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Bosses That Were A Total Joke

For decades now, the boss battle has been a central part of the gaming experience. While not every game challenges you with bosses, the ones that do tend to be some of the most memorable experiences a gamer can have. Sometimes, a boss serves as a welcome change of pace from your average action-adventure fare, like Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid. Other games make boss battles take center stage, such as the Dark Souls series or the various Mega Man games.

However, with the vast number of bosses that have existed across the years, you can expect to find some stinkers if you look hard enough. In some cases, the gameplay fails to match the narrative's portrayal of a powerful enemy. In the more egregious cases, a "battle" can boil down to pressing a few buttons in a quick-time event.

So to remind you of some of the worst encounters that await in the world of video games, we present to you 12 bosses that were a total joke — sometimes on purpose, but usually not.

Arkham Asylum - Joker the Titan(ic failure)

With Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady Studios set a new tone for superhero games. The Dark Knight finds himself trapped in Arkham Asylum while trying to round up his classic adversaries. For the most part, the boss battles properly represent the comic book characters: Bane flexes the muscles that broke the Bat, while Killer Croc proves to be a frightening apex predator in the sewers. When the developers saved Joker for last, you'd hope that his fight would deliver on his demented sense of humor. Instead, the game itself pulls a prank on you.

Joker takes some Titan, which is basically super steroids. He hulks out and becomes a gigantic, brawny monster. This turns the encounter into a straight-up fistfight akin to the encounter with Bane rather than an interesting fight of wits. Even more insultingly, the bulky clown barely poses a challenge. He lazily swipes at you for a couple seconds, and when you tire him out, prepare to fight some goons — you know, the one thing you've probably done the most up until now.

After dispatching some no-name thugs, you pull Joker down from his pedestal and hit him three times. He'll swing his arms at you again, then return to his raised platform, sending out more small fry. Rinse and repeat the process until you defeat the Joker. The fight pales in comparison to all the disturbing things the Joker is capable of.

Red Dead Redemption - Ross lost the draw

Bullets and blood accompany every step of your journey through the Wild West of Red Dead Redemption. While John Marston tries rounding up his former gang members, he often runs into epic shootouts that would make Clint Eastwood jealous. His son, however, takes a more focused approach in his part of the story.

After John's murder at the hands of the US government, his son Jack vows to take revenge. He follows some leads in order to find Edgar Ross, the man who orchestrated John's death. At last, the moment we were all waiting for arrives: Jack finally stands face to face with his father's murderer.

In what should've been an epic encounter, you're forced to play the Draw minigame — the same one you've played countless times as John to dispatch even the most random cowboys. Succeed and Jack will shoot Ross dead. The end.

Reducing this tense moment in the story to a simple minigame creates a dissociation between the gameplay and narrative. The finale fails to deliver on the emotional buildup. Instead, victory is so easy to pull off that it doesn't feel deserved.

Spider-Man 2 - Mysterio's mightiest illusion

In Spider-Man 2, players took control of their favorite webslinger in an open-world rendition of New York City. Doc Ock takes center stage as the main villain of the game. But worry not, as you'll also encounter other classic nemeses, including the one and only Mysterio. Throughout the game, Mysterio barely poses a threat. He'll spawn mostly harmless illusions, such as a UFO that "invades" the city. At one point, he even turns the Statue of Liberty into a giant replica of himself. Each time, Spider-Man finds a way to put an end to these illusions.

But nothing compares to Mysterio's greatest trick: an intimidating health bar.

At least, that's what he'd want you to think. When Spider-Man finally corners Mysterio (while robbing a store, of all places), the illusionist digs in for the battle. He raises his arms, puffs out his chest, and assumes a battle stance. His health bar appears in the top right and fills up three full times. It's enough to almost convince you he's the final boss.

But when you're back in control, all you need to do is hit him once. All three health bars deplete, knocking Mysterio to the floor. Congratulations, you've finally defeated Spider-Man's fiercest adversary! It's a great punchline to end the tale of the Mysterio.

Final Fantasy 10 - Yu've gotta be kidding

Final Fantasy 10 tells a story of destruction, where a powerful, millennium-old entity called Sin terrorizes civilizations with any form of advanced technology. Anytime someone defeats Sin, the old husk of its creator, Yu Yevon, creates a new one, and the cycle repeats. It's up to Tidus, Yuna, and the rest of the gang to put a true end to Sin, once and for all.

