7 video game boss fights that are way more terrifying than they should be
There is a long list of video games that are designed to scare you. The dawn of survival games, horror games, and anything else with a slant for the creepy is in full swing in this day and age of gaming. Whether it be zombies, monsters, aliens, or psychological torture, there are dozens of great games that are specifically made to freak you out.
But this article isn’t about any of those games. No, this article is instead about the games that aren’t really supposed to be that scary. It’s about all of the freaky boss fights you’ll come across in otherwise innocuous, normal, or relatively not-scary games. We’ve compiled a list of 7 video game boss fights that are way more terrifying than they should be. Consider yourself warned!
Batman: Arkham Asylum - Scarecrow
Let’s start things off pretty easy here. Obviously, Scarecrow is one of the creepiest villains in all of the Arkhamverse, as he relies on psychological manipulation and mind games to toy with his prey. For a game that’s otherwise focused on making you feel like the big and powerful Dark Knight, it’s rather unnerving to be faced with something so debilitating.
Combine that with the fact that Scarecrow forces you to live out horrifying hallucinations and sneak around the environment while cowering in fear. Seeing one of the most iconic heroes of all time wage a battle in his own mind is much scarier than we could have accounted for.
Metal Gear Solid - Psychomantis
As scary as some video game villains are, the horror mostly stops at the edge of your TV or computer screen. No matter what they do or say, you know they’re not real and they can’t actually get to you in the real world. Well, if you’ve ever played the first Metal Gear Solid game, then you know what it feels like to doubt that concept.
Don’t worry - Psychomantis doesn’t exactly reach out of the screen and try to choke you, but what he does is far creepier in a way. Using his mental abilities, he is able to not only read the data of your memory card, sending chills down your spine, but the game actually asks you to plug your controller into slot 2 just to throw off his mind-reading signal. That’s some fourth-wall breaking nightmare fuel.
Undertale - Asriel
On a similar note, the final boss in Undertale follows in that same vein of tweaking the game’s systems and format for a battle. The entire game is quirky and full of personality, and this ultimate showdown for the pacifist ending really does a great job of tying all of the themes and loose ends together into one final moment.
In a game about killing and violence being unnecessary, it’s fitting that the most emotionally engaging and soulful ending is achieved without hurting a single person. Instead of having a massive battle with a towering foe, you’ll have to look inward during this game’s conclusion, and that coupled with the perfect soundtrack make it all the more powerful – and, as a result, more terrifying.
Shadow of the Colossus - The Final Colossus
Honestly, this entire game could be on this list. The game is about conquering massive beasts known as colossi and each of them is more terrifying than the last in a new and special way. The first few will make your eyes widen and mouth fall agape as you marvel at their size and power – I still get chills thinking about the first time I was crushed beneath a towering foot.
But during the final fight, that’s when things reach new heights. Previous enemies were the size of buildings – or skyscrapers even – but this final colossus feels like the size of a small village. The phases of the fight are so intricate and intense that you’ll spend more time cowering in fright and planning your next move than you will actually fighting it. It’s not a battle for the easily stressed.
Master Hand - Super Smash Bros.
The Super Smash Bros. games have a special place in my heart for being the embodiment of my childhood action figure fantasies. I wanted nothing more than to see Mario and Link duke it out, and this is the game that finally let me do that for the first time. The premise is that small toys come to life in the game and you control them as they fight each other for freedom.
But when you reach the final boss, things get a bit darker. The Master Hand is a large, white-gloved, and crazed creature with a disturbing laugh and terrifying theme music. Once you finally defeat it, it twists and writhes in agony as it slowly fades away. The game ended up making me fear the thought of my toys coming to life, not look forward to it like Disney’s Toy Story did.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Phantom Ganon
The final fight in Ocarina of Time is surely epic and horrific in its own way, but we’ve written about it already. Instead, I’d like to focus on the intense duel Link has with the boss of The Forest Temple – Phantom Ganon. This entire dungeon is full of creepy enemies, from the Poes, wallmasters, floormasters, and the flying green bubbles, but none are as unintentionally scary as the horsebacked phantom of your worst rival.
Just prior to reaching The Forest Temple, young Link is met outside of Hyrule Castle by Ganondorf and quickly debilitated before he rides away after Zelda. Now as an adult, you’ll face off against the flying phantom as he darts in and out of frames, shooting you with bolts of lightning and surprising you from all directions. The fight is sure to keep you on your toes and is a thrilling – and frightening – finale.
Earthbound - Giygas
It would be a disservice to the God of Listicles if I didn’t end with Giygas from Earthbound. The game is, for the most part, a bizarre and whimsical adventure of a boy and his friends with a sprinkling of twisted humor and psychedelic moments. But what you’re faced with at the game’s conclusion is far more terrifying than anyone could have imagined.
When your pseudonyms consist of things like “Embodiment of Evil" and "Universal Cosmic Destroyer” you know you’re a pretty big deal. The designs are beyond anything else seen in the game and the sharp contrast to the otherwise bright and rather approachable aesthetic pushes this fight over the edge. After all, if you lose, the entirety of reality is lost in darkness. No pressure.