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Hello again you cunts wonderful people!
I was just eating some pancakes and drinking some sexy chocolate milk when I decided to shit out another one of my delightful blogs. This one's about the one thing every nerd loves the most: Big, fat, smelly crossovers!
When a fictional universe and a fictional universe love each other very much, a magical thing happens, and one of them gives birth to a screaming abomination that mixes the worst traits of both its parents. This is known as a crossover. Now, seeing as the horrifying scenario I just described is something that I would like to happen a lot, here's a list of crossovers that could totally happen, as well as the names they could have.
Well, they already have a similar look. Very colourful, shiny, stylish and wacky. We're also talking about two franchises that became more and more about playing dress-up as they went along, and they now seem to be competing in the sport of 'who can have the stupidest outfit?'. Recurring themes in both also include beating people up, gang/corporation wars, supernatural elements, sci-fi elements, wrestling and animals (such as tigers and pandas).
Not sure if I'd want Tekken characters in an open world, or Saints Row gangsters in a fighting game. Maybe a little bit of both. If the two would come together in any way, I'd be down!
Tekken X Saints Row
Saints Row X Tekken
Saint Tag Tournament
'Fuck You Say?
Because I really want to explore Shadow Moses with Sam Fisher's shadow-based gameplay. Wouldn't that be the coolest? Cause it's called Shadow Moses, and now it would involve actual shadows!
Of course, another reason is that these games are so similar yet so different, in so many interesting ways. It's obvious that they are from completely different cultures, which would probably have to lead to some compromise on both sides, and I doubt anyone at Ubisoft would let Sam go up against a bee man. But the cool part would be how Snake relies on walls, bushes and cardboard boxes, while Sam takes advantage of darkness. One man is a legendary soldier, the other is a phantom that nobody knows about. Oooh, artsy contrast! Make it happen!
Fishing for Snakes
Of Goggles and Boxes
Uhm, because they are both about assassinating people? All the 'duh' in the world! Why do you keep asking such stupid questions? Also why are you hitting yourself?
To be fair, I have no idea how the story would work. Maybe 47 finds a time machine and goes back to the past? To kill the shitty people that suck ass? So, like, he meets Altzio or Conward or whatever, and they go on a road trip and stuff.
The gameplay would kick ass though! What's your approach, disguise yourself to get in, or climb the building to find another way? Plenty of possible depth there, even for something like an assymetrical multiplayer mode. With pirates! Hitman with pirates! Wouldn't that be something else? Like, okay, it already had battlenuns, but still...
Assassin's Creed: Bald
Hitman: Cannon Cruise
YO YO YO YO YO YO
Both are space, sci-fi action games starring cutesy characters. One is a third person platformer/shooter with some flight sections, the other is an arcady space shooter with some ground sections. They have both shown vague interest in becoming each other, so why not a game with both? On planets, it could be Ratchet & Clank, and between planets, it could become Star Fox.
It might seem like an odd split, but I'd play it! Lots of nice, chaotic, explody shooting in two different types of gameplay. The simplicity of these games make it seem possible, and reasonable enough to happen.
The only weird thing (aside from, again, the culture clash) is that R&C has weird aliens, while Star Fox has animal people instead. Seems unusual that one creature would be a Blargian Snagglebeast, and the other would be a... wolf? But, in my opinion, that would be worth it. I'd still hit it.
I'd still play it. Nothing else.
Ratchet & Clank: No Fox to Give
Ratchet, Clank & the Mysterious Space Animals
Star Fox: Cannon Cruise
Star Fox & Clank: Ratchet is Pissed
Slippy & his Bitches
They may have grown apart a bit, but back in my horribly pixelated day, these two looked very similar in style. Both are also platformers that reward exploration and both have to do with solving puzzles. They also both have ruins, pirates, zombies, weird machines, genies, swimming, dancing and a very "exotic" feel compared to most platformers of their kind.
Pirates is an especially important one, as both series have a villain that's almost the same character. Captain Syrup and Risky Boots are very similar in personality, and I can easily imagine them teaming up in an attempt to backstab each other. The protagonists couldn't be any different though, which makes it all the more fun!
Also, Wario as a bellydancer. Think about it all the time.
Call of Shantae: Modern Wariofare
Wario's Big Fat Ass Shaking Dance Quest
Hot Sexy Wario Bellydancing Action For You
Wario Shakes His Ass So Hard That The World Turns Inside Out: Genies
IGN Watermark Adventures
I can't believe nobody has ever thought of this! It's such a perfect mix after all, and one I'm sure everyone would appreciate. Take the purple little fuck and throw him in with all the lovable, memorable plastic figures in the happy world of *googles* Skylands (that's with an S at the end, right?). Maybe they can show him a bit of dicipline while they are at it.
Man, this would probably make soooo much money. Think about all the cool things you could buy with all that money.
Things such as worthless plastic figures!
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Feed Me Your Tears
Why not? It's basically the same thing anyway, it might as well happen.
Big Fap Appreciation Zone
Alright, that about wraps it up! Do you have any crossovers you want to see? Of course you do, so put them in the comments. Or your own blog, whatever, I can't stop you.
I recently deleted PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale from my PS3's harddrive. I had gotten it for free via PS Plus, and I was curious about it. Not because I have much interest in these types of games, but because this one has a lot of characters that I'm very familiar with. It's the kind of crossover that, by all means, I should get excited about. It's a game that I should love.
But I didn't love it. I didn't even like it, honestly. It gets a few things right, but way too many things wrong, on a fundamental level. I feel like the entire game misses the point, and has been missing the point since development started. From the beginning, All-Stars was doomed to fail in its attempt to bring popular franchises together, as it fails to understand what made any of these franchises popular to begin with.
