Have you beaten the HARDEST BOSS OF ALL TIME?

Direct from the word of GOD (an old Vulture article from 2015 that got updated in 2023 for some reason) these are the 100 HARDEST BOSSES OF ALL TIME

Since everyone here seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of, well, everything, I look forward to hearing the input of my fellow… forummates? …insert creditors? I am certain that at least a few of you will have something to say about their choices :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

…and in case you tire of such discourse, here is the list of the 100 HARDEST LEVELS OF ALL TIME


Skipping to the end of the list… no.


I’ve beaten 35, roughly:

  • Bowser from Super Mario 64
  • Senator Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  • The Prospector from Inscryption
  • Queen Zeal from Chrono Trigger (maybe… I’m pretty sure I have but I can’t remember)
  • Tabuu from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  • Cyberdemon from DOOM (2016)
  • Baal from Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
  • Lavos from Chrono Trigger (for sure, I mean, enough times to get all the alternate endings? No, but someday)
  • Darklurker from Dark Souls II (maybe? I honestly can’t remember)
  • Rebel Flagship from FTL: Faster Than Light (unless this isn’t the last boss and is something else)
  • Manus from Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss
  • Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid
  • Ginso Tree from Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid
  • Wood Man from Mega Man 2 (probably, I’m pretty sure I’ve beaten Mega Man 2)
  • Maneater from Demons’s Souls’s
  • General Raam from Gears of War
  • Doom’s Bride from Catherine
  • Artorias from Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss
  • Culex from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Dark Link from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (although I cheesed it hehe)
  • Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls (I famously beat Ornstein and Smough on my very first attempt ever, just don’t ask me about how many times it took me to beat the Four Kings and Gwyn)
  • The Nameless King from Dark Souls 3
  • The End from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (on my second go through the game when I was trying to do a no kill run, I held him up and then went for the stamina drain finish to the fight at the same time, but panicked and missed the camo drop because of it)
  • Ludwig, the Accursed from Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
  • Isshin, Sword Saint from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Valkyrie Sigrun from God of War (2018)
  • Fume Knight from Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King
  • Radagon and the Elden Beast from Elden Ring
  • Sephiroth from Kingdom Hearts II (actually this might have been in Kingdom Hearts but I can’t remember anymore)
  • Demon of Hatred from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Orphan of Kos from Bloodborne: The Old Hunters (although I used multiplayer, Maria was hard enough thanks)
  • Sister Friede from Dark Souls 3: The Painted World (not as hard as Nameless King imo, just longer)
  • Emerald Weapon from Final Fantasy VII (this might have been a dream or I might have used that one fun exploit where you get a character to 9999 HP and then have them equip only 2 materia so that one attack that does 1111 damage for each materia the character has on makes them go into 7777 Mode and go nutso)
  • Malenia, Blade of Miquella from Elden Ring (not as hard as Isshin from Sekiro, imo)

I feel cheated by that inclusion of the Extreme Behemoth in Monster Hunter World because that fight sucked and more or less relied primarily on all 4 of your party being able to perfectly do the Meteor mechanic, which was finnicky at the best of times. I beat all of the Arch-tempered Elder Dragons in the base game solo which feels like more of an accomplishment.

Cute list of games! Definitely feels like it is missing some other famously hard games like GOD HAND.


DMC3’s Vergil should be higher in my opinion. I struggled so hard every time I had to fight him. Also, there are no God Hand bosses, so I have to rate that list a 0/100.


Strange that included the Pandemonium Warden and not Absolute Virtue from FFXI on the list - both should have been there. AV was never beaten as intended by design, even with a “helpful” video from SE which didn’t help at all!!

It is hard to take the list that seriously just for number 39, Terramorphous from BL2 being beaten solo by someone who’s title was “Slayer of Terramorphous” and Emerald Weapon was far easier than Ruby Weapon with the not mentioned Underwater Materia equipped.

Also Goro from MK should have been higher. He was a rotter!!

There’s a bunch of entries on here, where the listed bad guy wasn’t even the toughest fight in their own game. Maybe the most egregious on here is Wood Man from Mega Man 2. There’s probably a half dozen other robots from the game that should be considered above Wood Man. Wood Man probably doesn’t belong on any “hardest” list just for the fact alone that I could beat him as a five-year-old kid.


If lingering will from KH2 Final Mix isn’t here I’m gonna scream (checking rn)

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I pressed on the levels first and now it’s stuck behind a paywall for the other article (but I saw someone mention sephiroph In KH2’s Radiant Garden and I have to say Lingering Will is much harder)


For me, 20, which I could stand to bump up a bit more. There’s a conspicuous lack of Souls on my list. Also Cuphead I guess:

  • Bowser from Super Mario 64

  • Queen Zeal from Chrono Trigger

  • Tabuu from Super Smash Bros Brawl

  • Malus from Shadow of the Colossus

  • Shadow Queen from Paper Mario and the Thousand-Year Door (they could’ve gone Bonetail here but The Shadow Queen is probably the tougher fight)

