Bottom-10 Worst & Most Annoying Boss Fights
Boss fights are something I quite enjoy in a video-game, especially when done well. However, occasionally game companies miss the mark and we end up with uninspired and occasionally just down right awful boss fights.
I was hard-pressed to find any truly awful and cringe-worthy fights, so I decided to mix the list up a bit and also include boss-fights which were either tedious or otherwise really, really annoying. Tried as I might, I couldn’t find a boss fight from the Mario series that I hated enough to put on the list, but a dishonourable mention probably goes to the Boom-Boom battles in the Mini Castles in Super Mario Bros. 3 for their suckiness and lack of challenge. Also a warning there may be some spoilers on this list.
But anyways, let’s get on with the list…
(Batman: Arkham Asylum)
For some reason people don’t seem too hot about the boss fights in the Batman Arkham-series games, which never made sense to me. Isn’t the whole point of playing a Batman game that you get to beat down on some iconic Batman villains. As big of a let down as Arkham City was as a game, I think I have to concede that the worst boss-fight from the Arkham games (which I’ve played) was in Arkham Asylum.
Bane has never been one of my favourite Batman villains to begin with so don’t expect me to do a big song and dance number about how he was misrepresented in Batman & Robin. Let’s just face facts: Bane just kinda sucks. He’s a masked wrestler and that’s about his extent as a villain. He’s not even criminally insane, just incredibly egotistic. He’s the Rhino of Batman’s villains galore. And his boss fight isn’t even novel in any sense of the word. Quite literally, it’s just a prelude to every Titan-induced hulk out match for the rest of the game. It could technically count as a tutorial.
Having said that, there isn’t actually anything inherently wrong about the Bane fight. It’s not particularly difficult and it’s actually kinda hilarious seeing him mow down Joker’s goons as you jump out of the way of his charges. This boss fight is just really lame because it’s exactly the same thing you’ll end up doing ad nauseam for the rest of the game.
(Gabriel Knight 2)
“Point and click adventure game” and “boss fight” are not two things that you’ll typically find in the same sentence, but indeed, one of the most annoying boss encounters comes from Gabriel Knight 2. In essence, the concept behind this one is kinda cool. At the very finale of the game, the hero Gabriel Knight turns into a wolf as does the villain Baron Friedrich Von Glower. Using a first person perspective, you have to navigate the basement of the opera hall and prevent Von Glower from escaping and trap him in the furnace room to take him out.
While there is a great deal of suspense in this section it’s also kind of tedious and an annoyingly simplistic door-closing puzzle. Firstly, you’re just blocking rooms in order to close off any exits from the basement. Secondly, you’re trying to create a path to the furnace. And thirdly, you can never end up in the same room with the other wolf or you’ll die instantly. And even once you’ve done all that, you’ll need to react quickly to toast Von Glower in the furnace and not get shot yourself. As awesome and dramatic as the final conclusion is, the build-up to it is a little annoying and, like I said, tedious, with you having to stay focused so you don’t get the rooms mixed up and so that you don’t accidentally close the wrong door and become trapped.
Again, this “boss fight” isn’t really terrible per se, just time-consuming and tedious.
(The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
This guy was already on my Bottom-10 Zelda Monsters list, so it probably doesn’t surprise you at all that he’s on my least favourite boss fights list as well. Apart from being just incredibly dumb-looking, The Imprisoned comes back several times throughout the game, which just really started to bug me after a while. Fighting the Imprisoned also presents you with a time-limit since you’ll have to beat the monster before he escapes from his pit.
And how do you bring the mighty giant down? By attacking his toes and later his fingers. That’s… just… stupid. I mean that’s the sort of thing I’d expect from King K. Rool at the end of Donkey Kong 64, but certainly not in a Zelda game. The whole idea is quite puerile, defeating a giant, ancient evil by slicing it’s digits off. And sure, you do get to stab its forehead at the end, but it’s still just really stupid.
The Imprisoned is, yet again, not one of the worst executed boss fights and it could have felt almost epic. It’s just unfortunate that the boss in question looks like such a gigantic derp.
(Escape from Monkey Island)
Once again, we have a “boss fight” from an adventure game, this time from the fourth instalment of my favourite adventure game series, Monkey Island. These swashbuckling titles teeter between epic finales (Curse and Tales) and less spectacular ones (LeChuck’s Revenge). The finale of the fourth game is actually quite spectacular, but just like with Gabriel Knight 2 the build-up to it is quite outrageous.
