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Michael_Russell 03-02-2005 12:20 PM

Boss Preferences
Nowadays, almost every game has at least one boss battle. So here is a dumb question: what types of bosses do you prefer?

You've got the pattern bosses, like the Spider Mastermind and Cyberdemon from Doom 1. These guys move in a fairly predictable pattern, attack in a predictable pattern, and once you know the pattern, you can defeat them.

You've got the puzzle bosses. These guys include Shubb-Niggurath and Cthon from Quake 1, or the creature under the rocket engine in Half-Life, where in order to kill the boss, you need to solve a puzzle. Your weapons have minimal to no effect.

You've got the staged bosses, like the end boss in Beyond Good & Evil or several bosses in the Final Fantasy series. These bosses have multiple forms and personalities, and can be any type of boss.

Finally, there are the "equal" bosses, where you are essentially fighting a clone of yourself and/or your abilities. The Metroid series has been doing a bit of that lately, and games like Quake III: Arena and Unreal Tournament are built around the concept.

badman 03-02-2005 01:28 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
Puzzles bosses are the most rewarding to beat I think. The Half-Life tentacles you mentioned as well as the Vymish Mama in Heavy Metal FAKK2 rank among my favorite game bosses just because they're not of the simple point + shoot variety like so many other bosses.

Bicko 03-02-2005 01:34 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
I quite liked the EF1 final boss, he had a pattern that you had to learn to dodge and counter-attack on.

When I face a boss, I want to be challenged, it shouldn't be a simple matter of find out a technique, repeat this until boss is dead, and I don't want it so that having 1 crucial stat will mean an easy kill (like in most RPGs). Isn't the whole point of a boss that (s)he's hard to defeat?

Another thing I don't like in a boss is their ability to mass-absorb damage with no explanation as to how or why.

Simple explanation: all of the choices mixed make the best boss.

Grandpapa 03-02-2005 04:50 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
Puzzle bosses, my favorite ones! It's pretty annoying to just shoot about ten minutes some stupid uber bosses, when whole game is anyways based to shooting enemies. There has to be puzzles forcing players to use their brains [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Tempest 03-02-2005 05:50 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
There is i think only one boss that i come across who was unique, was the Dark Link from the Nintendo 64s The Ocarena (SP?) of Time. Now that boss was quite hard to fight because it pulled off all the same moves you could and would do, because it was the evil opposite of you.

Many bosses from other games seem to be all the same, with no unique attributes. It is usually quite easy to defeat them if you know how they work.

One of the other bosses took me a while to figure out was the end one from FAKK2. (Great Game BTW!)

PS, That game was left wide open, is there any sequal planned?

Xenogenetic 03-02-2005 06:14 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
A perfect boss would be strong and violent, and should never a three second timer of god-mode, nor should his path be predictible. The boss wouldn't always be standing in range though, they would be running around the area dodging and ducking behind things (or like Sonic Adventure2 where sonic fights shadow on the space highway where they just run really fast). The boss has to have some sort of weak stunning longe range attack and a heavy melee attack that knocks you down or up sometimes.
So in otherwords a mix of all the bosses you have EXCEPT THE FIRST TWO

ADDITION I don't like puzzle bosses for one reaseon and one reason only, When I want to think about something and spend time trying to figure something out I want to do it in an RTS game not a third person or first person game.

kevin442 03-02-2005 08:05 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
Puzzle bosses simply because there are more challenging and require you to think about how to defeat the boss wether it be using the environment to your advantage or having to set up a certain trap for the enemy.

ran93r 03-03-2005 11:32 AM

Re: Boss Preferences
Mighty morphin power bosses, or to put it in a way you might get more information from...

Resident Evil - The Plant thing (Plant 42??)
You "could" kill that thing with enough firepower BUT it was far easier to poison the sucker first at the roots.

Options make for happy children.

STATIC3D 03-03-2005 09:15 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
Okay, this probably isn't going to be the most popular answer, but, I think most bosses in games today suck. There has been SO little innovation in boss battles that they all start smearing into one another. I agree there should be a boss battle in a game. But, there needs to be something "new" brought to the table.

