Alright, just to get this out in the open – this list is 100% subjective to me. I’m not saying that these were the toughest bosses. These were the ones who left the greatest impression. The ones that were the most fun to fight. This series has a pedigree of amazing bosses. Oh, and I’d like to mention that none of the early or hand-held games will be featured on this list. The bosses that were the most fun for me to fight were the ones in the 3D realm. I hope you enjoy.
Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda series has been screwing with our arachnophobia for years. This game, they drew the big guns. Not only an amazing first boss in the best game of the series (and that is beyond contest. It is the best), but it drew you into the creepiness of it perfectly. You are in a dark room, and have no idea what to do. You hear this weird shuffling sound above you. You think to yourself, “okay, that’s weird. Maybe I should look around.” Then, in a flash, you see the giant eye and go, “OH MY FUCKING GOD! GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!” It’s an awesome reveal. Plus, it set the stage for how involved these boss fights can be, putting your problem-solving skills to the test. If you played this game for the first time as a young kid, as I did, then you know what I mean. It was an awesome boss, and so much fun to kill.
Ocarina of Time
Yeah, there are going to be a lot of bosses on this list from that game. As I said, it’s the best in the series, and man did it have some AWESOME boss fights! I may do a post in the future where I nerd and gush over every single boss fight in that game, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is among them. While not a particularly hard boss fight, this was so awesome. You felt like such a boss when you were whipping out the Master Sword and sticking it into a fight-breathing dragon. Plus, you beat the hell out of it with a giant hammer. This is an awesome boss fight. Plus, the scenery here was awesome too. The use of color in the dark underground space made this boss fight pop. It not only felt like you were fighting a dragon. It looked like it too.
8. Majora’s Mask (with the Fierce Deity Mask)
This was an odd iteration of the series. I’m not complaining. It was fun to play. But this last boss was SO annoying if you didn’t have the Fierce Deity Mask. But man, with that mask, this was SO much fun! I swear, they should make a game about this character. I want to know everything about this guy. I want to know who he was, where he came from, and where those trippy eyes came from. This dude was awesome. Not only was he a badass swordsman, but he could throw magic from his blade. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is. But for real, this boss fight is odd. The first phase is pretty normal, but then there is a second phase, which is one of the strangest things I have ever seen. Everything about that phase is off. The music is off and how the creature that comes from the mask moves is off. It runs around like a chicken with its head cut off. I swear, it’s that weird. It even makes this weird noise as it runs. I felt so confused fighting this boss. The third phase, though, is much more normal again. The mask becomes pretty buff, making you feel even more like a boss as Fierce Deity as you kick its ass. So much fun.
Alright, this is a bit of a stretch, but this was such a fun boss fight. The Darknut is a badass enemy. Not only are its attacks powerful, but this monster doesn’t go down without giving you its all. It will put all your blade skills to the test, along with your nerves. This thing starts out as a giant knight, dressed in armor. But as you wear its armor down, piece by piece, it doesn’t lose its intensity. When you get the last piece of armor off, it has a kind of “fuck this!” moment, throwing its shield and blade at you, then whipping out a smaller blade. Stripped of armor, it is now maneuverable and deadly! As far as dark knights go, this is one version who you do NOT want to fuck with. It may be a mini-boss, but it was a damn fun one.
6. Phantom Ganon
Ocarina of Time
The Forest Temple was among my favorite dungeons in that game. The dark but still mystical music, the cool look of the place, and some of the neat puzzles in there. It had it all. And it also gave you a new weapon – the bow. And what should go with such a cool level? Why, a totally awesome boss fight, of course. This is a fight that definitely put your skills to the test. Not just in problem-solving, but also in being quick to the draw. You play a game of tennis with giant energy balls that the creature spews at you, once you get rid of its horse. Oh, and that’s another thing, when you see the horse coming at you, you have seconds to get your bow, align your arrow and let-fly. It is a very good prelude to the final battle with Ganondorf himself, and a cool fight. Plus, it plays off of how intimidating Ganondorf was in the beginning, having Link be at first very afraid of this character, since the truth is that he is still the same boy he was before, just now in an older body. Loved every minute of this fight.
Oh my god, this was fun! Not especially challenging, this boss fight was all about the experience and adrenaline! The setting was awesome. On top of the sky temple, with a raging storm all around you. You have to get to the sky in order to fight this monolithic dragon. It looks like a dragon, sounds like a dragon and breathes fire like a dragon. With this setting as the back-drop, it is hard for fights to get more epic than this. And when you finally got on the creature’s back and were slashing it up with your sword, MAN did that feel good. It was so vindicating to how cool slaying a dragon should be. This wasn’t all that hard of a boss fight, but it was all that fun of one. I hope you think so too.
