Best Bosses Of The BioShock Franchise, Ranked


Following the debut of the first game in 2007, the BioShock franchise quickly became well-beloved by audiences. Lauded for its atmosphere, sound design, soundtrack, and much more, the 2K and Irrational Games series became one of the leading examples of story-driven first-person shooters. One of the often-highlighted aspects of the games continues to be the impressive casts of characters found in each entry.

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While there are a multitude of seen or mentioned characters, there are only a few who were prominent enough to receive the distinction of being a “boss.” That being said, there are some truly haunting and formidable BioShock bosses who stand out among the rest. These are nine of the most iconic, daunting, and downright disturbing bosses of the franchise.


9/9 Peach Wilkins

Once a leader of Frank Fontaine’s smuggler outfit, Peach Wilkins is now a resident of Neptune’s Bounty, holing himself up in Fontaine Fisheries with other previous smugglers. Shortly after the supposed death of Frank Fontaine, Wilkins grew paranoid that his former boss was still alive and out to get him, a problem exacerbated by the abuse of ADAM. Jack first meets Wilkins behind the sealed metal door to the Fisheries, with Wilkins requiring Jack to obtain a research camera and take pictures of three spider splicers of the level (arguably one of the more frightening enemies of BioShock). Shortly after returning to the Fisheries, Peach allows Jack to enter on the condition that he first deposit his weapons in a nearby pneumo tube.

While a somewhat formidable foe, the research camera Wilkins has Jack acquire proves to be his undoing due to the player’s research on Nitro Splicers. Hacking the turret, med stations, and the camera, as well as using the Telekinesis plasmid on a number of explosive tanks and thrown grenades from Wilkins, contribute to making this a pretty easy fight. Despite this, learning about Peach’s descent into paranoia and madness over the thought of Fontaine coming to seek revenge on him and his fellow smugglers makes him that much better of a boss character.

8/9 Captain Cornelius Slate

Cornelius Slate BioShock Infinite

While there are very few true “boss fights” in BioShock Infinite, the endeavor through the Hall of Heroes in Columbia is one of the most interesting levels of the franchise. Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth must travel through the Hall to obtain the Shock Jockey Vigor; a key component towards their individual goals of leaving Columbia. This all occurs while an archetypal BioShock villain of Captain Cornelius Slate sends in his men after the duo, taunting the pair and raging about the leader of Columbia, Zachary Hale Comstock. Slate, just like other villains in the series, became disillusioned with the leading figure of the profound “utopia” he joined before becoming physically and/or psychologically damaged beyond repair.

Seeing as Booker and Elizabeth find him already weakened once they reach him, he is not a traditional boss to fight. However, Slate’s loathing for Comstock’s interjection of himself as the commander of two controversial conflicts in US History that Slate believes Comstock was never even present for, makes Slate that much more of an intriguing character. Not to mention that Captain Slate’s fear of becoming one of Comstock’s “tin soldiers” and his idea of sending his men to soldiers’ deaths only adds to the philosophical tone that is present throughout the BioShock franchise. Cornelius Slate’s tragic story, which is made all the more tragic following the conclusion of the game, makes Slate one of the more memorable bosses in the franchise.

7/9 Fontaine

Fontaine Level

The actual main antagonist of the first BioShock, Frank Fontaine reveals himself as the man behind the Atlas persona following Andrew Ryan’s demise. A natural businessman, opportunist, and grifter, Frank Gorland uses his history of theater and influence to swindle information about Andrew Ryan’s “North Atlantic Project” out of various people before working his way into Rapture around 1948. He takes on the persona of the smuggler Frank Fontaine before eventually expanding his smuggling ring, rising to power with the start of various businesses, and gaining a following rivaling that of Andrew Ryan himself; all before supposedly being gunned down in 1958. Atlas soon emerges after Fontaine’s demise, picking up where he left off with a force of his own, albeit as a working-class man.

By the time the player reaches Atlas/Fontaine in his lair at the top of Point Prometheus, he has spliced himself into a towering monster with three different Plasmid powers. While this boss fight serves as a great conclusion to the story of the first game, it is notorious for being known as one of the most underwhelming final boss fights in gaming. While an amazing character story-wise, the final boss level falls pretty flat, making Fontaine ranked considerably lower than some may expect.