Of course, it's difficult to talk about this particular game without mentioning Super Smash Bros. (which really is the core of the problem here), and the only one of those games that I've played is Brawl. While I wasn't a huge fan of that game either, it did do a lot of things right as far as crossovers go, and it showed a lot of heart and passion, which is certainly more than what can be said about All-Stars. I'll be bringing up Brawl a bunch of times, because I think it serves as an important contrast, and it helps to show how to properly do a crossover.
PlayStation All-Stars could have been a beautiful thing, but what we got was bland, confused and underwhelming. I'll list a number of things that should have changed, starting with what is by far the biggest.
It really, really should have been.
Try counting the amount of characters in All-Stars that started their careers being limited to a 2D plane. Chances are you won't end up with a very big number. It's clear that all these characters are out of their element (even Sackboy, without the three layers of movement). Sure, the PlayStation has had a couple of 2D characters, but none of them are in this fucking game, so whatever. Hell, even if they were, they would be a tiny minority.
In Smash, it makes sense. Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, Metroid and Kirby all started without a Z-axis, so putting these characters in a 2D fighter is a logical choice. It's a no-brainer, really, and it feels natural within the game itself. Again, certain characters from 3D games do appear, but it's a sensible sacrifice to make. In huge crossovers like these, you can't possible make every character feel at home, so the best you can do is going for the majority, and the majority of Nintendo's properties are from the 2D era, so there you go!
But the original PlayStation was all about pushing 3D gaming as the new norm. Many established franchises from the Snenesis era made the switch on this console, and it introduced a bunch of new ones (such as Crash Bandicoot and Tomb Raider) that helped define 3D games as we know them today. Even the logo is an arrangement of the letters P and S as polygonal models. With all this in mind, having a big celebration of the PlayStation in form of a sidescrolling fighter is absolutely bonkers, and it clearly shows how cynical this product really is. It plays like Smash because Smash is succesful, and some executive wanted a slice of the pie. What could have been a genuine declaration of love for these games is instead a hard, cold business decision made by people who couldn't care less.
All-Stars should never have been concieved as a Smash Bros. clone, especially since Smash is pretty much a "fighterized" multiplayer version of Kirby. So what we got is essentially Kirby, but with Kratos. Hilarity aside, I don't think anyone would really want that.
Still, the approach is solid: Taking one of the franchises and making the whole game play like a crossover version of that means that at least one character will feel natural to play as. So the question is, which one would it be in this case? Well, if you ask me, the answer comes in the form of an unlikely, skeletal hero...
(PICTURED: Sir Daniel Fortesque, ready to... save the day?)
I picked up MediEvil alongside All-Stars, meaning it wasn't an entirely disappointing PSN shopping trip. See, this game turned out to be really good. It has simple controls, fun levels, really good puzzles and a surprisingly compelling narrative about a man whose bad luck on the battlefield had him wrongly labeled a coward, and who gets a chance to finally prove himself a hero from beyond the grave.
Though, obviously, the plot isn't the reason I'd have wanted MediEvil to be the fundament of All-Stars. That would be the simplicity of the controls. Here's the basics:
= Basic Attack
= Strong attack
Add something like R1 for a "Special" move (in Sir Daniel's case, this could be the crossbow), and you have a really good setup for a 3D arena fighter. Another notable element is the camera angle in certain sections:
Having the camera be zoomed out with somewhat of a bird-eye view is quite common in this game, especially during boss fights, and it makes the game an even better fit. I don't think I could possibly think of a better style of game for a PlayStation themed crossover. It's such a great balance between being complex enough to be a satisfyingly deep fighter (chain combos would be possible for certain characters), yet simplistic enough the involve characters like Sackboy, Sly Cooper and Fat Princess. It would also be easy to make it so that the button layout can be manually changed to fit each individual character.
There is a game on the Dreamcast called Power Stone. I haven't played it, but from what I've seen of it, I'd say it's probably the closest thing to what I'd like All-Stars to have been. Full 3D space in any other kind of game would have been fine too though, because that at least shows an understanding of what these franchises are, that they were born in 3D, and that they work best in 3D. The result would have been a completely different game, very unlike Smash Bros., which would have felt far more like an actual celebration of the franchises involved.
With the big, interesting one out of the way, let's move on to the second change.
PlayStation All-Stars has an embarrasingly thin amount of content. It's one thing to be a cheap rip-off of something else, but why be this cheap? There is so little to unlock, and most of it is insanely boring stuff like intros/outros for characters (yes, they seriously only have one of each to begin with), unique victory music, fighter icons and backgrounds for said fighter icons. No, that was not a joke. The only thing All-Stars has in spades are these tiny little piece of shit backgrounds for your icon. They actually came up with something even more lame than Brawl's stickers.
Speaking of Brawl, however, at least that game has a shit ton of unlockables that are actually cool, such as trophies (detailed character/object models with fun information, that you can even take pictures of in a seperate photo mode), alternate stage music, new stages and new playable characters. Shiiiet, the only additional characters in All-Stars are paid DLC, which is another problem, especially since having so much stuff be DLC in an already barebones game is simply unacceptable. Even with all the DLC, there wouldn't have been much content overall, but without it, the game's dry as a desert. PlayStation All-Stars is simply a bad deal, unless you get it with Plus, or at least for very cheap.
But it didn't have to be like this. Brawl's oceans of content and clear adoration for each franchise represented is the only thing that All-Stars should have "ripped-off", yet it's one of the only things it didn't. What if we got stuff that was actually exciting to unlock, and kept us coming back for both single and multiplayer sessions, trying to catch every little loving nod to the games we adore so much? It's a hearwarming thought, isn't it? How I wish it had been the case.
