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General Category => Game Design! => Topic started by: finale on January 23, 2008, 11:36:27 pm

Title: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 23, 2008, 11:36:27 pm
This thread is for posting bosses or the occasional enemy that were designed to do something we think is unique and cool/unfair(same diff) in games we have played. I love bosses with a passion, so I'll start us off with a couple. Obviously, expect uberspoilers all over the place.


FFXII - In a game which defied a lot of previous Final Fantasy design specs, one of the most notable differences was the inclusion of a graphic lifemeter that hovered above the head of enemies. With the casting of Libra(a truly ubiquitous spell), all enemies and bosses in the game had an exact numeric representation of their remaining life above their heads. Although some enemies autohealed once when they died or reached a health threshold, there were no exceptions to this- except the final boss- The Undying.
The Undying, the third stage of the final fight, has no lifemeter, and is far stronger than the previous two forms- when my friend first came the Undying, it was only after spending time waiting to see the cinematic attacks on the previous forms, before putting them out of their misery. By contrast, the fight with Undying was a grueling 35 minute fight that required several changes in tactics. The neat thing about Undying was how effectively it suggested that it was immortal by its design. No lifebar, plus a relatively high defense value, meant that players felt like they were missing something. Just to make things even better, when it hits 20% of its life, Undying activates a set of spells that render it immune to all damage. These spells last for a while, and it gets to continue attacking. While these methods are a bit cheap, they do give the final battle an epic feel that has been lacking in a lot of RPGs.

Growing Threat- an enemy-only ability, this one-use technique, found in several unique enemies, and most alarmingly in the ultimate secret boss, Yiazmat, DOUBLES the level of the monster, with proportionate changes to all its stats. This is unavoidable, and beautiful. Yiazmat activates it soon into its fight, and all of a sudden does ~3000 more damage per attack, among other advantages. Another example of FFXII's cheap, yet epic boss design.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Dagnarok on January 23, 2008, 11:49:20 pm
FFXII - In a game which defied a lot of previous Final Fantasy design specs, one of the most notable differences was the inclusion of a graphic lifemeter that hovered above the head of enemies. With the casting of Libra(a truly ubiquitous spell), all enemies and bosses in the game had an exact numeric representation of their remaining life above their heads. Although some enemies autohealed once when they died or reached a health threshold, there were no exceptions to this- except the final boss- The Undying.

The Undying, the third stage of the final fight, has no lifemeter, and is far stronger than the previous two forms....

Some of the SNES RPGs I played (back then and now) had lifebars.  Some of the more recent games I played (Enchanted Arms) had lifebars as well.  Made things a little interesting, but I feel it made fighting a little too predictable.  I suppose it's a matter of taste though. :P

One series of games I played (Breath of Fire) did some weird things with lifebars.

In the first installment (SNES), all enemies had visible lifebars that changed color after a certain point, and was only visible when attacking or -most importantly- selecting the enemy.  However, during (most) boss fights, after the boss took a certain amount of damage, the lifebar would only show a sliver and wouldn't decrease until the boss died.

On the GBA remake, the lifebars on bosses would disappear after they took a set amount of damage.

In the second installment (SNES again), the first time you encountered any enemy, they'd have a black lifebar with a '?' on it; as in, you didn't know how much damage they actually take.  However, after defeating them once, their lifebars changed to red and you could see how much damage you're actually inflicting on them.

All bosses had the 1st-style mentioned lifebar for the entire fight, which kinda made them pointless, if you ask me. :P

I never played the GBA remake, so I can't any comment in relation to it.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Kayin on January 24, 2008, 01:45:02 am
Let me just start by sayng ALL of Yoshi's Island and Shadow of the Collosus... Lets see some classics.

Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid). Everyone loves that one. It's just such a weird ass idea.

Fire Leo(Viewtiful Joe). Fire Leo is awesome as he requires a lot of puzzle solving to figure out and is STILL hard afterward. He's not necessarily unique, but there is something just fantastic about that boss fight.

Pumpkin Head(Bunny Must die). It's a fucking Danmaku shooter. Only you can Parry. It's just fukcing sick.

Ganon(Wind Waker). I loved this fight because, even though it was pattern based and sort of easy, it protrayed it's self in a way to really feel like a slugfest of a fight.  It was a unique in how it approached the end boss more as a cinamatic fight, then a true final challange. Everything about the fight and setting was just masterful.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: UltraJMan on January 24, 2008, 02:10:38 am
I'm with Kayin on the Yoshi's Island bosses, amazingly designed even if they were easy, they still took thought.

