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How to Make a Great Boss Battle

Bosses are a fundamental part of video game heritage. They not only represent a greater challenge that the player must overcome, but also embody that level which you’ve likely just reached the end of.




Bosses are a fundamental part of video game heritage. They not only represent a greater challenge that the player must overcome, but also embody that level which you’ve likely just reached the end of. There are far too many bosses to count now. Most games have them as a checkpoint, to allow the player to show how they’ve learned to use certain skills properly. When created with care, and precision, bosses can be some of the defining moments that make a truly great game. While there’s no direct X+Y=Z formula that makes the perfect fight, there are several innate factors that make a boss stand out among the crowd. When these things come together in unison, the end result is better that its parts.


A boss’ music is a part of its very being, and without it, they’re not complete. An amazing soundtrack can even sometimes make a dull boss great. Balancing the tone of the fight, with the previous level, and even the thrill of the battle is vital. Iconic tracks such as Wind Waker’s Gohma and Pokemon Emerald’s Team Magma/Aqua Boss Battle theme are both made better as fights because of the incredible music behind them. If, a boss battle is done in silence, it becomes totally distant from the player. Music adds a layer of intensity that wouldn’t be possible to fabricate anywhere else. But good music shifts with the fight, changing pace as the pressure mounts, when the inevitable second phase rears its ugly head.


Where the player fights the boss in question is not only vital, but it’s imperative that it’s made to be their home. As either a physical representative of that place or that they own it, each stage should mirror the boss in some way. If it’s a poison area, have the boss be rotted in some hideous way et cetra (like the Dirty Colossus in Demon Souls). Truly fantastic fights reveal the boss in sneaky previews, allowing the anticipation to build early on. Even if the boss isn’t shown, the area should let the player see where they will inevitably fight them at the end. One fantastic example of this kind of design is the Cathedral of the Deep from Dark Souls III. The boss, Aldritch, is shown to have been everywhere marked with an inky black sludge on the floor, a sludge that eventually leads to his antechamber.


Much like location, a boss build up/introduction is a wonderful way to showcase the fiend before the player has got to it. Showing off a massive suit of armour down a long corridor is bound to get any players’ heart racing. Directly showing isn’t the only way of doing this, however, hints are crucial to making players theorize what’s awaiting them at the end. Banners on walls, creatures fleeing away from the player, some hidden mechanism going off in the background: they’re all ways of setting off alarm bells.

Fighting style

In terms of the actual fight between the player, and the boss itself then it comes down to careful mechanical design that dictates how they fight. The greatest bosses have unique attacks that the player has never seen, and will likely not see from anything else in the game. These attacks separate them from just a regular mob enemy, as the player must learn to counter them or negate them. Specific attacks also allow them to test a player’s reflexes, making them better as players overall. If the boss doesn’t have anything unique about them, then they’re not a boss at all – merely a big enemy.


Whether they look like a copy of the player, a bigger version of something that’s already been established in the area prior, or something totally new: a boss’ look is absolutely vital to get right. Not for the sake of fashion, but for the memorability. Sledge from Borderlands was a bandit leader, so he dressed like a bandit. The difference was that Sledge was unique because of his full-face helmet, and his melee weapon (no prizes for guessing what kind of weapon it was). This allowed players to easily distinguish him during the boss fight and made him stand out among other regular enemies. Other, more outlandish, designs can focus on making them a little ridiculous, thus lulling the player into a false sense of security.


The actual place where you fight the boss is often the cherry on the cake for most players. Grand vistas of mountains, burning cities, or a storm surrounding you are enough to add that final touch of awesome which simply betters an already great battle. In some cases like Shadow of the Colossus, the boss is the arena. It’s a unique take on an established format, where the player is fighting the area around them, as well as the boss itself. But certain arenas hold the secret to that boss’ death, with key environmental interactions that can let you get that crucial blow.


