Giga Bowser

        One thing I always appreciated about fighting games is their ability to surprise you. You could play one a hundred times, and it will still find a way to catch you off guard. This especially applies to Super Smash Bros. because of the multitude of characters and items, meaning no match will ever go the same way twice. But one thing is does share with others of its ilk that I especially adore is the inclusion of secret battles.
        These sort of fights generally happen when you fulfill a condition of some sort, either happening after a certain fight, like the final battle, or even replacing the battle. For instance, Super Smash Bros. Melee has many of these in its Adventure mode. In the very first stage you normally fight Mario and Peach, but if you reach the end of the stage with a two on the timer, Luigi will take Mario’s place. If you beat him fast enough and finish the mode with no continues, you can even unlock him.
        The mode has a few of these, and all of the others are unlocked via completing the previous battle under a certain time. In particular, I want to talk about Giga Bowser. You unlock him by beating the entire Adventure Mode at Normal or higher difficulty, under 18 minutes, with no continues. If you can do this, you will face Bowser at the end, as usual, but his shell will be black instead of green.
        Being the final boss, maybe I should talk about a bit about Bowser in this game. He is definitely the slow, strong character, easily outpaced by every other character in some way, but he makes up for this by also being able to take the most abuse and deal out the most damage per attack. He is also difficult to remove thanks to his Whirling Fortress move, where he tucks himself into his shell and spins in the air, able to easily fly back to the battlefield. He also has a special grab, Koopa Klaw, with more reach than his regular one, Flame Breath, doing low damage to stun enemies a bit, though it gets smaller over time, and finally Bowser Bomb, where he smashes to the ground, crushing anything under him.
        Though Bowser is tough, he is too slow to dodge or deliver a lot of attacks, and while he can get back to the arena, his heaviness works against him because he drops like a stone. So long as he doesn’t land too many heavy strikes, you should be fine. The boss version is certainly tougher than usual, and smarter, but far from invincible. In fact, I once tricked him into using his Bowser Bomb on me while off the arena, plummeting him to his doom!
        In any case, if you see the black shelled Bowser, that means you’ve met the conditions, provided Bowser doesn’t take you out. If you beat him, you’ll see the usual cut-scene of Bowser’s trophy being thrown off the arena, the character standing triumphant… but then Bowser’s trophy floats back up and is struck by lightning, causing it to shatter, revealing your new foe: Giga Bowser.
        As you might expect, Giga Bowser is far stronger than his counterpart, being both far bigger than even giant Bowser, and much more resistant to damage. Try whatever you may, you’ll be hard pressed to even make him flinch. Much like Bowser, he is slow, but his huge size means his attacks are not likely to miss often, and your ability to hit him isn’t as consequential when he barely even notices. In addition, you cannot grab him, meaning you have no easy way to send him flying.
        As you might expect, all that size isn’t for show- he hits harder and he is much harder to dodge, meaning it is very possible he could send you flying before you can come remotely close to finishing him off. Being half the size of Final Destination, he can quite easily use Whirling Fortress to return to the battle, and likely hit you in the process. And if that isn’t bad enough, his shield never breaks as well, meaning he cannot be harmed at all when he is defending. And that’s not even mentioning that, unlike other enemies, he doesn’t just resist your attack and not fly as far, he outright doesn’t flinch to most of them until you do a ton of damage to him. 300% would be a conservative estimate.
        As for when he is on the offense, he has all the same moves as Bowser, but with the bonus of being far bigger and stronger. And if that isn’t difficult enough, some of his attacks have elemental properties. All of his claw attacks produce darkness, giving them additional range and power, shell attacks produce electricity, his horn attacks produce explosions, and finally, his down smash can freeze you. Most of his other moves are identical, but in particular his Flame Breath never shrinks, and his Whirling Fortress has more invincibility frames, meaning it is highly unlikely you can stop his return.
        All of this makes him difficult, but as always, he is not unstoppable. Enough damage will cause him to go flying, even if it is far more than usual, and your character is almost certainly going to be faster and smaller, making it harder for him to hit you than the other way around.
