You know, it's kind of funny how, even with only a few hours of playtime under our belts, we're still able to clock a running gag. It's almost as if developers purposely throw in a series of clichés just to keep the joke alive most days. And, while that's fine in its own special way — it can often cause that feeling of anticipation to suddenly take a backseat. The point is, nobody wants to expect the expected in a video game. That sort of removes half of the adventure, don't you think? And yet, nine out of ten games always run with the same concoction — especially before those big boss battles.
While prepping for the big fight can be a barrel of fun in general, it can often be a slog when already knowing what lies around the next corner. Sometimes, though I can't speak for everyone out there — it's better to be surprised, without the spool of winding clichés. But I'll let you be the judge of that one. Either way, we can't deny that the following five tricks are well overused in the gaming world.
Whether it's a churning campfire or a secluded mud hut in a tropical rainforest — rest points usually point towards an approaching boss battle. They've become so common that, no matter what game you're immersing yourself into, you're always expecting them to pop up just before the drums of war begin to pound for your clockwork entrance into the arena. Though, we'd be crazy to discard the value of a good old fashioned rest point in any modern video game. Without them, we'd probably be retracing thousands of steps after taking one too many hits from the last attempt at the big guy. So, I suppose we're grateful for that.
Nothing out of the ordinary with this one. Just silence — clean and simple. Even if the game has followed a rather eerie soundscape from the beginning, we're always able to spot that sudden change in the winds, aren't we? Something feels slightly off with the soundtrack, and we're always quick to spot the decrease in pace as we trudge through to a new area where the enemies footprints are almost too blatant to miss. The silence sneaks up on us, and we're suddenly faced with taking our final few steps before triggering that almighty cutscene. The crescendo awaits.
3. The Point of No Return
One of the most obvious hints that point towards the final boss in a video game is that all-important milestone, also known as ‘The Point of No Return.' While not every game has one, nine times out of ten, the ones that do usually slot them in just before the journey's climax. Acting as the last save point before stepping into the deepest depths of the enemies lair — The Point of No Return stands as one of the most recognisable checkpoints in gaming history. It's the last leg of the long and winding quest chain, and it draws towards the curtain call the moment you depart the final sanctuary.
It's not exactly an unusual thing to see mounds of corpses before stepping into the pit. That's essentially the developer's way of extracting a few strands of fear before throwing down the gauntlet and introducing one of their colossal-sized bosses. You can't really miss it, to be honest. Death. It's everywhere. It lines the back alleys on the approach to the endgame. It fills the air with a charcoal cloud and an abysmal stench. It's all there — painting your next steps in black and white and making it ridiculously clear that death lingers just a few yards away.
Of course, the biggest hint that practically punches its way out of the screen is no other than the supplies. That's right, those endless piles of ammunition, health packs, weapon upgrades and skill points. It's all there, resting either side of a bulging doorway filled to the core with eternal darkness and wonder. That's where you and I both know that something big is about to happen, and that, if we don't take stock immediately — then we're in for a very long ride after crossing the threshold. The battle is about to commence, though not before we stock up to the point of being lumbered with explosive ammunition and bait traps. As if we'd need either of those, right? Right?