There was a time, way back in the day, when video games were about simple fun. Take something like the primitive Pong, for instance. This was amazing, super-fun technology at the time. As was Pac-Man (who is still going strong, incidentally) and other arcade classic of that ilk.
Even back then, though, a storm was brewing. A great storm of competitiveness, that would sweep through arcades and gaming communities everywhere. I guess that’s the trouble with any game that records a high score: someone’s going to come along afterwards and try to surpass you.
When they do, naturally, they’re going to make darn sure that you know it. They’re going to land on you like a sumo wrestler jumping from a tenth storey window onto a grape. These days, we’ve got online leaderboards out the wazzoo, allowing us scope to get ourselves some bragging rights over the entire planet.
Said leaderboards are about as competitive as a single-player game can get. They do, however, give you bragging rights of an entirely different sort. You see this on gaming forums all the time. Everyone else is complaining about such-and-such a boss? You’ve no idea why, because you did a flawless no damage run of that boss, with your eyes closed and no controller.
Oftentimes, it’s not about whether you did it, but how you did it. On that note, let’s comb console gaming for some of the cheesiest boss-beating methods out there. It’s okay, you don’t have to admit that you used any of these.
25 Cheese All Over The Shop…
Ah, Bloodborne. What a cheeky scamp you are. You knew you were some people’s very first FromSoftware experience, didn’t you? You went right ahead, showed no mercy and ravaged them anyway, didn’t you?
The Cleric Beast on the great bridge was an optional, tutorial sort of boss. Father Gascoigne, then was the first big mandatory roadblock, and our first tangle with a fellow hunter. Many found it hugely difficult, though it was possible to cheaply win by corralling your foe around the many tombstones in the area. With a clump of them between you, human Gascoigne struggled to reach you. Don’t forget the music box when he goes full beast mode, too.
24 Quite A Shameful End It Was, Too
If you’re a fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, you’ll know how head honcho Hideo Kojima enjoys his tense sniper showdowns. The iconic 1998 PS1 title featured two challenging boss battles with Sniper Wolf, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater brought us The End.
This boss was difficult because the elderly sniper had the high ground and great camouflage, making him tough to locate and hit before he got you. Fortunately, there are two cheesy ways to bypass the battle entirely: you can snipe The End when he first appears at the warehouse in Ponizovje, or you can save mid-battle, wait a week (or change your system’s internal clock) and the 100-year-old man will have passed away naturally on your return.
23 Well, I Guess Elixirs Aren’t Cheap
Crossing over to Final Fantasy VII now, I guess the difficulty of certain bosses is relative. Depending on your level, your equipment, whether you’re trying a specific type of challenge run, you may find some ‘difficult’ bosses super-easy. Others that you dispatched with ease might prove a real roadblock for fellow players.
When I was new to JRPGs and playing through for the very first time, way back in the day, the Cosmo Canyon boss Gi Nattak wiped me out several times.
Back then, the very fact of using healing items/magic on enemies was utterly unthinkable. As such, I had no idea that Gi Nattak (as a spirit) could be instantly defeated by an Elixir or X-Potion.
22 How Did You Like That Burn, Burner Man?
Come on now, Burner Man. You can’t be like this. That’s not how the Mega Man franchise works, and you know it dang well. Stop with this foolishness already.
Fans of the Capcom icon will be totally familiar with the Mega Man formula. The games are non-linear, and you’re able to tackle the levels in any order you choose. There’s an optimal route, though, because each of the bosses is weak to another of the boss’s weapons (which you receive on defeating them).
Apparently, though, nobody told Burner Man. He takes precious little damage from his ‘weakness,’ the Ice Wall, which is instead used to push the boss into the spikes on the sides of the room.
21 Nothing Moves The Blob!
The guy wasn’t kidding, either. If you frequented the arcades of the early nineties, you’ll know two things. Firstly, Konami’s X-Men beat ‘em up was a ton of fun. Secondly, nothing movesT he Blob.
As the game was ported to PSN and Xbox Live in 2010 (sadly disappearing from both services in 2013), I feel totally justified in dubbing it a console game. Players, in turn, felt totally justified in exploiting the back-attack knockdown strategy on The Blob, because this boss really was one heckola of a roadblock.
20 Not So Rocksteady With Donatello Around, Are You?
So, as well all know dang well, Donatello is the greatest of the Ninja Turtles (don’t @ me). The main man established his dominance in that Splatoon 2 tournament Splatfest, confirming what we already knew in our hearts to be true.
You want further evidence? Hop onto the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game from 1989, then. In a difficult boss battle against Rocksteady, you can trivialize the rhino-man by playing as Donatello and hopping on top of some crates. From here, you can use the range of your staff to attack with impunity. Just poke downwards. He can’t reach you, but your attacks will register nonetheless.
19 The Most Fearsome Foliage Since Plant 42
Now, we’re not being judgmental here. Easy and difficult bosses are all a relative concept, after all. They’re only easy if you know the answer, as Chris Tarrant of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire used to say.
So, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker may not be renowned for its difficult bosses, but there are certainly those who found Kalle Demos challenging.
