Sailing the Blue Skies since 2001.
Instead of rehashing my Top 10 Boss article, I decided that highlighting excellent boss fights would be a better method of executing this type of feature. Along with that, I'll also be picking the greatest enemies I've tangled up with in gaming. Consider this the "Best of Villainy" feature. :)
BOSS BATTLE GREATS: Verdugo (Resident Evil 4)
The setting for this battle is simply excellent. Leon heads down a sewer tunnel. Halfway down you see a movie of something looking at the same tunnel from a distance. As you enter the door at the end, it zooms across the tunnel and slams the door. You cautiously continue, heading into the room with the elevator. Nothing happens. You find there's no power for the elevator. You exit the door, and suddenly the dodge command appears, and a daggered tail tries to slash off Leon's head! You continue on, dodging slashes and bites, until you activate a power switch in the furthest room. The attacking seems to stop. You head to the exit, now shuttered, and activate it to open it. Verdugo then drops in, in all his shiny glory, and the modeling and design work is fantastic. The way his eyes carry sinister light that drags behind him as he sprints, his wicked slashing moves, and the way he sounds chasing you...man, what a delight. The best part is the use of special tanks that manage to freeze him long enough to pummel him with a few magnum bullets. Once the shutter opens, the battle heads back towards the elevator, with him chasing after you the whole way. Once the elevator is ready, did you choose to fight or flee? It's such a great battle, and what a great boss design Verdugo is. I proudly own an action figure of him.
ENEMY LEGEND: Metroids (Metroid series)
The most fearsome game enemy in existence to me is a Metroid. I remember back when I got to Tourian in the original Metroid and being freaked out when these jellyfish-like enemies began flying my way. Panic is a natural instinct that occurs once they latch onto you, leeching away all of the hard-earned energy you spent a lot of time replenishing for the final battle. Only the Ice Beam can derail them long enough to catch your breath, and only then could a barrage of Missiles destroy them. If you showed up with the Wave Beam, you're out of luck. These enemies would become the focus point of Metroid 2 for the Game Boy, with various evolved forms that were far more demonic in appearance. Super Metroid amped up the frights with a flurry of the beasts in Tourian (and even faked you out with easier "alternate" Metroid-esque enemies in Maradia). But the clincher was when you reached the rooms with the creatures you've been fighting all through the game not reacting to your presence. You touch them, and they dissolve into sand. A few moments later, you learn of what caused their deaths - a HUGE Metroid attacks you, and there's nothing you can do. You watch in horror as your energy depletes, and wonder what you could have done or what item you missed to counter this inevitable death...but then it lets go of you. As you breathe a sigh of relief, you realize that it's the Metroid baby you've been chasing after the whole game! And while Fusion mellowed out the Metroid appearances (SA-X was scary enough in its own right!), Prime offered up rather frightening Metroid battles, too. However, Retro did forego the usual Ice Beam/Missile combo as the only way of defeating them, as a Power Bomb could also wipe them out, but in 3D the Metroid gained some new tricks to try to ambush you. Their new noises were perfectly creepy, and you certainly didn't want one of their dive attacks to successfully latch onto you. They also tried to fly out of your normal vision cone to try to surprise you as well, which I thought was novel. A few new strains of Metroids popped up in the two Prime games, but it's still the original classic that I enjoy battling the most in the titles. I look forward to the battles in Corruption.