Don't look down, Mega Man....
A videogame battle (or Boss Battle
) that occurs with the player's footing restricted to a set of Floating Platforms
above some hazard. The opponent's attacks may or may not be much of a threat were the player to face them on level ground, but the real challenge to meet here is simply to avoid falling off in the process: One false step, or the slightest knockback
at the wrong moment can quickly send you down off the screen into whatever awaits below (usually a Bottomless Pit
or Spikes of Doom
). Thus, victory all but requires a No-Damage Run
, regardless of whether your protagonist would otherwise be a One-Hit-Point Wonder
Alternatively, instead of causing an instant death some games may provide a Non Lethal Bottomless Pit
instead, or falling down may simply drop you into a room below where you have to find a way to climb back up before you can resume fighting. However, falling off must still occur a penalty: Perhaps you receive damage from the fall; maybe the boss will taunt your lack of platforming prowess by hurling long-range attacks at you while you're scrambling to get back up within range. Sometimes it's simply a long
and tedious climb just to get back up there at all. Or, at the most Nintendo Hard
extreme of the spectrum, sometimes falling down exits the battle entirely, causing it to start over from the top (with the boss's HP fully replenished
) once you're back onto the platforms to fight the boss on.
If there are a large number of platforms to stand on at first, chances are good the boss will actively attack and destroy at least one of them when he Turns Red
. Alternatively, if the boss does this throughout the entire battle, it creates Boss Arena Urgency
Note that the platforms must be relatively small in size to limit the player's available footing; if the platform is large enough to allow unhindered player movement, the player may as well be fighting the boss on level ground to begin with — indeed, many a standard Boss Room
are simply large open arenas, even when bordered by some kind of hazard.
The frustration caused by repeatedly falling off or getting knocked off by one of the boss's attacks makes this an infamous variety of Goddamned Boss
See also High-Altitude Battle
and High-Speed Battle
, which can overlap. Can also be combined with Temporary Platforms
, conveyor belts
or ice blocks
for extra Nintendo Hard
- Mega Man:
- Pictured above is the Mecha Dragon, the boss of the first Wily Castle stage in Mega Man 2.
- The rematch against Serges in Mega Man X2 takes place above a bed of spikes, and the only footing is a set of three moving platforms (two after he Turns Red).
- Mega Man & Bass does this for one of the sub-bosses in the second fortress stage... unfortunately.
- Rockman 4 Minus Infinity combines the Serges boss battle with the Square Machine from Mega Man 4 to create the Serges Devil. It also turns the first half of the battle against Dr. Cossack into one.
- Three boss battles in Cave Story.
- The battle against The Core, although it isn't difficult to climb back up, the lower half of the room is filled with water, threatening to drown the player.
- The game's Final Boss can only be attacked by standing on the boss's moving platforms (or using the jetpack), which is also right in line with the boss's own attacks.
- In the final phase of the game's True Final Boss, the floor fills with (non lethal) spikes, requiring the player to finish the boss off on a set of platforms that rotate around the boss himself, while fending off all sorts of flying flunkies.
- Not quite. Since the spikes don't cause instant death, one common (and fast) strategy is to achieve a near-No-Damage Run of the stage and his other three forms and then stand in the spikes below him and fire Super Missiles upwards until he dies.
- Several bosses in I Wanna Be the Guy:
- Mecha Birdo, where the only platforms are the large projectiles the boss shoots.
- Zangkried, after he Turns Red, paying tribute to the Kraid battle from Super Metroid.
- Late in the game the player encounters the "Dragon Devil" which combines the Mega Man 2's Dragon boss with its original Mega Man 1's That One Boss, Yellow Devil.
- The battles against Big Boo in Kaizo Mario World, for both the original ROM hack and its official sequel.
- A few battles from La-Mulana:
- The battle against Bahamut takes place over water; the only safe footing is a boat that moves from one side of the room to another.
