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Video Game / Bleed

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The year was 20XX, a time where worms and dragons were recognized for their acts of heroism. Many of the heroes of that era were immortalized on the shrine dubbed The Hall of Heroes to remember their great deeds. However, it is now the year 21XX and these legendary heroes soon faded into obscurity, content on living off their past glory. Enter Wryn, a spunky girl who wants to become the greatest video game hero of all time. To do that, she'll have to wipe the slate clean by taking down all of the former heroes who came before her and come up on top.

Bleed is an indie run-and-gun game by Ian Campbell of Bootdisk Revolution. You play as Wryn, a girl with a big arsenal and bigger dreams as she strives to become the greatest video game hero out there by killing off the former heroes, but rest assured, it'll be a task easier said than done. Not to worry as she can arm herself to the teeth with an assortment of weapons at her disposal, and when things really gets crazy, she can also slow time to a crawl when needed.

It was released on December 12, 2012, was originally available on Xbox 360 via the Xbox LIVE Indie Games section for $2.99 up until its closure, however, the PC version (Windows, Mac, Linux) is available via GamersGate, Humble Bundle, Steam as voted by the fans at Steam Greenlight, and for $4.99. An update for the game has added a two-player co-op feature, allowing you and a partner take down the former video game heroes together.

In September 2, 2014, Ian Campbell has revealed that a sequel was in the works, and it was released on February 8, 2017 for PC via Humble Bundle, Steam, and for $9.99. In this installment, Valentine, a psychokinetic girl with aspirations of being the greatest villain of all time, is reigning terror across the world. Now, it's up to Wryn, the only hero the world has, to stop her. Both games are also available separately or in a bundle for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

Has absolutely nothing to do with the game Blood and not to be mistaken for They Bleed Pixels (although the protagonist of that game appears as an unlockable Guest Fighter in the second game). If you're looking for tropes pertaining to blood, see Bloody Tropes.

The series features examples of:

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted with Wryn, even though the graphics style is a pastiche of an era when this was nearly universal and it's easily missed.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Ninja is so shrouded in mystery that nobody knows what their gender is, according to the credits of Bleed 2.
  • Action Girl: Wryn and Bunny Rockette. Valentine and The Clawed Girl in the second game, as well as the mid-boss Red Sprite.
  • Actionized Sequel: The first game focuses equally on both platforming and gunning in most of its stages, while the sequel de-emphasizes platforming-designed levels in favor of more intense boss encounters.
  • Arrange Mode:Both games have the Arcade mode, wherein you pick any difficulty level and run through the whole game on a single life. invoked The first game lets you adjust the length of your health and energy meters for the run, while the second lets you choose to play Freestyle (any character can be chosen and all unlockable weapons/air-dodge styles can be picked from the pause menu) or New Game (play as Wryn with just her twin pistols, katana, and basic air-dodge). Another feature in both games is Challenge mode, where you get to pick any combination of up to three bosses from the main game and fight against all of them at once. Finally, Bleed 2 adds the Endless mode, which is a series of five miniature levels where the layouts, enemies, and bosses are randomized.
  • Asteroids Monster: Guppy, the first boss of the first game. He splits into four smaller copies at half health, which each split into a swarm of Lil' Guppies after taking more damage.
  • Attack Reflector: In Bleed 2, melee attacks can reflect attacks (both bullets and ramming moves) of the right color; Wryn can reflect pink attacks, The Rival can reflect yellow attacks, and the Clawed Girl can reflect both. White and Valentine instead focus on absorbing projectiles.
  • Badass Adorable: Wryn is undeniably cute and she can certainly kick some ass.
  • Battleship Raid: The middle of Bleed 2 revolves around approaching, boarding, and eventually demolishing the Nemesis, Valentine's colossal battleship; the fifth stage, "The Warship", features you destroying its main power source as well as its "pilot", Anti-Battalion.
  • Big Fancy House: Guppy's manor in Mission 1 of the first game.
  • Big "NO!": Wryn occasionally lets out a "N O O O O O O O O O!!" during a Game Over screen (and yes, the spaces are included).
