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Top 10 underwhelming boss fights

Top 10 underwhelming boss fights

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?

Like the kids stuck forever in Dungeons and Dragons, you will never get to fight this woman

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!

MOAR FROM CALMDOWNTOM!

10 Comments

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  1. 10/25/2011, 7:57 AM

    I agree with The Big Joker. That was underwhelming indeed.

    The Toad or Frog boss from DMC 4 I thought was actually quite amusing. Especially when you see these lovely fairy type women floating you simply don’t expect a Toad to appear.It perfectly fits into the DMC universe because the whole vibe of the game is that of yes it is intense but don’t take it too seriously.

    Since there is mention of Ocarina of Time I want to add the last bosses of Darksiders. That game had quite some good bosses but the last ones are easily the most underwhelming ones. There is this Spider boss that beat me several times before I knew what I had to do. Beating her made me feel like so good. But after that the bosses are very easily to defeat. They can’t even be compared to the Spider Boss and the earlier bosses in the game. You would expect a boss named Abaddon, the destroyer to put up a better fight.

  2. DANIEL says
    05/23/2011, 12:57 PM

    First time i saw the title of this post I just knew The Joker will be here, and here it is…underwhelmind indeed, great game until the last battle.

  3. Oso says
    05/23/2011, 4:30 AM

    You have to put the final boss of Fallout 3 in there. The final sequence is so epic. You join with the BoS and their giant nuke throwing robot and massacre your way through hundreds of Enclave supersoldiers just so you can fight some guy (who is still alive for unknown reasons after being obviously killed earlier in the game) armed with just a pistol and armor that is weaker than what you get just for making it to the first town. Has to be the most disappointing boss fight ever.

  4. adam says
    04/17/2011, 9:52 PM
  5. adam says
    04/17/2011, 9:50 PM

    Final Fantasy X

    The Jecht Final Summon was so badass, but the final boss was… this blob thing?

  6. Aren says
    03/14/2011, 12:59 AM

    You should really re-examine the conclusion to Metal Gear Solid 2. Where most of the examples in this article are due to sloppy or shortsighted game design, everything in MGS2 was very intentionally crafted — the game was riddled with questions that weren’t meant to be answered. The point of ambiguous storytelling is to give the audience something to churn in their minds. If you get some time, look up some of the articles that deconstruct the game’s ending (such as Junker HQ’s, Tim Rogers’, or DeltaHead’s) and you’ll find that the game was making a pretty big statement in its last hour.

  7. Aren says
    03/14/2011, 12:59 AM

    You should really re-examine the conclusion to Metal Gear Solid 2. Where most of the examples in this article are due to sloppy or shortsighted game design, everything in MGS2 was very intentionally crafted — the game was riddled with questions that weren’t meant to be answered. The point of ambiguous storytelling is to give the audience something to churn in their minds. If you get some time, look up some of the articles that deconstruct the game’s ending (such as Junker HQ’s, Tim Rogers’, or DeltaHead’s) and you’ll find that the game was making a pretty big statement in its last hour.

  8. Harouls says
    03/04/2011, 2:14 AM

    Where is the last boss in FF2 (J)?
    If you have the blood sword, you can kill the boss in literally 2 rounds. ~_~

  9. Matthew says
    03/03/2011, 7:51 PM

    Oh, and one I would have added to the list is the Final fight against the Lambent Brumack in Gears of War 2. Flying around in a chopper, completely safe, and killing it with one shot from the Hammer of Dawn. Lame.

  10. Matthew says
    03/03/2011, 7:49 PM

    And this is why Video-games need to get rid of boss fights. That’s the one thing I think CoD got right, Instead of facing off against one super tough enemy, instead it usually builds to a final fight with crap loads of enemies where you need to use all the skills learned throughout the game to over come the odds and finish the game.

    Unless your game is built around boss fights, like Shadow of the Colossus or Demon’s Souls, boss fights just seem gimmicky and out of place in modern games.

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