Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
The brilliant boss: Rock Titan
The titans Gabriel Belmont faces in Lords of Shadow simply couldn’t be more of a saliva-powered kiss to Shadow of the Colossus. Unlike Kratos’ mountain-sized mates, the titan battles in Castlevania are much more interactive. Requiring skilful timing, if you’re not careful Belmont is liable to get his noble self crushed if your fingers go a bit Forrest Gump on you.
Probably the most impressive is the Rock Titan. A boulder-based bitch who’s as tall as a small skyscraper, she towers above your tiny knight as a ghostly storm rages in the background. Thankfully, with the assistance of a hardass golem and a few sizeable rocks, Gabe takes down the stony shit. Although we doubt he’ll ever be able to fully relax around pebbles again.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
The brilliant boss: Gobblegut
Compared to this colossal serpent, Bowser is the most embarrassing of pushovers. Floating above a small planet, Mario must use his jumping spin attack to pop the dragon’s glowing spot… thingies, in order to best the beast. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Wrong. Gobblegut is a burrowing bastard who weaves in and out of the planet’s core like it was made of Edam. Our portly plumber also has to avoid the beast’s hot-sauce sponsored breath, which can char the toilet jockey to cinders in seconds.
First time through, we managed to send the brute to Mushroom Kingdom hell without too much bother. But a later Power Star challenge demands you beat the monster without taking a single hit. Maddening? Fairly. But dude also sounds like a runaway steam train. And that makes him alright in our barely literate book. That, and the fight’s probably the most technically impressive thing we’ve seen on Nintendo’s diminutive white box this year.
The brilliant boss: Iustitia, Cardinal Virtue of Justice
In a game that lets you summon giant spiders from your hair to eat bosses and twat other massive foes in the face with churches, refining Bayonetta’s brilliant boss encounters down to one entry was mighty tough. Seeing as we’ve always had a bit of a thing for tongues, though (blame Freddy Kreuger), the eventual choice was obvious.
Thanks to some ridiculously long licking appendages, Iustitia, Cardinal Virtue of Justice, is officially the most off-putting half demon/half statue abomination we’ve ever seen with the eyes in our head. Also, it’s ludicrously creepy kid’s voice means the homicidal hurtin’ Bayonetta puts on it is the most just assault since Kevin McCallister gets an all too brief beatdown from Joe Pesci in Home Alone 2.
Monster Hunter: Tri
The brilliant boss: Lagiacrus
Have you got a spare fifty minutes on your hands? How about two hours? No? Then you’re screwed. The poster boy… or, to be more precise, scaly-assed dragon for Monster Hunter: Tri, Lagiacrus takes an age to kill. And we’re talking Ice Age proportions here. Even if you’re lucky enough to be part of a four man beastie-slaughtering party, this underwater leviathan can still put up a game fight for over an hour. Usually before squashing you all with one feel swoop of its really malevolent tail.
It’s the only monster in the game to have a weapon in every catergory and it’s the largest underwater foe you’ll find in Capcom’s brilliant Wii adventure. And that’s partly why we chose this encounter. The deep-sea smackdowns you can get into in Tri are some of the game’s most satisfying. Seeing Lagiarcrus lurking around in the murky waters before it charges you with the kind of determination we’ve not seen since 1975, off the coast of Amity Island with a rubber fish called Bruce, is pretty terrifying. So make sure to clear a free night from your social calendar if you plan to skin the bugger.
The brilliant boss: Doctor Death
Technically, we realise we’re stretching the definition of a boss battle just a smidge here. See, the ‘fight’ against psychotic physician Adrian Baker (lets just call him Doctor Death for short), like most of Heavy Rain, is just a glorified QTE. But really, what a QTE. Depending on your choices, you can have an incredibly tense scene where Madison searches the doctor’s house for evidence or you can accept a little drink and get drugged for your troubles.
Either choice will end up with Madison on a cold slab of metal with ol’ Doc Death primed and ready to perform some decidedly questionable surgery on our heroine. Sure, it’s partly so tense because a psychotic coot is pointing a drill at your womanly bits. But mostly, it’s because this is the first scene in Heavy Rain you can actually die during. Admittedly, you have to have inbred sausage fingers to get Madison offed here and no self-respecting gamer or games jarnalist could possibly be rubbish enough to let Miss Paige bite i…
Yeah, maybe we should look into starting new professions. We hear gardening jarnalism is really booming just now.
But our personal favourite scrap of 2010 simply must go to Darth 'in no way the most awful, frustrating boss we've ever fought in a game' Vader. Although admittedly, the minor stroke we suffered when fighting this joyless tin can might be impairing our judgement.
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