A crux in any, and all boss fights. Nailing that perfect difficulty to challenge the player, while not making them feel as if it’s unfair, isn’t easy. This is where discussions about artificial difficulty come in, and people argue about how easy/hard a boss should when there are difficulty settings on the menu. Thankfully some RPG and adventure games have managed to create a fair balance. This balance often depends on the game itself. For example, you wouldn’t expect a boss as hard as the Nameless King from Dark Souls III in a Legend of Zelda title. Challenge is also dictated by the moveset of the boss, the AI itself, and potential damage output. All those things and more come together to create a truly awe-inspiring boss fight for the player.

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Netflix Releases Teaser for ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’

The Netflix Television Event will launch globally on Friday, October 11




It was on September 29, 2013, that Breaking Bad came to an end with the final episode of that series, “Felina” in which Walter White evades a nationwide manhunt in order to return to New Mexico and deliver the remaining profits from his illegal methamphetamine empire to his family. Knowing cancer will soon kill him, Walt revisits his former acquaintances to settle his affairs and prepare himself for the conflict and his death. When the credits rolled, audiences believed it would be the last time they would see many of these characters and while we did get a spinoff show in Better Call Saul, one character who hasn’t returned in any other show as of yet is Jesse Pinkman. That’s about to change…

Netflix announced on Saturday that it will release a new Breaking Bad movie that will center on Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who was last seen in the TV series speeding off in a stolen Chevrolet El Camino to parts unknown.

The film, titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, was written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, and will be released on Netflix on Oct. 11. The film is also expected to be broadcast at a later date on AMC, the cable network where the TV series was originally shown from 2008 to 2013.

Official Synopsis:

The Netflix Television Event El Camino: Breaking Bad Movie reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul).  In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.  This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad.  The movie is produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

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Watch the Trailer for ‘The Mandalorian’ the First Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Series




Thanks to the arrival of the D23 Expo, Disney has revealed the first trailer for its long-awaited Star Wars original series, The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Pedro Pascal as a mysterious, gun-slinging Mandalorian bounty hunter who navigates the seedier side of the Star Wars universe.

Along with Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi. The first season of episodes will be directed by filmmakers like Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.

the mandalorian trailer

Here’s the official description of The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The Mandalorian begins streaming on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Check out The Mandalorian trailer below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Soundtrack Gets a Vinyl Release




While we don’t publish music news or music reviews here at Goomba Stomp, we are huge fans of vinyl and since we cover film, we figured this announcement would interest some of our readers.

Back in 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out topped our list of the best films of 2017 and while the year isn’t yet over, there’s a good chance his follow-up Us, will land somewhere on our best of the year list as well. There are many reasons why we love Peele’s ambitious sophomore film including for the suspense, cinematography, performances, and direction, but one thing that doesn’t get enough praise is the soundtrack by Michael Abels. And if you like us, love the original score, you’re going to love this bit of news.

After giving his Get Out soundtrack a vinyl release last year, Jordan Peele is now doing the same for the soundtrack to Us.

WaxWork Records announced the news earlier today and if you’re planning on buying a copy, you don’t have to wait since it is now available to purchase through the label’s website.

The soundtrack, which received a digital release earlier this year, features composer Michael Abels’ score, in addition to songs from Janelle Monáe, Minnie Ripperton and the “Tethered Mix” of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” that appeared in the film’s first trailer. The album artwork was created by illustrator Edward Kinsella and features an interactive die-cut mirror board back cover, a heavyweight art print and an exclusive essay from UCLA Professor, scholar, and activist Shana L. Redmond Ph.D.

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Trailer for the Twisted Dark Comedy thriller ‘Villains’




Alter has released the first poster and the official trailer for Villains, the upcoming dark comedy thriller which stars Bill Skarsgård (IT) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) as a couple who rob a gas station and scores enough cash to start a new life in Florida. Unfortunately for them, their getaway plans turn upside down and the young couple end up stumbling on much more than they bargained for.

Villains hits theaters on September 20th and was written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. In addition to Skarsgard and Monroe, the movie also stars Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick. It’s co-produced by Bron Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment, Creative Wealth Media Finance, and The Realm Films. You can watch the trailer for Villains below.

