December 20, 2011 • 8:54 PM 2
It’s funny, when it comes to movies, I’m actually not that hard to impress.
While I consider myself well-versed in the world of film, at the end of the day all it really takes to peak my interest, is:
A): A decent cast.
B): A decent concept.
and C): The promise of people punching one another at some point in the movie.
In some cases that last one, if represented well enough, is the only excuse I need to see a movie, regardless of how dumb or crappy it is.
And when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, as utterly incalculable as the build-up has, and will continue to be for the next 6 months or so, at the end of the day I will see it because it, unlike any other movie in film history; will deliver the long anticipated spectacle of Batman and Bane duking it out on the big screen.
Christopher Nolan’s track record when it comes to cinematography and fight choreography suggests that the ensuing bout will be clumsy and edited through a meat grinder, but even so, I’ve been waiting to see this fight brought to life on the silver screen since I was 6 years old; and crappy or not, I will not be denied.
That being said, Batman and Bane grudge match aside, what did I think of the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises?
Well, to answer your question, I felt it was quite good by most standards, but much too enigmatic and fractured in it’s presentation to pack the same visceral punch that the later trailers for The Dark Knight did.
Here’s a refresher in case you need it:
I’d prefer not to compare the 2, as it’s obvious the people cutting the trailers for these movies came at it from very different tonal and thematic standpoints; but I feel it needs to be said that, to me, The Dark Knight really did have some of the best trailers of all time.
Everything, from the shot selection, to the music cues, to the overall pacing of the trailers for The Dark Knight was absolutely spot on.
What’s more, thanks to the dialogue-heavy nature of the trailers, as well as his untimely death, an absurd amount of buzz was generated for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, (*Sigh* “Why So Serious?”) not to mention the overall plot of the film was made crystal clear.
Though it sounds silly in this cynical age of ours, in many ways I feel the catchphrases and buzzwords of The Dark Knight actually served to make it’s advertising campaign both effective and memorable on the whole.
The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of neat shots in it, promising quite a few interesting set piece moments, however, perhaps due to the lack of dialogue, many of these shots are difficult to interpret from a purely visual standpoint.
Early on we see the reflection of a man with a cane approaching a shiny dinner platter while Alfred drones on about the Wayne dynasty:
Later, we see a bearded Bruce Wayne wandering around what appears to be the prison equivalent to Discovery Zone:
There’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
There’s A SHIT TON of rappeling.
Seriously, if you take into account the fact that maybe, just maybe, the people viewing this trailer haven’t been blogging about every step of the script writing process, or staring at leaked production photos for the past several months, (oddly enough, not me!) then this trailer basically offers no hint as to her role being that of Selina Kyle.
Oh wait excuse me, she’s wearing a mask at a masquerade ball that, if you look really hard, has cat ears:
Sarcasm deployed, mystery solved.
Much like Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face, unless you’ve been following the production or are familiar with the Batman universe, chances are you’d never know Anne Hathaway was supposed to be Catwoman in this trailer.
Indeed, I’m curious to know what this trailer meant to people who aren’t familiar with Batman outside of the movies.
In many ways, when I watch this trailer, I feel my perception is skewed by the fact that I already have an attachment to and understanding of many of the characters based on their comic book equivalent.
When I think “Bane,” I already have an image in mind of what I expect from him.
When I hear Tom Hardy speaking through his mask I say to myself:
When I see scenes from the trailer like the prison break, I think to myself:
To the average Batman virgin however, I’d imagine imagery such as this would be provocative, but purely in a “oh, so that’s gonna’ happen at some point” kind of way.
Hell, I’m willing to bet the average Bat Virgin doesn’t have the slightest clue as to who or what Bane even is.
What I think I’m trying to say, is that the style of editing and presentation of this trailer is enticing, as anything with a budget and pretty pictures can manage to be, but at the same time I feel frustrated by the numerous vagaries it throws in my lap.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of the J.J. Abrams-style marketing.
It’s not that I prefer my trailers to spell their plots and structure out to me, I simply value coherence and context over sound cues and pretty pictures.
Much like all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises appears to be an audio-visual powerhouse, though in some ways it appears a little less so at this point.
The set pieces looks suitably big, but the color palette appears more gray-ish and natural than The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, and curiously enough, despite it being an almost comical trademark of his, there’s not a single (gorgeous) overhead shot of a cityscape.
That last part troubles me, as I’m a big fan of Nolan’s wide open establishing shots, particularly in outdoor scenes, and though it may just be the editor’s doing; there are none to be found in this trailer.
Perhaps the strangest thing though, at least to me, is the fact that they re-used the mood building drone AKA The Joker’s theme from The Dark Knight in this trailer.
I always thought of that particular piece of music as “belonging” to The Joker, which made it somewhat puzzling to hear played over a trailer for a film that, almost certainly; won’t feature him.
Despite everything I’ve said about this trailer, both good and bad, at the end of the day it’s a very good piece of advertising for a sequel that, unfortunately, benefitted from some of the best advertising and pre-release buzz in recent memory.
Not only that, it’s only the first trailer, for a huge movie that isn’t dropping until late in the summer.
As good as the advertising for The Dark Knight was from the get go, the 2nd trailers for it, Iron Man, and Inception were all MONUMENTALLY better than the first, which leads me to believe the same will likely be the case with The Dark Knight Rises.
In addition to this, one also has to consider the fact that virtually all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters up to this point, while heavily advertised, also did well to avoid showing a great deal of the major story beats and action set pieces.
I don’t know about you, but up until it’s release I really thought the “truck flip” from The Dark Knight trailer was going to be the climax of the movie.
Instead, the entire skyscraper based finale of the movie ended up playing that role, while never once being hinted at in the trailers.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that though I may seem overly critical, in truth I’m just a fanboy hoping for the best.
