Welcome to the sixth part of a brand new CelJaded list for Top 100 Best Video Game Bosses. This post features entries #50 to #41.
Spoiler alert: This post may contain spoilers for the video games it references.
#50 – Valgas …For Power Stone
Developer: Capcom | Year: 1999
There’s nothing overly special about Valgas from a design standpoint as he’s just an evil dude with massive biceps. Instead what’s nice about this boss is how well balanced it feels when compared to some of Capcom’s other output over the years. Valgas is aggressive and resistant to damage, but he never feels like an insurmountable opponent. His speed and aptitude at grabbing the Power Stones make him a worthy foe rather than an overly frustrating one.
And then there’s his hideous phase 2 form which eschews most of the gameplay principles you’ll be familiar with in favour of plonking a giant monster on the screen that will proceed to hammer players with overpowered swipes and energy beams. Classic Capcom!
#49 – King Bowser …For Super Mario 64
Developer: Nintendo | Year: 1996
This memorable boss battle likely has many fans where lists like this are concerned and the main reason I appreciate it is because it was one of the first 3D platformer bosses that many of us had ever witnessed.
All Mario needs to do is grapple Bowser’s tail and throw him into one of the floating bombs outside the arena- it sounds easy, but it’s not always! Swinging the boss through the air via the N64’s analogue stick may not be the most elegant mechanic the gaming world has ever seen, but it displays a tenacity on the part of Nintendo to do their 3D concept justice without it feeling like a mere gimmick.
That boss music is pretty creepy too!
#48 – Jack Lupino …For Max Payne
Developer: Remedy Entertainment | Year: 2001
Video games have their fair share of psychopathic villains and Jack Lupino is about as unstable as they get. More than just another fat mobster for players to shoot at though, Lupino adds a lot to Max Payne’s choking atmosphere of dark and unsettling themes.
He’s an addict of the fictional drug called Valkyr; a bizarre substance that causes its users to enter schizophrenic bouts of insanity and violence. When you finally meet Lupino (after killing dozens of his men in the process) the full extent of his delirium is made clear as he begins monologuing about Norse mythology including mentions of The Fenris Wolf and of course: “the flesh of fallen angels”.
It’s just a little bit scary!
#47 – Popokarimu …For Resident Evil 5
Developer: Capcom | Year: 2009
This terrifying bat-insect hybrid attacks players at the end of the mining level in Resident Evil 5.
It’s a ferocious opponent for such an early point in the game, but its rear-facing weak point makes the fight extremely well suited for cooperative play as teammates work together in order to flank the beast and chip away at its massive health pool.
#46 – De Rol Le …for Phantasy Star Online
Developer: Sonic Team | Year: 2000
Many an hour have I lost to this insidious but strangely compelling leech who stalks the underground cave system in Phantasy Star Online.
De Rol Le AKA Beta772 is an incredibly tough opponent considering how it shows up on only the second level. The battle takes place in a polluted pipeline somewhere below ground and the raft you’re stationed on doesn’t allow much room for dodging all of the laser beams and chitin bombs that get fired your way.
With a full party though this battle is remarkably exciting as your teammates desperately try to cover each side of the raft as the aggressive boss effortlessly keeps pace in the water alongside you.
#45 – Robotnik’s Giant Mech …For Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Developer: Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute | Year: 1992
The final level of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is composed of two consecutive boss fights with the latter one here being perhaps the most memorable in the entire Sonic franchise.
This huge robot’s spiked claws are a particular menace and likewise is Sonic’s complete lack of rings which make the fight very tricky to win as you’re not allowed to get hit even once! There’s no doubt that many impatient children (one of whom shall remain nameless) fell victim to this boss over the years.
Also, just listen to this accompanying music. That’s some 16-bit sinister right there!
#44 – Algol …Soulcalibur IV
Developer: Project Soul, Namco | Year: 2008
Algol is an ancient warrior whose totally unorthodox fighting style and unique costume design set him apart from fighting game bosses of a similar stature.
His many weird and wonderful attacks include an energy beam gun – that somehow doesn’t feel out of place – and an attack where he spawns an entire throne out of thin air!
#43 – Rootmars …For Metal Slug 3
Developer: SNK | Year: 2000
You’d be surprised how many bosses in video games involve a gigantic “thing” showing up to torment the player during a climactic state of freefall.
Such is the case with Metal Slug 3’s final baddie; a giant alien brain who last act of vengeance is to try and kill the player before they can make it back to Earth and their precious credits sequence.
#42 – Jacqueline Dressy …For Dynamite Headdy
Developer: Treasure | Year: 1994
Treasure are back again and this time it’s with a boss taken from their spoof platformer, Dynamite Headdy.
Dressy is a giant mannequin doll who shows up in a level called “Clothes Encounters”. She’s not exactly in a rush to beat you or anything, but perhaps that’s all part of the act! When Dressy leaps off-screen she descends wearing one of several random get-ups chosen from a ballerina dress, a robot suit, a fire-breathing dragon outfit, and a rare (yet harmless) mascot head! It’s not a difficult fight, and yet the sheer variety here makes Dressy a lot of fun anyway.
This boss is also notable for its energetic backing music that I shamefully forgot to include in my Top 100 list from last year. The track in question is called I Sing and as YouTube user Adam Wilson points out, it sounds quite similar to a song called Taurian Matador by jazz musician Billy Cobham.
#41 – Pyron …For Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
Developer: Capcom | Year: 1994
Pyron is Darkstalkers’ version of Marvel Comic’s Galactus; an ancient entity of planet-consuming power whose status as an aggressive final boss is well-earned.
As cool as this fire-born devil looks in the hands of the CPU though, it has to be said that he/it really shines in the hands of a skilled human player as the character’s unforgiving teleport slams and health-draining fireballs really ensure that your opponents are ever feeling the pressure!
Continue to Part 7