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The Best Tutorial Bosses In Video Games


Boss fights are such a massively iconic part of video games. They’re one of the few things just about everyone has heard of, even those who haven’t played games. You’ll find them in most games, and they’ve have been around since the very beginning. As games have started to become more open to people, tutorials have become a bunch more common, too.

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Tutorials and the bosses around them can present in many different ways. Maybe you’re not supposed to win, just feel out the controls for a little bit. Perhaps it functions as an introduction to the game as a whole, or maybe it’ll guide you along step-by-step until you know what you’re doing. The best ones always feel like more than that, and are just as memorable a boss as any other.

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10 The Witcher 3 – The Beast Of White Orchard

Not much needs to be said about The Witcher 3. It’s massive, a juggernaut of fame, and a genuinely great game developed under dire conditions. It generated such incredible goodwill that it’s even getting a next-gen update, seven years after its initial release. The opening sequence is one of the reasons it’s so famed.

Beginning in the village and surrounding area of White Orchard, Geralt and Vesemir are on the trail of Yennefer when they agree to hunt down a griffin terrorizing the people. The fight itself is at the end of the area, but your entire time here is spent teaching you the game’s mechanics — all culminating in a final showdown with the mighty griffin.

9 Nier Automata – The Goliath

Yoko Taro had created many games before Nier: Automata, namely its loose prequel works of Nier: Replicant and Drakengard, though didn’t reach his international acclaim until Automata. It’s a truly magnificent game with deep characters, meaningful themes, and dazzling, smooth combat.

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Its opening is already one of the more iconic in gaming, and the first boss of the Goliath appropriately sets the scales. Almost immediately you come face-to-face with the Buzzsaws of the Goliath, with various smaller encounters throughout the factory. It ends in a fight against the full machine, one that ends in the destruction of it, 2B, and 9S.

8 Yakuza 0 – Kuze

Yakuza is a series that has always had great success in Japan, but had a few odd releases in the West. From poor English localization to skipped releases and massive delays, the series finally found its stride in the West with Yakuza 0 — and what a splash it made.

Playing off the yakuza movies that inspired it with full confidence, Yakuza 0 is a tremendous tale. Considering the first boss you fight is a yakuza higher-up, played by an actor who actually plays yakuza movie characters, the moment is unbeatable. The tension between Kiryu deciding on a new life, while facing off in a dojo against such a menacing beast so early on, feels unbeatable.

7 Toriel: Undertale

Where do we even start when talking about Undertale? Plenty of games go down in history and become culturally assimilated, but Undertale feels almost like a fever dream at this point. It’s a single project by so few people that just whipped the internet into a frenzy, in an unimaginable way. But the game really does have some fascinating features, even as its tutorial.

Pretty early on you’re introduced to Toriel (if you get get the obvious pun), who acts as your mentor. She guides you through the underground, teaching you about the nature of the world. In the end, against her better wishes, she lets you go free to adventure — but only if you fight her first. The thing is, she actively avoids hurting you, and you can’t lose against her.

6 Shadow Of The Colossus – First Colossus

Whenever the topic of ‘games as art’ is brought up, Shadow of the Colossus is almost always the first game mentioned. It’s partly unfair, because so many games both before and after are tremendous works, but Shadow of the Colossus is something special. It evokes a certain feeling from its blend of narrative and gameplay that few can match.

In the vein of something almost similar to Furi, Shadow of the Colossus is a game with no other enemies than the bosses themselves. There are 16 colossi to defeat, for a purpose never made explicit. The first is a relatively simple one, where you stab the leg to drive them to their knees. It’s enough to teach you the basics, and enough to let you know that maybe you’re the villain in this narrative.

When the idea of a Metal Gear game once again featuring Raiden as the protagonist was floated, but with more action-oriented combat, fans didn’t react well. Development switched to PlatinumGames, and it only got worse. However, it’s now viewed as one of the greatest Metal Gear games around.

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It was a big shift, by all means. Metal Gear Rising opens in Africa with Raiden acting as security for the Prime Minister. As expected, everything goes sideways, and suddenly multiple Metal Gear RAYs are on the loose. What was such a massive threat in Metal Gear Solid 4 is suddenly cut like paper for Raiden, a boss that’s nothing more than a way to teach you the buttons.

4 Devil May Cry 4 – Dante

Devil May Cry is a series that has reveled in its boss fights ever since the beginning. From the great magma spider Phantom in the original, to the recurring boss fights against gaming’s greatest brother, Vergil, Devil May Cry has always had exceptional fights, and a bunch of fun to boot.

When Nero was announced as the protagonist of DMC4, it suddenly dawned that the beloved Dante was going to be something of an antagonist. The game itself isn’t shy about that. In fact, it opens with Dante killing the Pope, and Nero facing off against him. It’s a cliche, but fighting Dante with his familiar moves, while you’re the new protagonist, is just grin-inducing fun.

3 Final Fantasy 7 – Guard Scorpion

Final Fantasy games always have strong openings, from FF6’s slow march to FF10’s Zanarkand. But the slow zoom out over Midgar, before hopping off that train and beginning your descent into the Mako Reactor, is such an incredible moment in gaming — all to the backing of some of Final Fantasy’s strongest tracks.

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Like any such mission, things go slightly awry with the arrival of the Guard Scorpion. This is where something fun happens in FF7. In the English localization of the original game, Barrett’s instructions actually don’t make sense — making the fight harder than it’s even meant to be. This is an issue solved in Remake, on top of a bombastic fight against the artillery-clad Scorpion.

2 Kingdom Hearts – Darkside

There’s no series that’s quite gained the reputation Kingdom Hearts has achieved through the sheer power of nostalgia. From the very beginning it pulled at the idea of growing up, using older Disney IPs as examples, and that feeling was only exacerbated with later games.

Kingdom Hearts has also always had its more eccentric moments too, like the initial Dive To The Heart. Answering ambiguous questions, it all culminates in a battle against a silent, heartless giant that seeks your demise. Visions of island life flash past, until you eventually brandish the keyblade and end Darkside. It’s an opening that sums up the game pretty well.

1 Dark Souls – Asylum Demon

It’s likely no one saw the absurd levels of fame FromSoftware would reach, even with the release of Dark Souls. Elden Ring has skyrocketed them to the stars, but they owe this fame to the progenitor of Souls combat. With the first game in the series, they orientated what they had misaligned with Demon’s Souls.

Dark Souls was a cultural phenomenon in its own right, but it truly is a special game with a vibe they still haven’t quite recreated. Its first boss certainly adds to the feeling of something wholly new. The Asylum Demon can be next to impossible to beat until you’ve pushed your way through the Asylum, but its defeat opens the whole world up to you.

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