Giant killers: The biggest bosses in gaming
The bigger they are…
Most of the time, video games feed into our wildest power fantasies. You might think you’re hot stuff, slashing through waves of enemies your own size and terrorizing baddies smaller than yourself. Then, just when you’re starting to feel truly untouchable, it happens: A boss fight so dauntingly giant, it makes you freeze in a mix of awe and excitement. Every enemy you’ve faced up until this point is like a subatomic particle by comparison. You’ll wonder how you could even begin to take down such an imposing colossus.
But the best part of facing these titanic enemies is prevailing in the face of insurmountable odds. Developers have handled huge boss fights in a multitude of ways, with the path to victory taking many different, grandiose forms. Some games opt for something as simple as a quick-time event, while others task you with complex, multi-stage struggles. Whatever the method for downing these behemoths, it’s always a rush to stand triumphant atop a corpse the size of a skyscraper.
Darkside (Kingdom Hearts)
Just how big is he? About 30 feet tall; think a three-story house. A recurring enemy throughout the Kingdom Hearts franchise, Darkside has terrorized Sora and company time and again with his hulking, tentacle-headed mass. Don’t be fooled by the heart-shaped hole in his chest and dinky little legs; going toe-to-toe with this yellow-eyed goliath is pretty daunting, especially considering that he’s the first freakin’ boss in a game about Disney characters.
So how do you take him down? For a guy whose only job is to destroy a spiky-haired teenager, Darkside doesn’t seem to try very hard. All you have to do is wait until he punches the ground to spawn harmless Shadows, then smack his hand like mad. Don’t get cocky, though–his health pool is way bigger the second and third time around. Because if you’re going to make a boss this cool-looking, why squander him as the first encounter when you can recycle his character model?
Kraid (Super Metroid)
Just how big is he? 50 feet tall, judging from the fact that the 6’ 3” Samus stands at about one-eighth of his height. When Kraid first reveals his green, scaly mug, he pops halfway out of the ground before revealing his full two-screens-tall size. He might pale in stature compared to the other bosses on this list, but when we first stared down this reptilian fiend as kids, we wanted to curl up in a ball and roll away. Actually, we did do that.
So how do you take him down? Don’t let his size intimidate you–Kraid’s a pushover compared to his purple pterodactyl buddy Ridley. Kraid’s T. rex-sounding roars are all bark and no bite, giving you the opportunity to hop up to a platform and plug his mouth and face full of missiles. Avoid his weird spiked belly-button projectiles and spinning talons, and you’ll smoke him without much fuss. Treat yourself post-fight by donning the sweet, sweet Varia Suit.
Red Eye (Lost Planet 2)
Just how big is it? 50 feet high, potentially miles in length. Think of the Red Eye as one of Dune’s sandworms that’s been fed a steady diet of anabolic steroid factories. Even in a franchise as obsessed with huge monsters as Lost Planet, the Red Eye stands out for making you feel like you’re moments from being unceremoniously devoured. Its spiky exterior, baleen-like mouth filters, and unimaginable length (that’s what she said) all make it one of the most frightening Akrids this side of E.D.N. III.
So how do you take him down? By blasting it with increasingly large cannons. Red Eye will first terrorize you while you’re on a train; you’ll have to use mounted (and extremely difficult to aim) turrets to keep it at bay. You’ll then hop into the Railway Gun, a weapon so massive it requires two trains for transport. After you’ve cracked through Red Eye’s crusty shell, you’ll finish the job by firing a mini-nuke into its gullet. If that didn’t kill him, nothing would.
Metal Gear RAY (Metal Gear Solid 4)
Just how big is he? Over 65 feet tall. Like a big robotic frog, the RAY is a formidable weapon that works just as well underwater as it does on land. The US Marine Corps conceptualized the RAY as a weapon that could take down opposing Metal Gears; unfortunately, the Patriots snatched up the plans to produce the weapon for themselves. The Patriots might’ve gone a little overboard in that regard, constructing 25 copies of RAY. One would definitely have been enough.
