Creating a good boss battle for a developer is a high mountain to climb in-and-of-itself; hitting the perfect level of fairness and challenge, keeping it fresh while enjoyably familiar, and having players utilizing all skills and experience they’ve accumulated to that point is only just a sum of the equation. But what if a handful of programmers toiled away and made a great boss battle, but then decided to tuck it under the carpet as a hidden easter egg in the game? It's a bizarre notion but weirdly enough it's a pretty common occurrence.
With the fantastic legacy that Sony has enjoyed with their PlayStation brand since the PS1’s launch, developers have been creating exciting boss battles then weirdly hiding it away in some odd corner for eagle-eyed fans to spot. It tends to happen often with a handful of franchises that are intricately tied to the PS brand; Shin Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy and Soulsborne franchises have had close to majority exclusive runs on the consoles over the years... and oh boy, do they love to hide their bosses!
Sometimes, accessing these duels can be as easy as starting a New Game +, yet other times it involves a prolonged and arduous checklist that must be achieved just in order for the gamer to access a battle that will swiftly hand their behind to them in quick succession. So…without further ado, let’s explore the greatest hidden PlayStation Bosses, and where the heck you can find them too.
25 Emerald WEAPON - Final Fantasy VII
There’s no classic title more synonymous with the PS1 then the 7th Final Fantasy title (fine… maybe Metal Gear Solid 1). With it, the Square Enix franchise stepped the game up to an epic scale coupled with a gripping cinematic story.
It also contained one of the franchises more memorable hidden boss battles; the Emerald WEAPON.
The player is granted access to the battle after the climactic fight with Sephiroth, The player must buy the Shinra Sub and then must venture out in the sea. Once reaching ocean depth, the boss battle can commence.
24 Morgan Freeman - South Park: The Fractured But Whole
You can always count on the South Park game series to give you colorful and completely unorthodox boss battles from unexpected characters, so it’s no surprise then that the only hidden boss is a trademark surprise too.
Over in South Park, the famous actor, Morgan Freeman, has started his own fast-food restaurant named Freeman’s Tacos. Simply pay him a visit, attack him a bunch of times and eventually, the soft-spoken actor will have enough and get into a turn-based tussle with you. Defeating him will reap plenty of awards as well, just don’t expect him to be a cake walk.
23 Oni - Street Fighter IV
Continuing the iconic secret boss tradition from Street Fighter II: Turbo Editions where you faced Akuma, the Arcade Edition of the fourth installment features the ridiculously difficult hidden antagonist, Oni.
To fight Oni is tough but to earn access to him even more so.
You need to beat Arcade Mode without a loss, need to get one perfect win, defeat final boss Seth (with a Super or an Ultra), plus perform 5 Super or Ultra combos, and finally, get at least ten first attacks.
After all that, you have one control smashing showdown to look forward to.
22 Ethereal Queen - Star Ocean: The Second Story
This JRPG cult series has enjoyed an ingrained fan-base on PlayStation consoles since the sequel gave Nintendo the cold-shoulder and came out exclusively on the PS1. This second installment also started the series signature of a hidden boss battle with the tough Ethereal Queen.
You can find this bane of existence after defeating Gabriel Celesta and obtaining the Silver Trumpet: if you toot the horn with a Music level of 10, the player will head into one of the franchise toughest battles. All the hail the queen!
21 Blue Dragon - Demon Souls
The infuriatingly difficult PS3 exclusive that put From Software on the map; at least critically. This game was filled with nary a checkpoint and demise waiting for you around every corner, Dragons being one of the worst offenders.
You find the Blue Dragon in Boletarian Palace 1-1 guarding some treasure; it can’t be eliminated, so don't try.
You later encounter it in the 1-4 region of the Palace, luckily this time you can off him, although watch out for his devastating fire attack (hint: just spam him with arrows).
20 Driviks, The Chosen - Destiny
Oh, Destiny; all that hype, all that disappointment. Anyhow, let’s not open that can of worms and instead focus on one of the game’s really strong points; a cool hidden fight against a granite-hard boss.
You must join the irregular Daily Heroic Mission called Lost To Light. As the mission comes to an end, an alternative path will appear; follow this path to access the boss battle against Driviks; did I mention you’ll only have 10 minutes to defeat him? That’s correct, otherwise, you lose and won’t be able to access the Black Spindle weapon as a reward.
19 The Reaper - Persona 5
The cult JRPG series hit new mainstream heights when the 5th entry launched as a PS4 exclusive in the west and gained commercial and critical acclaim. It still didn’t make the game any less weird; but isn't that what's so fun about the series?
One of the campaign's objectives is to work your way through the nightmarish location of the Mementos.