Pattern bosses probably suck the worst of all. Why? Because, they have a "pattern"...okay, lemme splain. Once you learn the pattern, the "challenge" is nil. Sure, it may take some time to learn the pattern. But, then it's a simple matter of the "right" button presses to beating them...not true tactics. Also, with most pattern type bosses there is simply ONE pattern that MUST be used...again, no tactics involved.

Puzzle bosses are probably my favorite of all. At least it takes more than "brawn" or some "pattern" to defeat them. However, as with the pattern bosses, once the "trick" is discovered, the game is over...including replay value. Sometimes these types of bosses come across as a bit tedious to beat (especially if you have been running and gunning the whole game and now you have to play as Sherlock Holmes). The "shift" in gameplay can also take you out of the experience a little bit.

Staged bosses are sometimes okay. As long as they are not bosses you have faced before (or simple varients of them). They need to be progressively challenging (but not frustrating). Unforutnately, these types of bosses are often simply mini-varient of the other boss types just thrown together.

Equal bosses have been around a long time too. They were interesting/shocking once. But now they just come across as a game staple (requirement/cliche) level type of thing. How many years ago did Mortal Kombat come out? :}


Basically, all these bosses have a big "been there, done that" feel to them. For example, just look at the number of games mentioned in the original post...Doom 1, Quake 1, Half-Life, Quake 3, UT. Only 2 of the games mentioned even break the year 2000 mark....Metroid and Beyond Good & Evil.

So, I say instead of using some old school, lather-rinse-repeat, type of end game boss, developers need to come up with something new. Prove that something unique can be done that will help games advance beyond the level of simply copying the "known" things.

Keep in mind that it's the games that DID go above and beyond that usually caught the most attention and are considered "classics". They didn't just follow the norm by hitting their marks of expectation/gameplay cliches. And yes, I call it cliche because once something has been the norm for SO long, it no longer holds the same strength it once did. That loss of strength starts to remove things from the believable catagory and moves them into a more joke/silly/less serious one.

As a comparison to the film special effects world, just think morphing and bullet time. When you first saw them, you were probably blown away. Now, if you see them, you recognize them for what they are, but, you are not "amazed" by them any more. They are simply seen as just another "effect" that does not hold the same strength they once did.

Innovation ppl, it's about the innovation. :}

PS: Where were you ppl on the SiN server last Friday around 10:30 pm CST? :{

ran93r 03-04-2005 04:49 AM

Re: Boss Preferences

Originally posted by STATIC3D:
PS: Where were you ppl on the SiN server last Friday around 10:30 pm CST? :{

I was all set to attend when it was anounced in principle but the date crept up far too quickly for me to change plans.

Michael_Russell 03-04-2005 01:48 PM

Bosses and Innovation

Originally posted by STATIC3D:
Innovation ppl, it's about the innovation. :}

I'm going to agree with you about the innovation, but it never hurts to try to find out what people like and dislike from what's available today.

After all, for every good innovation that has come along (Half-Life's cutscenes integrated into the story, for example), there are ten "innovations" that are quickly put out to pasture ("gesture" interfaces in games, for example).

We do a lot of experimentation internally trying to find the next "OMFG!WOOT!RITUAListehL33T1" kick-ass moment, but we still need to give you products that you'll enjoy, even if a part of our creation may cause you to, er, gesture at us.

STATIC3D 03-06-2005 01:07 AM

Re: Bosses and Innovation
Um...wasn't it SiN that first integrated cutscenes into gameplay? I mean, it was released before HL...hehe.

Anywho, I agree on the "some things work, others don't" stuff. However, these innovations that work do so usually because they enhance gameplay rather than simply being a gimic.

It's like special effects in a film. A film can use some new type of effect. But, it should help the film tell the story and not just be there for the sake of being a new effect. In other words, if the story/film calls for something to be created/done in a way that was never done (at least that way) before, then the effect is being driven (called for) by the story. However, if the film creators find some way to use a particular technique, just because they like it, or, it would be cool to have it in the project, then, the cart is sort of being put before the horse.

While it's important to know what your audience likes, unless you have a public poll, you are likely to get a pretty even response across the board. Each game type and game player has their likes/dislikes as to end bosses. With something like a poll, you are more likely to get a bell curve response that gives you a better idea of what people on the whole want in a game boss.

