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Best Final Boss Fights In The Legend Of Zelda, Ranked – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Best Final Boss Fights In The Legend Of Zelda, Ranked



Since its original release in 1986, The Legend of Zelda has been the epitome of action-adventure games. Known for its consistently high-quality gameplay, each Zelda game promises fans an exciting journey with a final boss fight that can either make or break the ending.

A good final boss fight should not only be challenging but should also make proper use of the game’s mechanics, leaving a lasting impression on players. With the recent release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, many fans have been comparing its final boss fights to some of the greatest encounters in the franchise’s long history.

When it comes to the best of the best, there are a few that stand out above the rest. Ganon, the final boss in the original Legend of Zelda game, may be underwhelming compared to others in the franchise, but he is still a classic. Phantom Ganon, who appears in various iterations throughout the series, has had some of the best boss fights, particularly in The Wind Waker and Hyrule Warriors Legends.

Demon Dragon, the final boss in Tears of the Kingdom, is a formidable foe that gives players a thrilling battle. Shadow Nightmares, the final boss in Link’s Awakening, takes on various forms and is a fun final showdown. Calamity Ganon, the final boss in Breath of the Wild, may not be the most fun to fight, but he is memorable nonetheless.

Ganon, the final boss in Ocarina of Time, is not particularly difficult, but the lighting and atmosphere of the fight make it a standout. Vaati, the final boss in The Minish Cap, is a three-part boss fight that is incredibly challenging and stressful. Ganondorf, the final boss in The Wind Waker, marks the first time Zelda participates in the final battle, making for an incredible finale.

Finally, Majora, the final boss in Majora’s Mask, is a unique boss fight that can be either challenging or easy, depending on whether or not players collect all the masks and acquire the Fierce Deity Mask.

In conclusion, the Legend of Zelda franchise has had some of the most consistently high-quality adventure games in the medium, with final boss fights that can either make or break the ending. The above-mentioned final bosses stand out above the rest, making for unforgettable gaming experiences.

The Legend of Zelda has been the poster boy for action-adventure games since the NES original was released in 1986. Each Zelda game is guaranteed to offer fans some of the most consistently high-quality adventures in the medium and what’s a good adventure without a good final boss fight?

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A final boss can make or break an ending. If they’re too easy, they can override the feeling of success from conquering the game. If they’re too repetitive, they fail to make proper use of the game’s mechanics in their last moments. The journey is more important than the destination in The Legend of Zeldabut the final bosses leave a lasting impression for better or worse.

Updated on June 20, 2023, by Blaise Santi: With the recent release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdommany fans of the franchise have understandably been comparing its final boss fights to some of the greatest encounters in the franchise’s long history. Though most players will find themselves facing similarly-designed forces of evil throughout the long-running Nintendo series, there’s quite a vast difference between the best and the worst of the final boss fights in the entire Zelda franchise. However, the following stand out among the rest as the best of the best, even when considering the latest climactic battles from Tears of the Kingdom.

10 Ganon (The Legend Of Zelda)

Ganon (The Legend Of Zelda)

On the flip side, Ganon’s a bit of an underwhelming finale in the first game. He’s by no means unexciting, holding the fight in a pitch-black arena, but blindly trying to attack Ganon and shooting him with Silver Arrows makes for a weak end to the game. A shame considering that the first game does have good boss fights.

If nothing else, Ganon is inoffensive. He isn’t brutally difficult or punishing like other bosses from the era. It’s better to look at Level 9 as The Legend of Zelda’s final boss. The dungeon itself is long enough to be a boss in its own right. It certainly helps Ganon come off better.

9 Phantom Ganon (Hyrule Warriors Legends)

Link facing Phantom Ganon and Bokoblins in Hyrule Warriors

Many The Legend of Zelda games have featured iterations of Phantom Ganon, whose fights often involve Link having to parry blasts of energy from the floating apparition. Though the boss fight was initially introduced in Ocarina of Timeit was perfected via Phantom Ganon’s appearance as a mini-boss at the Forsaken Fortress in The Wind Waker.

Notably, this iteration of Phantom Ganon also re-appears as the final boss of the spin-off title Hyrule Warriors Legends for the 3DS and Switch. The game’s story mode eventually leads to The Wind Waker storyline, where the fight against Phantom Ganon is as thrilling and smooth as it was in the original GameCube title, perfected on newer-gen consoles.

8 Demon Dragon (Tears Of The Kingdom)

The Demon Dragon in Tears of the Kingdom

After the appearance of Calamity Ganon in Breath of the WildGanondorf himself makes a triumphant return as the main antagonist of Tears of the Kingdom. The character’s strength is shown to players through flashback sequences, depicting how he came to power in Hyrule. However, even Ganondorf pales in comparison to his form in the final boss fight.

