Game history

The 10 worst final bosses in video game history

Games are challenging, and designers like to test their players through boss battles. These ultra-tough enemies require you to deploy all the skills you’ve learned throughout the game to defeat them, but balancing them can be a difficult task. Make them too easy and players will feel disappointed. But if you make them too hard, they’ll find a place on this list of bosses who pushed the “challenge” into frustration and madness. Here are 10 of the worst end bosses in games.

The general

Fighting games are meant to be a level playing field, where reflexes and reads win. But in single-player, there has to be a difficulty ramp for people to feed quarters to the machine, and many brawlers have incredibly difficult final bosses. One of the absolute worst came in Kaiser Knuckle, a relatively obscure 1994 game from Taito. Like many games of this type, the action revolves around a fighting tournament held to find the world’s greatest martial artist. The tournament organizer – and the game’s final boss – is the green-clad General, who could be seen as a M. Bison rip-off until the round begins and he starts spamming huge projectiles. multi-directional, invulnerable teleports and long-range grabs until you die.

mike tyson

Fighting the boxers in Mike Tyson’s classic NES Punch-Out was mostly a test of pattern recognition and timing. Once you figure out what they’re talking about, you can pull them off relatively easily. That is, until you get to the big guy at the very end. Tyson’s 8-bit render could have been even scarier than the real thing. In the first round of the fight, taking even a single uppercut from Tyson will knock Little Mac down, and blocking them still drains a ton of health. Worse still are his lightning-fast jabs, which come out without warning and chain up for big damage. Tyson is certainly beatable, but you have to be an absolute Punch-Out master to do it.


Undertale is a game that both embraces and alters many traditions and tropes of the JRPG genre. When it comes time to fight the friendly skeleton Sans in the game’s “Genocide” route, which requires you to kill every enemy in the game, developer Toby Fox leaned into the idea of ​​the “impossible boss.” Undertale’s fights are fought with a unique system that forces players to move their cursor to dodge, and Sans pounds you with powerful, complex attacks that can drain your lifebar in seconds. And then it breaks the rules of the game itself by attacking you while you’re in the menu. It is a deeply frustrating and unfair battle.


Game developers love to use boss battles as an opportunity to change mechanics and challenge the player to think outside the box, but making the final fight in Drakengard 3 a near-impossible rhythm game might have been a bit too experimental. At the climax of your quest, main character Zero transforms into a stone monster, and you must fight him by pressing timed buttons with expanding rings, synced to a (admittedly good) ending song. Adding insult to injury, halfway through the camera moves so you can’t see your character, and at one point the screen goes dark and it gives you a surprise entrance. Missing even one of the benchmarks leads to instant failure and forces you to start all over again.

Absolute shine

Hollow Knight is a spectacular and challenging platformer in the grand tradition of the classics, but defeating Absolute Radiance, the final boss of the game’s “Godmaster” DLC, is a test few can complete. Just to reach it, you have to fight through a gauntlet of 42 of the game’s other bosses in the Hollownest Hall of Fame. Absolute Radiance is absolute terror, teleporting around the screen every few seconds while unleashing an array of massive, damaging attacks that include screen-filling waves of energy, homing orbs, swords of all directions, and more. It is a supreme test of reflex and patience.

Clever Capsule 7

The Mega Man series is known for its difficulty spikes that will knock out a careless player, but Mega Man 7 saved it for the very end of the game. There are rumors that game director Keiji Inafune returned the Wily Capsule 7 incredibly difficult on purpose as a prank on players, but surely they couldn’t be that cruel? After destroying Dr. Wily’s robot and battling the eight robot masters, the mad scientist takes to the skies in a hovering device that fires pursuit projectiles that can freeze Mega Man, cause massive damage, and stun you. Oh, and the weapon he’s vulnerable to is the Wild Coil, the worst in the game because it’s incredibly hard to aim.

Paul Serein

Sometimes what makes a boss battle tough is when the developer suddenly decides to change the player’s rules, like with Sans above. No game has done this as frustratingly as Remedy’s ambitious but flawed 2016 shooter, Quantum Break. For most of the game, you play as timeshifted hero Jack Joyce in covert firefights where you can use your abilities to speed up and slow down actions. You’d expect the final conflict against Paul Serene, a man with similar powers, to really lean into it. You would be wrong. Instead, you fight off a horde of henchmen while Serene relaxes on a balcony, randomly unleashing silent area-of-effect attacks at you that kill you instantly. Oh, and if you die, you have to start over at the start of the pre-fight cutscene for an extra aggravation.

Recommended by our editors

King Krusha K.Rool

First-party Nintendo games aren’t known for their intense challenges, but every once in a while a final boss fight will sneak up, it’s just a nightmare. At the end of Donkey Kong 64, you face off against series antagonist King K. Rool in his boxer guise from “Krusha.” Each of the five playable Kongs must enter the ring with him and fight him, each with their own unique twists and gimmicks. Because your normal attacks are ineffective, you have to figure out what the game wants you to do and do it in three minutes – and if you don’t, the round starts over and K. Rool recovers all of his health while you don’t. don’t do. It’s impossible the first time you try and just incredibly obnoxious on all future playthroughs.

The Demify

The Shin Megami Tensei series is well known for its insanely tough bosses that require a cruel combination of luck and trial and error, but the battle against the Demifiend in Digital Devil Saga is the worst of the lot. You can only unlock it in a New Cycle+ and at the end of an optional dungeon, but nothing you’ve done will prepare you for this fight. SMT battles are all about dealing with elemental weaknesses, but if you run towards the Demifind with skills that negate them, it will constantly spam the Gaea Rage attack which can obliterate your party instantly. Oh, and it also has companion demons that will put you to sleep, which also makes it Gaea Rage. Go through that? The Demifiend is fully healed when it drops to half health. Good luck!

Omega Rugal

SNK’s King of Fighters series is known for its cringe-worthy final bosses that read controller input and spam huge damaging attacks. The apotheosis of this design philosophy came in KOF 2002 Unlimited Match, with the secret final boss Omega Rugal. To face him, you need to go through the entire match without losing more than three turns in total. And then you have one shot to kick his ass – no straight. Oh, and did we mention he has unblockable projectiles that can hit behind him and an instant lightning kick, the infamous “Genocide Cutter”, that does massive damage every time? Fighting this guy drives even seasoned fighting game pros crazy.

What's New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.","first_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:30:40.000000Z","published_at":"2022-08-31T18:35:24.000000Z","last_published_at":"2022-08-31T18:35:20.000000Z","created_at":null,"updated_at":"2022-08-31T18:35:24.000000Z"})" x-show="showEmailSignUp()" class="rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 mt-8 container-xs">

Receive our best stories!

Register for What’s up now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.

This newsletter may contain advertisements, offers or affiliate links. Signing up for a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time.