Years ago, so-called "boss fights" were a predictable but reliable tool for prolonging an otherwise short playing experience. When gaming was in its infancy the emphasis was necessarily on mastering move combinations and quick reflexes because frankly, if you stopped frantically stabbing at the controller, there wasn't much worth seeing on the screen. Today it's a different story, at least for story-driven games. They feature great graphics, natural fighting and movement mechanics, and carefully crafted plot lines. All of which makes for an immersive experience - all the more so because you can participate with your controller rather than simply watch as a passive spectator. But all of this is ruined in seconds when game creators give in to the impulse to return to yesteryear and throw us into one of those endless slugfests known as the boss fight.
Nothing frustrates me more than working my way through a believable storyline, completely engrossed in the game, only to be confronted by a boss-type enemy that turns the game into a cartoon-like exercise of pumping bullets into an impervious enemy. I'm not talking about a complex shootout with multiple flanking enemies who are tough to deal with all at once. I'm talking about the guy dressed up in some sort of super body armour and sporting a chain gun or the mega-beast that can soak up bullets like a sponge but kill me with one or two swipes. Quickly the game devolves into a trial and error repetition of cat and mouse while the "kill meter" slowly drains. We all know the routine of learning what the game wants us to do: Empty a magazine into the boss, run to the left, throw a grenade, run past the boss while he's reeling and stab 3 times, take a hit, grab the medkit behind the bench and heal... Wash, rinse, repeat.
For games and gamers that still rely on frantic move combinations and super-human eye-hand coordination, I say the more bosses the better. But for today's generation of story-driven adventure games, some of which offer enormous play-through times, it's a needless insult that cheapens the entire experience. It's time to tell the boss he's fired.