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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Editorial: The Top 5 Worst Legend of Zelda Bosses.

Quick note: No post on Thursday this week, for no other reason than that I'm busy all day and won't even have a computer near me until probably six in the evening or so.

Editorial: The Top 10 Worst Legend of Zelda Bosses,

This was actually meant to be a two part list, but you know what? The Legend of Zelda doesn't have that many bosses. It has the same bosses in various different forms. How many games have we fought Moldorm in now? When will be free from the tyranny of Moldorm?

(Moldorm is, incidentally, on this list.)

The upshot of this is that the franchise is pretty good at refining and adjusting its bosses to make them the best they can be, so it doesn't have a huge amount of terrible bosses. Certainly not enough for me to make a top ten list. Instead, most of them are either great or, you know, fine.

But it still has enough uniquely terrible bosses to make a top five list! Most of them are from Skyward Sword. I want us to all think long and hard about what that says about that game.

5. Demon Lord Ghirahim, Skyward Sword.

I do somewhat like the concept of Ghirahim, but as is the case with a few bosses in Skyward Sword, you fight him a a lot, and the devs didn't seem to have any idea of how to escalate the gameplay.

As a result, your first two battles with him are slow and awkward, an exercise in awkwardly holding your sword at one angle while attacking from a different angle - something you're not even told you could do at any point during Skyward Sword's grotesquely long tutorial section.

The final battle is mostly better, with a 'shove him off the platform' mechanic for the first phase, and an energy tennis mechanic for the second. It's the third phase that gets my goat. In it, Ghirahim holds up a huge broadsword, which he will occasionally change the position of, often mid-way through one of your attacks. 

You must hit it four or five times on the same side to break it, and if you don't do so within the span of about a second, he'll magically repair it, making the battle essentially come down to luck, and the vain hope that he'll just hold his sword still.

4. Bellum, Evil Phantom, Phantom Hourglass.

Oh, Bellum. The whole game builds him up as an amazing, terrifying, eldritch sea monster, but his boss battle is just kind of disappointing.

The first phase of the battle, involving you dragging him out of the water, is fine. It's not exactly inspiring, or really final boss material, but it's fine. It's the second phase where the problems start appearing, as you can only get close enough to attack him by using a time freeze ability - activated by drawing an hourglass on the lower screen.

In a game that's been very forgiving about how well you can draw up to this point, the time freeze ability inexplicably requires you to have the artistic skill of a young Picasso, and expects you to demonstrate this skill while being attacked by a tentacle monster. 

Then he becomes a monster you've seen about a dozen times in this game already, except he's more aggressive and can only be hit with - you guessed it - the time freeze power in effect. Good. Great.

3. Levias, Skyward Sword.

Hey, guys! Who wants to spend hours researching a seemingly easy but actually deceptively difficult move using the awkward flying controls before you can progress through the game, only to then nearly immediately have to utilise said rehearsed awkward flight move in a boss battle against a giant whale?

Nobody. Nobody wants to do that.

That's what's going on with Levias, a late-game boss in Skyward Sword. Instructor Owlan will teach you the 'Spiral Charge' move, but refuse to let you progress through the game until you demonstrate that you can do ten of them on small, specific targets within a time limit. If that sounds fun, when you have to actually use it, you'll take damage if you miss! Fun!

Then you end up playing energy tennis with a parasite monster, because why wouldn't you.

2. Moldorm, Link's Awakening.

If you've fought Moldorm once, you've fought him a thousand times - and if you play the whole series, you probably will literally fight him one thousand times.

Moldorm has the frustrating schtick that you fight him on top of a platform, which he will glide around trying to push you off and doing damage to you. The only vulnerable part of him is his tail, and if you hit any other part of him, you will rebound off him. 

It's a pretty frustrating boss battle at the best of times, especially as falling off the platform will result in him regaining health.

But the Link's Awakening version takes the spot on this list for three reasons: Firstly, the platform is much, much smaller than in any other game, making it far easier for Moldorm to push you off; secondly, Moldorm is just slightly faster than usual; and thirdly, you have three hearts at that point in the game, and Moldorm takes out one of them every time he hits you.

Wow. Wow.

1. The Imprisoned, Skyward Sword.

The Imprisoned is a nightmare, and not in a good way.

In its first boss battle, it's not so bad: It's a big land-whale thing that slowly ascends up the hill it was imprisoned at the bottom of, and you have to slash its toes to bring it down to the ground so that you can hit its head. Not exactly a tremendously interesting boss battle, but one that's generally fine.

It's in its next two fights (oh, yes, you have to fight him three times) that he starts getting frustrating. First of all, he starts creating shockwaves from his feet whenever he moves. You know, the feet you have to attack. These will knock you down (and do damage) just long enough to be caught by another shockwave as you get up, leaving you in a never-ending chain of shockwave-knockdowns. He also starts moving faster.

Worst of all, though, trying to stop him quickly becomes pointless, since every time you hit his head, he'll wriggle up higher onto the hill, up to a predetermined position, with you being unable to stop him, meaning that you could be the most skilled Imprisoned-slayer in the land and he'll still nearly be at the top by the time you stop him.

Also, three times, guys? Really? And in Hyrule Warriors?

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