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The most annoying thing about fighting Dr. Zomboss at the end of the Lost City level is that he occasionally drops sandbags on the fire traps, wiping out a whole lane of plants (except for extremely tough ones, like an Endurian that's been fed a plant food). In many playthroughs of the stage, I've occasionally seen him miss the trap, dropping the sandbag on the adjacent square instead, but I've never been able to determine the circumstances that led to it.

At the front of the gondola is a zombie figurehead with some vines hanging out of its mouth. My best guess is that something can pull the ship forward by the vines and make Zomboss miss the trap, but I can't figure out what it is. I've given plant food to each type of available plant in the vicinity of the ship as he starts his fire trap move, but none of them pull the ship forward.

The only plausible theory I have is that this just happens by random chance sometimes, to give the player a bit of a break. But Zomboss's particularly devastating moves can be interrupted in most if not all other battles, which makes me think there must be a way to do it in this one too. Is there?

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In short, there is not a way to interrupt his sand bag drop, nor is there a way to influence where he drops it.

Like you mentioned, there's usually a way to interrupt Dr. Zomboss on almost every map with a well-timed plant food, but for Lost City, this does not appear to be the case.

It looks like his attacks not being able to be interrupted is by design, as the steady flow of plants matches the rate at which he destroys them. Were it not for him dropping sandbags on the fire traps, you'd have far more plants than you'd need making that level's difficulty far too easy.

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