One of the biggest hallmarks of video games is the boss fight — a head-on battle between the player and the strongest enemy up to that point, if not the final enemy. Usually, it’s a test of skill and wit; still, there are times when boss fights get so absurd and so esoteric that the creators behind them would sooner dive out the window than explain their thought processes. It’s high time to celebrate that absurdity — and question the method to so much madness — with this list of twenty unabashedly-weird boss fights.
In all honesty, there are plenty of bosses that one could pull from Persona 4; that’s to be expected when the good guys are going up against manifestations of inner turmoil. Despite that, Kunino-Sagiri deserves all the recognition it could get. It’s the capstone to one of the game’s most dramatic arcs, but instead of being some nightmarish demon, it’s a flying, giant-headed hippie that’s convinced it’s a savior — and is willing to kill a bunch of high school students with ice and mind control to do it. What a hero.
True to its name, Gunstar Heroes features plenty of side-scrolling, trigger-happy action — but the boss of the mines takes it to an extreme. The caped Green rides in on a flying platform, which proceeds to transform and attack during a high-speed chase; by default it starts out as a giant soldier, but it has no problems turning into a pistol the size of an SUV. As if that wasn’t enough, it can also transform into an urchin, an eagle, a tiger, a tail, and a crab. It’s a long fight that gives the player plenty of time to wonder why anyone would commission a machine that turns into steel crustaceans.
Mad Midget Five
It’s hard to take God Hand seriously, mostly because it doesn’t take itself seriously. Even if there is a plot about fighting demons, it’s more about using crazy attacks against crazier opponents — such as a group of dwarves doing their best impression of the Power Rangers. They may be small, chirpy-voiced, and generally unattractive, but that won’t stop them from filling the arena with lasers and high-speed combination attacks. Then again, that also won’t stop leading man, Gene, from hassling them so much their leader bursts into tears.
Super Mario 64 may have been one of the biggest first steps into 3D video games, but it helps make an already-dubious canon even more confusing. The very first boss in the game is a sentient explosive with a crown and mustache, and can only be beat — albeit easily — by throwing him on his backside. That’s troubling enough, but many questions go unanswered; why he’s the king, where his kingdom is, what war he’s apparently fighting, the list goes on. Distressingly, he doesn’t even threaten to explode when Mario pressures him with regicide — hardly becoming behavior for a bomb chosen by providence.