More characters were certainly possible. While I'd have loved to see fighters like Crash, Spyro, Abe and Lara Croft make it in, I understand that licensing deals aren't always easy, but even without those faces, there is plenty to harvest from the licenses already obtained. Yet, strangely, it seems like the game was developed with a "one character per franchise" rule (with few exceptions, the most stupid of which being Evil Cole), meaning we didn't get to play as Big Boss, Captain Qwark or even Sly's Bentley or Murray. That's a huge waste of potential, and it annoys me quite a lot, since it makes for an unnecessarily restricted roster.
Generally, the whole game is just hollow from a lack of passion, but nowhere is that more clear than in the soundtrack.
The soundtrack of this game is unbelievably half-assed, to the point where it's actually kind of depressing. It has a nice, somewhat cathcy opening/menu theme, but that's all the praise I can give. Making a good soundtrack may not always be priority number one, but as I've constantly been reminding you, this is a crossover, and it's pretty damn important to get the music right in one of those.
Some iconic themes are present, but several are not, which is mind-boggling. Why in all that is the fuck would you not put in anything from Metal Gear? Or Tekken? Those were kinda big deals for the PlayStation brand back in the day, and not having any recognizable music from either is just fucking stupid! There is no excuse for that, it just sucks, and everyone responsible should feel bad. Ape Escape's main theme isn't in there either. I love that theme, it's unforgettable to me. It's uplifting, fun and fast paced, and it promises a fun, light-hearted adventure that the game then delivers. But hey, guess they didn't like it. Instead, when Spike pulls of his super attack, we get this soulless replacement. Eh, thanks...?
At least the game didn't take out all the iconic music. Some music is entirely unchanged, and some tunes are even remixed. This should satisfy me, right? Based on everything I just wrote, I should at least be happy to hear some new versions of the classics, right? Unfortunately, that would also be a no, since the remixes are dreadful! I'd much rather have all the music be lazily ripped than listen to that half-assed, awkward version of the Sly Cooper theme. But seeing as I'd like to bring up Ape Escape all the time, let's take a look at the one piece from that game which did make it into All-Stars (seriously, they actually did include one song from the game, just not the main theme), the Time Station music. I love this track too, in its original form, but this version is an awkward mess. Let's compare them side by side:
Why is it so slow!? It's a fighting game, if anything it should be faster paced! That's not even half of the problems with it either, it's just the most immediately noticable one. Then there's the irratating change in melodies, and the complete lack of direction. I've heard way better fan remixes. Hell, I've heard some pretty fucking solid fan remixes. By people who didn't get paid. Unlike these people, who somehow did. Lovely.
It's so painfully obvious that nobody gave a single shit about the music in this game, and by extension, that pretty much goes for the whole game. Yet, it did make one desperate attempt to be innovative.
It didn't work out...
Here we are, the final nail in the game's coffin. While it completely and utterly fails in every imaginable way to be a satisfying crossover, at least being a half decent fighter could have saved it. Unfortunately, the fighting is not much fun, since you don't actually do damage through attacks. Actually doing damage through attacks would've been nice, PlayStation All-Stars, why can't we do that? Why can't we have nice things?
Instead of winning the fight by actually being, you know, good at fighting, you now have to punch your opponents until you get a super attack that actually does something. You can get 3 levels of supers. The stronger the super, the more likely you are to wAAAARGH I'M BORED! Goddamn, even writing a few sentences about this system is a snorefest. How the fuck did anyone even survive development?
C'mon, game, just let me beat people up! I know Smash is unorthodox in its mechanics as well, but at least, in those games, every attack matters. Every move can be a finisher. Brawl even had an option to have normal health. Where was that in All-Stars? All it has is an option to build up supers at a faster pace (which you have to use, as "normal" speed is unbearable!), so you can finally get to use one of the three attacks that actually matter!
At the very, very least, the fighting feels a good deal heavier than it does in Smash. It really feels like your attacks do something to the other players, despite this not being the case at all. Unfortunately, when everything else is this bland and boring, a bit of meaty punching does little to raise the entertainment value. It takes far more than that.
Pretty much all I'd want is being able to do traditional damage. It might not be original, but it works, and it might have been enough for me to give the game another chance. But while I'm writing down wishes, why not have bosses other than the final one? Why did the bosses from the games represented only show up as stage hazards? Why let them attack me when I can't attack them? That's just frustrating!
Old fashioned health and a couple of bosses may have saved this game even in its bland 2D form, but combined with the other changes, it could have made for something magical!
TL;DR version: A 3D arena fighter with a reasonable amount of content, a passionate soundtrack and engaging gameplay is what I believe that the concept for PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale could (and should) have evolved into. What we got fell far, far short of that.
Simply ripping off Nintendo's series is stupid enough, but the lack of trying to even compete is just downright pathetic. SuperBot (the developer) was clearly not an optimal choice for a project such as this one. If they had been, they would have fought against the decision to make it a Smash-clone, and they would have tried to make something bigger and better. All-Stars sucks, but it never had to. It never needed to be a copy of something else in order to compete with it. It could have done so while being something unique, doing its own thing, and making a name for itself by leading rather than following.
You know, kinda like the PlayStation.
Like boss fights? Check out the original trilogy:
Looks like it's time for the very first Boss Fight Appreciation Zone Bonus Round! *wicked banjo riff*
Now, it's generally known around these parts that I love bosses like a fat lady loves apples. My motivation for starting these blogs is that I wanted to take boss fights from several different games, and compare them side by side, in a largely positive light. Because of this, I never have more than one boss from one game franchise in the same blog, and I do my best not to give certain games too many repeated mentions, as I find variety important in these.
