Welcome to the fifth part of a brand new CelJaded list for Top 100 Best Video Game Bosses. This post features entries #60 to #51.
Spoiler alert: This post may contain spoilers for the video games it references.
#60 – Dural …for Virtua Fighter
Developer: Sega-AM2 | Year: 1993
I know, I know. Dural is technically a glorified palette swap who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the roster, though I must confess to having a soft spot for her as she embodies that ‘hidden character’ mythology that fighting games like Mortal Kombat so perfectly created in arcade games around this time.
Dural is a hard boss who steals all of her best moves from other Virtua Fighter characters and in most instances you’ll only get one chance per credit of beating her. Good luck with that!
What’s cool about Dural now is how she represents the franchise’s advancement in terms of 3D graphics; her cyborg body going from flat-shaded simplicity to metallic smoothness over the course of a decade in Virtua Fighter spin-offs and sequels.
#59 – White Lord …For Etherlords II
Developer: Nival Interactive | Year: 2001
Like I said in my Etherlords retrospective many moons ago: “the White Lord in Etherlords II can be one of the hardest and cheapest [bosses] you’ll ever encounter. On Hard difficulty, this guy is a nightmare to take down and requires perfect knowledge of the game and its systems in order to beat.”
#58 – Abyss …For Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Developer: Capcom | Year: 2000
Capcom really outdid themselves with the hellish sentry that appears at the end of Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
Abyss is designed with 3v3 gameplay firmly in mind as it has a triplicate of forms that will encourage players to adapt their fighting style from phase to phase. And you can once again expect to see a final demonic form that’s so huge it hogs the entire screen in all of its terrifying awesomeness.
#57 – Uranus [Tera] …For Rez
Developer: United Game Artists | Year: 2001Of all the video games on this list you might not expect an acid trip of a shooter like Rez to feature many coherent boss fights. On the contrary though, there are many memorable examples and this one from Area 4 features a shape-shifting UFO guardian who takes players on a merry chase through cyberspace.
I should also mention the excellent backing music, but I kind of feel that goes without saying at this point…
#56 – Motaro …For Mortal Kombat 3
Developer: Midway Games | Year: 1995
Motaro holds the distinction of being the most feared video game boss of my pre-teen years. An immensely powerful centaur fighter, Motaro shrugs off special moves and other cheap tricks in his merciless desire to tear players limb from limb.
Beating Motaro was a genuine right of passage back in the day and it’s one that not many kids on my block ever fulfilled!
#55 – Barney …For Three Dirty Dwarves
Developer: Appaloosa Interactive, SegaSoft | Year: 1999
Owing to the obscurity of Three Dirty Dwarves, Barney is a boss that the vast majority of today’s gamers will never get the chance to appreciate, which is a damn shame because of how creative the encounter is.
The battle begins with Barney safely housed inside a bipedal mech and from there you must evade bullets and grenades and clips around the ear, as you carefully peal away its defences. Like a finely-crafted matryoshka doll, Barney finally emerges from his machines until eventually it’s just him and his wimpy jetpack left trying to stop you!
It’s not the most difficult cameo in the game, but the sheer artistic effort on show here is brilliant and when combined with the hilarious end credits sequence, it all makes for a riotously entertaining finale.
#54 – SBS-130 …For Radiant Silvergun
Developer: Treasure | Year: 1998
Due to the Sega Saturn’s rather difficult nature with regards to imported games, I’m not as much of an expert on Radiant Silvergun as I’d like to be. Still, even with only one complete playthrough under my belt, I always seem to remember this particular boss whose complex attack routines and massive size really left a lasting impression.
32-bit doesn’t really get much cooler!
#53 – Allied Tank …For Under Defeat
Developer: G.rev | Year: 2005
Another shmup, another classic boss battle, and this one from Under Defeat is especially superb due to its added cinematic quality.
After fighting through a war-torn city filled with enemy troops, your tiny chopper is brought face to face with this monstrous and very American tank whose main cannon is so powerful it creates a massive shock wave that fills the screen with debris and bullets.
#52 – Frank Horrigan …For Fallout II
Developer: Black Isle Studios | Year: 1998
To truly appreciate a figure as awesome as Frank Horrigan you really need to read up on your Fallout lore and learn more about where his race of violent mutants originated from.
Even then, the merest idea of a power armour-wearing super mutant should be enough of a terrifying concept on its own, but just in case it isn’t, perhaps that gigantic arm cannon and 999 HPs will!
#51 – Commandant René Durant …For Ironcast
Developer: Dreadbit | Year: 2015
With the resurgence of roguelikes over the past few years there’s also been a revival in the sort of rock-hard bosses that go with them! Ironcast is not your regular sort of roguelike though. Developer Dreadbit has done a marvellous job in combining puzzle gameplay with tactical turn-based combat and the whole production comes highly recommended for fans of the genre.
René Durant is the first of the game’s two bosses and it’s almost certain that your initial encounter with the dapper gent will end in tears. His wildly powerful Ironclad has a mountain of HP and its laser cannon hits with a pulverizing power that’s going to end more than a few runs. The fact that René does this to a sinister rendition of La Marseillaise is just the cherry on the cake!
Facing this boss the first few times can be quite demoralizing because the chances of success seem so slim. As with all good games of this style though; persistence, optimization, and a hefty pinch of luck will certainly help and the satisfaction you’ll get from finally putting this snobby toff out of commission will feel very special indeed.
Continue to Part 6