Created By: Unknown Troper on October 22, 2009
Troped

Damage Sponge Boss

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All the strategy you need for a boss like this.

The absolutely most basic type of boss monster in a video game, generally a standard mook with much higher health than normal, attacks that cause lots of damage and usually larger and slower than normal mooks. Generally makes no attempt to block or evade the player's offenses, so no special strategies required - just attack it until it dies or if you want to get really fancy, circlestrafe it. Can be considered the antithesis of a Puzzle Boss. Mostly prevailent in the FPS genre, but can also show up in other genres - even RPGs if the designers were uninspired enough. King Mook bosses usually tend to be this trope. Possibly related to The Ogre.

Named after an industry term for this type of boss, whose main attribute is that they can soak up damage like a sponge absorbs water. Former YKTTW names include Cyberdemon Boss and Brute Force Boss.

Needs a Better Description, Do We Have This One?, probably Needs a Better Title, Up for Grabs.

Examples:
  • The Cyberdemon boss from Doom is one of the more memorable examples - he takes a lot of hits, shoots rockets at the player, and is defeated by circlestrafing and shooting. The same goes for just about every other boss in the original Doom games, including the Bruiser Brothers and the Spider Mastermind.
  • Any given boss in Painkiller has a 50% chance of being either this or a Puzzle Boss.
  • The Nihilanth in Half-Life provides a cruel example of combining this with Puzzle Boss: you have to jump through a set of hoops just to unlock the path up to his Weak Spot, then you have to do a ridiculous (as in "use up all the ammo of all your weapons, including rocket launchers") amount of damage to it to finish the game. Oh, and did I mention you have to do this in mid-air? This boss is so notoriously difficult that the most common approach to beating him (after turning on cheats) is to maneuver yourself so that you get stuck in his head, then hitting the weak spot repeatedly with your crowbar.
  • Izual from Diablo II is legendary for this trope. Despite his scary appearance, the fallen angel doesn't do much beyond a couple of basic attacks--most characters can just stand there and attack him until the hitpoints are gone.
  • Every boss ever in MapleStory.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • October 17, 2009
    Nomic
    In World Of Warcraft these types of bosses are often called Patchwerks, after the most famous ingame example. The original Patchwerk was a boss in lv.60 Naxxramas with only one special ability: hateful strike, which would deal massive damage to the second person on his aggro list (necessiating the use of 2 offtanks to soak up the damage). Other than that he just hit very hard and had an extremely steep enrage timer. Because the fight required no movement, target switching or special startegies beyond "kill it before it enrages and kills us all", it is very good measurement of maxium dps (indeed, on of the main criticism of "theorycrafting", ie. using a program to simulate the highest theoretical dps for a given spec, is that the results are only accurate in a Patchwerk-type fight), and new raids on the test realm usually have two Patchwerks placed close to the entrance: one that is a target dummy for testing dps, and one that can actually hit people but is rooted down (used to test tanking and healing). Patchwerk returned in the lv.80 version of Naxxramas, but like the rest of the instance he was considerably easier (the fight mechanics were the same but the enrage timer was far less steep).
  • October 17, 2009
    Oonerspism
    How about Brute Force Boss?
  • October 17, 2009
    rjung
    I don't like Cyberdemon Boss because someone coming across the title (or link) "cold" won't have any idea what it means. Witty and descriptive would be the best way to go. Maybe Punching Bag Boss?

    As for suggestions:
    • Presuming we can replace "shoot it until it dies" with a general "attack it until it dies", nearly every incarnation of Bowser in every Super Mario Bros game ever.
    • As for the Doom games, there's also the Baron of Hell, Arachnotron, Spider Mastermind, and John Romero.
  • October 17, 2009
    Kayube
    Well, that only goes for Bowser if you have fireballs, and then only in the 2D games. In other games Bowser is more of a Puzzle Boss where you have to trick him into damaging himself or making himself vulnerable.
  • October 17, 2009
    RocketDude
    Every encounter with an Antlion Guard in Half Life 2 is basically this.
  • October 17, 2009
    deuxhero
    Deuxhero:I second Brute Force Boss

    Tends to happen with King Mook bosses.

    • Averted in Deus Ex. While the few bosses (mostly other augmented humans) do have more health than mooks, it is not enough to stop a second (assuming they survive the first, rare with strong weapons) shot to the head from killing them (or the player from just running away).
    • Some of the Tarturus bosses and Arcana Empress in Persona 3 and most of the mini-bosses in Persona 4.
    • Every boss in Knights Of The Old Republic (both games) except Malak (as the final boss) in game one and Scion in game 2.
  • October 17, 2009
    DracMonster
  • October 17, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Brute Force Boss fourthed.
  • October 17, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    @ rjung - The Icon of Sin / John Romero is actually halfway between this trope and Puzzle Boss, because unlike every other Doom boss, the Icon only has one weak spot (the John Romero head inside his skull) and demands a specific weapon for you to take him down (rockets - or more specifically, splash damage from said rockets, because it's almost impossible to get a straight shot at Romero).

