5 Hardest Video Game Bosses EVER! - IGCritic
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5 of the Hardest Video Game Bosses EVER!

Boss battles are an iconic video game archetype, as synonymous with gaming as a chase scene in slasher movie. Woven deeply into its DNA, boss battles have featured in video games since the earliest days of arcade machines, and something we still expect to see in contemporary titles. A formula has endured for decades that players inherently understand and accept in principle; after beating a level you face off with some of the hardest video game bosses.

Boss battles have both defined and ruined games gone by. Over the years, their execution has proved a veritable art form that some developers absolutely excel at and others fail hopelessly to master. The key to success is a challenging but fair fight, one that requires strategy, skill and patience without frustrating too much. When you really think about it, boss battles are gameplay in its purest form.

Of course, not all of the hardest video game bosses are created equal, with some presenting such a ferocious challenge that they have become famous in gaming legend. Indeed, whether by deliberate intention or poor game design, certain boss battles spike a games difficulty in such a fashion that they have gamers tearing hair out, screaming into pillows and throwing controllers around the room in frustration. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 meanest, toughest and hardest video game bosses in video gaming history. You have been warned.

  1. Yellow Devil – Mega Man

Yellow Devil in Mega Man

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The Mega Man series has long been reputed for its brutal difficulty thanks to its tricky platforming sequences and notoriously sporadic enemy movement. Above all, Mega Man has some infamous boss battles that demand strategy and timing, as well as lightning fast reactions and a great deal of patience to beat.

The Mega Man series has a smorgasbord of iconic robots that must be defeated at the close of each level, and we really could have included several on this list, but the first encounter with the notorious Yellow Devil stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The original Mega Man is significantly harder than its more popular sequel throughout, but its Yellow Devil boss battle spikes difficulty way above even its most challenging previous moments. The encounter is mid-way through Wiley’s castle, the final section of the game. Yellow Devil’s attacks aren’t too difficult to avoid, but he continually divides himself into dozens of square parts that transport him from one side of the screen to the other. Despite their generic pattern, the blocks move quickly and are excruciatingly difficult to avoid. This is platforming in its most pure form, requiring careful study of the enemy’s pattern, nerves of steel and the reactions of a rattlesnake.

  1. Bison – Street Fighter Alpha 3

Bison from Street Fighter Alpha 3

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Bison has to be one of the most recognizable characters in video games, let alone the Street Fighter series. Ryu’s arch nemesis, M. Bison is a crazed military dictator with an iron jaw and ludicrously wide shoulders, who likes to lead from the front rather than rely on his henchman. He’s a formidable boss in any of the iteration of Street Fighter, but in Alpha 3 he’s arguably the series toughest opponent.

In Street Fighter Alpha 3, M. Bison has a devastating move in his repertoire called “Final Psycho Crusher” in which a deadly storm of unavoidable blue flames deals enormous damage to his opponents. It’s a savage move, but to make things even more difficult, players only have one chance to beat him. There are no continues here; lose and you will be forced to start the entire game from the beginning.

  1. Omega Weapon – Final Fantasy VII

Omega Weapon in Final Fantasy VII

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If you want to beat Omega weapon in Final Fantasy VII then you better hope you’re characters are up to scratch and your strategy is on point. With 1,000,000 HP and a range of attacks that can leave your party completely devastated in a single move, Omega Weapon is easily the most powerful opposition you will face in the entire game. In fact, he’s arguably one of the hardest video game bosses in any Final Fantasy title.

The initial onslaught is a brutal attack called “LV5 Death”, instantly killing any character with a level multiple of 5. Even his ranges of subsequent physical attacks are bad enough, causing around 2000 damage points per strike. It is, however, Omega’s range of special attacks and spells that are catastrophically powerful on an unprecedented level.

You might have thought Ultimecia’s attack “Hell Judgement” was ruthless for reducing character health to 1HP, but Omega Weapon’s “Megido Flame” actually damages 9998 HP, meaning the only way to survive this onslaught is to have all of your characters HP maxed out at 9999. Add to this other attacks such as “Terra Break”; the most powerful in Final Fantasy VII, and the devastating “Light Pillar”; a special attack that instantly kills any selected character, and you have a recipe for one of the hardest video game bosses in gaming history.

  1. Smough and Ornstein – Dark Souls

Smough and Ornstein from Dark Souls

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Even if you aren’t familiar with Dark Souls, you’ll know that difficulty is what the series has forged its reputation on. Any encounter in a Souls game requires skill and strategy, but its boss battles ramp things up to a whole new level of challenge. There are a host of formidable bosses throughout the first game, but there is one that probably still haunts the dreams of many of Souls veteran to this day. And when we say one, we really mean two; two in one.

Smough and Ornstein are unquestionably the hardest video game bosses in any Souls game. The dual encounter isn’t the first of the game, but at least those previous fights initiate with a one-on-one encounter to even the odds a little. Don’t expect to be given the same quarter with Smough and Ornstein, who attack simultaneously with a barrage of powerful strikes.

What is truly daunting about the Smough and Ornstein boss battle is once one of the duo is defeated, the other regenerates back to full health back, and turns into an even tougher form. The enhanced version of either enemy can destroy you in just two or three hits. Prepare to die, a lot.

  1. Alma – Ninja Gaiden

Alma in Ninja Gaiden

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Ninja Gaiden began life as an infamously difficult 8-bit platformer, but unlike many games of that generation that have since been rebooted in 3D, Ninja Gaiden’s difficulty remained very much intact when it debuted on Xbox back in 2004. As in the Souls series, all the boss battles require near perfect mastery of the game’s combat mechanics and any mistakes are severely punished. It’s a true monster of a game, but the almost ridiculously difficult boss Alma perhaps epitomises Ninja Gaiden’s savage difficulty best.

Alma separates the men from the boys. Don’t even think about taking her on unless you are a true Ninja Gaiden guru. Alma has no discernible weaknesses, to defeat her players simply need to just be extremely good at Ninja Gaiden. Alma moves with breath-taking speed and agility, requiring cat like reflexes both to avoid incoming attacks and actually land your own strikes as well. Players will bead with sweat just trying to keep pace with her movement, let alone actually causing effective damage. There are no gimmicks or secrets; you’re either very good at Ninja Gaiden or just mediocre, and if it’s the latter you won’t ever beat Alma, one of the hardest video game bosses ever.

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