Zelda Boss Rush Part 5

Today's post brings this list to the halfway point and marks at least one appearance from every game that is covered. At last, we know the worst boss in every game.

This block is also approximately where I start to really enjoy the fights. Some of these still have major flaws, but they generally do enough right elsewhere that I can look past those.

50. Moldorm (aLttP)

This iteration of Moldorm is probably one of the most despised bosses in the series, but I like the big yellow guy. Yeah, it's annoying when you get bumped into a pit with one hit left to go, but the whole dungeon is about pushing other enemies and objects into pits, so it's nice that Link gets a turn as well. I also like that it's one of the only fights in the series that is about something other than fighting - Moldorm isn't a serious threat to kill you and it hardly makes an effort to specifically protect its weak point. Instead, this is all about positioning yourself to hit the tail without being bumped somewhere inconvenient. And Nintendo even thought you give you loads of free hearts in case you fall!

But, like I said, it's annoying when you get knocked off. They could've preserved Moldorm's health between falls or given Link a little more room to fight in order to reduce frustration, but they didn't, so here we are. Number 50.

49. Ganon (FSA)

FSA's version of Ganon is the third final boss and the first pig monster to appear on this list. Without context, this fight is better than its rank would imply. Ganon has a good variety of attacks, makes use of the GBA screen, and puts up a real fight. What he doesn't have is any reason to be there. FSA spends most of its time building up Vaati, formerly the final boss of FS, only to chuck him aside at the last second and bring back your old pal Ganon. This fight feels like an unnecessary encore and lacks the tension that should come with a final boss fight. Strong mechanics can save a normal boss from plot irrelevance, but you've got to have both to make a good end battle.

48. Waterblight Ganon (BotW)

Our second Ganon in a row is BotW's only representation on this list. Waterblight is carried by a strong aesthetic design and a cool concept of duking it out in a ranged battle, but is also massively let down by how needlessly frustrating the fight becomes when you run out of arrows or bows. Other Zelda games always made sure to spawn drops of any necessary items, so I have no idea why they let you run dry here.

47. Helmaroc King (FSA)

FSA sure liked to copy/paste boss designs from other games. This time it has snatched Wind Waker's Helmaroc King, although this time the fight is at least considerably different. You're trying to get the King's head stuck in either of the giant boulders on the map. If that happens, you can dash inside and whack it with the hammer. Do that enough times and you'll win. That's good enough to be the exact halfway point of this list.

This fight earns points for good use of the GBA screen and putting a new spin on an old boss, but loses points for not making use of co-op and for being relatively simple. In other words, the same balance that most FSA bosses chose to strike.

46. Big Green Chuchu (MC)

Big Green Chuchu, or BGC to its friends, is one of many reasons why MC is my favorite Zelda game. In a title that's all about being small, what better way to showcase Link's new size than turning a regular enemy into a boss fight? BGC is actually just a perfectly normal chuchu that snuck into a Minish dungeon, but that's no consolation to milimeter-scale Link. The fight fits its environment perfectly, because chuchus are common in the regular-size areas near the dungeon, and makes good use of the Gust Jar as a way to bring BGC to ground.

So why is BGC still only #46? It's partly because we've finally started to reach bosses I quite enjoyed fighting. The main reason, though, is that as much as BGC is brilliant for what it is, introductory dungeon bosses just can't go much higher than this. There are only a handful left on the list, and most of them have the advantage of appearing slightly later in their games, when the player is more familiar with the controls and has access to more items. But don't feel too bad for BGC - this idea gets reused in the Temple of Droplets as Big Blue Chuchu, and the chuchus reach their full potential there.

45. Volvagia (OoT)

Alright, look. This one is pure Rule of Cool. Fighting Volvagia is basically Whack-A-Mole interrupted by occasionally running around while it flies above you, but, on the other hand, it's a freaking lava dragon. You can get away with mediocre fight mechanics when you've got a concept as cool as being a "Subterranean Laval Dragon" who lives in the core of a volcano.

