Creating an Effective Final Boss

DISCLAIMER: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TREASURE HUNTER G.

I just beat Treasure Hunter G and, what can I say it’s an underrated classic. Though there is one thing I want to point out, and that is the final boss. The final bosses of Treasure Hunter G are the Dark Lord, the Dark Lord’s true form, and Jormungandr (Bone Dino in Metal Hawk’s translation patch).

The final dungeon is very straight forward, a series of hallways with mandatory fights dotted about, honestly pretty boring, you can go back for healing ofc. But the final bosses are something special. After a long final dungeon filled with fights, you come to the room where the Dark Lord awaits. He mutters that you brought the final guardian fairy to him, and proceeds to crystalize Rain.

As you fight him, you’re left with Red, Blue and Ponga (Rain’s monkey). Rain is your healer, she mostly handles healing and support magic. As a result you have to rely more than ever on Potions and D-Potions. And your inventory is small, and you also can’t move items from one character’s inventory to another, as tossing to that character ends up using the item.

As a result, it’s a war of attrition, but there is one other way. Every attack, physical or magic that you do to the Dark Lord rewards the cast with 4 to 5 EXP. This results in quick level ups which result in HP restoration bonuses. This is the backbone of the first two Treasure Hunter G boss battles and why they’re so effective.

After defeating him, you reach his second phase, where he has much more HP, and a smaller arena, similar to Giga Gaia’s in Chrono Trigger. Any character that fell in the previous battle is restored to 1 HP. At this point, you’re basically attacking in the hopes of accumulating enough EXP to trigger the HP bonus. Ponga basically had to do most of the work with some help from Blue as they could attack from a distance in the places covered with yellow tiles (which require less stamina per action than the red tiles).

It was frantic, it was hectic and, it’s legit one of my fave boss battles as of now, it’s the same feeling I got with Omega Weapon’s puzzle styled fight in Final Fantasy VIII and several SaGa battles. It’s challenging JRPGs done right. On top of that he heals himself for 400 HP which is annoying, but it adds to the hecticness of the encounter. Ponga was well equipped to take a good hit or two without trouble, so I guess I got lucky?

Once you finally complete the arduous task of defeating the Dark Lord, there is still Jormungandr to deal with, upon which Ponga reveals that he was the last fairy all along and Rain simply sacrificed herself to protect him. Rain is decrystallized and Ponga settles off to aid the remaining fairies scattered upon the islands. As you descend down the Yggdrasil, you’re caught by the fairies who escort you to the Jormungandr’s location, the beast decaying from not all 5 fairies being caught at the time of his unsealing.

This is a breather battle, where Red, Blue and Rain all do circa 100 HP damage to the Jormungandr with physical attacks. It can attack you for around 70 HP x2 but Rain can heal that up easily with Great Heal. It’s as if to say… You’ve earned your victory, feel the taste of being broken as shit. It’s a similar feeling to using Knights of the Round on Bizarro (Rebirth) and Safer Sephiroth (Sepher Sephiroth) or W-Summoning Hades and Knights on Ruby Weapon. It’s cathartic to see something hyped up to be a complete murder machine before, go down like a paper tiger.

So it’s with this wall of text that I say. Treasure Hunter G has possibly the best Square Soft final boss. It is a hot take to be sure, and many will disagree with me, especially since it’s developed by Sting. But the one I consider to be just as good, the Seven Heroes, relies a lot on balance issues wrt charming (human male characters are practically useless without the Somon Ring and the like).

Treasure Hunter G was the last game Square published for the Super Nintendo and man, they’ve gone out with a bang.

Published by KobaBeach

Queer nerd who likes RPGs a bunch. Not rocket propelled grenades you dummy! Subpar at Japanese but plays JRPGs in Japanese, still.

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