Top 7 Boss Battles in Video Games
Below is a list of Top 5 boss battles of video games I played. They are gauged not just by difficulty, but also presentation, design, atmosphere, concept, technicality, story 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 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 flashy designs, there are a few battles in the Metal Gear Solid universe, which in terms of emotions, is just without equal. 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 war veterans with different ideals. These two rivals whom have been at odds with each other since the very first game, finally squaring off in the ultimate battle to settle the score once and for all, in the most basic hand-to-hand combat – a CQC fight. With the music playing the main themes of the past Metal Gear Solid games up until the present’s, we are also given a nostalgic reminder of their lengthy journey during the fight itself. This was a simple fight, a stark contrast to the other complex boss battle designs 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. Id is the personification of the main character, Fei’s desires – a manifestation of all of Fei’s destructive impulses. As you would have expected judging from his character, 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 feel 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 destroyed everything that stood 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 the fight with Luca isn’t particularly too challenging-you just need to grind a bit and be well-prepared. 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 presented, 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 showcased 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)
The Sephiroth boss fight has often 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 insane. 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 easily have some leeway 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 and I swear, almost covered 1/4 of the area. Paired up with speedy strikes, lengthy combos and high physical damage spell nothing but trouble. 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 slashed 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 played the old titles, the only titles I’m familiar with is the Ninja Gaiden trilogy. 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 – the way the music played out slowly, and menacingly, before it shifts into a rhythmic manner; and with Ryu running to the scene at this time in classic ninja-style, and the emergence of the grotesque, intimidating beast — the atmosphere is excellent. The boss fight itself is also one of the hardest ever in the series. Alma strikes 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 need to have insane reflexes and decision-making ability juggling between defense and offense. 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 have guessed, I’m no pro, and seeing Alma every time still gives me nightmares.
6. Loewe (The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC)
True to the story and how the context has been building up Loewe to be one of the strongest characters in the Trails in the Sky universe, when you actually get to fight him, that status of his is seriously no joke. You can barely beat him even at level 90+, and if he used S-crafts at the start of the battle — that’s already a telling prophecy, a prophecy that tells you are definitely going to lose this round, and then it’s time to reload. Even without his S-crafts, he’s already dangerous enough with devastating strength, speed (which gives him an immense amount of turns) and various magic and skills which puts him in an unfair tactical advantage. Even worse, he can summon up /perfect/ clones of himself! That means with the same insane stats and skills intact, his clones can do pretty much the same thing the original could, unlike the other Enforcers. This boss fight is pure nightmarish. A gruesome amount of preparations, grinding, brainstorming and even luck is needed to beat this boss — Loewe is truly the Bladelord. He’s one of the hardest bosses I encountered, not just in The Legend of Heroes, but in all of JRPGs. Aside from the difficulty though, I also like the atmosphere and story that went into this fight, context-wise, it’s really the perfect boss fight to conclude Joshua’s character arc.
7. Augus (Asura’s Wrath)
Asura’s Wrath is known for it’s unique QTE gameplay mechanics and over-the-top actions. When you combine that with manly interactions and a classical orchestra piece “Symphony No.9 from the New World” serving as the backdrop for this entire fight (which takes place on a fucking moon), this boss fight, just from atmosphere alone is one of the most stupidly coolest boss fight I have seen. I mean, just check it out, isn’t it one of the coolest damn thing ever? The thing about Asura’s Wrath is that the whole game is like watching an episodic show, and a lot of it is focused on cinematic. The cinematographic and QTE-nature of Asura’s Wrath however, works well with this boss fight. In fact, it only helps to propel this boss fight to one of my favorites just from this alone, because damnit, it just looks so cool. The atmosphere, music, cinematographic storytelling, hard-hitting punches and over-the-top actions — this boss fight is the accumulation of all the best aspects of Asura’s Wrath.