Sunday, May 17, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #8: Final Fantasy 6

A Final Fantasy finale on this list was inevitable.  It was never a question of "if", it was a question of "which one."  The Final Fantasy franchise has built itself a reputation for a number of different traditions, one of which is ending with an intimidating and difficult final battle with a villain invoking a freakish transformation using godlike power.  Just like the games themselves, everyone has a favorite, and this one is mine: the final battle of Final Fantasy 6.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #9: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

My favorite brand of RPG is the Mario RPG (that doesn't have the word "sticker" in it).  They're self-aware, imaginative and hit the right balance of simplicity and complexity by rewarding both strategy and reflexes.  The imagination and challenge is shown through the many bosses that rarely appear outside of the RPGs, with big baddies like the Lava Piranah, Rawk Hawk, Midbus and Sunnycide.

But Mario RPGs have always stumbled when it comes to their final bosses.  There's usually something about them that makes them unmemorable.  Paper Mario's is just Bowser, the first Mario RPG's on the Super Nintendo and Bowser's Inside Story's weren't established well and the final boss of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door comes right the hell out of nowhere even with foreshadowing and drags on for far too long.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, even though it's one of the earlier RPGs, does it right.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #10: Banjo-Kazooie

The (pre-Xbox 360) Banjo-Kazooie games are what any action adventure gamer wants.  It has large explorable worlds, a gleeful googly-eyed style and humor that can be fun for all ages,which is kind of a rarity nowadays where the best games are rated T or M.

With the exception of Banjo Pilot, these games mostly focused on the exploration aspect through collecting items like musical notes and jigsaw pieces for opening paths to new worlds.  They're as much action games as adventure games though, with a variety of different moves to break objects and enemies during your travels.

However, bosses in the Banjo-Kazooie games weren't particularly prominent until Banjo Tooie, the second one.  The first game only had a few enemies that could be considered bosses, but its final one is so brilliantly done that it beats every other one in the franchise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Introduction to Top 10 Final Battles

A climax is defined as "the point of greatest intensity or force in an ascending series or progression."  In any story in any medium, it's the point where the plot goes all-out and the ultimate conflict plays out before the final resolution.  It's what you likely remember the most when you walk out of a movie or finish reading a book, assuming there weren't any awkward moments that eventually became more remembered than anything else in the story it came from.

They can be done through a grand battle like the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars or can even be a conflict of wits and unfolding plans like in Death Note or A Most Wanted Man.
But game stories have always had a preference for combat to keep the player interested, involved and empowered.  In fact it's rather hard to think of many games with stories to tell that don't have combat of some sort in them.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins Review

I try not to be blinded by nostalgia.  A game that held up back when there were few games that even tried what it did can very well be total crap now thanks to developers having a much stronger grasp on what they’re doing.

But it’s hard not to be blinded by nostalgia for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.  It was one of the big games of my childhood I had on the original Game Boy alongside The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong.  Of the three, I only beat Link’s Awakening and they were all lost to the cruel forces of time and ignorance.

Now a grown man who’s beaten the Viewtiful Joe games on V-rated mode, I felt there was unfinished business with these games.  Now that Super Mario Land 2 is on the 3DS virtual console, I sought to finally close that chapter on my childhood and see how the game held up after all these years.