fourth form once again mixes up the direction of the fight. We're vertical once again. This form has a small body with a long, spiked tail. It runs across the wall, floats toward the player, and then spins in place, attacking with its terrifying tail. The form can also spew multiple multicolored laser orbs at the player, making Seven Force a "force" to be reckoned with.

The fifth form turns Seven Force into a magnum pistol-like machine. It has only one attack, but it's a doozy. It fires off a series of shots one right after the other. The trick to this confrontation is to hide directly above the boss, so its shots can't reach you. It may be cheap, but this is a war we're talking about!

The sixth form has the boss transforming into a blue phoenix-like mechanized menace. It slowly creeps up the vertical wall. When its wings turn inward, it's your chance to slip past it. This is all the while continuously firing at the boss to do damage. Of course, this is Gunstar Heroes, so your finger should always be on the firing button.

Alas, we've reached the final form... finally! The stage turns horizontal for the last time. Seven Force transforms into a four-legged creature which runs on the ground. It summons a targeting reticule that closely follows the player. The player must constantly be moving as the boss can launch an attack at a moment's notice. This form is must easier than previous ones, but it can still trip up tired players in this test of endurance. Once Seven Force's health has been depleted, the pilot gives our heroes one of the necessary jewels, and the stage has been cleared. Phew! What a workout!

General Raam - Gears of War (360)

After hopping onto a speeding train, Marcus Fenix and partner take out the numerous Locust inhabiting the locomotive. When they reach a certain car, General Raam, leader of the Locust horde, is waiting for them. The fight requires the player to stay in the light, or else the bat-like creatures surrounding Raam will rip them to shreds. Cover is key as the nasty general is armed with a powerful machine gun. Your own machine gun is great for battle, but a weapon like the Torque Bow makes this battle even easier. Raam creeps closer and closer to the player, requiring them to move to the other side of the car 'less they wish to be pummeled to pieces. Once enough bullets have penetrated General Raam, the hulking beast will fall to the ground. The world is safe for now, but the Locust aren't quite finished yet.

Fire Leo - Viewtiful Joe (PS2, GCN)

Viewtiful Joe featured side-scrolling 2 1/2D gameplay with cel-shaded visuals. In the sixth chapter of the game, The Magnificent Six, Joe went through a gauntlet of previously defeated bosses. After the five past haunts were exterminated, VJ was put face-to-face with Fire Leo. The battle takes place in a circular arena. Fire Leo prances around the arena, shooting off volcanic rocks that will burn Joe if he touches them. With the power of Mach Speed, our viewtiful hero can heat himself up, leap over the rocks, and catch up to the swift lion. After a few punches to the mane, Fire Leo will begin spinning in place. Joe must then dodge a series of high and low punches (Slow Motion works best here). If successful, Leo will become quite dizzy and Joe will have an opportunity to unleash a Red Hot One-Hundred assault to do some crazy damage to this hot-headed boss. All it takes is some patience and skill, and Fire Leo's flame will be extinguished.


From Fire Leo to General Raam, these bosses sure showed off and pulled no punches. Did your favorites get mentioned? If not, list some of your faves in the comments section. Until next time, this has been Best Boss Battles in Gaming History.

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