Thursday, December 12, 2013

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Eleven


  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble
  • Mega Man 
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
  • LittleBigPlanet 2

Are you guys who don't want to be spoiled gone now? We hope so! Not that we don't wish you'd take a look at our latest picks of great boss battles or that we don't like you. It's just that we wouldn't want to ruin the fun of witnessing these fights firsthand, so you don't expect what's coming. Anyway, we have the eleventh installment of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History to share with all of our readers, both faithful and coming-and-going. Think of this as an early Christmas present from us. Regardless, platformers are our favorite genre. It seemed like a great idea to focus this edition of BBBiGH (that's not too elegant of an acronym, is it?) on bosses in platforming games, such as ones from series like Mario, Mega Man, and LittleBigPlanet. If you're ready to get knee deep in some terrific boss showdowns, head past the break. If you're not ready for whatever reason, check out these past installments of BBBiGH. That really is a nasty acronym...

Meowser - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

A great consideration for SPC Game of the Year, Super Mario 3D World also has a boss that is a contender for the Best Boss Battles in Gaming History segment. That's why this particular boss is right here. It's Meowser. What, you ask? Well, Bowser must have been jealous as Mario and friends played around with the game's newest power-ups, so as the player rides down a gondola to the foot of Bowser's tower (think Biff's tower from Back to the Future Part II for a reference point) they are eventually greeted by Bowser. The Koopa King has some tricks up his black, spiked wristbands. One of which is a Cat Bell, which he uses to become... Meowser!

Rather than do some throwaway fight that doesn't really test what you've learned from playing through the game, Super Mario 3D World's final boss chucks a lot of platforming the player's way (for our sanity, we'll refer to the player as Mario). An auto-scrolling screen slowly moves upward as Mario must jump and run safely from platform to platform. This is all the while Meowser popping in and out of view through scaling up and sliding down the tower's walls, hoping to hit his rival.

Once the player has reached solid ground, Meowser leaps to the background, breathing fire in front of the player in two waves. The player must then leap over these and make it to the POW Block that Meowser so foolishly is standing on and smash it, sending Meowser careening upwards. So much for him, huh?

A clear pipe leads upward, so Mario takes it and starts moving into the clouds. Suddenly, Meowser comes crawling up the side of the building, keeping pace with Mario. Eventually, Meowser slows down and goes off-screen. The sound of a power-up being used is heard, and then two Meowsers are climbing up the building.

After Mario exits the clear pipe, it's another edition of playing cat and Mario with Meowser-- only this time he must deal with two tyrants at once. Not only does one Meowser climb up and slide down the building while Mario tries to stay out of his way through leaping on platforms, but the other Meowser smashes through the wall and either swipes his claws or spins his Tanooki tail.

This section goes on for a little while as climactic orchestral music blares. Mario reaches another safe clearing, but the Meowsers are on his tail. He needs to run up a series of stairs while avoiding the now multiplied Meowsers coming every which way.

Finally, the top of Bowser's tower has been reached. Four Meowsers hang from each side of the building, shooting off behemoth sized fireballs while the real Meowser stands on a giant POW Block in the middle, showering the roof in fire.

Four hits of the POW Block are needed to finally send Meowser flying high and careening into the night, with only a firework of his face in the starry sky as a leftover of his most recent failed plan. It is with this that all seven of the rainbow Sprixies have been saved. Excellent work, Mario and friends.

Bleak - Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble (SNES)

It's holiday time, and winter is nearly upon us in North America. Why not use this opportunity to bring up a wintry boss from a game that released in the holiday season of 1996 here in the U.S.? While many were looking towards the future with the Nintendo 64 and playing their copies of Super Mario 64, SNES owners still had Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble to get through (maybe they could have added a few more words into the title, as it's not quite long enough yet).

The boss of K3, a mountainous and icy area within DKC3, was none other than an angry looking snowman with attitude named Bleak. Think Frosty the Snowman, but totally mean, totally repulsive, and deranged, but man, is he a snappy dresser!

Anyway, we chose this fight because it's not just fun but it's much different than every other battle within the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy. It has Dixie and Kiddy Kong moving along a 2D plane as usual, but their backs face the player. While Bleak is in the background, he chucks snowballs and occasionally launches giant cannonballs from his top hat. Snowball fight?! Bodacious! (You kids out there still use that word, right?)

Meanwhile, the Kongs toss some snowballs of their own, hoping to hit the red weak spot on Bleak's tie. As the frigid in both exterior and interior boss continues to take damage, it moves closer and closer to the foreground, making the reaction time necessary to dodge his offensive offerings all the more difficult. The battle with Bleak is a really creative and enjoyable boss battle, and it's oh-so entertaining to put that maniacal snowman on ice for good.

Yellow Devil - Mega Man (NES)

Let's go really retro now. We dabbled in the radical 16-bit era, so let's now go a little farther back with Mega Man. Now, this is a boss battle that can be really cool to play through or a total nightmare. It's the type of boss battle that players who first come across it will have their butts handed to them-- perhaps making them see the "Game Over" screen more times than they care to mention. It is none other than Wily Stage 1's boss, the Yellow Devil.

