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Posted by Hailinel

Here we are, folks. The final day of End Boss Month is upon us. As I noted yesterday, thinking of the proper subject to bring an end to end this month-long series was among the most difficult tasks I’ve had in writing it. But now that we’re here, I’ve decided that once more, we’ll look at not one, but two very special final bosses. One that has been around since Nintendo’s earliest console days, and one of their most recent creations.

No discussion of final bosses is truly complete without the One Koopa to rule them all; Bowser, the fire-breathing turtle-esque villain of Super Mario Bros. and so many others.

The one and only.

Bowser has the simplest of desires. He’d like nothing more than to take Princess Peach hostage and conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. Though to be honest, the kingdom has always seemed to be a very distant second in Bowser’s wish list. And what does Bowser want with Peach? Well, if the Paper Mario series is to be believed, he’d just like to marry her. He’s love struck, and he goes about it in all the wrong ways.

Of course, Bowser’s kidnappings are fairly routine at this point. He shows up, goes “Bwa ha ha,” ensnares Peach in his scaly clutches, takes her back to his castle, and then is summarily trounced by Mario. And you know, for as old hat as the scheme is, would we really want it any other way? I mean, kidnapping Peach is really the thing that Bowser knows best, so why should we demand anything different from him? He’s the one villain in the entire world that can still pull off that trope without making it look tired.

Bowser is like that old friend that, no matter what changes, you can always count on to be the same as ever. He’s overcome repeated failures, a horrific, ruffle-headed portrayal by Dennis Hopper, the indignity of having to team up with his enemy after a freakin’ evil anvil took over his castle and the most amazing indigestion medical science has ever witnessed. And yet, no matter what, he’s right back at it, chasing after that cute blonde in the pink dress. He doesn’t settle for easier targets and he doesn’t let the constant thwarting of his plans get to him.

And Bowser is always on the lookout for new and creative methods of bringing Mario’s destruction. Breathing fire? Raining mechanized death from a clown-copter chariot? Just turning the tables and jumping on him? His plans may always end in failure, but he has a very busy drawing board. Just look at some of his greatest hits.

Really, more villains could stand to learn from Bowser.

One villain that certainly doesn’t need lessons, however, is the final boss of Nintendo’s Kid Icarus: Uprising. Going into the game, I thought that things were going to be pretty cut and dried. The marketing made it very clear that Medusa, the final boss of the original NES game, was making a return appearance. And appear she did. I fought and defeated her at the end of chapter nine.

Of a twenty-five chapter game. Wait, what?

Well, no sooner is Medusa defeated than the real villain revealed. It’s none other than the true ruler of the underworld, Hades. Yes, Hades, who had resurrected Medusa to unwittingly do his bidding. And his sudden appearance transforms what had previously been a fairly straight-forward story into something with multiple, surprising twists and turns. Like the other characters in the game, he’s also incredibly, hilariously chatty. He has no qualms with being evil. It’s pretty much his lifestyle. Even when the plot takes a turn that sees the gods all working together, he still finds ways to impede Pit and sling some zingers in the process.

Not pictured: Nipple Cannons

What I am saying is that he is a dick. Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone. I mean, he’s the ruler of the underworld. And yet, despite his wisecracks, penchant for hitting on goddesses, and all of his fun-time loving, he is seriously, maliciously evil. As in, he creates servants by harvesting and destroying the souls of countless mortals and throws the cycle of reincarnation into a chaotic mess. And he does it all pretty much just because he can.

To make matters worse, he’s powerful enough that, the first time Pit faces him, he destroys the three sacred treasures the angel had used to fight Medusa. Even when Pit returns for the final battle, which encompasses the entirety of the game’s last stage, equipped with a heavily armed transforming armor, Hades still manages to destroy it, leaving Pit defenseless on the ground.

And then, a special set piece kicks in; the player must help Pit keep his focus on Hades while a mysterious force heads straight for the underworld king. Is it friendly? No one knows. But just when Hades is about to blast Pit into oblivion...

Medusa comes back.

Even though she was rendered into an unwitting second banana, almost an afterthought with her defeat so early in the game, Medusa charges in and shows Hades who’s really boss by punching his head clean off. It doesn’t quite kill him, and he takes Medusa down soon after, but there’s a sort of poetry to the way it all happens, letting the final boss of the original get in her shot at the usurper, and leaving him open for a final blow.