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Wryn has a very strange idea of how one becomes a hero.
  • Bond One-Liner: Perform well enough against the Chopper Core in the first game and Wryn will say "And that takes care of the cremation!!" She then immediately lampshades it with, "Hee hee! I feel like such a badass!!"
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The default weapons of the first game: dual pistols and a rocket launcher. They shoot fast, are very powerful, are useful for every situation, and have the best reach. All the other weapons are either outclassed or are only situationally useful, aside from White.
    • Bleed 2 makes all the weapons more useful by upping their fire rates and letting them bypass certain boss defenses, but the starting pistols/katana combo is very easy to rely on, since it's required for your first playthrough and can be used to reflect attacks while still having long range.
  • Boss Bonanza: Two levels of the second game count:
    • "The Launch", after having only one mid-boss, ends with a rush against four of the robo-heroes from the first game, one after another.
    • "Epilogue" has you fighting four Cores before coming face-to-face with The Rival/That Blonde Guy once more; each boss leads into another aside from a vertical climb before the Whale Core.
  • Boss Game:
    • Challenge Mode lets you fight any combination of up to three bosses you've beaten in the Story Mode as well as on any difficulty. Needless to say, certain combinations can be downright ridiculous.
      Wryn: (after dying to three bosses in challenge mode) "This is madness... I LIKE IT!"
    • The second game is borderline this due to the more frequent boss encounters, especially later on.
  • Boss-Only Level: "The Showdown" in Bleed 2, which takes place solely in a boxing ring where you fight Valentine over four phases.
  • Boss Rush: The final level of the first game, courtesy of robotic clones of all the heroes you've fought (aside from the Dragon Heart). Not only that, you have to fight two of each boss at once, though they have half the health.
  • Boss Subtitles: The game gives a quick blurb on the boss you're about to face along with its name. In the second game, the names of the bosses are only shown in the credits, along with the accompanying blurb.
  • Bottomless Magazines: All weapons have infinite ammo, but the dual pistols take the cake. Wryn easily uses thousands of bullets per level and never reloads.
  • Bottomless Pits: There are a few throughout both games; in Bleed they instantly kill you, while in Bleed 2 you respawn with some lost health. Subverted (with Lampshade Hanging and a secret achievement) after defeating the first miniboss in the first game, which is followed by a pit that's only a few feet deep.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Wryn talks directly to the player whenever she "dies". She also thanks you for helping her at the end of each game.
  • Bullet Hell: While not to the extremes of, let's say a CAVE or Treasure Shoot 'Em Up, Very Hard pulls no punches when it comes filling the screen fast-moving projectiles. Wryn's bullet time ability becomes an imperative in the later levels.
  • Bullet Time: Wryn can slow time down, which can help when you need to make precise jumps or gun down an enemy.
  • Cast from Hit Points: In Bleed 2, White can spend roughly a quarter of his health to supercharge himself, turning his next air dash into a strong charge attack. While it isn't quite strong enough to be worth the health cost on its own (even with White's ability to heal by absorbing bullets), it can boost the style meter a lot against bosses, which powers up White's arm cannon.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Valentine strives to be this, as her goal is to becomes the Greatest Villain of All Time since she can't settle for being a simple convict. She arranges an entire army, complete with battleship, purely to prove herself as a great villain, which ultimately fails when Wryn foils her plans and humiliates her in battle.
  • Cats Are Mean: Guppy's kitten minions. They spit hairballs at you or charge right into you. Some even roll barrels at you. In the sequel, Valentine employs them, and they start piloting hoverbikes and even a helicopter to attack Wryn.
  • Character Development:
    • In a minor form, but significant. In earlier levels, Wryn will frequently talk about herself on death, insult the player frequently or telling them they need to practice. This is shown even more so after you defeat Gibby & Stu: she mentions that they both get the title of 5th Greatest Hero and hopes that she might get someone to share #1 Hero with someone one day. But, as you progress farther and complete the game, she actually gets more inclusive with death quotes, such as changing any previous mentions of "I" to "We". And while she can't exactly share the #1 title spot, she does at least give you the Best Player of All Time title. In the second game, however, she does share the spot... with The Rival!
