Star Ocean 2 is known for pitting players against the toughest bosses in a role-playing game. However, the music in one of the last battles sets the stage for a major showdown.
The loud synthesizers and the blazing fast drums in the song "Mighty Blow" throws people into a messy, epic battle like no other.
For anyone who hasn't played Star Ocean 2, the final bosses are the 10 Wise Men. Apparently, these guys were so powerful that they decided to name themselves after Jewish deities and angels. Out of all of the Wise Men, Michael and Haniel (originally Decus and Vesper in the PS1 version for the U.S.) are two of the toughest.
I'd cosplay as the guy on the left, if I could actually set my skin on fire safely.
More importantly, they are the coolest-looking badasses in the entire game. Haniel wears an electronic headset, looking more like a Seiyan warrior from Dragonball Z. Michael's skin is almost entirely on fire, making him look like the Human Torch with a metal body suit.
When the main characters approach the two bosses, Haniel's ready to rumble. However, Michael is cool enough to tell Haniel to chill out before the big battle. Thus begins a long exposition, in which Michael brags about how weak the main characters are. Of course, Haniel decides to make the bragging session even more dramatic by trying to sound like an eighth-grader reciting Shakespeare.
The opening dialogue is completely over-the-top nonsense. The battle, on the other hand, is a hellish experience. From the very beginning, the two guys start performing long, ultra-powerful attacks. They can also shoot beams that can literally tear characters apart with ridiculous combos of damage.
The theme music, "Mighty Blow," only accentuates the intensity of this spectacular riot. The composer, Motoi Sakuraba, had the nerve to fill this entire piece with dissonant synthesizer melodies and speedy punk rock drum beats. Everything is incredibly loud, but it actually helps to rile players up. The adrenaline-pumping music keeps people on edge, so that they can react to every unfair attack that comes their way.
As awful as this battle is, the experience really thrusts the main characters into one of the most exciting series of battles ever to grace a Japanese video game. These types of titles always have their own share of excessively dramatic, anime-style fights, but Star Ocean 2 is one of the first to truly replicate the unbelievable despair throughout the entire battle.
Some people will inevitably hate this game for its absolutely unbearable boss fights. However, this battle is an incredible exercise in frustration that people have to experience for themselves. I also really have to thank the composer, Motoi Sakuraba, for setting the mood to keep me plodding through the end of Star Ocean 2. It still is one of my favorite role-playing adventures and the ending is well worth the extremely challenging effort.
What are some of your favorite Star Ocean moments? What other boss battle songs are memorable in role-playing games? Feel free to write about them in the comments below.