As a boy growing up in the 80s and early 90s, I was heavily influenced by what I saw on television and the kinds of shows I loved were like He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe, Thundercats and The Incredible Hulk -- both the animated show and the live-action series starring Lou Ferrigno. The 80s also arguably gave rise to the greatest action heroes (and films) of all time with stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone leading the pack of muscular action men on screen – for many the 80s are considered the golden age of the action hero.
There’s been a lot said about the stereotypical “supermen” of the era -- and giving young boys unrealistic expectations of how they should look as adults. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, the generation was definitely obsessed with size and power. It wasn’t just the action heroes that were larger than life, as movies such as Predator, Jaws and the original 1981 Clash Of The Titans were all about the intimidating, powerful or massive creatures that man had to somehow overcome in all manner of heroic ways.
Because of my love for action stars, monster movies or the male (and female) power fantasy in general, I’ve naturally gravitated toward characters that are similar in nature in gaming too. So I’ve loved playable characters like Kratos from the God Of War series, Barret from Final Fantasy VII or Haggar from Final Fight. I’ve always been drawn to massive boss fights like some of those seen in Final Fantasy XV or the Souls series.
However, there are times where we’ve been disappointed by a seemingly powerful character or a boss battle. Here are 15 videogame characters that were either a ridiculously weak boss-battle or provided an awful playable character to experience.
15 Max Thunder - Streets Of Rage
Max Thunder was a playable character and the huge wrestler in Streets Of Rage 2, which was one of the best side-scrolling beat em ups of the time. Max was a powerful character to use if you manage to pull off his grapple moves or can get a hold of a weapon.
Despite being a powerhouse, he felt sluggish compared to the other characters, which is usually par for the course with 'tank' type characters, but it left him vulnerable, especially against the bosses who not only matched him for power, but were far quicker than he was. Max also had one less move than the rest of the cast and virtually no jumping ability -- which of course made the game even more challenging in 'hard mode'.
The Streets Of Rage trilogy was naturally compared to Nintendo's exclusive Final Fight series and Max's nearest rival in that series was another wrestler-type named Mike Haggar. In comparison to Haggar, he not only had less personality, but his moveset wasn't as fleshed out. Max was later replaced by another power based character in the Streets Of Rage 3 and for good reason.
14 Aggron - Pokémon Sapphire and Ruby
Aggron is a hugely popular Generation III Pokémon in both the videogame series and the anime series. It's a huge intimidating bipedal creature that resembles movie monsters like Godzilla. He resides in and aggressively defends a mountain from all kinds of threats. The creature is also protective of the environment surrounding the mountain and will heal and restore the land if it's ravaged by fire or a landslide.
Aggron is a rock/steel type Pokémon and has the highest base defense and a varied move set. Despite this high defense level, he is extremely slow and has 4x weakness against 'Fighting' and 'Ground Attacks', along with 2x weakness against 'Water'.
The character later gained Mega-Evolution which helped improve his stats from 4x weakness to 'Fighting' and 'Ground' to 2x, but, at the same time, he gained 2x weakness to 'Fire'. Although he was improved, he still doesn't quite live up to his fearsome 'monster-movie' looks and reputation.
13 Electrocutioner - Batman: Arkham Origins
The Electrocutioner is one of the many villains in the Batman universe. He's a big and physically imposing Russian mercenary, who was a member of both The Secret Society of Supervillians and the Suicide Squad.
The Electrocutioner is one of the many villains in Arkham Origins who took on the contract to try and assassinate Batman on Christmas Eve in the game's storyline. Despite some criticism from fans and critics, Arkham Origins stood above the other games in the series with its boss battles. They were challenging, fun and for the most part memorable -- especially the fight against Deathstroke.
Before facing off against Deathstroke, the prison fight against the Executioner is memorable just for one reason. After all his bravado, and "shocking" catchphrases, along with his menacing look, you hit him with just one dropkick to the face and it's all over. The fight was clearly meant to be a mock battle and was no doubt a way to show that he's a useless villain in comparison to the others in Batman's gallery of rogues, but it was still a bit of a disappointment, considering how he was built and how he looked in the game.
12 Anakaris - Marvel vs Capcom 2
Anakaris was a character from Capcom's other great, but lesser known fighting series, Darkstalkers. He's the embodiment of a resurrected Egyptian Pharaoh, fighting to save his people from an impending doom. With some visually fun powers to execute like 'The Royal Judgement', a move that shrinks opponents down to a helpless size, and standing at almost nine feet tall and possessing a large muscular frame, he's definitely an intimidating sight to behold.
Anakaris' addition to Marvel vs Capcom 2 was likely Capcom's hope to add both crossover appeal for their other fighting franchise and to help give the Darksiders series some extra promotion.
Unfortunately, he was a nightmare to use in the game because he's possibly the slowest character in the series to date. His jumping ability was a deliberate slow float, that, unless utilized properly, left the character very vulnerable, especially if pitted against some of the faster characters in the game.
