I hate boss fights.

I really do.

And I don’t know why games insist on having them.


Take, for example, Prince of  Persia, the Two Thrones. It’s basically a puzzle-platform game. It’s *really* good. The locations are gorgeous, the level design inspired, the characters have depth, the dialogue is meaningful and funny, the pace is well balance.


That is, until one boss battle. After a long chariot race (by itself one of the lesser points in the game) you are dropped without a saving point into a fire arena where you fight two bosses that block nearly every one of your moves. Which is frustrating and, for me, impossible.


Now, I know how to technically beat them. I’ve read numerous FAQ’s and walkthroughs.


It’s just, I can’t. 


The sheer number of combos in the game usually allows me to accidentally hit some cool moves by frantically clicking away, and so I can get the Prince out of most fights unharmed.

But beating bosses, especially these ones, relies on immaculate timing and exploiting one weak point. It also assumes you know what you are doing during fight sequences. And I don’t.


I don’t play Prince of Persia games for the fights. I play it for jumping on rooftops and the incredibly cool bits where you click the right button at the right time to make your little prince jump from wall to wall like a monkey on crack. Two Thrones is very kind in that regard, offering sneaky ‘speed kills’ so you don’t have to fight hordes of baddies if you’re good at climbing rooftops and timed clicks. It will also let you avoid annoying fights by simply jumping out of the way and getting on with your climbing.


Until, of course, you end up in a boss fight.


I don’t believe in trying endlessly. I play games for fun and my free time is limited. If I can’t beat a level/fight after ten tries, I’m outta there.


So what usually happens, is that I find some cheat/way round it, or I uninstall the game.

Which is sad, if you think about it. Last time I played the Two Thrones, I quit at this same boss fight. I uninstalled the game and let my anger and frustration cool down for a year.

With Warrior Within (another prince of Persia game) it’s even worse. I quit after being unable to beat the first boss, who’s two minutes into the game (honestly, who puts a boss there? You don’t even know the controls by then!). People tell me that Warrior Within is a sucky game anyway, so this may not be too bad, but I would still like to make my own mind up, by playing it for more than two minutes.

In Psychonauts (an otherwise brilliant platform game) I even quit right before the big finale, because that game manages to combine two boss fights back to back, with a frustratingly hard *timed* level (another pet hate of mine).

Basically, this happens to me time and time again.


I can see on some level why a game maker would like boss battles. They make a change for the regular gameplay, and they give creators a chance to make impressive baddies. And I must say, I was kinda impressed by the horrible giant Klompa thing in Two Thrones. And I’m no wimp, I’ve *passed* an awful amount of annoying boss fights, as well.

But the important bit, is not to make them frustrating. I know they have to be hard, but they also have to be doable. I don’t want to have to use skills that I could have only gotten if I’d charged into all the fight scenes screaming ‘Cowabunga’ at the top of my lungs, instead of sneaking about.


Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I did find a way around my little boss fight problem, in the form of a save game. It’s a copout, sure, but at least it lets me get on with enjoying my game. I’m now gearing up towards the final boss fight. Hopefully, it’s doable.