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Top Ten Final Boss Fights

8/19/12 7:55pm

"Too Long; Didn't Read"?

More like "Tough Luck, Doofus. Readthewholething"


More specifically, the endings of those games. Yes, as much as we’d like them to last forever, games have to end at some point. And usually, a developer tries to provide a climax to the experience in the form of a physical confrontation between the player and the main antagonist, or another prominent villain.

Final boss fights. We’re talking about final boss fights.

Now, for this list, I really tried to just focus on the boss fight, despite how good the actual ending is. Oh, and also, I cheat. A lot. There is a lot of cheating on this list. Like, it’s pretty shameless.

I hate writing intros to Top Tens, so lets just cut to the chase, shall we?




10. Wheatley

Portal 2


Portal and its sequel are two of my favorite games of all time, and choosing which game to put on this list was a hard decision. Both fights were fun, and managed to make you use the skills that you had learned throughout the game. Both were also hilarious, mostly due to GLaDOS being the best video game character of all time.

The first game used the final boss fight as a chance for the player to finally confront the faceless voice that had haunted you for the entire game. It was really satisfying, tearing GLaDOS into pieces and throwing those pieces into a fire. But, the fight with Wheatley at the end of Portal 2 had two major things going for it that just puts on this list.

First, there were the corrupted cores that you used to weaken Wheatley. The Fact Core, the Adventure Core, and the Space Core were three characters made specifically for this last fight, and, while they were not particularly deep characters, they were really funny. Hell, the most recognizable quote in the game (which has no shortage of amazing quotes) is the Space Core’s signature cry.

Speaking of space, the second reason why this boss battle is awesome is the final blow that ends the fight. In an era where games usually end with the bad guy getting an RPG to the face, Valve made the fantastic decision to finish off Wheatley by TELEPORTING HIM TO THE MOON.

I remember playing this game, and seeing the crosshairs of the Portal Device center on the moon, and only thinking one thing: “No fucking way.”

It’s that kind of feeling that really sticks with you, and it was a great conclusion to an awesome boss fight.



9. The Final Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus

Even Wander is all like "FFFFFFF-"

Of course Shadow of the Colossus was going to be on this list, whatareya CRAZY?!?
You can’t say “boss fights” without thinking of SotC. Seriously, this game is so damn brilliant because there’s nothing in the game besides boss battles. And all of those boss battles are great.

So, of course, it gets an honorary spot on this list, and it will get an honorary spot on every boss list I ever do.

Now, the final boss isn’t the best one of the bunch (that honor would either go to Colossus 10 or Colossus 13) but it’s still a great fight. You start a long ass way from the actual beast, so the first part of the battle involved avoid his lightning attacks and running towards him, which is insanely intense and fun. Not to mention, the stormy atmosphere is nothing less than perfect, which really makes climbing the colossus more climatic and cinematic than when you had to do the same thing earlier in the game. 15 times. The same thing. Climb a monster and kill it. Every time.

It’s still a good game.



8. Sword Fight Cutscene

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Didn't see this one coming, didja?

Oh, I know that this is a cutscene and not a boss battle. But, it shows the hero in a psycial confrontation with the main villain of the game, so it's good enough for me.

Near the end of his second game, Professor Layton takes up a sword a fights a guy named Anton.

Now, I was already a huge fan of the good professor, but learning that he was also a huge badass? Icing on top of the puzzle cake.

This cutscene made Layton into one of my favorite video game characters of all time, and was a bright spot in an otherwise sloppy ending. Seriously, the bad guy was actually an old man and everyone was drugged the whole time? Lame.


7. Mac's Last Stand


Craig's daughter.

No, no, not the NES Punch-Out. I haven't even played that one. I'm talking about the Wiimake.

In this remake of the classic boxing game, after you've defeated every single enemy, you face off against the might Mr. Sandman...and, no, he's not the boss that made the list.

After you beat Sandman, you have to fight everyone again, and then you face a pissed off Mr. Sandman...nope, that's not the boss fight either.

See, after you play the game two times over, you enter Last Stand mode. In this mode, Mac decides to retire from the ring, but he wants to go out fighting. So Mac goes up randomly choosen foes until he loses three times.

I rather liked this ending, because it was suprisingly emotional. It let you choose how you wanted to end Little Mac's entire career. And everyone choose to honor the guy, and fight for as long as they could in his name. I know that it might sound silly, especially considering how silly the rest of the game is, but it made me feel like I was doing right by the game's characters. And watching Doc Brown proudly look at Mac's poster gets me every time.

Also, you get to fight Donkey Kong. Aint makin that up.



6. Metroid Prime

Metroid Prime

This is probably the purest final boss fight on the list, in that it's just you, using the skills that you learned throughout the game, against a giant monster that you have to kill. Nothing more can really be said. So I won't say it. I won't. NO, I WON'T, AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.

You may remember the Top Ten Moments list that I made a while back. In that, I mentioned Meta Ridley, the boss fight that comes before this one. Well, everything that I said about that boss applies to this one, and all of the other bosses in Metroid Prime. They're just really fun, really well designed boss fights. Retro Studios knows what they're doing.



5. Girahim and Demise

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Remember the Top Ten Moments list I was talking about, like, three sceonds ago? Well, this boss fight actually made that list, as part of the #2 entry "The Last 5 Hours of Skyward Sword."

