As long as there have been video games, there have been bosses of varying difficulty. Some of these so-called bosses really have nothing to them, like Bowser in Super Mario Bros. where you simply run under his leaping body to plunge him into the lava pit below. On the other hand, there are bosses like Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid that require you to physically change the controller ports in order to fight them.
There have been quite a few moments in gaming where you find yourself face-to-face with a boss that is seemingly unbeatable. It’s aggravating, that’s for sure, but upon further analysis, it eventually just feels like the creators don’t want you to defeat this particular boss. It boggles the mind: why would they want to do this since they already have your money!? Are they trying to raise the bar of difficulty and shoot for the stars — or are they just sadists?
There are times in every gamer's life when they question why they keep trying this boss if it makes them so angry. You keep climbing your way to the end of the final level, just to get smacked down like an infant. It's at that moment that you think that maybe playing video games isn’t your cup of tea.
There are hundreds of these seemingly unbeatable bosses, but which are the worst offenders? Here are the fifteen hardest and most aggravating bosses in gaming history. Who do you loathe most?
15 Raam (Gears Of War)
Gears of War was released in the first year of the Xbox 360's life, and nearly everyone that bought the console played this game as well. It’s a simple story of alien beings called Locusts that mean to take over and/or destroy Earth. It’s an expertly delivered game with superb controls and incredibly detailed (and disgusting) villains.
The head of the Locust army is Raam, a ten-foot tall general with gold eyes and a bad attitude. During this boss fight with the double-barreled machine gun toting monster, you really need two people: one to draw his fire and one to shoot his head with a sniper rifle. AI is next to worthless as a partner during this fight since they draw his fire but not much else. Eventually, Raam gets wise to your strategy and starts coming straight at the shooter; run!
14 Smough & Ornstein (Dark Souls)
Dark Souls is an action role-playing game set in an open-world environment and is the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. Dark Souls is notorious for being a pretty difficult game and its boss battles are no different. The game prides itself on urging the gamer to learn from their mistakes.
The nastiest battle in the game is against an executioner named Smough and a dragon slayer named Ornstein simultaneously. The two come at you almost immediately with one swinging his hammer wildly as the other lunges at you from afar. Defeating one, only makes the other stronger and regain all his health. This boss battle is extremely daunting because it feels unfair that you are outmatched in both numbers and skill.
13 The Imprisoned (Skyward Sword)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was the first (and probably last) game in the series to provide laser-like accuracy with its motion controls. The art style of Skyward Sword was slightly more uplifting than Twilight Princess, but some would argue that many elements were the darkest in the series, such as the guardians and Demise's androgynous assistant.
During the game, you find yourself trying to seal the evil of a gigantic, dark monster called The Imprisoned. This happens three times. The first two times are a cakewalk thanks to its comedic low speed and the addition of Groose's bomb catapult. However, the third battle is met with a super fast and uber powerful version that won’t even let you get close to him. After the ninth attempt, you find yourself angrily digging through your game collection for something else to play.
12 Zeus (God Of War 3)
You don’t need to play and God of War games to know who the ruler of Olympus is. But what you don’t know is that Kratos, the protagonist of God of War, is the product of the Greek god and a mortal woman named Callisto. A prophecy foretold of Kratos one day killing his own father, so it’s only natural that Zeus is God of War 3’s final boss.
The battle with the god of lightning is arduous and —at first— resembles a battle with another god of lightning: Raiden. It begins as hand-to-hand combat from a side view but eventually turns into a 360 degree battle after a brief cut-scene. But it doesn’t end there, because you soon find yourself fighting dozens of Zeus’s at once before triggering the final cut-scene. But wait, then you find yourself finding the stubborn Greek god in the first-person view with onscreen prompts. The whole battle is fast-paced and you find your eyeballs being quite dry by the time you finish.