        Though his shields cannot be broken, he rarely uses them, and there are also items that appear in battle, but Giga Bowser will never use them. After he takes enough damage, he will start to go flying as normal, and at that point it is quite easy to line up attacks, making him a giant target. It’s all a matter of surviving and beating him down to that point.
        However, if you want a real challenge, go into the Event Matches. The final two are certainly difficult- the first being a duel with Master and Crazy Hand, and if you manage to defeat them, next you must face Giga Bowser once more… with the aid of Mewtwo and Ganondorf. This is immediately more of a challenge now that he has allies, but also because before, you started the fight with whatever extra lives you have left, or all of them if you continue at that point. Here, there is no such luxury. Everyone has three lives, you and your foes, meaning you must defeat all three of them thrice before they can do the same to you.
        Individually, they aren’t all that tough, especially since the game actually makes them weaker than usual, with weaker AIs, dealing less knockback per hit, and Giga himself takes more knockback than he normally does- however, that’s still more than any other character, and again, there are three of them. The main issue is that they dominate the stage, and it is easy to get caught between their attacks. They are also strategically placed- Bowser is in the middle, and his reach necessitates aerial attacks. However, Ganondorf is behind him, and can use Dark Dive to hit you in midair and stop your assault. The fact that he is behind Giga Bowser means he isn’t likely to be bothered by your attack; it hits his ally instead.
        Speaking of Bowser’s allies, I’ll mention them a bit. Ganondorf is slow and powerful, like Bowser, but uses similar moves to Captain Falcon. He is actually stronger than Bowser, but his attacks have less reach. His Warlock Fist is his strongest attack, but it takes a very long time for him to charge up- and his two allies might just give him the proper distraction. He can grab you with his up super move, Dark Dive, which knocks you away with an explosion after grabbing you. Wizard’s Foot allows him to slide across the arena quickly and painfully, making up for his poor speed, and his Gerudo Dragon uppercut helps in that area as well.
        Mewtwo, in contrast, has a few strong ranged moves and throws, but is otherwise not so great, especially in close range. In fact, he is the lightest of the three, meaning he may be a good target. His Shadow Ball can be charged up and thrown, he can spin you around when close with Confusion, stun you momentarily with Disable, and quickly move about with Teleport. He is certainly the fastest of the three, the only one dangerous at a range.
        Ranged attacks may be your best bet, but it is difficult to keep that range due to Ganondorf’s Wizard’s Foot and Giga Bowser’s size. There are items, but Giga Bowser’s friends can use them just as well as you, meaning keeping them in your own hands is important- but potentially impossible, given how much ground they cover. There are also no healing items, for better or worse.
        The other two are a threat, but Giga Bowser is obviously the worst of them, and thus needs to be removed as quickly as possible. Without him the other two will be considerably less of a problem. Ganondorf has power, but not speed, and Mewtwo has reach, but not durability.
        Once the actual boss is out of the way, I’d target Mewtwo next, saving Ganondorf for last, since he is slower and harder to remove. Of course, battles are chaotic, and things may not work out like you think- especially given this one has items like Poke-balls and Bob-ombs. Anything that hits multiple targets would be tremendously helpful, especially since Giga Bowser has no way to avoid pretty much anything you throw at him. The other two are more fortunate in that regard, but they are by no means fast.
        You also, luckily, have another advantage to the normal Giga Bowser fight- whereas there you have to traverse the entire Adventure mode in under 18 minutes to face him, here you need only check the Event Match list. You can challenge this at any time, with any character. Learning, growing stronger, figuring out their weak points… eventually I am certain anyone can claim victory, if they have the perseverance.
        I was thrilled to defeat them, but always felt a little sad that Giga Bowser was never playable. Luckily, Brawl answered my prayers with Bowser’s Final Smash, allowing him to transform into Giga Bowser and go on a amazing, albeit short, rampage. He is every bit as powerful as ever, and maybe more so, because while he does take damage, he will not flinch. Short of forcing him up off the screen with a moving object, nothing can stop him now. Or should I say, nothing can stop you now? Whether facing this behemoth or playing as him, I hope you enjoy, dear readers.

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