They are the stuff of nightmare, the bane of mankind. They are every hero's greatest challenge and every underdog's one chance at glory. They are, video game bosses.
The year was 1975. Video games were becoming the norm and prepubescent boys (and sometimes middle aged men) were madly pumping quarters into arcade machines around the world. Yet, to what end? This was the same question that entered the mind of Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood when the created the game Dnd on the PLATO system. Video games were great but, they lacked accomplishment. Sure, there were high score lists and you could gloat to your friends that you were better at them in Pong. Still, they needed something more. They needed a point where all of your skill was really put to the test, a means to an end. Where you could step back and say, "I virtually kicked that guy in the dick." The climactic battle between good and evil. They needed a boss. And so it was, with the creation of Dnd, in the bottom most dungeon of the game, the Dragon, the first video game boss, came into existence.
You may be wondering to yourself, "Well Mr. Bryant. How do I know if I'm fighting a boss?" or, "Have I ever encountered a video game boss before?". Have no fears my fellow Crackedonion, I'm here to silence your doubts. Unless you've been religiously playing Pong for the last 36 years you've more than likely encountered at least one or two boss battles. They are typically found towards the end of the game (except in the case of Mini-bosses which I will get into in a bit.) They can be defined by many characteristics. Some of them can be massive in size, or shoot laser beams from their dicks, crazy shit like that. Others however, may just look like a regular guy with a gun who states "I'm the boss, die or get the fuck out." right before he violently sodomizes you with his gang of crowbar wielding henchman. Bosses come in many shapes and sizes, kind of like the wall of "personal massagers" at your local adult entertainment store. They may seem intimidating at first but, with enough time and practice you will learn to become their master.
Take this guy for instance. That's the player in the bottom left corner so, you can guess that shit's about to go down.
Gamers were happy. They had their means to an end. They had their boss fights. Then, somewhere down the line someone got tired of the one boss format and said "Fuck this. I want to fight smaller bosses before the big boss so my balls feel even bigger at the end!" and so the mini boss was born. Minibosses tend to be henchmen of the final boss. They can be anything from a small child with a .38 special to city destroying lizard that can level your neighborhood with a fart. Minibosses added even more badassness into video games. Defeating them could mean gaining an item to help you in the final battle or, maybe a just a boost to your ego, making you feel like you can take on the world. In most games the miniboss is found about half-way through a level. It lets you know you're about half way to kicking the big guy at the top in the balls. Minibosses are typically weaker then the final boss but, make no mistake, they can still cave your skull in by blinking.
Darkhammer here is a miniboss from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. You can clearly see he's not takig shit from anyone any time soon.
To wrap this up I'm going to provide the readers with a few of video games most popular bosses, give you some goals to set for yourself. To kick things of I'm going to start with what I think to be ONE of the most innovative and visualy stunning games I've played in my years.....
Shadow of the Colossus - The Colossi
Released in 2005 on the PS2, Shadow of the Colossus is a game dedicated to boss fights. That's right ladies and gentaldudes. Nothing but, boss fights. Fourteen massive Colossi ready to be taken down by you. No cannon foddor enemies, no leveling up your character. Just 100% pure fucking awesome.
Mortal Kombat - Goro
Half-dragon, half human, all badass. Goro is the guy who every Mortal Kombat junkie strived to defeat. Ripped like Arnold and gifted with four arms, Goro could rip you a new asshole twice over. This is not the dude you want to cut-off in traffic.
Metal Gear Solid - Psycho Mantis
Who could forget Psycho Mantis? The iconic gasmask, the creepy voice, the ability to read your mind. That's right, Psycho Mantis was the first, and as far as I know, only boss that could "read your mind". By predicting the input on your controller, mainly detecting the input and acting on at the speed only a computer can, Psycho Mantis seemed to know your every move. The trick was to stick your controller in port 2, throwing him off and allowing you to deal the final blow. Well played Konami, well played.
Super Mario Bros - Bowser
One of the most iconic video game bosses of all time, Bowser is a pissed off lizard with only one thing on his mind, Peach (insert giggity here). From his first apperance up until present day Bowser has been hell bent on kidnapping Princess Peach and kicking the shit out of Mario. No real explination as to why he's a dick is given other then it seems like he just really wants to get laid. Kill Bowser, save the Princess, get some. Got it.
And there you have it boys and girls, a half-assedly in-depth look at video game bosses and what they've done for gamers around the world. Tune in next time when I tackle another topic for Cracked readers everywhere.