Think about the last video game you played. Was there a particular boss fight that gave you trouble, or a powerful enemy that truly tested your skills? In the realm of video games, there are few things more satisfying that bringing down a powerful boss and finishing a truly epic quest.
Back when games were just starting out, bosses were predictable and had easily identifiable attack patterns. As technology grew, and developers were given access to better tools, boss fights began to feature elaborate mechanics and designs. We've come a long way from the days of "jumping on a boss' head three times."
Some will argue that older titles had better substance and harder mechanics. While this is true in some cases, it's also important to note that lack of hardware severely limited what a playable character was able to do. Characters in the modern age are capable of fluid movement, making it much easier to dodge attacks and use positioning to gain an advantage over an enemy.
All that said, there are some boss fights that just seem lazy, rushed, and uninspired. What's more unfortunate is that there are some fantastic titles that feature awful end bosses, which can really take away from the overall pace and feeling of the game. This list was inspired by 15 end bosses that "ruin" some of the best games ever made. We expected so much more out of the enemies on this list.
Which boss disappointed you? Let us know!
15 Frank Fontaine (BioShock)
BioShock is a creepy masterpiece. The iconic first-person shooter cast us down into the pits of Rapture, an underwater utopia-turned-nightmare. The game featured an intriguing storyline, revolving around the discovery of a gene-enhancing tool called ADAM. All was perfect for the citizens of Rapture until those with ill-intent sought to change the city's narrative. A great civil war consumed the city from within, ushering in a new era ruled by ADAM junkies (called Splicers) and benevolent "leaders."
The visuals, combat, story, and sound, culminate to craft a game that is well deserving of its critical acclaim. However, the final battle with BioShock's main antagonist, Frank Fontaine, leaves a lot to be desired. This fight is nothing more than a simple "rinse and repeat" mechanic that has you dodging fairly simple attacks and "draining ADAM" from Frank each time you deplete his health bar.
14 Eredin (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
The first two Witcher titles were amazing in their own right and bred a decent cult following. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, was spectacular. The release felt massive, spanning a huge world map and giving players the freedom to complete quests and undergo tasks however they saw fit. The combat was as fluid as ever and developers did a fantastic job in creating a game world that was beautifully designed and detailed.
Witcher 3 also marked the arrival of Eredin, one of the most imposing video game bosses in recent years. His deep Darth Vader-like voice and large stature made for a very threatening villain. Unfortunately, the end battle between Geralt and Eredin isn't nearly as epic as you'd expect. Thanks to dodge mechanic, it's incredibly easy to avoid Eredin's slow attacks. He doesn't do much damage either, which cuts severely into his threat factor.
13 Ganon (The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time)
To be frank, a lot of Ganon's iterations don't seem particularly difficult, especially in the realm of 3D Legend of Zelda games. For us, the final fight from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time takes the cake for being perhaps the easiest bout against Ganon throughout the long-running series. To be clear, we're talking specifically about the final battle with the Dark Lord (which takes place outside of Hyrule Castle), not the one against Ganondorf (inside the castle), which is actually pretty entertaining.
To defeat Ganon, all you have to do is roll between his legs or around his side. There, you can strike his vulnerable tail until victorious. It's a rinse and repeat mechanic that leaves a lot to be desired, especially after an entertaining fight in which you had to knock a light ball back and forth like a Tennis match.
12 The Hive Mind (Dead Space)
We'll be honest, Dead Space gave us a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Touted as one of the best survival horror titles ever, Dead Space became an instant classic, and a must play for any horror fan. The desolate surroundings, ominous music, spectacular visuals, and horrific enemies, made for one downright terrifying ride. There were a few "bosses" sprinkled throughout the journey, and Isaac Clarke had his hands full on numerous occasions.
The ending will go down as one of the spookiest scares to ever haunt the gaming world, but the boss battle right before the ending fell very flat. The Hive Mind is a massive tentacled creature that looks capable of smashing a space ship in two but will fall after some well-placed shots. Its attacks are rather easy to avoid, as it only pursues Isaac with two lumbering tentacles.