    EDIT: And for the record, Bowser is out: This trope is about a boss who doesn't require the player to change his strategies at all to beat him. Since Bowser is immune to Mario's usual Goomba Stomp attack, he only really half-counts. Brute Force Boss sounds good though, so I'll retitle it.
  • October 17, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I would call this kind of boss a Brute Force Tank Boss, since they're very much like tanks in general -- they're hard as hell to kill and they throw out extremely devastating attacks, such as the Cyberdemon's rockets which can one-shot you with a direct hit at 100% health and two-shot you at 200% health and armor. Many such bosses in fighting games are Mighty Glaciers.
  • October 17, 2009
    JAF1970
    • Left 4 Dead. The Tank.
    • Left 4 Dead 2. A new infected rams a Survivor, picks them up, runs with them, and pounds them into the pavement.
  • October 17, 2009
    FreezairForALimitedTime
    Cyberdemon is not the Ur Example. Ur Example means first example, and I doubt he's the first.

    • Most of the bosses in The Legend Of Spyro trilogy are this way--especially in the first game. While later games gave the bosses more distinct patterns, the general strategy for most of them remained "Attack them while they're vulnerable; back up when they're not" strategy.
    • Mother Brain in the various incarnations of Metroid is one of the most uncharacteristically straightforward bosses in the game's history. Usually, she boils down to, "avoid her occassional beams/rings, don't fall into the lava, and bring out the missle spam."
  • October 17, 2009
    Assistant
    God, God Hand loves this trope. Demon Elvis is probably the best example.
  • October 17, 2009
    Bisected8
    @Freezair For A Limited Time: Ridley also consists of avoiding his attacks and missile spamming typically.
  • October 17, 2009
    Known Unknown
    Pretty much every boss in a Shoot Em Up game a la Raiden. Basically, both the boss and the player fill the screen with bullets until one of them dies.
  • October 17, 2009
    CAD
    The industry term for this is type of enemy is Damage Sponge.
  • October 17, 2009
    Tzintzuntzan
  • October 18, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Damage Sponge sounds like a good alternate name. Any takers?

    @ Assistant: I'm not so sure about God Hand's bosses, since they all do have a host of unique attacks. Elvis in general seems to be the best example of this though.
  • October 18, 2009
    Lizuka
    Arkham Asylum, Titans and Bane. Every one of them use the exact same strategy of just charging straight at you and occasionally throwing things.
  • October 18, 2009
    STUART
    Damage Sponge is a good idea since with Brute Force Boss you're going to get people who don't read the trope and assume it refers to a boss that uses brute force (such as the above reply).

    • The Nihilanth in Half-Life provides a cruel example of combining this with Puzzle Boss: you have to jump through a set of hoops just to unlock the path up to his Weak Spot, then you have to do a ridiculous (as in "use up all the ammo of all your weapons, including rocket launchers") amount of damage to it to finish the game. Oh, and did I mention you have to do this in mid-air? This boss is so notoriously difficult that the most common approach to beating him (after turning on cheats) is to maneuver yourself so that you get stuck in his head, then hitting the weak spot repeatedly with your crowbar.
    • I feel like I've detailed this somewhere else on this site, but Counter Strike Condition Zero Deleted Scenes has a boss that stands at a pedestal and requires you to dart from spot to spot and shoot at him until he dies. The kicker is that, despite being what appears to be for all intents and purposes an ordinary human, he can take *14 shots from the Desert Eagle to the head* and not die.
  • October 18, 2009
    Arilou
    The boss at the end of Star Trek Elite Force was this... Despite having a bunch of glowing blinking gems on his body.
  • October 18, 2009
    Prime32
    Related to The Ogre.

  • October 18, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Just remembered this one:
    • The Grand Theft Auto series has a history with this: Sonny, the end boss of Vice City, is different from your average mobster only in that he can take three rockets to the face before dying.
  • October 19, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The Cyberdemon isn't even the first example in Doom, for crying out loud. I usually see this trope used to describe the Bruiser Brothers from Knee Deep In The Dead; the term usually used to refer to the problem is Meat Shield.
  • October 19, 2009
    thedreadednyondo
    Izual from Diablo II is legendary for this trope. Despite his scary appearance, the fallen angel doesn't do much beyond a couple of basic attacks--most characters can just stand there and attack him until the hitpoints are gone.
  • October 20, 2009
    TBeholder
    When All You Have Is A Ha

    Anvil Boss ?
  • October 21, 2009
    Majutsukai
    Every boss ever in Maple Story.
  • November 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • November 2, 2009
    Superhal
    Hmm, looks exactly to be The Ogre, I don't see any fundamental difference between the definition here and it.

  • November 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The Ogre generally involves any opponent that has a simpleminded pattern of attack. This trope is about that as well, but is specifically limited to boss opponents, specifically ones with no surprises in defense either.
  • November 2, 2009
    Superhal
    From The Ogre: What sets these apart from most enemies, whether regular enemies, Goddamned Bats, bosses, or a Boss In Mook Clothing, is the lack of variety. You encounter this enemy, you can expect these three traits. Nothing more, nothing less:

    • Great durability- either through an unusually high HP count or unusually high defense. Or both.
  • November 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • November 2, 2009
    Medinoc
    I disagree about Half Life 2: The Antlion guard has traits of Bullfight Boss too.

    But I'd like to add the bosses of the second and third "episodes" of Duke Nukem 3 D: Both are defeated by shooting at them and dodging their non-hitscan projectiles. It's not the case for the first boss, whose main weapon is hitscan and is defeated by shooting at it over a wall.
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