You’ve got to HAND it to game developers, they sure love their hand bosses! Bosses like these have been appearing in games at least for decades. How did this idea become such a common trope? In any case, here is my list of the top ten handiest bosses in video games!
Tiki Tong from Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii/3DS)
I recently just finished Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. When I initially made it to the final boss, though, I was somewhat disappointed. What sort of crazy creature will I be facing at the end this time?? In the first DKC game, you battled King K. Rool on his pirate ship. In the second DKC game, King K. Rool is back but he’s armed with a gun and all sorts of gadgets. In the third DKC game, you fight Baron K Roolentstein who flies around and tries to zap you with lasers. What do we get in this newest game? A giant face with huge hands that try to smash you! Okay, I admit it is a challenging boss fight, but WE’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE. There are a number of games that have already done this. What’s the deal with all of these games that have giant face/hand bosses??
Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong (Game Boy Color)
If anything, Donkey Kong should be a pro at fighting giant faces with huge hands because he used to have the same problem! In the final battle of Donkey Kong for Game Boy Color, Mario takes on Donkey Kong who had just fallen into a batch of super mushrooms and has grown to monumental heights. In order to defeat him, Mario must grab a barrel and hitch a ride on one of DK’s hands so he can toss it directly into the monkey’s face.
Sigma from Mega Man X (Super Nintendo)
Speaking of riding on hands… that’s the only way to reach the weak spot on the final form of Sigma in Mega Man X. Of course, in this instance, X doesn’t have to avoid being smashed. He just has to be able to stand on the veeeeeerry edge of Sigma’s hands to avoid being blasted by lasers. I hope you brought lots of energy tanks!
Eyerok from Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
Deep in the pyramid of Dry, Dry Desert lies Eyerok from Super Mario 64. After disturbing his chambers, Mario is forced to shake hands with this gloveless goon. And by shake hands, I mean punch him in the eye/palm. This is probably the first time where we find a hand boss who has a weak spot in its palm. After giving him a good pummeling, Mario will be able to collect his star.
Queen Zeal from Chrono Trigger (Super Nintendo)
Even RPGs had their fair share of hand bosses. We’ve all seen this before. The left hand heals and the right hand attacks with strong magic. If you destroy one of the hands, the other hand will revive it. So, you do your best to whittle down each hand to nothing without destroying them before blasting them with a shot of powerful magic to kill them both. These are usually some of the most frustrating boss battles in RPG games until you finally figure out what to do. In any case, we still have a giant head and a pair of hands.
Andross from Star Fox 64 (Nintendo 64)
I keep shooting his face but nothing happens! What do I do!?! Oh yeah, we learned in Mario 64 to hit the glowing spot in the palm. Duh. As far as Star Fox games go, this is actually an improvement to the original game where before you were just fighting a face. Adding hands was the next logical step! So, in a way, this is the only game on the list that actually makes sense to have this sort of boss. Or is it… why does Andross have such a huge face? He’s just a monkey. How did he do this to himself? What is it with monkeys growing to great heights!?
Gohdan from The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker (Gamecube)
You’re about 2/3rds of the way through the game, and you’ve just finished the annoyingly long Temple of the Gods. Someone give Link a hand…boss! The Zelda series has had a long line of bosses like these as we will also see in the next entry…
Bongo Bongo from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
It’s amazing that Zelda could have SO many bosses like this. In this game, Bongo Bongo is the boss of the Shadow Temple and you fight him while standing on a giant drum (hence bongos). The only way even to see this boss is by using the Lens of Truth. So, next time all you drummers out there think about playing your instrument, make sure you put on your lens of truth first to see if Bongo Bongo has decided to sit in.
Master Hand from Super Smash Bros 64 (Nintendo 64)
Probably the most iconic hand boss out of any series is Master Hand from the Smash Bros games. Pretty much any move you’ve ever seen done by a hand boss in any game is done by master hand. He even goes as far as using his fingers as legs to walk over your character! Certainly, when you think of final bosses as hands, you think of this boss.
Malus from Shadow of the Colossus (Playstation 2)
Lastly, we have probably the most epic boss battle of all time (in my opinion) – Malus from Shadow of the Colossus. Not only does he have a giant face and giant hands that you have to ride in order to get to his weak spot, but he is a giant TOWER that you have to climb all the way to the top before you can even reach his hands. When I first saw this boss, I was terrified. Before you even get to him, you have to cross this massive field while his towering figure looms in the background and shoots lasers at you. The buildup to this final fight is so intense. It took me like an hour to even get close to him. Then, once I finally did, I probably climbed up his tower like 40 times and still couldn’t even figure out how to get to the top. I think I finally ended up having to look up what to do because I had spent like 3 hours (not all in one sitting) trying to beat this guy. Anyway, even though Master Hand is the most iconic hand boss, Malus will always be the most epic giant face/hand battle for me. He definitely falls into his own category.
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So that’s it! I know there are other bosses like this out there, but these are the ten from games that I’ve actually played. I’m sure we’ll see more bosses like this in the future. Can you think of any others? Leave me a comment!