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Boss Fight Appreciation Zone - ROUND 3: My Chocolate Starfish





Welcome back, various bossfighters of Destructoid! It is time for yet another round of kickassery! GET IN!!

Anyone been having some good fights since last time? I currently find myself stuck on a particularly tough final boss. A certain political figure, to be slightly more specific. He's giving me a hard time, to say the least, but I fully intend to put him in his place. After doing so, I may even make a feature about the game he appears in, detailing my thoughts on him and the dynamic trio he's part of. But all that is for another day.

Future BFAZ rounds are planned to be structured roughly like the second one (Commenters' Choice followed by my list), with the exception of potential Bonus Rounds, which will focus on specific games and/or themes. None of this is set in stone, however, and the plan might change. I work in mysterious ways!

Now, get ready for what is by far the longest round yet.




(NOTE: Gifs now link to music)


The Great Mighty Poo - Conker's Bad Fur Day

"When I think boss fights, I tend to go with the old classics. The Mighty Poo from Conker's Bad Fur Day is pretty amazing. The concept of fighting singing shit in a video game was something that seemed to coalesce every fart joke I ever enjoyed into a divine moment of singularity that justified my existence from the ages 12 - 19."

- Occams_Electric_Toothbrush

You're supposed to stop at 19? Whoops!

Conker's Bad Fur Day is a game I wish I'd played back in the day, but circumstances didn't allow it. I usually only have one console per generation (as do a lot of people), and for the fifth, this was a PS1. Of course, I most certainly don't regret this, as that console gave me endless amounts of joy, but you always miss out on something with these damn gaming systems, don't you? I might track down an N64 one day just to be able to give it a go, since it won't appear on newer Nintendo consoles.

As for the boss itself, I can at least say that it has an awesome design. Literally a big pile of shit, with tiny little arms, angry eyes and a gigantic mouth. Simple, effective and hilarious. The song that the boss sings is incredibly memorable too, and the idea of making the shit pile sing opera only adds to the hilarity, as do the lyrics themselves. The love that this boss often recieves is definitely understandable.


Avion - Shadow of the Colossus

(Appropriate sound effect)

"Out of all of the beasts you slay in Shadow of the Colossus, Avion is by far my favorite. The logical progression to fighting giant monsters you have to climb is fighting a giant FLYING monster that you'll hang on for dear life on.

Oh sure, there's a second, serpentine flyer called Phalanx. But Phalanx is completely docile and a relative easy going ride when you climb on him. Avion on the other hand will bank, flap, and barrel roll in an attempt to get you to fall off and hopefully not hit the water below. Getting on is the easy part because Avion hates you enough to divebomb you. Staying on is a pulse pounding race against your stamina meter."

- StriderHoang

Now, I don't want to rely too much on this game, but it's difficult, when every boss is so good! I fear we'll have the same problem with Titan Souls when it comes out.

All of the encounters in this game is its own experience, and StriderHoang does a good job explaining what makes this particular one so great. Avion is a massive fan favourite, and might even be the most popular colossus in the game (as hard as it is to tell).

What I find most interesting is that, in building up the strenghts of Avion, he also challenges a previous choice of mine: Phalanx, who was featured in the first round. He also has a point, since Avion really is much more aggressive, and much harder to hang on to. On the other hand, my argument for Phalanx being great had more to do with the way that you grab on to it in the first place. You bring it down, chase it, and jump off your horse in order to grab onto it. Avion is much less complex in that regard, so it seems to me that there's some kind of trade-off here. Both of these creatures fly, but you deal with them very differently. Clever game design, if you ask me.


Mother Minku - Brave Fencer Musashiden

 "The one boss above all others I always remember. . Is one that strikes fear into all those who know her name! Even the sleeping squid headed monstrosity beneath the sea wouldnt dare tangle with her - her name is... Mother Minku! (brave fencer musashiden PS1)

You happily beat her kids up to retrieve longevity berries. Then she arrives and proceeds to take vengeance upon you and every moment is hilarious and frankly. . You bloody well deserved it XD"

- Faerber

Okay, so, I have absolutely no idea what's going on here.

Is this Mother Minku like the Moby Dick of rabbits? Like, the Great White.. Blue-eared.. Creature? Either way, I find myself to be very impressed with her ability to move around with no legs. It appears that her willpower alone is all it takes, and one has to ask if that alone is not enough to make her a formidable foe?

