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The Atari 7800's Final Bosses




(Scores range from 0-5 points & the overall score is out of 20 points)

Say what you will about the library of Atari 7800 games, because Atari DID open themselves up to ridicule at times with their weird IPs. But there is one thing you cannot deny: The beatable titles in the catalog are very hard to conquer. Sometimes, this is because of poor programming or testing issues, but many of these games just have really challenging bosses. Their names may be uber-generic: Mr. Big, Dr. Evil, Shadow Boss, but some of these cats be badd.

In this article, I will rank the final bosses in 4 categories and present my case for the ultimate Atari 7800 boss. This article is being written Thanksgiving week of the miserable year 2020, so if there is a brilliant homebrew or long lost prototype boss released after that, please let me know by sending me a message here.

AWE FACTOR
Bad guys should always pose a threat, but a final boss should be vastly more intimidating. The easiest way pull this off in an 8 bit universe is sheer size of the bad guy, an awesome name, inhospitable terrain and a grim disposition.

PRESENTATION
Being a bad guy wrestler for years, the one thing that I know is gospel is this: Main Event Bad Guys have to look gooooooood. Loose women on the arm? check. Slick vines? check. Cool music? check. Badass weapons? check. Lazer lights? check. Build up? check. You get the idea.

LOGIC
Logic can be an issue for some Atari games. Does the boss/ ending make sense to the story? Does the final boss help the immersion, or does he/she hurt the suspension of disbelief? Does he/she fight in a logical manner that is congruent with the game's universe? Do they fit?

DIFFICULTY
The final boss being a push over can ruin the entire game experience. The big bad has to be tough, but not soul crushingly cheap. There's a fine line! Will the final boss be memorable? If you can't beat it after several goes... it probably will be seared into your mind for a long time.





#13) THE AMBASSADOR
Missing In Action




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
1.0
1.5
3.0
0.0
5.5


I know this game is not complete, but good grief, let me have some fun, here. What is better Atari 7800 comedy than some schmuck in a brown members only jacket and aviator sunglasses as a final boss who doesn't fight back? What does he do? He constantly offers Chuck Norris drugs while being kicked repeatedly in the head, face, shoulders, balls and gut? Drugs, Joe? BANG! Drugs, Joe? BANG!! Drugs, Joe? BANG!!! This is as comical as the damsel in distress in a horror movie pleading "Please don't kill me!" to the big bad. Idle words, babe. "Drugs, Joe?" to Chuck Norris? Bitch, please. Your desperate is showing.







#12) MR. BIG
Scrapyard Dog




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
1.0
4.5
0.5
4.0
10.0


There's so much confusion in the final "boss" of Scrapyard Dog, that seeing it for the first time threw me for a loop. First, our cartoon puppy is about to be sawed in half... brain first. Secondly, there is no boss-boss, but the final encounter is an horror movie style escape room- LOL... it just dawned on me... it's a lot like "SAW". We have to figure out a children's slide puzzle while the saw blade races towards Scrap's head. Thirdly, when we finally arrange the puzzle correctly, it reveals that Mr. Big is the friggin guy who was selling us tin cans and shields in the dumpsters this whole game. How does that work logically? Is that just a huge Machiavellian swerve or art department laziness? This seems like a Frank Reynolds plot from "Always Sunny..." So.... effing... weird, but not as funny.







#11) BRONX BOMBER
Fight Night




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
3.5
1.0
4.5
2.0
11.0


Pro Wrestling and American Football need a little pomp and circumstance to properly get the juices flowing in a viewer's veins for it to be the most enjoyable. Boxing and MMA are right behind those two sports in that regard. Sadly, Bronx Bomber lacks that "Ric Flair" intro he desperately needs for presentation points. Fighting sports also need a storyline, and the one we have here is David vs. Goliath. It's an old trope, but the much larger "Champ"... known as the Bronx Bomber, looks more like an out of shape Soprano hit man than a muscle bound gym rat. Without a proper introduction, the only thing to be afraid of is whether or not the champ is going to have a bout later in life with type 2 diabetes. If you have mastered the running punch (its not hard to master), can stay off the ropes, and can avoid that cool looking overhand right that squishes you like an accordion (awe points awarded for that punch), ole Boobie Bomber should be quick work for your nimble, skinny azz and that belt will be yours.