I look back at how many new gameplay elements/features were in SiN. Many of them are pretty standard in modern games (even if SiN doesn't always receive credit for them). The gameplay of SiN called for, or was made better, by the use of these innovative elements. It wasn't something so "out there" that made people say WTF?, or, that's a neat gimmic. It's the fact that these features WERE good additions to the gameplay that has caused many other companies to use them (and/or develop their own versions in a parallel development way, assuming they never played SiN).

While some of these things were innovative at one time, they are now standard. That doesn't mean they are not good, simply they are more or less expected, and therefore, not as amazing as when originally encountered. So, that just means it's time for something new and innovative to come along to enhance/add to the modern gameplay experience.

In the case of game bosses, they really have not advanced or changed much over the past several years. This means they have become a "standard" thing. And, that is an unfortunate thing considering that a boss should be a "big" moment in a game. Seeing the same types of "big" moments from game to game without something new to make is seem even bigger/better tends to cause these things to all blend together.

Don't get me wrong, I think games need and end boss. And, it's nice to play a game every now and then that has a "standard" game boss. However, that seems to be pretty much what all the games out now have. I haven't heard someone say, "OMFG, you just MUST see the boss for game X" in a LONG time. It's been more like, the boss in game X was kul, but it reminded me of the boss from game Y.

Well, if I played game Y, then where is the "real" incentive to go pay for game X if the end result/battle is going to be pretty much the same. And, in the case of a gamer that didn't like game Y, it's even more likely they won't give game X a shot. It's sorta like what happened to SiN when it got bad reviews. WE all know it was a GREAT game because we based our purchase on playing the demo. But, there are a great number of gamers I have talked to (okay, extolled the greatness of the game) and tried to convince to give the game a try. :}

Xenogenetic 03-06-2005 12:09 PM

Re: Bosses and Innovation

Originally posted by STATIC3D:
Um...wasn't it SiN that first integrated cutscenes into gameplay? I mean, it was released before HL...hehe.

Half-Life didn't have any cutscenes, that was what made it feel more real than anyother game. They used the same technique with HL2. I am not counting the first and last scenes of the game, but those did not have any bosses in them anyway. Cutscenes take the fun out of most bosses unless it adds some suspense, just seeing how powerful the boss is in a movie isn't as fun as experiencing it first hand.

Stylsy 03-06-2005 08:01 PM

Re: Bosses and Innovation
I prefer puzzle bosses as it requires a certain change in gameplay and makes it challenging. The bosses I really hate are variations of normal characters, especially humans, who just have more hitpoints. It spoils the experience and realism for me, and I'd prefer a more normal situation with higher difficulty such as being outnumbered or strategically at a disadvantage.

Xenogenetic 03-07-2005 11:26 PM

Re: Bosses and Innovation
Once again I must reference the modern gaming masterpiece Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2 brought new bosses into the gaming world through a mixture of physics, AI, Lighting, Emotion, and, dare I say it, sound. Now the bosses in both HLs have been sometime hard to spot because of how well rolled into the game they are. You won't open the door and see a unit that is obviously better and different than the rest all alone on top of a castle, but you will find a street path blocked by several giant "Striders" which you have already witnessed walking around. One of my favorite bosses was the gunship that attacked the small town you had just arrived at. You were forced to leave your car in the garage which took away one of your strengths, and then before you could fight the boss gunship you had to take on several squads of Combine Soldiers. Now I am pretty sure this is a new technique, weaken and then send a strong unit to attack. This made defeating the boss even more rewarding, because you felt as if you achieved a great feat. This boss was not a pattern boss, I could not see any pattern in its movements or strategies. This boss was not a "strong boss" because no matter how many missles I shot at it straight on it would survive. It was definately not the same character as me with more hitpoints, it was a f*ken gunship. The way to defeat it was while running around the top of a light house dodging enemy fire trying to shoot missles at it, using the laser guidance to make the missles do little tricks in the air while dodging the anti-missle system. And to add emotion to the whole thing, when you where re-stocking ammo, you could hear your dieing comrades screams.

That is a new boss, atleast to my knowledge, and it was a pretty good one to. But recreating it would not be as fun because it would be game X and Y all over again as STATIC3D mentioned. I am just trying to say that bosses need a mixture of ideas to succeed, and need to match their surroundings, not just be a powerful thing at the end of the level.

