Friday, November 19, 2010

The Ten Most Epic Boss Battles Part 1

Almost every video game has bosses to defeat. They represent progress, and beating a hard one feels rewarding. I love a cool boss character, sometimes they can make an average game seem better than the sum of it's parts. Here is a look at the ten most epic boss battles in gaming history:

10. Alien Mothership (Metal Slug 3) - Metal Slug 3 is a hard game. It is a balls to the walls tour de force Contra killer on steroids. The real challenge comes in the form of the final level, as it is the longest and toughest of the Metal Slug series. At the end of the level awaits a massive alien mothership. It is so large you are forced to ride on top of it as you fight it. The music is really good during this fight, and it feels great when you finally defeat this boss. As a cool tribute, this boss returns to help your crew in the final stage of Metal Slug 6!

9. Wiegraf (Final Fantasy Tactics) - Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the better tactical RPGs released, but many of the boss fights feel pretty underwhelming; with the exception of one man. The villain, Wiegraf, is a rebel knight you fight many times during the course of the game. He represents the opposition to the nobility, and becomes Ramza's true nemesis. He trades his soul to the devil halfway through the game, and turns into a Zodiac monster. In the final battle with Wiegraf, he pulls out all the stops. The first part of the battle is a duel between Ramza and Wiegraf in his human form. After losing the duel, Wiegraf decides to become a demon for his revenge. This is the hardest battle in the game as he summons a crew of high level beasts to help him win the fight. This battle forces you to use every ounce of your tactical mind, and overcome an insanely difficult enemy and his cohorts. His Cyclops summon can wipe out your party in one turn. Wiegraf really sticks out in FFT because his Zodiac form is way harder than the final boss of the game, and the frightening music for this boss fight makes it even more intense.

8. Bowser (Super Mario World) - For the Super Nintendo outing of Mario, the familiar foe, Bowser, really steps up his game. Mario comes to the end of the final castle, and enters what appears to be an empty castle rooftop. This quickly changes as the music amps up and Bowser appears in a mechanized clown balloon. The fight changes and grows more difficult as you do damage to Bowser, and the Princess even pops out to encourage Mario with power ups between attacks. The game suddenly takes a cue from the Super Mario 2 rule book in the final area, as you can only defeat Bowser by throwing his mecha cohorts back at his head. It is a nice reward for the long time Mario player at this point, to use every skill that has been learned in the series ( from the NES era) to bring down the Koopa King in his first 16 bit outing.

7. Seven Force (Gunstar Heroes) - Anyone familiar with Gunstar Heroes will immediately remember the mine cart stage. The boss here is the rogue Green's mecha known as Seven Force. It has seven unique forms it takes before going down. Treasure pulls out all the stops as he goes from a giant gun, to a crab, to a green robot, etc. He only takes all seven forms on the higher difficulty settings, because Seven Force is not for the inexperienced player. It almost seems like a combination of many old Konami bosses rolled into one super boss. Seven Force returns in the shooting stage that appears later in the game to wreak havoc on unassuming players once more. Treasure loved this boss design, as he also cameos in different forms in Alien Soldier.

6. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy 7) - The long haired villain of Final Fantasy 7 has alot of things going for him. Sephiroth has an amazing battle theme called "One Winged Angel", it is basically a crazy orchestra piece with his name being chanted over and over in an operatic tune. Next, he has one of the most epic attacks ever: Super Nova. This minute long attack shows a Super Nova literally destroying the galaxy before it hits your party. Sephiroth also doesn't go down for the count until Cloud lands him in a one on one duel after this battle and finishes him with the super powerful Omnislash technique. It really feels like you are settling a personal vendetta with this boss, making the payoff seem very personal for the player.

5. Mother Brain (Super Metroid) - Samus's showdown with Mother Brain is a key part in most Metroid games. Super Metroid ended the original trilogy with a bang, as the young metroid that follows Samus like a child defends her when Mother Brain is on the brink of winning the fight. Mother Brain kills the metroid causing Samus to go into a super powerful form that allows her to defeat the diabolical bitch, and escape the planet before it explodes. This is simply one of the best boss fights of the 16 bit era.

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon.

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