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Know Thy Bosses 90

The Guardian Gamesblog has a piece on knowing your enemy to better pwn him. Specifically, they go through some tried and true rules about surviving boss battles. From the article: "If the boss stops, panic. Bosses usually move about - when they stop it means they're about to unleash their signature move, the aforementioned fist or laser blast. Try to avoid being parallel to them when they stop. Unless, of course, it's the sort of boss who blasts the whole screen apart from the thin corridor directly in front of them. In this case stay where you are."
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Know Thy Bosses

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  • Bosses? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vann_v2 ( 213760 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:31PM (#14739412) Homepage
    When I saw the headline, and even after reading the first few sentences of the intro, I thought this was about the sort of "boss" that employs you, not the video game variety. And I had to wonder, why isn't my boss cool enough to have laser blast?
    • by rewinn ( 647614 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:36PM (#14739448) Homepage

      From the Article: Keep moving. Whatever you do, don't stand still. Even for a second. This is the only cue an end-of-level boss needs to swipe at you with a giant fist or ...

      ...assign you to a doomed project.

      >Scan for weak spots. Every boss has one...

      ... usually vulnerable to the Sycophanty Manouevre, but occasionally old-fashioned blackmail can work, too.

    • If you're facing the real variety, give up--you can't win. They regenerate and reincarnate infinitely often. Well, unless you transmutate yourself into one of them, in which case you lose twice: not only do you have to wear pointy hair, you now have to do battle with a dozen of them simultaneously at the interdepartmental meetings.
    • The scary part is how far you can get through that post before you hit anything that DOESN'T apply to real-world, work-bosses/task masters.

      Many of the strategies and observations DO apply. Most companies take a dim view of actually killing the bosses, however.

    • It was during my second read through it that I started to suspect it wasn't about my employer.
    • >> When I saw the headline, and even after reading the first few sentences
      >> of the intro, I thought this was about the sort of "boss" that employs
      >> you, not the video game variety. And I had to wonder, why isn't my boss
      >> cool enough to have laser blast?
      >

      I thought exactly the same thing. My thoughts as I read the header:
      > The Guardian Gamesblog has a piece on knowing your enemy to better pwn
      > him.

      Ya, I'd like to know how to manage my boss and bring him under my thumb!

      >
  • by 77Punker ( 673758 ) <{spencr04} {at} {highpoint.edu}> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:31PM (#14739413)
    This is really the article I needed to see. I've been trying to defeat Tom Nook for ownership of my house for the longest time. At the part where he pulls out the rockets and blasts the whole screen, I kept trying to hit him with my shovel. Now I see that if I had just stood there and let him set his own fur on fire in his rocket frenzy, I would have won. Well, time to buy some medicine and try again!
  • Real bosses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LunchTableGoat ( 235548 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:32PM (#14739416)
    I think these strategies can be applied to real bosses or PHBs. For example:

    -Keep moving.
    If you aren't where they expect you to be, they can't ask you to come into work on Saturday.

    -If the boss stops, panic.
    S/he is likely to give you a mundane task that is below your abilities or ask you a stupid question.

    -Scan for weak spots.
    If you know their weak spot, you can always bring it up in a time of dire need.

    -The quarter rule.
    At the end of a quarter expect your assigned tasks to multiply, there are deadlines to be met.

    -Take a break.
    The water cooler is an excellent place to share boss strategies with your comrades.

  • Hide? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by owlman17 ( 871857 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:34PM (#14739431)
    In Doom 2, I remember turning off clipping, then I found John Romero's head behind the boss, and chainsawed away. In Hexen, I just stayed behind a pillar and fired at the boss between shots, like a wild west movie. Wasn't really fun but I nailed him in the end. Very n00b I know, but I got the job done. Killing bosses in 80s RPGs like Ultima or Bard's Tale wasn't just fun, but it always felt glorious afterwards.
    • If you want some badass blasting, you should seriously check out Serious Sam. I just picked it up (including both encounters) at Big Lots for $4.
      • The thing I liked about that game was the sections when there are too many of those bone enemies, and the screamers with bombs were as funny as hell. Also liked the way how picking up items usually always results in an ambush.
    • In a lot of fps'ers (I can't think of anything specific atm, but..) there is almost always an exploit or a trick to killing them. In parent, it's hiding behind a pillar (in Hexen) etc.

