The Legend of Zelda franchise boasts some of the most memorable bosses that can be found in video games. Partly, this is because it has existed since 1986, and partly, this is because of the sheer amount of time and effort put into making sure that its bosses are something special. Regardless, the most memorable bosses are often the most challenging, not least because of the eventual sense of satisfaction at coming out on top.
Here are some of the most brutal Zelda fights in no particular order:
Dark Link has shown up in more than one game, but his nastiest appearance might have been in Zelda II, which was unusual in that it was a side-scroller rather than something more standard for the franchise. In main, this particular incarnation was challenging because he had all of the moves available to Link, meaning that beating him called for patience as well as an excellent sense of timing. Even worse, Dark Link wasn’t alone but instead came right after Thunderbird, meaning that players had no chance to rest before facing the doppelganger.
Gleeok made not one, not two, but three separate appearances in The Legend of Zelda. This was a huge problem because each time that he showed up, he had an additional head, causing him to top out at a total of four heads in his third appearance. Unfortunately for the players, beating Gleeok required cutting off his heads one by one, which would then start soaring across the rooms while shooting fireballs at Link. On the first couple of appearances, this was no big deal, but when there were three heads moving and shooting at the same time, it was nothing short of a nightmare.
The Moldorm seen in A Link to the Past somehow managed to be both ridiculously easy and ridiculously hard at the same time. On the one hand, all that was needed was to hit his tail six times while allowing for a short period of invulnerability after each hit. On the other hand, he could change direction in unpredictable ways, meaning that it was much more difficult to anticipate his movements than it seemed on initial inspection. Even worse, the arena was a suspended platform surrounded by pits, which combined with Moldorm’s knock-back effect to send players flying down to the lower level if they weren’t careful. Something that was particularly aggravating because it reset all of their progress against the boss.
Hailing from Breath of the Wild, Thunderblight Ganon is one of the four incarnations of Malice that were responsible for beating the Champions as well as seizing control of the Divine Beasts. Its first stage saw it attacking in a relatively conventional manner that could be handled using conventional means, whereas its second stage saw it attacking by shooting electricity at metal pillars that can be hurled back at it. However, its third stage is the most challenging because of its sheer aggressiveness, which can catch unprepared players off-guard with devastating consequences.
The last fight in The Minish Cap saw Link facing off against Vaati rather than Ganondorf. In total, he had three forms – Vaati Reborn, Vaati Transfigured, and Vaati’s Wrath – which used a wide range of strategies that had to be countered using the tools and weapons that had been collected over the course of the entire game. For example, his first form couldn’t be hurt until the player had removed the floating eyes that protected his weak spot, which were protected by black spheres that had to be sucked into the Gust Jar. Likewise, Vaati’s second form had to be stunned by striking four orbs at the same time by using duplication tiles, which had to be revealed by using arrows to figure out which orbs had to be struck and which orbs weren’t invulnerable to being struck. Overall, Vaati can be considered one of the most challenging Zelda bosses for the sheer variation seen in the fight.