Question Weekend Question: Have you defeated a boss by exploiting a bug or a cheesy strat?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week the question is: Have you defeated a boss by exploiting a bug or a cheesy strat?

Have ever defeated a boss by, say, grenading them off a ledge or perching on a rock they couldn't reach or shooting them with arrows from the other side of a fog wall?

Whether you looked it up and did it deliberately or just happened to knock a boss through a wall and then stab their protruding limb for five minutes straight, let us know how you have anticlimactically and cheaply murdered a boss.
For Skyrim, this is basically my go-to. Pretty much any enemy can be defeated by getting it stuck somewhere and then shooting it until it's dead. I recently started a new game and stumbled into a dungeon that had a Draugr Wight Lord at the end that summoned a Draugr Deathlord. I eventually defeated it by backtracking to a door that could only be opened with a lever and which was made of metal bars I could shoot through.

Another boss I've only defeated with a cheesy strat is the Taurus Demon from Dark Souls, which can be killed by doing two plunge attacks from the tower.
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Several times. When raiding in WoW, like a LONG time ago in ZG and Kara, we found several exploits. But really when you are raiding for 3+ hours having one boss a bit easier than others.

Ultima Online didn't have bosses as such. However if you used archery everyone knew it was broken. Just step next to a mob, move back exactly one pace and the mob couldn't hit you. Only really used it against poison elementals and really didn't play that character much.

For more modern games then no. But I don't play any souls like games with bosses anyway.
Jan 13, 2020
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For Skyrim, this is basically my go-to. Pretty much any enemy can be defeated by getting it stuck somewhere and then shooting it until it's dead. I recently started a new game and stumbled into a dungeon that had a Draugr Wight Lord at the end that summoned a Draugr Deathlord. I eventually defeated it by backtracking to a door that could only be opened with a lever and which was made of metal bars I could shoot through.

Another boss I've only defeated with a cheesy strat is the Taurus Demon from Dark Souls, which can be killed by doing two plunge attacks from the tower.
I remember when Stealth was still bugged, if had the last trait, you could crouch in front of an enemy and attack them to get a backstab 10x bonus or something like that. I just did that non-stop until enemies died.

I also did the parry strategy to kill Gwin in Dark Souls, which feels like cheesing, since it's so extremely easy.
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Was playing Witcher 1 last week, hit the penultimate boss twice with light attacks (you're supposed to use heavy attacks - light attacks barely dent him) - he cast an explosion and killed himself. All in 2 seconds. That's not how the fight mechanics worked the other ten times I did it (in most of which I also used the wrong attack style through ignorance).

Is it still cheesing if you don't even know what you did to do it? Is cheese still cheese without intent?

I can't remember the number of bosses I've arguably or actually cheesed in games. Always by accident. Almost always as a result of my own not being very good at playing games.

Usually I panic and backpedal and find the boss doesn't know how to path to me. Or I cower in terror behind some cover and find this is a spot the boss doesn't seem to be able to hit. And clearly not by design.

Occasionally cheesing a boss is fundamental to the PC gaming experience. It's essentially poking the game to see what happens. It's breaking the game just a little, just to see if you can. "I know I'm not supposed to do this, but can I do this?". There's elation in discovering a minor (or major) bug/exploit that allows cheesing. It feels pioneering.

There's also another psychology to it. It's like your mind it clickbaiting itself as you discover "Ten navmesh secrets developers don't want you to know". Or like buying something just because it's a blatant pricing error in your favour, not because you needed it. "Is this working? Wow, I can't believe this is working - I must see how far it will let me go!".

It feels like beating the game twice over - both from within the game's 'rules', and then again by being able to venture outside the construct made the developers to contain you. Obviously it's not, when you think about it, but there's still that feeling of having exited the Matrix.

Also, sometimes I'm just owed cheese. Maybe the game is janky as heck and I feel like it owes me a break. Like in Conan Exiles when I punched that world boss spider to death through the wall (private coop server - I wasn't cheating anyone). Or maybe the boss fight is just naff; I play games to be entertained, not trolled. If I accidentally cheesed the last boss of Wolfenstein Youngblood, I wouldn't feel a little bit naughty and a little bit daring as above - I'd just feel righteous.
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During the 8 bit/16 bit era i cheesed bosses to defeat them. Especially in shoot-em-ups where there were sweet spots that you could hover and you could just plink away at them with no consequences. A bit slow but it got the job done.