      Hm not an all that useful post now that I read it over :(

      • In Serious Sam, I was playing it on Serious (the hardest setting, at least without playing it fully through to unlock "You are not serious" setting, which appeared to be Serious + the monsters fading in and out.) I fought that giant thing all the way to the pyramid, killing all the other monsters, shooting the big guy lower and lower in health. He'd recharge by sucking health in from the world around from time to time. Running low on ammo, I fought my way all the way back around to the gate where ammo wou
    • In Hexen, I just stayed behind a pillar and fired at the boss between shots, like a wild west movie. Wasn't really fun but I nailed him in the end. Very n00b I know, but I got the job done.

      I don't grasp why using real-world combat tactics which work very well at keeping you alive are considered "n00b" in FPS combat games.
      • > I don't grasp why using real-world combat tactics which work
        > very well at keeping you alive are considered "n00b" in FPS combat games.

        In poorly-designed MMORPGs [everquest.com], using tactics like shooting at monsters where they can't get at you or from a ledge is considered an exploitation. Indeed, supposedly monsters could NOT originally hit you through a wall, but they had to allow that to prevent people from shooting at stupid giants in Oasis of Marr through the doors of the huts, who'd just stand there indef
    • I never use cheats to beat bosses, but I don't mind using unintended features.
      If there's a monster I can hit where it can't hit me, all the better.

      For example in Duke3d, end of the 2nd episode. The boss with the RPG. I just ran into the secret area in the back, it kept shooting at me but always hitting the wall. I shoot and it's dead.

      Or if I can get the enemy into an infinite loop. For example Galamoth (a big boss) in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Just run up to top ledge and keep slashing. Galamoth w
  • hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by TheClam ( 209230 )
    And here I thought this article would help me at work.

    Damn games section.
  • If you'd like to comment on any aspect of Technology Guardian, send your emails to tech@guardian.co.uk

    Somehow, I'm thinking that this address will be getting a lot of mail. "Take a break. If you feel yourself becoming enraged beyond the realms of human endurance, give up and do something less stressful for a few minutes - like filling in a tax return." I can't wait for the first person to try this strategy, and suffer a stroke or heart attack brought on by the high blood pressure.

    Basically, if you're h

    • Relax. The "do something less stressful [...] - like filling in a tax return" was supposed to be a joke. (Though he does have a point that some games do get to a point where a tax form is more fun.) You're not actually supposed to raise your blood pressure some more in between blood rounds.
  • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:30AM (#14739674)
    Disclaimer : Only works on console emulators. But I rarely ever had to beat a boss in a game that wasn't on an emulator

    1. Save the state of the emulator at the beginning of the boss level.
    2. Try to defeat him.
    3. On failure, load the state previously saved, until you succeed.
    4. Post this advice on Slashdot as a numbered list, and resist the temptation of writing 5. ??? 6. Profit!!! mostly that it would only make yourself sound dumb.

    • by RichiH ( 749257 )
      it's
      3) ???
      4) profit!

      everyone should know that..
    • even better, map the quicksave and quickload keys to buttons on your controller, every time you get a hit on the boss, hit quicksave, every time you get hit, press quickload

      its the only way i could ever beat Gradius 3 on SNES
      • Yeah I mapped that on my controller too, well only for GBA so far, so SNES I don't feel the need for it, at least not yet, I rather feel the need for the slow down and speed up buttons instead.
      • Gradius III? Now, I'm not saying the game was easy, but it wasn't that hard either. The only real challenge was the level where it sped up really fast and your main concern was not hitting the walls. Memorization takes care of that. Maybe the level with the five bosses in a row, but that was easy enough if you could avoid the one that tried continuously to ram you. The end boss (big pile of pink biomatter that talked to you) was the easiest of all the bosses in the game.

