When it is impossible to Save: surviving all the mutilations of the Crow Mauler in Fear & Hunger [Boss Battle]

Saving anywhere is a luxury of modern game, but it was never really common in old-school JRPGs, for example. Having fixed save-points would of course make the game harder by planning good the gaming sessions, putting a lot of care in your strategy to survive till the next save, or else you would be cursed to repeat entire sections. Some games push this even further, almost to a masochistic level. Permadeath is surely the worst case, erasing your save files after dying. Other games will also try different strategies. For example, Fear & Hunger will try really hard to make your journey a nightmare.

The save point for the first half of the game is a bed hidden inside a cell. If at the beginning this will look like a lucky event, after saving for the first time, the situation will get worse. Each tentative of saving has 50% possibilities of triggering a deadly fight against a really tough boss: the Crow Mauler. The abomination has the head of a crow, with a really exalted expression, on top of a muscled human body. The left arm is fused with a spiked mace, which of course is used as his main weapon. Official lore of the game describe the Crow Mauler as something that “was set on purifying the dungeon from filth and deprivement”. This deadly creature will easily wreck an unprepared party, and it is one of the most difficult bosses of the game. But only by defeating the Crow Mauler, the player will be able to use the save point without any more worries.

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However, the fight is a real challenge, and surviving without casualties or deadly injuries is an almost impossible dream. Because the Crow has several nasty surprises to show to the player, so many ways to kill or mutilate the characters. The huge mace is for sure the main source of damage of the Crow Mauler. This scourge can inflict an insane amount of damages, and can easily kill a character with a couple of blows. Each attack has also a really high probability of breaking bones, a negative status effect which will permanently reduce the maximum HPs of a character. Without any possibility of healing it for the rest of the game. Also his arm-mace has an insane amount of HP, making practicality a waste of turn trying to cut it. But if you think that this is the most deadly attack, you are terribly wrong.

The Crow Mauler’s beak is not there as a simple animal vestige, but it is in fast his most dangerous weapon. The beak has a really high probability of hitting a character, resulting in… an instant death. With a single attack the Crow can one shot whichever character, by pecking away his head in a gory geyser of blood. Let’s also remember that as any mutilation, death in Fear & Hunger is permanent. So even if you can finally kill the Crow, there is a critically high probability of losing at least one character.

Sadly for the players, death and broken bones are not the only permanent statuses that the Crow Mauler can inflict. The creature can summon a flock of crows to strike the eyes of the main character. The damage is pretty ridiculous, but a mysterious symbol of an eye-patch will appear as status, while a threatening message will also describe how the flock of crows clawed your eyes. But, apparently, there are no consequences of this attack and the battle can continue as usual. Let’s imagine that, after a tough fight the player, manages to defeat the Crow. The moment after the battle, the screen will be completely black. The character can still move and examine, but in the absolute darkness. Could this be a bug? Of course no, the main character was blinded by the crows, and there is no way to revert this, since has any other mutilation in the game thus is also permanent. The only way to prevent this status is by wearing a complete helmet. There is absolutely no way of playing the game with this affliction, so the only way is to load a save to try again to fight the Crow Mauler. After a tough fight and an impossible win, the last sarcastic joke of the Crow Mauler is to let you believe that you won, while without eyes, this is just another burning defeat, even if the monster is dead.

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Also if one Crow Mauler is not enough, the very late game has an unpleasant surprise. The last secret dungeon, and also the most difficult level of the game, hides several pits, which will throw the party in an organic basement. If falling in this viscid and damaging underworld was not enough as punishment, this place is also the hunting ground of a two-headed Crow Mauler. Even a well prepared party will find its hell in this fight, since double heads means also double beaks.

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The Crow Mauler is a deadly adversary, and a sadistic trap for unprepared players. He will strike you when you least expect it, when you feel that finally you found a resting place where to Save. Every tentative against this monster is a breathless challenge, hoping to defeat it quickly, before having casualties or losing the eyes. The Crow Mauler embodies the atmosphere of Fear & Hunger, a dark, hopeless and unfair world.

Most dark, scary and creepy bosses from Castlevania saga

Castlevania is one of the most famous platform RPG, so famous that, together with Metroid, created the genre metroidvania. The gothic setting has some horror elements, especially in the design of the enemies or in some specific sections. Demons, skeletons and giant abominations are classic creatures, but mixed with a twisted Japanese design conferring to Castlevania a really interesting and wide set of enemies. The bosses are especially interesting, huge and terrible foes sometimes bigger than the screen itself. If some battle are against very regular creatures, some of the bosses are nightmarish beasts which could be proper enemies of a horror game.

