Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that a video game boss has left me clawing for dawn in the past. Just take MediEvil, for example. Anyone who has so much as crossed the threshold of Dan’s Crypt will know exactly where true fear lurks within the hilltop mausoleum. But that was over twenty years ago, and way before graphics drifted away from jagged lines and drab cubes. Still, for 1998 — we can’t fault the creativity.
A lot has changed since the early days of console gaming, and, in all honesty, bosses are still very much in their infancy today. Developers are going above and beyond to draw up fresh ideas that pack enough panic to rattle our bones, and players are forever seeking new ways to overthrow the nightmares that come with every spine-tingling encounter. Love them or hate them — video game bosses sure can leave an imprint if terrifying enough. Just take these five, for example. We’re not forgetting these anytime soon, that’s for sure.
5. Spider Lady (The Evil Within)
The Evil Within wasn’t exactly shy when it came to throwing gut-wrenching obstacles at us, which is sort of why this boss didn’t come as a major surprise at first. However, once the stage was set and the wheels were in motion, the true fear escalated as we realized we were left to face this thing or suffer the consequences. The doors slammed shut, the furnace burned high with opportunity, and the only thing standing between our hero and the exit was a six-legged Grudge girl. Brilliant.
The Spider Lady, or Laura, as she’s also known for some ludicrous reason, was a petrifying boss that left us sweating at the palms for far too long. Thanks to her ridiculous crawling speed and piercing shrieks and whines, we were left running aimlessly while firing all kinds of rounds without even putting a dent in the health bar. And then, of course, we realized that her true kryptonite was the heat. So we cooked her. A lot. And, you know, we’d do it again — just as soon as the anxiety subsides.
4. Berserker (Gears of War)
It’s fair to say that nobody really expected something as colossal as the Berseker to suddenly drop in during the opening chapters of Gears of War. I mean, we had only just left the safety of our prison cells and regrouped with our squad for crying out loud. And yet, somewhere along the way, we went from shooting wretches from the walls to dodging collapsing pillars from the Berserker’s endless rage.
Okay, so perhaps it’s not the most petrifying boss in the world. It’s not creepy, nor is it in any way original enough to leave a lasting mark. But it is, however, a truly spine-tingling encounter, and one that rattled our bones for the duration of the chapter. Just seeing it burst through the walls and charge towards us without a moment’s hesitation was enough to make our collars curdle. But then, thankfully, with the Hammer of Dawn burning a hole in our pockets — bringing down the big guy became more of a treat than a chore.
3. Pyramid Head (Dead by Daylight: Silent Hill)
As if avoiding an NPC Pyramid Head in Silent Hill wasn’t enough, right? Now, thanks to Dead by Daylight and its ever-expanding catalogue of downloadable characters, you’ll also have to tackle the killer when being controller by another player too. That’s right — Pyramid Head is back again for another round of mindless slaughtering — only it’s being directed through the palms of a player that’s undeniably thirsty for blood. Fantastic.
With only a small band of survivors and an enclosed playground to cower within, you’ll quickly discover that making it through the night and avoiding the clutches of the wandering demon entirely isn’t at all likely. In fact, with no ways of fending off the creature at all — your chances of seeing daylight are incredibly slim to non-existent. Though, that does depend on the one who pulls Pyramid Head’s strings. But then, even players with little to no experience at all are still capable of raising a few hairs on our necks.
2. Hospital Boss (The Last of Us: Part II)
Amidst all of the heartwarming cutscenes and nonlinear exploration components, we found ourselves drifting away from the survival horror aspects of The Last of Us: Part II a lot more than we expected. In fact, we spent so much time digging out old acoustic guitars and dusting off comic books during our journey — that we completely forgot the plotline altogether. Luckily for us, however, the reality of the story came plummeting down on our shoulders the second we delved back into the hospital basement. That was when we knew things were getting serious.
Clashing a series of chases and death-defying obstacles with cramped rooms and minimal light was the perfect combination for this one. Although downright terrifying from beginning to end, our time with the overgrown cluster of corpses was truly one to remember. Not only was there a pretty difficult health bar to chip away at, but also a confided workspace that left us running wild like headless chickens. All in all, that made up for some pretty exhilarating gameplay, and some we’ll never likely forget, either.
1. Marguerite Baker (Resident Evil 7: Biohazard)
While Jack Baker was clearly the standout villain in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, we still can’t quite shake the shivers over Marguerite, the mutated lady of the house. Although her appearances were scarce and bite-sized, every encounter with her twisted self was enough to send waves of panic down our crooked spines. Maybe it was the ridiculously long arms that emerged through random openings, or even just the way she would cackle and call for us as we pursued the nearest exit? Whatever it was — it was utterly terrifying.
Admittedly, Marguerite didn’t exactly pose the greatest of threats right off the bat. I mean, other than the odd outburst and casual stroll through the manor, there wasn’t a great deal to worry about. Instead, we put all of our energy into evading Jack and his evolving body time and time again. But then, just when we thought the worst parts were over and that the head of the family was no more — Marguerite stepped up to the plate. And, oh boy, she didn’t disappoint the family name, that’s for sure.