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Enter: Final Boss

by Anthony “The Mid-Card from Midgar” Martinez

Which is more fulfilling: Tiny-Human-Sized Final Boss vs. Large-Monstrous-Sized Final Boss?

I ask because for every amazing final boss variant of Ganon in the epic that is The Legend of Zelda series, there seems to always be a video game series that cannot execute a worthy and fulfilling Final Boss Battle. [I’m looking at you, Mass Effect Trilogy].

When playing a video game like Greatest Game of All Time candidate, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you recall a few of the amazing boss battles. The very first boss battle, Gohma, was the largest enemy you have faced until this point and it sets the pace for your expectations for the remainder of the game.

The Final Boss encounter does not disappoint. You know the enemy. The image of his contorted face was burned into your mind the second he kidnapped the Princess. You never had to play another game in the series before to know this man is the man I am supposed to hate for the remainder of the game. The game holds true as the first battle against Ganondorf was against the man whose very face you wanted to thrust the Master Sword through – the Tiny-Human-Sized Final Boss. But there is a twist! I feel the word spoiler is irrelevant but just in case… Ganondorf is a man existing for and craving power. Someone like this deserves to be put down in a grander stage than a badminton simulator. Enter Ganon, the Large-Monstrous-Sized Final Boss. This is the enemy that the hero of courage (or Hero of Time, I know) is destined to defeat. If you are a fan of the original series, this gives you goose bumps because this is the Ganon you remember. If you are new to the series, IT DOESN’T MATTER! This is an awesome Final Boss. Period.

Now, swap all the Legend of Zelda references and Ganon/Ganondorf references, insert Final Fantasy VII, Aeris’ Death, and Sephiroth and the example is as similar as can be.

But to support the Tiny-Human-Sized Final Boss and continue abusing the Legend of Zelda for examples, we take a look at the GameCube game of the series, Wind Waker. Fast forward to the final battle with Ganondorf. This is the sword battle you deserve. The game builds up the Master Sword as the Bane of Evil. Not only do you obtain the Master Sword, you have to power it up. OK! Let’s go, Ganondorf! Wait… wait… what?! Zelda… (I MUST SAY SPOILERS. Game is getting relaunched for the Wii U) from the “Legend of Zelda” Zelda is actually partaking in this final boss battle? This is my favorite boss battle in the series and a top contender for favorite boss battle of all time. The “helpless” princess is not so helpless at all, is she? The two of you take on Ganondorf and I must say, I was not disappointed. In this instance, I feel like a huge Ganon transformation would cheapen everything up until this point. Not to mention that “splitting headache” Ganondorf gets at the end. Game’s awesome! Pick it up for the Wii U if you missed it on the GameCube.

A great game, and series revival, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, or CLOS for short, plays around with both Tiny-Human-Sized Bosses and Large-Monstrous-Sized Bosses. There are Colossi-like bosses, and then there are the Lords of Shadow. It’s a toss up as to how the final boss battle be will be fought, or who the “hell” (see what I did there) is the last boss. Ultimately you battle Satan in a very frustrating yet fulfilling Tiny-Human-Sized Final Boss Battle. Defeating this final boss is very gratifying and you will not feel cheapened by not fighting the horned-hooved, stereotypical Satan we all envision – whether serious or comical.

Old School RPGs, or I guess we are calling them JRPGs now (ugh), were too epic to simply leave you fighting a Tiny-Human-Sized Final Boss. I am by no means defending this. I’m actually criticizing this and Final Fantasy IX is my favorite example. (Spoilers, if this article hasn’t already implied this) Right off the bat, the last battle with Kuja should have ended the game. Randomly throwing a new big bad, that I held no emotion or contempt against, felt forced. It didn’t ruin the game but it took away from what I earned. Kuja has been a thorn on my side throughout the whole game. I finally get the best of him… or so you think. He unleashes the most powerful magic attack in the Final Fantasy series, Ultima. He gets the last laugh and you’re left to fight Necron. You. Never. Get. Satisfaction. This also happens with a powerful and worthy adversary named Beatrix but for her was a rant in a podcast and maybe a blog for another time.

A more comical example would be the game Lunar Silver Star Story Complete for the PSOne. The final boss is regular man-sized, yet, in the battle, it’s almost like Rita Repulsa throws down the staff to “maker her monster grow” – or whatever they do in the latest Power Rangers series if the Rita reference is too dated.

As a game creator, the Final Boss battle is nothing to make lackluster. You build the storyline, point me to the character I am supposed to hate, and make my defeating him/her quite the spectacle. But you have to earn it. A game like Metal Gear Solid earned all 15 ending sequences (exaggeration implied). The build up was incredible when the truth unravels itself around you. You come to realize that there is an adversary worthy of the beating he’s got coming and he fights tooth and nail from preventing that satisfaction – plus a great mixture of Tiny-Human-Sized Final Boss and Large-Monstrous-Sized Final Boss. A game like Mass Effect 2 does not deliver a great ending boss, utilizing the Large-Monstrous-Sized Final Boss. If you have something positive to say about the Reaper Baby Thing… please forward all comments to Trash@EmptyRecycleBin.com.

[Earn the Beating He or She has coming]

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