This is it. You've played your way through the game. You've made your way through everything the game has thrown at you up to this point. Now, it's time for the grand finale, the moment the entire game has been building up to. This is the climax. This is the final boss.
You probably think I'm just being dramatic to make this piece look better. Nope. The final boss is the game's swan song, the last hurrah. The last chance for a game to wow you and leave a lasting impression. It's also one of my favorite parts of a video game. So, these are my top 10 final boss battles.
I’ll be listing them based on build up, atmosphere, fun factor, Music, and finally impact. Also, only one boss battle per franchise and only from games that I’ve played.
Also, Spoilers abound here.
One last note, all the images in this article were found via Google search.
So, let’s not waste anymore time.
10. Gary (Pokemon 1st gen)
Sweet Arceus, this guy was SO annoying. Right from the get go, Gary Oak was made to be the hated rival of every 90's kid to ever pick up a copy of the original Pokemon games. He always picks the starter Pokemon that’s better than yours. He's constantly beating you to new areas of the game. His attitude is beyond frustrating.
He always treats you as an inferior, no matter how many times you beat him. On top of that, he always ends an encounter will “Smell you later.” I swear, the next person who says that to me is getting kicked right in the nuts. That's not the worst bit though. On top of all this crap, he actually becomes the Champion right under your nose.
So, why is this annoying little turd even on the list? Because the final battle with him is heart pounding. The music that plays during the fight is fast paced and hectic. Gary's team is very well balanced, making him a tough opponent. He even has an Alakazam, one of the most powerful Pokemon in the first generation.
To make matters worse, psychic Pokemon were unbalanced and overpowered as heck at the time due to a lack of counters and the unfinished stat system. You'll need to bring your a-game to this fight or you won’t last long. Another big reason he’s on this list is the fact that beating him is pure bliss. This idea of kicking his smug ass and wiping that smirk off his face just feels great.
9. The Archdemon (Dragon Age Origins)
This is not a bad boss battle by any means. However, When you want your final boss to be memorable, you want to make sure that it stands out from other boss encounters in the game. The Archdemon from Dragon Age Origins kind of fails in that department. Here is why that is. In the game, there there are what are known as 'high dragons'.
These massive beasts are few, powerful, and they take all your skill and know how to take down. They can attack you no matter what angle you come at them from and their attacks are very strong. Remember what I said about high dragons because I'll be getting back to that.
Back to the Archdemon. The main antagonist of Dragon Age Origins. The leader of the Darkspawn. The harbinger of the blight. A creature of pure hatred and cruelty that seeks to cover all of the world with darkness and destruction. Throughout the entire game, everything you do, every choice you make, it all leads up to the final confrontation with the Archdemon.
Why do you help the elves? To get their help in killing the Archdemon. Why do you overthrow the regent of the land? Because he's an obstacle in uniting the land against the Archdemon. The whole game revolves around killing this thing. Your player character has nightmares about it. You see it roaring and belching fire as legions of darkspawn march below it.
So you get to the final stage of the game. The City of Denerim is burning. You're forced to choose who will accompany you while the others stay behind to help keep the darkspawn at bay. You get to the top of the tower where the Archdemon is and it's literally just another fight with a high dragon. Now, fighting a high dragon is challenging and fun and all.
However, if you've been 100%-ing the game up to this point, then you've already fought two other high dragons. At this point, you've probably already figured out a strategy for bringing down a high dragon, who to bring with you and so on. Every once in a while the Archdemon will fly out of reach and send darkspawn to attack you.
Once they're gone though, you can just set yourself back up and keep attacking until the Archdemon is dead. The fight is still good. The Archdemon is well built up and the fight itself is still a fun challenge. The problem lies in the fact the game basically spoils it by having two optional encounters with high dragons before the battle with the Archdemon.
8.Mithos Yggdrasill (Tales of Symphonia)
Mithos is an example of a tragic villain. Before the events of the game, he and his sister were banished from their home because they were half-elves. Then, when they learned that their homeland was about to be invaded, they were ignored because they were half-elves. This resulted in a war that almost destroyed both Sylvarant and Tethe'alla and resulted in the death of Mithos' sister Martel.
The death of his sister consumed him. Driven mad by grief and hatred, he came to the conclusion that discrimination will never fade from the world so long as different races exist. Mithos then created Cruxis and the Desians in order to create a singular race of 'lifeless beings'. He also created the Church of Martel so that he could monitor the bloodlines of his followers and create a suitable vessel to bring Martel back from the dead.
By the time you meet him in the game, he is Yggdrasill, an angelic being who treats both humans and elves as though they were beneath him. Not even his allies are safe from him. He kills his last remaining general simply for calling him Mithos and would have killed his old friend Yuan if it weren't for Martel's wishes to spare him.
His ideals have become so twisted that when he finally succeeds in reviving his sister, she rejects him for straying so far from the path they originally set out on. When it's time for the final showdown, Mithos has nothing left. His friends and allies are gone, His sister is all but lost to him. His only objective now is to take the great seed (an act that would effectively cause all of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla to wither and die) so that he can use it's power to create a new world for just him and his sister.
The actual battle with Mithos isn't too hard. As long as you're not under leveled and have plenty of healing potions, you should be alright. Mithos has a powerful arsenal of long and close range attacks. He will also use a dark version of Collette's Holy Song to inflict a number of debuffs on to the party. Once his first form is defeated, he will transform into a massive mechanical form, symbolic of the sins he has committed.
