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Video game boss fights take on many forms. There are the giant bosses, behemoths which you must best with pure crazy action and gunfire, the strange bosses, bosses that require a unique strategy to defeat, the wave bosses, huge supplies of enemies which you must defeat, and the focus of today’s blog, the duel bosses. Duel Bosses are unique as they are one on one showdowns with somebody of equal power and skill to you. While they may not use the same moves as your character, they are operating on the same playing field as you with similar powers to you.
While plenty of games feature this idea, there are surprisingly few that do it right. As such, doing a Top 10 would end up including a lot of mediocrity. As such, I have only selected a handful or so to represent this list, but first the honorable mentions.
Samus vs the SAX (Metroid Fusion)
Pit vs Dark Pit (Kid Icarus: Uprising)
Sora vs Roxas (Kingdom Hearts II)
Shadow vs Sonic (Sonic Adventure 2)
Mario vs Shadow Mario (Super Mario Sunshine)
Got that? Then with that out of the way, lets get started.
Raiden vs Jetstream Sam (Metal Gear Rising: Revengance)
I know I’m going to get a fair amount of hate for this, but I personally think the Jetstream Sam boss battle is FAR superior to the one against Senator Armstrong. I could go on and list the reasons, but it all boils down to one thing. The buildup to this fight is phenomenal. Jetstream Sam has been Raiden’s rival throughout the entire game, so having him finally clash with Raiden was a plus. On top of that, this isn’t a battle of aggression. Both men know that this is a fight they had to do, so the two calmly walk to an isolated battlefield and draw their swords as the sun sets over the rocks. It’s an absolutely brilliant boss fight against one of the best new characters of 2013.
Link vs Dark Link (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Of course, the obvious video game duel is Link vs Dark Link from Ocarina of Time. And you know what? This battle is remembered for very good reasons. Dark Link is a literal mirror image of Link, and he can pull off some impressive feats. Facing off against Dark Link required a pretty good grasp on Ocarina of Time’s combat system, requiring you to dodge and block as well as hack away. Dark Link himself was entertaining, pulling off insane acrobatic feats such as jumping on the broad side of Link’s sword to slice away at his face. Yes, that actually happens.
Yes, it is even cooler than it sounds.
Dante vs Nero (Devil May Cry 4)
I went between this and the Devil May Cry 3 battle with Vergil, but Vergil’s abilities and weapons were different enough from Dante’s that I had to give it to the opening showdown between Dante and Nero in Devil May Cry 4. What’s so great about this battle is that Dante is practically toying with Nero here, casually taking blows and striking without a second thought. It really drives home that in this game, Dante is the ultimate badass.
Star Fox vs Star Wolf (Star Fox 64)
Unlike the rest of these duels, the fight with Star Wolf isn’t a one on one battle. No, this is a four on four dogfight between two squadrons. This is the game’s best way to show off the ‘All Range Mode’, a new mechanic that allows dogfights in 3D. Gunning down the Star Wolf team using the dodge and barrel rolls was a great way to introduce the game’s 3D dogfights, but the banter between Star Fox and Star Wolf is the best part of this duel.