Author Topic: Bosses in a Low Health System  (Read 7791 times)

jasonpickering

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Bosses in a Low Health System
« on: March 29, 2013, 12:51:51 PM »
Hey guys. So I really like roguelikes that have a low health systems, especially single HP ones. I also like the idea of boss fights. the problem is how do you add boss fights to a low health game.

some ideas:
- Bosses are invincible until a certain number of minions are killed, then they can be killed.
- Bosses have HP, but warp away, get pushed back, are stunned on a hit.
- Bosses are invincible, but there is something in the room that hurts them. (IE. traps)

any other ideas?

joeclark77

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 02:30:48 PM »
Maybe the challenge is getting close to the boss?  I'm thinking here of old arcade games (like 1943) where the boss would have lots of missile attacks and you spent most of your energy dodging his bullets, which were flying in all directions as he moved around.  You could only get a few shots of your own in between dodging.

So imagine your boss is a wizard firing lightningbolts and fireballs all over the map.  The trick is then to get close to him, whether by dodging, making a zig-zag approach, using obstacles, making chess-knight moves, etc.. Up close, you can land the killing blow.

requerent

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 02:44:01 PM »

The number and complexity of solutions roughly represents the difficulty of any problem.

If a problem requires an order of magnitude more complexity with little change to the quantity of solutions, you have yourself a Boss.

guest509

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 07:26:37 PM »
  They are only able to be hit every few turns, or the traps don't hurt them but just allow you to hurt them.

  I'm thinking some sort of periodic vulnerability either happening from time to time, or when an event (trap) occurs. Sorta like killing on the minions makes them vulnerable.

  Also maybe they have an immune facing, you have to get them in the back to hurt them. Or maybe the boss disappears when you are facing the other way. Or maybe you have to bump blocks in the room that in turn fly at the boss and hurt him. Or maybe those bumpable blocks aren't there initially and only pop up later, slowly, so you are dodging around until then. Or maybe he's invisible/invincible to all but a certain spell. Or only becomes vulnerable for a few turns AFTER you pop that spell. You gain resource by popping his minions who are spawning all over. Or maybe if you have to bump/throw blocks at him those blocks are dropped by his minions, or the minions become traps when you pop them. Like you hit the skeleton, but his biting head is left, you have to trick the boss into stepping on that biting head. Maybe you trick him with a pushback spell or something.

  That's all for now.

requerent

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 01:19:16 AM »
I agree that I don't like how ToMe does it. Bosses are generally just really tough mobs. Your strategy doesn't really change much- the fight just lasts longer and is more error-prone. To me this isn't intrinsically interesting.

Special rules are MUCH better than arbitrary scaling or challenge rating systems.

Vanguard

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 11:21:44 AM »
You could always look to non-roguelike games for inspiration.

Like, most Zelda bosses can't be damaged until you first use a certain item on them to render them vulnerable.

Or you could try something like Punch Out where the boss is invulnerable to normal attacks, but have a brief window of vulnerability after you dodge or otherwise thwart one of their attacks.


There's an old roguelike I like called Ragnarok that has a boss enemy named Scyld.  Scyld can't be harmed unless you've got an item called the green stone in your inventory, but if you do happen to have it, he goes down easily.  Unfortunately, finding the green stone is more a matter of luck than anything else, but perhaps the concept could be adapted to something more skill-based?

Like, somewhere on the boss enemy's floor is the one item needed to defeat the boss.  The player needs to locate this item while fleeing from the powerful/indestructible boss.  If they successfully acquire it, the boss becomes weak, or at least beatable.

Now that I think about it, this idea sounds a lot like roguelike Pac-Man.

You could try adapting the roguelike standard concept of out of depth monsters into functioning as your boss enemy.  Say you've got a powerful boss that can show up on any map in the game.  Maybe they show up after a certain number of turns as passed on a given floor.  Maybe the game delivers a message to the player when the boss enemy spawns or where the boss is located to keep things fair.

Anyway, the player doesn't have a chance against this guy and needs to escape.  It would be a good way to add tension to your game, and it would also function as a nice goal post for the player's power level.  Once your player is finally powerful enough to overcome the boss, their victory is that much more satisfying due to the ordeals they've gone through.

Something like that could easily function as an alternative to a hunger system as well.

naughty

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 02:44:49 PM »
I think the best bosses have more than one 'phase' to them. So the first phase could be spawning minions, once you've cleared them it starts trying to jump on your head then it starts running after you and you have to make it fall into a pit. The phases could alternate or be one after another with no repeats.

If they have just one set behaviour they feel just like slightly bigger, tougher monsters. You need to really differentiate them to make them really feel like a boss, lots of HP just feels like a cop out.