A more recent one is the last boss of Contra 4, sure it's easy once you get it but there's one attack I guarantee everyone dies to their first few shots.

Wario Master of Disguise did some clever stuff... Noitu Love... I could go on all day heh.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 24, 2008, 10:19:57 am
Smithy, from SMRPG. He had a few "Heads" that changed his stats. He had a Witch head or something that rendered him immune from magic, and a Tank head that boosted his defense to the sky and added a powerful cannon attack.

Also, The End. Epic.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: MaxX on January 24, 2008, 02:20:15 pm
I'm with Kayin on the Yoshi's Island bosses, amazingly designed even if they were easy, they still took thought.

A more recent one is the last boss of Contra 4, sure it's easy once you get it but there's one attack I guarantee everyone dies to their first few shots.

Wario Master of Disguise did some clever stuff... Noitu Love... I could go on all day heh.

That boss is really no different than the final boss in Contra 3, infact he's a nerfed version of the final boss in contra 3.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Dagnarok on January 24, 2008, 06:34:02 pm
Smithy, from SMRPG. He had a few "Heads" that changed his stats. He had a Witch head or something that rendered him immune from magic, and a Tank head that boosted his defense to the sky and added a powerful cannon attack.

Also, The End. Epic.

Yeah, the final Smithy fight was awesome. :)

I have to ask though....  What on earth was his whole 'shredder' technique when he was... I'm guessing... a giant shredder?  I have no idea what that move does.  Is it supposed to eliminate any bonuses or something?
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 24, 2008, 07:20:36 pm
I have no idea. Played it a long time ago. I'll do my research.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Shazarava on January 24, 2008, 09:05:31 pm
Definitely the ending boss for KH2.I forgot his name since i havn't played in so long, but it was pretty epic.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Tamua on January 24, 2008, 09:14:26 pm
Xemnas
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 24, 2008, 10:17:00 pm
Although I hated KH2 as a whole, and IMO the fights against Xemnas felt too disjointed, I did enjoy the general design of the Org members. Fighting reactive, variable humanoid enemies with wide movesets doesn't happen nearly enough in any genre.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 24, 2008, 10:33:47 pm
Smithy, from SMRPG. He had a few "Heads" that changed his stats. He had a Witch head or something that rendered him immune from magic, and a Tank head that boosted his defense to the sky and added a powerful cannon attack.

Also, The End. Epic.

Yeah, the final Smithy fight was awesome. :)

I have to ask though....  What on earth was his whole 'shredder' technique when he was... I'm guessing... a giant shredder?  I have no idea what that move does.  Is it supposed to eliminate any bonuses or something?
Directly from Wiki
"In this form, Smithy is able to change his head into four different heads. The Tank Head allows him to use immensely powerful attacks, including Magnum, an instant death attack. The Magic Head gives him magic attacks of the highest level; among them, Meteor Swarm, Arrow Rain, Sword Rain, and Spear Rain. The Mask Head is not very powerful, but has very high defense, thwarting most attacks. The Treasure Chest Head allows him to inflict any status ailment upon the entire party. In addition to all these attacks, Smithy's Body can attack separately, although if damaged enough, it will be temporarily immobilized, stopping it from attacking and locking Smithy into his current form for several turns."
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Saiai on January 25, 2008, 12:02:17 am
Finale: That's why Metal Gear Solid is so popular? >_>
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 25, 2008, 02:11:48 am
Yes, but I never found the combat to be very enjoyable in MGS. It may have had something to do with how ridiculously overwrought all the characters are.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 25, 2008, 10:58:51 am
I completely dislike the combat in MGS, but it fit in boss battles, I wonder why. When I was at alert, I used to freak out, because I had to run, I couldn't just stay and fight. Slightly subverted in 3, with the CQC and all, but still...
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Saiai on January 25, 2008, 10:14:40 pm
I never had much trouble with it...
But I played 2, then 3, then 1. >_>
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Kitty on January 25, 2008, 10:21:06 pm
I really liked the mechanic in the Final Fantasy VIII final boss about how your party was selected. I heard it threw alot of people off.

It didn't throw me off at all, because I never used Junction Exchange. I thought it was stupid.

I really loved the Junction system, tho'. It let me customize everybody the way I wanted.

