That One Boss: Dark Souls

As you progress through the many difficult dungeons in Dark Souls and its sequel, you'd be often thinking that at the end of each of them, you'd be rewarded with not-so-difficult pushovers, becoming a textbook case of Hard Levels, Easy Bosses? Not for these guys. Unmarked spoilers ahead.

Dark Souls

  • The questionable honor of the most hated boss goes to one of the first bosses of the game, the Capra Demon. The boss itself wields two very large machetes and loves to slam both of them down on any unfortunate player that thinks they have a chance of blocking its attacks, occasionally starting the fight with this attack, which can kill you instantly. The two attack dogs that accompany it make the fight all but impossible until they're disposed of, and the brutal speed at which the boss charges at you with powerful attacks as soon as the battle begins, combined with the very small area you have to maneuver in mean many players will stare at the "You Died" screen mere seconds after starting the fight. Worse still you meet seven of them as respawning enemies on the way to Lost Izalith, with most of them tightly packed together making picking them off one by one a must. Good thing you can skip the fight via Sequence Breaking... if you picked the Master Key at the character select.
  • Ornstein and Smough. They are essentially designed to be a co-op boss, and either one of them can kill a player in about two hits. Its nearly impossible for non-ranged players playing solo, as neither one will ever shift their attention, giving no windows to attack. To add insult to injury, they are also a sequential boss, in that if you kill one, the other gains his power and full health.
    • This gets even worse if you decide to kill Ornstein second for the Leo Ring. When Smough absorbs Ornstein, he just gains more health and stronger attacks. Ornstein, on the other hand, gains all of this and a completely different moveset, including the incredibly powerful Lightning Impale that provides the page picture and will almost certainly one-shot you if it hits.
  • The Four Kings. The battle is essentially a damage race to kill each King as quickly as possible before the others spawn while surviving/avoiding their highly damaging magic-based attacks, which is easier said than done because of their Hitbox Dissonance, and the arena a pitch-black, infinite, entirely featureless void with absolutely nothing to provide a frame of reference is extremely disorienting. It gets worse in New Game+ since the Kings get a considerable health boost making it that much harder to kill them quickly. Oh, and just to make the fight even harder, the Four Kings do no physical damage at all. It's all magic damage in varying flavors, so that 100% physical block shield that's carried you through the entire game now does nothing.
  • Gravelord Nito. He's not that powerful by himself, and most of his attacks are telegraphed. However, several smaller skeletons accompany him, and they respawn constantly until you defeat Nito. While you're busy trying to clear them off, Nito himself will start unleashing gravelord miracles at you or even try to take advantage of the situation by swinging his sword at you (even knocking off some of his minions in the process). Even worse, if you go too far into the boss room, you'll get swarmed by Giant Skeletons, adding to the smaller ones in case you haven't already killed them off with divine weapons. One of the most common hint left by other players outside his room is "Need Divine" for a good reason
  • Your journey to Lost Izalith is filled to the brim with bosses that will make you want to Rage Quit. To wit:
    • The Ceaseless Discharge. If you're not cheesing the boss around, then you'll find that he has nothing but powerful moves at his disposal, and his arm flail greatly suffers from Hitbox Dissonance, often nailing you when you think you dodged it. Straying too far from him will also prompt him to punish you with a fire blast that's unblockable by all but the mightiest fire-resistant shields.
    • The Demon Firesage. While it's mostly just a reskin of the Stray Demon, the room it's in is cluttered with numerous wooden branches and roots which litter the entire floor and can make your movement awkward. Some of these roots you can walk over, some of these you can't. Some of these roots you can break, some of these you can't. No indication as to which are which. This all being in a boss fight that's heavily reliant on your ability to dodge and get around the boss who can kill you very quickly if you're stuck in place. Oh, and it's name is completely misleading, as it's attacks are physical and magical, not fire-based, so coming in expecting to guard against its explosions with fire protection will leave you in a world of hurt.
    • The Centipede Demon. You're fighting it in a room full of lava, with a small strip of rock near the entrance. The Centipede Demon has several alarmingly powerful attacks with excellent reach, meaning it can hit you from a good distance while you're helpless to do anything about it. Its bizarre anatomy (three big centipedes stuck together on a pair of legs?), obscene range, and tendency to jump around make it hard for you to get your bearings and not immediately obvious where you're supposed to aim at. Worse, you get the Orange Charred Ring, which you need to walk on lava, after you defeat the Centipede Demon. You can get it early, however, if you don't mind trying to cut the Centipede Demon's tail... which is often over the lava.
    • The Bed of Chaos. If there was one endgame boss that is absolutely hated by players just for how mind-boggingly frustrating the strategy to defeat it is, it's this monster. It's also despised for being full of Fake Difficulty in a game that usually avoids the trope. Trying to get the full access to its core requires you to destroy two weak spots that become increasingly difficult to reach with the chaos that piles up throughout the boss fight (read: tree arms swinging around wildly, crumbling floor, fire scythes digging their way to you, and straight-up Firestorm pyromancies). How annoying is this fight? The developers apologized for this boss after release.
  • The Hellkite Dragon that guards the bridge between the Undead Burg and Undead Parish has a nasty habit of roasting the enitre bridge in a 1 hit K.O move that is near impossible to dodge, usually just after knocking you over with a fire blast. Fortunately killing him is completely optional.

