3. Darknut (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
The fight consists of: A lengthy, one-on-one sword fight with a hulking great armoured badass whose size belies a great amount of dexterity, speed and skill. A genuine sword duel demanding all of Link’s offensive, defensive and evasive capabilities, the battle gains a whole new dynamic when Link eventually destroys all of the Darknut’s armour, revealing an agile, even quicker enemy requiring even sharper fighting to defeat. It’s one of the purest, most entirely skill-driven fights in all of Zeldadom.
It’s better than the last boss fight because: This is another one where an intimate, intricate battle is far more meaningful than a large-scale, set-piece driven spectacle. No other fight in the game feels as personal or hinges as completely on the player’s still and combat finesse. Even the final battle with Ganondorf--as epic as it is in scope--fails to live up to a one-on-one Darknut fight. The first three sections are standard “watch for the opening, hit, repeat” stuff, and the climactic sword fight takes the old “boss is invincible until QTE” approach. Darknut is a far more satisfying opponent to battle, and the victory against him feels a hundredfold more earned.