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Cores-and-Turrets Boss

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You'll never guess where you have to shoot.

Bosses in Video Games come in all shapes and sizes: giant monsters, giant robots, giant spaceships, and so on ... and then there are bosses who have no recognizable form whatsoever, taking an abstract (and usually mechanical) form distilled into two classes of elements: "Cores", the weak points you must attack and destroy to defeat it; and "Turrets", the weapons that attack you during the process. Because this arrangement is typically built into a structure, this type may also be known as a "Boss Wall".

These categories can overlap; it's common to see components that are both a weapon to deal with and a weak point to destroy. In fact, the turrets may need to be destroyed to reveal the Core. Of course, destroying all the turrets may result in the boss deploying bigger and more powerful turrets.

This manner of boss is often stationary, such as being part of a defensive barrier or a vital element of a structure — and in the latter case, there's a very good chance its also a Load-Bearing Boss.

Reactor Boss is a specific Sub-Trope, as the reactor is usually a core component itself and surrounded by various defensive turrets. The Battleship Raid also shares some similarities


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    3rd Generation or Earlier (NES, SMS, GB, etc.) 
  • The Contra series is known to include many of them. The first Contra game had one at the end of stage 1 (defensive building wall), stage 2 (and to get to this, more cores and turrets have to be blasted), stage 4 (this time the main cores can only be hit when merged, and shoot homing projectiles), stage 7, and even stage 8 (the final boss, Gomeramos King).
    • These are the NES version stage numbers; the arcade game only has five stages, with what would become stages 5, 6, 7, and 8 instead being one long stage, and the NES stage 7 boss absent.
    • The sequel, Super Contra, had these at the end of Stages 1 and 3 in both versions, and the NES-exclusive Stage 7. The arcade Stage 1 has two such bosses (the Transport Helicopter and Entrance Security), while the NES version only has the Transport Helicopter. The Stage 3 arcade boss (Dethgerbis) is the Stage 7 boss in the NES game, while the NES Stage 3 boss (the Outer Defense System) is new.
  • Zanac has one to six fortresses by the end of every level which consist of cores shooting stuff at player.
  • The Guardian Legend's first boss also is a boss with several turrets shooting football-shaped stuff at you.
  • Journey to Silius has one at the end of stage 3 which shoots tons of lasers.
  • Mega Man (Classic)
    • Mega Man 2
      • The Picopico-Master where multiple tiles merge in pairs and then chase Mega Man.
      • Buebeam Trap consists of several turrets behind impenetrable walls that will converge fire on Mega Man every few seconds. The player has to use the Crash Bomb to destroy both the walls and the turrets. The trick is that you only have so much weapon energy for the Crash Bombs, and more walls in the room than needed to be destroyed to reach the turrets.
    • The Square Machine in Mega Man 4 and 'Rounder 2 in Mega Man 6.
  • The Final Boss of Mechanized Attack, being a Brain in a Jar (or brain in a stasis tank) really couldn't move around on it's own, so instead it's located in the center of the screen as it sics gigantic metal tentacles on you capable of firing missiles all over the place, which you must destroy, and attack the brain in-between until it absorbs enough damage and goes down.
  • Silent Assault for the NES has the 1st boss consisting of 2 turrets which fires some of the slowest (needle-shaped) projectiles ever. Then the second boss which consists of 2 gears and the fifth boss which is a giant computer with a mouth.
  • In Batman (Sunsoft) for the NES, one boss essentially boils down to forcing the Caped Crusader to punch a security system to death. The final boss of Batman: Return of the Joker stays in the central console while assaulting Batman with a computer controlled Wall of Weapons.
  • The boss of each stage in the NES Legendary Wings is a moving wall with a core that opens and closes, and turrets that shoot eyeballs and shrimp-like things. The Final Boss is a teleporting core surrounded by four turrets, similar to the final battles in the later Mega Man games.
  • The Cheplin airship in Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which is also an Unexpected Shmup Level and Battleship Raid.
  • A more obscure game for the NES, Jackal, consisted almost entirely of this kind of boss.
  • Metroid has Mother Brain. In most of the games she's appeared in, she just sits in a tank and lets her turrets and Rinkas do the fighting for her, though in Super Metroid she has a second form that attacks more directly as well. Metroid Dread has the Central Units that are fought similarly.
  • Iron Tank has the Long Range Turret bosses and the base defense walls.
  • Star Soldier has the Big Star Brains.
  • Bosconian is one of the earliest examples of this type of enemy, but not in a Boss Battle: you had to search every level to find the bases and destroy each base's core or the ring of six turrets surrounding it.
  • The Xevious series has the recurring Andor Genesis and its Final Boss variants.
  • Blaster Master's third boss is a room full of square teleporting mobile turret-cores that become faster and more agressive as the battle progresses.
  • Most of the bosses in Super Spy Hunter.
  • The Final Boss of the Sega Master System version of Quartet was a stack of five turrets.
  • In Starship Hector, the first and third bosses were of this type.
  • The Technodrome in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989), which consisted of no less than five turrets — a big bladelike protrusion that fired lightning, a smaller such protrusion in the rear, two gun turrets, a hatch above the first bladelike protrusion that deployed Foot Soldiers, and the core in the form of the big eye at the very top.
  • Also from Sunsoft, the final boss of Fester's Quest.
  • In Super Tank for the SG1000, the boss of every level has a core and seven turrets.
  • The NES version of Bionic Commando featured these at the end of every level, but subverted in that in the early levels, the turret doesn't actually shoot. There are other enemies in the room guarding it, though. Later on, the cores are guarded by other enemies and the turret fires at you.
    • The last two bosses are also different variations on this. The Albatross has a vulnerable core with indestructible flame-spewing thrusters serving as the turrets. The escape helicopter's cockpit can be destroyed in a single hit, but you have to shoot it as you're falling. And if you miss, the helicopter's gun will kill you in one hit.

