I’m counting down the greatest boss battles in Legend of Zelda history. Click here for part 1.
5. Veran (Oracle of Ages)
Two of Link’s toughest adventures appeared on the GameBoy Color with the Oracle games. Oracle of Ages‘ final boss, Veran, stands as one of the hardest challenges between the titles.
The fight consists of Veran flipping through an incredible five forms, beginning with Possessed Ambi and then switching to her True Form before randomly cycling through Beetle, Bee, and Spider forms. Every stage is a struggle which requires serious ingenuity just to get through, and taken together the battle is one lengthy slog.
4. Ganondorf (Wind Waker)
The hardest part of putting this list together was preventing the temptation of allowing the various Ganon/Ganondorf final-boss battles to completely dominate. There’s nothing quite like heading into the final boss fight of a new Zelda game and knowing Ganon will be waiting for you, but having no idea what new twist or trick will await, or what forms your foe will take. I’ve limited myself to only two appearances of the King of the Gerudo.
Wind Waker is a controversial game, its graphics were reviled by the fan community when the game was first shown, and criticisms have lingered regarding its few number of dungeons, generally easy gameplay, and late-game fetch quest. There is little doubt, however, that Wind Waker boasts one of the most epic final battles in Zelda history. Ganondorf’s tight character design, the expressiveness of the characters which Wind Waker‘s art style allows for, and the uncluttered waterfall scene you fight in, all contribute to a pure and intense fight.
That is all to say nothing of the final blow. Wind Waker concludes with the most satisfying sword swipe in Zelda history, but I’ll save the gory details for players to discover on their own.
3. Armos Knights (Link to the Past)
It may seem questionable to put a game’s first boss fight so high on this list, but I consider the battle against the six Armos Knights in Link to the Past to be some of the finest action in Zelda history.
In the dungeon leading up to this fight, you get your hands on your bow, so you know it will be extremely useful, if not necessary, in the battle to come. It’s a simple and elegant weapon to use from the overhead perspective: line up with whatever you want to hit, and fire away. That’s where the brilliance of the Armos Knights comes in. They dance around, stomp, and generally make it a mental workout to keep pace. There’s a subtle strategy in taking down the knights, too. Do you focus on one at a time, clearing space to make your battle easier as you go, but leave yourself vulnerable to an extended altercation with the final, tougher Armos, or do you spread the pain around, and mostly avoid his wrath?
2. Majora’s Mask (Majora’s Mask)
The final boss battle of Majora’s Mask is another one of those vintage Zelda multi-form wars that seem to go on and on. In Majora’s Mask‘s appropriately trippy final boss battle, you must take on the mask itself.
The first form of this boss is simply called “Majora’s Mask.” Here, you must fight with tentacles and the masks of the bosses you’ve already beaten in the game. Things escalate rapidly from there, with the fast-moving second form, known as Majora’s Incarnation, taking on bizarrely long arms and legs. The battle concludes with the mask becoming Majora’s Wrath. This form is more human in shape, but there are now two whip-like arms to contend with.
1. Ganon (Ocarina of Time)
This battle stands as perhaps the most singularly epic in gaming history. After finally breaking into Ganondorf’s chamber, you see your expectant nemesis playing a massive pipe organ, Zelda hangs helplessly suspended above him. Ganondorf’s study fades away as he flies into the air, and the battle begins.
Things kick off with some of the previously mentioned Dead Man’s Volley. Hitting Ganondorf with his own energy will knock him back, allowing you to strike him with Light Arrows, which in turn allows you to hack away with your sword. After a number of rounds of this, your enemy will send his own castle crashing down around you.
This is followed by a mad dash for what seems like safety. Of course, waiting for you outside the ruins of his castle is Ganon in his final, massive pig form. Lightning cracks, and Ganon stretches back to reveal his true, awesome power.