Standard result of a fight against the Smelter Demon.

Dark Souls II

  • The Royal Rat Authority is a Flunky Boss the size and speed of Great Grey Wolf Sif, whose mooks can inflict toxic on you. He also suffers from Hitbox Dissonance, so some attacks will have problems connecting. Yours, that is. Not his.
  • The Royal Rat Vanguard will make you realize that those rats are using every advantage the game provides to the enemies against you. First, you have to kill a high number of poisonous rats before the boss actually appears, who looks exactly like any rat except for his Mohawk, and that he inflicts petrification. Second, all the rats are smaller than you, so a lot of your attacks won't reach them; you will need a weapon that hits the ground like a club. Third, there are statues all over the arena that cannot be destroyed, and every time you hit one your weapon will bounce off, leaving you completely exposed.
  • The Smelter Demon is a good candidate for a Dark Souls player's worst nightmare of the year. In addition to its metric ton of health, its Nightmare-esque BFS with immense range, speed, and damage, and its indifference to most physical damage, it's also the first boss to basically force players to either get a damn good shield, or else outright master the new, harsher dodge timings. As a cherry on top of the flaming, spiked iron cake, it has two traits that specifically punish most players' preferred boss strategies. One; shortly into the fight it bursts into flames, slowly chewing through the health of players who like to stay close to punish its openings. And two; it frequently performs a large, telegraphed Sword Plant. It looks like an easily-exploitable opening. Sometimes it genuinely is. Other times, it isn't. It doesn't help that a glitch can trap you against the wall, making you easy pickings.
  • Despite being an Anti-Climax Boss, the Old Iron King strikes fear into the heart of anyone who doesn't spam lightning miracles at him and are forced to fight him head-on. Punches that can drain your entire stamina bar if you block and flatten you to the ground? Check. Fire breath that also screws with your stamina management? Check. A conspicuously small boss arena which he can abuse to knock into a random crack of lava pool? Check! Its to the point that many posters on message boards claim that they've died to the Old Iron King's boss arena more than they have to the Old Iron King himself! NG+ (or a patch rework) added a new ability to punish those that liked to snipe from the corner - a red-hot beam of magma that pierces through the wall and can knock the player backward into the nearby lava.
  • Remember when the Capra Demon used to slaughter you within seconds of entering the fog gate due to the annoying attack dogs that made a perfect job at distracting you? The Flexile Sentry in New Game+ gains two nasty minions that will keep you on the edge with toxic buildup. Way to put a roadblock through No-Man's Wharf in subsequent playthroughs, FromSoftware.
  • The Lost Sinner has quickly become one of the most hated bosses in Dark Souls II. Not only does she have swift yet powerful, long reaching attacks, her arena is fought in the dark, meaning your lock-on range is terribly short unless you defeat another challenging optional boss, allowing you to light up the lamps in her room. What cements her status however, is when you lower her HP to 60% in NG+,two black phantom pyromancers spawn, both whom have access to some of the most powerful pyromancy spells in game. It's gotten to the point that both of their health and damage output were reduced in Patch 1.03 due to how frustrating this boss was to many.
  • Velstadt, the Royal Aegis. While his attacks are easily telegraphed, what makes him dangerous is his serious case of Hit Box Dissonance; you'll be getting clipped for massive damage even if you rolled out of the way. He also has a crazy habit of mixing up his attacks; sometimes he'll string his attacks together, sometimes he won't, something which can throw your roll timing off if you think he's going into a attack animation. Blocking won't be much help either, since he hits like a freight train to your stamina. And once you damage him down to 60% percent, he'll begin to channel Dark Magic and start using Hexes. Which alone is bad, but it also gives him a massive boost in strength while along getting his defense buffed to the point your strikes are just Scratch Damage.
  • The first phase of Executioner's Chariot can be extremely frustrating for some. Playing solo, the respawning skeletons don't hit very hard, but they just love to pin you up against a wall and stunlock you, making it very difficult to escape and proceed down the corridor with the extremely small safe zones the arena gives you. Playing online, the chariot's trample seems to gain a very frustrating case of Hitbox Dissonance. Occasionally you will be at the back of one of the cubbyholes, with your partner slightly further forward, and you will get trampled while your partner is fine.
  • The Giant Lord on his own is a bit of a pain. Due to his sheer size it's incredibly difficult to really see when he motions to attack with his sword if you're up close, particularly if you're behind him and his skirt gets in your way. Now pile on a metric tone of other things such as: Fireballs raining from the sky in the surrounding area, dealing massive damage and having equally absurd area of effect, two tanky lesser giants barring the way toward him, a statue head that will utterly squish you if it passes you by, a borderline useless summon NPC and a ridiculously small boss arena (due to the aforementioned fireballs). It all leads up to a very frustrating boss who can get many cheap kills on players.

Alternative Title(s):

Dark Souls II