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The Boss Fight Appreciation Zone is where your greatest virtual foes are hailed as the champions that, deep down, you know they are!

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About me:

I am El Dango, the pretzel-fueled bossfighter of the North. I post jokes, gif, songs and silly Photoshopped images on the front page, although sometimes I do want to have a bit of discussion, usually about game design, which interests me a lot.

Here's a fave game list, everyone else have them (alphabetical order):

Ape Escape
Batman: Arkham City
Beyond Good & Evil
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Pacman Championship Edition DX
Rayman Legends
Shadow of the Colossus
Sonic 2
Tekken 3
Wario Land 2

(NOTE: I'm only putting one game per franchise now, for variety's sake. Some choices that I really truly love have therefore been removed. Doesn't mean that I love them any less.)

I also strongly enjoy games and series like Zelda, Burnout, Mario, Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank, InFamous, Jak & Daxter, GTA, Saints Row, Counter Strike, Splinter Cell, Tomb Raider, Worms, Roller Coaster Tycoon and Metal Gearrr, as well as tons of indie games like Limbo, Mutant Mudds and Guacamelee. I don't have these at the absolute top though, great as they might be. If I did, this list would be crazy long, and I prefer to keep it short and personal.

Platformers are my favourite genre, followed by third-person action adventures. I do enjoy a wide variety of genres though, with the only ones I tend to dislike being RPGs and, to some extend, RTSs (go ahead and pronounce that last one). I'm usually open to action games of any kind.

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Yeah, feels about right. It's an extremely difficult choice to make, picking my favourite game of them all, but this feels like a solid choice. I mean sure, it lacks the deep lore of Oddworld, the sweet rawness of Doom and the satisfying flow of Arkham City, but I don't think it needs those things to begin with. It's old, simple and goofy, and that's the way I like it!

I already wrote a blog about Ape Escape a while ago, and it went into a lot of detail about what exactly makes the game so good. This one won't be quite as long, and it will mostly serve to explain why the game is my favourite, rather than what just makes it good.

Basically, I have four points I want to cover:

Being the first PS1 game to require the DualShock in order to play might seem ambitious by itself, but a lot of these "tech-demo" titles tend to be pretty underwhelming. Even Wii Sports, which is a fun game, is very small, and didn't do that much to push motion control as a concept. Then there's Ape Escape Move, which is a complete joke.

But this game is a much different story. Sony didn't just want this game to compete with other platformers, no, it had to surpass everything that had come before. The result was a game stuffed with huge levels, advanced AI, revolutionary gameplay and tons of unlockables. Ape Escape became every advertisers wet dream, with so many different features to promote that it almost became overwhelming. The fact that all of it managed to fit on one disc is impressive, honestly.

While most experimental games like this only go as far as dipping their toes into the terrifying ocean of new technology, Ape Escape did a cannonball, and it payed off big time! Ambition is something that I value a lot in games (and all media), so a game like this was sure to win me over from the start.

No, really, it is. You wouldn't think so by looking at it, but Ape Escape does have its fair share of depth. The "advanced AI" part above was no joke either, as the monkeys in this game probably have the most sophisticated behaviour of any enemy in any game from the era. While your Sligs and Genome soldiers are almost entirely reactive to your presence, the monkeys are far more independent, and spend their time differently based on each individual personality. 206 of the damn things, and the developers still put the effort into making sure that one of them does a handstand, and that another one draws grafitti on a wall. Incredible attention to detail here.

Then there's the stealth mechanic, which is completely optional, but very useful for sneaking up on some of the more difficult monkeys. Well, except maybe the ones with the green pants, since they tend to have a high alert level.

Oh, right, that's another thing: Pant colours and mokey levels. See, the pant colours indicate what the monkey's personality is (red=aggressive, blue=fast, etc.), and the levels are split between how violent, fast and observant each monkey is. No two monkeys are the same in this game, so keep an eye out.

I really, really think this was a fantastic decision. If this level of individuality had not been here, we'd still have a fun game (the levels themselves still kick ass), but having it in there pushes the game to a completely new league.

As in 'it has', not 'it is'

Ape Escape is perfectly structured. Perfectly! Flawlessly! Think that's a bold claim? Well, let me explain:

It has a central hub, but not a big one. The big, good stuff is entirely reserved to levels, while the hub itself is split into four sections: Level selection, saving, tutorial and minigames. Everything is basically laid out and easy to find, but the hub is still fun to navigate. It's a perfect balance of function and form, and minigames being purely a side distraction is a design philosophy that everyone should follow (fuck that fishing bullshit in Jak & Daxter).

Besides, it looks and sounds pretty great. Like, yeah, the graphics have obviously aged (draw distance ahoy, captain!), but the look has not. It makes fantastic use of colours, has some very memorable character designs, and the environments themselves are fun to look at.

Then there's the soundtrack, which makes me wet. Soichi Terada's drum'n'bass goodness is something you have to experience for yourself. Take a listen!

Aside from being a big, complete, satifying package, which has tons of depth to it, and which still looks and sounds great, Ape Escape is fun in its purest form. It's good, people! It's seriously good!

Consistently fast paced, tight, varied, expansive and funny, I think Ape Escape very much deserves to be known as my favourite. I always get an urge to play it whenever I think about it, an effect that no other game has had on me, and isn't that just something special?