11 Baby Bowser (Yoshi's Story)
Say what you want about Yoshi's Story's colorful child-like themes and made-for-kids rhetoric, but it's a cult classic. The Nintendo 64 smash hit took us on a journey through the eyes of the Yoshi clan as they attempted to thwart evil and restore their beloved Super Happy Tree. We wouldn't necessarily classify ANY of the Yoshi's Story bosses to be particularly difficult. In fact, Cloud N. Candy is perhaps one of the easiest bosses in gaming history.
That said, it's hard not to expect more from a final boss, especially when the Yoshi's Story journey was such a compelling and entertaining affair. Baby Bowser is a complete pushover (as he usually is in the Mario universe, but we digress), even though the fight takes place in two "forms."
10 Dark Prince (Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones)
This beloved series may not be front and center of the gaming world, but it still received much praise and is regarded as a well designed and supremely entertaining action/adventure/platformer. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is one of the best entries in the series. The plot for this release saw protagonist "Prince," battling against a newly formed alter-ego (Dark Prince), who "rose to power" within his mind as a side effect of the Sands of Time.
The game itself is a romp and received critical acclaim from the community. Sadly, the end "boss battle" just wasn't up to par. Prince spends most of the fight hopping across platforms. Just when you think a truly epic battle is about to begin, you find yourself simply "walking away" from the dark influence. There is no epic finale to be found and no satisfying combat to enjoy.
9 Osmund Saddler (Resident Evil 4)
We've got quite the soft spot for the Resident Evil series. The first two titles helped define the survival horror genre, while Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, showcased interesting side stories and gameplay mechanics. For us, though, Resident Evil 4 stands out as one of the best adventures within the franchise. Leon Kennedy is a great protagonist, and although Ashley Graham can be outright annoying, there is much to enjoy with Resident Evil 4's gameplay, visuals, and storyline.
Unfortunately, the final boss battle isn't the best selling point. Many players found Saddler to be incredibly easy compared to earlier bosses (U-3, Krauser, and Salazar). To beat this fanatical leader, you'll simply need to run from his attacks, line up a shot on one of his exposed weak points, and then run up and stab him. Rinse, repeat, rejoice.
8 Zhaitan (Guild Wars 2)
There are some that argue that the era of MMORPGs is ending. Apparently, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 didn't get the memo. Guild Wars 2 may not seem the same overall success as Blizzard's iconic adventure, but it has developed a large and persistent community of players. At its core, the ArenaNet creation features exciting gameplay, gorgeous visuals, and a rather deep and enthralling story.
Guild Wars 2 follows a lengthy storyline, pushing players to the frontlines of a battle against a massive elder dragon named Zhaitan. The journey is long and arduous, but the battle against Zhatain is short and simple. To down this massive beast, you'll simply need to take control of a cannon and shoot towards its body. The only real danger is "moving" every so often to avoid its AOE attacks.
7 Dracula (Super Castlevania 4)
Younger gamers may recognize the Castlevania series from its 3D iteration, Lord of Shadows, but the series started way back on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The original releases were rather difficult, requiring a steady hand and sharp focus to make it past the abundance of enemies and bosses. This prompted developers to release Super Castlevania 4 (for the SNES) with a slightly lower difficulty level.
The game was well received by critics, featuring updated graphics and tight controls, while maintaining the fast-paced platforming and sidescrolling action that made the original such a smash hit. The final battle against Dracula has always been an iconic part of Castlevania, but it seemed "dumbed down" in Super Castlevania 4. Most of Drac's attacks are easy to avoid and his "teleports" show you exactly where he'll appear next.
6 Alduin (Skyrim)
There is no denying that Skyrim is one of the most impressive and famed RPGs ever created. Bethesda knocked it out of the park with this Elder Scrolls release and continues to re-master and re-release their masterpiece. In fact, there is a Nintendo Switch version coming in the near future, proving that Skyrim is still alive and well, even six years after it first hit the market.
