Bosses, ladies and gentlemen. They have this dangerous allure about them, and facing them all by yourself is always a challenge. Once you’re eye to eye with one of them, it feels like you are an incompetent little kid, who just happened to stumble his way here with sheer luck. It’s like…wait, what? No, I’m not talking about the boss at your office who keeps throwing dossiers at you and has you running around the place, fetching coffee for him. I’m talking about the real bosses, those from the video games we play when we’re not in the office (of course, a good office clerk would never even think of playing a game during working hours…)
To honour these challenging encounters, I’m counting down my top three boss encounters from video games. So make sure you have enough health potions and that your save file is up-to-date, we’re facing the big ones!
Number 3: Heigan the Unclean
Bosses in MMORPG’s are always a bit special. The developers have to make sure that the encounter is challenging for not just one, but an entire group of players, and that the mechanics do something with that amount of individuals. World of Warcraft has by now a whole truckload of raid bosses, some with really challenging mechanics, others with really repetitive ones. Heigan the Unclean, one of the bosses from Naxxramas, is a rather special case.
You see, Heigan is not a hard encounter. You tank him, you spank him, and the healers keep everyone alive. However, at certain points in the encounter, he gets on that platform and forces the entire raid onto the floor beneath it. Then, he puts sections of the floor on fire, and the raid has to move in a certain pattern across the room to not get turned to embers by green, greasy juice. In order to survive, you need to know the “Heigan Dance”. It’s nothing but a pattern you need to remember, but it seems that quite some online gamers have a lack of long-term memory.
Facing Heigan was always a delight back in the days of Wrath of the Lich King, as it was always a laugh when seven of your ten men failed at the Heigan Dance, and you had to slowly wittle away at the necromancer’s hit points with a tank, a damage-dealer and a healer. Also, having a new, cool tune to dance to every week made the encounter even more fun, and so we had a selection of songs to turn up when we stepped into Heigan’s dance studio. Really, give this boss a try while listening to “Rudebox”. You’ll automatically win at “Naxxramas’ got Talent”!
Number 2: The Midgar Zolom
The Midgar Zolom from Final Fantasy VII was not a real boss, as you were not meant to actually face this badass snake. At the point you meet this creature, your party is nothing but a midnight snack for this beast, and you will not be able to beat this mofo (unless you did some hardcore farming or cheating). In order to get through the swamp this snake is guarding, you need to catch a Chocobo and outrun it. Once you did that, you’ll find the Midgar Zolom turned into a barbecue stick by Sephiroth, also known as the coolest villain of video gaming.
Still, when you’re young and someone tells you you can’t do something, you do it. I faced this beast together with my brother a hundred times, and we just couldn’t kill it. Sometimes, we thought we were really close, but we weren’t. Sooner or later, we just caught a goddamn Chocobo and raced off into the distance, never to be seen by the Zolom again. Still, this snake has my gaming heart in a chokehold, and it deserves the second spot in this countdown.
Number 1: Moldorm
Ah, A Link to the Past. Even though games like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are considered the greatest Zelda games, my heart will be forever lost to this SNES title. Everything was right about this game: the story, the gameplay, the graphics, the music…everything! The only thing that bothered me as a boy playing this game was Moldorm, the boss of the Tower of Hera. This little sucker had a knack for throwing you off the plattform you had to face it on, having you climbing the whole damn tower again. Son of a…
However, on one cold Saturday morning, I got up before the rest of my family, booted my console and tried again. My little fingers pushed the buttons of the controller, guiding Link up and up and up. Then, after endless floors and stairs (of course they weren’t endless, but let me exaggerate), I was back in Moldorm’s lair. The snake-like creature charged at me, but I had found out about its weak spot: the tail was vulnerable, and I guided Link around the monster, gracefully and swift. Skillfully, my digital alter ego struck the beast with his sword, and after several strokes and a myriad of little heart attacks when I was too damn close to the edge, the creature ended in a burning blaze, and I was rewarded with a song of victory. Completely oblivious about the time, I called the landline of the friend where my big brother stayed for the weekend, just to wake up the parents of that friend. But I didn’t care, no: I had succeeded in something he had not conquered, and I had to share my victory with him!
So, I guess the reason Moldorm is number one in this countdown is also out of a nostalgic reason. It was the first boss I slaughtered without the help of others, and that just felt really satisfying back then. For that reason, Moldorm will forever be the coolest boss encounter of my gaming life!
So there you have it, my three most favourite bosses. Any bosses that you remember fondly? Any encounters that bring up this sense of nostalgia in your stomach? Hit me up in the comments. Until then, happy gaming!