    4th Generation (GEN, SNES, etc.) 
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles has a weird core miniboss at the end of Death Egg Zone act 1.
  • Tank Force, the sequel of Battle City, has a final boss which is composed of four 3-barreled turrets which fire projectiles at fast rate and speed, considering the genre of the game.
  • Halberd's Reactor in Kirby Super Star is a good example. The core itself is actually invulnerable to Kirby's attacks; you have to lure the laser turret that occasionally appears into aiming at the core instead.
    • The boss came back in Kirby's Epic Yarn during a spaceship scrolling stage. This time, your ship's fire could harm it.
  • The CPU/Attacker/Defender inside the Giant of Babel in Final Fantasy IV.
  • The overwhelming majority of bosses in the Metal Slug series fit this trope, though some are Colossus Climbs .
  • Forgotten Worlds has the God Rah (4th boss), which is a giant Egyptian boat with several turrets, a closing-opening "door" and the hawk-headed god itself serving as the core one needs to shoot.
  • Thunder Force II had free-roaming overhead stages in which the objective, much like Bosconian, was to seek out the many-turreted enemy bases and shoot out their cores to destroy them.
  • The recurring final boss of the Raiden games is a space fortress with a red crystal core guarded by multiple turrets and sometimes smaller crystals. The crystal itself typically unleashes Bullet Hell on you for its final attack. It may have been inspired by the similar final boss in Toaplan's Twin Cobra.
  • Zero Wing does this with the reactor boss at the end of Stage 5.
  • Super Aleste has two examples: Lono, a grid of nine turrets at the end of Area 2; and Rubar, a Mode 7 spinning fortress at the end of Area 7, with six turrets and a core but only one attacking at a time.
  • Star Fox and 2's battleship reactors.
  • Superman for the Sega Genesis has one of these at the end of Round 4.
  • In Avenger for the PC Engine, a recurring Mini-Boss in the penultimate stage is a ring laser-shooting core surrounded by an octagonal battery of turrets.