In the meantime though, as weird as it seems, I think I actually liked the almost universally panned teaser for The Dark Knight Rises somewhat better than the trailer.
True, most of the footage was borrowed from Batman Begins.
True, Commissioner Gordon’s dialogue was hard to understand.
True, virtually nothing Commissioner Gordon had to say was even worth hearing in the first place.
BUT, at the very end of the teaser, there is a single, barely 2 second shot that made it all worth it:
Batman in the rain, taking a deep breath, while Bane slowly approaches from the foreground.
The whole thing was crap up until then, but that last shot instantly sold me.
The trailer, while bigger and much more coherent, didn’t have this shot or even a suitable equivalent.
True, it featured a few shots of Batman and Bane throwing down in the snow, however I felt the subtlety and dramatic implication of the teaser shot did more to appease the fanboy in me than the entirety of the full trailer.
That’s just me though.
November 6, 2011 • 11:58 PM 0
During the first 3 minutes of a typical boxing match, it’s usually expected that the fighters will be tentative, cautious, and in the case of a southpaw/conventional matchup; just plain awkward.
The first round is when fighters begin to gauge one another’s reach and distance, begin to jockey for good positioning, begin to time one another’s movements, and begin to lay the groundwork for slowing or speeding up the pace of the fight in their favor.
In a sport filled with metaphors to it, the first round in boxing truly is one of the most profound examples of liminality in the ring.
While many would look upon the a boxing match as a barbaric and savage affair, established elements of the game like the “feeling out” round serve as crystal clear reminders that, boxing may not be an inherently gentlemanly sport, but when everything comes together; there really an artful science to it.
That being said, as flowery and poetic as I’ve done my best to make it sound, the sport of boxing is at it’s core, a sport that deals in little more than 2 men standing before one another and pounding the shit out of another.
Though it undoubtedly helps a great deal, particularly in regards to extending the longevity of one’s career, one does not need to be a technical genius to succeed in the sport of professional boxing.
In the right quantity, sometimes guts, raw physicality, and unerring tenacity can be enough to carry the day.
On the one hand we had James Kirkland, a stout and atypically muscular whirlwind of a fighter coming off a first loss in the form of a sudden and bizarre first round knockout to Nobuhiro Ishida, as well as a recent stint in prison for illegal firearms possession.
On the other, we have Alfredo Angulo, a bestial Bionic Mexican of the highest order with only one prior loss to the intensely bipolar Kermit Cintron.
Curiously enough, Angulo came into last night’s fight following a fairly recent Visa debacle, resulting in his deportation from the United States for the past 2 years.
In a nutshell, both fighters came into the ring last night highly regarded prospects with explosive punching power, aggressive head-first fighting styles, and less than exemplary records in regards to U.S. laws and regulations.
On paper, the matchup between these sounded like fireworks all the way.
While the fireworks didn’t last all the way through the fight, I’ll be damned if I’ve seen a first round as dramatic and visceral this side of Hagler/Hearns.
From the opening bell, both guys stepped to center ring with bad intentions.
Kirkland came out swinging, asserting his dominance through swarming Angulo with volleys of clubbing punches at close range.
Possessed of a naturally aggressive and stalking style, Angulo took some shots in the opening 30 seconds, though his amateur pedigree occasionally shined through as he evaded shots calmly and efficiently.
Even so, the first 30-40 seconds were all Kirkland, as his attack proved so constant and smothering, that the typically offensive-minded Angulo barely managed to get off a shot.
That all changed around the 1 minute mark, on the strength of a single, heatseeking missile of a straight right hand delivered by Angulo smack dab onto the point of Kirkland’s chin.
Time seemed to freeze as Kirkland backed Angulo into corner, swinging with wild abandon, only for the courageous Mexican to suddenly step forward during a millisecond break in the action, and knock Kirkland onto his backside with one of his first cleanly landed punches in the fight.
Earlier, I mentioned James Kirkland was knocked out by Nobuhiro Ishida in the first round.
While I neglected to mention that Ishida managed to knock him down 3 times in said round, I feel it’s perhaps much more important to make mention of the fact that, despite the increasingly senile and ignorant Joe Cortez’ decision to stop the fight, Kirkland made an earnest and capable attempt to stand up every time.
Hurt, and downed 3 times, James Kirkland need to be held down by the referee in order for the contest to be brought to a halt.
If ever there were a man who defined the word “tough,” for my money it’d have to be James Kirkland.
That being said, as you might have expected, Kirkland did in fact get up from the bunker busting right hand to his jaw courtesy of Alfredo Angulo.
Not only that, while most trainers likely would have chastised him for doing so, Kirkland stood up almost immediately following the knockdown, taking nearly all of the standing 8 count on his feet.
Fortunately for James Kirkland, he trains under Ann Wolfe, who as I hope we all know, enjoys watching her fighters dole out beatings as much as she does watching them take them.
Said philosophy may not work on all occasions, but as I said before, sometimes guts count for more than anything else, and last night; you can sure as hell bet that rang true.
Storming out of the neutral corner, Angulo’s previously dormant offense erupted with an explosive torrent of punches.
On shaky legs, Kirkland foolishly stood his ground and attempted to stand and trade with rubbery arms, eating thunderous barrages of punches to the head in the process.
Eventually chasing the Gumby-legged Kirkland into the ropes and all around the ring, Angulo continued to pour on the punishment, landing blows at arms length while the referee continued to watch Kirkland like a hawk in anticipation of what appeared to be an inevitable stoppage.
After 20-30 seconds or so though, it became apparent that Kirkland was not nearly as enfeebled as he seemed.
