7. The Koopalings (Super Mario Bros. 3)
While they may or may not be Bowser's actual children, the seven Koopalings are a force to be reckoned with. Larry, Morton, Wendy, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, and Ludwig have been terrorizing the Mushroom Kingdom since Super Mario Bros. 3--and they've only gotten stronger since. They started out running a fleet of airships, firing spells at Mario with their magic wands. Bowser later upgraded their ships to castles, so basically, they impressed King Koopa enough to get promotions. Their custom weapons complement each other too--Roy's handheld Bullet Bill cannon is deadly, while Lemmy's bouncy ball is goofy yet dangerous.
As a team, the Koopalings are unforgettable. Maybe because they're named after famous musicians. Maybe because they were the first boss team many of us encountered in the NES days. Hell, they even took up seven friggin' character slots in Mario Kart 8. One thing's for sure: They're not just a team of baddies--they're a family of baddies.
6. The Council of Disney Villains (Kingdom Hearts)
The Kingdom Hearts series is a beautiful fusion of two properties: Final Fantasy and Disney. Naturally, Sora and company are going to do battle with bad guys from both universes, but it's the Disney devils that work together for wrong. The evil, pre-Angelina Jolie Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) assembles a team with Hades (Hercules), Jafar (Aladdin), Captain Hook (Peter Pan), and Oogie Boogie (The Nightmare Before Christmas) to capture the Disney princesses. From Hades' fire-spraying fists in a coliseum to Jafar's epic genie showdown inside the Cave of Wonders, every battle against them is a memorable event. And it all culminates in a spectacular final fight against Maleficent's giant dragon form.
But don't think it's over after the first game comes to an end. In Kingdom Hearts 2, Mickey's rival Pete finds a revived Maleficent, and the two form an even bigger team than before, spanning the worlds of Mulan, Tron, and Pirates of the Caribbean. No matter what era of Disney you grew up with, there's a villain here for you, and all of them want you dead.
5. The Prime Evils (Diablo)
Like the circles of Hell itself, Diablo has ever-stronger tiers of demons. You've got your Lesser Evils and Great Evils, but no hellspawn can compare to the holy (anti-holy?) trinity of the Prime Evils: Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal. These three are the biggest, toughest, fieriest bosses the Diablo series throws your way.
Mephisto the Lord of Hatred is the most intelligent of the trio. Diablo is the Lord of Terror, the Tenacious D-looking fellow on the game's covers. Baal is the Lord of Destruction, a guy so bad he actually turned on his fellow demons. Together, the trio brings every power of the circles of Hell against any Diablo player brave (or stupid) enough to take them on--walls of fire, clouds of smoke, flashes of lightning, mists of poison, bursts of frost. These are three truly evil dudes you don't want to bring home to your church-going parents.
4. The Seven Deities (Asura's Wrath)
Asura is one angry dude. Understandable--he was, after all, betrayed and murdered by his team, the Eight Guardian Generals. With Asura out of the mix, they became the Seven Deities, exploiting the people of Gaia for their own benefit. The game is a string of revenge battles for Asura, as he takes on former allies Deus, Olga, Sergei, Wyzen, Kalrow, Augus, and Yasha in epic fights to the death.
But there's more to his quest than pure rage--there's a real nuance to how the deities treat Asura, which, aside from their insane god-like powers, is why they're so fascinating. Olga and Wyzen hate Asura, resenting the fact that he survived the their plan of betrayal. Augus was once Asura's mentor, leading to a bittersweet battle of duty versus friendship. Even more emotional, Yasha is Asura's brother-in-law--their familial bond overcomes mastermind Deus' plan, and the duo defeat him and save Gaia from his exploitation. The gods must be crazy, indeed.
3. The Robot Masters (Mega Man 2)
Of the dozens of Mega Man games out there, Mega Man 2 has the best bosses hands down. Dr. Wily's second set of Robot Masters is unrivaled. Metal Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Heat Man, and Wood Man run the gamut of elemental types, covering each other's weakness in a deep game of rock-paper-scissors. That's what makes them such a tough team to start battling, even if you do get to choose the order.
Quick Man's Quick Boomerang is fast and deadly, but if you manage to topple him, you get to use it for yourself. The same goes for Crash Man's Crash Bomb and Wood Man's Leaf Shield--every Robot Master has a special power you can steal for yourself. Each one is super effective against another boss, the only easier way for Mega Man to defeat them. The Masters' only real weakness is each other.
2. The Weapons (Final Fantasy VII)
Nope, I'm not talking about bastard swords and throwing stars--these are five big, bad monsters who exist to protect the planet when danger is imminent. But when Sephiroth calls a giant meteor down to destroy the planet, he shields himself inside a barrier, which confuses the Weapons and causes them to wander the world and indiscriminately kill anyone they think is a threat. In this case: mankind.
These are massive beasts created by the planet itself--think Pacific Rim's Kaiju. Each one is imbued with some power of the planet, too: Ruby Weapon resides in the desert, controlling the sand and winds, while Emerald Weapon lives underwater, drowning its opponents after just 20 minutes of battle. Those are just the optional guys FF7 throws at you. Diamond Weapon is inescapable, especially since its has powers of friggin' gravity. And Ultimate Weapon? Let's just say one fight isn't nearly enough to take him out. At least you never have to fight Sapphire Weapon, whose face gets caved in by Junon's giant-ass cannon. Er, giant cannon. It's not an ass-cannon.
1. Fox Hound (Metal Gear Solid)
Every Metal Gear Solid game sports a team of bosses, but it all started with Fox Hound. After the original team goes rogue in the PSOne classic, Solid Snake is sent in to stop Psycho Mantis, Sniper Wolf, Vulcan Raven, Decoy Octopus, Revolver Ocelot, and Liquid Snake. Every fight is unique, exciting, and informative--Metal Gear has an encyclopedia's worth of lore, after all.
It all starts with a firefight against Ocelot, who battles you in a room full of tripwires and corners--one misfire means a deadly explosion. Then you face Psycho Mantis, who controls the rumble of your Dualshock controller and reads your memory card (I do like Castlevania, thank you) in one of gaming's most gimmicky and memorable boss fights ever. There's Vulcan Raven, touting his comically oversized minigun, and Sniper Wolf, a badass sniper-ette who showed up well before MGS 3's The End. You never actually fight Decoy Octopus, but that's forgivable considering the epic battle with Liquid Snake atop Metal Gear Rex. Together, they form the most eccentric, stand-out boss team ever conceived.
Which group of bosses is your favorite? Is there a team you think deserves a shout-out? Let us know in the comments below!
Ever wish you could fight that one certain character? Check out the Top 7 video game bosses you don't actually fight (opens in new tab). And for some bosses who didn't stack up, check out the Top 7 minibosses who were better than the final boss (opens in new tab).