Boss fights are awesome. Let’s put that out there. They’re often the most memorable aspect of any game they’re in, exhibiting plenty of spectacle while demanding immaculate technique and timing in return from the player.

In the past, there have been many quality boss fights, but not all of them have been impressive enough to become etched into our memories quite like those featured below.

’Conker’s Bad Fur Day’

The first entry will probably come as no surprise to you, if you’ve ever played the Nintendo 64 game Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It’s the boss fight against the Great Mighty Poo.

After a brief soiree with a bunch of dung beetles midway through the game, you stumble into a deep, dark cave that’s caked in excrement. As you nervously edge closer to the hole in the center of the room, a titan comprised of crap emerges from its bowels. Clearing its throat, it begins to sing while launching handfuls of feces your way. When the opportunity presents itself, you should then throw the tissue paper directly into its throat to inflict damage. Eventually you’ll be able to flush it for good.

’Super Mario World’

There’s no denying that the end boss in the original Super Mario Bros is anti-climactic. All you’re required to do is jump over Bowser and touch an axe in order to send him plunging to his death. There’s barely any technique to it and it’s literally over in seconds. It couldn’t be further removed from the elaborate and lengthy boss battle that would follow five years later in Super Mario World.

Not only is the final standoff from Super Mario World widely thought to be the best Mario boss, it’s also considered by many to be one of the most unforgettable bosses in gaming. “But what makes it great?” you may ask. Well, for starters, it’s absolutely dripping with atmosphere. In Super Mario World, you square off against Bowser on the roof of his castle while lightning illuminates the sky in short bursts. And it’s demanding; his ability to fly around the screen in his Koopa Clown Copter complicates matters, causing you some additional trouble as you work your way gradually towards success.

’Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!’

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! on the Nintendo Entertainment System claims the next spot on this list for its main event match up between Little Mac and “Iron Mike” Tyson. This bout is notorious among gamers of a certain generation for its difficulty, primarily because Tyson has the ability to knock you down with just one punch.

Triumphing against him requires you to have an excellent sense of timing and memorize his movements. It might take you days, weeks, or maybe even months to learn his patterns, but when you do you’ll finally be within a shot of taking home the Heavyweight belt. Beating Tyson is on the bucket list of many gamers precisely because of the challenge he presents. This lands him a comfortable position on this list, as no one will ever forget besting him.

’The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’

Next up we have the boss fight against Ganon and Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time. Climbing Ganon’s Tower, you feel a faint chill run across your spine as you reach the summit of the carpeted staircase. Ahead of you lies a solitary, stone door, all which now stands between you and the final boss. You hesitate, checking your life meter one last time before taking the plunge and crossing the boundary into the other room. Across the way, you spy your adversary awaiting you. Drawing your weapon to your side, you ready yourself for battle.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a grand adventure; therefore, it’s appropriate that the finale is epic to boot. Beginning in a large room at the top of a tower, you first fight Ganondorf over a cavernous pit, before being forced to flee outside as the castle crumbles and falls around you. Behind you Ganon emerges from the debris, having shed his human form. The final fight against Ganon and Ganondorf is a truly spectacular feat. I can think of no better ending for a game that’s so preoccupied with adventure and the epic struggle between good and evil.

’God of War 3’

If you like your video games bloody, then you’re probably already familiar with the boss battle between Kratos and Cronos in God of War 3. It’s possibly the goriest boss fight in gaming, and this is precisely why it’s so memorable.

Taking control of Kratos, be prepared to shank Cronos through the neck with a column of onyx and strip away his fingernails with your chains. These are necessary actions that are required if you’re going to stand a chance of taking down the titan. There are many gruesome battles to be fought throughout the God of War series, but the battle against Cronos clearly sets the benchmark for both violence and bloodshed. No matter how hard you try, you’ll likely never forget the titan and his dismemberment at the hands of the God of War.


From one god to another, the fight against Jubileus in Bayonetta gets a place on this list for its insane premise and ridiculous imagery. First you assume control of the witch Jeanne as she rides a motorcycle up the side of rocket to save her friend Bayonetta. When you fail to stop Jubileus, The Creator from awakening you’re expected to use the powers you’ve acquired as Bayonetta throughout the game in order to destroy its body, then steer Jubileus’s soul into the sun, completing the battle.

Jubileus, The Creator, is a deliriously over-the-top boss fight, but that’s exactly why we love it. It’s the most left-field entry that’s on display here, comprised of outrageous scenarios that aren’t at all easy to forget.

’Metal Gear Solid’

The battle against Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid is significant for the distinctive way it breaks the fourth wall. In the game, Psycho Mantis will comment on the contents of your PlayStation’s memory card, as well as force you to change controller ports to effectively land an attack on him. These are spectacular additions that are bound to take first-time players of the game by surprise.

Today, the battle against Mantis is still one of the most talked about encounters in gaming, and it’s easy to see why. It requires you to employ lateral thinking and engages you in wholly unexpected ways.

When not glued to the latest release, Jack Yarwood spends his time writing and talking about video games online. You can follow what he’s up to on his Twitter and on his blog.

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