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Top 30+ Hardest Video Game Bosses That Will Drive You Absolutely Insane

Top 30 Hardest Video Game Bosses That Will Drive You Absolutely Insane

Boss fights are one of the most iconic aspects of video games. These special encounters are designed to give players the opportunity to test their skills and are typically much more difficult than anything else you’ll find in the game. If you’re the type of player who likes a good challenge, you’ll love this list because today we’re taking a look at 30 of the hardest video game bosses of all time.

Before we get started let’s set a few ground rules. First, we’re going to limit ourselves to only one boss per game to keep things interesting. And to avoid soulslike games from taking up half the list. Next, we’re only counting special encounters that involve combat as actual bosses. Sorry Guitar Hero.

Also, we wanted to have a nice amount of variety on this list so we’re not skimping on bosses from new games. We know how much people love retro bosses but let’s face it, a lot of them only seemed difficult because we sucked at games back then. That said, some of those old bosses were legitimately challenging and we’re going to talk about them as well.

With that introduction out of the way, join us as we take a look at some of the absolute hardest video game bosses of all time.

Sigrun | God of War (2018)

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Sigrun – God of War

Kratos fought a lot of hard bosses throughout the God of War series but few of them can hold a candle to Sigrun. The Valkyrie Queen is comparable to the Nameless King from Dark Souls 3 in the sense that she’s an optional boss who happens to be much stronger than the game’s final boss.

Simply summoning Sigrun is a challenge in and of itself. The queen will only show up after Kratos and Atreus manage to defeat the other eight Valkyries, who are not exactly weak either. But fighting the regular Valkyries first is actually the good news because it will give you a chance to witness their powers in action.

The bad news is that you’ll have to deal with all of those powers, along with a few new ones, once Sigrun enters the ring. Not only does the Valkyrie Queen have access to an insane number of powers but she’s also much stronger and tougher than other Valkyries. There’s a good reason why Sigrun is considered one of the hardest video game bosses in the series. Maybe the hardest.

Mythic Kil’Jaeden | World of Warcraft (Legion)

Mythic Kil’Jaeden – World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft has some of the most challenging raid bosses found in any MMORPG. Most WoW players don’t even get to defeat many of these bosses on Normal difficulty – let alone Mythic. Especially if we’re talking about the final boss of a raid tier.

There are quite a few Mythic raid bosses that can make entire guilds sweat in WoW, but if you want top difficulty look no further than Kil’Jaeden from Tomb of Sargeras. Simply getting to him requires players to defeat eight bosses, including the dreaded Fallen Avatar. Kil’Jaeden himself is a three-phase boss fight with lots of intricate mechanics that needed to be executed perfectly by every player in the party.

Method, the best WoW guild in the world, was the first to take down Kil’Jaeden on Mythic difficulty and it took them a grand total of 654 attempts. Needless to say, most other guilds didn’t even get close while the content was current.

Since we’re talking about World of Warcraft, we also have to give a quick shoutout to C’thun and M’uru. These bosses, along with a couple of others, were considered impossible to beat in the early days of the game. In fact, nobody was able to take them down until Blizzard went ahead and nerfed them.

Dr. Kahl’s Robot | Cuphead

Dr. Kahl’s Robot - Cuphead

To say that Cuphead features some of the hardest video game bosses out there would be an understatement. The entire game revolves almost exclusively around boss fights and features quite a few encounters that made us want to throw our controllers against the wall. But perhaps none of them quite as much as Dr. Kahl’s Robot.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. First off, it’s an aerial fight, which is already pretty annoying. The boss also throws everything at you but the kitchen sink. We’re talking lasers, homing missiles, magnets, the robot’s own head, you name it. By phase three the fight turns into a bullet hell where it’s almost impossible to even figure out what’s happening on the screen.

Absolute Radiance | Hollow Knight (Godmaster)

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Absolute Radiance – Hollow Knight

Most would probably expect the titular Hollow Knight to be the game’s toughest boss but that’s not really the case. While the Hollow Knight is certainly strong, he pales in comparison to the game’s true final (and secret) boss, the Radiance. At least as far as the base game is concerned.

If you’re looking for an even greater challenge, you’ll want to tackle the Pantheon of Hollownest, which was introduced as part of the Godmaster DLC. Godmaster brings to the table seven additional bosses, including a souped-up version of the Radiance. The appropriately named Absolute Radiance has similar attacks to the vanilla version but is much faster and has a significantly more difficult final phase.

You can technically beat the game without fighting either version of the Radiance but you would be missing out on some of the best Hollow Knight bosses by doing so.

