The world of Nintendo is rich with adventure. The playing-card company turned gaming juggernaut has brought us hours upon hours of entertainment, with stationary and handheld consoles to play on. We've seen a wide array of game types and many companies have produced content exclusively for Nintendo.
Through the years, we've grown attached to particular Nintendo games and experiences. We can't tell you how many times we've loaded up Yoshi's Story or Super Mario World just to evoke some wholesome feelings of nostalgia.
That being said, one can't help but be disappointed when a stellar adventure features an anti-climactic ending. Nintendo, even in its infinite wisdom, is no stranger to this. We've seen many amazing journeys fall flat thanks to a disappointing final boss. This prompted us to sift through our own personal experiences and compile a list of some of the worst final boss battles in Nintendo history.
It's important to note that some of the bosses in his list were not directly influenced by Nintendo creators but did find themselves as part of Nintendo console exclusivity. With that being said, let's take a look at 15 of the most disappointing Nintendo final boss battles.
What Nintendo-based final boss disappointed you? Let us know in the comments!
15 The Black Baron (MadWorld)
Mad World wasn't something Nintendo fans were used to. It seemed odd that developers would provide exclusivity to the Wii, considering how violent and vulgar this title really was. Simply put, this was the type of game you'd expected to see on Xbox and PlayStation, not a family-friendly Nintendo console. Perhaps that's why it became such an instant cult classic, as it provided dedicated Nintendo fans with something completely out of their comfort zone.
The game was a blast to play and featured colorful characters with spicy dialogue. There were some parts in Mad World that seemed pretty difficult, making it a fun and challenging journey for players. Unfortunately, that journey had a lackluster ending. The final boss, The Black Baron, was a pushover. If you'd made it this far, you'd already built up quite the repertoire with Mad World's controls and combos.
You can make quick work of Baron by slashing at him with Jack's chainsaw and dodging his flashy attacks. Do enough damage and the game will reward you with a quick-time event that drains a considerable amount of the boss' health bar. This final battle seemed out of place in the overly violent and punishing realm of Mad World.
14 King Boo (Luigi's Mansion)
No, this isn't a dig at Luigi's Mansion as a whole. The GameCube release was one of the best things to ever happen to the Nintendo universe. Luigi's Mansion was an absolute blast to play and a rather quirky addition to the Mario Bros. universe. We were so used to hopping from platform to platform as the tenacious plumber brothers that ghost slaying presented an entirely new and exciting experience.
The majority of Luigi's Mansion can be considered simplistic (I mean, you're really just sucking up ghosts into a vacuum cleaner) but there were some gameplay mechanics that helped to change the pace. If you do manage to ghost-bust your way to the final chamber, you'll come face to face with this game's menacing final boss. It's very fitting that King Boo would act as ringleader to the spooky specters of Luigi's Mansion, but the final showdown feels royally disappointing.
Don't get us wrong, the final fight itself feels pretty epic. You're face to face with Bowser (King Boo in a Bowser suit to be exact) and it feels like you're taking on a truly powerful foe. That being said, there isn't much going on in terms of mechanics or difficulty. The King Boo fight is a rinse-and-repeat battle that sees you sucking up a spiked ball and spitting it back towards the towering enemy. Once King Boo is vulnerable you'll need to attack him with your handle dustbuster. As long as you keep moving, King Bowser Boo doesn't feel very threatening.
13 Demise (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
The Legend of Zelda series has a penchant for crafting bosses that feel a bit underwhelming. To be fair, these baddies are usually found waiting at the end of the first dungeon. This was not the case for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which features a rather mediocre final boss.
Once you master the motion controls, you'll find yourself hacking and slashing your way through Skyward Sword's dungeons and enemies. Along the way, you'll do battle with some pretty imposing bosses, like Koloktos, Tentalus, and Ghirahim. These bosses will test your grit and wit (defeating some of them is like a puzzle), while simultaneously preparing you for your final epic showdown with the lead antagonist, Demise.
To some, Demise seems like a tough cookie to crack and it is important to note that his difficulty does spike a bit when faced on Hero Mode. To a skilled Skyward Sword player (which you will be by the end of the release), Demise is actually quite simple. During his first phase, you'll simply need to hold your shield up and wait for him to attack. This will give you a small window in which you can strike back. When he enters his second phase is when most players seem to have trouble. During this phase, Demise can hit rather hard but he's pretty easy if you utilize the Skyward Strike. A few of these heavenly energy waves and Demise is toast.
