Video games have transformed from simple pixels on a screen into technological marvels, showing exactly what is possible when the latest hardware is pushed to its very limits. It's truly amazing just how much these games have advanced — during the start of this century, most people were amazed by the fact that rendering something so simple as polygons was a major achievement. But now? AAA gaming has become dominated with hyper-realistic graphics that nothing short of it is accepted in the modern day-and-age — at least, unless you're Nintendo. Graphics are obviously not the only upgrade the gaming industry has enjoyed over time. Everything from the music to the gameplay has reached untold levels of brilliance. And — of course — one such element of a video game that has become oh-so-awesome are boss fights.
Gone are the days when bosses were nothing more than weird pixels — these insurmountable obstacles have become absolute spectacles in every sense of the word. Everything from a test of skill to a show of scale — there are simply too many factors that one needs to keep in mind when it comes to the concept of boss fights. In fact, these iconic elements of a video game have become nothing short of amazing. They're even hidden in some game if players are willing to take on that extra challenge, and this list will track down 25 such secret or hidden bosses that are the cream of the video gaming crop.
26 Karstaag (Skyrim)
Discovery is one of the integral aspects of Skyrim that has made it such a household name when it comes to gaming as a whole. No two players will have the same approach when it comes to playing the game, which is quite astounding.
Similarly, the fight against Karstaag is not something that every player will experience.
It's not easily completeing the "Summon Karstagg" quest, however, once you manage to encounter and fell this beast, you'll gain the ability to summon this beast three times. Well worth it.
25 Reptile (Mortal Kombat)
Fighting games are generally known for including hard-to-find easter eggs and secrets that require some convoluted approach to uncover. Mortal Kombat is no stranger to this golden rule — devout fans can attest to the fact that this series is full to the brim with its fair share of secrets.
One such secret is the Reptile boss fight, hidden behind the brutal Spike Stage. Once you complete these requirements, you'll face off against this iconic character, who became a mainstay in the series.
24 The Nameless King (Dark Souls III)
One of the hardest bosses in the game without a shadow of a doubt, The Nameless King is a challenge that no Dark Souls player should take without careful planning and deliberation. A two-part fight that serves as an imposing test of the player's skill, only the most well-tempered Dark Souls players can best this challenge with ease.
To fight this boss, you need to ring the large bell by the Great Belfry. The reward for felling The Nameless King is a shiny boss soul that will certainly help you in the long run.
23 Red (Pokémon Gold/Silver)
The Pokémon series is one of the most popular and successful gaming franchises of all time, which is honestly surprising given that the games don't exactly feature an in-depth or gripping story. Instead, the series relies on a tried-and-tested gameplay loop that is quite addictive.
However, there's still one epic story moment in Pokémon.
This moment occurs in Pokémon Gold or Silver. After conquering all 16 gyms, you need to establish yourself as the best Pokémon trainer by beating Red, the original protagonist from Pokémon Red or Blue. He sports a set of fully-evolved Gen-1 Pokémon along with his trusty Pikachu, making it a great challenge.
22 Sephiroth (Kingdom Hearts)
Who would've thought that one of the coolest super bosses in video game history would be a cameo from another game entirely? Well, in Kingdom Hearts, this is exactly the case.
An appearance is made by none other than Sephiroth.
The fact that he's the only Final Fantasy antagonist to make an appearance in the series speaks volumes when it comes to his prominence as one of the most popular video game characters of all time. While he's not the toughest boss in the game, fighting him is still a worthwhile challenge.
21 Akuma (Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo)
One of the most iconic Street Fighter characters of all time, Akuma is perhaps one of the most iconic fighters in video game history. He's definitely not an easy hurdle to get over in the slightest, but don't let that deter you.
Of course, unlocking this boss fight is also quite a challenge in itself. The player needs to defeat all the opponents in Arcade Mode along with Balrog, Vega, and Sagat with at least three perfect rounds to unlock this fighter. Be wary though — Akuma ain't no slouch. His super-powered moves can take you down in seconds if you're not prepared.
A secret code can be used to unlock this fighter as a playable character, but his powers are so unfair that he's been banned from competitive tournaments altogether.
20 Yama (Spelunky)
Spelunky is an indie roguelike game that became quite popular due to its addictive nature. Of course, the fact that the game was actually pretty good also helped a lot. It also has its fair share of hidden secrets and easter eggs that are quite a neat addition as well.
Deep in the depths of the netherworld, you'll find the game's ultimate boss, Yama. Trust us when we say that the boss is one of the biggest challenges that you must overcome, but it's so worth it — especially in a game like Spelunky, where the challenge never wades away until the very last second.
19 Martyr Logarius (Bloodborne)
From Software's games are known for having incredibly obtuse secrets that 90% of players require a guide or walkthrough to uncover. In Bloodborne, an entire secret area called Cainhurst Castle is locked behind a bunch of these convoluted steps.
