The 30 Hardest Video Game Bosses of All Time

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Not all video game bosses are created equal. Some hardly earn the title, while others can push players to the brink of physical exhaustion. Think video games can't hurt you in real life? Think again. These are the most brutal boss fights in all of video game history—guaranteed to land a controller or two through your TV screen.

It's worth noting this list is entirely subjective. Your mileage against these video game bosses may vary depending on skill and sometimes sheer luck. If you think we missed a particularly heinous boss fight, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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Seth Street Fighter IV
Capcom

Game: Street Fighter IV

Release Date: 2009

In Street Fighter IV, Seth is responsible for aggravating players and delivering a steady stream of damage. According to Street Fighter lore, he's the CEO for SIN, a weapon division of Shadaloo. He first appeared in 2009 and proved to be one of the most formidable foes in the entire franchise. You can still find copies of Street Fighter IV on Amazon for the PlayStation 3.

Note: Pictured is the latest redesign of the character which has much more hair than the Seth encountered in Street Fighter IV.

Bowser Super Mario 64
Nintendo

Game: Super Mario 64

Release Date: 1996

It's no surprise that the big boss battle in Super Mario 64 is none other than Bowser. He's always been a tough foe to face, but this time he's notably fierce. He has three big moves, including a stomp, headbutt, and fire breath. If you pay close attention, you can recognize when a particular attack has begun to steer clear of incurring damage. Get around those attacks, and you might stand a chance at winning.

King K. Rool boxing match

Game: Donkey Kong 64

Release Date: 1999

Donkey Kong 64 brought our favorite Nintendo primate to an entirely new dimension (3D, to be exact). Anyone who's played through this game knows it's bananas and can't forget the main antagonist—King K. Rool. If you want to defeat him for good, you have to go toe to toe with King Krusha K. Rool, his boxer persona, in one of the hardest battles in the whole game.

Lavos Chrono Trigger
Square Enix

Game: Chrono Trigger

Release Date: 1995

The final boss of this game is named Lavos. He's an evil alien parasite and a serious threat to the world. If you want to take him down, it's not going to be easy. This boss was saved for last for a reason.

Earthbound
Nintendo

Game: Earthbound

Release Date: 1989

The main villain of the SNES game Earthbound, known in Japan as Mother, is a big baddie named Giygas. This boss is beyond tough, and he comes in three aggressively dangerous forms. If you want to take down Giygas for good, all you can do is pray for a victory. No, literally! If you use Paula's prayer ability and manage to squeeze in 9 prayers, you can beat Giygas and complete Earthbound.

Majora
Nintendo

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Release Date: 2000

The final boss in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is none other than Majora. And what a final boss it is! Players have to face off against Majora, who has three forms to defeat: Majora's Mask, Majora's Incarnation, and Majora's Wrath. Taking out all three nets earns you some serious bragging points and the completion status you need to finish the game.

Liquid Snake
Konami

Game: Metal Gear Solid

Release Date: 1998

Without giving too much away, let's just say your character has a lot in common with this boss. If you want to take down Liquid Snake, you have to act fast. He gets tougher as the battle progresses, and the pressing time limit doesn't do you any favors.

Shadow of the Colossus
Sony

Game: Shadow of the Colossus

Release Date: 2005

Shadow of the Colossus was released in 2005, and the fanbase is still going strong 15 years later. This boss is referred to as Dirge by the fans. It can be found in the Forbidden Lands around quadrant B4. This worm-like boss is seriously destructive, but its glowing eyes are a weak spot that can be exploited.

Guitar Hero 3
Activision

Game: Guitar Hero 3

Release Date: 2007

Battle of the bands is totally on the table for this boss battle list. If you're a fan of the mid-2000's classic Guitar Hero, you may remember this carpal-tunnel-inducing ballad by DragonForce known as Through the Fire and the Flames. If you're a sucker for rhythm games, this song is the hardest goal worth tackling on the greatest difficulty.

Ender Dragon
Minecraft.Net

Game: Minecraft

Release Date: 2011

There's an ending to Minecraft? That’s right—there is a way to beat this classic sandbox game. There’s only one way to get the Ender Egg, and it involves facing off against the Ender Dragon. The is the biggest monster in the game, and it takes a bit of patience to see through. We recommend starting this fight with quality armor and plenty of friends!

Mortal Kombat Goro
Warner Brothers

Game: Mortal Kombat

Release Date: 1992

It's hard to imagine Mortal Kombat without Goro. Not only is he regarded as a staple character to the series, but he's also often recognized as the toughest boss in the first Mortal Kombat. He's a secondary boss next to Shang Tsung.

Culex
Nintendo / Square Enix

Game: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Release Date: 1996

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars brings all the best features of an RPG to the imaginative world of the Mushroom Kingdom. There are plenty of battles to complete, including optional ones like Culex. This boss is arguably the toughest in the game and even harder to beat than the main villain, Smithy.

C’Thun
Blizzard

Game: World Of Warcraft

Release Date: 2004

Until the release of new expansion packs, C'Thun was regarded as the toughest boss in WoW. If you wanted to max out your character and beat all the bosses, this guy was your last stop. He can be found in the temple of Ahn'Qiraj.

Yellow Devil
Capcom

Game: Mega Man

Release Date: 1987

The only weakness this giant yellow boss has is his little red eye. The Yellow Devil is from Mega Man. It's known for its gooey body that can split into pieces and fly around the screen. If you want to defeat him, dodge his body, and shoot for the eye!