11 Umaro - Final Fantasy VI
Umaro was an optional/secret party member in Final Fantasy VI. He could only be recruited in the World of Ruin and lives in the deep mines of Narshe. He's a giant Yeti and is the biggest and strongest character in the game, but he unfortunately feels like an afterthought.
You confront and fight Umaro over a piece of Magicite, but in order to have him join your group, you need to beat him in a battle with Mog in your group, who subsequently calms the Yeti down after the fight is won. While Umaru is a very powerful character and gains some skills when you equip the Rage Ring relic, he is in a constant state of Berserk, so you'll have no control over him at all. In addition, you can't equip any Espers, magic or any other form of equipment.
Furthermore, the Yeti also doesn't have its own special attack. So while his attacks deal quite a lot of damage, the cons far outweigh the pros. He's not a character that you will use often, especially as you have access to a selection of other more interesting and well developed characters you can choose from instead.
10 True King Allant - Demon's Souls
Demon's Souls on the PlayStation 3 is a notoriously difficult game and the predecessor to the more well known Dark Souls series. Nearly everything in the game can kill you if you get too careless or overconfident.
The bosses in Demon's Souls are some of the most memorable and challenging you'll ever encounter in gaming, let alone the Souls series. With your character encountering boss creatures such as the Dragon God, Armor Spider and the Tower Knight, you'd expect to your very last battle against the true form of King Allant to be an extremely challenging one.
King Allant's true form is an abomination of corrupted flesh and there's very little about his appearance that resembles its original form. To beat him, you only need to keep your distance while he flops around talking to you about "the corruption of souls." I realize this part of the game is more about the symbolism than the challenge, with the prior 'False King' being the real final boss, but in a game as challenging and as epic as Demon's Souls, the encounter felt like a bit of an anti-climax.
9 Hakan - Super Street Fighter IV
Hakan is a character that was introduced in Super Street Fighter IV. He's the president of the world's largest edible oil company and a Turkish oil wrestler. His goal is to prove to the world the superiority of his wrestling style and his company's oil.
He was designed to be a character as unique in look and style as Blanka or Dhalsim are. In combat, the character covers his body in olive oil which will help boost his repertoire of moves as well as increase his defence. Director Ono and Capcom were quick to make sure that they portrayed the character as a "loving family man and father" because they assumed American audiences would find an association between Turkish oil wrestling and homoerotiscism.
In the original Super Street Fighter IV, you needed to manually oil Hakan up which left him wide open to attack combos. In addition, without the oil buffers, his command throws had a very short range and left him very weak defensively. Despite being a new character, Hakan didn't return in Street Fighter V.
8 Rock - Soul Blade/Calibur Series
Rock was a large and muscular Conan The Barbarian style character raised as a Native American who wielded a giant axe and mace. He was in the original Soul Blade game on the PlayStation, along with the first Soulcaliber, but didn't return until Soulcalibur 3 and 4. His quest was to search for the Soul Edge sword because he thought it would help him recover his memories, prove his strength to his adopted son Bangoo and be a good father to him.
Although he had a decent look and a lot of power, his speed is what rendered him completely vulnerable. His only quick attacks were short low kicks and charge attacks. So as a player you would find yourself becoming overly reliant on these moves to interrupt combo chains -- thus making you predictable.
He has strong low and ground attacks, but then he lacks the ability to perform vertical low attacks. Rock is unfortunately considered one of the low tier characters in the series and for a good reason.
7 Lambent Brumak - Gears of War 2
The Lambent Brumak, is a mutated Brumak that has come into contact with and been changed by a substance called 'Imulsion'. But instead of glowing yellow and becoming explosive like other 'Imulsion' infected Locust creatures, it became a monster of massive proportions.
The creature can grow to be several stories tall with multiple heads and tentacles. Its design is like something you would see from the Alien films, mixed in with the Kraken or a Hydra from Greek mythology. The monster is about as grotesque and scary looking as it can get.
The Lambent Brumak is a an awesome sight in Gears of War 2 and its appearance is very cinematic. What is anticlimactic about this fight though is that it takes absolutely no effort to kill it. All that is required of the player is, to hold down the trigger button when pointing the Hammer of Dawn weapon at it until it dies.
6 Kimahri - Final Fantasy X
Kimahri was one of the playable characters in Final Fantasy X and based on his looks and size, it was assumed to be the power character in the team.
He is a member of the proud Ronso tribe and protector of the summoner Yuna. Although Kimahri isn't a very talkative character, when he does have something to say it is usually words of wisdom or something profound. Despite being much larger than the average human, he is actually small for a Ronso.
Although in the early stages Kimahri starts out quite strong and has a useful steal ability that will come in handy for one particular battle, he doesn't really have his own job-path on the sphere grid when levelling up. While it may sound good that he can be a "Jack of all trades," the term "master of none" is completely applicable as well. He's never quite as good as any of the other characters and doesn't have 'multi-attack overdrive'. All of which prevent him from being as good as any of the other characters, no matter how much you level him up.
