Spectacle Enemies Explained

It’s odd that a developer would – in the days of extremely limited memory – opt to place a non-boss enemy into a game that would never be seen again. Modern games, which have practically infinite memory by comparison, rarely do this. Most games, old and new, are content to simply drive wave after wave of identical bullet cushions toward you, tossing in the occasional palette-swap here and there.

But a few games have opted to throw unique enemies into the mix, for seemingly no other reason than to show off what the game is capable of producing, or perhaps as a means to entice the player to press on just a bit further. Sure, these games necessarily fall back on the enemy-upon-enemy design of every other game out there, but every now and again, they offer something more – something unique and mysterious – just because they can.

Or, this may be an enemy that that does have more than a single appearance in the game, but doesn’t fight you like a traditional enemy. Maybe it is there for you to ride on its back, or just to see it moving in the distance, or maybe it just trudges along – doing its own thing and ignoring you – but it can take damage and be destroyed.

This type of enemy could be in the game as a graphical showpiece, as something to show off the system or to get a reaction from the player. Great examples of this are the giant metal worms in level 7 of Metal Warriors, the gelatinous level 2 sewer babies in Mystic Defender, or the level 1 Teat Walker in Weapon of Choice.

These are what we have dubbed Spectacle Enemies.