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Beanie Babies: The Collectables with Heart

Toys We Love Spotlight



For our Toys We Love Spotlight, I’m looking at one of my personal favourites: Beanie Babies. I had collected so many of these growing up, and households worldwide in the 90s and early 2000s were sure to have at least one Beanie Baby in their possession (was it even the 90s if they didn’t?). These plushie companions were cute, cuddly, and collectable, so it’s not a surprise that the Beanie Babies craze swept the globe, forcing parents and toy collectors everywhere to dig into their wallets.

Beanie Babies had a few aspects to them that made them stand out from your average plushie. Firstly, they did not have as much stuffing as most soft toys. Whilst some thought that this made them look cheap, it also made them light, posable, and gave them a realistic feel and look. The bear Beanie Babies were particularly good to pose, and this set them apart from run-of-the-mill teddy bears. Another element that made Beanie Babies more unique was their special tag. Each toy had a tag attached which had the toy’s name, date of birth, and a quotation etched inside. The former was something that could have been a risky choice, as although it wasn’t completely taking away the child’s choice of name — there was nothing stopping them from just calling their Beanie whatever they wanted — a pre-selected name can be difficult to sell, as kids can often take great pride and pleasure in naming their toys.

It was a great success, however, and worked as a nice finishing touch for the Beanie Babies, adding a dash of personality and flair (something much needed in the often critically over-saturated soft toy market), as well as making each Beanie Baby feel like their own creature with their own little stories. Adding to that was the wide variety of animals that were available, such as Tiny the Chihuahua, Pegasus the Unicorn or Swampy the Alligator. This means that the desires of each individual child or enthusiastic collector could be catered to (I myself favoured the dogs and bears).

The puppies were my Beanie Baby of choice. They were all such good boys and girls.

The Beanie Babies also had their own way of tackling difficult issues in society, showing them to kids through the guise of a soft toy. I’ll give you an example through my own experience: I had a Beanie Baby that (as odd as it may sound) gave me more of an understanding of the horrors of September 11th. Weird, right? Allow me to explain. I was only just nine years old on that now-historical day when the twin towers in New York were attacked and so many innocent people lost their lives. I had come home from school (it was afternoon time here in the UK when it happened), and I remember my mum watching it on television in complete shock. She had watched the whole thing whilst I’d been at school.

I didn’t really understand what was happening to be honest. Even when I was watching the repeats of the plane crashing into the side of the tower, I was somewhat oblivious the gravity of the situation (though as a nine year old child, I suppose I could be forgiven for that). The news continued to report the tragedy for a long time, and my school held assemblies to discuss the matter. I knew people had died, and that made me very sad, but I remember thinking that people died all the time, so why was this one incident reported on so much? About a month or so after, TY released three Beanie Babies as a tribute to those lost during 9/11. One of these was a Dalmatian Beanie Baby called Rescue, and I wanted him the moment I saw him, not really knowing the true nature of his purpose. My mum obliged happily, knowing what he represented. I remember taking my little Dalmatian with the red collar and American flag on his leg home and reading his tag. It read:

To honor our heroes
who lost their lives in the
national catastrophe that
took place on September 11, 2001.
We mourn for them and express our
deepest sympathy to their families.
God Bless America

Rescue the Dalmatian was joined by America the Bear and Courage the German Shepherd. The Beanies were a set of three released to honor those who perished in the tragedy of 9/11.

I found Rescue in my room recently, and the memories flooded back to me upon reading it again. I remember looking into all the acts of heroism and bravery after reading Rescue’s tag, and that’s when the situation really hit home to me. I looked into the stories of firefighters and first responders and those who had died, as well as all the search-and-rescue dogs attempting to save people among the chaos. As a child, it can be hard to see past your immediate opinion and truly consider the sheer weight of a situation, but with Rescue’s help, I was able to see just how this event was indeed very different to anything I had ever seen before, and how serious it was. It was the first time I felt like I was thinking like a grown up. I looked at the world differently from then on — obviously as I got older, but also from my ability to think harder and search deeper. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have even bothered if it wasn’t for Rescue reminding me of exactly how much was lost on that day.

Rescue, perhaps the goodest and bravest boy of them all.

Beanie babies will forever be ingrained in culture. They are still bought, sold and collected even now and will remain a timeless staple of most of our childhoods. They certainly are for me. Especially you Rescue, the bravest firefighting Dalmatian the world has ever known.

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