Created By: Beed28 on September 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Beed28 on May 6, 2013
Troped

Boss Warning Siren

A warning siren plays before a Boss Battle.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

In some video games, before you fight a boss, the screen will start flashing red while the word WARNING! flashes up on the screen as the stage music fades out or stops abruptly. Sometimes, it could be a visual warning or an audio warning; it doesn't necessarily have to be both. In anycase, this lets the player know that they're about to face off against a more powerful foe.

May overlap with Boss Subtitles. Related to Fight Woosh and Red Alert. See also Suspicious Videogame Generosity.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Action Adventure]]
  • Blaster Master has boss rooms that do this without the text message.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Beat 'em Up]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Fighting]]
  • The Super Smash Bros. series generally had a klaxon of some sort for Bonus Character battles.
  • The Mega Man Zero example below also carries over to SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, where the klaxons sound whenever Zero is about to confront any of the bosses, including Shin Akuma and Serious Mr. Karate in the boss-battles, but not against any normally playable characters.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:First-Person Shooter]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Miscellaneous Games]]
  • All WarioWare titles have a sound clip whenever a boss stage is coming up next and will linger on the screen between microgames 8 beats longer than normal. There will usually (but not always) be an on-screen message telling you you're about to encounter the boss. Said sound clip varies from game to game, but WarioWare: Smooth Moves's sounds particularly like a klaxon played to a beat.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Platformer]]
  • Mega Man:
    • The Mega Man X series has this starting from the fourth game, just before the boss appeared on screen and monologued with the player character. It was carried over to the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series as well, although in those cases it happened just before the fight begins after the boss's monologue.
    • The Mega Man 1 remake Mega Man Powered Up also had this, despite not being present in the other games from the classic series.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy, parodying Ikaruga, provides a warning when Mecha Birdo is entering the room.
  • In Magical Doropie, Boss Only Levels are herald with a screen saying "ALERT!!" in big letters on a black screen flashing red. The player then appears in the level while the boss makes its entrance. When the boss's entrance is finished, a "Data File" on the boss appears, listing its name, health, strengh, speed, damage and special ability. However, in the final stage, none of the final three bosses have any alert screens or data profiles, although the siren is still heard while the final boss is materialising.
  • Metal Storm flashes "RED ALERT!" when the player is about to fight the level boss. Does not apply to the Boss Rush at the end, however.
  • VVVVVV has a screen named "The Warning". One tunnel, no spikes, eight checkpoints in a row. It leads into one of the hardest sections of the game.
  • Justified in Sonic Adventure 2's boss fight against the Flying Dog. In the cutscene preceding the battle, Rouge is caught sneaking into a maximum-security vault and triggers an alarm that alerts the boss to her presence.
  • In Run Saber, normally an arrow appears at the top of the screen showing you which way to procede through the stage. However, when a boss is encountered, an ALERT! icon blinks there instead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Shoot'em Up]]
  • Darius has "A huge battleship is approaching fast!" in most (if not all) of its titles to herald the arrival of its various fish-inspired bosses.
  • Radiant Silvergun has the entire screen taken over with the word "WARNING", as well as the warning "NO REFUGE" and the memetic "BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS" prior to every boss fight.
  • Ikaruga, the spritual successor to Radiant Silvergun, had a similar message: "WARNING: The big enemy is approaching at full throttle. According to the data, it is identified as <boss name>. NO REFUGE".
  • In Star Fox 1, almost all boss battles were announced by a short voice clip of "incoming enemy". As this was invariably near the end of each level, it occured while the level music was fading out to be replaced with the boss battle music.
  • Warning Forever does this despite being a Boss Only Game, also giving you its name and a brief chart on its weaponry.
  • Einhnder gives a warning that is themed into the level. For example, in the first level, after fighting your way through the city, the police decide that they can't take you down, so they follow behind you like a low speed chase, keeping their sirens going while they basically escort you right towards the first boss. Following bosses might have klaxons sounding off to indicate that the boss is powering up and becoming mechanically operational, or have someone over a PA system order for another boss to scramble and prepare for battle.
  • In Thunder Force IV, a siren sounds when a boss battle is about to begin.
  • In Heavy Weapon this occurs with the Danger! Danger! in bold letters once you get to the end of the stage.
  • In Subterranean Animism, Utsuho Reiuji, the nuclear-powered Hell raven girl and final boss of the game, has the distinction of prefixing each of her spell cards with klaxons while the text '☢ Caution !!☢' flares on-screen.
  • In the old arcade game Time Pilot, a loud warning will sound before the boss shows up on any given level.
  • In Beat Hazard, a warning sound is played when a boss is about to enter the screen.
  • At one point in Fantastic Journey, the player encounters the Moai Battleship, with its placement randomly determined inbetween two of the regular stages. When the player is about to encounter it after clearing one of the stages, its own music theme plays instead of the chosen player character's theme and the message WARNING flashes on the screen.
  • Axelay has an audible warning siren when approaching a stage boss.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
  • In the Silent Hill franchise, an air raid siren sounds just before the town shifts from fogbound to otherworld.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 75
  • September 26, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Does this really happen that often? I can only really think of one example, which is the Megaman one you already have listed. What other games have done this?