I've actually been pretty restrictive in this blog, believe it or not. This game has an overload of amazing things to talk about, and it's hard for me to really get my head around it all. I could talk for hours about this game, and I probably would, if I had the time. For now, you'll have to do with this.





Welcome back, various bossfighters of Destructoid! It is time for yet another round of kickassery! GET IN!!

Anyone been having some good fights since last time? I currently find myself stuck on a particularly tough final boss. A certain political figure, to be slightly more specific. He's giving me a hard time, to say the least, but I fully intend to put him in his place. After doing so, I may even make a feature about the game he appears in, detailing my thoughts on him and the dynamic trio he's part of. But all that is for another day.

Future BFAZ rounds are planned to be structured roughly like the second one (Commenters' Choice followed by my list), with the exception of potential Bonus Rounds, which will focus on specific games and/or themes. None of this is set in stone, however, and the plan might change. I work in mysterious ways!

Now, get ready for what is by far the longest round yet.





(NOTE: Gifs now link to music)


The Great Mighty Poo - Conker's Bad Fur Day

"When I think boss fights, I tend to go with the old classics. The Mighty Poo from Conker's Bad Fur Day is pretty amazing. The concept of fighting singing shit in a video game was something that seemed to coalesce every fart joke I ever enjoyed into a divine moment of singularity that justified my existence from the ages 12 - 19."

- Occams_Electric_Toothbrush

You're supposed to stop at 19? Whoops!

Conker's Bad Fur Day is a game I wish I'd played back in the day, but circumstances didn't allow it. I usually only have one console per generation (as do a lot of people), and for the fifth, this was a PS1. Of course, I most certainly don't regret this, as that console gave me endless amounts of joy, but you always miss out on something with these damn gaming systems, don't you? I might track down an N64 one day just to be able to give it a go, since it won't appear on newer Nintendo consoles.

As for the boss itself, I can at least say that it has an awesome design. Literally a big pile of shit, with tiny little arms, angry eyes and a gigantic mouth. Simple, effective and hilarious. The song that the boss sings is incredibly memorable too, and the idea of making the shit pile sing opera only adds to the hilarity, as do the lyrics themselves. The love that this boss often recieves is definitely understandable.


Avion - Shadow of the Colossus

(Appropriate sound effect)

"Out of all of the beasts you slay in Shadow of the Colossus, Avion is by far my favorite. The logical progression to fighting giant monsters you have to climb is fighting a giant FLYING monster that you'll hang on for dear life on.

Oh sure, there's a second, serpentine flyer called Phalanx. But Phalanx is completely docile and a relative easy going ride when you climb on him. Avion on the other hand will bank, flap, and barrel roll in an attempt to get you to fall off and hopefully not hit the water below. Getting on is the easy part because Avion hates you enough to divebomb you. Staying on is a pulse pounding race against your stamina meter."

- StriderHoang

Now, I don't want to rely too much on this game, but it's difficult, when every boss is so good! I fear we'll have the same problem with Titan Souls when it comes out.

All of the encounters in this game is its own experience, and StriderHoang does a good job explaining what makes this particular one so great. Avion is a massive fan favourite, and might even be the most popular colossus in the game (as hard as it is to tell).

What I find most interesting is that, in building up the strenghts of Avion, he also challenges a previous choice of mine: Phalanx, who was featured in the first round. He also has a point, since Avion really is much more aggressive, and much harder to hang on to. On the other hand, my argument for Phalanx being great had more to do with the way that you grab on to it in the first place. You bring it down, chase it, and jump off your horse in order to grab onto it. Avion is much less complex in that regard, so it seems to me that there's some kind of trade-off here. Both of these creatures fly, but you deal with them very differently. Clever game design, if you ask me.


Mother Minku - Brave Fencer Musashiden

 "The one boss above all others I always remember. . Is one that strikes fear into all those who know her name! Even the sleeping squid headed monstrosity beneath the sea wouldnt dare tangle with her - her name is... Mother Minku! (brave fencer musashiden PS1)

You happily beat her kids up to retrieve longevity berries. Then she arrives and proceeds to take vengeance upon you and every moment is hilarious and frankly. . You bloody well deserved it XD"

- Faerber

Okay, so, I have absolutely no idea what's going on here.

Is this Mother Minku like the Moby Dick of rabbits? Like, the Great White.. Blue-eared.. Creature? Either way, I find myself to be very impressed with her ability to move around with no legs. It appears that her willpower alone is all it takes, and one has to ask if that alone is not enough to make her a formidable foe?

Regardless of what it's about, I believe that Faerber's genuine excitement for this boss makes it worth a CC space. If you don't agree, then why don't you make your own boss blog, huh!?

(Please don't do that, competition scares me.)


Sephiroth - Kingdom Hearts

(Gif provided by kingsharkboi)

"Sephiroth > all other Kingdom Hearts bosses"

- kingsharkboi

"Sephiroth in KH1 was the best KH boss. Though his KH2 incarnation was a lot of fun to fight but it was kinda easy."

- GajKnight

By popular-ish demand, here's another Kingdom Farts boss. I think this is largely a response to Round 2's Leon, who was describe as the kind of story boss in which you have to lose, but apparently, victory is still possible somehow. I can definitely see the appeal in something like that.

