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10. The Shredder – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Turtles in Time (SNES)
I remember going to Chuck E Cheese when I was young and walking up to this game with three random other kids and going from beginning to end. I didn’t know who they were, but there was a palpable feel of accomplishment and pride wafting through the air. I also recall having the most fun with this battle than any other in the game. Instead of the normal routine that any Ninja Turtles game consists of post-TMNT 1 for the NES (jump, air-kick thing, maybe a special move that depletes health), you had to harm the Foot Soldiers before tossing them into the screen at Shredder. Not really much else to say; I’ve just always thought this battle was awesome.
9. Blind the Thief – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Ever since I fought this redhead and robe combo I’ve always looked forward to fighting him again. First time we met, he was difficult for me. Now, however, I routinely beat him without getting hit. The combination of constant movement, having to use The Master Sword instead of the “from-this-very-dungeon” item, and a flawless victory makes this guy very exciting for me. A big honorable mention to Mothula, also from ALttP, as it’s a very similar fight in most regards, and almost equally as enjoyable. I could also throw an honorable mention to just about every Twilight Princess boss; while they were by no means difficult, they were all a lot of fun to play. The added difficulty of Blind and Mothula however easily give them the nudge over any TP boss.
8. GLaDOS – Portal (PC)
This fight consists of nothing BUT fun. The whole game up to this point was riddled with perfect, sarcastic, cynical humor. There’s nothing too difficult about the fight, however, as you have enough time to maneuver and figure out what to do. If you didn’t already love GLaDOS before this point in the game, you absolutely should now. If you stall in incinerating her Morality Core, our very destructive but lovely lady AI will give us a taste of her twisted humor. Some of what she says absolutely has to warrant an el-oh-el. That is, unless you’ve incinerated your Humor Core after incinerating the Companion Cube. You jerk.
7. Garrador – Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition (Wii)
I’m giving the nod to the Wii edition for the same reason I used the Arcade TMNT: it’s just much more fun. The whole game is nothing short of fun-as-heck, but the boss battles definitely step things up a notch. One boss (maybe a mini-boss, but oh well) really stood out for me, though, and that’s the Garrador. This battle can be very easy if you know what you’re doing; but, should you not really have a clue, you can get gruesomely one-hit-killed. The game does a good job of giving you an ominous suspense at any given moment, and when the Garrador “wakes up” for the first time, I felt for my life more than I had so far. Panicking and wanting to get to safety coupled with the inability to run, lest you give away your fragile position, made this an exhilarating fight the first time I faced no-eyes here. It hasn’t produced that same feel since (with the exception of the Garrador x2 fight), but it warrants a spot on the list for me.
6. Gray Fox – Metal Gear Solid (PSX)
Ah yes, the clashing of bone and sinew. The delivery of that line has stuck with me since I first heard it back in ’98. I can’t think of a MGS boss battle that wasn’t a ton of fun. The runner-up here for me would probably be the fight with Psycho Mantis; we were all surprised by how that went. But I go with this one because of the somewhat overused but still awesome, “let’s fight like men with no weapons” deal. One can never refuse an offer to throw down a rousing match of fisticuffs.
5. Baby Bowser : Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SNES)
Part of what makes this game one of my favorites of all-time is the boss fights. The formula of taking a regular ol’ baddie and making him bigger and tougher was always one that I enjoyed more than anyone should (I also have an undeserved love for the palette swap system for some reason; yay Foot Soldiers!). Picking only one boss from this game is incredibly tough, as I have very fond memories of giving the farmhand to Raphael the Raven, Prince Froggy, Hookbill the Koopa, Sluggy the Unshaven… well basically all of them; they’re all very entertaining battles. I give the gold to Baby Bowser, however, as it was an appropriately difficult and fun boss after what I’d call the greatest series of boss fights. Being the final boss is what gives him that edge over the rest, basically.
4. Iselia Queen : Star Ocean: The Second Story (PSX)
Three million, three-hundred thousand HP. Yikes. Before fighting Iselia you took out Gabrie Celesta, who had an even million HP, which, alongside Ruby and Emerald Weapon of FFVII, was nothing to shake a Buster Sword at. Granted, Star Ocean 3 has three bosses with more health (the highest of which sporting a whopping 20 mil), but back in ’99, 3.3 million was plenty scary, and Star Ocean 2 definitely gives you fewer ways to prepare for such a staggering health pool as SO3 did. Plus, you don’t have Knights of the Round. The sheer challenge of leading your party to victory required so much time and ability that beating the boss was incredibly rewarding. That sense of accomplishment that comes from surviving this fight is what made this one a blast.
3. The Elite Four : Pokémon Red and Blue (GB)
Playing through a Pokemon game for the very first time, it’s not at all difficult to figure out how to get from beginning to end without ever „whiting out“ (read: being so upset that your magical monster received a belch of fire in its face that you faint, and mysteriously lose half your money). However, if you don’t spend every second you got until Pokemon Silver and Gold came out leveling up your dressed-up cockfighting companions, The Elite Four would school you. No Pokemon Center to heal you, under-leveled and poorly equipped Poke mans, and seeing Gengars, Arcanines and Machamps for the first time will leave you „whiting out“ until you wise up. Make it all the way to the final challenge, however, and you’ll fight with a whole new level of feirceness. Winning was AWESOME.
2. Event 51 : Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
I don’t know if this qualifies as a boss fight for everyone, but it does for me. First time I started up Event 51 I thought it was gonna be impossible. Then I found Jiggly’s Rest. That felt pretty cheap though (and it is), so I eventually beat it with every character. Besting those three meanies with Bowser was easily the hardest of all 25 characters. The sheer size of Giga Bowser made you proceed into the fight realizing that you’d have to change up your tactics considerably for this one. And when you found a sweet spot in your technique it was oh, so sweet.
1. Meta Knight : Kirby’s Adventure (NES)
Much like the macho fight with the Cyborg Ninja of MGS, this one-on-one swordfight is a classic method of proving ones’ manliness, even if you’re pink and fluffy. Every boss fight in this game (and most Kirby games) is chock full of fun, and even though Meta is the climax of the worst level in the game (Orange Ocean) the fight more than makes up for it, and Meta Knight being so dang cool certainly helped. The biggest honorable mention in this game goes to Mr. Bright and Mr. Shine.
[ SlapStick ]