So how do you take him down? By evening the odds with your very own Metal Gear. To take on this robotic titan, Solid Snake commandeers Metal Gear REX, which he had previously fought in the original Metal Gear Solid. Armed with an armor-shredding gatling gun, laser cannon, and anti-tank missiles, you’ll gradually reduce the RAY to a hunk of scrap metal. It’s a large-scale fight unlike any other in the MGS franchise. Who knew Snake would make such a great mech pilot? Oh, right, everyone.
Just how big is he? Between 50-70 feet tall; infinitely taller if he’s sticking his tongue in the air. Have you ever asked yourself “What could be more repulsive than a tentacle monster?” Bayonetta answers that age-old question by pitting you against a tentacle monster with a baby’s face and voice. Scratch that–a seven-faced Auditio (read: massive angel boss) that has cherubic faces at the tip of its revoltingly long tongue. Add in some nasty-looking venus fly trap mandibles, and you have one of the most abstract, disturbing boss designs since Cerberus from Dante’s Inferno.
So how do you take him down? By slicing off its many baby-faced tongues. Bayonetta’s Wicked Weave hair attacks will come in handy to weaken the boss, but that’s only half the battle. You’ll need to sprint down Iustitia’s immense tongue to reach the primary weak spots. Those weak spots are liable to turn your stomach: Iustitia will barf out a tender-looking chunk of tongue, which Bayonetta will slice clean off and bask in a shower of Iustitia’s blood and bright orange vomit. Bleh.
The Leviathan (Dead Space)
Just how big is it? 80 feet tall, equivalent to the size of NASA’s (and the world’s) largest wind tunnel. As for the full length of this immense necromorph, that’s hard to say; the Leviathan has been growing in the USG Ishimura’s food storage facility for some time, accumulating mass by absorbing food and corpses alike. So really, Isaac’s only attacking the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In this instance, that iceberg is composed of a disgusting, organic nightmare, complete with biologically produced bombs. (Editor’s Note: This isn’t a poop joke.)
So how do you take it down? Initially, you might be too terrified of this tunnel-sized enemy to notice his glaring vulnerabilities. But it’ll dawn on you that the Leviathan has three plain-as-day weak spots, in the form of the bright yellow explosive bulbs embedded in its three tentacles. Once you’ve blasted those, the biological horror will open its octopus-like mouth to hock volatile loogies at you. Shoot its exposed uvula, and Leviathan will go down for the count. No sweat!
Just how big is he? We want to say ~90 feet tall, given the fact that he towers over you like a sentient building. This giant freak looks like someone slapped two spiky, pirate-style peglegs on Frankenstein’s monster. The Necrogiant battle ranks above similar encounters in games like Serious Sam, if only for the fact that you basically have to fight the Necrogiant while staring up from his feet. It goes a long way towards making you feel like an insignificant ant by comparison.
So how do you take him down? The same way you kill pretty much every enemy in Painkiller: pump his body full of lead. It’s a pretty unsatisfying boss fight, really; the Necrogiant doesn’t react to the copious amount of bullets you’re firing at him, so it’s initially difficult to tell that you’re damaging him at all. Just circle strafe to avoid his spike attacks and don’t get caught underfoot, and this oversized joker will take a dirt nap in no time.
Deathwing (World of Warcraft)
Just how big is he? About 100 feet tall. We almost went with the Whale Shark for this one, a mob so large you can /target it from any location. But Deathwing, the crazed main villain of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion, takes the cake for having the audacity to completely reshape the entirety of Azeroth, just because he can.
So how do you take him down? The raid encounter with Deathwing is more of an assault on individual appendages than a straight-up face-to-face encounter. It’s actually broken up into two parts (the Spine and Madness of Deathwing). The first half of the battle has 25 players riding Deathwing’s back as they remove three pieces of armor. Once you’ve grounded him, you’ll have to dispatch his wings, claws, and tail individually. The grand finale involves facing his ultimate form, with some backup from the almighty Dragon Aspects. This is about as elaborate as a confrontation can get, MMO or otherwise.