    • Plucky, the news anchor in the second game, sort of. After beating story mode on very hard difficulty, you unlock him as a playable character. Playing through story mode with him will have Wryn replace him as the news anchor. After the first few levels, she tells the player of her uncertainty of Plucky's heroic worth. Come the last few levels, she's cheering him on, and even gave him a new name: the Green Guardian.
  • Chainsaw Good: Wryn can unlock a chainsaw in both games, which does a decent amount of damage but requires getting very close to enemies.
  • Continuing is Painful: If you die in Story Mode, your final score in the level gets penalized for every time you die.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Present in both games, though it's local co-op only and both players share the same Life and Time meters.
  • Copy Protection: Averted. The PC versions of both games are DRM-free, even on Steam (they do however require their Steam-related .dll files to run).
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In Story Mode, you have infinite lives and frequent checkpoints, and dying just takes a toll on your final score of the stage. Wryn lampshades this sometimes after dying.
    Wryn: "Don't worry, it's just a game. I'll be back in a sec."
    • Wryn says the same quote on death in Arcade, adding a "...right?...RIGHT???" with a panicked look on her face.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: In the first game, there's some stuff in the stages that can be shot down (like the chandeliers in Mission 1) for extra points.
  • Difficulty Levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: White. It's a weapon that comes with a character you unlock once you beat the game on Hard. Its power goes up along with the style gauge. At first, it looks like a painstakingly difficult weapon to use with the character who gets it by default, until you find that, after beating the game on Very Hard, Wryn can also equip it. Once you reach rank A or S, it's a matter of seconds before bosses go down. The game's Very Hard difficulty and Arcade Mode become much more manageable afterwards.
  • Double Jump: A quadruple-jump in this game's case, which can also act as an air-dash since you also can dash in any direction.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Gibby & Stu, the worm couple from Mission 2 of the first game. Robo-Gibby & Stu keep their role as this in Bleed 2.
    • During the last level of the first game, you have to fight two weakened clones of each level boss (who act independently). Or in the case of Gibby & Stu, four worms at once. Challenge Mode also lets you set up battles against two or even three bosses at once.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Rival is partially this to Wryn, even though both are technically on the side of good. The sequel features a straighter version with Anti-Battalion, a dark purple version of the heroic Battalion who works with Valentine.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The title screen of Bleed 2 features Wryn playing video games and doing various animations. Once you clear the game for the first time, The Rival joins her and more animations are added.Beating the game with Plucky adds him to the tittle screen as well
  • Excuse Plot: Basically our heroine wants to kill all the former heroes to become the next great hero, and you'll probably have a blast doing it. Subverted in the sequel, where there is a villain terrorizing the world, and it's up to Wryn to stop her.
  • Fallen Hero: Some of the Greatest Heroes of All-time fall into this trope.
    • Bunny Rockette is the first obvious case of a hero who has fallen from grace. She previously used to purely race others for fortune, and give the funds away to charity. But now, not only is she keeping the funds to herself, she has recruited a gang that is willing to resort to violence, as much of the 4th level can attest.
    • Guppy heavily downplayed this, as he has fully withdrawn and retired to his mansion, secluded from society, and has let himself go in the process. Unlike Gibby and Stu, who retired to raise a family, Guppy does nothing productive during his time in retirement.
    • The Dragon demands sacrifices to sate it's hunger.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Flamethrower. Its range is short but it does extend its reach as you burn stuff.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Rival. Not only did he build all the Core mid-bosses in every level, but he created robot versions of all enemies and even bosses from the previous levels that show up in his level. Yes, he even made robot versions of the robot enemies. Don't think too hard about it. In the sequel, he pilots a truck armed with lasers, missiles, and rockets, and it can even turn into a jet!
  • Game-Over Man: Wryn will quip to you when she dies, ranging from comforting ("It's not your fault! They just got lucky that time!") to insulting ("Do you have an older brother who could clear this part, maybe?").
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of a mission, the game grades your score based on difficulty, style points, and how often you died, if at all.