I'll just copy and paste that part from that list to this one:

Then, the final boss fight. This goes down in three parts. Part one is the horde battle, where you fight hundreds of Bobokins on the way down to Girahim. No Zelda game has ever thrown enemies at you as cannon fodder like this before, but makes me feel like a badass every time that I play it.
Then, the fight against Ghirahim. This is a more traditional Zelda boss fight, in that you dodge attacks until you find a weak spot, then exploit the weak spot and slice it up. This final Ghirahim fight takes this traditional formula and makes the best of it, while it also teaches you the skills how you need to fight Demise (by stabbing him in the chest like you do to Ghirahim multiple times).
Finally, the sword battle against Demise. Make no joke of it: this is a SWORDFIGHT. Demise has no weakness that you need to exploit. His defense is sound. You just need to be BETTER than him. It makes for a very tense battle, which is amplified by the creepy setting and climatic music. It gets even better once the lightning attacks start coming into play.

You know, this is the 2nd time that I've used copy and paste to avoid writing something new in my lists...maybe I'm doing something wrong...



4. Bowser

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Bowser is one of the most famous bad guys in video game history. He was definetly making an appearence in this list, but which game?

I guess that depends on your point of view. I like Bowser battles the best when they're just platformer levels with Bowser stuck in there. There are only two of these types of battles in that I've played, and while the fight in Super Mario 3D Land was great, I found the one in NSMBW a little bit more fun.

Fun is the key word here. This boss fight might not be as epic or as important to the story as others on this list, but it is god damn fun. Especially when you get your friends involved, then it becomes really hectic. Not quite as hectic as the infamous roller coaster level, but a good time nonetheless.

Here's hoping that New Super Mario Bros U manages to recapture the same chaotic  feeling.



3. Remix 10

Rhythm Heaven

One purpose of a final boss is to serve as a test, making you use the skills you learned during the game to overcame an ultamite obsticle. Unfortunetly, not very many boss fights actually do this. Out of the ones that do, Rhythm Heaven stands out as the best example.

The "Remix" levels in Rhythm Heaven combined several of the music games levels into one song. It's a bit hard to explain, so I'll just leave this video here as an example:

Anyway, the last level of the game, "Remix 10," remixed EVERY SINGLE MINIGAME IN THE GAME INTO ONE LEVEL.

This would have been absolutly batshit insane, if it didn't actually work. Rhythm Heaven's gameplay is so good, that once you learn how to play one of the minigames, you don't forget. The simple controls, amazing audio cues, and energetic presentation are pitch perfect, making a final level that not only works, but makes you feel like you learned something while playing the game.

No, it's not a boss fight exactly, but it does what most boss fights fail to do.


2. Manfred von Karma

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

This motherfucker. This motherfucker.

Usually, the bad guys in Ace Attorney games aren't the people that commit the murders, but the procescutors that you have to go up against. These asshats are usually more obsessed with winning the trial then with actually finding the truth. And the worst of the worst is Manfred von Karma from the first Ace Attorney. That motherfucker.

Quick confession: The case that involved von Karma wasn't actually the final case of the game, but it was teh last case in the original Japanese GBA game, and it offers a conclusion and a sense of closure to the game as a whole, so it counts in my book. Hey, I put a damn cutscene on the list, didn't I?

This is another example of something that boss battles need to and yet rarely do: make it a true fight between you and the enemy. von Karma is written as a truely evil dick throughout the entire case. Not the "Ima capture the princess" evil or "Ima kill a lot of people" evil, but more as an "Everything that I do is in opposition to what you, as a player, have been trying to do the entire game. My one goal is to ruin you, to break you, to completly destroy you, and I am willing to do anything that it takes to achieve that goal. Why? Because I'm evil."

You want to take down this motherfucker. Why? Because YOU want to take down THIS MOTHERFUCKER. It's hard to explain, but the characters and story of AA just immerse you more and more the closer the game gets to it's climax, and it really does feel like a personal battle between you and that motherfucker. Needless to say, when you finally defeat him (not just by getting a "Not Guilty" verdict, but also by...well, I think I'll let you find out for yourself. Play the game.), it's feels so victorious, because you feel like you did it.

Once again, that personal connection to the main villian is something that most final bosses should do, but they don't. You need to be able to hear the bad guy's name and think "That dude? He is a god damn motherfucker."



1. Strider Attack

Half-Life 2: Episode 2

The premise is simple.

There is a missle. There are giant robots called Striders that want to destroy the missle and prevent it from being launched. You have to stop these robots.

And yet, from this simple idea came the best final fight in the history of video games.

First (and most importantly), it's fun. Like, really god damn fun. Driving around the battle field is fun. Using the Gravity Gun to throw sticky bombs at the Striders is fun. Shooting the bombs and blowing up the Striders is fun. Jumping out the car and running inside a house to grab ammo and health packs is fun. Using the car to run over the other enemies is fun. Hearing your teammates cheer you on and seeing them help you is fun. Freaking out when a Strider is near the missle and you're far away from it and you don't remember where you put the your car is fun. Did you hear that? This battle makes forgeting where you parked your car fun.

As if the intense amount of fun that this battle is wasn't enough, it actually has meaning in the game. Think about it: one reason that this battle is fun is that taking down the giant robots makes you feel like a badass. And what does every single NPC in Half-Life tell you about Gordon Freeman? That he's a badass. And you know what? They're right. During this fight, the real Gordon Freeman starts to shine through, and you realise that he was in you the entire time.

You start to see in yourself what every other character sees in you. After winning the battle you believe that Freeman is capable of anything, that you are capable of anything. The feeling is fantastic, and it is only made better by the the hero's welcome that you recieve after the fight.

This fight marked the begining of a new era of Half-Life, and for that, I think that it deserves a spot at the top of this list.

Now, if only we could actually see that new era...






And that's my list of the best final boss battles in history! Hope ya liked it. Subcribing would be cool. As I write this, I have 26 subscribers, and I've always been scared of the number 26. So, please, subscribe so that I can sleep at night without fear.


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