    5th Generation (SAT, N64, PS 1 etc.) 
  • Star Fox 64:
    • Bolse is a prime example. First, there are shield generators protecting the core and the few fighters present, and once the shield is down, more fighters swarm out, followed by the appearance of the core (and the Star Wolf team, if they weren't defeated at Fortuna). At first, the enemy ships are the core's only defense, but each of the core panels turns into a laser turret once destroyed.
    • To a lesser extent, the Saucerer, which is primarily a carrier ship but also has a core with a giant laser weapon which must be destroyed in order to save the Katina base.
  • In Breath of Fire IV, the main party is forced to wage combat against a computerized security system, which consists of two giant metal boxes that cast spells.
  • A boss early on in Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a weak version of this. It spits out bombs with small helicopter blades on top that fly towards you (no, really). To defeat it, you have to grab a "keg" and throw it at one of three cartoony bandages on the side of the machine. Doing this will power down the electric cage which has trapped Ly.
  • Einhänder has a mook like this. Twice during the second level, you have to face off a massive train car with respawning turrets and a control tower. To beat it, you have to destroy the control tower while being careful not to shoot down the radar on top, or else the tower will retract for a few seconds and come out with a new radar.
    • However, if you want to get two secret bonuses, you have to shoot down enough of the respawning turrets until you obtain it.
  • Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness had the "Security Crystal" which consists of a large, central crystal and several self-repairing turrets of various types placed around it.