  • Genki Girl: Wryn is a very happy girl, almost bordering on Pollyanna territory. While she sports an unflinching poker face during the levels, she smiles very brightly once it's done. And of course, there is the final cutscene.
  • Guest Fighter:
    • White Mk. I is originally from a little-known platformer called Freqμency,note  which was released on Xbox Live Indie Games in 2009 and PC as a freeware game. Plucky, a character from developer's first game, also makes a playable cameo in Bleed 2.
    • Bleed 2 adds the Clawed Girl and Plucky (from Plucky's 3D Adventure) as playable characters, and features Rex Rocket (from the indie game of the same name) as a boss.
  • Guns Akimbo: One of Wryn's default weapons is a set of dual pistols. An unlockable variant of the Dual Pistols allows Wryn to shoot in front of her and in the opposite direction. Bleed 2 combines the functions of both, but only when you're wielding the pistols by themselves and not alongside the katana.
  • Hard Mode Perks: On the harder difficulties, enemies put up a much greater fight but you also get a higher score bonus at the end of the level, and score can be used to buy shop items in the first game.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • Very Hard, where enemies are faster and tend to fill the screen with projectiles much more than the lower difficulties.
    • A Mutation in the sequel lets you turn on a "Too Hard" difficulty, which speeds up every boss and makes them produce extreme Bullet Hell.
  • Heart Container: Players can purchase Life and Energy upgrades from the shop in the first game. Not present in the sequel since the shop no longer exists.
  • Heroic Mime: The Clawed Girl is completely mute just like she was in her home game (which had no dialogue). She has no quotes when she dies, and her conversation with The Rival in "Epilogue" is very one-sided.
  • Hero Killer: It's the objective for the game, and the only way Wryn thinks she can become the Greatest Hero of All Time.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Rival starts as this in the sequel, with Plucky the news anchor opening distrusting him even though he's helping Wryn this time. The public opinion turns around after his Whale Core is shot down (he turns out to be fine), and the end credits state that he's now considered the Greatest Hero of All Time alongside Wryn.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Valentine in the second game, if you assume a playthrough with only the Pistols and Katana. On her own, Wryn has no way to defeat Valentine while her shield is up, since it is Immune to Bullets and she is smart enough to not use attacks that can be reflected at her with enough power to break it. With this in mind, Valentine should have been able to easily defeat Wryn in both scenarios she uses it. Unfortunately in the second fight with it, she abused and angered her fans by using them as cannon fodder and as part of her telekinesis attacks and by forcefully taking weapons from them when she decided she needed one. This causes Valentine's fan to turn on her and, on Wryn's cue, start Produce Pelting at Valentine, which is surprisingly enough to break the shield and leave her vulnerable.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Subverted; Wryn can unlock a bunch of weapons that can be accessed from the pause menu, but only two can be used at a time.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Wryn's journey to be so is basically the whole plot of Bleed.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Wryn can get one in the game, which can also deflect bullets. In the sequel, Wryn starts the game with a katana and is able to shoot short-ranged beams from it and parry some physical attacks.
  • Legacy Boss Battle: The sequel has a lot of fun with this, bringing nearly every boss from the first game back in some form alongside the new bosses.
    • Three of The Rival's Cores get Mk. II versions (Mirror, Mantis, and Spider), while his new Whale Core does a vertical chase in the final stage just as the Chopper Core did in the first level of Bleed. The Rival also serves as the Final Boss once again.
    • The Kitten Chopper in "The Highway" fights like the Chopper Core, though it flies above the road without ever changing the side it attacks from.
    • "The Launch" ends with a Boss Rush against four of the robo-heroes from the final level of the first game (Robo-Guppy, Robo-Gibby & Stu, Robo-White, and Robo-Bunny), who fight mostly the same as they originally did. Notably, Robo-Guppy doesn't split apart and instead borrows the absent Bubble Core's gimmick of producing spheres that explode into targeted bullets. Why doesn't Robo-Batalion appear? It's because they get a much different revamped fight as Anti-Battalion in the next stage.