Related: Most Heartbreaking Moments In The Legend Of Zelda Franchise

After defeating the man himself, players must face the pure essence of Ganondorf as the Demon Dragon, who wreaks havoc on Hyrule. Fortunately, this fight gets pretty nasty as Link becomes in control of the Light Dragon, the personification of Princess Zelda, as he guides the two into an epic sky-high battle of light versus dark.

7 Shadow Nightmares

A Shadow Nightmare appearing in a cave

Link’s Awakening was quite an underrated title in the Zelda franchise until its remake of the same name on Nintendo Switch. Though most of the game is similar to its GameBoy counterpart, fans will probably have much more appreciation for its final boss: the shape-shifting Shadow Nightmares who take on various forms.

As a final boss, the Shadow Nightmares personify recurring bosses from the franchise. One takes the form of Agahnim’s Shadow from A Link to the Pastwhile another replicates Beast Ganon’s appearance from the same game. Its final form, Dethl, is the only one in the line-up that’s not a reprise of a former Zelda boss but proves to be a fun final showdown regardless.

6 Calamity Ganon (Breath Of The Wild)

Calamity Ganon (Breath Of The Wild)

Breath of the Wild might be one of the best games in the series and one of the most refreshing entries in a very long time, but it drops the ball hard when it comes to its boss fights. The Ganons just aren’t fun and Calamity Ganon might be the least fun of all. While his first form isn’t too bad, the rest of the fight is just a cinematic slog.

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Worse yet, actually playing the game as intended and finishing the Divine Beasts results in a severely neutered Calamity Ganon who can barely put up a fight. Even in Master mode, simply parrying utterly demolishes him.

5 Demon King Ganon (Ocarina Of Time)

Ganon

Ganon isn’t a particularly difficult final boss, but he’s certainly memorable in all the right ways. The Nintendo 64 version of the fight specifically features phenomenal lighting that really sets the tone for the boss. Even without that lighting, though, the fact that Link starts the fight without the Master Sword does more than enough to let the atmosphere set in.

It’s one of the few boss fights where Link is at a clear disadvantage. He could die. He does die in another timeline. But he won’t die here. As Link outsmarts Ganon long enough to win back the Master Sword, Ocarina of Time ends itself on one of the most triumphant notes in gaming.

4 Vaati (The Minish Cap)

Vaati (The Minish Cap)

The Minish Cap is one of the easier Zelda games in the franchise. Link has a lot of different abilities and items to choose from, and while the variety makes for engaging gameplay, this results in a fairly easy game. Up until the very end. Once Link enters the final dungeon, The Minish Cap stops pulling its punches.

Out of nowhere, the game becomes insanely hard. Not just that, Vaati ends up being a three-part boss fight that only gets more difficult as it progresses. It’s incredibly stressful trying to tear away at Vaati knowing that he still has another form. Among the many appearances of Vaati in the Zelda franchise, The Minish Cap is clearly the best.

3 Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)

Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)

Ganondorf as depicted in The Wind Waker is a far more mature character than he’s ever been. He’s wise, humbled, and understands his failings. At the same time, he isn’t any less villainous. He’s self-aware and now hesitant to kill Link & Tetra, but he’s still a power-hungry madman who covets Hyrule above all else.

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The final fight against Ganondorf marks the first time that Zelda actually participates in the final battle. Link even needs to interact with her in-game in order to trigger the final blow. It makes for an incredible finale and Ganondorf even poses some level of challenge, especially on Hero mode.

2 Majora (Majora’s Mask)

Majora's Mask

Majora is a very interesting final boss, in that it can be one of the hardest bosses in the game or the outright easiest. When played normally, Majora offers three phases of relatively challenging combat. Majora is hectic and chaotic, tripping up inexperienced players right at the finish line. It’s perfectly fitting given the tone of the game.

By collecting all the masks, however, players will enter the fight with the Fierce Deity Mask, a mask that turns Link into a literal god— one that can kill Majora within actual seconds. At the same time, getting the Fierce Deity Mask is fairly difficult and requires players to go out of their way to get it. Being able to trivialize the final boss as a reward is great!

1 Ganondorf (Twilight Princess)

Ganondorf (Twilight Princess)

Ganondorf in Twilight Princess isn’t one of the series’ better villains. He hijacks the game from the far more nuanced Zant and has no personal connection to Link, Midna, or Zelda. At the same time, that doesn’t really matter since the finale is going for a traditionally epic finale that pits good versus evil.

And at that, it succeeds. The final fight between Link and Ganondorf is brutal. Ganondorf even makes it personal by seemingly killing Midna. Link has to fight a possessed Zelda, the beastly Ganon, Ganondorf on horseback, and the King of Evil himself in a final duel pitting the Master Sword against the Sword of the Sages.

More: The Legend of Zelda: The Best Dungeons From The N64 Games (& The Worst)

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