You know, I read stuff like this all the time. Everybody has their opinion about what games have the best boss battles and why, but I am one of those gamers that likes the games that I like because they give me something for my time and money. Now what that is may be very different from the rest of you and the rest of the writers out there in game land. I realize that my opinion on things amounts to nearly nothing in the grand scheme of things, but honestly, this is made more to get you all talking amongst yourselves about the boss battles that really got you fired up. So even though these may not be on your favorites list, they are most definitely on mine. So give it a read and then start posting about your faves. We’d love to hear about them.
Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid)
Any boss battle would be remiss if they didn’t include this guy. At least I think so. This was not only one of the more intense boss battles in the PSOne age, it was just an incredibly well thought out fight. The way that he “read” your saves and told you what kind of gamer you were was creepy enough. Then the screen went all creepy and you could do nothing to stop this guy. It took a friend of mine who had already beat him to tell me that you had to switch the controller ports in order to win. Bravo, Hideo Kojima. You won that round.
I am a fairly big fan of FFVII . It’s not my favorite FF title but it’s up there. However I can say that in terms of story and scope, it is definitely one of the best. As evidenced by the masses of people like myself who really hope that there will be a rebuild of the title on modern gen systems. A hopeless thought maybe, but there’s hope nonetheless. Okay, on to Sephiroth. This guy was one of the more difficult bosses I have ever faced in a game. But the reason that he’s not higher on this list is because of the sheer number of times I had to fight him in his various forms. Each battle brought new challenges. But in the end, it was just a little overkill. I really stuck with it just to see how the story finally ended… it was totally worth it.
Pyramid Head (Silent Hill 2)
This guy should also be in the giant sword club. Like Sephiroth, Pyramid Head wields a whopper of a blade that–if you get too close to it–you may find yourself all kinds of dead. But the battle against this creeper wasn’t the only part about him that was awesome. It was the fact that you get tormented by his very presence throughout the game and leading up to his actual fight sequence. Sometimes the actual build up to the fight is what makes the final battle worth it all, but it can also create some serious anxiety when you finally figure out that you actually are going to have to fight something… like this guy.
M. Bison (Street Fighter II)
Back in the day, I used to pump tons of quarters into the Street Fighter machines. I was a huge fan of the series. With each passing version, I got less zealous in my love for the games, but that’s neither here nor there. The first time I ever really got pissed because I was shoving pocketfulls of quarters into an arcade box to beat a single enemy was the first time I fought M. Bison in Street Fighter II . He was such a bastard. It seemed that no matter what I did and no matter what character I used, there was no way to escape his attacks. And he was such a pain because he would only use his powered moves. He would never just fight it out like a man. That’s when I realized that you had to fight fire with fire. So I would lock onto him with Guile and flip kick and sonic boom his ass to death.
Zeus (God of War III)
Oh the finality of facing the king of the gods in ancient Greece. Your pissed off Spartan protagonist had finally reached what he believed was the source of his sorrow and pain. He was about to exact his vengeance and relieve himself of the burden he had been carrying for so long. But he found out earlier in the series that no amount of vengeance would erase the memory of him murdering his family. So rather than deal with the guilt, he decided to murder the gods and be done with them forever. Little did he know that he would be able to not only kill Zeus, but Gaia as well – in the very same moment. There’s a two for one sale on dead gods in aisle three. Oh, and also a cleanup on aisle three.
Liquid Ocelot (MGS4)
There was something about this battle that made it more awesome than all the rest in the series. It might have been the promise of closure if you actually killed him. It may have been the backdrop. Fighting him atop a metal gear with the sunset at their back seemed a fitting way for these two warriors to finally face each other on even ground, but like all Kojima battles, it raised more questions. And even though it left you with a weird feeling when it was over, this battle was the perfect way for these two brothers to fight it out and declare one the final winner. You had been fighting incarnations of Liquid since MGS on PSOne, so it was cool to finally feel like you beat him completely. Even if you’re not totally sure.
Metroid Prime (Metroid Prime)
It felt like it had taken a lifetime to reach this battle. Running, shooting, rolling, crying, swearing and leaping my way through the hordes of baddies to find my way to the Prime. You know the funny thing about this battle is that by the time I got to it, I almost didn’t want to do it. The game had been so much fun up to that point that I didn’t want to ruin it with a crappy final boss battle. But sometimes listening to your friends and what they think about things isn’t the way to go. A buddy had told me that the final boss was the worst battle he had ever faced. He said he quit and got rid of the game. That’s how bad it was. So reluctantly I went into the fray. Once I figured out that all you had to do was keep switching your weapons in rapid succession, it was a blast.
General Raam (Gears of War)
I am typically a PlayStation guy by nature. But there was a time when Microsoft nearly pulled me to the dark side. It all started with Halo . Then Gears of War came along and I was hopelessly addicted to the series. I read the books, I watched everything I could online about it. I was literally an addict. I loved the control scheme, the brutal combat, the chainsaws and the mayhem. But more than that, I was taken with how visceral the story was inside of a genre that was typically a gun-and-run type of shooter. I became enamored with the characters and their plight, but it was Raam that made me realize that there were many battles to come that would feel like this one. A battle where the enemy knew me and my tactics and one that would do whatever it took to kill me. It was an awesome fight.
Kurt Dierker (The Saboteur)
People can say what they want about this game. It remains one of my favorite games of all time. It might be the fact that I pretty much love anything that has to do with WWII, but it probably–at least in this case–has to do with the fact that you are chasing a singular enemy. You are driven by revenge, but your character becomes overtaken by the gravity of the situation and becomes more of a hero than even he understands. But Dierker never loses his place as the focus of your anger. He is the prize. He is the goal. And once you see him plummet to his death, all is right with the world.
This guy. Yeah, this guy. The first time I faced him I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I got my ass handed to me more times than I care to discuss, but as I leveled up and got some better gear, the fights got easier. Then I grouped up with some of my boys and we decided to roll this dude as hard as we could. And that we did. It didn’t matter what he tried we were ready. It was team combat at its finest. He tried to separate us by zapping us onto other planets to disorient and divide us, but to no avail. His minions came and they fell. In the end it was one of the best boss battles I have ever been a part of.