Another common touch for bosses is to have them situated in some sort of large mechanism or special room. Say you have a boss that fires lightning on all neighbouring cells, you lead it to a 'collector' that is powered up by the lightning and it gives you a single use of a battering ram that is the only thing that hurts the boss. On a similar note it could charge like a Bull and you have to make it hit a spike covered wall to break its armour, exposing its vulnerable fleshy innards.

Other miscellaneous ideas:
  • Large Jelly that splits into smaller jellies and then recombines after a set number of turns. You can only kill the smaller jellies, its invulnerable it its large form.
  • Vampire boss where you attack curtains on the wall to let light in, the light hurts and traps the Vampire until it has nowhere to run.
  • Very aggressive boss that you have to pillar dance. It tires itself out and is vulnerable.
  • Boss that periodically sucks everything in nearby, feed it bombs.
  • Invulnerable Evil Ghost boss in an evil cemetery. You have to kill yourself and attack it in ghost form, some magical force revives you every now and again, rinse and repeat a few times.
  • Frankenstein's Monster, make it look in the mirror so it runs away scared by itself.
  • Giant Slug, Giant Salt Shaker, fight!
  • The Old Hag of the Sea challenges you to a fight in the freezing ocean. Lather yourself with bacon grease before the fight to survive the icy depths.
  • A boss you kill entirely with conversation choices, e.g. 'Is it an African or European Swallow?' or tell a robot a paradox.
  • Pong or Air Hockey against a boss. The puck is an enemy that bounces off you instead of dies when you attack it.
  • Simon Says: the boss does a movement sequence you have to copy, fail and die or succeed and win!.
  • Floor Tiles makes a sound when you walk on them. If you can play out the melody of the background music you win.
  • Evil game show with game related trivia questions.

Darren Grey

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 06:49:53 PM »
Well, here are the bosses in Toby the Trapper:

Dasher - Has double speed, meaning you need trap lures in place
Giant - Has multiple hit points (for a future release I might change this so he regenerates too, so you need multiple hits in one round to take him down)
Shadow - Doesn't set off traps and is sometimes invisible - you have to get other enemies to set off traps next to her
Jester - Jumps away when setting off a trap. Will always land 3 squares away, so you need a trap where it lands or a trap going off in that location when it lands.
Warlock - Summons enemies and destroys traps around it, so you need carefully positioned AoE traps triggered by others to get him.

In Unstoppable the end boss fires the only bullets that can hurt you and hacks the terrain generation to make the whole level shift about as you fight (very dramatic and cool, shame no one has ever seen it).

In Rogue Rage all of the bosses summon enemies, most of them regenerate or heal in some way, and generally they have abilities that temporarily buff themselves, those around them, or that debuff you in special ways.  They usually have good movement skills as well, teleporting around, pulling the player to them, knocking the player back, etc.

Some other things to consider:
 - Aura around the boss that affects you in some negative way if you're too close whilst it's active
 - It hurts the player to hit the boss in certain ways
 - Several stages to the boss, with it being immune to different attacks / damage types during those phases
 - Boss has a special powerful ability it uses every x rounds, with a visible counter
 - Boss will definitely kill you if not defeated in x rounds (though certain actions may push the counter back)
 - Boss does certain actions unless disrupted by certain attacks - eg a fire elemental that throws fireballs unless hit with an ice attack
 - Every time you hit the boss an ability is triggered - it summons enemies, it knocks you back, it dazes you, etc.

guest509

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 09:37:35 PM »
  I like how Super Mario 2 did bosses. There was always something around to throw at them. The boss themselves shot stuff at you, and sometimes you could pick up their projectile and throw it back.

Darren Grey

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 10:42:28 AM »
Another thing to consider is making the level that the boss is on special.  For instance ADOM's fire boss is generally considered the hardest fight in the game, in large part because in the fire temple you can't have much of your usual equipment and sometimes can't take in many of your healing items.  You can do other things like slimed floor (moving takes double time), walls that push you away, slippery ice, constantly shifting walls, wind that makes ranged attacks curve, etc.  Make the boss immune to these whilst the player must work around them and it can add extra interest to the fight.

Vanguard

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 07:42:26 AM »
There are some nice suggestions in this thread.

guest509

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 01:10:40 AM »
Hey Jason Roguelike Radio has an episode on boss fights now...

http://www.roguelikeradio.com/2013/04/episode-69-boss-fights.html

jasonpickering

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Re: Bosses in a Low Health System
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2013, 03:21:37 PM »
yeah. I have been stalking this thread waiting to comment. Darren contacted me about the episode. Exccited to listen to it today.