Here are some of the toughest bosses outside of the Souls series

The Souls series didn’t invent difficult bosses

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Many complain about the Souls series being the hardest games of all time, and most of that implied difficulty comes from its boss battles. But obviously, this series didn’t really invent the concept of impossible bosses. In fact, one thing the series deserves a lot of praise for is for coming up with bosses that put up a tough challenge, but a fair one.

Below is a list of some in-game bosses that are so unfair that they make most of the Dark Souls roster feel like a walk in the park.

Image via Blizzard

C’Thun from World Of Warcraft

Back in 2004, C’Thun really nailed the feeling of fighting against a god — because it was impossible to beat. No, really.

Players did the math and concluded that no combination of DPS would bring the beast down before all sources of replenishment (and HP) went to zero. It was only when the developers looked at the thousand-mile-high pile of dead bodies that C’Thun had left behind that they decided to greatly nerf the beast.

Most early MMORPGs mistook impossible odds with the idea of a fun time, so we kind of have to forgive the best ever of the bunch for committing this crime.

Bullcrap abilities: refusing to die.

Absolute Virtue from Final Fantasy XI

Do you think Sephiroth, Sin, and Kefka were tough? Well, Absolute Virtue required not just a full party but a whole army of Cloud Strifes to take it down —and it still wouldn’t accept death.

For the first months of its existence, Absolute Virtue proved so strong that only players who cheated at the game were able to defeat it. Or at least this is what Square Enix developers had to say about it. Were they just trying to have a canonically unbeatable boss? One that would just laugh at the thousands of hours of effort put in by players? We may never know. The developers would later have to severely nerf it before a huge group of players could finally take it down in a way that Square would deem “fair”.

Absolute Virtue feels like Final Fantasy XI’s answer to World Of Warcraft’s C’Thun, even though they probably shouldn’t have tried to respond to a boss that sucked so much.

Bullcrap abilities: He pretty much had the power to get players banned.

Image by SNK

Pretty much any boss from the SNK fighting games

We live in a time when developers make bosses more challenging either because they know the player base will enjoy the fun. Maybe also because they want to mimic Dark Souls. Back in the old arcade days, however, developers made bosses hard because they wanted your credits. Hence the rise of the expression “SNK Boss Syndrome” to describe an incredibly unfair final confrontation.

Pick one: Omega Rugal, Igniz, Magaki, Orochi, Geese Howard, they’re all pretty much the same. What looks like a regular enemy turns out to be a master of unavoidable abilities that take up most of the screen as well as the players’ HP, as well as being honed in the fine art of button-reading.

And it’s not even all about just the offensive capabilities. A good SNK boss will also feature complete chip damage immunity and an overall reduction in damage when compared to regular opponents. If you want to play any SNK fighting game, you’re much better off just buying one game or a collection of them rather than spending all of your money on an arcade.

Bullcrap moves: Instant reaction times, breaking the fighter’s golden rule.

Image by PlayStation

Ruby Weapon from Final Fantasy VII

All players who’ve ever tried to conquer the entirety of FFVII likely know the disappointment of defeating something called “Ultimate Weapon” and then getting absolutely obliterated by a red desert monster with weird fingers.

That would be the Ruby weapon, the game’s actual ultimate challenge. It’s not just tougher than the other bosses, it’s also weirder. Did you know that the soundest strategy against this boss involves bringing two KO’d party members to the fight? Just imagine that Cloud using his sword against poor Red XIII and Barret while he says it’s all for the “greater good”.

Bullcrap moves: When not permanently removing party members from the fight, he’s doing weird stuff with his fingers.

Sans from Undertale

Thought you could get away with murder in Undertale? Well, you can, but first you must get past the battle against Sans, one of the most brutal bullet hell segments in the history of Western games.

Players doing the genocide run in Undertale, aka killing every single NPC, will have to contend with the friendly skeleton Sans coming at them with everything. This is easily one of the most challenging battles in any game, from any genre.

This battle doesn’t want to challenge players, it wants to punish them. It only fails in the sense that murdering everyone is the only way to listen to Megalovania, which is the best song in the game.

Bullcrap moves: He has an infinite stash of bones and lasers that he’ll shoot at players. He also seems to predict our every attack.

Image By PlayStation

Sigrun from God Of War

The Valkyries are the closest thing to a Souls boss outside of a Souls clone, and Sigrun from the original God Of War reboot is the toughest of them all.

Despite playing as a God, one especially equipped for war, Sigrun makes it clear that this is Dark Souls by obliterating Kratos in a few moves. That’s a problem, because Sigrun has all of the moves from all the other Valkyries, and is also the toughest one of the bunch.

Bullcrap moves: An encyclopedia of different attacks. Also, did we mention that Sigrun forces players to lose HP even before the fight starts? Did the developers not find this one hard enough as it was?


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Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.