Sorry, but thereíll be no game post this week. No particular excuse this time, but I do have something else up my sleeve. Again, itís a musical themed entry. I donít know why since I donít know anything about music, nor do I have any sort of talent with any kind of instrument or singing, or even good taste for that matter. However, some recent thoughts Iíve been having inspired to write this up. Today, I want to talk about final boss battles.
Call me a traditionalist Ė just not the Daily Mail reading type Ė but as far as Iím concerned a game doesnít really feel like a game unless itís got a final boss. Itís the climax of the game and everything before it should be there to pump you up for it. I feel the final boss vital part of game narrative that weíre slowly seeing less of as cinematic games and art games come more and more to the forefront. And of course, a final boss isnít a final boss without the right piece of music. These have helped provide some of the most memorable experiences in games that Iíve ever had.
With that in mind I proudly present my five favourite final boss tracks.
Thereís going to be a few ground rules, the first of which is that theyíre all from games that Iíve completed through the end, otherwise making a list would simply be too hard. Secondly, at the risk of sounding redundant, only final bosses count, not any other boss or ending sequence. Most importantly of course this is a subjective list and therefore mileage may vary.
And thus we move ontoÖ
Number Five: Ultimate Koopa Game: Super Mario 64 Boss: Bowser
When I had a right proper think about what theme stuck with me this was one that emerged for some reason. Part of me canít really be surprised. I was a whelp when I got this game so of course it was bound to make an impression. And of course there is something right about Marioís first 3D game setting a fine standard. On the other hand itís ridiculously bombastic given the context. Itís a Mario game after all, not exactly high art, and even the fight itself is just a rehash of the previous two.
The song has a sweet build up, and it just sounds utterly evil. More evil than Bowser will ever be. I suppose at the end of the day Mario is as traditional as you can get. If it seems like Iím a tad miffed to be putting this here, then the answer is a resounding ďI donít knowĒ.
Number Four: Doom Dragon Game: Golden Sun, The Lost Age Boss: Doom Dragon
Doom Dragon was a pretty random for final boss, but it was an epic climax nonetheless. It was the end of the long journey in what stands as one of my favourite series of all time. Once the three-headed dragon is introduced little time is wasted Ė which is weird for Golden Sun Ė in getting into battle. It starts on a tense high and never really dies down again.
Iíll admit that itís not a particularly brilliant song, but given how I struggled with this battle the first time around this tune felt like it was blasting me down the whole time and making me want see that little dissolving effective on the boss happen just that bit more.
Number Three: Shoutoku Legend ~ True Administrator Game: Touhou, Ten Desires Boss: Toyosatomimi no Miko
Amusingly I suspect those familiar with the series might have sniffed out the reasons I limited this list to games Iíve beaten.
A final boss theme should be a lot of things. Tense, powerful, excitingÖ fabulous. At least thatís the way of this colourful bullet hell game. The bullets here in particular are majestic and the music reflects that perfectly. Itís by no means the hardest boss Iíve faced down, contrary to the reputation of this genre, but the visuals, the music, the constant need to keep focusing had such a beautiful impact. The regal feel of the song suits the character wonderfully. Much like the next entry for this list the song doesnít give the impression of danger, but instead it raises pure awe for me.
Naturally, for Touhou, a remixed version is a must, so here.
Number Two: Champion Battle Game: Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal Boss: Lance/Red
In all honesty Iíve never felt much for the champion themes in Pokemon, since most of them felt rather generic. This one however is the only tune that really captures the right mood for a champion battle. That goes for both fights it plays in. A good Pokemon game should always feel like a long journey, having started out with just a level 5 companion, and this song symbolises the nearing conclusion better than any of the others. In fact, it manages to do it twice. It also fits both battles so perfectly, having a calm sense of power and wisdom. Itís not a fight for oneís life against a villain, but a showdown between heroes.
Number One: Dancing Mad Game: Final Fantasy VI Boss: Kefka
Yeah, itís the hipsterís favourite Final Fantasy final boss theme, but since Iíve never finished VII this is going to have to take the spot. Firstly, itís a very long piece, if you include every part of it. The first three sections are haunting, dramatic, and orchestral, the top three requirements for pretentious video game music. Itís pompus like Ultimate Koopa, but more varied and much longer. It was also different from previous Final Fantasy final boss themes, which tended to be more adrenaline inducing. There are calm moments where I can take in the disturbing look of the hellish boss.
Then you move onto the final part the music takes a wacky turn. Itís awesome and radiates gloriously every insane fibre of Kefkaís being, which even gets topped off by getting to hear his iconic laughter. Itís absolutely twisted, but also catchy and just plain funky.
And there you have it. In reality I doubt it was a good idea to list them with numbers, because ultimately I felt it was rather arbitrary to order them. Also, Iím feeling rather lacking in satisfaction for this. Perhaps itís because there were too many candidates for me to choose from, but I couldnít be arsed to make a top ten.
And so Ė to redeem this nonsense Ė I turn to you, the humble internet dwelling folk for help. Simply put, whatíre your favourite final boss pieces?
Give in to your futile delusions and post in the comments!
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About Shuudaone of us since 5:34 PM on 03.27.2012
Online I go by the alias of Shuuda. I am currently living North Yorkshire, England. In 2011 I graduated from the University of Hull with a first class degree in Design for Digital Media, where I studied both the creative and theoretical sides of the digital technology and the internet.
As someone who is passionate about about video games than the fantasy genre, I am highly interested in how stories can be told through interactive media. I concern myself with how the genre is portrayed within the medium and its implications. I give it both criticism and praise, but mostly criticism. Writing fiction has been my hobby for many years, and I feel that video games have influenced and inspired the content of my work in recent times.