After defeating this iteration of Sin, the party confronts Yu Yevon. He's the last enemy standing between you and the credits, but for all the narrative gravitas that surrounds him, he's practically a doormat. The game gives you a status called Auto-Life, which revives you upon death. It lasts until you win the battle. You literally can't lose outside of actively hurting your own party with specific status effects.

Across the tens of hours you spent on leveling up your party, the final encounter fails to deliver a satisfying challenge to make those hours feel worthy. With a specific ability and item, you can even end the battle in three turns, regardless of your level. Just inflict him with the Zombie status, which turns healing into damage. Then, after Yu Yevon takes his turn, use a Phoenix Down on him. Its reviving capabilities become flipped, turning into an item of instant death. Voila, you've beaten Final Fantasy 10.

Fable 2 - An unfair end to players everywhere

In Fable 2, you play as a man or woman named Sparrow. As a child, you and your sister live in poverty in the city of Bowerstone. Through a series of events, Lord Lucien Fairfax, the most powerful man in town, tries to murder both you and your sister. He was only half successful.

You grow up and learn that Lucien plans on building the Tattered Spire, which, according to legends, can grant someone limitless power. Sparrow, coming from an ancestral lineage of chosen ones, must gather three other heroes and put a stop to Lucien. It's a grand fantasy adventure full of classic tropes, and it all culminates in a grand showdown atop the spire between the four heroes and the now-powerful Lucien Fairfax.

As it turns out, the Spire ends up being Lucien's downfall, almost literally. As with every power-hungry villain, he spews a lengthy monologue about his unrivaled power. Nothing can stop him now! Well, except for one bullet from you. Mid-speech, the game prompts you to hit Lucien. If you don't, one of your teammates will instead, complaining about the villain's speech. Regardless, Lucien falls off the spire to his presumed demise.

Maybe these events and the Spire all act as a metaphor for the perils of hubris. Or maybe Lionhead Studios dropped the ball with this ending. Either way, it's a horrible way to reward players at the end of a grand RPG.

Borderlands 2 - How the mighty have fallen

Borderlands 2 has almost as many jokes as it does guns. In the DLC Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, Professor Nakayama acts as the primary antagonist, but he doesn't do a great job. You find your way around every one of his obstacles, and he gets progressively angrier at you for it.

Eventually, he gets so frustrated that he decides to deal with you himself. When you meet him, you'll notice he looks like your average scientist, maybe with a hint of insanity. He wears glasses, his head is bald, and he wears a white lab coat. Oh, and he has a big gun implanted into his back. He stands far above you on a platform, where he boasts about his superior intellect and back-gun. He's a mad scientist, so you can't blame him for wanting to brag before the fight begins.

While he talks, Nakayama loses his footing. This is where the battle begins, as his health bar frames the top of the screen. He tumbles down a ramp made of light, and each time he makes contact with the incline, he loses a bit of health. By the time he lands in front of you, he's dead. So much for the deadly back-gun. If any boss would fit the bill as a total joke, of course a Borderlands boss would make the list.

Halo 4 - How the Didact died

In Halo 4, Master Chief finds himself fighting an ancient almighty warrior named the Didact. In the final level, which has you slaughter countless enemy mobs, you confront him. But rather than have an adrenaline-filled shootout, the game disappointingly opts for a few QTEs to dispatch the final boss.

For some context, the Didact should be far more threatening than that. From a narrative perspective, he was a member of one of the most technologically advanced alien races to ever exist in the galaxy. Called Forerunners, these creatures would lord over inferior races, including ancient humans, under an ideology called the Mantle of Responsibility. The Didact was just one of many of these powerful aliens, so fighting one human — even a supersoldier — shouldn't be a problem.

That gap in strength is made apparent very quickly, as the Didact decks Master Chief within seconds of the final battle. When players regain control, Master Chief is on the floor. However, Cortana restrains the Didact, giving the player time to crawl toward the boss and press "LT." You then plant a bomb on the Didact, sending him into a slipspace portal. To the player, defeating a powerful warrior like the Didact is literally as easy as pressing a button. It's another example of gameplay not matching the narrative stakes.

Fallout 3 - The fall of Colonel Autumn

In Fallout 3, you play a vault dweller who roams the Capital Wasteland in search of their father, a scientist who wanted to bring clean water to the post-apocalyptic landscape. This leads to an overarching plot involving two warring factions trying to take control of a water purifier. The final confrontation happens at said purifier, which is guarded by Colonel Autumn and two Enclave soldiers. Since Fallout 3 leans into the role-playing style of its ancestors, you can convince Autumn to leave via some difficult speech checks. Otherwise, get your guns ready for a big fight.