The Dragonborn was forged by a needy world to battle a great draconic threat. At the end of the main questline, you'll fight against the winged villain himself. We understand that Dovahkiin was specifically chosen to protect the world from Alduin, but perhaps developers could have made the final fight a little more challenging. For most players, Alduin is pathetically easy, and your abundance of NPC helpers will take most of his damage for you.
5 The Joker (Batman: Arkham Asylum)
Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham series redefined action/adventure for The Caped Crusader. The open world (not quite so open in Arkham Asylum) and incredibly fluid combat are underlined by gorgeous visuals, amazing voice acting, and stellar storylines. Each Rocksteady Batman release has seen critical acclaim (above average reviews). The final bosses for Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight were engaging and fun, but the final struggle in Batman: Arkham Asylum was a definite weak point.
The Joker turns into some Bane-like musclehead and takes a few lazy swipes at you before retreating to a ledge. You'll need to beat down some normal thugs and then pull Joker back to the ground. If you can manage to do this three times (which is exactly as easy as it sounds), you'll put an end to Joker's madness.
4 Bowser (Super Mario Sunshine)
We already talked about how Baby Bowser was a total pushover in Yoshi's Story. Surely he'd grow up to learn from his mistakes and turn into a powerful and formidable opponent. Perhaps that's true for some of the other Super Mario Bros. releases, but it's certainly not the case for Super Mario Sunshine.
There is much debate over how "good" Super Mario Sunshine is. It's definitely one of the most unique titles within the franchise. To us, Super Mario Sunshine was a joy. It has unique gameplay, challenging levels, and a wacky storyline. It also plays host to an array of curious bosses with different mechanics. One would expect the final battle against Bowser to be truly challenging, or in the least, an "epic affair."
In reality, it sees Mario quickly rump-stomp some conveniently placed buttons, which shatter Bowser's "hot tub" and send him plummeting down to Earth.
3 Lucien (Fable II)
In 2004, Lionhead Studios unveiled Fable, a stellar RPG that helped to set the bar high for any subsequent releases within the genre. Four years later, in 2008, they crushed their previous iteration with Fable II. Critically acclaimed, the sequel built heavily on its predecessor, taking the franchise to the next level and offering players with a lush world of loot, quests, and moral choices.
Gameplay was fun, and challenging at times, allowing players to choose their own combat by way of different weapon types and spells. Fable II was the ultimate journey, that is, until the final encounter against a threatening villain named Lucien. When you finally come face to face with this foe, you'll undoubtedly be disappointed. After much build-up, Lucien will succumb to a single gunshot.
2 The Black Hand (Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was a rather pleasant surprise. The gaming community had already become accustomed to other Lord of the Rings titles. Prior to Shadow of Mordor's release, there was an online MMORPG, numerous Lord of the Rings action games, and even an RPG called Lord of the Rings: War in the North. Shadow of Mordor shocked many fans, thanks to its incredibly satisfying combat, gameplay mechanics, and interesting storyline.
For many, it's the perfect Lord of the Rings game, set in the fictional universe of Middle-Earth, and featuring more open-world action than you can shake a stick at. Sadly, the final boss battle doesn't even come close to capturing the greatness of this beloved title. The Black Hand sounds threatening and looks imposing, but the "battle" against him is nothing more than a disappointing (and short-lived) quick-time event.
1 Lambent Brumak (Gears Of Wars 2)
The Gears of War series is known for its over-the-top gore and intense gunfight sequences. It's easy to see why some classify this title as excessively violent. No matter how you feel about the subject matter, there is no denying that Gears of War is a beautifully crafted franchise. The combat is amazingly fluid, the storylines are enthralling, and the universe is beautiful.
Gears of War 2 is in a third-person shooting league of its own. This master class title boasts a 93/100 aggregate Metcritic score and sits as the ninth best selling title on the Xbox 360. This is the part where you say "surely such a masterpiece must have a truly epic final boss." You'd be wrong. The Lambent Brumak looks downright menacing, but you don't actually "fight it." Instead, you lazily aim a Hammer of Dawn at it until it's mush.