*cough255StrengthRinoacough*
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: lopsidation on January 26, 2008, 12:02:09 am
There are two types of bosses: movement-based and projectile-based. Mother Brain is an extreme example of projectile-based, and Ma Pignon (anyone remember him? cave story? the mushroom?) is an extreme movement-based boss. Generally, movement-based bosses are harder and more fun that projectile-based bosses, but this isn't always true of course, a notable exception being The Guy's last form. Anyway, here are some of my favorite bosses:

Viy, from La-Mulana. Most people say Viy is harder that all other guardians in that game, but I disagree, because I use the spear strategy, but replaced with throwing stars. Definitely a very well-designed boss, and very hard before you find an awesome stretegy. (seriously, though- the spear strategy but with throwing stars lets me beat it with no life jewels, 9 out of 10 times.) Definitely a projectile-based boss, and quite fun.

Also, Ballos from cave story of course. Extremely fun, I used Ballos to calm myself down in between iwbtg frustration periods. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd forms are movement-based, but 4th is projectile-based. Great for a little fun break from hardcoreness.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 26, 2008, 12:37:28 am
Not exactly a boss, but the last battle in Black got me pretty thrilled. I think I spent over 30 minutes to beat it for the first time. There's SO much going on and shots going haywire and you in the middle of all... After one of the most difficult FPS levels I've ever played (I blame playing in a joystick), the last battle was awesome. It really had that great feeling of completion.

Also, most bosses in God of War are awesome and creative. Loom, for instance, starts as a puzzle and ends with a huge pendulum-like thing to the forehead.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 26, 2008, 01:05:46 am
As much as I hate God of War's content,and while I'm honestly not much of a fan of the DMC-styled action game in general, I have to admit that the creators did do a very good job of enemy and boss design in god of war 2.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 26, 2008, 07:49:26 pm
Colossus of Rhodes is the best first-level ever.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: FlyingKimura on January 29, 2008, 12:36:45 am
The co-op bosses in Castlevania Portrait of Ruin (Stella and Loretta, Dracula and Death), were notable for how well two enemies interacted in creating a difficult and unique challenge. 
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 29, 2008, 01:03:18 am
I haven't been a fan of the DS Castlevania games- the protagonists are so overpowered, enemies and bosses become a joke- and the plots make me physically ill at times. A Castlevania Boss that looks cool is Shaft from Rondo- not only do you fight his ghost a level after you beat him, but he summons other bosses and makes you fight them first, in a way I hear is much cooler than the way Death does it in Bloodlines.

Castlevania as a series is long enough to have many cool bosses and enemies- in Curse of Darkness, there's this time-based human boss who looks ridiculous- Saint Germain, dressed like a ringmaster or something. Anyhow, you kill him- and he reverses time, refilling half his life. Plus, whenever he poisons you, he speeds up time, so your life drains faster. Awesome.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: FlyingKimura on January 29, 2008, 04:21:41 am
I haven't been a fan of the DS Castlevania games-

Then you're really missing out.  There are very few games I have the patience to play through nowadays, but I never get bored of the DS and GBA Castlevanias, with the exception of Circle of the Moon. 

As for Portrait of Ruin, that's easily one of the twenty best games I've ever played.  Even by Castlevania standards, the game is a masterpiece. 

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the protagonists are so overpowered, enemies and bosses become a joke-

This statement comes from ignorance, not reality. 

Have you played Julius mode on Dawn of Sorrow?  Death and Abaddon are more difficult than any boss in IWTBTG except The Guy.  How about Hard Mode on either DS Castlevania?  That's at least the equivalent of Medium difficulty on IWTBTG.

Or, better yet, what about Hard Mode on Portrait of Ruin with a Max Level 1 cap?  That's likely the equivalent of Hard or Very Hard difficulty on IWTBTG. 

As for Old Axe Armor mode with a Max Level 1 cap....that might be one of the most difficult gaming challenges of all time, making most of IWTBTG look like a cakewalk by comparison. 

However, while there are extremely challenging settings for both games, the player isn't forced to select them.  It's their choice whether they want to go through an idyllic, sight-seeing adventure through the game, or play a dastardly, evil concoction which will repeatedly kick their ass.     

With that said, even the default difficulty in Portrait of Ruin has made great strides since the first Iga portable title Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance; you'll die at least a few times on most bosses, the final co-op battle took me 100 minutes of frustration before winning (and I can beat almost any Castlevania game easily), and the Nest of Evil is a tough, uncompromising challenge regardless of hero level or items. 

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and the plots make me physically ill at times. A Castlevania Boss that looks cool is Shaft from Rondo- not only do you fight his ghost a level after you beat him, but he summons other bosses and makes you fight them first, in a way I hear is much cooler than the way Death does it in Bloodlines.

All the Rondo bosses looked cool, and Shaft is no exception.

Some of the Dawn of Sorrow bosses also looked amazing; Gergoth (the giant, laser-mouthed fish-like monster), Balor, and Zephyr, the time-stopper with the giant claws. 

