Nintendo's most iconic Boss encounters



Likes: Spinning
Dislikes: Mad ‘skillz’
Onboard computer says “WARNING! No refuge!”

Defining moment: Ikaruga’s core mechanic of dodging or absorbing black and white bullets by switching your ship between the two colours turned the humble vertical shmup into a brain-polarising, high-speed action puzzler. Level 3’s boss saw you trapped inside a spinning wheel, black and white gunfire raining down on you, forcing you to switch, switch, switch from black to white while attempting to take it down.

WTF?! In a cruel twist of fate, if you managed to defeat it you were faced with the harsh realisation that Zura was just a taster (a tutorial, if you will) for Level 4. Affectionately known round these parts as the ‘Soul Crusher’, Level 4 was an entire level of swirling, twisty-skippy gunfire. Only harder. And longer. It’s here that most people give up, and the savants soldier on, proving their dominion over mortal man.


Zack & Wiki

Likes: Graverobbers
Dislikes: Bell-shaped monkeys
Barbaros says “I’m going in with both fists this time.”

Defining moment: While many developers were floundering with motion control, Capcom’s Zack & Wiki showed the world how it should be done – with gestures and controls that really brought something to the experience. In the final encounter with Barbaros, players are required to wave, point, crank and lasso their way to victory in an epic action-puzzler that takes the form of an intergalactic pirate ship stand-off.

WTF?! We can picture the meeting at Capcom now: “What this game really needs is an Egyptian Space Crocodile. And… and… at the end, we should have Zack do a flying headbutt into Barbaros’ face! Yeah!” “We need a really special finisher though. Tell you what, how about getting that golden monkey to turn into a bell and then, right at the last moment, the player will wave it in the pirate’s face until all his flesh falls off? Perfect!”

King Shishkebaboo

Little King’s Story

Likes: Cake, French
Dislikes: The Weight Watchers Plan
Shishkebaboo says “Welcome to my forest tea party!”

Defining moment: The terrifying intro when Shishkebaboo, in make-up, invites you to his forest tea party. In French. Before engaging you in a hyper-colourful game of pinball. Your goal, as the ‘flippers’, is to shoot away at Shishkebaboo in an attempt to keep him away from a cake at the bottom of the screen. The longer you keep him away from the calories, the more his weight, represented by the ‘score’, decreases.

WTF?! Your flippers are actually your little army that you use to shoot up the screen at Shish. Trouble is, they take a little while to come back to you, so in the ricocheting madness it’s all too easy for Shish to slip past your defences to the cake below – at which point his weight increases again. The problem with this is that, combined with the somewhat random nature of pinball, you could either manage to beat him fairly quickly or (if you’re unfortunate like us) end up fighting him for an hour and a quarter.



Likes: Being attacked
Dislikes: Technicolor swastikas, the power of prayer
Pokey says “Mommy! Daddy! I think I’m going to wet my pants!”

Defining moment: It has to be the second phase of the attack where, after ‘defeating’ Pokey, he turns off the devil’s machine showing Giygas’ true form – a swirling, undulating background that, er, really doesn’t make for particularly great viewing and, for the most part, can’t even be attacked. But then Earthbound never really did anything by the book. The most memorable thing about this final boss, however, is the way you eventually beat it…

WTF?! The trick to defeating Giygas is to pray. Yes, pray. Using Paula’s ability you can call on the people of Earth to unite against the swirly-whirly wall of weirdness. With each prayer from the party’s friends and family, the damage to Giygas increases, corrupting the background until, finally, you the player finish him off with a final prayer. It’s a poignant ending to an RPG that, up until the closing moments, refuses to do anything ‘properly’. Once Giygas has fallen, you’re invited to walk Paula back home through the game world, for a touching and somewhat melancholy ending.


  • BurntToShreds - May 16, 2010 7:38 a.m.

    @JackSkellingtonsSkin Oh man, don't remind me of that Miltank. Pissed me off to no end. Also, some MadWorld boss fights should've been in there just for the awesome executions.
  • bamb0o-stick - May 15, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    Wait a minute, how is Dr. Salvador a "doctor?"
  • SuperGoomba64 - May 14, 2010 2:22 a.m.

    The Furance Fun quiz was not hard, but I have been playing the game for 9 years, so I know every nook and cranny. I used to think Bowletta was impossbile, tried to beat her 100 times, all I had to was level grind and I beat her in very easily.
  • RandomIdoit - May 14, 2010 2:10 a.m.

    hmm... magikoopas weren't completely unbeatable. plus, they didn't always turn blocks into koopas, sometimes, if it changed the right block, the block would turn into a coin, or even a mushroom. However, I do agree with you, those things were annoying!
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - May 13, 2010 4:14 p.m.

    Dr Salvador and Psycho Mantis do not count. Where the fuck was Miltank from Gold and Silver and where was Bowser? If there's a more iconic boss I have not seen them
  • c03n3nj0 - May 13, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    I meant los instead of loz... Darned irony >_>
  • c03n3nj0 - May 13, 2010 12:49 a.m.

    I see a typo! Shouldn't Dr. Salvador be saying "Loz voy a romper a pedazos?" "Vos voy" doesn't make sense. /grammar nazi
  • Solid_Gabriel - May 12, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    I have never beaten Wizipig. That is something that scarred me for life.
  • Harmonator - May 12, 2010 9:14 p.m.

    Dark Link. Ocarina of Time. Just sayin'...
  • AuthorityFigure - May 12, 2010 1:26 p.m.

    I've said it beofre and I'll say it again - boss fights suck the momentum out of games. They simulate a sense of achievement only through the relief of the fight being OVER...
  • philipshaw - May 12, 2010 10:51 a.m.

    A lot of these boss encounters sound like cheap and rubbish boss fights. Also using MGS is stretching it a bit
  • nomuff2stuff - May 12, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    Wheres majoras mask ? thats one bad.... mask lol though the deites mask made that fight a joke
  • revrock - May 12, 2010 5:59 a.m.

    Okami has some pretty sweet boss fights:)
  • Styrophoamicus - May 12, 2010 5:44 a.m.

    Surprised you didn't mention the whole 'Giygas-Fetus' thing. Anyhoo, great article, but I'm with Imgema; Yoshi's Island had some great boss battles. And so did Mario RPG recaptcha: swamp sergeant
  • BLandGoRe - May 12, 2010 3:17 a.m.

    damm hell that mimicry was big
  • EnragedTortoise1 - May 12, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    Sorry, but this article isn't complete without Ridley from Prime 3. Literally freefalling towards the center of the planet while blasting a giant space-dragon in the mouth.. how couldn't you include that?
  • Corsair89 - May 12, 2010 1:44 a.m.

  • ThePrivateDick - May 12, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    I would add Majora's Mask and a few enemies from the Paper Mario series, personally.
  • Cyberninja - May 11, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    i say this needs the normal bowser at the end of super mario galaxy
  • Ded - May 11, 2010 10:38 p.m.

    Nice article :D but urm.. not really "Nintendo's" iconic boss encounters.. just games that have happened to appear on Nintendo's consoles..

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