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Is there any greater gaming term than "boss fight"? Nothing's more satisfying than a titanic struggle against a powerful enemy that's been making your virtual life hell. And that's why it's baffling that developers will sometimes throw in a battle that feels like the boss wandered in from a totally unrelated story, like a stripper that shows up at your grandma's funeral.

5
Shinobi Is Copyright Infringement: The Game

Sega

Starring the world's most visible ninja (white clothes? Why not just wear neon?), the Shinobi games are your typical "stroll to the right and stick throwing stars into the organs of everyone you encounter" beat-'em-ups. The first was a modest success, but one of the sequels, The Revenge Of Shinobi, decided to build on the simple premise in the most illogical and illegal way imaginable. Does this villain look familiar?

Sega
Seasick Batman V Fashion And Strategy Inept Ninja actually sounds more promising
than Batman V Superman.

How about this one?

Sega
Hell, F&S Inept Ninja would have been a better villain for the new Spider-Man movies too.

And all these fuckers right here?

Sega

A game about a ninja taking down a criminal syndicate that kidnapped his bride originally doubled as a playable copyright-violation guide. The game's manual hilariously tries to pass off Batman and Spider-Man as a single shapeshifting enemy known as Web-Bat, because apparently in Japan copyright law doesn't apply if the copyright infringement is done by a shapeshifting mutant. They don't even bother trying to explain the presence of mini-Godzilla, skinny-jean-wearing Incredible Hulk, a Terminator dressed like a maintenance worker, and an army of Rambo clones, because those are obviously just the sort of foes a modern ninja encounters on a daily basis.

To the surprise of no one except some very naive Sega programmers, the game had to be altered several times after its initial release. Rambo and Batman were the first to go, with the former getting his head shaved and the latter becoming a bat-winged devil.

Sega

Sega
They wandered out of low-budget hell and a leather bar, respectively.

Godzilla then became a legitimately freaky skeleton monster. Shit, it's almost like putting in 10 seconds of thought can produce better results than mindlessly ripping off existing ideas.

Sega
Still not sure what this has to do with ninjas, though.

Incredibly, the fake Spider-Man actually became the real Spider-Man. Sega got the license (to make a game where he fights Kingpin's gorilla -- foreshadowing alert!) and Marvel had no problems with them turning their beloved web-slinger into evil fodder for a ninja hero, possibly because Sega had the loved ones of Marvel's CEO tied up in a Kyoto basement. But when the game was re-released in 2009, Spidey got a bright pink dye job, presumably because the license had expired and the developers took the opportunity to humiliate him further.

Sega
It's the one combat color less practical than white!

Meanwhile, the Terminator and the Hulk were somehow never altered, proving that if you steal enough ideas at once a couple will slip through the cracks unnoticed.

4
True Crime: Streets Of L.A. Ditches The True Crime For Zombies

Activision

In 2003, when the term "open-world sandbox" was basically a magic spell that made people throw money in your face, True Crime: Streets Of L.A. was released. The game revolves around Nick Kang, an LAPD detective who wants to find out what happened to his missing detective father. Because if you want to discover your dead loved ones, repeating their exact mistakes is technically one way to go about it.

Based on the title, the premise, and the fact that Kang's new partner is shot so fast Dirty Harry would find it appalling, you'd expect your standard by-the-numbers police story. And, for the most part, you'd be right -- Kang investigates a series of bombings, tangles with the Triads, and confronts a counterfeiting ring. And then there's the part where you battle a horde of zombies.

Activision
"Huuuuuugggsssss."

After a lead takes Kang to a gang-run Chinatown restaurant, a zombie stumbles into the kitchen out of nowhere, which seems like a no-no even for L.A.'s health code standards. After dealing with the undead attack like he's issuing a parking ticket, Kang descends into a series of zombie-filled tunnels that lead him to a face-off with Ancient Wu, the telekinetic leader of the Triads who's basically Fu Manchu but somehow even more racist.

Activision
It's a pleasant surprise that he doesn't run a laundromat.

Wu insists that instead of that "arrest and interrogation" nonsense, he's going to put the cop through a series of mythical tests. And so a game that had been all about car chases and shootouts suddenly turns into Big Trouble In Little China. First Wu summons fire demons from the giant lava pit that apparently lies just beneath L.A. yet isn't mentioned in the travel brochures ...

Activision
"Hi, we're fire demons, and it's so great to meet you, and OMG what a cool gun!"

... then you fight his figuratively and literally hot kung-fu concubines ...

Activision
"We'll make it burn when you pee, one way or another."

... and then he unleashes a giant goddamn dragon.

Activision
"I'm based on the dragon.jpg clipart that came with my designer's computer!"

As soon as the dragon is slain, the game cuts to Kang talking to his superior about the information Wu gave him, with absolutely no mention of the fact that he had to fight his way through a horde of D&D rejects to acquire it. Wu is never mentioned again, nor is there any further sign of the supernatural, leaving gamers to wonder if the 15-minute sequence was all just a fevered hallucination.

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3
Ultima III: Exodus Has You Fight An Old-Timey Computer

Electronic Arts

The Ultima series is known for its rich mythology and for stretching the limits of what can be considered "graphics" without just being a text adventure.

Electronic Arts
Ultima III: It has over eight colors!

The first Ultima brought you into a fantasy world called Sosaria that's plagued by an evil sorcerer, because of course it is. After dispatching him, you discover that he had a lover who isn't particularly thrilled about some random adventurer chopping up her main squeeze, which sets up the plot for Ultima II: Ultimaer. Finally, Ultima III: Ultimaest brought this cycle of vengeance to a close when the offspring of their unholy union, Exodus, starts terrorizing Sosaria to avenge his parents.