Unlike Bowser, Hades will probably never be back. Well, not for a while, anyway, if at all. But even so, he leaves a mark, not just for his remarkable wit, but for his incredible evil. The game he’s from is only a few months old at this point, but for everything he says, does, and represents, I’d say that, years from now, there’s a good chance that a lot of people will fondly remember him for being so deliciously vile.

Ugh. Why did the best Youtube video I could find of the battle have to come with a giant-size watermark and no touch screen shenanigans? Oh well. But in the spirit of Uprising, let's give Medusa some due of her own, just as a bonus.

Man, the 1980s sure did love giant, stationary final bosses.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been fun writing this series, but like all great games with final bosses, it’s time to bring it to an end. I hope you’ve all enjoyed my month of rambling as much as I’ve enjoyed the actual act of rambling. And once again, I apologize if I just didn’t get to a boss that you really would have liked to see me cover. There’s just an insurmountable number of possibilities out there. But that doesn’t meant that you can’t talk about your favorites yourself.

So, as I close things out, I ask you this? Who are your favorite bosses? Your least favorite? Are there any that just struck that special something in you? End Boss Month may be over, but the discussion doesn’t have to end here.

Posted by MikeGosot

I just think that Shijima is-- Oh! Another game. Great. So, ahn, if Bowser needs a wife so much, he should think about Medusa. She's hot.

Posted by Demoskinos

<3 Bowser ! You've chosen wisely! =p

Edited by FateOfNever

Some good choices to close out on. Overall really liked your choices for the whole month. And Bowser seems like a no brainer to close out on, and reading about Hades confirms that I need to play Uprising at some point.

I am a tad disappointed that none of the Breath of Fire bosses were able to make their way into the month (or Melzas from Alundra, as I feel they both fill a very similar role, well, least Melzas and Tyr/Myria.) However, I now realize that the Alundra page could use work, and that Melzas doesn't even have a page, and neither does Tyr/Myria. Man, I feel a bit bummed out now. Oh well, just means I have some pages I can do some work on.

Posted by Turambar

Wait...what the fuck...I didn't realize the Cybuster was in Kid Icarus.
 

 It's Cybird mode looks exactly like the Great Sacred Treasure's plane mode.
Posted by Hailinel

@Demoskinos said:

<3 Bowser ! You've chosen wisely! =p

I guess this means that I won't disintegrate like a Nazi that just drank from the wrong cup?

@MikeGosot said:

I just think that Shijima is-- Oh! Another game. Great. So, ahn, if Bowser needs a wife so much, he should think about Medusa. She's hot.

I don't think Medusa is really Bowser's type, but she is quite the looker in Uprising, I'll give you that.

@FateOfNever said:

Some good choices to close out on. Overall really liked your choices for the whole month. And Bowser seems like a no brainer to close out on, and reading about Hades confirms that I need to play Uprising at some point.

I am a tad disappointed that none of the Breath of Fire bosses were able to make their way into the month (or Melzas from Alundra, as I feel they both fill a very similar role, well, least Melzas and Tyr/Myria.) However, I now realize that the Alundra page could use work, and that Melzas doesn't even have a page, and neither does Tyr/Myria. Man, I feel a bit bummed out now. Oh well, just means I have some pages I can do some work on.

Thanks! I unfortunately never played a Breath of Fire game after the second, and my memories of both are pretty hazy, at best. But I do remember that I had a lot of fun with them. And Uprising is definitely worth playing. It just has such a wonderful cast of characters fthroughout, and the story is just wonderfully told.

Also, I hear you on the blank spots in the wiki. It still amazes me when I come across certain pages that are nearly blank, or that certain characters still don't have pages. But that's just more work to take care of.

Posted by Hailinel

@Turambar: Someone on the dev team might have been a fan. I wouldn't be surprised.

Posted by FateOfNever

@Hailinel said:

Thanks! I unfortunately never played a Breath of Fire game after the second, and my memories of both are pretty hazy, at best. But I do remember that I had a lot of fun with them. And Uprising is definitely worth playing. It just has such a wonderful cast of characters throughout, and the story is just wonderfully told.