Regardless of what it's about, I believe that Faerber's genuine excitement for this boss makes it worth a CC space. If you don't agree, then why don't you make your own boss blog, huh!?

(Please don't do that, competition scares me.)


Sephiroth - Kingdom Hearts

(Gif provided by kingsharkboi)

"Sephiroth > all other Kingdom Hearts bosses"

- kingsharkboi

"Sephiroth in KH1 was the best KH boss. Though his KH2 incarnation was a lot of fun to fight but it was kinda easy."

- GajKnight

By popular-ish demand, here's another Kingdom Farts boss. I think this is largely a response to Round 2's Leon, who was described as the kind of story boss in which you have to lose, but apparently, victory is still possible somehow. I can definitely see the appeal in something like that.

This one's popularity seems to largely come from being a cameo. The world of JRPGs may be largely unexplored territory for me, but I do know that Sephibutt comes from Final Fanta Exoticsy. The internet told me that. What makes the fight itself good is something I'm still a bit in the dark about, but I assume that being a memorable boss in one game translates to being a memorable boss in another one. 


What you see here is only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of awesome comments about boss encounters on the old blogs, so go check those out. They aren't dead, you know. I still check them for comments. :)



I got 9 bosses this time! That's more than the entirety of Round 2! Prepare your brain...


Cyberdemon - Doom

Haha, yeah! Of course I couldn't leave this one out. I just saved it for later, since it's almost too obvious of a pick to begin with. The Cyberdemon is a classic!

You're looking at one of the original FPS bosses, and, in my opinion, one of the best, even by today's standards. I mean, Doom has other bosses too, but none of them are quite as memorable as this one! Doom is an amazing game all the way through, and this boss is one of many reasons why. It's a fast paced, thrilling fight, that takes advantage of everything that makes Doom good to begin with.

Gameplay-wise, the strategy for dealing with the Cyberdemon is legendarily simple: you shoot it until it dies. It sounds easy and boring, though the fight is anything but. This boss is the kind that constantly attacks you while also constantly being vulnerable. You dodge its attacks while being on the offensive yourself, and it's pretty damn intense!

Aside from that, you got an unforgettable character design, which has become a well known gaming icon over the years, and a name that's simply a ton of fun to say/write. The result is basically the Mona Lisa of boss fights.

I salute you, Cyberdemon! You're always about to rock!


T-rex - Tomb Raider: Anniversary

This one could also be considered a classic, although somewhat less so. It's no easy feat to out-classic Doom after all. Still, the t-rex from the original Tomb Raider is a well known and well loved boss. As you can see, however, that isn't quite the one I picked. Instead, I went with the one from Tomb Raider: Anniversary, the 2007 remake. I have two reasons for that:

1.) I really love Anniversary. The original Tomb Raider had the player rely on slow, tank-like controls, and jumping had a weird delay to it. It hasn't aged very well, and it takes a while to get used to. In the remake, Lara is quick, responsive and a total joy to control. She runs naturally in every direction, jumping is instant and satisfying, and gun fights feel much more natural. Anniversary is, in itself, a good argument as to why remakes have reason to exist.

2.) Anniversary's t-rex fights try some new things. In this game, Lara can enrage an enemy to the point where they will charge at her, at which point she can dodge in slow motion, giving her a split second to hit a weakpoint, which does extra damage. The t-rex battle makes the most of this, as the beast takes a long time to enrage, and runs wild once it's been hit. Around the boss arena are a couple of ancient traps, and making the dinosaur crash into these is a good tactic. It isn't necessary, and you can still go for an old school approach if you wish, but it's a fun and cool addition that spices up the battle.

Time for you to go extinct... again! *audience boos*


Koume and Kotake/Twinrova - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

"Ey, where all da Zelda bosses at!?", I hear you ask. Well, here's one.

The Legend of Smellda has a lot of bosses, and they have become increasingly personified and unique over time. In OoT, we get to meet these two grannies, and they probably make up my favourite boss fight in the entire series. The Spirit Temple is already my favourite dungeon in the game, because it has some of the most fun puzzles, and some of the most clever moments. It's also the only dungeon in the game to take advantage of the time mechanic (strangely enough), making the whole thing feel like an adventure.

