Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A gimmicky Master in the Blazing Citadel

The Master of the Blazing Citadel was definitely the toughest boss yet in Pandora's Tower. However, I feel like part of its difficulty is artificial.

Another mech-type monster (so far as I could tell from its design and its appearance after the fire wreathing it about had died down), this Master makes insistent use of shields. Arranged around it in a half-circle, it will either bring them out one by one to attack or spin them around it in a move that blends offense and defense. But should you try to strike its entirely exposed Master Flesh while even one of these shields is around your attempt will be blocked.

So I spent much of the fight dealing with these shields, using either the chain or the scythe. And that, I feel, is what's artificial about the difficulty of this Master.

Taken alone, it would be a push over (even if it does have one, nearly unavoidable, massive attack), but because of its shields it takes quite a while to finish off. Especially since, once again, you don't get much opportunity to power up the chain. In almost every instance of connecting with the Master Flesh, I tightened the chain until its indicator stopped flashed red and then pulled. Had I tried for more the connection probably would have been (and often was) snapped.

Nonetheless, this fight reminded me of my favourite bout from No More Heroes: the fight with Bad Girl.

That fight is also against a boss with very tight defense. But in the fight with Bad Girl it's very easy to feel like Travis (the player character) and Bad Girl are physical equals. Plus, the way that you wind up circling each other, looking for a weak spot in her defense or blocking her attacks, really ratchets up the tension.

The latest Master in Pandora's Tower, doesn't offer any sense of being Aeron's equal. At one point it was definitely human, but certainly isn't any more. Even so, its regular scream is eerily human-like. It definitely adds a certain chill to the fight, but those shields really slow down the pace and axe any feeling of being on an equal footing.

At any rate, what follows the boss fight is a series of scenes that hints at what's really been happening with the curse and that shows just how close Elena is coming to losing herself to it.

So, it's great that the battles are continuing to get more challenging and that the story behind the curse is slowly being revealed. But I really hope that Truegold Tower's Master doesn't hide behind some kind of gimmick.

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