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Boss Arena Urgency
Can you please stop trying to punch holes in the flooring?

So you're at the boss, and his weapon doesn't seem that efficient. The last guy you fought had a giant magma cannon, and this guy merely has a hammer that swings so slowly even a turtle could dodge it in its sleep. WHAM! Ha ha, you missed!

But wait a minute — did that part of the floor just crumble away and reveal a Bottomless Pit underneath it? And did the boss just do that attack again? Argh! Forget your HP meter, if he takes out the floor, you're history!

This is a Sub-Trope of the Time-Limit Boss, in which there doesn't need to be any actual timer counting down to zero — the time limit is measured implicitly, e.g. by how much of the arena remains that the boss hasn't destroyed yet. The more damage he causes, the less room the player has to work with, and if it drags on long enough the player will inevitably fall off the arena entirely and lose the battle anyway. (If there is an actual timer presented it is basically irrelevant, as chances are the boss will have finished destroying the arena long before the time in question has expired.)

The difficulty of these bosses is directly proportional to how long it takes to defeat them: If you've played the game repeatedly or are quick enough to get a few attacks in early, the boss is hardly a challenge; but if the fight drags on for a long time, he'll become a nightmare to defeat — if it's still possible to defeat him at all — and may be a candidate for That One Boss.

The boss may either execute his arena-smashing attack at regular intervals (making the time limit easy to measure) or choose to execute it randomly (in which case the battle could end quickly or last forever, depending on the Random Number God).

Sometimes the player will have to perform some measure of planning and strategy to beat this boss, to prevent the situation from becoming completely hopeless. For example, the player may be able to direct the boss's attacks to a specific portion of the arena that has been previously destroyed, as a way to protect the intact portions from further damage, extending the amount of time available.

Note that many bosses will become progressively tougher and switch to stronger attacks as the battle wears on; while Boss Arena Urgency may overlap, this isn't always the case. For example, if this progression only occurs after inflicting specific amounts of damage, then this is simply because the boss Turns Red; Boss Arena Urgency occurs if this progression takes place independently of the player's actions.

Compare Time-Limit Boss, Stalked by the Bell. Contrast Boss Arena Idiocy and its close cousin Hoist by His Own Petard.


Examples:

