Video game bosses, by definition, are supposed to give you the biggest fight of the game to that point. You've just made your way through countless obstacles and henchmen, and you want to battle the big kahuna with every skill, weapon, and strategy at your disposal. But every now and then what you anticipate to be the gaming equivalent of a 15-round knock-down, drag-out battle with Muhammad Ali ends up being more like a scuffle with a blindfolded toddler, whom you wind up just feeling bad for.
5 Super Mario Galaxy -- Hatch a Baby, Immediately Kill Him
The Super Mario franchise follows the same logic as the Friday the 13th movies -- when things start getting stale, send your main character to space. The end result is so whimsical and fun that by the time you defeat Bowser for the 500th time you'll have completely forgotten that your amazing adventure kicked off with the brutal murder of the first boss. Meet Dino Piranha, who's not exactly the most threatening foe Mario has ever faced.
As a general rule, not having eyes places you at a disadvantage.
Those of you familiar with piranha plant physiology will note that he looks rather young. That's because when you encounter him he's peacefully incubating in his egg. At this point you and your violent plumber avatar slam into the egg at an incredible speed, cracking its delicate exterior.
If Peach wants a space omelet, she gets a damn space omelet.
With the shell still partially intact, the poor newborn stands upright and begins wandering around with his tail trailing behind him.
"Ah, the miracle of life. Well, time to beat the shit out of it."
Blind, aimless, and undoubtedly terrified of the sudden harsh reality that's just been thrust upon him, Dino gets his second trouncing when Mario knocks his tail into the sky. The elastic appendage comes careening back into the egg, shattering the only remaining barrier between the baby and the horrible outside world that, as far as he's concerned, means only to kill him in a painful and humiliating manner.
Dino then stomps around the little planetoid in pain and confusion in an attempt to kill the man who forced him into this miserable existence before he even had the chance to fully develop. Mario, giving few to no fucks, continues to launch the blind baby's tail into the stratosphere, where it now comes crashing down onto Dino's soft, mushy head. Carnivorous dinosaur plant or not, we can't think of a more ridiculously cruel fate for a baby than being beaten to death with its own tail.
"Why? Why was I born to only feel pain?!"
After three hits, Dino Piranha goes down like a bloated sack of potatoes, screaming and exploding into a brilliant purple cloud. Call that a fulfilling life, do you, Mario?
"It's a-me, your greatest nightmare!"
Your reward for committing infanticide is a power star you'll feel dirty about collecting. That's right, gamers. If you go out of your way to prematurely hatch an egg that was minding its own business on an isolated planetoid, and then enrage and destroy the blind and innocent child within, you're a star! Do that in real life and you'd be labeled a psychopath, and yet Mario is still allowed to golf on the Mushroom Circuit without creating a scandal.
4 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater -- Wear the Face of Your Enemy's Dead Lover
The villain of Metal Gear Solid 3 is Colonel Volgin. He's not as helpless as the monster baby above. He beats his girlfriend, he tortures people to death, he electrocutes you until you piss yourself, and, oh yeah, he nukes his Soviet homeland. He's kind of a dick, to be sure.
"Compensating? Oh, you haven't even begun to see the meaning of that word."
But the way you end up beating him is almost as bad. Volgin has the ability to manipulate electricity, which you can nullify with water or, uh, mushrooms (don't try that at home, kids, or at least don't say that you heard it from us). Or, you can mess with his head in a few ways that range from bizarre to nightmarish.
First, you can throw a frog at him. No, really -- the badass psychopathic Soviet colonel is scared of frogs. If you capture one and carry it around in your back pocket for half the game you can throw it at him. He'll leap out of the way and focus his attacks on it, allowing you to get in a couple of cheap shots by turning a terrifying killer into a wimpy kid. It's presumably only a matter of time before the frog gets his own spinoff game where we learn its gritty origins and that it was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
But that's nothing compared with the other psychological tactic you can employ. The game has a special mask that allows you to disguise yourself as a character named Ivan Raikov, who just happens to be one of Volgin's lovers. Earlier in the game, you beat up and shove Raikov into a locker (or just kill him).
Apparently, J-Pop members join the Soviet Army after retirement.
So if you show up to the boss battle with the Ivan mask on, Volgin will stop and say, "Ivan!?" As in, he's relieved to see his missing lover alive and well:
"I'm so glad you're OK! Hey, what's with the gun?"
As you get closer, his relief is palpable: "Ivan, is it really you!?" It seems too good to be true. He lets his guard down, wanting to believe.
"Nope! That will teach you to love, nerd!"
And it is too good to be true, for he should know that video games are a cruel universe in which tragedy pervades the very air he breathes. The traumatized man watches as "Ivan" -- that is, you -- attacks him. Volgin can only stand helpless in his haze of grief and betrayal, as he is slammed to the floor.
Right in the emotions. And the spinal column.
Finally realizing he is dealing with an enemy even lower than himself, Volgin rises and shouts a completely justified, "How dare you!!" before flying into a rage.
At this point he abandons all strategy and tries to ram your face off. Then, if you do your job right, you can beat him so hard that he winds up literally vomiting blood on the floor ...
He's vomiting up his broken heart.
... while his attacker strolls away, staring down at him from behind the lifeless, disembodied face of his missing lover. Victory!