Whenever we say ‘boring’, a few images can be put to mind. A boss battle should never be boring; they should be a test of all that you’ve learned in-game up until that point. It should be a celebration of everything you’ve done, every key item that you use. It should never be boring – But lo and behold, we scoured video games for some of our most boring boss battles. Before we continue with this one, our definition of a boring boss battles is either:
- A boss battle that’s excessively long without being sufficiently interesting or unique
- Mechanically dull, to where the fight is just ‘do the thing over and over again’
- Too easy or too hard, to the point where it’s completely unfitting to the rest of the level/zone you were in
- Just poorly written, giving you absolutely no desire to fight it.
With these rough definitions in mind, let’s check out our Top 10 Boring Boss Battles.
10) Bowser – Super Mario 64
A bit of a controversial pick to begin with, this boss battle genuinely bored the snot out of me. I’m sorry, but when you’re built up for so long, for a boss to be as simple as this one is, it’s kind of a disappointment. For anyone who hasn’t played Super Mario 64, you simply try to get behind Bowser, grab him by his tail and throw him into a bomb. This wouldn’t be so bad, if the controls weren’t clunky to begin with. Couple this with the fact that it’s typical Mario logic, it ends up being a pretty mundane finish to the game.
However, I’m not going to be too harsh here. The game wasn’t really a game well known for its bosses, but that didn’t excuse how painfully simple this boss was. Considering how King Koopa managed to take over the whole castle, kidnap Princess Peach and make powerful allies, it’s strange you can beat him with a few swings into some bombs. Sure, this game was supposed to be easy enough for kids to beat, but that just isn’t really much of a reason as to why this boss battle is so mundane. A sad way to end an exceptional game, even if it hasn’t aged all that well!
9) Azathoth – Arkham Horror
Arkham Horror is a game of two parts. The first is running around the city of Arkham, trying to manage the outbreak of eldritch nightmares while also fighting to seal away the great old one that stirs and burbles in its sleep, before it awakens. If it does, it’s a fight for survival to drive the thing back before it extinguishes all life. Not all of you will survive, but if only one does then the victory is complete. It’s a second chance that’s all the more intense and exciting for the sheer desperation of the moment, everyone dying around you as you struggle against the impossible foe.
The blind, idiot god takes a while to awaken, but once he does; game over. No grand finale, no fight for the end. You lose. End of the world. Anticlimax. Bummer.
8) Mehrunes Dagon – ESIV Oblivion
We thought about all of the bosses in Elder Scrolls history; there have been some excellent ones. Then we thought about adding Alduin to the list, but in all honesty, he was actually a pretty epic encounter. Meanwhile, thinking back to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, we’ve got Mehrunes Dagon. This encounter was supposed to be truly epic, but ended up not being so much. But what could go wrong?
With the Mehrune Dagon encounter, you’re led to believe you’ve been fighting all of the Oblivion Gates for ages to beat this Daedric Prince. However, once he finally arrives, he’s actually completely unkillable (unless you use console commands). Instead, the fight against him is surviving minions, then going to the temple to basically turn the NPC you’ve been protecting… Into the deity to kill (or at least incapacitate) Mehrunes. An exciting concept, with the main villain of the boss battle being pretty damn dull.
Talk about… Meh.
I’m sorry, that was bad.
7) The Destroyer – Borderlands
Borderlands gained one hell of a following among the FPS/ARPG groups, a game that tapped into the loot hunting, gun toting, glory hounds, that was mercifully not ruined by the end boss. Spoilers, but the Vault has no treasure, only an eldritch horror with large “here is my weak spot, please kill me” glowing tentacles.
Run back and forth, shoot the face, it’s all over in short order but not before the tedium sets in. The Destroyer changes things up a little, but it’s simply not enough, and it doesn’t carry the gravitas of other bosses in the franchise, or even the same game! It’s a lesson it appears gearbox have learned well, but it did put a dampener on an otherwise great game.