Sure he was off-balance, and still very much in trouble, as well as largely unable to put the mustard on his punches in the way that made him famous; but amidst the beating he was taking, he was also doing well to deflect blows with his forearms, as well as occasionally tie-up Angulo.
Make no mistake, Kirkland was still very much a hurt man at this point, but he was a hurt man that with a plan and bad intentions.
For nearly a minute and a half, Angulo rained down blows on Kirkland unopposed, however as tends to be the case when a fighter fires on all cylinders against a man that just won’t quit; Angulo eventually began to slow.
Though under great duress, and eating hard punches every step of the way, slowly but surely, James Kirkland began to work his way back into the fight.
It didn’t happen all at once, but in the last minute of the round, Angulo’s fatigue got the better of him, and his once crackling punches began to come out at almost comically slow speeds.
Looking like a weary fighter caught in a time warp, Angulo found himself in the most unfavorable of positions:
Out of gas, and faced with a man who had not only already taken his best shots, but had almost fully recovered from them.
Slipping and deflecting Angulo’s sluggish punches, Kirkland quickly jumped back on the offensive and miraculously pushed Angulo back on his heels with an accurate head and body attack.
No longer swinging for the fences, nor fighting with pure aggression, Kirkland laid into Angulo with a varied and intelligent assault that one wouldn’t expect given his usual wild demeanor.
That being said, following an intensely dramatic, back-and-forth first round, with the lead changes hands literally from minute to minute, James Kirkland gave the boxing world an astonishing gift by handing Alfredo Angulo his first knockdown in professional boxing with seconds to spare.
It wasn’t a flashy down, nor did it seem to be the result of any one punch, but it was legit, and it firmly secured Kirkland’s lead for the remainder of the evening.
Given the state of Angulo, having just been knocked down for the first time after having completely drained his stamina over 3 minutes, it was hard to see him lasting much longer in the fight.
For 5 more rounds, a startlingly fresh Kirkland clubbed away at a groggy and active, but largely ineffectual Angulo before the mighty Mexican would eventually succumb to the rising tide and be saved from himself via an early, but entirely justified TKO stoppage in the 6th round.
In watching this amazing display of intestinal fortitude, one couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Angulo, but at the same time awed by his capacity to push forward despite his damage and fatigue.
Even so, my personal opinion was that, had James Kirkland had more accurate and sharper punches, chances are Angulo would’ve been laid out no later than the 3rd round.
It’s a strange criticism for what easily amounted to a career defining, Round of the Year shoo-in performance, but one that I feel is entirely valid nonetheless.
Kirkland/Angulo may not be the best opening round of boxing I’ve ever seen, but it’s the best I’ve seen in a long time, most likely the best ever fought in my lifetime, and in my eyes; not far from second best to the magic of Hagler/Hearns.
October 14, 2011 • 9:03 PM 0
Thank you South Park for summing up my feelings as of last night ever so succinctly.
For those that might be unaware, I’ve been trying on and off to beat Isaac Frost (the final boss of Fight Night Champion) for a good long while now.
As detailed here and maybe not for very much longer here, fighting the guy is a complex affair involving straight up boxing simulation gameplay, and a hokey round to round array of pre-arranged objectives.
That is to say, as much as you’d like to just go out and fight Frost like you would any other fighter in the game, the dramatic nature of the story mode forces you to accomplish certain tasks from round to round, thereby robbing the fight of the organic nature that makes Fight Night Champion such a satisfying experience.
Despite the awkward nature of the gameplay aspect of the fight, from a presentation standpoint, it’s actually quite absorbing at times.
Unlike normal exhibition or vs. matches in the game, the story mode fights make use of ambient music and contextual music cues, resulting in the fight with Frost feeling genuinely cinematic at times.
As frustrated as I was at times, every time the heavy percussion of Isaac Frost’s theme would kick in as he landed a big punch on me, I really felt the tension bearing down on me.
That being said, as annoying as it was to be unable to beat Frost for so long, easily the most annoying part of the whole thing stems from how I actually went about defeating him for the first time.
When you finally beat a tough challenge, especially in a videogame, you expect to feel a sense of accomplishment, of pride for your achievement.
I didn’t get that.
Instead, I learned that all these months I’d been defeated, not by Frost; but by the programmers over at EA Canada’s poor choice of wording.
Before the 3rd round, your trainer tells you to land “power shots” to the body.
At the beginning of said round, the objective listed on-screen reads “Land power shots to the body.”
Do you see where I’m going with this?
In Fight Night Champion, there is a substantial difference between power shots, and regular punches.
Power shots are slower, cannot be thrown in combination, and make use of a modifier button to execute.
That is to say, they are a specialized tool to be used with moderation and caution.
From the 3rd to the 5th round of the fight, I was under the impression that I was being told to land 75 power shots to Isaac Frost’s midsection.
Just to clarify, that’s a fuck ton of power shots, making for a fuck ton of opportunities for Frost to capitalize on the slow speed and recovery time of said punches.
Staying on your feet trying to land 75 power shots inside of 9 minutes against Isaac Frost is like trying to ice skate uphill when there ain’t no ice.
In short, it just doesn’t work.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered, by accident, that despite the specific use of the term “power shot” being utilized both in the dialogue of a cutscene and by the in-game text objective; I was not in fact required to use them.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really that mad per se, really I was just kind of surprised at how easy Frost was once I learned that.
For awhile now I’ve thought of him as one of the harder bosses I’ve fought in gaming, but now that I know how he’s supposed to be fought, he’s almost disappointingly wimpy.
Sure, he’s still got the power to put you down at any time in the fight, but I’m pretty fuckin’ good at Fight Night, so once you’re “allowed” to go on the offensive against him, I put him away just like any other bum.