Remember what I said about how Darknut is how it feels to be fighting a knight? Well, fighting Koloktos filled me with the kind of terror that I would feel fighting a six-armed knight. Skyward Sword is another strange iteration is the franchise. Still fun, don’t get me wrong, but there are some WEIRD boss fights in that game. But this one owned, in every way. At first, it is so much fun. You are getting to cut the arms off this thing, over and over and over again. So enjoyable. Then, after you do so much damage, the thing just stops and has a “you know what, fuck this!” moment. It rips out of the ground and then, each of its arms whip out a sword and it comes at you, looking to kill you. I swear, I was literally shouting, “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” constantly while fighting its bladed form. This boss was difficult and fun at the same time, which is what the best of these are.
Ocarina of Time
The Spirit Temple was my favorite dungeon in Ocarina of Time. By far. Not only did it combine some cool elements, like having puzzles in both time-zones, awesome location that feels like something in the desert and the perfect touch of music. It’s a great zone. And what does a great zone need other than an awesome boss? Twinrova isn’t particularly difficult, but MAN are they fun. It starts out as two arguing witches who bicker before deciding to kill you. Each of them shoots a powerful stream of either fire or ice. You use your Mirror Shield to deflect the beam at that opposing sister. But halfway through the fight, they decide to join up and become a great deal more threatening. Becoming one, you have to take in the energy they throw out, gathering three of one element or the other. Then, deflect it back at her, which lets you whip out your sword and deal with them in a more conventional fashion. This boss was SO much fun to fight. It made for a great end to an awesome level.
2. Dark Link
Ocarina of Time
Again, kind of cheating, since this is another sub-boss, but MAN is this fight cool! Not only is fighting an enemy who can mimic your every move intimidating, but for me, the setting of this fight took the cake. Even in the old-school graphics, the nature of the glass-like surface of the lake you are walking into the middle of comes through. It is a neat metaphor, if you think about it – you are fighting your reflection. A reflection of yourself. But this fight is awesome. All the clever tricks you have used with your sword are turned against you. You have to be smart, think on your feet and have nerves of steel to be able to kill this monster. It is kind of a pity that they didn’t run with this in any of the later games.
And my all-time favorite Legend of Zelda boss is…
1. Ganondorf and Ganon
Ocarina of Time
Who else? This is the most epic boss fight that I have ever had, before or since. Every single part of this fight is awesome. It is even awesome before the fight. The dark music in Ganondorf’s castle, becoming an chamber organ as you get to the final tower. Climbing higher and higher, it gets louder and louder. Building up the suspense of the final battle. The final clash with the king of all evil. The first time I played through this game, it gave me chills. Then, you get to his tower, and Ganondorf doesn’t even seem intimidated. He takes away your ability to use Navi to target, then you get to play tennis again. But this time, if you get hit by the energy ball, the cost to your health is devastating. But that isn’t the only difficulty. When you finally land one of his volleys back at the guy, you then get to use a new weapon – the Light Arrow. Watching it blast light energy into him, you then get to use your longshot and hook on to his cape. Getting back to his central platform, it feels SO good to draw the Master Sword and slash the fucker open! But Ganondorf has more tricks up his sleeve. After a while, he uses a power that literally tears a hole in space and time to draw in the energy of the universe. He then unleashes that energy on you, and all you can do is run and roll to get out of the way. It’s intimidating as fuck.
But after you finally do destroy him, Ganondorf doesn’t go down without a fight. He makes his own castle start to collapse, vowing to bring you down with him. But when that fails, after you and Zelda charge out of there, he has one last trick up his sleeve.
From the ruins of his castle, he rises up as Ganon. You can hardly make this creature out save two things – his glowing eyes and two GIANT swords! As a kid, this freaked the shit out of me. You then have to fight this monster, with no help to figure out how to beat him. It’s an AWESOME fight! Finally, after Zelda brings the monster to its knees, you get to do one of the most satisfying things that I have ever done in gaming – slash that fucker’s face apart, watching its blood go everywhere. Oh does that feel good!
Some of these games hold a special place in my heart, and a lot of the reason is tied to great bosses. So, what are some of your favorite bosses from the Legend of Zelda series? Let me know in the comments section.
Until next time, a quote,
“Thank you, Link. Thanks to you, Ganondorf has been sealed inside the Evil Realm! Thus, peace will once again reign in this world, for a time. All the tragedy that has befallen Hyrule was my doing. I was so young. I could not comprehend the consequences of trying to control the Sacred Realm. I dragged you into it, too. Now it is time for me to make up for my mistakes. You must lay the Master Sword to rest and close the Door of Time. However, by doing this, the road between times will be closed. Link, give the Ocarina to me. As a Sage, I can return you to your original time with it. When peace returns to Hyrule. It will be time for us to say good-bye. Now, go home, Link. Regain your lost time! Home, where you are supposed to be, the way you are supposed to be.” -Princess Zelda, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time