For more recent stuff? maybe in doom 2 where your explosive damage was an infinite shaft of damage so shooting a wall directly in front of you damaged enemies above and below it.

i do remember in Dead Rising 2 the end game on the roof fight i had to cheese. I tried going toe to toe with him but he would disarm you constantly, so i did the most reasonable thing possible: Grab a load of LMGs and plinked away at him from the stairwell. all he could do was stand there, soak all the bullets and throw explosive (flares?) harmlessly.

lets not forget Dark souls 2. The battle with the dragon rider near the start. move him into the right position and time your dodge right and when he takes a swipe at you he'll lose his footing and plunge to his death.

if i remember correctly, Dead island defeating the last boss using that secret crafting recipe that made zombies heads explode when you used it. i armed myself with 3 or 4 of them and just threw one at the final boss and ended it in one blow. The other time was killing the Jason character in the jungle. I simply got a truck into the arena and knocked him down and just reversed back and forth over him. My smugness swiftly gave way to shock when a second Jason for some reason spawned and struck me down. Seems karma can be a bit of a *****.
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Jan 13, 2020
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I detest it when a tricky (= ramped up to ridiculous difficulty/length just so it feels more 'bossy') boss fight interrupts the otherwise enjoyable flow of a narrative—so I'll cheese, I'll cheat, I'll throw sand and do groin stuff, whatever it takes to get that tedious roadblock out of my way. And I don't even feel bad about it.

Earliest example I can remember? Ultima Underworld, Labyrinth of Worlds. There was this super-powered lich in one place that pulled an insurmountable "You cannot pass" on me, until I realized that standing on a slim ledge at the side of that room utterly befuddled my opponent, who subsequently succumbed to countless dinky arrows to its desiccated noggin.
I have completed Divinity: Original Sin 2 about 10 times, currently working on number 11. So I have cheesed many, many boss fights. Probably all of them at some point, although some might argue it's more along the lines of taking a more creative approach since the game tends to encourage it. The go-to cheese is probably using a death fog barrel to take down a room of bad guys, or even knocking down Alexander in the first act. I've used ladders or distance to take a character out of combat, just to bring it back in using a big spell. One boss in particular that tends to give me trouble, I've discovered I can teleport far enough away that she ends up out of combat, which allows me to fight the dogs that summon with her, then engage the boss by itself. My favorite way to cheese stuff, although I haven't really done it, is barrelmancy. That's basically filling a barrel or indestructible chest full of stuff to make it weigh a ton, then using telekinesis to throw it at the enemy, which ends up doing a TON of damage (it scales based on the weight of the object).

I know I've taken advantage of cheese in other games, but this one sticks out in my mind the most. Not just because I've been playing it way, way too much, but because there's so many creative ways to cheese things.
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Mar 4, 2020
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Cheese is an artform. I don't like exploiting bugs, but cheese is thrilling in a perverse way. While it can be quite salt inducing in multiplayer games (I mained Little Mac in Smash 4, and still play him in Ultimate, so I have received barrels full of cheese as unwelcome gifts), I think finding ways to game systems is one of the most interesting ways to play games. As long as cheese is an option, and not a necessity, I think it adds a richness to the game. I think the Divinity: Original Sin games are prime fodder for this, with their absurd amount of flexibility, but generally any system that allows for crazy things is great fodder. Any time I can do numerical cheese to make numbers go insanely high, that's also a highlight. It's also kind of fun, in games where you can sequence break, to go back and bully early bosses with high end gear, though I don't know if that really counts as cheese as much as just sadism.

Stealth games also seem to have some pretty great cheese most of the time. Unless breaking stealth is an instant fail, cheese can be a great way to make difficult levels into cakewalks if the developer doesn't have an answer for breaking the AI's patrol routes with strategic baiting.

OsaX Nymloth

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In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice during my 3rd or 4th playthrough I cheesed Demon of Hatred by making him jump off a cliff. At this point I battled him few times and I just wanted to see if I can replicate the strat. Also he was in the way of me reaching 100% achievements, so I don't feel too bad about that :p
Abmouth Supremus is the final boss of the first dungeon you encounter in Anarchy Online. He's a ghoulish, headless behemoth with a mouth where his stomach should be and two giant flails for hands. I'm sure there's a coherent backstory that you can read as you delve into the depths of the subway that explain exactly what this atrocity is and why you have to kill it... but I definitely did not get the memo.


There is a LOT going against you in this fight if it's your first time taking him on. Anarchy Online is one of those games where how effective you are in combat is largely dependent on your buffs, how you sunk your stats, your items, and your team synergy. You don't just need gear to get ahead in AO either, you need connections because without proper buffs from high level characters, you won't be able to equip the implants and items you need to successfully solo any boss that's your level, let alone the final boss of a dungeon.

Since I was new to the game when this happened, I did not have those connections, nor the credits, or knowledge of what I should put ANY of my skill points in. I spent the majority of my time before this fight killing FLEES for XP. Yes, you read that right. Flees. Finally I was level 19 I could start wading into the tight corridors of the lower subway and slowly murdering my way to the final boss fight.