I just think it’s so funny that, like seemingly everything in life, I made Isaac Frost so much harder than he actually was.
I struggled for days trying to find ways to slip in and out using nothing but power shots, but to no avail.
Believe it or not, I actually got good enough at fighting him that way that I routinely came within a few punches and seconds of being able to land the 75 punches required to advance in the fight.
In a way, I kind of wish my interpretation of the Isaac Frost gameplan was real, as it made for one helluva’ challenge, but one that I likely could’ve achieved with enough practice.
So there you have it:
Isaac Frost < The Shitty Writers Over at EA Canada.
September 16, 2011 • 7:34 PM 1
Yesterday we finally finished working our way up through the ranks of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and named Mike Tyson as the rightful owner of the #1 spot.
As per the norm whenever I put together a top 10 list, today we’ll be taking a look at some of the runner-ups to the list.
Some of the omissions surprise even myself, so expect a few exceptionally tough cookies to pop up in the proceedings.
That being said, let’s get to take a look at the top 5 runner-ups, presented, for my convenience; in no particular order:
#5. SS01-Schwarzgeist – Einhander
In case you’re wondering “Schwarzgeist” is German for “Black Ghost.”
With a name like that, the developers of Einhander were pretty much obligated to make this guy totally badass.
To be fair, they also went ahead and made pretty much the entire game absolutely fucking badass.
While the game is populated by a host of tough bosses, each sporting a number of variable attack patterns depending on the approach you take in fighting them; “The Black Ghost” is likely the most difficult overall.
He also happens to have one of the better tracks in the game as his battle theme.
Boasting an absurdly complex attack pattern that is nearly impossible to grasp without burning a continue or 2, “The Black Ghost” is a brutal challenge that is nevertheless, much easier to defeat through brute force than pure skill.
That is to say, coming into the fight with the right weapons *Cough!* Grenade Launcher! *Cough!* is key to victory.
The fact that “The Black Ghost” has a definable and not all that well hidden weakness, is likely the reason he didn’t make the Top 10.
Despite this, his despicable variety of attack patterns, combined with Einhander’s unforgiving gameplay system of only allowing you 1 life before each continue; make a strong case for his presence among the runner-ups.
#4. Isaac Frost – Fight Night Champion
Then again, these days it’s almost a tradition to include at least 1 overpowered athlete in sports games.
Designed to be fought in a round-to-round, objective based system; the actual procedure involved in fighting Isaac Frost contributes almost as much to his difficulty as his actual fighting ability.
Possessed of unbalanced punching power, speed, and stamina, Frost holds all the cards from the opening bell, and yet his beastly-ness is further bolstered by the fact that the game forces you to fight him a certain way.
Essentially, throughout each round of the fight you are required to follow a pre-determined gameplan, be it using your legs and hanging back, or landing haymakers to the body.
To date I have yet to beat Isaac Frost, largely due to his insane attribute bonuses, but the fact that the game forces me to fight him the way it wants me to really grinds my gears to an exceptional degree.
With that, I leave you with this video of Frost obliterating Super Middleweight, Anthony Mundine:
#3. General Akboob/Hitler – Total Carnage
Virtually identical in terms of gameplay, both are exceedingly difficult top-down shooters that absolutely revel in chewing up players and spitting them out.
While every second of these games is a challenge of the most epic variety, the bosses featured in them are quite likely the most difficult aspect of them.
On that note, I don’t think many people would argue with me in crowning General Akboob, the final boss of Total Carnage, as the toughest among them.
His pattern involves filling the screen with projectiles at all times.
Most of his attacks have an accurate homing capability.
And worst of all, he has no less than a half dozen forms, one of which is a giant Hitler head!
I have no idea what that has to do with anything, especially since the very Russian looking/sounding Akboob is supposed to be Middle Eastern, but whatever it was the 90’s.
Anyway, all of this results in a horribly drawn out battle of endurance.
… A battle of endurance in a game where your character dies in one hit.
You do the math.
#2. Emerald and Ruby Weapon – Final Fantasy VII
I just realized this, but there weren’t any RPG bosses on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.
I’m guessing it has something to do with my own (heavily biased) opinions, but the simple fact of the matter is that I really haven’t played an RPG since Final Fantasy VIII way back in ’99.
I did however, play quite a few before that point, mostly of JRPG variety.
That being said, while I’ve heard that some of the Shin Megami Tensei bosses are absolutely balls out insane in terms of their capacity to rob you of hours of your life, I haven’t actually played any of those games, so I don’t really have an educated opinion in that matter.
The point is, from my experiences with pre-1999 RPGs, Emerald and Ruby Weapon were the only 2 bosses that I recall having an inordinate amount of trouble with.
From what I hear, the debate rages on which of the 2 is more difficult, though I got my ass served by both of them equally, hence their dual ownership of the their spot among the runner-ups.
I remember Emerald had, no joke, about a million hit points, and Ruby was able to eject your characters from the fight, making doing battle with either of the pair an absolute pain in the ass.
From what I’ve been told, much of the strategy involved in defeating either of the 2 involves an incredible amount of dedication and prep work, as well as a healthy dose of luck.
When Final Fantasy VII came out, I was barely a pre-teen, so I had neither the patience nor the intelligence to figure out which angle to attack them from.
This resulted in me getting literally whipped to death by Ruby, and sat on by Emerald more times than I’d care to admit.
That being said, here’s a clip of some Narutard beating them both into the ground.
Don’t ask me why he dubbed the Final Fantasy themed J-ballad over it….
#1. Geese Howard – Fatal Fury
Geese Howard was, and always shall remain, one of the toughest bosses in all of fighting games.
Oh yeah, and he’s quite possibly one of the pimp-est videogames of all time to boot.
