Bosses eh? They’re a funny bunch. Sometimes they are too easy, sometimes insanely hard… but when they are done well, the memory of the fights can stay with you long after the game is over and done with. I’ve sat down, pulled on my thinking cap and had a good look back through all the games that I’ve played on Xbox One since its launch. From this mammoth brainstorming session, I’ve culled my ten most memorable boss fights. They aren’t all the hardest by any means, and some of them are memorable for some strange reasons, but at the end of the day they’ve stayed with me.
So, in no no particular order, here they are. Please be aware there may be minor spoilers contained within, so if you don’t want to know about a boss, take care!
Dylan Fuentes – Dead Rising 3
This guy is memorable for the weapon that he used against us, and for his entire persona!
When a boss has a weapon called “The Lust Cannon”, which is phallus shaped and strapped to his groin, you know you’re in for rough ride, if you’ll pardon the phrase.
Dylan certainly doesn’t let us down in this area, as he runs around, shooting fire and ice from his massive weapon (sorry), shouting the most bizarrely sexually suggestive phrases I’ve come across in a video game. If you aren’t doing enough damage he will beg you to hurt him more – too much damage and he complains that you’re being too rough. All in language that would make a sailor blush! All this in a launch title too.
Still, when you finally defeat him, you too can strap on The Lust Cannon and use it against the zombie hordes…
Guacamole Monster – Skylanders Imaginators
When I bought my son Skylanders Imaginators for Christmas, little did I suspect that one of the bosses he’d have to defeat would be a giant, multi-armed monster made entirely of guacamole. To defeat it, while flying a steam powered sky battleship commanded by a talking eagle, was just the cherry on top of the cake of weirdness.
This guy is no pushover either, punching and flinging huge globs of his body at you as you fly in circles around him.
Still, my six year old son can take him down now in two minutes flat, so I guess there’s something to be said for practice.
Leviathan – Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy bosses have always been screen filling affairs, from Emerald Weapon back in Final Fantasy VII to Sin in Final Fantasy X. Leviathan in the fifteenth instalment is not one of the harder bosses, but the graphical effects being flung around inside the fight really make this the standout boss from the game for me. Add in what happens to Lunafreya and it’s the Aeris situation all over again.
Flying around the screen, whacking the giant sea serpent whenever you get a chance, to the finale where you are able to summon the Armiger for the first time, and you finally start to see Noctis as a card carrying badass, rather than a whiny emo prince. And the main baddy of the game is finally revealed as well, but I’ll gloss over that particular nugget in the interests of minimising spoilers.
Oryx – Destiny: The Taken King
Right from the very first trailer for The Taken King expansion, Oryx was always going to be a memorable boss encounter. He’s turned up looking for revenge, after we so cruelly shut down his son, Crota, in the previous expansion.
Following the story through, he’s always in the background, until finally he is defeated in the last mission of The Taken King story. Except, of course, he isn’t. It turns out that Oryx cannot die unless he is killed in the ascendant realm, so the whole set up for the Kings Fall raid is created. In chasing him all over the ascendant realm, taking out his cronies and even his daughters, it’s a very long slog until you finally get to the encounter. Once the fight is triggered, and Oryx clambers into view in his full majesty, these are the times which are stamped into the brains of most gamers.
The following fight is among the best that Destiny has to offer, despite numerous glitches and the intervention of the infamous Bungie “Nope” button (normally pressed when we are about to win, resulting in the game crashing, or people being booted to orbit).
Seeing him floating off into space at the end was one of the purest gaming highs I’ve experienced.
Terramorphus The Invincible – Borderlands 2
Borderlands has a long and storied history of ridiculously overpowered bosses. Remember Crawmerax from the General Knox expansion to the first game? Well, Terramorphus is the second game’s answer to him.
He is a gigantic Thresher, with a truly ridiculous amount of hit points, who embodies the phrase “bullet sponge”. To just add that little bit of spice, if you fight Terramorphus in single player mode, when he kills you (and he will, make no mistake) his health is completely refilled. Luckily, in co-op mode, as long as someone stays alive, this doesn’t happen, and you can respawn and get back into the fight. When you do finally whittle him down, after 15 minutes or so of shooting, swearing, respawning and wondering aloud why he isn’t dying, the loot explosion makes it all worthwhile.