6) Polyphemus – Titan Quest
As a huge fan of Titan Quest, it’s not pleasant for me to say that one of the bosses in the game deserves a spot on this list, but the legendary cyclops Polyphemus is not a great fight. The big bag of hit points hits incredibly hard, and has the power to stun you, helplessly in place while he does so, or can execute a ground slam that deals a great deal of hurt.
The solution is to run around and around in circles, loosing whatever powers you have at your disposal while you have a moment to stop and face him, never getting or staying too close, or perhaps freezing him in place. He never stays trapped for long, and so you go back to keeping him walking circles, trying to keep you still for long enough to finish you off. There are no shortcuts, short of levelling up hard before you reach him, but he’s an early gatekeeper in Titan Quest, and most of the best fights are on the other side.
5) Lobber – House of the Dead (Overkill)
Easily the dumbest entry on our list, House of the Dead (Overkill) isn’t exactly a game known for its nuanced story. But that’s why we love it! It’s purely mindless, stupid fun as you shoot up zombies. O-or you can type against them, using the strangest phrases. No matter how you kill your zombies, there’s no doubt that the House of the Dead franchise is as brainless as the zombies it produces… And that’s a great thing.
However, in House of the Dead (Overkill), you get to fight a monster called… Lobber. It’s a huge blob-like creature, which appears from murky waters. You’re supposed to be fighting this big, tough monster and to its credit, it does take some time if you don’t get the strategy. Shoot down the things that Lobber throws at you, let him get stunned, then just gun him down as much as you can. This isn’t an exciting mechanic, but it’s at least one which is pretty well known in many arcade shoot-em-up style games. It doesn’t make the fight any better however, as this can take a long time of shooting the same creature.
4) Jack of Blades (Dragon Fight) – Fable
Man, what a game the original Fable was. You were able to be the hero you wanted to be; magic? You’ve got it! Swordplay? You bet! What about some archery? No doubt. Being called a ‘Chicken Chaser’? Uh, sure, if you like that sorta thing…
… So Jack of Blades is a huge presence throughout the game. He feels like someone you want to take down, no matter if you take the good or evil path in your characters life. Jack of Blades is a masked man who is just all-round better than you; if that isn’t enough to annoy you, nothing will be. However, donning that mask, the source of all of its power, is what makes Jack so dangerous. When you finally come face to mask with the antagonist, you manage to get the upper-hand and fight him as a dragon, somehow.
As the dragon form, he simply sort of swats his head a few times as you slash away at his neck… And then does some fire breath… and lets minions attack you. It’s rather disappointing to say the least. Ultimately, it leaves a sour taste after such a wonderful Lionhead classic.
3) Titan Joker – Arkham Asylum
The one thing that is often derided in the famous Arkham series is the fight against the Joker at the end of it’s opening title. That and the entire third game.
You spend quite some time playing toreador with the Joker’s gigantified goons, juiced with a special version of the venom formula that gives Bane his incredible strength. They’re decent fights, especially when you get one of them swinging blindly at another, or send them crashing into walls. So when you face the Joker, huge and gnarly, with a 70’s punk hairdo and Bruce Banner’s underwear, you think you’re in for a good fight.
Actually, it’s a prolonged repeat of all the other fights combined with the occasional mob-rush to break it up. Oh, and not forgetting the fact that you’ve got to grappling-claw the Joker back into the pit with you so he stops showboating. It leads to some interesting story in the sequel, but as a conclusion to Arkham Asylum, it was a pretty bland effort.
2) Tabuu – Smash Bros. Brawl
What happens when you take traditional bosses of Smash Bros. and decide that there is a bigger bad? You end up with Tabuu who looks absolutely incredible. It’s huge, it’s many colours, it’s humanoid – it’s dangerous. This should end up being a fight for the generations.
