When the game itself is trying to kill you.
Boss battles are an integral part of almost every video game genre and so it makes sense that if you can imagine it, it’s probably been done.
That said, we’d be remiss to underestimate the creativity of video game developers as they’ve proven time and again they can pull something out of the bag that we’d never have predicted. Even this far into the history of gaming we’re still seeing certain boss battles so unique and special that they stick within your memory.
Whether it’s due to a particularly innovative mechanic or a clever boss design, these encounters broke the mould of typical boss battles and gave you something completely different.
I know you’re already thinking of Psycho Mantis here so let me nip that in the bud early and tell you I’m not going to commit a WhatCulture faux pas by telling you about that one when I know you know all about it. Don’t worry though, we have plenty more entries that are absolutely deserving of their inclusion.