Saturday, January 21, 2017

My Top 50 Most Memorable Final Fantasy Bosses: #50 to #41

Hey there and welcome to another one of my Final Fantasy Listings. I’ve done quite a few pieces on Final Fantasy on this website, dating back to 2010 (not to mention game reviews too). My first piece was on article on “Why I Want a Final Fantasy VI Remake”, which is still a relevant read today, what with Final Fantasy VII now being remade. I did a “Favourite Final Fantasy Songs Mixtape” which is lovely to listen to if you had the time. In terms of listings I’ve done a “Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations” and a “Top 50 Final Fantasy Characters” list, which I think are both fun reads.
So what’s this listing about? Well as it says in the title, this is counting down my “Top 50 Memorable Final Fantasy Bosses”. There’s a difference between “favourite” and “memorable. Some bosses were an absolute pain in the arse and made me seethe with rage, so aren’t my favourites. But by saying “memorable” I think it covers both “favourites” and “difficult” somewhat.
Another difference with this listing is that I’m only really covering certain entries in the Final Fantasy series. I usually cover FF1-FF13 (with the exception of FF11) but in this series I’m not. I’m only covering the games that have bosses on it that are definitely memorable.
I saw somewhere else do a “Best Final Fantasy Bosses” list and agreed and disagreed with a lot of the choices in the article, so it’s compelled me to make my own list. Like my Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations listing I’ll post this over 5 days, 10 entries at a time. This will list will talk about spoilers, so if you’re worried about that, then don’t take the chance!
Now remember this is a biased list, so what I find to be memorable is definitely different to what you think is memorable. But either way, I hope to take you down memory lane with some of the most epic boss fights in Final Fantasy history, and put a personal take on each entry, by maybe talking about my personal experiences with them.
And finally, I’ve not played Final Fantasy XV yet so that’s why that game isn’t in this list. I hope to play it in the summer sometime.
So without further delay, here’s from #50 to #41!
#50 – Whelk
Game: Final Fantasy VI
Other names: Ymir
When do you fight him: First boss of the game
Location: Narshe Mines
HP: 1,600
Difficulty: 6

I thought I’d start the listing off with the first boss of Final Fantasy 6. Overall there’s nothing terribly fancy or epic about this fight, but you know what? If you’re not careful, Whelk can pack some damage if you time your attacks incorrectly. Whelk follows an attacking pattern that’s used in other “first boss” battles in the series (Guard Scorpion in FF7 is another example) where the counter attack is used as a tactic. If you attack Whelk when he tucks his head into his shell, he’ll attack you with Gigavolt which can waste a lot of HP. Other than that, he’s actually a very easy boss to deal with. But as I said, he’s memorable in the respect that FF6 was an incredible game and this was the first boss you encounter. I have actually died on Whelk before once I believe, and I probably played this game as a teenager for the first time, having completed FF7, FF8, FF9 and FF10 by then!
#49 – Carry Armor
Game: Final Fantasy VII
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Towards the end of Disc 2 (of 3)
Location: Underwater Reactor
HP: 24,000
Difficulty: 7
Is it just me or is this boss an absolute bastard?? I have a feeling I’m going to curse (or come close to cursing) a lot during this process of revealing my Top 50. Man I hated Carry Armor. By this time in the game you’ve gone against quite a few different machines and think, surely these guys are easy to defeat now right? Right?! But Carry Armor is just a pain in the ass. I can’t decide what I hated more, the fact that he could carry not one but TWO of your three person party at once, smashing them into his body until they KO and if he ends up KO-ing the one person remaining that’s Game Over. He also hits hard with his Lapis Laser attack to make things worse. At least he’s weak against lightning, but he does have some HP so does take some time to take down. You also have the dilemma of either taking him out by the core, or reducing the likelihood of getting grabbed by eliminating his arms. I just found this fight very difficult, maybe it’s just me, but I hate Carry Armor. Definitely memorable though!
#48 – Tahaka
Game: Final Fantasy XIII
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Around two thirds of the way through the game
Location: Taejin's Tower
HP: 2,314,800
Difficulty: 6
As good as FF13 was, there wasn’t that many bosses that stand out too much. Sure, there were a few that “looked” the part but most of the battles remained the same. Maybe that’s a modern RPG thing but for me, the older games in the series created better boss battles generally. But Tahaka looked badass and was quite difficult to take down if you weren’t careful. Once you stagger him the battle does get a lot easier but he can pack a punch. He reminds me a lot of the Evrae battle in FF10 in the respect that they are both epic flying guardian monsters protecting something. I do think Tahaka looks that bit cooler than Evrae as well. Overall Tahaka stands out in FF13, a game who’s bosses don’t often live up to the hype.
#47 – Hilgigars

