King Dodongo – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time is considered by many to be the pinnacle Zelda experience thanks to its excellent dungeons, fun characters, and solid combat. Yet, one of the most memorable aspects has to be the various bosses that offer unique challenges that revolve around cleverly using the new gear you’ve obtained. King Dodongo of Dodongo’s Cavern sadly does not fall into this category and is perhaps one of the most underwhelming bosses in the entire series. Dropping down into his arena, players are faced with a massive, fire-breathing beast that could send shivers down any player’s spine. Then you discover he can be defeated by throwing bombs into his massive mouth and that’s the whole fight.
Where King Dodongo fails is that he is treated like a tutorial boss despite players having several hours under their belt already. He offers no significant challenge and players have to actively try to get hit by his attacks as they not only have a huge build up, but are very easy to avoid. There is no clever strategy to defeating this boss, and for a creature of his scale it’s disappointing how lackluster the fight really is.
Moldorm – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Moldorm is one of the best cases of level design ruining what could be a potentially fun fight, as the boss arena in the Tower of Hera is laughably bad. Not only is the actual room you require players to run up a lot of stairs, but then they have to circle around the perimeter of the actual boss room to get to Moldorm. To top it off, Moldorm’s main attack is knocking Link into a large pit that sends him down several stories, requiring the player to then run back up to fight him. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the fight didn’t keep restarting every time you enter the room, meaning this fight could take multiple tries simply because he pushed you off the ledge.
Even separating Moldorm from his terribly designed arena doesn’t bode well for this massive worm, as the boss itself is not interesting visually or mechanically. Unlike other bosses in this game, Moldorm just looks really goofy and offers not sense of challenge to his actual fight as players just need to swat at this tail a few times before he dies.
Waterblight Ganon – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
While Breath of the Wild may be remembered for its stunning open world, fun mechanics, and inventive puzzles, this boss battle will not stand the test of time. While the other mechanical monstrosities offer fun, complex battles that let you make the most of your runes and gear, Waterblight is exceptionally straight forward. Most of your time is either spent swimming slowly in the water, trying to climb up on ledges, or shooting down giant flying ice cubes it hurls at your face.
Even the first half of this fight lacks a significant amount of punch, as this foe has a very predictable set of moves that are really easy to dodge. Waterblight Ganon never truly challenges the player and in a game all about freedom, his mechanics are surprisingly linear. Sadly, like most water temple bosses, Waterblight Ganon is just a large disappointment.
Head Thwomp – The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
Just like King Dodongo, the Head Thwomp basically boils down to throwing a bomb into the boss’ overly exposed weak spot. Since this boss is basically a glorified mini-game, all the player needs to do is either ride the rotating platforms or just stand on the edge and hurl explosives at it. While it can get a bit tricky once the fireballs start spewing out, the Head Thwomp is overly generous with the amount of hearts it offers the player after each successful attack. There isn’t much more to this boss, which is rather disappointing since visually it’s at least unique to the series. Despite being a clear homage to the monsters in the Mario games, Zelda’s interpretation leaves much to be desired.
Jalhalla – The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
When it comes to cute enemies full of personality, no other game in the Zelda series achieves this feature better than Wind Waker. However, this ended up compromising the Jalhalla boss fight as the charm of the actual foe overshadows the boring and recycled mechanics we’ve seen in dozens of other games before. Essentially, all players need to do is blast Jalhalla with the light from their shield to stun him, then pick him up and toss the big ghost into a spiked wall so it can take damage. The catch is that once this happens, he bursts into a group of Poes which can be vanquished, weakening Jalhalla until he is destroyed.
The battle is especially straight forward and Jalhalla’s attacks are quite easy to dodge given the amount of room Link has to maneuver. Your only real issue will be fiddling with the controls when you try to actually throw Jalhalla, as it’s not terribly accurate sometimes which can lead to frustration. Even though this big ghost is rather adorable, its personality is not enough to save this boss fight from being one of the worst in the series.
The Angler Fish – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Perhaps one of the easiest bosses in all of gaming, The Angler Fish offers literally no challenge to the player since it will be dead before it can actually attack. Like most Zelda bosses, this aquatic foe does literally nothing to cover its weak spot which is prominently displayed in front of its face at all times. In order to damage The Angler Fish, players need to swat at the light a few times until it keels over and dies.
There is virtually no difficulty in this boss battle, as it is both slow moving and has easily avoidable attacks that hardly do any damage. The fight is over before it even begins and while the design itself is rather frightening, you won’t even have a chance for any kind of emotion to set in before being whisked away to the next section. It will take you longer to read about this boss than to actually kill it, so one has to wonder what was even the point?
The Imprisoned – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Imprisoned is perhaps the single worst boss to ever come out of The Legend of Zelda series and players get to experience this fight multiple times throughout the campaign. Not only is the mission timed, but chasing down this massive lumbering oaf is far more tedious than it is epic. This is mainly due to The Imprisoned being able to just knock Link down to the bottom of the chasm, forcing the user to climb the entire mountain over again just to try and stop this monster. However, in order to do that, you’ll need to actually stand in front of it (which will likely lead to you being knocked away) and slash its giant white toes.
By itself, The Imprisoned would be a mediocre boss that tries to offer a false sense of excitement, but players have to keep battling this monster. It’s boring and is a wasted opportunity to offer players something different than the typical dungeon style bosses. While The Imprisoned itself is rather easy to kill, the sheer levels of frustrations its arena offers is too much to ignore. There are a lot of terrible bosses in The Legend of Zelda franchise, but The Imprisoned still remains the worst example of mechanics, design, and gameplay failing to work cohesively together.