Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bad Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Three


  • BioShock
  • Dead Rising
  • Sonic Generations
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

What's worse than a bad boss battle? How about five bad boss battles? Last November we began a new segment on SuperPhillip Central, Bad Boss Battles in Gaming History. Now, it's several months later and we have a new installment to share. The rationale for our choices of awful boss encounters can be because of one or many of the following issues: they're forgettable, they're boring, they're tedious, they're in the game for no reason, they're counter-intuitive, or they're just plain not fun. After you've read our latest picks, feel free to throw in some agreement/disagreement and ideas for bosses to consider for part four.

Also, feel free to check out our two previous entries.

Part One
Part Two

Fontaine - BioShock (PS3, 360, PC)

Fontaine, the final boss of BioShock, is a bit of a pushover and letdown for the conclusion of the game. His tactics are to simply charge at you with a fiery aura. After taking enough damage, Fontaine returns to his station to recharge. Running up to him and sticking a giant needle into his chest initiates the next phase of battle, usually just adding another easily avoidable attack into the mix. 

What makes this boss battle so bad is how it doesn't seem to fit into BioShock at all. It more seems like an encounter from Metroid Prime. It's out of place. When you can circle strafe a boss's every attacks while being required to continuously pump round after round into the boss, BioShock suddenly moved from a compelling action-adventure game to a mindless shooter. It also doesn't help that Fontaine is an easier threat to dispose of than ordinary Big Daddy enemies. It all adds up to BioShock ending on a whimper rather than a bang.

The Convicts - Dead Rising (360)

Probably the most infamous trio of enemies in Dead Rising history, the Convicts call the courtyard in the middle of Williamette Mall their home starting at the first evening of the game. Introducing them as psychotic murderers who get a thrill from each kill they acquire, the Convicts drive around the courtyard in their jeep and take a baseball bat to a retreating mall customer amid the zombie apocalypse. 

While taking down the Convicts as Frank West isn't mandatory, it is best for you to do, especially if you wish to rescue survivors. The jeep the psychopaths drive in does its mightiest to run you down, and when you're down the gunner in the back of the jeep will fill you with lead via the jeep's Gatling gun. Taking down a moving trio of targets is no small feat. In fact it can be incredibly infuriating... and usually is! 

Bringing survivors with you and hugging the edge of the courtyard's walls is the best way to avoid running into the Convicts while they joyride around. However, this doesn't always work as a strategy, so taking them out is usually the best plan of attack. Even still, these psychopaths are unique in Dead Rising because even after they are killed, they respawn the next day, resulting in you being required to defeat them all over again.

Time Eater - Sonic Generations (PS3, 360, PC)

The Sonic the Hedgehog series has a lot of notoriety for having plenty of poor reviewed titles to its name. This is more towards the 3D entries than those of the 2D perspective. Nonetheless, Sonic Generations is one of those greater-than-above-average Sonic games of modern times. Still, Sonic Team couldn't make the experience entirely terrific, as evidence by the final boss of the game, the Time Eater.

The battle has both Modern and Classic Sonics in Super form, as they need to boost through debris (which clashes with the background, making it difficult to see) to catch up to the retreating Time Eater in order to damage its core. You can switch between Modern and Classic Super Sonics on the fly. Modern Super Sonic gets a behind the back perspective while Classic Super Sonic receives a side-scrolling perspective. 

Not only is the boss hard to understand what is required of the player to do, it also just isn't any fun. It takes too long to take Time Eater down, despite only needing to hit its core a few times. The debris of battle can't damage you, only slow you down, so the only way to fail the fight is to have the countdown time that is your collection of rings hit zero. If all that doesn't sound bad to you, wait until you have to hear the constant chatter of Sonic's roster of friends, whose egos have them actually think they're helping and it's not the duo of Sonics doing all of the work! Gah!

Polygon Man - PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, Vita) 

Final bosses in fighting games are generally extremely cheap. Well, to be fair, we're not the most proficient players of the genre. In PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, the final boss is the total opposite. It's none other than Polygon Man, a face made up of crude polygons, and an early marketing device for the original PlayStation. 

The fight works like this. Polygon Man calls in one polygonal henchman to take you on. This purple fighter bears a resemblance to one of the members of the game's roster. After eliminating the fighter, Polygon Man enters the arena, susceptible to getting his head handed to him (as he has no butt to get handed to him -- get it?). After retreating, two purple fighters are summoned. This is all the while Polygon Man taking the form of different stage hazards from other levels. Once these two henchman are disposed of, the final boss returns to the stage, ready to get his face mashed in. Again, he retreats, but this time summons three enemies for you to contend with.

Remember that in Battle Royale, the only way to lose a life is to get caught in a Super. Seeing as the only part of the fight that can cause you to lose a life is battling Polygon Man's summoned polygonal henchmen, the boss actually can't kill you. Instead, it just comes from the background and falls onto the arena. Then it just sits there for you to damage it until it retreats or perishes. It's a weak ending to an already by-the-books solo mode that does little to impress. When your boss battle just feels like going through the motions, it is probably not very well done. This is the case with Polygon Man in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Chilly Ride Boss - Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)

The final level of Secret Mine pits Luigi against a icy face of sorts. However, throw away everything you know about the gameplay of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, as to make this boss vulnerable, you need to use a mechanic that is exclusive to this battle. That's already a red flag, as we personally hate it when games teach us the fundamentals of its gameplay and then introduce a concept out of left field. 

The battle has Luigi riding a cart with a cannon on it through a tunnel as he pursues the boss. The perspective is placed in a first-person view, requiring you to aim the cannon to fire and destroy the various pieces of the boss's frozen shield. The thing of it is is that the boss' shield rotates, so it takes timing and precision to take it down. You also have to contend with the cannon, which can overheat if too many shots are fired, as well as requiring you to arc your shots or roll them across the ground to hit your target. Did we mention that if you're slow the boss regenerates all of the pieces of its shield? From its deviation of the game mechanics it taught you up to this point, to the frustration of having one shield piece to go and then having the whole shield regenerate because you were too slow, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon's Chilly Ride boss is an agonizing encounter.

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