There have been a lot of great video game villains over the years, from Mario’s Bowser to Mass Effect’s Saren. More often than not, these villains also serve as the final boss of their games as the ultimate challenge standing between players and victory.
Sometimes, however, these climactic battles turn out to be incredibly underwhelming. Even the most dastardly or charismatic boss can be brought down by a disappointing boss fight. Whether they were unfair, annoying, or just too easy, these awesome villains really deserved better fights than these.
The Hand of Sauron, Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (2014)
Shadow of Mordor was a fresh and fun adventure set in the Lord of the Rings Middle Earth. At the very beginning of the game, players must watch as the Hand of Sauron kills the protagonist and his family. For the rest of the game, he casts a dark and intimidating shadow.
When the final confrontation comes, players first fight through the Five Fingers of the Hand, orc warlords who serve as easily the best encounter in the game. When they finally reach the Hand, he transforms into Sauron himself, the big bad of the entire franchise. For some reason, despite this fantastic setup, Sauron is defeated in seconds in a quick-time event, and Talion’s revenge ends up feeling hollow.
The Joker, Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
The Joker is arguably Batman’s greatest and most iconic foe, and his incarnation in the Batman Arkham series is one of the best. He is an ever-present threat throughout the story, unleashing every supervillain he Can at Batman and pulling the strings from afar.
After several great boss battles and a slew of dastardly tricks, players finally come face to face with the clown prince of crime. What is his final clever trick? He turns himself into a giant monster and tries to fistfight Batman. Not only does the fight go against the very nature of the Joker, but it is also rather boring. Thankfully, later games would fix this.
Darth Vader, Star Wars The Force Unleashed 2 (2010)
Darth Vader is one of the most iconic science fiction villains of all time, and one of the best characters in the Star Wars franchise. After being haunted by him for two games, Force Unleashed players were ready to finally lay the smackdown on him.
Despite an epic setting, fighting Vader in the cloning facility he created you in, Vader hardly does anything. He walks around slowly, only using two attacks that can be easily countered. Things get a little more interesting when he begins throwing debris and other clones into the fray, but overall the fight against Vader feels like a chore more than anything.
The Cyberdemon, DOOM 3 (2004)
The Cyberdemon is arguably the most recognizable enemy in the DOOM series, appearing in three separate incarnations now. It serves as the surprise final boss of DOOM 3, with a great entrance and a fantastically intimidating design.
It looks like it will be a typical “shoot it until it dies” fight, but it isn’t. Instead, players completely avoid the monster while killing other small enemies to charge up the Soul Cube, which will take out the Cyberdemon in a few hits. Its rockets do shockingly little damage, and the huge arena makes it difficult to even be hit by one. It is an underwhelming fight for such a frightening enemy.
Taskmaster, Spider-Man (2018)
To be fair, the fight against Taskmaster in Insomniac’s Spider-Man is not a bad fight. It is pretty great, with Taskmaster being able to mimic many of Spider-Man’s abilities during the fight and counter many of his gadgets.
Where the fight suffers is in the few things that he seemingly can’t learn. Despite his ability to adapt to any fighting style, he can be fairly easily defeated in the same way most enemies can, by simply web throwing objects at him. He never really seems to catch on, and as long as there are enough objects around to throw, he will go down fairly quickly. He is a great boss, but sadly not quite one of the game’s hardest.
Talbot, Uncharted 3 (2011)
As great as the Uncharted series is, it has always struggled a bit in the final boss department. Lazarevic’s fight in the second game was interesting but tedious, but Talbot’s in game 3 was less so. Talbot is the right-hand man of the main villain Marlowe and is an enigmatic figure with seemingly supernatural abilities.
Despite his intrigue and intelligence throughout the game, when it comes to his boss fight at the end of the game, it plays like every other fistfight in the game. The backdrop is cool and Talbot is a much more challenging foe, but it never quite moves past just another punch up, especially since Nate just shoots him at the end anyway.
Alduin, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
The sheer spectacle and backdrop of the battle with Alduin in the immortal Skyrim make it still easily worth playing, but stacked up against some of the other bosses in the game, Alduin goes down surprisingly easily. Alduin is a massive fire-breathing dragon and the primary antagonist of the game.
By the time they reach his climactic battle, players will most likely be incredibly overpowered with gear and magic, and even if they aren’t, Alduin still ends up being easier than some of the other dragons that can be fought in the game. He has some cool abilities and is a lot of fun to fight, but he is ultimately defeated far too soon.
Deathstroke, Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)
Another Arkham boss, Deathstroke is one of the most formidable foes in the entire series. His first appearance in Arkham Origins was a brutally difficult fight that remains one of the best boss battles in the Arkham series. When he returned for Arkham Knight, players were both excited and nervous.
Instead of another expertly choreographed martial arts duel though, Deathstroke’s battle consists of him sitting in a tank that players fight using the Batmobile. When the tank is finally destroyed, and it looks like Batman has finally earned the right to face him one on one, Deathstroke is swatted out of the air like a bug and arrested.
Frank Fontaine, Bioshock (2007)
The reveal of Frank Fontaine as the true villain of Bioshock towards the end of the game remains one of the most game-changing plot twists of all time. A con man who has caused the collapse of Rapture to hoard all its riches for himself, he has also manipulated the player through the game.
Unfortunately, the thought-provoking game decides that the final battle with Fontaine should be just another basic shoot ’em up against a superpower enemy. Players simply upload their weapons into the juiced-up Fontaine and drain him of his ADAM. The fight isn’t difficult or engaging and ends up being a mediocre finale to an otherwise excellent game.
Vaas, Far Cry 3 (2012)
Vaas is by far the most interesting part of Far Cry 3 and became so popular that he ended up being the face of the game in all its marketing. Vaas is a charismatically off the rails villain who players will both love and hate during their playthrough.
Unfortunately for Vaas and the game, he is killed about halfway through and replaced with a much less interesting main antagonist. He is not even given a true boss fight, with players instead of making their way through a dream sequence where they stab Vaas at the end. For such a beloved and iconic villain, Vaas is simply tossed aside without so much as a shot fired. Now, who will teach us the definition of insanity?
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