5 Bane - Injustice: Gods Among Us
The second Batman villain on this list, albeit for a different game, is Bane from Injustice: Gods Among Us and he's one of Batman's most dangerous and powerful foes. Bane gets his strength from a dangerous muscle enhancing agent that he's also addicted to, known as Venom. He was responsible for breaking Batman's back in both the Knightfall and the Injustice Gods Among Us #35 comics.
Being a wrestler type, some of Bane's most powerful moves are his grab moves, but unfortunately these moves are extremely slow and requires a lot of timing in the game. Adding to the irritation, is that despite his size, his grab range is surprisingly short.
Bane's biggest trait which is the Venom Boost, which is good while it lasts, but once it wears off, it leaves you vulnerable and in a weakened state, resulting in more damage received and Bane moving at half the speed.
In the hands of a seasoned player, he can be dangerous, but for everyone else he's frustrating to use and the only real way to get the best out of him is using his Boost, which can leave you at a massive disadvantage.
4 Gladiolus - Final Fantasy XV Episode Gladiolus
Gladiolus is the power character and one of the four main characters in Square-Enix's Final Fantasy XV. He was Noctis's sworn shield and bodyguard throughout the entirety of the game.
In truth, Gladiolus is a likeable character and is portrayed to be the big brother type to the rest of the group. He was good in the support role and had some fantastic link-up moves, and he was a fun character to utilize when dishing out commands as a part of a team with you as Noctis in the lead.
Where Gladiolus shows his weaknesses is through the recent DLC, Episode Gladiolus. The whole episode is essentially Gladio running in a straight line for an hour, fighting waves of monsters, so he can prove himself to series regular, the wandering ronin Gilgamesh.
Playing as Gladio, you're stuck with using the heavier greatsword and there's no warp ability, so it quickly turns into a repetitive, yet sluggish hack and slash game.
3 Lord Lucian - Fable 2
Lord Lucien Fairfax is the central antagonist in Fable 2. He starts out as the mayor of Bowerstone and the owner of Castle Fairfax. He was a good villain and was suitably well voiced by renowned actor Oliver Cotton.
His goal in Fable 2 was to build something called The Tattered Spire, which is a relic that supposedly grants one wish. He wanted use the device to reduce Bowerstone back to a barbaric state, so he could rule with ease. He sacrifices hundreds of innocent civilians in the process of its creation.
Although he's not as physically imposing as others on this list, he was still a tyrannical, genocidal madman that killed hundreds in a quest to rule as a God-like character and control others. With Lucien being the main villain that drives the game, you'd have expected a more memorable battle of some kind, instead you get a monologue that ends with one gun shot to the head.
2 The Leader - The Incredible Hulk (1994)
Another character on this list that isn't necessarily physically intimidating, but you should definitely fear the mind of is The Leader, who is known in the Marvel comics as The Incredible Hulk's greatest enemy.
The character originally known as Samuel Sterns was a professor that was also exposed to gamma radiation just like The Hulk was. Only the radiation transformed Sterns into a super-intelligent being known as The Leader. Some of his powers go beyond his almost unlimited intelligence, like telekinesis and telepathic powers. In many ways he's the opposite of The Hulk, but is the true monster because of his madness and ambitious evil plans.
The Incredible Hulk 1994 videogame was a side scrolling 2D beat em up and platformer that was well received. It had you fighting against many of The Hulk's foes, such as The Abomination, Rhino and The Absorbing Man. It was a game that stayed true to the source material despite the limitations of the time.
I expected the final battle against The Leader to be some kind of brains vs brawn multi layered fight to close the game. Instead, all you need to do is walk up to The Leader, hit him once and the fight is over. It seems that the man with the most incredible mind was one of the most useless end of game bosses ever experienced.
1 Shaquille O'Neal - Shaq Fu
At 7'1", Shaquille O'Neal was a huge intimidating basketball player and was a force to be reckoned with on the court. He's considered one of the best players of all time, ranking 8th in all-time career points scored, having only recently fallen behind LeBron James at the time of writing, Shaq has been involved in many different ventures, as he has rap albums out, he's been the star of his own reality shows and even video games with the likes of Shaq Fu.
Shaq Fu was Shaquille O'Neal's own Kung Fu fantasy come to life, with himself as the star of the game. It was also a way for EA to try and cash in on Big Shaq's popularity. Well, all this could be forgiven if the game was actually any good.
Despite having some fairly decent visuals and animations, the game is a consistent mainstay on 'worst games ever made' lists and that's because it wasn't just an awful idea for a video game, it was also a horrible video game. It had undersized characters, an unbelievably self-indulgent (and silly) premise and only one main plotline that focused on the man himself.
The game must have had its fans as a sequel for Shaq Fu surpassed Kickstarter expectations, with the intent to get the game released on current gen consoles -- I am left to wonder if he funded the project himself. Maybe the new game will surprise everyone, but until then, Big Shaq in video game form was as useless as it gets.