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Resident Evil 4 Remake Boss Battles Ranked

No one would accuse "Resident Evil 4" of having lackluster bosses when it first released in 2005, and the 2023 remake follows in the same tradition, throwing terrifying, parasite-encrusted baddies at hero Leon Kennedy throughout the game's lengthy run time. Critics argued that the "Resident 4" remake nears perfection in its reimagining of the horror classic, but fans might feel curious about how the game's remade bosses compare to the originals.

From Del Lago to Salazar, the gang's all here, ready to face Leon once again. All of the original bosses from the game's 2005 release return to the remake, with some sporting entirely different looks and abilities. It may be tempting to write off each boss as being largely identical to older designs, but "Resident Evil 4" proves that the 2023 version has some new tricks up its sleeve – or herbs in its briefcase, if you will. Here's how each boss stacks up based on their power, story relevance, and overall creep factor.

10. Honorable mention: The Bella Sisters

The Bella Sisters feel like a boss fight, but they act more like an extra-scary encounter with the Chainsaw Man – well, times two. The sisters serve as a jump scare, bursting through a wall to swing at Leon with their chainsaws. Wearing dirty dresses and sporting bandages over their faces, the Bella Sisters still pose a threat to Leon. If the first encounter with a chainsaw-wielding villager felt stressful, two of a similar enemy ups the frights even more.

While they're threatening, the Bella sisters don't seem to have much of a backstory and don't fit into the plot like the other bosses on the list. However, they do serve as a setpiece that helps establish the pacing of "Resident Evil 4." From this point forward, every time players feel like they have a moment to breathe or reflect on the plot, something unexpected could happen. While the breakneck speed of the plot might feel familiar to those who have enjoyed "Resident Evil 4" before, it still feels refreshing to gamers used to games that sag in the middle. There's no hint that the Bella Sisters are waiting behind the wall they burst through, just as there's no telling what's around any corner in the rest of the game.

9. Del Lago

In the original release of "Resident Evil 4," the fight with Del Lago ranked fairly low on the list of battles because of its clunky controls. Leon must control an unruly motorboat that's tied to a giant sea creature, all while successfully throwing harpoons at the wily beast. The remake of "Resident Evil 4" keeps the boat mechanics of the original (though admittedly less clunky), but also makes another, more important change.

What was going through your head the first time you played this boss fight? The scale of Del Lago blew my mind back in 2005
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The massive stature of Del Lago still shines through in this fight, but instead of gnashing teeth, it has a rounder appearance, making it almost tadpole-like. With the fight itself feeling like a gimmick involving Leon in the boat, and the creature looking like a giant salamander, Del Lago remains the most underwhelming boss fight of the game. Still, the sheer size of Del Lago helps the scene feel like a set piece, neatly establishing Act 1's tone in "Resident Evil 4." If the boss fight itself doesn't present a challenge, seeing corpses dumped in the lake to satiate the reptilian menace at least reinforces the power of Las Plagas.

8. Salazar

By the time Leon actually fights Ramón Salazar, players feel familiar with the short, wrinkled aristocrat. The "Resident Evil 4" remake portrays Salazar as more of a Golden Girl than the original's strange Napoleon-esque dictator. As Leon makes his way through the castle, the little tyrant constantly cracks jokes and demands that Leon hand over Ashley. Still, there's something more than a bit demented about Salazar's boss fight, during which he transforms into an insect-like monster. In the original version, Salazar merged his body with the Queen Plaga, but the remake gives Salazar more agency, allowing him a stunning transformation of his own.

Sure, Salazar still demeans Leon throughout the fight, but the message feels more threatening when delivered by a giant bug crawling across the ceiling. Salazar emerges from the insect's mouth periodically, spewing black Las Plagas-tinted water into Leon's face. The fight itself doesn't pose much of a challenge, but the detailed graphics make the encounter much more terrifying than it was in the original release of "Resident Evil 4." Each tendril, pustulous eye, and pulsing vein glistens with the excellent lighting system in the RE Engine. With so much more detail introduced into the fight, players might find themselves viewing Salazar a bit more favorably than they did before.

7. El Gigante

As his name suggests, El Gigante towers above Leon, the villagers, cultists, and most buildings in "Resident Evil 4." Los Illuminados transformed El Gigante – and his brethren, whom Leon also encounters throughout the game – into a massive bioweapon. "Resident Evil 4" doesn't provide a clear explanation for the origin of this hulking creature, nor does it completely describe why there are only a few of these behemoths. And while there aren't many of the bioweapons wandering around the region, Leon encounters enough to make the repetitive fights feel a bit too similar. Sure, sometimes an El Gigante wears armor, and sometimes more than one gathers together at the same spot, but the basics of the fight remain the same: small man must defeat big man.

When Leon takes on two El Gigantes, he luckily has Luis by his side. The "RE4" remake gives companion AI a much-needed update throughout. While Luis was no slouch in the original, he serves as an even better backup now, throwing Leon ammo when he needs it most and getting in plenty of his own shots. Still, despite his massive size, El Gigante manages to come up short.

6. Krauser

The remake of "Resident Evil 4" adds in a few details to contextualize Leon's relationship with Krauser, emphasizing their military past with one another. More importantly, the remake takes a frustrating QTE sequence and transforms it into a tense cinematic encounter. Instead of furiously mashing buttons to save Leon's life, players find themselves actively facing off against their former mentor in a one-on-one knife fight. 

Leon suddenly appears much weaker without access to his cache of fancy upgraded weapons, but the moment more importantly serves as a preview of a later encounter with Krauser. After witnessing him murder one of the only friendly faces in "Resident Evil 4," players should realize that he means business.

