I've been too lazy to think of a better topic, so whatever. I classify final bosses in a different category than standard bosses. Final bosses are very different. They wrap up a game. They're meant to be the hardest, or one of the hardest battles. And they usually get their own music.
First: I'm permitting myself to use multiple games out of the same franchise. (Example: Zelda 64 and Twilight Princess are both Zelda games, but they're still different.)
Second: No remake-stacking allowed. If I choose a game, I have to go with one or the other, because it would be too tempting to include a theme and then game the system with its remade version.
Third: All genres are fair game, even though RPGs tend to dominate lists when it comes to boss music.
Fourth: I have to give an explanation for each one. Top 10 lists are stupid, but they're even worse if you don't give any reason/context for your choices.
Fifth: It doesn't count if it's the same as every other boss in the game. It also doesn't count if the entire level leading up to the boss has the same theme.
Sixth: The "final boss" has to the the game's end boss. Secret ending bosses and extra hard post-final-boss bosses don't count.
Seventh: I actually have to like it for it to count. Sorry, I don't care how many people love the final boss theme to Okami, or Old Snake, I just don't care for them.
As per usual... SPOILER WARNING.
Also, all "Listen Here" links will link directly to YouTube ost uploads. It's already going to take me a lot of time to put this list together, I'm not putting in the time to find crap-connection-safe versions of the songs, too.)
10. Sonic Unleashed: Perfect Dark Gaia
I get that this one is sorta cheating because it's also the game's end credits theme, but there's a big enough difference: no lyrics, plus the shitty rap section is removed.
This one is just a ton of fun. I have a few rules when it comes to final boss themes: It has to make you feel the battle to your core, and you absolutely MUST feel like you're battling something much more powerful than yourself. (At least the first time, anyway.) This theme accomplishes both. Also that "The possibilities are never ending" part is really nicely composed (Look up the version with lyrics is it's confused.) It doesn't hurt that Super Sonic has always been one of my favorite video game characters since I was a child. I'll never forget how fucking awesome it felt hearing nothing but rumors about Super Sonic for years and then finally, at 12 at night, unlocking him for the first time ever in Sonic 3. My 13 year old mind could barely handle the rush.
9. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter: Campaigner
This theme still gives me chills. The Campaigner may look lame...
But under that mildly unnerving witch doctor exterior is a cold, dead, machine. The steam gush sound in his theme really fits this fight, as the more you blast away at the Campaigner, the more you damage him, and the more you reveal his terminator skeleton under the flesh. The heavy, pounding drums add a chilling layer, too. He's no push over, either. I admit I was entirely unable to beat this guy without unlimited ammo for the most powerful gun in the game. His theme actually fits his entire level: a giant, high tech fortress filled with cyborg dinosaurs. The whole thing, from his fortress to his boss fight screams "post apocalyptic". There's a version of it with the metallic creak and clang of some marching humanoid machine, but I couldn't find it. For the better, I guess... the sound of creaking metal joints and steel-footed stomping only serves to make that boss theme even more disturbing.
And when you lose? He shouts "The universe is mine!" before driving the huge spikes on his weapon into your face.
8. Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal: Champion
8. Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow: Champion
Listen Here & Listen Here
This one's a tie..... I honestly couldn't decide, and I'd spent all week mulling it over. I'm not joking, this was supposed to follow shortly after the top 10 boss battle themes list I did. It took so long to construct the list, and a good portion of that had to do with the fact that I got stuck trying to break this tie. I had to admit defeat. They're both great. In Red/Blue/Yellow, you're having your final showdown with your rival, Asshat. I mean, Gary Motherfucking Oak. In Silver/Gold/Crystal, you face your frequent partner in epic day-saving, Dragon Champion Lance. Both tracks have a "it comes down to this" vibe, and after back-breaking your way through all the gym leaders, several Team Rocket encounters, and the Elite Four, that feeling is definitely earned. If I had a gun to my head, though, and I had to choose one or die, it would be the RBY one, because it's just a little bit more awesome.
Honestly, though, I don't know what the big deal is. I had a relatively smooth time dealing with Gary. I rarely lose against him until the Champion battle, and even then I'd just call it a challenging fight. Lance is so much more difficult. So... so much more... ;-; *Huddles in the corner* All the Dragonites.... Why all the Dragonites...?