- The room guardian in the Confusion Gate occupies a room with extremely small platforms. Though the boss moves slowly and only fires an occasional projectile as its attack, falling lands the player in the room below, ending the battle and requiring a long trek from the Tower of the Goddess for another chance at the battle.
- From the Metroid series:
- The battle against Kraid in Super Metroid; at first Samus has only a ledge near the door to stand on, but once he reveals his full form, the player must climb platforms (including the ones he shoots out) to get within range of his weak point. Falling off may land Samus in damaging spikes or cause her to receive Collision Damage from Kraid.
- To a lesser extent, the battles against Mother Brain tend to take place on relatively small platforms, while dodging the various turrets that threaten to knock her off into the lava below.
- The rematch against Ludwig Von Koopa in New Super Mario Bros. Wii takes place on three moving platforms, with Ludwig occupying one of them.
- In Super Mario World battles against the Reznor minibosses always end up on moving platforms... or in hot lava death.
- Several Sonic the Hedgehog games have this, especially the 3D ones. A notable example is the Egg Golem boss from Sonic Adventure 2, where the boss is positioned in the center of a floating ring of platforms with quicksand below. Falling down there in Sonic's version of the boss isn't immediately fatal, but Eggman's mech will sink if it comes in contact with the sand instead of one of the lower platforms.
- The original Sonic the Hedgehog's Spring Yard boss will harpoon straight down. If the harpoon doesn't hit Sonic, it will yank the chunk of ground it hits and destroy it. This means that the longer you take to beat this boss, the less ground Sonic can use.
- The same game also has the boss of Labyrinth Zone, which technically you're not expected to actually land a full 8 hits on. The boss is "battled" in a vertical corridor with numerous short platforms, and the corridor is filled with spike and fireball traps; furthermore the water is constantly rising. You might be able to get away with one missed jump, but two errors will probably result in you drowning before reaching the top of the corridor.
- In Sonic Advance 3, the Twinkle Snow area boss is one of the game's toughest challenges, as the player must constantly climb an array of falling platforms while the boss relentlessly pursues from below, hoping that the platforms will strike the mech and damage it. Without falling off in the process, of course.
- Lava Reef Zone from Sonic and Knuckles. After an auto scrolling segment, you have to dodge Robotnik's bombs from rocks floating in a lava pit. While he's attacking, everything in the lava pit moves towards him, including you, but also including the bombs. (However, once you find the fire shield—which allows you to walk on the lava unharmed—in the boss arena, the boss fight becomes much, much easier.)
- In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Wacky Workbench's boss causes four platforms to go flying as Eggman flees to the next floor up. The platform Sonic stands on will not travel as high as the other three, stopping short of a jump's height to the next floor, but the other three platforms will go all the way up to the ceiling, crushing Sonic and make him lose a life. Instead, Sonic has to jump from the platform he's on when they rise to another one, then leap to the next floor before it's too late. There is no bottomless pit below, but falling does set back Sonic considerably, even from the beginning if he falls all the way down to the ground floor.
- Most Wario Land 2 and 3 bosses, because falling down and having to redo part of the level is the only punishment the game could give Wario due to his complete invincibility to any damage. Basically, each boss would have one attack which is basically to throw Wario out the arena and have him find his way back. Some more normal examples are the last real boss in Wario Land, fought on an invisible floor only the boss can stand on (so Wario has to jump on the boss repeatedly) as well as the Psycho Beaver and Mutant Mouse bosses in the sequel.
- Ys has this in spades, especially final bosses. During the battle with Dark Fact, a piece of the platform disappears everytime you hit him.
- Fluffy XR-9 in An Untitled Story is fought on three platforms that descend when stepped upon, all suspended over a Non Lethal Bottomless Pit. The second form of FinalBoss is the same, but replaces unstable platforms with double-jump clusters (yep, you will be continually jumping during the battle).
- In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Dracula's final form pulls up platforms from the floor and causes them to circle around him.
