15 Final Boss Battles That Almost Ruined Great Video Games
15 Final Boss Battles That Almost Ruined Great Video Games published by Evanvinh
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Posted on 2016-04-27
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It's not like a blockbuster action game has to have a final boss fight, right? Such things were definitely emblematic of the 80s and 90s, but as the industry has grown and become way more cinematic, ending your game on a defining moment or story point can be just as impactful. Hell, The Last of Us' final shot is just someone's face, but it encapsulates the entire journey up to that point.
14. Malus - Shadow Of The Colossus
"Say it ain't so, Shadow of the Colossus?!"
Yes, sadly, as there's just something about that final, laser-throwing boss that didn't sit right.
As the rest of the game was spent surmounting mobile foes by clinging on for dear life or figuring out specific methods to defeat them by interacting with the environment, taking down Malus was a way too linear affair.
Alongside looking like a giant totem pole come to life, from the very beginning of the battle, things feel a little strange, as he starts firing energy blasts at you. Your quest as always, is to find a weak spot to exploit, but doing so just means dodging fire and climbing up his frame that's forever bolted to the floor. That's it.
Fairly epic, yes, but by removing the mobility inherent to the other Colossi, it felt jarringly different from the overall majestic tone of those other encounters.
However, if you're going to go for broke and you are going to pit us off against some all-seeing, all-powerful final foe, it has to be done right.
The entire game has built to this point, we've invested countless hours perfecting its systems, learning methods of attack or tactical options to deploy at just the right moment. If the final showdown is anything less than a cerebrally perplexing test of all these things and more, you've ultimately wasted one of the biggest opportunities to end your respective title on the highest of notes.
Well, for every Ganondorf, Sephiroth or Liquid Snake, there are these stinkers filling out the ranks...
15. Navarro - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
There's a very good reason Uncharted didn't fully take hold until its second instalment; the first was a bizarre hybrid of platforming and third-person shooting, indicative of Naughty Dog adapting an entire new genre alongside the one they'd been practicing for over a decade.
Case in point: Navarro, the forgettable final foe who you took down with a mix of quick-time events and instant headshots. Considering all the preamble to get here, the set-pieces, the fusion of climbing and shooting, the resurrection of the undead Spanish citizens... I wanted a little more out of my final encounter than an awkward, half-interactive cutscene.
Naughty Dog would fair slightly better in the gameplay stakes with Uncharted 2 and 3's Lazarevic and Talbot respectively, but even they fell foul of terribly implemented supernatural components sprucing up their abilities. Here's to A Thief's End finally ending the series in style.
13. The Warden - Halo 5
From marketing to game, Halo 5's final version felt like a production meeting got split into two halves, one running off to tell the world about how Master Chief was going to fight Spartan Locke, all whilst the other focussed on continuing the Cortana storyline from Halo 4.
The result was the latter taking precedent as the former only amounted to a supremely short fist-fight, leaving us with a naff battle against The Warden (who you'd already fought twice, and must shoot in the back for extra damage, because it's 1997 all over again), and then a terribly-scripted 'slow crawl' cutscene to end the campaign.
12. Lucien Fairfax - Fable II
Fable may be one of those franchises that the more we move away from it and Peter Molyneux's inflated pre-release hokum, the more we might begin to dislike it. It certainly applies to the end of the otherwise brilliant Fable 2, anyway, in which after hours upon hours of hunting down the evil lord Lucien, you don't even fight the guy.
Instead, you happen across him in full-on monologue mode. Nay a finger is raised as he prattles on about choices and consequences for a few minutes, before it kicks you back to gameplay mid-sentence, and intimates that you can now kill him.
So you do (or you wait a tad too long and companion Reaver does instead) resulting in Lucien tumbling off the side of the platform in an instant, only for Reaver to hilariouslyremark "Ahh, I thought he'd never shut up!" like he just dispatched some throwaway henchman.
Way to make this whole 'revenge kick' worthwhile, Molyneux.
The funny thing is, the 'hero's crawl to complete an objective' trope can be done well, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Mass Effect 3 proved as much with Old Snake and Modin Solus' similar feats, but here, a boring fight followed by an even more tiresome slog was just completely out of place.
In what used to be the most prolific and innovative FPS franchise in gaming, this forced wrap-up and "Boom, here's a cliffhanger!" ending, was not what anyone wanted to see.
10. Sauron - Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
When you've birthed one of the coolest new mechanics in gaming (the nemesis system, soon to be implemented in Mafia 3), the final fight should've been something a bit deeper than a bleedin' quick-time event.
Yes, your own personal 'nemesis' pops up if you've been killed by a particular foe multiple times beforehand, but Shadow of Mordor's actual final fight is against Sauron, and you defeat him in a naff cutscene.
Why? Because the 'real' battle came in the DLC. Or at least, the one where you actually fight him toe-to-toe. Unlike the blink-and-you'll-miss-it encounter in the base game, this bout required you master all your previous orc-brandishing abilities and quickfire tactics to keep Sauron's armies at bay, slowly wearing him down for the big finish.
Even though the overall narrative dictates The Dark Lord must win anyway (which he does in the following cutscene) this remains a far more satisfying battle.
9. Nihilanth - Half-Life
Some games just don't need final boss battles, and if there was ever a ringing endorsement of a narrative-driven title that could've ended without giving us a sour taste for the rest of eternity, it's Half-Life.
Coming up against the orb-headed baby alien himself after a masterfully-told sci-fi epic, the 'strategy' to taking down Nihilanth is as basic as it gets; shoot it in the face.
Occasionally you'll have to dodge specific animations and constant projectiles, but the worst that'll happen is plummeting into an underground chasm that you then have to laboriously climb back out of.
And that's it. Shooty shooty, dodgy dodgy, drop n' climby. Repeat.... if you can stay awake.
8. Shao Kahn - Mortal Kombat (2011)
One of the most infuriating bosses purposefully coded to annoy the living sh*t out of you, Shao Kahn's form in the 2011 soft reboot of Mortal Kombat needed to at least live up to his past incarnations when it came to pure cheap tactics.
Spamming moves over and over, locking you in animations so you'd only take damage, zipping across the battlefield and having every attack decimate your life bar, there's not a soul on earth who beat this guy first time. Not one.
The only way to win was figuring out which of your own moves could be repeatedly deployed in unison, thereby giving him a taste of his own medicine. Maybe there's a genius design decision in there somewhere, but until it's confirmed, I'm going with the notion that this was always meant to be annoying as hell.
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