In the following article you can find the most scary and creepy bosses of Castlevania saga, according to my taste. At the end it will be also a boss from the recent Bloodstained, spiritual sequel of the almost deceased Castlevania saga. Be ready to jump into nightmarish castles, where the vampires are the last of your problems.

  • Balore – Dawn of Sorrow

A hulking abomination with a green skin, wired teeth and a metal mask surrounding its head. The boss design is the classic “creature” from a gothic setting, probably the subject of an experiment, but with an overall disturbing design. The creepy monster uses the brute force against the main character, unleashing the fury of his giant fists.

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  • Puppet master – Dawn of Sorrow

Maybe it doesn’t look from this image, but this is where the nightmares are born. A huge wooden puppet, mixing into the design a sort of skull together with a spider, hanging from the roof. The Puppetmaster’s eyes move in random directions, bulging out in a really disturbing way. It also has a giant mouth full of pointed teeth. The fight is also really horror-oriented, thanks to its disturbing attacks. It will often regurgitate from its mouth half-dozen of flying puppets, which will attack the player. But the creature has also another peculiar and deadly attack. It will create a puppet clone of the main character, and it will try to push it inside an iron maiden. If not destroyed on time, the player will exchange place with the puppet, receiving a huge damage from the iron maiden.

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  • Menace Dawn of Sorrow

Final boss of the game, the creature is a really colossal zombie, one of the biggest bosses of the saga. The design is full of details, interesting colours and forms. Organic and inorganic merged together in a really scary giant. Human faces are morphing like organs in its body, for example in the mouth or in the knee. Also the skeletal face shows an extra set of jaws, just to highlight its feral behaviour. The boss will principally use its size to smash the player, but will also summon from his body creepy flying parasites.

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  • Gergoth – Dawn of Sorrow

A sort of zombie dinosaur, and one of the most scary bosses of Castlevania. The skin is almost melted, probably because the undead body is rotting. There are wounds and bones opening everywhere, while the tale is missing a half. But the most terrifying element is only shown during its beam attack. The creature will pull off the skin from its face, revealing the muscle and the bones above it, before unleashing a deadly beam. The fight takes place in a very tiny space, and it is difficult to avoid all its attacks, especially a cloud of toxic gas.

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  • Eligor – Order of Ecclesia

A colossal centaur protected by a heavy armour, and full of weapons. The monster is like a gothic version of a tank or an aircraft, heavily protected and a fully equipped. The most creepy details is that the armour is covering something organic beneath, something probably made of twisted meat. The only apparent detail of the abomination lurking under the seal of the armour is a giant eye in the helmet. The design is simple, but effective to create the idea of “something wrong”. The boss is practically an entire level by itself, and the player can jump around while destroying the many weapons and avoiding blades and arrows.

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  • Maneater – Order of Ecclesia

At a first glance, this creature is only a mass of skulls with their tongues out. However, the truth is far more grotesque and disturbing. The tongues are instead the body of huge parasites, which inhabits the giant skulls. The boss fight takes place inside a huge chapel entirely made of skulls and bones, just to add another creepy detail. The boss is sadly a quite standard fight, and will mainly attack by regurgitating bones through its mouths.

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  • Behemoth – Portrait of Ruin

The upper half body of a Minotaur, horribly cut in the middle. The organs are exposed, as part of the spinal chord. The creature will drag around in the floor, in an almost pity way, trying to charge at the player. There is something almost sad in the torments that this creature probably endured, but combined with its aggressive behaviour , it creates a really creepy boss.

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  • Scylla – Symphony of the Night

A water monster with a very peculiar design, far from the Greek creature that inspired it. The monster is composed of a naked female figure, fused at her belly with 3 wolf heads, which then evolve into a mass of tentacle-like snakes. The design is not only innovative and bizarre, but also a bit disturbing in how so different animal motifs are combined together. The boss has many independent attacks, coming from the different parts, and she is also able to raise the level of the water, trying to drown the main character.