This one's popularity seems to largely come from being a cameo. The world of JRPGs may be largely unexplored territory for me, but I do know that Sephibutt comes from Final Fanta Exoticsy. The internet told me that. What makes the fight itself good is something I'm still a bit in the dark about, but I assume that being a memorable boss in one game translates to being a memorable boss in another one. 


What you see here is only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of awesome comments about boss encounters on the old blogs, so go check those out. They aren't dead, you know. I still check them for comments. :)



I got 9 bosses this time! That's more than the entirety of Round 2! Prepare your brain...


Cyberdemon - Doom

Haha, yeah! Of course I couldn't leave this one out. I just saved it for later, since it's almost too obvious of a pick to begin with. The Cyberdemon is a classic!

You're looking at one of the original FPS bosses, and, in my opinion, one of the best, even by today's standards. I mean, Doom has other bosses too, but none of them are quite as memorable as this one! Doom is an amazing game all the way through, and this boss is one of many reasons why. It's a fast paced, thrilling fight, that takes advantage of everything that makes Doom good to begin with.

Gameplay-wise, the strategy for dealing with the Cyberdemon is legendarily simple: you shoot it until it dies. It sounds easy and boring, though the fight is anything but. This boss is the kind that constantly attacks you while also constantly being vulnerable. You dodge its attacks while being on the offensive yourself, and it's pretty damn intense!

Aside from that, you got an unforgettable character design, which has become a well known gaming icon over the years, and a name that's simply a ton of fun to say/write. The result is basically the Mona Lisa of boss fights.

I salute you, Cyberdemon! You're always about to rock!


T-rex - Tomb Raider: Anniversary

This one could also be considered a classic, although somewhat less so. It's no easy feat to out-classic Doom after all. Still, the t-rex from the original Tomb Raider is a well known and well loved boss. As you can see, however, that isn't quite the one I picked. Instead, I went with the one from Tomb Raider: Anniversary, the 2007 remake. I have two reasons for that:

1.) I really love Anniversary. The original Tomb Raider had the player rely on slow, tank-like controls, and jumping had a weird delay to it. It hasn't aged very well, and it takes a while to get used to. In the remake, Lara is quick, responsive and a total joy to control. She runs naturally in every direction, jumping is instant and satisfying, and gun fights feel much more natural. Anniversary is, in itself, a good argument as to why remakes have reason to exist.

2.) Anniversary's t-rex fights try some new things. In this game, Lara can enrage an enemy to the point where they will charge at her, at which point she can dodge in slow motion, giving her a split second to hit a weakpoint, which does extra damage. The t-rex battle makes the most of this, as the beast takes a long time to enrage, and runs wild once it's been hit. Around the boss arena are a couple of ancient traps, and making the dinosaur crash into these is a good tactic. It isn't necessary, and you can still go for an old school approach if you wish, but it's a fun and cool addition that spices up the battle.

Time for you to go extinct... again! *audience boos*


Koume and Kotake/Twinrova - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

"Ey, where all da Zelda bosses at!?", I hear you ask. Well, here's one.

The Legend of Smellda has a lot of bosses, and they have become increasingly personified and unique over time. In OoT, we get to meet these two grannies, and they probably make up my favourite boss fight in the entire series. The Spirit Temple is already my favourite dungeon in the game, because it has some of the most fun puzzles, and some of the most clever moments. It's also the only dungeon in the game to take advantage of the time mechanic (strangely enough), making the whole thing feel like an adventure.

Koume and Kotake are witches with elemental powers. One uses ice, the other uses fire. They are each others' weakness, but they fight together. Because of this, you must use you're newest item, the Mirror Shield, to reflect their attacks, and basically fool them into attacking each other. That's a fun idea to begin with, and I think it's really well executed. I'm a big fan of the Mirror Shield as an item, and this boss is probably the best possible use for something like that.

After you hit the two a couple of times, they DNA Digivolve into Twinrova, their final form, which is a bit...

...extremely terrifying! From there, the boss becomes harder and more fast paced, until it reaches a surprisingly funny finale.

It's a high point in an already revolutionary game, so I certainly think it deserves an inclusion here.


B-ball Bunny - Wario Land II

Imagine that you make a game where you can't die, but you still want bosses. How do you get around that? In Wario Land II, the answer is usually "Throw the player out of the arena after one hit".


Except this one time, where a giant bunny challenges Wario to a game of basketball. It isn't a traditional game, though, since there's only one basket, two players, and three points to score. Oh, and players use each other as the ball, because that's how Wario games roll!

The way that this works is that you jump on the bunny to turn it into a ball (DO NOT QUESTION THIS), pick it up and try to hit the basket, which can actually be a bit tricky. Don't get jumped on, though, as this will make you the ball. You don't want that at all, because the bunny is a pro, who will slam dunk your ass in no time!

It's every bit as fun as it is weird (which sums up anything Wario related). As far as media portraying b-ballin' bunnies go, this beats the crap out of Space Jam! It also happens to be the only boss in the game with its own unique music track, which I think is very fitting, considreing the fight's nature.


Alastor - Painkiller

Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of most of Painkiller's bosses. Like, they were alright, but they often confused me. They were unclear about whether or not I was doing damage, and they always ended in a very abrupt manner, which felt pretty awkward.

"Oh, so I was doing it right? Okay then."

Alastor (or "Tower Boss") is the exception, and I'm not entirely sure why. My best guess is that it's got a much better sense of progression, due to the fact that the arena is breaking apart, bit by bit. That actually helps a lot when it comes to knowing if you're doing something right, and it makes the end of the battle feel far more satisfying.