Bonus Rounds, on the other hand, allow me to break these guidelines, and make an entire blog based on a single game and/or theme. This helps me get a lot of bosses from particularly boss-heavy games out of the way. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance seems like a good place to start, as the bosses in this game make for half of the experience.
As the silly name of the game would suggest, Revengeance is a glorious cheesefest. It's an action game that's set in the Metal Gear universe, although the game's presence is so significant that it's difficult for me not to consider it its own unique thing. A bit of cardboard box action is all it has in common with its mother franchise's gameplay, as the rest is over the top combat with swords and cyborgs.
Specifically, this blog will focus on the last three bosses, the trio of main baddies, who are the most evilest of them allest. All three of these bosses feel very climactic, and they left me entirely satisfied in my lust for destruction. Read on to find out why that is.
The rooftop of a skyscraber is a good place to fight. It's got plenty of room, a nice view and the always present danger of possibly falling off. Naturally, in a game like this, there would have to be a fight in such a classic setting. It doesn't disappoint.
After fighting your way through a bunch of crazy nonsense on your way to the top of Evil Inc.'s headquarters, you are treated to this guy, and he is not joking around. He was the first boss that killed me, as I was running out of health pretzels at the time, and apparently he wasn't satisfied doing it just once. My struggles largely had to do with his explosive shield. Dealing with said shield made the boss a bit more puzzle-y than the previous ones, since you always had to hit specific spots in specific sequences.
Simply getting the hang of this guy felt surprisingly good. The fight went from being entirely one sided to become far more equal, and it was all thanks to my own ability to learn. That's what I love about action games, especially ones as organic as this one. Sundowner might have brought me down, but I came back, stronger than ever, and took him out for good in a spectacular finish.
Sam gave me a bit of an easier time, as I had gotten a chance to gather health packs. Unfortunately, relying too much on these would later come back to bite me in the shiny metal ass.
Taking place by a lonely road in the middle of nowhere, this fight takes place in what I'm fairly sure is the biggest boss arena in this game. I don't think I ever reached the edge, assuming there even is an edge. It's not like I tried, either, as my attention was entirely directed at everyone's favourite walking Colgate advertisement.
I couldn't help but smile at how much of a dick he was being throughout the entire fight. Many of his moves involve him doing something in a very casual and uncaring manner, such as throwing you over his shoulder if you try to take him on directly. The battle even begins with him simply standing around, waiting for you to attack, which I find to be a very effective way of building intimidation.
Aside from that, Jetstream Sam is notable for being the most Raiden-like boss. He has no gimmicks like floating body parts or explosive shields, just a sword and some fast legs. It's the closest you get to an 'evil clone' fight, but I actually prefer having a few unique twists, since it adds to the fun of thinking "how do I beat this guy?" at the start.
Overall, Sam is a great boss, and makes for one of the most memorable one-on-one sword duels in all of gaming.
Considering how expensive it must be to have people turned into cyborg warriors, it seems strange that the alternative of pumping yourself full of nanomachine roids isn't the more popular choice. It clearly makes you way stronger.
Yes, it's time for Senator Steven Armstrong, one of the most popular characters to post gifs of on Destructoid's front page! His popularity is certainly understandable. Being a big, buff political figure with an agenda, and the fists of fury needed fight for it, Mr. Armstrong feels a lot like what every single goofy action flick ever has been building up to. Like, seriously, how do you not love this idea? It's amazingly insane, and it's the best possible finish to a game like this that I could think of.
Armstrong attacks by punching, kicking, bodyslamming, headbutting, throwing tanks, causing earthquakes and seemingly tearing open portals to Hell itself, as huge pillars of fire burst from the ground. He's pretty crazy, and he has at least three of those things where he attacks you, but which gives you an opportunity to turn it around and get a good hit on him. Needless to say, a lot of stuff is going on at once here, and you have to be well prepared in order to succeed.
Now, this is where my lenient use of health items finally turned against me, as I found myself having none left at the beginning. Due to this, I've lost count of how many times Armstrong murdered my unprepared ass. Death was a thing that I had to accept before I could move on, and many deaths were caused by the tank-slicery, as you have to hit a precise line of four weakpoints in very short time, which can take some time to get the hang of. In short, this battle was rough to me, even though it got better once I got to collect health within the fight itself. Still, the beating this guy was a special kind of satisfying. It seriously made me feel great about myself, in a way that made all the struggles worth it.
The music is definitely my favourite piece of the entire soundtrack. It screams 'final boss' from the very beginning, and it gets you pumped for what is basically a two man war! This song does not fuck around, to the same extent that the boss fight itself does not fuck around.
Finally, there's the way the entire thing looks. Again, as expected, it looks pretty goddamn final! Huge, intense fire surrounds an otherwise dusty, darkened arena, with metallic pieces of the previous boss scattered around, closing the area off. It's definitely a fitting look for something this intensely difficult, and it adds tons of atmosphere to an already intense finale.
Armstrong was brutal, and felt brutal all the way through. He definitely stands out as far as bosses are concerned, and deserves to be hailed among the greatest of them all.
As far as bosses go, Metal Gear Rising gave me everything I could hope for and more. I consider it a shining example of how to pull off the art of the boss fight, and I expect that it will be discussed for years to come larglely for this reason. The final trio especially was superb, with each member being vastly different and memorable for their own reasons. I am very glad that I played this, and I strongly recommend it to fans of action games.
I'm currently looking forward to the Legend of Korra game by the same developer (Platinum Games). In this one, instead of slicing and dicing, you manipulate the four elements. Y'know, earth, fire, water and... whatever the fuck the last one is. I might not be looking forward to it as much as, say, Arkham Knight or the new Doom, especially since it's a licensed game, but it looks really good so far. The combat looks satisfying, and if the bosses turn out to be nearly as great as Rising's, it will definitely be worth a purchase.
