Six Memorable Boss Fights in Video Games

It’s the moment you wait for in games.  It’s the point you reach after putting in all that hard work.   You’ve killed just about everything you can kill.  You’ve overcome nearly every obstacle you can overcome.  But there’s one more thing you’ve got to do.

You’ve got to face one of the if not the toughest character in the entire game:  the boss.   It’s what we live for in the gaming world.  And for me, I have some fond memories of bosses.

Here are six I think about the most….

Goro in Mortal Kombat – Genesis and SNES

Remember when you first actually see Goro?  I’m pretty sure that even though it was a video game that I was actually scared of this character.   You felt so hopeless against all those arms beating you.  Sure once you figured out how to beat him it wasn’t all that hard but the initial encounter definitely freaked me out big time.

Hydra from God of War – PS2

Here’s why Hydra kicked ass.  Hydra was actually the first boss you faced in that game.  Let me say that again.  The first boss.   In many games you are waiting until the end of the game to at least reach a worth and cool boss.   I remember thinking to myself, “holy shit, if this is the first boss, then what the hell does the rest of the game have in store for me?”

The Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus – PS2

These things kind of reminded me of the tripods from the movie War of the Worlds.  It didn’t matter which one you faced.   Each one of them had a weakness.   I picked these because of the sheer size and look of the character.  It’s always cool to beat something that completely towers over you.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Seven Force from Gunstar Heroes – Sega Genesis

Seven Force is one of the first bosses in gaming that took on various forms.  That alone warrants a spot on this list (think Shang Tsung). Each time you fought Seven Force, you’d very likely be getting a different experience than the other times you battled it.  So it actually encouraged you to want to beat the game many times.   Not that many games offer that experience.

Yellow Devil from Mega Man – NES

How could you not add Mega Man!   You have to appreciate Yellow Devil because of the learning curve.  He was one of those guys that was really tough to beat at first until you started to slowly pick away to the point where you could master his demise.   Plus, you know, it’s Mega Man.

Kraid From Super Metroid – SNES

In Super Metroid, you face a Kraid similar-looking to the one you fought in the original Metroid game on the NES…And then you find out that it’s not THE Kraid and promptly wet yourself upon finding out that you’re about to face a boss that won’t even fit on the screen.   Remember the first time you had to stand off with this character?  Wow.

*Clearly there are tons more boss fights out there.  What’s your favorite?

  • Alaconz

    I agree with this article, but I would’ve added Liquid from MGS4 as well.

  • kj

    No Baal from Diablo II?

  • matt

    the archdemon in dragon age was pretty intense just constant storms/blizzards/and infernos along with a bunch of elves

  • Sideshow

    The t-rex from Turok 64.

  • JZ

    Alien heart from contra.

  • Jeremy

    I always recall id’s boss characters, such as Hans Gross from the first (shareware) episode of Wolfenstein and especially the demons/cyberdemons from DOOM.

  • Greg

    Bongo Bongo in the Shadow Temple in OoT.

    The Devil in Wolfenstein Spear of Destiny.

    LeChuck from the first Monkey Island game (root beer!!)

    I also like the Hydra from God of War, but the Minotaur sticks out more in my mind.

  • MattBearPig

    Sephiroth in FF7, the stadium fight at the end of Duke Nukem 3D

  • Comfortable Madness

    The psychic from Metal Gear solid. It always amazed that to beat him you had to use the plug in for the second controller. Also, from that game Sniper Wolf. A boss sniper battle? Yes a boss sniper battle. Just awesome. A great game all around.

  • jb

    @MattBearPig – sephiroth was the *worst* end boss fight – one KOTR and he was done. bleh

    agree about Liquid, Kerrigan in SCII was pretty sweet too (multiple boss fight appearances)

  • sirgregory

    I remember getting freaked out by Hans Grosse, the first boss you meet in Wolfenstein 3D. Took me a while to realize there was a secret room on the left with all the health and ammo I would need.

  • Greg

    @jb, if you didn’t spend hundreds of hours doing chocobo breeding (and didn’t look at walkthrough/guides) to get KOTR, then Sephiroth was actually pretty challenging, especially since you had to use ALL the characters broken up into groups, and you might not have been leveling up all of them.

  • Rob J

    The T-Rex in Tomb Raider 2 used to scare the shit out of me!

    Leviathan from Resistance 2 and your first tank in L4D are also moments to treasure

  • John

    I would have to add the sniper battle with The End in MGS3… Loved every minute of over an hour.

    Another interesting addition for a “boss” would be the Prince’s shadow in the original Prince of Persia. Impossible to kill… you have go against instinct and put your sword away? Brilliant!

  • Steve

    I was hoping Super Metroid would be on this list, as it’s my favorite game ever. However, Kraid? Seriously? With a quick enough trigger finger (and *slightly* exploiting the games’ physics/processes/whatever) you can actually defeat Kraid without him ever coming out of the ground. Also, as it’s gotten boring collecting all the items, I now find my replay value in this game by collecting the least items as possible, making the game harder depending on which items you choose NOT to get.

    However, Ridley is still a difficult boss to beat. To this day I still have not completely figured out Ridley’s patterns, or how much it takes to kill him, and I’ve played this game literally 1000 times. Yes, his movements are based on your movements, but when he’s close to dying, his pattern becomes no pattern. Also, sometimes he’ll grab you with his claws and then explode, but sometimes he’ll just die. It’s this sort of uncertainty that, IMO makes him one hell of a tough SOB. Ridley should’ve been on this list, not Kraid. Kraid you can defeat with one set of missiles and no energy tanks. He’s a joke. Methinks he overcompensates for his weakness through sheer size lol.

