Okay, here’s the deal. Any days that I don’t spend posting about bosses (or at all) are automatically credited to the overall theme, so… that means Boss Week II could potentially continue eternally!
And perhaps it should in this twisted world where a boss can comprise an entire level, becoming a world unto himself (because there are no real female bosses, come on. We’ll get into that later). Perhaps this is the ultimate form of the boss, forcing the player to traverse his frame in some bizarre pseudo-sexual ritual of virtual itch-scratching and the eventual slaughter that springs forth.
Some examples are needed, of course, lest you all consider me a lying scab on the buttocks of the Earth. Memory doesn’t always serve me perfectly, but I believe the first time I encountered such a stage-encompassing boss was in the original R-Type; level 3 to be exact. In it, the pilot of the R-9a “Arrowhead” (see: YOU) enters another horizontally-scrolling canyon, and quickly meets a large and aggressive ship peppered with turrets and rockets and boosters and smaller vessels and everything else that makes your life miserable. As you creep beyond it, it turns out…
Such a twist. A similar concept was expanded immeasurably on the release day of PS2 classic Shadow of the Colossus. In this spectacular title, however, the whole game is comprised of bosses. In remote locations of a very desolate land, our hero (see: YOU) finds towering guardians that are indeed levels unto themselves. Yet, I still don’t think the concept of “the boss as the level” has been taken to its ultimate peak.
I envision a videogame that takes place, from beginning to end, along the body of a massive final boss. Now, as each stage passes and the player continues to progress along its body, they will meet larger and larger portions of the boss that will serve as bosses themselves. Taking Shadow‘s concept as far as it can, the game is the boss, or the boss is the game, or something.
The question now is, “what lies beyond?” Or, rather, “what lies within?” Next time, let’s have a spirited chat about INNARDS!