Iron Storm: Some Boss Fights

Level 3 of Iron Storm throws us into our first urban environment, the German town of Wolfenburg, very old-world place that was probably picturesque before the shelling started. Even though it’s still grey and dismal, it feels good to get out of the trenches for a while. Setting has always been the most important feature of the single-player FPS genre; the shooting just gives us an excuse to run around in a big 3D sculpture and engage with it in novel ways.

Although the game has only 6 levels, they’re on the long side, each effectively being a series of levels stuck together, separated by boss fights. The first real boss fight, back in level 2, involved using a rocket launcher to down a helicopter, which then conveniently crashes in just the right position to plug a gap in a bridge and allow you forward. Wolfenburg has a couple of tanks, the first tanks you see that aren’t broken and abandoned, one in the town plaza and one roaming the streets. To beat either one, you have to first go searching for anti-tank mines — which can only be found on the other side of the plaza where one of the tanks is, making it an encounter similar to the Asylum Demon in Dark Souls, where you have to run away first and come back better-equipped.

Past Wolfenburg, there’s a sequence that I quite liked, largely due to its atmosphere: a sniper fight, in the rain, which interferes with visibility. Distant guard towers are just barely visible as grey shadows against a grey sky. It’s the sort of slow, methodical gameplay that I’m enjoying the most here, and it’s followed by a boss fight that’s the exact opposite: running around on catwalks above a factory floor, dodging rockets. The source of the rockets is one of the few non-mechanical bosses I’ve encountered, the third of three extra-tough brothers from Siberia, seen earlier in propaganda videos and encountered individually. The first one, I don’t even remember fighting. The second found me in the tunnels under Wolfenburg, and was furious at me for killing his brother. The third willingly let me into that factory once I made it to the door, treating me as an honorable adversary. It was a frustratingly tough fight, restarted many times; I was unable to do it in a single session.

But of course I was able to restart it, right? That is the only reason the third brother is dead. He is a vastly superior warrior. He killed me many times, and I only killed him once. That’s the pattern for most of the game outside of boss fights as well.

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