This page is about bosses in Kingdom Hearts that give away grief like it's candy. Given the fact that there are more bosses in the series than average, it's not surprising some of them made this list. Nonetheless, It's rather ironic that a series that's got complaints lodged at it for being easy has a lot of fans raging about difficult bosses...but nevertheless, even some easy games have sudden difficulty spikes. We need no advice for defeating these monstrosities — that defeats the purpose!
NOTE: A Bonus Boss is supposed to be overpowered, as well as optional, so they don't belong here. That One Boss only applies to storyline bosses who are abnormally difficult.
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In the first Kingdom Hearts, it's frequently a toss up between the fight against Dragon Maleficent, and the second battle against Riku in Hollow Bastion, which occur within minutes of each other. The first wouldn't be too difficult, since most of her attacks can only hit when you're in front of her, except that she has more health than any boss you've fought at this point (and more than most bosses in the entire game), compounded by her only weakpoint, her head, hovering out of your reach for most of the battle, meaning you have to stand in front of her, and her size means you don't have much room to dodge. The second is preceded by a fairly lengthy, unskippable cutscene right before fighting him which just adds to the frustration. (Thankfully cutscenes were made skippable in the HD remake.) The fight with Riku is made difficult by the fact that you fight him without Donald and Goofy's help, and it's in a small arena that doesn't give you much room to maneuver.
Some would actually argue Ursula. Maleficent and Riku have the excuse of being part of the penultimate level. Ursula, on the other hand, is little more than halfway through the game.
The first fight has a gimmick where you must throw magic at her cauldron to stun her and damage her a bit (Because otherwise you literally can't beat her). What's worse, the game doesn't really explain how the cauldron thing works (you have to shoot magic at it three times or it won't do squat), and merely targeting the cauldron can be a pain because Flotsam and Jetsam are swimming around. It's possible to briefly knock them unconscious, but even then you'll still lock on to them. It's extremely easy to trigger the cauldron backfire, go to attack Ursula, and accidentally lock onto one of the eels by mistake.
The second time, she constantly throws thunder spells at you, which can stun out of combos or attempts to cast spells. And in order to damage her you have to get right up in her face, which only makes it easier for her to hit you. Then again though...as you can read later, she's always difficult.
In 1.5 HD Re MIX's Proud Mode, Ursula is EASILY the toughest boss in the game. Whereas you can grind enough to stagger Clayton and Stealth Sneak indefinitely, respec to abuse short air combo finishers against Dragon Maleficent, and simply Glide over the majority of Riku's worst attacks, in Re MIX's Proud Mode, Ursula is the worst for three reasons: First, you can only take two hits. Without gratuitous grinding, Sora will only be able to take approximately 2 hits before dying. That's one hit before you need to stop and heal, and if you chose the Dream Sword at the beginning of the game, you almost certainly haven't unlocked Leaf Bracer to make these moments anything other than painting a giant target on your chest. Second, Ursula is downright abusive. In her first form, she'll spam an invulnerable spinning attack until you stun her by damaging her cauldron sufficiently with magic, which is ridiculous because you almost never have enough time to sink enough spells into it before either her, Flotsam, or Jetsam can kill you. Her second form is even worse because all of her attacks radiate from her face and she ALWAYS moves to face you. On top of that, she can't be staggered and even when she exhausts herself there are ALWAYS spells raining down on you to rip off half of your health. More often then not you literally cannot heal faster then they can strike you and you'll find yourself getting hit, stopping to heal only to get hit again because you stopped. Well, EXCUSE ME for trying to play the game! Thirdly and finally, THE SWIMMING CONTROLS. If the idea of a Little Mermaid world put you even slightly off before, just consider this: They replaced your Guard and Dodge Roll with SWIMMING CONTROLS.
Stealth Sneak in Deep Jungle. You fight both him and Clayton. Now, it would be easy if it were just Clayton, since all he does is shoot from afar and give himself a potion to heal any lost health. However, Stealth Sneak can Hadoken you and summon beams of energy from his eyes if you focus only on Clayton. If you focus only on Stealth Sneak, then Clayton can just snipe your party members while Stealth Sneak trounces you. It doesn't help that you learn Cure immediately AFTER this fight, and Potions can't be set to a shortcut.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
The Vexen fights as Sora. Even if he doesn't break any combo you use with ubiquitous 0 cards, he'll probably end up simply avoiding all damage by blocking your attacks with his enormous shield. This is worse in the Game Boy Advance version; in the remake it's a little easier to attack his vulnerable spots. (The Defenders are the hardest enemies in the Game Boy Advance version for this reason.)
On the original GBA, the fight with Larxene right after the final battle with the Riku Replica can be very difficult, only slightly less so than the battle preceding it. Mainly because Larxene is fond of backing you up against a corner and unleashing combo after combo at you when you can't escape.
