Across almost every genre of video game there is, fans can relate to the idea that a given game’s “final boss” represents the ultimate challenge their heroes are facing. Unless the game is strictly about puzzles, there are probably at least a few bad guys standing in the way of peace and prosperity, and in theory, they should get harder as the game goes along. Adventure games and RPGs are most likely to fall into these tropes, though FPS games have increasingly joined in on the trend, and pretty much any game with a focus on storytelling knows that a protagonist needs a true antagonist for a player to feel like they overcame a challenge.
Obviously, the final boss of a video game is the last thing players will encounter, so only the best players will be able to get to the end and find out who it is. Sure, a person could make a guess based on the general plot and character motivations, but that doesn’t always give the answer, especially with any game featuring a creative twist or two before things are all said and done. Only the absolute best gamers around can excel at every single genre and make their way to the end, so in a way you can test how could you are at games in general by taking our quiz and finding out if you can you name the final bosses of these classic video games.
Super Mario 64
When it was time for Nintendo’s most famous character to make the jump to 3D, the company went all out in crafting one of his greatest adventures yet. That said, the beginning of Super Mario 64 is as demure and simple as could possibly be: Princess Peach has invited Mario to Mushroom Kingdom to eat a cake she made for him. Naturally, things aren’t quite that simple for everyone’s favorite plumber, as his nemesis invaded the castle and filled it with hundreds of bad guys protecting stars Mario now needs to collect to save the day.
Archeologist/adventurer Lara Croft is traveling throughout Calcutta when a strange man approaches her with a proposition that could both be lucrative and interesting to her career. At the man’s request, Lara makes her way through a number of ancient tombs, searching for an artifact called The Scion at the behest of the mysterious stranger’s boss. Lara inevitably finds what she’s looking for, though she also realizes the person who sent her on this journey might have been leaving out key information that changes everything.
Final Fantasy VII
Enter the world of Cloud Strife, a former SOLDIER who slowly realizes the Shinra Electric Power Company that controls half the world is extremely corrupt. Not only that, an incredibly powerful enemy with deep ties to the organization might be trying to destroy the world due to something he found out while working for them, and it’s up to Cloud and his friends to stop him. Luckily, these friends include the members of Avalanche and several other powerful allies, all aided by the power of mysterious Materia, making the quest a little less impossible.
Not every video game needs an ornate, drawn out story to become an all time classic. All the original Street Fighter needed was two martial arts experts named Ryu and Ken getting invited to compete in a worldwide tournament to find the greatest fighter in the world. Future titles would let players control far more than just these two heroes, including many of the bad guys encountered in this inaugural title. Even so, the two main characters likely remain the most popular to this day, because who doesn’t love a Hadoken?
Sonic The Hedgehog
Looking absolutely nothing like the animal he’s supposed to represent hardly slowed Sonic the Hedgehog down, with his bright blue ultra-fast visage far more interesting than the real deal. Granted, most hedgehogs also don’t get to go on far ranging adventures bolting across loops and jumping through hoops all to collect those precious golden coins that will undoubtedly help him out in his journey. In future titles, Sonic was aided by his friend Tails and rival Knuckles, but this time he was all alone against his always floating menace.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Link and Zelda had already gone through their fair share of adventures prior to debuting on the Nintendo 64, and yet fans were in no way prepared for what discovering the Ocarina of Time meant for the duo. As usual, Link is mostly on his own as he quests in Zelda’s name, helping her defeat a terrifying menace threatening to destroy the Kingdom of Hyrule. Time travel was nothing new to Link, yet the monsters he faced this time were harder than ever. Of course, Link also had the Sages of Time on his side to balance things out.
Earthrealm has been in trouble for some time, and the Mortal Kombat tournaments held on an evil shaman’s remote island are the main source of this problem. For more than 500 years, evil has prevailed over any good-natured participants, although American newcomers like Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade might just break the trend. Throw in an all powerful mage like Raiden and a martial arts expert named Liu Kang, and the people of Earthrealm might find salvation after all. The only way to find out is for these characters to test their might.
Doom II: Hell On Earth
Let’s face it—the creators of Doom didn’t quite go out of their way to explain to players exactly what was going on, and the less said about the movie, the better. None of that matters to anybody who played it, though, as gamers were too enthralled by Doomguy and his incredible facial expressions to question why these Hell demons were infecting Mars in the first place. All they needed to know for the sequel is that this chaos apparently made its way to Earth, and they were ready to blow demons up all over again.
