Video games are an adventure for the most part. We start the game to learn about our main characters and follow them through the game to complete challenges up until they face off against their greatest foes. Most of the time that culminates in a final battle so great that the bards of that game sing song of the fight even after the console has been turned off. But, sometimes we get those boss fights that are just so insane and intense and draw in every single fibre of our being to defeat them, and they aren’t even the final boss. And sometimes, they are even better than the final boss.
10: Ornstein and Smough – Dark Souls
When you think of the words Dark Souls, you typically follow that thought up with gruelling and unfair fights that test the very mettle of your being, and those aren’t even the bosses. Sure, Dark Souls touts itself as being one of the most difficult games to play even from the get go, and it proves that by throwing a myriad of enemies and bosses into your digital face in ways that might be considered aggravated assault in some states. So, when we go into this we want you to be aware that the game is tough as nails, all the way up to the final boss. The problem here is, though, the final boss while hard doesn’t even compare to the anger and difficulty that will be experienced when fighting Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough.
These two behemoths not only fight as a duo where they counter each other’s weaknesses with seemingly unfair advantages, but they also take on the power of the first to be slain. You haven’t seen video game fear until you have pissed off golden Jabba the Hut and watched as he essentially eats the heart of his pal to gain his insane power. I will give Gwyn the benefit of the doubt and say that battle is a very difficult one but nothing can conjure such emotion as being victorious over these two insane monsters.
9: Mr. Freeze – Batman: Arkham City
Now, let’s preface this with the fact that I absolutely adore the fighting system that the Arkham series implemented into its game. Nothing quite as satisfying as punching legitimately 19 different enemies in fluid motion like it’s absolutely nothing. But, the Arkham series also has an immense amount of ways to disable your enemies without the help of bat propelled fists. Take for instance the boss battle against Mr Freeze in Arkham City. Considering that the final boss that it’s going up against is just another button mashing grind fest to defeat “Roidker”, and every other single boss pretty much works the same way, it’s nice to see that we are able to approach the fight against Mr Freeze in a multitude of ways.
From the beginning, the fight mechanics is driven into our minds via the instadeath that is met if you try to fight head on. In order to conquer your foe, you have to be smarter than him by attacking him from different angles all the while hiding from his robotic tracking equipment. When you get the drop on old frosty you give it to him in a bulk attack, the real caveat to this fight is he learns the previous ways of getting the upper hand on him and uses that to his advantage. It might not be exactly the most difficult fight to win, but it definitely is the most memorable as it is a nice take away from the constant face crushing that you will partake in before and after the fight.
8: Psycho Mantis – Metal Gear Solid
You had to have seen this coming, I mean it is just one of those fights. Metal Gear Solid has always been a mind bending series that really makes you rethink how you approach each battle. You can go all out guns a blazing or take it quietly without them even knowing you were there. Now, this boss battle is not particularly difficult by any means after you figure out the method, but it just sits with you as it absolutely has its way with your mind. Psycho Mantis has a bunch of interesting abilities such as; possessing Meryl, dodging your bullets, “changing the channel”, reading your memory card, and causing your controller to vibrate. Now, the power of dodging your attacks is due to his ability to read what you are about to press on your controller. How do you beat him? Put the controller in the other controller port of course! After that, the fight is a breeze.
7: The Great Mighty Poo – Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Look at it! Look at it! See it through your eye windows and let it flow down your brain tubes to be stored into your knowledge scrotum. When this menace shows his shitty face you know you are in for a disgusting time. Add on top of that, he sings to you in a very beautiful operatic voice. The bosses in this game are pretty memorable if you have played the game but this one is, I dare say, iconic. Nothing quite like tossing toilet paper into the corn laden grin of a crap monster trying to eat you.
6: Cronos – God of War 3
God of War has always had large scale boss battles, and they are all a hoot and a half. But by far the best boss to fight is Cronos. Father of the final boss that you fight in the game, Cronos is a gigantic walking titan that is kind enough to let you fight him, on him. Not often do you get to experience a boss battle so large that most of it takes place on the boss itself, minus maybe two more on this list. Eventually, into the fight, you get digested by the boss and have to fight your way out. It is exciting and tense and demonstrates just the scale that these fights can be held at.
5: Behemoth – Fallout 3
There are so many enemies in Fallout, it’s almost too difficult to come up with a boss battle. They don’t exactly introduce the monsters in a way that could really be considered bosses. More like really difficult monsters that are between you and other monsters. The Behemoth is a different story, from the minute that you are introduced to this gigantic being, you instantly are given a sense of panic. I mean, this thing is like 10 times as big as you and you have to find a way to take it out. It is one of the best moments in the series that gives you the true feeling of dread. Far better than that boss battle at the end of the game.
4: August – Asura’s Wrath
When I first played this game I was a little bit turned off by just how many QTE moments it had. I mean at this point that system has pretty much been done to death. So, for this one, I will take you back to the time when I first fought the boss. When the game first came out I gave the boss battle a try during a demo. The game didn’t give too much foreshadowing on who the boss was but you were able to tell he was a just bad ass. From the very beginning, the battle starts out with Dvorak’s Allegro Con Fuoco from his Symphony No. 9. It is fitting as you fight in possibly one of the most elegant and awe consuming fashion. You fight until he pierces your body and the earth with his Gaint sword. The feeling I felt when playing this for the first time was unimaginable, just the beauty of the entire fight as it unfolded.
3: First Big Daddy – Bioshock
Eventually, in the game, you run into a bunch of these guys, but when you first encounter one, it is just horrifying. You get to watch as the monster absolutely annihilates an insane person when he gets a little bit too close the little sister. What’s even more daunting is just the presence that these guys possess. Whenever you enter a room and you hear those thunderous footsteps and the bone chilling howl you know you look through your gear to make sure you are prepared for the upcoming battle. Now, whether or not you consider these things as bosses is completely up to you, but they struck more fear in me than Fontaine ever did.
2: Phalanx (A.K.A Colossus #13) – Shadow of the Colossus.
These last two entries might be a bit similar in biology but the battles are vastly different. First, taking up our runner up spot, the Phalanx. Let me start by saying that figuring out which boss to choose from in this game was extremely difficult. Everything that you experience in this game is gripping to the tenth degree. Each Colossus has an incredible amount of scale to them as you have to scale basically each and every single one of them to finish them off. This one only elevates that intensity by taking it to the sky. You know it has all gone down when you ride this beast’s back through the sky as you attempt to take it down. Try as it might to shake you off you persist and eventually bring down this monstrosity, creating one of the most monumental moments in an equally monumental game.
1: Leviathan – Final Fantasy 15
Holy god, this boss battle is just unreal. The whole game can be considered either incredible or a let down depending on who you ask. In my opinion, I absolutely adored the game. I might be biased specifically for this fight. You see, when I started the game I started to really get attached to the characters and the trials they went through, seeing the scale of these monsters that they fought was incredible. Even with the knowledge of just how big the battles could get, it doesn’t even compare to what you experience when you lay eyes on the Leviathan.
This fight goes from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds as you find yourself face to face with a gigantic beast from the depths that is testing/just straight up trying to kill you. You make your way through the city fighting off its advances as well as other enemies until you make it to what I consider to be the ultimate moment in the fight and the entire game. You meet in the centre of the city as it is being engulfed in water to fight a flying snake thing that can only be reached by some more flying. So why not give you the ability to fly? At this point, I was thrust back to the moment when I first saw Rinoa floating silently in space back in Final Fantasy 8. I was awestruck at just how incredibly vast this fight was. Everything combined, the fight made an impact that very few games have ever done, and it wasn’t even the final boss in the game.