You start the fight on top of a large tower (hence the nickname). Alastor will fly at you a bunch of times, somethimes attacking you from a distance. As you do damage, the tower's different floors will start to break down, and you will fight the beast inside of it. Once all the crispy layers of tower have crumbled to dust, you find yourself at the bottom, surrounded by statues. Destroying these statues is your next objective, since they keep the boss alive. See what I mean about progression? There are multiple indications that the battle is moving forward, so you're not constantly confused until you either win or die. The bit of strategy at the end is a nice touch too.

I also really like the way the fight looks, especially at the beginning. The red, dramatic sky, combined with the sense of being on top of a very high structure, as well as the intimidating sight of the boss itself, flying towards you from the distance, makes for a fight that feels big and exciting.


This Thing - Ape Escape

Ape Escape is absolutely delicious from beginning to end, but it doesn't have that many bosses. You face the first one in the fake-out final level (which is still the coolest thing ever to me, I mean they totally make it look like the final level and then BAM), and from that point on, they start appearing more regularly.

As with everything else in this sexy game, the bosses are a ton of fun! My favourite of them all has got to be the one at the top of the TV Tower. Yeah, it turns out that the top of a tower is a good place for a climactic battle. Who knew? Most people, I assume.

You fight a big ol' goofy helicopter thing, and it attacks you with missiles, fire, shockwaves, tiny UFOs and all that good stuff. It's actually far more difficult than it appears, as many of its attacks can be difficult to avoid, and it really steps up its game once you get a few hits down. It doesn't help that you're treated to Specter's smug face the whole way through. Damnit Specter, do you have to put your face on everything?

Like the one above, this boss is also really enjoyable to look at, as well as listen to, which largely applies to the game itself. Yes, I know, it's a 3D PS1 game, so it's all blocky and pixelated, but the style, dawg! It makes really good use of colours, with a lot of sharp contrasts and saturation and shit. The sound effects are bouncy and cartoony, and Soichi Terada's drum'n'bass soundtrack is still as fantastic as ever!

Maybe I should just marry this game. But how should I ask!?


General Tsao - Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves and Sly 4: Thieves in Time are weird to me. On one hand, I enjoy both those games a lot, and they both have plenty of good stuff to offer. But then, they also have a hard time getting out of Sly 2: Band of Thieves's shadow. See, 2 was the one that completely changed the formula, and it hasn't really moved on since then. The ideas are certainly there, especially in 3, but they are used sparingly, which is a bit of a shame. Take the ship gameplay, for example. That was great, but it was only used in one level, even though it could easily have been a substantial part of the game. Another example is the wicked Matrix shit you see above.

Basically, jumping during this battle makes you leap across the entire arena. Once you've jumped, you can shift direction once, before you land. This leads to a good bit of strategy, without the ability being too exploitable, as you still have to rely on the bamboo. Avoid Tsao's projectiles and his charge attack, and try to hit him from behind. It's a bit tricky at times, but it feels great to get a hit on him while mid-air.

The ability to basically fly over large gaps is only used in this one fight. It just comes and goes, despite all the potential it has to become so much more! At the very least, it does make for a great boss fight, and a high point in the game.

Maybe I'll write a blog about this series at some point, to explain my thoughts a little better. In any case, this boss is sweet, and that's what matters for now!


Scarabs - Halo 3

My memory might mislead me. See, it's been a while since I've played a Halo game, but I do remember these things. They would often come out of nowhere, and would take a while to bring down. The exact procedure escapes me, but it definitely involved climbing onto them and somehow attacking them from the inside, either from shooting or from some kind of special action. It's all a bit fuzzy, yet I never truly forgot.

Though I don't remember the details, the Scarabs still managed to leave a lasting impression on me, and I very much associate them with fun and excitement, as that is what I remember from fighting them. This is the reason that I wanted to give them a mention. Well, that and a bit of variety in the list.

What's really important here is that, looking at some of this footage, I have a bit of an urge to play Halo 3 again. That's a very, very good sign. It definitely means that I am on to something here, because that is exactly the kind of effect that a really good boss has on you.

While the Scarabs aren't traditionally boss-like, I consider them to fill the same role, and my memories of them are fond, so they go here. Cheers!


Dragon - Rayman Legends

Choosing between Rayman Legends' bosses can be difficult, but I think I'll go with the dragon in Breathing Fire for now. Sure, the Luchador is more fun to look at, and the last boss (whatever that thing was) is more challenging. But the dragon, I think, is a very good mix of the two. It isn't based on weakpoints, like the Luchador, but it's far more expressive than the last one, and I personally find it more memorable than the remaining two.

First off, the art and music are both fantastic. It's like a living painting that happens to be scored by an orchestra, and it's spectacular to both watch and listen to. It helps a ton that the motion and music are perfect together, as they share a very similar rhythm.

You fight the dragon by attacking it and, well, staying alive. Another simple one, although hitting this thing can be difficult, since it flies around a lot, and tends to fight back using its fiery breath. This then results in a lot of quick fireballs that you have to avoid, while trying to climb to a good attack spot.

As the fight goes on, the structures collapse, and you find your way to increasingly unstable ones. The wooden towers that you climb move around in a way that fits with the music, and it makes the whole thing feel very comical. A climax like this one would fit very well fort an actual cartoon, which is another major point in this fight's favour.