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  • Granfaloon – Symphony of the Night

A giant sphere composed entirely of dead bodies. Of course this abomination could only be the final boss of the underworld section of the Castle. The reality is that the amalgam of bodies is only a shell protecting the real creature, which is composed of tentacles, able to shoot energetic rays. The most creepy detail is that while the player is damaging and removing the shell, the dead bodies will fall on the ground to attack the player, like a rain of tormented souls.

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  • Beelzebub – Symphony of the Night

This is really where the nightmares were born. Beelzebub is a boss that will surely stick in the memories of any player, especially for the gross and disgusting design, more than for the batte itself. Basically he is a giant rotten corpse, hanging and dismembered by several hooks. The creature is huge and divided in many body parts, which should be destroyed to finally kill this grotesque demon. Even if the main boss is virtually harmless, many giant flies will protect their master by attacking the player. Nothing prepared the player, at the time, for the vision of this gory and grotesque abomination, which for sure can be considered the most disturbing boss of any Castlevania.

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  • Special Mention: Bael – Bloodstained

Bloodstained is not an official Castlevania, but it is the recent spiritual sequel made by the original creator of the saga, after Konami abandoned it. The true final boss really deserve an inclusion in this article. A ring composed by three heads connected together by long spiral necks. The first head is a zomb-ish devil, with a creepy expression on his face. The other heads are a hellish cat and a disgusting giant toad, both fused together to create this aberrant abomination. The demon lord can cast many magics, can create a lava pool, attack with a chainsaw-like tongue, and can also bite the main character.

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The final boss of the obscure Dreamcast game D2: a battle against psychedelic effects and sensory deprivation [Boss Battle]

D2 is an obscure and really peculiar game released only in Japan and US. Sequel of the mysterious adventure D, developed by the eccentric Japanese developer Kenji Eno, D2 tried to combine survival horror and JRPG, creating one of the most bizarre game ever. The main combat used a first point perspective, like a modern FPS, with the freedom to move the weapon and actively target different body parts of the enemies, while the main character was standing still. The plot is really twisted, bizarre and complex, mixing together a deadly virus, mutants, clones, eldritch abominations and robots. The game was anyway really mature and disturbing, with some scenes censored in the western release. Here I will talk about the peculiar final boss battle, so there will be light SPOILERS regarding the plot of D2.

The final boss is a mysterious and ancient entity called the Shadow. The creature probably came to the Earth inside meteor, maybe the same that destroyed the dinosaurs. The Shadow wants to annihilate every form of life, acting as an opposite force to Mother Nature. To avoid more unnecessary spoilers, I will just say that the fight with the Shadow is not only the key point in D2 plot, but a very different battle.

The Shadow is an incoherent mass of purple flesh and eyes. The weird abomination is not really intimidating, but more bizarre. The eyes are constantly moving, watching in different directions. The creature has strange glyph and structures, like an angelic halo surrounding its body, highlighting its divine role of purifier of planet Earth. To add strangeness to the battle, the background during the fight is an amalgam of flashing colors, like if everyone is under LSD. This creates a more alien and uncomprehending atmosphere, since the player is now fighting a being out of the ordinary logic.

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To be a battle against an ancient and twisted God, the fight with the Shadow is, at least at the beginning, really simple and anticlimactic. The boss can be damaged by shooting at any part of its body, but will receive more damage by shooting to the eyes. The creature is also motionless and will do nothing to avoid the bullets. After many fights with quick and unpredictable bosses, very difficult to track and damage, the final boss is just a motionless lump of flesh? The Shadow has only very few attacks, usually throwing a lighting bolt at the player. The animation during the attack is quiet bizarre, with the creature shaking and twisting its body, surrounded by lightnings, before shooting. The psychedelic background is also not helping to make the fight more comprehensible.

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The fight is easy and predictable. Surely interesting, at least for the trippy scenario, not quiet common as battlefield.¬† The fight will suddenly evolve when the Shadow will start to switch off the senses of the player, one by one. This will not affect the main character as a negative effect or negative buffs, very common in JRPG, but will directly affect the player. The first sense to be affected will be the sight. The screen will fade to complete black, except for bullets and health meter. This is quiet different from the common “Blind” status in many RPGs, which is usually associated with a higher chance to miss the attacks. In this case, it is the player that is completely blind and this will be reflected directly in the gameplay. The player can still use the hearing to understand if he is hitting the Shadow or not, but the fight will get more complicated. Here you can have an idea of how fighting a boss while blinded would look like.

