Here today we will be introducing to you the main core feature of Imago Speculare: Challenge Mode. We already made a Dev. Diary video on Challenge Mode but we are going to explain it a little better in here. If you haven't yet, you can check the video here, it also shows quite a bit of the first boss battle, Withered Christus.
Challenge Mode is a mechanic that affects boss battles in Imago Speculare. There are several bosses in the game, each ACT has at least three bosses plus an optional boss you need to find and face. Challenge Mode was created to breath new life into all of them. It is a mechanic that cannot be selected, you need to unlock it during each boss battle. Let's take a look at our first boss battle, Withered Christus.
Withered Christus is a three phases adds management boss battle. The fight plays on the Seven Sins theme and the mechanics are tied to it. As the fight starts the player will notice there are seven pillars around the arena, they play a vital role in the boss battle.
During Phase 1 Withered Christus cannot be attacked, doing so will reflected all damage to the player. He will randomly use one of his four different attacks in this phase. He will shoot his Withered Orbs at the player in different patterns, be it straight towards them, coming from above, or massively shooting them around the room. His forth and final attack will mark the ground with a dark circle inscribed with several runes that deals damage to the player as long as he stands there.
As Withered Christus performs each attack he will also be constantly spawning adds that must be dealt with. Adds come at the start and at the end of each attack so if the player ignores them it won't be long until they overwhelm you.
After four consecutive attacks Withered Christus will cast Touch of Doom, launching several waves of energy towards the player. Being hit by Touch of Doom deals high amount of damage so evading it is important, however, the main purpose of Touch of Doom is to be used to destroy the seven pillars.
Whenever Touch of Doom hits one of the pillars they wil be deactivated and deal damage to Withered Christus, deactivating all seven will start an intermission phase. The player must position himself between the boss and a pillar and dodge Touch of Doom, however, adds will still spawn while Touch of Doom is being used so managing them is important. If by any means the player fails to deactivate all pillars while Touch of Doom is active the boss will resume his normal pattern and perform 4 attacks before using Touch of Doom again.
When the seven pillars are deactivated and Intermission starts, Withered Christus will become attackable and must be brought down to 50% health before the intermission ends. He will stop using all of his attacks but adds will still spawn. Managing the adds while still dealing enough damage to the boss is the key.
When the intermission phase ends the boss wil start Phase 2 if his health reached 50%. Withered Christus will once again deflect all damage he takes and will now constantly shoot his withered projectiles as well as casting the dark runes. A new set of adds will spawn, the Sin Adds, one from each pillar and make their way towards the boss. If those adds reach the boss they will explode and deal high damage to the player, however, if they are destroyed before reaching Withered Christus, he will take the damage instead.
Phase 2 is all about managing the regular adds while making sure the runes do not fill over the room and kill each of the Sin Adds in time. Once the boss reaches 30%, Phase 3 will start.
Once Phase 3 starts the boss will spawn four lasers coming out of him and split the room into four sectors. Those lasers will rotate so the player must move around them and dodge as necessary. Withered Christus will now become attackable and use his mechanics from both Phase 1 and Phase 2, turning the battle almost into a damage check fight, where you need to kill him before he kills you.
Once Withered Christus is defeated, the boss battle is over.......... Or is it?
The advent of Challenge Mode will change all fights in the game, and in our example, Challenge Mode will give Withered Christus a special Phase 4.
If you managed to unlock his fight's Challenge Mode, at the end of Phase 3 a special scene will happen and Withered Christus will heal back to full health. He will now become mobile and chase the player using a brand new set of attacks while retaining his old ones and still spawning adds. The fight becomes a chaotic Battle for Survival.
Now as to how to unlock Challenge Mode... As we said, to each boss battle there is a way, but we will give you the answer to Withered Christus'. During Phase 2 the Sin Adds are the key to unlock Challenge Mode. Whenever one of them reach the boss and explode there will be a line of dialogue, "Your sin empowers me!", indicating the presence of Challenge Mode, and if Withered Christus absorbs one of each seven Sin Adds, he will say a special line, "I can feel it, overflowing, the Glory, the power, you cannot match me!". This event confirms that Challenge Mode has been unlocked and Phase 4 will be waiting for you at the end.
Unlocking Challenge Mode is meant to be something of flavor, something for the player to find out and enjoy, there is no perfectly clear direction to unlock it in game, but there are many hints and indications, it can be missed at first but it won't be long to figure out. Challenge Mode also serves to make each boss battle have much more variety, as it becomes essentially three different versions of the same fight, the regular version, the way it gotta be played to unlock Challenge Mode, and then Challenge Mode itself.
We hope you enjoy this feature, it was pretty interesting to develop bosses to work in such a way and play with their gimmicks to make three different fights combine as one. Challenge Mode is available for all difficulties in the game and completing all of them will unlock you a little something at the end!
That is it for today everyone, we will be uploading the regular Withered Christus boss battle to our Youtube Channel and the Challenge Mode version soon, so stay tuned.
- Loreworks Studios team.