Disclaimer: This article only represents the thoughts of the author and does not necessarily represent the thoughts of Zelda Informer on the whole. Art by ~Eiffelart.
There have been a lot of boss battles fought in The Legend of Zelda series over the last 26 years, spanning 16 total games. While many of them are very memorable for how great they are, some are because of how big of a let down the whole experience was. Others are completely forgettable due to poor mechanics or the lack of originality. Thus I present to you all my top 10 most underwhelming boss fights in Zelda.
10. Gohma – Ocarina of Time
Gohma is one of the staples in the Zelda series, but also is usually one of the easiest bosses ever crafted. In Ocarina of Time, Gohma is the first true boss you encounter. She looks badass, spawns eggs, and appears to be a really menacing foe. Then this happens:
Even if you don’t attack with a Deku Stick, Gohma is so easily defeated you may not even be aware she can spawn eggs. Imagine a boss that looks that scary being dispatched so easily you don’t even witness one of her core mechanics. Needless to say, it’s a big letdown.
09. Fyrus – Twilight Princess
Fyrus is one of the most badass bosses visually in the whole series. An on fire boss that is massive and broke free from his chains? Sign me up. What a shame then that little ol’ me can trip him up by yanking on his chains so easily. In fact, how did he break free if I can so easily knock him over? While not as simplistic as Gohma, the whole experience feels like a let down. Come to think of it, many of Twilight Princess’s bosses feel this way. A lot of intrigue and promise for such a simplistic and all too easy method of defeat.
08. DigDogger – The Legend of Zelda
It feels odd adding a boss from the very first game in the series, especially since Eiji Aonuma himself hasn’t even beaten the first game because it was too hard for him. Despite the difficulty challenge, DigDogger was pretty a huge letdown in the main quest. You simply needed to play your recorder and then you could dispatch him in one hit. Like Gohma from Ocarina of Time, no boss should be able to be dispatched so easily. It feels like a lot of wasted potential. The fact this was on a limited console is the only reason this fight didn’t place higher on the list.
07. Malladus – Spirit Tracks
There was a lot of build up to reveal of Malladus in Spirit Tracks. What would he look like? How would he fight? What kick arse touch screen only mechanics are going to be needed to beat him? Apparently, not many. The fight starts out with a tennis match, much like Ganondorf and Phantom Ganon in prior games, and turns into a full on beast fight, which is eerily identical to ending fights before. Just like in The Wind Waker, Zelda is shooting light arrows at his back. Just like in Twilight Princess, Malladus looks like a pig like beast and does charge attacks. While the fight worked well on the DS, fact remains it just felt like it was massively retreading. Like they ran out of ideas, so they just took the ending fights from multiple games and threw them all together.
Uninspired, barely fun, and completely unoriginal. Needless to say this fight had a lot of promise but really let me down.
06. Rebonack – The Adventure of Link
Everyone remembers those damn Iron Knuckles from The Adventure of Link because they were one of the hardest enemies in the game. So you figure a boss based on one would simply be badass. Unfortunately, and this may be partly due to system limitations – the fight came off as nothing other than a slightly more fast paced fight against a standard Iron Knuckle.
The horse he rides for a small part of the fight actually made him easier than a normal Iron Knuckle, and while he shoots laser beams from his sword when he finally grounds himself, it’s still a carbon copy Iron Knuckle fight disguised as a boss fight. Rather underwhelming and certainly uninspiring. Why couldn’t he be a badass like Thunderbird?
05. Angler Fish – Link’s Awakening
I love Link’s Awakening. I think it’s a damn shame Takashi Tezuka never got another crack at a new Zelda game after this one because of how masterfully this game was put together. However, even masterpieces have chinks in the armor and Angler Fish fits that bill. Angler Fish is arguably the easiest boss in any Zelda title ever. Anyone who tells you “every boss in the newer Zelda games is easier than any boss from the classics” clearly hasn’t actually played all the classics, because Angler Fish is just begging to take the crown.
The prospect of an underwater battle you would think makes this boss hard, but instead a few spin attacks and down he goes, without ever putting up an attack. If it wasn’t for the various wiki’s out there, I would never even know he has an attack. He dies that fast. Eerily similar to Gohma in difficulty.
Besides the easiness, it’s literally a fish from the real world transposed to a game. I have a feeling the real fish may be even harder to kill.
04. Tentalus – Skyward Sword
Let it be known this list isn’t just chaulk full of bosses I didn’t enjoy. As a matter of fact, I greatly enjoyed Tentalus. It had an amazing dungeon and chase like scene setup and man there was a lot of promise with the various tentacles and all that jazz. Then well, we get reminded this is a Zelda game, and thus the boss has to be nothing other than a “hit me in the eye and win” game. I still enjoyed the fight, but it breaks a lot of the immersion from the setup. You chop down the tentacles but where they sprung up doesn’t leave a hole in the ship. This despite these same tentacles absolutely wrecking the inside of the ship during the chase scene. That’s completely ruined the feelings the player had of being afraid. That and of course the ridiculous look of the boss itself.
Still, the whole fight broke down into nothing other than a hit the eye and win contest, something that has grown very stale over the years, especially in the 3D Zelda games. They need to desperately find some new boss mechanics and stop retreading ones like this (hello Koloktos!). It’s been done, time to move on Nintendo!
03: Moldorm – A Link to the Past
Moldorm is fine as a concept, but overall a rather boring experience. I didn’t grow up in the era that included Frogger and Asteroids, but I am still well aware of a game known as Centipede. While Moldorm isn’t exactly like that incarnation, it’s still eerily obvious how you beat this boss – just like any other snake like boss in any other RPG/Action Adventure game out there. Hit the tail. Let it move around and hit the tail again. Keep doing it. Victory achieved.
The whole experience felt underwhelming in that the moment the fight started I already knew what to do and how to do it. I absolutely hate fights that are explained before they even begin, especially when there is no additional challenge. I am actually sad to see virtually the exact same fight return in A Link Between Worlds.
02: Big Green and Blue ChuChus – The Minish Cap
I’m sorry but, this doesn’t get any more unoriginal. Why not the “big scary feet of a Hylian”? Enough said.
01: Armogohma – Twilight Princess
While the second phase of the fight is rather easy and frankly, Gohma herself has always been an easy boss (see #10), fact remains Nintendo is the one that made this boss underwhelming for me and the clear cut #1. Why? Because they had to show us this:
Now that I know what it could have been, what it actually is will never be the same to me again. It may be unfair considering that is just a tech demo, but I can’t help it. What are your 10 most underwhelming bosses in the Zelda series?