Your favorite "first boss" in a jrpg?

jonthefox

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Of all the classic jrpgs you've played, which "first boss" did you find the coolest / most well designed? What made it so well-designed in your opinion? What can game devs take away when considering the purpose of a first boss in their game? Looking forward to hearing what people think!
 

mathmaster74

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@jonthefox I struggle to even think of any JRPGs I've played. There haven't been many that ever really appealed to me for some reason. Two that got me interested were the unique strategy-based combat system of Enchanted Arms and the deep-story emphasis of Lost Odyssey. The first bosses weren't memorable in either game, so I looked them up just to be sure... In Lost Odyssey, it's a Magma Tank. Two turrets, keep alternating, use defend when it gets ready to unload, heal as needed, pretty basic. In Enchanted Arms its a Fire Guardian. I don't even remember how to fight it, it's been so long. Why do I even bring it up, then? Because what I did remember about Enchanted Arms was boss #2 - Queen of Ice (the first real boss, imo). Here you have the big bad and you fight it at practically the start of the real game after the tutorial component. You lose, of course, but the idea is that you know you're supposed to spend the game leveling up and developing skills so at the final battle you stand a chance to win the rematch. Really makes you want that revenge. Especially since she kills one of your party members and turns another to her side, forcing you to rebuild your party from scratch and learn the "ally crafting" system of the game. There's also nothing like the cutscene showing her break free from the sealed ward...and it's all supposedly because you woke her up, so there's that wonderful "gotta clean up my mess" hook too. :hhappy: Note: Depending on the version of the game you play, you actually fight this battle as a prologue before the tutorial in a dream sequence that gets revisited when you meet for real later, so...yeah...first boss there for sure.
 

_Shadow_

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I think the first boss of Final Fantasy 7 was great. It was a lesson on how mechanics might work on a boss fight. If it has a tail up, hurting it will hurt you. Use the Wait command, we had a reason to put that into gameplay. Great way to make a sneaky tutorial in game!
 

shockra

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FF6 is a good example of a solid first boss. It teaches that just because you CAN hit an enemy doesn't mean you should. I was maybe 9 or 10 the first time I fought it, so I didn't grasp the concept of not attacking it, so I kept getting fried by lightning. Couldn't beat it at the time, which meant the rest of the game likely would've slaughtered me. Still, it's a good teaching tool, and something to think about in boss design.
 

_Shadow_

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I can't remember the FF6 first boss. All I can remember is that damn Ultros. Funniest boss I ever had encountered that far.
 

Cryranos

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I can't remember the FF6 first boss. All I can remember is that dayum Ultros. Funniest boss I ever had encountered that far.
The first bosses of FFIV (Mist Dragon), FFV (Wing Raptor), FFVI (Whelk/Ymir), and FFVII (Guard Scorpion) are functionally the same "don't attack when it does the thing." Personally, I can't stand them just because I think it was laziness to make the first boss effectively the same FOUR GAMES IN A ROW, but I do believe that it was a pretty good idea in 1991.

I think a good first boss(TM) drives home the importance of the core mechanics of the game that were hopefully introduced in the first dungeon(TM). Two examples:

Looking more recently (in comparison), I thought Forneus, the first boss of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, was really good, considering the area where he appears has a relatively strong demon who uses the element he's weak against (and a save point right next to his room (which turns out to be a relatively rare occurrence in that game). He teaches the player that this elemental thing is REALLY IMPORTANT and you will not survive if you don't take advantage of it, just as Matador, an infamous early boss, teaches the player that stat buffs and debuffs can mean the difference between life and death.

Even more recently and only tangentially a "classic" JRPG, I just got into Dark Souls (which is more of a wrpg but it's from a japanese company) where the first two bosses' attacks have big, obvious blind spots but otherwise do huge damage and you have the opportunity to do plunging attacks from high ground, but if you linger too long they will wreck you before you get a chance. They really introduce the core concept of most boss fights in the game: they will give you the tools you need to beat them if you pay attention but will punish you if you don't use those tools effectively or if you thing that using those tools means you can let your guard down.
 

DRG

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My favorite first boss in a JRPG is Kamoshida from Persona 5. He's manipulative, a jerk, and a pervert. He caused a student to commit suicide and leaked that the main character had a criminal record and that one of the party members doesn't have a father. Our heroes and the player have every reason to hate the dude which makes beating him up feel real good. Not to mention the great music.
 