Marauder | Doom Eternal

Marauder – Doom Eternal

Ask five people which of Doom Eternal’s bosses is the hardest and you’ll likely receive five different answers. The Icon of Sin seems to be the one people struggle with the most these days, but back when the game initially launched, the Marauder was by far the game’s most hated enemy. And he’s technically more of a mini-boss.

While the Marauder isn’t necessarily one of the hardest video game bosses out there, he’s definitely one of the most annoying ones. Your first encounter with the Marauder is an absolute nightmare as it requires you to completely change your playstyle. The boss is faster than anything you’ve encountered before and can block most of your attacks. You won’t even be able to damage him without perfect timing and positioning – let alone kill him.

But possibly the worst part about fighting the Marauder is that you’ll have to do it more than once. The mini-boss appears multiple times throughout the game and its DLCs. Though you should have a much easier time dealing with him past the first encounter.

Goro | Mortal Kombat

Goro – Mortal Kombat

Few fighting game bosses are as annoying to deal with as Goro. Especially the version you encounter in the original Mortal Kombat. The half-breed is significantly tougher than most other opponents in the game and his four arms are capable of dealing devastating blows. You could try keeping him at a distance but then you’ll have to deal with his powerful ranged attack.

Goro is a pain to fight against regardless of what tactics you’re trying to employ. He’s not particularly easy to cheese either so you’ll need to take him on in a fair fight. And by fair, I mean trying to beat an opponent twice as strong and durable as you.

Iris’ Greatest Fear | the Witcher 3 (Hearts of Stone)

Iris’ Greatest Fear – The Witcher 3

Most bosses you encounter in the base version of The Witcher 3 are fairly easy to deal with. Perhaps even to the point of disappointment in the case of Wild Hunt bosses. Luckily, CDPR more than made up for that with the Hearts of Stone expansion.

The expansion features several challenging and memorable boss encounters, with the Caretaker, Toad Prince, and Olgierd von Everec being just some of the standouts. And then there’s the fight against the Ethereal, also known as Iris’ Greatest Fear.

The Ethereal is a monster that can take any form. In this case, it takes the form of Iris’ husband, Olgierd. This boss battle is somewhat similar to the duel against Olgierd, only instead of one opponent, you’ll have to deal with six of them. All six are twisted clones of Olgierd that can be fought either individually or all at the same time.

Trying to take on all six clones at the same time will lead to an incredibly difficult fight that requires a lot of prior preparation. Fighting them one by one is easier but still challenging, as each new clone will be a bit stronger than the one you’ve just defeated.

The Nameless King | Dark Souls Iii

Hardest Video Game Bosses: The Nameless King – Dark Souls III

The Nameless King is easily one of the hardest bosses in the entire Dark Souls series, which is really saying something. This boss is so dangerous that FromSoftware decided to make him an optional encounter. That’s probably for the best as way fewer people would have been able to beat Dark Souls III otherwise.

Like a lot of other bosses from the series, The Nameless King has two phases, the first of which is only moderately difficult. The same cannot be said about the second phase, though. The boss powers up like a Super Saiyan after you kill his dragon and will come at you with a flurry of lightning-fast (and lightning-infused) attacks that are impossible to parry. And dodging them isn’t exactly a piece of cake either.

To make matters worse, your visibility is greatly reduced and you’ll have to deal with some notoriously bad camera work during the fight. All in all, an epic fight worthy of such an epic boss. Arguably the most epic fight made by FromSoftware so far, outside of maybe some of the Elden Ring bosses.

The Former | Control

The Former – Control

You probably didn’t expect to find Control on a list of hardest video game bosses of all time. After all, the main storyline only offers moderately difficult challenges at best. If you’re willing to stray away from the beaten path, however, you’ll end up running into some surprisingly tough bosses. Such as The Former.

The Former is a giant worm-type thingy from another dimension you can encounter as part of a side quest. The boss shoots balls of energy at you during the fight while also attempting to destroy the platforms you’re standing on. Avoiding The Former’s attacks isn’t particularly hard but you’ll need to constantly watch your step to avoid accidentally plunging to your death. Clever use of Levitation and Launch are essential here as you won’t be able to do a lot of damage with your gun.

We also need to give a quick shoutout to esseJ, Jesse’s identical twin from the mirror dimension. In addition to having the same powers as the protagonist, esseJ has a few other tricks up her sleeve. This can make her potentially even more dangerous than The Former for some players.

