Saturday, 25 February 2017

Memorable Bosses #1

Games: R-Type Series

The first appearance of the fearsome creature...

I don't usually place the greatest emphasis on bosses in my reviews but, while they may only be small parts of much larger games, many stay with us much longer than the stages they block exit from, so I thought it might make a spiffing new series of posts to take a look at some of them in more detail. Many horrifying abominations were considered but what better place to start than with arguably the most famous and memorable boss of them all, certainly from the vast world of shoot 'em ups - the ghastly Dobkeratops. Some won't know his name but pretty much everyone who played video games in the mid-to-late 80's will know him by appearance. His likeness did after all adorn pretty much all adverts, flyers, and cover art for the ultra-popular shooter, so it would've been hard not to!

The bigger and more metallic version from R-Type Delta...

His fearsome design and large size are likely the main reasons for his fame (or notoriety?) as he doesn't actually do all that much and is very easy to defeat, in most of his appearances at least, including the first. In that debut he just sits there wiggling his tail while the weird green chest-burster thing peering out of his mid-section spits swirly energy ying-yangs at you, and a few well-placed beam shots in that direction will see him off in no time. He still managed to make an appearance in most subsequent R-Type games as well, in varying forms. In Super R-Type on the SNES he is found at the end of the second stage, though this time as part of a supposed planet-destroying weapon called Subatomic, and in the PS1's R-Type Delta he is reworked into a polygonal and far more mechanical incarnation, but he is still usually defeated in much the same way as the first time.

Here he is in Super R-Type, buried under all that crap...

He also turns up in R-Type III, also on the SNES, R-Type Final for the PS2, and even the PSP strategy spin-off, R-Type Tactics. In most cases he retains the same basic design, and there isn't even that much to him either. He's apparently limbless - little more than a fat worm with a spiny back and over-sized alien head, in fact. Although we shouldn't forget the strange green creature that resides inside him either. Is it a parasite or part of the same organism? Something I've often wondered, particularly when looking at his original form, is that the main monstrous part of him could really be some sort of elaborate bio-mechanical suit operated by the smaller creature. You can after all see green tendrils (or something) extending both above and below his diminutive form, into the larger creature's head and tail respectively, so he could well be the one in control.

Looking rather demonic in this promo artwork...

However his/their biology might be configured, though, it's the kind of thing that made him so appealing, or at least so memorable to many. He was one of the first video game characters to look legitimately alien, a horrific abomination that you really believed could be part of a race of evil murderous creatures. He might've had even more of an impact on gamers if he'd been the final boss, and much harder to beat of course, but I suppose less players would've seen him then, and Irem could hardly plaster him all over the promo artwork either - what a spoiler that would be! It looks like they made the correct decision too, for whatever your impressions were of Dobkeratops, and whatever memories you might have of him, I'm certain you have both, and that's more than you can say about many games.

Click here for a full review of R-Type, arcade version.

Looks like an alien from Alien!
Eeek, soul-sucking demon!


  1. Hi, so this will be a longer series of posts?

    1. This is long overdue! I really hope this becomes more regular too, after all don't Bosses RULE? :)

    2. I hope that it will go well
      As long as you will not end as a "Mid-boss"

      Also will be there a series of posts about "pain in the ass mooks/grunts" (regular cannon fodder enemy BUT disturbing one. Not always "strong" but more like nuisance)?

  2. Hi Ranalcus and Lukeyboy :) Glad you liked the idea for a new series of posts, it came to me in a flash, I had to run to my computer to write down my thoughts before I forgot :P I will post about other bosses now and then but I have a lot of different post themes to revisit, many of which have been neglected. And yes, pain in the ass grunts would be a cool subject to cover too :)