Monday, August 15, 2011

A catalog of atrocities

It is now time to document the atrocities of the worst boss fight I have ever been subjected to. This includes final bosses of SNK fighters (I'm looking at you, Geese Howard).

 Knight's Contract had not been a difficult game up to this point. Correction: the only difficulties were caused by the map not telling you where to go and a lot of the hallways looking the same, but killing things had not been too much of a chore. Previous bosses had been challenging, but none had actually killed me before I figured out what I needed to do. Then along comes a giant flaming witch that fires rockets out of her costume. She actually looks pretty cool and long as you can get past her being three times as tall as you are. It all goes to shit very quickly.

  1. The battle takes place on a suspended platform with no edges. When the witch is on the platform she takes up quite a bit of the available space. She also has an attack that creates an 'X' of burning areas that corner you, followed by a spear attack that will knock either you or Rachel (the good witch) right off the side, ending the fight.
  2. The flaming sections created have their own problem: if Rachel happens to step on one she cannot get off of it, instead sitting there burning to death until the flaming area goes away. If you happen to call her towards you she will walk right into the fire, killing herself.
  3. After a few attacks the fire witch will jump off of the platform and fire area affect rockets at you. The rockets are enough to either kill you in one hit or knock you off of the platform, and their blast radius is large enough that missiles that hit off screen can still hit you.
  4. Last but not least, the fight ends with a quick time event. This would not be all that bad, but if you fail (and I did) the game give the fire witch over half her health back and you have to fight her again. If she kills you? Back to the beginning of the fight.
This awful combination required 33 retries to get past. And the worst part? I am going to tell you exactly how to fix every one of these, and not one solution requires giving Rachel any sort of virtual survival instinct (because good AI is clearly past these guys).

  1. Put edges on the damn platform so you can't be knocked off of it. The enemy here is the giant evil witch, not gravity. You should never have to fight gravity, because gravity always wins.
  2. Allow Rachel to move if she is on fire. Stop, drop and roll, bitch.
  3. Zoom the camera back as the missiles are fired so you can actually see where there are going to hit.
  4. Don't force me to re-fight he boss if I fail the QTE. Better yet, just don't include them.

Look at that, four easy solutions that somehow made it passed people whose job it is to make games. Sometimes I wish play testing wasn't a pointless, underpaying, torturous job because I would be damn good at it.

Assuming that the developers actually listen to play testers. Which they don't.

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