The Devil in general is such a classic and recurring baddie, showing up in multiple games, in both the original Mega Man series and the X series, too. Similar forms appeared in later games like Mega Man 8 and Mega Man X6. Its initial outing was in the first game the Blue Bomber ever starred in, and it has an attack pattern that is infamous to this day.

Instead of using some firepower or something to take Mega Man down, the Yellow Devil puts his whole body into his work-- literally. One by one, a piece of the Yellow Devil moves from one side of the screen to another, column after column. The order is always the same. The thing about taking the Yellow Devil down is that you have to remember and keep up with the pattern.

Once the Yellow Devil has rebuilt itself on the other side of the screen, it opens its sole eye, giving this Mega Man's one chance per round to do damage, no matter how insignificant. Then, as sure as tomorrow, the Yellow Devil starts shooting off its body parts in circular form across the room, requiring Mega Man to stay on the ground or make a careful leap to dodge.

Of course, if you want to go the path without honor, you can always equip Elec Man's special weapon, use the "Select Trick", and defeat the Yellow Devil without much hassle. If you want to be a n00b (that's still cool to call people, isn't it?), then by all means, have at it.

Penelope - Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PS3, Vita)

After betraying the Cooper clan and Sly Cooper's team, Penelope is now working for Le Paradox (who, if you recall, has a boss fight that was listed on our first ever edition of Bad Boss Battles in Gaming History). Under the guise of the Black Knight, Penelope has been using her alias to strike fear in countless characters. Now it is time for her comeuppance-- Cooper style!

Though this might prove to a bit difficult, as Penelope has not only entered the Black Knight, but the Black Knight has entered a hulking armored robot. It's a knight within a knight! There some Xzibit joke somewhere there, but we try to stay away from memes and come up with our own bad humor.

Anyway, Sly Cooper is decked out in his Robin Hood-like attire, allowing him to fire arrows that can be guided by the player. This is a technique that is mandatory for this battle, but we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Penelope's armored bot shoots a giant blue laser from its head, and also creates an earthquake that sends a shockwave Sly's way. A simply jump, however, will allow him to dodge that.

There are various wooden towers around the battlefield, allowing Sly to reach the top through bouncing off a trampoline-like surface behind them. Once at the top, Sly can grab an arrow and fire. This is where the mandatory guiding-an-arrow deal comes into place. In front of Sly is a red force field. However, the force field, for whatever stupid tactical error reason, has multiple large holes in it. These can allow arrows to be guided through to hit Penelope's bot's weak point. Once an arrow has hit its intended target, Sly can tightrope walk across the arrow's rope and do some serious damage, slowly chipping away at the bot's armor.

After loosening and eventually separating the arms of Penelope's mech, Sly is able to scamper to the center tower and let thine aim be true with a final arrow. However, this time, there's only two holes within the spinning force field. As the arrow pierces through the mech, it collapses to the ground. Nonetheless, there is more to come after this astounding battle.

The Negativitron - LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)

Ready to destroy Sackworld, the universe, and everything, the Negativitron is the ultimate foe in LittleBigPlanet 2. The boss has three creative phases to survive through, and each presents a fun, unique challenge.

Phase one has Sackboy inside a ball that can boost up the curved walls that line each side of the battlefield. Old nasty Negativitron's offense is opening up its massive mouth and emitting a tractor beam to suck in poor Sackfolk. Meanwhile, Sackboy needs to roll up the walls and land on top of the Negativitron, where its weak points emerge. After enough abuse, the world destroyer vamooses to lower ground.

It is here that the floor is turned into deadly ground, and the boss sucks in platforms and debris as Sackboy must use said platforms to either jump safely from flying platform to flying platform, or swing to each with the Grabinator tool. Once the Negativitron calms down, a weak point arrives on its head, and the platforms stop moving. A hit to the weak point starts the second phase's cycle once more. Approximately three more hits are needed to enter the third and final phase.

This phase allows Sackboy to have his cake, but he can't eat it too, or else he'll have nothing to throw at the Negativitron's weak points! Of course, the boss won't reveal them so easily. This final phase has it shooting out huge lasers from the background to the foreground, where they smack the floor where Sackboy stands. They go in a particular pattern, but it's easy to get caught with your pants down here. Chucking the toss-able cakes at Negativitron's weak points is the only way to damage it. Once enough damage has been given to its weak points, the Negativitron will fall apart, revealing its core. A cautious jump on top of it will destroy it, freeing the universe from the mechanical menace.

What makes the battle and accompanying cinematics with the Negativitron so awesome is that everything that the developers did to make the epic showdown is able to be recreated by the player via Create Mode. And if the player doesn't want to make some imitation, they can use this fight, as well as the preceding levels before it to get inspiration to create their own masterful works, as the community has easily shown.

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