Game Philosophy: Final Levels

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Today’s topic:
Final Levels

Usually when people think of Final levels, they think of the most difficult levels in the games.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case.

The concept of the Final Level is pretty much the same as a Boss. You have the player use all the tricks they’ve learned throughout the game.
That doesn’t mean it’s automatically the most difficult level, it’s just the level where you need to have learned all there is to it to the game. The Final Test, if you will.

Usually by that time a player has gone through “That One Level” which was so difficult, you probably ripped a few hairs off.
But after you got through that, you pretty much learned to deal with everything, and thus the Final Level won’t exactly have to be as difficult.

That said, just because you’re meant to cover everything you’ve learned throughout the game, doesnt mean you can’t change a few things.
Lots of Beat-em-ups let you beat previous bosses to show how much you’ve grown in terms of power. But I don’t think they go far enough.
Why not have the previous bosses actually get an upgrade?

It’s not like it would be too difficult for the player. The first boss is practically a joke for the player by that time otherwise.

EasyBoss
Psh, I used to be scared of this thing?

Either way, what I’m saying is, while Final Levels should show the player everything he learned, that doesn’t remove it from the fact that it’s still a level. Like all levels, you need to add new things to the mix to keep it fresh.

I’ve seen quite a few times where the Final Level is just based around one gimmick of the game, usually the new gimmick of the series.
I wish games would stop doing that. The Final Level is supposed to build up for the Final Boss, the friggin Ending to the game. You need to give it your all for that, not just show off your new gimmick.

I think what people should do when making a Final Level is actually playing every level that lead up to it, and then build a mixture of all it’s most memorable parts (in it’s level design, not it’s look, that would just give us a schizofrenic level) into one. And then add a new twist to every single one of those parts. Then you streamline the whole level with the level’s new addition which should be based around the entire main concept of the game itself. Because nothing adds Finale like having the feeling like you reached what the game was truly aiming for.

DMC3Logo
Believe me, you’d be satisfied when the Devil cries and Dante awakens… No seriously, it’s much better than it sounds…

There is quite an interesting relationship between the Final Level and the First Level.
Usually with a game, the First and Final Levels are the levels that are seen and replayed the most.
For some reason though, I haven’t seen a game actually make big use of that.

Sure, sometimes they are the total opposites in design, like maybe the First Level is in a peaceful town and then the Final Level is in a dangerous Dungeon. But that simply happens by nature when you make a game.
Why not intentionally and conciously go for it?

Have the first level really represent the Main Character. Make it’s design and it’s soundtrack just fit the Main Character in any way at all.
Then have the Final Level really represent the Villain.

Mix it together with a good Final Boss where it’s visually showing you defeating the Villain, and have the level change it’s design slowly to the Main Character’s favor.

That would make it really feel like a Finale.
And people will replay both of them over and over simply by their meanings alone.

Granted, give the levels a Hard Mode too. You can only beat the easiest level so much until you’re just bored of it.

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