5 Signs Of A Badly Designed Gaming Boss Fight

Your boss fight is bad and you should feel bad!


Who doesn't love a good boss fight? The dramatic culmination of the skills you've acquired up to that point, the vicious satisfaction of figuring out the enemy's weakness, the euphoric triumph felt for overcoming an imposing challenge... all glorious feelings and ones that every gamer should experience.

Unfortunately, most boss fights have absolutely no interest in delivering these sensations. Instead, they are clearly the result of tired game designers placing a stumbling block in the player's path with all the grace of a drunk uncle collapsing in front of a speeding motorbike.

As a gamer it is likely you will experience far more bad boss fights than good, along with all the frustration that goes with them. But take heart! If you are struggling on a boss for any of the five reasons listed in this article, know that the fault lies not with you, but with the game designer who allowed these sins to infest their work. As for these game designers, please read on for some semi-serious ideas how to ensure your next game avoids the pitfalls mentioned in this article.

Now then, let's move on to the first sign that the developer was having a bad day at the office.

5. Bullet Sponge Boss Pants (He Absorbs Your Attacks For Eternity)

Square Enix

The ultimate form of apathy in videogame design - a boss whose only challenge springs from the obscene amount of hit points you have to deplete before it has the good grace to die.

There have been many egregious examples of this throughout gaming. The final boss of 2001's Star Trek: Elite Force springs to mind - a Lovecraftian monstrosity that took so long to kill gamers everywhere gave up on simply shooting it and assumed there was a trick to beating it. There wasn't - the only trick being played was on us by a vengeful development team who had apparently grown to hate their future customers.

RPGs are notorious for this too - who could forget Final Fantasy XII's Yiazmat? A dragon that drastically limits the amount of damage you can inflict with a single attack halfway through the fight, whilst already sporting the game's biggest life bar? Sadism in polygonal form. Or, for an RPG developed on the western hemisphere, look no further than Diablo III and its Butcher. Virtually impossible to lose if you chose the high-defense Crusader class, this "fight" amounts to nothing more than 15 sodding minutes of standing still and draining the Butcher's absurd pool of health points drop by tedious drop.

Developers - please ensure your boss takes no more than 10 minutes to beat. Our future sanity depends on it.


Hello! My name's Iain Tayor. I write about video games, wrestling and comic books, and I apparently can't figure out how to set my profile picture correctly.