This is the boss of the Forbidden Woods, which usually requires some precise tendril-severing with the boomerang. In 2016, almost fifteen years after the game’s release, players discovered that sprinkling magical forest water on the plant (collected in a bottle) will defeat it instantly.
Yet again, Hideo Kojima demonstrated his love for cheeky easter eggs and bizarre little mechanics. The Metal Gear Solid franchise has always been one to temper its super-serious settings and themes with oddness, and the boss battle with Psycho Mantis is certainly no exception.
This FOXHOUND member is, famously, gifted with psychic abilities. Many a befuddled gamer tried to fight him the first time around, only for him to predict and dodge just about every attack. The answer? Switching your controller from port one to port two, of all things, preventing him from ‘reading your mind.’
17 Not Such A Great Centipede After All
Since Nioh was first announced, players and critics alike have insisted on referring to it as a Dark Souls-alike. The title is creative and unique enough to set itself apart, but yes, in its super punishing action RPG leanings, it’s a fair comparison to draw.
In another similarity, there are certain exploits players can use to get themselves past tough bosses. Take the Great Centipede, for instance. By taking advantage of the pillars in the environment, you can attack its tail end from safety while its fang festival of a front end can’t get to you.
16 Threshing The Thresher
The Mass Effect franchise, being all space-tacular in theme and scope, is home to all manner of bizarre creatures. Couple that with the fact that it’s an action RPG/TPS hybrid, and you know what’s coming: intense combat against encroaching aliens. Think Gears of War, only a little more family-friendly.
During the Krogan race’s traditional combat test, you’ll come up against the Thresher Maw. Much as with Rocksteady, this is a formidable foe. Much as with Rocksteady, there’s a convenient little area of the arena where you’ll be completely immune to its attacks, allowing you to dispatch it at your leisure.
15 When You Just CANNOT With The Yellow Devil
You know what? I have zero qualms with this one. If you’re experienced with the Mega Man titles, you’ll know what a deviously-designed series this is. Enemies pot out of pits at the exact point needed to knock you back into the void and every set of spikes is perfectly positioned.
The Yellow Devil in the first game is not a fun encounter, but there is a very cheap way to deal with it.
You simply hit it with the Thunder Beam and then quickly pause. As you rapidly pause and unpause, the blast registers as a new hit each time!
14 What Does Fear Itself Fear? Fire, Apparently
That’s right, friends. We’re crossing back over to the Metal Gear Solid world now. Largely because this just far too unique not to include in this rundown.
Here’s The Fear, another member of Snake Eater’s Cobra Unit. It’s an unconventional fight at the best of times, but you can also trick The Fear by using that mysterious pill in your inventory. On doing so, he will be completely distracted, allowing you to effortlessly defeat him with (of all things) the torch you used earlier. Due to what’s presumably a programming oversight, he won’t even react as the flames engulf him.
13 Been A Long Time, Comrade
As one my favourite games of all time, you’d better believe that I’ve played through Resident Evil 4 my share of times. With each new run, I’ve been more and more intrigued by the character of Jack Krauser, a man who was introduced and then removed before he got a chance to really shine.
His penchant for knifeplay hints at something very interesting: this simple ‘weapon’ is very effective during his boss battle. Despite the huge range of his transformed claw-thing (what the heckles is that), if you try using the knife, you’ll find it dispatches him quickly.
12 Gizamaluke Plus Tent Equals Profit
As I say, then, I grew up with the Final Fantasy franchise. More specifically, the PS1 era of Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX. Like a lot of you, I’m sure, they’re part of my elite list of games to replay ever year or so.
Like a lot of you, also, this trio made up some of my first experiences with the genre. Mistakes were made, then. In Final Fantasy IX, my major roadblock was the boss of Gizamaluke’s Grotto. I chalk it up to my unfamiliarity with the characters in my party. Once I discovered that you could use a Tent on Gizamaluke to inflict Silence, Darkness and Poison on it (one of few bosses this trick works on), I neutered the threat almost entirely.
11 Grappling Hooks-Amundo!
Now, it’s safe to say that the Just Cause franchise isn’t big on subtle nuance. It’s not here to tell a deep and effecting story, like when soap operas try to go all artsy on us.
Just Cause is one big Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of an action fest, and that’s why we dig it.
Just Cause 3’s final boss, appropriately, is the game’s big bad in a huge armoured chopper. You can deal with this the old-fashioned way, or you can go the easy route. Remember that grappling hook you have? Well, if you attach that to the chopper and the other end to… well, you can see where this is going.
10 Fus Roh DAH!
As you’ve probably noticed, the Skyrim train is just unstoppable now. The game has become a pop culture juggernaut. The memes are numerous, the portable play possible (thanks to the Nintendo Switch port), the glitches hilarious… Skyrim is everything we could ask for from a video game.
It’s a brilliantly ridiculous RPG sandbox where anything’s possible. Much of the time, anything amounts to shouting goats off of cliffs, but it’s not just goats. If you don’t fancy a proper showdown with Arch-Curate Vyrthur, a significant boss of the Dawnguard DLC, you can just Dragon Shout him out of your way too.