11 Sigma (Megaman X)
Megaman X is known for completely changing the way we saw the blue bomber when they introduced animal bosses, upgraded armor, and a tiny health bar. The franchise is known for its gigantic bosses. However, traditionally the final boss was an elderly scientist in a tiny flying saucer so the battle with Sigma was a bit daunting.
The battle starts out against an evil version of Rush the dog, who breathes fire, pounces quickly, and spits sparks. Next, it’s onto Sigma himself who sheds his cape and introduces you to his green light saber which is quite nerve racking. Finally, with Sigma dead and his head removed, you can relax. For eight seconds. The head levitates and commands a giant robot with several instruments of murder. This long battle is made even worse by the fact that his weakness is the slowest weapon at your disposal: the rolling shield.
10 Sephiroth (Kingdom Hearts 2)
Sephiroth has always been a pain, both as a boss and as a “friend” of Cloud and Zakk. He is a tall silver-haired man with an even bigger sword and severe mommy issues. He first broke into the gaming world in Final Fantasy VII, but he is now known for his incredibly difficult boss fights in the first two Kingdom Hearts — the second being the toughest.
Sephiroth is an optional boss in Kingdom Hearts 2 that you can challenge in Radiant Garden’s Dark Depths. Defeating him will grant you the Fenrir keyblade, but that is easier said than done. With not one, but fourteen health bars, he gets stronger the more you damage him and when the background goes black, unleashes a devastating combo. This is a battle that really tests your reflexes as you must constantly be resilient and counter him and perform your own combos to best him.
9 Hyron Project (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the third in the series, but the first chronologically, put out by Square Enix inserting their unique RPG style into the shooting genre. The story centers around Adam Jensen in the year 2027 and is your typical “you killed my girlfriend and now I’m pissed” game.
The final boss in this installment of the series is a pain, not because of the boss itself, but because engaging the boss is a task in of itself. Once in the room with the three women who are deemed the Hyron Project, you are assaulted by three unrelenting turret guns that you must destroy in order to proceed to the real boss. The bosses themselves are actually rather simple to deal with (if you know exactly what to do and what weapons to do). Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s final boss is your typical trial-by-error fight, which you will eventually figure out if you have the time and the patience.
8 Ultimate Alma (Ninja Gaiden Sigma)
Ninja Gaiden started out as a simple side-scrolling hack and slash, but now has evolved into a massive 3D action/adventure game. Alma started out as a good girl until her twin sister’s life was taken and she soon desired to become a “greater fiend.”
In her original form, Alma looks sweet thanks to her pink skin and those happy little wings on her head. However, the “awakened” form of Alma is dark and insidious where the skin turns purple, and her legs become replaced with a centipede-like torso. You fight her a couple of times, and neither battle is a picnic. Her original form is accompanied by two subordinates. As she whips through the air, she throws cement pillars at you and zaps you with a pink beam. Her awakened form is not only grotesque, but her life meter takes forever to drain as you slash away at her and the spirits she summons.
7 Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)
Final Fantasy VI is considered a cult classic and is known for its huge cast of playable characters, magicite spell-learning system, and incredible story. The franchise itself never disappoints when it comes to the final boss of the game. The end is always met with a gigantic boss usually changing forms half a dozen times. However, Final Fantasy VI takes the cake in this series.
Kefka is our main antagonist in this game and for good reason; he did rip the world apart, after all. The final battle with the laughing boy is comprised of a literal mountain of a boss. It starts with a juggernaut that throws powerful attacks at you while you chip away at his health, then several gods who are even more well-equipped, then finally the summit of this statue is a couple more gods. It only ends after Kefka himself shows up with amazingly powerful spells and a high HP. This battle is made even worse by the fact that the Vanish/Death trick does not work.
6 The Keeper Aka Boxhead (The Evil Within)
Just when survival horror gaming was beginning to feel repetitive and stagnant, The Evil Within was released, and it gave new meaning to the horror genre. This game really emphasized the “survival” element, making running away sometimes a necessity for survival against unbeatable horrors.