BFAZ is expanding outside of Destructoid
If you are on Steam, and you like a good boss as much as I do, check out the curator named Boss Lovers, in which games with good bosses are being picked out (Rising is on there, of course). Follow today!
If you have any games that you would like to make it in, why not let me know? I'll make sure to check out any suggestions. :)
As for now, I might be taking a longer break with these blogs. As always, comments on any of the current rounds will be read, so even if you wanna comment on something on the very first BFAZ blog, I may still respond to you, and anything on there has a chance of making it onto Round 4, whenever we may see it.
Cheers for now!
Yeah, feels about right. It's an extremely difficult choice to make, picking my favourite game of them all, but this feels like a solid choice. I mean sure, it lacks the deep lore of Oddworld, the sweet rawness of Doom and the satisfying flow of Arkham City, but I don't think it needs those things to begin with. It's old, simple and goofy, and that's the way I like it!
I already wrote a blog about Ape Escape a while ago, and it went into a lot of detail about what exactly makes the game so good. This one won't be quite as long, and it will mostly serve to explain why the game is my favourite, rather than what just makes it good.
Basically, I have four points I want to cover:
Being the first PS1 game to require the DualShock in order to play might seem ambitious by itself, but a lot of these "tech-demo" titles tend to be pretty underwhelming. Even Wii Sports, which is a fun game, is very small, and didn't do that much to push motion control as a concept. Then there's Ape Escape Move, which is a complete joke.
But this game is a much different story. Sony didn't just want this game to compete with other platformers, no, it had to surpass everything that had come before. The result was a game stuffed with huge levels, advanced AI, revolutionary gameplay and tons of unlockables. Ape Escape became every advertisers wet dream, with so many different features to promote that it almost became overwhelming. The fact that all of it managed to fit on one disc is impressive, honestly.
While most experimental games like this only go as far as dipping their toes into the terrifying ocean of new technology, Ape Escape did a cannonball, and it payed off big time! Ambition is something that I value a lot in games (and all media), so a game like this was sure to win me over from the start.
No, really, it is. You wouldn't think so by looking at it, but Ape Escape does have its fair share of depth. The "advanced AI" part above was no joke either, as the monkeys in this game probably have the most sophisticated behaviour of any enemy in any game from the era. While your Sligs and Genome soldiers are almost entirely reactive to your presence, the monkeys are far more independent, and spend their time differently based on each individual personality. 206 of the damn things, and the developers still put the effort into making sure that one of them does a handstand, and that another one draws grafitti on a wall. Incredible attention to detail here.
Then there's the stealth mechanic, which is completely optional, but very useful for sneaking up on some of the more difficult monkeys. Well, except maybe the ones with the green pants, since they tend to have a high alert level.
Oh, right, that's another thing: Pant colours and mokey levels. See, the pant colours indicate what the monkey's personality is (red=aggressive, blue=fast, etc.), and the levels are split between how violent, fast and observant each monkey is. No two monkeys are the same in this game, so keep an eye out.
I really, really think this was a fantastic decision. If this level of individuality had not been here, we'd still have a fun game (the levels themselves still kick ass), but having it in there pushes the game to a completely new league.
Ape Escape is perfectly structured. Perfectly! Flawlessly! Think that's a bold claim? Well, let me explain:
It has a central hub, but not a big one. The big, good stuff is entirely reserved to levels, while the hub itself is split into four sections: Level selection, saving, tutorial and minigames. Everything is basically laid out and easy to find, but the hub is still fun to navigate. It's a perfect balance of function and form, and minigames being purely a side distraction is a design philosophy that everyone should follow (fuck that fishing bullshit in Jak & Daxter).
Besides, it looks and sounds pretty great. Like, yeah, the graphics have obviously aged (draw distance ahoy, captain!), but the look has not. It makes fantastic use of colours, has some very memorable character designs, and the environments themselves are fun to look at.
Then there's the soundtrack, which makes me wet. Soichi Terada's drum'n'bass goodness is something you have to experience for yourself. Take a listen!
Aside from being a big, complete, satifying package, which has tons of depth to it, and which still looks and sounds great, Ape Escape is fun in its purest form. It's good, people! It's seriously good!
Consistently fast paced, tight, varied, expansive and funny, I think Ape Escape very much deserves to be known as my favourite. I always get an urge to play it whenever I think about it, an effect that no other game has had on me, and isn't that just something special?
I've actually been pretty restrictive in this blog, believe it or not. This game has an overload of amazing things to talk about, and it's hard for me to really get my head around it all. I could talk for hours about this game, and I probably would, if I had the time. For now, you'll have to do with this.
IT'S THE GIFPOCALYPSE!!!
Welcome back, various bossfighters of Destructoid! It is time for yet another round of kickassery! GET IN!!
Anyone been having some good fights since last time? I currently find myself stuck on a particularly tough final boss. A certain political figure, to be slightly more specific. He's giving me a hard time, to say the least, but I fully intend to put him in his place. After doing so, I may even make a feature about the game he appears in, detailing my thoughts on him and the dynamic trio he's part of. But all that is for another day.
Future BFAZ rounds are planned to be structured roughly like the second one (Commenters' Choice followed by my list), with the exception of potential Bonus Rounds, which will focus on specific games and/or themes. None of this is set in stone, however, and the plan might change. I work in mysterious ways!
Now, get ready for what is by far the longest round yet.
