Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #10. Marauder - Doom Eternal
- #9. Malenia, Blade of Miquella - Elden Ring
- #8. Raven Beak - Metroid Dread
- #7. Valkyrie Queen Sigrun - God of War
- #6. Silver - Sonic '06
- #5. Ornstein and Smough - Dark Souls
- #4. Nemesis - Returnal
- #3. Absolute Radiance - Hollow Knight
- #2. Genichiro Ashina - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- #1. Red - Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver
Boss battles are a staple of gaming, but not all boss fights are created equally. A good boss will test the player on their in-game experience and truly push them to their limits while a bad boss will be nothing more than a regular enemy with an over-glorified healthbar. Good boss fights can often be the most memorable part of a game, so here’s a list of some of the best boss fights in all of gaming in no particular order.
#10. Marauder – Doom Eternal
When the Marauder first shows up in Doom Eternal, it lets the player know that it means business. With its quick attack pattern and lethal close-range melee attacks, taking out the Marauder for the first time can be a problem for even the most seasoned Doom veterans. After the fight, most players wipe their brows saying, “well, it’s a good thing that’s over with,” only to realize that the Marauder has now been added to the enemy pool and that they’ll have to take the boss down while also juggling the rest of the demon hordes at the same time. To prove the point, the Marauder was so hard initially that Id Software patched it to make it a little bit easier.
#9. Malenia, Blade of Miquella – Elden Ring
There’s certainly an argument to be made that this list could consist entirely of Elden Ring bosses. From Starcourge Radahn to Maliketh, the Black Blade, there’s no shortage of tough fights in FromSoftware’s latest Soulsborne outing, however, Malenia, Blade of Miquella is perhaps one of the most brutal boss fights ever put into a game. Her opening attack is enough to kill most players in just a fraction of a second which really informs what the rest of the fight will be like. Malenia is a true test of a player’s skill and the phrase she tells the player, “I have never known defeat,” is likely to echo within their heads for hours as they try to best her.
#8. Raven Beak – Metroid Dread
In terms of tough, late-game bosses, players will be pressed to find a tougher final confrontation than the one with Raven Beak in Metroid Dread. Making the fight even more memorable, Raven Beak reveals some shocking, previously unknown revelations about Samus’ past to her which gives the fight an emotional core that helps it stand out amongst the rest of the game’s excellent encounters. The fight itself is nail-bitingly hard as Raven Beak has three phases each with attacks tougher to read and counter than the last. Those who beat Metroid Dread should wear the accomplishment as a badge of honor.
#7. Valkyrie Queen Sigrun – God of War
As is the case with other bosses on this list like Melenia, some of the absolute toughest fights are entirely optional. It’s a good thing that Valkyrie Queen Sigrun is an optional fight in God of War (2018) because she is absolutely the toughest fight in the entire game. Because God of War takes a new approach to combat in the franchise, it’s no wonder that some fans took a few hours to adjust, but Valkyrie Queen Sigrun requires the player to have mastered the game’s systems to make so much as a dent in her healthbar. Despite her high difficulty, taking on Sigrun and winning is extremely satisfying, but it takes a certain kind of devoted gamer to take the time to learn her patterns and come out on top.
#6. Silver – Sonic ’06
Just because a boss fight is tough doesn’t always mean that it’s fair. For example, the Silver boss fight in Sonic’s campaign from Sonic ’06 (officially known as simply Sonic the Hedgehog,) is really challenging, but only because Silver constantly attacks the player and can hit them from essentially any distance at any time. It’s a really poorly designed fight something of a major roadblock for anyone looking to suffer their way through the rest of the game. If this were a list about great boss fights, Silver certainly wouldn’t be on it, but in terms of being a frustratingly hard encounter, he makes the cut, no problem.
#5. Ornstein and Smough – Dark Souls
FromSoftware bosses could likely fill this entire list. The studio is known for its punishing fights, but one of the first widely recognized excellent FromSoft boss encounters is the fight with Ornstein and Smough. Each enemy is certainly challenging on its own, but having the player fight both at the same time is a major challenge. Up to that point, Dark Souls has the player face immeasurable odds, but the Ornstein and Smough fight is what many players truly cut their teeth on. Although it’s a great fight, it’s certainly a challenging one that goes down as perhaps the hardest in all of the original Dark Souls and one of the most difficult in the entire series.
#4. Nemesis – Returnal
Returnal‘s six main boss fights are all brutal and challenging in their own way. One of the things that makes each feel so nerve-wracking is the knowledge that, upon the player’s defeat, they’ll be sent all the way back to their crash site and need to fight their way through waves and waves of enemies just to try the boss again. Nemesis comes at a dramatic peak in Returnal‘s story and offers an exhilarating three-phase fight that ends with Selene flying through the air to try and take down the corporeal being that’s partially representative of her guilt. The fight starts small on a single piece of ground but gradually expands until it feels like the boss arena can’t get any bigger. Having the skill to take down Nemesis should put a notch on any gamer’s belt.
#3. Absolute Radiance – Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is packed full of interesting boss encounters that test the player’s use of the Knight’s relatively limited moveset. Absolute Radiance is the final boss of Hollow Knight‘s Godmaster DLC and packs a punch like no other. It will test the player again and again until they can learn its patterns and find enough openings in the multiphase encounter to take it down. While there are plenty of spots that can cause a player to quit Hollow Knight thanks to its high difficulty, most players who encounter Absolute Radiance are committed to mastering the game and refuse to stop in the game’s final minutes despite the amount of time that will likely need to go into beating the last boss.
#2. Genichiro Ashina – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice requires the player to master its parrying-heavy system in order to beat the game. If they haven’t gotten its mechanics down by the time they reach Genichiro Ashina for a rematch, they’re about to have a tough awakening. Genichiro is tough, plain and simple, and his multi-phase fight is one of the most challenging in all of FromSoft’s catalog. Luckily, if the player has mastered Sekiro‘s systems, they’ll be able to break his stance and kill him with enough practice. Narratively, getting revenge on Genichiro is a satisfying enough reward, but overcoming the fight will empower the player with the knowledge that they’re capable enough to take on anything that Sekiro throws their way.
#1. Red – Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver
There are many criticisms that the Pokemon series is too easy, however, some endgame fights prove that the series can get tough as nails when need be. The fight with Red in Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver is brutal as his level 80 team can only be bested by true Pokemon masters. While the Elite 4 is certainly challenging, Red puts the player’s Pokemon knowledge to the test and is often viewed as the most memorable encounter in the entire Pokemon franchise. Those who have yet to face him should seek the challenge out, but be warned, he packs a punch.