    I can think of examples where a warning siren/klaxon was playing coincidentally as a boss fight starts, or the boss itself emits the siren as an "alarm"-type call (if it's mechanical), but I can't think of any straight examples, at least going by the current description.
  • September 26, 2012
    Beed28
    I know it also happens in some On-Rails shooters and scrolling shooters, so it's not nearly as rare as that.
  • September 26, 2012
    Diask
    Related to Fight Woosh.
  • September 27, 2012
    randomtroper89
    Agree that the description could use a little tweaking -- it could be a visual warning or an audio warning; it doesn't necessarily have to be both.

    (Also, boss rooms are such a Series Staple in Mega Man that the door itself is the only warning most players need.)

    • Ikaruga (someone provide more info)
    • IWannaBeTheGuy, parodying Ikaruga, provides a warning when Mecha Birdo is entering the room.
  • September 27, 2012
    ShadowHog
    • Darius has "A huge battleship is approaching fast!" in most (if not all) of its titles to herald the arrival of its various fish-inspired bosses.
    • Radiant Silvergun has the entire screen taken over with the word "WARNING", as well as the warning "NO REFUGE" and the memetic "BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS" prior to every boss fight.
  • September 28, 2012
    NESBoy
    In Magical Doropie, Boss Only Levels are herald with a screen saying "ALERT!!" in big letters on a black screen flashing red. The player then appears in the level while the boss makes its entrance. When the boss's entrance is finished, a "Data File" on the boss appears, listing its name, health, strengh, speed, damage and special ability.
  • October 3, 2012
    Stratadrake
    In the SNES Star Fox, almost all boss battles were announced by a short voice clip of "incoming enemy". As this was invariably near the end of each level, it occured while the level music was fading out to be replaced with the boss battle music.
  • October 4, 2012
    FalconPain
    Blaster Master has boss rooms that do this without the text message.
  • November 4, 2012
    henke37
    Warning Forever does this despite being a Boss Only Game.
  • November 5, 2012
    DRCEQ
    Einhander gives a warning that is themed into the level. For example, in the first level, after fighting your way through the city, the police decide that they can't take you down, so they follow behind you like a low speed chase, keeping their sirens going while they basically escort you right towards the first boss. Following bosses might have klaxons sounding off to indicate that the boss is powering up and becoming mechanically operational, or have someone over a PA system order for another boss to scramble and prepare for battle.
  • November 5, 2012
    Ogodei
    Super Smash Bros generally had a klaxon of some sort for Bonus Character battles.
  • November 5, 2012
    JonnyB
    Not sure if this is related, but in the Silent Hill franchise, an air raid siren sounds just before the town shifts from fogbound to otherworld.
  • November 8, 2012
    MrRuano
    The Mega Man Zero example also carries over to SNK Vs Capcom SVC Chaos, where the klaxons sound whenever Zero is about to confront any of the bosses, including Shin Akuma and Serious Mr. Karate in the boss-battles, but not against any normally playable characters.
  • December 6, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Ikaruga is a Zero Context Example. I'd suggest making it a sub-bullet to its spiritual predecessor, Radiant Silvergun, since the messages have some similarities.