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Castlevania as a series is long enough to have many cool bosses and enemies- in Curse of Darkness, there's this time-based human boss who looks ridiculous- Saint Germain, dressed like a ringmaster or something. Anyhow, you kill him- and he reverses time, refilling half his life. Plus, whenever he poisons you, he speeds up time, so your life drains faster. Awesome.

Too bad Curse of Darkness was such a horrible game. 
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 29, 2008, 10:44:39 am
....I'm using this space as a placeholder for the long, ranty deconstructionist assault firebomb post I'm going to toss at FlyingKimura after I get back from classes.
If you do that, both posts will be deleted.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 29, 2008, 12:04:50 pm
Aww, dsk, why you gotta ruin my fun...I'll keep it civil, then.

Well, I may have misspoken in my first post on Castlevania, but I stand by most of what I said. The sheer variety of abilities in the two DS Castlevania games make defeating bosses, at their hardest during conventional gameplay, an endurancefest, not an exercise in interesting strategy.

I didn't consider levelcaps because they offer truly trivial incentive rewards, and in general are just a statistical manner in which one can increase difficulty without adding much of anything to the gameplay.
I'm reminded of similar, player-created things in the FF games- compensation for the overpowered nature of endgame parties, folks will try and succeed at going through the game without using anything but the starting equipment, or an minimum level- if these things are possible, it's a sign that larger weapon or item strategy isn't necessary in the normal game, which is a problem.

Actually, these games also remind me of trends in popular FPSes of late- the game design has focused itself around the abilities of the protagonist, to the extent that they can autoheal, or stop time, or similar such things, such that the game itself feels like a tech demo, with you slaughtering enemies with only an occasional, clearly signaled pause to change which godly ability you are using to kill stuff.

I HAVE played all of these games. The use of the stylus and the character switching feel like gimmicks to me, but I can see that as a difference of opinion. Saying I'm out of touch with reality for criticizing them, though, seems extreme.

I should have been more explicit when I talked about Shaft from Rondo of Blood- what I meant when I said that he 'looked cool' was that he had a relatively strong version of the whole bossrush thing that's been done before- he summons bosses that are Castlevania series classics, but have not been fought before in the game. Death in Bloodlines, by contrast, lets you fight some of the bosses you already have, and gives you health, depending on the difficulty. Much easier, and also less novel to fight.

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Too bad Curse of Darkness was such a horrible game. 
I admit CoD wasn't perfect(the plot sucked, familiars could be frustrating at times), but there were some segments, like the Germain fight, which showed the developers clearly were interested in seeing what their engine could do. Also, I liked the Legion and Nuclais visual designs almost as much as Forgotten One from Lament of Innocence. I would like to hear why you didn't like the game, though. You can PM me with your reasons if you want.

In general, my focus is less on how hard a boss is(though difficulty is certainly an indirect factor), than on new concepts or design elements that they include that are different for the player. I didn't like the DS bosses or enemies because they
A) used techniques or involved strategies and design mores we've seen before, such as the 'secret' Aguni fight or Puppet Master.
B) I admit, the level of anachronistic, cartoony, and plot schizophrenic level and enemy design in Portrait really was a factor- the whole art and painting themes, particularly when fighting Brauner, came off to me as goofy and predictable- I mean, they have the friggin holocaust to work with for plot here, they could have gone somewhere far more interesting.
C) I didn't think that gameplay-wise the dual bosses thing was very interesting, particularly when they share a lifebar- no incentive to learn both sets of attacks if you can hammer one enemy to death. Again, the immense number of spells you get for the main game makes the bosses easy- and in alternate games(i.e. Axe Armor), well, you've already experienced these bosses, so their patterns are nothing interesting. I did love the Whip's memory and the Fake Trio bosses, though.

I honestly love Aria of Sorrow, and I REALLY liked Circle of the Moon. Although the game is primitive in many respects, it had a group of interestingly crafted extra games, the protagonist isn't overpowered, and it had the Devil, an enemy with better attacks and design than some bosses. I don't understand what you were saying about Portrait of Ruin- aside from being hit from offscreen a lot by normal enemies, I found the game a snap, even in Old Axe Armor mode, which I think I completed faster, because I knew my way around the attacks.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: FlyingKimura on January 30, 2008, 12:34:18 am
Aww, dsk, why you gotta ruin my fun...I'll keep it civil, then.

Well, you can be uncivil all you like, just stick to the discussion.  If the quote above was some lame hint at a flame, just stop and think of how moronic and childish it is to be e-rude or e-arrogant in a game design forum dominated by 14 year olds. 

