10 Boss Fights You Should Have Lost

by Joe Juba on May 19, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Beating a tough boss is one of the great thrills in video games…but sometimes your victories don’t seem plausible. For the sake of the story and providing a satisfying experience, you need to defeat adversaries who are far beyond your characters’ capabilities. When you think about them realistically, these 10 boss fights should have sent you to the game-over screen instead of letting you emerge triumphant.

1. Machine Gun Willy (Double Dragon)
You’ve heard people caution against “bringing a knife to a gunfight,” right? Well, the Lee brothers don’t even bring a knife. Instead, they fight their machine-gun-toting adversary with their bare fists. Unless the brothers somehow have Matrix-like bullet-dodging powers (they don’t), this battle should be over before it starts.

2. Kessler (Infamous)
Imagine you are a fledgling superhero, still learning how to use your powers. Now imagine that you are facing off against the future version of yourself, who has mastered all of those powers, plus other abilities you don’t even know you possess. Do you feel like you even stand a remote chance of victory? If so, wise up.

3. Shang Tsung (Mortal Kombat)
Knowing your opponent is the key to emerging victorious in Mortal Kombat. That’s difficult when fighting Shang Tsung, since he can transform into any opponent – including you – at will. With access to every trick in the book, this withered old sorcerer should have the perfect counter-maneuver for any attack you attempt.

4. Cronos (God of War III)
No one can dispute that Kratos is an impressive warrior, but this match-up is as lopsided as they get. As one of the mythical Titans, Cronos is several orders of magnitude larger than Kratos. You are like an ant to him, but apparently tiny blades and angry shouting can make ants dangerous opponents.

5. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3)
In MGS 3’s introductory mission, the Boss dismantles Snake’s weapon, breaks his arm, and throws him off a bridge – and she barely has to work for it. Nothing indicates that Snake’s skills vastly improve, but he somehow doesn’t die immediately in their final encounter. Maybe nanomachines helped him win?

Next: Bosses from classic series like Castlevania, Metroid, and Final Fantasy.

6. Grim Reaper (Castlevania)
The Grim Reaper is the physical manifestation of death – the constant, universal force that brings life to an end. In concept, it’s more of an abstract inevitability than an “enemy,” but that won’t stop Simon Belmont from cracking his whip and chucking a few crosses at it.

7. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
The heroes in role-playing games often take on deified versions of their foes, so this seraphic version of Sephiroth may not seem too unusual. But then he casts a spell that literally destroys our solar system. It doesn’t matter how enormous Cloud’s sword is – it can’t compete against cosmic-level destruction.

8. Icon of Sin (Doom II)
You are just a guy with a rocket launcher. The enormous biomechanical head on the far wall is Baphomet, the occult deity leading a demon invasion (or is it?). The beast summons the endless legions of the abyss to stop you, but hey, conventional explosives should do the trick, right?

9. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
The legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi barely beat a young Darth Vader, and Yoda couldn’t even finish off the sinister Emperor Palpatine. Little did you know, some punk named Starkiller is more powerful than all of these iconic characters, able to defeat the two Sith lords in combat – one right after the other.

10. Mother Brain (Super Metroid)
No matter how many missiles, energy tanks, or suit upgrades you get, Mother Brain’s prismatic beam brings Samus Aran to her knees. If not for the last-second interference of a baby Metroid with mommy issues, the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter would just be a charred streak of ash on Tourian’s walls.

Did we miss your favorite should-be-unwinnable fight? Share your suggestions in the comments below!