If a player stays on a floor for too long (e.g 10 mins), The Reaper appears and will chase you down. That’s unless you want to take this secret boss head-on, so let yourself get capture and commence fighting…
18 Night Terror - Soul Calibur III
When it comes to relentlessly fun weapon-infused arena combat, Soul Calibur is the reigning champion. The third entry came exclusively to the PS2 console and brought a stellar hidden boss battle with it.
To face off against Night Terror, you must play the Tales of Souls story mode and not use a single continue or lose a single battle. Then instead of Abyss as your final boss, you will get Mr. Terror. He’s also playable as a character, yet you need some straight-up cheat codes to pull that off.
17 Yiazmat - Final Fantasy XII
Likely one of the most underrated Final Fantasy games made, it came at the tail-end of the PS2 cycle and got lost amongst a shuffle of more exciting games releasing. Regardless, its a sleek, meaty and colorful entry that has been nicely polished with it’s recently remastered version.
It also has a great hidden boss battle.
You can find boss Yiazmat by having first beaten the Hell Wyrn, you must then complete all the Hunt side-quests. Find the client named Montblanc in Rabanstre, accept his request and Yiazmat will be found in Ridorana Cataract/Colosseum.
16 Moon Presence - Bloodborne
This PS4 classic had players fight through the challenging horror-infused world of Yharnam. As you proudly head for the final battle against the old hunter Gerhman; most wouldn't know there was a way to fight a secret boss immediately afterward.
You must have found and consumed at least three of the four Umbilical Cord hidden items spread across the game. Then refuse Gerhman’s offer and defeat him; upon his defeated you segue right into a second boss battle with the horrifying Moon Presence creature. This also leads to the games true final ending.
15 The Demi-Fiend - Digital Devil Saga
Exclusive to the PS2 was another spin-off from the Shin Megami Tensei franchise (the Persona titles are also an affiliate), it delivers a similar bizarre but fascinating story with plenty of cracking JRPG action; oh, and some trademark hidden boss battles.
<pEasily enough, all you need to do is complete the campaign once and then start a New Game +.
Finding the Demi-Fiend is not tough work as he will naturally be introduced in the campaign; what is difficult, is the actual battle itself. Arduous research and prep work will need to be done before approaching the antagonist; I kid you not.
14 Iwajira - Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
The Borderlands franchise is an awesome mix of Diablo and guns; oh, and loot, loot, and more loot. In the third entry (hence the Pre-Sequel title) there is an ideal spot for looting and farming centered around a hidden boss.
Fast travel to Serenity’s Waste, venture south of the location to find the hidden area of Pyroclast Grotto and you will find a big old lizard creature to duke it out with. He’s intimidating at first but easily telegraphs his moves and makes for a fun and profitable showdown.
13 Sephiroth - Kingdom Hearts 2
In the PS2 cross-over between Square Enix and Disney, Kingdom Hearts featured everyone’s favorite villain from Final Fantasy VII in a supporting appearance.
Yet, you could also square off against him in an optional secret battle.
When you’ve completed the Space Paranoids level, you can find old Sephiroth near the Radiant Gardens in the Dark Depths. You can easily trigger the fight yet only really the most weathered and skilled player would really actually want to do that.
12 Emil LV. 99 - Nier Automata
The memorable character of Emil was first introduced in the first Nier game (which itself was a spin-off of the PS2 cult series Drakengard) as an NPC that sold useful items. In this crazy semi-sequel, he returns as a hidden and brutally hard boss in the (initially) PS4 exclusive title.
After having fully completed the campaign and Emil’s Lunar Tears side-quest, you will gain access to the character’s house.
You have to make Emil suspicious by stealing items, then returning and hacking his Treasure Chest with the 9S. He will soon ambush you and start a fight you’ll immediately regret.
11 King Yama - Spelunky
Spelunky can be a mercilessly brutal experience to a gamer, yet weirdly, the most grueling experience it throws at the players (The King Yama boss battle) is almost completely secret.
In order to enter the confrontation, one must gain access to the level of [Uuderworld}. This is easier said than done and involves an entire checklist of errands, yet persistence will pay-off.
You will then need to beat boss Vlad and get his Cape item (otherwise Yama is unbeatable). You’ll find Yama at the end level 5-4; be prepared for the true FINAL boss of the game.
10 Ozma - Final Fantasy IX
This 9th installment was the last hurrah for the series on its trademark console; the PS1. It didn’t hit the heights of praise that VII did, or hold the hidden gem status of VIII; regardless, its a solid game with an awesome hidden boss fight to boot.
Gaining access to the fight is simple enough; you just have to track down the location.
If you explore the top-left section of the Chocobo’s Air Garden map, you will come across a small cave. Your party members will urge you not to enter, ignore them and engage in this rip-roaring boss battle.
