When I wrote my list of some of my favorite boss battles from Rareware games, I mentioned how various factors made them so marvelous. They were epic, challenging, clever, and a lot of fun. Alas, not every battle that Rare has ever made is awesome. There have been times when they come up with a battle that is boring or lacking in creativity, or even fights that were poorly made. Thus, I have taken the liberty to compile a list of ten bosses, again in no particular order, from Rare games that I feel are lacking compared to the company’s best battles. The list is as follows…
Donkey Kong Country 3 (Game Boy Advance version): Kroctopus: Rare did an excellent job with Kerozene, the new boss added in the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 2. Not so with Kroctopus, a new boss that you encounter in the hand held version of Donkey Kong Country 3. Not only is his character design pretty ugly, but the strategy for beating him is quite boring. Basically, you must trick him into grabbing bombs and getting hurt. The problem is that it is simple to reach the bombs, and later on, when he uses two tentacles to try and grab you, you can likely jump when he attacks and he ends up snatching a bomb from another platform. I still feel that this port of a classic SNES game was rushed, and the lack of creativity for Kroctopus is proof of that.
Star Fox Adventures: Drakor: The penultimate boss battle of a game should be epic and filled with a fair amount of challenge, but such is not the case with Drakor. While in first person, you need to shoot Drakor in the front, dodging obstacles as you go. It is tough to take a lot of damage here, especially since you can shut off energy beams that will hurt you. Also, Drakor himself does not attack much, and you will find plenty of boxes with rings that replenish your health. Sure, Drakor gets a pretty neat death scene at the end, but the battle as a whole is too easy and lacking any real excitement, as if Rare was in such a hurry to release the game that they were unable to make the second-to-last boss fight the epic battle that it should have been.
Donkey Kong Country: Very Gnawty: This mischievous beaver is the first boss you encounter, but even for a first boss, he is quite pathetic. His attack pattern is merely a series of short hops from left to right and vice versa, and jumping on his head will hurt him. He does get a bit faster with every hit, but he can be taken down in less than thirty seconds. At least in the Game Boy Advance version, Very Gnawty received a high jump attack after each hit, though he was still a pushover. In a game where boss battles are generally fast and simple, Very Gnawty is someone who should be ashamed to call himself one of the mighty King K. Rool’s minions. Speaking of K. Rool…
Donkey Kong Country (Game Boy Color version): King K. Rool: The frightful king became part of what was perhaps Rare’s most poorly made battle. His attack pattern is largely the same as in the SNES version, but when you get to the part after the false credits, it gets much worst. Instead of having different jumping patterns, K. Rool only does a series of low hops, and it is much harder to avoid getting hit. I often try running under him or stay in a place where I feel I will be safe, but if you are off by even a small amount, you may very well end up losing a life and having to restart the entire battle. Rare should have made sure that the battle was a tad bit easier to handle before releasing this poorly-made port.
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge: Gruntilda (Final Battle): Whereas the final battles with Gruntilda in the Nintendo 64 version were challenging, creative, and epic, the last fight with her in this game was a bit lacking. Basically, Grunty uses several of the same moves that she used in the previous times that you fought her in the game, with some new attacks added in. Unfortunately, said attacks are a slightly harder combination of attacks that Grunty used earlier, such as having her run around the castle roof while a spell chases after you. Granted, there is a neat twist in that you must hit Grunty’s ghost after hitting her mechanical body to cause damage most of the time, and getting hit by some attacks results in two hit points lost. As a whole, however, the battle is not very creative, and leads to a rather generic ending, as well.
Banjo-Tooie: Old King Coal: While the boss battles in this game were generally clever and fun, Old King Coal seems to be intended as a sitting duck. His attack is mainly running around, while the air around you gradually decreases. However, you can pelt him with eggs and finish him off long before time runs out. Perhaps Rare made this battle deliberately very simple because the king operates Chuffy the train, which is needed to even finish the game, let alone finding every last Jiggy. Not a bad battle per se, and Old King Coal’s body parts fall off as he gets weaker, but compared to the other battles in the game, it is a bit lacking.
Donkey Kong Land: Clammy: So the Kongs find themselves in an underwater battle against a clam that tries to defeat them by shooting pearls at them. Donkey and Diddy have no way of attacking while swimming, but they get some aid from another clam. All you have to do is guide the Kongs in front of this other clam and move out of the way while a pearl is shot towards you. If it hits the clam, it will ricochet and strike Clammy. It is tough to fail and reach the friendly clam before Clammy attacks, even when he speeds up later in the battle. You can win this fight without breaking a sweat, making it too easy and too boring.
Jet Force Gemini: Mizar (First Time): The boss battles up to this point were quite a challenge, but then you get to Mizar himself, and he proves to be a pushover. His attacks are quite easy to avoid, and if you have plenty of powerful weapons at your disposal, you can defeat him rather quickly. Even if you only have weaker weapons, the battle becomes more time consuming rather than difficult. A terrible first impression for the game’s main villain, though the second time that you fight him more than makes up for the relative ease of this first battle. You can read about that other fight in my best Rareware boss battle article, and see how it is far more challenging and exciting than when you first encounter Mizar.
Donkey Kong 64: Army Dillo (Crystal Caverns): Dogadon, the boss of Angry Aztec, was used again in Fungi Forest, but at least that fight added some challenge mainly due to having you try and defeat him before the platform sinks into the lava. When Army Dillo, the boss of Jungle Japes, makes his comeback, however, Rare opted for an easier rematch. He uses the same attacks as before-shooting fireballs and rolling into you-but he adds some new attacks that are simple to avoid. There are shock waves that you jump over when they are close to you, fireballs that fall from the sky and will not even faze you if you keep running, and a homing missile that you can fool into running into a TNT barrel to avoid getting hit yourself. While not necessarily a really pathetic battle, it is not an epic rematch like the second fight with Dogadon turned out to be.
Conker’s Pocket Tales: Golem: At the end of the Aztec Temple, Conker will face the Evil Acorn’s most trusted minion, the fearsome Golem. At least, he would be fearsome if he was not fairly easy to beat. His attacks consist of spitting out weak enemies and, when they are defeated, trying to suck you into his mouth. If you fire a conker into his mouth, he will be hurt. As long as you are fast and have a lot of conkers, the battle is a breeze. What makes the fight even more disappointing is that it is the final boss battle…you don’t even get to fight the Evil Acorn at all. Seeing as how Conker’s Pocket Tales is the worst Rareware game that I have ever played, perhaps it is not too surprising that a potentially exciting fight with the Evil Acorn was shoved aside in favor of a pathetic final battle with an equally pathetic foe.
There you have it…my list of the worst boss battles from Rareware games that I have ever encountered. Whether they are too simple, too boring, or not very creative, these battles are good examples of how not to make an epic fight. There may be boss fights in Rare games that I have yet to play that are as good as the ones of my favorite fights list, or as bad as those on this list, and perhaps someday, I will write updated lists featuring such bosses. In the meantime, if ever you encounter any of these boss battles(if you never have), be warned that they are not the epic and challenging fights that they could have, and should have, been.