The 15 Best Video Game Final Bosses Of All Time

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Video games should be about the journey rather than the destination.

But no game is complete without an awesome boss fight to wrap up your adventure.

A good final boss can take your game from “meh” to unforgettable in a matter of minutes.

Throughout the years, some of my favorite bosses have been those that keep me retrying the fight dozens of times – but difficulty is not enough to make a boss memorable.

You need a good build-up, narrative relevance, and a great battle theme to make gaming history.

We’ll dive into some examples of the best-of-the-best gaming bosses right here, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.


15. King K. Rool

King K. Rool in Donkey Kong Country SNES

Game: Donkey Kong Country

I hate King K. Rool with a passion.

This cheating Kritter isn’t even a king – he just styled himself that after forcefully gaining control of Crocodile Island without leaving the comfort of his ship.

It’s on Gang-Plank Galleon that you finally face him near the end of DKC.

It’s a tough fight, where he’ll ram you, stomp you, open cannon-fire on you (despite technically hitting his own ship), and attack you with his boomerang crown.

The reason I hate him is what happens after you “beat him.”

The game will let the credits roll before the croc gets back up and starts fighting back. It was all a ruse to make us drop the controller!


14. Hades

Hades from Kid Icarus: Uprising video game

Game: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Another Nintendo boss famous for messing with the credits and disrespecting the fourth wall is Hades – the Lord of the Underworld from Kid Icarus: Uprising on the 3DS.

This dude keeps a low profile for most of the game as you busy yourself fighting Medusa.

After defeating her (and getting the credits to roll), Hades will interrupt the celebrations to tell you it was all a ruse – then he proceeds to march the Underworld Army into Earth.

Thanks to his Devastation Ensemble armor, Hades can turn his whole body into a weapon of mass destruction.

He can even fire lasers from his face!


13. Wheatley

Wheatley in Portal 2 game

Game: Portal 2

With an English accent and a not-so-bright mind, Wheatley became an acceptable – almost lovable – companion to Chell during the first half of Portal 2.

Then, the unlikely happens:

The idiot takes control of the entire Aperture Science facility.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Wheatley is no exception.

The final fight against Wheatley is the perfect middle ground between epic and ridiculous – and it ends with you shooting a portal up at the moon that sucks the Englishbot out into space.

The moment you see the moon up in the sky and realize what to do is unforgettable.


12. Bowser

Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy 2 game screenshot

Game: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Bowser is the most iconic final boss in the history of gaming.

I’m sure he’s more recognizable than any Disney villain!

While classic clashes like Super Mario World’s are unforgettable, I’m choosing Super Mario Galaxy 2’s final boss fight for its epic scale and gorgeous animation.

After making your way through Bowser’s Fortified Fortress, you’ll fight a Bowser the size of a small planet.

Once beaten, calm music will play, and you’ll get a Power Star – but don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet.

Bowser won’t be defeated that easily!

So get ready for an even harder second phase before you finally clear the game.


11. Gwyn, Lord of Cinder

Gwyn, Lord of Cinder Dark Souls gameplay

Game: Dark Souls

Sometimes it’s not about the boss themselves, but how they fit into the game’s narrative that makes a fight memorable.

A prime example is Gwyn, Lord of Cinder from the original Dark Souls.

Walking up to the ashen arena, you can’t help but fear the great power of the god-like being who created the Age of Fire and keeps it burning, but reality turns out quite differently.

Gwyn is a husk of a man – a very faint shadow of what he once was.

It’s an easy fight with a moving soundtrack, and you can’t help but feel sorry for Gwyn.


10. Matt

Matt Wii Sports Resort Final Boss

Game: Wii Sports Resort

The Lord of Cinder may be a pushover, but this next boss is definitely not.

Matt the Mii has risen to fame through Internet memes depicting him as an overpowered god-like being able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Thanos and Ultra Instinct Shaggy.

What sets Matt apart from other meme-tastic fighters is that we can actually challenge him to see what all the hype is about.

He’s a master at Table Tennis and Basketball – but his true talent lies in Swordplay.

Clad in black-and-gold armor, he’ll fight to protect his title as the Swordplay Showdown champion.


9. Sephiroth

Sephiroth Final Fantasy VII gameplay

Game: Final Fantasy VII

If I was ranking the most famous final bosses, I think Sephiroth would be leading the pack a bit higher

After many years – and after many playthroughs of Final Fantasy VII – fighting Sephiroth still feels as epic as the first time.

The build-up is perfect, and you can’t help but hate the character by the time the final boss fight rolls around.

Additionally, it’s the first time in the game that the BGM features lyrics.

After 30+ hours of listening exclusively to MIDI tunes, this fight was (and still is) a total paradigm shift.

Not to mention his many appearances over time.