9 Gear REX - Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Peace Walker was an experimental MSG entry that launched for the PSP. Funnily enough, a lot of the crazier tropes it implemented became series mainstays (e.g. base building); the weird and secret cross-over with the Monster Hunter franchise, however, wasn’t one of them.
To access the Gear REX boss (basically the Rathlos from MH series), you must unlock mission Extra Ops 29, then go through every single Chicos Briefings audio file. Enter the mission but do not go for the checkpoint; head to the Beach south of the map instead. Then prepare for Big Boss vs. T-Rex action!
8 Father Rodin - Bayonetta
Due to Bayonetta’s relationship with Nintendo at present, it’s hard to remember her first installment initially released on the PS3. In it, we were introduced to the cooler-than-cool character of Rodin, who is an ally to the titular Witch.
He also makes for one darn good secret boss battle, in the form of Father Rodin.
To find him, you will have to earn 10,000,000 halo rings; a Platinum Ticket will then be available for purchase from the items store. Buy it and you can scrap with the-one-and-only Father Rodin; which is the character dressed in priest garb and packing one heck of a punch.
7 Moonlight Butterfly - Dark Souls
The Soulsborne series holds a tradition of insanely tough hidden boss battles; this optional fight from Dark Souls 1 however, is a bit of a pushover. Found in the first area of Darkroot Gardens on a decaying stairwell; go upstairs and you'll suddenly be in a boss battle with…a giant glowing butterfly?
From there, you’ll be spammed by the creatures laser shots, some of which can be devastating. Regardless, they can easily be dodged and if you have a decent long-range attack; this battle can easily be done in one go without breaking a sweat.
6 Karstaag - Skyrim
Skyrim is memorable for a whole number of reasons; would boss battles be one of those though? Strategic boss smackdowns have never been Bethesda signature trademark.
Regardless, Skyrim holds a fun and hidden duel with a beneficial pay-off.
Venture to the Glacial Cave (on the north coast of Solstheim), find an intimidating skull of a deceased Ice Giant named Karstaag. Head to his castle and drop the skull on his throne; then this sinister creature will return for a duel!
Upon defeating him you’ll gain the ability to summon him as an NPC for a limited amount of times.
5 Phantom - Kingdom Hearts
Another entry, another hidden Square Enix boss fight. This time we’re focusing on the creepy Phantom from the premiere installment of Kingdom Hearts. To get to him you’ll need to do several tiny chores that eventually pay-off.
You can find this arduous enemy via these steps; seal the Keyhole in Hollow Bastion, go back to Neverland (specifically Captain Hooks Ship). Put Peter Pan in your party then talk to Tinkerbell, you'll get the option to go to the Clock Tower; say ‘yes’ and grit your teeth for one heck of a Boss Fight.
4 Elizabeth - Persona 3 FES
The Persona series returns to the list; here we look at the PS2 exclusive third entry. The JRPG turn-based dungeon crawler is chock-full of secrets and extra content, not to mention one extra-difficult hidden boss.
She is only accessible after your first play-through and once you hit Level 99.
On your second go, accept #55 Request in the Velvet Room, head to Monad and you will find Elizabeth on the 10th floor. You can enter the fight, but do so at your own peril.
3 God Of War - Queen Of The Valkyries
The most recent entry in the list comes from this incredible refresh of the classic PlayStation series. The game’s bosses are as epic and fun as is expected from the series, yet for the first time, the (kinda) open-world structure gave an opportunity to create an optional series of bosses; the Valkyries.
Accessible about mid-way through the game are several hidden spots where Kratos can battle the Valhalla-bred female warriors. Defeating them is the toughest challenge the game serves up; but it bears hidden items and abilities. Eventually, it all leads to the ultimate challenge; the Queen herself.
2 Penance - Final Fantasy X
This 10th installment is easily the most gorgeous PS2 exclusive ever made. It was also a big step up for the games in terms of delivering an epic and cinematic adventure for JRPG fans.
Despite all that pizzazz, the principles remained tried-and-true, including some rip-roaring secret boss fights!
The hidden adversary Penance is noted as one of the toughest of the entire franchise. To access him you must defeat all 8 optional bosses named the Dark Eons. Once defeated, Penance will appear as an Airship destination; click on it and enjoy (kinda).
1 The Nameless King - Dark Souls 3
The Soulsborne franchise is smattered with tough boss battles, several of which are hidden or optional. When it comes to the most infuriating out of said category, The Nameless King, will no doubt take the cake though; with many a controller smashed in its stead.
The area of Archdragon Peak is a completely optional (and easily missable) location accessed from Irithyll Dungeon. You can enter the hidden path from there after learning the Path of the Dragons. After fighting through the area and ringing a bell, you will unleash the wrath of the hidden boss and his pet dragon.