The very voice of Mortal Kombat and my instant choice from the series, he is one of the greatest Bosses ever devised. Every time you hear him thunder "Fatality" or "Finish Him" you know the enemy is in trouble while the deep rumble urges you to do ever more damage.
Although he was my instant choice it does not mean it was an easy one with a few more contenders for the crown in the Mortal Kombat universe: Shang Tsun is his subordinate while Goro is an idiot who allies himself with Shao Kahn whenever he does him a favour. Fool. Rayden on the other hand was a good guy and so was the closest contender, however, because you never had to beat him to complete the game I decided he was never really a Boss anyway, just a monolithic character.
After his destruction of Onaga the Dragon Emperor, Shao Kahn seized control of the outworld and has made a nuisance of himself ever since; he is immensely hard to destroy in MKII and has a list of war crimes as long as Kitana's toiletry list. Therefore it is only fitting that he sits right up there with the best of them. In addition to these points his Fatality is second only to Sub-Zero's: he hammers his opponent into the floor leaving only their torso above ground before smashing them into a cloud of vaporised blood and entrails. Sublime.
Not a lot needs to be said about this complete hero of a bad guy. He is absolutely awesome no matter what format he adopts; 2D, 3D, Cartoon, Film or Game . With the character in the game smashing you for over 40% of your life with every breath he takes and a back story that rivals the works of Dickens, this guy has everything but his marbles!
The Technodrome (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - NES)
This boss is on my list for a couple of reasons mainly revolving around the younger years of my childhood. PURE frustration is one of them while another is that this is one of my all time favourites, in fact if this were to be a summation of my childhood I would not complain; Pure unadulterated gaming perfection, my joy as a child bottled in one nostalgic cartridge.
However it remains incomplete, mainly due to the MAMMOTH struggle to get to the technodrome, let alone defeat it, I only ever got to this point with a maximum of two turtles left and poor old Mikey was always two breathes away from death. The problem was that the 'drome' followed a series of four levels of absolute strife! The roof tops, the labyrinth, the sewers and the airfield…..Nightmare…..By the end of these gaming mountains my turts were always dead or dying, and the constant stream of super footsoldiers it spat at you made it hard work even getting near the thing . Thus rendering it virtually impossible for me to harm, let alone beat. And of course we wont even mention having to face shredhead shortly after.
Willy Mackey or Machine Gun Willy (Double Dragon - Master System & NES)
The clue is in the name as to what made this guy so tough; he basically had a minigun while poor old Billy and Jimmy Lee have to rely on their speed, cunning and a hail of flying fists & feet.
After a few solid hours of gaming in the days without a save and with my continues going the same way as my social life, my Double Dragon warrior (Usually the blue one.. Jimmy-Lee??) was a bloody mess and closely resembled my tattered thumbs. However the ordeal was not over yet and accompanied by some kick-ass music on tottered Willy with what seemed like a Browning Assault Rifle. Now the first time I got to this stage my eyes were blurry, my thumbs were blistered, my continues were non-existent, my patience was thinning and my brow was furrowed……..WILLY WAS GOING DOWN!!!......... I steadied myself as the scene drew to a close AND promptly got shot in the face! What……..the fuck…….one shot one kill?
It was this that made Big Will so tough to beat, the machine gun could kill you instantaneously and in the days where memory cards were visual aids and saving was a practice carried out by guys in green jumpers with the number 1 on their backs this was unheard of. After a few solid days locked away in my bedroom I managed to smash that Willy's ugly face in, only to have to fight my best pal for the love of his life…it was a cruel day and one that taught me a life lesson.
The first entrant from the 5th Gen consoles and one of the strangest characters to be put into a game. He is a mind reading, telekinetic freak show with one of the most disturbing drawls heard in a computer game. Everything about him screams "Psychopath". BLACKOUT!!!
To add to his shady appearance he is the only boss to ever cross over into the '4th' gaming dimension; Mantis reads your memory card quoting various statistics to freak you out (Not weird now but when he first does it and you're not expecting it the impact is more potent), after this he freezes your television at random intervals displaying the letters HIDEO (I assume for Hideo Kojima) emblazoned in a large green font and uses his telekinesis to make your dualshock controller vibrate. Pretty cool for a Playstation 1 game that is over 10 years old now.
