Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

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Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Vostyok » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:55 pm

Jazzmaster909's recent video on the WIP thread got me thinking.

Serious thinking.

The concept of the Boss Fight, in gaming, is best remembered by the early Metroid, Castlevania, Contra series. You've got modern examples as well that handle the concept very well, with Metal Gear series with their titular giant robots, as well as Dark souls and especially Bloodborne being very fun...

Spoiler:


... and I actually started research into it. A lot of the lists and topics about the subject online are very negative when it comes to FPS boss fights, with a pretty glaring example being here:

https://www.giantbomb.com/bosses/3015-229/forums/good-boss-fights-from-fpss-565191/

A lot of other people think the same thing it seems. If you do not wish to visit the link, a summary : bullet sponge monsters, high damage attacks that usually spam or otherwise AOE enough you have to play peekaboo, lack of movement or abilities for protagonist to influence the fight or evade.

This is something that's been bugging me, as I would like to design a boss that is quite fun to battle against.

Has anyone any thoughts on the matter, or have seen or played any examples of bosses which were actually both challenging and enjoyable?

Edit:

Source for original video by Jazzmaster909. Obviously he has already stated this is a test/wip, but it still looks far more enjoyable than the version in Brutal Doom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5HvXup8o1s
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Reactor » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:02 pm

Welp, the method that worked for me - and the players of my game - was the progressivity of bossfights. The first one should be rather easy and fun, the second one a bit harder, the third is even harder, and the final one should be the most difficult. By that time, the player must have enough resources to be able to defeat the most relentless final bosses. You can also use multiple bosses, if you fear that one might be too easy. It worked for me, and nobody complained. Just make sure the player has enough resources to prevail.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Pixel Eater » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:12 pm

I'd like to see a boss that chases you while you lay traps. Imagine Cthon from Quake unsubmerging from the lava and following you around but with the self-preservation smarts of the alien from Isolation :twisted:
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Dancso » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:22 am

I don't have a lot of good experiences with FPS boss fights but I'll say I had no major issues with any bosses from the serious sam series, except for maybe serious sam 2.
I do agree the sponginess can get annoying, especially in a game like borderlands 2 where I'm already having trouble keeping a healthy balance of weapon and damage types.

Boss fights definitely aren't the strength of FPS, but I wouldn't say they should be outright avoided in design.
Granted, if the boss has a linear solution pattern, the fight won't be very interesting. (ie shoot the exposed parts or hit F to stab at the right moment) So definitely something more organic is needed, which might be difficult to pull off.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby JadedLexi » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:35 am

I think boss fights in FPSes would work better if they weren't just bullet sponge fights that are also bullet hells and just end up making you circle strafe constantly. I think I would like it if they were more like MMO boss fights where there's clear warnings for big/flashy attacks(like one hit KOs or attacks that can hurt a lot.) and multiple phases of a fight. It might just be because I'm used to MMO bosses in general, but I think they could also work really well in FPSes.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Sgt. Shivers » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:46 am

I always view bosses from a design point of view as a test of player skills that they pick up during levels/gameplay. When it comes to FPS games there are a few abilities you can "quiz" the player on, like dodging (you have to circle strafe the attacks!) aiming (shoot the core!) level awareness (fight this boss in a tricky arena / chase this boss!) and more. Unfortunately, as games have gotten more complex the boss designs haven't always kept up with the new mechanics introduced, so you can have games with awesome movement or attack combinations with bosses that don't take advantage of them at all.

That said, there's no shortage of cool FPS bosses. Wolfenstein 3D has some very memorable bosses, the Cyberdemon is a classic boss fight and modern games like Painkiller, Hard Reset, Shadow Warrior and Serious Sam all have some really fun bosses to fight.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Vostyok » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:18 am

JadedLexi wrote:... I think I would like it if they were more like MMO boss fights where there's clear warnings for big/flashy attacks(like one hit KOs or attacks that can hurt a lot.) and multiple phases of a fight...


This is really nice idea. A lot of the comments echo the idea that bosses should test the player's skills.