This is one fight that is worth coming to with an almost empty inventory as he drops an insane amount of stuff. And then you can rinse and repeat and do it all again.
The Big Wheel – Bulletstorm
This is a somewhat off the wall entry, as despite the fact that you don’t have to defeat the wheel itself, it plays a big part in your escape from the first level.
Having to defend your train from marauding bandits, take down the enemy’s trains and helicopters, and shoot the fuel tanks to change the trajectory of the wheel – it all adds up to a very memorable encounter.
Finally escaping and seeing the wheel fall over is a genuine moment of relief!
Alduin – Skyrim
When a dragon is named “The World Eater” and has the power to revive dead dragons around the world, you know that he’s going to be bad news.
As I made progress through the main quests of the Skyrim storyline and found out more and more about Alduin, the more my anticipation rose. Sadly for me, I’d spent so long doing every conceivable side quest that by the time I reached his lair, I was way overpowered and managed to take him him out with nary a whimper. I used the dagger from the Dark Brotherhood that absorbs health with every hit, and healing magic on the off hand ensured that I was able to heal quicker than he could hurt me.
Still, the design of Alduin himself, and the history and lore that is built up around him makes this an encounter I’ll never forget.
The Building – Sunset Overdrive
Only in Sunset Overdrive – the colourful, energy drink fuelled bounce and shoot-a-thon from Insomniac Games – would the final boss be an entire building that turns into a city destroying robot. Taking down Fizzy was a weird enough fight, but to now have to grind, bounce and shoot my way to the top of a building to destroy a power core was a whole new level.
It is always good to see imagination ruling the roost over common sense, and this whole game was the poster child for that sentiment. Still, where else can you fight an actual building?
Diablo – Diablo 3
Diablo 3 was my first real experience of the series, and my first proper loot-em-up. As such, the final baddy of the core game, Diablo, sticks out in my memory.
In the run up to him, we’d had betrayal, triumph, grief and more monsters than you can shake a battleaxe at, so to get into the fight, and better yet to see him go down, was a real highlight.
He’s no pushover to be sure, but with some tactical play (and maybe a friend or two to help out) he was down and we were reaping the sweet loot that he dropped. He’s since been eclipsed by Maltheal in the newest expansion, but Diablo will always hold a special spot in my gaming heart.
The Nameless King – Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 was the first of the Souls games that I’ve been able to finish, and to this date is still the only one. Whether From Software was taking mercy on me, as a mere mortal with fists of ham and fingers of butter, or whether I was finally evolving into a 1337 gamer is still up for debate.
However, having romped through the game (that’s how I remember it, as a romp, no getting stuck at bosses for weeks on end, honest), I discovered via the medium of the internet the existence of an optional boss. The Nameless King is a very nasty man who starts off the fight riding a dragon, which you have to take down before he will deign to fight on foot. Once he does however, you’ll soon wish he was back on his dragon!
With massive AoE attacks, sprinting and teleporting slashes, and just overall bad temperedness, he is a boss who can take a licking and keep on ticking. Taking him down, with the aid of a friendly phantom, is still one of my proudest moments in gaming.
General Raam – Gears of War
From his first appearance on screen, as he grabs and casually guts Lt Kim, General Raam was always going to be bad news. To then have to face him, on a moving train when he has hordes of Krill orbiting him, is a real tough fight, especially with only an AI companion to help out.
With a real life friend to fill Dom’s boots, an Insane level takedown is still very very tricky, and it stands out in my memory as a well executed fight, that requires timing and skill to complete. Seeing him hit the deck actually made me whoop in delight, which I don’t think I’d done before or since… my co-op buddy swearing at me because I’d just deafened him is just the icing on my cake of victory!
He’s now a playable character in Killer Instinct, so his place in the pantheon of gaming bad guys would seem to be secure.
So there you have it. My ten most memorable bosses, in no particular order. Do you agree with my choices? Do you think I’m talking rubbish and should have included <insert name here>? Let me know in the comments!