Once that is down, Mithos is down for good. This fight makes it onto this list because of it's build up and symbolism as well as the development as Mithos as a character. His original journey is a reflection of your own. He comes off as someone who, under different circumstances, would never have become the monster he is now. On the other hand, all of the pain and suffering that occurs in the game can all be traced back to him, and so he must be destroyed. However, the actual fight with Mithos isn't much, so this entry isn't going any higher.
7. Nazi Zombie Princess Kenny (South Park: The Stick of Truth)
Spoilers, spoilers EVERYWHERE.
Oh god, where do I even start with this one? Stick of Truth has been described by many to like playing through an entire season of South Park with one overarching plot. BELIEVE THAT HYPE. Stick of Truth is comic gold all the way through, even leading up to the final boss. At this point in the game, you, the new kid (AKA Douchebag) have defeated the dark lord Clyde and taken the Stick of Truth back from him. It's that this moment in the game that the game slaps you with plot twist after plot twist.
Surprise! The government was after YOU this whole time!
Surprise! The big bad government guy gets naked!
Surprise! Kenny betrays you!
Surprise! Morgan Freeman gets a new freckle!
All this leads to you fighting Princess Kenny on top of Clyde's fortress with the naked big bad government guy looking on. The first faze of the fight has Kenny attacking you and your buddy with rainbows and rats. This first part isn't very hard, as Kenny has no immunities to the VERY large number of debuffs and stat inflictions that your attacks are capable of bestowing.
So turn the traitorous princess into a frozen, burning, puking, and bleeding lump and get ready for the real fight. Once the first phase is over, Kenny will pull out a vial of alien goo and drink it, which turns him into a Nazi zombie. Nazi Zombie Princess Kenny (NZPK for short) has more health, more armor, and stronger attacks. Your blocking skills had best be at their best or you won't last long.
Aside from being hilarious, this fight also gets points for the way it plays out. As the fight goes on, NZPK will use a special attack depending on who you have as a buddy. You are then treated to a quick time event whereby you buddy will counter the attack. After that, your chosen buddy will quit the fight and the next buddy will take his place.
This continues until it's just you and Cartman. NZPK won't stay down after you bring his health down to nothing. He'll regain his health and get right back up. You'll need to take him down three times before the fight ends. I won't spoil what happens next because it's just too funny. This fight is fun, dramatic, and funny, much like South Park itself.
6. Lavos (Chrono Trigger)
Very few final bosses in RPGs or any other game genre have been built up the same way that Lavos has. You don't see Lavos until you get to the future era of 2,300. Everything is in ruins. Mutants roam the landscape and everyone is starving and hopeless. You eventually find yourself watching a recording of the “Day of Lavos”. In 1999, Lavos emerges from within the Earth and lays waste to the entire planet, leaving it in the post apocalyptic state you now see.
As the game goes on, you learn more and more about Lavos and how it came to infest the planet. In 65,000,000 BC, Lavos collided with the earth, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs and the beginning of the Ice Age. Lavos then burrowed deep into the planet, feeding off the planet's energy until the Day of Lavos, where it destroys the world and departs, looking for another planet to infest. The rest of the game is spent finding a way to kill Lavos so that the Day of Lavos never happens.
So, Let's talk about Lavos itself. First of all, it is enormous. It's so big that it can't even fit in the battle screen. It's size, however, is just part of what makes Lavos so intimidating. It's trademark scream reverberates in the minds of gamers to this day. Lavos pops up a few times during the story. However, I think it's appearance in 12,000 BC does the best job at summing up the sheer monstrosity that is Lavos. Lavos is summoned to that era by Queen Zeal, who has been driven mad with power.
Lavos appears and a battle ensues. Lavos unleashes a rain of destruction that wipes out the party. Magus arrives and tries to kill Lavos by it easily swept aside. In true heroic fashion, Chrono stands, sword in hand, filled with determination. In response, Lavos unleashes a blast of energy that vaporizes Chrono, killing him. This had never been done before (Not to my knowledge, anyway.). The hero is supposed to prevail over the evil, no matter the odds. Yet, Lavos killed the main character of the game like he was nothing.
So, whether you bring Chrono back with the Chrono Trigger or not (Yes, bringing the main character back from the dead is completely optional) You will eventually have to face Lavos. Interestingly enough, you can face the creature whenever you want. Either by using the bucket at the End of Time or by traveling to the Day of Lavos to fight the creature there.
Whichever way you decide to approach it, the battle with Lavos is arduous. The first phase pits your party against the massive armored beast. There are several miniature phases within, each modeled after previous bosses. As long as you remember how those fights went, you should be fine. I won't recommend any one party combo for these fights, as there are several that would do the trick.
Now, I have one singular problem with the battle with Lavos; the battle is less impressive as it goes on. Once the first phase is done, you go inside Lavos' shell and fight what looks like a cross between the Guyver and Cell from Dragon Ball Z. Once that’s done, you fight Lavos’ true form, which is frigging tiny! What happened to the massive world destroying parasite!? At what point did I go from fighting the bringer of the end times to beating the snot out of ET!? This is why this fight is staying where it is on this list. It was built up amazingly, but only got less impressive as the fight wore on.
This article is proving to be much larger than I would like for one article. So I’m splitting it in half. The second one can be found here.