I have a perpetual love / hate relationship with the boss battle. I relish the feeling of finally breaking down a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to its finest points and methodically working through it to victory. At the same time, if i’m really enjoying the everyday play of a title I’m often faltered in my tracks when I get to a boss battle. Nevertheless, I know a good foe when I see one, so here they are.
Ghost of Lady Comstock: Bioshock Infinite
The trick to defeating this vengeful spirit was never made fully apparent. It was simply a case of wearing the game down until you hit just at the right point… then it all fell into place. It turns out that that right point is just as you have mown down this lass’s soldier forces, and while she pauses to call for reinforcements. Be warned, though, you’ll need plenty of ammo to unload in these snippets of opportunity before you finally lay the battle to rest.
Fun fact: Lady Comstock’s appearance was based on that of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and her maiden name was revealed to be Annabelle Winston.
Psycho Mantis: Metal Gear Solid
Psycho Mantis’s psychokinetic and telepathic abilities make this boss battle all but impossible. Entering the battle was often the final straw for many runs of Metal Gear Solid. For this reason, it was also one of the most innovative and memorable videogame experiences ever devised.
Psycho Mantis’s mind reading abilities were the downfall of nearly every player, until you plugged another controller in. Apparently, this extra input fooled Mantis’s telepathic ability to the point where he can no longer pre-empt your every move and suddenly becomes vulnerable to your attacks. It was a legendary discovery that caused a mass migration back to the game to check if the rumour really did allow them to finally finish the game.
Kai Leng: Mass Effect 3
Kai Leng, the stealth ninja of the Mass Effect world, introduced a frenetic, fast paced combat mode to the previously methodical world. Fend of rounds of soldier robots before earning the chance to try your hand against the main man himself. Be warned, though, he has a range of powerful ranged attacks up his sleeve against a ticking clock of healing and reloading.
You do have a set of pawns to your advantage in this onslaught, however. Shifting focus from deciphering the boss’s every move to strategically placing your AI teammates in relation to your learned sequences. Voiced by Troy Baker, this merciless warrior will take everything you’ve got, even on normal mode.
General RAAM: Gears of War
RAAM can take you down with a single shot, so every second counts in this legendary boss battle. Gears of War is by no means an easy game, but General RAAM stands as one of the franchise’s most difficult foes. He represents the final barrier to completion of the first game, and his powerful mini gun and deadly shield sent the debut off with a flourish.
Keep one eye on your cover and another on your scope, because careful steps and well placed bullets are key here. Fearless, methodical, and calculating, RAAM is one of the smartest bosses I’ve ever played, which is probably why he was listed as No. 1 in the ‘Gears of War Top Deadliest Locust’ video.
Fun Fact: RAAM was named after the owner of a local Indian restaurant that Epic staff members ate at during production.
Ultimate Evil: Splatterhouse II
You don’t have to be able to see an enemy to be consistently terrified of it. This is the case with Ultimate Evil from Splatterhouse II. Ultimate Evil is a horrific amalgamation of human and canine heads, which he proceeds to hurtle at you from the offscreen space of this battle. Unfortunately you’ve just got to keep pushing forward, creeping closer from the safety of cover until you can land a few punches… yeah, punches.
What’s perhaps even more horrifying is the split second of recognition you undertake as you notice each head. The dismembered craniums actually belong to previous enemies – Blood Puppet, The Evil One, an Inverted Cross head, and Zombie Dog. So that’s something to stick around your dreams for a while.
Poseidon: God Of War 3
It’s the God of the Seas facing off against the God of War, you know it’s not going to be a mere fist fight outside a pub. The larger than life aquatic celebration of all things carnage and revenge sees several rounds of hacking, well timed button smashes, and a substantial amount of the good old duck and roll. Evading trident attacks and mashing some quick magic combinations are key to escaping the God’s relentless electric attacks and vice grip. God of the Seas versus the God of War = larger than life aquatic celebration of carnage and rage.
Poseidon took the developers between 6 and 12 months to fully design, and as the introductory boss battle of God Of War 3 he certainly sets a precedent for the rest of the experience.