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5 Of The Best Boss Battles Ever

Boss battles are one of the focal points of games and can be one of, if not the, most memorable experiences a player can have. Boss battles can be fiendishly difficult, they can be surprisingly easy, or they can take a special kind of lateral thinking to beat. As the finale or conclusive event of a game, the boss battle is a standout encounter that includes a struggle with a particularly impressive enemy and often signals the high point of the game in terms of difficulty, gameplay features, and story progression. Here are some of my favorite boss battles.

5. Final Fantasy X: Jecht – Braska’s Final Aeon

Jecht Boss Battle
First on the list is Jecht, the lost father of Final Fantasy X‘s protagonist, Tidus. This whole final section is incredible, taking in, on, and around the vast whale-like monster Sin, where you must fight off Sinspawn and other creatures and characters of Yevon’s mythos. Jecht’s battle is the last real obstacle to completing Tidus’ epic journey through the land of Spira.

The battle is an emotional encounter between son and father (albeit transformed into the monstrous creature you see above). Using Yuna’s aeons is one of the best parts of the battles in Final Fantasy X, particularly ones like Yojimbo, the Magus Sisters, and Anima. Getting the chance to see one of the game’s main characters transform into an aeon is an awesome experience. It’s not necessarily the hardest battle in FFX, but it is one of the most memorable.

4. Pokemon Gold & Silver: Red

pokemon gold red
At the end of Pokemon Gold and Silver, Professor Oak will give you permission to enter a hidden part of Mt. Silver, where you can find none other than Pokemon Trainer Red, the protagonist of the previous generation of Pokemon games. Red has the strongest team of Pokemon you will have faced so far, and he constitutes a serious challenge. Make sure to come with a hardened, varied team at your side—you will certainly need them.

Red’s team consists of Pikachu, Espeon, Snorlax, Venusaur, Charizard, and Blastoise. The lowest level ‘mon is the Espeon at Level 73. But you certainly shouldn’t take any of Red’s team lightly. He’s hidden away in the caves beneath the mountain, so you’ll have a bit of a mission getting there. The battle with Red is a great conclusion to a fantastic Pokemon game and is a brilliant nod to the previous titles.

3. Gears Of War: General RAAM

gears of war general raam
In a game that is jam-packed with ridiculous chunky, muscular, and badass characters, General RAAM is possibly the most badass guy of the lot. Marcus and the crew encounter RAAM at the end of Gears of War, after a white-knuckle push through a Locust infested train.

RAAM comes in heavy, packing a Troika HMG and a protective shroud of Kril. Keep in cover, popping up to fire off shots and grenades to whittle him down. Bonus points if you manage to finish him off with the chainsaw!

2. Metal Gear Solid: Psycho Mantis

Metal Gear Solid Psycho Mantis

Even if you’ve never played Metal Gear Solid, you will definitely have heard of the genius boss battle against Psycho Mantis. Widely recognized for the creative use of fourth-wall breaking, the battle with Psycho Mantis is sure to have left many heads scratching.

Mantis has a number of awesome tricks up his sleeve. He could make the controller move across the floor by activating the vibration, he could “read your mind” by mentioning games that were saved on the memory card, and also pretends to turn off your console by making the screen black with the word “Hideo” in the top corner. Psycho Mantis was a brilliantly thought out boss battle and is one of my favorite memories from the MGS series.

1. Dark Souls: Ornstein & Smough

dark souls ornstein + smough
Finally, my most hated arch-nemeses in any game I’ve played. Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough are easily the hardest two bosses in Dark Souls. And you have to fight both at the same time. Then when the first dies, the remainder absorbs the soul of the first, powering himself up massively. I bet that thousands of broken controllers and TV screens can be traced to this boss encounter.

To beat Ornstein and Smough, you need to be on your absolute A-game. Your dodges and rolls have to be perfect to the millisecond, while at the same time balancing the attacks of the slow and heavy Smough and the quick and nimble Ornstein. It took me a full weekend, Friday to Sunday, with all my waking hours spent on it, to beat these two. The force from the enormous sigh of relief after beating these two was almost enough to propel me out of the room! Ornstein and Smough will always go down in my view as one of the greatest boss battles ever—it’s viciously hard, unrelenting, and truly epic.