Warning: this list discusses bosses, some of them final bosses. Spoilers are inevitable. Turn back now if you don't want any.

When you encounter a boss in a game, it's usually a longer battle than usual to overcome it. As a result, bosses have a tendency to stick in players' heads more than just any normal enemy. You get to spend some time with the boss, both on the screen and in our own thoughts, and as a result they stick out as memorable events in a game. However, sometimes bosses can be memorable for a different reason--they just stick out in the context of the rest of the game, memorable simply because they hardly make any sense being in the game.<br /><br />These are the memories I am here to relive, the bosses that just don't fit in. Join me?

Okay, I'm cheating, but really, I couldn't pick just one of them. With only one exception, they all have bizarre abilities that can only be called superpowers and that are never completely explained. Let's run down the list:

The first one you encounter, The Pain, has an affinity for bees, and can make then do his bidding through what can only be described as bee-kinesis. It's kind of like that one plasmid in Bioshock that lets you shoot bees, only several times more powerful.

The second, The Fear, is double-jointed in his elbows and knees, has both poisoned and flammable crossbow bolts, darts around the forest on wires, and is invisible through the use of active camoflage.

The End, the third, is a super-agile, super-perceptive centenarian sniper who can put himself in a state of suspended animation until he needs to be alive for a battle.

Next is The Fury, an ex-cosmonaut turned pyromaniac who fights in a space suit with a gigantic flamethrower and a jetpack.

Finally we have The Sorrow, who is a ghost that you can only defeat by wading through a river full of the ghosts of everyone you killed up until that point in the game. You then must "die," then revive yourself with an item, in order to defeat him.

Oh, and for each of these bosses, when they die they explode in various ways--The End explodes into a flock of parrots, The Fury explodes into a pair of fiery snakes, etc. The exception is The Joy, also known as The Boss, also known as the final boss, who is relatively normal.

Now, I realize the Metal Gear storyline is full of ridiculous elements, so you might argue these aren't all that out of place. You'd be right; that's why they're at the bottom.

This boss is encountered as young Link, and the dungeon it occupies, the Bottom of the Well, is the precursor to the Shadow Temple, one of the final temples in the game. It's more of a sub-boss in this regard, especially since it also shows up later in the Shadow Temple itself, but it is required to beat it in order to obtain an important item, the Lens of Truth.

First of all, I don't even know what this thing is. It looks like it belongs in Silent Hill, not Hyrule. It's basically a white fleshy blob with what look like bruises all over it, and it's got a big, gaping mouth. It's like a Like Like, only even creepier. What's more, it has multiple long, spindly arms that sprout from the ground and try to grab you so that the blob part of it can munch on your skull.

Frankly, it's terrifying. As a kid, I could play Ocarina of Time without any problem unless it came to dealing with Re-Deads or this thing. It took me years before I actually had the courage to enter the Shadow Temple in the back of Kakariko Graveyard. That's why, to me, it sticks out. Still, it was the Shadow Temple, and so it might be expected to have disturbing things surrounding it, so it's not very high on the list.

Shin Megami Tensei RPGs have a reputation for being a bit strange, seeing as how they involve various elements of both mythological and religious symbolism, up to and including being able to summon Satan to fight your battles for you. Digital Devil Saga is no exception, and is an interesting and challenging story over the span of two games on PS2.

At the end of the second game, however, the characters, put simply, fight God as a final boss, referred to as Brahman in the game (Brahman being conceptually equivalent to God in the context of Hinduism). This isn't necessarily out of place in a Shin Megami Tensei game, but the way that Brahman is presented is one of the most bizarrely minimalist interpretations of God I've ever seen in any medium.

Brahman consists of a long stone extrusion with a face on the end of it, like a petrified Doom Train or something, with a rotating, four-sectioned pillar on the face's forehead that I think was designed to look like a Tibetan prayer wheel (a Buddhist icon, by the way, despite its name being Brahman). It's essentially an immense statue in space.