- In Donkey Kong 64, Mad Jack is fought in an arena of 16 large platforms, arranged in a grid. The platforms aren't too small, but Tiny Kong must constantly jump from one to another to avoid being flattened by the boss chasing after her.
- In World of Warcraft, one fight in Deepholm involves jumping among floating stones to lay a beatdown on the dragon Aeosera. Falling off isn't instantly lethal but it's quite possible to die during the struggle and a fall means jumping your way back up to the fight.
- You can also somewhat artificially invoke this by dueling with someone who has a knockback on some ridiculously small rock floating above some abyss. There's even a mage talent that basically knocks back everything near them when you hit them.
- Most boss encounters in Bayonetta are like this for their first phases. Fortitudo has you fighting on a small platform held up by pillars and if you fall down into the arena, he can turn everything to lava and you'll have to walk along small rock platforms. Temperantia's fight takes place on small pieces of road in a tornado, and Iustitia has small rocks above a pool of acid.
- The battle against Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time takes place in the upper level of a room, and Ganondorf can destroy various parts of the flooringwith his version of a Ground Pound attack — the more damage the arena takes, the more difficult it is to approach the boss to attack him.
- In Bubsy, Chapter 12 "Claws For Alarm", Bubsy must fight a UFO boss while maintaining his footing on a log raft floating in the river, while — one false step and the battle ends with Super Drowning Skills. This is combined with Boss Arena Urgency, as the boss's missiles damage the raft one log at a time.
- Final boss Nihilanth from Half-Life requires the use of platforms and alien springboards to get a shot at his brain.
- All the boss battles in the game The Cat in the Hat take place on floating platforms. In fact, in the final boss battle, the platforms disappear if you stand on them too long. Don't linger!
- In Little Samson, one Boss Battle has a second stage in which the boss turns into a dragon and the player has to balance on three floating blocks almost exactly as in the Mecha Dragon battle from Mega Man 2.
- Cuphead has six battles where all or part of the fight has no usable floor. Falling off does 1 point of damage.
- Cagney Carnation's final form has a floor, but it's covered in thorns, making it just as useless as a Bottomless Pit. You need to hop from platform to platform to avoid his attacks.
- Grim Matchstick's boss fight has you jump on moving cloud platforms in the air.
- Rumor Honeybottoms' boss fight is a Rise to the Challenge scenario where the giant hive's apartment balconies serve as platforms.
- The Devil's second and later forms take place in an arena with no floor and an ever-decreasing number of floating platforms.
- For the dragonfly miniboss in Treetop Trouble, the boys jump from leaf to leaf being held up by friendly mosquitoes. The dragonfly breathes fire that can burn the platforms, making them unavailable until the mosquito for that leaf fetches another.
- The hot dog miniboss in Funfair Fever fires condiments at the boys, who must make their way across a series of platforms to get close enough and destroy it.
- Diablos in Final Fantasy XI is fought on what looks like a big checker board. Certain attacks of his have the ability to remove squares from the board. If a player is standing on them or doesn't watch their step they are dropped into a room below. It's technically possible to get back up and rejoin the fight, but the room is full of Diremites, Demonic Spiders which in the original level capped version would near instantly slaughter anyone who fell, or if you did manage to run like there was no tomorrow, would give chase and then slaughter the whole group.
- Final Fantasy XIV has Titan. His platform isn't floating, but is a very tall stone pillar. Early in the fight he removes its edges opening it up for an instant KO with no chance of being raised. The bulk of the fight is dodging his various knockbacks that attempt to send you plummeting.
- Similarly, Leviathan is fought on a small platform barge at sea. It starts with railings, but the first time he uses his super attack they're destroyed. He proceeds to slam himself onto the barge causing it to tip violently to the point that players slide 2/3s of its length, and adds use a fear attack which if not interrupted is almost certain to make players run off the edge. Falling in the water is an instant KO with no chance of being raised.