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Top 5 Most Memorable Boss Fights

/ Jan 24th, 2013 No Comments

Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus

Talk about David versus Goliath.

In every great game there is a great boss to defeat. Killing the same old minions gets a little repetitive, and a boss battle needs to be thrown in there every now and again to spice things up. Bosses act as a sort of test for players—challenging their ability while usually furthering the plot or acting as a milestone. Below is a list of the most memorable and noteworthy boss encounters in video games over the years.

5. Bowser – Super Mario 64

By the time Super Mario 64 came around in 1996 gamers were already more than familiar with Mario’s arch enemy. However, when the Nintendo 64 brought the Mushroom Kingdom into glorious 3D, players encountered a whole new Bowser. For starters, the levels preceding Bowser were no longer the same old castles featuring reused hazards. Super Mario 64 had the Italian plumber confront Bowser across 3 unique worlds: from the first encounter in the Dark World, to the Fire Sea, and finally at the last level, In The Sky. Bowser also came prepared with a whole new set of tricks. Whereas in earlier games where he simply jumped and shot fire balls, in Super Mario 64 players had to grab Bowser by the tail and hurl him at nearby bombs–all the while avoiding hazardous flames or crumbling floors. Setting the new standard for 3D platformers, Super Mario 64 also reintroduced gamers to their most beloved foe.

4. Mike Tyson from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!

Why does Mike Tyson make it on the list? For the simple reason that he was nearly impossible to beat. Mike was so difficult that only the most well-timed, perfectly trained gamer stood a chance of even lasting a minute in the ring with him. Nine times out of ten players were hit with one of his demolishing blows and that was it, lights out. Mike might not be the tough guy he used to be 1987, but don’t tell that to his pixelated counterpart in Punch Out!!

3. Nemesis – Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3

A face only a mother could love.

Of all the bosses on the list Nemesis definitely earns the title as most persistent. While most bosses are one time encounters, Nemesis has a bad habit of popping up throughout a player’s time in Raccoon City. What makes him particularly scary is his sheer strength. More often than not, players are forced to flee rather than take on this unrelenting Tyrant. He’s so strong in fact that gamers must use a massive rail cannon to put a final end to this undead stalker.

2. Any of the Bosses From Shadow of the Colossus

Honestly this should be a no-brainer. When compiling a list of epic bosses, it’s hard to leave out a game where all gamers do is fight gargantuan Colossi. Rather than choose one particular Colossus, it is easier to just go ahead and placed them all into one category. For size alone these massive brutes should make the list–any boss that’s so enormous it can’t even fit on the screen deserves a special sort of admiration. But the Colossi are more than size, each had a unique weakness players had to exploit in order for it to be defeated.

1. Psycho Mantis

Easily the most memorable boss from the original Metal Gear Solid–if not the series–Psycho Mantis forever etched himself into the minds of gamers with his witty, and somewhat disturbing, use of breaking the fourth wall. Cleverly integrating Psycho Mantis’ psychic background, Hideo Kojima designed the character actually to interact with the players themselves. While games might have broken the fourth wall previously, none did it like him. Ranging from moving the controller, to changing the screen black, and even commenting on other games saved to the memory card; Psycho Mantis challenged players like never before. Maybe not the toughest or visually stunning boss players have come across, Psycho Mantis is by far and away one of the most inventive, and it is for this reason he tops the list for most memorable boss fight.

There you have it, the 5 most memorable bosses throughout the years. From slaying monstrous Colossi to battling a mind-reading psychic, these bosses challenged players like never before and showed what it really means to be a boss. While some relied on sheer difficult to challenge players, others took a more clever, innovative approach. Regardless, these boss encounters are moments players are sure to remember.

Feel free to share your personal favorite boss fights in the comments!

Stephen Vinson

Stephen Vinson

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Stephen is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated and part of the editorial team. He regularly reads game reviews, keeps up with gaming trends, and follow news stories about the latest game or console rumor.
Stephen Vinson
Stephen Vinson

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