This is just about the last thing I would think of when I think of a physical form of God. If anything, I'd think of something like Giygas, an entity with a form that the human characters just don't have the capacity to understand (Giygas is not on the list, by the way, since the way the story of Earthbound is set up it's not out of place). The way the game leads up to this boss, you'd expect something impressive and ethereal, and you get a giant statue.

Okami is an excellent game with an interesting art style and several inspired gameplay mechanics utilizing a "celestial brush." The final boss, Yami, while a fun and memorable battle in its own right, is also noteworthy because Yami, a commanding force of evil and emperor of darkness, is a ten-foot shapeshifting neon marble.

No, you don't need glasses. Yami is a gigantic metal sphere with glowing lines all over it that can unfold itself into various things that can kill you.

Yami is out of place in Okami for several reasons. First, most of the bosses in the game previously are recognizable, like an eight-headed dragon or a giant spider. Yami is an abstract shape, a sphere. It doesn't look like anything. It's cool, and it makes Yami more of an ominous figure since you don't really understand it, but it still doesn't fit the rest of the game.

Second, Yami's forms seem to have very mechanical themes, such as a slot machine, a hammer, and a missile-launching tank. Most of the themes in the game have been mythological or pertaining to nature, seeing as how the game is supposed to take place in ancient Japan (Nippon), and here we have a final boss that seems to be a machine.

Finally, all this comes out of nowhere. Yami is hinted at in the story, but the player is never given an inkling of what Yami actually is until the final battle. As a result, it's a clash that isn't at all explained, perfectly fitting as an out-of-place boss.

This one comes from the award-winning Spoony Experiment, mostly because I can't find a name for this boss other than what he called it. Not that a different name is even needed; that's exactly what this boss is. It's a muscled, white-bearded bald man in a speedo that jumps around the screen in strangely contorted poses throwing axes at you.

In case you haven't seen Spoony's review of this game, which I highly recommend, the game is about a severed head of a samurai that flies over the United States shooting lasers and other projectiles at zombies. Sean Connery is the second boss in the game; the first boss is the Statue of Liberty, which has been turned into a Medusa-like creature with snakes for hair. I can accept her, since the level was taking place in an American city, presumably New York. However, Sean Connery comes at the end of a stage in a valley or something, with waterfalls and greenery everywhere. His presence makes no sense. Who in the heck is he even supposed to be?

Interestingly, this game was entirely different on the Famicom in Japan, where it was called Abarenbo Tengu. There, it was about a Tengu, a kind of demon with a long nose (sort of, I'm not too familiar with the legend), although you still flew around blowing up buildings. This was understandably changed for localization, since few people in America would know what a Tengu is. The Statue of Liberty also was changed, not originally having the snakes for hair. However, even in the Japanese version, Naked Zombie Sean Connery is there to weird us out.

Another from Spoony, but this one I actually remember from way back when I played this myself. The plot of this game is that the villains from the previous two Ultima games, Mondain and Minax, created a life form named Exodus, who has released hordes of evil in order to take over the world of Sosaria. It's a pretty good game, as most Ultima games are, but there's a couple sub-bosses in and around Castle Exodus that are just weird and inexplicable. They're also essentially the same, which is why I grouped them together.

These are The Floor and The Grass, and they are exactly what they say they are. Outside the castle, there is killer grass, and inside there is killer flooring. That's literally all the explanation you get.

These encounters are both a pain, since not only are Floors and Grass powerful, they're also invisible while you're fighting them. These enemies, while debatable as bosses, certainly are strange when most enemies are monsters or people. However, since Exodus is such a mysterious power, I can kind of accept that he could make the ground attack me.

Unfortunately, this is the point where these bosses stop making any kind of sense at all. Brace yourselves.

This is a fairly bread-and-butter side-scrolling shooter, in the same vein as Contra, only on the Genesis. It's overall an awesome game; one of the best action games on the Genesis. Each level has several bosses, including the one level in a mine that has one of my favorite bosses ever, Seven Force. However, there's one boss very early on--the first boss, in fact, if you played the levels in default order--that confused me when I played it.

Papaya Dance is a tree. And that's it. It's just a tree, presumably a papaya tree, that shakes when you shoot it. Shoot it for about five continuous seconds and it blows up, and you can keep going. It drops spores on you, or something, to attack you, but you'll have it beaten before they even hit the ground.

