10 Clever And Possibly Unknown Ways To Beat Video Game Bosses –
Ever since Mario, when confronted with Bowser at the end of 1-4, simply thought “sod this” and instead made a beeline for the handily-placed axe, video game heroes have been devising ingenious solutions to best their bête noirs. More often than not, the biggest of baddies can be sent to their makers not with an abundance of brawn, but brains. In many cases, there’s no other way.
Sometimes however, David really does just have to say “it is what it is” as he goes toe to ginormous toenail with his proverbial Goliath. For these bosses, you just have to grit your teeth and get on with it, relying on a huge dose of brute force, not to mention a sizeable dollop of luck. There’s no other option.
Or is there?
Maybe. If you’re smart enough – or perhaps stupid enough – to try them, there might just be another, easier solution lurking inches beyond the box. They might not be the most noble victories, but who cares? After all, history is written by the victor. We’re pretty sure Mario told Princess Peach he battered Bowser black and blue, rather than legging it past him like the plumbery poltroon that he is.
10. Kalle Demos (The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker)
This shortcut to beating the Forbidden Wood’s ferocious fauna in sea-faring Zelda romp The Wind Waker is so smart that it took fourteen years for to be discovered.
The usual way to wilt demonic plant Kalle Demos is to send Link’s boomerang flinging at its ceiling-clinging tentacles, followed by the typical tactic of flailing your sword wildly at the flower exposed within. But there’s a much, much easier way.
Plants love to drink up water, but too much of it kills them – especially if it has magical purifying properties. A solitary drop of the mystical Forest Water is enough to make Kalle Demos wither and die in seconds. What does it say about gamers that they took so long to think about watering a plant?
9. The End (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
Naked Snake’s encounter with The End at the centre-point of Metal Gear Solid 3 is quite rightly lauded as one of the finest boss battles in the history of gaming. A protracted sniper fight through the forest canopy, patience is absolutely the key to triumph.
But just how much patience is needed?
Well, if you want a significantly easier way of making The End live up to his name, it’s either none at all, or an excessive amount. Immediately following a cut-scene early in the game, the player can shoot the Cobra’s ‘Father of Sniping’ dead as he is being wheeled back inside at Ponizovje Warehouse’s dock. He’ll explode in a shower of camoflague and cogsprings, and an elite Ocelot unit will instead take his place in the forest.
Shooting someone directly in the face isn’t exactly outside the box thinking, but the second sneaky method of ending The End absolutely is. By saving in the middle of his battle and returning a real-time week later, Snake will discover the centenarian has succumbed to the passage of time. It’s an ingenious way to skip a seriously tough customer – but it’s not entirely honourable.
8. Every Undead Enemy Ever (Final Fantasy)
It’s a long-established trope of Final Fantasy that enemies of the ‘rotting corpse’ category can be healed to death with curative spells and items. This applies to absolutely all of them: fake zombie presidents, cave-bound tribal spirits, moogle-munching octopuses, the whole festering lot.
It even extends to trains. That’s right: undead trains.
Cyan’s nightmare from Final Fantasy VI is one of the game’s standout moments, a soul-searching journey through a phantom landscape as the former soldier of Doma contends with his guilt-ridden grief over the death of his wife and son. Naturally, the stirring sequence concludes with the party desperately fleeing a demonic train which has, metaphorically at least, gone off the rails.
Entertaining as it is seeing Sabin suplex the evil locomotive, the whole battle can be skipped entirely with a solitary Phoenix Down. Just as well, since everybody knows what if you die in a dream, you die for real.
7. All Of Them (Deus Ex)
Video games condition us to believe that whenever we suddenly find ourselves trapped in a room with a nefarious foe making for our face with some kind of nasty pointy shooty thing, it’s necessary to stand our ground and batter them to death. Cowardice simply isn’t an option – but only because we’ve been trained to think it can’tbe.
The original Deus Ex was famed for gifting players with an array of solutions to their problems, and running away from combat was just as valid as engaging in a bloodbath. This even worked for the bosses. Didn’t know the secret killphrase that’d blow up augmented agents Anna Navarre and Gunther Hermann, or fancy taking them on in a scrap? No bother: you could simply leg it past them, avoiding the fights altogether. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best ones.