Uroboros Aheri (Resident Evil 5)
Just how big is it? Over 100 feet tall, considering that its slimy tentacles extend well above the massive cargo ship that Chris and Sheva fight it on. The buxom Excella Gionne served as the unfortunate host for this advanced strain of the Uroboros virus, serving as the infected pawn for Wesker’s fiendish plots. The virus transformed her from a foxy CEO to a gruesome mutant in a matter of moments, increasing its mass by devouring a pile of nearby corpses. Much like we do when any cheesesteaks are in our vicinity.
So how do you take it down? Like many bosses, Mother Nature has cursed this creature with gigantic glowing weak spots. The only problem is, Chris won’t initially have the firepower to make a dent in its oozing exterior. It’s fortunate, then, that there just so happens to be a Satellite Laser Device nearby. Alternatively, you can kill it with a single shot from the Rocket Launcher, provided you had the foresight to stash one before the fight.
Galactus (Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3)
Just how big is he? In-game? Probably about 60-80 feet tall. His actual size is trickier, because as hardcore comic fans will tell you, Galactus has different appearances depending on who’s perceiving him. His “true” height is 28’ 9″, which seems incongruous with the image of him smashing the planet between his palms, should you fail at defeating him (aptly deemed an “Earth K.O.!”). The official explanation is that each humanoid race sees him differently, unable to comprehend the physics of his multi-dimensional form. In other words, y’all too dumb to see him and need to get on Galactus’ level.
So how do you take him down? Smack his big fat face. Galactus is just another in the legacy of humongous, hella cheap bosses in the Versus series, preceded by the likes of Onslaught and Apocalypse. Pretty much all of Galactus’ moves cover the screen, which is the definition of overpowered in fighting games. You’ll have to judiciously block his colossal finger-flicking, then rush in to attack before he decimates your trio with never-ending eye lasers.
Leviathan (Resistance 2)
Just how big is he? 300 feet tall. You’ll occasionally spot this mega-Chimera throughout the game, but you’ll only attack him head-on when he’s strolling through the city streets of Chicago. His chitinous exterior makes him pretty much immune to humanity’s firepower, and he seems to have a penchant for picking up soldiers and screaming in their faces.
So how do you take him down? By jumping through predetermined hoops. The fight against the Leviathan is more of a drawn-out level instead of a proper boss battle, with scripted FPS action sequences pretty much non-stop. You can prevent yourself from being eaten by firing L210 LAARK rockets into the Leviathan’s mouth when he picks you up, but besides that, your weapons are completely ineffectual until the end of the stage. That’s when you drop a bridge on his head, letting you fire a rocket at the Leviathan’s exposed skull to kill it in one hit. Yay.
Phalanx (Shadow of the Colossus)
Just how big is he? 550-600 feet long, judging from our totally not-Wiki-related estimations. Lucky number 13 in the laundry list of Colossi that need slaying, this fight makes Wander look like a squirrel trying to take down a jumbo jet. Funnily enough, Phalanx is completely passive; he barely seems to be aware of Wander’s existence, let alone trying to kill him.
So how do you take him down? You’ll need to take Phalanx closer to ground level by sniping his underbelly sacs with arrows (ow). Once he’s swooped closer to the desert floor, that’s your chance to gallop Agro up alongside him and leap onto one of his flippers. After scaling his enormous, ridged fin, you’ll have to hold on for dear life long enough to stab the three sigils underneath Phalanx’s back flaps. Just be sure to bail if he starts diving under the sand.
Storm King (Demon’s Souls)
Just how big is he? About 600 feet at full wingspan. Think of this beast as a stealth bomber built to cover two football fields–despite the fact that no stealth bomber we know of has been modeled to look like a freakish alien manta ray. In a franchise known for its memorable boss battles, it takes a lot to stand out–but the Storm King’s immense size has struck fear into many a hardened player’s heart.