EthanFox

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My favourite JRPG first boss is probably the one in Vagrant Story, where the player fights a wyvern during the first semi-interactive cutscene sequence. The fight itself isn't amazing in gameplay terms, but the cinematic feel of it was something else. Vagrant Story, along with Metal Gear Solid, was among the early wave of cinematic console games which, unlike Final Fantasy or Resident Evil, made a very strong attempt to keep as much of the game in real-time 3D as possible, without jumping to a pre-rendered cutscene. This made the game and narrative sequences pretty seamless.

...

I need to play Vagrant Story again, brb

I think the first boss of Final Fantasy 7 was great. It was a lesson on how mechanics might work on a boss fight. If it has a tail up, hurting it will hurt you. Use the Wait command, we had a reason to put that into gameplay. Great way to make a sneaky tutorial in game!

Ironically enough though, isn't that quite infamous? IIRC, the dialogue doesn't clearly explain it due to a translation issue, and also, I'm not sure you ever have to do this again in the game. Could be wrong though; it's been 23 years since I played it!!
 

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@EthanFox I think a Jenova project or needed that. Maybe Hojo? I can't recall either and Sephiroth didn't needed that in any of his forms, so yeah, a good opportunity to use the mechanic on the final boss gone wasted. T
 

Grunwave

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Garland/Chaos: FFi

He is difficult to beat at level one. You are incentivized to level up and explore the area.
The story-line aspect is the real hook though. The same guy ends up being the final boss of the game.

Green Dragon in Dragon Warrior/Quest One

He literally blocks your ability to move-on to the next area. His dungeon is challenging. You then constantly cross thru the dungeon as the game progresses.
 

Mako_Sharknado

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Caruban in Legend of Legaia

There's nothing special about him or his fight in terms of mechanics, but as a first boss he feels super threatening and kinda unsettling, and that unsettling, almost horror-y tone is an important part of the game's identity

I guess compared to a lotta other JRPGs, Caruban feels like a legit escalation in terms of threat compared to regular enemies, whereas a lotta other first bosses tend to just feel like the last part of the game's tutorial or something
 

AsuranFish

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If the footage is as good as it looks - the first boss of the Final Fantasy VII Remake will blow them all away.

Talk about starting with a bang.
 

Korthulhu

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I agree with a lot of what I'm seeing so far on this thread; the best first bosses are the ones that effectively drive home the gameplay mechanics and what you should expect moving forward while also being fun. Dark Souls was mentioned, and I think that series is a good example - regardless of whether or not it constitutes as a JRPG or a WRPG. In the first Dark Souls you had the Asylum Demon, in the second Dark Souls you had The Last Giant, and in the third Dark souls you had Iudex Gundyr...all of whom are large, intimidating, and will kill you dead in a blink if you haven't gotten a firm grasp of the mechanics up to their encounters. I don't know that those are my favorite first bosses per se', but they are all memorable and fit their roles perfectly.
 

Accendor

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Castoth from Legends of Gaia. Got the game when I was 7 or 8 and could not beat that guy until I was 12 because I was too stupid to understand how leveling works.
 

10kk

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In FF9 I would consider the first boss the giant plant demon in Evil Forest. Upon killing it, it begins petrifying the entire forest outward from itself at a high speed. You're put on an on-rails, but exciting escape sequence getting out of the forest. It sets up a shocking change in what was otherwise a calm and steady trawl through a mysterious forest. It also involves the half-death of a significant character who you can return to, optionally, to bring back to life from the petrification.

The boss fight itself is not exactly the most exciting thing. But, having a meaningful effect occur to an entire area of the world once it dies, that is very memorable and part of the experience. It also sets up an objective much later on in the game to return to, which is always a nice thing for RPGs, reasons to re-visit locations at a later time.
FF7's first boss follows a similar thematic and sequence, and was very intense, I am just biased as my first JRPG was FF9.
 

Frogboy

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Garland in FF1 is the one that always sticks in my mind. There's nothing really spectacular about him, especially by today's standards, but it was the first time I ever remember facing a boss character early in an RPG. Most games before that only had one or two bosses throughout the entire game. He also looked rediculously cool (in 1987).
 

DJK1NG_Gaming

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Ifrit from FFVIII. Force Your Way just make the boss battles in FFVIII amazing and intense even if they are easy.
 

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