Even though this fight with Krauser might not last long, it changes the original's narrative in a satisfying way. Instead of letting Lord Saddler do all the dirty work of killing Luis with his giant spiky tendril, the remake allows Krauser to deal the narrative blow. This act doubly ties Krauser to Leon, making their next encounter even more emotionally relevant. Of course, that boss fight comes later.

5. Garrador

"Garrador" roughly translates to "clawing" in Spanish, and the boss of the same name certainly slashes its way through Leon over and over again. The first time Leon meets Garrador, he hears the beastly creature before seeing it. Then, after the enemy frees itself from its chains and Leon realizes it can't see, the fight becomes a weird game of cat and mouse. Garrador wildly slashes around the dungeon with its comically large claws, all while Leon must cleverly avoid the hanging chains that alert the blind beast to his presence. The meeting only feels more tense later in the game, when Leon encounters two of the deadly creatures.

In the remake of "Resident Evil 4," Garrador's details are even more menacing. Players can see the metal welded to its body, and the claws seem attached in a precarious, perhaps painful way. While the fight might not present too much of a challenge for seasoned "Resident Evil" players, the updated graphics lend the encounter a more menacing edge. Add in the claustrophobic battlefield of the windowless dungeon and the Garrador sticks out as one of the most memorable boss fights in the game.

4. Verdugo

Verdugo means "executioner" in Spanish, and this boss lives up to the threat of its name. This boss battle with Salazar's henchman requires both strategy and firepower, as players must freeze the creature with liquid nitrogen just to get a few attacks in. Missing even one shot could spell defeat for Leon. That said, players can escape the battle by simply living long enough for an elevator to arrive. That might be easier said than done, though.

The Xenomorph-like Verdugo looks like it could have popped straight out of "Alien," especially considering how it slinks through the halls and climbs on walls. The beast utilizes tubing in the walls to evade Leon, slipping in and out of hiding spots and appearing when least expected. Aided by a much-needed graphics boost, Verdugo looks even more terrifying in the remake, complete with a tendril-laden mouth just waiting to gobble you up. 

While a rocket launcher can make quick work of this boss battle, the thrill of the chase creates a tense and memorable fight.

3. Father Mendez

In a lot of ways, Father Mendez is reminiscent of Mr. X from the "Resident Evil 2" remake. When Leon and Ashley first encounter the padré, he follows them down dark hallways, appears out of nowhere with terrifying jump scares, and looms menacingly tall — complete with a snazzy hat. The comparison ends there, though, and the actual battle with Mendez forces Leon to face a disturbing example of what Las Plagas can do to a person.

Mendez prays for the strength to defeat Leon, but the way that power manifests may shock players. After locking Leon in a burning barn with him, Mendez's body breaks, his spine elongating, the bare bone holding his top and bottom halves together. Long arachnid legs sprout from Mendez's back as he slowly walks towards Leon – and then the fight begins. 

After a few good hits, Mendez becomes even more spider-like, ditching his human legs and climbing around the barn. Leon must shoot explosive barrels to burn Mendez and live through the fight, and the atmosphere throughout the encounter captures all the urgency of being in a burning building. There are two things working against Leon here: the fire and the giant monster. As with many battles on this list, the RE Engine makes the remake's take on this boss battle look positively stunning. That, paired with Mendez's surprising evolutions, makes this fight unforgettable.

2. Osmund Saddler

What is there to say about Osmund Saddler? Players hear his name on the lips of every Ganado throughout "Resident Evil 4," but finally facing him brings his power into true focus. After Leon and Ada hit Saddler a few times in a cutscene, he cries out in rage, yelling that the pair have "forsaken the Holy Body." From there, things escalate quickly.

Saddler mutates into his true form, sprouting arachnid-like legs and changing into something barely recognizable as human. His voices drops to a menacing growl, almost as if the multitude of Las Plagas parasites speak through him. Throughout the fight, Saddler continues to preach at Leon, arguing that humanity has been responsible for most of the tragedies in history, like war and genocide. After one more transformation into an even more abstract form, Saddler will finally fall to Leon's skills. Even though Saddler – as the final boss – should be the most cinematic experience in all of "Resident Evil 4" (and it is pretty great), the remake adds in additional content to another important fight, making Saddler's light burn a little dimmer.

1. Mutated Krauser

Just when Krauser seemed like he couldn't get any worse, he grows giant spikes out of his body.

The original "Resident Evil 4" allowed Leon to escape without really dealing the final blow. After a lengthy fight, Krauser stumbles back and clutches his chest, which explodes, pumping out Las Plagas infected goo. In the remake of the game, Leon takes a more involved role in Krauser's death.

After Krauser collapses on the ground, he gestures to his knife, telling Leon to "Do what you have to do." This cinematic sequence focuses on Leon's emotions, allowing him a moment to gaze at his reflection in the knife before finally plunging it into Krauser's chest. The scene highlights the nuances of the situation. At one time, Krauser and Leon must have been close, but while Leon matured beyond his soldier-mindset and learned to care about others, Krauser became even more intent on combat and his mercenary work. Their paths diverged, but Krauser and Leon could have been friends once, or at least partners on the battlefield. By having Leon finish off Krauser, the "Resident Evil 4" remake sends a clear message about Leon's character development.

Krauser's mutated design also gets a facelift in the remake. Instead of a metallic wing that Krauser uses like a shield, the soldier grows jagged bonelike structures out of his arms, making him appear more alien. The combination of emotional storytelling and heart-pounding action make mutated Krauser the best boss fight in the game.