Marluxia's first form has several extremely long range attacks, particularly the one where the screen flashes and he executes a forward slash, and his Blossom Shower is nearly unavoidable, but thankfully doesn't hurt.
The Second and Third form in the Remakes is even harder. After breaking off the two sickles he then opts to ram you at a ludicrous speed making it impossible to dodge and usually unavoidable because you will be struggling to find a 0 or trying to stock cards to break it. Then there is the two part dive attack which is easier to block and avoid but hits just as hard. After you defeat this form you go straight to the slightly simpler Third form, however he has several strong attacks and the "Doom" Sleight at his disposal and if you die here you have to start the whole fight all over again.
Zexion can be pretty difficult if one doesn't know what they're doing or is unable to avoid the dummy cards. Which is not an easy feat when the gimmick of his boss fight is him stealing cards from you then, making it harder for you to fight. And if he gets enough he'll use them in powerful attacks against you.
In the original GBA game, but not the remake, Captain Hook is far more powerful than the other bosses at that point in the game, partly due to the GBA controls and his stunlock attacks. The field makes that fight in the GBA version even more difficult. As the ship keeps constantly tilting side-to-side, it easily puts you almost always on the receiving end of Hook's bombs.
Despite how Demyx appears to be the Spoony Bard slacker who really doesn't care about anything except playing sitar, you'd be surprised how many people think he fits the description for That One Boss. For the most part he's harmless, his attacks are laughably easy to dodge, but when he starts taking damage he'll create a bunch of water clones, which while harmless on their own, you have to kill within a time limit or, for reasons the game never bothers to clarify, you lose. Sure, that's some Fake Difficulty in the form of Luck-Based Mission in there, which most people don't like, but he certainly isn't one to be taken lightly.
Most players figure out that using the magic drive form combined with spamming fire lets you instakill anything he throws at you, and takes off gigantic chunks of his life to boot. Two downsides. First, This is actually the only strategy that lets you beat his data form in Final Mix, because it's literally impossible to beat 75 water clones in 10 seconds without the fire-slide spam. Secondly, the fights against Organization XIII members have a high rate of triggering the Anti-Form.
Fortunately, your Anti-Points counter resets to zero shortly before this fight due to obtaining Master Form.
Luxord qualifies as well, simply because of the Unexpected Gameplay Change aspect of fighting him. Instead of just whaling on him until he dies, there's a confusing little minigame that you have to play, the fight is sort of time based, and his card attacks are really annoying. On the bright side, it's possible to love-tap him to death as Dice Sora.
Xigbar also deserves a mention. He is probably harder than Luxord. He's capable of sniping you from a distance, and teleports around to make it harder for you to hit him. He can even change the battle arena to make life harder for you. What he gets really bad, or at least annoying is when he starts using his Desperation Attack, which as the fight goes on he'll use more and more, because during it you can't hurt him.
Xaldin - high damage, teleporting, impressive reach and the fiendishly hard to avoid Wind Dragon. If you ever need to be saved by Mickey, odds are you'll need it here. It's worth finishing Halloween Town and getting the Decisive Pumpkin "ahead of schedule" just to take the edge off.
Groundshaker is a simple boss in theory. The problem being it changes weakpoints too often, and if the weakpoint is on top of the giant Heartless, then prepare for a two on one fight since Simba has trouble staying on the platform and the camera fights with you more than the boss!
Kingdom Hears: 358/ 2 Days
Leechgrave. It has a lot of HP for that point in the story, hits like a truck, and it doesn't help that there are four regenerating tentacles around that you have to deal with.
We also have the Ruler of the Sky, who is pretty frustrating if you are not ready for him. The fight lasts a long time, and there are some pretty nasty attacks.
Pretty much ANY of the bosses in Mission Mode. They all fight identical to their Story Mode counterparts, except they're balanced for multiplayer — that is, their stats are all multiplied. For example, trying to get past Xion's second form's Ragnarok spam is pretty much impossible with anybody except Xemnas (who's highly resistant to Nil damage). Unless you're really good at dodging, that is.
Ragnarok can thankfully be negated by equipping the Nothing to Fear ring, which turns a That One Attack into a No Sell. Unfortunately, there is no way to make Xion's third form not hit like a truck. The window for damaging her between her swinging all her swords is painfully small and miscalculating it will result in you getting sliced and diced six ways to Sunday. To make up for this, this form has fewer HP bars than the previous two - but it too has the ability to completely restore its health if you don't interrupt it in time.
The Infernal Engine, because of the Camera Screw making dodging its attacks harder than it should be and being only significantly damageable during a certain attack.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Braig. Just like Xigbar... and arguably harder with Aqua.
