By TinyGrenade 4 Comments
I just got finished playing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and it got me thinking about comic book games and bosses. The game is filled with an daunting amount of "cannon fodder" enemies. These are enemies that are simply there to beat down and get points fast. Sure, they make you feel like the powerful hero Spidey is but at the same time are they totally necessary in every comic book game?
Batman: Arkham Asylum was quite possibly one of the best games based on a comic hero in the last decade or so. It featured a slick combat system, great upgrades, clever settings, and decent boss fights. It managed to stay fresh and fun by not constantly throwing groups of 10 or 20 minions at you every time you turned a corner. Instead it relied on throwing puzzles at you more than enemies. This made me feel much more intelligent while still reminding me that I was playing the Dark Knight who can take down a 20 man group every now and then. Throwing large groups of dumb enemies at the player is a cheap way to make them feel strong without having to be creative. Sure the art assets changed in each dimension, and Noir was more stealth based, but the same formula of taking down baddies to get to a boss was the same.
Even the bosses were a bit too bland, a complaint that I had about Batman: Arkham Asylum. Whether it is Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, or Superman there are fully fleshed out villains at developer's disposal. These are villains who come back to fight the hero time and time again...so why have them in the game as just a simple boss fight? Why not instead make the bosses and villains as important as a game like Shadow of the Colossus did? Each villain has such great back story and often times they have amazing abilities as well. Instead of having the player fight thousands of baddies for a half hour why not make an intriguing boss fight that lasts just as long. That doesn't mean a half hour of button mashing and quick time events. But instead smartly crafted levels that deal with the boss in a unique way, think Scarecrow in Batman: Arkham Asylum. These types of boss battles are possible they are just few and far between.
Heroes in video games have an incredible rogues gallery of interesting villains. Playing Shattered Dimensions I saw the most frightening incarnations of the Hobgoblin and Carnage along with the interesting versions of Green Goblin and Dr Octopus as well. It was disappointing to see these great characters ruined by lackluster atmosphere and simplistic game play. The same goes for Bane, Killer Croc, and Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum too.
Who knows maybe someone out there is hard at work on a boss focused superhero game. Or maybe we'll be fighting nameless baddies forever.