Aggelos or how not to do boss fights

Today I really wanted to tell the world about the game, which at one time I really liked when I first got acquainted with it, and strongly disappointed when I tried to pass it in its entirety. Nowadays it's very often the situation when the developers pass up on inventing clever mechanics, trying to gain complexity by means of randomization. This approach can surely be called a hackwork, because it almost completely eliminates the player's skill-dependence, turning the gameplay in a banal lottery. Such things are forgivable for RPG, where the development is the main tool to pass the difficult elements, but not forgivable for other action genres.

Aggelos is no exception. Initially this game is very friendly to the player, the design of levels in it is very pleasant, the mechanics are simple and clear. Visually, the game is obviously inspired by the famous classic dashing game Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Aggelos develops the ideas of Wonder Boy, turning the game world into a full-fledged metroidvania. And in general there are no complaints to the game when it comes to location design, character mechanics, animation and sound. Many of the things here are done quite well.

Left: Wonder Boy in Monster Land, right: Aggelos. There's a 30-year difference between the games, but you can't tell that from the visual style.

The story in the game is not particularly important, in fact, there is not much of one. If memory serves me correctly, first we save the princess, then the entire kingdom, which was attacked by demons from a parallel world. It doesn't matter, all that matters is that you're given a sword to use, you have a map to orient yourself in the game world, you meet the bosses and are given new abilities for defeating them. The game has keys that open castles important for the passage of the game, there is in-game currency, for which you can buy important equipment, there is a mana counter, which can be pumped up to six units, he gives the opportunity to use magical enhancements for some attacks. It seems to be all right, so why cheat on the game?

There aren't many NPC characters in the game, but their presence adds to the atmosphere of an old adventure romp

The game is full of boss battles. And right away you don't notice it, because the first bosses are quite passable. Problems begin on the boss volcanic location. It's all due to the simultaneous attacks, which do not agree with each other. For example, the boss has a certain algorithm of actions, he moves along his trajectory on the screen (which, by the way, is random), along the way launches some sequential attack. But, besides the boss's attacks, the battle involves small objects, small mobs and other small stuff, which has its own life and does not react to the boss. As a result, there are often situations where the player is squeezed into corners, from which he can not get out without receiving damage. No matter what skill a player has, he'll always be helpless against randomness. Boss battles turn into a casino, where you have to rely on luck rather than your own sleight of hand. I think this approach to gameplay design is wrong. In the end I had to quit the game when randomness reached its climax, because I don't like lotteries.

The boss that killed my love for the game

There are probably plenty of people who have gone through this game, they think it's good and right, but I can't accept such a mockery of the player. It is my belief that metroid boss battles should have a clear pattern and be able to pass without taking damage if done correctly during that pattern. Aggelos doesn't even smell of these things. There every element on the boss fight screen has a life of its own, it doesn't care about the player's actions, it just randomly moves around. I don't remember such an outrage even in the days of eight-bit games. Why did they do this?

The beauty of the snowy location

The game is ported to all modern platforms. It was released in 2018 on Steam. In three years of its existence, it has accumulated only 200 reviews from users of the service. This is extremely low for a quality metroidvania. Most likely, the lack of any advertising from the publisher is to blame. But perhaps many people just burn from the unfairness of the game, it is quickly abandoned, do not pass to the end and never remember it.

A princess capable of giving hilkas without end

I can't recommend this game to anyone since I haven't played it myself. I can only say for myself that I will never go back to it. But I am curious to know the attitude towards random elements in boss battles from other players. Do you consider it fair? Did you get through the game? What impression did it leave on you? Maybe I exaggerated its flaws? Let's talk about that.

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