Thursday, March 19, 2015

I'm Used To Boss Fights

What a lie.

Okay, let's get real. I am HORRIBRU with boss fights. They have always really intimated me, sometimes to a point of completely dropping a game and leaving it alone for undisclosed periods of time if a boss battle ever gets me stumped (which, trust me, has happened all too often). I am probably never going to be used to boss fights (But then again, who can truthfully say that they are without coming off as pretentious?), but the gratification that follows clearing a boss battle is one of the best feelings in the world, most especially when said battle took you 7836584693546 years to accomplish.

With that, here's a list of some notable boss battles I've compiled, in no particular order. These aren't necessarily the hardest ones I've encountered, nor are some of these particular favorites (Alex's portion of this list after my segment is a bunch of her personal favorites, so check that out later on), but a lot of these are boss battles that have really stuck out to me (and/or have made me struggle to the point of hysteria).

Barthandelus - 2nd Encounter (Final Fantasy XIII)

Out of the three times you fight Barthandelus in Final Fantasy XIII, it's the second one that really got to me the most. Granted, the first encounter gave me so much anxiety because I heard he was rather difficult, but that did not compare to the second time around. This second battle, for some reason (read: I totally just suck), took me SO LONG, to the point that I exceeded the 20-minute mark and thus got Doom casted on my party leader. DOOM. You can just imagine how the Doom counter added even more stress to my already panic-stricken self. I remember screaming towards the end of this battle because my Doom counter was nearly down to zero right when I managed to almost completely deplete Barthandelus' health. Good times, good times.

Pander (Bust a Groove 2)

Considered a hidden boss dance battle after clearing Robo-Z in Bust a Groove 2, Pander's level was some trippy shat. His song was pretty fast, and with all the weird colors and confusing images flashing on the screen, it sometimes got a little confusing, trying to keep up with the beat. Pander is a notable boss fight for me because he was just so different, not just with his music and dance style, but with his character design. The dance battle starts off with an innocent-looking little panda as your opponent, but a few seconds in, it transforms into some freaky dude vainly painted to resemble a 'panda.'

Spoiler alert: all pictures nabbed from Google Images again.

Total nightmare fuel for children, if you ask me.

Bob Barbas (DmC: Devil May Cry)

Another trippy boss battle was the Bob Barbas fight in DmC: Devil May Cry. Here, you're basically fighting the giant head of a news reporter, all while inside some weird network jazz. Having discussed DmC three times already on this blog, I'll (try to?) keep this brief. Out of all the boss fights in this game, Bob Barbas has a special place in my heart simply because he was my first introduction to DmC. My friend was struggling to clear this boss, and watching her had piqued my interest so I offered a helping hand in a random attempt to defeat him. Ultimately, it gave me a 'this-does-not-feel-like-a-Devil-May-Cry-game-at-all' vibe, what with it looking so technological, but it was definitely thrilling, especially since I had never played any DMC game prior to this battle.

Demyx (Kingdom Hearts 2)

Remember how I said some boss fights cause me to leave a game unfinished if the battle is just too difficult? The Demyx battle from KH2 is a classic example of this. The very first time I encountered this boss fight, it took me over twenty attempts to clear it, and in my frustration, I left KH2 for the longest time, relying on videos and fanfiction to feed my fangirl heart. Call it subconscious unwillingness to defeat Demyx (he was one of my favorite Organization members, you see), but GDI Demyx was a killer to beat.

This is one of those debatable bosses in terms of difficulty because some would argue that Demmy is a cinch, whereas other people considered him one of the more challenging ones from KH2. Personally, I belong in the latter, however I might've been incredibly underleveled the first time around, because in my second playthrough, I managed to clear this boss battle in my first attempt.

Terra-Xehanort - Terra Final Boss (Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep) + Young Xehanort (Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance)

I mentioned both of these battles in the respective blog posts (my redundant roster clearly shows that I am most definitely not used to boss fights), but to reiterate, TERRANORT WAS ONE OF THE HARDEST KH BOSSES OF MY LIFE. Despite that, Terranort managed to remedy, if only partially, the intimidation I feel with regards to boss battles. After clearing this first final boss (oxymoron, but there are three different campaigns in Birth By Sleep okay), I was excited to move on to the next bosses. It was a new feeling for me, especially since this Terranort battle took me several attempts to clear.

You would think that I would've included the Anti Black Coat boss battle instead of the Babynort one, considering how I found the former to be much more difficult and challenging. The Babynort boss battle from KH3D is memorable to me because it always makes me recall Alex and how much she struggled with this particular fight, as well as how Alex and I were deeply submerged in the KH fandom (more than usual) at the time, on a week that rendered us without any classes because of the weather situation we were going through back then. I remember cheering on Alex and congratulating her when she told me she had finally cleared both Babynort and the game, because prior to her victory, the Babynort rants were just as ruthless as the Babynort battle itself.

To this day, when I think of KH3D, I almost instantly recall the Babynort boss battle. It seems to be considered one of the really difficult boss fights in the franchise amongst the fandom, to the point that I often forget that it isn't even the final boss, a fight which is technically supposed to be considered the most challenging in a game.

