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Boss character design case #1: Maken X/魔剣X/Maken Shao: Demon Sword/魔剣爻

What better way to start your blog, with one of the very few cases that had me addicted to bizarre/freaky/awesome bosses. The videogame in question is titled Maken X (Dreamcast), Maken Shao*: Demon Sword* (Playstation 2). And it featured some of the most ingenious character designs for bosses I've seen, from a scalpel firing from his tongue russian soldier to an umbrella dressed oil sheik with a fire breathing and tentacle sprewing parasite stuck in his belly. Welcome to the wonderful world of Maken Deus Ex Machina (BTW my text are going to contain spoilers... WARNING SPOILERS)

Some images don't appear in full, so you have to rightclick them and select view image, or you miss small details on the character design. Does anyone have suggestions for next time? I thought clickable thumbnails, but how do I make 'em?

Character designs by: Kazuma Kaneko

The game is divided by 2 boss forces the Hakke and the Fukenshi, the Hakke are supposed to be henchmen of the evil force ceated by Mr. Meteor/Geist to help him eradicate humanity from planet earth (and who can blame him? We humans tend to ruin planet earth for our own selfish needs...). They often occupy roles with significant power in human society. On the supposed good side is the Fukenshi, the previous guardians of Mr. Meteor/Geist, who now try to stop his his plans and save humanity.

Hakke (The 8-Kei, 8 in Japanese is HachiÖ now do the math):

Name: Andrey
Age: 38
Job: Colonel

A HAKKE, who used to be an officer in the special forces of the Russian army. But was banished because he was diagnosed to have chronic paranoia. He was then employed as a hitman by the Sangokai. As a hitman with a prominent ability even in the Sangokai group, he was infected with Image by Mr. Meteor to become his faithful HAKKE henchman. He has killed many Fukenshi and people trying to obstruct Mr. Meteorís master plan.

Note: Hakke Andrey mightíve been based on serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, as he had the tendency to remove eyes or organs in a kind of surgical operation. Andreyís weapon, the huge scalpel possibly references to this.

Loempiavreter comments:
The first boss in the game and for me one of the most memorabel. He is kind of devoid of an personality, but he has some cool as **** character design. A tongue that fires scalpels, that freaky mouth that opens up when he fires his scalpels, a huge scalpel weapon... To bad he doesn't put up more of a fight, he was kinda an easy boss to beat. But I'm a fan nonetheless!

Name: Shaja
Age: 50
Job: TV Star

A HAKKE, born to a rich family and later becoming a national TV star due to his talent for singing and dancing. He leads an idle life without purpose. As he wants to control humans, Mr. Meteor was worried about the increasing Indian population. He injected the Image to Shaka who became a HAKKE. To decrease the population, he used his songs to send waves from TV and radios to make humans spiritless. People who listened to the songs lost energy and appetite and were gradually dying. As a result the death rate increased in India and the productivity drastically plummeted.

Note: For whatever (but probably religious) reason they changed his character design in the western release of Maken X (not for Maken Shao: Demon Sword). His design resembles Rajinikanth now and instead of his Shiva-like arms he psychicly juggles his blades around him.

Loempiavreter comments:
A Bollywood star who uses Shiva-like arms, and also hurls energy waves created by his Shiva arms at you, awesome!

Name: Marguerite (Margaret, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 24
Job: The Leader of ECAP

A HAKKE and wife of Samuel Smith, leader of ECAP. She started to have doubts about her husband due to several rumors. Though married, she loved another man. Ramrod. Hating herself, she had a severe depression. Soon she was converted to HAKKE by Mr. Meteor, who plans to destroy Europe and decrease the population. Marguerite spread the news that her husband, the former party leader, died in an accident. But in fact, by imprisoning him, she became the leader of ECAP. She continued to convert the party members one after another and organized terrorist groups.

Loempiavreter comments:
She first attacks you using her giant robotic horse. After you destroyed that, she fight you mano a mano, using a strike and retreat tactic, which either consists of whipping you, kicking you or firing at you with her robotic arm cannon. I love how an ECAP (the European Union of this world) represantive her skull-patterned costume, I also like how they are Nazi's (not that I like Nazi's, no I hate 'em), but it kinda reflects how HItler's original plan, to unite europe under one flag, isn't much different from the EU now.

