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Top 10 Epic Boss Battles of the 1990s

VO: Dan Paradis

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Even by today’s standards these battles are hailed as gems in gaming. Welcome to and today we’re continuing off our series of the Best Video Game bosses, with our picks for the top ten video gameboss battles of the 1990s.

For this series, we’ll be looking at the most enjoyable, influential and well-designed boss battles per decade, starting off with the glory days of the 90s! Only one boss per franchise will be allowed for each list, and we’re ranking the bosses on how well designed the battles themselves are.

#10: AT-ST
“Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire” (1996)

Ah, the glory days of The Empire Strikes Back, and the iconic battlethat took place on Hoth between the rebellion and a hell of a lot of AT-ATs and AT-STs. You couldn’t ask for a better setting for a bossfight, and as Dash Render you certainly lay siege to your fair share of mechanical monstrosities. That is until you find yourself fleeing through Echo Base, where you have to battle a lone AT-ST while you are…on foot. All of a sudden that bipedal death machine got a whole lot more scary, but a great way to throw you into action and adrenaline of a galactic scuffle. You’ll also fight another walker later in the game, but that first encounter definitely had the most visual heft.

#9: The Master
“Fallout” (1997)

A post-apocalyptic wasteland is a hard place to live, and some would say that adapting ensures survival. The man known as Richard Moreau took that to new extremes when he was exposed to the Forced Evolutionary Virus and became a horrific but sentient blob of flesh with plans to turn all of humanity into super mutants so that the species could live. The battle against him is more a contest of wit then gunplay, though his devout followers more than make up for that aspect. Depending on your choices and allegiance, you can choose to join him in his ploy or convince him that his grand scheme is flawed. Either ways certainly ends in a bang!

#8: Star Wolf
“Star Fox 64” (1997)

Think you’re the greatest pilot in the cosmos? Well now is your chance to prove it! Before confronting the galactic menace known as Andross, Fox McCloud and company find themselves set upon by their rivals; Star Wolf. It’s the mother of all intergalactic dogfights as players have to take on hostiles, all of them armed with the same weapons and tricks as our heroes. Needless to say you’ll need to be quick on the draw and do a whole lot of barrel rolling in order to avoid getting gunned down and show this mercenary company why foxes beats wolves.

#7: Mother Brain
“Super Metroid” (1994)

Samus has come across her fair share of nightmarish creatures, but none come quite as close to this alien matriarch. After defeating numerous space pirates, shooting an oversized brain in a jar should be a cakewalk, except that it turns out Mother Brain is so much more than just a single organ. Easily overpowered, it seemed like this was a no-win battle, until players were saved by the Metroid larvae from the start of the playthrough. Not only does it sacrifice itself for Samus, but grants her use of the game’s strongest weapon; the Hyper Beam. Unloading an infinite supply barrage of super-powered, rapid fire blasts into a vile monster has never felt so good!

#6: Koopa Clown Car
“Super Mario World” (1991)

What vehicle would be worthy of the almighty Bowser other than a flying contraption that comes complete with an endless supply of Big Steelies, Mechakoopers and even the ability to change expressions. In order to save Princess Peach, again, Mario battles the airborne Koopa King while having to avoid his mechanical minions, fireballs and the clown car itself as he tries to crush the plumbers underneath it. Giant Baby Bowser is also worthy of mention for the element of tension that it added, but we just can’t say no to a flying death machine with a smile on its face.

#5: Giygas
“EarthBound” (1995)

Nowhere is this JRPG’S underling dark side better displayed then with this horrifically formless alien creature. Known as the Embodiment of Evil and capable of ripping the universe apart, it encounters Ness and his companions in a dark dimension of its own making, where the players are subjected to distorting and disturbing images of Giygas’ ever shifting appearance, with a haunting score to match. As if that’s not creepy enough, there is no way to actually win this fight against it due to its overwhelming power. All you can do is keep praying over and overand just try to stay alive, until it finally dissipates. We’re pretty sure more than a few people still have nightmares about this boss, and we don’t blame them!

#4: Magma Dragoon
“Megaman X4” (1997)

Capcom is the king of crossover, but it’s not always in your face. Case and point, Street fighter fans should notice that Magma Dragoon has essentially the same moveset as Ryu, Ken and Akuma. Anyway, with the bar already set quite high by having his entire stage set inside an active volcano, Magma Dragoon will certainly keep players on their toes due to the limited number of ground and abundance of lava around them, all the while sending both high and low waves of fire their way. While he may be just another Maverick and the lightning-fast pace of his attacks and the homage to the beloved tournament fighter franchise make him a standout challenge for Megaman fans!

#3: Hitler
“Wolfenstein 3D” (1992)

How could we not include a boss battle that features a showdown with the poster boy of the Third Reich? Shooting your way through the fuhrerbunker and a multitude of Nazi Officers and crazy occultists, players eventually came face to face with Adolf Hitler, who happens to have got himself a giant, heavily-armed mechanical suit. After managing to blast it to pieces, the Fuhrer shows that he’s rather a handy with a pair of chain guns. The ludicrous nature of thefight and the joy of riddling the Nazi Leader to bloody pieces is too gruesome to not put it on our list, historical inaccuracy be damned!

#2: Ganon
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998)

In what many consider to be one of the greatest video games ever created, no one can deny the final battle against the villainous Ganondorf more than lived up the epic standards that had been set beforehand. After activating the Triforce of Power, the King of Evil is transformed into a monstrous beast wielding two gigantic swords and one hell of a murderous itch. Initially lacking a Master Sword, players had to rely on their alternative weapons such as the hammer or Biggoron Sword in order to keep him at bay before reclaiming the legendary blade and finally slaying the dark beast. Cinematic, emotional and ever so satisfying, the clash against Ganon will not leave gamer’s minds any time soon.
Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

“Resident Evil 3: Nemesis” (1999)

“Super Street Fighter II Turbo” (1994)

Shao Kahn
“Mortal Kombat II” (1993)

Dr Robotnik
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (1991)

Safer Sephiroth
“Final Fantasy VII” (1997)

#1: Psycho Mantis
“Metal Gear Solid” (1998)

Never has breaking the fourth wall left such a profound effect on video games as a whole. The first member of the FOXHOUND unit that Snake encounters on his mission to save hostages on the island of Shadow Moses, this telepath made it very clear he was unlike any other boss that the 90s had ever seen. He wasn’t just able to possess other characters, he was able to possess your Playstation! Reading memory cards, able to predict your movements unless you switched your controller port, even made you think your television had crashed, Psycho Mantis truly took us on a mindtrip the likes of which many have tried to replicate, but none can hold a candle to!

Do you agree with our list? Whose you favourite 1990s video game bossbattle? With new top tens published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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