Well, actually, it isn't much of a fight. Autumn, the man responsible for your father's death, is nothing but a pushover at best. The moment dialogue ends, you can enter VATS and target his head a few times. You'll definitely be close enough to score some lethal hits. By this point in the game, you should have enough AP to do some serious damage, if not outright kill him. All that's left are his two lackeys, who actually put up more of a fight than the boss himself.

Shadow of Mordor - Revenge, one QTE at a time

In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, you play as Talion, a Ranger who shares his body with a wraith named Celebrimbor. Early in the game, he loses his family to an attack orchestrated by the Black Hand of Sauron, so he begins a journey of vengeance across Mordor. By tapping into Celebrimbor's mystical powers, Talion gains the ability to brainwash orcs, and in the final battle of the game, he leads an orc army to the Black Hand's stronghold.

When Talion confronts the Black Hand, however, control is completely taken away from the player. A cutscene plays where the antagonist takes Celebrimbor away from Talion. Without the wraith, Talion is doomed to die. Meanwhile, the Black Hand takes the form of Sauron, who swings his demonic mace at Talion. But with the power of five QTEs, our hero will survive!

Talion dodges a few hits, at which point Celebrimbor holds the Black Hand back to give the ranger enough time to strike. Three hits later, the vision of Sauron disappears, and the Black Hand's body lies lifeless on the ground. The simplistic gameplay here undermines the hours you put into making Talion a walking death machine. Playing him should make you feel like a god, but boiling the ending down to five quick button prompts makes you feel like a chump.

Borderlands - Destroying all expectations

Borderlands 2 showed up earlier on this list because of one of its more absurd boss encounters. Contrarily, the original Borderlands shows up because its final boss failed to deliver. Called the Destroyer, the gigantic creature exudes intimidation. Aside from its size, the spiky mouth and protruding tentacles create this menacing atmosphere that makes the actual fight a real disappointment.

Every one of his attacks are so telegraphed that you'd have to try to get hit. Furthermore, all of his weak points are not only obvious but also huge. As long as you're fairly accurate, which you probably are by the end of a first-person shooter's campaign, you'll do some serious damage from a safe distance with no issue.

Even worse, the boss drops next to no interesting loot, which is arguably one of the biggest reasons anyone would play Borderlands. Gearbox was aware of the player reaction to the final boss, even referencing it in the beginning of Borderlands 2. "To the warriors who opened it, the vault was just a container of tentacles and disappointment," Marcus said while recapping the events of the first game.

Assassin's Creed 2 - This fight will bore-gia you to tears

Out of the many different protagonists that have starred in the Assassin's Creed games, none have been as memorable as Ezio Auditore da Firenze. In Assassin's Creed 2, we see Ezio learn about the alien precursor race and their powerful artifacts. He gets his hands on the Apple of Eden, while antagonist Rodrigo Borgia obtains the Staff of Eden.

With magical items in hand, the two clash at the end of the game. Borgia gains the advantage, taking the Apple from Ezio and combining it with his Staff. Now Borgia has limitless power, but Ezio knows the perfect way to stop him: a simple fistfight. You read that right. Ezio convinces a man who holds the most powerful weapon in the world to drop said weapon and put his dukes up.

In spite of Ezio's charisma, Assassin's Creed 2 ends with an incredibly lackluster fight that feels longer than it should. After seeing the powers of the Apple and Staff, boiling everything down to the oldest form of fighting seems reductive at best.

Dark Souls 3 - The bigger they are

You might be surprised to see a boss from the Dark Souls series on this list. Those games are known for being some of the toughest out there. But Yhorm the Giant in Dark Souls 3 falls pretty quickly, surprisingly so, considering the history of difficult enemies in the franchise.

When you walk into his arena, the giant stands tall, getting ready to crush you. But next to his throne, you'll notice an item on the ground called the Storm Ruler. If you pick it up and equip it, it has an ability called Storm King that can easily kill Yhorm. It casts a powerful gust of wind that strikes the giant in the head, and it connects no matter where you're standing in the arena. So just clear some distance between you and the boss and cast the ability five times. Even mage builds that invested nothing in strength can wield the weapon, meaning anyone can fell Yhorm with ease.

As far as Dark Souls bosses go, Yhorm might be the easiest, despite his frighteningly tall stature. Even someone who hasn't gritted their teeth through the first two games could probably take him down quickly.