The boss of this area is Martyr Logarius — an entity generally considered to be one of the hardest fights in the entire game. One needs to have an extensive knowledge of the parry system to pose a challenge, otherwise, they just need to dodge and pray that their hit-and-run tactics will be enough to fell this being.
18 The Lingering Will (Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix)
Kingdom Hearts is known for having its fair share of tough hidden bosses that can truly prove to be quite a headache for the player to overcome. However, these challenges can actually be quite rewarding — provided that the player has taken the necessary steps.
The Lingering Will is one such boss that is perhaps the hardest fight in the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. To unlock it, you need to beat the game and complete all the worlds. Doing so will unlock "The Gathering" and allow you to challenge — and be completely pulverized by — The Lingering Will.
17 Valkyrie Queen (God Of War)
The latest God Of War is perhaps one of the best video games of all time, and one need only play the game for a few hours to understand why this game has received unanimous praise from fans and critics alike. The story and gameplay are just a few of the many reasons why the game has become PlayStation 4's best original exclusive.
The tons of content in the game is another thing that deserves a special mention. The Valkyrie Queen is one such boss that can be faced after defeating the previous Valkyries, making it an excellent — and perhaps the hardest — challenge in the game.
16 Monster Hunter Bosses (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker)
One might've rightfully thought that a Metal Gear Solid game for the PSP would not exactly be great, but these pre-assumptions were completely blown away when Peace Walker was released for the handheld console.
There's a fairly complicated set of steps that you need to accomplish before you can unlock these missions, but once you finally unlock these missions, be prepared for some incredibly hard yet enthralling missions as you fight off the iconic beasts from Capcom's successful series.
15 Ozma (Final Fantasy IX)
The Final Fantasy series is full to the brim with hidden content — in fact, some of it is so well-hidden that it took players more than a decade after the game was released to figure out what this game was all about. But we digress — this article is about bosses, so let us discuss one by the name of Ozma.
Reaching Ozma is a pain — one needs to play the Chocobo Hot and Cold minigame and find enough Chocographs to have Choco learn the "Sky" ability. This will help you reach the Air Garden, following which you can interact with the Eidolon Cave and deal with this incredible challenge.
14 The Cow King (Diablo II)
How can one talk about hidden bosses and not mention this legendary beast in Diablo II? The Cow King is one of the most iconic bosses in video game history, and for good reason — the manner in which you encounter this beast is nothing short of revolutionary.
You encounter this boss in the infamous Secret Cow Level.
Reaching this area is quite an endeavor in itself — one needs to combine Wirt's Leg and a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube to spawn a portal in the starting area of Act I. Doing so will generate a portal that teleports you to this level, where you need to defeat waves of cows before the boss makes his appearance.
Fun fact — Diablo III actually pays homage to this by including another secret level, aptly titled "Not The Cow Level."
13 Gold Tyrant (Resident Evil)
Resident Evil is one of the greatest survival horror games of its generation that re-defined the genre. From incredible monster design to the utilization of classic mechanics that can still be seen in use to this very day, the game was nothing short of spectacular.
The Gold Tyrant is a golden-colored version of the T-002 model that is exclusive to the "Battle Game," a minigame featured on the Sega Saturn version of Resident Evil. It's a nice little touch, but its appearance is perhaps the only unique thing about this creature.
12 Rodin (Bayonetta 1 And 2)
PlatinumGames is a developer well-known for its over-the-top action games that truly redefine what epic battles are all about. Bayonetta is one such game that arguably established the reputation of the developer as one of the prime developers when it came to these bombastic action games.
A secret fight that is present in both games is Rodin, who serves as Bayonetta's guide and supplier in the games. However, if you manage to collect a substantial number of halos in both games, then you'll unlock the hardest fight in the game — an angelic version of Rodin that will wipe the floor with you if you're not prepared.
11 Penance (Final Fantasy X)
Final Fantasy X is one of the best entries in the series, if not the best. Featuring a colorful cast of characters that stick with you ages after you finish the game, the game truly is the pinnacle of JRPGs. Its superboss, however, will make you tear your hair out.
Penance is a fight that should not be taken lightly — a single misstep and your party is doomed. After defeating all the Dark Eidolons, you'll initiate a fight with Penance, who is one of the hardest bosses in the game. Good luck — you'll definitely need it.
10 Morgan Freeman (South Park: The Fractured But Whole)
South Park made its foray into gaming with The Stick Of Truth — a game that honestly surprised fans because of how good it was. Riding on the success of this game, Ubisoft released a sequel hilariously titled as The Fractured But Whole. While the quality of the game, as opposed to the first iteration, is the subject of debate, the game was great in its own right.