Duriel | Diablo 2

Duriel – Diablo 2

It’s hard to say definitively which of Diablo 2’s bosses is the most challenging as there are many potential candidates. Ironically, the Lord of Terror himself isn’t among them. In fact, most of them aren’t even Act bosses at all. But there is one Act boss that definitely deserves to be on this list and its name is Duriel.

Duriel is quite possibly the most frustrating boss you’ll encounter on your first playthrough of Diablo 2. True to its name, the Lord of Pain hits hard and its attacks have a chance to freeze or knockback your character.

To make matters worse, you have to fight Duriel in a small chamber on your first playthrough where there’s very little room for kiting. The boss is also faster than you would expect given its size so trying to run away probably won’t do you much good either.

Having said all that, the main reason why many would consider Duriel to be the hardest boss is that you meet him early on in the game when you don’t really know what you’re doing. There are arguably harder bosses in Diablo 2, including Nihlathak, Lilith, and the uber versions of Diablo, Baal, and Mephisto. But you’ll have a well-defined build and much better gear by the time you encounter them, making those fights overall less intimidating compared to the Act 2 fight against Duriel.

Karstaag | Skyrim (Dragonborn)

Karstaag – Skyrim

We wanted to throw a few curveballs on this list, so here’s one of them. Skyrim is, for the most part, a pretty easy game. There are some enemies that can give you a run for your money, such as the Ebony Warrior or certain Dragon Priests, but even those can be dispatched quickly with some preparation. If you’re looking for a true challenge in Skyrim, there’s only one boss that’s up to the task – Kaarstag.

Kaarstag is a spectral frost giant that was added in the Dragonborn expansion as an easter egg for Morrowind fans. Only this easer egg hits like a truck, has insane health regeneration, and is either immune or highly resistant to most of your attacks. He also summons Ice Wraiths, has a permanent frost cloak, and can throw you across the room with a swing from his club. Oh, did I mention that the entire room shakes violently throughout the fight?

If you do manage to defeat the ghostly giant you will gain the power to summon him in battle. However, this power is unique in that it can only be used a grand total of three times. That’s probably for the best considering how ridiculously powerful Karstaag is.

Orphan of Kos | Bloodborne (The Old Hunters)

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Orphan of Kos – Bloodborne

Not only is the Orphan of Kos one of the hardest video game bosses of all time, it’s also one of the most disgusting ones. The boss is a skeletal humanoid that uses its own placenta as a weapon and emits horrible screeches throughout the fight. Most of Bloodborne’s enemies are pretty gross but the folks over at FromSoftware really outdid themselves with this one.

The Orphan of Kos is a very agile boss that can make short work of unprepared players with its fast combos. While difficult, the first phase is more or less manageable if you can dodge the placenta attacks. The second phase is a lot harder as the boss becomes even faster while also using hard-hitting leaping attacks and blood explosions. Oh, and there’s going to be occasional AoE lightning attacks as well. Quite a lot of stuff to deal with all things considered.

Mike Tyson | Punch-Out!!

Mike Tyson – Punch-Out!!

You can’t talk about the hardest video game bosses of all time without mentioning Punch-Out. The title is almost four decades old at this point and is still considered one of the most challenging games out there. In no small part due to its final boss, Mike Tyson, who was later rebranded as Mr. Dream for licensing reasons.

Fighting Mike Tyson in Punch-Out isn’t that different from fighting him in real life. The former heavyweight champion can knock you out with a single punch and your own punches barely phase him. That’s not to say he’s unbeatable but it sure felt like it back in the 80s. If you don’t have a lot of experience with difficult games, the fight can actually be pretty brutal even by today’s standards.

Sephiroth | Kingdom Hearts 2

Sephiroth – Kingdom Hearts 2

You wouldn’t necessarily expect a series featuring the likes of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to have one of the hardest video game bosses imaginable. But let’s not forget that Kingdom Hearts is only half Disney. The other half is Final Fantasy and there are definitely more than a few tough fights throughout that series. Few tougher than this one, though.

The Kingdom Hearts 2 version of Sephiroth is somehow even more powerful than the FFVII one. Which wasn’t exactly a piece of cake either. However, this time around you can’t take advantage of Final Fantasy’s turn-based system because you’re fighting in real-time. And you’re fighting him without any assistance from party members.

Similar to a few other bosses on this list, you don’t actually have to defeat Sephiroth to finish the game. You can avoid him entirely since he’s an optional boss but you would be missing out on one hell of a fight. Plus, the keyblade you get as a reward from beating him isn’t too shabby either.