Koume and Kotake are witches with elemental powers. One uses ice, the other uses fire. They are each others' weakness, but they fight together. Because of this, you must use your newest item, the Mirror Shield, to reflect their attacks, and basically fool them into attacking each other. That's a fun idea to begin with, and I think it's really well executed. I'm a big fan of the Mirror Shield as an item, and this boss is probably the best possible use for something like that.

After you hit the two a couple of times, they DNA Digivolve into Twinrova, their final form, which is a bit...

...extremely terrifying! From there, the boss becomes harder and more fast paced, until it reaches a surprisingly funny finale.

It's a high point in an already revolutionary game, so I certainly think it deserves an inclusion here.


B-ball Bunny - Wario Land II

Imagine that you make a game where you can't die, but you still want bosses. How do you get around that? In Wario Land II, the answer is usually "Throw the player out of the arena after one hit".


Except this one time, where a giant bunny challenges Wario to a game of basketball. It isn't a traditional game, though, since there's only one basket, two players, and three points to score. Oh, and players use each other as the ball, because that's how Wario games roll!

The way that this works is that you jump on the bunny to turn it into a ball (DO NOT QUESTION THIS), pick it up and try to hit the basket, which can actually be a bit tricky. Don't get jumped on, though, as this will make you the ball. You don't want that at all, because the bunny is a pro, who will slam dunk your ass in no time!

It's every bit as fun as it is weird (which sums up anything Wario related). As far as media portraying b-ballin' bunnies go, this beats the crap out of Space Jam! It also happens to be the only boss in the game with its own unique music track, which I think is very fitting, considreing the fight's nature.


Alastor - Painkiller

Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of most of Painkiller's bosses. Like, they were alright, but they often confused me. They were unclear about whether or not I was doing damage, and they always ended in a very abrupt manner, which felt pretty awkward.

"Oh, so I was doing it right? Okay then."

Alastor (or "Tower Boss") is the exception, and I'm not entirely sure why. My best guess is that it's got a much better sense of progression, due to the fact that the arena is breaking apart, bit by bit. That actually helps a lot when it comes to knowing if you're doing something right, and it makes the end of the battle feel far more satisfying.

You start the fight on top of a large tower (hence the nickname). Alastor will fly at you a bunch of times, somethimes attacking you from a distance. As you do damage, the tower's different floors will start to break down, and you will fight the beast inside of it. Once all the crispy layers of tower have crumbled to dust, you find yourself at the bottom, surrounded by statues. Destroying these statues is your next objective, since they keep the boss alive. See what I mean about progression? There are multiple indications that the battle is moving forward, so you're not constantly confused until you either win or die. The bit of strategy at the end is a nice touch too.

I also really like the way the fight looks, especially at the beginning. The red, dramatic sky, combined with the sense of being on top of a very high structure, as well as the intimidating sight of the boss itself, flying towards you from the distance, makes for a fight that feels big and exciting.


This Thing - Ape Escape

Ape Escape is absolutely delicious from beginning to end, but it doesn't have that many bosses. You face the first one in the fake-out final level (which is still the coolest thing ever to me, I mean they totally make it look like the final level and then BAM), and from that point on, they start appearing more regularly.

As with everything else in this sexy game, the bosses are a ton of fun! My favourite of them all has got to be the one at the top of the TV Tower. Yeah, it turns out that the top of a tower is a good place for a climactic battle. Who knew? Most people, I assume.

You fight a big ol' goofy helicopter thing, and it attacks you with missiles, fire, shockwaves, tiny UFOs and all that good stuff. It's actually far more difficult than it appears, as many of its attacks can be difficult to avoid, and it really steps up its game once you get a few hits down. It doesn't help that you're treated to Specter's smug face the whole way through. Damnit Specter, do you have to put your face on everything?

Like the one above, this boss is also really enjoyable to look at, as well as listen to, which largely applies to the game itself. Yes, I know, it's a 3D PS1 game, so it's all blocky and pixelated, but the style, dawg! It makes really good use of colours, with a lot of sharp contrasts and saturation and shit. The sound effects are bouncy and cartoony, and Soichi Terada's drum'n'bass soundtrack is still as fantastic as ever!

Maybe I should just marry this game. But how should I ask!?


General Tsao - Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves and Sly 4: Thieves in Time are weird to me. On one hand, I enjoy both those games a lot, and they both have plenty of good stuff to offer. But then, they also have a hard time getting out of Sly 2: Band of Thieves's shadow. See, 2 was the one that completely changed the formula, and it hasn't really moved on since then. The ideas are certainly there, especially in 3, but they are used sparingly, which is a bit of a shame. Take the ship gameplay, for example. That was great, but it was only used in one level, even though it could easily have been a substantial part of the game. Another example is the wicked Matrix shit you see above.

