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, it’s Andy’s Top Five: Boss Battles.
Number Ten: 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.
Number Nine: 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!
Number Eight: The Kreon, Vanquish
Similarly 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. (Wind on to about 7:42)
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.
Number Seven: 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 utilising 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 utilised 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.
Number Six: 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.
Part two coming soon!