Part 25: Episode XXII: In Which There is a Bullshit Boss BattleEpisode XXII: In Which There is a Bullshit Boss Battle
Verse 7: The Gnomes - Music: Formidable Enemy
"Ah, my pact-partners, the gnomes. Mere children, but they do love to inflict pain on humans. Innocence can be a deadly weapon. Come, children. It's time to play."
This boss battle fucking SUCKS! First up, I hope you like beginning a battle with a clusterfuck of small, quick, and damaging enemies surrounding you from all sides and stabbing you with sharp instruments. As that is just how the fight begins. Gnomes are basically re-skinned goblins with three times the HP, twice the damage output, and a little boost to speed just for kicks. They can also spawn by erupting from the ground anywhere in the room. There are 40 gnome children in this battle and every last one of 'em must die in order to complete the first half of the boss battle.
"Welp, that's one hurdle you won't have to worry about, eh Nowe?"
"Wha? Kinda busy fighting these...guys."
As you can see by the blue damage numbers popping out of the enemies heads, Nowe's sword attacks are ineffective against the gnome horde. It takes 3-5 combos just to kill a single one with his best sword at the moment. So, no problem you think. Yaha and Urick have a history and Urick has been established as getting a buff against monsters. We'll just have him deal with the mob.
But nope. Urick is even shittier at taking on the gnomes than Nowe. I don't think I managed to kill a single gnome during the whole fight with him. So what then?
For some wholly unexplained reason, Manah gets a buff against the gnomes during this battle. They're not magical creatures, unless you count having formed a pact (in which case I think every non-human creature in existence can potentially count) and Manah sucks against monsters normally. But for whatever reason, during this fight she's the only one capable of taking on the legion of midget miners. It took me longer than I'd care to admit to realize you're supposed to use her for the standard gnomes since...well the fragile mage girl doesn't exactly scream crowd control. It also doesn't help that the creatures can surround and demolish her tiny health bar in short order.
Every minute or so, the gnomes will all dig underground at once and this great big stone...thing...pops out of the ground and begins randomly sliding around the area. The new opponent doesn't actually cause any damage if it hits a party member. At least not physically. Likewise, we can hit the thing but it just slightly shortens the duration of this event. It doesn't cause any damage to the boss health meter either.
What this phase can do, is randomly spam rock spikes out of the ground across the battlefield. These spikes are unblockable, cannot be jumped over, possess about a half-second charge up time, have huge hit boxes (if so much as a party member's toe is over the orange rune circle, then they're getting hit) and do HUGE amounts of damage. Like, a quarter to a third of a health bar per hit, depending on the character. This sequence happens every minute during the gnome children onslaught and lasts for about 20+ seconds in which all you can do is frantically run and hope you don't get hit.
The amazingly aggravating part about this attack though is the camera. The camera focuses dead center on the rock creature's head as it moves around the arena. This means you're not only dodging randomly appearing circles of death, you're also doing so when the camera (and thus your movement as it is based relative to the camera) can jerk around randomly at any time. It is about as fun as it sounds.
"You know, Oror wasn't really my biological father, right?"
"Is that right? Well, then he just had really good taste I suppose."
"What do you see inside me, Nowe?"
"Nowe, don't listen to him. He's just trying to psyche you out."
"He's creeping you out is what he's doing."
"Yes that would be a form of psyching one out. A very disturbing form..."
"Well, you're trying to kill me with creatures meant to have little beards, funny hats, and sit in an old woman's garden. I think that bridge is well burnt now, Yaha."
"When I became a pact-partner, I was so happy. With this power, I knew I could finally have you. How tragic that you rejected me then... You were the only one who wouldn't be mine."
"I told you a hundred times my policy is bros before hoes, except in bed it's chicks before dicks. Dressing progressively girlier and having a creepy pact with a bunch of mutant miner midgets ain't getting me to swing that way."
"You say that now, but..."
"Yaha, shut up now!"
"I want to relive that exquisite moment..."
"What's he going on about now?"
"N-Nothing! Focus on the fight!"
"Oh, Urick. It wasn't 'nothing' to me."
"I said to shut up! Look, it was late and it was dark and I had WAY too much ale that night at the party. I thought the elf chick with the err...eccentric culinary tastes had gotten a dye job. And...and...why am I even discussing this?!"