#10) EVIL MAGICIAN
Crossbow




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
2.5
4.5
2.0
2.5
11.5


A group of fine feathered folk over at Atari Age suggested that I include the Evil Magician from Crossbow on this list. I initially left him off because the game starts over after he is defeated, but upon further consideration, I included him because the EVIL MAGICIAN is extremely "Final Boss-y". He is the only boss in the 7800 library that threatens us before the fight. Monologing is a very important attribute of a bad guy. Also, he scores points indirectly because the lead up to this fight is very grim and we have to invade his castle, which takes a few screens. However, this guy makes me think he may be Midnight Mutant's Dr. Evil's little cousin that can't get laid. He is a "giant head" boss who... egad... is a ginger... and he must be defeated by shooting him in the eyes repeatedly. So... most of the fight he looks like your drunk aunt because one eye is closed, and when he gets angry... he gets conjunctivitis. So instead of being intimidated by him, I feel like calling him a doctor. He does has several arrows flying out of his weird eye balls, so you are probably gonna lose a friend or two in this fight... but the first go rounds with this weirdo is cake. He comes back to life from just being a giant skull, regrows skin and his greasy azz hair, and the fight continues. Bonus points for tenacity. I would have still liked to have seen something that made more logical sense, but he is a character for sure.







#9) ALIEN MOTHER
Alien Brigade




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
2.0
1.5
4.5
3.5
11.5


While it may be disturbing upon further inspection, that an alien is rapidly giving birth every 2 seconds right in front of our eyes, I just can't get too freaked out, man. That girl got some hips, yo. She seems too round and cuddly to get really freaked out about. I know mommas can be hell on earth, but she's not pulling off that big bad vibe, even with that grumpy face. Given the fact that she doesn't move, and she's just sitting out in a field with no defense, walls, offspring, or shields to protect her, the entire presentation makes this game's finale feel like a dud. And truth be told, she's probably the most boring level boss in the game as well.







#8) MOLOBROS
Dragon's Descent




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
3.0
2.5
3.5
3.5
12.5


So all along this dragon we are controlling just wants to kill a pack of Marlboro's? Did his mom die of lung cancer or something? What's that? Ohhhhhhhhhh Molobros. Whatever. In concert with many Atari 7800 final bosses, we have another giant head we must take out. But with this boss, his eyes literally follow us around the room wanting to burn-a-nate us by rubbing its nasty eyes on us. Talk about stank eye. If you have leveled up your offense or defense properly, ole Devil Eyes will be quick work and probably even easier than the enemy you faced at the end of level 3.







#7) FINAL DRAGON
Ninja Golf




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
2.0
1.5
5.0
4.0
12.5


More dragons! But this is the "Final Dragon". Final Dragon is a badass name... too bad I'm the one that named him that! Final Bosses need names, Atari! (Points off on Presentation!) This final boss is just another (or the same) derivative entity that defended the 8 other greens in our weird golf/ ninjitsu mission, just slightly tougher and faster than before. This boss is not easy, he hits hard and is lightning fast- actually on the verge of being cheap. Programmers could have given this dragon a different color scheme or dialogue, or even a big, fancy hat, and the love would have added some much needed character to an otherwise formidable foe.







#6) BERTHILDA
Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
2.0
3.0
5.0
3.0
13.0


Much like the Ninja Golf's dragon, we have seen ole saggy boobs quite a bit already when we step into the ring with her for the last time. At least in Crystal Quest, Berthilda always has something new up her sleeve every time time we see her. This is definitely not a bad way to end a game: She's tough, but not that tough, its a logical ending, and its a good fight. But it's not the fight of the century, either. And... what the hell are we doing here in this game? Did she steal Bentley's crystals and we are getting them back? Did we foil a bomb plot? Is the Christmas pageant still on? Eh... fuggedaboutit.... kick her azz.







