Basically, several level-based games "back in the day" had a special kind of enemy appearing when playing the same level for too long. Bubble bubble had Baron von Blubba:

Baron von Blubba

Snow Brothers had a similar one (a weird pumpkin figure spawning invincible ghosts).

Does this kind of enemy have a canonical name? (Like "boss", but it's not a boss of course.)

  • 2
    would a more recent example be the ghost in splunkey?
    – TheAce
    Dec 9, 2014 at 19:43
  • Well, I'd say yes. And spelunky.wikia.com/wiki/The_Ghost/Classic says it functions more like Baron von Blubba of the Bubble Bobble series, who operates as an invincible (but avoidable) enforcer of the stage time limit, so yes :)
    – peppe
    Dec 9, 2014 at 21:20
  • thought so I don't know of any names for those kinds of enemy types though.
    – TheAce
    Dec 9, 2014 at 21:38

3 Answers 3


No, there is no canonical name for them.

However, I somewhat like the term Chase Boss this GiantBomb user has come up with, although it does not strictly limit the term to enemies appearing due to time constraints: http://www.giantbomb.com/baron-von-blubba/3005-10958/forums/the-mentop-tento-ten-best-chase-bosses-504317/

It's also worth noting that 1980 arcade game Berzerk probably featured the first enemy of this kind, fittingly named Evil Otto.

  • Wow I'd forgotten about that. +1 for the historical reference.
    – nick
    Jan 26, 2015 at 23:23

I usually hear this referred to as the Soft Timer (I realize the enemy itself is not a timer, but this is still what people call it).

"Soft Timer" is opposed to a "Hard Timer", which causes you to lose immediately when it runs out.


  • Here and here various users call the ghost in Spelunky the soft timer
  • Here some users refer to the Rebel Fleet in FTL as the soft timer
  • Here someone refers fire spreading during the Butcher in Diablo 3 as a soft timer

I don't think they have a collective name, but I like to name them Arcade Enrage.

The name comes from World of Warcraft when battling a boss for too long. The boss would then enrage, increasing damage by a lot, and death is inevitable.

Somewhat the same goes for those characters.

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