There’s an art and a poetry to crafting good final bosses in videogames. The best ones taunt and hinder the main character throughout the game, building to the epic climax where you finally face-off. Other bosses are presented as a dark reflection of the protagonist, with different means but with similar ends. Some bosses are an impossible, insurmountable threat that pushes the main character to their limits. But sometimes it’s just a jacked-up Joker who wants to cave your face in. Or even worse, the Pope. Here are five video game bosses that weren’t worth the wait:
(Spoilers for the following games: Mad Max, Batman Arkham Asylum, Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor, Final Fantasy IX and Assassin’s Creed II)
Despite his name, Lord Scrotus is everything you want a Mad Max villain to be: He’s imposing, he looks awesome and he drives a sick ride.
However, when you finally face off with the unfortunately-named lord, it’s in a bland and uninteresting arena fight that comes out of nowhere. When you face him later in the game’s penultimate sequence, his gas-guzzling monster of a truck is taken down just as easily as you would a normal, in-game convoy. Finally, in an ultimate act of desperation, Scrotus tries to run you over with a car…
…just like every other schmuck in the game. Talk about running out of gas.
Alright, we’ll give this to Necron: At least he/she/they looked cool. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the final battle with this thing in Final Fantasy IX seemingly comes out of nowhere. There’s no build-up, no explanations, only a sudden avatar of death and pain right out of the clear blue sky. It was the closest equivalent to a receiving an RKO from a video game.
Titan Joker from Batman: Arkham Asylum has infamously become the posterboy of the otherwise stellar Arkham franchise’s disappointing boss battles. The whole idea is trivial, uninspired and fails to give justice to one of the best villains of all time.
At the climactic battle, Joker ingests the body altering Titan Formula turning him into a gargantuan colossus with a mohawk. The fight itself nothing special. In fact, at this point in the game, you’ve already gone through the exact same battle several times with Bane and the several other Titan-infused monstrosities that you’ve taken down.
Titan Joker has earned a place in this list and others like it because it turned one of the best and most complex villains of all time into nothing more than just another brute. That’s the real joke.
In all honesty, Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI from Assassin’s Creed II, was not a such a bad idea for a final boss on paper: He organized the execution of main protagonist Ezio Auditore’s family; conspired to take over all of Florence; and ultimately ascended the Papal Hierarchy becoming one of the most corrupt Popes in history. TRUE STORY BRO.
However, it’s in the execution where the idea falls flat. Just look at it: It’s a fist fight with the damn Pope! Yup, in AC II’s final sequence, master assassin Ezio Auditore, throws away all his weapons and the frickin’ Apple of Eden to full-on Streets of Rage this fool.
The whole thing just looks visually ridiculous. To top it all of, as if by the grace of the lord, Rodrigo Borgia has a ton of health. He can withstand more than his fair share of haymakers and kicks to the crotch from a fully-trained assassin’s, making this already absurd fight that much more frustrating.
The Black Hand of Sauron spares no expense in getting you to hate him. He nonchalantly kills your wife and kid at the start of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and throws waves of Orcs and Uruk Hai at you the whole game through. For the entirety of the game, you, as Talion, are seething and frothing at the mouth to end him. You train and hone your talents, wading through impossible waves of enemies just to be able to stand face to face with your oppressor.
However, when the moment finally arrives, The Black Hand of Sauron unnervingly takes the opportunity away from you. He slits his own throat before you even draw your weapon. The whole thing is profoundly unsatisfying leaving you empty and purposeless.
At least until the next three seconds. Then you discover that the Black Hand sacrificed himself to summon the Dark Lord Sauron himself to smite you. “Huzzah!” You think to yourself. “A real boss battle in a game engineered for epic boss battles!” you exclaim as you press the on-screen buttons in what must be the intro to the fi-
Aaand it’s over. Sauron’s dead you won. You killed him with your Quick Time Event prowess. Done. CREDITS.
If only it were this easy in the Lord of the Ring Movies.
And that’s it! You’ve beaten this article with your reading skill! Huzzah! For more about video games check out our preview of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and our Interview with Furuichi Norio of Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2.
And why don’t you awesome bosses like our facebook page, while you’re at it.
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