Welcome to Living Obstacles, a routine blog series I came up with one day in an extra long shower. Living Obstacles is an attempt to analyze and highlight different boss battles throughout the history of gaming. Depending on the mechanics of the fights, different aspects may be more relevant to an article than others. Comments and requests are appreciated!
Over the course of Resident Evil 4, the player is first introduced to Krauser through the QTE cutscene above. If my memory serves me correctly, he is in one other scene before this, but it's hardly mentionable. Former partner and friend of Leon Kennedy, Jack Krauser faked his own death in a helicopter crash and aligned himself with Albert Wesker two years prior to the events of Resident Evil 4. He serves as a hired mercenary and personal bodyguard of Lord Saddler, though his true mission is to gather intelligence on Las Plagas for Wesker.
The initial confrontation with Krauser, featured above, is little more than a glorified QTE. Though the cutscene does provide valuable story information and a look into the characters backstory, it pales in comparison to the "real battle" that takes place near the end of the game. It's the video game equivalent of fighting Sylvester Stalone's fictional character Rambo, if Rambo could jump up twenty feet in the air and had lightning fast reflexes.
The first portion of the fight is less of a direct confrontation and more of a test of endurance. You're tasked with collecting three pieces of an emblem in order to open up the exit. As you work your way through the labyrinth, Krauser will fire at you with his custom sub machine gun, as well as an extremely damaging long bow. It's important to stay on the move, as you never know when he'll leave whatever perch he's taken to charge you with his knife.
While Krauser alone would have been enough for the player to deal with, Capcom decided to go the extra mile. Riddled through the maze are trip mines, trap doors, bear traps, and tiny robotic spiders that activate when you approach them and explode on impact. Yes, you heard that right, robotic spider mines
are out to kill you. After collecting the first and second pieces of the emblem, the battle shifts.
Krauser isn't about to let you live. The scenery changes from the labyrinth of death to the top of a giant spire, and Krauser morphs from a human being into a weird mutagenic freak show. To make matters worse, Krauser has rigged the spire to explode in just three minutes, giving you little time to dispatch him. His newly acquired blade arm will make short work of you should you fail to dodge it, and it also serves as a shield against your bullets. Smart players will aim low to put him on his knees.
Interestingly enough, if you attack Krauser with your knife while he's in this state, the damage done will be sufficient enough to kill him in no time at all. It's believed that the game was encouraging you to kill Krauser with your knife, as Leon and him have an apparent knife feud. Musically inclined players will notice that the music from the first half of the battle has changed dramatically, a much faster song accompanies your final battle.
As a living obstacle, the Krauser fight provides players with an interesting take on boss combat. What is at first an exercise in avoidance and patience eventually turns into a fast paced, close combat fight atop a spire rigged to explode. This battle stands as one of my personal favorite battles of all time, and I'd encourage anyone who hasn't completed Resident Evil 4 to do so, or if you have, that you go back and experience this fight all over again. It's well worth it.