    "WARNING: The big enemy is approaching at full throttle. According to the data, it is identified as <boss name>. NO REFUGE"
  • December 11, 2012
    chicagomel
    In certain Pokemon games, you'll get a different intro to the wild encounter. Fifth gen in particular has an animation with slashes crossing the screen and then simulated breaking glass. (however, in the earlier gens, you often don't realize you've encountered a roaming legendary until you see it onscreen.) Some legendaries also have different battle music when you encounter them. And aside from the fact that you know stationary legendaries on sight, you'll also get them giving their cry before you go into battle.
  • December 12, 2012
    miru
  • December 16, 2012
    Beed28
    ^ Could you elaborate? That's a Zero Context Example.
  • December 16, 2012
    AceNoctali
    Shoot-em-up example:

    • In Thunder Force IV, a siren sounds when a boss battle is about to begin.
  • December 16, 2012
    elwoz
    See also Suspicious Videogame Generosity.

    • VVVVVV has a screen named "The Warning". One tunnel, no spikes, eight checkpoints in a row. It leads into one of the hardest sections of the game.
  • December 18, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Er, Ikaruga is the spiritual successor to Radiant Silvergun, not its predecessor.
  • January 10, 2013
    peccantis
    I Thought It Was about office work environment gone wrong and management by perkele...
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump with motion to discard on grounds of People Sit On Chairs.
  • January 18, 2013
    Diask
    ^How is this supposed to be "not a trope"?
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    ^ It's a thing that happens in video games sometimes, but it doesn't seem to me that it necessarily means anything.
  • January 18, 2013
    SoItBegins
    I recommend this be fused into Boss Subtitles (only). There's a lot of overlap.
  • January 22, 2013
    Beed28
    ^ The only problem with that is that the boss' name isn't shown onscreen in some examples, which don't fit into Boss Subtitles, in the case of Blaster Master, the Mega Man X series, the Mega Man Zero series, Metal Storm, Star Fox 1, and probably some others.
  • January 22, 2013
    troacctid
    • Justified in Sonic Adventure 2's boss fight against the Flying Dog. In the cutscene preceding the battle, Rouge is caught sneaking into a maximum-security vault and triggers an alarm that alerts the boss to her presence.
  • January 24, 2013
    Nephilim
    This occurs in some movies also. One example is in War of the Worlds (not the excellent original, the more awful Cruise version). The walkers have a siren call. This may have been borrowed from the Journey to the White Mountains books, where the walkers would signal out a siren warning call as they approached.
  • January 24, 2013
    mew4ever23
    Heavy Weapon does this before bosses, as does Mega Man ZX.
  • January 25, 2013
    OmarKarindu
    Played with in the remixed boss theme from Streets of Rage Remake, which begins with a sample that sounds like a siren.
  • January 26, 2013
    ZombieAladdin
    • More Pokemon examples: From Pokemon Diamond And Pearl and onwards, any fight against a Gym Leader, Elite Four member, or major villain will have a different screen transition to the battle. The different theme music begins immediately before the transition, though it doesn't serve much purpose as a warning as you are always made aware you're about to fight a major character.

    • All Wario Ware titles have a sound clip whenever a boss stage is coming up next and will linger on the screen between microgames 8 beats longer than normal. There will usually (but not always) be an on-screen message telling you you're about to encounter the boss. Said sound clip varies from game to game, but WarioWare: Smooth Moves's sounds particularly like a klaxon played to a beat.

