Home Games Boss Rush: Zowie's Forces (Gitaroo Man)
Boss Rush: Zowie's Forces (Gitaroo Man)

Boss Rush: Zowie's Forces (Gitaroo Man)


US PS2 cover

Most of the games I played in my childhood seemed to be quite, well, odd. Having an unhealthy obsession with the Warioware series and Little King’s Story were most likely the reasons why my later gaming years were occupied with the weird indie games I have grown to love. Today’s game is no different, as I will be looking at some of the quirky characters you come across in the 2001 PS2 game Gitaroo Man. Gitaroo Man is a rhythm game developed by iNiS and published by Koei for the PS2 and later ported to the PSP. I first experienced this little gem with the PSP port, and quickly fell in love with its bizarre story, amazing art style and out-there characters.
The story of Gitaroo Man follows U-1, a loser kid who wishes to become cool and confident. One day, his talking dog, Puma, reveals that he is part of an ancient bloodline of Gitaroo players, and must collect all eight legendary Gitaroos and save planet Gitaroo from the clutches of the evil alien mastermind, Zowie. I know, it’s only going to get weirder from here. You are now tasked with battling the eight Gitaroo masters, collecting their Gitaroos and defeating Zowie. Each Gitaroo master has a different musical theme to them, ranging from J-Pop to reggae. The game is basically you travelling from place to place and fighting bosses in a musical showdown, and today I will be looking at some of my personal favourites.

Mojo King BeeMojokingbee

At the beginning of the game you are still figuring out the controls and what exactly is even going on. Up until now you have been battling demons and flying UFOs, but this enemy in particular caught me off guard. When U-1 and Puma are travelling through a forest, they stumble upon an overweight funk singer, clad in sunglasses, a white suit and a bee costume. He then challenges you to a fight, where the two of you deck it out in a funk soul battle. The reason why Mojo King Bee was the first enemy to truly floor me was just how ridiculous he is in terms of his character design. Why is he a bee? Why is his music style funk soul? Why are we in a swamp and why the hell are bats and frogs his backup singers? None of these questions are answered, but instead you get to play one of the best songs in the game, complete with Mojo King Bee pulling off various poses with his Trumpet Gitaroo.

Gregorio3rdspriteGregorio III

After fighting your way through flying robot sharks and xylophone playing skeletons, you reach Zowie’s fortress, where you find a certain fabulous organ player. Gregorio III is by far one of the most unique fighters in the game, as his song is so lovably over the top and stupid that you can’t help but love his exaggerated Gothic flare. Over the course of the battle he calls upon the help of ghostly choirboys and angels, all the while twirling his long white hair and screaming at the top of his lungs. Gregorio fought with a huge Gothic style organ and, complete with his screaming, his song remains one of the most high energy and entertaining fights in the game. I remember him being a considerable challenge, taking me a good few tries to take him down.


So you’ve collected all eight legendary Gitaroos, you’ve freed the people of planet Gitaroo and you’ve played a touching duet with your rival.  All that’s left now is to face Zowie in Gitaroo combat. This final battle, in my opinion, is one of the best last bosses in gaming history, as everything about it is perfectly scaled to a truly awesome match between two legendary forces. You travel off Planet Gitaroo into space, where U-1 and Zowie transform into huge battle warriors. The fight follows the two travelling through the cosmos, shredding on their Gitaroos with all their might, until finally Zowie is defeated and U-1 saves Planet Gitaroo. This was one hell of a final boss, as it was not only the most challenging of enemies, but it was the most memorable. The song is timeless, the visuals are iconic and the ending is 80s Gundam levels of kick ass.
To this day, Gitaroo Man remains one of my personal favourite games, due to its unforgettable music, charming coming of age story and the extremely challenging bosses. If you’re a fan of weird, quirky little rhythm games, then Gitaroo Man is for you.

Are you a fan of Gitaroo Man? Have you faced the bosses? Let us know in the comments.