6/9 First Big Daddy/Big Sister Fight

Big Sister BioShock 2

While not exactly a major boss fight, a player’s first encounter with a Big Daddy and/or a Big Sister in BioShock 1 and 2 is no laughing matter, especially on Survivor difficulty. Big Daddies are genetically enhanced humans who had their skin and organs grafted into a diving suit; originally created as Rapture’s maintenance workers, they now serve as the protectors of Little Sisters who explore Rapture to recycle ADAM from Splicer corpses. The Big Sisters of BioShock 2, on the other hand, are post-pubescent Little Sisters who became insane and aggressive due to their surrounding environments and their mental and physical conditioning as girls. Due to the ADAM slugs implanted in their bodies as children, they grew exceptionally tall while acquiring formidable strength and extreme powers from the faint traces of Plasmids in them.

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The first of these mini-boss fights occur towards the beginning of the game, just as players are starting to get accustomed to their surroundings and building an arsenal to navigate and survive through Rapture. These usually take place before or after the first introduction of the Incinerate and/or Telekinesis plasmids, and after only a few weapons have been unlocked, severely limiting the number of ways gamers can defeat these terrifying foes. The uncertainty newer players face with these mini-bosses, as well as the limited number of traditional and biological weapons players possess, and the amount of damage both enemy types dish out, all make the Protectors two of the most dangerous and iconic enemies in BioShock.

5/9 Gilbert Alexander/Alex the Great

BioShock 2 Alex the Great

Considered one of Rapture’s “best and brightest,” Dr. Gilbert Alexander was a mechanical and robotic engineer who designed many of the automated security systems in Rapture and helped with the creation and advancement of Big Daddies. Following the Rapture Civil War, Alexander began working for Dr. Sofia Lamb, where he helped to create the Big Sister suits and the Rumbler class of Big Daddy. Despite his achievements, Alexander soon felt remorse for his unethical actions prior to the civil war, with Lamb using this guilt to make Gil the subject of Lamb’s own experiment. This “New Utopian project” of Dr. Lamb’s failed, resulting in Alexander becoming heavily mutated and driven insane from the excessive amounts of ADAM injected into him. She soon abandoned him but left him in charge of Fontaine Futuristics headquarters, where Alexander, now calling himself “Alex the Great”, manipulates his surroundings with a modified Security Bot.

When Subject Delta arrives in Fontaine Futuristics during the events of BioShock 2, Alex the Great attempts to prevent Delta from accessing the Security Office and discovering his secret hideout. This may seem like a straightforward task, however, Alexander is another untraditional boss fight; throughout the level, mainly when Delta destroys one of four hacked Bot Shutdown Panels to access the Security Office, Alex the Great sends multitudes of splicers and psychotic Alpha Series Big Daddies to thwart Delta’s efforts. Yet, the aspect that makes this boss level so interesting and disturbing is the final reveal of what truly happened to Gil Alexander; his dual personalities begging to be killed or spared at the end of the level.

4/9 Lady Comstock/Siren

BioShock Infinite Siren with Elizabeth

One of the few real bosses in BioShock Infinite, Lady Comstock is brought back from the grave as the Siren following her husband’s hijacking of Elizabeth’s powers. However, as Lady Comstock is suspended between life and death, she is not quite her former self; she rejects Elizabeth as her daughter and angrily attacks Booker. This is one of three instances that Booker and Elizabeth must confront the Siren throughout Columbia, with the other two being in the Bank of the Prophet and in front of Comstock Gate in Victory Square. These locations all house Tears that reveal significant information about the story, as they are each truths that Zachary Hale Comstock has destroyed in order to try to build his perfect life.

The Siren/Lady Comstock is considered one of the strongest enemies in BioShock Infinite, and the franchise as a whole, due to the multitude of powers she possesses. She has the unique ability to be able to resurrect dead soldiers through the use of Tears, which she consistently uses as long as there are corpses strewn about the battlefield; every time she successfully summons more allies to her disposal, she also heals herself. The Siren also tries to frequently approach the player in order to let out a banshee-like scream to damage Booker, all the while being able to become intangible and teleport herself to another location, meaning she hardly keeps still. As such, Lady Comstock has a great tolerance for any attack the player can throw at her and is unfazed by most Vigors. Lady Comstock’s difficulty and the advancement of the story each time the player encounters her, make the Siren an incredible boss.