8. Lavos

Lavos in Chrono Trigger video game

Game: Chrono Trigger

Like Sephiroth, the fight against Lavos is foreshadowed throughout the entirety of Chrono Trigger.

You even fight the beast once before in the Ocean Palace – only to be crushed in seconds.

The Destroyer of All Life is the only thing standing between you and a happy ever after, so you fight him a second time.

It’s a really momentous wrap-up for one of the biggest adventures in gaming.

During the first phase, Lavos will even mimic previous bosses like Magus, Nizbel, and Black Tyranno – reminding you of your journey so far.


7. Jubileus the Creator

Jubileus the Creator from Bayonetta game

Game: Bayonetta

The final boss for Bayonetta is suddenly introduced after defeating Father Balder, who has served as the game’s main antagonist up until that point.

Despite her late appearance, Jubileus left a mark on players’ minds through frustration and trauma.

This boss fight is absolutely savage.

Jubileus is hundreds of times Bayonetta’s size, has all sorts of elemental attacks, control over the entire battlefield, and so many health bars that I lost count.

I admit I even cried a little trying to beat his boss back in the day – and I cried a little bit more when I finally defeated her.

It was one of the most rewarding moments in my gaming career.


6. Ganondorf

Ganondorf in TLOZ: The Twilight Princess game

Game: TLOZ: The Twilight Princess

Ganon has been the main antagonist since the very first Zelda.

And the power-hungry warlock has a fair amount of awesome final boss fights under his belt.

My favorite belongs to The Twilight Princess – a four-phase final confrontation with a lot of flair.

Each of these individual phases is awesome in its own way.

Puppet Zelda has some classic moves reminiscent of previous installments, Dark Beast Ganon feels like a Dark Souls boss, and fighting Ganondorf on horseback is incredibly cinematic.

The battle ends with a classic one-on-one duel that successfully showcases Link and Ganondorf’s eternal rivalry.


5. Omega Flowey

Omega Flowey Undertale game screenshot

Game: Undertale

Photoshop Flowey – more commonly known as Omega Flowey – is the horrifying final boss at the end of Undertale’s Neutral Route.

This cunning flower is the first face we see in the Underground and also the last.

After absorbing six human souls, what was originally a cute flower becomes a bizarre god-like being so far removed from everything we’ve faced that it’s not even in the same art style.

The assaults on the fourth wall continue as Flowey reloads SAVE files repeatedly to toy with your character, killing you a total of 32 times before the human souls rebel and help you defeat the monster.


4. Master Hand

Master Hand Super Smash Bros. gameplay

Game: Super Smash Bros.

The events of Super Smash Bros. are heavily implied to be happening in someone’s imagination.

As far back as the original SSB, the opening cutscene shows a gloved hand setting the stage and bringing some Nintendo toys to life.

This gloved hand returns as the final boss in the N64 classic’s arcade mode. It reigns over Final Destination, squashing, sweeping, and shooting at anyone brave enough to challenge it.

This was probably the first real final boss I ever reached as a kid.

And back then, it took all I had to beat the game on Normal difficulty.


3. Sword Saint Isshin

Sword Saint Isshin in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice game

Game: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Can you think of a cooler title than “Sword Saint”?

Because I sure can’t.

It’s also a perfect description of Isshin Ashina – a man who didn’t only live by the sword, but for the sword.

After defeating current clan head Genichiro Ashina on the Silvergrass Field near the end of the game, the sore loser will use the Mortal Blade to summon a young version of Isshin – a master swordsman in his prime.

His fast and flexible fighting style demands that you’ve mastered every single aspect of combat in Sekiro if you wish to prevail.


2. Kefka

Kefka from Final Fantasy VI game

Game: Final Fantasy VI

Few final bosses have had as profound an impact on the people who fought them as FFVI’s Kefka.

Initially a bizarre and eccentric court wizard for the Gestahlian Empire, Kefka takes advantage of his position to usurp the Gestahlian emperor and acquire god-like power.

Unlike Sephiroth (and most other final bosses) who are stopped right before they destroy the world, Kefka actually wins and plunges the world into ruin in the process of ascending to godhood.

The final fight against Kefka’s godly form is a battle of heroes against an infinitely powerful being, making your victory all the more emotional.


1. Liquid Ocelot

Liquid Ocelot MGS4 gameplay screenshot

Game: MGS4

If we’re talking about emotional impact regarding bosses and boss fights, it’s hard to beat the fight against Liquid Ocelot at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4.

Rather than an epic showdown between Metal Gears, MGS4 ends in a CQC fistfight between two tired old men, as iconic MGS theme songs play in the background.

As you beat Liquid down, he reverts to his original personality – Revolver Ocelot, as seen on MGS3 & MGSV.

He even gives you one last “You’re pretty good!”

Besides the narrative moment and fantastic cinematography of the fight, the fact that they designed an entire fighting system separate from the rest of the game just for this fistfight is remarkable.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.