Thanks to the innovations of a brilliant scientist named Dr. Light, humankind has been blessed with the assistance of highly advanced robots. Unfortunately, it turns out Dr. Light may not have been quite the genius he thought, as these robots eventually backfire and start to attack humanity, as is so often the case in stories of the sort. Luckily, the doctor’s assistant was willing to become part-man, part-machine to fight against the most powerful robots threatening mankind, and MegaMan was born.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Comic books have been around a whole lot longer than video games, making it all the more impressive developers were able to craft a wholly original story for The Caped Crusader and his rogues gallery in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Using familiar locations from the comics, Batman finds himself trapped inside the same mental hospital so many of his enemies have been sent over the years, and he has no choice other than to fight his way out or meet a terrifying doom.
Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction
Continuing from where the first game in the series left off, the beast from hell has risen again, and players have the choice between several powerful classes of warrior in how they want to defeat him. This time around, Diablo isn’t the only bad guy, aided by several Lords of Destruction including at least one who outranks him. Infinitely customizable given the job classes, players can tackle Diablo and his villainous allies in a variety of ways, all of which ensure peace on Earth when the menace is stopped.
When Space Pirates rob a research vessel and steal dangerous organisms known as Metroids, the Galactic Federation knew the entire world was at stake. Luckily, the legendary bounty hunter Samus Aran found herself up for the task at saving the world, landing on the planet Zebes all by herself and taking on the pirate fleet all by herself. At first, all Samus has to help her is a futuristic ray gun shooting power beams, but as luck would have it, the Pirates also left a bunch of power ups floating around she uses to become a Metroid-killing machine.
Donkey Kong Country
In contrast to the game in which he made his debut, Donkey Kong Country presented a new version of its titular character. No longer kidnapping princesses, DK was now more interested in hanging out with his nephew, relaxing, and eating bananas, simple pleasures just about anybody could relate to. Unfortunately, a greedy menace came along and stole the Kong family Banana Horde, hiding their favorite fruits all throughout the world. As luck would have it, the Kongs are also masters of barrel and mine cart related travel, making it a little easier to win back their prized possessions.
Final Fantasy X
Dragged out of his idyllic dream life in Zanarkand by a mysterious friend of his father’s, main character Tidus spends most of Final Fantasy X having no idea what the hell is going on in Spira, the strange world he finds himself in. On the plus side, he met a woman named Yuna, whose father knew his father, and she seemingly falls in love with him solely based on this fact. Then again, this Yuna happens to be a legendary summoner on a quest to save the world, and chivalrous Tidus feels he has no choice but to join her.
Kirby's Dream Land
To this day, no one really knows what the heck Kirby really is except for an adorable pink puffball, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the most iconic video game characters in history. Kirby’s long story began with this inaugural trip through his Dream Land, which had recently been robbed of all its food by a villainous leader. Within seconds of playing, gamers learned how Kirby was going to handle this hunger shortage, using the very concept of eating as one of his most feared methods of attack.
Grand Theft Auto III
The main character of Grand Theft Auto III manages to develop an incredibly strong personality without ever saying a word, though given the sort of activity he gets involved in, words would probably just get in the way. As his criminal empire expands, it becomes clear the one thing our main character can’t handle is taking orders, meaning the toughest enemies he encountered were often the people he performed jobs for earlier in the game. Unless, of course, you include the Liberty City police force trying to stop him, which would be a valid argument for sure.
Final Fantasy IX
Ironically minimalist in every sense of the word, Shadow of the Colossus is deceptively subtle in its story and gameplay, yet managed to achieve legendary status with how beautifully it used simple concepts. The story is as basic as anything else, with a young man named Wander going on a journey to save a woman players know nothing about. They also don’t learn much about the giant colossi populating the land, except that Wander may be able to restore his maiden’s soul by conquering them all, one by one. You don’t need a reason to help people, or at least that’s what Zidane Tribal says, explaining his basic motivation as the main character of Final Fantasy IX. The game developers must have felt the same way, giving back to fans by including countless references to the Final Fantasy series scattered throughout Zidane’s story, which was already strong enough on its own to create arguably the best written Final Fantasy to date. Of course, a good hero always requires strong villains standing against him, and Zidane has more than a few enemies threatening his allies attempts at creating world peace.
Every 100 years, the same legendary horror rises on Earth, and in 1691, it was Simon Belmont’s turn to deal with the menace. In return for his efforts, said monster placed a curse on Simon that essentially made him live out the ordeal again and again, which explains his constant appearances throughout the Castlevania series. Belmont began this journey because his entire family has been making a reputation of doing so for centuries, somewhat preparing him for the dangers he would face in the dark castle.