3/9 Augustus Sinclair/Subject Omega

Subject Omega BioShock 2

Once a key figure in Rapture’s science and business scenes, Augustus Sinclair aids Subject Delta in the latter’s attempt to reach Eleanor Lamb, the Little Sister he was previously bonded to. First introduced via radio, Delta and Sinclair soon journey together from Ryan Amusements towards Persephone, Rapture’s penal colony and correctional facility, in an effort to reunite Eleanor with Subject Delta. Sinclair provides many tips to Delta about Rapture’s history along their journey and claims that he will take Delta to the surface should they successfully escape. This, of course, never comes to fruition; Sinclair and Delta become separated upon entering Persephone and Sofia Lamb captures Sinclair, turning him into Subject Omega, the final Alpha Series.

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While his actions are being controlled by Sofia Lamb, Sinclair can still think and speak for himself (in order to provide bomb codes for Lamb), causing much anguish and remorse for his actions. Subject Omega has over double the health of a regular Alpha Series Big Daddy and is equipped with a launcher while being followed by a Security Bot. Despite his large amount of health, Sinclair is still vulnerable to headshots and is not too much trouble to deal with due to the ability to summon Eleanor to aid the player with defeating Omega. While not a terribly tough boss given all the powerful weapons and upgrades in Delta’s arsenal, Subject Omega is a gut-wrenching fight to battle knowing one of your closest allies in Rapture had his fate unwillingly sealed.

2/9 Dr. J. S. Steinman

BioShock Dr. Steinman Operating Dialogue

The very first boss of the first BioShock game, Dr. J. S. Steinman is the psychotic overseer of the Medical Pavilion in Rapture. The regular abuse of ADAM loosened his grip on reality, causing him to obsess over his work and human anatomy in an attempt to become the “Picasso of Surgery.” He grew so obsessed with making his patients perfect, that he soon believed to be receiving visions from the Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite. Steinman’s works of “art” and mutilated corpses of previous patients litter the hallways and are proudly displayed on the walls and floors.

When Jack reaches the Operating Theater where Steinman is located, he witnesses Steinman in the middle of creating more of his “art” before the Doctor notices him and opens fire. While not a difficult boss by any means, Steinman is a bit quicker than most of the other enemies players have faced thus far and will attempt to heal himself at a health station in the flooded part of the room. This scene and the ensuing fight with Doctor Steinman leave an imprint, quickly detailing just what kind of events players are in for during their time in Rapture.

1/9 Sander Cohen

BioShock Sander Cohen Fort Frolic Atrium

Last, but certainly not least, is the equally mad and eccentric artist Sander Cohen. One of the most iconic characters of the entire franchise, Cohen is a sadistic artist that rules over Fort Frolic, decorating the once-celebrated location with his own “art”; figures brutally murdered and covered in plaster before being positioned to his heart’s content. When Jack arrives in Fort Frolic, he is cut off from radioing Atlas and is, instead, required to complete Cohen’s masterpiece, the “Quadtych,” by killing and photographing Cohen’s disciples that reside in the level. Once the Quadtych is completed, Cohen makes a grand entrance down the central staircase towards the atrium before rewarding Jack with a tonic.

The unique thing about Cohen as a boss is that he can be engaged in Fort Frolic, later on in the game in his apartment in Mercury Suites, or not at all. However, waiting to encounter him later in his apartment allows the player to gain another upgrade from an otherwise unattainable Power to the People machine located in his bedroom. If and when Cohen is confronted he fights like a Houdini Splicer, teleporting around the player and throwing fireballs at them, but with a much greater teleportation range and a larger amount of health. Cohen also appears or is mentioned in both episodes of the BioShock Infinite DLC, Burial at Sea, which follows Booker and Elizabeth trying to gain as much information that they can on a former Little Sister, named Sally, that this timeline’s Booker Dewitt grew attached to. He is a major character in and around Rapture, with his influence and actions affecting the entire franchise; his importance to the franchise and enthralling personality and backstory, make Cohen the most memorable boss of BioShock.

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