What’s a video game without boss battles? They challenge our determination and thrust us into battles of impeccable timing, refined skill and quick reactions. Bosses that require you to focus and learn from your past failures are equal parts satisfying as they are frustrating. You’ll scream, cry and pout as the boss beats you silly and instils doubt after a long and arduous journey. But then it happens, the hours you sunk into the battle begin to pay dividends as you progressively hammer away at his health bar and memorize his attacks. With a final swing of your sword, or whatever weapon you may be wielding, the boss crumbles to the ground in defeat as you spoil his plans for world domination or whatever—who cares? You just whooped his butt.
It teaches us a valuable lesson on overcoming the odds and possessing a steadfast demeanour. Only losers give up and allow that video game to sit on your shelf unfinished. It’s a crummy, draining feeling that all gamers look to avoid. Drink some raw eggs and get your montage on because no boss is unbeatable, and even if it takes you hundreds of tries you’re going to climb that mountain, friend. And it’s going to be glorious. Just make sure you have some disposable income to replace the pile of broken controllers you’ll surely burn through.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 15 toughest boss battles in video game history. If you feel I left out a particular battle worth mentioning, feel free to lambast me in the comments section and make your case.
15 Bowser, Super Mario 64
14 Shao Kahn, Mortal Kombat II
13 Spider Guardian, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
12 Senator Armstrong, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
11 Maneater, Demon’s Souls
10 Ultimate Evil, Splatterhouse II
9 Dark Samus, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
8 Goro, Mortal Kombat
7 Vergil, Devil May Cry 3
6 Shredder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
5 Sinistar, Sinistar
4 Ornstein and Smough, Dark Souls
3 Ultimate Alma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma
2 Sigma, Mega Man X
1 Mike Tyson, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Mike Tyson is easily the toughest boss battle you will ever face as a gamer. Nintendo challenged users in 1987 to conquer a gallery of fighters before facing Tyson in the finale. Thing is, you have one shot to get it done—back in those days, of course, you could input passcodes to skip to the final bout. Mike Tyson is quick, unpredictable, and incredibly powerful. One mistimed punch meant exposing yourself to a punch to the face and possibly being knocked out in seconds. Players had to be mindful of their stamina and strategically block and counter Tyson’s blows. You had to do so in a millisecond, though, so memorizing his attacks was crucial to be victorious. It’s just a shame you couldn’t bite off his ear for the finish.
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