12 Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
Continuing with The Legend of Zelda theme, we have Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This entry is a bit of a dual sword because there is one particular part of the "triple fight subset" that can be quite the annoyance. That frustrating section aside, Ganondorf isn't very difficult.
The final battle takes place in three stages, with three different variants of Ganondorf to fight. The first is a bestial boar form that seems imposing until you grab it face first with Midna's grapple power. You can choose to wail on his exposed form like a ravenous wolf, or you can switch seamlessly between your human and feral form to deal additional damage. The second phase has the potential to be difficult and frustrating if you aren't particularly skilled in horseback riding.
If you can make it past phase two, you're rewarded with a 1-on-1 fight between you and the Dark Lord himself. Unfortunately, Ganondorf doesn't really ramp up the difficulty for this final showdown and you'll find yourself rolling around to his weak spot fairly easily. If you're patient enough, you can wait to "clash" with the boss, which will give you a larger opening to deal damage. A few clashes later and Ganondorf finds himself flat on his back.
11 Yin-Yarn (Kirby's Epic Yarn)
Let's be honest, Kirby's Epic Yarn isn't exactly overly challenging in the first place, but it still deserves a spot on this list due to the glaringly simplistic second phase of the final boss. For those unfamiliar, Kirby's Epic Yarn was a bit of a twist for the franchise, turning the beloved pink puffball into a thin circular outline.
This super stylized release changed the traditional Kirby mechanics into something entirely new. Rather than suck up enemies, Kirby was capable of turning into varying yarn-based objects and made use of a swinging "whip" to attack. The platforming elements and whip-like attacks made it look and feel like a super happy colorful version of Castlevania. Although, it is important to note that Kirby's whip is capable of doing much more than Simon's, like completely unraveling an enemy or grappling onto anchor points.
The final boss of this stringy story pulls out all the stops to topple our round hero. Yin-Yarn uses two yarn needles to manipulate the battleground. At the beginning of the fight, this dastardly boss will summon a yarn dragon. This imposing creature is easily defeated by tossing its slow moving projectiles back in its face. The entire boss fight is a bit simple, but the end phase is where things get really easy. Kirby will transform into a tank and allow you to endlessly fire an array of rockets at your enemy. You'll only have to tilt your aim slightly up and down to finish this battle.
10 Bowser (Super Mario Sunshine)
As scary and boisterous as he is, Bowser is a bit of a pushover when it comes to final boss mechanics. There have been numerous Mario games that feature the Koopa King as a final battle and it's sad to say that his menacing stature and nefarious inventions rarely challenge his red-hatted nemesis.
A good example of this is Super Mario Sunshine. The last level of this playful GameCube release has Mario battling against Bowser as the Koopa enjoys as mini-vacation in some hot (and rather putrid looking) water. The battle itself is rather short and you won't really have to "fight" against Bowser at all.
Dodging Bowser's fire breath is quite simple and Bowser Jr. will launch missiles that can be easily avoided. By simply ground pounding five separate switches, the entire "tub" of water will break apart and everyone will plummet towards the ground (with the exception of Peach thanks to her handy parasol). It's very anticlimactic, considering the lava-filled level you just braved to reach this point.
9 Scar (The Lion King)
As we've mentioned before on the site, The Lion King wasn't exactly the easiest game. The second level was an annoyance and those of you that bested those darned hippo tails and monkey puzzles were greeted with increasingly hard levels and enemies. After clawing your way to adulthood and braving the hyena-filled journey back to Pride Rock, you'll face Scar in a 1-on-1 battle for lion supremacy.
The final stage acts like one large-scale moving boss fight. Your goal is to lead Simba to the top of Pride Rock, battling and pursuing Scar along the way. For the most part, a few swipes here and there, paired with a few dodges, are enough to send Scar running for his life. There are a few hyenas to battle, but nothing you aren't used to at this point in the game.
The top of Pride Rock is where the real final battle begins. Backed into a corner, Scar will be forced to fight you. It's not too hard to avoid his attacks and one particular mechanic makes this boss fight exceedingly simple. Once Scar is "panting from exhaustion," Simba can grab him and send him flying overhead via a lion-style judo flip. If you're near the edge of the cliff, this flip will send Scar freefalling to his doom.
