What’s Your Favorite Miniboss?

Axle the BeastMarch 5th, 2013 by Axle the Beast

Too often while discussing the battles and bosses of the Zelda series, I see people either lump the minibosses in with the main bosses or write them off as regular enemies. The former is understandable, because smaller or not, they are basically boss battles. Still, I’d like to discuss the merits of these lesser foes on their own and ask: which one is your favorite?

I think that, while the main bosses have to be epic in presentation if not in size, minibosses have the more unique position of being similarly more notable fights, yet not having to follow as strict of rules of presentation; if a dungeon’s last boss were not epic, people would complain… but a miniboss can just be a special battle against a cool character or monster. The presentation for that fight can be whatever. For this reason, I think minibosses can be diverse more easily than other bosses.

Beyond that, they also serve as shorter, lighter boss battles that are easier for the player to deal with, easier for the designers and programmers to make, and just easier to fit into the game in general. So, in effect, they allow for much more boss content in a game, and in this way I think Zelda games could improve; they could have more minibosses throughout the game, not just the one for each dungeon. I will say this, though: The Zelda series has been doing more and more with minibosses as time goes on. It was in the GameBoy games that Nintendo first started doing a lot with them, and around the same time they became very common in the first 3D Zelda games on the N64. The Wind Waker dialed it back a bit and, for the majority of miniboss encounters, simply had you face off against groups of normal enemies, but Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword showed each of their minibosses a lot of love, and even had a couple of cool overworld minibosses, like Twilight Princess’ King Bulblin or Skyward Sword’s special surprise miniboss in the Shipyard. Not to mention that, since The Wind Waker, most games have had particularly cool miniboss themes and even in some cases unique battle themes for each individual miniboss.

I’ve written before that my personal favorite miniboss is the Death Sword from Twilight Princess because of its concept and presentation, but unfortunately the fight is very easy and not very interesting. Choosing a favorite miniboss purely from a gameplay perspective is difficult for me, but I think that, to my surprise, I might pick The Wind Waker’s battle with the special Wizzrobe in the Wind Temple. With its ability to summon other enemies — causing hectic gameplay — and that game’s awesome miniboss theme, it was very memorable for me.

But what’s your favorite miniboss? Or your favorites, if you can’t pick just one. And how do you feel about minibosses in general? Tell me in the comments!

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  • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

    Hmmmm…. favorite Mini Boss. Lots of choices, many memorable ones. Although for the most part they are only existent in modern Zelda’s.

    Personally one of the coolest has to be Gomess. For whatever reason he looked quite stylish as far as Mini-Bosses go, and he’s got a scythe to boot.

    Dead Hand is still one of the most memorable mini-bosses I’ve encountered. You knew something was up when you entered the room, but I sure was surprised when a hand grabbed me and out of the ground this ugly rotting monstrosity came lurching forward.

    Stalmaster is just such an enjoyable sword battle that I can’t help but smile every time I get the chance to fight him.

    Next surprisingly I have to admit that Deku Toad was an incredibly thought out mini-boss.

  • KraZy4Krash

    Counting only minibosses that don’t become regular enemies (because this list would be too long), there’s Dark Link from Ocarina of Time, Death Sword from Twilight Princess and Scervo from Skyward Sword.

  • Lon Lon Lady

    I liked the Stalmaster fight from Skyward Sword. I liked that you had to stay on your toes the entire time.

  • ALinkToTheNextGame

    when are you guy gonna make a four swords walkthrough

  • Person

    I loved Gomess from Majora’s Mask. The whole idea of the Grim Reaper style guy was brilliant, and used Light Arrows in a better way than just for the cliche Good v. Evil, Light v. Dark idea. That pretty much goes for all of MM, actually, and is why it’s my favorite game.

  • Chris

    Dark Link from OoT, hands down! Also the Grim Reaper from MM’s Stone Tower is pretty freaking intense as well! :D

  • JeredenDonnar

    I would have to say that my favorite has to be……….. the iron knuckles of Desert Colossus of OoT and the grave in the graveyard of MM. I love Iron knuckles and would love to see them return. Their fighting style is so cohesive to a 3-D environment, I love fighting them. They’re challenging, fun, simple yet difficult. I like them a lot more than Darknuts (while they have a certain flair in TWW).

  • You’ll Never Know

    My favorite Mini-Bosses are The Darknut from Twilight Princess, Dark Link from Ocarinia of Time, The Death Sword from Twilight Princess, King Bulbin from Twilight Princess, the Pirate King from Skyward Sword and the Staflos from Skyward Sword

  • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.lilly.37 Cameron Lilly

    Yeah, def Darknut in any given game.

