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<  Computer game genres & conventions  ~  Kill the Boss Round!

Michael
Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2002 10:29 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
The one thing that I find the most annoying about any game is the socalled Boss Round. It is the big enemy that you need to kill in order to proceed to a next level of the game. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes but it never fails to totally ruin the experience of any atmosphere and narrative for me.

I guess it is a suitable concept for platform games, but surely we have outgrown those standards by now, haven't we? Also, we, players, have grown older. We don't necessarily want to engage in juvenile competitive non-sense anymore.

In a boss round, I find myself hitting the same button over and over again, desperately trying to stay awake while doing so. As I am familiar with programming, I know that what I am doing is not fighting a monster but essentially subtracting one number from another untill the latter has reached zero. This does not make playing any more exciting.



So, I want you to all chant with me: Kill the Boss Round! Kill the Boss Round! Kill the Boss Round!



Or does anyone think they still serve a purpose?



Maybe killing is to harsh. Maybe we should let the Boss Rounds retire. Maybe all bosses can retire to the same place, so they can subtract from each other's variables till the end of time.
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workroom
Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2002 8:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 15 Jul 2002 Posts: 4 Location: here
yes, kill the boss round Twisted Evil

my latest favorite is the utter freedom of Grand Theft Auto III

you can do a mission, or not... the fact that it is so fun even when not accomplishing a mission is unique i think
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Michael
Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2002 10:49 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
Hey, you should write a review of Grand Theft Auto in the Game Reviews section of this forum!
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:30 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
I don't mind boss rounds with a special trick or puzzle to them - when you figure out the puzzle and do it, say, three times over and it's dead. That's all right (for me, anyway) because the puzzle is still a challenge and I get the little glow of intellectual satisfaction. But in general:

Kill the boss round!
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Redkora
Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:17 am Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Mar 2007 Posts: 1491 Location: Here.
TR1 and TR:A spoilers below...

I agree. A prime and most recent example of this rubbish is in the new Tomb Raider game. The boss rounds in Tomb Raider: Anniversary are silly. I was disappointed with the T-rex battle. In the first Tomb Raider, one could outmaneuver the beast by either running and jumping or darting into a cave. From there, the player could devise strategies and shoot. I actually had fun with all the creative ways I could avoid being killed, and I liked to watch him run around. It was not only helpful in planning attacks, it was fun just to watch! In TR:A, you're forced to kill him as fast as possible.

Same with the big "torso" Atlantean. I remember the feeling of satisfaction when I developed a clever way of defeating him as opposed to simply jumping around him and into the lava pit. I used the game mechanics to my advantage. Razz Even though it could be considered a "Boss Round," it was still part of the narrative and the platform on which you were fighting was a part of the Great Pyramid itself, not closed off from it.

Then, I read that the centaurs were made a boss round. What the heck? I fondly remember being a little nervous around the centaur statues and surprised at the sight of the "living" Atlantean centaur beasts! Never mind the fact that I could find clever ways of getting out of his firing range to watch him run around. Half the fun is admiring one's enemies!

In short, I like the larger, more dangerous creatures that appear here and there to actually come in the flow of the story. No magically teleporting to a separate arena to fight a creature for me, thanks.

Boss fights totally take away from the flow of a story and turn it into something little more than a shoot-em-up game.

Sorry for the long-windedness and run-on sentences. It's 2:21 AM and I'm in a mouthy mood.
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Stehuaa
Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 5:24 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 06 Mar 2007 Posts: 431 Location: Sticking my nose in after a long time away...and feeling old
I don't know, boss rounds can be kind of fun. Especially with the puzzle-type bosses Wildbluesun mentioned. They're a test, sort of, a challenge.

But it is very possible for them to get repetitive and dull. Instead of a sequence done over and over to defeat them, I like when they 'ramp it up,' add a twist or extra level of difficulty.
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Redkora
Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:57 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Mar 2007 Posts: 1491 Location: Here.
So few game developers know how to create a good boss level like that now.

Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine had boss fights similar to what you mean. The player could not simply shoot to kill the boss, but he/she had to dodge the boss' attacks while running to turn on switches. Then, the player had to lure the boss over a trap at just the right time to kill it. There was one point in the game in which the player had to fight a mechanical giant by turning on a electrified grid and luring the giant over it.

