Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Fluid Boss Mechanics [SMB2 X BioShock]

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bombs

You know, two games can't be much more different than BioShock and Super Mario Bros 2 (aka Doki Doki Panic). Era, format, genre, mood, theme, control.

What is familiar with them, is the way that bosses are presented in a fluid manner. Now, I can't say there are a lot of games like BioShock that allow you to fight bosses wherever you want, although, --damn.. What's that one game? With the girl and the dog? ... Haunting Ground! That's it. I never played that, but you may have been able to do that in Haunting Ground. No clue, really. Did anyone play that? I might need to track that down.

Anyways, though SMB2 clearly does not allow you to fight boss battles wherever in a level you would like, it does stray pretty far from the idea of fighting Bowser on a bridge in a castle level, or Mega Man entering boss battles through those classic doors. But it did have you fight familiar bosses repeatedly on varied terrain, and with different strategies.

BioShock has a number of very familiar Big Daddy fights, like the first in Medical Pavillion and the one in the Farmer's Market. These tend to play out pretty similarly since the Daddy-Sister pairs tend to start in the same part of their route when you enter the area. Of course, you can wait, and lure them off their path with an ADAM-rich pile of corpses if you want to tilt the odds in your favor (or closer to a hacked rocket turret).

Using the same type of boss in different environments presents an interesting situation to players, wherein the knowledge of the enemy's tactics allows one to create new stategies for the encounter. This is dynamite bitchin' cool whether it be building a wall of blocks to hide from TriClyde's fireballs, or inviting a Sister with Daddy in tow to enjoy a freshly prepared corpse and proximity mine salad. Just as defeating enemies with different weapons or different characters expands a gameplay experience, so does facing them in different environments.

Not a fit for every game, but giving more control to the player while keeping tension high is always a good idea.


Oh that Mouser!

Hmmm... HebeGB doesn't check KB, but someone else may know... Resident Evil ever allow you to lure bosses into different areas?

Also, did you see the price of Haunting Ground on Amazon?! Gooodddd-ddaaaammmnnn.

6 comments:

Gabe said...

You know, I kind of want to play Haunting Ground now... That game looks cool.

A lot of the boss fights in RE involve luring the boss into some kind of trap. The fight with the Right Hand in RE4 where you lure him past the liquid nitrogen canisters that you knock over and freeze him. There's also that first fight in RE5 where you have to lure him into the oven and trap him there. Not as wide ranging as having a level to drag him all over though.

CFG said...

Catch the enemy's projectile. Lob it back at the enemy. Oldest trick in the book. From Birdo to Big Daddy.

Gabe said...

Damn, son. Haunting ground looks good, but I don't know about $85 good. I'll keep my eye on the Gamestop used section.

Killa said...

Can you throw the Rosies' Proximity Mines back at them? I'm not sure if I fucked that up each time or not...

But, word, nothing beats throwing shit back at people. Mirror Shield FTW!

CFG said...

Love a game with a dog companion. . . .

CFG said...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Haunting-Ground-PlayStation-2_W0QQitemZ200394294979QQcmdZViewItemQQptZVideo_Games_Games?hash=item2ea86e46c3