Boss battles seem to be a phased-out thing nowadays. But, I still love them. Any truly great action adventure game has boss battles. They help define the game’s lore. I think they can still be done well with modern games, and I wish they would show up more. Here are my favorites from my entire history with videogames (in backwards order). Keep in mind, I haven’t experienced as many boss battles as I’d like to, I haven’t played certain infamous Nintendo games, like Zelda and Mario all the way through, and I’m not counting any boss battle from Shadow of the Colossus, because 1) they would dominate the list, and 2) they are all that game is, therefore they shouldn’t count.
Hopefully, I will add to the list as I remember more or experience more.
13. Flesh Lips (Silent Hill 2) – this is the strange thing that attacks you after Laura locks you in the room in the hospital. I love strictly for the creative/oddball/scary character design.
12. Laughing Octopus (Metal Gear Solid: 4) – This one is scary because it’s close quarters in this little house and she keeps hiding, and she is very good at hiding! Only if you’ve played the battle many times before, like I have, would you be able to tell where she is. It’s very psychological because once you realize a couple of her hiding places and know what she’s capable of, you start to really examine everything you walk by, then she starts laughing at you because you can’t find her.
11. The Fear (Metal Gear Solid: 3) – The first of many boss battle selections from this game. This is exactly like the movie, Predator. The Fear is a guy who hops through trees like a flying squirrel and has special camouflage that makes him really hard to see. As snake, you are on the ground and spend most of your time examining the tree branches to try and spot something unusual.
10. David vs. Ellie (The Last of Us) – This one follows suit with the last two in the way that you don’t know where the dude you are suppose to kill is at. But it’s done in a realistic way this time. You are both stalking each other in a bar and he is very good at not making his presence known. It becomes a battle of wit to try and sneak up behind him before he sneaks up behind you. Very (suspiciously) reminiscent of The End from Snake Eater…
9. Scarlet (Silent Hill: Homecoming) – She is a really cool looking, freaky boss. I don’t know what I like about it so much, but I do.
8. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid: 3) – This is the final boss of the game, and it’s very visually unique due to the white field you battle in. You fight your old mentor turned arch rival, named Boss, and she is the same exact kind of fighter you are. This is very difficult, it’s mostly just a run for your life situation.
7. Wheelman (Silent Hill: Downpour) – This is much more epic then Silent Hill bosses are ever supposed to be, but it was visually amazing, and frankly, very very strange. Who is this guy in a wheelchair, and why is he huge all of a sudden?
6. Crying Wolf (Metal Gear Solid: 4) – Yet another don’t know where the boss is at sort of boss. It’s only some of the time though, and it’s in a different environment than any other. The reason you don’t always know where Crying Wolf is, is you are in a blizzard, and she is white and occasionally likes to run away and just sit still for a while. It’s a weird boss, and somewhat frustrating, but I love it.
5. The Fury (Metal Gear Solid: 3) – It’s dark, he says creepy things with a creepy voice, he throws flames at you, you rarely ever know exactly where he is until he zooms past you on his jetpack or starts attacking. The coolest thing about The Fury is he seems like a psychologically disturbed retired astronaut who’s continuously in a state of thinking he’s reliving his glory days… and he wants to kill you for some reason. He’s one of the coolest looking and sounding bosses, to me.
4. Final Battle (Uncharted 2) – You are pretty much just gunning for a guy who has a gun and is gunning for you… but what makes this such a fun fight is the arena you have to run around in while doing it. It’s the tree of life. You are jumping and running and firing around its overtaking roots. Sometimes you shoot some of its explodable sap when the enemy is near it… I always had fun with this.
3. Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid: 3) – A shootout, western style. Or not, depending on how you want to go about it. But Ocelot is such a charismatic character. It felt less like a fight, and more like a spar between buddies… even though you shoot a bees nest to make it fall on him.
2. Two Pyramid Heads (Silent Hill 2) – The second-to-last boss feels epic in a simple way. It represents Jame’s defeat of the lies he’s been deceiving himself with. I love how they just stand still when you finally defeat them. So weird. No death animation, just stillness.
1. The End (Metal Gear Solid: 3) – Whenever I consider giving a videogame a five-star rating, I think about this boss battle. This is the most psychologically intense videogame experience I’ve ever had.
I encourage you to comment. Tell me about some of your favorite bosses!