No, not the British metal band from the 80's responsible for some of the greatest music of our generation, the Iron Maiden in question here is the final boss battle from Mister Grimm's campaign in the new Twisted Metal game. To say I had a bit of trouble with her would be putting it politely, this bitch straight up owned me the first several attempts I made at taking her down. For those of you who may not have gotten to her yet, and don't want things spoiled, you may want to stop reading this now, because I will be going into some detail about my experience with this portion of the game.
For those still with me, my disdain of racing games is well known, but despite that fact I am a sucker for vehicular combat games, particularly the Twisted Metal series, Black being my favorite to date. You take a collection of all types of cars, slap some machine guns and missiles on them, throw in a group of drivers, each with their own comic book/horror movie look and background, and I'm gonna be there with bells on every single time. Of course Sweet Tooth is and will always be my favorite, as should come as no surprise. For whatever reason I'm drawn to the homicidal ice cream man with the clown mask and eternally burning head. Unfortunately for this new game, you only get three characters in campaign mode, with each taking up 1/3 of it's entirety. Sweet Tooth's story is the first part of the campaign, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a couple of tricky missions, but overall nothing too bad, and I was beginning to think that the reviewers who had docked this new TM game for it's difficulty level may have just been bad at it. Not that I'm playing on "Twisted" difficulty or anything, I'm only going through on normal, but still.
After Sweet Tooth though, that's where you play as Mr. Grimm. Grimm is the dreadlocked, skull facepainted guy that rides the motorcycle and throws a chainsaw at the other cars as his special attack. On paper this sounds awesome, and it's just as awesome in game. Again, I tore through most of his campaign without much trouble....until I got to his boss battle, a fight that would put my patience with this game to the test in a big way. Let it be said that overall, I'm a pretty laid back, and easy going fellow. Sure, I've been known to let the occasional swear slip, and one time I threw a bag of skittles at a guy, but nothing on this Earth brings out my inner tourette's like a frustrating video game. I actually refer to it as my "situational tourette's", when I come across something in a game that is so cheap, so unfair, so infuriating that my mouth opens and what spews forth is a fury of cursing the likes of which this world has rarely seen. I've also lost several controllers over the years, most recently during a three game losing streak on NHL 10 in which my Thrashers were unable to overcome the goddamn New York Rangers three consecutive times. Anyway, back on topic, Iron Maiden for a person like myself pushes the frustration level into the red pretty quickly. It's a long fight, there are four different portions to it, and each has it's own different attack patterns and requirements to be met before you can move to the next. The following is a recounting of my first futile attempts to take her down before I ultimately triumphed in a glorious symphony of explosive victory.
Iron Maiden is actually the third campaign character Doll Face, only inside a gigantic flying mech of herself. Calypso, the madman behind Twisted Metal, informs you that he's added a little something to help boost your firepower as you're going to be needing it. What he means is he's added a military vehicle that fires nukes to the map (and feel free to mock my lack of knowledge of military vehicles as I have no idea what it's actually called). How to get the nuke to fire however, he gives you absolutely no instruction. So my first run didn't go very well needless to say. I rode around the vehicle shooting it, running into it, attempting to jump on it, pressing every button on the controller hoping something would happen, all the while getting pummeled by Iron Maiden's rockets, fireballs, and missiles, and getting hammered by the white limo's that were also attacking me. I had no idea what to do. This would go on for an attempt or three actually. Eventually I would notice the vehicle had a sign on the top of it that read "sacrifice to launch" and yes, it's a giant glowing sign, and how I missed it to begin with I will never know. Ok, so I have to kill something? How about those white limo's? Wait, one of them is red! Ok cool, blow up the red limo, I can do that.
So for the next few attempts, I immediately started going after the limo's, taking it to the red right off the bat. Blowing up a red limo drops a Doll Face character out on the road, calling her a "gang leader" or something like that. Running over her will attach a rope to her letting you drag her along behind you, and the "sacrifice" now makes sense to me, I have to drag her all the way back across the map to the missile launcher truck thingy. Awesome, I'm on it now. So I drag her back to the vehicle, and she's put up on what looks like some kind of catapult that has emerged on the back of my motorcycle when I drive into the green circle behind this missile launcher. How the fuck do I throw her in the back though? I'm pressing buttons like a madman again, all the while being knocked around by the white limo's and Iron Maiden's attacks. Eventually I'm thrown off the cliff and die. Oh, did I not mention that this fight takes place on a very small road along a cliffside? Yeah it does. So that didn't work, let's try taking out all the white limo's first, that way maybe I won't get knocked off the cliff and I can figure out how to get this damn nuke to launch. Turns out that was the way to go, and I dragged Doll Face back to the missile launcher again, she was hoisted up on the catapult, and again I couldn't figure out how to "sacrifice" her to it. Eventually, I just sat there, no clue what to do, ready to give up...and the goddamn missile fired. Ah, so I just have to sit there in the green circle for a second. All of this would have been good information to have prior to jumping into this battle, yanno?