Malenia, Blade of Miquella | Elden Ring

Malenia from Elden Ring - hardest video game bosses

“Heed my words. I am Malenia. Blade of Miquella. And I have never known defeat.” We usually laugh in the face of video game bosses that boast like that, however, facing off against Malenia is no laughing matter.

Malenia was heavily featured in a lot of Elden Ring promotional material and there was a statue of her along with a helmet replica in the Premium Collector’s Edition. We knew FromSoftware was very proud of this boss even before seeing her in-game. And that could only mean one thing – fighting her was probably going to be hell. And it was.

Malenia, Blade of Miquella is an optional boss fight that consists of two phases. The fight is very difficult right off the bat, with Malenia putting the hurt on the player with a series of fast attacks, including an unparryable kick. That’s just the warm-up, though. Once her health goes under 75%, Malenia brings out the heavy artillery with Waterfowl Dance, a devastating AoE attack that can make short work of even the tankiest characters.

To make matters worse, Malenia heals herself for a hefty amount with every hit she lands on the player. The healing effect applies even if the attack is blocked. But good luck blocking her attacks in the first place.

If you somehow manage to bring Malenia down to 0 health, prepare for phase two of the fight. During this phase, the boss retains her previous attacks while also getting two new ones. Along with increased damage of course. Give yourself a big pat on the big if you manage to withstand her phase two attacks and beat her because that means you were able to defeat one of the hardest video game bosses of all time.

M. Bison | Street Fighter Ii

M. Bison – Street Fighter II

90s arcade games didn’t care much for balance or fairness. In fact, those types of things were bad for business. Fighting games needed to have ridiculously overpowered bosses so that people would keep spending their hard-earned quarters. And more than a few of them were spent in largely futile attempts at trying to take down M. Bison from Street Fighters II.

M. Bison is way stronger than any other character in the game and he doesn’t mind showing off iconic moves like Devil Reverse and Psycho Crusher every chance he gets. The boss hits like a tuck and it’s hard to keep him at bay since some of his moves were designed to allow him to quickly close in the distance. Defeating M. Bison requires a lot of perseverance; and quite a bit of luck.

Alma | Ninja Gaiden (2004)

Alma – Ninja Gaiden

Video games were getting progressively easier during the early 2000s but there were some titles trying to offer players a real challenge even during that era. Ninja Gaiden was one of those rare games and it completely wrecked players when it came out on the original Xbox. But while many of Ninja Gaiden’s boss encounters were difficult, few could hold a candle to the ultimate badass, Alma.

Fighting Alma feels similar to fighting a Dark Souls boss. She’s visually intimidating and her move set leaves little room for error. The only way you could win this fight was with well-timed dodges and counterattacks. Alma punished players when they were being too passive but, at the same time, being too greedy wasn’t a good idea either as she was adept at stopping overly eager players in their tracks. The name of the game here is impeccable timing.

Ornstein and Smough | Dark Souls

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Ornstein and Smough – Dark Souls

The dynamic duo comprised of Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough gave us one of the most iconic boss encounters in the original Dark Souls. And also one of the most hated ones. You don’t have to look far on the internet to find stories about players abandoning the game in frustration after repeatedly dying to these two.

The worst part isn’t even the fact that you’ll need to fight two bosses at once in a fairly small arena, though that certainly doesn’t help. The biggest problem is that these two complement each other perfectly. Smough is relatively slow but he can bring up the “YOU DIED” screen with only a couple of hits from his hammer. Meanwhile, Ornstein’s attacks don’t hit quite as hard but he’s a lot more agile and will hunt you down relentlessly throughout the encounter.

Of course, we can’t forget that once you defeat one of the bosses, you’ll have to face a souped-up version of the other one. The good news is that you can make the second phase easier by killing Ornstein first. Also, if you don’t mind cheesing the fight a bit you can get Solaire to help you out.

Operation Leviathan | Xcom 2 (War of the Chosen)

Operation Leviathan – XCOM 2

This is a bit of a strange one because it’s not really a boss fight in the traditional sense of the word. Operation Leviathan is the final mission of XCOM 2 and pits you up against not one but three Avatars, powerful enemies capable of using devastating psionic abilities. This is in addition to a slew of other aliens of all shapes and sizes, of course.

Fighting three Avatars at once is no joke as they can, among other things, mind control your soldiers and quickly end any hope of beating the mission. But if you own the War of the Chosen expansion, things can get so much worse. Unless you (permanently) defeat the titular Chosen before starting Operation Leviathan, the bosses will show up during the final mission

Operation Leviathan is already significantly more difficult than anything else you’ve faced before in XCOM 2. Adding the Chosen to the mix is just insane. If you’re playing on Legend difficulty with Ironman enabled just do yourself a favor and don’t even start the mission. You’ll never make it.