    (I'm honestly not sure where you'd want to categorize the example if you want to put it there. The series is its own genre.)
  • January 26, 2013
    ShadowHog
    ^^ Technically, that was in the original Genesis games, too.
  • January 29, 2013
    Quanyails
    Shoot 'Em Up: In Subterranean Animism, Utsuho Reiuji, the nuclear-powered Hell raven girl and final boss of the game, has the distinction of prefixing each of her spell cards with klaxons while the text '☢ Caution !!☢' flares on-screen.
  • January 31, 2013
    troacctid
    The Pokemon examples are incorrect. They're Fight Woosh, not this trope.
  • January 31, 2013
    Beed28
    ^ Thanks. I removed them.
  • January 31, 2013
    king5327
    My opinion is that this is simply an optional part of a boss battle. If the warning doesn't come with some sort of 'Proceed or Turn Back' dialog (just like some Points of No Return), it simply delays the inevitable (possibly allowing time for boosts to be applied). If it does, then it's more like a sign saying 'Boss Ahead' which pops up at least once without the player being able to stop it. It looks to me as being already covered by the mention of Fanfares on the Boss Battle page, though this might be come a tad earlier, like a Fight Woosh, and be a little more shocking.
  • February 5, 2013
    Beed28
    I'm thinking of launching this soon, if that's alright.
  • February 5, 2013
    elwoz
    ^ I still don't think you've made any kind of case for this being a trope. You need to explain what this does in storytelling and gameplay terms.
  • February 5, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the old arcade game Time Pilot a loud warning will sound before the boss shows up on any given level.
  • February 5, 2013
    troacctid
    I don't see why it wouldn't be a trope. How is it not tropable?

    And I don't think the non-videogame example fits. It looks like it's just Red Alert.
  • February 5, 2013
    Beed28
    ^ Alright, I removed the War Of The Worlds example and moved it into the Red Alert page.
  • February 12, 2013
    Beed28
    If someone can help me fix up the description, then I could probably launch this.
  • February 12, 2013
    elwoz
    I reiterate that you need to explain the storytelling purpose of this in the description, and if you can't think of one, it's not a trope, it's just a thing that happens in games. Tropes are about meaning.
  • February 12, 2013
    troacctid
    Yeah...it means that you're about to fight the boss. What's the confusion?
  • February 12, 2013
    elwoz
    ^ That's not a storytelling purpose. That's a user interface element. I really do feel that right now this is the moral equivalent of making a trope page for a "hey, thing, ok? [whatever]" dialog box.
  • February 13, 2013
    troacctid
    User interface elements are tropes.

    Also, dialogue boxes are a trope, so...
  • February 14, 2013
    elwoz
    Nnng, we really are talking past each other. User interface elements and dialog boxes can be tropes but only if they serve a storytelling purpose. Suspicious Video Game Generosity, for instance, is a trope because of the suspicion. Take the suspicion out -- perhaps video game X has powerups liberally scattered all over the place with no correlation to bosses -- and you no longer have a trope. (You may perhaps have Its Easy So It Sucks instead -- but notice how that's an audience reaction YMMV, not an objective trope anymore.)

    I'm willing to be convinced that putting a warning screen before a boss fight does something qualitative for the experience, but right now you haven't even tried to make the case. You just have a one-sentence description of a visual effect and a pile of examples.
  • February 14, 2013
    troacctid
    Because it's self-evident, innit? I mean, is there anyone else who doesn't think it's a trope? It's got five hats.
  • February 14, 2013
    elwoz
    So if it's self-evident to you, you should be able to explain it easily, right? Please just humor me and make the attempt. The worst thing that could happen is you'd fail to convince me, but you'd still have a better description.
  • February 14, 2013
    troacctid
    A big flashing red siren is a signal to warn the player that a dangerous enemy is about to appear.
  • February 14, 2013
    elwoz
    You already have that in the description. That isn't a description of something with a storytelling function.
  • February 14, 2013
    troacctid
    That is its function. It's an audiovisual shorthand to indicate that a major threat is approaching. That's a trope.
  • February 14, 2013
    elwoz
    "An audiovisual shorthand to indicate that a major threat is approaching" is Not A Trope. It is a user interface element. C'mon, I know you can think about this the right way, you're doing fine in the other YKTTWs you're running. We need a storytelling function. Not a user interface function.
  • February 15, 2013
    troacctid
  • February 15, 2013
    Lyendith
    If Boss Subtitles is a trope, why wouldn't this be? Now I agree that the description might need a bit of fleshing out as to what kind of effect it conveys (I would say it gives an "old-school" feel in modern games, but...)