8 Alec Trevelyan (GoldenEye 007)
There is arguably no first-person shooter more iconic on the Nintendo 64 than GoldenEye 007. This journey through the James Bond universe is filled with iconic levels, weapons, action, and a fancy Bond-esque wrist watch. Many hours of our youth were consumed by GoldenEye 007's awesome multiplayer modes.
Bond's quest spans several locations and seems some pretty tough firefights (especially on harder difficulties). There are even some "stealthy" missions (we're looking at you Bunker), although stealth was entirely optional and you'd usually find yourself running rampant through corridors with your guns blazing. Overall, GoldenEye 007 was a fun and challenging Nintendo 64 release, but the final level left a lot to be desired.
When you finally catch up to Alec Trevelyan, you'll be forced to pursue him through a sky-high location called The Cradle. You've spent most of the game realizing what a terror Trevelyan really is and how imposing he must be. In reality (or in this case virtuality), the foe is nothing more than a scaredy cat who spends all of his time running away from Bond. After a while, Trevelyan makes his way down to a ridiculously small platform. A few gun shots later and this big baddie is plummeting helplessly towards the Earth.
7 Bowser (Super Mario World)
Here we go bad mouthing Bowser again. To be fair, King Koopa keeps giving us material to work with. In Super Mario World, we see Bowser in yet another unflattering final battle. Any avid Super Mario Bros. fan can agree that Super Mario World, in all of its beautiful pixelated splendor, is one of the best releases within the beloved franchise. We've seen many Super Mario Bros. games in the modern age but there was something supremely special about this '90s Super NES release.
There are actually quite a few bosses to stomp in Super Mario World. Bowser isn't alone in this adventure and employs each one of his kin to stop you from passing closer to his castle. None of these boss battles are particularly difficult, but that doesn't make it any less disheartening when you finally pass through those big doors to King Koopa's lair.
Bowser attacks from the skies this time, aided by a giant clown-faced flower cup. His attack patterns are very telegraphed and easy to avoid by either jumping or simply walking away. To beat him, you'll have to toss some enemies upward hit him atop his head. This would be difficult, if not for the fact that the "enemies" he sends out are perhaps the most non-threatening things in the entire Super Mario Bros. universe.
6 Ganon (The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time)
Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the best games to ever grace the franchise. Whether you picked this game up for the Nintendo 64 or snagged the remake for the Nintendo 3DS, we can all agree that Ocarina of Time is in a class all its own.
This isn't your grandma's Legend of Zelda either. Ocarina of Time had grit, difficulty, and wonderful gameplay mechanics. Fights were sometimes arduous and thoughtful puzzles helped to break up the monotony. The boss battles were plentiful and well-designed. It was a very satisfying game and a pretty long journey for anyone hoping to visit every nook and cranny of Hyrule.
It's for this reason that the final battle with Ganondorf (now Ganon, in this case) is so heartbreaking. After "defeating" the dark lord from inside his castle, you'll need to beat him one more time by throwing down against his grotesque looking humanoid-boar form. His towering shape and sharp dual swords look rather imposing at first but Ganon is no match for the Hero of Time. This battle is a complete rinse and repeat, allowing players to effortlessly roll through Ganon's legs as he raises his swords and attack the weak point on his tail. If you prefer things to be super disappointing, just bring some Light Arrows.
5 Bowser (Super Mario Bros.)
Bowser earns a hat trick with a third appearance on this list. This is the last time, we promise. King Koopa has seen his fair share of hilariously embarrassing moments, heck, he even offed himself in Super Mario Bros. 3. That particular fight is simple enough but adding Bowser to this list four times just seemed unfair.
Super Mario Bros. can be decently challenging if you don't use the speedy world warping pipes. It's short enough to finish in one sitting but certain levels are a headache. The last level features a "never ending" side-scrolling puzzle that you'll need to decipher if you want to move onto the final boss.
You'd think the final version of Bowser would be downright difficult in comparison to his early level flunkies. Sadly, he's not. This final fight features the same mechanic as the rest with the added danger of a severe increase in projectiles. All you'll need to do is hop into the air and then run beneath Bowser to the glowing ax when he follows suit. If you managed to keep a fire flower power-up this far, you can defeat the Koopa King with a few projectiles.
