Boss fights are often one of the most important aspects of a game. They usually serve as the major centerpieces of the game, the thing that most players will walk away remembering (for both good and ill).
As such, a boss fight can both make and break a game. A spectacular boss fight will utilize the game's mechanics and often spin them in an interesting manner, forcing the players to utilize all that they've learned up to that point in the game. However, a bad, and badly designed, boss fight can quickly ruin what was otherwise a spectacular game.
These are twenty dumb boss fights that almost ruined good games.
20 006 - Goldeneye
GoldenEye 007 is an undisputed masterpiece. It revolutionized the first-person shooter genre, and it still remains one of the few legitimately great movie tie-ins. But you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoyed the 006 fight. You simply chase him around the ENTIRE Cradle map while periodically shooting him while he catches his breath. It gets really tiring and confusing after a while, and this masterpiece deserved a more climactic finish.
19 Bowser - Super Mario 64
The final battle of Super Mario 64 is an exercise in frustration. You run around Bowser, grab his tail, and proceed to fight the annoying and uncooperative camera while you try to fling him into the bombs. Your timing and aim have to be precise, which means you could be doing this for a long, long time. And to be honest, this wouldn't be so bad... if we didn't already do this NUMEROUS times before! It was a lazy boss retread, and at this point it was getting a little annoying.
18 Alduin - Skyrim
We were all expecting Alduin to be the most epic boss battle in the history of video games. Too bad he was a major pushover. The swarm of NPCs fighting alongside you make this boss fight ridiculously easy, which is a shame considering the legacy and magnitude of the dragon. This is NOT what fighting a dragon should feel like!
17 The Destroyer - Borderlands
With a name like The Destroyer, who'd think it would be more... menacing. However, The Destroyer is nothing but a giant glob that just sits there and takes your bullets. There's not really a whole lot of fun or creativity involved in this boss fight - you just pump endless amounts of bullets into it until it's dead. It's time-consuming, it's boring, and worst of all, it's incredibly anticlimactic.
16 The Moon Presence - Bloodborne
The Moon Prescence is an amazing boss from a design and story perspective, as it perfectly encapsulates the Lovecraftian look and themes of Bloodborne. But jeez, was it easy. The Moon Presence is arguably the easiest boss in the entire game, and even Soulsborne newcomers can probably defeat it in one or two tries. What makes the fight even more disappointing is that it comes directly after the fight with Gehrman, which is probably the most epic and beautiful battle of the entire series.
15 The Human Reaper - Mass Effect
The Human Reaper was a good idea in concept, but terrible in execution. It looks pretty corny, like something out of an '80s arcade game, and the whole boss fight revolves around Resident Evil-esque "shoot this shiny part of the body" mechanics. It makes for a fantastic technical showcase, but as a final boss, it's a pretty big disappointment. Not AS big a disappointment as the ending to Mass Effect 3, though...
14 Rafe - Uncharted 4
Dear Lord, the Rafe fight in Uncharted 4 was an exercise in frustration. We appreciate that they tried something new with the whole "pirate sword fight" theme, but you can't just spring a whole new gameplay mechanic on us in the VERY FINAL part of the game! It was totally jarring to see gameplay tips and tutorials on the screen during the final boss fight, and our total lack of experience in sword fighting meant that the fight was far more frustrating and difficult than it needed to be.
13 Navarro - Uncharted
And while we're on the subject of Uncharted, we may as well mention the absolute nightmare that is the Navarro boss fight. This fight was like a reverse Whack-a-Mole, as you simply had to hide behind conveniently placed boxes until Navarro was done shooting. Eventually you made your way to Navarro and defeated him... in a quick time event fight. Forget the brilliant shooting mechanics that the game had employed throughout the previous eight hours... hiding and QTEs are where it's at.
12 343 Guilty Spark - Halo 3
The Halo trilogy was the most ambitious trilogy in gaming history at the time, and it all ended with a horribly anticlimactic boss battle that had us all shaking our heads in disappointment. Not only did the whole trilogy culminate in a fight with the boring Guilty Spark of all things, but the entire fight consisted of charging a weapon and firing a beam at Sparky until it perished. It wasn't difficult and it required absolutely no creativity, leaving the brilliant Halo trilogy on a rather sour note.
