4 Heroes of Light and Why Asmodeus is a Crappy Boss
June 22, 2015

My quest in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light nearly met with tragedy...

Well, okay, I'm being hyperbolic. It was more like a rage-quit that would have lasted two days at most. You see, up until recently, I've been stomping most of the competition. I hit a few doable snags, but mostly toppled bosses without much issue. Even Rolan--and god, was that an epic battle--fell without too many complications.

I expected my winning streak to continue once the world plunged into darkness. I figured that with the prospect of unbridled exploration I would have the opportunity to take advantage of the choicest loot and bolster my team into an almost unfair killing squad.

...then I met Asmodeus.

We all know how RPGs work: every move you make in combat relies on a virtual die roll. Your job is to utilize whatever means before you (weapons, armor, spells, buffs, etc.) to sway those rolls in your favor. Now and then developers like to toss in foes who can monkey with the numbers and make rolling in your favor a trial. Rolan was a good example of that kind of boss. He was tough and possessed some truly frightening skills and spells, but ultimately had enough of a rhythm that you could build a pretty decent strategy for defeating him without looking up obscure abilities or advantages.

A few days ago, I ran afoul of a corrupt king who turned out to be a demon in disguise: Asmodeus. Asmo had an impressive resume, I must say:

-He looks like a cross between Orco from Masters of the Universe and vocalist Papa Emeritus from the metal band Ghost.
-He knows a few punishing, multi-target spells.
-He can turn you to stone with Break or even outright kill you with the Death spell.
-He's got a clear weakness that isn't difficult to exploit. Just add ice!
-He loves to silence white mages (wear a Silence Cape and he'll waste a move).
-He can cancel your entire party's Psych Up status using Moonlight Curse.

You know what else he has? Sidewinder: a special attack that inflicts earth-based damage (if I'm not mistaken) and causes arbitrary status ailments. Oh, and it targets your entire party, leaving you a broken mess. You could get off easy, assuming you only receive afflictions you can easily deal with like poison or silence on non-magical characters. Most of the time, though, you end up with your elementalist cursed, your black mage silenced, your white mage in some way unable to heal, and any other damaging warriors paralyzed, asleep, or confused.

Did I mention that Asmodeus also attacks twice per round, sometimes hitting you with two Sidewinders?

Did I also say that his attacks are random? Like, very random...

Basically, your success hinges on how much he uses Sidewinder. During some fights I had with the guy, he'd spam it as if it's his ordinary physical attack and my party would drop before I could even put a dent in his HP. I had a few runs, though, where he spammed Moonlight Curse, which really doesn't do much when it's used twice in a row. I had him on the ropes twice because of this, before succumbing to his lightning spells. Those occasions went as a proper boss battle should.

Defeating Asmodeus is like winning the lottery. You have to hope he doesn't use Sidewinder at all, which is possible but not all that likely. Were it not for Sidewinder, he'd be a breeze. With Sidewinder, though, he's a pain in the ass. Such is the case with bosses who rely on multi-status effect maneuvers.

To me, this Asmodeus is an example of lazy boss design. Rather than opting for a tricky but doable pattern or set of abilities, the developers slapped one devastating ailment-based attack on him, gave him a few standard magic spells, and then called it a day. The worst is when developers create bosses like this when accessories that cancel any and all status effects are easy to obtain. Honestly, I'm glad that wasn't the case with 4 Heroes, even if it would have made the battle significantly easier. I just think that makes for brainless strategizing and boring boss fights. Frustrating bosses are bad enough...

In the end, I defeated Asmodeus because he used Sidewinder only twice. Not because of an effective strategy, not because I out-die rolled him, but because he neglected to use one attack. Please, Square Enix, no more boss encounters like this. I liked the fight against Rolan because it reminded me of battling Magus in Chrono Trigger. Give me more of that!

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Feedback
honestgamer honestgamer - June 22, 2015 (07:13 PM)
I don't remember having all those troubles with any boss. The toughest part of the game for me was the monstrously huge last dungeon area, with all of the warps and such, but mostly that was because I had to catalog it all for the guide I was writing. I'm glad Asmodeus didn't wreck my day...
overdrive overdrive - June 22, 2015 (09:30 PM)
And I read this just a day after finding out that many of those boss fights that appear in the village you're remaking in Bravely Default are legacy ones from this game. Note to self: don't be eager to fight this one whenever I get to a high enough level to last against the tougher ones.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - June 23, 2015 (12:55 AM)
git gud

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