If you remember battling through fight after fight in some of your favorite video games, and then the excitement as you reach the final boss battle to win it all, welcome to the club.
Gamers feed off the excitement of a new challenge, and that’s why many great games and series always cap off with an epic and fantastic boss fight against a massive final boss character built up over the course of the game. It’s the final time for you to prove yourself against the biggest threat you have.
Final bosses are excruciatingly challenging while undeniably captivating. They grab us from the moment we learn of them and it puts us on the spot to overcome.
They’re a pretty big deal.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best final bosses of video game history.
1. Bowser: Mario Series
If we were to start this list off any other way, it would just be disrespectful.
Bowser is the blueprint when it comes to a successful final boss, and became perhaps the most iconic villain of any video game series in his time pestering Mario.
While this is of course partly because the Mario games are so excellently well done, and were wonderfully ahead for their time, Bowser as a character certainly deserves credit.
Throughout the series, Bowser is built properly as an epic adversary and antagonizes the player from the very beginning of the story by kidnapping Princess Peach time and time again. Bowser terrorizes, destroys, and is one tough lizard-turtle-dragon-thing to fight.
Bowser is by far the most iconic final boss of all time, and delivers every single time.
2. Ganondorf: Legend of Zelda Series
To follow up Bowser is some big shoes to fill, but thankfully Ganondorf is a pretty big guy.
Ganondorf is a villain who’s legacy matches the legacy of the series hero Link. Ganondorf has a monstrous presence and beautifully matches the worlds of the Legend of Zelda series, creating just sinister enough a villain in the incredible universe.
Fights with Ganondorf are very memorable, and his scenes of interaction are just as much.
Whether you’re fighting Ganondorf atop a high tower you must climb in a Legend of Zelda game or being stomped by him in the Super Smash Bros fighting game series, Ganondorf is an iconic villain and final boss that provides a perfect antithesis to our storied sword-wielding hero.
3. Shao Kahn: Mortal Kombat Series
While Mortal Kombat has had many villains and final bosses in its time, none are as iconic and frustrating as the one and only Shao Kahn, ruler of many realms in his time. Not bad for a guy named after the emperor position of the Mongol Empire, khan.
Kahn takes his seat on the throne for many of the Mortal Kombat series games, and he’s even scarier when he gets out of it.
Kahn wields a mean hammer, and strength to rip half of the game’s cast in half without breaking a sweat. But it’s in Shao Kahn’s demeanor that he expands to be such an iconic final boss.
Shao Kahn isn’t just a terrifying ultra-villain, he is a deceitful, conniving, treacherous, and cocky mad man, one more powerful than most characters can fathom and he absolutely knows it.
When Shao Kahn is ruling entire realms in the Mortal Kombat series leading armies of foes, Khan is in the arena, standing across from the player and laughing at them heartily.
Shao Kahn’s fights are made interesting beyond just his devastating and intriguing movesets with the ever-present character of cocky, which Shao Khan displays by playing with his food, the player.
In Mortal Kombat’s most recent entry, Shao Kahn’s boss fight divulges down to how often he stops to take a deep belly laugh at the player’s expense, mocking the player for even trying to put up a fight.
When the player is finally able to put down the emperor, it is one of the best feelings gaming has to offer. After handling the sheer amount of broken things Khan can do, the player absolutely deserves the feeling, earning Shao Khan his spot on the list.
4. Mike Tyson: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out
Why not end off on one of the least expected, underappreciated, yet absolutely terrifying video game villains of all time. Mike Tyson.
If you didn’t play or at least witness Mike Tyson’s character in Punch-out, you probably are very confused how a list that started with Bowser ended off on one of the most dominant boxers in history. But the frustration Tyson puts the player through to earn the Punch-out crown is legendary, unique, and certainly deserving a slot on this list.
Punch-out was a very unique game in its time, focusing entirely on timing and counter-punching as a fighting game. While the game was certainly unique, it was equal-parts frustrating for many of its playerbase because of the sheer insanity required to keep up with the timings, Mike Tyson’s final boss fight being the iconic fight to do this.
To survive Tyson, the player must dodge his lightning fast and devastatingly strong uppercuts, all while weaving together an offense strong enough to take down the juggernaut legend.
Many players never could even take this fight down, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Simply put, the fight was just that damn difficult.
But for players who did eventually step out of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out the champion, it’s a gaming experience they never forgot, easily earning Mike Tyson’s spot amongst the greatest final bosses in video games.
Think we missed any? While this topic has plenty of possible answers/routes, and was certainly a hard one to select, we know that many have their own opinions on who the best final bosses have been. Let us know what you think below!