The Splatoon Final Boss…Is Well, Boss!
Splatoon features a pretty standard single player campaign which serves mostly as a lengthy warm-up for online play.
But the final boss…Just…Wow!
It’s as if it was ripped from an entirely different game. It’s so stupidly high energy and bombastic that it’s likely to end up on a series of Top 10 lists in a few short years from now.
A Head And Tentacles Above The Rest!
At this point in the game, the player has been pursuing the Great Zapfish for the duration and it’s almost within reach. But it’s being held hostage by the Octobot king – A UFO driving Octopus with a penchant for Wasabi, which is an obvious nod toward Japanese cuisine. His floating battlestation is similar to a typical Eggman mech. It’s loaded with missiles, homing rocket fists and a DJ deck…Okay, maybe not that last one.
You can see it right? Maybe a slight case of Eggman bias on my behalf.
There’s even rhythmic disco lights spewing from the cockpit in time with the music. The opening track is ‘hella’ groovy. It’s got a moody, dark edge to it with a lot of techno sounds and ominous chanting.
To make things even groovier, the missiles are wearing shutter shades.
Despite being placed securely on Terra-Firma (if the game’s lore is anything to go by) the encounter feels alien and abstract. There’s peculiar mechanical tentacles sprouting upward from the ground. Some of these are enormous and do well to give the environment a sense of scale and grandiose drama, especially when you zoom past them via the jump pads.
They look like some evil machination from the Reapers of Mass Effect.
The fight plays like a mushy fusion between tug-of-war and tennis. He shoots the arm at the player following waves of easily dispatched rocket fodder. The player then needs to fire a barrage of shots at the rocket arm to repel it back and do some damage.
I know what you’re thinking! Zelda! It’s a tried and tested formula for boss attacks.
Most will remember it from the Phantom Ganon encounters.
It’s only improved upon here. Micromanaging all of the chaos on screen while frantically shooting the approaching fists of doom is pretty tense, especially the first time round. They take a fair few shots before they change trajectory path. And once they start getting faster the player has to be extremely focused to deal with them.
They don’t stop moving either! Spray and pray!
Ink tennis is clearly the focus here, as the other big main attack includes a giant missile which requires the same tactic. Since this one is much slower moving, the Ocotobot king lobs a few mooks your way to mix things up. Initially, it’s small homing Octorpedoes (exactly what it sounds like) but eventually there’s some baddies from the campaign levels wandering around giving you grief and just generally being utter trolls!
And let’s not forget the most brutal attack of all. Verbal panache!
Paint Pizazz And All That Jazz.
Jump pads are introduced after a few punts, to obviously to mask loading transitions, but who cares, they’re fun! Then the player is assaulted with killer wail attacks. They even share the same sound effect as the usable special move in multiplayer, so it’s a nice bit of training. Learn the audio cue and get ready to dodge.
Various obstacle and platform gimmicks from the campaign are introduced piece by piece to keep the level interesting. The game has you using fan propelled platforms, sponge blocks and swimming up slopes to pursue and dodge. It genuinely feels like a frantic chase in the final parries. Having the game throw nearly every enemy type at the player and then treating them to power-ups certainly stops repetition from setting in.
It’s hard to convey the sense of atmosphere in words alone. Splatoon looks fairly decent in screenshots, but in motion, it’s an entirley different beast. The frame rate is rock solid and it works in service of the beautiful animation in the game. Most of the pizazz comes from the special effects and sound design. Inking something to it’s gooey climax is certainly an audiovisual treat. The sheer volume of paint from killing an enemy is so damn visceral.
Motion blur streaks, the flopping of the tentacles, and the sloshing of inky footsteps. Love that attention to detail.
There’s also plenty of battle banter from the games friendly NPC’s. Cap’n Cuttlefish, who serves as the games tutor, has been kidnapped and offers morale support and cries for help. The Squid Sisters also chime in from time to time. Once the battle reaches the halfway point Agents 1 & 2 reveal their true identity.
Shocker! It was Callie and Marie.
These two feel like an integral part of the user interface, they present the levels and mode rotation every time you boot the game up. It’s nice to see characters implemented in such a way. It makes them feel integral to the experience. And it lends a lot more meaning to the (admittedly quite tame) reveal of their true identities in the middle of the fight.
Pops seems to dig it.
Once the squids out of the bag, the soundtrack changes to an idol girl-ish peppy J-pop theme with Callie and Marie busting out nonsensical gibberish vocals. Even Octoking can’t help but start dancing! It’s far more upbeat and triumphant than the first half of the boss battle theme. I’m glad they chose to do it in this order. The player will want that added motivation for the harder section.
Take notes Sega! Why on earth did you have open your heart on the first half instead of the second?!
Like Shooting Octopus In A Barrel.
The way that the boss and targets line themselves up reminds me of Red Steel for the Wii, another Nintendo shooter. Red steel was very purposeful when it came to enemy placement. Because the turning speed was very slow, enemies tended to cluster in the forward facing vicinity instead of surrounding the player. The game felt partially like an on-rail lightgun shooter because of this. Splatoon has a similar design, based on the assumption that there’s also a degree of motion control to the aiming. The controls feels much more tailored towards smaller, more precise movements – As oppose to being geared toward hyper twitchy circle strafing like Unreal Tournament. Splatoon design appears to complement the large amount of evasive manoeuvrability available to the player.
The final few platforms and slopes are, quite literally, uphill battles. You have less and less space to manoeuvre out of the screen filling with killer wail and your definitely pushed to your limits. Once the final blow is struck, Octoking is ejected from his cockpit and lands squarely in your cross-hairs with zero distractions.
Like shooting octopus in a barrel!
After firing off your final mercy shot, he’s violently flung back into his ship where he crashes and says his death cry. Just look at the text bubble.
Seriously. I love this.
The Mario RPG series pioneered this use of Text bubbles. Where the Text has flair and character. Examples include the text going small when the character is whispering, or shaking when they’re nervous. It’s a very familiar trait associated with the first generation Nintendo party games – And further still, an awesome alternative to a full voice cast. The final explosion of the ship is downright gratuitous! There’s a big swell that looks like a planet imploding, before spewing the entire screen with a hearty dose of goo.
Do you think this scene effected the games age rating?
A Nintendo Classic.
Once it’s all said and done, you’re treated to an ending song from the squid sisters as the credits roll. The great Zapfish then takes permanent residence in the hub world- As a reminder of the player’s accomplishment.
Interactive credits. Another awesome Nintendo quirk.
The boss battles leading up to the final encounter are good. However, as previously mentioned, this one feels as if it’s on another level altogether. Splatoon is quite obviously designed mainly as a multiplayer experience, so it was pleasantly surprising to see a well-executed ending of the solo mode. Splatoon has definitely earned its place in the pantheon of Nintendo classics.
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