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3D Sonic Bosses


Badnik Zero
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I started in the 2D era, and the bosses were always awesome. Eggman would come around at the end of each act with some crazy new machine, and it was a creative display in how many ways he could burn, smush, and maim a hedgehog. 3D bosses - leave a lot to be desired, honestly. Along with the disappearance of themed Badniks we also lost themed bosses, something that really added flavor to a boss. I mean, Casino Night's boss was covered in neon and you fought in a pinball arena.

I'm trying to figure out why these 3D bosses just aren't as good, and I think I've managed to sort them into three categories.

1. The ARENA boss - These guys are basically just like the old bosses, just unfold that 2D plane into a 3D box, and have Sonic and the boss fight each other. The drawback on this is that in 3D Sonic is reliant on the homing attack, so instead of a platformer fight, it can be a mash-fest where you just get close and aim the homing again and again. Another problem here is that the faster Sonic is in that particular game, the harder it becomes to control him in an enclosed space, so fights can feel slippery.

Some examples are all the Chaos bosses except for Perfect Chaos, SHtH bosses which are dispatched with guns and not homing attacks, and some Sonic '06 bosses. Some like the Egg Viper break the mold by restricting movement during the fight.

2. The RUNWAY boss - This concept is like the Advance 2 bosses in 3D. The fight is a pursuit down a straight road with the boss in front of you, dropping stuff on your face. One advantage is that Sonic has lots of room to run forward, so it isn't always as awkward as close quarters boss fights. That advantage is also it's weakness though, because being forced to keep up speed with a boss while on a narrow road can lead to an on-rails feeling, and making each boss a chase can get old. You sacrifice a lot of free movement by confining Sonic to a straight path, as opposed to an open room.

Examples of these are the Sonic Heroes bosses, SatSR bosses, and the Unleashed bosses. Lots of Final Story bosses resemble this style, although the boss is unmoving and the character approaches from a distance, while dodging things.

3. The DONUT boss - These bosses are 2D in spirit, because Sonic can only really move horizontally and jump, and hazards generally come from the same direction. The boss is in the middle and Sonic dodges and waits for an opening. Bosses like in Sonic Rush started to place the boss inside the circuit with Sonic, creating more options. The advantage for this boss is that it can be both 2D and 3D style, without changing perspective. The Egg Viper resembles this style because it places limits on movement.

Some examples are all the Golem bosses in SA2 and SatSR, the Biolizard, and Sonic Rush bosses on several levels. The Egg Viper arenas are not circular, but the dodge and go type of play is very much like this boss.

So yeah - I see the advantages to an open arena, but controls need to be tighter than they are now, and fights need to use the creativity of the old game bosses. I like the runway style in some cases, but that style is the most on-rails. And as a fan of Rush, I find the donut bosses very fun, especially the Night Carnival and Mirage Road bosses.

Something else I feel is missing is boss "forms". Sonic bosses are very simple to figure out. Once you know the procedure and find the spot, you just rinse and repeat. The best bosses of any series IMO are the ones that have "forms", like you hit him four times and he kicks into phase 2 and it's a whole new fight. See Metal Knuckles from Sonic Advance or the Egg Viper.

Which of these styles do you prefer? Any alternatives, or did I miss any? Maybe you think Sonic bosses are just peachy?

Edited by Badnikz
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I prefer the Arena Boss BY FAR. Sonic 3D Blast had this excellent format pretty much nailed, and the Adventure Series was the glittery icing on a superbly sweet cake.

Arena Bosses: Killin' you dead with the compulsory Tenacious D-style "Evil KaPow"!!!

Edited by Extaticus
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The only type of the three that I dislike is the Donut boss. It's the most restrictive in movement, and there's little change in pace since your always moving either left or right waiting to attack. Not to mention it requires the least effort of all, the boss only needs to attack and maybe follow the player. The others require the boss to move and can make hitting, and overall fighting the boss a lot more challenging.

But I've always liked the idea of a Runaway/Arena type boss hybrid. Starting off running after the boss like a runaway boss, and after a hit or two, the boss enters an arena along the track and you battle out in an enclosed space, and after a few hits from that, the boss takes off again, rinse and repeat.

It gives the boss some alternating phases without having to change it's attacks, just the patterns for both runaway and arena phases.

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I could ramble on about 3D Sonic bosses for ages, but I'll keep it short ans sweet - Donut and Arena bosses rock, Runway bosses suck. They'd be fine if they weren't so abundant, and incorporating more speed into the bosses isn't a BAD idea, but when a majority of the bosses are Runway bosses, the lack of freedom gets frustrating. I say, two in each game at most or they get aggrivating.

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But I've always liked the idea of a Runaway/Arena type boss hybrid. Starting off running after the boss like a runaway boss, and after a hit or two, the boss enters an arena along the track and you battle out in an enclosed space, and after a few hits from that, the boss takes off again, rinse and repeat.

It gives the boss some alternating phases without having to change it's attacks, just the patterns for both runaway and arena phases.

Well, Heroes sort of did this with the Egg Hawk and Egg Emperor.

For me, I love most bosses, but I do think variety is key. It was fine in Unleashed as you had the Werehog bosses to balance out the chase bosses.

Tell you what I would like that we haven't seen since the 2D days though... an ACTUAL chase boss. Defeated once again, Eggman attempts to make a get-away and you must chase after him as Sonic down a randomly generated path, dodging obstacles and looking out for zippers or other things to help you catch up to him.

Of course, in a game with multiple routes, letting him get away could actually lead to a different level too...

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