7. New Super Mario Bros Wii: Final Boss Phase 2
One of my favorite musical instruments is the thunder drum. (I call it the thunder drum because I'm a idiot and don't know what it's actually called, but it sounds like thunderous booms when struck.) The doom bells and male vocals really help to add a sense of ultimate danger to this one. As much as I hate the battle (Bowser grows huge and literally all he does is take swipes at you and gently shoot comparatively tiny fireballs at you while you run away like a wuss. You can't even fight him. You just run until you reach literally a 'beat the boss' button.) I'm a sucker for booming drums and crashing cymbals. It has a real "Lord of Darkness" feel.
6. Banjo-Kazooie: Gruntilda
Boss remixes are fair game... I know this theme plays several different versions throughout the game, but it's different enough.
Alright, this one's going to need a little extra leg work to explain. If you haven't played Banjo-Kazooie.... you're dead to me. Alt+F4 and get the fuck off my blog. Joking aside... the way Gruntilda as a boss works is amazing. The entire game, you have to listen to her shit talking you. Literally the entire game (outside levels anyway), she's shit talking you so that you never for a second forget what your goal is. And when you finally get to her, you feel like you've finally earned that showdown, because you hate her but also sort of like her. She's grown on you at that point.
As outlined above, you have to feel it, and the boss has to be more powerful than you are. (At least, the music has to feel like it anyway.) This song is pulse pounding, the battle is pulse pounding... Grant Kirkhope is a god. One of my favorite parts is that they actually managed to fit Banjo's banjo in there.
Seriously, though... if you haven't played Banjo-Kazooie yet, do. I'd put it on a 'My Top 10 Games Ever' list, and as I mentioned in my Arc Continuum review, I've played nearly every console from C64 to PS4 and XBone. So Banjo-Kazooie had to beat a hell of a lot of other games in order to get that honor in my book.
5. Shadow The Hedgehog: Devil Doom
Ok... the game's not great. It's not Sonic 2006, but it's not Sonic 2, either. However, the I AM song is awesome. I know that it's the trailer video music, too, but there's more to the song when you fight Devil Doom, so it just barely qualifies. What's not to love about this song? It's got all the perks that Perfect Dark Gaia has, but it's metal, making it even better. Also, "Black-hearted evil, Brave-hearted hero" and "Can you see all of me? Walk into my mystery, step inside, and hold on for dear life" are my favorite lines.
The battle is backdropped by the sound of Shadow's friends all suffering and telling him how much they care. Fuck, even Eggman gets in on the feels. That, coupled with the blood-blazing metal playing makes it a great end to an otherwise frustrating game.
4. Super Paper Mario: The Ultimate Show
From the slow music box windup to the odd tick-tock sounding clock thing, this theme is equal parts disturbing and dramatic. It really does make it sound like you're fighting a broken, twisted, dark creature. I can't really add the feel of the battle to this one like I did the others, simply because I saved up all of my Block-blocks, so by the time I got to this fight, I was literally completely invulnerable for the duration of the battle. Needless to say, I beat it on my first try. (For those who don't know, Block-blocks are rare in-game items that grant temporary invincibility. Naturally, I horded them til the very end of the game, and when my friend said "watch out, he's the hardest boss in the game. It took me several tries." I was like "We'll see about that.") I really love the twisted carnival show feel it has going on.
3. Final Fantasy 7: One-Winged Angel
Sorry, I don't think Dancing Mad is even remotely good. One-Winged Angel on the other hand....
Ok, I know, that's the Advent Children version. The Advent Children one is superior to the original, and they're close enough for it to count anyway. It's still the theme of Sephiroth.
Though this theme speaks for itself, I'm still going to explain it. First of all... "Estuans interius ira vehementi, Estuans interius ira vehementi, Sephiroth."
"Burning inside with violent anger, burning inside with violent anger, Sephiroth."
"Sors immanis Et inanis, Sors immanis Et inanis"
"Fate, monstrous and empty. Fate, monstrous and empty."
I can think of no better way to describe Sephiroth. I think the lyrics in the Advent Children one are slightly different from what's above, but it doesn't matter. Could do without the pleasant-sounding towards the end, though...
Second, metal orchestras are really awesome.
2. Phantasy Star 4: Profound Darkness Form 3/Ooze
That's right, plebeians! Phantasy Star 4 ranks above Final Fantasy 7. Phantasy Star 4 is the greatest RPG there is.
