Top 5 Boss Battles in Video Games
As with any other lists, all lists are subjective, especially for a medium like video games, there are a lot of games which I haven’t play, and quite obviously, even if one of those games have bosses who are more than qualify to be on this list, I will have to personally play and experience them first to consider adding them. The list I will share with everyone here, is what I feel, the best 5 bosses (not in a consecutive order) I had ever came across; and they are gauged not just by difficulty alone, but also presence, design, atmospheres, concept, technicality and so on.
1. Liquid Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid 4)
The Metal Gear Solid is known for very interesting, or I might even say, mind-blowing boss battle designs. We have the very epic psychological-sniping warfare between Naked Snake and The End, the very massive, large-scale, destructive battle between Metal Gear Rex and Metal Gear Ray, the intense bout between Solid Snake and Gray Fox, and even the boss battle with the “4th wall breaking” Psycho Mantis. However, despite all the fancy, unique, and sometimes flashy designs, there are a few battles in the Metal Gear Solid universe, which, in terms of emotions, just wouldn’t be able to topple off, and one of them is the boss fight between Solid Snake and Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4. In here, we have two warriors, two brothers, two veterans with different ideals on the battlefields who had experienced wars, and who had stared at death right in the face numerously; duking it out in the most basic hand-to-hand combat – a CQC fight. With the music playing the main themes of the MGS games way back from the very first game to the fourth, it gave the impression that these two warriors, had went through a lot, looking to end their extremely long-term rivalry right then and there. It was a simple fight, a stark contrast to the other complex boss battle designs that we are so familiar with, yet, an extremely emotional one. More than any guns-blazing, stealthy or technical boss fights, the boss fight with Liquid Ocelot to this day, remains my favorite in the whole Metal Gear Solid universe (with the boss fight with “The Boss” in Metal Gear Solid 3 coming in a VERY close second).
2. Id (Xenogears)
Some of the main themes behind Xenogears is based on a number of psychological concepts – mainly Freudian and Jungian psychology. One thing I like about Id’s boss fight (and his character, while I’m at it), aside from the challenge, is that it uses this very psychological idea as a setup. As far as I remembered, Id is the personification of the main character, Fei’s desires – a manifestation of all of Fei’s impulses and satisfactions which are all gained from chaos and destruction. In most cases, Fei was the one which kept everything in check, the Superego, and there also exists The Coward, a third personality to keep the other two personae in check, which is the Ego. All of these are cleverly based on psychologist Sigmund Freud’s idea of there being three different psyches: the Id, ego and superego. Id, in the game, as a being completely bent on destruction, is definitely one of the most challenging bosses. His attacks are abnormally high, being able to sometimes even incapacitate a character in one turn. He can even dodge deathblows with ease. Additionally, the soundtrack is picture perfect in this boss fight; The quiet, slow-sounding, creepy melodies build on the menacing atmosphere of the battle, and gives the boss fight a completely different “shape” than other boss fights with typical rock soundtracks, or just fast-paced, rhythmic songs in general.
3. Luca Blight (Suikoden II)
In the story, Luca Blight is the tyrannical; insane Prince of Highland, more commonly known as “The Mad Prince”, who somehow gained control over the Highland Army. The warmonger literally destroys everything that stands in his way, with his unstoppable White Wolf Army. Being a sadistic, murderous psychopath, the design of Luca’s boss fight in this game, also did well to expose Luca’s ruthlessness and even resilience. When the player is about to face him, you need to organize 3 different parties in preparation. Each party consists of 6 characters, so with 3 parties, that means you are amassing a massive 18-character-squad just to gang up on one guy. Talk about extreme! I would like to point out that technically, the fight with Luca isn’t particularly too challenging-you just need the spend a right amount of preparations and grinding; I personally had some troubles during my first playthrough, but beat him very smoothly on subsequent playthroughs. What I like best is just simply how the way the boss fight is designed, it made Luca a legitimate tough, badass SOB. Luca’s toughness, which outright lasted three consecutive boss fights, and an one-on-one duel with the main character. In due part to how the game showcases Luca’s mercilessness and perseverance in a proper interaction with the gamer, this is easily my favorite boss fight in the game.
4. Sephiroth (Kingdom Hearts)
Sephiroth had been hailed as one of the best boss fights in Final Fantasy VII. Who wouldn’t like it though? It feels epic meeting the Big Bad Guy after your 100+ hours of adventure, and the atmosphere during the boss fight is great. Instead of the obvious choice though, I would like to point everyone to the direction of Sephiroth’s iteration in Kingdom Hearts. The thing about standard, classic RPGs is if you can’t beat a boss, other than brainstorming a strategy, you can do the most simple, but arguably time-consuming thing-grinding. You can easily overpower anything that stands in your way if you overlevel. What’s more, classic RPGs are turn-based, so that means even if the boss uses a very destructive attack (for example in this case, Sephiroth’s Heartless Angel which reduces HP to 1), you can easily spent a few good turns to heal without interruption. This is exactly why, at the very least, as far as difficulty goes, Sephiroth’s boss fight in Kingdom Hearts, where it is RPG action, really takes the cake. Sephiroth’s attack range is very wide, paired up with speedy attacks, lengthy combo and high physical damage spells troubles. He can even cast some devastating magic attacks, and most significant of all-Heartless Angel, that dreaded skill in the original Final Fantasy VII which reduces HP to 1. Did I mention he teleports too? He was one of the toughest boss fights in the game for both beginners and veterans alike, even on higher levels. I remembered I still die once even when using an Unlimited HP cheat, and I still have no idea how that happened (I’m assuming it’s that blasted Heartless Angel, reducing my HP to 1, then, he teleported behind me very swiftly and slash me, before my Unlimited HP cheat even kicked in). Makes one wonder, who is actually using a cheat here?
5. Alma (Ninja Gaiden)
The Ninja Gaiden series is known for it’s extreme difficulty, although since I never really play the old titles, the only titles I’m familiar with is the recent Ninja Gaiden trilogy (Xbox, PS3, etc..). From it, I find Alma’s boss fight to be especially attention-grabbing. It has one of the best lead-in sequences just before the fight in my opinion – the way the music played out slowly, and menacingly, before it shifts into a rhythmic manner; and with Ryu running into the scene at this time in classic ninja-style, and the emergence of the grotesque beast which excellently showcase it’s intimidation in the scene. The atmosphere is great. The boss fight itself is also one of the hardest ever in the series; Alma strikes so accurately, swiftly and methodologically that one needs to have a split-second reaction just in order to dodge her attacks, even then, it’s questionable if one is even able to dodge all of them. When she’s stunned and grounded, she recovers VERY quickly too, so you really have to possess a quick, decisive ability to rapidly switch between defense and offense tactics. Furthermore, they are those Fiends disturbing the hell out of you too, as if Alma herself wasn’t already enough. I don’t know.. I think some pro action gamers were able to beat her more smoothly with minimal use of items; then again, as you might had guessed, I’m no pro, and seeing Alma every time still gives me nightmares.