For of all the sad tongue or pen words, the saddest are these: “It could have been!”
The above statement comes from Maud Madder, a 19th century poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. I mention it because:
(a) It is an appropriate position on the subject of this Article; and
b) It is a rare chance to get some practical use out of an education in English literature.
This list will take a look at some of the best boss fights that players have never experienced. In addition to matches that were directly canceled, this list will also include climatic clashes whose best ideas never reached the finished product.
After all, who wouldn’t want to fight a horse that turns into a castle? Or fight an iconic cartoon villain throughout New York?
So let’s walk through the fog door of history and take a look at what could have been.
To start with, we have one of gaming’s most notorious disappearing acts – Half-Life 2’s Hydra.
The Hydra made a memorable appearance during Half-Life 2’s showcase at E3 2002, where it impaled an unhappy goon and dragged him to the watery depths before the player’s eyes. After evoking memories of the original Half-Life’s legendary Blast Pit Tentacle (now there’s a band name, if we’re ever heard one), players everywhere expected a similarly tense encounter with this watery opponent.
Unfortunately, it should not be. Valve quickly realized that even though Hydra was great to look at, it was a monumental pain in the back end to actually fight. As described in detail Half-Life 2: Raises the bar, The hydra was a massive downturn as the player began to fight against it. The book described the boss as an unsatisfactory blob monster whose tentacles killed players before they even realized what was happening and the decision was made to remove it from the game.
A Hydra that was as satisfying to fight as it was incredible to look at would have been great, but Half-Life 2 turned out pretty well regardless.
(Fun fact: Half-Life 2 gets old enough to drink this year. We’ll let it sink in before moving on to the next feature …)