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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #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.

While far from the cheapest or most annoying bosses of all time, (hence their low placement on the list) it’s hard to look at the Yellow Devil and Shredder and not say to yourself:

“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

Pictured: X doing battle with Wolf Sigma, the nefarious Maverick's final form.

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.

You can't beat him in the beginning of the game. Trust me, I've tried.

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.

Despite all this, in terms of both drama and overall difficulty, no other boss in the X series ever sucked me in and tested my platforming skills quite like Sigma in the original Mega Man X.

BAD ASSSSSSSSSSS.

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.

INSUFFICIENTLY BAD ASSSSSSSSSS.

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:

Sigma, about to put the hurt on, the wall, apparently.... Seriously, I don't know where the X sprite is in this pic.

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 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.

SERIOUSLY:

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…

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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #9


Yesterday we kicked off our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights with an alum from the pantheon of Dr. Wily’s robotic warriors, the original Yellow Devil.

The Devil earned his spot on the list through the frustrating nature of his borderline random attack pattern that made battling him a test of reflexes and coordination rather than memorization.

Appropriately enough, battling the #9 entry on the list requires a similar range of skills, however coming out on top is measurably more difficult given their more aggressive stance.

That being said, the next entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#9. Shredder – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Pictured: The Turtles take on the Shred-Head and his shadow clones.

If there’s any one, constant truth about arcade beat ’em ups, it’s that you can always expect to face a cheap-ass boss or 2 at some point within them.

Wind blows, water flows, Mr. Shadow dies by the power of Leeloo and Corbin Dallas’ love, and arcade beat ’em ups have cheap-ass bosses.

In the age of the beat ’em up, no other company stuffed their games full of quarter munching bastards quite like Konami.

Don’t get me wrong, Konami was also one of the best when it came to cranking out beat ’em ups, but whether it be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time, The Simpsons, X-Men, or Metamorphic Force; virtually all of Konami’s beat ’em up bosses made use of an infuriating attack pattern that was entirely beatable, but rarely without the use of a continue or 2.

As you may have guessed, Shredder makes use of said attack pattern, both in the Ninja Turtles arcade game, and the NES port of, well, basically the same name.

While I highlighted the arcade version of the Shredder in the pic above, make no mistake, he’s equally tough on either platform, though arguably more so on the NES.

Unlike the Yellow Devil from yesterday’s entry on the list, I’ve beaten Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game numerous times, mostly in my early childhood; however on every occasion I’ve had considerable difficulty in challenging not only the Shredder, but virtually all of the end level bosses.

Especially Granitor. NOBODY, fucks with Granitor...

As mentioned earlier, fighting the Ninja Turtles arcade game bosses is mostly a reflex oriented experience, much like fighting the Yellow Devil; however the difference in difficulty lies in the aggressiveness of their attack pattern.

The Yellow Devil has only one attack sequence, that if you can endure for long enough; (which in my youth, I couldn’t) will lead to your eventual victory.

Shredder, along with virtually all of the Konami arcade game bosses of the day; doesn’t have a distinguishable pattern in his attacks, but instead forces you to enter into a war of attrition with him.

The bosses in all of these games have superior reach and damage dealing ability to your player character, and attack in such a way that there really is no good way to ensure dealing damage to them without taking some yourself due to their split-second reaction times.

Did I mention virtually all of the Shredder and his buddies’ attacks have priority over your own, and have the nasty tendency to fling you across the room or knock you out of the air every time they hit you?

As with yesterday, check out this video to get a feel for what’s it’s like to tangle with the Shred-Head:

It looks dumb, but the player in the video above’s incessant use of the JUMP KICK┬áis basically one’s only viable option in Ninja Turtles 2, especially against the Shredder.

Think of it like a nightmare scenario where you’re fighting a counter-puncher who’s not only got your number, but also has 20 lbs on you.

You’re only real option is to try and remain elusive (read: JUMP KICK) and take potshots at distance, however inevitably; no matter how fast or accurate you are with your attacks, Shred-Head is gonna’ find you and put the hurt on you.

See that spear? That's his beatin' stick, and it's about to go up your ass...

Such is the frustration of doing battle with Konami’s quarter munching stable of assholes.

While one could argue that virtually all of these bosses deserve a spot on this list, I’ve always felt that Shredder’s multiplying ability and one-hit kill anti-mutagen beam put him over the top.

That’s right, Shredder can indeed multiply in this game!

AND kill you in one hit at any given moment!

You see!? THIS is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!

So imagine every nasty detail I mentioned above, coupled with the fact that during the course of the battle you have to contend with 2 Shredder’s on the NES, and up to 5 in the arcade; any one of which can take a life away with one blast of the blue laser from their hands!

Imagine being like 5 years old and having to deal with that bullshit!

While the arcade version may put you up against 5 Shredders, I honestly think the NES version is more difficult.

When you face 5 Shredders, you do so with the help of 3 other players; not to mention the arcade Shredder has a less overbearing style of attack that rarely knocks you across the room, making it easy to simply swarm him and trade blows until he folds.

Given the lack of an option to pump more quarters into the machine for extra lives, as well as the Shredder’s slightly more annoying style of attack; I’d say the official #9 entry on this list would have to be the NES iteration.

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