Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The greatest final boss battles of all time

It should go without saying that there will be some spoilers within, specifically for Portal, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario Galaxy. Be warned.

Almost every video game leads up to a final battle between good and evil, light and dark. Every one of these battles is memorable, but a few stand out to really stick in your mind for ages. Here are three such encounters that do that to me. And no, Link: The Faces of Evil's Ganon is not one of them.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Ganon

Of all the bosses I've ever fought, the battle with Ganon at the end of Ocarina of Time is by far the most epic. After having already fought him in his humanoid form, Ganondorf once again rises from the rubble of his castle for a rematch, but this time, he's battling as the monstrous Ganon. Your sword is knocked out of your hands at the beginning, flung outside the arena's fiery border.

Find a way to get behind him, then pummel his tail with the Megaton Hammer. After doing this a few times, you'll retrieve your sword and enter the final phase of the battle. Strike his tail a few more times with your sword, and he'll eventually fall over. As Princess Zelda holds him down with her magical powers, deliver the final blow with the Master Sword, right into the evil beast's skull. And then it's all over. The beast falls silent, and is sealed away to the gaping void of the Sacred Realm. Swirling through nothingness, Ganondorf swears his vengeance on Link's ancestors.

No matter how many times I played through this battle, it never got old. If I ever had to fight one boss over and over for all eternity, this would be it. Ocarina of Time's Ganon shall go down in history as one of the greatest final bosses ever, if not the greatest.

Portal's GLaDOS

When Portal first begins, you wake up in some bizarre test facility. A computerized voice suddenly begins to speak, telling you that you're in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Despite the name, this facility does little in the ways of "enrichment", no matter how you look at it. It instead consists of a gauntlet of arbitrary challenges designed to be nigh impossible to complete. After fighting your way through all nineteen tests, GLaDOS tricks you into boarding a platform headed directly for a fiery pit. Using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Or "Portal Gun"), you manage create a series of space-altering portals to escape and confront GLaDOS' mainframe. And this is where the battle begins.

After promising cake if you stand down and surrender (Which, of course, you don't do), GLaDOS becomes irritated by your persistence and fills the chamber with deadly gases. Using motion-sensing rocket turrets and a series of portals, you can attack GLaDOS' physical form directly, breaking off pieces of her mainframe. These pieces of the computer can be picked up and disposed of in an incinerator located conveniently in the same room. After disposing of the last piece (Which growls and writhes in your grip), GLaDOS becomes destabilized, imploding in on herself. Amidst the chaos, you manage to escape, and the game comes to an end.

This game is incredibly addictive, as I went and played it to grab the above screenshot of GLaDOS. Even after snapping the above picture, I felt like continuing on to defeat the evil computer. Somehow I managed to save in that room and exit the game. But darn it, that was not easy to do. All of Portal is incredibly addictive, and the final boss battle is the icing on the cake.

And by the way, said cake is a lie. Just a heads-up.

Super Mario Galaxy's Bowser

Perhaps excluding only Super Mario Sunshine, every final battle with Bowser in all the Mario games ever made is amazing, but dang it, the Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy just blows all the other fights out of the water. First of all, this Bowser requires more hits than ever before to be defeated (At least ten). Second, this battle takes place on several planetoids. It begins on a small, plain planet. At this stage, Bowser covers up almost his entire body in rocks and rolls around the planet, chasing Mario. The only way to counter this is to attack his face when it rolls towards you. He then falls on his back and spins uncontrollably around the planet. Again, attack him when he gets close.

After battling him like this for a few rounds, he breaks the gravitational pull and takes the both of you to another planetoid. Now is when he starts getting really angry. He launches fireballs at you, curls up in his spiked shell and rolls around the planet, becoming nearly invincible in the process. The only way to attack him here is to use your spin attack on nearby plants, sending the bulb flying off in the other direction. When it hits Bowser, he begins spinning on his back like before. Just like last time, attack him until he takes you to a different planet.

The final stage is a glassy, lava-filled sphere with a few weak points. Stand near a weak spot when bowser tries to jump on you, and he'll rupture the glass, fall into the lava, and begin running around in pain. Take the opportunity to strike at his scorched tail, which will again send him spinning on his shell. Yet again, attack him when he spins towards you. After doing this a few times, he is finally defeated. He falls off the planet and lands in the molten surface of a nearby sun.

But he isn't done yet! He emerges from the fiery depths, and stumbles around on a floating rock. He looks around and screams in sorrow at seeing his galaxy destroyed. The sun he's on collapses in on itself, dragging the rest of the universe in with it. After Mario talks briefly with Rosalina, he, Bowser and Peach awake on the Mushroom Kingdom Castle's lawn. All is well again in the new galaxy.

Bowser's resilience in Galaxy is amazing. It's definitely the fiercest of all his incarnations. Who else could fall into the sun and be okay? Bowser's one tough hombre.

The Duck Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Tre' said...

Pssh, you should have put the spoilers "after the jump". XD