Even in the nonsense world of video games, the existence of "boss" enemies is pretty weird. It's usually some giant monster wandering aimlessly around a lair, protecting some artifact the hero needs. Bosses seem to serve no other purpose in life, and it's never clear how they got there. We just kind of go with it and find the shiny spot we're supposed to shoot.
But you can't help but feel sorry for some of these guys. In fact, we're not even sure that we're not the villain here ...
5Zelda's Bosses Are Just Huge Trapped Animals
Let's take a boss from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: King Dodongo. He's a giant lizard that lives in a cave in the ground, bothering no one.
Hehehe ... "Dong."
First, keep in mind that this isn't a sprawling underground city -- it's a single goddamned room, and most of the room is lava. And Dodongo is not a lava monster -- you kill him by throwing him into it. So this beast exists entirely on a small stone ring barely wide enough for his own body, encircling a remorseless pool of magma.
"You know, man ... you can just have the artifact. In fact, here, take some of mine."
He can't even turn around without risking tumbling into the pit of eternal hellfire. And most importantly, there is no possible way for King Dodongo to ever get out of this cave. Link falls in through a tiny hatch in the ceiling, and escapes through a magic portal -- there are no exits. So Dodongo wasn't terrorizing the countryside or building a moon laser. As another character tells you, he's only there to eat whatever the cave has to offer. Meaning rocks.
That's right -- rocks. Not virgins or children, but rocks. Motherless deposits of sediment whose disappearance from the earth results in the shedding of precisely zero tears. King Dodongo lives in a hole in the ground, eating rocks and minding his own business. And Link breaks into his house and throws him into the lava, for the express purpose of proving to the townspeople outside that he is a real man.
If there's more to manhood than destroying things, we don't want to hear about it.
Granted, Dodongo isn't defenseless -- he breathes fire and has giant teeth -- but he isn't hurting anyone. He isn't even bothering anyone. He's just sitting in his circle pit, eating rocks. And it isn't like Link stumbled into Dodongo's cave and now has to fight his way back out to stay alive -- he went out of his way to go in there. Killing Dodongo was an errand in his planner.
But Dodongo is just one example of the bosses in the Legend of Zelda series whose only crime appears to be being trapped in a room with no exit. Take a look at A Link to the Past's Helmasaur King:
Because neither he nor Link can be bothered to look at each other.
Helmasaur's left foot can barely fit through the only way out of that entire chamber. Either the keepers of that particular dungeon built the entire thing around him, or they brought him in when he was a baby and just left him there for a decade. The same goes for his successor, The Wind Waker's Helmaroc King, who is really just a great big bird somebody trapped in a battle mask.
"Somebody take this goddamn thing off me!"
Twilight Princess makes the situation even worse. Nearly every boss in the game is just an enemy that's been poisoned and transformed against its will by a piece of the Fused Shadow. So now Link is basically fighting captive animals soaked in oil and rabies that arguably have no idea what is going on.
You can tell by its blind, maddening shrieks that it has been given careful instructions.