We cannot believe it has been over a year since we last took a look at our favorite boss fights of all time. We're sure you're wanting to catch up, so you can see all six past installments at the end of this article. Some argue that boss battles are too old school for modern games. Something that strives to be akin to a blockbuster like Call of Duty or Killzone probably shouldn't have boss battles in them, but if it's an RPG or a platformer, then sure, why not? For us, it all comes down to what the type of game is. These five boss battles that we've selected are ones that were fun to play, awesome to see, and/or just too damn entertaining to put into words. Regardless, we've gone ahead and done the futile task of putting these fights into words. We hope you enjoy our selections. After we're done, why not mention some of your own?
Mr. Freeze - Batman: Arkham City (Multi)
Generally boss battles in Western games seem so forced. After all, a lot of Western developers make their games feel more like movies than video games, so boss battles seem out-of-place. Batman: Arkham City suffered from this with the final "fight" with a Titan Joker. However, Rocksteady redeemed themselves with the Mr. Freeze battle. For once, Batman was the hunted instead of the hunter, as Victor Fries sauntered around his frozen lab, picking up the Dark Knight's heat signal.
Direct combat is suicide in this encounter. Instead, Batman needs to be resourceful in how he takes Freeze out. By using as many tricks in his repertoire as possible (such as sneaking up from behind, exploding a nearby wall to catch Freeze in a state of surprise, or even attacking the frozen fiend from a grate below), and the catch is that these tricks will only work once before Mr. Freeze caught on to them. It's this thinking-on-Batman's-feet that made this boss battle so magnificently memorable.
Master Hand & Crazy Hand - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Taking on Master Hand in the Super Smash Bros. series is challenge enough for a lot of players, but taking on Master Hand and his insane cohort Crazy Hand is another can of worms completely. The two gloves of doom not only attack separately with their own specific and similar attacks, but they can also team up to mash an unsuspecting player into dust.
Such attacks include shooting lasers from their fingers, grabbing the player and crushing them in their palms, smacking or punching the ground, taking off like a rocket, and so much more. Picking up the patterns and becoming familiar with each start-up to each attack is paramount if one wants victory over these two dastardly foes. Both Master Hand and Crazy Hand, either together or separately, are not only fun to face, but they're fair bosses unlike what most fighting games have to offer. (Yes, yes, we can argue whether or not Smash Bros. is a fighter on another day.)
Magalor & Magalor Soul - Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii)
As it turns out, the character that you've been helping rebuild his ship all along is actually the true villain of the game. It's not a new or novel story concept, but it was a cool twist regardless. The battle against Magalor has Kirby (and optional friends) taking on a cloaked figure as he shoots out magical orbs, painful spikes, giant beams, and even black holes, as he transports around the battlefield.
After taking the boss's health down to half, the tone of the battle shifts. Now Magalor calls upon enemies that Kirby can inhale and digest to earn Super Abilities. From wielding a giant sword to summoning a fire dragon, when these moves connect they give Magalor a serious amount of damage.
Just when the player thinks that Magalor is done for good, he transforms into an impressive creature with all-new attacks, quite devastating ones, might we add. The battle turns into an endurance match, as not only is Magalor's magic incredibly strong, but the monster has a lot of health. After the boss finally bites the dust, the day is saved and Kirby and friends return home.
Metal Gear Rex - Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
A hulking mech that walks on two feet, Metal Gear Rex is the penultimate boss battle in Metal Gear Solid. Sure, Snake has dealt with super-armed soldiers, a guy that could read his every thought and move, and he's had to hide in the occasional box, but no challenge was greater in Metal Gear Solid than Metal Gear Rex. As the battle begins, the mechanical monster unleashes the type of roar that would make a Tyrannosaurus Rex squeamish with fear. That's for good reason. A traditional T-Rex isn't equipped with an armory of missiles, machine gun turrets, and comes packed with the ability to deliver powerful shockwaves. To defeat this mecha monstrosity, Solid Snake needed all of his cunning and then some, as he carefully took advantage of Rex's openings and dodged all that this colossal Metal Gear shot at him.
The Colossi - Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
Speaking of things that are colossal (har-har), this is of course cheating, but we could not pick just one colossi for this list. The majority of Shadow of the Colossus is one epic boss battle after another. Scaling behemoth beasts, finding their weak points, and always having on the edge of your mind that one mess up will result in you follow several stories to the ground, forcing you to start all over again. Shadow of the Colossus impressed us much more than Ico, which was already a fantastic title. There is no wonder why many of us as gamers get anxious whenever we hear news about the perpetually-in-development game The Last Guardian.
If you missed a previous installment in our long-running Best Boss Battles in Gaming History series of articles, you can find all of them below or in the SPC Feature Catalog, where every article, editorial, interview, and top ten/top five list has been recorded and linked.