BrushBaron 03-07-2005 11:40 PM

Re: Bosses and Innovation
static3d. Thank you for your replys. I agree 100%, it would be great to innovate in that area. It's making me think about the various challenges that bosses offer players. Mental, physical reflexes, pattern recognition. What we need to do is figure out a way to challenge the player in a way they haven't been challenged before.


STATIC3D 03-09-2005 12:46 AM

Re: Boss Preferences
Ur Welcome. I have to say I'm glad to hear...um...see...that a developer is willing (as all "should" be able) to look to their fanbase/customers for input on future products. Granted, not everything/wish/want can be included/met, but, at least asking is a good thing. Perhaps if Epic had done this (like they said they were likely to do) for UT2003, they wouldn't have "needed" to alter things for UT2004. :}

ninken 03-09-2005 04:01 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
Make it a all in One!
Do Staged bosses, where the first guy is fights like you.
Then a Patten boss pops out for you to kill then
The super Demon Boss which you have to have to kill by puzzle. Or have a boss you cant beat you have gamers going nuts that the ending means in order for you to kill the boss you have to die! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Xenogenetic 03-09-2005 06:05 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
LoL that would be the best, a boss you couldnt beat. I would definately like that

Michael_Russell 03-09-2005 07:34 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
Well, for games you can't beat, try "Impossible Mission" for the Atari 5200. Due to an error in the production run, some of the cartridges cannot be beaten because the last piece you need is hidden behind a piece of furniture and cannot be collected.

...not that I'd know or anything...

ran93r 03-09-2005 08:05 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
There was an interesting unbeatable boss in pre-patch SiN, Mancini & the wall anyone [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

Xenogenetic 03-09-2005 09:20 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
This unbeatable boss idea could be another solution for game demos, no more damn fading out to the words "BUY THIS GAME AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE THRILL OF YOUR LIFE!"

The fade out words will be: "BUY THIS GAME AND WE WILL KILL THE BOSS FOR YOU!!"

SuprTnr2 03-09-2005 11:51 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
That is actually a really good idea, it would really want gamers to go out and buy the full version of the game. If for no other reasom than to jsut beat the boss.

STATIC3D 03-10-2005 12:22 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
LMAO, good one ninken.

I thought of an idea for a boss that I don't know if it's been done. Have some HUGE nasty boss. You know, the kind that EVERY gamer would look at and say, Oh I just GOTTA kill this guy...or, OH SH*T how am I gonna kill this guy? Then, have the "twist" of how to defeat the boss be that you must let the boss kill you without firing a single shot that hits em.

Just like in SiN, have a room right before the big boss with every weapon from the game and TONS of ammo/health/powerups/etc. Perhaps even have a "new" weapon that makes the player think they must use it. Let em stock up and head out to see the final boss. Once they see it, most gamers will start shooting right away.

In case a player would mistakenly just walk out and get killed (thus "beating" the boss), add in a small puzzle element. Something like 4 buttons that must be hit before the player must let the boss kill em. However, if the player fires even ONE shot that hits the boss, they block the "twist". Basically, the boss gets even more P!SS3D off than before and uses some nearly instant kill attack.

So, the boss must be BIG/NASTY...
The player must have access to LOTS of weapons/etc...
There should be a small puzzle element that activates the "twist"...
If the player hits the boss with ONE shot, the "twist" is devoid and the boss uses some instant kill attack...

If the player completes the small puzzle element, then, they must let the boss kill them (perhaps while standing in a certain spot). This would lead to some neat cutscene that would show how the player actually "defeated" the boss by dying themself (ya know, kinda like Obi Wan in Star Wars...hehe).

I can just imagine the TONS of posts on forums about how the boss is unbeatable/etc. LMAO. :}

Michael_Russell 03-10-2005 12:38 PM

Re: Boss Preferences
SquareSoft did something like that in Final Fantasy IV, where Light Cecil had to not attack Dark Cecil in order to win. All the player could do was heal himself to avoid dying. If you attacked Dark Cecil, it had no effect.

That being said, if you're going to pull a "twist" like that, you generally want to give at least some foreshadowing of the event so that the player isn't frustrated that this particular creature doesn't follow the rules of the world.

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