"Oh, got you all flustered, do I. How sweet."
When all 40 of the lesser gnomes are slain, the real boss pops up for a brawl in round two. Turns out that the little rock thing during the spike hell intermissions was a bit bigger than he first let on. I'm curious as to how Yaha managed a pact with an entire race, plus their rock golem cousin. Perhaps elves just get package deal pacts in Drakengard's world. Arioch had a dual-pact too and she was the only elf not involved in a genocide or uhh...no, I'm pretty sure it was all elf genocide all the time for that race's brief cameos.
The mega-gnome has very few attacks, but they all HURT. Like, 1/3 to 2/3 of a health bar gone in one hit pain dealing. Its most common attack is to grab a green orb of err...something or other from the ground and lob it at our character. This one is pretty simple to avoid just so long as you don't accidentally run into a wall or a pillar (which isn't too hard given the camera still locked on the boss.) As long as we're on the move and dodge roughly at the last second before it connects, the attack won't register. It's very generous with dodging this one.
The mega-gnome's second attack is slamming the ground and producing a shockwave. This attack isn't too difficult to jump over. It's more fighting the camera's low angle it defaults to when jumping over the blast. If you linger too close to the gnome, it will do a rock bitch-slap taking off three quarters of Nowe/Urick's health or just straight up killing Manah. So, we really don't want to stay too close to this brute.
Despite Manah's aptitude in slaying gnome children, Urick is the only one who can do any sort of damage against the mega-gnome. And even then, he can only do so by performing a downward strike over the weak point on its head. So the battle at this point is an endless cycle of running over, doing a single attack, backing off, waiting for the shockwave/green goop throw, and repeating. Did I mention mega-gnome has a mountain of HP and this goes on for about 5 minutes straight? Well, mega-gnome has a mountain of HP and this part will slowly erode your soul.
Did I also mention it still does the digging underground and summoning stone spikes thing every 60 seconds? No? Well it still does that. In Phase 2, we can actually attack the head darting around the arena to both do damage and halt this attack barrage. However, this is quite risky given the randomness of the attack and the fact that getting hit with just one spike is enough to put our health critically low enough that any subsequent attack while it's above ground could potentially kill us. So we're basically forced to use a health potion. I came into this battle with eight. I left with one. After dying three times before that...
So yeah, this is a deeply painful boss and probably the runner-up for most bullshit encounter in the whole series outside Ending E of the first game. Nothing will ever be worse than Ending E of Drakengard 1. Oh yeah, this time the terrific death animation is the mega-gnome clipping straight through the floor. I get such a feeling of accomplishment with these epic duels to the death and their spectacular climaxes.
Click here for cutscene.
"When a crystal is damaged, it loses its luster. I too...was damaged...a long time ago... My luster...taken from me... Urick, I'm glad that we could meet one last time. I will never forget you..."
"Did you pay attention to NOTHING that transpired during that battle, kiddo."
"Well Manah was good at fighting the little ones and you were the one to fight the big one. I was kind of left out..."
"So you just zoned out on the sidelines?"
"Yes we were friends, but he was very different then..."
"More 'kind of effeminate like your average elf' and not...prancing about in high heel boots and a dress. And that pact. Ugh... Did you hear how he was going on about his 'children'? <sigh> I remember he showed up one morning when I had a WICKED hangover and knocked on my door at the crack of dawn all giddy about a promotion he got. So I let him in my room and next thing I know there are 20 gnomes hopping all over my shit. Do you know what it's like to have 20 dirty little munchkins bouncing on your bed and raiding your fridge and I don't even know what else screeching non-stop while my head was pounding out of my ear. That was the last straw..."
"As a knight, I never saw gratitude on the faces of the civilians. We did nothing to deserve their thanks. I feel like I've accomplished something at last."
"Manah, I will stay with you. But the knights will be strengthening their defenses. We need to gather more information, and quickly."
"Yes that is a good idea. We should return to the City of Rust."
"Right. Cities and towns are where people gather in search of information, after all. Let's go."
"Right... Guess I'll come too! Not that anyone asked... <sigh> Today's youth..."
Verse 7 Cutscenes
Yaha Concept Art - For all your shirtless skinny elf needs.
Lieutenant Yaha and the Gnomes - Glad every last one of them are dead.