We’ve had the boss cowboy in Project Spaghetti for a while now, but the other super-sized enemies have been waiting in the wings to show the player they’re not to be messed with. Making the other boss fights feel as challenging as the giant cowboy fight is going to take some work, however. Here’s where we’re at now with our thinking.
Boss fights should always test the mechanics learned so far. By the time the player reaches the ghost, they’ve learned that ringing bells weakens ghosts in addition to everything they learned fighting cowboys.
The simple solution is to force the player to ring multiple bells, but this presents us with a little bit of a problem; until now, the player has only ever had to ring one bell, and the ghost’s state directly reflects that. Is there a way to make sure the player knows, or at least can soon figure out, that they need to ring all of the bells in the room to take a shot at the boss ghost?
Also, the way the ghost does damage requires a little bit of work. The ghosts until now have always plowed into the player and disappeared, but that would make for the world’s shortest boss fight, so one option is to have the boss reappear elsewhere after hurting the player.
This one is going to be tricky to make tougher without making impossible, because the base scorpion is already a mean sum-…thing. Players can only hit them from behind, requiring mastery of the bullet bounce mechanic, well-aimed shots at the cacti, or at least a little luck.
Also, like the boss ghost, the boss scorpion can’t just die when it runs into the player, or the fight will be a let down, but unlike the ghost, teleporting doesn’t make much sense.
With those problems in mind, we’re going to need to find a way for the scorpion to attack the player, give the player some room, and then resume attacking, as well as to push the player to use everything they’ve learned fighting the smaller versions without making the fight impossible..
This one should be much easier to consider than the previous two bosses, because, like the boss cowboy, the alien has a ranged attack.
Through previous battles with aliens, the player has learned that alien shields can only be breached by their own lasers reflecting off of crystals or by explosions.
There’s no need to make the boss’s shield harder to breach, so we can keep that as-is while giving the alien more firepower for going after the player. Of course, just adding lasers means the alien boss will keep dropping its own shield with wayward shots, so a variation might be a smart way to go: some attack patterns cause its shield to drop, others don’t.
Another option would be to have every attack drop its shield, but to delay that shield drop until multiple lasers are reflecting off of crystals – giving the player plenty to dodge before getting a chance to attack. One could imagine a series of lasers sweeping out and stopping at a crystal until all of the lasers are reflecting back, finally triggering that shield drop.
This one’s going to be tough to make a threat. Until now, the snowmen have been dangerous because they pursue the player at high speeds when they get damaged, but if there’s just one, it’s going to be fairly trivial to play keep away.
This might be one boss where spawning more enemies as the fight goes is a solution. The trigger at least makes sense given the boss’s snowy composition. We could design it so that if a player manages to shoot or destroy a snowball, snowmen are spawned from the wreckage. That way, if the player continues to attack the boss without cleaning up the rabble, they’re going to make their own situation that much more tricky.
If you have any comments, feel free to drop by the live show and let Eric know what you think!