9 Heck, Dark Link Deserves It
Now, if we’re going to go all deep and lore-ish with this, then Shadow Link and Dark Link aren’t exactly the same thing. You’ve got to take care when you’re bandying terms like these about, because the dedicated fans will not stand for it.
With that said, we do indeed encounter Dark Link as a boss battle in The Adventure of Link. It can be darn tough (remember that Water Temple battle in Ocarina of Time?), but there’s a secret: get yourself into a sweet spot in the corner, and he can’t hit you.
8 Cuphead? Too Easy!
As was the case with Bloodborne and Nioh, Cuphead is not a game to be taken lightly. Don’t let its adorable 1930s animation fool you, this is a hardcore experience in every sense of the word. We’re channelling the spirit of Mega Man here, that’s for certain.
It’s no surprise, then, that players were thrilled to discover a cheesy way to defeat Beelzebub himself. When you’re prompted to follow him down the pit after his stage transition, there’s a way of remaining in the room with the spreading fire. By doing so, you can fire at –and keep damaging—the boss that is no longer on the screen!
7 Prayers Answered!
Lords of the Fallen is another Soulslike that you do not want to mess with. In this 2014 adventure from Deck13 Interactive, the player battles the hordes of a mighty god, who wants to take back the land for himself after being dethroned.
The final battle with the Judge is an intimidating one, but it can be easily cheesed.
First, you must allow the Judge to defeat you, so that you respawn in a tower atop the battlefield. Cast level 3 prayer while up there, then land and quickly cast it again. On doing so, the Judge will leap at you and then freeze in place, allowing you to simply hack away.
6 Hooking Ganondorf
As veterans of the long-running The Legend of Zelda franchise will know, Ganondorf is pretty well the last word in villainy. He’s been the final boss of more titles than I care to count, requiring a different technique or tweak on the formula each time.
The parameters are always a little different, but the Twilight Princess battle takes the cake for absurdity. In this game, the recurring fishing rod can be used during the fight itself, distracting Ganondorf. By deftly switching between the rod and the Master Sword, he’s lucky to get a chance to attack himself.
5 When You’re Just Overflowing With Power
Speaking of the PS1 Final Fantasy titles, I couldn’t let this opportunity go by. As is common with RPGs, these games are fie with superbosses for players to seek out and try their parties against. There’s a good range of these, from the odd floating Ozma of Final Fantasy IX to the formidable Ruby and Emerald Weapon of Final Fantasy VII.
For me, Emerald is the ultimate big bad. It boasts incredible HP, but can still be one-hit via the Overflow glitch. Barret and Vincent can achieve this, because of the way their weapon’s damage works. Essentially, if you exceed the damage, the game gets confused, rolls over to negative damage, and then destroys the target to ‘fix’ it.
4 Oh Gee, That Was Easy
Borderlands being Borderlands, we sure saw some wacky setpieces and ostentatious weapons being thrown around. That’s what Borderlands is all about, come to think about it.
For the sequel, I was expecting something rather special from Master Gee. This DLC raid boss has absurd HP and he's one tough cookie to take down legitimately. So why bother? With some of those good old fashioned singularity grenades, you can pull him out of his arena towards you, from a safe distance. Doing this correctly totally breaks his AI, as you haven’t technically initiated the fight. A casual punch into a conveniently-positioned gate, and he’s destroyed instantly.
3 Those Handy-Dandy Liquid Nitrogen Tanks
Crossing back over to Resident Evil 4, there’s another very special battle to mention. For new players, the sequence with Verdugo (Salazar’s ‘right hand man’) near the end of the castle portion is a real nightmare.
You’re running from a creature that keeps materializing from the ceiling and floor, with no option but to evade it as the timed elevator powers on.
You can delay the beast with the liquid nitrogen tanks dotted around, which freeze it momentarily. If you have a rocket launcher on hand (there was even a free one in the castle a little while back), though, you can destroy Verdugo in one hit while it’s incapacitated.
2 Gettin’ By With A Little Help From Your Friends
The Dead Rising franchise is another that has no interest infancy poetic motifs. It wears its heart on its sleeve, knows what it’s all about, and revels in it.
The whole freeform survival thing isn’t unusual in this genre, but nobody takes it to quite the same level that these titles do. You’ve got to piece together your own weapons from ragtag shopping mall components. Bosses can catch you completely off charge and they can be quite a challenge depending on how well equipped you are. To that end, the survivors you’ve rescued can trivialize fights. Just arm them and let them do the legwork themselves.
1 Send In The Clown(s)
One of last year’s more obscure releases was Frédérick Raynald’s 2Dark. It’s an intriguing, spooky stealth adventure, which sees a grizzled old detective trying to unravel a mystery. It plays out in Ye Olde point and click style, across a range of open levels that culminate in a boss.
The first of these, in the opening fairground level, in a vicious clown. He has a lot of health and is tough to target, as he attacks from the darkness. However, canny players are able to trap him in the area with the performing lions, who will…well, make short work of him for you.