By and large, we’ve come to know what we’re letting ourselves in for when we step into a large, suspiciously empty area in a game. A cutscene will typically begin, a great slathering beast or blustering foe will appear, harsh words will be exchanged, and combat will begin.
Not all boss encounter setups are this predictable though, and the battles themselves can be completely different and vastly creative affairs. The familiar formula of finding weak spots, waiting for openings, or learning the gimmick that allows a boss to be harmed arises time and time again, however, in thousands of different ways.
Sometimes, though, there’s a unique secret to an encounter. A silly easter egg, light bulb moment, or other sneaky things that allows the players to manipulate an encounter to their advantage. In some cases, a boss battle can be avoided entirely, the would-be boss distracted or persuaded not to fight you. From pacifism to obscure story paths and torture, here are some famous examples.
10. Saving Solaire: Dark Souls
The Dark Souls games are well known for three things: Their devastating difficulty, their dark fantasy aesthetic, and their mysterious approach to world-building. Engaging in an NPC's questlines, players are often entirely unsure how things will proceed, whether they've made a wrong step, or if a decision they make may have horrible consequences.
Dark Souls' sun-saluting Solaire has a questline that can go very, very wrong indeed. From that first encounter in the Undead Burg, there are some specific things players have to do in order to rescue this poor soul. To do so, you must join the Chaos Servants after defeating Quelaag. The ultimate goal is to destroy a particular Red Chaos Bug in Lost Izalith. This little pest would otherwise doom Solaire to death.
Achieving this is convoluted and easy to get wrong, as is the wont of the series. It's very nice to have a friend you meet regularly throughout the game for once, though, rather than having to battle him. Solaire can ultimately survive the events of the game.