Inevitable Gaming Clichés: Enemies

Graham Host

Over the years, any of the mainstream games that hope to be successful end up relying on one of the many clichés that inevitably plague gaming. While not as bad as some of the more fundamental problems with certain marketing models, or divisive as the PC/Console war, these clichés can be either irritating or amusing, depending on your tastes.

Short Attention Spans

Skyrim Arrow Head
Arrow to the head? Must have been the wind.

I was playing around on Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain the other day and I was spotted entering the Wakh Sind Barracks. For those of you who haven’t played Phantom Pain (you really should), it’s quite a big fortress with maybe 30 – 40 soldiers inside. After taking out a bunch of enemies with a bazooka and an attack helicopter, I smoked a cigar for a few minutes while inside a nearby drainage ditch. Suddenly all the traumatized survivors of my assault forgot it ever happened.

Big Enemies Are Bad

Usually, the bigger an enemy is, the more deaths you endure before figuring out how to kill them. You can face down a mudcrab and easily beat your way past a horde of enemies with a rusty iron helmet and a cheap sword you scrounged from a dead guy. Then suddenly a dragon swoops down and your life flashes before your eyes as they melt in their sockets. You could simply look online for an answer but where’s the fun in that?

Smaller Bosses Are Worse

We all remember facing down something unthinkably huge and destructive and emerging victorious. But then the bad guys seems to condense their power down into wee tiny bodies and let loose. Sahelanthropus? Easy, done in two minutes. Man on Fire? Just give up. Pack yourself a bazooka if you want, but it won’t help (handy tip: the water pistol keeps him back a step). To be clear, when I say enemies, I mean enemies you can find in several places. When I say bosses, I mean named killers that make life difficult for us.

The Enemies Always Have Better Weapons

Think that sword you just plundered gives you equal amounts of power? Nope, you can probably craft yourself a better one. But, in the hands of an enemy, an archer out of arrows could easily beat you to death with his empty quiver. Bandits on Skyrim seem to run around with nothing but rusty swords and Iron Arrows but still provide enough of a threat that facing several at once can easily spell doom for the most hardened adventurer.

Hidden/Extra Bosses Are The Best


Despite being easily directed to the next level or boss, there’s somebody tucked away that threatens to blow them all away. Found Alduin in Sovengard too easy? Take a boat across to Solstheim and take a jab at Miraak, the original Dragonborn. Found the ending of Kingdom Hearts II a bit underwhelming (flying buildings and all)? Try taking on Sephiroth. The absolute worst boss I have yet to stumble across without fair warning, he rips you to shreds if you’re unprepared.


Red Barrel Explosive Resident Evil

‘Hey Steve, these red barrels are safe, right?’ Wrong, you poor little messy fireball. The NPCs of the gaming world seem to have an overbearing urge to put themselves into the most suicidal places possible. If a truck is heading towards them, the little bunches of pixels never deviate from their perfectly straight lines. Rickety floors? Let’s run across them. Tiny beeping little bomb? Get really close to investigate and bring your partner along. With worlds getting bigger all the time, can we stop expanding and get some proper enemies in, please?

Graham Host
Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight.
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