  • Kurt Zisa from Kingdom Hearts

  • Mewtwo from Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow (The single hardest pokemon to catch is probably that Giratina in Platinum that has very little PP so you’re on a bit of a time limit; hardest boss from a Pokemon Game is almost certainly Evice from Pokemon Colosseum)

  • Lavos from Chrono Trigger (it’s funny that they are like “there’s an even harder version of Lavos… that we didn’t put on this list!” - I played the DS version so I’ve beaten the Dream Devourer as well. It’s basically the same fight)

  • Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid (I kinda feel like he’s the perfect boss to put at rank #100 because it’s not so much that it’s hard so much as, well, “if you get it you get it if you don’t you don’t if you know you know and if you don’t know I feel bad for you. either you get the vibe or you don’t get the vibe”)

  • Ultimecia from Final Fantasy VIII

  • Ginso Tree from Ori and the Blind Forest

  • Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid

  • Dirge from Shadow of the Colossus

  • Spider Guardian from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (I love this fight and everyone else seems to hate it :frowning_face:)

  • Doom’s Bride from Catherine (got way more annoyed with that Child with a Chainsaw boss but the bosses from this game are kinda same-y so I won’t quibble)

  • The Reaper from Persona 3 (…not Elizabeth? or if they wanted an inspired choice then Demi-Fiend from DDS? Lavenza would’ve also been a nice pick)

  • Omega Weapon from FFVIII

  • Lingering Will from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (IMO the hardest of these I’ve beaten)

  • Sephiroth from Kingdom Hearts II (I, and pretty much everyone on the internet, think the KH1 version is much, much, tougher. I actually beat the KH2 version on Critical without taking any damage my first try because I had watched so many people do it on youtube that I knew all the patterns by the time I tried it. The KH1 version kicked my ass regardless)

  • Emerald Weapon from FFVII (…this is some older millennial nonsense. I equipped Cloud with 7 sets of Counter-Mime, walked into the fight, pressed X on Omnislash and then won when Emerald Weapon fought back and Cloud countered with another 7 Omnislashes. At least Ruby Weapon from the same game is an actual proper boss fight. For the non-MMO FFs my choices to highlight would’ve been Vercingetorix from FFXIII or Aeronite from Lightning Returns: FFXIII. They probably had wayyy fewer playground rumors about them than Emerald Weapon did, but they are much harder bosses)

Vulture I know isn’t a video game magazine and their video game coverage is pretty sporadic, so it’s kinda interesting seeing what they come up with. Usually the stuff they cover is super super mainstream so the fact that they even know a game like Catherine exists is kinda (pleasantly) surprising. I figured the more knowledgeable crowd here would have some interesting commentary


Congratulations! You’ve beaten the 16th Hardest Boss of All Time!

Yozora from Kingdom Hearts III is also on the list at #6


I’ve beaten around 24 of these:

  • Queen Zeal - Chrono Trigger
  • Malus - Shadow of the Colossus
  • Matriarch Benezia - Mass Effect (I presume, I know I played the wheels off that game)
  • Cyberdemon - DOOM 2016
  • Kurt Ziza - Kingdom Hearts (Maybe? I don’t remember, but I know I beat Sephiroth so I assume I beat this too…)
  • Mewtwo - Pokemon RBY
  • Lavos - Chrono Trigger
  • Psycho Mantis - Metal Gear Solid
  • Ultimecia - Final Fantasy VIII
  • Ginso Tree - Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Liquid Snake - Metal Gear Solid
  • Jinpachi - Tekken 5
  • The Wither - Minecraft
  • Dirge - Shadow of the Colossus
  • General Raam - Gears of War
  • Grim Reaper - Castlevania
  • Culex - Super Mario RPG
  • Death Egg Robot - Sonic 2
  • Omega Weapon - Final Fantasy VIII
  • Dark Link - Zelda II (Kiiinda, I beat him in a PC fan game remake the other day…)
  • Ornstein and Smough - Dark Souls
  • Dracula - Castlevania
  • Absolute Radiance - Hollow Knight
  • Emerald Weapon - Final Fantasy VII

Loads of games in this list that I intend to play but just haven’t got around to (most of the souls games). Absolute Radiance from Hollow Knight is far and away the most memorably difficult for me, followed by Ornstein and Smough. Absolute Radiance is at the end of a massive boss rush so the consequences for failure are huge, I had to practice the fight for hours on end before I finally got it.

Emerald Weapon seems like it’s ranked high just because it’s so well-known and iconic rather than being a truly difficult fight… there are so many simple strategies for beating it. I know I did it fairly legit, just by having a lean materia loadout and a couple of mastered Phoenix materia.


I’ve beaten 29 from this list though that number has been severely hampered by not playing a single From Software Soulsborne or Metal Gear game. The hardest of which by far would be either of the Nioh bosses or either of the Borderlands raid bosses. Three of the ones I’ve beaten I would not consider among the most difficult by any means; Bowser, Wood Man, and Inscryption’s Prospector - I know that this is subjective but I struggle to think how they’re notably difficult.

