Badass Bosses: Bloater (The Last of Us)

Welcome back to another instalment in PSU.com’s on-going Badass Bosses feature, where we shine the spotlight on some PlayStation’s most memorable scraps. Whether they’re as tall as a tower block, so difficult you end up hurling your DualShock at the screen or just downright awesome to look at, you’ll find all the best bosses here – PS1, PS2, PS3, anything goes.

For our latest offering, we delve into a recent offering for PS3; very recent, in fact, as the game has only been out for a month. Yep, it’s Naughty Dog’s gritty survival-adventure romp, The Last of Us. Here, we look at Joel’s encounter with the grotesque infected foe known colloquially as a Bloater.

First encountered in the high-school gym, the Bloater, as its name suggests, is abnormally large in appearance compared to its Clicker and Runner brethren. Due to years of infection, the fungal growth has expanded so that the victim’s abdomen has ballooned considerably, hence its moniker. Furthermore, aside from making the creature look like it has been surviving off a diet of pork pies for the past two decades, the fungal matter has hardened giving the flesh-eating monstrosity armor-like qualities, increasing its resilience to small arms fire and blunt weapons. As such, they’re tough buggers to put down, and are able to soak up more punishment than regular infected individuals.

Bloaters are lumbering in nature but more than make up for it in attack prowess. Not only are they able to literally rip you apart in close proximity – resulting in an instant, grisly death for our hero – but they can lob spore-like bombs at you from afar, meaning they don’t have to be close to prove a considerable threat. Aside from clouding your vision, these spore bombs also clog up your throat, impairing your movement for a while as Joel attempts to grasp for fresh air.

Furthermore, Bloaters love to team up with Runners and Clickers, making them quite a formidable opponent; don’t expect an easy ride if this should happen, and always keep on the move. Your best bet in battling the Bloaters is to beat them at their own game – projectile attacks. Don’t bother with melee weapons; toss a Molotov Cocktail or Nail Bomb, and follow up with a couple of well-placed Rifle or Shotgun blasts to finish them off. Like all infected, they’re especially vulnerable to fire, so make sure you have plenty of supplies going spare.

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The Last of Us is available now exclusively for PS3.