  • The Sat-Com Control Tower from Aliens: Extermination is stationary, but can surround itself with defense turrets which it sics on the players.
  • Area 51 (FPS) has the alien mothership core as the final boss, which features six core shields that must first be destroyed, and later, a pair a turrets on the top and bottom of the core. The destroyed shields generate a lot of fire.
  • The final encounter with Athetos in Axiom Verge is one, with the turrets taking the form of floating sentry drones and the core being the power source for the Breach Attractor.
  • Bangai-O parodied this with a series of Core bosses helmed by an entire family of people with huge green orbs for heads. They're fairly easy to fight, given that the cores themselves have no defenses, and it's entirely possible to destroy all the turrets guarding it before the fight actually begins.
  • Monster X from Cave Story is a giant, corridor-spanning tank. Its central core is its weak point, but the four turrets mounted on the legs make targeting it difficult.
  • Every Die Spinne boss in Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is some variant of this. All cores are electrified blue.
  • In general, shmups made by Compile has this kind of boss. It's like a Compile trademark. In the earlier ones, like Zanac, mentioned above, it's the only type of boss you will face (not counting the mini-boss ships that appear once in a while). The more advanced the boss, the more cores and turrets it has, until they fill most of the screen. And the more cores and turrets you have destroyed, the fiercer the rate of fire of the remaining ones. Fun times.
  • Cyber Shadow has two bosses that classify as this: Smasher, that is a press with a glowing core and two turrets, and Vessel Defense System, a boss that only has cores.
  • Deep Rock Galactic features a botanical version of this trope in the form of the Korlok Tyrant Weed, an alien plant monstrosity consisting of various symbiotic sprouts, healing pods, and a single heavily armored core bulb. They can be found rooted to the ground and appear randomly as a rare boss encounter in the caves. For a team of dwarves unlucky enough to come across and disturb one, the only way to defeat it is to destroy the sprouts until it's core opens, leaving it vulnerable to damage for a short time. The sprouts act like biological turrets, spitting globs of acid at the dwarves, and the healing pods do just that, heal the core. Even worse, every time it opens and becomes vulnerable to damage, the core seeds the surrounding area with yet more sprouts and pods to protect itself.
  • For the final boss of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, we have the Hyron core. The "Cores" of this Cores-and-Turrets Boss are actually human women.
  • Digital Devil Saga 2 has about three fights against security doors with turret duos with the last one havering a third turret that can put you in a world of hurt.
    Fortunately, the third turret announces its timing, and you can learn a move that will reflect the move back at it...
  • The Gargoyle Gate of Dragon's Crown is a High Fantasy version of this, being a sophisticated security gate protected by cross-bow wielding goblins in hanging platforms, cannon fire, and hordes of orcs and goblins that it brings out whenever it opens. It will also occasionally release streams of flames from its "mouth".
  • The first boss of Ghostrunner, TOM, is essentially a single core held in a shell by two cables that are protecting by an ever-moving laser grid. To beat the boss, you have to jump across floating platforms and run up the walls of the room while dodging lasers and electric shockwaves to get to the cables and cut the core loose. Once it comes loose and hits the floor, you can go to town on it... if you can get close without its final laser defense skewering you.
  • The Gradius series might as well be the Trope Codifier. "Destroy The Core!" is pretty much synonymous with the series and the Big Core is a major recurring boss series.
  • Gungage has the Central Tower in the ruins, which is immobile with a red core as its sole weak point, and can attack you with turrets.
    • Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS) is a textbook example of this trope. While you don't actually shoot AT the Cores, they must be removed and destroyed by way of an Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator. Meanwhile... oh look! It's your old pal, the Rocket Turret! (Who, thanks to the power of portals, is instrumental in your attacks on GLaDOS.)
    • Inverted with Wheatley in the sequel. Hitting the boss stuns it, allowing Chell to attach another core, in order to corrupt the primary core.
  • The Devil's Snare is a botanical version of this in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone PC game from 2003. The "cores" are the two large vines at the back of the Boss Room that have grabbed Ron and Hermione. The "turrets" are five thorny vines that extend toward Harry, dealing damage if they make contact, and need to be hit with magic periodically to drive them back.
    • One boss, first seen in Salamander/Life Force, consists of a wall with three cores and half-a-dozen turrets and mook makers.
    • In some instances, the wall of cores and turrets you're fighting will charge at you.
  • The Havoc Skytank boss in Final Fantasy XIII has two turrets and two hull sections that attack independently of the airship's main body. Destroying them also heavily damages the Skytank itself, making the battle go more quickly.
  • The Chapter 4 boss in Ikaruga includes a shielded core surrounded by beam turrets that alternate in polarity while firing, and the core itself attacks with a laser beam once its shields are down.
  • Mega Man Zero 4 first boss is the turret system defending the squad sent to destroy the caravan Zero is protecting. There is a Pantheon merged into the core, but it doesn't move.
    • There's also the Mini-Boss Tyrine from the same game, surrounded by Glass Cannons (no relation to Glass Cannon, they're pretty tough). Tyrine will shoot periodically while the Glass Cannons attack you, and if you destroy all the glass cannons, the main boss gets pissed. Destroying Tyrine ends the fight.
    • In the first game, the boss of the train mission is the engine, which also has a Pantheon merged to it.
  • In the Registered version of Raptor: Call of the Shadows, the Outer Regions set of levels features a number of non-Giant Ship bosses, all but one of them being heavily armed fortresses spraying generous helpings of plasma, heavy lasers, bullets and missiles at you. And yes, the Final Boss is also one.
  • Almost all of the bosses in the sixth-gen Star Wars: Rogue Squadron titles (Imperial Star Destroyers in both, two versions of the Death Star in 2 and the Executor in 3).
  • The David Archer VI, the final boss in the Mass Effect 2 DLC "Overlord".
  • La-Mulana does this in a way with Viy, whose turrets take the shape of tentacles and can only be temporarily disabled. The remake makes them conventional Combat Tentacles instead.
  • Mindustry inverts this trope - your core has to be defended from incoming waves of enemies, which you do by building turrets and supplying them with ammo.
    • Also played straight later on when your goal is to destroy an enemy base which has the same structure.
  • Portal:
    • In the sequel, Portal 2, GLaDOS takes this a step further by assuming the position of Bad Boss of a modified Personality Core (Atlas) and Turret (P-Body), two robotic test subjects, making her the Core and Turret's Boss.
  • Prison City has a few bosses that consists of cores. The intro level features Tech Engines, two glowing stationary cores that fire projectiles at the player. Power Plant level features Voltaic Nodes that consist of several cores moving on predetermined rails and firing at the player. Finally, there's Hellevator, a boss that consists of a core that shoots Energy Ball projectiles and turrets that shoot laser beams.
  • Resonance of Fate has one in the penultimate chapter. Lots of turrets, one core.
  • Rockman 4 Minus ∞ has the Serges Devil, which combines the Platform Battle with this trope.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront: In space combat the large capital ships can be destroyed by attacking their shields and core components while avoiding the turrets.
  • Tales of Symphonia: The Defense system, guardian of Toize Valley mine.
  • 1000-THR Defense System from ULTRAKILL consists of a core and six turrets. Once the turrets are gone, the core becomes vulnerable.
  • Vanquish has the Jamming Tower at the end of Act 2; a carousel-like structure with three tips containing cores shielded by shutter doors, and armed with cannons, purple death lasers, gatling guns, and missile batteries.


Ikaruga (Misago)

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Main / CoresAndTurretsBoss

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