Shadows of the Damned has eight bosses over the course of the game and I’m going to talk about two of them in particular. I have to warn you now, though; for anyone who hasn’t heard of or played Shadows of the Damned, the game is messed up. All the stories of the bosses and how some of the fights play out can only be described by the phrase ‘fucked up’.
A quick description of the game before we get started: it follows Garcia Hotspur travelling through hell to challenge Fleming Lord of the Underworld to a fight because Fleming stole the woman he loves. Description done, let’s get moving.
First up in the boss list is George Reed. In Shadows of the Damned, every boss has a story book giving you their backstory about how they ended up in hell. His book is titled ‘The Man Who Never Had His Fill’. George was a travelling man who played the harmonica wherever he went. He played it to entertain the customers of a pizza restaurant and his reward would be all the pizza he could eat and a warm bed. However, no matter how much George would eat, he would never be full, and as he ate he just got thinner and thinner.
Eventually his hunger drove him mad and he ate his harmonica. It got stuck in his throat and eventually he started eating himself, leading to his death. This story is meant to be a dark fairy tale on gluttony and greed.
The fight with George is an odd one; you have to navigate a maze-like area while George tries to run at you, leaving you to either run away or try to trap him. You can tell when he is coming for you thanks to the story, because he still has the harmonica stuck in his throat. So as he runs at you, you can hear the harmonica wheezing from the direction he’s coming.
If you think this boss description was odd, you’ve read nothing yet.
The second boss is also George, back for revenge after his first defeat. Only this time he isn’t playing around. The second fight opens with George eating his own heart and becoming a full-fledged demon. He then begins riding around the circular arena on a horse, trying to trample you. When the horse stops charging, it takes a crap. This causes an area of the arena to get covered in darkness. Standing in darkness harms you over time but also lets you deal damage to the horse.
Once you do enough damage to the horse, George eats the horse’s heart and grows to a giant, meaning the fight is now avoiding getting stomped on while shooting the large gem weak points.
See, it got weirder didn’t it? We’ve a long way to go until we’re finished, though, so let’s move on.
Once you defeat George Reed, a reaper appears and cuts his head off. This is the next boss, Maras Grim, one of the three sisters grim. The three sisters died when they fell in a well and starved to death. Lord of the Underworld, Fleming, took pity on them and gave them the ability to permanently kill residents of the underworld. This is revealed in their story book, ‘Psychopomp & Circumstance’.
I’m going to skip the grim fights, because you fight each of the three sisters and the fights are all mostly the same with nothing too mad happening. They’re good fights, but far from the twisted tales of the other bosses that I’m writing this to highlight. The first sister you fight is Maras, then the very next boss is Kauline Grim. After Kauline, however, we have someone to talk about: Elliot Thomas.
Elliot Thomas is where the game gets very very weird again, beginning with his book ‘The Legend of Stinky Crow’. Elliot was obsessed with flying when he was younger, going so far as to have a wingsuit that he covered with feathers to try and be more like the birds. This unusual behaviour made him a target for heavy bullying, one bully giving him the nickname ‘Stinky Crow’. This lead to him eventually only being able to say one phrase through his anger and, while I won’t say it here, I’ll tell you that it rhymes with ‘buck off’.
Eventually Elliot finished his wingsuit and wore it to school one day, when he jumped off the roof in an attempt to fly. This attempt, which was “the most beautiful two seconds of Elliot’s life” ended in his death. Due to this death, Elliot ends up in hell, because he committed suicide. Fleming takes pity on him, however, knowing the life he lived shouldn’t have ended with him in hell.
So Fleming gave Elliot the one thing he wanted most: the ability to fly. The Elliot boss fight is set on a bridge where you have to avoid him swooping at you and launching projectiles while he screams his catchphrase I mentioned previously.
I told you that you were in for a hell of a weird ride with these bosses didn’t I? The boss following Elliot is the third and final sister, Giltine Grim. The boss that follows her is the second last boss, Justine Divangelo.
I’ll not be talking about Justine either as the fight is a rather strange one. The entire level of the game that she is involved with takes the form of a 2D side scrolling shooter. Which is a fun change from the pace of the rest of the game but it means everything is quite simple. Her story is titled ‘Beauty Is Blind’, and tells the tale of her being an opera singer who suffered from such severe body confidence issues with her weight that she died from self-mutilation. As with all of the others, it’s rather gory and dark.
The final boss of the game is Fleming, though very little is known about his backstory. There are only two confirmed facts, the first is that his full name is Fleming Whatshisfaces and the second is that he was born in 18 BC. He has captured the woman you love and during the fight tries to trick you into killing her.
That’s all of them! Some I only briefly mentioned, but that is all eight bosses of Shadows of the Damned. A set of twisted tales that actually made me a bit uncomfortable to write about, given the topics they hit. I do think the plot set-up of these bosses is the maddest and most twisted set of stories I’ve ever experienced in a video game, which is why I chose them for this piece. They are a series of bosses I will never forget because of that. They also prompt me to ask a question that I ask an awful lot when I play his games: What the hell is wrong with Suda51?
Have you played this game? Let me know what you think of the bosses in the comments!