Pandemonium Warden | Final Fantasy Xi

Pandemonium Warden – Final Fantasy XI

Everybody knows about Final Fantasy XIV at this point but that wasn’t the series’ first foray into MMORPGs. Back in 2002 Square Enix released Final Fantasy XI, a pretty weird MMO that’s somehow still around to this day. Though rumor has it that this won’t be the case for much longer.

Final Fantasy XI featured a wide variety of challenging bosses over the years, including the dreaded Absolute Virtue. But none of them caused players quite as much grief as the ridiculously broken Pandemonium Warden.

According to a famous news story from the time, a guild comprised of more than 36 players took it upon themselves to try and defeat the Pandemonium Warden in what would become an 18-hour marathon. The marathon ended when players started becoming physically ill from playing too long, with several of them vomiting and passing out.

Both the Pandemonium Warden and Absolute Virtue were nerfed shortly after the incident. Frankly, this one borders more on bad boss design than anything else. But you can’t have a list of the hardest video game bosses of all time without mentioning the Pandemonium Warden.

Demon of Hatred | Sekiro

Demon of Hatred – Sekiro

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is irrefutable proof that FromSoftware’s main goal as a developer is to torture its player base. After traumatizing us for life with Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls series, the company decided to make Sekiro, a game that’s in many ways even harder.

The Demon of Hatred takes the cake as far as extremely difficult bosses go, though there are a few others that come pretty close. The Demon of hatred is an optional boss you can encounter near the end of the game, provided you make a very specific set of choices. You’ll also need to travel to a secret location that’s very easy to miss if you haven’t been focusing on exploration.

It’s pretty clear even before fighting it that this boss was designed with hardcore dedicated players in mind. And it’s easy to see why. The Demon of Hatred is a brutal three-phase boss fight that takes tons of patience and perseverance to overcome. Unlike a lot of other bosses, the demon comes out swinging hard from the get-go and doesn’t let up throughout the entire fight. There’s no easy phase here, so get ready for a wild ride if you decide to challenge the Demon of Hatred.

Emerald Weapon | Final Fantasy Vii

Emerald Weapon – Final Fantasy VII

FFVII’s final boss, Sephiroth, might be the most famous Final Fantasy villains, but he’s not the hardest one to defeat. Not even close. That honor goes to the Emerald Weapon.

FFVII has a total of five Weapon bosses scattered around the world, with the Emerald one being by far the most powerful. The Emerald Weapon is a massive sea monster that’s a bit of a pain to find and even more of a pain to defeat. The boss can knock out unprepared party members with a single attack and has a whopping 1 million hit points.

And, unless you have acquired the Underwater Materia, the fight will be on a 20-minute time limit. That’s quite a lot of pressure.

Yellow Devil | Mega Man

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Yellow Devil – Mega Man

Also known as the Yellow Demon or the Rock Monster, the original Mega Man’s Yellow Devil is one tough cookie. In classic video game fashion, the boss has a very obvious weak spot – its eye. Unfortunately for the player, the Yellow Devil closes its eye and performs a special attack every time he gets hit, which turns this boss fight into an exercise in patience.

The good news is that the boss doesn’t have a lot of attack patterns. Its main attack involves splitting into pieces and reforming on the other side of the room. The bad news is that dodging the flying fragments is no simple task. This fight isn’t too bad once you manage to memorize the pattern but it will probably take you quite a few attempts until you reach that point.

Sans | Undertale

Sans – Undertale

You’re going to come across Undertale’s most iconic character regardless of which of the three main story paths you wish to pursue. However, you won’t actually have to fight Sans unless you take the Genocide Route. If you do, prepare for one hell of a fight because Sans happens to be one of the hardest video game bosses of the past decade.

The first phase of the fight is not too bad all things considered as it mainly involves memorizing mini-games and trying not to get hit. The second phase is a lot more challenging as you’ll need to both memorize patterns and dodge crazy fast attacks from Sans’ Gaster Blasters. To make matters worse, Sans deals poison damage. One wrong move and you’ll find yourself slowly losing health throughout the rest of the fight.

Ender Dragon | Minecraft

Ender Dragon – Minecraft

“Wait! There are bosses in Minecraft? I thought this game was about building stuff with blocks.” Yes, for the most part, that’s the main gist of the game. However, there is a part of the blocky sandbox game that very few players get to experience and that’s where you’re going to find Minecraft’s most challenging enemy – the Ender Dragon.