        I still play this game a lot on

  • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:46AM (#14739745) Homepage Journal
    This is so true. I've managed to avoid Trevor Belmont's attacks (Castlevania: Curse of Darkness) just by reading his movements. When he unleashes the whip attack, I dodge, wait 1/10 of a second, then dodge again until he stops (don't do the double-dodge, there is an awful delay when you do the second dodge, and he'll get you there).

    In most fighting games (if not all), the boss usually makes some move indicating what he's going to do. A good example is the final boss in Prince of Persia. When the boss moves his wings to grab a pillar and throw it at you, you should roll in the opposite direction.

    So it's all about dodging... this is why defeating Julius (in Aria of Sorrow) was so difficult, he wasn't moving like a boss, but like a player. And even then you could decipher some of his moves , just by watching the color of the glow before he throws a subweapon at you.
  • confusion... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Gogo0 ( 877020 )
    The Guardian Gamesblog has a piece on knowing your enemy to better pwn him. Specifically, they go through some tried and true rules about surviving boss battles. From the article: "If the boss stops, panic. Bosses usually move about - when they stop it means they're about to unleash their signature move, the aforementioned fist or laser blast.

    Until the Laser Blast part, I thought they were talking about my boss at work.
    • Re:confusion... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      haha! That's a good one! Original, too!

      I mean, do you even read the other comments to make sure you joke hasn't already been posted in triplicate? Oh wait... I forgot this was slashdot!

  • Whoever penned this article CLEARLY does not play World of Warcraft.

    "You're a Rogue, stand there and keep that little doodad on the floor while we fight over here and kill this dragon."
    • by Omestes ( 471991 )
      Oh lord... Don't remind me... Thats one reason I quit playing "the most addictive game ever". At 60, its just tedium.

      I remember my 60 druid, pre-druid patch. "Heal heal, heal, RAISE!, envigorate!, wash rinse repeat." And remember never go feral to save your hide.

      Meh to that game. Suffers the same problems as Diablo II multi. Do the same formula to collect better items, to compete with wankers with WAY too much time on their hands.
    • Whoever penned this article CLEARLY does not play World of Warcraft.

      Actually they're all true at some point in the game...

      Keep Moving - Applies to LOTS of bosses. Magmadar spits out his little flaming snots you run around, Shazzra teleports and chases people all over, Razorgore has about eleventy billion adds that most guilds kite around the room, Flamegor, Firemaw, and Chromaggus are all peek-a-boo bosses, etc etc. Quite a lot of bosses in the game require some sort of movement during the fight. Som

  • "Blind fury" attack. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:13AM (#14740712) Journal
    In most cases I found the "maximum offensive exchange strategy" works best.

    I keep powering myself up during very cautious "level gameplay" and when facing the boss, just blow a full frontal attack, rarely dodging anything.

    Bosses are meant to be "difficult to beat" so they often try to overwhelm you with firepower, so you have no time to strike back, they sweep the area with fire so what's the point of dodging, but they are meant to last about a minute or three of cautious gameplay with few, rare shots. Assuming some 20 serious shots per minute from the boss, during these three minutes you will take maybe 10 hits or so, dodge another 50. If you blow all your worth at it, own damage notwithstanding, it will take less than 20 seconds to beat. You may end up taking less damage than while dodging, getting hit by 7 out of 8 shots the boss gets to launch at you before falling dead.