  • February 15, 2013
    elwoz
    ^^ Most of those predate the firm line between tropes and Useful Notes. I would support an effort to move most of that index to Useful Notes. Again, the distinction I insist on is that a trope serves a storytelling (or, if you prefer, experiential) function and must be described as such. It's okay if something whose primary function is user-interface takes on the mantle of a trope through its connotations: Suspicious Videogame Generosity qualifies, as do things like Attract Mode and The Pennyfarthing Effect. I'd also give a pass to gameplay elements since these directly affect the experience, e.g. Action Bar, the various Meters, Squad Controls, Stat O Vision, etc.

    ^ Well, tbh, I don't think Boss Subtitles is a trope. And now it's been brought up, I also don't think there's a meaningful distinction between Boss Subtitles and this proposal.
  • February 15, 2013
    troacctid
    If you don't think Boss Subtitles and Red Alert are tropable, then I don't really have anything to say to that. We'll just have to agree to disagree, you can remove a hat, and the trope will launch without you; I'm confident you're in the minority.
  • February 19, 2013
    elwoz
    I removed a hat a long time ago and it won't let me do it again.

    You haven't convinced me, I haven't convinced you, and it doesn't look like anything either of us can say will change that. At this point I think we need to get a second opinion from the forums. I can start the thread, but before I do I would like to hear your opinion on the related question of whether this is a duplicate of Boss Subtitles.
  • February 20, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Heavy Weapon this occurs with the Danger! Danger! in bold letters once you get to the end of the stage.
  • February 20, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Anyone up for some image hunting?

  • February 20, 2013
    troacctid
    • Boss Subtitles tells you the name of the boss, often with a description.
    • Boss Warning Siren gives you a visual or audio warning (such as a blaring siren, a flashing red light, or "Warning! Boss approaching!" appearing on the screen in big letters), but does not tell you the boss's name or description.

    The two can overlap. There are also a healthy supply of examples that are just one or the other.

    Instead of starting a new thread you could post in the YKTTW Workstation thread in Wiki Talk.

    And I like the Mega Man image better than those suggestions (what does No Refuge mean anyway? Is that the boss's name?) but an Image Links page is a fine plan.
  • February 21, 2013
    ShadowHog
    It means there is no escape. If you want to live, the only way out is through.
  • February 27, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Good work on this one. It's looking good so far.
  • February 28, 2013
    Thecommander236
    There a problem? It's looking good or is there something that needs fixing?
  • February 28, 2013
    Beed28
    It still Needs A Better Description before it's launch ready, I'd say.
  • March 15, 2013
    Generality
    • Warning Forever warns you before each battle, forever. It also gives a graphical analysis of the next boss's stats.
  • March 15, 2013
    Beed28
    ^ Already have that example, thanks.
  • March 19, 2013
    elwoz
    I've finally gotten around to bringing up the "is this a trope or not?" issue on the forums: [1]. Sorry for the delay.
  • March 19, 2013
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    elwoz, it is clear you do not know what tropes are and are using a definition other than the one we use on this site. This is a trope by our definition. It is both a gameplay mechanic, which makes it a trope. And it serves the narrative purpose of building tension and anticipation.

    The rest of you, ignore him.

    This probably can stand to be expanded outside of videogames though.
  • March 20, 2013
    Stratadrake
    ^ I would say it's primarily videogame exclusive (a potential contradiction of adjectives, I know). Non-videogame examples can exist but are rare.
  • March 20, 2013
    shimaspawn
    Primarily, but it is used in media that references Video Games. Things like Scott Pilgram Vs The World and Silent Hill use it.
  • March 24, 2013
    troacctid
    I don't see how it could happen outside video games, since it requires a Boss Fight and that's not something that happens outside games (or references to games, a la Scott Pilgrim).
  • April 13, 2013
    MokonaZero
    ^^ Indeed. I think the non video games section would be small, but it still should be present.
  • May 1, 2013
    Beed28
    Gonna launch this soon. For Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, at which point in the film does this happen? The closest I can think of is the big VS sign that appears when he's about to fight one of the Evil Exes, and Nega Scott's appearance at the end uses Boss Subtitles.
  • May 6, 2013
    Melkior
    • In the "Blake Stone - Aliens Of Gold" FPS game, a warning klaxon or similar signal normally sounds just before the Final Boss Battle in each of the six missions.
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