The Ender Dragon can be found in the dark alternate dimension known simply as the End, the same dimension Endermen call home. Simply getting there requires a ton of resources and you’re unlikely to survive the dark dimension for long unless you already have a fair amount of experience with the game. Traveling to the End is a one-way trip so you’ll want to make as many preparations as possible before you decide to go there.

As far as the Ender Dragon itself is concerned, this is a very challenging boss to overcome all on your own. It’s generally a good idea to bring a couple of buddies along and you should all be equipped with enchanted diamond armor and weapons. Keep in mind that if you die in the End there’s no way to go back and recover your items and resources. The stakes are definitely very high here.

Flamelurker | Demon’s Souls

Flamelurker – Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Souls served as the original blueprint for FromSoftware’s unique brand of epic boss battles. But even though the company has continuously improved upon that initial formula with every new game, the boss battles in Demon’s Souls still hold up surprisingly well to this day. In both the classic and remastered versions of the game.

Choosing just a single boss to put on this list wasn’t easy but we ultimately had to go with Flamelurker. The first few bosses you encounter in the game are pretty menacing but you shouldn’t have too much trouble beating them as long as you memorize their patterns and keep a cool head.

Flamelurker is a bit different since this is the first boss that will truly test your reflexes and your resolve. Make sure you’re well-prepared before you attempt to go toe-to-toe with this boss. Flamelurker has caused more than a few players to give up on soulslike games and miss the chance to experience the best of what the series has to offer. Don’t be one of those people.

Gank Squad | Dark Souls 2

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Gank Squad – Dark Souls 2

The Gank Squad fits the title of this article perfectly as they are indeed some of the hardest video game bosses that will drive you insane. There are multiple instances in Dark Souls 2 where you have to go up against multiple opponents at once but this is the most annoying one of all. Especially if you’re on your first playthrough.

The Gank Squad consists of three hostile NPCs known as Varg, Cerah, and Graverobber. Each of them has a different set of weapons and armor, as well as a different fighting style. Fighting all three of them head-on is a fool’s errand as they can very easily overwhelm you. The best strategy is to kite and try to get one or two hits in whenever you can. Just be careful because one misstep can lead to your death.

Once you’re familiar enough with the Gank Squad’s tactics this fight gets a lot easier. You can also summon phantoms to help even the odds, though they usually provide little more than a simple distraction. Still, some help is better than no help.

The End | Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The End – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

MGS 3’s The End is easily one of the most iconic bosses in all of gaming. Not necessarily because you’re going up against a crazy strong foe with a powerful moveset, which isn’t really the case, but because of the context surrounding this fight. And because of how easy it is to cheese.

The End is a master sniper that stalks the player across three different zones, all of which are thickly forested areas. Finding and killing the boss is extremely difficult under normal circumstances because of his camouflage and the fact that he has dozens of possible hiding places. Plus, his parrot companion constantly tracks your moves, making it unlikely that you can take him by surprise.

If you’re not bothered by cheating a bit, however, you can easily get rid of The End just by waiting. The sniper is over 100 years old and will die of natural causes if the player saves the game mid-fight and returns to it after eight days. Alternatively, you can achieve the same results by simply setting your console’s clock eight days ahead.

Dante | Devil May Cry 4

Dante – Devil May Cry 4

Dante is the main protagonist of the Devil May Cry series but he’s not the only playable character. Nero also has a prominent role in several of these games, including in DMC 4 where he gets to square off against his uncle. Story-wise, this is more of a friendly duel than a battle to the death but that doesn’t make it any less intense.

In fact, Dante is arguably the toughest boss in the entire series. A series that has a fair share of other difficult boss fights. You actually get to fight Dante two times while playing as Nero in DMC 4, the first of which serves merely as a tutorial.

The second encounter is significantly more difficult as Dante no longer pulls his punches and will use everything in his arsenal to try and defeat you. Including all four of his styles and his Devil Trigger. And unless you’re light on your feet and good at counterattacks, he’ll mop the floor with you and look cool while doing it.

Yuggothian Receptacle | Phoenix Point

Yuggothian Receptacle – Phoenix Point

Phoenix Point is difficult to the point where it stops being fun about halfway through the game. But if you keep pushing yourself and if the RNG gods are by your side, you might eventually make it to the final mission where you’ll get to face off against the humongous alien creature known as the Yuggothian Receptacle.

This boss fight is very time-consuming and straight-up unfair. Not only does the creature have an insane health pool, it’s also protected by impenetrable barriers that only have a couple of openings through which your soldiers can attack. These barriers switch positions at the end of every turn, forcing you to constantly move around in an attempt to do a bit of damage.