  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series has several.
    • Spring Yard Zone's boss has a spike on its base, and one by one removes the bricks that comprise the floor of the arena; this continues until you defeat the boss, or lose all your footing and fall down the Bottomless Pit below.
    • The boss in Sonic 3 And Knuckles's Sandopolis Act 2 will slowly make its way from the right side of the room to the left. If you take too long, the boss will pin you against the left wall and make the fight unwinnable.
      • Playing as Knuckles? Enjoy the boss moving about twice as fast, which also means that much less time to use his hand as a platform. Actually quite tough, though you can exploit Knuckles' gliding to stunlock the boss once you can get up there.
    • Sonic CD's semifinal boss fight has Sonic and Metal Sonic race. If you're too slow, you get hit by the only instant-death laser in the entire Genesis era, and if Metal Sonic wins the race, you're doomed.
      • And while it is very hard to invoke such a thing, this can also happen in Tidal Tempest's boss. As the screen is totally submerged and the only source of air is the barrier around Eggman's machine, if the air barrier is totally depleted, Sonic must defeat Eggman to drain the area of water before he drowns.
    • Sonic Adventure's Egg Viper will, near the end of the fight, start destroying the flooring. This happens when it's taken five hits, before then you can take as long as you want. After that, though, you'd better have at least two platforms left when you beat it, as it'll make a suicide dive for where you're standing that will destroy at least one of them.
    • Sonic 2006's Egg Wyvern tries to emulate this, but it tends to only destroy parts of the arena after reaching certain damage thresholds, making it more of a case of Turns Red instead.
      • There's also the final fight with Iblis, at the end of Silver's section. Thanks to the game's hideously broken A.I. Roulette, it's entirely possible for the boss to not invoke its tactical suicide enough times for you to deplete its health bar before it completely destroys the stage, sending you plummeting into the lava below and requiring you to restart the whole fight.
    • The True Final Boss of Sonic and Knuckles, and some of the 3D games (including the aforementioned Sonic Adventure,) is like this. You don't have an actual timer, but you start the fight as Super Sonic. If you run out of rings, you turn back to normal, and in the boss fight, this causes you to die. This makes sense in S&K, as the fight takes place in space, but makes less sense in Sonic Adventure, where you could, hypothetically, run out of rings on a floating piece of road, but the game assumes you fell into the water and drowned regardless.note 
    • Another Sonic example: the Egg Golem from Sonic Adventure 2.
    • In Sonic 3, the mid-boss for Carnival Night Zone destroys the blocks you're on, Arkanoid-style.
    • Not exactly a proper example, but in Sonic the Hedgehog 4, once the Final Boss has 1 hp left, it will try a Last Ditch Move to crush the floor and make Sonic fall into a Bottomless Pit. You better get that last hit in before it's too late!
  • Mike Tyson destroys your platform in I Wanna Be the Guy.
  • In the 3rd Ape Escape game's true Final Boss, Specter does this to you, passively. Why? To have you drop out of your super form.
  • The final boss of Snow Bros arcade is a very interesting example. There are two giant stone heads on each side of the screen, a small platform surrounded by flames in the middle and a descending ceiling full of spikes right above that. The heads continuously blow bubbles which can have enemies or power-ups inside, and these pop if they touch the spikes. The player has very little space to move, and the more the ceiling goes down, the faster the enemies can get him... of course, this also means that he can throw many more snowballed enemies against the heads, but he is forced to think and act much more frantically.
  • The Star Wars game Jedi Knight uses this in the final duel. Jerec must be defeated before the two statues at the edge of the valley reach the center, or he becomes too powerful.
  • Reznor bosses of Super Mario World are fought on a bridge which, after two hits, rapidly collapses from the middle. To survive, it's imperative to jump on the boss' rotating platform. Unless you're really fast, in which case the end trigger in which Mario doesn't fall anymore goes off before the end of the bridge (which you'll probably be on) can collapse.
    • The secret boss, Big Boo, can only be defeated by tearing blocks out of the floor of the Boss Room, which creates a danger of falling through.
  • Midway through the second fight against Dogadon in Donkey Kong 64, he throws a tissyfit and stamps repeatedly on the platform you're fighting on. In response, it starts to sink into the lava. If you're too slow to finish the battle, you're toast. Literally.
  • Known as "soft enrage" in World of Warcraft, as opposed to "hard enrage", essentially a Time-Limit Boss.
    • Professor Putricide in Icecrown Citadel in the 3rd phase of the fight. The room slowly fills with poisonous slime, reducing the amount of space there is to move around.
    • The Lich King had something similar in his second phase, pools of corruption that would get larger the longer people stayed in them.
    • And from the Cataclysm expansion: Commander Uthok in the heroic dungeon Throne of Tides creates permanent growing void zones on the floor that must be avoided. Groups with low damage will eventually find themselves with nowhere to stand.
    • Mists of Pandaria brought us Jin'Rokh the Breaker, who would target one-quarter of the arena he stands in and fill it with electrified water. Players would then have to move to a clear section of the floor to continue the fight. (Especially annoying if he charges two opposite quarters rather than consecutive ones...)
  • In Chains of Promathia, the second expansion of Final Fantasy XI, you have the fight against Diabolos. In addition to the standard time limit for any bossfight, you also have to contend with a floor that falls away, except for a number of panels which never do. The pit below isn't bottomless, it's simply filled with giant spiders.
  • Oracle of Ages has the second miniboss do this: It flies around and tries to Ground Pound you, knocking tiles out wherever it lands. However, it's not that hard to defeat him, and there's a border of unbreakable tiles.
  • The True Final Boss of Demon's Crest throws orbs that steadily turn parts of the walls and floor into damaging spikes. Your character can fly, but midair maneuverability is very limited.