(NOTE: Gifs now link to music)
The Great Mighty Poo - Conker's Bad Fur Day
"When I think boss fights, I tend to go with the old classics. The Mighty Poo from Conker's Bad Fur Day is pretty amazing. The concept of fighting singing shit in a video game was something that seemed to coalesce every fart joke I ever enjoyed into a divine moment of singularity that justified my existence from the ages 12 - 19."
You're supposed to stop at 19? Whoops!
Conker's Bad Fur Day is a game I wish I'd played back in the day, but circumstances didn't allow it. I usually only have one console per generation (as do a lot of people), and for the fifth, this was a PS1. Of course, I most certainly don't regret this, as that console gave me endless amounts of joy, but you always miss out on something with these damn gaming systems, don't you? I might track down an N64 one day just to be able to give it a go, since it won't appear on newer Nintendo consoles.
As for the boss itself, I can at least say that it has an awesome design. Literally a big pile of shit, with tiny little arms, angry eyes and a gigantic mouth. Simple, effective and hilarious. The song that the boss sings is incredibly memorable too, and the idea of making the shit pile sing opera only adds to the hilarity, as do the lyrics themselves. The love that this boss often recieves is definitely understandable.
Avion - Shadow of the Colossus
"Out of all of the beasts you slay in Shadow of the Colossus, Avion is by far my favorite. The logical progression to fighting giant monsters you have to climb is fighting a giant FLYING monster that you'll hang on for dear life on.
Oh sure, there's a second, serpentine flyer called Phalanx. But Phalanx is completely docile and a relative easy going ride when you climb on him. Avion on the other hand will bank, flap, and barrel roll in an attempt to get you to fall off and hopefully not hit the water below. Getting on is the easy part because Avion hates you enough to divebomb you. Staying on is a pulse pounding race against your stamina meter."
Now, I don't want to rely too much on this game, but it's difficult, when every boss is so good! I fear we'll have the same problem with Titan Souls when it comes out.
All of the encounters in this game is its own experience, and StriderHoang does a good job explaining what makes this particular one so great. Avion is a massive fan favourite, and might even be the most popular colossus in the game (as hard as it is to tell).
What I find most interesting is that, in building up the strenghts of Avion, he also challenges a previous choice of mine: Phalanx, who was featured in the first round. He also has a point, since Avion really is much more aggressive, and much harder to hang on to. On the other hand, my argument for Phalanx being great had more to do with the way that you grab on to it in the first place. You bring it down, chase it, and jump off your horse in order to grab onto it. Avion is much less complex in that regard, so it seems to me that there's some kind of trade-off here. Both of these creatures fly, but you deal with them very differently. Clever game design, if you ask me.
Mother Minku - Brave Fencer Musashiden
"The one boss above all others I always remember. . Is one that strikes fear into all those who know her name! Even the sleeping squid headed monstrosity beneath the sea wouldnt dare tangle with her - her name is... Mother Minku! (brave fencer musashiden PS1)
You happily beat her kids up to retrieve longevity berries. Then she arrives and proceeds to take vengeance upon you and every moment is hilarious and frankly. . You bloody well deserved it XD"
Okay, so, I have absolutely no idea what's going on here.
Is this Mother Minku like the Moby Dick of rabbits? Like, the Great White.. Blue-eared.. Creature? Either way, I find myself to be very impressed with her ability to move around with no legs. It appears that her willpower alone is all it takes, and one has to ask if that alone is not enough to make her a formidable foe?
Regardless of what it's about, I believe that Faerber's genuine excitement for this boss makes it worth a CC space. If you don't agree, then why don't you make your own boss blog, huh!?
(Please don't do that, competition scares me.)
Sephiroth - Kingdom Hearts
(Gif provided by kingsharkboi)
"Sephiroth > all other Kingdom Hearts bosses"
"Sephiroth in KH1 was the best KH boss. Though his KH2 incarnation was a lot of fun to fight but it was kinda easy."
By popular-ish demand, here's another Kingdom Farts boss. I think this is largely a response to Round 2's Leon, who was describe as the kind of story boss in which you have to lose, but apparently, victory is still possible somehow. I can definitely see the appeal in something like that.
This one's popularity seems to largely come from being a cameo. The world of JRPGs may be largely unexplored territory for me, but I do know that Sephibutt comes from Final Fanta Exoticsy. The internet told me that. What makes the fight itself good is something I'm still a bit in the dark about, but I assume that being a memorable boss in one game translates to being a memorable boss in another one.
What you see here is only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of awesome comments about boss encounters on the old blogs, so go check those out. They aren't dead, you know. I still check them for comments. :)
I got 9 bosses this time! That's more than the entirety of Round 2! Prepare your brain...
Cyberdemon - Doom
Haha, yeah! Of course I couldn't leave this one out. I just saved it for later, since it's almost too obvious of a pick to begin with. The Cyberdemon is a classic!
You're looking at one of the original FPS bosses, and, in my opinion, one of the best, even by today's standards. I mean, Doom has other bosses too, but none of them are quite as memorable as this one! Doom is an amazing game all the way through, and this boss is one of many reasons why. It's a fast paced, thrilling fight, that takes advantage of everything that makes Doom good to begin with.
Gameplay-wise, the strategy for dealing with the Cyberdemon is legendarily simple: you shoot it until it dies. It sounds easy and boring, though the fight is anything but. This boss is the kind that constantly attacks you while also constantly being vulnerable. You dodge its attacks while being on the offensive yourself, and it's pretty damn intense!
Aside from that, you got an unforgettable character design, which has become a well known gaming icon over the years, and a name that's simply a ton of fun to say/write. The result is basically the Mona Lisa of boss fights.
I salute you, Cyberdemon! You're always about to rock!
