Dragons are one of the most traditional monsters in literature and lore. The concept of giant fire breathing lizards that fly is almost a romantic notion, and in fact, it is quite common for dragons to be portrayed as noble creatures. Unsurprisingly, dragons are at least as common in video games as they are in more traditional forms of media. And, just like in other forms of media, dragons in video games range from villains to heroes. The following are the top five best dragons to ever appear in video games.
5. Bone Dragon (Ninja Gaiden) – This dragon was by far the most unexpected villain to appear in this game. While the game delved heavily into the mystical, it seemed to limit itself to demonic creatures and oriental magic for the most part. Then, with no meaningful warning, you find yourself in a room with the bones of a giant lizard-like beast. Besides the incongruity of the situation, oddly the dragon is shaped more like a western dragon than a traditional eastern dragon. Of course, you don’t have much time to think about this oddity as the bones rise up and try to end you. Strange as this boss may be, it is beautifully rendered and you get a true sense of power and majesty as these ancient bones literally tower over you. It is a dragon battle for the ages.
4. Nefarian (World of Warcraft) – Long before Deathwing ever destroyed the world in fire, Nefarian was the main dragon boss of World of Warcraft. As one of the original boss raids, he existed in a time when boss battles required 40 allies and nearly infinite patience. For the few lucky level 60 souls who actually engaged him, he was an impressive sight. He was large enough that he looked like he could eat a hero for a snack and still be hungry. Additionally, like every raid boss, he required nearly perfect play to have even a chance of defeating. He used multiple powerful attacks, controlled dozens of minions, and grew stronger as he took damage. Deathwing would eventually surpass him in fame, but early on he was truly impressive, represented by the global reward that was granted for the rare team that defeated him.
3. Bahamut (Final Fantasy IX) – Bahamut has appeared in nearly every Final Fantasy game, but his place in this game is unique in the series. Usually he can be summoned by the heroes or is allied to the heroes. Final Fantasy IX flips that script by making him a summoned minion of the main villain. He only appears in cut scenes, but he those scenes paint a god-like picture. He is literally the size of a city and his fire breath creates explosive concussions that devastate miles of land at once. His battle with Alexander is one of the greatest scenes in the entire series and cements him as one of the greatest dragons to ever appear in a video game.
2. Maleficent (Kingdom Hearts) – From the very second that Maleficent first appeared in this game, Disney fans were holding their breath. Her transformation into a great black dragon is one of the most beloved moments in Disney history. Anyone who knew that about her was sure that Sora would have to battle that dragon before the end of the game. The game writers did not disappoint, creating one of the hardest and most pleasurable battles in the game. As a black dragon, Maleficent fills the screen and attacks with teeth, claw, and green flame. Even if the battle had been bad, it would have been great, and in fact, it is one of the better boss battles in the game.
1. Singe (Dragon’s Lair) – Don Bluth has a style that is incomparable. His amazingly beautifully animated dragon at the end of Dragon’s Lair is everything the game promised. Like almost every character and creature in a Don Bluth production, Singe has incredibly odd proportions, though that doesn’t make him any less menacing. He attacks with tail, claw, and dragon breath. Even the slightest mistake ends up with Dirk the Daring as a pile of bones decorating the giant pile of treasure that Singe keeps. The entire scene is breathtaking as you carefully avoid every single attack in order to grasp the magical sword and defeat Singe. The entire battle requires over 30 specific moves, which means you have plenty of time to enjoy the gorgeous art, assuming you aren’t crushed, eaten, or flambéed.