  • WolfieOkami

    The two Great Darknuts in Wind Waker in Hyrule Castle. The mini-boss theme in Wind Waker is one of my favourite themes in any Zelda game. But in regards to the Darknuts, they were fun mainly because the parry moves in WW are awesome but also the fact that their caps meant you had to slash that away before exposing their weak points.

  • Driorianos

    I liked Death Sword from TP because it had you switch between wolf and human form, that was fun. And, well, I’m not sure if this count’s as a miniboss, you never actually fight them, but I liked the Guardian’s from the silent realm in SS. There’s just something about them being this giant pile of dread on an ohshit meter and dodging that I liked.

    Oh, and I liked fighting Nabooru. Iron Knuckles as a general rule are fun to fight, but those are just enemies, and Nabooru wasn’t necessarily hard… but the entire scene is hysterical. Urh. …. *snap* URH! Another from OoT, though I guess it’s both boss and miniboss, is Dead Hand. Avoid the hands and try not to get eaten.

    I suppose I tend to like the less standard minbosses, ones that have an aspect outside of just fighting. Like Keeta, who you have to run after in order to beat, along with those stupid standard enemies and oh man I just compared Keeta to Ghirahim in my head, lolz. It was nice to figure this out though, because I had no idea until I sat down and typed this out, haha.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/bs88145 bs8814

    I found Wart most enjoyable, however I couldn’t really think of my favourite…

  • HyruleHistory10

    I would also have to go with the wind temple wizzrobe fight. Esp. with the music it is really awesome.

  • MoethePoe

    I really liked Phantom Ganon from Wind Waker. even though it’s used many times, I like the Ping-pong style battle.

  • gloria hershkovitz

    axle is a little girly boy

  • http://www.triforcetalk9.blogspot.com/ Linkfan99

    Shadow Link. No question.

  • rambler77

    Mine is Dead Hand from OoT

  • Skull Kid

    I don’t know if this counts as a miniboss, but my favorite was the horde battle at the end of skyward sword. I just love how hectic and satisfying it is. Here we are, trying to save Zelda, who for once I felt like I needed to save her, and then Ghirihim sends out hundreds of bokoblins, no joke, hundreds. These enemies, that were once difficult, now go down with a single swing and each slice is satisfaction at it’s best. Since you only just got the true master sword, this is the only real battle you have with it, and it truely shows how far and how strong you have gotten.

    However, if that doesn’t count as a miniboss, then my favorite would be the phantom ganon fights in windwaker. For some reason, this version just seems more appealing to me than the ocarina of time version. Also, if you used the bottle, than it is very hard and just so much fun taking him down in the depths of ganon’s castle.

  • Dawson

    dark nut hes got to be one of the best and maybe scurvo (though e made me throw the remote at the TV the first 5 battles)

  • ALinkToTheNextGame

    i liked dark link fromm OOT but i really thought he was easy i took no hit

  • Az Hylian

    Dark link was probaley the most difficult mini boss fight in any zelda game. But the 1000 year old moldarach was interesting to fight again after he was a boss in skyward sword. Deffinitly two most hard mini bosses ive played in the series

  • Hero Of Wind

    I love a lot of the minibosses in TP because most of them are one of a kind enemies. King Bulblin is great because he’s actually part of the plot, you face him multiple times, and it’s always unexpected; you’re not walking into an arena that screams “miniboss”. But I think my favorite is Darkhammer because he’s fought in a narrow corridor rather than an arena and he actually uses the dungeon item against you (Yeah, Ook does, too, but it’s not nearly as badass). Not to mention, he actually challenged me; I had more trouble with him than I did with Blizzeta. Never understood why his name is Darkhammer, though.

  • Hero Of Wind

    As far as Moldarach goes, I think the appearance of the second one ruined the boss-status of the first one. Also, I don’t see how you can call one a boss and one a mini-boss when they’re the same enemy. Lazy developers. One of the many disappointments of Skyward Sword.

  • 60thchip

    I’m not sure if they are considered mini bosses, but i do… any way i love fighting stalfos, there so much fun!!!

  • GreenHat

    Hey, we share the same favorite miniboss.

  • dumdum2121

    the second wizrobe fight in MM… or is it the third… or is it the fifth

  • GSusanj

    I thought the stone temple tower sub bosses where awesome. My vote goes to them for best minis. Both of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.swaiss Chris Swaiss

    Manhandla from Zelda 1…


  • [email protected]

    I love the mini boss battle with the wizzrobe too!

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