That’s saying a lot considering how far fighting games have come since 1991.
Possessed of a limited, but utterly devastating repertoire of moves, Geese was tough to beat for all the reasons you’d expect an SNK boss to be.
He was better than you in every way, especially in his capacity to dole out chip damage on par with some of your clean hits.
Despite this, I’d hesitate to call Geese cheap, merely inordinately difficult and just a little bit frustrating.
Perhaps worst of all though, ‘ole Geese also had a counter-throw capable of cancelling most of your melee attacks.
I don’t think I have to tell you that he often employed this technique with pinpoint timing, often using it to ruin your offensive rallies at the most inopportune of moments.
Thus concludes The Azn Badger’s Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights!
Thanks for reading!
September 13, 2011 • 8:23 PM 1
Yesterday on our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, we took our first steps into the rage inducing realm of fighting game bosses.
As mentioned previously, fighting game bosses tend to be some of the hardest challenges in all of gaming, though more often than than not this comes as a result of unfair or “cheap” elements in their design.
Whether it be by breaking the mechanics of the game, or possessing unbalanced attributes; fighting game bosses are rarely designed to function (fairly) within the established gameplay parameters of the games they reside in.
That being said, yesterday we took a look at Gill from Street Fighter III, a boss that I would personally consider to be one of the better designed bosses in all of fighting games, if not for the fact that he’s a cheating bastard that gobbles cock under the bleachers on Tuesday nights.
While I bear a great deal of animosity, or rather, straight-up HATE towards Gill, those feelings pale in comparison to those I feel for today’s entrant on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.
I hate Gill, but as mentioned earlier, I also respect the intelligence of his design.
#3 on our list doesn’t benefit from that luxury.
#3 is the kind of ball-stomping ass-clown that wouldn’t even get a nod from me if I saw him rescue a kitten from a burning tree.
And I fuckin’ love kittens.
#3 is the kind of unbelievably loathsome fighting game boss that only one videogame company could produce.
#3 on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:
#3. Magaki – King of Fighters XI
I love their games, but goddamn does SNK know how to fuck us in the ass with bosses from the broken-as-fuck school of fighting!
Fuck that, most of SNK’s fighting game bosses didn’t just graduate from Broken-As-Fuck University, they’re fuckin’ tenured professors there!
Rage-gasm aside, Magaki is just about the motherfucking-est motherfucker I’ve ever run across in a fighting game.
I’ve beaten him before, more times than I have Gill actually; but the sheer frustration generated by every encounter was more than enough to convince me to rank him higher than the latter on this list.
While Gill is at times fair, at times borderline human; Magaki just takes the motherfuckin’ rulebook and smears pink and blue shit all over it.
Hell, that’s his M.O. for pretty much everything:
Magaki doesn’t like how his Moons Over My Hammy turned out?
Pink balls and blue floaty shit.
Magaki gets served a tax evasion notice?
Pink balls and blue floaty shit.
Should that fail, and it likely won’t, Magaki’s got his bases covered in the form of being able to neon tie-dye THE ENTIRE FUCKING screen at the drop of a hat.
Just watch this poor sap take it up the butt as he literally comes this close to besting Magaki only to have his eyes raped by the rainbow sherbet shit storm of pink and blue shit that is Magaki’s super combo:
Ouch! No lube even….
*AHEM!* To walk into a fight with Magaki is to have your 3-on-3 fighting game instantly turned into a 3-on-1 shoot ’em up.
King of Fighters bosses often come with a write-off excuse for their extreme difficulty and cheapness due to the fact that you, the player; get to fight them with 3 characters to their 1.
Despite having 3 characters at your disposal, more often than not the balance ends up being all out of whack, with the boss being extraordinarily overpowered in every way imaginable.
King of Fighters bosses have been consistently cheap as balls since before the series was even called King of Fighters.
Fighting Magaki though, is unlike any other boss encounter in the King of Fighters series, let alone any other fighting game period.
While many King of Fighters bosses are highly mobile and make use of potent attacks designed to counter from virtually any angle, Magaki fights like fuckin’ Sagat on crack.
Sagat has his high-low fireball combo, Magaki has, well, endless waves of pink balls and blue floaty shit.
Seriously man, when you fight Magaki it feels like you just stepped into a game of R-Type.
The screen is literally filled with shit to the point in which you’ll often times find yourself just throwing up your hands and saying:
“Fuck this shit! Let’s play some Street Fighter…”
Simply put, there is no “good” way to handle Magaki.
While he’s admittedly kind of Mechagodzilla like in the sense that he’s basically a slow-moving projectile platform with feeble melee skills, on every occasion you do manage to get close enough to deal damage; he’ll usually just toss you away with….. I’ll just let the picture do the talking:
You can easily spend an entire battle with Magaki, that is, all 3 of your characters; without ever getting past his fruity barrage of carnage.
This would be entirely forgivable if not for the fact that SNK saw fit to grant Magaki all of the standard cheap-ass advantages they give to virtually all of their bosses.
Giving him the ability to fill the screen with projectiles would’ve been fair if not for the fact that his attributes are broken-as-fuck as well.
If he had been, say, fragile for instance; then I could’ve bit my tongue and said he was a decent boss.
But no, they gave him the ability to execute all of his moves with frame-by-frame precision and timing, and they made him absurdly powerful and durable.
When I finally beat Magaki for the first time, I didn’t feel any sense of pride in my achievement.
I felt like I had just lost an hour of my life to a barely decent game, and truth be told I think I actually recall saying to myself:
“Good. Now I can get on with my life and never play this shitty game ever again.”
While I actually did go back and play the game a few times here and there, rest assured, the moment King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match came out, I pretty much lost interest in every other game in the series outside of ’98.
