Right. You know each Big Daddy represents a combat theme, right? Bouncers are melee rushers, Rosies are tough Pistol types, Lancers use light and audio cues to confuse the player, Alphas are close-range tacticians, and Rumblers are anti-group burst-damage dealers. Among this variety of enemies, one combat class is missing: a sniper. Now, sniper bosses are hard to get right, and are very irritating if not properly designed, not to mention gimmicky. So, to give it more depth, it'll have a fighting style completely different to anything you've seen before: introducing three-dimensional combat!
- Level 1: Head Hunter Gene Tonic
- Level 2: +Damage
- Level 3: Immune to fall damage
- Level 4: ++Damage
- Level 5: Able to look down any weapon's sights near-instantly
Hawkers are a cross between the standard diving suit model and an air pilot. Their helmet is made of three wide, curved plates which connect at the nose (similar to the head of a Collector), with a porthole on each one. From that bit an air tube connects the Hawker's face to its tank, passing under the Big Daddy's left arm, and it'll swing as the enemy moves around. Attached to the air tank are four rockets which end under the BD's waist, with the two center rockets about one and a half times taller and wider than the side ones. The main armor doesn't change much, although the legs are padded in thick insulating leather plates. As you could guess from the picture, these guys wield a Spear Gun.
Aesthetics don't make an enemy convincing, though. This Big Daddy's main fighting style is relatively simple: he'll try to get as far away from you, and snipe you. If you're too close, he'll run away from you (he's quite fast) and jump using his booster rockets. From there, he'll either land farther away or fly to a perch to attack you. If you managed to get him in a small room with no perches, he'll jump up, fly above the ground, and move at you while trying to nail you with his spears. These deal a lot of damage, but if you're fast enough you can dodge them (at long distances) or even catch them with Telekinesis. If you deal the Hawker enough damage, he'll fly out into the open to find a new sniping spot. Also, since his rockets spew out flames, any fire hazard underneath him will be set off.
Now, how the hell are you going to be able to fight properly against an armored sniper with a jetpack? As it turns out, his greatest strength is also his greatest weakness: if you hit him with Electro Bolt or Winter Blast while he's in mid-air, he'll crash back down and take damage. If you're agile enough, you'll even be able to shoot and destroy his jetpack, crippling him and tearing out a huge chunk out of his health (he'll be able to run faster, though). Also, he's one of the weakest Big Daddy types, second only to the Alpha.
Even a flying, sniping, armored mutant gets boring after while. You might also be wondering: "Why doesn't he do anything else than snipe you?". To answer your question, now he does: first of all, if you get too close, he'll turn around and ignite his jetpack. On one hand, that mean's he'll get thrown safely to the other end of the room. On the other, that means you'll also be set on fire by a quadruple burst of incandescent high-efficiency propane. Not good. You'll take a lot of damage continuously, more so than if you got hit by a Fire Houdini or even an Incinerate!-toting Alpha.
Once a Hawker gets into the air, he'll have a surprise for you. He'll make a pass above you at full speed, dropping a cluster of rolling mines as he does so. These little beasties roll towards the closest enemy in range (in this case, you), and then explode (or just explode if one happens to land directly on you). He'll also have a tendency to drop one of these from time to time, especially when retreating. If you retreat into cover, he'll lay one of these and follow it until it reaches you, at which point he'll find a perch and resume sniping.
So what do you think? Do you find him fun, annoying, both? Is the balance right? I'd love to hear your thoughts (or, more precisely, read them).