Apart from this he was a complete bugger to kill and I believe that coupled with the completely unique '4th' dimension ideas he set the bench mark for all third person bosses…..apparently he makes an appearance in MGS 4 too but I have not had the time to play it. Something to look forward to I guess.
Ah Gradius, possibly THE single hardest game I have EVER played throughout my career as a casual gamer. This game was one of the first I possessed and made a lasting impact; for those of you who have never played the game, it is a simple side scroller with a space fighter that can move freely about the screen. As you progress through the level there are hundreds of enemies that you must bomb, dodge and shoot. Some of these bad guys (The ones highlighted in red) contain power ups that allow you to upgrade your ship with certain attributes such as laser's, missiles, speed ups, options (up to 2 little red orbs that follow your path and shoot an extra projectile/laser) and force fields that glow red and disappear after a certain amount of damage . Once you have guided your ship through the level you face a challenge at the end and then a massive battle cruiser that tries to blow you away with everything it has got.
This game is impossible!! But that’s the fun, I remember the first time I played it; I got to the end of the first level where you have to face a volcano that explodes and lobs thousands of red hot rocks at you. I died instantly. Anyway after figuring this out you go on to face other such monster missions such as the squares, the heads, the eggs and upside down planet. These are all extremely hard to get through and remember when you face them you are at full power with every upgrade, if you die then you go back to the basic ship and might as well reset the console.
I reached the last boss ONCE in the entire time I have played this game (Bare in mind I still do at christmas & on holidays; that’s almost 18 years!) I remember the day I did……I was 10 years old and it was an easter holiday home from school. I rolled up my sleeves and stuffed my face with half an easter egg just to see how much I could fit in my mouth. My eyes focused and my pupils contracted, I sat there and watched the familiar sight of the ship accelerate onto the screen, after an epic fight through the evil and brutal Gradius world there she was, the red falcon! As soon as she appeared I was crushed. That was the last I see of her for 13 years. As brief and beautiful as a butterfly.
In times of misery on the streets, there was a period when all you needed to do was call on Axel Stone. My most vivid memory of this game was him and his phenomenal uppercut, well that and the fact that blaze was a cunt. My favourite thing about this game was the end level where to get to the illusive Mr X you had to smash up his entire entourage (every boss you have already beaten in the game). Once you had done this you got an elevator up to the big man where the final battle began and finished just as quickly as the elevator ride.
There is nothing to this game other than brutality. You battle your way through 7 Levels containing thousands of street hoodlum's. If you need a release from Chav's this is your first port of call, there are so many ways to mutilate a rude boy that even the BNP would be impressed. Once you have kicked, punched, shot, smashed, stabbed and taunted your way through levels that include airfields, tube stations, navy bases and oil rigs then you finally get to Zeng who is a twisted billionaire intent on destroying the world in which you reside.
This game is a great homage to games like streets of rage and double dragon that developed 'The pick random crap up off the street and batter somebody with it engine' and takes it to the next console while leaving nothing but fond memories. Oh yeah did a I mention it was a two player? Me and my brother spent ages on this bad boy, CRUNCH.
Fat Burger Headed Menace. Four words that some this guy up perfectly. Sonics' Nemesis in every game and every cartoon. We hate him, we all know the story: fat guy invents mind bogglingly advanced technology to trap rabbits, seals and birdies to steal emeralds. What an 'A Class' dickhead.
The only PC game to make the list and a real cop out I guess, sorry people, if you have managed to read all of this and made it this far then I apologise………FOR NOTHING!!!!! Yuri is close to a god in my eyes and the only reason he appears so low on the list is because he appears in an RTS. If he appeared in a beat 'em' up or even in a side scroller he'd mind fuck his way to the top.
Yuri was trained by Stalin himself and it should be realised he is the 'human' form of Satan himself. Old Yuri puts people in grinders for fun and exercises mind control for kicks, fantastic. He is present on every level but I still class him as a Boss because the whole point of the game is to destroy him and lets face it Alcatraz is a great level; his cut scenes are fantastically bad and I believe he must occupy a spot in this list.
This list is an appreciation of every major gaming boss that has given me hours of pleasure through the years, the rules were simple, if the graphics were 2D or had a straight edge then they were old enough to get in.
This is a classic boss list and in all honestly it would make my favourite game list without too many changes as well. Great games with great bosses and a little taste of my child hood years.