Am I missing something? Why is this tree even a boss? Is it just because the level is forest themed? That's pretty weak. And why does it blow up when you shoot it? Was it actually a machine, like every other boss in the game? If so, why is it so ineffectual? What is it doing here? And what does "Papaya Dance" even mean?

Drakkhen is a strange and unique RPG in terms of its design. It's unlike any other game I think I've ever seen. While I could explain why, it's irrelevant to our list here, so let's just say it's got a very different style. It's still grounded in a fantasy theme, however, with orcs and swords and wizards and etc., and that's what's important to keep in mind when I say that this game has some of the most random and out-of-place enemies I've ever seen. Some that come to mind are the "I Love You" monster, which might be an easter egg, a black laser-shooting Terminator-looking thing, and of course our bronze medalist, the Dog Head.

The Dog Head is one that I count as a boss, since it only appears at certain locations when you do a certain action, but is technically just a monster. Specifically, if you walk into a tombstone, the Dog Head battle will be triggered.

As for what it is, well...it's a gigantic black dog head. I'd guess it's a Doberman, but it could be any black dog. It attacks by shooting lasers from its eyes at your adventurers.

I just don't get it. You walk into a tombstone and a giant dog head pops out of nowhere and fires eye-lasers at you like he's Superman? And of course it's never explained.

I only put this at #3 because the whole game seemed so strange because of its design that something this strange seems to be kind of part and parcel in context. This is a sentiment that will also carry over into our runner-up, which is...

Monster Party is a horror game that is actually kind of creepy, due to its imagery of blood and corpses mixed with the NES retro style. I don't know, I found it to be kind of disturbing, anyway. The game is broken up into stages, each with a number of bosses, and each boss has a short line it says to you before you fight it.

The first stage has a contender for this list in a giant spider that, when you walk into the room, is lying dead in a heap in the corner surrounded by flies. It helpfully tells you "SORRY, I'M DEAD" before you automatically win the fight and leave. Later on is another good pick, a pair of zombies that tells you to "WATCH MY DANCE" as you enter the room. True to it's words, all you have to do is stand there and watch the zombies dance for a minute or so before they disintegrate; if you attack them, they start over.

However, the one that wins is the three-phase boss on the second stage called Shrimp Attack, which is deep fried food that tells you to "LOOK OUT, BABY."

No, really. The first phase is a piece of tempura shrimp, the second is an onion ring, and the third is a shish kabob. And they can apparently talk.

There are a lot of weird things in Monster Party, but this is so bizarre, so inexplicable, that it towers over the rest of the strangeness and creepiness in the game. Even so, the game was designed specifically to be weird and creepy, and so this one gets a silver. After all the rest in the list, the #1 most out-of-place boss has to be one that is in a game designed as a regular game, and is not only strange, but disturbingly so.

Skullmonkeys is a claymation game developed by the Neverhood, who also developed one game previously called "Neverhood." It's a decent platformer, but really the standout of the production is the claymation style, which is different enough that it seems innovative and fresh even years after its release. However, it has one of the most nightmare-fuel bosses I've ever seen, at the end of the sewer area. Joe-Head-Joe...my god.

This boss' body is a human head.

He's a digitized human head with claymation arms, legs and a skull growing out of it.

He attacks you by spitting fire and making his regenerating eyes pop out of their sockets and roll toward you.

Not only is this boss disturbing as hell, and not only does he completely clash with the tone of the game, his very image is out of place even with itself. The entire rest of the game is in claymation, and suddenly there is a digitized head ejecting it's eyes at me? It's like in Myst, where the FMVs clashed with the CG style of everything else in the game. It only serves to make it seem even more like it doesn't belong. That's why it's #1.

So there it is, my memory of strange bosses. I've other memories, but they can wait another day. Until next time...

List by ivan11235 (10/18/2010)

Discuss this list and others on the Top 10 Lists board.

Have your own Top 10 in mind? Create and submit your own Top 10 List today.

Would you recommend this Top 10? Yes No