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Giegue/Giygas

Cult classic SNES RPG Earthbound can perhaps best be described as unique, and among its many defining traits is its main villain, the alien overlord turned eldritch abomination, Giygas. The final battle against Giygas is still among the most original and eerie boss fights I've ever experienced. Yet before he became a swirling mindless mass of evil, he was a frail-looking alien who bore more than a passing resemblance to the Pokémon Mewtwo.

In the backstory to the first Mother, Giygas, known as Giegue in the unreleased English prototype NES game, was raised by the abducted George and Maria, the great-grandparents of the protagonist Ninten. George was able to escape from his alien captors with unspecified knowledge that could betray them, but Maria did not. Eighty years later, Giegue came to rule his people and led them in conquering Earth, wiping out the human race in the process. From his dialogue during the game's final battle, he revealed that he was grateful to Maria for having raised him, but still hated humanity as a whole, perhaps due to George's actions. Regardless, he was willing to let Ninten alone survive because of Maria, but when the boy refused, Giegue continued to attack with his inexplicable psychic abilities. Neither Ninten nor his friends Ana and Lloyd were able to damage the spindly alien, but they eventually realized that by singing the lullaby once sung to Giegue by Maria he would be weakened. They had earlier learned that Maria's lullaby, recreated from the Eight Melodies they discovered throughout the game world, used to agitate Giegue as a child. By singing the lullaby repeatedly, Giegue and his forces were finally driven away, though he exclaimed that he and Ninten "SHALL meet again."

By the looks of Earthbound, known as Mother 2 in Japan, Giegue does return, but how did he change from an alien in a tank to the horrific Universal Cosmic Destroyer? Did he meet Ninten again? We may never know, as these details are never fully explained in either game. There are only a few lines about Giygas gaining so much evil power that it destroyed his body and consciousness in Earthbound, but there is little evidence, other than word of series create Shigesato Itoi, that they are the same being. It should be noted that Giegue/Giygas is named "Gyiyg" in both games in Japan.

Though we North Americans missed out on Giegue's unexplained transformation when Earthbound was first released on our shores, Giygas is still a most disturbing figure. The distorted red and black background during the final battle, perhaps the closest the human mind can come to comprehending a cosmic entity like Giygas, is very unsettling. It becomes more drastically warped as the fight goes on, and the eerie music and disconcerting lines quoted by the eldritch alien only make the battle even more unsettling. Like his incarnation in the previous game, he cannot be damaged by Ness and his friends and the true form of his attacks cannot be grasped. Also, like in the original Mother, he can only be beaten through an unconventional method, though instead of a song, he is finally destroyed by the prayers of Paula, the people of Earth, and somehow even the player.

Even without knowledge of the first Mother, the final battle alone makes Giygas a memorable villain. By adding in his past revealed in the first game, he becomes an even more intriguing antagonist. It is this combination of a fascinating and original background, seemingly drastic transformation that has sparked many a crazy theory, and a truly disturbing and unforgettable final battle that makes Giegue/Giygas one of my most favorite villains of any RPG. — Cassandra Ramos

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