Round 3, laddies and gentlewomen!

That was quite a lot longer than previous rounds. Of course, quantity isn't much without quality, so I've made plenty of improvements on this one, especially on a visual level. Positioning is different, there are more little images, and now, a bit of interactivity (the music links). I plan on going back and retroactively giving BFAZ Round 1 and 2 a makeover similar to this, constantly making the Zone more comfortable for all of you. Nothing gets abandoned here!

In the meantime, why don't you come up with your own picks? It doesn't matter how obscure or irrelevant you think the boss is, it's always interesting to hear your opinion, so don't hold back! Jump in with the rest of us!

If you write something about your boss that I find to be particularly interesting, I'll take your head and ram it up my butt add it to the next Commenters' Choice. Also, I still read the comments on previous blogs, so don't hesitate to comment on anything there, should you just be getting around to reading those now. I'd also like to thank all you people who've commented so far, for your valuable and interesting feedback, not to mention for keeping this series going (after all, no motivation = no blogs). You've been great!

As for what's next, all I currently have planned is the Bonus Round, with no Round 4 in sight so far. After the next one, BFAZ may take a break for a while, giving me time to play (and possibly replay) several games for inspiration, and also do life shit.

Now boss off!

Pretty cool, huh?

The site where I found them says that "These bronze Corgi statues were installed on a street in Christchurch, New Zealand, as an homage to Queen Elizabeth II for her Golden Jubilee."

Guess the ever immortal monarch really like corgis. But then, who doesn't?

"Unfortunately, after the earthquake that hit Christchurch, the statues were removed by the city,"

Aw, that's too bad!

"but they're planned to return before Christmas."

Ah, okay then. Good to know they're there, in case I ever decide to visit New Zealand. Then I'll make them wear funny hats and take my picture with them, like any responsible tourist.

New Zealand has always been interesting to me. Apparently, its name has nothing to do with the Zealand that we have here in Denmark (the island where our capital is located). It also happens to be the furthest I could possibly be from my home while still being on land (and on the planet, of course), as it's almost on the exact opposite side of the world. It would be pretty interesting to go there, and not just because of the corgi statues.



But also for the corgi statues.

'Cause look at them!



*plays non-existent theme song*

Welcome back to the zone y'all! Hungry for more? I assume that's a FUCK YEAH I'm hearing from everybody out there!

The last "round" was the most succesful blog I've ever written, which says jack shit, but it still manages to feel like a small victory in my dead little eyes. So thanks to all 10-12 of you who care.

I'd like to start out by mentioning a couple of bosses that certain commenters really seemed to enjoy, to spice things up a bit. After all, we all have our preferences, and I don't play all games, or games from all genres, so it's good to have multiple voices.



Heavy Armor - F.E.A.R. series

"Mini bosses count? Because everytime one of those Heavy Armored dudes appeared on FEAR it became the most hype shit ever."

- Guest

I can only assume that these guys are the ones that make you fuck everything and run. Like, I mean, you say "fuck everything", as opposed to having intercourse with everything while in motion. That would look weird.


Leon - Kingdom Hearts

"I think the obscure boss fight I've enjoyed are Leon in Kingdom Hearts since it's one of the ones where you're supposed to lose but can indeed "win.""

- Number8Axel

This guy comes across as a smug bastard (EDIT: Leon, that is. Number8Axel is cool!). He doesn't seem to care much that he's in a fight. It might be because his opponent is using a huge key for a weapon. "What, you're gonna unlock me to death? Hue hue!"


Tower Knight - Demon's Souls

"Tower Knight from Demon's Souls remains one of my favorite bosses of all time."

- Bbain

All time is a long time, so this is probably a good one! This thing is like an evil, dark incarnation of one of the Roman soldiers in Asterix, with the giant shield and all. Now we just need a similar version of Obelix.


There were plenty of other mentions in the comments of Round 1, so feel free to check it out!

Monsoon - Metal Gear Rising: REEEEEVENGEAAANCE!!!!!!!

Peer pressure combined with genuine interest led me to finally pick up Metal Gear Rising, and it is gloriously insane. It's also the kind of game we need more of, as it keeps a tight focus on raw action, without needing elements of 10 other genres mixed in.

I haven't beaten the game yet, and I'm sure that the best bosses are yet to come, but I feel like I have to mention Monsoon, as he was the first boss in the game that I actually feared. I was legit afraid of losing to this guy! He was kicking my ass, and eating up my health packs like they were pretzels*! He threw cars and helicopters at me! He clearly meant business, and I was very close to dying before I finally got the fight turned around.

It's been a while since I've felt like that, and it made victory incredibly satisfying. Monsoon was a turning point for me, and this makes him more than worthy for a mention. Looking forward to the rest of the game!

*Unless they are? Is Raiden pretzel powered? Like me?


Behemoth - InFamous 2

It's funny to me that InFamous is known as a series of games based around moral choice, as that is something that I frequently forget. The reason for this is that the action is so good (and good looking), it overshadows everything else. InFamous 2 would still be a great time even if it was just a "normal" action game, and this boss serves to prove it.

God damn! Where do I even begin? This boss comes out of nowhere, at a point where you would never expect a boss fight to happen, and I love that so much! It's brilliant! Just when you think everything is about to calm down, out comes this gigantic abomination simply known as the 'Behemoth'. Your enemies no longer attack you, but help you take down this new threat. Everything changes.