    • "The Warship" features the Nemesis AI Pod, which fights like the Dragon Heart of the first game (stationary target surrounded by turrets and closing-in walls) before becoming a unique boss in its second phase.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Plucky is this in the second game. He cannot use the normal weapons that Wryn and the Rival can, and is effectively a platforming game protagonist in the wrong game, having no weapon or reliable method of deflecting attacks and has a traditional double jump rather than an air dash of any type. In his panic, he will use finger guns to attack, which surprisingly cannot be deflected at all and also have the ability to randomly dish out a powerful explosive attack (With the tendency increasing the more panicked Plucky is, AKA the closer he is to getting hit), and his taunt can be used to deflect any attack color. (Though not reliably, due to the need to hold the taunt in order to charge the deflect effect) This makes him surprisingly strong, but also (as expected) difficult to use compared to obviously more powerful characters like Wryn.
  • Little Miss Badass: Yeah, you guessed it: Wryn.
  • Made of Indestructium: The Rival's Whale Core, his primary vehicle in the sequel, is a lot more durable than his other mechs. It gets riddled with bullets by Wryn when it first appears as a truck, but comes back to survive a battle with Valentine, and goes through a whole aerial assault in plane mode before being shot down by Rex Rocket's giant missiles... and it recovers from that in time to save Wryn from the falling Nemesis. It finally gets grounded when Wryn fights in in the final stage, though it descends offscreen and is never seen exploding like the other Cores. Lampshaded in the cast roll, where the Whale Core's Boss Subtitle is "Hard to Kill".
  • Magikarp Power. White's weapon. By default, it's short-ranged and does little in terms of damage, but as your rank goes up, so does its range and damage output.
  • Mirror Boss: The Rival has equivalents to several of your weapons, and when he uses the sword he can do the triple-air-dash just like you.
  • Nintendo Hard: Downplayed in Story Mode. You deal with a lot of enemies and there's no recovery items, but there are also a lot of checkpoints and infinite continues. Played straight in Arcade Mode as you have to make it through the entire game in a single life. There are still no recovery items and your health doesn't refill between levels (Bleed 2 adds restorative hearts at certain points, but using them resets your style meter).
  • No Fair Cheating: Activating Mutations in the sequel disables saving high scores, even if the options chosen are neutral or negative.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • For her fight in "The Highway" and her final phase in "The Showdown", Valentine covers herself in a psychokinetic shield that resists gunfire. The method of breaking the shield is different each time; in the former fight, you have to prevent Valentine's attacks from hitting the Whale Core so The Rival can hit the shield with its weaponry, and in the latter you have to use the otherwise cosmetic taunt button to signal the audience to bombard her. You can also use an especially powerful attack to break the shield yourself, such as missiles or playable Valentine's laser.
    • The Nemesis AI Pod is a Shielded Core Boss in its second phase, and in between attack volleys, it uses one of three attacks that can be turned against it to blow a hole in its shield for a while.
  • Rank Inflation: The scoring system when you chain attacks from shooting down enemies. Your style points bonuses goes by (from least-to-highest) D, C, B, A, and finally S. Taking damage or not shooting stuff for a while will definitely bring your bonuses down.
  • Ray Gun: The Laser Rifle. It shoots a laser beam that goes through enemies but offset by a slow firing rate. In Bleed 2, it fires a lot faster but only shoots its powerful piercing shot if it isn't fired for a short while.
  • Retraux: A 16-bit styled action game with chiptune music, though none of it seems to imitate any particular system.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The Revolver, whose shots ricochet off surfaces.
  • Robot Me: The robo-heroes, crude replicas of the world's greatest heroes that sit in the Hall of Heroes until The Rival reprograms them to attack Wryn. There happens to be a robotic copy of White Mk. II despite White already being a robot.
  • Rose-Haired Sweetie: Wryn has the hair and the personality to match it; maybe not the morality, but two out of three ain't bad.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Wryn's got one on, and so does the Rival.
  • Scoring Points: Not just for high scores in each level, but also for points to spend in the shop for Life and Energy upgrades and weapons (though the second game lacks a shop).