Not that I would want to start recreating such a list but any Etrian Odyssey boss that you care to name is a white knuckle affair, Demi-Fiend in Digital Devil Saga (1 or 2, I can’t remember) or those Amon dudes from Yakuza could quite easily be thrown in.

There’s plenty of arcade bosses that arguably deserve a spot but given that they’re largely designed to inhale money there’s a case for not including them.


Obviously this is stupid but

100 99 98 96 93 87 84 75 66 64 63 60 59 58 55 53 52 48 43 34 33 32 26 24 21 18 13 9 5

That’s 29! 30 if you count the P3R version of the reaper.

I still have not gotten to Re:Mind tbf but im keen to when the DLC drops in price, i hear a lot of stories on Yozora



Well, we didn’t write the article so we are not authorities on the matter.

Notorious tough guy Wood Man:

Yeah, I feel like there’s a long list of Atlus RPG bosses that could just replace every turn-based RPG boss on that list.

My inability to be cool with Cuphead is, evidently, severely diminishing my game clout. I just do not like the controls and game feel of that one at all.


My highest ranked boss beaten is Alma at #14. I immediately did a search and knew whatever they decided the hardest Ninja Gaiden (2004) boss was would be my highest ranked boss, because that was easily the most difficult game I’ve ever beaten. I’m usually not a hardo about beating games, I just play them until I hit a wall of some sort, but my buddy and I loved Ninja Gaiden so much we challenged ourselves to conquer it. Was well worth it! Remains one of my favorite games, despite the trash camera. Beautiful, cinematic and nasty action. Definitely have inspired me to replay this asap.

EDIT: Just remembered I bought a physical copy of Ninja Gaiden Black a few months ago thinking it would work on my Series X and it didn’t. Why???


I got 16! My results kind of point out my specific tastes. I mean, I’m never gonna get deep into a street fighter or the like. And I bounced off of Cuphead (it’s pronounced Cuffeed!) when I realized you just have to beat your head against the wall until you learn all the patterns. I guess that describes a lot of games, but Cuphead has little to no character upgrades which is less interesting to me. I like when my video-people can get real buff.

75 Mewtwo, Pokemon Red and Blue

71 Lavos, Chrono trigger

64 Manus, Dark Souls (almost, like literally today I’m gonna beat it)

60 Enchantress, Shovel Knight

58 Giygas, Earthbound

52 Woodman, MegaMan 2 (there are probably some harder bosses from the other MegaMan spinoffs, for sure. Like someone from the Zero or X series that I can’t think of right now. Definitely Serenade from Battle Network 3. But classic MegaMan has simpler and jankier controls, so I’ll give it to 'em)

51 Maneater, Demon’s Souls (I get why they picked this one, but I definitely had the hardest time with Old King Allant)

45 Grim Reaper, Castlevania

43 Artorias, Dark Souls (this fight got me to use the stamina recovery plant for the first time, whatever that means)

42 Culex, Mario RPG

34 Dark Link, Zelda II (yes, I did the crouching in the corner trick)

33 Ornstein and Smough, Dark Souls (I’ve done this killing little man first and the harder killing big boy first, so…)

27 Dracula, Castlevania

18 Absolute Radiance, Hollow Knight

13 Yellow Devil, MegaMan (I absolutely cheesed this with the lightning + mashing pause trick)

4 Emerald Weapon, Final Fantasy VII (to echo what most people are saying here, this one is only hard if you either don’t look up how to do it or you don’t want to spend the time grinding up the requisite materia. I guess that’s its own kind of difficulty, so fair inclusion. And I agree that Ruby Weapon is maybe harder?)

Shout out to King K. Rule in DK64, one of the most ridiculous boss fights in one of the most ridiculous games. To even get there you have to have beaten the original Donkey Kong arcade game, not to mention collecting all of the inane doodads. It’s a cute idea having each Kong fight a different form of K. Rule, but it is so tedious in execution.


Ok, weird, I got 16 of the Levels, too. This list feels way looser. I can’t help rolling my eyes at Battle Toads Turbo Tunnel at #1. And I guess we’re still talking about the Water Temple, huh?

100 Lavender Town, Pokemon Red and Blue

94 Warehouse Infiltration, Crisis Core

93 Maridia, Super Metroid

87 Chasing Lee, Assassin’s Creed III

67 Gobi’s Valley, Banjo Kazooie

65 Stranded on Eventide, BotW

64 Celestial Resort, Celeste

55 Deepnest, Hollow Knight

46 Killer Croc’s Lair, Arkham Asylum

43 Water Temple, Ocarina of Time

37 Great Palace, Zelda II

36 Cultist Tower, FF6

19 Stage 1, Donkey Kong

16 Heightened Security, Hades

8 Chamber 15, Portal

4 Anor Londo, Dark Souls

Looking through the Levels list made me realize there was a surprising lack of Metroid on the Bosses list. The final boss of Metroid II comes to mind. And the titular Metroid Prime was hard for this colorblind guy.

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I scrolled all the way to the bottom, then scrolled up to find the hardest one I’ve actually beaten. Fume Knight, turns out.