There are three key things about Anarchy Online that made this solo boss kill possible. First Dungeons are not 'instanced'. That is to say, unlike modern MMO's when you go into a dungeon, any old group could already be in there killing mobs. Mobs all respawn rather quickly so even if you cut a bloody path down the lane, it won't take long for it to fill up again.

Once I made it to the lower subs area, I discovered a group already working their way to Abmouth, and they still had an open slot. Naturally, they invited me and together we stomped through all the flees and junkies between us and our boss loot. Just four bloody froobs, having a good time.

The second thing that made my victory possible is I was playing an Agent. Agents are like Rogues from your traditional fantasy RPG, only they are even bigger assholes. You do many of the same Roguish things, but instead of having to risk getting pulled out of stealth by sneaking in close for the backstab you can just headshot someone from a across the room with a sniper rifle.

I initiated the fight. We had a Doctor, a Martial Artist, and a Tank. Their roles are not to hard to figure out. The Tank tanks, the Martial Artist is sustained DPS, the Doctor heals, and I as the Agent do burst DPS. At least that's how the roles are SUPPOSED TO GO.

Instead it was more like this.

Tank: Dies
Doctor: Dies
Martial Artist: Dies
Agent: Runs away


The final area you fight Abmouth (like, he has a mouth in his abs. Get it?) has a pit area, not unlike Pit in de_dust2. I ran for the pit along the edge of it and jumped up on a ledge at the back wall and... it broke Abmouth's pathing. He walked into the pit and began furiously spinning at me like a grotesque ballerina perpetually spinning on a banana peel.

So I shot him. And his health went down a sliver. So I shot him again.

Unlike modern MMO's, ammunition is a very real thing in Anarchy Online. The final reason I was able to solo Abmouth was the fact that I had something like 2000 rounds on me. I had a garbage sniper rifle. It fired about once every 6 seconds. Sometimes it missed. I don't think I came close to running out of bullets so much as hours in the day.

I might be the worst agent of all time to kill Abmoth Supremus, but I'm also probably the only player to make and enjoy a full cup of tea in the middle of the boss fight, and I'm most proud of that fact of all.
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Two weeks ago or so while playing Skyrim, I had an encounter with a really nasty vampire in an ice cave. I was trying to use melee build, but whenever I got to close to the thing, it would pretty much instantly kill me. I decided to kite it to another place in the cave, stand on a rock, and basically kill it with one small arrow at the time while doing a lot of peekaboo.

@Pifanjr You could actually kill the Taurus Demon by managing to kite it to a small space on the bridge that would basically make the demon stumble and fall to its death.
Jan 15, 2020
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Manus...last boss of Dark Souls Artorias of the Abyss dlc....before you enter the mist wall to drop down to his the right of there, on the ledge, is a sweet spot where..if you look down, you can just see the boss below you. Using a bow with a long range..cant remember its can cheese it and get him down to very low health, then just enter room and finish him off with a couple of hits.
There is a similar cheese in Dark Souls 3 for Lothric Younger Prince where you are able to sneak around and behind him almost within his hit box, and just use a bow or crossbow to hit him in the back to kill him......he doesn't aggro.

To my undying shame I used both of these cheeses on my first playthroughs when I couldn't beat them.
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In Black & White, on the third island, there's a neutral villager chilling by a camp fire on a beach near your starting village. If you happen to pick him up and throw him, the game shows him flying through the air as if it's a cut scene, with the villager making various exclamations when hitting stuff ("My eye!", "Ouch, my leg!", etc.). The villager is immortal, so you can throw him as much as you want.

It seems that this was intended as just a funny thing the developers put in, but there's one thing that makes him very useful. You see, normally you are restricted to your own sphere of influence, only being able to go outside of it for like half a second. However, this villager has a small radius around him you can act in, no matter where he is. Presumably so you wouldn't have to wait until he has ran back to your sphere of influence before you can throw him again.

If you're quick enough, you can pick him up and throw him again within the half second you normally get when acting outside your influence. It's not easy, but with some practice and patience, you can throw him all the way to the other side of the island, where your opponent's temple stands.

To prevent him from running back to his camping spot, you can "sacrifice" him in your opponent's altar. Because he's invincible, instead of being sacrificed, he'll just be stuck in the middle of the altar, unable to run back to his camping spot. Meaning you now have a little spot right in your opponent's temple where you can do whatever you want.

Which is all you need. Just dump a bunch of trees and rocks around the altar and light them on fire and a few minutes later his temple will have burned down and you'll have cleared the level, without having to do any of the quests or conquering any villages.