Enemy exercise

One of the things I have found useful when working in my day to day job is to try to think about old games I played as a designer. It is fun and enlightening to try to figure out how or why the creators of a game took one decision or another.

From time to time I will publish some of the small analysis' doubts and comments that I have about many oldies and personal favorites.

I will start with something simple, the description of the behaviour of a regular enemy that got me excited the first time that I saw it: Berserkers from Gears of War.

Image from the official site of Gears of War

There are many aspects that I find interesting in these enemies, first that they do not use weapons and can not be harmed with conventional firearms, also their grotesque appearance and strength sets them apart. Their AI lets them charge easily and destroy anything in their way, including stone pillars and columns. They also have advanced cognitive abilities that allow them to track the player using an adaptive sense of smell and hearing. The fact that these creatures
are blind help them utilize their other abilities. Their uncanny and lethal behavior makes them terrifying enemies to combat that the player must pay attention to their every move.

The first time a Berserker appears it is explained to the player that he must use a different technique to destroy them. Then to further reinforce the idea that this enemy is brutal and unstoppable, we are show a violent cut scene.

Initially, the only effective weapon to combat the Berserker is with the ¨Hammer of Dawn Laser¨. Unfortunatly, it has its limitations and one can only use it in open areas. Although when used it is effective at penetrating their extremely tough armor. Later in the game, you
find that you are able to kill the monster by making it fall from the fast moving train cars.

In any case, the methods to get rid of them is unique and imaginative. It involves the use of special weapons and oppressive environments that one must overcome. The design of these monsters make them feel special and interesting, not just cannon fodder that slows the player down.


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