Nowadays I don’t have much interest in any of them…
Magaki is admittedly not quite as hard as his #3 spot likely deserves, but in my mind no other fighting game boss has caused me as much frustration and borderline physical pain as he has.
During the course of our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, I’ve stressed the fact that the best examples of genuine difficulty in boss fights are stemmed from clever and rewarding gameplay design, and not outright cheapness.
Along with Duriel from Diablo II, Magaki’s presence on this list serves as a symbol championing the power of broken game design and cheapness.
That Magaki could make me eat my words with such resounding vigor as to place him at #3 on this list is proof enough of just how motherfuckin’ cheap that pink bastard is.
In any case, here’s a video of the Apex of Pimp himself, Geese Howard; putting the hurt on Magaki as only he can:
*Gifs courtesy of Fighter’s Generation, the finest fighting game site I’ve ever known.*
September 12, 2011 • 8:08 PM 4
In my mind, no other bosses in gaming embody both of these definitions with as much ease as fighting game bosses.
Given the limited functionality of fighting game play mechanics, fighting game bosses are often some of the more difficult in gaming due to the head-first manner in which they must be dealt with.
There are no switches to be flicked, or items to be used; it’s just you and them, one-on-one.
Often possessing movesets consisting of absurdly quick and high profile maneuvers, as well as enhanced attributes, fighting game bosses typically boast every conceivable on-paper advantage over the standard player characters.
What’s more, in most cases bosses in fighting games have a tendency to “stretch” the rules of their respective game’s mechanics I.E. being able to execute special attacks without charge time or possessing a few unblockable moves.
These “unfair” advantages make most fighting game bosses an easy target to be labelled “cheap,” however in some cases, I actually welcome the challenge they represent.
Let me just stress the use of the word “some” in that last sentence.
Fighting games are usually won through knowing your arsenal and being able to anticipate your opponent with precision.
In games like Street Fighter, all it takes to block an attack is to hold back on the d-pad.
In that sense, the unfair advantages owned by fighting game bosses shouldn’t be looked at as straight up cheapness, but rather padding to the computer’s (hopefully) human-like AI.
The best fighting game bosses are the ones that are challenging, but human in the way they occasionally make mistakes or overextend themselves.
The hardest fighting game bosses are the ones that boast absurd attributes and flawless, frame-by-frame AI routines.
Today’s entrant on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights occasionally shows glimmers of the former in his behavior, but most of the time he proudly embodies the latter.
‘Cause he’s an epic, diaper-wearing douche-hole.
*AHEM!* That being said, our #4 is:
#4. Gill – Street Fighter III: Third Strike
Let me just get things started off here by saying that Gill is an anus sucking turtle-fucker.
Seriously man, as far as fighting game bosses go, few others have carved out a spot for themselves on my naughty list as emphatically as Gill has.
*COUGH!* Now that I’ve gotten that ugliness out of my system, I feel I’m obligated to mention the fact that Gill also happens to one of the better designed fighting game bosses in gaming history.
That should give you a good idea of how many “good” fighting bosses there have been over the years.
Gill’s natural on-paper advantages over you, the player; are extensive, to the point in which it’s hard to deny the cheapness of his design, however his AI, at least on the mid to mid-high difficulties, veers a little closer to “fair” on occasion.
Close to, but still nowhere near fair.
What I mean to say is:
Gill is a blue and red BEAST of the highest order.
He does more damage than most of the characters in the default roster.
His attacks generate an absurd amount of stun damage.
Most of his attacks strike from troublesome angles and have priority and reach advantages.
He is able to execute charge moves without charge time.
His projectiles strike twice, ensuring that he’ll win any exchange of fire.
His durability and speed are both well above average.
To fight Gill is to enter the room outgunned and outclassed from the very start.
While I’d never consider myself much more than an experienced novice at fighting games, to date I’ve only been able to beat Gill twice.
Both times it took several continues to achieve the serendipitous task that is defeating Gill.
You see, despite all the nasty traits of cheapness that I mentioned above, Gill also brings to the table a pair of utterly devastating super combos that do wonders to ruin his standing as a “great” boss in my eyes; and make beating him a feat often times a feat equally attributable to luck as to skill.
Allow me to clarify.
Gill’s greatest asset as a fighting game is his inherent fallibility.
While his moves and stats are all better than yours, I have to admit that Capcom did well to program Gill with the occasional human-like lapse in his concentration.
He never acts silly, or outright dumb, but there are times when Gill slips up and takes a hit he shouldn’t have, or fails to capitalize on a round winning opening.
Gill’s greatest success as a boss is that he’s difficult enough be one of the hardest bosses in gaming, while at the same time easy enough to be fought with some degree of success on every occasion.
Nothing is worse than a hard boss that doesn’t even let you get a hit off every time you continue.
Nearly every time I’ve fought Gill, I was at least able to take his health down considerably, or on a good day; beat him one round.
That said, Gill’s AI generally behaves with stunning precision, making use of his high priority moves to counter most of your attacks; making him a stiff challenge most of the time.
Which brings me to the aforementioned game breaking super combos:
With a full super meter, Gill has at his command the power to instantly reverse the outcome of a round.
The gameplay mechanics of Street Fighter III restrict the players to selecting and utilizing only one super combo in battle.
Gill is the only character in the entire roster that is capable of making use of all 3 of his super arts in one fight.
One of these moves, Meteor Strike; is relatively harmless.
The other 2, are utterly devastating.
First is the fearsomely boosh-tastic Seraphic Wing:
Seraphic Wing is a move that drains about a third of your life bar when blocked, and virtually all of it when landed at close range.
While it can be stopped preemptively, in most cases the deployment of Seraphic Wing usually means the end of the match in Gill’s favor.
