10 Best Multi-Phase Video Game Boss Fights Ever

When game developers get a brutal multi-phase boss fight right.

Metal Gear Solid 4

Boss fights can so often make or break a game - get them right and they'll elevate a great game into all-timer territory, but get them wrong and they serve as frustrating brick walls in otherwise entertaining titles.

And because a simple boss fight where you hack away at a boss' single life bar just isn't good enough for some developers, many games opt to throw multi-phase boss battles at the player in the hope of crafting something more epic and involved.

We recently detailed how aggravating and infuriating multi-phase boss fights can be when developers are simply trying to punish players, but when they're created with sufficient creativity and artistry, there's nothing better.

These 10 video games all delivered multi-phase bosses, whether early on or at the very end, that upended player expectations and caught them completely off-guard.

Though multi-phase bosses can come off as cheap or lazy when they're done for cynical reasons, when there's necessary inspiration they're able to transform a compelling battle into something truly historic for the medium.

And so, these expansive boss fights stand tall as prime examples of how to do it right...

10. The Stranger - God Of War

Metal Gear Solid 4

The God of War franchise is jam-packed with jaw-dropping boss fights, though in terms of multi-phase battles, nothing has ever quite topped the stunning introductory battle against The Stranger (aka Baldur) at the start of 2018's reimagining.

The battle is composed of three segments, with the player having to whittle the Stranger's health down to zero three separate times before it comes to an end.

It kicks off with a more down-to-Earth cinematic slugfest that grows increasingly ridiculous. Once Kratos has depleted most of Baldur's health once, though, his bar will fully restore itself for phase two.

Kratos grows increasingly angry and aggressive throughout the second phase, but once you've got Baldur down to zero again and dropped a damn giant rock on him, he'll return once more, restoring his health again for part three.

This time Baldur will fly around the area more and generally fight more tenaciously, until players finally get him down to zero for the third and final time. Well, until you fight him again at the end of the game, of course.

While this isn't a massively challenging boss fight by any conventional standard, it is a whole lot of fun, melding cinematic high-wire action with the primal thrill of stomping a mudhole in a powerful adversary.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.