    Nice ending of "Chaos Engine": I accumulated 28 extra lives during the game, taking time to unlock every secret possible and killing every enemy that would bring cash, maxing out almost everything.
    I just stood in front of the final boss and kept shooting. It went down when I was down to 22 lives.
    Later I tried the same with dodging. I ended up with 18 or so lives left, failing to avoid the attacks and rarely taking a pot-shot at it.
    Now playing Zelda: Majora's mask. The goddamn fish boss, why would I ever care to dodge it? I have fucking 5 bottles with fairies filling my 13 heart containers each! If I didn't move at all, it would take it half a hour to finish me off!
    A fine old Amiga game of Perihellion. I took a bit different approach: built up defenses on one character to the level where he had over 100% of immunity to mostly everything outside some obscure, rarely seen attacks (like "extreme sound" ;) so I just backed off all the rest to the corner and put this one to exchange blows with the boss. Hitting him with a puny tiny knife because it didn't conflict with anything from the armour and took little time units. The battle lasted quite long but I didn't take a single hitpoint of damage.
    XCOM: Defense. "As you approach the alien brain, before you shoot it, it says..." what a bullshit. I didn't approach the alien brain. I kept launching blaster launcher missiles from several rooms away, until they dug up enough passage to launch one directly at the brain. Half of the crew of 26 was armed with blaster launchers. The other half didn't because I didn't have room for all the ammo needed. (fyi a blaster launcher pops an explosion tha is ridiculously big and destroys most it finds on its way, including hard soil between rooms in underground bases (yay, new corridors!), alien alloys (making backdoors in alien ships), and whole houses ("in this house there is NO enemy now, for sure.")

    The worst situation is with games that artificially limit your "capacities". Half-Life 2. 3 rockets, okay, rockets are big. But 3 energy balls, 100 armour (these batteries are small!), 12 magnum bullets(?!!), 10 crossbow bolts, 3 frigging carabine grenades, 3 reloads of the energy rifle, 8 seconds of shooting each! And you end up fighting the boss or a big battle with a shotgun... (and in the meantime, the enemies have infinite ammo but when they die, they drop less than one reload of given weapon)
    Do I have to say I hate such "gameplay ballancing"?
    • Your X-Com straregy reminds me of something you could do in its old Spectrum precursor, Laser Squad. On the first mission, you had to go into this guy's house and kill him. He was some sort of arms dealer who had betrayed you, and of course his house was a mansion full of traps and killer guard robots and such like.

      HOWEVER - I discovered that you could just tool up your team exclusively on rocket launchers and just spend about 10 turns blasting the ever-living crap out of his house from the outside, and kil
      • First through Knights of the Old Republic II, the second encounter with the undead guy, as well as Darty Trayus and her three floating scimitars, so to speak, was very tough (playing on "difficult", though difficult wasn't all that tough except for the boss encounters.)

        Second and all subsequent times through the encounters were very easy. I even got the encounters down to basically 1-shot Nihilus (discovering a bug in the game if you off him too quickly) and almost, but not quite 1-shotting the undead guy
    • How about Syndicate? There were many missions whose briefing told you that the best strategy would probably be a single agent armed with a sniper rifle. I always used the whole squad, armed with 4(?) miniguns each. If the mission had no time limit, I put all the agents' drug levels to zero at the start of the mission, and waited until they no longer had withdrawal symptoms. Then I started to advance. Whenever someone threatened the squad, I would max out the drugs and tear shit up.

      On the Atlantic accelerato
      • I was doing more fun things there. Miniguns, Persuadertron, a few Gauss Guns.
        Drop the gauss guns. Persuade the civilians. Lead them over the gauss guns.
        For each shot from the minigun they launched a salvo from gauss guns at the pointed target. They could shot their gauss guns as many times as you could shot the minigun (and as you remember, it had a plenty of ammo!) so if I suspected an agent in a building, I would just shot a few short series from the minigun at it.
        (and if any of my civilians got killed, I
        • I started replaying this game about a year ago via DOSBox. I always just enjoyed persuading the enemy agents at the beginning of the game. I would just drop the drugs down to zero and hang around the start for a while until I had enough civilians to persuade an enemy agent. I always thought it good fun to rush an enemy agent with a crowd of people trailing me while he's busy firing away trying to protect himself. That could actually make the second half of the mission more fun if I decided to gun it. T
          • There was no sequel, just an expansion pack, 'american revolt'. Some more weapons and gadgets, more missions, helluva difficult (atlantic accelerator - all enemies with gauss guns)
            • Lies! the sequel to Syndicate is Syndicate Wars, which in my opinion is a far superior game (although it was the one I played first, so maybe a little bias) Syndicate Wars was the shit, and its the only reason I still have my 486dx2 box lying around. I've never been able to get it to run right on my P450 or my A64 :( I suppose I could try dosbox, but does anyone know if I could still do LAN games of syndicate wars? one can find a detailed entry at the underdogs. http://www.the-underdogs.org/game.php?gamei [the-underdogs.org]
              • kthx, didn't know. I looked for a sequel for quite a while but I didn't find it.
                • no problem. . . on second reading of my original post I came off as a little hostile and didn't mean it, I was just bamboozled that one of my favourite games was entirely unknown to other gamers.
                  • I am well aware of the existence of the game and consistently check for it at the few shops that I find that sell used PC games, but have not yet had any luck. I get the feeling that it wasn't nearly as successful as the original.

