Follow TV Tropes


Platform Battle

Go To
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 they lose most of their hit points. 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 bonus points.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Game 
  • 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.
  • Cuphead has several 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.
    • The final form of the final boss of the [DLC] also has platforms that are continually falling, and the player has to keep jumping from platform to platform to stay on the screen while shooting at the tiny boss.

    Action Adveture 
  • Cave Story: Three boss battles.
    • The battle against The Core takes place inside a chamber with platforms suspended over a waterlogged floor which poses a drowning hazard, although it isn't difficult to climb back up.
    • 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.
  • In Crimson Glaive Sigma, the boss Blademaster is fought on three platforms suspended between a pit and ceiling of molten metal that close in as the boss gets hurt. These hazards disappear completely once the boss is defeated.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Marvel's Avengers: The battle against Monica Rappaccini is fought on raised platforms in a room otherwise filled with nerve gas.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An Untitled Story:
    • Fluffy XR-9 in is fought entirely on three platforms that descend towards a Non Lethal Bottomless Pit when stepped upon.
    • The Dragon is confronted the second (and last) time atop BlackCastle, where Spikes of Doom leave only one tiny platform safe to stand on.
    • The second form of the Final Boss replaces the relatively wide platform the other forms are fought on with a series of (respawning) Double Jump clusters, forcing the player into constant bouncing around to dodge the boss's slow lasers.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Final boss Nihilanth from Half-Life requires the use of platforms and alien springboards to get a shot at his brain.

    Platform Game 
  • Adventure Island series:
    • In Adventure Island II, the boss of Cloud Island is a giant bird that Master Higgins confronts on tiny clouds that scroll continuously downwards, adding another threat on top of the bird's own projectiles.
    • The seventh boss in Adventure Island III is a giant butterfly that is confronted high above the ground on tiny clouds... which don't move this time around.
  • 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. 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.
  • In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Dracula's final form pulls up platforms from the floor and causes them to circle around him.
  • 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!
  • The fight with Badeline in Celeste is fought in a cave with a ton of pitfalls, spikes, and tricky platforming. To deal a hit to her, you have to make your way through a platforming section while avoiding her attacks.
  • 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.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy: Several bosses:
    • In a fight against Mecha Birdo, the only platforms are the large projectiles the boss shoots.
    • Late in the game the player encounters the "Dragon Devil" which combines the Mega Man 2's Dragon boss with its original Mega Man's That One Boss, Yellow Devil.
  • The final fight with Queen Sectonia in Kirby: Triple Deluxe mostly plays like a regular boss fight, but the platforms continously get smaller until falling becomes a serious possibility.
  • 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.
  • The second boss of Maldita Castilla is a wizard who causes an updraft to lift Don Ramiro high into the clouds. Having only continuously-moving clouds to stand on, Ramiro must then defeat that wizard in order to safely drop back to the ground.
  • Mega Man:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog:
      • The Spring Yard boss harpoons 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.
    • 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.
    • The Egg Golem boss from Sonic Adventure 2 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.
    • 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.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario World battles against the Reznor minibosses always end up on moving platforms... or in hot lava death.
    • 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 Wario Land II and its sequel, falling down and having to redo part of the level is the only punishment Wario can get due to his complete invincibility to any damage, so 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.

  • 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:
    • Titan's 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.
    • 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 uses 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.
  • 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.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The final boss of the first Splatoon takes place on a series of increasingly smaller platforms. The player progresses through the level as damage is dealt to the boss.
  • Warframe:
    • The sidequest "Octavia's Anthem" culminates in Cephalon Suda's datascape where the Tenno confronts Hunhow on circularly-arranged platforms which Hunhow continuously sweeps through with a beam that will stagger the Tenno if they don't jump in time. Note that falling off the platforms here does harm the player, unlike anywhere else where there are only Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits.
    • The investigation in Nighwave season 3 — "The Glassmaker" — leads to an encounter with the namesake Executor Nihil inside a datascape where the only solid footing for the Tenno is provided by triangular platforms Nihil can erase by slamming them with his Vitrica.
    • When the Void Angels fought aboard Zariman Ten-Zero have one segment of their lifebar depleted, they will retreat into the Void where the Tenno fight them on a circular platform. This platform is large and gives plenty of space to move around, but the tricky part is when an angel summons circling orbs to provide immunity to your normal attacks; destroying them requires performing a Void Sling which expectedly puts the Tenno at risk of falling off the platform and back into material space, giving the angel extra time to regenerate their health.