I’m probably in the minority that enjoys the stage bosses in Smash. As elements that disrupt normal gameplay, they add a chaotic feel to a match that brings excitement(or salt depending on who you are) to the mix. So here, I’ll be talking about the bosses in general and highlight a few that would be awesome to see in Smash some day.
So what does a stage boss do? Well, they come in the stage after a set amount of time passes(usually a minute or so) and antagonize every player in sight. If they aren’t killed within a set time limit(30 seconds to a minute), they deem the players boring and leave to return another day. Each boss has their own unique quirks.
Yellow Devil is the simplest of the bosses and by that distinction the least threatening. It’s a recreation of the infamous controller-smashingly hard boss from the original Mega Man, except here it got a serious nerf. More people want to murder it now and the projectiles are way too easy to dodge, even it’s side change blob attack. It doesn’t take many hits to fell the Devil, and in return it can’t deal as much to the players. Payback for all those angry memories for any of the older fans. Thank Wahwee it’s not the Shadow Devil, too, that would have changed things for a different set of Mega Man fans.
Metal Face is the sadistic steampunk mecha from Xenoblade that terrorizes players on Gaur Plain. Because he needs to fill in villain cliches, he only attacks at night, is arrogant enough to not defend himself enough and has a master’s degree in Tauntthehelloutofyouropponentology.
Descending from the skies, Metal Face picks one of four spots to land on. If he chooses any of the sides, Metal Face demonstrates his environment caring nature and blows off a piece of the scenery with his death laser so he can land. Once he’s there, Metal Face becomes a lazy bum and only attacks if someone gets close to him(despite having A DEATH LASER); as a result, anyone with fast projectiles can take him out easily. That being said, anyone SLICED INTO PIECES by his claw is in for quite a bit of hurt(this thing kills shields effortlessly).
Unique to Metal Face is dialogue, hence his master’s degree. He has lines for everything; arriving, landing, charging and firing the laser, the current events, and leaving. There’s even a cue from Gray Fox given that Metal Face taunts Shulk if he’s in battle. If he ends up leaving out of boredom, he might get the idea to ram past the stage, which looks like it would hurt as much as a car running you over but actually does no more than Ganondorf punching you from zero percent.
Overall, Metal Face is more potent than the Yellow Devil but suffers from an extreme case of passiveness. Takes the prize for funniest boss, though.
And now we have Ridley, perhaps one of the most controversial Smash topics ever. But let’s forget about that and look at him as a boss hazard.
Let’s get this out of the way: Ridley is BULKY. REAL BULKY. Even something jacked up on
steroids Attack equipment will take a while to kill Ridley. This, of course, is because Ridley is bound to his contract where he is legally required to help anyone who slaps him hard enough. Given Ridley’s predicament, everyone is going to be slamming him in hopes of temporarily allying with the purple Charizard dragon. His moveset is lifted from Other M with the exception of that wall grinding attack which in itself was a shout out to Brawl, and Ridley’s apparent need to drink Delaware Punch from the sides of the stage to power up when he did this naturally in Other M as well. Balance, I guess? Whatever.
Ridley can end games by himself if given the chance due to how he actually hits like a speeding freight train even when unboosted. Functions as a shield, win condition and post-mortem fighter all in one. A dangerous threat that actually moves around a lot to at least keep players guessing and evade hits. The most chaotic boss.
And that’s the three stage bosses. However, I think this game has a serious missed opportunity with these, so have a couple suggestions of my own.
This section contains spoilers for Splatoon and Kid Icarus: Uprising.
Pictured: two sides of the same coin.
Now, the reason I lump these two together is because inherently, they are the same type of final boss from the same series, even if both fight differently. Aberrations that use several weapons against the player and have a second form, the former which is a boss idea Smash can benefit from. And in a 2D plane, these bosses can show off how deadly they are to a group.
Metroid Prime is the
giant enemy crab final boss from the game of the same name, the most powerful Metroid in existence. Against Samus, it fires elemental lasers, missiles, homing elemental energy balls(all of these are conveniently based on the Ice, Wave and Plasma Beams), and has a tractor beam of sorts in it’s first form, which is the most ideal one to use. Such a stage would be in the Impact Crater with Metroid Prime appearing a minute into the match to terrorize players.
Gorea is the final boss from Metroid Prime Hunters, an eldritch abomination apparently biologically related to Rayman by virtue of some floating limbs sealed in the French word for a forgotten place(Oubliette) and freed by the stupidity of the six Hunters, after which Gorea showed it’s gratitude by killing them off and taking their weapons and life force for itself(gee, that sounds like a Metroid or something). Now in possession of an electric gun, a sniper rifle, explosive lobbing projectiles, an ice shotgun, a lobbing magma gun and homing electricity spheres, it’s up to Samus to kill this Metroid Prime wannabe. Like Metroid Prime, a stage based around Gorea is best put in the first boss area so it can be large.
Either of these would be a dream for me.
The god of the underworld who has hammy villainous dialogue that puts Metal Face to shame and is a brilliant schemer with a burning hot head of blue flames.
I’m talking Kid Icarus‘ Hades. That purple, towering smack-talker that appears right out of nowhere and steals the show from Medusa after she’s done for. Why am I suggesting him? BULLET HELL. Anyone who’s fought Hades knows that his boss fight is a myriad of lasers and projectiles. This boss just screams chaotic, so think Gorea with a personality. A hilarious one. If there’s one thing I wanted from Kid Icarus, it was this character voiced in Smash somehow. I didn’t get that, but hey, there’s always next game.
Hand it to Nintendo here; DJ Octavio is one of Nintendo’s finer final bosses of the last few years. And from a new IP in Splatoon? A rare combination.
DJ Octavio is the leader of the Octarians, a race of Octopi that wage war against the Inklings because of course they do. When you track this calamari to his UFO, he reveals himself on his giant flying musical death machine that sports rocket fists, ink missiles, the sound-based Killer Wail and what is essentially an ink nuke. DJ Octavio would be a selling point for a Splatoon stage for me, since all of these attacks are simple enough in practice, but in Smash, would make for a versatile boss. Also doubles as an excuse to get both ear-addicting final boss themes into Smash.
These four are standout cases. With some more familiarity to other Nintendo properties, I’d have listed a few more, but this is my selection for now. Stage bosses are a fun gameplay element and I think there should be more.