Three Kingdom Hearts boss battles on my list, two of which involve one form or another of Xehanort. Do you know what this list is trying to say?

It's trying to say: GTFO XEHANORT.


It's my turn! So small tidbit, the title of this blog entry was said by an actual person in response to the difficulty of a certain game. This statement was followed by moments of profound silence as Ina and I have realised that apparently we're not MLG-pro sort of gamers, since we're apparently not used to boss fights. </sarcasm>

Trivia aside, I actually do enjoy a good boss fight. Be it the climax of a wonderfully done build-up, the accidental boss fight or the for-the-sake-of-story-progression-but-we're-going-to-make-this-awesome sort of boss fight, nothing can be as fulfilling as finishing that boss battle that had been foreshadowed wonderfully. Well, moving on, here is my list of my favourite boss battles in no particular order.

The Archdemon Urthemiel (Dragon Age: Origins)

Smile pretty for the camera
There is nothing worse than knowing that you're off to fight a dragon. Unless of course the dragon is the reincarnation of an Old God that is going to purge the world in fire and darkspawn in order to enter the Golden City, and the only way for it to stay down is for a Grey Warden to sacrifice themselves (which then isn't even a permanent solution). Yeah. That just sucks. And that's Dragon Age Origin's ending in a nutshell. 

This is the big bad boss fight that you've made your way through hell and high water. This is the boss that your Warden has literally dreamed off. This is battle, where once you've figured out what you're going to do, ends with a cutscene. Of the Warden (or Alistair), jumping on the archdemon's back, and delivering the final blow. And this, hands down, is my absolute favourite boss fight I've ever done.

The Arishok (Dragon Age 2)

"Maraas toh ebra-shok. You alone are basalit-an." (to nobles) "This is what respects looks like, bas! Some of you will never earn it!" - The Arishok, Act II
No matter your class, no matter how well prepared you are, no matter how confident you are with your skill set, when you battle the Arishok one-on-one: you run. Run in circles, run behind pillars, run away when he charges at you. Just run.

Seriously, this is single-handedly the most panic-enducing, hilarious boss battle you will ever play because of the sheer ridiculousness of it. Hawke, a human, single-handedly battles The Arishok, leader of the Qunari, gray-beast-of-solid-muscle of a qunari that towers over you without even trying for Isabella's life. Doesn't help that if you're a rogue or mage because you're bound to be a squishy, whereas a warrior has a bit more health leverage, but not that much.

Anyway, a lot of this boss battle includes a lot of planning, health potions, grenades and paralysing potions. It involved dodging that cleaving weapon when he charges, lest he stabs you through the stomach, lifts you in the air, and makes your character bleed out twice/thrice before throwing your trash ass off to the side to do it again. So in short? RUN.

Yeah. Romantic, Cassandra.

Ceadeus (Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate)

hi friend
So what's worse than a giant water-based monster terrorising the ocean surrounding the island? An even bigger water-based monster that's terrorising the island by using it as it's personal scratching post! Okay, so technically the whole premise of the Monster Hunter franchise can be counted as being a game exclusively made of Boss Fights, but of all the boss fights that I have fun with (aka not screaming at my DS screen in utter pain and frustration), Ceadeus is my personal favourite.

Timing is everything for this creature, and a shitload of man-power to break that goddamn horn of its. Actually can't remember if the villagers referred to the Ceadeus as a female, because they always referred to the Lagiacrus as "her."Anyway, this giant behemoth under the island? Most fun water-based hunt ever. Gobul? Not so much.

size reference. It's like it found a new chew toy

Xemnas (Kingdom Hearts 2)

Now what's a boss battle list without Xemnas, more specifically his final battle in Kingdom Hearts 2? Nothing says "I have leveled up and therefore even more badass than before" by mixing white in your all black motif and finally showcasing your weapon as two glowing sticks of light. This was one of those boss fights where you get frustrated with it first, but once you've gotten the pattern, it gets much more fun. Sure, you had that split second where you played as Riku, but really, the whole existence that is Xemnas is just as trip-enducing as his outfit. 

Red (Pokemon: Heartgold)

That moment when you stand next to a god. Somewhat.
Pokemon Heartgold was my attempt to get back on track in Pokemon after Diamond/Pearl/Platinum rekindled my love for the game franchise. So it was quite a surprise to find myself lost on a mountain (for nth freaking time), only to climb to the top to find this singular figure overlooking the horizon. "Who the hell stands on top of a mountain, looking over the horizon?" I think to myself, deciding to quickly (aka spastically) save my game before talking to this mysterious stranger. "....." replies the stranger, as the battle music suddenly plays. Surprise! Red challenges you to a Pokemon battle! Full-on nostalgia and freak out aside, this was actually a difficult boss battle that I enjoyed much, much more compared to any of the Gym leaders and Elite Four.

And thus ends our list of Top Bosses/Boss Fights! Eyebrow-raising beginnings aside, writing down this list was very fun. It actually got us thinking about those Boss fights that really stuck with us, be it the most notable, or the one we had the most fun with. But even after coming up with this list, we still can't say that we're used to boss fights (and we probably never will be).

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