Greatest Boss Battles In Final Fantasy History
For 30 years we’ve been chasing maniacal villains, riding chocobos, making (and sometimes losing) close friends and summoning mystical, often temperamental, guardians to our aid, yet one of the most standout series staples are the boss battles.
Trance Kuja – Final Fantasy IX
Initially believing himself to be the Angel of Death sent to assimilate Gaia and Terra, Kuja is driven mad when he finds out Zidane was to be his replacement.
His flair for the dramatic can get a little irritating, but it’s not like he doesn’t have the power to back up his claims, and his descent into madness is hugely compelling. In fact, it makes the final fight even more dangerous.
Kuja has no ultimate plan, no reason to live. He simply wants destruction.
The music in the battle is phenomenal, combining organ music with guitar riffs which perfectly match the pace of the fight. Kuja, now in his red Trance state, as a sign of the challenge to come, begins the battle by casting Flare Star – a hugely damaging magic attack which ignores reflect and scales in damage depending on how strong your party is.
Furthermore, that’s not the only time he uses it, alongside other powerful attacks, which mean keeping your team healed is a necessity.
It’s a fun and challenging battle which ends in… defeat! After you’ve diminished enough of Kuja’s HP, he casts Ultima, crippling your party.
Ruby Weapon – Final Fantasy VII
When you think of optional superbosses from the Final Fantasy series, you might think of FFVIII’s Omega Weapon or FFIX’s Ozma, but I guarantee you’ll think of Emerald and Ruby Weapon from FFVII.
This list can only have one entry and, through much deliberation, I opted for Ruby. While Emerald became the 90s equivalent of Jaws, making gamers everywhere afraid to climb into the submarine and explore the watery depths of Gaia, the huge swimming Weapon was ultimately conquerable given enough prep (Underwater Materia, Mimic and Knights of the Round).
Ruby was much tougher to figure out. Firstly, if you started the battle with all 3 party members, he would immediately eliminate 2 of them. Secondly, if you even dared to cast Knights of the Round, he would immediately counter with Ultima.
Ruby Weapon was, for many, their first attempt at truly having to problem solve a boss fight. Finding a strategy for Emerald made the battle suddenly do-able, albeit long.
Ultimecia – Final Fantasy VIII
While we had been technically fighting Ultimecia throughout the events of FFVIII, we rarely see her before the final showdown. Combined with the game’s rather convoluted plot, Square gets dangerously close to removing our emotional connection with the final battle.
Fortunately, with her time compression plan in full swing, there is a real feel of urgency about the fight and quickly proves to be one of the tougher final bosses of Square’s Final Fantasy golden era.
Ultimecia isn’t messing around. Firstly, continuing Square’s tradition of changing the rules for the final battle of a Final Fantasy game, Ultimecia picks her opponents at random, meaning you have to have everyone ready to fight.
After battling her guardian force, Griever, she lets loose with her magic, casting Flare, Ultima, Meteor, Holy, and even Apocalypse (Ultima on steroids). Now, damage we’re used to. Damage we can take.
However, she also enjoys drawing magic from party members, which, in FFVIII, is how the character’s stats are improved, thereby permanently weakening you.
The battle progresses through her various stages, each one presenting its own challenges, but finally we start to fight through her dying monologue, setting up for one of the most confusing and fan-theory-invoking endings to date.
Yunalesca – Final Fantasy X
This battle is, quite simply, incredible.
The visuals are tantalisingly hideous (Yunalesca looks like she’d be far more comfortable in the Bloodborne universe), the fight is incredibly challenging, but never feels cheap, and it all gets rounded off with the emotional impact of learning that Spira is doomed to a cycle of Sin and the summoner’s sacrifice.
Yunalesca has multiple forms. Her first, the human form, is easy to deal with, countering physical and magical attacks with her own status effects, but she’s manageable. It starts to get much more difficult in her second form when she starts casting Zombie on party members. In her final and utterly terrifying form, she casts MegaDeath.
If you’ve been curing all your party members of Zombie to stop her healing them to death, bad luck, because they’ve just been killed.
The final phase is a chess game of keeping one of your party members inflicted just enough with terrible, crippling status effects, that you can survive her powerful attacks, revive your comrades, and occasionally deal some damage against her.
Source – Whatculture
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