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Gamasutra

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News & Blogs

The End

As the end of the year comes upon us, Gamasutra is rounding up its most notable articles of the year, including an opinion on what is perhaps Metal Gear Solid 3's greatest boss battle, and indeed one of the most memorable bosses ever: The End.

MGS3 is a favorite in part because of the "sheer elegance and restraint it displays as an entry in a series known for overt and often strange authorial self-indulgence."

In the confrontation with The End:

The battle quickly becomes a tense, psychological game of cat-and-mouse -- find The End before his preternatural sniper's eye finds you, the pair of you stalking one another across massive areas. The best boss fights ask the player to make use of skills he or she has accumulated thus far in the game and this one's no exception: Players will have had to master the camouflage system and hunting for stamina in order to survive what can become a battle across realtime hours, and use tools like thermal goggles and a directional mic to stalk The End's location.

...The game has one simple mechanic: an object on the screen (either a laser light or a mouse or, in the latest update, a butterfly) moves around the screen in lifelike patterns, enticing the cat to touch it. Cats are scored on their performance, and the game even incorporates Game Center, to make sure kitty's best scores are saved for all to see.

From Mass Effect to Skyrim, modern RPGs go to great lengths to merge linear, carefully crafted narrative with dynamic, emergent gameplay. Hundreds of thousands of man-hours are poured into these incredibly complex works, all in the effort to create a believable, cohesive story while giving players a sense of freedom in the way they play their game. The results of these efforts have been best-loved play experiences video games have offered.

But the goal of marrying linear narrative to dynamic gameplay is not out of reach for developers that don't have the resources to create such complex systems. No game shows this better than the classic RPG Chrono Trigger. Crafted by Square's "Dream Team" of RPG developers, Chrono Trigger balances developer control with player freedom using carefully-designed mechanics and a modular approach to narrative.

...This has been a story about a girl and a planet. Because first and foremost, Super Metroid is a game about exploration, like so many others. What is amazing is how it approaches the experience of exploration with the same love and care as a writer would approach a story.

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