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MonDez

Mon's Guide to Better & Badder Bosses

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Introduction

Welcome to the wonderful guide of bosses! You must be wondering what bosses are, right?

Bosses are special types of enemies that spice up any types of games whether it's rpg, shooting, action, etc.

What you want are bosses for an rpg, am I right? Let me give you a guide to better and badder bosses.

I will update this guide when I find more stuff to add to this list.

 

 

 

Section A: Types of Bosses

There a many types of bosses in the story that act according to the situation. Take for example the "Final Fantasy" series repetitive and well known boss, Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is a boss that appears as a goofy, stupid, prideful, but yet one of the most interesting bosses except for Kefka. Anyways Gilgamesh appears in Final Fantasy I, V, VI, and XII as bosses while in the other series as summonings. Gilgamesh always tries to make the scenes comical or serious and fighting him is very challenging except in FFV of course.

 

Another repetitive boss would be the Omega Weapon, another type of boss in the FF series that appears as a secret boss. Secret bosses are bosses that are way beyond harder than the final bosses. They consist of powerful moves that can KO characters in a single hit or constantly hit them with status attacks. In the end when you defeat the secret boss, the rewards are little or always worth it.

 

There are the normal bosses, who in-game are to challenge characters every time they near a part of the story or close to finishing a dungeon. These types of bosses are to halt the player from progressing any further into the story. These types of bosses act like a log in front of a gold flower that you manage to find in the woods and you have only a chisel to cut your way past it.

 

Then there are the Final Bosses which are the bosses at the end of the story when the main character is close to completing his/her objective in the story. Exdeath in FFV was the final boss when Bartz and the party enter the void and which their objective was to beat him to save the world as in almost every FF game. Final Bosses are to be tough end game bosses and not a boss that gets killed in one shot (Sega CD Zelda). Final Bosses are to be the cliche and tell the player that it is time to meet their match or be ffed in the balls for punishment. They give the player a sense of accomplishment when they face the tough boss as they complete the game.

 

Finally, there are the joke bosses. Literally they are a joke to the game like Seigfried, in FFVI who you fight on the Phantom Train that only dealt one damage and had 100 HP. These types of bosses are for entertainment purposes only and are to be beaten into a pulp instantly.

 

 

Section B: The Many Types of Bosses

Every boss must be different or the game will be considerably meaningless in every way. How bosses should act to how they look like it would be boring to fight a boss named "Soldier" and have him look like a soldier who looks frail and thin like "Angelina Jolie" (lulz). Bosses have to have their own name like "Dawnshredder" or "Barnum's Ultimate Grill Cat Titan" something like that and actually make them look dangerous and awesome.

 

Bosses also must have personalities and not act like a robot unless they are actually are a robot type boss which I will find acceptable. If bosses have no emotion then it is not unique, it's just another Sephiroth wanna be just waiting in the shadows to be trolling everyone in the game. Take for example Kefka from FFVI and the Prinny Overlord from Disagaea, both are unique because one is barking mad and almost became a god while the other is a giant penguin with knives and bombs that is a walking bomb. These bosses have emotions that are unique from the stereotypical serious, momma-boy bosses and do actions that are not at all robotic.

 

Religious Bosses or myth-type bosses are also great additions to any game. These bosses represent a religion or a story within the world that the characters fight in like "God". These bosses are to give reason to why something is in the game or a cause to a curse to a town.

 

 

Section C: Boss Battles

Boss battles as I explained are to be challenging and a stop gape for players when they go through the game. Bosses have high hp, mp, attack, defense, etc. Their stats are triple of the the players and his/her party also they are difficult to beat because of the array of attacks the bosses have. Bosses must BE difficult to be difficult to beat and not one hit death unless they are joke bosses. A good example of that is of course Sega CD's Zelda.

 

Bosses must have special attacks that characters and other monsters don't have to make the battle hard, also they must be a constant nuisance to the parties stats as well like applying poison, blind, confusion, etc. Omega Weapon from the FF series had an attack that could kill, petrify, blind, etc. if it hit one of your characters. Also in a boss battle, bosses have minions that they have with them in battle that can prove an annoyance. When implementing a battle, try having the enemies come back from the dead some turns later or have the boss call reinforcements when he/she reaches a certain hp level.

 

Final Boss battles are a big one because these battles are a test of one's meddle of what the player has gone through in the entire game. In the FF series V and VI, both final bosses had multiple bodies or battles within the final battle. Body parts that are connected to the boss that have it's own attacks and also high hp can be challenging to a player. Also add something to the boss when it dies like a suicide move or a move that can deal damage to the players party when it dies.