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Well, I may have misspoken in my first post on Castlevania, but I stand by most of what I said. The sheer variety of abilities in the two DS Castlevania games make defeating bosses, at their hardest during conventional gameplay, an endurancefest, not an exercise in interesting strategy.

Defeating Castlevania bosses is an endurance-fest in what sense?  Memorizing attacks and then dodging them in the random order they come out? 

If you call that an endurance-fest, then so is virtually every boss in the history of video games.  It's all pattern recognition as well as proper timing.  Are ANY of the bosses in IWTBTG different?   

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I didn't consider levelcaps because they offer truly trivial incentive rewards, and in general are just a statistical manner in which one can increase difficulty without adding much of anything to the gameplay.

You're simply wrong here. 

The great thing about a level cap (in addition to Hard Mode), is that it tailors the difficulty to the specifications of the player.  If one wants something less challenging, just play Normal Mode.  If they want something harder, there's Hard Mode with the necessary max level. 

In 2008, gamers should have the freedom to specify how hard their game is, instead of it being decided for them.  Believe it or not, some gamers actually have lives and are otherwise busy, and don't have a few hundred hours to devote to memorizing patterns and training their reflexes down to a few frames.

Most games that are released nowadays, including the DS Castlevanias, recognize this, and offer settings for the more casual player AND the hardcore crowd.   

Again, if you're complaining about this, then does that mean you dislike IWTBTG too?  After all, there's Medium, Hard, Very Hard, and Impossible mode, and none of the modes "add much of anything to the gameplay" aside from the challenge. 

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I'm reminded of similar, player-created things in the FF games- compensation for the overpowered nature of endgame parties, folks will try and succeed at going through the game without using anything but the starting equipment, or an minimum level- if these things are possible, it's a sign that larger weapon or item strategy isn't necessary in the normal game, which is a problem.

Yes, but that's a synthetic approach created by the players, not the game itself. 

Here, the game already offers challenging options like "Hard Mode", "Old Axe Armor Mode", and the level caps as specific ways to vastly increase the difficulty. 

This isn't SoTN where specific runs limiting the vast majority of accessories and weapons had to be thought of up by fans and were artificial, here the game itself offers them to you.  Also, if I recall correctly, there is a special ending for beating Hard Mode on Max Level 1, which is actually a neat little reward. 

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Actually, these games also remind me of trends in popular FPSes of late- the game design has focused itself around the abilities of the protagonist, to the extent that they can autoheal, or stop time, or similar such things, such that the game itself feels like a tech demo, with you slaughtering enemies with only an occasional, clearly signaled pause to change which godly ability you are using to kill stuff.

This quoted portion has absolutely nothing to do with portable Castlevanias or their design characteristics. 

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I HAVE played all of these games. The use of the stylus and the character switching feel like gimmicks to me, but I can see that as a difference of opinion. Saying I'm out of touch with reality for criticizing them, though, seems extreme.

The stylus WAS a gimmick, and was used in precisely one main Castlevania mode, Dawn of Sorrow, and even there, it was a very minor element of the gameplay.  Interestingly enough, the stylus works really well in Sisters Mode of PoR, so it's likely an example of an element they needed some time to figure out how to properly implement more than anything else.

As for switching characters in PoR being a gimmick, I can only strongly disagree with you.  It was one of the things that made the game one of the most enjoyable titles I've ever played, and led to a lot of neat tricks and different combat options.     

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I should have been more explicit when I talked about Shaft from Rondo of Blood- what I meant when I said that he 'looked cool' was that he had a relatively strong version of the whole bossrush thing that's been done before- he summons bosses that are Castlevania series classics, but have not been fought before in the game. Death in Bloodlines, by contrast, lets you fight some of the bosses you already have, and gives you health, depending on the difficulty. Much easier, and also less novel to fight.

That's funny, because I hated that particular boss battle, and felt it was the only part of the game that wasn't very well designed.  The attacks of the four classical monsters Shaft summons are all extremely one-dimensional, (most have only two unique attacks, none of them very creative) and having to go through all four of them before facing off against the true boss, Shaft, just seems like a needless exercise, especially considering how boring they were. 

I hate the "fight the bosses you already defeated again!" approach too, but that particular level wasn't any better. 

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I admit CoD wasn't perfect(the plot sucked, familiars could be frustrating at times), but there were some segments, like the Germain fight, which showed the developers clearly were interested in seeing what their engine could do. Also, I liked the Legion and Nuclais visual designs almost as much as Forgotten One from Lament of Innocence. I would like to hear why you didn't like the game, though. You can PM me with your reasons if you want.