Game: Final Fantasy IX
Other names: Hill Gigas
When do you fight him: Towards the end of Disc 2 (of 4)
Location: Conde Petie Mountain Path
HP: 8,106
Difficulty: 6

What. A. Bastard. So, if you’re not familiar with FF9 there’s one thing that’s very different about this game than the others in this series. And that is that stealing can be a major part of the game. Usually in the Final Fantasy series stealing from enemies is a cool yet ineffective option in the game But in this game, nearly every single boss has items to steal that are worth your time. Some bosses have items that you can’t get for hours and hours of gameplay later. Hilgigars is one of those bosses.

You see, stealing being a big part of FF9 is both very good and very bad. It’s good because, for me, it’s a technique that allows hard work to be rewarded earlier by patiently waiting to get your items by trying to steal them over a period of time. But it’s very bad because certain bosses just won’t let go of certain items and it can be so frustrating waiting for the chance. Hilgigars has a Fairy Flute, an item that you can’t get until probably around a third of the way through Disc 3 (I’d say, around 10 hours of gameplay). So you really want to get this item if you can. It once took me a good 75 minutes of doing nothing but clicking on “Steal” over and over again, before I accidentally somehow killed the bastard and rage quit the game. There’s a 1/256 chance of you getting the Fairy Flute, and that’s with the “Bandit” ability on, who knows what the chances are otherwise! Putting into perspective, catching Mewtwo on Pokemon is easier (Using an Ultra Ball, catching Mewtwo while sleeping on Full HP is around 1/109 chance, so it’ll be a higher chance if his HP is low)!
So that’s why this boss is memorable, because otherwise he’s not that difficult; he packs some punch but not enough to cause a major challenge and his HP is relatively low. But still, Stealing from him is such a pain in the ass!!
 #46 – Ultimate Weapon
Game: Final Fantasy VII
Other names: None
When do you fight him: The middle of Disc 2, optional boss at the end of Disc 2 and Disc 3 (of 3)
Location: Mideel (mandatory), in the skies (multiple times, all optional)
HP: 100,000
Difficulty: 7

Tangent here – Ruby Weapon isn’t in this list. For me, Ruby Weapon was horrible but I mainly avoided him on my first few runs in the game until I was strong enough to be able to defeat him, so when I figured it out he was actually quite easy. So I didn’t quite fit him in this Top 50 list because for me, he wasn’t that memorable. I’m sure many of you disagree with me and that’s understandable.

Anyway, Ultimate Weapon for me was memorable in the sense that it was the first Weapon you go against in the game, but other than that he’s not much of a threat. His Ultima Beam attack really packs some serious damage when you go against him in Mideel, and he does provide some threat with it at that point in the game. Other than that he’s quite easy to take the battle to, as long as you’re healing your party. But yeah, he looks pretty badass but he does lack the nervous feeling I had when going against, say, Diamond Weapon and Emerald Weapon, which as you can imagine, are higher up in this list. He’s still cool though.

#45 – Dark Knight
Game: Final Fantasy IV
Other names: D.Knight, DarkKnight
When do you fight him: Around a third of the way through the game
Location: Mount Ordeals
HP: 4,520
Difficulty: 5

Now this might be embarrassing here but, the only reason why this boss is on this list is because of the fact that a teenage JohnnyMercyside didn’t know the definition of the word “sheath”. If you’ve not played FF4, then the story is simple. Cecil, the main character has decided to become a Paladin, a “holy” knight, but up until this point in the game has been using the Dark Arts as his method of training and is a Dark Knight. So to become a Paladin, he needs to battle the “dark side” of himself. This is a scripted battle, and all Dark Knight does is attack you with Darkness, otherwise what he says over and over again is “A True Paladin Will Sheath His Sword”.

