Bosses are an essential element of every Zelda game. They are the culmination of all dungeons, a test of your skills and mastery of the item you just found (which coincidentally turns out to be the boss’s weakness), and they provide a fun and innovative fight. Just throw in a pinch of awesome music, and voila! You’ve got yourself a memorable part of an already awesome and unforgettable game.
So today I want to talk about those bosses that left a mark in my life. More accurately, a scar, either because they were hard, frustrating, or downright terrifying. So sit comfortably, and take a few deep breaths because I’m about to trigger some surely unpleasant memories here.
What better place to start than my all-time favorite of the series, A Link to the Past. While some bosses are hard by nature, none is as infuriating as the crawling horror atop the Tower of Hera: Moldorm. Don’t let that silly design and those googly eyes fool you, this worm means business, going all in at you with its infallible attack: erratically moving around the field with a constant rattling noise that will drive you insane. The most frustrating thing about this boss is that you must hit it right in the tip of its tail — hit it anywhere else, and it will bounce you back really far.
Oh, and did I mention that there are no boundaries in the field? That’s right, fly a bit too far, and you’ll be dropping onto the floor below. But fall through the right spot, and you’re going way down. Enjoy your climb back, What, you thought it would keep the damage you had already dealt? Well, it doesn’t. Have fun trying to hit it again and not fall all the way down, again, because I sure lost count of how many times I fell down, losing every bit of patience left in me along with the will to climb all the way up again. And after a number of tries I’m not proud of, I, at last, gave the final blow. When I saw it curl up and begin exploding, I looked up and let out a huge sigh of relief, which since then has become my usual — and mostly involuntary — reaction after every similar situation.
Moving on to my second favorite game, Majora’s Mask, this next boss I have mixed feelings about. In the original Nintendo 64 version, Twinmold, boss of the Stone Temple Tower, was kind of frustrating — I definitely seem to have a problem with worm-like bosses. Having to wear the Giant’s Mask during the battle, which depletes your magic power, means you have to be constantly looking for power-ups to replenish it or be prepared with a few green potions. Also, you’re basically dealing with two bosses at the same time, which makes things a bit worse.
In the 3DS remake, this fight changed a bit, for the absolute best. This time, instead of just enlarging Link’s model, the Giant’s Mask turns Link into an actual giant, brute force included. So instead of using your sword, you punch those worms to death! That was quite a surprise to me, as I went into the field expecting the same old horrible battle, but ended up amazed by the buff young Link and when I saw the “Punch” command I thought “Oh, this is going to be good!”. I never thought I’d have so much fun punching worms, but it was so satisfying to beat them and swing them around, making them feel so helpless and small like they did to me back in 2000. It made me forget how much I hated that boss in the original game.
Lastly, I want to wrap this up with what could be my favorite boss in the series; and no, surprisingly it is not from A Link to the Past. I am of course talking about Koloktos, the nightmare-inducing boss of the Ancient Cistern in Skyward Sword, and quite possibly the reason I sleep with a night light always on. I’m sure many of you have heard of the concept of the uncanny valley, but for those who haven’t, in a few words: It is when something (in this case, applying it to robotics) is very close to looking completely human, but it’s not quite there yet. There is something off, namely, its movements, voice, facial expression, etcetera, so it feels unsettling and creepy.
When I see Koloktos, I think of that. It has a somewhat human-shaped body. The face, while expressionless, has human features; but the fact that its face remains static and the way its body moves (especially when it pulls its legs out of the ground) is what makes it look still inhuman and unnatural. It is kind of terrifying, but the morbidly curious nature of our humanity makes me feel a small satisfaction seeing this kind of thing — especially when you get to grab its weapons and smack the Hestu’s Gift out of it in the most brutal and amazing way possible! Oh, and don’t get me started on the child’s laughter when you defeat it. Seriously, don’t.
And there you have it, some of the bosses that scarred me for life. Now if you excuse me, I need to make an appointment with my therapist.