The secret boss in this game is also quite a treat.
There's a place called Freeman's Tacos, where the server is none other than Morgan Freeman. If you hit him one too many times, the toughest boss fight in the game will commence.
9 Dahaka (Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within)
The Sands Of Time trilogy is one of the best video game trilogies of all time — a statement that we don't make lightly. While the first game received unanimous praise, the second game in the series — Warrior Within — was the subject of much criticism. However, don't get us wrong — the game was still a masterpiece, and it also introduced the concept of optional bosses in the series.
There was a multitude of life upgrades that the Prince could activate. If one or more of these were missed, then the Prince's final fight would be with Kaileena. However, securing all these life upgrades would unlock the Dahaka as the final fight. Defeating this beast after he chased you throughout the game was an absolute treat.
8 Noob Saibot (Mortal Kombat)
Noob Saibot is a fighter from the Mortal Kombat series that sports, not one, but two hidden appearances in the series. The first is in Mortal Kombat II, where you'll unlock a secret fight with this character after a 50-fight winning streak.
The second appearance is in Mortal Kombat 9 — in the Church stage, there's a chance that Noob Saibot will stand guard near the right side. If you win the fight without blocking, then you'll unlock the fighter.
7 Moon Presence (Bloodborne)
Oh, you thought we were done with the secret boss fights in this game? Well, think again.
The Moon Presence is the true final boss of the game, fighting you immediately after you defeat Gerhman, The First Hunter. The steps to reach this boss are — in typical From Software fashion — quite complex, requiring you to consume three parts of an umbilical cord (yes, really) so that you can fight this beast.
Unfortunately, while this secret boss might have a great backstory that fleshes out certain parts of Bloodborne, the fight itself is not exactly all that great when compared to some of the more imposing boss fights in the series.
The same can't be said for the next entry on this list though.
6 Driviks, The Chosen (Destiny)
Online games tend to have a dedicated community that will travel the ends of the earth to discover the secret of their beloved games — even literally, at times — no matter how convoluted the process might be. So, it was only a matter of time before Driviks, The Chosen would be uncovered by devout Destiny fans.
This boss can be uncovered in a hidden path in the mission "Lost To Light." The player only has a mere 10 minutes to defeat one of the hardest bosses in the game, but the reward — the Black Spindle sniper rifle — is definitely worth it.
5 Dullahan (Golden Sun: The Lost Age)
Golden Sun series is perhaps one of the most underrated games in the series. With its fair share of tropes that will endear the games to any JRPG aficionado, the games should truly be experienced by someone who loves the genre. And — of course — as is the case with any JRPG game, it also features a super boss that can obliterate you in seconds.
Dullahan can be found in the innermost chamber of the Anemos Inner Sanctum and is definitely no pushover. The player needs to be completely prepared if they want to stand a chance against this incredibly tough boss.
4 Omega (Mega Man ZX)
Mega Man is a series that Capcom really needs to do justice by at this point. The platforming series is a favorite of old-school gamers that love to replay multiple games in the series time and time again. Imitators haven't really been able to capture the magic of the series, which is a darn shame indeed.
After beating the game, players of Mega Man ZX can return to Flueve and attempt to fight Omega, perhaps the hardest encounter in the game. However, beating this seemingly unsurpassable entity unlocks one of the best models in the game, making it worth it... barely.
3 Omega Weapon (Final Fantasy VIII)
Final Fantasy is perhaps the most popular JRPG series of all time, featuring all the familiar tropes that one might associate with the genre. One such trope — that we've already discussed before — is super bosses, and Final Fantasy VIII sports one such super boss that is quite a pain to defeat.
Omega Weapon is a secret boss featured in the final dungeon of the game. Reaching this boss requires some good timing, although that really won't matter since the boss will wipe the floor with your party in mere seconds.
2 Dark Prince (Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones)
Two Thrones was generally considered to be the game that finally brought the series back to its original roots and did justice as the final game of the trilogy. The new mechanics such as the speed kills, improved platforming, and the Dark Prince segments were a welcome addition, along with the life upgrades from the previous game.
True to form, drinking from all the life upgrade fountains unlocked a hidden fight with the Dark Prince — that is, if you can even call it a fight, to begin with. It's mostly the Prince engaging in an extended dialogue with his dark side, before taking care of it for good.
1 Culex (Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars)
Final Fantasy makes another cameo in a different game altogether, which certainly shows just how popular this series really is. This time, it's Mario — more specifically, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
Culex is a superboss with a sprite ripped straight out of Final Fantasy.
Fighting him is no easy task — Culex is a harder challenge than the final boss of the game, which should indicate just how much of an ordeal this fight is. He can be found behind a sealed door in Monstro Town, so make sure that you are fully prepared before you fight this 2D abomination.