But instead, we didn’t get that fight. We got the Tabuu fight. Tabuu doesn’t really have to do all that much in the fight, which is partly why this fight just isn’t interesting. Sure, it’s a hard final boss, that much isn’t disputed. He’s easy enough to beat when you know how, but even those who know how to beat him can still struggle with him on the harder difficulties. Tabuu is a dangerous deity who, seriously, is hard to pinpoint as to why he’s so tricky.
The issue comes in the fact that most of the fight is slow; spent jumping to do any form of damage to him, limiting the damage you can do. You also have to spend a lot of your time hoping your shield will hold out fr his larger attacks, which on higher difficulties can one-shot a character. This fight should have been the icing on the cake to an incredible story mode campaign in the Subspace Emissary. Instead, this fight was lime having someone step all over your cake. What a bummer.
1) Adamantoise – Final Fantasy XV
72 hours. We were told that this fight would take up 72 hours. They were, thankfully, very wrong. The devs told us it’ll take 15 hours. Thankfully, they too, were very wrong… But a long time it does take to defeat the Adamantoise. In previous iterations of the Final Fantasy franchise, this giant tortoise is no more than a normal mob, but in this, it’s a huge enemy that causes tremors. Terrifying, right? Well no, actually, it’s still just a big tortoise… And it’s not particularly interesting.
Inflated time to beat it aside, Adamantoise is an absolutely ludicrously boring boss in Final Fantasy XV. Sure, in concept, a super long fight that was supposed to feel epic and adventurous. Hell, I’d be remiss to forget all of the long grinds I had to do in World of Warcraft; some bosses taking 30+ minutes with an inexperienced team… But length of a boss battle definitely doesn’t equate quality.
What a boring, mundane, drab “boss battle”. At least it’s not part of the main story.
Got plenty of time to spare? Great, you’re going to need it for these next two bosses who, honestly can take you ages. On the plus side, that’s part of their gimmick; they make it pretty abundantly clear how to deal with them, but did you ever figure out their quirk? These two aren’t really boring… But if you didn’t know their party trick, then you could get bored from doing the same thing over… and over… and over again.
The End – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
So The End is not a bad fight at all and hey, he’s an amazing character that you must eliminate. However, this cocky old man is going to be a royal pain to beat. A lot of people mention that he’s actually genuinely relatively tricky, but ignoring that side of things, there is a second way you can kill The End… And that is by relying on the fact that he’s not exactly in the best shape of his life. He truly is The End.
If you leave the game running for over a week; or you know, you change the clock of your console, then you will actually kill The End… By using his old age to end his life. It’s a strange, surreal experience… But imagine if you had just left the game running for a week (somehow without getting killed). A long, drawn out fight, using the mechanic of boring your opponent to death – Or at least just letting his life finally come to an end.
King Statue – Mother 3
Another funny example of a boss fight which, when you know the mechanic, is actually relatively simple. The King Statue is probably the easiest boss in the game – You fire off a New Years Eve bomb, dropping his health from a whopping 100 million, down to 1 in one hit. Granted, this isn’t a guarantee, but it’s basically gonna happen at some point in the fight. Then, just land a single hit point of damage and away it goes.
Naturally then, if you didn’t think of this, you would be stuck in this fight which would go on and on and – likely the game would crash. Now, naturally, it’s a lot harder for you to even get ahold of this game in English, as the game was never released in English… So it’s not likely you’ll even be able to get this far in the game, as this is right near the end. Unless, naturally, you were able to speak Japanese… Or you got the unofficial fan translation.
I need to stop yawning from how bad these bosses were to me. From the funnier fights in King Statue from Mother 3, to the most disturbingly boring boss in any game, the Adamantoise, I need a rest. I cannot take anymore boring bosses today, so now we must pass the buck to you guys, our readers, to help us decide what we’re going to do for next week’s Top 10 list.
As ever, thanks for joining us through another… Er, exciting Top 10 list. Hopefully we picked some boring bosses that you would agree with – But what do you think? Did we get our Boring Boss Battles list right, or did we completely mess up somewhere? Did we forget something that was tragically boring? Did we get the order wrong? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.