It's an awesome fight! You have all of your powers available to unleash on this thing. You can shoot it! You can bomb it! You can throw cars at! But it will not go down easily, and it is very aggressive with its attacks. The size isn't just for show.

The Behemoth is unforgettable! It's not even the final boss of the game, but I certainly consider it the best.


Meta Ridley - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

I don't have that much experience with Metroid, but I do know that the weird alien pterodactyl named Ridley is seemingly allergic to the concept of death. Therefore, he tends to appear in a lot of games, in a lot of different forms.

Now, I don't know exactly what the lore behind Meta Ridley is, but I assume he/she/it can be considered to be one of these forms. The Prime games don't seem to be short of bosses at all, but this one stuck out to me, despite it being a while since I've played Prime 3.

The reason for this is simple: You're faaaaalliiiiing! All the time! Man, that sure is a long, cylinder shaped facility. Must've taken a while to build. But yeah, it's quite exciting to have an entire boss take place during a free fall, especially in a first person game. Good times! 


Meagly McGraw - Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

Stranger's Wrath has a habit of letting you explore certain battlefields before the actual battle begins. This is a very good habit, as it allows the player to strategize in advance, as opposed to being lost and confused from the start.

Mr. McGraw is largely defined by the environments you fight him in. It's a large area, which is good, since bosses in this game can harm you from a long distance. The farm has multiple buildings, multiple layers, and a lot of places to hide and/or get an advantage. It's definitely one of my favourite arenas in the game.

What also sets it apart from the rest is the fact that you take out every outlaw minion before the fight begins. This isn't usually the case, as most other bosses fight alongside their thugs. Being a 1-on-1 (or 1-on-2, since the guy's being carried) fight seems like it would be easy compared to the rest, but it isn't, due to McGraw constantly chasing you down.

Look at the gif. See how far away he is? That's pretty much how the battle goes, and it makes the boss feel far more 'western' than the others manage to do. It's you vs. him in a duel to the death, and there is plenty of strategy involved. Super good times! 


Metal Man - Mega Man 2

This is a simple one, but simple is often good. That goes double for the Mega Man games, since you need a place to start your chain of death! Metal Man appears to be one of the toughest around, but he is clearly the most sensible choice for a first boss.

First off, while the guy is violent and angry, he is very much managable without any special weapons. All you need is your basic egg shooter to take him down. It's still a good challenge, since the floor is moving, and you have to dodge several metal blades at a time, so good reflexes are important.

But, importantly, defeating him grants you the best weapon in the game: THE MIGHTY BLADE OF METALLIC SUBSTANCE! Or Metal Blade, whatever. It's the best weapon, and you get it from him, so I'm grateful towards the guy. He's not so bad. At least not when he's dead.


Round 2, lades and genits!

Anything you want to add? I hope so, seeing as you're in the BFAZ to begin with. Keep your silly boss opinions coming, friends. Follow the glorious examples of people like Number8Axel, Bbain and our mysterious guest, along with all the others. The more descriptive you are with your choices, the more likely I am to include your choice in Round 3.

Speaking of Round 3, look forward to demons, dinosaurs, sorcerers and bunnies!





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Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome all of you to the sacred place where we worship the roughest, toughest and worthiest of opponents. You are entering the Boss Fight Appreciation Zone!

*wicked guitar riff*

"Why are boss fights so awesome?", a few of you may ask. The simple answer would be the fact that they serve as the ultimate challenge. All the skills you've learned on your journey are finally being put to full use, as you go head to head against a foe who is more or less on equal ground with you (as opposed to all those weaklings that you regularly beat up).

But boss fights really do mean more than that. They often define a game's vision, personality and overall difficulty. Good or bad, the bosses will be remembered, as each one represents a high note. That's why, in action games of any kind, the bosses are very important.

"What is this, then?", others may ask. Well, to put it simply, it's a list, but it's NOT a top 10 list. There aren't even 10 bosses on here. I couldn't do that anyway, it would be like the Sophie's Choice of top 10 lists. I love boss fights too much, and there are too many great ones out there for me to put some above others.
Instead, I'm gonna talk about some great examples of boss fights, and encourage you to do the same. That's another part of the blog's purpose: to create a discussion!

I want to hear your opinion, regardless of what it may be. I find it interesting, and so do countless others, so I urge you not to shy away from sharing your own favourite boss encounters from any game.

So, for this round, here is my dream team of heavy hitters (not to be confused with heavy Hitlers, which is a different thing). 



Mr. Freeze - Batman: Arkham City

The Arkham games are great! They all play like a dream, thanks to a great sense of flow, and they seamlessly switch between vastly different types of gameplay, the most prominent of which being combat and stealth. The games have some interesting bosses as well, although most of them are focused on raw combat, as this is the most natural fit for a boss fight. There are, however, two notable exceptions to this: Scarecrow in Asylum, and Mr. Freeze in City.

I picked Mr. Freeze primarily because the fight has much more depth and strategy to it than Scarecrow's. With Scarecrow, it's just a basic platforming segment where you have to wait for a bit, so that you won't get seen. Mr. Freeze, on the other hand, is like some sort of giga-mook, only way deadlier. You fight him the same way you'd fight any other armed thug (by sneaking up on him), but Freeze is tough, and won't go down with one takedown. Crucially, he also learns from his mistakes, drastically increasing tension as Batman is slowly running out of options. 

