La-Mulana is a fiendishly challenging game. When it was first developed back in 2005 as a freeware game, it was intended to be a love letter to the MSX and the games the devs enjoyed as kids, from things like the colour palette and the difficulty aspect. Years later it got a remake with a more 16-bit look and got released on PC, WiiU and PS Vita. While I never got to play that original version, I’ve had many run-ins with the remake and it doesn’t look at all like they toned down the difficulty, or at least that’s what I want to think.
In this game we’re an archeologist (called Lemeza Kosugi, he happens to wear a hat and use a whip as a weapon) who is exploring a huge complex of ruins made of interconnected zones, we’ll go around solving puzzles, avoiding traps and fighting lots of bosses and as we go on those bosses will get more difficult. I never got round to finishing the game due to various issues (mostly losing track of where I was after months of not playing and deciding to start again) but when I play Sakit is usually the second boss I face and he’s the one I’m writing about. Sure, there are more difficult bosses but Sakit was the first boss that made me seriously despair in this game, I must have died about a 100 times during the fight, and I hated that, AND I HATE HIM.
Before, we get into the heart of the matter, this is what you’ll hear during the battle. Feel free to listen to this on a loop while you read it:
Sakit is the boss of the Mausoleum of Giants stage, there are some giant stone statues in the area and one of them is his. When you trigger this fight, the scenery around you changes a bit (mostly, two platforms that were isolated now have a ladder connecting them to the ground, and that’s vital for this fight) and Sakit starts moving. The first time I happened I thought “Oh shit” and that’s a fair reaction because as you can see from the image Lemeza is tiny and Sakit’s only weak point happens to be his stupid face.
Sakit takes steps from left to right and has two different attacks: With his right arm he will shoot energy balls at you and his left arm is a chain fist that he’ll throw at you. When he throws the fist at you, rocks will fall from the top (it will happen sometimes when he walks) but the chain will act as a bridge that will let you attack him. He’s immune to sub-weapons (at this stage I only had the two types of shurikens) so he has to be hit with the whip. To be on the safe side I’d hit him once, and then jump off towards the platforms to be safe. If you’re lucky and/or careful enough you might hit him several times but the issue is that he’ll get his fist back and the recoil will cause quite some damage.
It doesn’t sound that complicated, but the combination of the rocks falling, that he has to be hit exactly in the face (without getting too close because you’ll get some damage if you walk right into it) and the recoil from his chained fist make this a bit challenging, especially when he’s far from the platforms because you might not have enough time to hit him and go back to being relatively safe in the platforms. The odds are that you’ll get caught by that bloody recoil at least a couple of times and that’s not pretty, so waiting for him to get closer is ideal but he won’t always do that.
After 13 (yes, I counted them) hits with the whip, his face falls off revealing his skull, blue fire stars appearing from some parts of his body and he gets even more vicious.
His movements are faster now, and rocks will fall more frequently too. And if that wasn’t enough now he has a rocket punch rather than an arm cannon. The first time I remember screaming if he thought he was Mazinger Z or something, and then as if he had heard me insulting him I died.
He still has the chain punch but that’s inadvisable now, because some of that blue fire is right before his face so jumping is even more riskier now because you will get hurt because of the fire, the rocks, the recoil or because you tried to jump over the fire and landed right on his face.
But there’s an important change, now he’s vulnerable to secondary weapons. So the ideal strategy before this fight is to go to the village to stock up on shurikens and spam him with them once you get at this stage of the fight. 20 shurikens will kill him but you should definitely buy more because sometimes rocks will get on the way and you might miscalculate when you jump and not hit his face at all.
First time I killed him I was elated, and then I saw the usual message you see after killing a boss:
And at this moment I thought ‘You mean there’s more?!’ and I almost cried out of sheer despair, but that’s a story for another day.
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.