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After the sight, the Shadow will destroy your hearing. After that, not only the screen is completely black, but also without any sound to guide the bullets. You can’t see and hear nothing, something quiet disturbing since the Shadow will continue to strike you with electrical bolts. At least there is still a way to hurt it and fight back, while healing. After the hearing, the Shadow will take away your ability to move. Now things are even more challenging, because you have no way to fight it back. You are simply there, blind and deaf, without any way to harm the boss. Also the health points will drop down to 1. The only way to survive is by healing really quickly, while using the items to stay alive. Blind, deaf and paralyzed, there is no more way to fight it back.

A voice in your head will change the dark fate of the battle against the Shadow. A new item can be used from the inventory, revealing a Flower. The power of Nature will help to fight back the negative energies of the Shadow, regenerating all the senses. The player can now fight again at full power. With all the senses back, the last part of the fight  is easy and straightforward, as at the beginning.

The final boss of D2 is really weird and anticlimactic. An easy battle, static and boring at the beginning, but with an unexpected twist affecting directly the senses of the player. This is more a puzzle than a proper battle, but the confusion during the fight when the screen fades to black for the first time is still really unreachable, altering the concept of “negative effect” that is usually quiet static in JRPGs. The psychedelic background, full of lights and colours contribute to create a unique setting for a really bizarre and peculiar boss.

The epic boss fight against the Burner in Parasite Eve 2 [Boss Battle]

Parasite Eve saga is still the best conjunction between survival-horror and Japanese RPG. The second chapter was not very well accepted at the release, offering a more “action” gameplay than the original title, causing rage between hardcore fans. In my opinion, the critiques where quiet harsh and Parasite Eve 2 is a proper horror game with interesting and tactical role-play combat, lot deeper than many JRPGs.

Especially the enemies design and the bosses made a jump forward in term of design and proper battle, compared to the first chapter. Between many amazing battles, the most memorable boss fight is for sure against the huge Burner. The creature is a giant and lethal abomination, with a flamethrower in his mouth. Since for size and color he could be similar to an elephant, several official pages wrongly pointed out that he is the actual mutation of an elephant. With the help of a translator and the official Japanese guide, it came out that the Burner is an actual human with an abnormally mutated pineal gland, which allowed him to grow up uncontrolled. The flamethrower in his mouth was installed to help him to easily assimilate food by burning his preys, regarding of their size.

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The Burner appeared in the plot suddenly and unexpectedly. After a difficult day, the protagonist of the game, Aya, will decide to take a relaxing shower. For the huge disappointment of the teenagers at the time, the relaxing evening of Aya would be ruined by the night arrival of the Burner. The colossal creature will attack suddenly and in plain night, directly after a cutscene. The players at the time were suddenly shocked: from heaven to hell in few seconds.

The battle was long and epic. The main scenario was the second floor of a motel, a high-ground that would help to hit the face of the titanic Boss. The weak point is easy: the head of the monster. However, the battle is everything except than easy. The Burner will use his long arms to smash and grab, and his able to kill the player with a couple of shots. These attacks are difficult to avoid, due to the long reach of the monster. Of course, the Burner will also use his iconic weapon: the flamethrower. Also in this case, the attack will cover a huge section of the battlefield. Only by running quickly, the player would have a chance to survive. Shot after shot, the Burner will start to go down slowly from his huge amount of HP.

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However, the monster has a last secret trick. He will grab the player, lifting him from the ground. Before being smashed against the wall, probably dying, the player will have the possibility to shot the monster while in his hand. This is a risky but rewarding strategy, since every shot will deal more damage to the Burner.

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The fight against the Burner is not only one of the toughest and most spectacular in Parasite Eve 2, but it is also crucial to decide the ending of the game. The battle has an internal timer of 3 minutes. The player needs to inflict a lot of damages to the monster before the hidden timer runs out, reducing his health to around 1/4. Failing to do so will cause the monster to escape, but killing a secondary character during the cutscene. This will locked-out the best ending of Parasite Eve 2. Only by fighting good and focusing on attacking, the player would be able to kill the Burner before the timer runs out.

Parasite Eve 2 is a great combination between RPG and survival-horror , with some great boss battles. The Burner is only one of the many great bosses in this incredible old gem. More information about the boss in the official wiki: https://parasiteeve.fandom.com/wiki/Burner