Mass Effect 2
After a near death experience, Commander Sheperd was revived to the unsettling news human colonies have been disappearing from the universe in rapid fashion. This could only be the work of an alien menace, which is soon revealed as Reapers working through a species called Collectors. Shepherd immediately realizes the only way to save the world is to destroy the Collectors and he sets out on his journey, joined by several crew members, old and new, helping him save the day.
Though Kingdom Hearts exists in a world filled with countless classic Disney and Squaresoft characters, the hero of the series is a wholly unique young man named Sora, who finds himself chosen to wield the Keyblade. With this power, Sora finds himself stronger than any other heroes around, fully prepared to battle the Heartless beings that attempt to destroy the whimsical world he and his friends occupy. Along the way, Sora also hopes to reunite with his friends Riku and Kairi, not to mention the familiar faces from Disney movies that made the series popular.
Final Fantasy XII
Fans of the Final Fantasy series were long aware of the series penchant for games based entirely on war, and the twelfth entry wasted no time in showing the perils of such conflicts. Instantly, the highest ranking members of Dalmasca’s royal family are killed, leaving only the youngest children alive, though presumed missing or dead. Years later, a young man named Vaan inadvertently finds himself smack dab in the middle of Princess Ashe’s resistance movement, when all he wanted to do was escape poverty and become a sky pirate.
Quite frankly, the friendship between a honey bear named Banjo and a Kazooie, the bird who lives in his backpack, never made a whole bunch of sense, and that’s not to mention the fact a blind mole called Bottles serves as their guru. None of that really matters when an evil witch kidnaps Banjo’s beloved baby sister Tooty, and it’s up to these strange bedfellows to get her back. Along the way, the bear and bird would help out countless of other friendly faces trapped in Spiral Mountain, preparing to slay the witch and save the day.
Final Fantasy IV
It takes all of Final Fantasy IV before Cecil and his friends truly understand the mysterious crystals that seem to represent all power in the universe, but its clear to the player these sparkly objects are vastly important from the very beginning. In unlocking the crystal’s mystery and using them to save the world, Cecil also goes on a journey of self-discovery, putting his past as a dark knight behind him in favor of serving the forces of light as a paladin.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Taking the success of Grand Theft Auto III back to the 1980s, GTA: Vice City was as much an homage to gangster movies of the era as anything else. Of course, from a gamer’s perspective, it was also incredibly innovative, with the story of Tommy Vercetti and his gradually expanding criminal empire breaking ground in more ways than one. Not only were the anti-hero’s actions questionable, the world he performed in was uniquely expansive offering more freedom for players than ever before. That said, Vercetti himself was always stuck under the watchful eye of a certain enemy.
Metal Gear Solid
An evil organization called FOXHOUND is holding the world hostage with a $1 billion ransom, and as per usual, the United States are not willing to negotiate with terrorists. Instead, they send the highly trained special agent Solid Snake to enter their facility and save two hostages, DARPA Chief Donald Anderson and his Colonel’s niece Meryl. As it turns out, there are other hostages on board for Snake to save as well, though his main mission remains finding out who is in charge and more importantly stopping them from blowing up the world.
Resident Evil 4
The President of the United States has a serious problem—his daughter Ashley Graham has been kidnapped while visiting a small town in Spain. Why exactly this cult wanted Ashley isn’t clear, but it’s nonetheless up to special agent Leon Kennedy to bring her to safety. Leon had plenty of experience under his belt from his time in Raccoon City, but nothing could prepare him for the sinister madness he would meet on this mission. Making matters worse, Ashley apparently has no idea how to protect herself, practically walking right into the enemy’s hand again and again.
Dr. Gordon Freeman started his day the same as any other scientist working for a top secret research facility. He was a little late for work, but everything seemed in order when he started analyzing a new specimen that suddenly explodes and attacks every living thing in the organization. Lucky for Freeman, he also happens to be a highly skilled marksman, and his Hazardous Environment Suit is a bit stronger than anything in the real world, able to withstand bullets and even small rockets, so long as he properly prepares for impact.
From the opening seconds of BioShock, it’s clear the mysterious underwater city of Rapture isn’t anything like its name would imply. Granted, players could also Rapture might have lived up to the title not too long ago, but some form of dystopian apocalypse recently took place, leaving the world a terrifying mess. Worst of all, monstrous machines called Big Daddies wander through the wreckage attacking anyone who gets too close to their Little Sisters, something that inevitably becomes necessary to the player’s mission.