Well, considering most Castlevania fans hated CoD, and it did poorly in both sales and reviews, it would be more enlightening if you were to write what exactly you LIKED about it aside from the St. Germaine fight and a few of the visual designs, since you're a definite exception. 

For me, ambiance and variety are huge factors in 3D Castlevanias, and CoD felt ridiculously repetitive, bland, and visually boring.  It was like the homeless man's version of Devil May Cry. 

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In general, my focus is less on how hard a boss is(though difficulty is certainly an indirect factor), than on new concepts or design elements that they include that are different for the player. I didn't like the DS bosses or enemies because they
A) used techniques or involved strategies and design mores we've seen before, such as the 'secret' Aguni fight or Puppet Master.

What do you mean?  In terms of the enemy look, attacks, or how best to defeat them?  Aguni was a boring boss, but the Puppet Master was creative and visually exciting, and the Mirror boss (forgot his name) was also extremely well-done, and highly original. 

I'm not sure what exactly you're complaining about here.   

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B) I admit, the level of anachronistic, cartoony, and plot schizophrenic level and enemy design in Portrait really was a factor- the whole art and painting themes, particularly when fighting Brauner, came off to me as goofy and predictable- I mean, they have the friggin holocaust to work with for plot here, they could have gone somewhere far more interesting.

This is simply a glaring factual error, among other things.  PoR is set around WW1, not WW2. 

Also, are you saying that because the games was relatively light-hearted and unrealistic and didn't employ the actual tragedy and pain of something like the Holocaust, they sucked? 

Would you have liked it more if they had Nazis and gas chambers?  How old are you, anyways?   

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C) I didn't think that gameplay-wise the dual bosses thing was very interesting, particularly when they share a lifebar- no incentive to learn both sets of attacks if you can hammer one enemy to death.

Combined with your huge error about the plot of PoR, I'm now questioning how much you've actually played the game. 

While it's easiest to beat up on Death with a great sword or axe, you absolutely had to learn Dracula's attacks also, as his were the most powerful, and would frequently cover the majority of the screen. 

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Again, the immense number of spells you get for the main game makes the bosses easy-

Actually, the majority of spells are useless in combat versus bosses near the end of the game.  And very few of them are even remotely effective against Dracula and Death. 

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I honestly love Aria of Sorrow, and I REALLY liked Circle of the Moon. Although the game is primitive in many respects, it had a group of interestingly crafted extra games, the protagonist isn't overpowered, and it had the Devil, an enemy with better attacks and design than some bosses. I don't understand what you were saying about Portrait of Ruin- aside from being hit from offscreen a lot by normal enemies,

For someone who talks about endurance-fests and uncreative bosses, I would think you'd hate Circle of the Moon.  The bosses are incredibly boring, one-dimensional, and beating them, especially the final form of Dracula, is the worst possible kind of "endurance fest". 

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I found the game a snap, even in Old Axe Armor mode, which I think I completed faster, because I knew my way around the attacks.

A snap compared to what?  IWTBTG?  Well, I probably only died a total of 40 times on PoR, almost all on Dracula+Death and the Nest of Evil, but it's not a cakewalk like Harmony of Dissonance (no deaths), Aria of Sorrow (one death), or even Dawn of Sorrow (three deaths).   

None of your points seem about the DS Castlevanias seem very pertinent, except that you apparently disliked the artwork and lack of brutality in both. 
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 30, 2008, 12:51:08 am
Ok, both of you. Stop now or you're going to be sorry. You can't discuss opinions. Change the subject/game/discussion or this thread will be locked.

Especially you Kimura.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on January 30, 2008, 01:45:46 am
I'm curious to hear what folks think of the boss design in the ever-contentious Mega Man Zero series. I personally liked some of the attacks bosses would get if you had an S-rank- the only problem was that getting an S-rank to get to the boss was a pain and a half. Some of my favorites-

Mega Man X Copy- Any boss in what's largely an action game that can heal itself is bad news. X Copy heals a good third or so of its health(It's been awhile, I don't recall just how much) when you get it to critical levels, and you can't knock him out of it.

Dr. Vile- Man, it's been too long- I'm not even sure I spelled that right! Anywhoo, Vile had a special in, um, 4, I think, that had him doing what his character was known for- resurrecting old enemies, in this case every elemental boss in the game, to do a single attack. I thought it was cool at first, though afterward I realized it's just another exercise in damage-dodging.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: FlyingKimura on January 30, 2008, 01:53:52 am
You can't discuss opinions.

