Deidara

        Sometimes, final bosses are simply too hard. And that’s to be expected, right? They’re the final challenge, the last hurdle, and having faced extreme difficulty before you ultimately defeat them only makes the victory itself more satisfying. At least, that’s usually the idea…
        Today I’ll be talking about Deidara from Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3. First of all, the Clash of Ninja series itself is a Naruto fighting game series, which, unlike my preferred Ultimate Ninja series, sticks a little closer to the fighting game norm. The latter has characters acting more like ninjas- running up walls, over water, jumping from one area to another, using more ninjutsu attacks and so forth. Clash of Ninja, however, works more like a normal fighter with ninja touches; little touches compared to getting the whole brush.
        They can use the Substitution Jutsu to vanish and dodge attacks, if they have enough energy, which is gained by blocking or connecting with attacks. Using actual ninjutsu is generally reserved for finishing moves, called Secret Techniques, though this particular game that I’ll be talking about does have a little more variance in energy use and in those finishers, most if not all characters having two. Everyone also has some form of projectile, but most of the fighting is up close.
        All that covered, let’s move onto the boss himself. Deidara is part of the Akatsuki organization, which plots to capture Naruto and those like him who have demons sealed inside them, for their own mysterious and evil reasons. Deidara first appears when he captures Garra, a friend of Naruto’s, and takes him back to their current base. Naruto and his friends rush to help him, but are ultimately too late; Garra’s demon is extracted, killing him, and Deidara himself escapes, leaving his coworker Sasori to deal with their intruders. Two of the protagonists, Sakura and Granny Chiyo, stayed behind to fight him, while the others chased Deidara.
        This results in a series of battles with the two villains, switching from one group to the other, concluding in Sasori’s death and Deidara escaping with his life. In a way, both of them take the final boss slot, and that is why I’ll cover them both- though Sasori is certainly my favorite by far, and I’ll cover him at another time.
        First, Deidara. He is a bit of an oddity for this game. As I said, close range fighting is how things tend to work, and Deidara can fight up close, but long range attacks are his forte. He specializes in producing animated clay figures that do his bidding and explode, allowing him to strike from a distance. He generally uses quick birds and slower crawling spiders, but his Subsitution Jutsu also makes an explosive figure, allowing him to damage enemies while he dodges, and he can strike in midair with a large bird he rides on, which, naturally, explodes as well. If that wasn’t bad enough, he can detonate his creations remotely instead of waiting for the player to run into them, allowing him to strike indirectly, and this explosion can potentially be much bigger, depending on how many of his minions are around at the time.
        His first finishing move, like most in this game, strike the opponent with a punch to send them into a cutscene of sorts. In this case he covers the enemy in his clay spiders, which explode all over them. His other move can be used while in midair, dropping a large bomb on his foes that covers a large area- but this at least can be blocked.
        As you might imagine from all this, he is a difficult opponent to face, since he likes to keep you at bay with his animated artistic arsenal. Still, once one does get in close, they can keep him in a combo for the most part. However, any character can escape from a combo if they use the Substitution Jutsu, and he is no exception, allowing him to escape from your attacks and gain more distance. However, his projectiles do not clash with that of other characters, allowing you to stun him with those and hopefully get in close, and of course there are other ways of reaching him. He is far from invincible.
        At least, normally. The final battle changes that. You see, during the previous battles they had been chasing Deidara not just to capture him, but because he was flying off with Garra as well. They manage to catch up to the criminal, but he escapes regardless, leaving behind Garra’s lifeless body. Seeing his friend dead, Naruto slips into a terrible rage, transforming due to the demon inside him. This “One-Tailed Naruto” is obviously very powerful, and played a bit differently from regular Naruto, moving quicker, having the ability to teleport behind enemies, pop up from under them for a sneak attack, and replacing his projectiles for a savage claw strike.
        All of which normally I’d love, but… well, to quote Kakashi in this game, “You’re a close combat fighter. He excels at long range. This makes him your worst enemy.” There are no words that could possibly be more prophetic. You see, in this last battle, Deidara has Super Armor, meaning your attacks will not make him flinch, and he can easily retaliate and knock you away from him, on top of all the other things that would make this harder, such as his increased strength and defense. And Deidara’s attacks seem to be enhanced, to boot! At least, I am fairly sure he usually makes one clay bird, not five.
        Naruto has no long range moves at all now, and while he can teleport behind Deidara, the guy will not flinch from hardly any of your attacks, meaning getting a combo on him is nigh impossible, and his ability to keep you at bay means he will quickly get enough energy to escape any combos you attempt- and don’t think you’re any safer at close range, as he is fully capable of hitting you while he is being hit, thanks to that Super Armor!
        And if that wasn’t hard enough, Naruto also has to end the battle with his finishing move specifically. The game is kind enough that it won’t make you restart it if you knock his health to zero, but on the other hand, it means Deidara literally will not stop fighting until you hit him with that Secret Technique, which is especially hard when any attacks will stop you from hitting him with it. Oh yes, and to clarify- Naruto has two Secret Techniques in this form, and it must be his first one with the cutscene, not the long range one. Using that one instead will just prolong your suffering if you try to end the fight with it.
        So how does one beat Deidara? Sadly, I do not entirely recall myself. I know combos won’t work, so I would recommend using Naruto’s attacks to your advantage to do the most damage possible in one blow- that second finisher is good since it has longer range, makes Deidara stagger, and uses less of your energy. The pop up move is also useful- Deidara will flinch from that one. However, I cannot truly give a strategy on how to defeat him, having only once done so myself, and that was more than a year ago- it very well could have been blind luck.
        And finally, there is one thing about all this that angers me more than anything. Not just that Deidara is an absurdly powerful and unfair boss, even by final boss standards, but that, by the plot’s standards, this battle really shouldn’t be happening. You see, in the anime and manga the game is based on, Deidara loses both of his arms- one to Kakashi, and one to Naruto around the time this battle would take place. Those claws of his aren’t for show- he ripped Deidara’s arm clean off! Now, I understand that’s a bit grisly and would have required a bit more effort for the developers to add in. But that doesn’t mean they should throw in a absurd boss battle in too!
        The fact of the matter is, Deidara, while far from harmless, is definitely not in any condition to deal with Naruto in that state. But instead of, say, giving us an easy fight to showcase this, instead not only is Deidara stronger, but he, a long distance fighter, is so much stronger that the powered up Naruto cannot even make him flinch! It’s absolutely infuriating that what by any account should be a pathetically easy fight, or not even a fight at all, a cutscene maybe, is made into a final boss in a gross dismissal of the plot.
        Here’s the bottom line: Deidara  hasn’t earned the right to be the final boss. People like Akuma, Shao Khan, or the previous final bosses from this series, they earned their spot at the top of the pile by virtue of their power, and the story backs them up on that.
        Akuma is a martial artist strong enough to destroy meteors. Shao Khan is the nigh unstoppable emperor of Outworld. Throughout the game’s story, most final bosses do something to show that they are indeed as powerful as the gameplay bears out. Deidara, by the plot, should be dead if he had to fight One-Tailed Naruto, because the boy would have ripped him into bloody pieces. But here we are. Shame on you, game. Shame on you.

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