*Note* I'm super tired right now, so I'm not going to worry about formatting and embedding the youtube videos. I'll do it later! Or, if you want to read it in all its sexy formatted glory, chug on over to http://real-life-sucks.com/?p=887 .
Boss battles can be hit or miss, and unfortunately this generation has seen plenty of misses. Some of my favorite bosses of all time are living out their retirements stuffed in SNES cartridges or PS1 discs, collecting dust in the twilight of their lives. Compiling this Top 9 has been surprisingly taxing, so let's just get right into it!
9. Strider - Half Life 2
Ok, Striders are technically sub-bosses, but I loved my first encounter so much I had to include it. The atmosphere is great. All hope is lost. This gigantic bug-looking thing is running rampant, obliterating anything and everything it feels needs to die, and no one knows how to stop it. Gordon Freeman saunters in, crowbar in hand and plan in mind. Once he knows the Strider's tactics, Gordon gets to work. Do work, indeed. Skip to the 6:45 mark to see the fight.
8. Scarecrow - DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online is a surprisingly good game. I've never been big on World of Warcraft, so I chomp at the bit every time a developer releases a new, unique (ish) MMO. DCUO plays like an action game, as opposed to the archetypal MMO, like WoW. It's fresher and sleeker than similar superhero MMOs, and is set in a universe with a gargantuan amount of personality. The best parts of the game are its boss battles, and scarecrow's is one of the best. Possibly taking inspiration from Arkham Asylum, DCUO makes every encounter with Scarecrow excitingly trippy and creepy. Skip to the 4:00 mark to see the battle, or watch the whole video to see his entire instance.
7. Skagzilla - Borderlands
If you haven't played Borderlands yet, you need to. Borderlands is a First Person Shooter with RPG sensibilities. Seriously, it's a great game. There are plenty of memorable bosses in Borderlands, but Skagzilla stands out as the best. He's big, he's mean, and he can absorb bullets like no other. Everything about the battle is just cool.
Giant desert arena: Check. Giant monster: Check. Home Run Derby: Check? When using the special shotgun, "Sledge's Shotgun," players can send the skag flying. My buddies and I used to get together and have home run derbies for hours with him. It's just good fun.
6. Akantor - Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
I've logged more hours in MHFU than any other single game in recent memory. Picking a single boss was a pain in the ass, because every battle is a boss battle. No, seriously, every Monster Hunter game is a boss rush. Akantor makes the list because defeating one is a huge achievement. Few monster hunters even see one of these fabled beasts, and even fewer defeat one. Hell, even getting the quest is a pain in the ass; I think it took me 70-80 hours to unlock it. God knows how many attempts were made to kill one. Definitely a huge accomplishment! Note the video below was made by seasoned veterans. You don't want to know how long my first Akantor kill took.
5. Maero - Saints Row 2
Ok, let's keep this short and civil. The Saints Row series is not just a GTA clone, no arguing necessary. They're wacky, they're brutal, and most importantly, they're fun as hell. If you don't like them... well, there's a special place in hell for you.
Fighting Maero, the leader of rival gang "The Brotherhood," is a unique experience in GTA style sandbox games. It's like a demolition derby showdown, except everyone has a vehicle but you. Also, Maero drives a monster truck. Shit just got real.
4. Adam - Dead Rising
Psychotic clown: Check. Chainsaws: Check. Fire breath: Check. Tons of gore: Check. Zombies: double check. It's everything a man could ask for.
3. Defend The Stage - Alan Wake
Alan Wake is a consistently underrated game. It absolutely dripped with personality and atmosphere, yet it was written off because it wasn't Call of Duty, Halo, or GTA. I liked nearly everything about the game, from the soundtrack to the character design, which says a lot. I hate a lot of things. I mean a LOT. Anyway, the battle during "Defend The Stage" is so epic it hurts. Alan has to fight off hordes of enemies while the bumbling-yet-lovable Barry tries to get the stage's lights to turn on. The best part? The killer song that plays throughout the whole showdown, which, by the way, is "Children of the Elder Gods" by Old Gods of Asgard.
The whole game isn't this balls to the wall, but it keeps a good pace throughout. Fans of story-driven third person shooters should fucking love this game.
2. Gates of Hell - Last Remnant
Last Remnant is one of my favorite RPGs in recent memory, and it too is sadly underrated. I won't bore you with the details here, instead look out for my review. Gates of Hell is, depending on how you've played the rest of the game, one of the hardest battles. It is the final battle before switching disks, so its difficulty is understandable. Those that like to grind before a boss, such as myself and our very own Ricky Chaney, will be in for an ass whoopin'. To put it simply, Gates of Hell scales with your battle rank, which is sort of like your party's level. This fucker took a week of our lives. A WEEK!
It's a long and intense battle, accompanied by an equally intense song. It's so intense that it may just turn up next week in my Top 9 RPG Themes. Check out both videos. Pro-tip: it's long, so get comfy.
Finally we're at #1, my favorite boss battle from this entire generation! Are you excited? I know I am! Buckle up kids, you're about to see some serious shit.
1. Garl Vinland / Maiden Astraea - Demons Souls
I could write a full length novel about Demons souls. Hell, I could write a full length novel that only details why I love it. For the sake of keeping this list under 20,000 words, I'm going to keep it short.
If you haven't heard of Demons Souls, you should probably crawl out from underneath your rock, buy a tv, a ps3, and a copy of the game. It's one of the hardest, darkest, and most rewarding RPGs I've ever played... and I've played a lot of RPGs. It drips character and atmosphere from every single pore. Seriously, GO BUY IT NOW!
Now that's out of my system, let's get to the battle. It takes place in the Valley of Defilement, a dumping ground for all the world's filthiest and most evil demons. Oh, and aborted fetuses. After killing all the trash enemies, the player will notice a waterfall of amniotic fluid that ends in a pool of dead and possessed babies/fetuses that will attack on sight. Pretty fucked up, right?
It gets worse. The demon you're tasked with killing, Maiden Astraea, is guarded by her lover, Garl Vinland, who has vowed to give his life to protect her, and their "home." The two beg you to leave them, as they've hurt no one and want to live peacefully in their cozy baby juices. When Garl is dead, the maiden will guilt trip you and commit suicide. If Garl is bypassed, the maiden will beg for her life. Once she's dead, Garl will instead commit suicide. It's all very fucked up, and it causes the player to question their morals, which is quite a feat. Hell, I never think twice about my actions in games with actual morality systems. Powerful stuff!
The track that plays during this whole shebang is beautiful and haunting. It ties everything together quite nicely. My weak words can't really do the battle any justice, so go buy that damn ps3 already! You could just watch the video instead, I guess, but I definitely recommend the former.
Well, thatís that. This list took waaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer to cobble together than I expected. I could write a top 30 SNES boss battles in a heartbeat. Címon games industry, get your shit together!
Your favorite didn't make the list? Let us know in the comments! read