Final Fantasy VI
Taking the old formula and giving players more options than ever before, Final Fantasy VI vastly expanded what fans even thought possible for an RPG of its era. With 14 playable characters, it remains the largest cast of any Final Fantasy game to this day, each including their own quirks, skills, and entertaining back stories. Naturally, for this many diverse fighters to combine their forces, a pretty horrific menace is probably threatening the whole world, and that’s definitely the case with the apocalyptic madman who laughingly dismisses their every attempt to thwart him.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Three decades before the original Metal Gear, an operative named Naked Snake went on a journey that some fans consider far more intense than anything the more popular Solid Snake could have imagined. Instead of sleuthing through an advanced high tech facility, Naked Snake is forced to traverse the Soviet jungle as he searches for a super weapon that could easily cause the world to end. The more Snake learns about his enemies, the harder his mission becomes, with menaces closer to home than the series had ever before created.
Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
It all began innocently enough, with a Prince and his father Shahraman journeying through India to visit a foreign Sultan. Unfortunately, a mysterious stranger soon tricks them, seeking their aide in saving his own life. Even worse, by saving his own life, that stranger is putting everyone else at risk, with only the Prince and a young woman named Farah saved from his treachery. Though the Prince doesn’t fully trust Farah, he has no choice except to work with her and save the people he inadvertently placed in danger.
Nothing against GoldenEye, but Perfect Dark took that game’s engine and turned it into a significantly better game simply by adding a few unique innovations, not to mention a wholly original storyline. While Joanna Dark was similar to James Bond in that she was a secret agent, it soon becomes clear Dark’s line of spy work was a bit more futuristic than anything Bond had gotten into. Bond never had to deal with any sort of alien menace, either, something Agent Dark eventually realizes is her sole mission.
An everyday drive through the countryside takes a horrific turn for Harry Mason and his daughter Cheryl when a mysterious girl in the fog causes Mason to swerve off the road and lose consciousness. The nightmare gets worse when Mason wakes up and discovers his daughter is gone, forcing him to journey through the town of Silent Hill in order to find her. This is no ordinary town, either, with a literal and foreboding darkness slowly casting a shadow over everything and making it that much harder for Harry to save Cheryl.
Before they even set their eyes on Planet Bomber, the villainous group in Bomberman 64 successfully destroy an unnamed planet, draining the land of its energy and causing darkness to prevail. Once the legendary Bomberman realized this was about to happen to his planet, as well, he immediately set into action, aided by a mysterious stranger who gives him hints about these new enemies and how to defeat them. Of course, with Bomberman, there was only one option—throwing bombs at them.
Born to the son of one of the Empire’s Six Great Generals, the hero of Suikoden was likewise expected to become a great soldier from an early age. As it would turn out, however, the young McDohl realized the Empire was corrupt almost immediately upon his father introducing him to the people in charge, and before long he branched off and joined the Liberation Army to defeat their tyranny. Not only that, McDohl soon assumed control of the army, finding 108 Stars of Destiny to rebel against his father’s leaders.
Skies Of Arcadia
Heroes all deal with tyrannical governments in their own way, yet one of the most popular methods is going full Robin Hood, stealing from those in charge and giving to the poor. This is the ethos of the Blue Rogues, a group of air pirates fighting the Valuan Empire in Skies Of Arcadia. Chief amongst the Rogues is Vyse, a young man no longer content with simply annoying the empire and now feels ready to attack them head on, only needing a little help from his friends.
When war wages between two powerful nations, all citizens of both lands suffer in their every day lives. Of course, some people have more personal matters to deal with, such as Lei Fong Wong’s retrograde amnesia, which prevented him from even knowing who he was in the face of all this chaos. Nonetheless, Lei Fong Wong tried to do whatever he could in aiding the villagers who took him in, only to accidentally make matters worse by destroying the village. To make things right and find out who he is, Wong journeys with a village doctor to find the root of the war.
An army youth group is viciously attacked the night before they’re supposed to go home, and the only survivors soon find themselves the most integral figures in the entire country. The first Suikoden game was a well crafted tale of war, and the sequel improved upon the formula in every way, most notably the introduction of several villains considered the best in video game history. Of course, the heroes of the game aren’t too shabby either, especially if the player collects all 108 Stars of Destiny to help the City-States defeat Highland once and for all.
One morning, a young man is woken up by his mother and told a good friend is waiting for him in town square, where a local festival happens to be taking place. Thus begins one of the most epic adventures through time in video game history, as the friends soon come face to face with the reality their planet’s future is doomed. In their efforts to save it, they cross paths with a princess, a robot, a frog, and a cavewoman, all of whom prove invaluable at stopping an alien menace from destroying the world in the year 1999.