One of the scariest and most unrelenting beings in the game is known as The Keeper (or boxhead for those that loathe him). The Keeper is a large man in a butcher's apron, that carries a giant spiked hammer, and has a safe on his head. His health is not an issue since a few bombs will drop him like a fly, but he can reappear if there is a safe anywhere around which is tricky since you seem to be trapped in a safe graveyard of some kind. It is exasperating once the tenth or eleventh Keeper appears, but you eventually realize that you must flee once again.
5 Shao Khan (Mortal Kombat)
Mortal Kombat by definition is fight to the death and that’s just what the game has delivered since its first installment back in 1992 when it took arcades by storm. However, it wasn’t until the second game that we got to meet one of the hardest and most evil villains in all of fighting game history: Shao Khan.
In Mortal Kombat II, Shao Khan put the previous final fighter, Shang Tsung, to shame with his overpowered moves and mean-spirited taunts. He has made many appearances over the years, but none as difficult as in Mortal Kombat (2011) where the bull skull wearing leader of the underworld now throws sledgehammers and glowing spears. Even on easy, he’s a real challenge without using Raiden to teleport.
Players who grew to love the brutality of facing Shao Khan got to 'kombat' him all over again on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the series' reboot.
4 Satan (Ghosts & Goblins)
You can’t make or even read a list describing hard video games without seeing Ghosts & Goblins sitting there, mocking you. It’s surprising that this near impossible game has only six levels, but that is more than enough thanks to the high level of difficulty. With almost no health and the fact that a death results in starting the entire level over, it is an extremely frustrating adventure.
Satan does not look like you’d expect, he looks more like a reject from Yo Gabba Gabba. However, he is a force to be reckoned with thanks to his large stature, vomiting what looks like carrots, and the two-minute time limit. If you do defeat him with what feels like 1,000 hits you are rewarded with nothing more than a haunting message and teleportation back to the first level.
3 Albert Wesker (Resident Evil 5)
Albert Wesker has been a part of the Resident Evil franchise since the beginning and has been disliked for just as long. There is just something about a man that wears sunglasses indoors that you just can’t trust. There have been instances where you could play as the evil Wesker in unlocked game modes, but you never actually had to fight him until Resident Evil 5.
In Resident Evil 5, Albert Wesker has three boss encounters, and each fight seems to go on forever. In the first fight, you are fighting a clone of Neo from The Matrix where he can dodge 9 out of 10 bullets, so God help you if you miss your tenth shot. The second battle gives him the super strength he needs to catch a missile mid-air air before it hits him. Lastly, in a throwback to the original, you fight a tyrant-like version of the STARS leader.
2 Galamoth (Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night)
Playing as a villain with benevolent intent is a popular trope in video games, especially when the anti-hero is undead like Dante from Devil May Cry or Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Alucard is quite literally the reverse of his father Dracula, even in the spelling of his name.
SOTN has bosses of every nature: big and small, hard and easy, and even male and female. Few of the game's bosses are as monolithic as the gargantuan Galamoth who is completely optional, but not if you plan on playing as Richter in a second play-through. Galamoth is a towering, golden giant with a magical scepter that shoots energy and lightning attacks. If you choose to fight him, then be prepared to use all of your healing items and special attacks.
1 Mike Tyson (Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out)
When the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the 1980s, and it had tons of difficult games and bosses, but few encounters were as intimidating and difficult as Iron Mike Tyson himself. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out introduced NES users to boxing and we weren’t disappointed.
The game starts off incredibly easy as you fight Glass Joe, then gradually gets more difficult with the likes of Bald Bull and King Hippo. Then, finally, after various games of memory as you defeat all challengers, you find yourself fighting the man himself. Mike Tyson is surprisingly fast for such a large fighter and if you don’t know his every move, you will definitely get your teeth knocked out. Mike Tyson is the hardest of the hard because it’s a major trial-and-error quest that will take even the best gamer several dozen tries to conquer. You know he's tough when the real Mike Tyson can't even beat himself.