There's nothing more frustrating than spending hours upon hours playing through a game, conquering difficult missions and slaying hundreds of minions just to have a "meh" end boss battle. Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often, but it does happen every now and again.
Before I get into my list, I want to explain my two qualifications for a boss battle to be disappointing. First, and most importantly, is the level of challenge they offer. A boss battle should be a test of your skills and abilities obtained up to that point in the game. And second is design...is the boss an original creature/character, or just a knock off of another enemy encountered earlier? There are more qualifications, but some are on a case-by-case basis (not all boss battles are the same, you know!)
Also, If you haven't played the games below, you may want to avoid this post until you get a chance. There are some spoilers (though not many) and I do not want you to judge an entire game based on a very lack luster fight. Go play the game first, then come back and let me know if you agree or disagree...I welcome the conversation!
So, without further delay, the list, starting at...
5: Phogoth (Destiny)
A fairly straight forward, and, in all honesty, bland boss battle. The encounter itself is little more than fighting an over-sized ogre while wave after wave of enemies rush in to take you out. Having run the mission this boss is in multiple times, I've found that the waves of enemies are way more challenging that the boss itself. And even then, the encounter can be done without exposing yourself to the enemy, if you know where to set your team up. If Phogoth was given an unique ability, like Gulrot and his Bile that slows players for 10 seconds, he wouldn't be on this list, but that, sadly, isn't the case here.
4: Spider Bosses (Nearly Every Fantasy Based Game)
This battle seems to be the one you can expect every time you play a game involving swords, shields, and magic. The set up is almost always the same; you fight your way through a dark cavern/cave/abandoned mine/whatever it's dark, fend off against swarms of smaller spider creatures, then, when you're about to exit the area, the mother of all spiders in the world appears to slow your roll. Spider bosses are entirely over used at this point, especially in fantasy games, and usually offer little in variety. There are only so many ways a spider can stomp you with it's feet, bite you with its fangs, shoot out webbing, and spawn even more spiders to hinder the player. There are a few that have different attacks, such as the spider boss in Dark Souls 2 that somehow learned to shoot lasers, but ultimately they all follow the same pattern. At this point, I'd much rather have one less boss to fight than to keep fighting the same 8 legged creepy crawly.
3: The Joker (Batman: Arkham Asylum)
Let me start off by saying this: I absolutely LOVE the Arkham series, and each one deserves to be on everyone's collection. That being said, I felt that the end encounter with Joker, who has injected himself with the deadly Titan formula, was very lackluster. The battle is pretty much the same as every encounter with the over-sized Titan filled minions from before; stun them, then follow up with a flurry of combos. This fight is exactly the same, except that it is broken up into several phases and you get to listen to Joker taunt you while fighting his minions. While I wasn't expecting to fight the Joker in hand to hand combat, I felt that the boss battle could have been handled differently (maybe Joker sends out another villain or two to finish you off while racing against the clock to keep him from releasing the formula upon the entire city?) We didn't get that, however, and are stuck with dealing with a re-skinned, bantering Titian boss to wrap up the otherwise phenomenal game.
2: The Destroyer (Borderlands)
Throughout Borderlands, the end boss was hyped to be an epic showdown against an awesome entity of massive power. What we got was a giant, pink, tentacled thing straight out of an adult rated anime film. For a game that had amazing encounters and interesting characters, "The Destroyer" felt out of place. The battle itself can be completed by staying far away and sniping its weak points, which, if you're at the appropriate level, won't take but a minute or two tops. Much like Phogoth from earlier, the real threat comes from a swarm of enemies that harass you as you're trying to maintain focus on the boss itself, which has a limited number of attacks. It's also sad that the loot gained afterwards is, in my opinion, lacking as a whole. Maybe I didn't invest the time to max out my character, but this is one boss that could have been done a lot better all around.
1: Lucien (Fable 2)
This is probably the biggest middle finger to gamers who took the time to play through Fable 2. Lucien is built up to be the big bad boogieman of the game; he controls nearly everything, has a small army that's building a tower to channel magical energy for nefarious reasons, and regularly undermines the player's progress. So, when I finally get a chance to fight the boss, I'm hoping for an epic encounter on par with the first Fable (which, by the way, was a very enjoyable fight against Jack of Blades.) What I got instead was the chance to press 1 button to end it. Yes, pressing any button at the end of Fable 2 will instantly kill the big bad boss you fought so hard to get to. Actually, that's not entirely accurate; you can press NOTHING and the boss will be defeated, because a member of your party gets a little impatient. Absolutely no challenge here, which makes an otherwise OK game very disappointing and leaves me asking, "How could a sequel lack content in comparison to its predecessor?
This list is in no way definitive, and is purely my opinion. I also want to point out that there are many other boss battles that are disappointing that didn't make the list. The ones listed are the ones I find to be the "cream of the crop" in regards to being major let downs. Disagree? Comment and lets have a conversation!