  • Secret Character: Extra playable characters can be unlocked depending on the difficulty. The sequel features unlockable characters with their unique playstyles and guest characters from other indie games.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Invoked. You can disable Wryn's ability to Wall Jump in the options menu (first game only), but Arcade Mode does more as you have to go through the whole game in one life. Arcade Mode allows you to enable a timer in the game and lets you adjust your own Life Meter, all the way to being a One-Hit-Point Wonder if you're really masochistic.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Somewhat. A shotgun can be unlocked in the first game, but it's not very practical due to the short range and average damage output.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Wryn's outfit lacks them.
  • Sticky Bomb: The Remote Mines can stick to the environment and on enemies.
  • The Rival:
    • The Rival, but don't pretend that doesn't make him any less Wryn's enemy. Not only has he been piloting the cores that attack Wryn at least once in every level, he also attempts to take all the credit for Wryn's kills (which works out in her favor, but still). Besides that, the death-specific quotes against him in his boss fight show it even more; while Wryn makes joking comments about all the other bosses, Wryn makes it quite clear she wants the guy dead.
      Wryn: "Lemme at him! Just one more go, we'll tear him apart!"
      Wryn: (dying after fighting three Rivals in challenge mode) "Grrr, I hate this guy!! Having multiples of him is almost more than I can stand!"
    • Their dynamic changes a lot in Bleed 2; The Rival initially starts attacking Wryn with his Cores as before, but by the end of the second stage, Valentine becomes a more pressing problem, so he forms an Enemy Mine and helps Wryn fight Valentine for a few levels in hopes that it will get him recognized as a hero, which mostly works out (Plucky is dismissive at first but changes his mind after the Whale Core is seemingly shot down). When he attacks Wryn again in the final level, it's purely to settle their score rather than out of malice. The credits reveal that they now share the title of Greatest Hero of All Time, and they play video games together on the title screen from then on.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Wryn loves ice cream sundaes. She even drinks from one on the main menu in both games!
  • Traintop Battle: All of Mission 4 in the first game is about this. Wryn goes around blasting away Bunny Rockette's goons while avoiding getting hit by the tunnels.
  • Underground Level: Mission 2 of the first game takes Wryn through an underground cavern, complete with falling rocks.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The robo-heroes of the first game were destroyed soundly by Wryn, but they reappear with only slight damage in the sequel.
  • Unlockable Content:
    • By beating the first game on Normal, Hard, and Very Hard, you unlock Robo-Wryn, White Mk. I, and The Rival, respectively as playable characters. Each come with their own unique stats and abilities.
    • For every difficulty you beat Bleed 2 on, you unlock a new character, a new weapon, and a new air dash style. You also unlock Mutations, modifiers that make the game easier or harder while disabling scores, after the first clear.
  • Villain Protagonist: Wryn is more or less this in the first game, since her goal is to kill all the heroes of the world so she can become the Greatest Hero of All Time; she only manages to get away with it because The Rival tried to take credit for killing the heroes (and it's possible his Cores would've killed the heroes anyway had Wryn not been there). The sequel downplays this heavily, as Wryn proves herself as a hero by stopping Valentine and her actions in the first game aren't even mentioned.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Valentine has hundreds of adoring fans who make up her army, and in "The Showdown", she can call upon them to help her fight Unfortnunately for her, she abuses this trust a bit too much by using her audience as cannon fodder, and they eventually turn on her and help the player character win the fight.
  • Wall Jump: Wryn can do this, but interestingly enough, the player can also disable this in the options menu if they want to rely on her quadruple-jumps alone (this isn't an option in the sequel). invoked
  • What the Hell, Player?: Wryn's quotes after dying a lot will make you feel a bit guilty.
    Wryn: "No more! No more!!"
    Wryn: "Maybe I can't be the best hero of all time..."
    Wryn: (dying to three bosses in Challenge Mode) "How did we even get in this nightmare?!"
  • Womb Level: Mission 6 of the first game takes place in the dragon's digestive system, fighting off bodily spores and eventually reaching the dragon's heart, which is the boss in this level.