For Discussion #5: Bossing Around

Welcome back for another week of potentially warm discussion!

Bosses have a long history in video games, and have recently been catching flak because they’re a holdover from the early days of games that seem to shove their way into every title, no matter how appropriate. Of course, nothing gets the blood going like a good boss battle. You can see both sides.

Personally, my favorite boss battle of all time is simple: Magus, from Chrono Trigger. Sure, he’s easy now that I’m an experienced gamer, but when I was a kid he was one of the hardest fights ever, and the music always gets me going. Really, that’s what I want from a boss battle: I want it to make me appreciate that I’m playing this game instead of something else, and Magus did that.


  1. With so many great bosses to choose from, It can be a challenge to whittle the list down. Especially when some of the best games have a stellar collection of bosses. While I’ve always enjoyed a traditional boss fight, the first thing to leap into my mind was actually examples where the “final boss” is you, the player.
    Perhaps it’s because I’m currently extensively playing through NHL12 ( where the only real “boss” is to continuously strive to improve your performance), or maybe… actually no, I think that’s it. Maybe somewhere at the back of my mind I was thinking Shadow Link, but other than that I’ve got a one track mind right now. HOCKEY SEASON!

  2. B.M.

    Wow, lots of great bosses in the history of games, where do you even start? I guess no discussion on bosses would be complete without mentioning Megaman, which is probably (I’m not doing any research here) the originator of the modern-day boss. Even though they’re not all stellar, that series has had some great fights.
    The Shin Megami Tensei games probably have my favorite boss battles though. Every fight seems to straddle the line between difficulty and cheapness perfectly. Not to mention they have some of the hardest bosses of all time as bonus fights (Elizabeth anyone?).
    All that said, my favorite boss ever has to be the forest maze boss from Super Mario RPG. Maybe it’s just load of awesome that is Geno, but I love that fight like none other.

  3. Ramunas Jakimavicius

    I was just thinking about something like this today. First thought that popped into my head was Tiny Tiger from Crash Bandicoot 2. The fight’s actually ridiculously easy, but I love the boss battles music: For a fight that has good gameplay and music, I’d nominate N. Gin from the same game: N. Gin in CB 3 was also a tough bastard.

    I’ve mentioned him before, but Fire Leo from Viewtiful Joe also stands out. The very first time I attempted the fight, I was like: “This is impossible. No way.” Then, after getting the pattern down, I beat him. Triumph@ And then I beat him on V Rated. And then I had to get the pattern down again before beating him on Ultra V Rated. He is brutal (at least at first), but I think he’s a great example of an enjoyable boss battle. since he’s challenging like boss status should imply, but he can also still be beat. Shame that Ice Leos appear as a weaker an overused enemy though.

    Clock-La of Sly Cooper 2 was also good. There was this game-spanning story leading you to believe that you’d fight a reincarnation of Clockwerk, but in the end you get to fight something a bit different than what you expected. One of the best parts about this boss is that it patrols a level before the actual boss fight in a way that greatly enhances its deadliness and the fear you feel regarding it.

    Some other memorable boss battles:

    Zurt Zisa – Kingdom Hearts 1
    Sephiroth, Grim Reaper, and Luxord – Kingdom Hearts 2
    Mimi – Super Paper Mario (The game show and boss battle itself was pretty good, but the Exorcist and spider monster stuff if someone you’d expect out of Silent Hill, not Mario.)

    I’m almost certain I have more examples of great boss battles, but few else come to mind at the moment….