Going at an entirely different pace than other Arkham City bosses, Mr. Freeze easily stands out as the most memorable.


Courtney Gears - Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

Ratchet & Clank has no shortage of bosses, and most of them are pretty great. Slime monsters, giant robots, alien queens, whatever sci-fi villain you can think of, it's all here. But my pick for this round is the fairly unique and comical battle against Courtney Gears.

Ms. Gears is an obvious parody of Britney Spears, who nobody talks about anymore, so this particular boss is basically a dated reference. Thankfully, the fight itself is anything but dated. It's every bit as fun and crazy as it was back in 2004. What makes it so good has a lot to do with the way that it plays to the strength of the series. It comes at a point where most players will have gathered a sizable arsenal, and you get to unleash all of it on a robot pop star and her endless supply of back-up dancers. It's nuts, and that's why I love it!

The fight itself takes place on a circular arena, from which you can easily fall off, and you spend a lot of time being pursued by the back-up dancers, with Gears herself attacking from a distance. This goes on until a certain point in the fight, where she teleports out to deal with you herself. You can be attacked from anywhere during the fight, and being aware of you surroundings is very important here. It's a very carefully structured fight, yet it has a wild chaotic feel to it.

To top it all off is the music, which matches the goofiness of the situation very well, while also managing to be pretty dramatic. It perfectly wraps everything up, and makes the fight stand out even more.


Bouldergeist - Super Mario Galaxy 

One of the most underrated things that Super Mario Galaxy did has got to be letting you swing ghosts around by their tongue. It makes no sense! Ghosts shouldn't even have tongues. But it's amazing to do, so I don't care.

What I do care about is the boss that's designed around this mechanic. Its design is one of my favourites from the game. A big pile of rocks shaped like a head and two hands, with glowy eyes, and some sort of evil spirit inside of it. Actually, it looks a bit like the evil spirit is the real boss, and the rocks are just a defense, which is even better!

At first glance, it seems like this is the type of boss that is simply going to punch you a lot, while you have to dodge until there's an opening for you to attack. But that is far from the truth. No, this thing punches, raises spikes from the ground and creates explosive ghosts. You then have to swing said ghosts around in order to do damage. Much better!

This boss is at once fast paced, goofy and tense. It's my favourite boss from either Galaxy game, which actually says quite a lot.


Phalanx - Shadow of the Colossus

I personally find it difficult to talk about boss fights without mentioning this game. Shadow of the Colossus is like the king of the bosses! All of them are huge, spectacular and fully organic. I could have picked any colossus from this game and nobody would question it, so I might as well pick the biggest of them all.

Not that size is the only thing Phalanx has to offer compared to the others. This fight is amazing for numerous reasons. It starts off slow, with the colossus flying high above you, beyond your reach. You need to get it down, and you do so by shooting arrows at its weakpoints. Once this is done, however, you still need to climb it, which is difficult. The damn thing's fast, so it's a good thing you've got a horse. From this point on, you need to catch up with the beast, get close to one of its wing thingies, and jump off! You jump off your horse! How awesome is that!?

After this, you do the usual climby-stabby, but the creature is still on the move across the desert sky, so holding on is very important. It's all great, but it's the sense of speed and scale that makes this boss unforgettable. 


Reaper - Beyond Good & Evil

How do you make sure that your game is so good that everyone is pissed when it doesn't get a sequel? Ending it on a cliffhanger definitely helps, but a better way is to make everything in the game feel like a big deal, and that's exactly what Beyond Good & Evil does. It does so largely through music and camera angles. 

Those last two words happen to be very important here, because that is what makes the Reaper boss as memorable as it is. On a basic level, it's very Zelda. You find an item, and then use that item to fight a boss. It's been done, but Zelda was never this cinematic about it, and that aspect does add to the boss's feel.

Our green friend starts off by jumping around on some platforms above you, while trying to hit you with its projectiles. What you need to do is to use your newly found disk launcher to piss it off, at which point it will jump down to attack you directly. The camera switches to the Reaper's perspective, allowing you to get a good idea of where it's gonna land, and to stay away. Then you attack it directly.

It isn't the hardest boss in the world, granted, but I still enjoy it a lot for its presentation, and it's still genuine fun!


The End - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 

I think this is a good one to end with because, well... name..

But yeah, this is another slow, stealthy one, and it's one that everybody loves, and everybody knows why it's amazing, so I won't have much to add. It's very slow paced, extremely tense, and a perfect demonstration of how to make a stealth-centered boss fight.

My only gripe is that Mr. End only shoots sleeping darts at you, which doesn't do any real damage. While the tension is real, it would have been much more so if you took actual damage from his attacks.

But yeah, it's still a very clever fight, and everyone loves it, and blah blah. Oh, and you can avoid it entirely, if you dislike stealth. Even though you're playing a stealth game. Of course.

That's all I got for now!

I personally left out tons of awesome bosses that I could talk about in similar detail. There are so many great bosses, and all of them deserve their share of praise. 


Now on to yourself. What boss fights would you like to gush about? This is the BFAZ after all, so let out your inner kid and type out some kind words about boss encounters that make you excited. Don't worry, I'm sure someone will read them. Like me! If I'm not busy at the moment. But I'm probably not. So I probably will. So you're good, right?