Countless villains could be described as trying to take the light out of the world in one way or another, and the monsters in Rayman take this idea to its most literal conclusion. By stealing the illuminating Great Protoon, the game’s antagonist brings chaos to the Electoons who need it to live. The one hope they have is that Rayman could save them, aided by Betilla the Fairy, who teaches him magic and gives trips on how to progress his journey.
Devil May Cry
After his family were killed by demons, Dante made it his life’s goal to avenge them, slaying every evil monster to get in his way. Of course, it would be all the better if he could make a little money while doing it, which is why he became a demon hunter/private investigator. Once a woman named Trish walks into his office with news about a serious menace threatening the world, Dante springs into action and forgets about the business altogether, using his own status as half-demon to prove a more than formidable opponent to the forces of evil.
Shadow Of The Colossus
Ironically minimalist in every sense of the word, Shadow of the Colossus is deceptively subtle in its story and gameplay, yet managed to achieve legendary status with how beautifully it used simple concepts. The story is as basic as anything else, with a young man named Wander going on a journey to save a woman players know nothing about. They also don’t learn much about the giant colossi populating the land, except that Wander may be able to restore his maiden’s soul by conquering them all, one by one.
It was already kind of complicated when Chrono Trigger took gamers on a journey through time, and some critics felt Chrono Cross trying to throw alternate realities into the mix only muddied the waters further. That said, an admittedly confusing story in no way affects the overall beauty of Serge’s journey across dimensions, wherein he slowly learns some incredible facts about himself and indeed the entire world. Turns out the mysterious girl calling herself Kid who helps him out might have an interesting story herself, but we’ll let you play it to figure that one out.
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
In its title alone, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon presents a quirky lightheartedness that nonetheless implies players are in for something a little bit more than a mere video game. Indeed, Goemon is listed as the star of the show because Mystical Ninja is more of a movie than just a game, though its villains may prefer it were called a Broadway musical. That said, it’s nothing like any Broadway musical anyone has ever seen, with giant robots, flying snakes, and a battery powered robot who helps Goemon and his friends on their journey.
If a big meteorite crashed only a few feet outside of town, one might hope some sort of police force would be interested in what damage it caused. In the world of EarthBound, all the people have is a young boy named Ness and his equally youthful friends, yet somehow this turns out to be sufficient in stopping an alien menace from destroying the planet. Ness and his allies have some pretty unique abilities in fighting the forces of evil, and yet it’s nonetheless a major challenge for these kids to save the world.
Secret Of Mana
Dozens of video games over the years have used the concept of mana to represent magic or otherwise mystical forces, and Secret of Mana is one of the best at explaining the allure of this mysterious substance. For centuries, the overlords in the game have hidden this power from the people, knowing it could cause chaos in the wrong hands. However, when a young man discovers the Mana Sword, he decides to use the power solely for good, starting a journey to discover why exactly the ruling society were so afraid of this power in the first place.
Breath Of Fire III
Over the course of five games, the Breath of Fire series told a fairly similar story again and again—a young man named Ryu possesses the mysterious ability to transform into a dragon, and with the help of his friends, he’s trying to find out why he can do this. To many fans, the third entry in the series was the best version Capcom told, thanks to the strong writing and fun personalities presented by Ryu’s companions this time around.
A tragic hero from the second he hits the screen, Ico’s journey almost ends before it even begins. For reasons that are initially a mystery, poor Ico is trapped inside a stone coffin to die, when a strange earthquake strikes at just the right moment to allow his escape. Soon Ico comes across a girl named Yorda, who seems to know her way around the castle he nearly became entombed in. Together, Ico and Yorda try to escape, fighting gigantic monsters as they rush to freedom.
Whenever someone gets killed in a dojo, it’s almost inevitable another hero will set on a journey to avenge their death. Should that hero be related to the murder victim, as is the case in Shenmue, the story is bound to be powerfully emotional, and that was certainly the case when Ryo Hazuki watched his father die at the hands of a mysterious foreigner looking to steal a family artifact. As it turns out, there’s much more to the murder-theft than anything Ryo realizes, but this doesn’t stop him from enacting revenge and finding out the truth.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
Shadow Dragons with he goal of destroying the world don’t let things like death get in their way, especially when powerful evil wizards are around to revive them. The people of Archanea were never able to sleep knowing this menace existed, until a young warrior named Marth started proving he might possess the strength to repel the forces of evil once and for all. At the King’s request, Marth and his allies attack the evildoers head on, aided by the legendary Fire Emblem in their quest to save the world.