Shadow of the Colossus , PlayStation2
Top: The 13th Colossus; Bottom: The 3rd Colossus
Considering how much people love boss fights, it's surprising that it took until 2005 for somebody to make a game with nothing but boss fights. Reasonable people can disagree about which colossus is the best, but anybody who thinks each of the 16 don't deserve a place on this list can take that shit elsewhere. They're spectacular creations, each one. The smallest colossus is about the size of a VW Bug, and the largest resembles a miniature city. Some can swim and others can fly. Some wield crude weapons, and others have magical powers. All seem insurmountable.
The real secret to the effectiveness of the colossi is this: they're acting in self-defense. These aren't bloodthirsty beasts endangering a kingdom or a way of life. Instead, they must be sacrificed on the altar of the hero's vainglorious aims. Some even seem to be sleeping when you come across them. There's a sadness to each one's demise. Even those other games that attempt to humanize their villains at least bother to make them villainous. By flipping the script, Shadow of the Colossus's boss battles become nothing less than haunting.
- Mitch Krpata
Watch a musical tribute to Shadow of the Colossus (YouTube)