But wait, there’s more. The boss also has an incredibly annoying AoE ability that does damage over time and is highly resistant to things like fire, acid and blast damage. The icing on the cake is that you have to defeat an entire army of powerful aliens to even reach the Yuggothian. So yeah, good luck with that!

Skolas | Destiny (House of Wolves)

Hardest Video Game Bosses: Skolas – Destiny

You’ll find Skolas on most lists covering the hardest video game bosses of all time and there’s a very good reason for that. Skolas is the final boss of Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion and tormented players for weeks before the developers finally decided to nerf him.

The main challenge at the launch of the expansion was that Skolas received weekly modifiers that would constantly keep players guessing. The modifiers would also apply to his minions and some of them were so broken that Bungie ended up removing them. Unsurprisingly, though, that nerf wasn’t nearly enough to balance Skolas so Bungie also cut his health pool by a massive 50%.

Skolas continued to wreck most players foolish enough to challenge him even after those nerfs. However, well-coordinated teams finally got a decent chance to take down the infamous Fallen.

Ravager of Souls | Grim Dawn

hardest video game bosses ravager of souls

And next up on our list of hardest video game bosses we have the Ravager of Souls from Grim Dawn. You know a boss is going to be powerful when he’s not part of the main story. Instead, summoning the Ravager of Souls requires you to complete a side quest you get for completing another side quest, which in turn is unlocked after completing a different side quest, and so on. Basically, you’ll need to work a lot to gain the privilege to fight this boss.

The Ravager of Souls has an insanely high health pool and ridiculously high resistances to all forms of damage. We’re taking 85% on Normal mode and between 90 and 98% on Ultimate difficulty. Naturally, he also hits like a truck but that’s not even the worst part. The Ravager of Souls is very fast and absolutely relentless, meaning you’ll need to try and run circles around the boss throughout the entire fight while trying to land a hit here and there. You may want to clear your afternoon before attempting to tackle the Ravager of Souls because this fight can last for quite a while.

Queen Larsa | Mushihimesama Futari (Bug Princess 2)

hardest video game boss battles

Mushihimesama Futari is a fairly obscured bullet hell shooter that came out back in 2006. The game was first released in Japanese arcades but eventually made its way to the west as well. Most arcade games are designed to be very punishing in order to get as many coins as possible from players but developer CAVE went a bit too far with this one. The entire game is extremely hard but the final boss, Queen Larsa, is almost impossible to beat.

It’s a bit difficult to describe this boss fight with just words alone so just imagine playing a bullet hell where the projectiles cover more than 90% of the screen and fly in hard-to-predict patterns. You only get a handful of lives so all it takes is a few hits from the thousands of projectiles flooding the screen to bring up the ‘game over’ screen. As if that wasn’t enough, the fight lasts for ages and has multiple phases. It’s also worth noting that Queen Larsa on just normal difficulty is one of the hardest video game bosses of all time. There are two extra modes that make the fight even harder.

Queen Larsa is such a pain to deal with that developer Cave later released a more balanced version that comes with the option to slow down projectiles when they start filling the entire screen. Even the nerfed version of Queen Larsa is all but impossible to defeat, let alone the original one.

Aul, the Crystal King | Path of Exile

aul the crystal king - path of exile

Aul, the Crystal King is generally seen as being both one of the best designed and one of the hardest bosses in Path of Exile. The boss was so notoriously difficult to find at launch that many players started to believe he was just a myth. But, as it turns out, Aul is definitely real and he’s a lot easier to track down these days. Provided you don’t mind spending countless hours delving into the Azurite Mine of course.

If you’re planning to go up against Aul make sure you’ll well prepared because this boss is no joke. The main thing to worry about at the start of the fight are the Crystalline Cocoons that fire homing projectiles in your general direction at regular intervals. You can destroy these cocoons but doing so will empower Aul later on in the fight. Cocoons aside, you also have to deal with waves of minions, tons of Darkness damage, and Aul himself of course.

Thanks to Path of Exile’s highly complex skill tree, you can put together builds designed specifically to make this boss fight easy. But I wouldn’t recommend cheesing the fight because, as mentioned previously, it’s very well designed and a pleasure to experience as it was intended by the devs.

Duke Fishron | Terraria

duke fishron - terraria

Fishing games are generally meant to be fun and relaxing but there are a few exceptions out there. If you’re fishing in Terraria in the Ocean biome, you’ll need to be careful because there’s a terrifying monster lurking somewhere in the depths – the dreaded Duke Fishron! Alright, so that name probably doesn’t exactly strike fear into your heart but don’t underestimate this blocky sea monster because he’s a lot tougher than he looks.

