Among the series that have had the best boss battles, near the top is the Batman: Arkham franchise. Aside from the most recent (and shitty) entry in the franchise, they all have had some phenomenal boss battles. Whether they be unique, challenging, or straight-up fun, some of these boss battles are the most fun I have had in years. It really is a pity that the third game decided to suck so bad in this regard. But I guess they had more important things to do. Like focus on that STUPID bat-tank nonsense. I really do hate that game so much. It was the most disappointing game I have ever played. Objectively, it isn’t bad, but I was so disappointed. That game is boring. The worst offense. Wow, got off-topic. Here is a list of the top 10 bosses in a franchise that could have rewritten the rules for superhero games forever. If only it had ended on a higher note.
Well, if the game has to eschew bosses in the name of bat-tank stuff, one of the few bosses it does have might as well be cool. And this boss was cool. Very, very cool. Not only does it come right the fuck out of nowhere, but there is a pretty depressing story connected to it. You get to go through the history of this villain and discover that it was just a deaf man trying to regain his hearing. To do so, he became a monster and murdered the love of his life. Fighting this guy was tricky. You had to find him whenever he would show up, and then get on his back. Easier said than done. A fight with all kinds of presence and one of the best jump-scares I’ve had in a while. Much fun.
No, we’re not talking about the version in Arkham Knight. That was more boredom involving the Bat-tank. God I hate that vehicle and everything associated with it. However, the version in Arkham Origins is just awesome. Not only is this fight challenging, but it is intense! You have this guy burning everything around him. He cooks an entire bridge to get what he wants. After you dodge him and hit him with projectiles, then you have to hang on for dear life as he flies away. This fight is all about adrenaline, and I kinda like that. Arkham Origins might have been a bit copy-past from Arkham City, but the boss fights in this game make it all worth it. As you’ll see further up the list.
8. Poison Ivy
Everything building to this fight is just awesome. You first go into Ivy’s greenhouse and it’s pretty standard. The place is overrun with plants, but that’s to be expected. However, all hell breaks loose when Joker hits Ivy with the TITAN formula. Then the growth goes out of control. In order to stop it, you gotta cut off the source. But Ivy isn’t about to let you damage her plants. Now you gotta beat her and the plant life down. It’s a fight where you are not only fighting her plants, spores, and mind-controlled minions, but the lady herself is protected within her plants. As the prelude to the final act of the game, it’s a pretty awesome fight. A pity that the final boss was so dull. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
7. Solomon Grundy
Everything leading to this fight is just great. As is the case in all the boss battles in Arkham City. You are finally taking Penguin down. It’s pretty cathartic. But just as you are wrapping things up, the bird has one last surprise. Deep within the bowels of his club, there is the immortal, unkillable monster Solomon Grundy. This guy is tough! There is no way to face him head on. All you can do is cut off his power source, then bring on the hurt. But be careful. Along the way, he will be working to beat your ass down. And even once you finally put him in his place, the monster then tries to use the power source itself to kill you. Guy does not go down without a serious fight.
6. Killer Croc
If there is a fight where you have to constantly be keeping an eye on your surroundings, it’s the one against Killer Croc. You are locked into a sewer with him. Your only means of getting around is via boardwalks above. But if you walk too fast on them, you will alert Croc to your presence. When he does come at you, all you can do is hit his shock collar with a batarang before he gets to you. Once he closes the distance, it’s all over. What’s more, you aren’t even in his lair to fight him. You’re there to collect spores. So you are having to constantly keep your eye out, in more ways than one. Intense is the word for this fight!
5. Ra’s al Ghul
I find it kind of interesting that this entire battle is a battle where the goal is for nobody to die. Only Batman can make a statement about how nobody will die sound badass. That’s kind of awesome. But this is an awesome fight. You go between the world of Batman’s delusion that is being supplied by the Blood of the Demon, and the real world. Part of me wonders if he is fighting nothing for extended periods of time and Ra’s and Talia are just standing there dumbfounded. That would be kind of funny. But then Ra’s jumps in and Bruce’s sense of presence makes him defend himself. Whatever the case, it is an awesome fight, and a very cool way to close out the second act of the game.
The thing about this fight is the fact that it is so involved. The lead-in is awesome. You are first in the morgue, and see Bruce’s dead parents. Then there is a scene where it looks like the game is broken, and you start over. But the Asylum is different. Each fear cutscene leads into an instance where you have to hide from Scarecrow’s eyes. The moment he sees you, you die. The only way you can escape from his nightmares is to get to the bat-signal and shine it at him. It is probably the most indirect boss fight in the series, but it is still awesome.
As I said, whatever the flaws of this game, it was totally worth it for the boss fights. This is the most adrenaline-fueled of all the boss fights. It is also the closest I have ever been in a game to feeling like it’s a true fight between two skilled martial-artists. Deathstroke is an awesome fighter, and so is Batman. The two are mono-e-mono, and all you can do is beat down Slade’s defenses until you finally best him. On the higher difficulties, any mistake can be your last. It’s so intense! That’s kind of awesome. I want more boss fights like this. It could only happen in a game where it is mostly about countering mechanics.
2. Mr. Freeze
From the stance of pure inventiveness, this boss fight is probably the best that has ever been made. It’s a fight where you are constantly having to think. Since you can’t take Freeze head-on, you have to do battle with him covertly. But there’s a catch. Every time you attack him from a certain vantage point, like from a ledge or a grate, he will then eliminate that method of attack. Like he will freeze ledges so you can’t climb on them, or electronic generators that can suck him in when magnetized. The sheer level of place and having to think on your feet makes this fight totally worth it. It would be at the top of the list, were it not for one special boss, that most of you probably see coming, given another list I have done. This was an awesome fight, in the best game in the franchise. What more do you need?
And the best boss fight in the Arkham franchise is….
This boss fight is not only my favorite boss in this franchise, it’s one of my favorite final bosses of all time. It has everything going for it. All the twists and turns of this game all culminate here. You learn that Joker was manipulating everything in this game up to this point. You have the love of Bruce’s life getting shot and killed in front of him. You learn that Clayface was Joker’s stand-in, and was there so that he could have the ultimate role to play. It all comes to a head, when you have to use every trick you have to take down this clay monsters. After you beat him down to a certain point, Joker blows up the floor and you’re in the room with the Lazarus Pit. Clayface dispatches clay minions to attack you, and you get to employ Talia’s sword to take them down. Finally, you get the cure out of Clayface, and the fight ends in one of the greatest ending sequences of all time. This game is so awesome, and I love this final boss fight so much. Kills me that the ending to the entire series couldn’t be so good. But I guess they needed more bat-tank stuff. Fuck that game.
What are your favorite boss fights in this franchise? Let me know down in the Comments.
Until next time, a quote,
“You weren’t even supposed to be in here, Karlov. Why sign on with Joker?” -Batman
“Easy. For the role of a lifetime!” -Clayface, Batman: Arkham City