6. Draygon (Super Metroid)
Super Metroid really is the bees’ b*llocks, a fact highlighted by the super-smart, beyond-the-box alternative solution to killing resident bastard Draygon deep in the heart of Maridia.
The crustacean terror can be a complete trial, floating around his claustrophobic chamber erratically, all the while supported by a quartet of evil cannons constantly shooting at the beleaguered Samus. But those cannons are the key to this sneaky shortcut: if Samus destroys them, she can subsequently latch her grappling beam onto the sparking wreckage whilst in in the grip of Draygon’s talons. Her power suit acts as conduit, electrocuting the crabby rotter and killing it in a single hit. Bet that came as a shock.
5. Azulmagia (Final Fantasy V)
Spanish-speaking players got the immediate upper-hand with this potentially tricky customer at the tail-end of the criminally underrated Final Fantasy V. Azulmagia is encountered in the Dimension Castle’s dungeons – and polyglots amongst you will realise that his name translates as ‘blue mage’. That’s a hint.
As we all know, blue mages in Final Fantasy learn any spell cast upon them. So instead of enduring an arduous battle against the villain from the Void, simply hit him with a round of the Self-Destruct spell. In either a fit of excitement or stupidity, he’ll promptly use his new trick back on you – and it does exactly what it says on the tin, blowing him up in an instant.
4. Metal Man (Mega Man 2)
Mega Man 2’s buzz-saw flingin’ baddie Metal Man is the very definition of ‘hoisted by his own petard’.
Dr. Wily may well be a maniacal genius, but there’s an inherent flaw in each of his robot masters in that they all leave their weapons behind after ascending to silicon heaven. Metal Man is no different. After our eponymous hero turns him to rust, he drops his supremely powerful Metal Blade. When the two meet again in Wily’s lair, Mega Man can fight him fairly – or he can just send him to the scrap heap with a single shot of his own weapon.
Talk about embarrassing: that’s like being allergic to your own skin.
3. Guardian (Sonic & Knuckles)
There are a lot of things wrong with the pyramidal prison warden at the end of Sonic & Knuckles’ Sandopolis Act 1. He’s not even a robot for one – although Dr. Robotnik would never design an automaton quite so idiotic.
The desert-dwelling Golem has one thing going for it: unlike Eggman’s inventions, a sturdy six-shots from our spiky speedster won’t be enough to send him packing. In fact, Sonic can’t even harm it. What you’re supposed to do, is bop the lumbering lunk on the bonce repeatedly until it falls back into the quick sand behind it.
If that sounds like too much off a faff about, you can simply hang out in the sand yourself, and wait for the silly Guardian to jump over you. There’s a good reason ‘Golem’ means ‘dumb’ in Hebrew.
2. Sniper Wolf (Metal Gear Solid)
Although Sniper Wolf is much too hail and hearty to expire after a week of inactivity – hypothermia not withstanding – she can be beaten through inattentiveness.
Like her Metal Gear Solid 3 counterpart, the first MGS’ sniper supremo can be something of an ordeal if you try to beat her at her own game. The clue’s in the name ‘Sniper’ Wolf; of course she has the edge behind a scope.
What she doesn’t have is eyes in the back of her head. Setting the rifle down in the snow and instead taking her from behind with a series of well-placed, remote-controlled Nikita missiles is a much easier way to send Wolf to the dogs. Bit of howler on her part, really.
1. The Master (Fallout)
The original Fallout’s final baddie, The Master, a twisted mess of flayed skin and fried machinery, can be one chewy customer to put down. Even at the maximum level, you still need a cavalcade of followers and a Nuka Cola can full of luck to obliterate this abomination.
If you choose to fight him, that is.
With sufficient stats in intelligence and speech, plus a set of Children of the Cathedral robes, it’s possible for a silver-tongued Vault dweller to convince The Master to kill himself. All you have to do is make him realise that, because they can’t possibly reproduce, his plans for the mutant race are entirely futile. Utterly crestfallen, the leader calls the nukes in on himself.
You almost feel sorry for him, in as much as it’s possible to feel sorry for a load of stretched flesh.