God of War II week, day 4: the bosses

God of War II is tough, no question, but most of its battles - including those with bosses - can be won simply by mashing on the buttons and following the onscreen prompts. The game's toughest bosses, then, aren't necessarily the strongest, but the ones that actually force players to stop and think about how the giant monster in front of them relates to its environment, and how best to use that knowledge to kill it. You know, the ones that actually take strategy.

Of course, some of you just want to smash past the bosses and get back to the wholesale slaughter, and we can understand that. What follows are foolproof tactics- complete with videos - for defeating what we've deemed God of War II's five toughest bosses. Check them out in order and spoil the game for yourself, or just click the tabs at left to jump straight to whatever's giving you trouble. We'll start with one who appears early in the game:

This guy is one of the toughest bosses in the game, and is a great example of the multi-stage boss battles you'll fight through later. To start, he'll come at you with some basic three-hit combos, and he'll impale you on his spear. Keep your distance as much as possible, and be ready to rotate your thumbstick 180 degreesif you get speared. The best tactic here is to soften him up until he starts casting holes through the ground, then wade in with your rage attack.

Now, he'll scramble up the side of the doorway and start casting magic at you, and summoning Minotaurs. Alternate between shooting him with your bow and killing the creatures to restore health and magic. Eventually, he'll fall off, leaving you to perform a quick sequence of button presses to finish him off.