                    The American Revolt expansion was extremely difficult. I don't think I played more than one or two missions of the expansion before giving up on it. They need to make another sequel darnit! Maybe Moleneaux and Lionhead will come out with an unofficial sequel, but I doubt it.

                    Oh,
                    • yep, and I think the sequel could be immensely successful, crossover of an FPS with a RTS with huge 'prefab' cities assembled from BIG 'brick blocks' (houses, streets, installations), keep great most of original gameplay features/properties (huge badass self-destruct anyone?) but allow for "isometric 3pp" tactical view as well as fpp perspective and control?

                      Do you remember that one of the first levels, "the top level of the city is plush, the bottom is slum"? Imagine playing it first-person!
      • Miniguns? That's a silly thing to even try to acquire until you get to the Atlantic Accelerator. If you don't research them, usually you only have to deal with one or two odd enemies having miniguns in Syndicate. I usually stock up on defensive upgrades and research and then just try to overwhelm the few enemy agents with miniguns and bring them to our side. Then I get the miniguns (albeit with little ammo) and hardly anyone else in the game has them. Sometimes, I have enough stray miniguns to take the
    • That works in many games, but not in all. RPGs and action games, yeah, that tends to work. The first time I beat FF7, I was so freaked about the Sephiroth fight at the end (having watched someone beat it who hadn't taken the time to unlock everything) that I went around and unlocked EVERYTHING, and spent serious time levelling up the powerful materia. As a result, when I finally got to Sephiroth, it only took a few turns of quadruple-cast Knights of the Round to do him in.

      The prime counter-example would
      • You used Knights of the Round on Sepheroth? Okay, seriously, I had level 55 maybe 60 charecters. I didn't know that I would have to split them up either. So one side was horribly underpowered and didn't really have a lot of magic or power. The fight took me less then ten minutes. The only thing I had unlocked was a few of the ultimate weapons (which were too weak to use in some cases), and two of the level four limit breaks. Yeah, I had Omni-slash, but most of everyone was on level two. I also had Cl
        • Yeah, it was way overkill, I admit. However, I didn't want to go through the 20 minute nail-biting battle that my friend did. I honestly didn't realize how easy the fight would be with Quad Knights. I knew it was tough for my friend and I knew he didn't bother with almost any of the hidden stuff, so I wanted to get the biggest gun I could find. I just didn't realize how big the gun I found was.
          • calling bluff, you can't quad KOTR. Hard-coded limitation. (who would want to wait through the goddamn 3-minute video 4 times? A single attack taking over 10 minutes to display?)
            You can quad Behemoth Zero though, and you can double KOTR (and if you get it to split you can double it twice a round, with 2 characters, but that's about it, and getting it to split is nearly impossible too.)

            The last battle was quite easy for me because the characters had lots of med-to-high power stuff accumulated.
            (Counter-attack
            • You can quad Knights of the Round. Maybe they took that out in the Greatest Hits or PC version, but I damn well did. Yeah, I did sit through the animation multiple times. At the time, I didn't mind. =)
    • The worst situation is with games that artificially limit your "capacities". Half-Life 2. 3 rockets, okay, rockets are big. But 3 energy balls, 100 armour (these batteries are small!), 12 magnum bullets(?!!), 10 crossbow bolts, 3 frigging carabine grenades, 3 reloads of the energy rifle, 8 seconds of shooting each! And you end up fighting the boss or a big battle with a shotgun... (and in the meantime, the enemies have infinite ammo but when they die, they drop less than one reload of given weapon) Do I hav
    • Your stories remind me of when I finally finished the first Diablo. I forget the details, but I remember that that point I had found several items that healed a percentage of health for each portion of Diablo's health that I took off. Despite having all of his minions attacking me at the same time I was attacking him, I never used a health potion and never dropped below 2/3 health or so.