11 Shao Khan - Mortal Kombat 11
There's a certain art to the fighting game, as developers need to strike a delicate balance between fun, intellectually rewarding, and challenging. Unfortunately, Shao Khan only adhered to the latter. There's a difference between "challenging" and "cheap," and Shao Kahn was cheap with a capital C. You should leave a fighting game feeling fulfilled and accomplished, not with a broken controller.
10 Hoyt - Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is a masterpiece, and it all but revolutionized the now-typical "Ubisoft open world" genre. You know the one. It also had one of the most amazing villains in gaming history with Vaas. Unfortunately, the game completely did away with Vaas and had us fight some nobody named Hoyt for the final boss battle. We wouldn't mind so much if the "fight" consisted of more than lazy quick time events. Chalk Far Cry 3 up as another victim of the "lazy QTE-themed final boss" plague.
9 Micah - Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar doesn't really do "boss fights," but the ones they DO do are often quite terrible. Case in point - Micah. Micah is a very powerful boss, and he has the ability to defeat you with just a few shots. However, you can just hide behind some boxes until the final cutscene starts, and from there it's just entering Dead Eye and filling him full of holes. This one is less of a "fight" and more of a "hide behind some boxes like a coward" section. Now if that doesn't make you feel like a cowboy!
8 Paul Serene - Quantum Break
Quantum Break is by no means a masterpiece, but it was a relatively solid game and one of the few Xbox One exclusives actually worth playing. However, it had a real stinker of an ending with Paul Serene. The entire fight was a confusing mess, as we didn't really know WHAT to do and the screen was often filled with a blinding white light that gave us headaches. This was not fun - this was an exercise in patience and tedium.
7 Fontaine - BioShock
Why oh why did BioShock have to resort to cliché science fiction nonsense? BioShock told a complicated story with themes concerning free will and Objectivism, but the final section dumbed everything down by giving us a bland and traditional science fiction monster that glowed and roared. It also didn't help that the fight itself was painfully easy and boring. This is a game that didn't really NEED a final boss, but we got one, and it was insultingly stupid.
6 Charles Lee - Assassin's Creed 3
Don't you just hate it when boss battles come down to chasing an enemy around the map? The final conflict with Charles Lee simply sees you chasing Lee through the streets and up some buildings, and aside from some tense music, the whole thing is a rather bland and unexciting affair. And to top it off, you defeat Charles IN THE CUTSCENE! You don't even get to land the finishing blow! We sort of expected a difficult and complex assassination, not a chase through the streets.
5 Lambent Brumak - Gears Of War 2
The Lambent Brumak was a frightening final boss, and the game managed to capture the astonishing sense of scale that made you feel like a little mosquito in its presence. However, the "fight" consisted of nothing more than holding down the right trigger and aiming your weapon at the Brumak. No creativity involved, no difficulty whatsoever... just a literal point and click boss battle.
4 Lucien - Fable II
When it comes to the most anticlimactic boss battles in video game history, Lucien is a strong contender. After finally making your way through the game and coming face to face with Lucien, you simply... whip out your gun and shoot him. That's it. No epic fight, no interesting dilemma, nothing. In fact, we'd hardly call this a boss "fight" at all. It's just pathetic.
3 The Hive Mind - Dead Space
Dead Space is one of the scariest and most atmospheric games of all time, so it's only natural that the final boss fight is a giant tentacle monster straight out of a corny action movie! Like The Human Reaper, The Hive Mind was a very Resident Evil-esque boss (perhaps even more so, considering the monster aesthetic), complete with clear "shoot here!" weak spots. It didn't fit at all with the rest of the game, and the swift change in tone was jarring and unwarranted.
2 The Black Hand Of Sauron - Shadow Of Mordor
Shadow of Mordor was a fantastic action game, and arguably the best Lord of the Rings-based games in quite some time. But it REALLY landed with a thud with The Black Hand of Sauron. The whole fight consisted of nothing but quick time events, which is a major disappointment considering the quality of the game's combat. When will games stop utilizing quick time events in their final bosses!?
1 The Joker - Arkham Asylum
At the time, Arkham Asylum was the greatest Batman game ever released, complete with fantastic gameplay and top-notch writing that had us all lathering for a showdown of wits between Batman and the Joker. What we got instead was a massive Joker that played like all the other enemies of the game. It's the exact same issue with BioShock and Fontaine - completely do away with the intriguing themes of the game, present a hulking variation on an established character, and have the player mindlessly wail on them until they're defeated. It's boring, it's cliché, and we HATE when games go down this route. Oh, what could have been...