#5) DR. EVIL
Midnight Mutants




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
4.0
4.0
2.0
4.0
14.0


This game is a friggin' trip. The in-game texts and the manual's ridiculous lore of the three island bosses' decent into the arcane is silliness supreme. Their trips into artifice paints a colorful portrait of the dark arts, necromancy, and madness. Reading about these bosses the entire time as you play the game presents a nice back story for these poor souls who have lost their way. Dr Evil (WHATANAME) is the final boss of the three, and oddly... the most normal. He appears as a giant, vampire looking entity, who attacks us with iridescent demon sh*t that comes from his ears. He has a huge life bar (ladies....) and taking down this enormous freak takes heart, concentration and dexterity. Nothing makes much sense in the final fight... but its OK, dude... its Midnight Mutants.







#4) AKUMA
Karateka




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
2.0
2.5
4.5
5.0
14.0


I just recently reviewed Karateka again, and this title is a real dog. WOOF. However, defeating Akuma is something I have only done once, and I'll probably never do it again. Your life bar when fighting this big bad is only 5 hit points. Akuma looks like he has 99 and one half thousand hit points. He........ must work out. The Atari 7800 version of Akuma is not nearly as cool looking as computer versions and his cut scenes leave alot to be desired. Even still, the build up to this guy is nice and slow and arduous, and even just reaching him is an accomplishment.







#3) SHADOW BOSS
Double Dragon




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
3.0
4.5
4.5
4.0
16.0


This guy gets it... he no doubt took a page out of cheesy 80's action movies and pro wrestling. He's wearing all yellow with black embellishments, he's big, he's accompanied by evil green sidekicks, the music goes crazy when he shows up, and... he's got the only gun in the game. He's badd, but not cheap... he can pistol whip you with an automatic rifle or shoot your dumb ass. He also has your well endowed girlfriend dangling from the ceiling by a rope. This guy knows how to be a real heel!







#2) MOTHERSHIP
Planet Smashers




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
4.5
2.5
5.0
4.0
16.0


Although there is no pomp and circumstance with the arriving Mothership, the sheer size of the final enemy takes up almost the entire screen. No dogs, slutty girlfriends, princesses, or ninja school certificates on the line here... The very world is at stake in this showdown. And, with your earth shield probably depleted at this point... you'll be more than likely down to your last ship when biggin' rolls up. Not an easy boss, and every move counts. The ultimate confrontation between good and evil.







#1) MISERY DRAGON
Rikki & Vikki




AWE FACTORPRESENTATIONLOGICDIFFICULTY OVERALL
3.0
5.0
5.0
4.5
17.5


Man, this game keeps topping my lists and awards, but you really can't deny this title the gold very often. R&V looks like either the best NES game ever, or a pretty sad Genesis game... either way- that's damn amazing on the Atari 7800. The cutesy final boss looks very Nintendo-y, and the final fight and subsequent cut scenes would feel at home in any Mega Man, Sonic, or even Mario style game. The final boss looks like a Saturday Morning cartoon dork, but he fits in the world here... and he's got the firepower, brains, brawn, quips and gadgets to ruin your day. This game features a strange caveat that has created some controversy amongst its fans, and that plays out in the final boss fight of the game too. The developers REALLY REALLY REALLY want you to have friends, and they encourage this with changing gameplay on whether or not you play and defeat the game with a pal. The final boss sequence is totally different in the two player game, and the two player scrum features A FALSE FINISH! Now, you are talking! In a lot of ways, this is the only modern ending sequence in the library at this point. An amazing feat. Its too bad this game was an apparent flop. I think the guys at Penguinet are taking a break because of it. A damn shame, too. This game has it all... even the best final boss on the system.