Since the beginning of time, Mother Nature has been equal parts plague and pumping life essence. This has never held truer than in the world of video games, where rogue bushes can shoot bullets, flowers can devour a man whole, and trees—yes, trees—might just be the devil’s tool that kills us all.
When not acting as bosses, trees are generally relegated to background roles, either blinking and moaning menacingly in Mortal Kombat II, or raising their rank roots to walk back and forth across vines in Actraiser. One rotund hero, however, knows the pains of a lifetime of tree fighting: Kirby.
Check the archive photo. Kirby has been fighting this guy diligently for years and years, forgetting somewhere in his pink, mushed-up brain that you gotta uproot that badboy if you want him to stay dead. In the reality beyond “Dreamland,” trees are some of the worst bosses in history. Not only are they rarely intimidating—large wooden husks that bark honey or toss acorns are hard to take seriously—they’re just boring.
There are exceptions, though. Pictured above is a boss I recently fought in the NES title Athena. Not only would its undulating appendage keep me at a crippling distance, but the fact that it shot the very thing that could destroy it, FIREBALLS, spoke largely of its dedication to the black arts. As you can see, Athena doesn’t stand a chance, and in this case, for one shining moment, this has little to do with the fact that she’s a girl.