The summit of the Tiger’s Nest is one of the most memorable locations in Red Steel 2 simply because it is so unlike any location the game has shown you beforehand. Whereas previously you had come across sun-baked Wild West outposts mishmashed with high-tech bases, neon signs and Japanese architecture, the summit presents you with a dreamlike, ethereal atmosphere. The buildings of the previous chapter lie far below the mountain, feeling a world away from your current location in both distance and ambience. The night sky is a progression of colour; sheets of darkness studded with twinkling stars, giving way to translucent clouds of green and beige. Sitting in the middle of this sweeping cosmic bloom is a blood red moon. The symbolism is unmistakeable in a game based on a crossover between East and West: the creamy clouds provide the background of the Japanese flag, the moon being the crimson centrepiece.
The player fights their way through ancient burial grounds and cliffside balconies before reaching the absolute peak of the Tiger’s Nest – a Japanese garden that serves as the arena for the final battle of the game. Upon coming towards it, your nemesis can be seen standing in the centre of the stonework circle.
The pink petals of a nearby cherry blossom swoop across the battleground, quickly followed by a bouncing ball of tumbleweed straight out of a spaghetti western. The celestial tapestry of the sky above is visible from every angle at this point on the mountain, perfectly framing the most climactic and striking moment of the game.