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Challenger Approaching: The Big Daddy of Destruction


Happy Holidays! Well, Holiday. Singular. What holiday, you ask? Why, Father's Day, of course! That wonderful day of the year when we celebrate the life and times of dear ol' dad! I love my dad in earnest. He has been one of the most positive people in my life. He's a great man who has done so much for our family and I wouldn't be who I am today without him. He's just like Nathan Explosion's!

Hopefully your dad is just as awesome. So this Father's Day, let's celebrate dad the way we know how. Maybe that's going out to dinner, or taking your fishing poles out on the lake, or heading over to London and disembowling some mutant scumbags.

That's right. In honor of Father's Day, this issue of Challenger Approaching is taking a look at one of gaming's biggest patriarchs. THE Patriarch.


This ugly sumbitch is the big bad of Killing Floor, a coop FPS from Tripwire Interactive. It's a monster mashing game similar to zombie mode from Call of Duty. A small group of players is placed in a map and has to kill off increasingly difficult waves of enemy mutants. If they manage to survive a predetermined number of rounds, the Patriarch appears as the final boss to give the players one last challenge.

The plot of Killing Floor is sparse. The official wiki and fan forums talk about plot devices, but if not for them, you'd barely even know the story exists. There is no story mode in the game itself and so there is very little mention of a plot within it. The Patriarch's background as detailed here is just what I've pieced together from reading various other websites.

Horzine was a biotech company that specialized in genetic experimention of the not-so-ethical type. Among their enterprises was research into DNA splicing, bionic enhancements, and cloning. One of their top scientists was a man named Kevin Clamely. This middle aged milquetoast didn't have the best home life. When his wife tried to divorce him, poor Mr. Clamely decided to take his life...

...to the next level. Clamely seized control of Horzine's technology. With a combination of genetic modification and cyber implants, he forged a group of mutant creatures to be his children. The cloning process developed by Horzine allowed him to multiply these abominations into his own personal army. And he didn't stop there: Clamely ultimately turned the experiments on himself, mutating his body into a monster and replacing his arm with a machine gun rocket launcher. Now calling himself The Patriarch, Clamely unleashed his forces on an unsuspecting London, ravaging all but the most hardened survivors.

The Patriarch is a force to be reckoned with. As the final boss, he is by far the most dangerous force in the game. He has a lot of health, a lot of power, and is never to be taken lightly. It's not uncommon for an experienced group to players to breeze through ten waves of enemies only to get wiped out by the Patriarch in a matter of seconds. 


I'm a little conflicted on how his stats would work. Logic dictates that with his size and power, the Patriarch would be a heavy character like Bowser or Ganondorf. That doesn't quite mesh with Killing Floor; in his home game, the Patriarch is the fastest entity by far. No other enemy or player class even comes close to him. It seems a little unbalanced to make one of the beefiest characters in SSB move as quickly as Zero Suit Samus. Maybe he could just have a really good dash.

The Pat has a whole bunch of abilities in Killing Floor to draw from for Smash. The most obvious is his hardware. The Patriarch's left arm has been replaced with a gatling gun/rocket launcher. His right hand is a claw, and he has a sizeable tentacle in his chest that is great for bashing enemies. He also possesses cloaking technology, which he can use to turn invisible to retreat or sneak up on enemies. And last but not least, he carries around a few syringest for healing.

How most of these would work in Smash is a given. His basic attacks would use the claw. Getting hit by the tentacle in Killing Floor sends players flying backward, so that would be used for his smash attacks. The precedent for the rocket launcher has long been set by Samus and there's no logical reason to alter that for the Patriarch.

I think the Patriarch should use his minigun for his neutral special. He would stand in position, point it out in front, and fire off for as long as the button is held. I'm not sure how accurately the shooting could be portrayed. I don't think there has ever been another realistic firearm in the series, save maybe the Duck Hunt Dog's down special. Instinct says that the Pat's chaingun would be a multi-fire hitscan attack with long range, although that seems overly powerful. For balance, it should be slowed down, the range shortened, and made into an actual physical projectile. Smash has a strong tie with older games, and if you think back to the classic era, guns usually shot little white pellets (think Contra.) That seems like the best option of the Patriarch's n-special. It would be a sort of mid-way point between Mega Man's normal attack and the Super Scope item.

The Patriarch's other key power is his invisibilty. I suppose he could have a special that just straight up turns him invisible for a few seconds. It might be self-blancing: the opponents wouldn't be able to see him, but neither would the player, so it has risks as well as rewards. Maybe the duration is shortened each time it's used. Maybe there could be some start up or ending lag as well.