      I'm more or less going through a similar situation in Fable right now. I've mastered the slow time spell so that most b
      • I remember finishing Quake II, where the final encounter was a standard big boss encounter, no "little trickies" to solve. At that point, you could save up your pentagrams of protection (well, a shield of protection in that game) and your quad damage. So when the radio message from HQ came in, "Terminate with extreme prejudice", I hit both, and fired the BFG non-stop. I gotta hand it to the boss, though, he took it all and still outlived my quad/pent dual powerup.

        But not by more than about 10 seconds. =
        • Not to ruin your fun, but the BFG in all games other than Quake3 hogs way more energy than the firepower it lays. You could dish out more damage for more time with a different weapon.

          In Q3 it's a completely different story, being a cross between Plasma (fast firing) and Rockets (heavy damage) and not eating too much ammo.

          Quad and Pent are fun tho :)
    • That's exactly how I beat the Quake2 final boss each time - invulnerability, quad damage, and BGF upfront. Lasts about 20 seconds or so. As for the Doom1 ep.3 Spider Mastermind - one single BFG in the face is enough. He manages to kill me sometimes, though. The cyber at ep.2 is an easy one as well: I gather as much cells as possible on e2m7 (including the powerups) and usually start e2m8 with my plasma maxed out, and 200/200 armor/health. Then I just blaze the cyber to hell.
  • From TFA:

    That videogame stalwart, the end-of-level boss, is back in fashion. Once a mainstay of arcade game design, these creatures have fallen out of favour recently, with modern designers generally favouring a non-linear structure. But smash hits Resident Evil 4, God of War and Shadow of the Colossus have brought them back into the spotlight so once again we're all facing the prospect of being pulverised by giant monsters.

    Yes! Those bloody "next generation", "realism" proselytes have finally been ignored.
    • Without a boss, I'm like a wehrmacht soldier trawling through league after league of Soviet Russia, slowly becoming more demoralised.

      Look, comparing a game to a real-life soldier life is wrong. Morals, problems, realism aside, for a soldier every single enemy is a 'boss'. Look at it this way: their skills are about the same as yours, taking away advantages like ambush or armament (which work in both directions) you have about 50% chance of winning. Plus there's no load/save, the medikit will get you back in
      • I was not of course, comparing video games to real combat. Rather I was comparing the tedium of endless homogeneity to the depression that afflicted soldiers on the eastern front, as they went further and further without seemingly getting anywhere.
      • It's a pretty good point.

        On the one hand in the military you get training; on the other hand, enemies aren't clearly labeled on some kind of HUD or radar, more often than not one shot will take anyone out of combat at least for a while if not permanently, and there is no do-over.

        I imagine little real life combat has anything to do with running around, everyone is your enemy, and if you're clever you can get 'em before they get you. Catching the enemy when they're unawares and not looking for a fight has to
        • By surprise or by overwhelming firepower. Drop napalm and let God sort them. Open the manhole and if nobody goes out with hands up in 5 seconds, throw grenades and only then enter. If there was a woman with a child hiding there, bad luck for her. If in doubt, call the artillery. If you can't decide a target is civilian or military, bomb it, after all if it was military they could shot at us and we'd be screwed. If there was a gossip about a taliban soldier in some village, mark the village as "enemy base"
          • At the risk of taking things too lightly:

            that's one thing that will often be unrealistic about sci-fi warfare settings; especially the starfighter type games I love so well...humans probably aren't going to be in the loop like they are with modern technology.
  • Congratulations, you know how to win boss battles. Anyone with any decent amount of game experience already knows these "tips", and anyone who doesn't needs to learn them for themselves.
  • Just whack Rodney with a cockatrice corpse.

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