Sephiroth? Ha! This theme belongs to a being so dark and evil it's only known as the Profound Darkness. It's so freakin powerful that the only way to stop it was by sealing it within space and time, sealed off with god damn planets.
The first time I heard this song, I was filled with absolute hopelessness as the boss pounded me into oblivion so hard, I couldn't even retaliate because healing was all I could do to avoid a game over. The theme gives off only one vibe: you're going to die.
I like the way it opens up all slow at first, with a heavy pounding sound and an ominous melody. It gives you just enough time to come to grips with just how fucked you truly are, then it picks up for the battle.
This thing loves super powered, full-party attacks, and will spam them over and over and over, making you want to cry as you watch helplessly as all of your characters die off two, three, and even four at a time, forcing you to revive them, and hoping the entire team doesn't suffer a fatal shot. And yes, as I said in the title, this is phase 3. You have to fight all 3 forms uninterrupted.
The music perfectly accompanies the panic you feel the entire battle.
Actually, the cool thing about this game is that the final boss gets two final boss themes. Its first two phases have a separate one that no other boss in the game uses.
A. FNAF World: Stone Cold Listen
AKA Mega Scott. I love this theme. It has a nice melody and a thumping beat. Coupled with the shock of finding out who the game's final boss is, (not the faggot-rainbow), this music really suits the battle.
Why It Missed The List: Frankly, it's only not on the list because it fell short of all the others. Had this been a top 11, it likely would have been 11th.
B. Pacman 2: The New Adventure: The Gum Monster Listen
Bad... terrible... awful... this game is so bad. I used to enjoy it when I was younger, I never managed to find all the secrets, and I never will, simply because thinking back on this game, I don't want to suffer through it ever again.
Listen to me... for the love of god, do not play this game. Imagine you were playing... I don't know, Megaman. And as you played, his mood would swing from one extreme to the next, completely outside your control. Happy, sad, scared, angry, and douche... And depending on his mood, he'll either do exactly what you want because he's happy, decide to do something else because he's sad, botch something because he's scared, do something stupid because he's mad, or do whatever the hell he feels like because he's a douche. Yeah, that's this game. You are a slave to Pacman's moods. I once got stuck because Pacman became too depressed to do anything, and I was on a rooftop area. To progress forward, he had to be in a good enough mood to try and make the jump from one roof top to the next, and to go back the way I came also required him to be in a good enough mood to jump. But he refused to do it. In order to change his mood, you have to show him something or have him encounter something that will change his mood, and up on the roof, there was nothing. Oh, yeah.... forgot to mention... you have no direct control over Pacman. All you can do is force him to look in one of 4 directions. You can make him turn around and notice specific objects, other than that, he's entirely out of your control, especially when he's in one of his moods. You're going to be hearing the death jingle A LOT.
Anyway, to the music. The only boss in the game is a giant monster made out of... I'm not joking in the slightest... chewing gum stolen from people's mouths. As retarded as it sounds, this thing is actually tough enough to smack around power-pellet Pacman (or as this game calls him, Super Pacman. He literally wears a cape and a mask.... I feel the need to remind myself, and you, that this was a game I actually sat down and played, not once, but multiple times...)
Though I linked you to the SNES version, I've only ever played the Genesis version. I chose the SNES music because the Genesis edition is a little too bland. But it's a fairly good song, and goes well with the panic of not being able to figure out how to defeat the thing. If it gets too big, it's game over, and it's growing the whole battle.
Why It Missed The List: It's not really all that good. It could stand to be remixed and improved.
C. Sonic The Hedgehog 2: Final Boss Listen
This is not only one of the greatest final boss themes ever, it's also one of the best songs ever, period. This song goes perfectly with Eggman's lumbering robot, and the way it's composed makes it feel like a true showdown.
Why It Missed The List: Because #1 is even better.
1. Sonic The Hedgehog 3: Final Boss
This is my absolute favorite final boss theme, and the entire reason I decided to make a top 10 final boss themes list. I love the way it starts up. The build up is a little bland, but what comes right after the drop.... (the very brief pause) it's what makes it the best final boss theme ever. I love it. The music gets softer and softer, takes a breath, and then finishes the loop with pure awesomeness.
Not convinced? Malicious Fingers
The boss isn't exactly easy, either. Due to a foolish oversight, the dev team thought it was impossible to battle this boss as Super Sonic, so that means this boss has the power to hurt you even when you're Super Sonic.