If that seems unfair, there are a few other ways to implement it. It would make a nice counter move. Another possibility is to use it like Meta Knight's Dimensional Cape. He goes invisible, and before turning back, the player has a split second to input a direction to move him in. This could double as the Patriarch's vertical recovery move, making it a decent option for an up special.

The Killing Floor fanboy in me wants to incorporate his healing, but the more I ponder that, the less I think it would work. Other characters with healing abilities, like the Wii Fit Trainer, have some kind of gimmick to make them fair. I can't think of satisfactory way to portray the Pat's recovery that's not either broken, unreliable, inaccurate to the character, or some combination. Besides, while you can play around to make his attacks less violent, there isn't really a way to PG straight up injecting yourself with a syringe. Healing can be done, but it would probably be better to just drop it.

That frees up a down special, which has a lot of possibilities. A strong close range attack, a weapon attack, maybe one of the invisibility things mentioned above. The possibilities are endless. If I really wanted to geek out, I would incorporate something similar to Zelda's newest down special where she summons a knight. The Patriarch could conjur up a regular enemy from the game for a single attack. Maybe a Scrake to chainsaw them, a Gorefast for a quick sword swipe, or a Bloat to spit some acid. The Bloat could even explode if opponents hit it. Hey, why not all three? The player could tap or hold the button to cycle through them.

The Patriarch is the commander of a whole army of mutant-zombie-creatures, and frequently summons them in battle to help. This should be fully realized in the Patriarch's Final Smash, in which he conjurs up a small group of his "children" to fight. They would be a small selection of weaker enemies (Clots, Crawlers, Stalkers, maybe Gorefasts) and maybe a Siren or Bloat for good measure. They would swarm players, who could fight back was well, making them sort of the like mini-fighters in their own right, or like assist trophies. Which monsters they are would be random (with a penchant toward Clots, since they are the most common enemy in KF) in a base group of four or five, with a couple more added for each extra player in the game.

If the original design is too much for you, there are plenty of other forms of the Patriarch to use as alternate outfits. Every couple months for as long as I've been playing, Killing Floor has an "event." In addition to (usually) releasing a new map, the enemies get re-skinned to match a certain theme. There's the sideshow theme, Halloween, rednecks, and my personal favorite, Christmas! I'd love to see some of these re-skins as alternates for the Pat. How fun would it be to fight a homicidal robot Santa?

Pretty much every franchise that gets represented in SSB gets an Assist Trophy in some form or another. For Killing Floor's spot, I think the honor should go to the fearsome Flesh Pound. The most powerful non-boss enemy in the game, he would jump into battle and wander around the stage with his yellow lights. If a character were to do something to piss it off, like hitting it, it enters the red-lit rage mode and beats that character down.

Finally, every character also needs a stage. There's a wide variety of maps to pick for inspiration in Killing Floor. My first thought goes to West London, arguably the most popular map in the game. However, while London's circular layout is great for an FPS like Killing Floor, it would be kind of boring in a 2D fighter like Smash unless there were some major adjustments made. With that in mind, a multi-floored level like Biotics Lab or Hospital Horrors would probably be a better choice.



Not just because Killing Floor is overly violent, either. Nintendo is an enormous company making family-friendly consoles while Tripwire is slightly larger than an indie studio and makes gorey PC games. Nintendo likely doesn't even know that Killing Floor exists, and Tripwire probably couldn't care less about anything that the Big N is doing. The Patriarch doesn't even have the marquee value of Scorpion or Kane. Nintendo putting him in Smash would be like Disney making Frozen 2: Elsa vs. Sharknado.

The only chance this ever has of coming to fruition would be if the currently early access Killing Floor 2 becomes a monster hit and makes the series a household name. Then they might be in a similar position as Netherrealm studios.

That's all for this week. Thank you for reading. Remember to hug your dad extra tight this week, lest his loneliness turn him into a monstrous abomination that thirsts for pain and suffering. Have a good day!



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About Adam Pone of us since 10:34 PM on 04.28.2013

My name is Adam. I've been gaming as far back as I can remember, ever since the NES my parents owned when I was a wee lad. Writing has been a passion of mine for almost as long, and I've made quite a hobby out of combining the two pastimes.

I have a very wide taste in gaming. I'll give just about anything a shot, regardless of age, genre, or hardware. I like to think of gaming as an entertainment medium in the same vein as literature and film rather than a simple toy.

When I'm not writing or playing, you might find me in church, in the woods (probably on a four wheeler and/or carrying a gun), or in my room playing my guitar.