 

Also sometimes you want to add flair or difficulty to boss battles, for example the dragon Shinryuu in FFV in the rift can change elements in battle, but the downside was it's type was always dragon making it susceptible to the Jump attack. By giving bosses elements can asses what the player does to the boss in battle. Also have a time and point when the boss is invincible for a certain period of time and you must defeat his minions to make the boss vunerable again.

 

Also add some dialog during the fight as well to make the battle more energetic or sad either way to change the flow of battle. Also I suggest for some bosses to use transformations to throw off the player completely. One more thing is to try to limit player moves and actions in battle like banning their magic or skills so the player would have a hard time dealing with the boss, don't make it permanent though or it would be just a chore to beat the boss with only attack. Buffing up the boss is a good idea too so the player can focus on healing and buffing up their characters as well.

 

 

Section D: Lewt!

Bosses all have loot and good loot as well. Play WoW and you'll see that bosses drop gear, weapons, or items unattainable anywhere else. Some bosses drop keys or an item that allows the player to go further into the story and allow them to see beyond the stuck point where the player is at. If you don't create loot for the player then the player will be disappointed that they got no lewt! (Not really lulz.)

 

 

Section E: Example

Here are some examples of some G-R-E-A-T Boss Battles from different RPG games:

 

Seymour FFX (Badass music and boss fight :3:

 

 

 

 

 

I hope all of you enjoyed this guide and take into consideration into making a kick-ass boss battle!

Edited by MonDez

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If I may add, the real goal of a boss is to be a kind of final test of any skills the player has aquired through a dungeon or a certain part of the game. For instance, if you made a dungeon where enemies used a lot of status effects, by the time they got to the end, they would be better at avoiding, and playing despite, status effects. Therefore, you would want a boss that forces the player to use their newfound skills.

 

Now, I hate to admit it, but this is done really well in the Zelda series. In most dungeons, you gain a new item, and learn how to use the item and the different uses of the item during your time in the dungeon. At the end, you often primarily need to use this item to take down the boss, in a way you couldn't have done if you hadn't already played through the dungeon.

 

So remember, a boss isn't just an enemy with higher stats, it's a summing up of a stage of the game.

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good tutorial, very usefull.

 

I read it and thought, there are some good ideas for my boss battles in. Maybe I can use them later in my game.

 

What I like to add: I remember the Final Story Boss of FFX. I think he was one of this joke bosses ._.

I fought a hard way to him, have to beat many different enemies and monsters and then after killing my own bestias, the final enemy was a one-hit-kill wonder ._.

I was so anoyed and stoped playing ffx xD

 

But yeah it's true, there are some good bosses in FF. I love Kefka. I think he was the strangest boss ever. I loved his crazy character and the last battle against him,

was a wonderfull ending for the whole game, because he had so many different surprises for me left, that I needed nearly 5 hours to defeat him and minimum 10 retries ._.

 

And yeah, what happend to Section D? D:

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I'll be honest. You are missing a lot of things, and some of your suggestions/ideas can be greatly improved.

~someone asked me to post my thoughts on it~

 

These types of bosses are to halt the player from progressing any further into the story. These types of bosses act like a log in front of a gold flower that you manage to find in the woods and you have only a chisel to cut your way past it.

Your analogy says to me, that the boss in question has 20000 hp and you can only deal 10 damage per turn. They aren't logs, they are monsters.

 

Bosses have to have their own name like "Dawnshredder" or "Barnum's Ultimate Grill Cat Titan" something like that and actually make them look dangerous and awesome.

No they do not. Those names sound silly. There are better ways to establish a boss's danger.

 

Their stats are triple of the the players and his/her party also they are difficult to beat because of the array of attacks the bosses have.

Alright, I'm sorry but the more I read this guide the less helpful it sounds. This is very often based on how the game is balanced. Sometimes bosses do NOT need high stats. Bosses do NOT need an array of special attacks. You can have a boss that does normal things and have high HP be a large challenge by having unique traits to a boss. Two turns for example. HP Regen. Drains physical damage. Reflects magical attacks. Weakens partymembers drastically. There are many ways to make a boss harder without going ~the easy way~ and giving it higher stats and more HP.

 

Bosses must have special attacks that characters and other monsters don't have to make the battle hard, also they must be a constant nuisance to the parties stats as well like applying poison, blind, confusion, etc.

Look above. I would also point out that anything that is a nuisance needs to be removed or replaced. A boss is not a nuisance. It is a threat.

 

 

Also in a boss battle, bosses have minions that they have with them in battle that can prove an annoyance

Again: Nuisance, annoyance. These are trivial. Don't add them to your boss if it's an annoyance. They'll just annoy players, and you do NOT want to do that. Make them a threat (haha i am repeating myself). A reason for the players to CARE about the minions. Something that motivates them to defeat the minions.

