Love them or hate them, boss battles have existed in games since almost the beginning of our hobby and will continue to challenge and frustrate us for as long as games exist. What happens when they disappoint us though?
This list showcases the most crushingly disappointing conflicts when it comes to boss battles. In these moments, the climactic showdown can go from a potentially epic crescendo to an embarrassed whimper. Here are the ten bosses who check out like journeymen boxers paid to take a drop in the first round.
*Warning, some of this list is spoiler-ific*
10. Fable 2 – taste my music box!
While I loved Fable 2 and especially enjoyed the moody epilogue where you played out a day from your childhood, this was one disappointing way to take out a final boss. For an enemy that has ruined your life, fighting him with a music box is pretty anticlimactic. Still, at least afterwards you get to kill him (or let Reaver do it for you).
9. Ocarina of time – It’s Morpha-ing time
As universally loved as Ocarina of Time is, the water temple is equally loathed. The final boss of this crushingly dull level is Morpha, a giant…. something. Resembling a cell with a nucleus that you attack via hookshot, Morpha is basically a big room with water you encounter at a time in the game when you never want to see water again. The mid level Mirror Link boss meanwhile was awesome, meaning Morpha is that much more disappointing in comparison.
8. Street Fighter – Every boss after Bison
Sure, I guess Sagat was okay in the first Street Fighter, if a bit overpowered. M Bison meanwhile was a tough but largely fair opponent. After that though? All downhill. Akuma appeared as a secret boss in Super Streetfighter 2 Turbo and was insanely, stupidly powerful. Gil in Streetfighter 3 was a strange blue and red striped fighter using fire and ice attacks. Rather cheaply though, his normal attacks did chip damage meaning he was insanely hard to defend against and you could almost never achieve a perfect. Added to that, he had a move which allowed him to resurrect himself from death and all his normals chained easily and did incredible damage. This led to Gil being banned in tournaments in the versions of Street Fighter where he was playable.
While Street Fighter 3 had the striped Gil, Street Fighter 4 had the all-blue Seth. Learning no lessons from their previous game, Seth was again overpowered with an Ultra combo which was brutally effective. The worst part of playing against Seth was that he would play badly for the first round, but by the final round he would suddenly use all of his most powerful multi-hit moves. Suffice it to say the multiplayer version of Seth had his health brutally gimped to make him a fair pick in tournaments. Still, not many fighting games have had better bosses than Street Fighter. Geese Howard and Azazel are just as bad.
7. Resistance: Fall of Man – Man Vs Central Nuclear Fusion Reactor
What’s more fun than struggling through a dull, grey, pedestrian FPS to reach the end and face a central nuclear fission reactor as a final boss? Just about anything actually. It seems that the Resistance developers (Insomniac) missed the fact that although people loved Half Life 2, not many of them were fussed with the big tower-with-a-weak-spot boss at the end. At least in Half Life 2 the tower was visually impressive. In Resistance you’re in another grey room shooting at a grey pillar while being attacked by grey enemies. Grey.
6. Halo 2 – Battle with a big furry
The game that promised you would take the fight to Earth has one of the all time worst ending to a commercially successful mainstream game of all time. Before this major anticlimax though, you get to fight the boss of the brutes. Jumping around like you’re in Quake-world, absolutely none of what is great about Halo is present in this fight. Also, the Arbiter? Why?
5. Batman Arkham Asylum – Pumped-up Joker
Arkham Asylum is a great, great game and much of what led up to this final boss fight was genre defining. That’s why the final conflict with the joker on the roof is so disappointing. Set up as the ultimate schemer, the Joker seemed to have a truly nefarious, devious plan that he wanted to play out. Unfortunately, come the final fight he simply transformed himself into a giant Monster-Joker and you were left with just another standard enemy to fight. Having faced much better bosses including The Scarecrow and his brilliantly directed nightmare sequences, the final boss was just not up to the standard of the rest of the game.
4. Sin – Slutty Elixis flashes you, runs away
In Sin you play as Col. John Blade (really) as he chases down the beautiful Corporate boss and antagonist Elexis Sinclare. The game has some hilariously hammy cut scenes and an endearing teenage enthusiasm. Although not strictly a boss fight, at the end of the game you get this embarrassingly bad, borderline disturbing video. You never get to face Elexis as a boss, and there’s nothing more underwhelming than a boss who gets away without a fight. In May 2006 they released Sin Episodes where you could finaly catch and stop Elexis…then it got cancelled before they could make a second. Still, at least they cut down on the creeping leering at boobies in the marketing for the game…right?
3. Metal Gear Solid 2 – Why does he even have tentacles?
Another game with an ending that was hugely underwhelming, there was so much good in MGS2 that the end needed to be spectacular. It was not. Worse, it left the player with a great many questions that would not be addressed for another two games. At least you got a great boss fight though, right? Well, if you count fighting Doctor Octopus on flaming roller-skates as great then you’re in for a treat. Also, Raiden? Why?
2. Devil May Cry 4 – Frog Boss
Many animals have made appearances as fearsome enemies in the world of games. Whether its tigers in Dead Rising 2 or bears in Red Dead Redemption, big animals are great enemies. But toads? Really, toads? No one wants to fight those. No one even wants to look at those much. Worst of all, just like every other boss enemy in Devil May Cry 4 you have to fight him twice. Toads?
1. Goldeneye – Alec Trevelyan runs and runs
In any other game, this would be a decent boss fight. Coming at the end of the most revolutionary and genre defining FPS of all time (bold, I know) this was a disappointment. On the highest difficulty, it’s hilarious how many bullets you pump into the back of this pussies head. After taunting you throughout the game, he spends what seems like hours running from you in the cradle level as you massacre hundreds of henchmen and riddle his body with thousands of what must be mere flesh wounds. After you do the prescribed amount of damage, he heads off to fight you on a ridiculously precarious platform and you kill him with just a few shots. He dies hilariously easily, throwing himself to oblivion like a lead-filled lemming. Oh well, at least now you can unlock the extra levels and kill Jaws.
I hope you all liked this list. Sorry if I missed any out, as always, give me some suggestions for next time in the comments!