We all love bosses. Video game ones, that is, not our office ones. What game wouldn’t be complete without a gruelling, end-of-level monster to truly test our newly acquired skills? To make a good boss requires many different elements, and sometimes we forget about the importance of the music. So, to celebrate all those baddies and their themes, here’s our (my – can’t speak for everyone!) top boss theme music:
7) Castlevania – Stage Boss
One of the most wonderful and challenging games to play on the NES, Castlevania places you in the shoes of vampire hunter Simon Belmont as he attempts to rid the world of Dracula. The eerie creepy vibe to the levels and the monstrous boss fights deserves a complementing soundtrack, and that’s certainly what it gets.
6) Crash Bandicoot – Dr. Neo Cortex
I always loved the Crash Bandicoot music. It was so refreshing moving from the electronic synthesised sounds of the 16-bit wars to something just a bit more uplifting! Still, even with the chirpy melodies, there was still room for something a bit different and atmospheric. A perfect end to the game, some may say.
And here’s the N. Sane Trilogy’s wonderful new version:
5) Donkey Kong 64 – King K. Rool
Who could forget this tongue-in-cheek final boss? Who else in their right mind would choose to fight such an adversary in a glorified wrestling ring? And yet, if you purely listened to the epic music, you’d be none the wiser. A score that still takes itself seriously, yet also hits the nail squarely on.
4) Sonic & Knuckles: Minor Bosses
There are quite a few iconic boss melodies from the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) Sonic era. However, for me, I always found the music featured in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles to be just sublime. And this is the cherry on the cake. For me, this is the best boss theme of the series. It’s frantic, intense and energetic, the way a boss fight should be!
3) Super Mario World – King Koopa
A glorious final battle atop of Bowser’s lair, or King Koopa as he’s sometimes referred to. Why do I like this music? The intro builds up perfectly and choreographs with the graphical presentation perfectly. It sets the scene extremely well for the ultimate showdown that is about to come.
2) Pokemon Red & Blue – Gym Leader Battle
Ah, Pokemon, the franchise that took over the world. If you owned a Game Boy, you owned Pokemon. It was one of the biggest driving forces behind the handheld’s success. Facing a gym leader, you always knew it was going to be tough (especially early on), but the music not only casts a sense of importance over the battle, it also motivates you. The tone is exactly spot on for this game.
1) Final Fantasy VII – Boss Theme
I think somewhere it is written: “all roads lead back to Final Fantasy VII.” Though I may be wrong.
There’s only one reason why this enters in at the top spot, and one reason only. And that is purely because of how different it is to the normal battle theme. When you start to hear that iconic guitar riff, you know it’s on… like Donkey Kong. Time to put on your big boy boots because you’re not leaving this fight without earning it.
Which boss themes are your favourite reader?