Thanks to Shannon, I have been listening to the Persona 3 FES soundtrack whenever I’m in my car. It’s pretty awesome and listening to it reminds me of all the fun I had playing the game. One song in particular really stands out; the final boss track. As long time readers of the site know, I had an epic ordeal with the final boss in P3F. For those of you that don’t know let me put it this way; ten hours over eight attempts. Imagine my surprise when a boss with 800 of 24,000 hit points left charms one of my party members to get a full heal. I still get chills thinking about it. This didn’t happen just once but multiple times! Luckily I had means to farm anti-charm items or I may have been flat out stuck. Anyway, every time that song comes on, I remember the battles I went through and all the screaming I did. Likewise, I remember how excited I was once I defeated. It’s pretty awesome how that one song makes me feel like I can take on anything.
Hearing this song over and over got me thinking about all the other epic battles I have fought during my video game adventures. Around the same time as my P3 victory, I had a similar struggle with No More Heroes 2. I was a little nervous starting up Desperate Struggle since I accidently played the first game on the easy difficulty. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wrote a whole thing complaining about that very subject. Anyway, turns out the normal difficulty didn’t present a problem. In fact, I didn’t even notice a difference; partly due to playing the first game years before. If anything I found the game too easy. I never felt challenged but the game was still fun.
As you may know, there are some training missions you can do which build Travis’ skills. I completed a couple of these but decided they were a waste of time since I wasn’t having any problems with my strength or speed. And I didn’t have any problems, until the final boss. That’s when the game imploded on itself. The last boss has multiple forms, no surprise there. I quickly found a way to break the game’s AI on the first form and beat it easily. However, the second form proved to be too powerful for my Travis to handle. By skipping the speed and strength training, I was overwhelmed and had to make 33 attempts before I won. It didn’t help when the boss started attacking with a 99% unblockable/homing move. One would think a quick trip to the training area would solve the problem. But nay! The game saved right before the boss room and I couldn’t go back. I was stuck. I guess I should have had multiple save going but I can’t remember if that was even an option. You can imagine my frustration as I repeatedly failed against this second form. I read FAQs, I watched videos, nothing really helped. In the end I had to perfect my timing and not screw up. I finally pulled it off and the following third and final form was a cake walk.
Let’s rewind the WABAC machine a few more years to Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, a light gun shooter for Wii. While playing one of Wesker’s story missions, I encountered a double boss fight against two high-tech Tyrants. The thing with Umbrella Chronicles is your ammo carries over from your previous missions. As you have probably gathered, I didn’t have much ammo; the nightmare of all shooters. I should stress here how I didn’t waste my ammo leading into this fight. I know how to save ammo. This wasn’t my first RE experience. I ended up playing the level for hours, trying to perfect my shots and memorize the movements of each enemy. I took a break well after I lost count of my attempts and started to wonder if I had pinned myself in a corner. Oddly, I beat the fight on my first attempt after the break. Weird how that works sometimes huh?
One more. This time it’s Gundam Battle Assault 2, a 2D fighting game where giant robots beat each other up. What’s not to love? By the way, I am a big Gundam fan and the second entry to the series is far better than the third. What I really like about BA2 is the selection of characters/suits. This variety also introduces a level of complexity to the game as some mobile suits (mechs if that your thing) have more ranged attacks while some are melee focused. The problem came with one specific character, Maxter Gundam, and his focus on melee; specifically punching. Things went well until the final encounter where you face off against Dark Gundam (Devil Gundam if you’re Japanese) who has several ranged attacks that both fill the screen and deplete your health. With all other fighters, my strategy would be use a ranged attack, rush in and do a few melee attacks, rinse and repeat. Maxter’s use of this cycle didn’t discourage Dark Gundam from making the screen explode. I must have attempted that fight well over 50 times before I finally won. I’m not even sure what I did differently anymore. I think it had something to do with knowing where I could stand to, not avoid damage, but minimize it.
All of these horrible memories brought on by an mp3 disk Shannon made for me. While these fights were frustrating and often broken in places, I still feel a sense of accomplishment for beating them. Writing this article kind of makes me want to try some of these fights again; if nothing else to refresh my memory of why they stand out so much. More than likely, playing any of that stuff again will make me want to punch some developers. We don’t need that.