Sunday, August 07, 2011

Megabits' 10 Greatest Ever Boss Battles

There’s something majorly special about fighting your way through 15+ hours of a game, doing all the side quests, unlocking the best weapons and armour and finally taking on the final boss – the big cheese, number one, el capitan.

While some games have a huge build up for a rather disappointing payoff (I’m looking at you, Fable 2), some leave a mark on you that endures, long after the boss is vanquished and turned to dust. To that end, here is our pick of the ten greatest boss battles.

SPOILER ALERT!

10: Saren Arterius/Mass Effect
As the primary antagonist of the excellent sci-fi space RPG Mass Effect, Saren Arterius is something of a tragic figure. Fooled by a synthetic, battleship-sized artificial intelligence called Sovereign into doing its bidding, the rogue agent of an interstellar government finds himself unwittingly the pawn of an ancient civilisation - and driven to madness.

In the final battle with Saren, I was sadly unable to use my charm to convince the Turian that he could end this peacefully, and then spent a good 20 minutes dodging his psionic attacks and pistol rounds. Then, even after he fell through a glass ceiling five storeys to the floor below, I was forced to obliterate what was left of his body, as Sovereign took control of his cybernetic implants. Even as his bones turned to dust, I still felt a bit sorry for the fallen agent.

9: The Chandelier/Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
Less a boss battle and more a struggle for survival, the fight to destroy Ace Combat 6’s ‘Chandelier’ - a massive, city destroying railgun - was a final battle that left a considerable mark on my gaming psyche, as I and my wing of jet fighters fought around and inside its massive frame.

Taking control of a pilot and squadron leader known as ‘Talisman’, the final battle of Ace Combat 6 saw me and my fellow pilots penetrating enemy airspace in an effort to destroy the Chandelier, before its main cannon destroyed the country I’d worked so hard to defend.

After firstly taking out the massive cannon’s point-defence guns, I then flew inside the huge weapon, taking out its cooling elements and performing quite a feat of flying - stalling the aircraft on purpose - to be able to drop into the rear air vent and escape as it exploded around me.

It was a Death Star trench-run sort of moment!

8: The Kreon/Vanquish
Similar to The Chandelier, the Kreon - a massive, new-Russian battleship-cum-six-legged death machine - was less a boss battle and more a struggle to stop it in time, but since the battle played out over several missions, and took place both outside (dodging the Kreon’s considerable firepower) and inside (ripping the mighty beast apart one bolt at a time), it sure as hell felt like a traditional boss battle.

As the flagship of the Russian fleet, the Kreon was the key ploy for the invaders aiming to destroy Vanquish’s US-held space station. One man stood in its way – Sam Gideon, chain-smoking and zipping about in the slim-line confines of the ARS suit.

The only downside to this battle is the way Gideon finally stops the ‘unbreakable’ Kreon – ripping out a couple of power cables. A pretty crappy payoff after the battle to board, gut and demolish the mighty walker’s defences.



7: Makaan/Homeworld 2
The final fleet battle in the epic tale that is Homeworld 2 - the battle to finally defeat Makaan, a master strategist, and his Vagyr cohorts - was supposed to be the ultimate in head-to-head engagements. With both sides using the ancient Progenitor dreadnaughts (incredibly powerful anti-everything cruisers), I had no doubt the game’s developers wanted to make the engagement a brutal, drawn-out battle lasting a fair old while.

As it was, I instead used my guile and sneaky nature and struck from the flank, in an attack that left the massive Vagyr fleet reeling. By sending in a small force designed to draw the Vagyr out into the open - and deploying stealth drones in an arc around the side of the galactic plane - I managed to sneak heavy battlecruisers, the dreadnaught and my fleet of frigates around the back, targeting Makaan’s flagship and destroying it in one fell swoop, ending the fight before it even began. Classic moment.

6: Makron/Quake 2
Quake 2 was a damn good game in its time. Combining decent action with rock-hard beasties to melt (who remembers the ‘Tank’?) the game provided a challenge to even the most hard-bitten gamer, and a good slice of morose, edgy level design as well – I remember freeing marines trapped in the Strogg dungeons, as others were boiled alive around me.

The mastermind behind the nefarious plan was the ‘Makron’, the supreme leader of the Strogg - and as bio-mechanised as they come.

As the final boss of a rock-hard game, Makron was impossible to kill at first. Starting out in a bio-mechanical suit, a lengthy battle ensued, until the true creature came out to play – and with his BFG on full blast. With only a couple of columns to hide behind it took a good ten minutes, and hundreds of rounds from my hyperblaster, to finish the metal monstrosity off. Good riddance.



