Folks, we are almost a week from the conclusion of End Boss Month. Throughout this blog series, I've highlighted a wide variety of final bosses. Some known for their devious personalities, others for their devious gameplay, and yet others for being just all-around devious. But it is here, before we head into the final seven, that I'd like to highlight a particular final boss that frankly makes even Alpha-152 look like a masterstroke of creativity by comparison.
Which is truly an odd thing to say when I’m talking about a boss from game set in Middle-earth. J.R.R. Tolkien crafted no shortage of villainous forces and personalities in his fantasy universe. And none of these foes are more evil, more conniving, and more dangerous than Sauron, who once used the power of a ring to bring ruin to all in his way. His massive, glowing eye, which sits atop Barad-dûr as a ghastly, intimidating presence, is an iconic symbol that instills fear upon all those that enter its gaze.
So of course it makes perfect sense to cast the Eye itself as a boss fight. A final boss fight. In one of the worst games ever based on the Lord of the Rings license. I speak of The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age.
For those of you that are not familiar with The Third Age, it is an RPG that follows the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with a design
stolen "borrowed" from Final Fantasy X. Or at least, the game clumsily plods along the same general path as the trilogy. Actually, that’s not accurate, either. What The Third Age is, is a goddamn piece of self-insertion fanfiction.
That’s right. Fanfiction. In which the protagonists are not Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, or any of the other names one would expect to see in anything related to The Lord of the Rings. It is a cast of original humans, elves, and dwarves; the Fellowship that follows the Fellowship that Mary-Sues their way from one major event in the trilogy to another. It’s absurd enough to see them team up with Gandalf to slay the Balrog, or join ranks with Aragorn to kill the Nazgûl. But at the end of the game, they somehow, in defiance of all narrative logic established by the trilogy, manage to climb to the top of Barad-dûr and confront the Eye of Sauron face to…giant, flaming eyeball.
I…what? How the hell does that even work? Who approved this shit? What in…why? Just, just why?
Feel free to take a deep, disappointed sigh, if needed.
Okay, are we good? Splendid. Let’s go to the video tape. Be sure to watch all the way to the end.
What the hell kind of an ending is that? You kill the Eye of Sauron, and then the ending is just a bunch of scenes from the movies stitched together with Gandalf’s narration. Scenes which include the collapse of Barad-dûr and the Eye’s explosion.
Uh…okay? So, did this Diet Coke Fellowship manage to survive the destruction of the towering evil structure? Yes? No? Oh, who the hell cares. One should never expect much from a game based on a licensed property, but Sauron deserves better than to be treated as the final boss in this trainwreck.
I'm sorry that I had to bring this game and this fight up, but with the greatest fights come the not so greatest, and I'd be remiss if I didn't include Sauron's bastardized boss fight incarnation in this feature. But with this out of the way, join us again tomorrow, as we start our final week of End Boss Month and return to bosses that are, well, not insanely fiction-breaking.