But seriously, write something or get out.

*roll credits*



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Once upon a time, not too long ago, video games would reward you with fun little bonuses. These bonuses would often vary. Sometimes, it would be an unstoppable super-weapon (my favourite examples including Doom's BFG and Ratchet & Clank's RYNO series), or something else that affects gameplay. At other times, it may simply be a new outfit. While I'd argue that the former is of much greater value than the latter, there is certainly room for both, and both used to give a sense of achievement. Back then, having these things always meant that you had earned them, and done so through the game itself, which you already had fun playing. It was the ultimate win-win, basically. Rewards earned by having a good time. Brilliant!

Then the age of DLC came, and while I like the idea of DLC as a concept, it has been heavily abused from the very beginning, and this has only gotten worse over time. Good DLC does exist. It exists in the form of additional levels, chapters and missions. Meaningful content applied on top of an already complete package, like it should always be. But it's†so rare†that this is the case.

No, it seems that most DLC comes in the form of the rewards that used to be part of the once complete package. Now, it's no longer unlocked by gameplay, but through pre-orders or additional payments. The option to unlock it traditionally isn't even there anymore. The win-win has become a lose-win, as you now have to sacrifice something before you gain something in return, within the game itself. Costumes no longer say ďI won thisĒ, they say ďI paid for thisĒ, or ďI pre-orderedĒ. It shows off your willingness to pay for things you donít need, rather than your skill at the actual game. This greatly cheapens the value of additional costumes. They become a complete non-entity to the game, something that is tacked on and doesnít add anything meaningful. Youíre only being rewarded for being a profitable customer.

It isnít just costumes, though, which is why I mentioned super weapons early on. Certain games actually sell weapons as DLC, meaning that core gameplay elements are stripped from the product. This is the point where it becomes infuriating, as this kind of stuff can easily make entire games fall apart. What if the weapon that you took out was crucial to completing a certain part? The small touches are important, and you canít just fuck around with them like this!

Let me talk about the RYNO again, to give an example: In Ratchet & Clank, you get to buy the RYNO once youíve saved up enough bolts. This is always a huge amount, which would take ages to grind through, because the designers were smart. They didnít want you to have access to the weapon too early on, since that would remove all the challenge from the game. It was a bonus that you would earn. Gathering bolts in R&C games is always done quicker through the different side tasks, such as races, space combat and arena battles. These, in turn, provide a fun challenge, so that gathering bolts doesnít feel like work. Itís a perfect example of the win-win scenario. On the other hand, if the player was able to buy the RYNO with real money from the start, the entire game would be ruined. All good design would fly out the window, and the player could just blast through the game without ever needing to improve. It would be a complete mess.

Thatís basically why my problem with this is much bigger than my problems with any other greedy nonsense that we have to put up with from the walking cartoon villains who apparently run this industry. It actively works against good game design. It doesnít just make the consumer experience more irritating, it severely damages the core product on a fundamental level. Video games are deliberately made worse in an attempt to sell more. Saints Row, Infamous and Assassinís Creed are franchises that have all suffered heavily from being split into pieces like this.

So yeah, this is absolute shit! Fucking yellow diarrhea is what it is! Even if you wait for a Ďcomplete editioní, that isnít a real solution, since the design flaws wouldnít be undone. It just means you have all the weapons from the start, and a bunch of meaningless costumes to wear. Worthless garbage! But itís getting even worse, due to retailers jumping in.

Hyrule Warriors. Retailer exclusive DLC costumes. That is an entirely different flavour of bullshit. Now, we apparently canít even have the non-solutions of complete editions. Fucking hell, industry, what is wrong with you!? Youíre killing us!

This is evil! Are they seriously expecting people to buy three copies because of this? Because thatís the only sense I can make of it, and itís fucking insane!

Ubisoft did something similar with Watch Dogs, with tons of semi-complete editions, and no complete one, and I just donít get it! Why!? Nobody wants that! Nobody likes that! Surely you canít be that indifferent to what your audience wants and likes. Itís what keeps business alive, after all.

This is an industry that often crosses lines. Thatís a problem in itself, of course, but this refusal to at least be subtle about it really gets to me. Itís so disrespectful to the consumers. We are so much smarter than what these companies give us credit for, and we have proven this time and time again. Yet weíre still looked down upon! Companies still think they can fool us without effort! They still think that throwing vague, meaningless buzzwords at us will leave us satisfied! What does it take for these people to respect us? Guys, good business is important, and that requires a good relationship with consumers. How fucking hard is it to understand!?

All I can say is that this lack of respect goes both ways. If we arenít worthy of being taken seriously, neither are they. On the other hand, if they change their mind about us, if they stop trying to squeeze money out of us, if they learn how to do good business, I will happily change my mind about them as well. Until then, I would like to extend a big middle finger to those who are to blame for all this. Subhuman parasites!

Iíd also like to thank those developers who havenít given in to the peer pressure, and kept their games intact. Ratchet & Clank never compromised its values, and I largely respect Insomniac for this. Other, similar mid-tier companies do a good job too, and small indie studios are very good at keeping their games as wholes. Those who actually care about doing good business are still around, which is great! Itís just the fact that the assholes still see success that continues to bother me. Hopefully, they either learn from their mistakes, and start caring more about quality, or they crash and burn like THQ did. Eventually, either has to happen.

Because weíre not stupid!
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