How does that make any sense?  Isn't this entire forum, and especially this thread, "opinions"?  I'm mildly interested in reading finale's response too, if only to hear what he liked about CoD, a widely reviled 3D Castlevania. 
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 30, 2008, 10:42:28 am
If he thinks a game sucks, you can't go trolling around trying to change his. Unless he's really weak-minded, he won't.

Also, opinions are like anuses.

Each one to his own.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Volteccer_Jack on January 31, 2008, 11:09:32 pm
I'm curious to hear what folks think of the boss design in the ever-contentious Mega Man Zero series.

I love the Zero bosses. I'd argue that they're, generally speaking, the best Mega Man bosses ever. In particular, the 4 Guardians in Zero1(in Zero2, they changed for the worse, and Phantom was gone). I like how they flinch when hit, like you. It makes it feel more like a real fight, and less like you-versus-giant-thing.

Quote
I personally liked some of the attacks bosses would get if you had an S-rank-

This was awesome too. My favorite was Phantom's. He'd start teleporting to random points on the screen, pausing between teleports to throw kunai at you. He'd continue for a long while, unless you forced him to end it by hitting him 3 times; the catch is, he was invisible the whole time. So basically, each time he threw a pair of kunai, you had just over 1 second to get over there and hit him before he teleported again.

Here's one: Yunalesca, from FFX. Her first form would counterattack everything; physical attacks with blindness, spells with silence, you know. But that was just to soften you up for the real boss. Her second form only has 3 attacks: Hellbiter, Regen, and Cura. Hellbiter inflicts Zombie on your party, and the other two are healing spells. Since healing spells actually hurt Zombies, you can do the math there. So obviously, you want to cure Zombie as soon as possible. But when you defeat her second form, she casts Megadeath, which instantly kills your entire party...except for Zombies. Her third form continues to use Hellbiter, and on your Zombies, the more powerful Curaga, which can kill party members with lower HP in a single hit. And now she periodically uses Megadeath. The end result is that you have to maintain a balance of party members, both Zombie and non-Zombie, so that no one attack can kill everyone.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Dagnarok on January 31, 2008, 11:34:54 pm

Here's one: Yunalesca, from FFX. Her first form would counterattack everything; physical attacks with blindness, spells with silence, you know. But that was just to soften you up for the real boss. Her second form only has 3 attacks: Hellbiter, Regen, and Cura. Hellbiter inflicts Zombie on your party, and the other two are healing spells. Since healing spells actually hurt Zombies, you can do the math there. So obviously, you want to cure Zombie as soon as possible. But when you defeat her second form, she casts Megadeath, which instantly kills your entire party...except for Zombies. Her third form continues to use Hellbiter, and on your Zombies, the more powerful Curaga, which can kill party members with lower HP in a single hit. And now she periodically uses Megadeath. The end result is that you have to maintain a balance of party members, both Zombie and non-Zombie, so that no one attack can kill everyone.

Now there's a fine example of boss work. :D
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: dsk on January 31, 2008, 11:41:16 pm
I'm scared to play FFX now.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: e^x on February 01, 2008, 02:56:32 am
I'm scared to play FFX now.
Nothing outside of the Monster Arena specific enemies is too difficult.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Saiai on February 01, 2008, 09:21:48 am
Wait, THAT'S what she did?
I could vaguely recall that that boss was strategic in nature, but I couldn't remember anything specific. How the heck did I beat it x_x
Even worse her strategy is actually thematic to this game... Final Fantasy may have lots of people complaining about one thing or another but they've evolved a lot gameplay-wise over time... x_x
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: finale on February 01, 2008, 03:52:32 pm
I wasn't a huge fan of that Yunalesca battle- while the whole death-undeath thing was new, it was also an extension of the problem I had with most of the FFs up to XII- everything seems to, how shall I put it- have 9999999 everything everywhere? It's like, hey, add another couple digits to that stat and we're set.

Phantom- ohh, I loved how Phantom would explode and actually KILL you. Phantom wins, partially by being the most hardcore of the guardians, and partially for dying to avoid the whole Magic Transformer Vehicle Form crud they pulled in Zero 2. hmm, now that I think of it, I guess 2 was pretty weak in a lot of ways.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Kitty on February 01, 2008, 05:30:20 pm

Here's one: Yunalesca, from FFX. Her first form would counterattack everything; physical attacks with blindness, spells with silence, you know. But that was just to soften you up for the real boss. Her second form only has 3 attacks: Hellbiter, Regen, and Cura. Hellbiter inflicts Zombie on your party, and the other two are healing spells. Since healing spells actually hurt Zombies, you can do the math there. So obviously, you want to cure Zombie as soon as possible. But when you defeat her second form, she casts Megadeath, which instantly kills your entire party...except for Zombies. Her third form continues to use Hellbiter, and on your Zombies, the more powerful Curaga, which can kill party members with lower HP in a single hit. And now she periodically uses Megadeath. The end result is that you have to maintain a balance of party members, both Zombie and non-Zombie, so that no one attack can kill everyone.