T-rex - Tomb Raider: Anniversary
This one could also be considered a classic, although somewhat less so. It's no easy feat to out-classic Doom after all. Still, the t-rex from the original Tomb Raider is a well known and well loved boss. As you can see, however, that isn't quite the one I picked. Instead, I went with the one from Tomb Raider: Anniversary, the 2007 remake. I have two reasons for that:
1.) I really love Anniversary. The original Tomb Raider had the player rely on slow, tank-like controls, and jumping had a weird delay to it. It hasn't aged very well, and it takes a while to get used to. In the remake, Lara is quick, responsive and a total joy to control. She runs naturally in every direction, jumping is instant and satisfying, and gun fights feel much more natural. Anniversary is, in itself, a good argument as to why remakes have reason to exist.
2.) Anniversary's t-rex fights try some new things. In this game, Lara can enrage an enemy to the point where they will charge at her, at which point she can dodge in slow motion, giving her a split second to hit a weakpoint, which does extra damage. The t-rex battle makes the most of this, as the beast takes a long time to enrage, and runs wild once it's been hit. Around the boss arena are a couple of ancient traps, and making the dinosaur crash into these is a good tactic. It isn't necessary, and you can still go for an old school approach if you wish, but it's a fun and cool addition that spices up the battle.
Time for you to go extinct... again! *audience boos*
Koume and Kotake/Twinrova - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
"Ey, where all da Zelda bosses at!?", I hear you ask. Well, here's one.
The Legend of Smellda has a lot of bosses, and they have become increasingly personified and unique over time. In OoT, we get to meet these two grannies, and they probably make up my favourite boss fight in the entire series. The Spirit Temple is already my favourite dungeon in the game, because it has some of the most fun puzzles, and some of the most clever moments. It's also the only dungeon in the game to take advantage of the time mechanic (strangely enough), making the whole thing feel like an adventure.
Koume and Kotake are witches with elemental powers. One uses ice, the other uses fire. They are each others' weakness, but they fight together. Because of this, you must use you're newest item, the Mirror Shield, to reflect their attacks, and basically fool them into attacking each other. That's a fun idea to begin with, and I think it's really well executed. I'm a big fan of the Mirror Shield as an item, and this boss is probably the best possible use for something like that.
After you hit the two a couple of times, they DNA Digivolve into Twinrova, their final form, which is a bit...
...extremely terrifying! From there, the boss becomes harder and more fast paced, until it reaches a surprisingly funny finale.
It's a high point in an already revolutionary game, so I certainly think it deserves an inclusion here.
B-ball Bunny - Wario Land II
Imagine that you make a game where you can't die, but you still want bosses. How do you get around that? In Wario Land II, the answer is usually "Throw the player out of the arena after one hit".
Except this one time, where a giant bunny challenges Wario to a game of basketball. It isn't a traditional game, though, since there's only one basket, two players, and three points to score. Oh, and players use each other as the ball, because that's how Wario games roll!
The way that this works is that you jump on the bunny to turn it into a ball (DO NOT QUESTION THIS), pick it up and try to hit the basket, which can actually be a bit tricky. Don't get jumped on, though, as this will make you the ball. You don't want that at all, because the bunny is a pro, who will slam dunk your ass in no time!
It's every bit as fun as it is weird (which sums up anything Wario related). As far as media portraying b-ballin' bunnies go, this beats the crap out of Space Jam! It also happens to be the only boss in the game with its own unique music track, which I think is very fitting, considreing the fight's nature.
Alastor - Painkiller
Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of most of Painkiller's bosses. Like, they were alright, but they often confused me. They were unclear about whether or not I was doing damage, and they always ended in a very abrupt manner, which felt pretty awkward.
"Oh, so I was doing it right? Okay then."
Alastor (or "Tower Boss") is the exception, and I'm not entirely sure why. My best guess is that it's got a much better sense of progression, due to the fact that the arena is breaking apart, bit by bit. That actually helps a lot when it comes to knowing if you're doing something right, and it makes the end of the battle feel far more satisfying.
You start the fight on top of a large tower (hence the nickname). Alastor will fly at you a bunch of times, somethimes attacking you from a distance. As you do damage, the tower's different floors will start to break down, and you will fight the beast inside of it. Once all the crispy layers of tower have crumbled to dust, you find yourself at the bottom, surrounded by statues. Destroying these statues is your next objective, since they keep the boss alive. See what I mean about progression? There are multiple indications that the battle is moving forward, so you're not constantly confused until you either win or die. The bit of strategy at the end is a nice touch too.
I also really like the way the fight looks, especially at the beginning. The red, dramatic sky, combined with the sense of being on top of a very high structure, as well as the intimidating sight of the boss itself, flying towards you from the distance, makes for a fight that feels big and exciting.
This Thing - Ape Escape
Ape Escape is absolutely delicious from beginning to end, but it doesn't have that many bosses. You face the first one in the fake-out final level (which is still the coolest thing ever to me, I mean they totally make it look like the final level and then BAM), and from that point on, they start appearing more regularly.
As with everything else in this sexy game, the bosses are a ton of fun! My favourite of them all has got to be the one at the top of the TV Tower. Yeah, it turns out that the top of a tower is a good place for a climactic battle. Who knew? Most people, I assume.
You fight a big ol' goofy helicopter thing, and it attacks you with missiles, fire, shockwaves, tiny UFOs and all that good stuff. It's actually far more difficult than it appears, as many of its attacks can be difficult to avoid, and it really steps up its game once you get a few hits down. It doesn't help that you're treated to Specter's smug face the whole way through. Damnit Specter, do you have to put your face on everything?