Name: Daru (Dal, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 50
Job: Scientist

A HAKKE and a scientist awarded the Nobel Prize for medical physiology because of his discoveries and theorization on cures for certain infectious diseases. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the cure for a certain infectious disease. Later he found that the cure would cause another disease. Scared of the possible revelation, he moved to Transylvania and is living with his daughter. He was converted to become a HAKKE by Mr. Meteor, who plans to destroy Europe and decrease the population. He produced the petrifying illness virus from his cure. Then he spread the virus all over Europe. As it was very contagious, the number of the infected seemed to reach tens of millions.

Note: The name Daru/Dal is probably a play on Dracula. His character design resembles a bat in some ways like his ears.

Loempiavreter comments:
At the beginning of the fight, he sets his giant clocktower in motion which renders him invisible. After destroying that he becomes visible again and you will see that he attacks u with his vials containing his virus, which petrifies you and will continue to jab you with his giant nail. His headear is kinda weird, I can't get over it. It doesn't compliment his character design in some way...

Name: Don Malukala (Don Regalia, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 35
Job: Mafia Boss

A HAKKE and head of the global Mafia, he deals drugs and manages crime all over Europe. He is very influential in political circles. He got everything he wanted except his own offspring. A doctor diagnosed him to be infertile which caused him great despair. Mr. Meteor, taking advantage of this, converted him to a HAKKE to cause panic in Europe. He spread a chemical substance that contaminated the drinking water. As a result, all of Europe is devastated with a mysterious disease. The petrifying illness added to the already present terrorist threats has greatly diminished European power.

Loempiavreter comments:
He faces you on a platform that changes height, when you can't face him on the platform he will throw his puppets at you which will grow into human-sized kamikaze drones. And if you manage to get on the platform he will rely on his axe and his flying butt drop attack. His face under that mask doesn't look humanlike at all anymore, wondered what happenend... or did he always had such a big grin on his face?

Name: Ray (Rei, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 70
Job: Archbishop

A HAKKE and Messianic Archbishop. He is being considered for the role of the next Pope. Although he is a model of faith and eagerly converts non-believers, he has started to have doubts about Godís existence. Out of anguish of such doubts, the Archbishop bought drugs from Malukala. But hearing Mr. Meteorís preaching about a new and improved world, he voluntarily converted himself to be a HAKKE. The Archbishop recommended the believers to commit suicide to go to heaven. Many believers, mesmerized by his preaching, thus killed themselves. As a result, suicide has increased and world population has decreased.

Note: Might Hakke Rayís name be a reference to Gilles de Rais? As thereís some vague connection to Joanne of Arc.

Loempiavreter comments:
A drug using archbishop that encourages mass suicide of his followers through a TV broadcast. Damn what kind of drugs where those creators of this game on?? This brotha can fly, wrap himself in his wings to protect him from any damage and he has a huge scythe ready to slice you in half.

Name: Youthfu (Yusuf, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 45
Job: Oil Millionaire

A HAKKE and the Oil King of Saudi Arabia who controls the world economy. He implicated his own father as the murderer of his older brother and so became legal heir, inheriting immense wealth and power. Hearing the rumor that his brother was still alive, Youthfu, was convinced that people around him were on his brotherís side and conspiring to kill him. Then Mr. Meteor, taking advantage of this, converted him to become a HAKKE. Abusing his position as President of OPEC, Youthfu restricted the petroleum exported exclusively to China. As a result, China monopolizes the oil and it caused not only the worldwide oil crisis but also the conflict between US and China.

Loempiavreter comments:
His umbrella based costume is wack, but has it charms! One of my favourites, also because when his umbrella pops open, you see a giant parasite stuck in his belly, that will fire fireballs and hurls tentacles at you. He also got a huge ass scimitar-like weapon... You don't wan't to fuck around with that!

Name: William (Brown, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 41
Job: The President of the USA

A HAKKE who, thanks to public support on his strong attitude against China, was re-elected as the 29th US present. After a Chinese secret agent tried to assassinate him, the President adopted a peaceful policy and thus lost his electors support immediately. He was converted to be a HAKKE by Mr. Meteor, who plans to reduce the population by starting a world war and to create the confrontation between the two superpowers, China and US.

Loempiavreter comments:
You get to fight the US president?? You got to be kidding me Atlus, what political guts you have! Haha, I love it he looks like some amalgram of Bill Clinton (his nose) and G.W. Bush. He's basically an cyborg, screwing his head onto a couple of robotic bodies, the first being a similar body to the robots you faced in his stage and his final form, a boxing body full of gadgetry.