Duke Fishron is a hardmode boss that can have up to three phases depending on whether you’re playing on Classic or Expert. The boss is lightning-fast, hits like a truck, and has the ability to fly, so expect a tough challenge. Duke Fishron chases you relentlessly throughout the entire fight while using projectile attacks like Detonating Bubble and Sharknado. Yes, he can spawn Sharknadoes. Plural. If you’re playing on Expert mode, the boss gains a variety of buffs along with the ability to teleport.

Written by Jason Moth

I'm a classic jack-of-all-trades author who loves to write about most topics, though gaming has always been my strong suit. That said, I definitely won’t turn down the chance to cover some juicy news involving superhero movies, Stephen King novels, or space travel. Or robots. Or space-traveling superhero robots disguised as Stephen King.

24 Comments

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  1. I’ve seen a number of things that are a little misleading in this article but I have to point out the outright mistake of saying Mike Tyson was replaced by Mr. Sandman in later releases of Punch-Out. Mr. Sandman is a completely different character. Mike Tyson was replaced by Mr. Dream.

  2. Dudes, about bosses, I think Diablo 3 R O S final boss in chapter 5 was the, easiest most underwhelming and anticlimactic boss I’ve played through

  3. so the gank squad is in the top 30 hardest but isshin, fume knight, alonne, ivory king, smelter demon and other actually hard bosses are not

    • As mentioned near the beginning, we’ve limited ourselves to one boss per game to keep things interesting. I know a lot of people would consider other bosses to be harder but I went with Gank Squad because it felt like the most unfair fight for me personally.

  4. Yo empress of light (daytime)! Terreria, it can one shot you no matter what armor you have! But, of course you put the freaking ender dreagon, one of the easiest game bosses of all times.

  5. Dante from DMC4 and not Vergil from DMC3? Or Nightmare from DMC1? Did the person making this list only play DMC4 or something?

  6. I was expecting there’d be Isaac Frost from Fight Night Champion in here, just because how that boss fight is insane

  7. Yeah if you wanted to involve a Kingdom Hearts 2 boss technically should have chosen Lingering Will optional boss required for the crown. He can be cheesed but beating him straight up is a pain. Considering he can potentially shut down half your abilities right from the start and will occasionally attempt it again throughout the fight. Spent far far longer fighting him than Sephiroth. This was in the 2.5 but no boss gave me more trouble than him not even the data versions of Organization 13.

    DS2 it should have been Fume Knight or Potentially Dark Lurker that second one splits in two but shares health. Now it doesn’t seem that bad till realize it costs you a human effigy every time you want to attempt the fight. That is rather unique as I don’t know many bosses that have a price to attempt each time. And unless you went through the trouble to get the crown first it would cost 2 effigies to go in at max power. Granted the first attempt is free if follow quest line. On Fume Knight unless you destroy the idols around the boss first they will heal him as the fight goes unless he were to stay in a very small area. So technically most players that fight him are actually doing it with a handicap already and still get wrecked.

  8. Aul or Maeve from path of exile should be here, they are so broken….
    Same for queen larsa and imbarchi from mushihe-hama and tohou, but I like the fact you put youggonithian from Phoenix point and the operation leviathan from xcom2, they are 2 very difficulty bosses!

  9. I think rahab from the ocean hunter, queen larsa from mushihime-sama futari, aul from path of exile, the duke fishron from terraria and ravager of souls of grim dawn should be here, but very good list!
    The only think i have to say is: if you want kindom hearts boss in this list put lingering will or yozora, not sepyros, i think they’re harder than him, and i think the gank squad is easier of fume kight or even darklurker.
    P.s someone think m. bison is easier of akuma or gill?

  10. Great list!
    But some bosses can be changed for me…
    List:
    Sepyros=yozora/lungering will
    Gank squad=fume knight
    Iris’s greatest fear=dettlaff
    Ornstein and smohg= Manus
    Nameless king= midir
    Demon of hatred= isshin
    P.s. this is only my opinion, i don’t want change your thoughts …

  11. About Absolute Radiance, I thought it might be worth mentioning the 41 other bosses that need to be done unfailingly in an extremely brutal order with more difficult arenas in order to even get to the boss. (Also it’s the Pantheon of Hallownest, not Hollownest, it’s a wonder that the Hollow Knight fandom hasn’t materialised at the comment section to correct this dozens of times already)

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