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Monday, 21 March 2016

Editorial: 5 Excellent Fan-Made Undertale Boss Battles.

While we're talking about Undertale, this is an excellent chance for me to plug my Undertale Let's Play, which will have its tenth part going up later today. If you have a moment and are interested, do check it out.

Editorial: 5 Excellent Fan-Made
Undertale Boss Battles.

So over the weekend, I was introduced to the joy and wonder that are Undertale fan-made boss battles, and now I'm slightly addicted, and in the spirit of spreading that addiction onto others, I thought I'd share with you five of the ones I've really enjoyed.

Some of them are made with Unitale and are downloadable, some are animations, but all of them offer something that made me come back for more, whether it was interesting use of form and medium, drama value, comedy, or something else altogether.

I've deliberately avoided a 'five best' here, both because I've only seen a fraction of all the fan-made bosses up on Youtube and because it feels like it would be not entirely in the spirit of fun to be ranking fanworks like that. 

(This is also the first time we've done an editorial about fanworks on here, I think, but if people like it then I might do more from time to time. We'll see.)

Anyway, let's crack on with the list. If there's one you didn't see here that you think I'd really enjoy, please leave a comment with a link to it, because I will literally never get tired of watching these things.

A lot of these are heavy on the flashing and the patterns, so here's a general epilepsy warning for all of them.

Chara (Dreemurr Reborn Arc), Dreemurr Reborn.

It's fair to say that the Dreemurr Reborn Chara fight, which depicts (since I'm fairly sure this isn't a playable battle like some of the ones on this list, just an animation) a merged Asriel and Frisk fighting Chara, is kind of a marvel, with Chara utilising attacks that are unique and interesting but still feel true to the source material, intercut with flashbacks of Chara and Asriel's friendship.

The whole thing is about fifteen minutes long and it ramps up the tension wonderfully, with Chara burning through more and more SOULs, more and more desperately, combining blasts of red energy with attacks from giant hands, ballet shoes, and guns (referencing the other children who fell quite nicely), before the battle eventually winds its way towards a somewhat tragic end.

While I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the story - I'm not wholly convinced that Chara is redeemable, and the thousands of SOULs, while very dramatic, did make me tilt my head a little - as a both a fanfiction piece, an animation piece, and a just a story told in an interesting medium, it's kind of astounding.

The full story, primarily a webcomic with some videos, can be found at A Dreamer Reborn on tumblr, and I recommend checking it out.

Gaster & Deprived Gaster, A Huge Pancake.

Located here. The epilepsy warning goes doubly for this one.

Seriously, a gigantic extra epilepsy warning for this one. I cannot stress this enough.

It took a while for this one to win me over when I started watching it - it's a bit of a slow build, but once it gets going, it does some impressive things. 

This boss fight, centered around everyone's favourite character-who-conspicuously-doesn't-exist-in-the-actual-game Dr. WD Gaster and predicated on the idea that he and the River Person are one and the same, actually manages to capture a feeling of helplessly slipping into insanity quite well. 

As the fight goes on the text becomes increasingly garbled, with words altered and eventually replaced with unreadable Wingdings; the screen becomes distorted; the music gradually interrupted with an array of sounds, including a dial-up modem in what might be my favourite touch of the video.

When it eventually ends, it ends with Eternal Darkness esque fourth wall breakage, with perfectly realistic computer crash and restart to a desktop empty of everything except 'Gastertale', with the chilling implication being that Gaster has now taken over Frisk, the player's computer, and possibly the player themselves.

Alphys Neo, Blazephlozard.

Out of all of the ones on this list, this one and the Small White Dog are the ones which feel most like they could fit seamlessly into canon. This one is also one of the few playable fights on this list, so you can download it and play it yourself if you're so inclined.

Alphys' gameplay is, at first, an interesting combination of elements from across Undertale, combining elements of Sans' battle with Mettaton's, and throwing in, for good measure, some of the laser encounters as well. That'd be interesting enough, with all of the disparate elements interacting in fun and unique ways, but in later stages the boss makes you go through those absurd colour grids, with a time limit.

The result is something that feels unique and original, while still able to fit in seamlessly with the boss battles of the source material.

Ultra-Sans, A Huge Pancake & Pacifist Route Sans, Xyz.

I'm not actually sure how I feel about Sans assuming a giant monster form, which is pretty much the defining point of this entire video, but it deserves a mention for the very intimidating and very Undertale way that Sans messes about with your interface.

Reminiscent of Asgore's destruction of the Mercy box but taken to its logical extreme, the video sees Sans smashing every one of your commands, starting with your attack box, and then mercy, then items. It also has a hilarious twist ending, and the whole video - not that it's very long at all - is worth watching just for that.

For the exact opposite of this battle, the first part of this video is a Pacifist Route Sans battle that is everything I could hope and dream that would be.

A Small White Dog V1, Roggentrolla.

Like Alphys Neo, A Small White Dog is another one that feels like it could easily fit in the main game. Unlike Alphys Neo, however, this one is a fun, comical battle against an angry dog that ends on a surprising and heartwarming twist, rather than on a horrible, tragic note.

Made using Unitale, A Small White Dog is funny, looks to be surprisingly difficult, and apparently has, in later versions, Dog Cannons that fire endless streams of dog. It's not as plot-heavy as any of the other entries on this list, and nowhere near as fanficcy, but it's clearly not meant to be, either: It's a fun fight playing around with one of the game's jokes.

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