 

Also add something to the boss when it dies like a suicide move or a move that can deal damage to the players party when it dies.

You don't want to know how much I wanted to headdesk when I read this line.

Absolutely NO. This is (apologies for harsh language)possibly the stupidest idea I've ever heard. A boss's life is more important than that. It ruins the satisfaction. You want to defeat the boss, not make the boss defeat itself. When a boss dies, it's over. The battle is done. Continue the game. Additional damage does not matter, unless the party dies too (which becomes a really dumb thing, because then you'd have to start the battle over). It is a pointless thing to add a suicide move to a boss. It might work when you're using it in story context, but do that AFTER the player knows that he/she has won. Don't kill the player in a cheap suicide move.

 

Also have a time and point when the boss is invincible for a certain period of time and you must defeat his minions to make the boss vunerable again.

This is not necessary for all bosses, but can be an interesting gimmick for a few. It gets annoying if every boss has this "invincible" moment where you're absolutely hopeless against it and have to endure the turns until the boss is back to being beatable. Use this sparingly.

 

You have only Final Fantasy (and a bit of Zelda) in your examples. Final Fantasy does not have the world's bestest best bosses (by design) ever so go expand your horizon a bit.

 

tl;dr: boss is srs bsns, look at more references. study more bosses.

back to lurking~

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On the topic of bigger, badder bosses, I want to share a video of one of my favorite games, Shadow of the Colosus. The game is one boss fight after another. The designers really focus on exploring a relationship between the player and the boss.

 

This one is an exciting boss fight with a lot going on. Notice how the player has to steer the horse, turn the camera and aim with the bow! After blinding the giant worm, the player has a short time to climb up the boss back and stab it to death. Figuring out how to injure the boss is part of the puzzle.

 

Check it out:

 

 

Can something like this be done in RPG Maker VX Ace? Maybe... maybe not... Perhaps the player may trade blows with the boss, end battle processing, have some action going on (say... I dunno... the boss knocks the player out a window, player climbs back...), then resume battle with another battle process.

 

Boss battles can be made more cinematic this way. I think...

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On the topic of bigger, badder bosses, I want to share a video of one of my favorite games, Shadow of the Colosus. The game is one boss fight after another. The designers really focus on exploring a relationship between the player and the boss.

 

This one is an exciting boss fight with a lot going on. Notice how the player has to steer the horse, turn the camera and aim with the bow! After blinding the giant worm, the player has a short time to climb up the boss back and stab it to death. Figuring out how to injure the boss is part of the puzzle.

 

Check it out:

 

 

Can something like this be done in RPG Maker VX Ace? Maybe... maybe not... Perhaps the player may trade blows with the boss, end battle processing, have some action going on (say... I dunno... the boss knocks the player out a window, player climbs back...), then resume battle with another battle process.

 

Boss battles can be made more cinematic this way. I think...

 

Well the possibility is with RPG Maker instead of damaging boss parts like in Shadow of Colossus, the possibility of like Oogie Boogie from Kingdom Hearts and inputting the roulette thing during the battle. What I mean to say is that ABS(Action Style Battle System), XAS, and some tactical script can do this.

 

XAS can make this possible if you look at the videos. (Really customizable when it comes to boss battles.)

Edited by totem4563

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I think you forgot to mention bosses purely for story advancement.

 

A boss doesn't need to be challening or have a gimmick. Maybe have a boss that explains something in the story or adds a new twist to the plot mid battle. Maybe have the enemy join your side against a common foe. Or maybe have the enemy reveal a betrayal of some sort.

 

Underestimating the impact a boss has on the story can kill a moment, and killing moments kills games.

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I feel like bosses shouldn't just be them ailmenting you and spamming attacks while you try your best to keep surviving and recovering.

  • Battle twists, such as the appearances of new enemies or an unexpected transformation.
  • Interactions, such as loading cannons or protecting barriers in the middle of battle.
  • Strong useage of elements, turns, and switching of armors/party members (if you have the required scripts for such).
  • Ammunition, wariness and conservation of MP, TP, or items.

Those are some aspects I feel are important. Personally, I hate Final Fantasy boss fights expect for in Dissidia Duodecim. Final Fantasy bosses follow too much of the same formula.

Okay, Seymour from Final Fantasy 10 as you showed does have some variety. But once you figure out his formula, it's pretty much repetitive after that.

Edited by Audrey

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Using a specific timer will be a little difficult, but should still be possible. An easier method would be to specify a specific turn. That's easier than running a countdown timer and checking when the timer reaches zero to perform an action.

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