Thursday, July 25, 2019

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Twenty


  • God of War (PS4)
  • Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (NSW)
  • Yoshi's Crafted World (NSW)
  • Mario Tennis Aces (NSW)

In four days, SuperPhillip Central's Best Boss Battles in Gaming History will celebrate its eighth anniversary. That's about three years shy of this site's founding. Throughout each and every edition of this long-running, ever-expanding series of articles, SPC has tried to select boss battles that are memorable, boss battles that are well designed, boss battles that have great stakes and weight to them, and/or boss battles that are just plain darn fun! This historic twentieth installment looks at some recent games of the past year-and-a-half, so be mindful of the spoiler warning above. 

Before we get into the new boss battles, here's a list of links containing the old:

The latest batch of five boss battles is beyond the break, so if you're so bold, feel free to indulge!

Sigrun, the Valkryie Queen - God of War (PS4)

What God of War's 2018 outing lacked in quantity of boss battles, it more than made up for in its quality of boss battles. There is a great selection of boss battles from Sony Santa Monica's latest to choose from, and you can bet others will be featured in future entries, but by far my favorite of the bunch--and most challenging to complete--was Sigrun, the queen of the Valkyries.

Challenging Sigrun to battle is a process all on its own--defeating each and every Valkyrie hiding around the Norse realm. These battles are somewhat difficult enough, but Sigrun herself is essentially a greatest hits of all of those battles. She takes one signature move from each Valkyrie Kratos faced and combines them into one hellish repertoire of moves and attacks that makes Sigrun one seriously formidable foe.

Even on the easiest of difficulties with the best equipment available to Kratos at the time, Sigrun is no slouch and demands practice, patience, and seemingly at some times, perfection to beat. Not only does she have a wide range of attacks and wide areas of attack, but she deals devastating damage with each blow. It's quite easy to have some momentum and all of a sudden see Kratos on the receiving end of a killer combo, ending what could have been a successful run at the boss. Sigrun is a boss that rewards skill and perseverance, as is much more than just a spectacle unlike many bosses within the God of War franchise.

Doctor Otto Octavius (aka Doctor Octopus) - Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4)

Some boss battles are worthwhile for spectacle. Some are worthwhile for being a great deal of fun. While the final boss battle of last year's Insomniac Games-developed blockbuster Spider-Man for the PS4 fits those categories, what makes it so thrilling and worthwhile are the story stakes in play.

Doctor Otto Octavius was a mentor to Peter Parker, and throughout the game's story we see the slow descent of Dr. Octavius into darkness, with failed experiments, the failed funding of his projects, and his increased anger towards those who he feels hurt him both professionally and emotionally.

It all comes down to an epic showdown atop Oscorp Tower, where the Dr. Octavius and Spider-Man, whom Octavius learns is his former young protege, do battle. The night sky flickers with the flashes of battle, and the shouts and yells of both men locked in a painful conflict echo throughout the battlefield. The final battle of Spider-Man has everything--spectacle and huge emotional stakes, making it more than worthy of an addition to the lineup of fantastic boss battles in this ever-expanding list.

Galeem and Dharkon - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (NSW)

"Ambitious" is one of the key words many players of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would associate with the game, and it flows through nearly every facet of last December's highly successful and wonderful party fighter. That stretches to the game's story mode, the excellent World of Light. After tackling myriad foes, regaining allies from the darkness, and stitching the once broken world back together in the process, the final challenge of World of Light approaches, and it's one heck of a gauntlet.

The battle with the dual antagonists of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn't easily reached. The duo throw a parade of enemies at you with your limited pool of characters in tow, and it takes everything from defeating shadow versions of the game's other bosses like Beast Ganon and Giga Bowser, to climbing a vertical auto-scrolling section with periodic bouts with shadow versions of the game's entire cast.