The Fukenshi (The Blademasters, in the westen release of Maken X):

Name: Lee Fei Chao (Fei Chao Lee, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 16
Job: Inexperienced Fukenshi

A foreign student from Hong Kong and the private tutor of Kei. In fact, he is a FUKENSHI entrusted with the mission to awake Maken and defeat Mr. Meteor. He is an elite FUKENSHI, who passed the training at a young age. Thatís why Mr. Lee ordered him to awake you and he has been engaged in the project from the beginning.

Loempiavreter comments:
Elite Fukenshi?? Hakke Andrey whooped his sorry ass in no time and he didn't even put up a fight, no he went in to sacrifice his weak ass for Kei the gratious box cover model of this game, but I don't think he would've put up a decent fight anyway... what are his weapons, powers? Just some weak ass punk. NEXT

Lee Fei Shan (Fei Shan Lee, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 20
Job: Foreign Student

Born to the noble family of the FUKENSHI. By learning from her brother, Fei Shan, is practicing to become an independent FUKENSHI. As her juniors, one after another, pass the FUKENBSHI training and get duties, she, still a dependent FUKENSHI at the Nine-Sky Circus Team. Feels mortified is looking for a chance to show off her abilities. She happened to know the Indian star Shaja, a HAKKE who controls the Indians. Therefore she is trying to knock out Shaja to take all the credit.

Loempiavreter comments:
The older sister to the previous described weak ass punk, She has giant bladed fans, like all steotype Chinese warrior ladies. NEXT

Name: Ramrod (Devon, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 25
Job: DJ

One of the five-major FUKENSHIís. While investigating Mr. Meteor, he discovered Mr. Meteor was leading the terrorism in Europe. While investigating the ECAP, he got in contact with Marguerite, wife of the union party leader, and fell in love with her. Marguerite soon was converted to HAKKE by Mr. Meteor, who plans to annihilate Europe. After putting her husband in jail, she became the new party leader. To stop the increased terrorist activities conducted by the new lkeader, ramrod tries to knock out Marguerite, but he canít do it by himself and is waiting for the arrival of Maken.

Loempiavreter comments:
ICE!... A dutch representative? Another DJ? As if we can only spur DJs into the world... Like all major Fukenshi he had to sacrifice a body part to become Fukenshi, Ramrod sacrificed his spinal chord. How he still manage to keep his body in place, let alone live, who knows, japanese character design magic. He has a sword and launches ice projectiles into the ground at you.

Name: Acinaces (Alys, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 32
Job: Curator

The FUKENSHI who excels in recovering and regenerating powers. While investigating Mr. Meteor, she found that Mr. Meteor spread the petrifying illness near the Mediterranean. Acinaces disguised herself as a museum curator in Athens, where there are many hospitals for the petrifying illness. She observed the sick, worked in a hospital at night, and collected the data of the petrifying illness. After all her investigation, she found a relationship between the virus identified by pathologist Daru and the petrifying illness. She was convinced that Daru was a HAKKE. But Daru disappeared and she doesnít know where he is. Acinaces asked Daruís daughter Bahlinka in the isolation ward, but Bahlinka obstinately kept her mouth shut. As a mother with a daughter, she doesnít feel that doing BrainJacking on Bahlinka is right. But telling herself the most important thing is saving the world, Acinaces is waiting for Maken to extract her memory.

Loempiavreter comments:
WIND!... The bodypart she sacrificed was her arm, in return she got a a robotic blade/rm hybrid that can hurl tornado's. Sweet!

Name: Badelaire (Tyrus, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 40
Job: Journalist

The FUKENSHI who is the half brother of Keiís mother. While investigating Mr. Meteor, he found out that he was the one responsible for the drugged water in Lyon. He became a journalist to trace back the drugs and used the information network of an anti-government organization. He discovered that the pollution was done by the largest Mafia group in Europe and got the evidence that the head, Malukala, was a HAKKE. As he could not find out Malukalaís hideout he couldnít do anything. He found out that a former ECAP party leader, who conspired with Malukala is now imprisoned in the Tower of London. Therefore he is waiting for Maken to extract the former party leaderís memory.

Loempiavreter comments:
LIGHTNING!... He had to sacrifice his leg, so now he carries around his trusty walkiing stick. Now I am not sure if he needs this weapon to summon his waves of thunder, but yeah that's about it. And he hits you with it too. A cool bro though, and how can he be Kei's mum's brother? Is she blac, Kei doesn't look black at all??

