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Sunday, November 18, 2012

A kingdom of voice thieves and deadly sins! Taiko 3DS Boss Battles

Spoiler warning ahead.

The story mode of Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS is exactly as described on the box; it is about a dragon and seven orbs. Don-chan's quest takes place in a medieval world, where an evil clown named Maou has stolen the voice of princess Soprano, the peaceful ruler of the kingdom, and split it into seven orbs. In order to restore the princess' voice, he has to collect the seven parts of Soprano's voice from each of Maou's henchmen, whose names are a subtle recall to Christianity's seven deadly sins.

The battle mechanics are similar to past entries where enemies are defeated by lowering their life gauge to 0 by performing well in the song involved; however Taiko 3DS' main twist is Don-chan's partner Raruko, a little green dragon who is the princess' guardian. Raruko can harness the power of the seven orbs to make Don-chan's fighting a little easier.

Taiko 3DS's Story mode has 9 boss battles.

(Tutorial) Boss 1 - Raruko (ラルコ)
Song used: Wrath of Requiem (レクイエム 怒りの日より)
Orb element: Fire

The very first battle in the game's Story mode puts Don-chan against the raging dragon Raruko, who mistakes our drumming hero for one of Maou's henchmen. Although there is no direct name reference to any of the Seven Sins in Raruko's name, its pronunciation may be connected to to 'Rancor', which is often related to Wrath, the sin represented by Satan himself. Even the song used for the battle (which, for the record, is one of the first Classic songs used for boss battles) suggests the idea of Wrath itself!

Raruko can attack Don-chan with searing flames, thanks to the orb he managed to steal from Maou. His flames partially cover the scrolling bar, putting the players right in action from the very first battle! Once defeated, Raruko is a powerful ally for the journey, as he can perform attacks with the orbs collected by the other main enemies of the game.

Boss 2 - Ashumo (アシュモ)
Song used: Kimi ni, Romantic. (君に、ロマンティック。)
Orb element: Wood

In the same forest where Don-chan meets Raruko for the first time, the couple encounters a sophisticated flower spirit which holds the second of the seven orbs with Soprano's voice. His name is Ashumo, a subtle reference to Asmodeus, prince of demons and lust, making people commit sexual crimes like adultery and incest. Ashumo is the sample boss on Taiko 3DS' demo version, downloadable on the Japanese 3DS eShop, as a way to show how the battle takes place and how the power of an orb is used.

In tune with the character's refined attire, Ashumo's main attack consists of putting roots on the scrolling bar, covering it with blooming red roses. This attack is pretty familiar, isn't it? A similar attack is also used by the final boss of the 2nd Taiko DS videogame, though that was obviously much more infuriating.

Boss 3 - Levaa (リヴァ)
Song used: Ego Ego Atakushi (エゴエゴアタクシ)
Orb element: Water

In the lake area, Don and Raruko interrupt the banquet of its selfish, egotistical ruler; Levaa, a water-dwelling creature who's a cross between a mermaid and a leviathan. It's very obvious that this references the Leviathan itself, the mythological sea demon which inspires arrogance and envy.

For an enemy like this, what's more fitting than a Taiko song about a selfish girl? Ego Ego Atakushi is played in the battle against Levaa, who can summon dolphins in order to cover the player's scrolling bar.

Boss 4 - Mamaphelgor (ママフェゴール)
Song used: Taberuna 2000 (タベルナ2000)
Orb element: Earth

In the very depths of the Ravine area, a sleeping rock guardian resembling a bear defends one of the seven orbs. Too bad it's impossible to interact with him because it's sleeping! Mamaphelgor is a direct reference to Belphegor, demon of sloth. According to legends, it inspires extreme laziness and spiritual apathy.

The song used for the battle is Taberuna 2000, though anyone would think that the 2000 song with munching and crunching of food would fit a food-related enemy better instead of a demon of laziness. To add more nonsense choices to the association, Mamaphelgor's rock-based attacks are very similar to the ones used by Guts Eater in Taiko PSP DX's Story mode, who actually uses lots of food as a weapon!

