There have been a number of boss encounters in gaming history that have made gamers cry out in anger and frustration and there's something to be said about bosses in role-playing games for the amount of difficulty they present versus other genres. With the number of mechanics available in most RPGs, bosses often have just as many tricks up their sleeves as players.
Bosses also come in many flavors. Can you call an RPG like Final Fantasy an RPG if it doesn't contain at least one optional boss? Some bosses come up at the end of a game, while others require a certain side quest to be completed before they're available to knock you out. Regardless of the case, well-designed bosses create some truly defining moments throughout the history of RPGs.
10 Whitney’s Miltank In Pokemon Gold & Silver
Pokemon isn’t really known for its difficulty spikes, but for many unsuspecting kids, Whitney’s Miltank in Pokemon Gold and Silver wrecked them. Miltank looks fairly normal and its design is based on a cow. If you come in unprepared, however, Miltank will absolutely murder you.
Not only can Miltank heal itself with Milk Drink, but it can also use Rollout, a move that is used five times in a row with an increasing amount of damage. In the grand scheme of things, Miltank isn’t too difficult if you’re prepared, but man, can that cow do some damage!
9 Giygas In Earthbound
Like many boss battles, Giygas has multiple forms. In his first form, he is invulnerable but Pokey, Giygas’s subordinate, can be targeted and bested. Pokey is able to deal some damage and debuffs throughout the first two forms. Once he’s gone, though, it’s just Ness and company versus Giygas.
Without a guide, it would be incredibly hard to figure out how to defeat his final form. While taking a ton of damage, all your party can do is heal. Party member Paula, though, should use heal. If you use it nine times, Giygas will fall.
8 Highland Ravager In Dragon Age: Inquisition
Bioware’s Dragon Age series has a number of epic battles. From dragons to mages to golems, there’s something for everyone sprinkled in these high fantasy worlds. Inquisition introduces a number of incredibly strong dragons to face around the world, with the Highland Ravager being the most powerful.
This dragon, like many, specializes in fire-based abilities so it’s almost required to have some sort of protection against her flames or you might get wiped out in one go. Oh, and if that wasn’t hard enough, she can summon dragonlings to swarm the party.
7 Shadow Queen In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
While Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has a paper-perfect, cute aesthetic, the gameplay isn’t a cakewalk like it might seem. While it features turn-based battles, the mechanics in fights are a bit more developed than you might think.
Battles hinge on timing moves correctly for both attacking and defending. Shadow Queen is a long battle with multiple parts and a period of time where she is immune to normal attacks. She also possesses Peach at one point, and you’re forced to attack her. How cheeky!
6 Lavos In Chrono Trigger
Many boss battles in games have multiple phases and oftentimes multiple parts that must be targeted and defeated. Lavos uses both of these things plus he has the ability to heal himself. His attacks can be brutal and some of his “bits” have very high defense and to beat those you’ll need to kill certain parts in order to lower Lavos’s defenses.
If you’re wanting to see all the endings the game has to offer, you’ll have to beat him multiple times. Talk about being dedicated!
5 Sephiroth In Kingdom Hearts
Sephiroth, the big baddie from Final Fantasy 7, makes his way into Kingdom Hearts as an optional boss. In FF7 he is difficult, but in Kingdom Hearts, he offers an infinitely more frustrating challenge.
Precise timing is required to be able to hit him. Without additional party members, Sora is left to heal himself if he gets injured – assuming he can find a spare moment Sephiroth isn’t slicing and dicing him to ribbons. You’ll need to pull every trick out of the book to defeat him.
4 Seymour Flux In Final Fantasy 10
Final Fantasy 10 features a number of difficult boss battles, but Seymour Flux (featuring Mortiorchis) is one of the most challenging.
First, he can use Lance of Atrophy that damages and casts Zombie on a party member, and then Mortiorchis follows up with Full-Life which will kill your party member. Not only that but he can also banish Aeons after one turn and prove them useless. Finally, his Total Annihilation is incredibly powerful and while it initially takes two turns to charge up, once it’s been used once, it will only take one charged turn.
3 The Command Deck Encounter In Bioshock: Infinite
Most boss battles are against a single entity, but this section at the end of Bioshock: Infinite is much more than that. The Command Deck sees a barrage of enemies coming in wave after wave.
The battle requires a good grasp of your Vigors and weapons and the ability to multi-task as you zip around engaging with enemies and directing Songbird to destroy Zeppelins. Thankfully, once the battle is over, the game is done and you’re in for a treat with one of gaming’s best endings and a great post-credit scene.
2 Emerald Weapon In Final Fantasy 7
Not only is Emerald Weapon hard, but you also have to fight the gargantuan green thing underwater with a twenty-minute time limit. It’s bad enough that you have to track down and get the Underwater Materia so your party can breathe beneath the sea, but once you’re fighting Emerald, hold onto your swim shorts because it’s not going to be easy.
It has a million HP, and many of its attacks can knock everyone out at once. This is one of those fights that, if not using a guide, can take some trial and error.
1 Demi-Fiend In Digital Devil Saga
Do you want a challenge? Well, Demi-Fiend is the hardest. While he is the main character in the third Shin Megami Tensi game, he is also an optional boss in the Digital Devil Saga spin-off.
The battle more or less requires your party to be at max level with max stats. If you come in with almost any Null-type skills, Demi-Fiend will spam a series of high-level Almighty attacks on your party the entire battle, making it impossible to win. It truly requires a large amount of strategy and luck to best him.
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