Maybe we can make a separate thread about interesting boss rounds?
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Michael
Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:21 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
I have a feeling that games are designed more and more like sports these days. In the past, games were about finding strategies more than anything else. Now it's all about action and getting good at pressing buttons in a certain way. The focus seems to be more on simulation and sports than on fun and story.
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MoriartyL
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:52 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 05 Nov 2005 Posts: 69 Location: Israel
Boss battles are important to action games. It's like the cadence of a piece of music- the part which is the most tense, so that when it is resolved there is relief. I don't see how action games would benefit from losing their climaxes.
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Lyrak
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:23 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 29 Jul 2007 Posts: 1139 Location: Some Ohio Cornfield
I HATE boss levels. I don't really see them as necessary in action games either. It causes a break in the flow, which just doesn't work for me. If there is going to be any kind of "boss", it should only be at the end of the game, not the end of every level. You don't see like 20 climaxes in an action movie do you? Not usually. There is one that acts as the ending tie-in for the plot. All events lead up to it.

Having a boss at each level just messes with things for me. I find it rather annoying.
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BeanBean
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 09 Nov 2007 Posts: 123 Location: Stealing a Vampires Virginity ;)
what about sub-bosses such as a commander or a vehicle in a shoot-em up?
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Hetrin
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:38 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 06 May 2008 Posts: 80 Location: Stuck in LIMBO.
Descent 2 had some interesting bosses. Some could only be killed by certain types of weapons, and the environments each boss was in varied. All of them teleported around their area, which urged you to go off and find them again. Though, sometimes the shooing and maneuvering got tediuos and difficult, especially when ohter robots were shooting you. The most notable bosses were the boss of the ice level, who was quite a challenge in that he could blind you, and go on to destroy your ship. So a tactic had to be devised to destroy him, using the resources in that area. The other is the final boss, who had only one weak spot: a glowing spot on his back. To try to get behind him or aim just right with the earthshaker missiles was quite challenging, but I think it added to the "final boss" challenge.

Another notable boss is one in Descent 3: Mercenary. It required you to get a part to get a ship's thruster working, and timing to ignite it and kill the alien queen. A somewhat enjoyable challenge, though somewhat hard.


I'm rambling now. Down with the boss level, unles there's a way to make it more challenging and fun.
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Shuyin
Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:33 am Reply with quote
Joined: 08 Feb 2009 Posts: 15
My favorite PS2 game, Shadow of the Colossus, is built around the 'Kill the Boss Round!' concept.

Now, in spite of what it was marketed as, in spite of what you think, SotC is an adventure game and not an action game. Because you see, the 'Kill the Boss Round!' is the puzzle. Every colossus is a puzzle per se.

Some of you probably played it and you know that the game is split into two:
- on the one hand you travel through the vast game world, guided by the light reflected by your sword. It's only you and your horse. A peaceful travel, but always interesting due to the scenery (and thanks to how well made the atmosphere is; as well created as in The Graveyard) and to your horse, Agro (he is perfectly created as an in-game entity).
- the 2nd component, is none other than Kill the Boss Round! Each fight is basically a puzzle, but it's very well made, original and varied so you won't ever get bored.

Not only that i like the idea of treating Kill the Boss Round! as a puzzle, but i liked how they intertwined the two components. I believe that the travels serve as a prelude to each colossus, meant to relax the player. Why? Because the Kill the Boss Round! is so intense that it'll be too much to go directly from one boss battle to another.

I really like how they took this component of every game, and how they made an entire game around this concept. I personally think it's the best implementation of Kill the Boss Round!

PS: maybe i should've made this post a review of SotC in the review section Very Happy
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:23 am Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
Shuyin wrote:
Because the Kill the Boss Round! is so intense that it'll be too much to go directly from one boss battle to another.

I remember Rayman 3 on the PS2, which was a game I adored, until I got to a section of the game with a boss every few minutes. Too intense. Too much stress. Too much pressure. I liked the beginning of the game, where it was just you wandering around with Murphy providing a snarky commentary, the best.
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Michael
Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:29 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
I'm sorry but when we say "Kill the Boss Round" we want to get rid of it, not build an entire game around the concept. I hated Shadow of the Colossus. A waste of talent that Sony should be ashamed of.
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