Boss fights. They’re the one thing that makes or breaks action games. You could have a good run through corridors, dungeons and caves, slaughtering wave after wave of enemies. But if a boss shows up at the end and the ensuing battle is underwhelming, you’ll come away with a bad taste in your mouth.
This is especially true for superhero games, given that they often feature colorful and fascinating villains. The Marvel universe, in particular, is host to a litany of memorable bad guys. So, when they show up in a Marvel video game, we expect them to live up to their infamy.
Without further ado, here are the most badass bosses in Marvel video games.
1. Carnage (Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, 1994, SNES)
Whether you’re a superhero or not, you absolutely do not want to run into Carnage in a dark alley. Even on his worst day, the murderous Cletus Kasady aka Carnage is an absolute nightmare to face off against. In 1991’s Maximum Carnage, he shows up as the final boss, and you will die. A lot. Even with the smooth controls, you’ll need to be extremely quick and nimble as you try to avoid his attacks. He’s got a wicked jab, an arms-flailing move that takes away a ridiculous amount of your health, and a special attack which will make you weep. You’ll have to circle around him, Mohammad Ali style, slowly picking him off and outlasting him. Good luck doing that.
2. Red Skull/Mech Skull (Captain America and The Avengers, 1991, NES)
Red Skull shows up in Captain America and The Avengers, a 2D beat-em-up, after you’ve barely scraped by Crossbones, who is a really tough boss by himself. He taunts you as you try to leave his base, and then you start pummeling him and his life bar is draining quickly and wait…
He’s dead already?
Oh no he’s not. It was a trap! Red Skull sneaked inside the canopy of his jet and the poor soul you beat up was just a body double. Until that body double transforms into the gigantic Mech Skull, which has a ton of special moves. Rockets, fireballs, lasers, guns, and even some moves from the bosses you’ve beaten earlier. Taking this guy down requires co-ordination, and you’ll have an advantage if you’re playing with some friends. Make sure you’ve saved up some lives before you get here though. You’ll need them.
3. Galactus (Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, 2006, Various platforms)
Everyone loves Galactus. How can you not love a cosmic supervillain who snacks on planets!
Galactus’ entry in Ultimate Alliance and the ensuing boss battle is suitably epic. He’s a gigantic titan, rampaging through the streets, and your team of superheroes must team up with Silver Surfer to take him down. The boss fight has you gliding around as Silver Surfer, whittling down Galactus through a series of quick-time events. After you’ve removed a certain chunk of his health, the rest of your team will have to dodge his crushing attacks. Galactus may not be the most difficult boss fight in the game, but it is definitely one of the most memorable due to the sheer scale of the set piece.
4. Apocalypse (X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, 2005, Various platforms)
After slicing and dicing your way through some of the best rogues from the X-Men gallery, you will come face to face with the final boss – Apocalypse himself. Ol’ En Sabah Nur is the final boss in this great game, and he’s well worth the wait. You’ll have to kill him over and over again, as he keeps resurrecting and growing stronger. You’ll have to smash your way through walls, finding opportunities to weaken him before you can take him down.
5. Sentinel (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2009, Various platforms)
In a game that is full of so much visceral, artery-slashing, gut-spilling mayhem, the Sentinel boss fight stands out as a shining example of what is possible when a developer completely embraces the comic book it is based on.
The Sentinel you’ll go up is huge. And we mean really, really huge. Like gargantuan, mammoth. Here’s a better way to understand this. Wolverine is barely as tall as the bottom third of this monster’s foot. Do you really need another reason to check it out?
6. Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2, 2004, Various platforms)
The train sequence in Spider-Man 2 where our webbed friend fights Doctor Octopus is one of the most breathtaking action scenes ever put to film. True to form, the game version of Spider-Man 2 delivers on an epic boss battle with Doc Ock. You’ll have to zip around platforms, shutting switches as you try to engage him in mano-a-mano combat. While you’re trying to touch switches that Doc doesn’t want you to touch, he’ll attack you with plasma blasts. And when you’re in his face, he uses his robotic arms to swat you down like the pest you are. It’s a prolonged boss battle that will keep you on your feet, guaranteed.
Which are your favorite boss fights from Marvel games? Do you think we missed any? Let us know in the comments.