Final Fantasy VII
Square Enix

Game: Final Fantasy VII

Release Date: 1997

The Final Fantasy series is known for its occasional inclusion of optional bosses. This superboss, from 1997's Final Fantasy VII, is known as Emerald Weapon. It's featured alongside four other weapons: Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire, and Ultimate.

Queen Larsa
Pinterest

Game: Mushihime-sama Futari

Release Date: 2006

They don't call these games bullet-hells for no reason! Queen Larsa from Mushihime-sama Futari is the main villain and final boss fight in the game. The rules are easy, shoot first and don't get shot. If you want to mark this game off your list, you've got to start firing and dodge!

Skolas
Bungie

Game: Destiny: House of Wolves

Release Date: 2015

Destiny: House of Wolves launched in 2015. The final boss in the Prison of Elders challenge is Skolas, and he's more than mean. This go around, he still has his ground-smashing and teleportation abilities, but he's beefed up with a Scorch Cannon. It only takes a few shots to get knocked out by this bad guy.

Dracula
Konami

Game: Castlevania

Release Date: 1986

Castlevania dropped in 1986, and who better to serve as the final boss of this vampire classic than Dracula? If you want to beat this game, you've got to take the old bat down. Dracula can transform into a huge monster that hops around shooting fireballs at the player. There's a reason they saved him for last. He's an absolute beast to fight.

Ocarina of Time
Nintendo

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Release Date: 1998

The Dark Link mini-boss can be found in the Water Temple. This is hands-down one of the biggest challenges players will face in the Ocarina of Time. Dark Link knows all of your moves, and the damage from each attack hits hard. It doesn't help that he can also teleport right behind you.

Death
Konami

Game: Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Release Date: 1989

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was released in 1989. What better way to see out the '80s than to spend countless hours getting whipped by Death himself. This is one of the toughest boss battles in the entire game. Players have to dodge flying scythes and withstand two different forms of this pixelated baddie.

The End
Konami

Game: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Release Date: 2004

There's only one thing tougher than a sniper, and that's another sniper who's better than the first sniper. If you want to finish Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, you've got to take our The End, an old sniper that could be one of 40 hiding spots across three maps. You can use a few tricks to beat this old sharpshooting master—one of the most amusing methods is to time travel ahead two weeks by adjusting your Xbox clock. The old sniper will die of old age.

Alma
Microsoft / Koei Tecmo

Game: Ninja Gaiden

Release Date: 2004

Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox is classic and just one decade away from being an antique—but we won't get into that. If you want to conquer this exciting game, you'll need to take out Alma. She's one of the main baddies in the game and for good reason. This boss is one of the biggest pains for completionists.

Death Egg Robot
Sega

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Release Date: 1992

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, nothing stomped players quite like the Death Egg Robot from the Death Egg Zone. This is the last zone and is set on Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg satellite. You have to defeat the robot to win the game, but this battle requires Sonic to survive the entire fight without any rings.

Shadow Link
Nintendo

Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Release Date: 1987

If you want to get through Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, you'll have to square up against Dark Link. He copies all of your abilities and looks just like Link, albeit a bit more shadowy. It's hard enough to beat a monster but squaring up against a boss designed to mimic your moves is even harder. This fight is the closest you'll get to an equally matched opponent.

Riku
Square Enix

Game: Kingdom Hearts

Release Date: 2002

If you have half a heart, you obviously haven't spent hours facing off against Ansem. Wait, we mean Riku. Or do we? It doesn't matter; what does matter is that this boss is responsible for one of the toughest Disney-themed JRPG battles you can encounter. He's not even optional. This fight is necessary to complete the game. You can play the original Kingdom Hearts in a remastered edition for the PlayStation 4.

M. Bison
Capcom

Game: Street Fighter II

Release Date: 91

Anyone who grew up playing Street Fighter knows how serious the final boss fight is with M. Bison in Street Fighter II. Ever since his first appearance, his character has remained one of the most notorious baddies of the franchise. This boss fight is responsible for the transfer of countless quarters across arcades in the 90s.

Mike Tyson
Nintendo

Game: Punch-Out!!

Release Date: 1987

The big boss of this game is so big his name is on the box—or at least it was before the team lost rights to Mike Tyson's name and rebranded the game as just Punch-Out!! The final boss with Mike Tyson was reworked into a new character called Mr. Dream. He might look different, but he's the same, seemingly unbeatable boss.

Sephiroth
Square Enix

Game: Kingdom Hearts 2

Release Date: 2005

It's sometimes contested in the Kingdom Hearts community whether Sephiroth is harder to beat in KH1 or KH2. In both battles, the player is left to fight one on one without any assistance from Donald or Goofy. This battle isn't even required, so any beatings that occur are entirely voluntary.

Final Fantasy XI
Square Enix

Game: Final Fantasy XI

Release Date: 2002

This boss fight pushed players way beyond their limits in an incident that lasted over 18 hours with no success. Some players reportedly played until they were physically ill. Over 36 players marathoned the attempted takedown of Final Fantasy XI's Pandemonium Warden, which ultimately led to an HP decrease of the monster along with a two-hour time limit.

Ornstein And Smough
Namco Bandai

Game: Dark Souls

Release Date: 2011

The Dark Souls game is a notorious beast, but even Dark Souls has to have a king of all monsters. In fact, it has two. The fight against Ornstein and Smough is arguably the toughest boss battle in the whole game. In the lore, Ornstein is regarded as one of Gwyn's four Knights, along with Artorias, Ciaran, and Gough. You've got to take him down along with Smogh—be careful who you save for last as this will impact the loot dropped at the end of the battle.

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