Deconstructing the game: Combatribes

Are you dead yet?: A pet peeve I have is when there isn’t much of a visual representation of boss health. Now I’m not saying put a giant health bar to show me every little hit I perform on the boss, but for fucks sake, if the fight is going to take awhile program the enemy to give me visual and/or gameplay cues as to their current state. Have the boss get upset, attack faster, turn red, anything! It gets boring when I have no clue how I am doing when fighting a boss, especially a boss that has way too much health.

The bosses in Combatribes take an exorbitant amount of hits to go down. Without much of a variation in attack patterns or any visual representation of health going down, it causes me, as the player, to get bored with the scenario. There is no sense of accomplishment until the very last hit, and by that time I could have just turned off the system (or walked away from the arcade cabinet), two things that are the bane of game developers.

The health issue is bigger than just boredom, though, especially because….

Bosses, in general, are too over powered: The bosses are where most of the game’s play comes from, and they break all conventions of the game’s flimsy, simple logic to be more “boss like”; aka cheap as fuck.

Most bosses come with a weapon that almost has it’s own health bar, which is in itself fine. What isn’t fine is that the amount of range/priority that the hit box on the weapon has makes it very difficult to mount any offense on the boss. Also the bosses can pull off a crazy fast repeated attack which… just isn’t appreciated.

Many of the bosses cannot be grabbed, at all. This makes attempting a combo, which, by the nature of the combo, can end in a grab (without any way of avoiding it), to be very detrimental to the player and only encourages a hunting and pecking style of fighting, where the player has to walk up, punch the enemy and then walk away to try to get in another hit, which is probably when the brawler genre is at it’s worst.

The SNES version goes even further and makes the bosses even WORSE.

One of the good aspects of the game, the ability to attack an enemy while the enemy has been knocked on the ground, is removed when fighting bosses. Bosses cannot be attacked while on the ground, no matter what, because all of the bosses have a rising attack that has an insanely large hit box. This prevents the player from using any down time from knocking down the boss to move in thus taking away one of your few viable plans of attack.