4 Parasitis Core (Abadox)
If the name Abadox doesn't sound familiar, just think about the rage inducing moments you had playing Gradius or Super R-Type. Produced by Natsume and released in 1990 (USA), Abadox was another side-scrolling (also vertical-scrolling) shooter that featured a heavy futuristic Sci-Fi theme.
Unique visuals helped to set Abadox apart from the crowd but many critics complained that this title was (you guessed it) too difficult. Like many sidescrolling shooters before it, Abadox suffered from an unforgiving spike in difficulty, complete with annoying bosses and a one-hit-you-die style gameplay mechanic. The game itself wasn't very long and it did feature some (slightly) helpful checkpoints.
It's hard to understand why such a difficult game would make this list, but we have a good reason. The Parasitis Core (final boss) is mind-blowingly easy to defeat. Upon entering the room, you simply have to shoot this monstrosity in the "eyes" for a short period of time. That's it, it's dead, game over. In fact, the "escape scene" that takes place after this boss is hundreds of times harder to complete.
3 The Emperor (A Boy And His Blob: Trouble On Blobolonia)
It's possible that many of you have absolutely no idea what game we're talking about here. A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia was developed in 1990 and was meant to be a side-scrolling adventure game like Pitfall! The end result is a quirky adventure game that features an everyday kid and his jellybean-loving blob creature.
This title was eventually remade in 2009 with a massive graphic overhaul and small gameplay tweaks. The original release was rather mysterious, tossing you right into the action and forcing you to figure things out on your own. With no map to guide you, it's easy to get lost but A Boy and His Blob is actually pretty short once you get your bearings.
The final boss shouldn't really even be classified as a boss, so much as, a puzzle. To be fair, there isn't much combat in this game aside from the "vitamin gun" that your blob can turn into. During the final fight, the Emperor will stand there, glaring at you menacingly as your poor defenseless blob struggles from a locked cage. To beat this stalwart foe, you'll need to toss your blobular buddy an apple jellybean. From there, he'll turn into a floor jack and knock a bottle of precariously placed vitamins onto the end boss, instantly defeating him.
2 King Egger (Adventures Of Lolo)
This is too hilarious not to list. Adventures of Lolo was an adorable little puzzle game developed in 1989 by HAL Laboratory (yes, the same HAL that makes all the Kirby games). Adventures of Lolo was part of the ongoing Eggerland franchise, which we hadn't seen stateside. The premise of the game was simple enough, involving a round-shaped protagonist named Lolo on a quest to save Princess Lala from the evil King Egger.
From a gameplay standpoint, Adventures of Lolo is heavy on puzzle-solving and light on everything else. The "combat" consisted of bubbling up enemies and pushing them off-screen. There were also collectible items that would clear away all enemies in one fell swoop. This title was always meant to be a cute little brain teaser, but that doesn't excuse the blatantly awful boss battle at the end.
It's not exactly fair to call it a boss battle, as there isn't much of a battle to experience. Once he clears the final room, Lolo will come face to face with the benevolent King Egger. In this moment, one would expect the screen to shake and a mindbending puzzle to unfurl. Instead, we see Lolo effortlessly blast King Egger off-screen and the credits begin to roll.
1 Xaerous Brain (Gradius)
The end boss for Gradius plays out an awful lot like the one from Adventures of Lolo. The mighty Xaerous Brain isn't so mighty when you finally meet it within its futuristic chamber. That being said, it's important to note that Gradius is a much harder game, belonging to the painfully difficult club of retro side-scrolling shooters.
Thankfully, this experience isn't nearly as unforgiving as Super R-Type or Abadox. One hit will destroy your ship, but you can obtain a shield which will allow you to sustain five hits. Still, Gradius offers a nice difficulty curve and some interesting (and annoying) bosses to defeat. By the time you reach the final boss, you're prepared to withstand whatever the devious brain can throw at you.
Unfortunately, you won't have the opportunity to survive much of anything. The Xaerous Brain doesn't attack, it simply sits there for a moment before activating a self-destruct protocol. This is a welcome sight to some, as Gradius was difficult enough. However, there are those of us that expected more from the title's "end boss" and were supremely disappointed when a final battle never commenced.