Pandora is one of the few final bosses in the Sonic Wings series who leans towards the grotesque rather than the comedic. She most often resembles a giant human skull with two twisted tentacles (possibly meant to resemble spinal cords) protruding from underneath. When she first appears, Pandora is always concealed in some kind of space craft, which falls apart when attacked by the player. Only after the craft is destroyed will Pandora be revealed. She primarily attacks through a barrage of fireballs spit from her mouth. Pandora appears in the first Sonic Wings game but does not return until Sonic Wings Special.
Pandora's name is possibly a reference to a figure of Greek mythology. The mythological Pandora was by some accounts the first human woman; she was sent to Earth with a vase containing all sicknesses and troubles (most commonly referred to as Pandora's Box). When Pandora opened her vase, unhappiness escaped and spread throughout the Earth; only Hope remained inside the vase, leaving humanity with one thing to sustain it against worldly troubles. Although the mythological Pandora differed from the Sonic Wings version because of her exquisite beauty, both do unleash great troubles on Earth.
Pandora (called "The Death Skull" in the Aero Fighters SNES manual) is one of two final bosses of the game, along with the giant monkey Osaru. After the battle with the mid-level boss, a large golden rocket ship appears. Pieces of it fall away as the player fires at it, until only its inner core remains. When this core falls apart, it reveals either Pandora or Osaru. Pandora attacks by spitting fireballs at the player.
If the player allows Pandora to escape or does not defeat her within the time limit, a "bad ending" shows the Earth being destroyed by fireballs.
If the player is using Keaton in single-player mode, Pandora will crash into Keaton's aircraft after she is defeated. This causes the destruction of Keaton's plane and his apparent death; however, he returns as a cyborg in later games.
Stage: Fight in Orbit
Pandora returns as the boss of Special's final stage if the player chooses to proceed to "Fight in Orbit"; again, she is housed in the core of a large rocket. As before, she attacks with fireballs. If allowed to escape, Pandora attacks the Earth, giving the "bad ending" of explosions covering the planet. The text accompanying the image reads, "You purposely let the enemy go to see this ending!" As in Sonic Wings, using Keaton in single-player mode to defeat Pandora leads to the destruction of his plane.
Stage: Fight in Orbit
Pandora may appear as the game's final boss if the player has less than 600,000 points at the end of stage 6; sometimes Gurabura is the boss of "Fight in Orbit" instead. As in previous games, Pandora may appear from the core of the golden rocket; however, she sometimes emerges from a white space shuttle instead. She attacks with fireballs as before. If allowed to escape, Pandora attacks the Earth, giving the "bad ending" of explosions covering the planet. The text accompanying the image reads, "You purposely let the enemy go to see this ending!"
Stage: The Moon
"It appears that Pandora may have the ability to destroy Earth. Research suggests that its original purpose was to lead reconnaissance. Pandora will be revealed when the flying saucer and core station are destroyed. The final purpose of the enemy is to eliminate humans, or destroy the Earth."
-Ellen's briefing in the English version of Aerofighters Assault
Pandora returns as the ultimate boss of Assault if the player has defeated all bonus levels and unlocked the Moon level after defeating Lar in the Ice Cave. Instead of being housed in a rocket as in previous games, Pandora is nested inside two other major bosses from the series: the UFO Gurabura first appears, and if it is not defeated, it unfolds into the Station Core. Again, if the Station Core is not defeated, it finally opens to reveal Pandora. Oddly enough, if the player does enough damage to Gurabura or the Station Core, the final boss can be defeated without Pandora ever showing herself.
Her physical appearance has also changed, as she now looks to be made of metal or some synthetic material. Her eyes have red centers instead of being hollow as in previous games. However, the greatest difference is that she now has vertebrae making up a spinal column, rather than the exposed red tentacles. If Gurabura/Station Core/Pandora is not defeated within 300 seconds, Pandora launches for and destroys Earth.
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- ↑ Graves, Robert, et al. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Prometheus Press, 1968.