In keeping with gaming tradition, the player has to run around all of creation in search of the Random Quest Items That Will Make The Bad Guy Vulnerable, which in this case is a set of four mysterious cards. So you fight your way through dungeons to retrieve the cards, solve a bunch of puzzles so you can locate a wizard who spouts a riddle about how to use them, grind your way through the evil grass and floor tiles that guard Exodus' castle, prepare to confront the child of pure evil ... and run headfirst into a fucking computer.

Electronic Arts
At least, we're pretty sure that's what the gray wall is.

Yeah, those cards you just wasted hours of your life collecting? They're punch cards for an '80s supercomputer that makes the Game Boy in your basement look like witchcraft. Now, the first two Ultima games feature space travel, but this HAL 9000 bullshit still feels like it comes out of nowhere, because Exodus is nothing but straight fantasy to that point. Hell, even the box art promises you a showdown with a demon straight out of a heavy metal album.

Electronic Arts
The ad campaign was just a series of guitar solos.

Worse, the entire final "battle" -- in the first Ultima game to have combat that involved more than walking into the enemy and seeing who had the bigger set of statistics -- involves inserting the cards into the villain in the correct order. Solve a puzzle, roll credits. Instead of a climactic confrontation with the child of the two evil magicians you slayed in single combat in the previous games, you get to reboot their goddamn server.

Electronic Arts
Players then "vanquished" their memory of this game by uninstalling it.

2
In The Amazing Spider-Man Vs. The Kingpin, Even Wildlife Hates Spider-Man

Sega

The Amazing Spider-Man Vs. The Kingpin is your standard superhero beat-'em-up. Spider-Man uses all of his amazing powers to continually jog to the right and punch goons in the face, while occasionally tussling with supervillains like Doctor Octopus who hold the keys to the nuclear bomb that Kingpin's planning to detonate. Also, Kingpin has Spidey's girlfriend, and yadda yadda it's a typical comic book game story that's about a sentence long yet is somehow more intriguing than both reboot movies.

Kingpin, being the hands-off kind of criminal mastermind, waits around in his lair for Spider-Man to defeat all the lesser bad guys. But just to make sure that Spider-Man knows he means business, Kingpin has him fight a freaking gorilla.

Sega
Apparently, a gorilla's greatest weakness is wadded-up Kleenex.

There's no context to this fight. That's not an obscure villain who became a sentient gorilla after a horrible accident, or a super-powered monster created by one of Spidey's foes. Spider-Man is just randomly assaulted by an endangered species in the middle of Central Park. And of course he has no alternative but to beat up the poor beast, for the general safety of the public, if nothing else.

Sega
"OH, GOD ... IT ISN'T SNOT IN THOSE!"

Our best guess is that this is supposed to be some sort of weird back-up plan for Kingpin. He's already dragging Spider-Man's name through the mud by framing him for stealing the nuke, and now he's got him beating up endangered animals? PETA's going to be burning Spider-Man in effigy within hours, and that will really make Spidey feel bad in case the whole "murder his girlfriend" plot falls through.

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1
Drakengard Challenges You With Sick Beats, In Modern Tokyo

Square Enix

Drakengard is your typical "downtrodden do-gooders versus evil empire" fantasy RPG, albeit one in which the good guys' roster includes an insane elf woman who cannibalizes children to "protect" them in her stomach and a hermit who exiled himself after his brothers died when he snuck off to the forest to masturbate to his pedophilic fantasies. But, whatever, the point is that you're using your swords, magic, and rideable dragon to stop the bad guys from opening portals full of monsters.

Square Enix
You're also fighting for control of the moon, apparently.

The story ends with a bittersweet victory, but serious fans aren't done yet. There are four alternate endings, and to get them all you pretty much have to double your initial 10-hour playtime. But the second and third endings are total downers where the bad guys win, and while the fourth ends in victory, the kid-eater, kid-toucher, and all your other lovable heroes go down swinging. But surely the fifth ending, which takes the most work of all to witness, is happy, right?

The result of all your hard work is that you and your dragon are pulled into a portal that takes you to, uh, modern-day Tokyo. Where you play a rhythm mini-game. Against a giant statue.

Square Enix
That looks like this.

The statue screams black-and-white rings at you, and you have to press the corresponding buttons to cancel the attacks and produce what sounds like a funeral dirge written by Daft Punk. As you automatically circle the statue, you're told to "Silence the mother's song." That's your only instruction for this new task in a game that otherwise has been all about combat. Assuming you can figure out what the hell you're supposed to do and master the incredibly demanding timing, your reward is to watch the evil statue crumble to dust mere moments before fighter jets blow you up. Apparently, modern Japan doesn't like it when fantasy creatures show up to settle their differences with music battles in the middle of heavily populated areas.

The developers intended this ending as a joke and also as an obscure reference to an anime that inspired the game's gloomy tone, which would all be well and good if it didn't require the most effort to unlock. To the 99 percent of gamers who had no chance of getting the developers' little in-joke, it must have appeared that the game was having a stroke.

When not obsessing over pointless pop culture trivia, Henrik Magnusson also enjoys harassing the Internet with his comics. No charges have yet been filed.

Boss fights can be pretty hit or miss. Either you're shitting your pants, fighting invisible ghosts or going up against giant brains that would rather end their lives instead of fight you. See what we mean in The 10 Most Terrifying Video Game Enemies Of All Time and The 6 Most Disappointing Video Game End Bosses.

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