Name: Kati (Kitty, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: Unknown
Job: Head of the Chinese Circus

The head of the NineĖSky Circus, the practicing FUKENSHIís hideout. Related to the FUKENSHI by blood, she received lessons to become a FUKENSHI. She is proud that FUKENSHIís have kept the world order and she strongly believes that the destiny of humans is not determined by God nor Devil. To destroy Mr. Meteor, who attempts to control humans, she proposed the Maken project. She recommended her pupil, Lee Fei Chao., to activate Maken and to knock out Mr. Meteor, but the pupil couldnít accomplish the mission. Moreover, Mr. Meteorís henchman kidnapped the Chief. The head of the Nine-Sky Circus now regrets having recommended Fei Chao.

Loempiavreter comments:
FIRE!... Kati had to sacrifice..? It's not clear, I read that she might have been a transexual, I don't know if that means that this in itself was her handicap or that she chopped of her manly treasures. Either way she has a blade/whip hybrid like Ivy Valentine from Soul Calibur and it's on fire... so it hurls fire at you.

Name: Lee Fu Sho (Fu Shou Lee, in the westen release of Maken X)
Age: 78
Job: The Big Boss of the Chinese Merchant Group

Boss of the Overseas Chinese Merchants Group, sponsor of the Kanazawa Research Institute. He could control the world with Mr. Meteorís power. Also the head of the FUKENSHI. Mr. Lee had confined Mr. Meteor, who betrayed humans and tried to control the Image. Mr. Lee, sensing Mr. Meteorís danger, established the special lab of Image engineering in Kanazawa and asked Dr. Guinness to analyze Mr. Meteor and to develop Maken. Dr. Guinness was not enthusiastic about developing Maken to copy Mr. Meteor. He was worried that the same thing could happen if Maken took Mr. Meteorís place.

Loempiavreter comments:
WITH YOUR POWER COMBINED I BECOME... Ok enough fun and laffs, he's basically Captain Planet in dungaree's, man I remember when I was a kid I had dungaree with the batman logo on it, damn that was cool for a 4-year old kid stuck in the early 90s, to bad my mum threw it away. He teleports the **** around, kung fu your sorry ass and spams energy waves or ki blasts or whatever. Why does his glasses have 3 eyes to cover... being that his stage is the Himalaya and Tibetan demons have 3 eyes... do you want to tell us something Atlus???

The Ultimate baddie

Name: Ryu Kashin
Age: 35
Job: The Chairman of China

The Chairman of the Peopleís Republic of China. He commanded Asia and fought against America imperialism. He climbed his way up to the top in his 30s. He was called Red Prince because his father was a man of power and people paid attention already knew him when he was young. I know he has charisma but it is ridiculous that he, because of his fatherís power, became the chairman of the country.

Mr. Meteor (Geist, in the westen release of Maken X)

The Incarnation of God that watches over humans. It now turns against the FUKENSHI, trying to control the Image of humanity. Believes only his power can save the world. He has taken over the body of the Chinese President Ryu Kashin.

In Chinese philosophy of augury, the Eight Diagrams, representing the center and creation of the universe, can generate different applications and phenomena. The existence, combining two binary elements, such as light and shade, heaven and earth, is called TAI KYOKU. The 8 Kei call Mr. Meteor TAI KYOKU.

Loempiavreter comments:
The big chief, a god himself, Maken's counterpart, the original, does he only want to do what's right for earth? Any way some ancient beast that brainjacks people and destroys earth by his manipulation. One powerful figurehead...

Closing Comments
Thank you for reading this, if anybody ever reads this. I hope you people get inspired, maybe give bosses more attention, maybe the nee to create more kickass bosses (if you create videogames). Anyway hope you enjoyed it, and if someone responds, what boss roster should I tackle next? The Complete Virtua Cop (1-3), boss roster or Osman/Cannon Dancer's boss roster. You tell me down in the comments :)

Source: images (Japanese instruction manual for Maken X on the Dreamcast, japanese Maken X strategy guide), Character profiles (Maken Shao: Demon Sword).
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About loempiavreterone of us since 5:43 PM on 09.01.2010

I'm obsessed with Bosses, be it from videogames, to movies, to comicbooks.

In my blog I'm gonna post art and pictures of all things boss, that I've collected over the years.

See you around!