Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
34 Cliches of Christmas
Respawning Enemies
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 18, 2007   |   Episode 27 (Show Archive)  


It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at the video game cliche, the type of thing we've seen time and time again in all generations of gaming. Is this cliche realistic? Does it need to go away? These are the types of questions Defunct Games will be asking over the next month. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 34 Cliches of Christmas!

This tender moment was interupted several times because of a respawning enemy!
As Seen In: Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Ninja Gaiden, Ghosts 'N Goblins, Castlevania, Ninja Spirit, Bloody Wolf, Golden Axe, Contra, Metroid and let's be honest here, every other classic game ever made. Heck, even new games are still giving us respawning enemies!

What Is It? After dealing with that fire level, dodging bats in a mine cart level and running into a crazy talking animal with attitude, you finally made it to the last level. You can feel the excitement, this is where you'll fight the end boss, save the princess and watch some poorly constructed ending sequence. Ah the memories. There's only one thing that stands between you and the final boss - this turtle enemy walking towards you. You leap off the ground and small the turtle to bits. But wait, what's that? It's another turtle exactly like the one you just killed. In fact, every time you kill one of these turtles another pops up. How could this be happening? Simple, it's because we're dealing with one of the most common old school cliches of all time, the respawning enemies. In a lot of old games it didn't matter how many bad guys you defeated, if you waited long enough you would find replacements for all of the characters you killed. In a lot of games all it would take is you standing in one place, because a replacement enemy is bound to walk into frame on the right side. These days this cliche is a little less common, but from time to time you still have to deal with enemies that don't like to stay dead.

Spoiler: Not everybody in Call of Duty 4 makes it out alive!
Is It Realistic? Some believe that when your body dies your spirit is whisked away and reincarnated as another living creature. I don't subscribe to this way of thinking, so we're not going to give it any validity at all. Instead I'm going to stand up here and preach about how there's no such thing as a respawning enemy. When you kill somebody they stay dead. If they do come back to life to seek bloody revenge, then either somebody saved them in time or they didn't die. Either way, you had better run, because there's nothing worse than a guy who miraculously survived an axe to the chest and wants revenge. Sometimes it might seem like there's an unlimited amount of living things to kill (like those little ants that never want to leave you alone), but don't be fooled, there is no such thing as a respawn point.

Is It Overused? The good news is that most modern games don't have unlimited respawning enemies, so this cliche doesn't feel as overused as it did twenty years ago. But don't get too excited, just because fewer companies are employing this cliche doesn't mean that all companies have seen the error of their ways. Call of Duty 4 is not only one of the biggest games of 2007; it's also guilty of making gamers put up with enemy respawning. Thankfully this is the exception to the rule, because I can do without respawning enemies.



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