Boss Download: http://acmlm.kafuka.org/uploader/index.php?act=viewcat&id=25
Video Music: Underground Pipe Orchestra by DDRKirby(ISQ) of OverClocked Remix http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03396
This article will be based on the secret form of XI Justice which is accessed by fighting it on Rank 11 because this form makes small changes to the existing phases while adding in new one rather than modifying them completely. As it was apparently made for a drone contest, much of this fight feels like a boss rush. Justice itself takes the form of a vaguely head-shaped helicopter and spends the early parts of the fight invincible and almost entirely off of the screen, choosing to instead send out three smaller fighters one after the other. Each of these fights, and justice itself, is surrounded by a barrier; destroying the barrier destroys the fighter, but it makes it more difficult to tell how much damage you’ve done along the way.
The first fighter takes on the form of a humanoid robot and gains ‘wings’ in this harder difficulty. It has a few tricks up its sleeves, but its main form of attacking is to rush horizontally across the screen to leave behind a trail of bullets which in turn explode and shoot in either direction vertically. It’s a fantastic attack from an aesthetic standpoint and this boss uses it three times in a row before sending out a burst of bullets near the bottom of the screen in every direction, which will almost certainly kill you if you’ve been playing too defensively.
The second fighter is my favorite of the three and takes the form of a crab. It sends out bursts of homing lasers and evokes appropriately watery imagery by creating a ‘net’ of small lasers which gradually tightens while bubble-like ripple bullets fly around. Its most impressive attack occurs at the end of its cycle when it rushes forward and sends out a stream of fire which sets a large portion of the bottom of the screen ablaze. Of the three, this miniboss is probably the easiest and it goes down quickly.
The final miniboss is the one which looks the most like an ordinary ship and its patterns are probably easier to dodge than those of the previous two, but getting hit by most of its attacks will instantly kill you. It spends most of the fight sending out steady streams of bullets on either side of itself while moving left and right and occasionally tossing out a focused burst at your location. Weaving between the two columns of bullets is easy and the focused burst is also not much of a problem as long as you don’t mind sometimes needing to briefly dive into the bullet columns to avoid the deadly attacks. Its remaining attack consists of sending out lines of crisscrossing bullets which move fast and can almost certainly destroy your ship if they make contact. This attack is the one that’s likely to cost you at least one life if you haven’t practiced the fight in large part due to just how fast it is.
Once all three minibosses are dead Justice itself at last comes down into the arena to fight you. In the first phase of the fight against Justice it has a barrier all the way around, making it a huge target which you don’t need to really worry about aiming at. However, this is one of the hardest parts of the entire fight as Justice likes to send out fast-moving radial barrages of powerful bullets and scattered bursts; it’s a very intense and offense-oriented phase which can easily catch you off-guard after having dealt with the more methodical and defensive minibosses. Once you take down the barrier the fight still isn’t over as Justice puts up a new, much smaller barrier around its ‘mouth’. If the crab was my favorite miniboss, this is my favorite phase in the entire fight. It’s a less intense phase than the previous one, but it’s more chaotic as Justice sends out various types of scattered bullet barrages which are virtually impossible to completely avoid, though individual bullets don’t deal too much damage. What makes this phase interesting is the fact that Justice now slowly moves up and down the screen, bringing in one of its ‘arms’ to allow you to pass next to it at the last moment or both arms if it decided to perform a rush.
After beating the previous phase, Justice performs a rush across the screen as it explodes in a last-ditch attempt to take you down with it and this is where the fight normally ends, but it has one last trick up its sleeve in this version of the fight. The ‘true’ form of Justice emerges from the wreckage in the form of an eye with tentacles which make it look like a hand. It immediately rushes to the top of the screen and starts pummeling you with a massive barrage of homing lasers and tight-knit waves of bullets. It’s a ridiculously tough, though short, fight which definitely requires some practice and memorization, though any complaints I may have concerning balance issues are equaled out by the fact that this is an entirely optional phase exclusive to the secret hard mode version of a bullet hell boss fight. Like with some of the harder phases which came before it, the difficulty here has more to do with the speed at which the patterns move rather than with the patterns themselves. Defeating this phase leads to what is technically the true final phase of the fight, but it’s more cinematic than anything else. Justice turned into an obscured glowing form which ceaselessly shoots out wave upon wave of large bullets while your ship suddenly gains several more guns to shoot at it with. There is a lot of slowdown during this phase and the bullets are spread generously far apart, so it’s actually the easiest phase in the entire fight, though it’s easy to get tripped up and run straight into a bullet at the very end when the special effects go away and the slowdown abruptly goes away with them.
Overall, XVII Star is still my favorite boss by AlexMdle, but I consider that a very high bar and as it stands XI Justice is in every way a great and creative fight.