Let the battle begin!
Boss battles are usually lame. After a long journey through a swamp or over a mountain, you have to stand face to face with the bastard who put you through that obstacle course to finally bring closure to your adventure. Few boss fights follow after Metal Gear's Cobra Unit or Shovel Knight's Order of No Quarter--teams of quirky baddies you actually want to see in action.
But for all of gaming's more interesting boss fights, there are plenty you don't get to take on. Like any medium, video games leave a lot of content on the cutting room floor. Final Fantasy games have plenty of dragons and other beasties buried in their code; Kingdom Hearts was meant to end with a big fight against two crazy creatures. Want more examples? Here are the coolest boss fights that never made it into your favorite games.
Undead King Jar Eel (Dark Souls)
Bosses are one of the Souls games' biggest hooks--each one provides a new challenge that pushes your skills to the absolute limit. One encounter that never made it in the final version of Dark Souls is Undead King Jar Eel--who, despite his name, is not a zombie eel living in a jar. The golden-armored swordsman was originally set to appear in New Londo, and you would have had to defeat him before learning to warp with the Lordvessel.
Jarry got pretty far into development. How do we know? Because you can actually fight him. Through a bit of code hacking, you can replace the game's final encounter, Lord Gwyn, with Jar Eel. Doing this lets him use the moveset of False King Allant--the antagonist of Demon's Souls, of all things. A shame you can't win his armor during a regular playthrough.
Czar Dragon (Final Fantasy 6)
I know what you're thinking: "We fight the Kaiser Dragon in Final Fantasy 6 on the Game Boy Advance port way later. That's the same thing!" Sorry, pal, but you're wrong. Though "czar" and "kaiser" are the same Japanese word, they are not the same boss.
In the original SNES version's code, the Czar Dragon was meant to be fought after battling eight other dragons twice. In fact, code-savvy gamers have actually made the fight possible in hacked versions of the game--they just substitute the Game Boy Advance dragon's attacks. Poor Czar, never getting to shine on his own
In Episode 2 of John Romero's masterpiece (by which I mean "astronomical disappointment"), you find yourself transported back to ancient Greece. After making your way through the city streets and catacombs, you face the fearsome Medusa. You weren't always meant to fight the snake-haired hag, however.
At first, Romero and company planned a final battle against the mighty Minotaur, who wields a massive hammer. All that's left is the model you see above--the guy doesn't even have proper skin. I don't know how the battle would have gone down, but I imagine it would have happened inside a giant maze, as per mythological tradition. Since there is no maze to be found in Daikatana's Greece, the Minotaur's absence makes sense.
Additional mini bosses (Duke Nukem 3D)
When the Duke made the jump from 2D platformer to 3D shooter, he faced four bosses while ridding Earth of its otherworldly invaders. One of these is the Battlelord, a hideous Orc lookalike who wields a chaingun. Defeat him, and you'll encounter his smaller form, the Mini-Battlelord, in later levels.
But the Battlelord wasn't the only boss who was supposed to get this treatment. Initially, you were supposed to face mini-versions of the game's other bosses: the Alien Queen, Overlord, and Cycloid Emperor. In fact, unfinished forms can be found within the game's code. Unfortunately, their weapons blow up in their faces upon spawning, killing them--good luck having a real fight.
Gojira (Fallout: New Vegas)
The Fallout games have a habit of super-sizing regular enemies into boss characters. Battling the five Super Mutant Behemoths in Fallout 3 is such an ordeal that it actually nets you an Achievement. New Vegas does the same thing with a lone gecko, and his name is Gojira.
He can only be found in the game files, as he's not actually present in the desert, thank God. See, Gojira would have been unbelievably powerful--his flame spray does thousands of points of damage per second according to game files, meaning he would absolutely destroy all the other boss creatures. Luckily, Gojira could have been avoided by using the game's Animal Friend perk, making him leave you alone unless attacked.
Johnny (Chrono Trigger)
Taking a cue from Transformers, Johnny is a robot gang leader that can transform into a freakin' motorbike, complete with jokey "Badyear" tires. When you meet him in Chrono Trigger, he challenges you to a race--and only by winning it can you proceed along the nearby highway.
But as discovered in the game's code, Johnny was actually going to fight your party at one point. He has actual stats attached to his model, although he can only perform a basic attack. I'd like to think he had some crazy motorcycle moves up his sleeve for the fight. Nice skid marks, Chrono.
Centaur/King Xemnas (Kingdom Hearts 2)
Xemnas comes from the "multiple boss forms" school of thought. At Kingdom Hearts 2's climax, you have to fight him three times, and each stage is more powerful than the last. But as some early concept art shows, you were supposed to fight two more forms: King and Centaur.
Apparently, Xemnas was going to absorb the buildings of the Dark City all around his throne, transforming himself into two additional giant creatures. The King wore a crown adorned with Xemnas' organization's symbols, and the Centaur fused the King body with a four-legged lower half. Both of these forms were drawn absolutely gigantic, so these surely would have been epic battles. But I guess dumb red lightsabers work too...
Man, it would have been cool to fight some of these. I guess there's always hope for facing some of them when the sequels roll around. Which bosses do you want to take on? Are there bosses in your favorite games you wish had been cut? Sound off in the comments!