Now, unlike some other fans of the series, I don’t have as negative of an attitude towards the Monkey Kombat mini-game segments in Escape. They perhaps aren’t as much fun as the series’ traditional insult sword fighting, but if you are systematic about them, you’ll find that they don’t take nearly as long to beat as you might first imagine. However, what I feel is a cheat is that this isn’t really a boss-fight so much as it is something pretending to be a boss-fight. In the case of Gabriel Knight 2, you actually had to accomplish something – here, you are caught in an infinite loop of both you and your opponent regenerating health indefinitely. That’s until you realise that you’re supposed to get a Draw three times. There is no obvious hint to this and chances are that you’ll just discover the solution by accident, but was it really worth it to make you believe there was going to be an actual showdown at the end just to have you win by not actually winning.
I think this finale segment should have gone through the designers one more time so they would have thought of something a bit more clever. As it is, it’s a pretty frickin’ lame way to end your game.
(Resident Evil 4)
Resident Evil 4 in many ways was the final true to its name “survival” horror game. Even though it was a lot more action-oriented and a whole lot more generous with items and gear, especially thanks to the mysterious salesman, you still needed to be prepared and save up your best guns for the really tough parts of the game. And one of those segments was that annoying little midget shit Salazar.
Salazar is the kind of guy you want to instantly punch in the throat. He’s a pompous little man and on top of that just sounds really annoying. When you face him, he transforms himself into a gigantic, sort of flower like, monstrosity and what follows is one of the single most frustrating boss fights in the game. Granted, some of the grind-like enemy wave segments in the game are probably harder (especially any with Dr. Salvador in them), but this fight will grab you by the balls and throttle you around like Jaws if you come unprepared. You have a small window of actually dealing damage, you need a lot of ammo, and regardless of where you stand in relation to Salazar, you are almost always open to attack. You really gotta have twitchy trigger(-button) fingers to react in time to the quick-time commands in order to not get beat to shit and the only place you can go for cover is filled with the annoying face-hugger wanna-bes from the game.
The best part, this boss fight happens pretty much at the half-way point of the game, so if you didn’t go in prepared, you’ll have probably expended most of your ammo at this point. Have fun trying to survive the rest of the game with little to no ammo. Salazar is really tough and annoying to fight and if you don’t come prepared he’ll cripple you for the rest of the game. He really would have deserved to be in the Top-5 and the only reason he’s not there is that his fight at least has some sensible rhythm and you cans survive it with enough preparation and by not playing like a complete ass.
(Grand Theft Auto 3)
What would a GTA game be like without a senseless gun-fight sequence. At the very end of Grand Theft Auto 3, the silent protagonist Claude Speed has to take down his treacherous ex and save Maria by taking on hordes of Colombian gangsters. And you start it all off with nothing but a frickin’ handgun. How lovely…
Add to this a bit of a chase to catch up to a helicopter, having to scavenge for guns on dead-bodies and inching your way ever so closely towards the helipad where the final bout takes place. And by bout, I mean you blow up her helicopter with a rocket launcher. Assuming you weren’t shot up too badly by the Colombians you can even miss once and get a second shot at the chopper. This boss-fight, if you want to call it that, is tedious, hard and requires a lot of trial and error before you get it down to an art. The difference between this and every other gun-down section of the game is that you have literally nothing to protect yourself with at the start and then you’ll have to learn where its safe to stand and at what distance you can kill enemies efficiently and not just be a sitting duck.
Sure, I can breeze my way through this part now-a-days, but way back when and even to anyone who played up to this point for the first time, the final boss fight can be quite the challenge. Personally, I just find it to be an annoying grind and kind of tedious, even if the pay-off is sort of cool.
(Sonic Lost World)
Generally speaking the Boss fights in Sonic Lost World were a piece of cake. In fact, I was a little surprised by how easy most of them were. Comparative to the levels that started to become borderline rage inducing after a while. Even Robotnik didn’t put up much of fight towards the end which surprised me. In fact, I’d say the final boss fight was one of the easiest in the whole game.