Basically, jumping during this battle makes you leap across the entire arena. Once you've jumped, you can shift direction once, before you land. This leads to a good bit of strategy, without the ability being too exploitable, as you still have to rely on the bamboo. Avoid Tsao's projectiles and his charge attack, and try to hit him from behind. It's a bit tricky at times, but it feels great to get a hit on him while mid-air.

The ability to basically fly over large gaps is only used in this one fight. It just comes and goes, despite all the potential it has to become so much more! At the very least, it does make for a great boss fight, and a high point in the game.

Maybe I'll write a blog about this series at some point, to explain my thoughts a little better. In any case, this boss is sweet, and that's what matters for now!


Scarabs - Halo 3

My memory might mislead me. See, it's been a while since I've played a Halo game, but I do remember these things. They would often come out of nowhere, and would take a while to bring down. The exact procedure escapes me, but it definitely involved climbing onto them and somehow attacking them from the inside, either from shooting or from some kind of special action. It's all a bit fuzzy, yet I never truly forgot.

Though I don't remember the details, the Scarabs still managed to leave a lasting impression on me, and I very much associate them with fun and excitement, as that is what I remember from fighting them. This is the reason that I wanted to give them a mention. Well, that and a bit of variety in the list.

What's really important here is that, looking at some of this footage, I have a bit of an urge to play Halo 3 again. That's a very, very good sign. It definitely means that I am on to something here, because that is exactly the kind of effect that a really good boss has on you.

While the Scarabs aren't traditionally boss-like, I consider them to fill the same role, and my memories of them are fond, so they go here. Cheers!


Dragon - Rayman Legends

Choosing between Rayman Legends' bosses can be difficult, but I think I'll go with the dragon in Breathing Fire for now. Sure, the Luchador is more fun to look at, and the last boss (whatever that thing was) is more challenging. But the dragon, I think, is a very good mix of the two. It isn't based on weakpoints, like the Luchador, but it's far more expressive than the last one, and I personally find it more memorable than the remaining two.

First off, the art and music are both fantastic. It's like a living painting that happens to be scored by an orchestra, and it's spectacular to both watch and listen to. It helps a ton that the motion and music are perfect together, as they share a very similar rhythm.

You fight the dragon by attacking it and, well, staying alive. Another simple one, although hitting this thing can be difficult, since it flies around a lot, and tends to fight back using its fiery breath. This then results in a lot of quick fireballs that you have to avoid, while trying to climb to a good attack spot.

As the fight goes on, the structures collapse, and you find your way to increasingly unstable ones. The wooden towers that you climb move around in a way that fits with the music, and it makes the whole thing feel very comical. A climax like this one would fit very well fort an actual cartoon, which is another major point in this fight's favour.



Round 3, laddies and gentlewomen!

That was quite a lot longer than previous rounds. Of course, quantity isn't much without quality, so I've made plenty of improvements on this one, especially on a visual level. Positioning is different, there are more little images, and now, a bit of interactivity (the music links). I plan on going back and retroactively giving BFAZ Round 1 and 2 a makeover similar to this, constantly making the Zone more comfortable for all of you. Nothing gets abandoned here!

In the meantime, why don't you come up with your own picks? It doesn't matter how obscure or irrelevant you think the boss is, it's always interesting to hear your opinion, so don't hold back! Jump in with the rest of us!

If you write something about your boss that I find to be particularly interesting, I'll take your head and ram it up my butt add it to the next Commenters' Choice. Also, I still read the comments on previous blogs, so don't hesitate to comment on anything there, should you just be getting around to reading those now. I'd also like to thank all you people who've commented so far, for your valuable and interesting feedback, not to mention for keeping this series going (after all, no motivation = no blogs). You've been great!

As for what's next, all I currently have planned is the Bonus Round, with no Round 4 in sight so far. After the next one, BFAZ may take a break for a while, giving me time to play (and possibly replay) several games for inspiration, and also do life shit.

Now boss off!

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About Dango one of us since 10:28 AM on 11.09.2011

Art by the fantastic Roberto Plankton

Phalanxification by the bombastic ZombZ

The cream of my video game crop (no longer in alphabetical order):