If that’s not a kick to the boner, I don’t what is.
Oh wait, there’s one more move!
Gill’s other dick slap of a super combo is his Resurrection ability:
Basically, Resurrection is exactly what it sounds like.
Imagine this scenario:
You’ve just spent the past hour battling Gill, continuing over and over again while cycling your way through the entire roster numerous times.
Finally, after countless attempts, you’ve managed to get the upper hand on Gill and are only a precious few hits away from victory!
The tension is palpable.
Your eye twitches involuntarily.
With the clever use of an EX attack you manage to upset Gill’s impeccable timing and rocket a Shoryuken into his chin and straight towards the realm of victory!
His life bar depleted, Gill collapses in a heap on the ground in slow-motion.
Throwing up your arms in victory, you are shocked to hear the familiar sound of a super art being deployed.
Suddenly, Gill beings to levitate, and immediately his life bar begins to rapidly refill!
You quickly fire a Hadouken, only to watch as it is harmlessly repelled by the powerful vacuum generated by the Resurrection field.
Eventually, Gill’s health is restored in full, leaving you to fight him with what little you have left.
Exhausted from the historic effort you put forth from getting this far, ultimately you lose to Gill in the third round as you have on every occasion prior.
Such is the epic douchey-ness of Gill.
He’s better than you from the start.
He’s pretty damn smart, even when he’s stupid.
And to top it all off, he can take all of your hard fought efforts, and render them irrelevant with the use of a mere super combo, one of which he doesn’t even have to be alive to use.
To this day, I still hate Gill, however I do retain a certain level of respect for his AI design.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure Capcom was the first to make a genuinely incongruent 2D fighting game sprite, but that’s besides the point.
Gill: An atypically hard boss that has the gall to max-out his douchey-ness by holding back and shitting on you when it hurts the most.
September 9, 2011 • 2:14 PM 8
Alrighty, now we’re starting to get to the part of our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights where the fights get just plain, Anne Ramsey-ugly.
Up until now, there was at least some quantifiable element of “fun” to be had in fighting the bosses on this list, but pretty much from this point on, the fun gets tossed out the window, and all we’re left with is 7 scalp ripping-ly frustrating douchebags that make up the stuff of gaming nightmares.
In case you couldn’t tell from my “colorful” language above, I’ve got beef with a lot of the bosses to come; in particular today’s entry.
That being said, #7 on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and quite possibly one of the most unabashedly douchey motherfuckers in the whole thing is:
#7. Duriel – Diablo II
“Looking for Baal?”
Of all the bosses on this list, Duriel has to the one I hate the most.
It’s one thing to have your balls torn out of your scrotum and stuffed into your ears by a boss, but to have them do it over and over and OVER again without a hint of motherfuckin’ progress to show for all of your attempts, well…. That’s just plain fuckin’ mean.
Like, irrational fictional character hate-spawning, mean.
Okay, so we’ve established that I’ve got problems with Duriel.
So then, why exactly is it that I hate Duriel?
That would have to be the fact that he’s a cheap, overpowered motherfucker that represents one of the steepest and most sudden difficulty spikes in gaming.
Don’t get me wrong, Diablo II is a wonderful game that I’ve happily played on and off again for many years now, (though not at the time of it’s release, my computer was too wimpy) but when it comes to Duriel, somebody at Blizzard dropped the fuckin’ ball straight through the floor and into the depths of Hell.
Let me just explain a little something about how I’ve played Diablo II, as I’m sure there’s plenty of Diablo experts out there who are laughing at me right about now:
I’ve never played Diablo online.
As far I understand, this is just about the worst way to take on Duriel, solo or otherwise.
ESPECIALLY with the fuckin’ Paladin, ’cause as I hope we all know, he sucks monkey balls.
Moving on, Duriel’s abilities and attributes are tailor made to chew up guys whose only option is to go toe-to-toe.
He’s beefy and can take a hit with the best of them.
He hits harder and faster than you.
He moves faster than you.
And to top it all off he strikes with a Cold Aura that slows your actions, effectively enabling him to land 2 for every 1 of your hits; as well as make escape an unreliable backup tactic.
Enough of my words, take a look at this video of a group of about 4 players barely edging a victory over Duriel to get an idea of what I’m talking about:
The term “buzzsaw” comes to mind when watching such blood-soaked spectacles.
While all of the crazy cheap-ass shit listed above indeed sounds insurmountable, the real kicker is the fact that it didn’t have to be.
Duriel’s speed/freeze combo is a motherfucker, but the clunky nature of Diablo’s mouse driven controls and equation based combat results are in many ways equally to blame for the difficulty one faces in dealing with him.
If you were to take a boss like Duriel and drop him into a precision-based action game, there’s a good chance he’d be a little less of a prick.
Unfortunately, Diablo II isn’t a precision-based action game, leaving us with Duriel in his current state of ungodly douchey-ness.
Probably the saddest part of actually beating Duriel, at least for me; was discovering that there really was no good way to do it without exploiting the mechanics of the game.
True, I was playing solo what basically amounts to a multiplayer experience; but even so it made me sad to have to stoop to out-douche-ing the douche that is Duriel in order to finally defeat him.
The way I finally did it, with my brawny melee beast of a Barbarian, was to bring a dinky (and mostly unwanted) bow from my stash, and poke the bastard with arrows until he either beat my ass so bad I had to Town Portal my way out of his lair; or I killed him.
For all intents and purposes, my skills, my stats, and my equipment had little to nothing to do with my victory.
He had the muscle to put me down with only a few hits, no matter what.
Really, if any one thing is to be praised as the ultimate conqueror of Duriel, it’d have to be the Scroll of Town Portal.