    • On the other hand, in order to encounter this boss, you must first acquire the ability to spit a type of fireball onto wall spikes that makes them temporarily safe to land on, so it's still merely inconvenient rather than inevitably lethal.
  • The Final Boss of Popful Mail also shot orbs that turned the floor into spikes. At least you do have an item that allows you to walk on spikes... but it lowered your jump height, leaving you vulnerable to his Rocket Punch grab move.
  • Alien Soldier had "Back Stringer". You fought this Giant Spider on the wings and body of its dinner, a decapitated giant fly. Small destructible spiders would come up from the bottom of the screen and pull the fly down the big spider web (each additional one making it sink faster). If the fly platform disappears off the bottom of the screen, expect to die- you'll keep falling into a health-draining bottomless pit OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!
  • In her second-to-last form, the GoldenDiva of Wario Land 4 starts smashing the floors of her arena. Miss too many chances to damage her, and you'll have nothing to stand on but spikes. Which are painful.
    • Wario Land 1 has the big giant head that shoots rock boogers out of his nose and licks rocks. ... erm ... It's this trope.
  • Bowser in Super Mario Bros. 3, for both you and himself, although there are solid platforms too. Eventually he'll fall through the floor himself, or you can Kill It with Fire (or hammers).
    • In the final battle with him in Super Mario 64, after you score two hits on him, he smashes the platform, turning it into a smaller star-shaped one. Before this point, flinging him off the platform but missing the bombs around the edge will result in Bowser simply leaping back up, which can knock off one of the pieces that would otherwise fall after the two hits.
  • In Ecco the Dolphin : Defender of the Future, the final boss is the alien queen's heart. During the fight, blood rises from the bottom. if you don't defeat it quickly, Ecco will drown in the blood. Which makes sense because blood doesn't have air in it, and dolphins being mammals cannot breathe in any liquid whatsoever.
  • In Ys I, everytime you hit Dark Fact, a piece of the platform drops out. If you're standing on said piece, you die instantly. If you aren't leveled up enough (in the TurboGrafx-16 version, that is; in others you'll already be at the cap), you'll end up with too many holes and become trapped and killed.
    • A few games later, Ys VI gives us boss 3, Ud-Meiyu, whose most common attack, a jumping stomp, knocks out the floor panels over the deadly lava under the arena.
  • Yoshi's Island: The final boss will start off by occasionally dropping boulders near where Yoshi stands, leaving sizable gaps. When he's about to die, he bum-rushes the arena to destroy all platforms and knock Baby Mario out of the saddle while Yoshi plummets. Pretty much screwed either way.
  • In Purple, the final boss will occasionally send down bolts of lightning that destroy the floor.
  • Subverted in Mass Effect 2. The Final Boss periodically destroys some of the platforms which make up the battle area. However, it never destroys the platform you start out on, completely eradicating any sense of urgency.
  • In Mega Man 4, one of the attacks from Mothraya is to punch holes in the floor using its spike. Though it won't destroy the entire flooring, the added threat of Bottomless Pits certainly will not make the battle any easier.
  • In Mega Man X 2, when Wheel Gator Turns Red and starts executing his drill attack, whatever sections of the wall he hits are ground down into damaging spikes, which gradually prevents you from climbing the walls to evade his other attacks.
  • In Return To Zork, a board-game makes up one of the puzzles. There's two characters: the wizard, who can only move as a knight does (two vertical and one horizontal, or two horizontal and one vertical) and the space that it moves from vanishes. The other character (Cannook) can move to any spot on the board, and attempts to prevent the wizard from moving. If the wizard can't move and there's still more than two spaces (on which the characters are standing), then Cannook wins (as the wizard cannot move). If the Wizard has made all but two of the spaces disappear, the wizard wins (as Cannook cannot move). The first time you play the game, you play as Cannook, and it's startlingly easy to win. The second time you play, you're playing as the wizard, and the difficulty spikes very hard.
    • Unless you learn that the wizard can skip a turn, which turns the games into figuring a path that takes you to every spot on the board and skipping whenever Cannook is standing on the spot you need to move to.
  • While fighting The Beast in Apocalypse, the pillars that serve as the boss arena collapse one by one as you damage him.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The fight against Ganondorf takes place in the top room of a tower, with Ganon in the middle and you standing on platforms along the edge. One of his attacks will know some of the platforms down, but the platforms in the corners are permanent.
  • Bastion : Some of the larger ememies weild giant pickaxes that they attempt to hit you with. Sometimes they'll show up in the more unstable areas and take out chunks of the floor with each hit. They have low enough health that it's rare for them to take out an entire fighting space, but those holes they punch make it much harder for you to move around when you're being swarmed by smaller enemies. Most of whom can hover right over the holes no problem.
  • During the Kracko battle in Kirby: Canvas Curse, Kracko will destroy the arena floor, the clouds.
  • During the first battle with Montana Max in Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, Monty will destroy parts of the floor while riding a geyser and tossing octopi.
  • In the NES version of Double Dragon II, the rematch with Burnov in Mission 8 takes place on a floor over Spikes Of Doom that slowly disappears piece by piece.
  • In Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, during the battle with Jafar, Jafar will use his snake form to destroy platforms held by Genie hands. This example is slightly subverted, considering it is a Nintendo 3DS game where you can re-draw the hands to make the platforms re-appear.
  • In Panic Restaurant for NES, the boss of the refrigerator level is a giant evil ice cream who breaks the ice-cube floor with its cone.
  • Just before the final boss battle, Don Ramiro of Maldita Castilla must destroy a giant cauldron that drops corrosive acid globs on the floor. Take too long and the acid will completely corrode the floor and make Don Ramiro fall in the bottomless pit below.

Time-Limit BossBoss BattleTragic Monster
Mega Man 4ImageSource/Video GamesMega Man 7

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