Volvagia is also the last boss from Ocarina of Time that will be appearing. That makes it the second game with more than one entry to have exhausted its supply, after Oracle of Ages.

44. Yuga (LBW)

LBW's spin on Agahanim is Yuga, whose fight has almost nothing to do with the original. There's still a lightning attack, but it strikes in a U shape, and you need to find the correct Yuga out of three clones instead of winning a tennis match. Yuga occasionally swaps in other moves like spawning a handful of guards or copying Link's ability and dashing around on the walls. He doesn't put up much of a fight, which is why we're only at #44, but everything other than the threat level is well done. And he even gets a theme with a full choir chanting "Yuga! Yuga!" How many other Zelda bosses have cheerleader choirs? I'm pretty sure that's zero.

43. Knucklemaster (LBW)

Knucklemaster finally gives Wallmasters the respect they deserve. It's a giant armored hand that can crush Link to death instead of merely picking him up and... well, that's pretty much it. I did these rankings a while back and am honestly not entirely sure why this particular iron first is ranked so highly, but I'm guessing it had something to do with redeeming a normal enemy and being a good fit for a dark and spooky dungeon. It certainly wasn't because of the fight itself, which is your standard "get the big guy to charge the wall" affair. \

42. Big Poe #2 (FSA)

Despite having probably the lamest name of any boss in the entire series, Big Poe #2 is a major improvement over FSA's Big Poe #1. This time the ghost-of-abnormal-size actively extinguishes the torches around the room to increases the spookiness level and, less importantly, spawn normal poes that can interfere with the players. Taking it down requires getting sucked in and fighting the small poe (pilot?) that lives inside. Like most FSA bosses, it doesn't bother much with co-op, but it lands just about every other trick.

40. Morpheel (TP)

Morpheel is the second Rule of Cool entry today. I like the mechanics of this fight well enough, but Morpheel never makes that convincing of an effort to fight back. That's okay, though, because this fight would be completely hopeless if it did. Forget fighting something merely large, Morpheel is likely several hundred feet long and makes practically any other creature from any game in the series look like a tadpole. It's a nightmare fusion of an anglerfish, a lamprey, an eel, and an oarfish, and it could eat everyone Link has ever known in one bite.

Morpheel is so monstrously huge that Nintendo couldn't figure out how to make it a fair fight and had to give it virtually no attacks. That's a shame, but the scale is so incredible that it's plenty satisfying regardless.

51. Odolwa (MM)

52. Bellum (PH)

53. Kalle Demos (WW)

54. Angler Fish (LA)

55. Genie (LA)

56. Crayk (PH)

57. Gohma (OoT)

58. Gemesaur King (LBW)

59. Helmasaur King (aLttP)

60. Horsehead (AoL)

61. Facade (LA)

62. Head Thwomp (OoA)

63. Mothula (aLttP)

64. Gouen (FS)

65. Phantom Ganon (OoT)

66. Shadow Nightmare (LA)

67. Armos Knights (aLttP)

68. Dera Zol (FS)

69. Lanmolas (aLttP)

70. Armogohma (TP)

71. Hot Head (LA)

72. Margomill (LBW)

73. Frostare (FSA)

74. Stone Arrghus (FSA)

75. Cubus Sisters (PH)

76. Pumpkin Head (OoA)

77. Grinexx (LBW)

78. Vitreous (aLttP)

79. Kholdstare (aLttP)

80. Barinade (OoT)

81. Cyclock (PH)

82. Arrghus (LBW)

83. Moldorm (LA)

84. Slime Eye (LA)

85. Slime Eeel (LA)

86. Dodongo (OoT)

87. Dodongo (OoS)

88. Big Moldorm (FSA)

89. Blaaz (PH)

90. Big Poe #1 (FSA)

91. Aquamentus (LoZ)

92. Aquamentus (OoS)

93. Morpha (OoT)

94. Moldorm (LBW)

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