  • Billdog

    Mike Tyson from Punch Out! I hated fighting him. Many controlers were broken due to that dick

  • Ben

    I feel like there was a grievous, grievous error here not to include Final Fantasy III’s (American Version) final boss fight. First fighting the statues one by one, then Kefka. Tough as nails.

  • Loki09

    Kefka from FF6. My a$$hole friends at the time decided it would be funny to convince me there was an alternate ending if you could beat him in under 5 minutes. This was prior to readily available info on the net, and I was about 12 years old. I must have beat him about 30 times before I realized they were full of it.

    I did beat him in uder 5 minutes though.

  • Ricky

    I agree with John, the End was an awesome boss fight! Plus there were several different ways you could kill him, be it sneaking the kill early in the game, fighting him normally, or just save and quit and wait until he dies of old age

  • Des0late

    Come on no Final Fantasy 7 w/ sephiroth.. that battle was amazing.. using OmniSlash limit break for the 1st time..

  • Zach

    The Psychic in Metal Gear for sure. What about the T=-Rex in Dino Crisis for PS2. Dumbass game for sure, but having the bass cranked up on your floor speakers when your being chased through the jungle was awesome as a 13 year old

  • Gabriel

    I would have to say my most memorable boss fight had to have been Jecht from FFX. Just the badassness around the fight was enough to go crazy for. Also in FFX, any and every Seymore battle had me on the edge.

  • Piratey

    Kefka was a sham of a final boss. Locke with the Genji Gloves could beat him alone

    The best boss in any video game was Hitler in the Wolfenstein 3d:

  • Rosstopher

    Metal Gear Solid 3 and THE END. A lot of tension in trying to find the bastard, he blends in with everything and anything, and each bullet sends you one z closer to the sandman.

  • vxdimsum

    Luca Blight anyone?

  • The Hydra and Colossus are two great choices.

    Surprised to not see anyone from Pokemon. I started with Pokemon Silver so beating Lance was a big one for me. Even more so than beating Red at the end.

  • Gashlycrumb

    No Mike Tyson from Mike Tyson’s Punch out? Your entire list is invalidated.

  • It kind of annoys me more than one person doesn’t know Psycho Mantis’s name…But out of all the Metal Gear Bosses I liked THE END the most. Basically all the MGS3 bosses.

  • Diego

    Gary Oak was the worst, hardest, … meanest boss fight ever. Just when you finished going through caves with poisened pokemon and no health he would show up and clean house. I threw my gameboy a few times because of him.

  • sepirothpk

    I would say the twilight thorn or darkside from kingdom hearts games are epic, especially since they are the first bosses respectively.

    Oh, and then there is metal gear solid 4 *spoilers*. All the battles were great like crying wolf, but on shadow moses against metal gear ray? OMFG!

    Oh, and I will always remember Vanitas and Terra/Xehanort, only because they were so difficult

  • don

    Just happy that someone mentioned Luca Blight rampaging through 18 characters in Suikoden 2 plus a one-on-one duel in the end as well. First time I battled him, I lost at the duel. And there were no autosaves in between the battles so what the hell.

    and yeah, I do agree. The End should be here. Spent like nearly an hour ‘fighting’ him.

  • zero

    It may not be the most difficult boss to beat, but I was really impressed with Doku from Ninja Gaiden, especially the first encounter in the hidden village. The guy looks like a total badass.

  • Crash

    I played through MSG3 using only tranq darts. That made The End one of the hardest bosses out there. Well that is until I found him for the first time, threw on my Thermal Vision and just tracked his footprints from then on.

  • Some good choices here, but I’m going to have to say this list is incomplete without mention of Ugh-Zan III from Serious Sam. Quite possibly the best boss fight ever in a video game. There are also some very honorable contenders in The Legend of Zelda series as well as Darksiders (which had many good boss fights).

  • starr

    king bowser from super mario on the SNES! i still remember the first time i got to him. i thought it’d never end, and it took forever for me to beat him the first time.

  • Anon

    I agree with the Hydra from GoW. It’s the first level of the game, you are still learning the mechanics, and you face the creature…what…3 times? You face a ‘baby head’ twice, before taking on two ‘babies’ and the ‘mom’. Hell, the final battle is in and of itself an epic struggle, especially that early in the game. Definitely set the tone for the rest of the game.

  • Tony

    The final boss from Gears of War on Insane.

    Again Gears on Insane if you can count the Kryll level where one person drives and the other flashes light at the bats.

    If you count the ending, Mother Brain from Super Metroid. Hyper gun FTW.

    Jaws from Jaws for NES.

    The Lich King from WOTLK expansion to WoW.

  • Swizz6

    Ganon from the Ocarina of Time.

  • Drunkmonkey

    Saturos and Menardi from Golden Sun. That was a tough fight, especially after they morph into a freakin dragon

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  • Chris S

    Where is the Eggman/Robotnik love?

  • Athan Maul

    Why the fuck isn’t Lavos up there?

  • Gabriel

    Fighting Anubis from Zone of the Enders 2 was freakin awesome

  • Dylon

    ANYONE who said Sephiroth need to leave now

  • Nick

    No Sephiroth from Kingdom Hearts, I am disappointed that bastard took forever to beat KH1 but KH2 he was a joke. also Pyscho Mantis and End were two of the best boss battles I’ve ever encountered.