So how do you take him down? Right off the bat, you’ll need the Storm Ruler Sword if you even want a chance at taking this gargantuan down. You’ll also have to deal with his little manta-creature posse, preferably before the big fight. Once you’ve slain all of its freaky offspring, it’s just a matter of using your ground-to-air whirlwind sword to whittle him down as he slowly flies overhead. Just watch out for the constant barrage of icky spike volleys.
MAWLR (Killzone 3)
Just how big is it? A little over 900 feet tall (280 meters). There are plenty of menacing robots bosses, but the MAWLR makes them look like dainty French poodles. Resembling a space-age airship carrier with legs, this Helghast-made monstrosity is downright scary. If we actually saw this war machine on the horizon, there’s a good chance we would just lie down and wait to die in the blasts of its myriad weapons.
So how do you take it down? By destroying it one piece at a time. The MAWLR’s covered in orange cooling panels, and as we’ve learned by now, any bright orange component on a boss is an invitation to annihilate that specific spot. You’ll first fire rocket volleys at its legs from the ground, then take to the skies in a chopper to knock out its giant shoulders. It’s definitely one of the grandest large-scale boss fights around.
Mothership (Earth Defense Force 2017)
Just how big is she? 1,200 feet in diameter. In a game that revolves around gunning down gigantic insects and robots, you’ve got to be pretty freaking massive to be worthy of the “final boss” ranking. The Mothership earns that distinction by making the game’s giant mutant ants look like… regular ants. As the head honcho in all but one of the EDF series, the Mothership houses an endless stream of bugs and robots to ruin humanity’s day. Staring up at it will make you feel like an amoeba trying to take down a high-tech beach ball.
So how do you take her down? Shoot it with rockets, then shoot it with rockets some more. It’s best to keep your distance, so you can intermittently blast the army of flying terrors that will be constantly headed your way. Once you’ve chipped away at the ship’s exterior, it’ll reveal a bright pink weakspot–a weakspot that also doubles as a one-hit-killing laser cannon.
Cronos (God of War III)
Just how big is he? Somewhere between 15,000 feet (Mount Doom) and 29,000 feet (Mount Everest). The fact that Kratos felled this massive titan simply makes no sense, given the fact that he’s one-sixth the size of Cronos’ fingernails. But hubris kills, almost as often as the Ghost of Sparta himself. Kratos has no qualms against killing his grandpappy if he obstructs his vengeance, even if Cronos is ginormous enough to carry the huge Temple of Pandora on his back.
So how do you take him down? This is another instance of a “boss fight turned level,” with plenty of insta-deaths and the typical GoW quick-time events tossed in. Kratos does his best Osmosis Jones impersonation, climbing up and down Cronos’ arms before finally getting swallowed whole. Like an idiot, Cronos forgets to chew, giving Kratos the chance to disembowel the ancient titan before impaling his chin and stabbing his brain. The bigger they are, the more pain and suffering they have to endure before finally croaking.
Gongen Wyzen (Asura’s Wrath)
Just how big is he? A hair over 41 million feet tall, so essentially the size of a celestial body. You knew he had to be here, because Wyzen is hands-down the biggest boss in video game history. Sure, Galactus could be bigger in theory–but no game other than Asura’s Wrath has the gumption to portray a fight against such a cosmically enormous enemy. This god is the largest of the Seven Deities, and his final form could eclipse all of Gaia. Wyzen is so cocky–maybe rightfully so, given his size–that he attempts to crush Asura underneath his astronomically huge forefinger. This is a poke that could destroy a planet.
So how do you take him down? By becoming more enraged than any living entity has ever been. In game terms, that means mashing the B button with the fury of a thousand suns, causing Asura to punch so hard that all but one of his six arms implode. With one final, infuriated punch, Asura starts a shattering chain reaction that travels throughout Wyzen’s entire being, destroying him. It is, in a word, glorious.
…the harder they fall
Those are our picks for the most terrifyingly large bosses. Did we miss any of the mammoth baddies that had you cowering in fear? Let us know which bosses towered over you–and how you managed to take them down.
And if you’re looking for more big boss articles, check out The Top 7… Most ridiculous Mega Man bosses
and The Top 7… Game enemies we (seriously) hate