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Bosses - Worthy Foes or Irritating Cliches?

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  • Bosses - Worthy Foes or Irritating Cliches?

    I find myself getting fed up with the boss concept so I decided to post this poll to see if my ire is shared.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I hate bosses. Whenever I encounter one my opinion of a game drops dramatically. First there is the frustration factor. There is nothing more homicidally irritating then emerging bruised, bloodied, but nonetheless victorious from a level where you had to fight your way through more bad guys then the Americans encountered on Omaha Beach only to find a ridiculously overpowered baddie waiting at the door with a zillion hit points and anti-social intentions. It is especially demoralizing when your hit points have been whittled terribly low after the level you just fought through and then, since you usually die on the first try, you have to fight the boss again or, worse, start the whole level over. And then you have the disservice of the game designers not having the common courtesy to come up with something original. At least with Metal Gear Solid the bosses were original, even if they appeared more often than cockroaches. But 9 times out of 10 you either get A. a heavily armored vehicle you have to whittle down or B. more commonly a steroid guzzling version of the red-shirt ensign variety of bad guys you spent the last thirty minutes gunning down. Castlevania is a classic example where, after an hour of battling skeletons you get to fight.....another skeleton. And his bodyguards are.....more skeletons, some on motorcycles (which might look good in a Rob Zombie music video but are ridiculously anachronistic in a game taking place in the EARLY 19TH CENTURY!).

    Another reason I hate bosses is realism. I am a tactical shooter kind of guy and prefer seeing enemies drop after taking a realistic amount of fire. Sorry but when a cheap little 1960s vintage unarmored two seater only slightly more sophisticated then the H13s seen in the TV show MASH takes an LAW round through the driver side window at point blank range it is not simply going to jolt backward and resume firing at me. (From Russia With Love for PS2, if you care to know the encounter)

    The last reason for my ire is creativity. Bosses were cliches 20 years ago and their status has not improved. Please come up with a more original challenge if you hope to impress me.
    Worthy Opponent - Keep them.
    Cliche Nuisance - Get rid of them.
    Last edited by Pirateship1982; 04 May 07, 10:49.
    A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

  • #2
    It depends on the game. A boss in Ghost Recon? Pretty stupid.

    A boss when you're fighting the minions of hell (or orcs or any other might makes the leader enemy)... well that makes a little more sense.

    The major thing is, a boss is the easiest way given the format of games for the past x years, to provide a climax in the action. The boss tends to be the embodiment of the conflict in the narrative (to what extent there is a narrative). All stories need to have some kind of "boss" feature, be it literally a boss, or an excruciatingly difficult firefight that represents the peak of the fighting in a tactical shooter.
    “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”


    • #3
      Brothers in Arms has an excellent "Boss" system. By advancing through the level, you'll see unit cohesion and tactics, especially when you use the scenarios and turn up the abilities of the AI. Near the end of a level you will battle HQ units, reserves, withdrawal forces, even retreats. Much like a real fire fight, you can easily bite off more than you can chew by over advancing with out setting your units in support or attack, leading to your own envelopment or maybe make a run staight through to the mortars, tank, nest, ect. Thus the "bosses" are significant, but also peripheral, like real combat.
      "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."



      • #4
        It shows how much your skill is
        "The people never have the power, only the illusion of it. And here is the real secret: they don't want it. The responsibility is too great to bear. It's why they are so quick to fall in line as soon as someone else takes charge."


        • #5
          Annoying, but don't get rid of them. Sometimes they're fun to kill.


          • #6
            One of the things I like about 'Painkiller' (and there are many things I like about it) is their implementation of the 'Boss' concept. They're reasonably difficult to kill but the real challenge, if you want to take it, is doing it within the time limit set in each level.

            More generally, I'm not overly keen on Boss battles since all too often they are a poor substitute for decent storytelling. I want my game to have a decent end, not some hideously difficult fight followed by a lame cut scene.
            Signing out.


            • #7
              That's why I forgave Metal Gear Solid despite it's boss infestation. They are unique characters instead of ramped up run of the mill baddies and your engagements fit in with a story.
              A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!


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