Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
34 Cliches of Christmas
Bosses With Only One Weak Spot
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 30, 2007   |   Episode 9 (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!

Okay smart guy, go ahead and find the one weak spot on this beast!
As Seen In: The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. series, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Dark Cloud, and a lot of other games made by Nintendo and Sony.

What Is It? It's a fact of video games, from time to time you're going to run into a big, ugly boss creature. While you are running around and dodging his attacks you notice that while he's big and mean, he really only has one weak spot. You can spend all day hacking and slashing his legs, but the real trick to beating this baddie is to use your special arrows on his kneecap. But not his right kneecap, it can only be his left one ... because that's his one weak spot. I know it sounds stupid, but that's the way to kill the gigantic boss and you better figure out how to do that if you want to move on to the next area. But not all weak spots are the same, in The Legend of Zelda series, for example, we are often asked to make the boss show his one weak spot. Usually this is accomplished by interacting with the background somehow, such as making a rock drop on the boss or having it fall into lava. But don't be fooled by this additional layer to the cliche, Zelda (and other similar games) are still employing this tried and true game mechanic.

While Mario's foes have gotten larger and smarter, they've always had one weak spot (in this case it's that glowing item behind him)!
Is It Realistic? I don't know about you, but I have a whole bunch of weak spots. I guess what that means is that I wouldn't make for a good video game boss. Either way, the whole concept of the one weak spot always baffled me. You mean to tell me that this guy is 100 feet tall and he only has one vulnerable location on his body? Based on my research (which is admittedly shoddy) it seems like the biggest and tallest amongst us often have the most weak spots, while small little guys are built like a tank. The one thing I hate about this cliche is how obvious the one weak spot usually is. Do video game developers really think the only way we would know how to find a weak spot is to have it glow and make noise? I'm pretty sure I would have noticed that large gaping hole on his leg without it flashing. It's a large cut, not a strobe light for crying out loud.

Is It Overused? It would be nice to see one of these bosses have two or three weak spots. Heck, that might make these battles even more exciting. I understand why the companies do it this way, when it comes right down to it there is a certain amount of fun to be had in looking for patterns and beating a boss that way. But I still think it would be nice for companies to mix it up a bit ... especially when making Legend of Zelda games. I mean, c'mon, we get it already!



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