Like the one above, this boss is also really enjoyable to look at, as well as listen to, which largely applies to the game itself. Yes, I know, it's a 3D PS1 game, so it's all blocky and pixelated, but the style, dawg! It makes really good use of colours, with a lot of sharp contrasts and saturation and shit. The sound effects are bouncy and cartoony, and Soichi Terada's drum'n'bass soundtrack is still as fantastic as ever!
Maybe I should just marry this game. But how should I ask!?
General Tsao - Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves and Sly 4: Thieves in Time are weird to me. On one hand, I enjoy both those games a lot, and they both have plenty of good stuff to offer. But then, they also have a hard time getting out of Sly 2: Band of Thieves's shadow. See, 2 was the one that completely changed the formula, and it hasn't really moved on since then. The ideas are certainly there, especially in 3, but they are used sparingly, which is a bit of a shame. Take the ship gameplay, for example. That was great, but it was only used in one level, even though it could easily have been a substantial part of the game. Another example is the wicked Matrix shit you see above.
Basically, jumping during this battle makes you leap across the entire arena. Once you've jumped, you can shift direction once, before you land. This leads to a good bit of strategy, without the ability being too exploitable, as you still have to rely on the bamboo. Avoid Tsao's projectiles and his charge attack, and try to hit him from behind. It's a bit tricky at times, but it feels great to get a hit on him while mid-air.
The ability to basically fly over large gaps is only used in this one fight. It just comes and goes, despite all the potential it has to become so much more! At the very least, it does make for a great boss fight, and a high point in the game.
Maybe I'll write a blog about this series at some point, to explain my thoughts a little better. In any case, this boss is sweet, and that's what matters for now!
Scarabs - Halo 3
My memory might mislead me. See, it's been a while since I've played a Halo game, but I do remember these things. They would often come out of nowhere, and would take a while to bring down. The exact procedure escapes me, but it definitely involved climbing onto them and somehow attacking them from the inside, either from shooting or from some kind of special action. It's all a bit fuzzy, yet I never truly forgot.
Though I don't remember the details, the Scarabs still managed to leave a lasting impression on me, and I very much associate them with fun and excitement, as that is what I remember from fighting them. This is the reason that I wanted to give them a mention. Well, that and a bit of variety in the list.
What's really important here is that, looking at some of this footage, I have a bit of an urge to play Halo 3 again. That's a very, very good sign. It definitely means that I am on to something here, because that is exactly the kind of effect that a really good boss has on you.
While the Scarabs aren't traditionally boss-like, I consider them to fill the same role, and my memories of them are fond, so they go here. Cheers!
Dragon - Rayman Legends
Choosing between Rayman Legends' bosses can be difficult, but I think I'll go with the dragon in Breathing Fire for now. Sure, the Luchador is more fun to look at, and the last boss (whatever that thing was) is more challenging. But the dragon, I think, is a very good mix of the two. It isn't based on weakpoints, like the Luchador, but it's far more expressive than the last one, and I personally find it more memorable than the remaining two.
First off, the art and music are both fantastic. It's like a living painting that happens to be scored by an orchestra, and it's spectacular to both watch and listen to. It helps a ton that the motion and music are perfect together, as they share a very similar rhythm.
You fight the dragon by attacking it and, well, staying alive. Another simple one, although hitting this thing can be difficult, since it flies around a lot, and tends to fight back using its fiery breath. This then results in a lot of quick fireballs that you have to avoid, while trying to climb to a good attack spot.
As the fight goes on, the structures collapse, and you find your way to increasingly unstable ones. The wooden towers that you climb move around in a way that fits with the music, and it makes the whole thing feel very comical. A climax like this one would fit very well fort an actual cartoon, which is another major point in this fight's favour.
Round 3, laddies and gentlewomen!
That was quite a lot longer than previous rounds. Of course, quantity isn't much without quality, so I've made plenty of improvements on this one, especially on a visual level. Positioning is different, there are more little images, and now, a bit of interactivity (the music links). I plan on going back and retroactively giving BFAZ Round 1 and 2 a makeover similar to this, constantly making the Zone more comfortable for all of you. Nothing gets abandoned here!
In the meantime, why don't you come up with your own picks? It doesn't matter how obscure or irrelevant you think the boss is, it's always interesting to hear your opinion, so don't hold back! Jump in with the rest of us!
If you write something about your boss that I find to be particularly interesting, I'll take your head and ram it up my butt add it to the next Commenters' Choice. Also, I still read the comments on previous blogs, so don't hesitate to comment on anything there, should you just be getting around to reading those now. I'd also like to thank all you people who've commented so far, for your valuable and interesting feedback, not to mention for keeping this series going (after all, no motivation = no blogs). You've been great!
As for what's next, all I currently have planned is the Bonus Round, with no Round 4 in sight so far. After the next one, BFAZ may take a break for a while, giving me time to play (and possibly replay) several games for inspiration, and also do life shit.
Now boss off!
Pretty cool, huh?
The site where I found them says that "These bronze Corgi statues were installed on a street in Christchurch, New Zealand, as an homage to Queen Elizabeth II for her Golden Jubilee."
Guess the ever immortal monarch really like corgis. But then, who doesn't?
"Unfortunately, after the earthquake that hit Christchurch, the statues were removed by the city,"
Aw, that's too bad!
"but they're planned to return before Christmas."
Ah, okay then. Good to know they're there, in case I ever decide to visit New Zealand. Then I'll make them wear funny hats and take my picture with them, like any responsible tourist.
New Zealand has always been interesting to me. Apparently, its name has nothing to do with the Zealand that we have here in Denmark (the island where our capital is located). It also happens to be the furthest I could possibly be from my home while still being on land (and on the planet, of course), as it's almost on the exact opposite side of the world. It would be pretty interesting to go there, and not just because of the corgi statues.
But also for the corgi statues.
'Cause look at them!