And now, an idea that I've thought to be rather spiffy...
Surfin' around the nets, I had found this awesome webcomic strip:
there you can see all the combinations possible from four basic critters, quite impressive
Also, not too long ago, when playing Phantasy Star IV, I had to fight several kinds of blob-like monsters... IIRC, some split into two, others got combined when there were two of them, creating a much harder opponent.
Well, any mind, after exposed to these two influences, would have thought about this:
How about having a battle (or several) where there's three different foes, and after you defeat one of them, the remaining two merge with each other in order to smite you more effectively Depending on the original monsters, the result is a different merge. So it's 3 possibilities with 3 different monsters, 6 if you have 4 at the start, and so on.
Added strategy in choosing the least of 3 evils when deciding who to attack first... players will have to learn that by trial and error.
The added artwork needs in creating several variations of monsters, but since they really are different critters, it's justifiable. Other than that, there's all the animation necessary for it to look good.
It's more work than usual when creating, say, 3 monsters, but it would be interesting anyway...
PS: I have no idea what monsters are suitable for these combinations. Also, I'm not sure whether they should be (sub-)bosses or just (relatively rarer) common enemies.
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(aka marcavis @ #allacrost)