I’m fuckin’ serious.
Unless you turn off the game, the bosses’ health doesn’t regenerate over time, making it an entirely viable tactic to ‘port in and out of the battle zone to re-supply as one sees fit.
This tactic can be used for any boss in the game, however Duriel was the only one I felt I had to.
If that’s not ABSOLUTELY FUCKED game design, I don’t know what is.
The only reason Duriel isn’t WAY the fuck higher on this list is because he’s just plain unfair as opposed to outright “hard.”
September 8, 2011 • 8:04 PM 8
As we work our way up through the bottom tier of our list of the The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, it’d dawned on me that our previous 2 entries both earned their slots, partly through an element of “cheapness” in their attack patterns.
“Man, there’s just no good way to fight these guys without getting dick-slapped here and there.”
That being said, while I admit, wholeheartedly; that the next entry on this list isn’t anywhere near as annoying as the 2 bosses that have preceded him, I’d argue that he was the more difficult, and the more thrilling challenge overall.
Our #8 entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:
#8. Sigma – Mega Man X
The Mega Man X series has produced some of gaming’s best boss fights.
Fighting a futile battle against the indestructible Vile in his robot ride armor was an experience few gamers will forget their first time around.
Similarly, fighting Zero, the protagonist’s partner and close friend; yielded real drama in my young imagination (mostly because of the simple, but AWESOME music) way back in the day.
By the way, the only reason you’d ever have to fight Zero in Mega Man X 2 is either because YOU SUCK, or because you’re lazy.
My guess is that guy was lazy.
While many would dispute Sigma’s placement on this list, one has to understand that, at the time of the original Mega Man X’s release; the gauntlet style of final boss encounter that has since become his signature was in the process of being pioneered.
Like many contemporary games, fighting Sigma is a multi-stage affair involving 2-3 back-to-back fights of ascending difficulty.
Sigma is relatively difficult in all of his appearances, with the notable exception of X 2 and 6 where he was a total pussy; and truth be told, I was actually tempted to put his iteration from X 4 on the list as opposed to the original.
The kicker however, was the fact that 2 out of Sigma’s 3 forms in X 4 were pathetically easy, making for an experience where all of the difficulty in the battle is reserved for the very end.
Even so, that last fight was pants shitting-ly insane:
Unlike in X 4 though, the battle is very much pants shitting-ly insane all the way through from start to finish in Mega Man X 1.
Oddly enough, the first fight with Sigma in X 1 is against his robot dog, Velguarder; who sadly did not become a recurring element of Mega Man X universe, despite having a pretty badass design.
Given his extensive range of context sensitive attack functions, and tricky wall climbing dash, Velguarder can be pretty tough; however after you’ve spent about 20 seconds with him, or put some Shotgun Ice up his ass, usually he folds pretty quick.
Despite this, the dog is a credible threat that, if able to get the drop on you enough times; can sufficiently gimp your life meter for the battles to come.
Next up is the big boss himself, Sigma armed with a pimp-ass beam saber:
Similar to Velguarder, Sigma has the capacity to dash onto the walls and basically follow you wherever you go; however his movement speed is actually a bit slower.
The tradeoff is, Sigma’s sprite is about twice as big as the dog’s, and he does quite a bit more damage.
While he can be strung along and forced into chasing you up the walls in a diagonal fashion, on occasion Sigma breaks his pattern and plants his feet for a devastating slash with his beam saber.
Seriously man, while it’s entirely possible, and indeed, necessary; to make it through Velguarder and Sigma without using a sub tank, one hit from the Chartreuse Beam Saber of Ultimate Destruction is good enough to nearly cut your life bar in half.
In other words, if you’re planning to fuck up against Sigma, do so without sitting on his fiery, lime-green popsicle of Death.
You see, the really hard part about fighting Sigma, is the fact he forces you to enter into the battle thinking 2 steps ahead of yourself.
The fight in Mega Man X is 3-stage gauntlet, and with (ideally) 4 sub tanks AKA 5 total life bars at your command from the start, you have to be judicious with your life refilling or face the consequences in the form of getting to the finish line, only to run out of gas.
By far, the most frustrating part of fighting Sigma is getting to his final form, using all your sub tanks on a good effort, only to lose and realize that your sub tanks won’t refill automatically on your next life.
That being said, as mentioned earlier, it’s in your best interest to get past both Velguarder and Sigma’s first form without using a sub tank, as the final boss, Wolf Sigma; is one mean motherfucker that’ll wreck your shit, and then shit on your shit that’s just been wrecked.
Like the Yellow Devil from #10, Wolf Sigma is one of those nasty fuckers that won’t let you hit him until he’s good and ready.
His attacks are numerous, constant, and savage enough to take a third off your life bar every go; and the only way to get at his weak point (read: THE FACE) is by jumping on and riding his quick moving claws that are trying to kill you all the while.
Like most Mega Man bosses, Wolf Sigma has a weakness, in the form of the Rolling Shield; however it can take awhile to figure that out your first time through.
Put it this way:
You’ve got 8 weapons at you’re command at this point in the game, and that means you have to survive to hit Sigma with each them almost 8 times to test out the Rolling Shield.
That means you need to eat a lot of Wolf Sigma claws, lightning, and fire breath before you figure out his weakness, by which time you very well may have burned through most of your sub tanks.
While not exactly the hardest boss of all time, Sigma’s debut in gaming will always stick out in my mind as one of the more taxing mind games I’ve encountered in an action game.
3 fights, all in a row, and you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I go all in, or will I do better next time?” all the while.
Of course, you could be a bastard and just use the hadouken to plow through the first 2 fights… but not third.
Capcom wanted to make sure you’d suffer just a little bit, even if you decided to cheat…