Perhaps dangerous attacks that are telegraphed, as well as an attack that forces a player out of cover but doesn't take effect immediately (launched grenades or mines with a delay fuse, fired when the boss cannot see the player). Maybe some sort of jumping movement that forces the player to change cover regularly.

Some good ideas here. Thank you for the comments so far.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Princess Viscra Maelstrom » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:26 am

i think Doom 4 did boss battles in an FPS right. they all emphasized a lot of movement to stay alive, but didn't just strictly make you run around in circles to beat them, as they had attacks to catch you off guard (the Cyberdemon can trap you in its second phase so you can't run to the sides, the Hell Guard eventually brings a second one into the fight so you have to divert your attention to both of their attacks, and the Spider Mastermind turns the entire floor into a hazard, but also will kill you if you stay too long on top of the safe pillars). you still had to shoot them all the time to kill them of course, but i felt you had to consider when to deliver a strong blow to them while not getting swamped by their attacks. and they changed their attack patterns a bit the more you damaged them so they weren't just a one trick pony, either.

Metroid Prime also had some interesting bosses, but that's not really a traditional FPS, although i felt that maybe there was a slight influence in Doom 4's bosses when comparing the two.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Reactor » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:59 pm

Hehe :D if you want to piss the player off, make a seemingly easy boss, which, upon defeated, is followed by a text page similar to Ghosts'n'Goblins: "Hahahaha, this was only an illusion by the evil Satan itself, you have been fooled! Go ahead dauntlessly, make rapid progress!"
I dunno, I kinda liked this thing :) it does make the game more interesting.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby The Ultimate DooMer » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:39 am

JadedLexi wrote: I think I would like it if they were more like MMO boss fights where there's clear warnings for big/flashy attacks(like one hit KOs or attacks that can hurt a lot.) and multiple phases of a fight.


That's one of the positive effects that WoW had on my mapping - the bosses in Serpent were designed in that kind of way. Health bars, multiple phases, different attacks, AoE spells, summoning adds etc. (in fact there's several nods to different raid bosses in there)
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Ichor » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:34 pm

Reactor wrote:Hehe :D if you want to piss the player off, make a seemingly easy boss, which, upon defeated, is followed by a text page similar to Ghosts'n'Goblins: "Hahahaha, this was only an illusion by the evil Satan itself, you have been fooled! Go ahead dauntlessly, make rapid progress!"
I dunno, I kinda liked this thing :) it does make the game more interesting.

And then you'll be sent back to map 1 and then tell you that you need a specific, otherwise lame weapon to defeat the boss that wasn't there the first time around.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Reactor » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:22 pm

Nah, it's not necessary to actually send the player back to level 1 ;) But, it can be pretty funny to create a "deja vu" level for the next stage, which is very similar to the first level - with a surprise twist at the end. I'd feel STRONGTH WELLING in my body! :D
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Chris » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:56 pm

Reactor wrote:But, it can be pretty funny to create a "deja vu" level for the next stage, which is very similar to the first level - with a surprise twist at the end.

That's basically what E3M9 did. It didn't come right after E3M1, but it started with the same layout and object placement as it, and when you stepped on the teleport exit, rather than ending the level it dropped the wall and gave you a surprise Cyberdemon fight. Then you have to go back through the level with whole new sections opened up with a bunch of new monsters to deal with, and find the real exit.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Zen3001 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:57 am

map07 is a good example of a boss fight and the shadow beast on the realm667 repository could be a good boss in an easier game.
but this can only be done because doom is less realistic game with fast movement.
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Re: Boss Fights In FPS - Will it blend??11?

Postby Reactor » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:20 pm

Relevant to this question: In your opinion, what's the main purpose of a boss in a game? I mean, sure, I get that in most of the cases, there's a big evil mastermind behind the whole scene, who is controlling all the evil minions who wreak havoc on the land/kingdom/universe, but many other games don't feature any bosses - or killable bosses - and they don't seem to perform worse than those games which do have a boss. Half-life 2 for instance, doesn't have a final boss, only a mid-game one, and was still damn successful. Red Faction on the other hand, featured multiple bosses, and was only a lukewarm success.
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