Favorite Not-Quite Bosses - Cru Hunter Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Favorite Not-Quite Bosses

There are your boss fights and your regular enemies. Then there are those foes that aren't scripted boss fights per-se, but the player always has to be incredibly careful when around them. These enemies often dominate the playing field with their high damage or intimidating presence. So here's your favorite type of blog, the list, about my favorite 'not-quite bosses' enemies in games. Pun intended, they've killed me a lot...like a boss.

Hunters (Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: ODST, Halo Reach)

These guys were tough. In all of the games in which they've appeared, they're practically impervious to damage unless hit in the small orange areas left unprotected by their giant arm shields and blue armor, or if hit by explosive damage like grenades and rockets. Sure, a Scorpion can kill them with ease, but most of the time the player faces a Hunter, they don't have tanks at their disposal. They were a little easier to defeat in Halo, since a single sniper shot to the uncovered, orange back of a Hunter would kill them or seriously hurt them, and their AI wasn't the best to combat sneakier players. In Halo 2 and onward, however, each Hunter could take minutes to defeat by a single Spartan. Get too close, and they would usually kill you instantly with one smack from their shields. Big, blue, and bulky, they always come armed with arm-mounted fuel-rod cannons that, depending on which Halo game they appeared, would shoot either a devastating burst or sustained beam of green death at the player. Unless you brought a rocket launcher and a lot of grenades, they're consistently going to give you a run for your money.

Boomers (Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3)


Oh Boomers. They're the true crusher of hubris in Gears. Think you can just go up to one in Horde mode and shoot it at point blank with your shotgun? Well, it just yelled Boom! and now you're going to die very, very quickly. One way to describe a Boomer is a big dumb monster packing serious firepower in the form of a grenade/rocket launcher type of weapon, aptly named the Boomshot. Not the talking type, they do however have an affinity for shouting Boom! right before they blow you to smithereens. Also of note is how their footsteps can be heard when in close proximity. Definitely recommend taking them out from a long range, as since you never know when they'll decide to shout Boom!, you never want to be out in the open where they can easily kill you.

Tank (Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2)


Think baseball player jacked up on steroids. Now think baseball player infected with a lust for killing everything that moves, mixed up with two or three hairless silverback gorillas, and jack that up on ten heavy doses of steroids. Due to their massive amount of health and relatively fast movement, Tanks are only killable on easier difficulties solo, and on harder difficulties they often require a closely coordinated team. One hit from the massive arms of a Tank and you're pretty much dead on the higher difficulties. There are a couple of good things however: it's impossible to be stealthy as a Tank, as not only does your every movement shake the earth around you and alert survivors to your presence, but once you get put on the playing field, music accompanies your yells and grunts as you inevitably strive to meet a survivor's face with your giant fist.

Striders (Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode 1, Half Life 2: Episode 2)


What's worse than squaring off against a heavily armored, stories-tall monster straight out of War of the Worlds? Said monster with a head-mounted pulse cannon and warp cannon, then spike all three of its legs, and you'd have something a bit more terrifying. That's what a Strider is: one hit from its pulse cannon destroys an entire building, a couple hits from its pulse cannon can kill pretty much everything, and getting stepped on one squashes the player like an ant. Fortunately, encounters with them are entirely scripted so that you're always ready to use a rocket launcher (or a Magnuson Device) to kill them. What does make things a bit more difficult is how smart they can be: they can dodge rocket fire every once in a while, and sticking them with the Magnuson Device can get tricky when said Strider is accompanied by a pack of Hunters.

Juggernaut (Modern Warfare 2)


Juggernauts are simply crazy. Why the enemy sends in these guys to take you down is beyond me: if I'm not mistaken, those types of suits are typically used for diffusing bombs, not to take out one guy (aka, you). Either way, they bum-rush the player any chance they get. After all, who needs cover when you can withstand multiple shots from a Berrett 50cal sniper-rifle? Not only do these guys take a lot to bring down, but they bring firepower to match, usually a heavy machine gun. Combine that firepower, which kills the player nearly instantly, with deadly accuracy, and you've got yourself a problem when you see a Juggernaut coming your way. They never alert their presence to the player, and they will not stop until they or the player are killed. Oh, and usually they come in small groups, although some Spec Ops levels have the player taking out fifteen at once, which I remember trying many, many, many times before completing.

Harbinger (Mass Effect 2)


While Harbinger wasn't necessarily the most difficult not-quite-a-boss enemy to kill compared to the likes of a Tank or Strider, he definitely was the most annoying. Harbinger would inhabit any random enemy on the battlefield, which would automatically add some added shield protection and a nasty habit of rushing towards Shepard. This was particularly annoying when playing through the game on Insane, as he would easily flush Shepard out of cover, and then pop him/her full of high-tech lead. While his ability to flush Shepard out of cover was somewhat annoying, what was undoubtedly the more annoying component of his personality was the frequency of his visits on the battlefield, which always brought the same verbal insults over and over again to the player's ears. When playing through Mass Effect 2, I was constantly reminded that THIS HURTS YOU and that my FORM IS FRAGILE. Oh, and he wanted his buddies to ASSUME DIRECT CONTROL over my corpse for testing after he killed me. Which he did...quite a lot.

Super Mutant Behemoth (Fallout 3)


Unless the player had a game guide to tell them where these guys usually hung out, their appearance would come whenever the player happened across their abode. They're about fifteen or twenty feet tall, and fortunately they don't use guns. Makes sense when you think about it, since their huge hands wouldn't be able to use a trigger designed for smaller humanoids. This doesn't mean the player shouldn't give them a wide birth: they have a huge amount of health and confidence, and usually carry a pole with a fire hydrant tied to the end, making them fierce close-combat fighters. They can be killed in a variety of ways, as they don't wear any armor. A tactical nuke or two can kill them, but if none are available, crippling the legs is the best course of action by far. Doing so will slow them down considerably, allowing the player to casually pick them off from a distance while they futilely limp towards them. You can also have some fun with them too.

Got any not-quite-a-boss enemy you recall fondly that you want to share?

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