Now there's a fine example of boss work. :D
I liked the boss directly before her as well. The move-around-the-platforms-or-attack thing was interesting. I like it at first, but then I lost like 10 times and it got annoying =<
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Tamatou on September 29, 2014, 10:25:34 pm
The Jupiter King form Metal Slug 3
I love that attack where he pulls out a giant rocket from his chest and holds it in front of him. Then he shoots laser beams from his eyes forcing you to stand directly under the rocket. AND THE HE DROPS IT!! Really hard to avoid but i like it.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Uncle Ochipi on October 01, 2014, 09:06:43 pm
Im the only guy that thing on Giygas from earthbound/mother 1?
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Seben on October 01, 2014, 09:09:28 pm
Im the only guy that thing on Giygas from earthbound/mother 1?

Well, the strategy to win against him got me mad after my three attempts.
I had to level up every character from lvl 70 or less to 90 before realizing it was fairly easy.
But it wasn't obvious.
I mean, really.
At all.
Damn.

It's not notable in an aspect of "hey this boss is awesome", but more like... Shocking. Kinda what OP said about that -seemingly- invincible boss in FFXII.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Nono on October 02, 2014, 07:14:42 am
If I remember correctly you get told how to beat him with singing in Mother 1. So how you beat him in Earthbound is a reference to that, but since a lot of people didn't play Mother 1 it might be pretty shit if they don't actually explain that you should just pray a lot.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Seben on October 02, 2014, 02:53:37 pm
If I remember correctly you get told how to beat him with singing in Mother 1. So how you beat him in Earthbound is a reference to that, but since a lot of people didn't play Mother 1 it might be pretty shit if they don't actually explain that you should just pray a lot.

Yeah, I'm in the trashbin with all of those people too, I've got to play Mother at some time in my life :/
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: Tamatou on October 05, 2014, 11:17:45 pm
Another Boss that I found really awesome was Scorch from Spyro 3.
That fact that one of his attacks is summoning Buzz (that first Boss) always amazed me. I remember when one of my friends told me about that. I didn't believe him. But it is true.
This is something I've never seen in a platformer before.
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: ArtismExpert on November 05, 2014, 05:26:59 pm
Good examples
Ryu - I Wanna Be The Boshy
Elite Four & Champion Lance - Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver
Giant Bowser (TLB) - New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Hisstocrat - Super Mario 3D World
Dracula (wow, my spell-check recognized that?) - I Wanna Be The Guy
Exor - I Wanna Kill The Guy
Everything except Meta Ridley - Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Bad examples
Everything else - New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Motley Bossblob - Super Mario 3D World
Sonic, Cheetahmen - I Wanna Be The Boshy (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, SOLGRYN. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'VE DONE. I HOPE.)
Big Kid - I Wanna Be The LoveTrap
Every Hatsune Miku boss fight ever - Thousands of IWBTG fangames (YES, THOUSANDS.)
Title: Re: Notable examples of boss/enemy design
Post by: d on November 05, 2014, 08:21:14 pm
Ryu - I Wanna Be The Boshy
Nah, on Rape mode I had to go through the same attack pattern three times.  If that wasn't enough I had to go through the mashfest known as Dhalsim.

Sonic, Cheetahmen - I Wanna Be The Boshy (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, SOLGRYN. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'VE DONE. I HOPE.)
Every Hatsune Miku boss fight ever - Thousands of IWBTG fangames (YES, THOUSANDS.)
I actually really liked the Sonic battle in Boshy.  Yes, the boss is really hard, but it's more exciting because the boss doesn't follow one attack pattern and consequently feels more realistic.

I agree with you on Cheetahmen.  That boss is terrible.

"Every Hatsune Miku boss fight"
Woah, woah, woah there.  Hatsune Miku may be an overused character in fangames, but that does not make every Miku boss terrible.  You said that Miku is in thousands of fangames which is true, but did you play all of these fangames?  If you (somehow) managed to play every game with a Miku fight you could judge them fairly rather than make a premature generalization.  Some Miku fights that really stood out to me have to be Doruppi Miku, Palladium Mikus (all of them), Emperor Miku, and Lunarmagic Miku.