Boss 5 - Man&Mon (マン&モン)
Song used: Hayabusa (隼)
Orb element: Wind

The guardian of the Mountain zone is a two-headed raven whose heads go literally nuts for every kind of valuable item! Their behavior resembles real birds; crows and magpies have indeed been known to go after shiny objects and collect them in a hidden stash. Man&Mon's names are direcly inspired from Mammon, son of the Devil and demon of wealth. Hayabusa, Sato Takafumi's Taiko debut song, is being used for this battle as a way to signify the wind element of the orb won after the battle.

According to legends, Mammon inspires gross injustice, idolatry, and the love of money over all other things. This attitude matches Man&Mon's attire and attacks as well, ranging from faster scrolling bar speeds and hurricanes made of money and gold, blocking the player's sight.

Boss 6 - Fallen Angel Katsu (だてんしカツ)
Song used: Mekadesu. (メカデス。)
Orb element: Lightning

In the center of a dark graveyard, Don-chan's brother Katsu becomes a heavy metal rock star with the power given by one of the seven orbs, and you have to beat him and his zombie groupies in order to get it back. Though Katsu is obviously a good guy the rest of the time, in here his behavior is completely changed because of the orb. Internet Taiko communities tend to see his mood in the game very prideful and wishful of rebellion, matching the description of the fallen angel, Lucifer.

Mekadesu, the ending theme of Taiko PS2 Sandaime, is used for this brother-vs-brother match. Katsu's zombie fans will cover part of the scrolling bar during the entire fight, and even struck by lightning while Katsu-chan is in his own Go-Go Time moments! For the record, the patterns used in the hardest difficulty of this boss battle resemble Mekadesu's old Oni chart on the earlier Taiko games.

Boss 7 - Zebubu (ゼブブー)
Song used: Alborada del Gracioso (道化師の朝の歌)
Orb element: Darkness

The last orb belongs to a giant housefly chef named Zebubu, who owns a 5-star restaurant in Princess Soprano's kingdom. Its name is based on Beelzebub, the demon representing gluttony, related to greed in eating things. Beezelbub is often referred to as the 'lord of the flies', so the fact that its "milder counterpart" in Taiko is also a fly just fits perfectly.

Another Classic song hosts a boss battle, in Zebubu's VIP room. The gluttonous chef will attempt to distract the players by eating part of the scrolling bar several times! Both the bug's body and the holes he makes in the scrolling bar make quite difficult to read the notechart properly.

Boss 8 - Maou (マオウ)
Song used: Maou no Showtime (マオウのショウタイム)
Orb element: n/a

Once the seven orbs have been gathered from their guardians, Don-chan and Raruko head back to the Harmony Kingdom, where Maou the clown has taken Princess Soprano hostage and tool control of her castle as well. Unlike the previous boss battles, he has his very own boss theme: Maou no Showtime, a signature song which has not appeared in any other Taiko game before!

Maou's attack scheme is similar to the one used by Botan from the Dokon Gang; he blackens everything of the screen except for a moving spotlight (shaped like his face) and some other ropes with a Maou face on it, making the speedy song a lot difficult than usual. Not to mention that this boss version features even more speed-up sections than the regular notechart!

(Final) Boss 9 - Maou (マオウ) - 2nd Form -
Song used: Princess Soprano VS Maou (ソプラノ姫VSマオウ)
Orb element: n/a 

After Maou is defeated, the seven orbs join together and bring the voice back to its legitimate owner,, and everyone seems to end fine... BUT! The evil clown emerges from the ashes as a giant floating head with hands for another assault, using every single dark trick up his sleeves.

For the final match, the song used, simply named 'Princess Soprano Vs. Maou', is actually a mash-up between Taiko 3DS's theme song - Kimi to Hibiku Harmony - with Maou's signature song, which has alternate lyrics for this battle. The song goes between the angelic theme song and the evil boss song, and all the while Princess Soprano and Maou are duking it out to decide who rules the kingdom; light or darkness.

Inconveniently, this battle is right in front of the scroll bar and Don-chan, while balancing his Taiko skills between two different songs and tons of BPM changes, also has to endure blocks to the scroll bar by attacks from both Soprano and Maou, which leads to fast adaptation skills being the order of the day.

Back to Taiko 3DS song list


  1. "also has to endure blocks to the scroll bar by attacks from both Soprano and Maou"
    How the Heck Does Soprano Block the Scroll Bar?