That's understandable. I barely remember the fight with Tyr (1st game) other than remembering her whole 'deal' of being a mad goddess that appeared to the world as this great and wonderful being that would grant people whatever desires they had. Except for the whole part where she was actually a horrible, vile, evil deity that used it as a front to take over/destroy the world. Which is the same boss in 3, but with a different name (Myria) and she plays less of an up front role.

But 2 had the offspring of Tyr but the main point of that story was still very much in line with the first game and had a similar story to Alundra of there being a god that, again, put on the appearance of being good for the greater public, but, was actually just an evil being that fed off of the power of belief/faith.

BoF4 takes things in a somewhat different direction and I don't remember that story at all other than being somewhat shocked at just how serious of a tone certain parts in the game had and that it mostly seemed to drop the somewhat continuous story of the first three games (as I don't recall it having anything to do with Tyr in the slightest, but, it's been so long that maybe it did and I just don't recall.)

Now I can't decide between playing Valkyrie Profile or any one of the BoF games now.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

I mean, kidnapping Peach is really the thing that Bowser knows best, so why should we demand anything different from him?

Damn it. This one sentence makes me want a Mario themed dating sim starring Bowser. I've said it; IT MUST HAPPEN.

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

I mean, kidnapping Peach is really the thing that Bowser knows best, so why should we demand anything different from him?

Damn it. This one sentence makes me want a Mario themed dating sim starring Bowser. I've said it; IT MUST HAPPEN.

I could actually see that working, in a comical way.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

I mean, kidnapping Peach is really the thing that Bowser knows best, so why should we demand anything different from him?

Damn it. This one sentence makes me want a Mario themed dating sim starring Bowser. I've said it; IT MUST HAPPEN.

I could actually see that working, in a comical way.

Except...

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King: I'm not sure what you're getting at, other than abusive repetition of voice samples.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Daisy is one step above mute, in that she can only say one thing: "Hi, I'm Daisy". Also, she has a third eye. That's what years of royal Sarasaland inbreeding will do to you.

Posted by Eirikr

Fantastic series, dude. Just about the only one of my personal favorites you didn't mention was Dracula, but with only so many slots it's understandable. And while he's very rarely a final boss in most scenarios, treating Liu Bei and his pansy benevolence to the business end of Xiahou Dun's scimitar is one of the most satisfying ways to end a DW map. WEI FOREVER

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Eirikr:

I read that last sentence with Dracula still in mind. Needless to say, it was a very confusing sentence.

Posted by Eirikr

@Video_Game_King: Considering Pokemon X Nobunaga was a Real Thing That Really Happened, Dynasty Warriors X Castlevania suddenly doesn't seem so farfetched. And it'd still probably be better than Lords of Shadow. SICK BURN

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Eirikr:

I feel compelled to defend Lords of Shadow, perhaps out of some contrarian nature, but given that it made two shitty Portal jokes over the course of the story, I have absolutely nothing to say.

Posted by Hailinel

@Eirikr said:

Fantastic series, dude. Just about the only one of my personal favorites you didn't mention was Dracula, but with only so many slots it's understandable. And while he's very rarely a final boss in most scenarios, treating Liu Bei and his pansy benevolence to the business end of Xiahou Dun's scimitar is one of the most satisfying ways to end a DW map. WEI FOREVER

I actually considered including Dracula, and he was on my list for probably half the month before he ended up getting shuffled off in my constant reorganizing and revising. I can't remember at what point, though. But Dracula wasn't alone in that. There were a number of bosses that I seriously considered including that I ended up dropping.

And man, I loved the end of the Jin storyline in Dynasty Warriors 7. Watching Shu's idealistic benevolence unravel at the seams until the Jin officers finally made them stuff it was a more than welcome change to the usual DW story.

Posted by Pink_o_mat

Great series! My favourite End Boss is "The Machine" from Turrican 2 (C64). The first time I saw this bigger-than-the-screen boss my jaw hit the floor. The fight itself wasn't to interesting, but the graphics were great!

Posted by Hailinel

@Pink_o_mat: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Posted by Hunter5024

Well these have been great. Thanks for doing them!

Posted by Hailinel

@Hunter5024 said:

Well these have been great. Thanks for doing them!

Thanks! I have to admit, writing and posting these on a daily basis was a bit draining, but I'm glad that they were so well-received.