Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The worst final bosses

Think of this as "The greatest final boss battles of all time"'s evil little brother.

Generally a game's story leads up to a huge, amazing battle at the end. Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are all fine examples of this. After so much adventuring and fighting, players finally reach the final boss. Really, at this point, we gamers deserve to be treated to an amazing spectacle of game design and storytelling. We want the last part of this game to be the best. Sadly, some games just can't pull it off, leaving us with a disappointing final battle hardly fit for the adventure we just completed.

Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon

Of course, there are some cases where the battle's mediocrity is rivaled only by the rest of the game it's in. Thus is the story of Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. The resulting bastardization of an ill-fated Nintendo/Phillips partnership, these two games are widely regarded as some of the worst ever made. The final boss battles did nothing to make up for the terrible quality and design of the games themselves. After all this time, all this suffering, you want to really have it out with Ganon. You want to rip his Face of Evil off of him for forcing you to experience this crap pile of a game. And how does the battle go?

"...or else you will DIE!"

One hit, he's down. No, really. In Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon, Ganon is defeated either by throwing some book at him, or tossing the Wand of Gamelon into his piggy face. I suppose it's only fitting, though. A crappy end to a crappy game. Alright, enough dwelling on this pustule on the ass of game design.

Super Mario Sunshine

Ah, Sunshine. It's amazing how many people have sad so many bad things about your gameplay, but hardly a peep about your terribly disappointing final boss battle. I'd hardly even consider it to be a battle, come to think of it. What does it entail? Breaking Bowser's hot tub to send him plummeting into some sort of abyss. Yup. Mario basically pushed aside all formalities and caught the man while his pants were down. A classy guy, that Mario.

"Dammit, Mario! This is my 'Me Time'!"

Anyways, throughout the entire "battle", Bowser toasts you with his flame breath as Bullet Bills constantly rain down on you. Is there anyway to hit Bowser? Nope. You don't even get to touch the bugger once in the whole darned battle. A boss battle where you don't even make contact with the enemy can be an interesting design choice if done right, but the thing is, this wasn't done right. Instead of an amazing final battle, we get to see Bowser taking a bath while Mario tears up his floating hot tub. Doesn't this go against some sort of Plumber's Code?

Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl

The final battle against Cynthia, the Elite Four Champion, is a bad boss fight for a somewhat different reason than the others on this list. The real reason this is here is because of the fact that players have to fight Cynthia. Cynthia, the person we know next to nothing about. Cynthia, the person who appeared about three times previously in the game. Cynthia, who doesn't even seem to matter at all until the time we fight her. Seriously, why her? Couldn't something else have been worked out? I mean, it was a good fight, sure, but I hardly would consider Cynthia a proper final battle. Someone we know a little better would have been nice. Perhaps even a person we thought wasn't even that strong a trainer. Imagine if it turned out to be the starter player we didn't choose. Players who chose to play as Lucas would face Dawn, and vice versa. I would have liked almost anything more than to fight this woman we knew almost nothing about.

Cynthia...? Seriously?

But, maybe I'm just nitpicking here. After all, if Pokémon were to adhere to real-world logic and probability, the chances of the Elite Four Champion being someone you know personally would be insanely low. But after facing Gary, Lance and Steven, I had expected someone more important to the story to be my opponent. Heck, facing off against Professor Oak would have been better. Actually, that's not a bad idea... Game Freak, get working on it!

Final Fantasy

That's right, I'm calling out one of the all-time classics. Well, technically I'm calling out it's Game Boy Advance remake, but close enough. Anyways, Chaos was way too easy. I was in no way overly leveled up or loaded with the best weapons available. I took him on thinking I'd be thoroughly wiped out, but emerged victorious without even breaking a sweat.

Small picture, small threat.

I've heard that the Dawn of Souls remake is far easier than the original title, but still, it's no excuse for a 100% underwhelming and not-at-all-challenging final boss battle. I want it to feel like I'm practically dead as I deliver the final blow, not standing there yawning while swiping my sword at him. Chaos was no challenge at all. He was more intimidating as Garland. "I, Garland, will knock you all down!" Seriously, this is far more cool than anything Chaos ever said or did. Garland should have quit when he was ahead. Or behind. However time travel works.

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Anonymous said...

I was with you until you got to Cynthia. Cynthia rocks.

Anonymous said...

Sunshine was a great game and had a cool final boss. Not as epic as Galaxy, but it was still quite cool.