Bitpicking: Size matters not
There was a time when bosses were an integral part of the gaming experience.
Oh wait, they still are! After all these years, bosses are one of the highlights of the games we play, usually challenges that you must overcome at the end of a stage, or mid-stage, or something that is meant to test your skills. They’re excellent for bragging rights as you make your way toward the end of the game.
The art of designing a good boss fight can be tricky. While most gamers probably don't know what is necessary to create one from a development standpoint, they can usually tell if a boss fight is good or bad.
This week on Bitpicking, I’ll be looking at the bosses that are particularly large, and, while their size might make them look intimidating, they’re actually pretty tame.
God of War is a franchise that lives and breathes off of boss fights. Its large mythological beings are several times bigger than protagonist Kratos, yet somehow he manages to kill them all. Perhaps it’s not a testament to Kratos - and effectively the player - that these creatures go down, but to the bosses' powerlessness and inability to think creatively.
Cronos is a massive Titan in Greek mythology and an absolute gargantuan in God of War III. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Kratos isn’t even the size of his fingernail. Fighting Cronos is an awe-inspiring experience just because there hasn’t previously been a boss fight of that magnitude of the franchise. So you'd think bringing him down would be rewarding when fighting. However, Kratos fights Cronos on his arm, and just like a person trying to swat a tiny bug, Cronos attempts to kill Kratos as he squirms about. In theory, Cronos should easily win, as Kratos isn’t agile as a fly, nor can he fly away like one. But this isn’t the case, since all Cronos does is try to slap Kratos while the latter peels away at the titan’s fingernails until he gets angry.
All you’re doing is fighting a dynamic environment rather than an actual boss. Fighting Cronos is like watching a quick-time event unfold as you pick away at his hand until you kill him in an anticlimactic and unbelievable way. Size doesn’t mean anything. This fight throws logic out the window (though the franchise didn’t have much to begin with), and runs. Boss fights are meant to be cool and rewarding. Here, it’s just flash without substance.