It isn't until you reach the top of this section that the final battle against these two foes, one representing light and one representing darkness (Galeem and Dharkon respectively), begins. All that practice from defeating Spirits in previous World of Light battles as well as kicking your buddies' butts in local and online multiplayer will come to good use when facing these two titans, as they come packed with an arsenal of moves that make the combo of Master Hand and Crazy Hand look like level 1 CPU opponents in comparison. Proper shielding, dodging on both land and air, and picking the right times to attack and defend are all skills to master when it comes to taking down both Galeem and Dharkon, each possessing their own separate bars of health. The battle is not easily won, but when victory is achieved, it will be well earned indeed.

The Great King Bowser - Yoshi's Crafted World (NSW)

From one of my favorite games of the year so far, it's Baby Bowser and his Mega Baby Bowser form in Yoshi's Crafted World for the Nintendo Switch. A two part battle, the grand finale of Yoshi's Crafted World has Yoshi taking on a mechanical construction concocted by the crafty Kamek as a present for the whiny and bratty Baby Bowser. It has three phases to it, and each one has Baby Bowser using his newly gifted robot to attempt to destroy Yoshi in various ways. The goal of each phase is to destroy the two weapons the robot uses which are on each arm of this deadly and devious device.

There are two mechanized motorized cars that Baby Bowser rolls along the battlefield, toy hammers that the boss intends to smash Yoshi with, and launchers that unleash dangerous skewers from their bodies. Each of these need to be destroyed in the phases they come up in, and when both arms' toys are destroyed with eggs, Baby Bowser reveals himself from his cockpit. Thus, able to have an egg thrown at him, ejecting him from the pilot's seat and ready to be ground pounded to deal damage. After three times (through each of the three aforementioned phases), Baby Bowser's machine is defeated.

...But not Baby Bowser himself. In one final fit of anger, Kamek uses his magic to grow Baby Bowser to giant proportions--though not too much of a surprise to anyone who has played a Yoshi game before. This new King Bowser form has the behemoth-sized boss launching meteors down at Yoshi, hurdling sharp stars downward from the heavens, and using an arsenal of tools to take down Yoshi. However, the latter can be taken from Baby Bowser, and tossed on nearby sockets on either side of the arena. When Baby Bowser is in the center of the arena, Yoshi can then continuously ground pound the nearby buttons to smack the tools such as giant toy hammers right into Baby Bowser to wallop the boss really well. After a trio of rounds of bops to the noggin, Baby Bowser is finally defeated and the Yoshi clan can return to their home in peace.

Bowcien - Mario Tennis Aces (NSW)

Troublesome as a baby, and even more of a headache all grown up, our last boss battle for this edition of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History is a familiar face around these parts, Bowser, but in not so familiar territory. Wait. A tennis game with actual boss battles? How does that work? Well, in the case of Mario Tennis Aces's finale, it works quite well! Bowser nabs the almighty, enchanted, and downright cursed racket containing the spirit of the evil Lucien and uses it to challenge Mario to a final showdown in the Temple of Bask.

The battle with the newly dubbed Bowcien is one for the Mario Tennis Aces ages, having every skill learned throughout the course of the game's Adventure Mode being required to take this foreboding boss down. Unlike a standard game with traditional health, the bosses in Mario Tennis Aces have it where Mario is battling not only the boss itself but the clock as well. Each bit of damage Mario takes results in ten or more seconds being shaved off of the clock. If it hits zero, it's game over.

To defeat Bowcien, it first comes down to removing the protective shield he encases himself in, and this is performed by hitting the glowing orbs floating in front of it. As magical spheres of energy shoot out of each, essentially dangerous versions of tennis balls, Mario must use the right type of shot to hit them into the orbs--whether it be a normal shot to hit the lower and middle-level orbs or a lob shot to hit the higher orbs.

After the shield has been lowered once enough damage has been given to it and enough orbs have been destroyed, it's time for a tennis rally for Mario's life. The two rivals hit shots back and forth to one another, and this needs to be done with proper timing, or else Mario's racket will get severely damaged. Once the rally has gone on long enough, a star-shaped spot will appear on the court, signaling Mario to perform a Zone Shot, aiming straight for the heart of Bowcien's racket. Doing this pattern two more times, all the while dodging the rounds of attacks that Bowcien throws at Mario after each successful hit on the villain will result in victory. 

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