So I got the nuke off, and just watched as it harmlessly flew out into the air before exploding absolutely nowhere near Iron Maiden. Oh shit, I have to steer the missile myself?! Again, would've been nice to know. So here we go again, only this time I know what to do. Missile fires, and guess what? The controls aren't inverted, fuck me. I always, always, always use inverted controls, especially when flying. For those who don't know, inverted bascially is when you press up on the stick and whatever it is you're controlling moves down, you press down it moves up. I blame Top Gun on the NES for my need to play things in this manner. So the first nuke didn't hit her because I didn't know I was supposed to steer, the second one didn't hit her because I flew it directly into the ground. Let's do it again, kill the limo's, drag Doll Face, nuke launches, I make some navigational errors, but...SUCCESS! A direct hit, and her shield is halfway down. Yep, half way, I have to do this twice. No big, right? Wrong, now the military vehicle nuke launcher thingy is moving. I have to do the sacrificing of Doll Face behind a moving target instead of a stationary one like before. This part actually wasn't too bad, other than the first missile I launched when the truck was facing the wall of the canyon and my missile detonated as soon as it was fired. I made sure the truck was in a clearing the next time, and bingo, we're on to phase two of this boss fight! Yep, all this was phase one. Of four.
Now that her shield is down, we can actually do damage to her with our attacks! She's flying around, I'm throwing chainsaws all over the place, and she puts up a medium sized green force field around herself known as a cage. FUCK. During the campaign up to this point there have been a couple of missions in which there are zones, or "cages" that you have to stay inside. If you venture outside the cage, you begin taking damage until you return back inside. These have been the most frustrating levels of the game for me up until this point, because the cage only stays in one place for a few seconds before it moves, sort of like Crazy King in Halo. Iron Maiden's cage doesn't jump around like that, but it's only around her, and she's flying, so yeah it moves, a lot, and I'm stuck racing up and down this narrow ass, winding road that runs along a cliff. Let's just say I fell, and I fell, and fell, and fell, and fell. Thankfully when you continue, you begin at phase two instead of going back to the very beginning, otherwise I never would've gotten through this. It took a while, but I was finally able to stay inside the cage long enough to take her down. I found that using the chainsaw special attack worked best, especially if you added flames to it by popping a wheelie and dragging the saw on the ground. Mega damage if it connects, and you can get to the next phase by landing just two or three of these. On to phase three!
This phase beings with the damage you did to her in the last phase causing her to fall to the ground, halfway destroying a bridge. At the last second she clings to the edge and pulls herself up so that her head and arms are laying on the road. Again, she puts up a cage, and this time it's a very small one forcing you to get up close and personal with her, and on a very small bridge, smaller than the road you were on previously. She also adds a shockwave attack, which as you probably guessed, will throw you off said bridge. It threw me off, lots, but thankfully again, you start here when you die and reload. The small cage/shockwave combo makes this part a little tough but using the flaming chainsaw attacks, I got through this pretty quickly. Iron Maiden screams, loses her grip, and falls into the canyon! Victory! Or so I thought, as you know this was only phase three, one more to go. Phase four!
For this final part, you only have to deal with Iron Maiden's head. She flies back up out of the canyon and goes on the attack, but to my surprise didn't really do anything different. Same old rockets, fire balls, missiles, and shockwave. I expected this to be the toughest part, but it really wasn't bad. Sort of like the final boss of Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox, the whole thing had been brutally difficult up until the final boss, and he was a pushover. Iron Maiden's head wasn't really a pushover, but the main frustration came from me having trouble lining up my chainsaw throws because she was now 1/4 of her previous size. I found it easiest to wait until she was about to launch an attack, she pauses for a second, and that's when I would throw the chainsaw. A couple of flaming, quad damage chainsaws later and this marathon of a boss battle finally came to a close, with Mr. Grimm emerging victorious.
With that I have finished the Mr. Grimm campaign! Next up in the Doll Face campaign, and after that I assume there's some sort of battle against Calypso. Honestly, after this I'm not entirely confident that I'll be able to even finish Doll Face's campaign, as God only knows what kind of boss battle she's going up against, and I'd be willing to be good money I won't be allowed to use the Iron Maiden mech myself against whatever it is. Calypso may end up having not much to fear from yours truly, but we'll see. Overall I still dig the hell out of this game, punishing difficulty at times notwithstanding. My main gripe is the short campaign though, only getting to play with three characters sucks. Obviously multiplayer was the main focus here, unfortunately I'm not all that interested in online multiplayer on this one. Twisted Metal was meant to be played sitting on the couch with three of your buds in splitscreen mode. Problem there is, I don't have three friends, so campaign it is for me. None of that changes the fact that Twisted Metal is a badass game though, it's no Black, but it's a worthy successor and a good revamp for one of gaming's best franchises.