There are people that hate boss fights in gaming, but I am not one of them. I love them. There are certain games I remember specifically FOR the boss fights. There’s something great about the idea that I had proverbially trudged miles and miles to have to prove my meddle, and that is often just what a good boss fight does. It proves that you have learned the skills necessary to successfully traverse the virtual world you are in.
I truly think a boss fight, when done well, can work as a perfect exclamation point at the end of a level or series of challenges. The best boss fights will ensure that you have mastered all your skills by forcing you to put them to use against these end-level heavies, and the result of a rewarding boss fight is pride, a little bit of adrenaline, and the reward of (usually) getting to explore a whole new area of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, not every boss fight is awesome. There are many that have just become silly cliches of what a bad boss fight is. The BIG boss you can’t hurt but you can make dizzy, and then have to attack while he is “dizzy.’ The boss fight where the developers treat us like we are “special” and put a glowing weak spot somewhere on the creature, as if we would be lost without it. And how can we forget the ever-hilarious, “this boss has three sets of patterns that it does, over and over, and you need to learn them so you can attack at the right times” battle. Allow me a moment to address what is wrong with all three of these boss fight tropes.
First off, the “dizzy” thing bothers me. I can’t hurt this giant boss, but I can do something to make it dizzy? Aren’t those one and the same in the video game world? Second, glowing weak spots on bosses are the most insulting things in gaming right now. Unless your game sucks and you are willingly wanting the world to think you are lazy developers, in modern games, this is disgusting and unforgivable. I have been gaming for 25 years, give me some f**king credit. Finally, attack patterns. This one cracks me up. Games that pride themselves on having slick graphics and great AI, yet try to throw bosses at us who seem stuck in some kind of OCD loop? It’s just ridiculous and seems to imply that we gamers are so incompetent that, if the developer does not hold our hands, we would just walk off cliffs or into invisible walls for hours at a time. Kind of an insulting thing to imply to the audience that is paying your bills.
All that out of the way, there are boss fights that suffer some of those indignities, but are still awesome and unforgettable, regardless of those setbacks. Here, for your reading enjoyment, are six boss fights that I found completely unforgettable and will always remember.
Please note that this list is in the chronological order that I experienced the bosses, and each entry is from a different gaming generation, from oldest to newest.