Zavok the leader of the Zeti however, was much more frustrating to deal with in both of his boss fights. The first round was bad enough. Hitting him wasn’t the problem, but for some reason the timing in said Boss fight, where at the end you have to knock him off the robotic dragon was incredibly finicky. I never got used to the three level homing attack system and I just ended up running in to the bosses a lot. Normally, that didn’t matter, but for some reason it kept messing up my chance to get rid of Zavok. His second fight, comparatively started off easy but then you had to escape a giant version of him, while trying to bounce the blocks you use to stand on at him and hoping that you don’t slip up and fall to your death instead. This was truly aggravating.
On a general level, I wasn’t a fan of the boss endurance round levels, not because I didn’t enjoy going up against the bosses (except Zavok) but because you also had to endure some pretty bullshit level design in-between the fights and hope you didn’t lose all your lives before the final guy. It just got exhausting by the end.
(Donkey Kong 64)
Most of the Boss fights in Donkey Kong 64 were actually pretty cool and intense, but the haunted castle one was just right down pathetic. It’s a shame that it’s the only boss-fight, except for the final one, where you get to play as all the Kongs. But your Boss is just a giant cardboard cut-out of K. Rool which shoots lasers and which you have to quickly hit with a cannon pointing in the right direction.
As you may have guessed, this one falls more into the lame end of the spectrum as far as the boss fights are concerned. However, the reason you need multiple Kongs is because if you miss the cardboard K. Rool, your Kong is shot out of the battle zone and you have to play as someone else. This keeps going on until you beat the boss or run out of Kongs. The fight’s still easy at the start, but then towards the end the Cardboard K. Rool keeps cropping up quickly everywhere, so you really gotta get your timing down.
This one is just annoying and considering it happens to be in one of the best levels of the game, it really feels like a let-down.
(Castlevania X: Rondo of Blood)
Castlevania games are notorious for their difficulty and their boss-fights are notoriously hard as well. It also seems that regardless of the game, the Grim Reaper gets special treatment in this regard in being the single most frustrating opponent you face. Castlevania X: Rondo of Blood for the PC-Engine (TurboGrafx-16) did have some other real winners like the lead-up to the Shaft fight which is practically five boss-fights in one. However, beating the lesser monsters isn’t that hard and afterwards if you die on Shaft you can go straight to him.
As much ridiculous learning through trial and error as the Shaft fight incorporates, Death is by far the most difficult opponent you face in the game. His level isn’t a walk in the park either, with Richter being assaulted by enemies from all sides. The crux of why this battle is near impossible is because the item you need to defeat death is not available in the lead-up to the battle, but instead you have to pick it up as you’re traversing the level. Without an axe, you stand little to no chance of surviving the battle with the Grim Reaper. The problem is the scythe throwing part. Without the axe, you’ll do a lot of jumping to avoid the scythes, while with the axe you jump less and can just take out a lot of them with your weapon of choice, while hitting Death at the same time. Getting past this first part is crucial, because for the finale, it’s all a game of hit and run away, but without conserving life at the beginning of the fight, you’re essentially fucked in the finale.
And guess what, if you die during the fight, you might as well give up, because the boomerangs, daggers and holy water will do didly-dick for you. Good luck.
1. Dr. Wily, Final Battle
(Mega Man 7)
Mega Man definitely has its share of difficult and frustrating boss-fights: the yellow-devil in Mega Man 1, the room that wants to kill you in Mega Man 2 (the laser eye one), Sigma’s final form in Mega Man X. But nothing compares to the bullshit you have to endure for the finale of the seventh Mega Man game. When Dr. Wily presents the fourth and possibly worst reprise of his disappearing, reappearing shuttle.
Alright, so it’s annoying that he shoots four projectiles at you, lighting from above and then appears at awkward angles where he’s difficult to hit. Is he really all that hard? Yes! Because unlike Mega Man 4-6, you don’t have a handy weapon against him like the Pharaoh Shot or Beat. And it’s not just hitting him (and not doing a whole lot of damage) which is the real problem. The problem is his projectile attacks which don’t just take away a little energy if you happen to touch them. The fire and ice-balls will trap you and cause you to take even more damage from his other attacks, and the fire-attack just generally hurts you.
This whole fight is like the world’s shittiest game of dodge ball, where you have four balls heading your way at all time, which will also stop and change direction periodically. For an other wise reasonably easy game, Mega Man 7 sure doesn’t hold back at the finale.