Saturday, December 08, 2018

How to beat Black Bird's final boss in 'True' mode

If you're anything like me, your first few meetings with the final boss of Black Bird's "True" mode won't end in success.

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? If you're anything like me, your first, I don't know, 30 meetings with it won't end in success.

In fact, I put around 25 hours into this Onion Games release before I saw the credit roll in this mode. What changed? To be honest, I found and watched video footage of someone else fighting this shape-changing baddie that clued me into a few mistakes I was making.

If you're having a similarly difficult time toppling this Black Bird adversary and you're not sure why, the following tips should help.

1. Try your best to reach the boss while in the bird-ship's fully powered-up form. (It should look like mine does in the screenshot above. Also, it should shoot large, circular bullets straight ahead and launch homing missiles that look like little crows from the side.) Believe me when I say this will make the task ahead a lot easier than it'll be if you arrive on the scene without enough ammo.

2. If possible, don't use any bombs during the first two portions of the fight. Should that not be an option for you at this point, at least save a couple of them for the battle's third phase. (Need some specific advice here? Let me know in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help.)

3. Speaking of which, I pretty much always drop a couple of bombs during this brawl's third segment. You'll know you've reached it when feathers--or whatever they're supposed to be--begin to rain down from the top of the screen. It's possible to avoid even the ones this multi-faceted foe launches at you, of course, but doing so takes more skill than I currently possess. At any rate, unleashing a bomb just as this iteration of Black Bird's final boss attempts to pelt you with projectiles not only keeps you from being hit, but it also keeps you from losing your precious homing missiles. (Assuming you're still fully powered-up.)

4. Those of you who are used to Black Bird's "Normal" mode, or those of you who've yet to get past this portion of the "True" mode's last fight, are in for a bit of a surprise now. Not only isn't the scuffle over (as it would be if you were playing the game's easier setting), but it's got two more phases. Thankfully, the first is a breeze. All you need to do during it is avoid the green prisms that surround and then try to squeeze you. The only advice I can give you here is to stay still until the objects lock into position, then move in whatever direction is needed to avoid being pinched. Rinse and repeat until just one of those little buggers remains.

5. Enjoy that rather calm segment of Black Bird's final fight while it lasts, by the way. The fifth and final portion of this clash is the toughest and most chaotic one yet. Or it is until you realize it's not nearly as nightmarish as the game wants you to believe it is. Basically, you've got to deal with two different attack patterns this time around. During the first, the boss inhales a bunch of asteroids from the edges of the screen. Your focus here needs to be on avoiding those rotating, damage-dealing boulders. The only time you should change that tactic is when you lose your homing missiles. If you ever find yourself in that situation, go ahead and drop a bomb--assuming you have any in your arsenal. That should return you to fully powered-up status. And if you don't have any of those explosives? Shoot the green planetoids. They'll drop gems that will produce the same result.

6. The second attack pattern of this phase is the polar opposite of the first. Instead of inhaling objects from the edge of the screen, the boss spews them outward from the center of it. This is where most people freak a bit. I know I did early on. Don't follow in my footsteps. Instead, stick to one side of this many-staged adversary. When she unleashes her fury (you'll know it when you see it), stay close to the line of red "bullets" while shooting the other projectiles she sends your way. Oh, and only use bombs here if you absolutely need to do so. They won't help you power up, so save them for the first segment of the fight.

7. You'll cycle through these patterns until you've died or you've defeated the boss, so get comfortable. And make sure you aim at least some of your bullets at Black Bird's biggest baddie during this Groundhog Day-esque segment of the final battle. This is why it's so important to start the fight fully powered-up. The homing missile-bird thingies that come along with that allow you to pick away at the game's antagonist even when you're not facing her.

8. Fill "Amoris Nova" (apparently that's the name of this iteration of the last boss) with enough ammo and she'll finally explode--and in a fairly satisfying way, if I do say so myself. What's next? Why, the game's score-tally screen and credit roll-cum-ending sequence, of course. Congratulations!

9. One last thing: should you wind up with fewer than 25 million points, you won't see the game's true ending.

If you're struggling with that task, check out my post full of Black Bird tips, tricks, and tactics.

See also: 'Onion Games' Black Bird is the dark Fantasy Zone clone I didn't know I wanted or needed'