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Two Hands, One Head, No Body: A Look Back at My Top Five of Nintendo’s Most Overused Boss Concept

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Nintendo wasn’t necessarily the first, the last, or the only, but when it comes to boss designs that have two floating hands, a floating head and completely lack a body, Nintendo sure does use them a lot. From decades ago right up to this day Nintendo and its subsidiaries have perfected this seemingly overused boss concept.

This feature takes a look back at some of the most memorable bosses with two floating hands and a head over the years. They may have been used in everything from The Legend of Zelda, to Super Mario, to Kirby and Donkey Kong, but so long as they remain fun there’s no complaints here on this similar reused design. Let us reflect back nostalgically on some of the favorites.

To begin, some honorable mentions must be given. Firstly, sorry Pokémon fans, but no Haunter here. Seriously though, Super Mario 64’s boss Eyerok consists of two floating hands with eyes on them, which is a similar concept but doesn’t quite make the cut. The Super Smash Bros. series is also no stranger to floating-hand bosses either, with Master Hand and Crazy Hand.

Bongo Bongo from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time if often considered the pinnacle of the two handed bosses, but he lacks a head. Although his hands are visible, the invisible part of him reveals a giant person who is decapitated and has had their hands cut off.

Nevertheless, the real honorable mentions go to some of the more obscure and forgotten two-handed and one-headed bosses. There’s Wham Bam Jewel from Kirby Super Star Ultra on the DS. Then there’s also Ramrock, the boss of the final dungeon from Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Now let’s get to my personal top five:

5 – Mazaal

Mazaal appears as the boss of the Fortress of Winds in Zelda: The Minish Cap. This mechanized guardian was left behind by the Wind Tribe to guard their fortress and the Ocarina of Winds. The battle itself involves first taking out the hands by stunning them with an arrow and attacking them by sword. Link then must shrink down to Minish-size to attack the automaton where it is vulnerable: inside its head.

4 – Bouldergeist

Appearing in Super Mario Galaxy as the boss of the Ghostly Galaxy, Bouldergeist also makes a cameo in the game’s sequel in the Throwback Throwdown. The creature was ultimately a ghost who covers himself in rocks, and those rocks contain coins and Bomb Boos. His hands float around his head that is anchored to the ground. Players must take out the hands before they can reach the head, both of which are attacked with Bomb Boos.

3 – Tiki Tong

Serving as the final boss of Donkey Kong Country Returns, Tiki Tong is the one behind the Tikis and their invasion of Donkey Kong Island for the banana hoard. Not surprisingly, the strategy here involves first taking out the hands by stamping on them, and then going after the head. Tiki Tong was a challenging conclusion to a challenging game.

2 – Andross

Unlike his counterparts, Andross isn’t just a boss or even just a final boss, but rather is the primary antagonist of the Star Fox series. He was once a genius scientist for the Cornerian Army, but after taking his research over the line and becoming power-hungry he was banished to the planet Venom where he became the self-declared “emperor” of the Lylat System. It is thanks to Team Star Fox overcoming the mad scientist’s giant head and floating hands on several occasions that their world remains at peace.

1 – Gohdan

Gohdan is another mechanical guardian appearing in The Legend of Zelda, this time in The Wind Waker. This machine predates Mazaal in creation, but not in series chronology, leading some to believe they are actually the same entity merely repurposed. Nevertheless, Godhan serves as the trial of the three goddesses in the Tower of the Gods. Link must shoot the hands with arrows before aiming for the eyes and then bombing the head. Gohdan is even kind enough to provide arrows if Link runs out.

 

Sure the whole two hands and a head gimmick may be extremely overused and some pretty lazy boss design, but given that their methods always vary enough to remain fun, there shouldn’t be any problems with it. There’s a joy to be found in the similarity of taking out the hands and then the head, with slight twists and differences.

So, who is your favorite boss in gaming with two floating hands and a head? Maybe they were mentioned, maybe there were not. Maybe you’re even retro enough to bring up Vookimedlo from Toki. Be sure to let us know in the comments below.


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