This is the problem with many combat games: the enemies and, consequently, the game, become increasingly frustrating because the player is not able to instantly recognize enemy weaknesses and then counter attack accordingly. Instead of game difficulty being determined using different combinations of enemies (as well as environmental scenarios), the game becomes difficult (read: frustrating and un-fun) because the player has not been given a strategic foundation.
The player becomes lost.
Reducing the player and enemy interaction down to its core, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out gives the player the most important, and consequently, the most memorable elements of player and enemy interaction:
· Over-the-top/Exaggerated Anticipation Poses
· Over-the-top/Exaggerated Recovery Poses
In most combat games, an Attack Tell is integrated into the attack itself via an Anticipation Pose. MTPO takes Attack Tells another step further by sometimes using multiple Attack Tells in succession. For example:
The Anticipation Pose is the most obvious and important Attack Tell in the player and enemy interaction. If shown correctly, it allows the player to make split-second choices like blocking, dodging or counter attacking. Without an obvious Anticipation Pose, the player will be instantly clueless on how to attack an enemy.
The Recovery Pose’s main purpose should be to instantly tell the player the enemy is vulnerable and open to counter attack or at a certain point in its attack pattern. The Anticipation Pose is useless if the player doesn’t know when to attack. Furthermore, in MTPO, the player knows exactly when it’s safe to counter attack for one reason and one reason only: instant over-the-top and extremely exaggerated recovery poses. The Recovery Pose in MPTO is almost synonymous with the Connection Pose (the actual hit between the enemy and player). As a result of this caveat, the player can recognize enemy vulnerability instantly and counter attack accordingly. Sure, the recovery window for each attack becomes smaller and smaller as you progress through the game, but it’s expected the player has reached some kind of mastery at this point in the game.