So teenage me didn’t know what sheathing was so I just kept attacking and attacking and eventually I gave up. Over 4000 HP is a lot at this point in the game and I think I was attacking Dark Knight for a good 20-30 minutes. So eventually I gave up and checked online, only to find out that “sheathing your sword” was simply, not attacking! Well I was pretty pissed off with myself then wasn’t I?? So yes, simply put, this was memorable for me for that reason alone.

#44 – Plant Brain
Game: Final Fantasy IX
Other names: None
When do you fight him: First boss at the start of the game
Location: Evil Forest
HP: 916
Difficulty: 7

I was close to putting 8 down for difficulty because to be honest – this guy is really tough! I think of all the “first bosses” in all the Final Fantasy series this has to be one of the toughest if not. Sure you could argue that he’s not the “first boss” but for me he is and my logic is, this is the first time you hear the “boss battle” music. So there!
Anyway, he’s really tough. Mainly because of his Thunder attack, which wastes around 100 HP on all characters, and you only have around 150HP or thereabouts! Taking his health down isn’t too hard generally, but because you need to concentrate on healing your party, it’s not easy. And of course, being the first boss in the game makes him immediately memorable anyway. Still, he’s a bastard!

#43 – Penance
Game: Final Fantasy X
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Towards the end of the game, optional superboss
Location: Calm Lands (on the airship)
HP: 12,000,000
Difficulty: 10

This is one of the superbosses of Final Fantasy that I have not defeated. He’s also the only superboss on this listing that I have not defeated, so the likes of Yiazmat of FF12 and Vercingetorix of FF13 who I also haven’t defeated are not in this list. I can’t explain the logic behind putting Penance in other than the fact that, yes, I do believe he’s a more memorable boss than the other two (and others).

I have attempted to defeat Penance only once. I had a run through FF10 back on the original PS2 and basically used an X-Ploder cheat disc to give me unlimited items so I could scour the sphere grid however I pleased. But even then I couldn’t defeat him. I never really looked online for strategies so my tactics were probably completely wrong. But he is an extremely tough cookie and I do hope to be able to defeat him one day, and after all, it did take me a good 8 years to beat Ozma from FF9 so there’s hope yet! Penance is memorable in the way that he’s simply, the hardest boss of FF10. You have to defeat all the Dark Aeons before you get the chance to even fight him, and when you do he rises from the depths of the Calm Lands, so he’s pretty badass.

#42 – Belias

Game: Final Fantasy XII
Other names: The Gigas
When do you fight him: Quite early on in the game
Location: Tomb of Raithwall
HP: 15,943
Difficulty: 6

Again, like FF13, for me FF12 lacked that “epic” feeling you have when you go against bosses, but there are moments in the game. Going against Belias for the first time, the first Esper in the game was a tremendous feeling. I loved the cinematics involved in this fight; it just felt like you were trapped in a tornado of flames and in the middle was this massive beast stalking you. He wasn’t that difficult really overall, but the intensity in the fight was certainly there. It was a fun battle.
#41 – Griever

Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Other names: Whatever you want to call it at the end of Disc 2!
When do you fight him: Part of the final boss in the game
Location: Ultimecia’s Castle
HP: 115,950
Difficulty: 8

Note: All enemies on FF8 have varying stats depending on what level you are. For the sake of this listing I’ll be putting down the maximum HP that the boss can have.

This is actually the only boss on this list that you can name yourself. You can call him Assbutt if you wanted! No matter what you call him, he’s still a very tough cookie. Shockwave Pulsar destroyed me – hell – it obliterated me the first time I went against Griever. He’s the second of four parts of the Final boss battle and in fact, the only part on this listing. For me, if you can get past Griever, you should be able to complete the game because Ultimecia isn’t as difficult to deal with as Griever is. What I also love about this battle is the fact that Squall has special Renzokuken limit breaks for the battle that just look absolutely badass when triggered. Griever looks cool, is tough as hell and is the most memorable part of a decent but underwhelming final battle with Ultimecia.

So that’s Part 1, come back for Part 2 tomorrow when I countdown from #40 to #31!

Click here for Part 2, counting from #40 to #31.
Click here for Part 3, counting from #30 to #21.
Click here for Part 4, counting from #20 to #11.
Click here for Part 5, counting from #10 to #1.
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