5: Metal Gear Rex/Metal Gear Solid
As the creation of madcap inventor Hal ‘Otacon’ Emmerich, Rex was designed as ‘bipedal tank’, armed with a ‘stealth’ nuclear missile launch system in the shape of the railgun on its right ‘arm’. As well as this, of course, the Metal Gear was designed to defend itself, with heavy machine guns, rockets and a neutron laser (unfortunately mounted between its legs...).

In a battle which took a good 30 minutes (and the sacrifice of an old friend) I finally managed to stop the mighty machine by taking advantage of its ‘character flaw’ - the exposed cockpit that opens once its sensors are disabled.

A truly epic battle, and one which wasn’t to conclude until 10 years later, in the events of MGS4: Sons of the Patriots...

4: Jerec/Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight

Man, did I hate this guy. Qu Rahn’s murderer and former Imperial Inquisitor Jerec had a lust for power - and the means to take it, and only ballsy Rebel agent turned Jedi Kyle Katarn could stop him. Damn annoying then that Jerec was a double-hard bastard who kept using the power of the Valley of the Jedi to heal himself every few minutes in a lightsaber duel that took forever.

When I was playing my way through Dark Forces 2 at the age of 11, I remember being infuriated by Jerec. Despite my lightsaber, despite the arsenal of heavy weapons I could apparently fit into my pockets, the old blind git just wouldn’t die, soaking up punishment like a pain sponge. It wasn’t until I eventually figured out that I needed to cut off the source of his power that I finally downed Jerec, and unceremoniously cast his soul to the void.

3: The Tentacle/Half Life
This boss, about a third of the way through the original Half Life, used to terrify me. Basically, the Tentacle is an alien beast that relies on sound and vibration to hunt. Once it’s found its prey, it squashes it with one slam of it’s mighty ‘head’-mounted claw, and feasts on the remains. Emitting a terrifying groan now and then, three of the beasts infested the Black Mesa rocket test chamber, leaving PHD turned commando Gordon Freeman needing to reactivate the rocket pod above the beast to fry it to death.

Of course, the fact that any noise, any gunshot, any footstep, would lead to Freeman being flattened in one blow made the long process of reactivating the booster a terrifying endeavour. I cheered as it burned. I had good reason to. It took me hours to finally kill it.

2: The End/Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater
I love sniping. If it’s a shooting game I’m probably armed with a sniper rifle, crouched in a bush, striking down the ringleaders with bullets between the eyes. So, to be put in a huge forest area hunting for and being hunted by the ‘father of modern sniping’ made for a brilliant boss battle, and one which took all my concentration to complete.

As ‘Naked Snake’ - before he took the name ‘Big Boss’ - I spent about an hour stalking and gradually sapping the stamina of ‘The End’, a sniper so old that his ghille suit has bonded to his body, allowing him to become one with the forest, and who could use photosynthesis to survive on sunlight alone. Pretty handy.

Fighting The End was a singularly thrilling experience. Not a boss battle filled with explosions and flying bullets, the battle played out over an hour or more of stealthy sneaking, watching the trees for movement and trying not to embarrass myself.



By the time I finally tranquilised the great man, and he thanked me for a challenging final battle, I felt relief and gratitude in equal measure. Especially when he gave me his rifle, before finally going to that great firing range in the sky.

1: Sephiroth/Final Fantasy 7
If you hadn’t guessed this boss battle to be number one when you read the name of the article, then you’ve never fought the one-winged angel.

Sephiroth’s final form proved to be one of the most challenging opponents I’ve ever faced. Majestic and terrifying, he bashed his way through my barrier magic over and over, forcing me to use all my guile (and carefully linked materia) to beat him back. Then there was his signature attack: ‘Supernova’ - where the big man summons an asteroid from the depths of space to flatten your small group, in an animation that took so long a friend joked that he could clean his room while it played.

It took me almost an hour of constant battle to wear him down, to weaken him enough that everyone’s favuorite amnesiac, clone, cross-dressing hero, Cloud Strife, could level his sword and omnislash him to death. A true monster, Sephiroth's final defeat brought joy to my heart, and signaled an end to the five weeks of fantastic gaming Final Fantasy 7 bought to my 13-year-old self.




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1 comments:

Those are pretty but if your going to have mgs on there, which u should,(mgs has the gest combination of boss battles of any franchise ever) phyco mantis has to be on there in my opinion.