Whenever you fight Vanitas with Aqua... ouch.
Needless to say, expect entries about how hard some bosses in Aqua's campaign can be - she requires some practice to master, so part of the difficulty is actually getting used to her.
Near the end of his story, Terra fights Master Eraqus. The foe is an absolute beast. His attacks are incredibly powerful, and the most dangerous ones come out with no warning whatsoever. Even after you've gotten his pattern down, you have to have the utmost skill to block and/or dodge his attacks, because if you don't, expect three or four hits to kill Terra. Your opponent is also resistant to Dark attacks, and the only Command Style that will activate during this boss is Dark Impulse, so you're at quite the disadvantage.
Speaking of Terra's story... Olympus Colosseum. Helmet-less Zack.. When he gets overcharged with Hades' darkness, he's going to let you know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an Omnislash. If you haven't Level Grinded well beyond the reasonable amount for this stage of the game, it will kill you. It cannot be interrupted. It cannot be blocked. And if you equipped any slide skills other than the default one (like that Sonic Charge you got just before this fight), it cannot be dodged. And he uses this as his opening attack.
The final boss of Terra's story can quickly turn into this if you don't know the best strategy for him (guard against most of his attacks and use Counter Hammer a lot). He has a combo that is just plain unfair: it involves dropping an unblockable meteor which also causes a bright explosion, and then using Ars Solum twice in a row. Even Terra's ultimate abilities won't do you any good. The developers had the sense to program him with the knowledge of your attacks and how to dodge them. Go ahead. Try using Ars Solum, Meteor Crash, or Chaos Blade. He'll perfectly dodge all of them, then smack you down for even daring to try.
The Final Chapter... Terranort Phase 1. It is next-to-impossible to land a hit on him under normal circumstances. In fact, there is only one easy way to win the fight, and it takes forever, even if you are at the right level. Combine that with playing as Aqua, and ONLY Aqua.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Re:coded isn't exactly the hardest KH game to date, but the side-scrolling bosses might give you some nasty surprises on your first few tries. Dragon Maleficent comes to mind.
And, of course, the fight against Roxas. He's ungodly fast, hits like a truck, can inflict multiple stat effects and even his blocked attacks are very hard to punish. Through the fight, he'll teleport around the arena, fire unblockable, homing light pillarswhile he dashes at you and attacks and will rain down Frickin' Laser Beams once he Turns Red. For extra sadism, when you're almost finished with him, he'll attack with Frickin' Laser Beams (his Final Limit from 358 Days Over 2), only to finish the attack and follow up with even bigger laser beams. It gets better: These beams will cripple your DEF stat if it hits. Get hit once, you take ungodly damage. Get hit twice, you die.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
Were you among the people complaining that Xemnas was too easy in Kingdom Hearts II? Well, complain no more! His insanely long and strong combos, as well as the likelihood that you won't possess the "Once More" ability, make sure of that. He loves to throw skyscrapers around, which proceed to bounce and roll, and they hit really hard. He Teleport Spams like never before, and unlike in KH II, where it was sluggish, it'll happen really quickly, meaning he can either keep teleporting or suddenly pop out an attack, which can throw you off and open you for when he really attacks. He has a new cage attack that'll keep harming you if you stay in it, and when you try to escape, he'll immediately start shooting at you. And unlike his lasers in KH II, Sora can't block them. He's also kept his "surround you with lasers then blast you from all sides" that he kept spamming in his final battle in II, so have fun with that one as well.
Young Xehanort. Being the Mysterious Figure, he is hard. At first, he has a Keyblade, and uses a mix of combo moves. When his HP is depleted, he'll use a time rewind spell, that, if not halted by Reality Shift, basically revives him. Even after using the move, you have to deplete another bunch of lifebars... while clones of him attack almost without pause, using his old moves as the Mysterious Figure, and yes, that means it's HELL. This guy also loves to Teleport Spam like Xemnas above, only his is even worse because it's faster and less conspicous like Xemnas'. He's open for only a fraction of a second before attacking, so you need to either take pot shots at him, or rely on your Spirits to catch him off guard then wail on him yourself. Doesn't help that his attacks are so fast that they are nearly impossible to dodge if you don't move as soon as he starts attacking.
To make matters worse, after you block the time shift, you must defeat the time shift clock in the center of the stage within a certain amount of time. If it is not defeated, the fight resets and you must defeat him, complete the time shift, defeat the time shift, and THEN you can defeat Young Xehanort. I died more to him than the true final boss, which I beat on the first try.
If the Internet is any indication, a lot of people are having trouble with Rinzler. He's fast, he hits hard both up close and at a distance, and there's that whole arena-turns-upside-down gimmick that leaves players disoriented. If you rush in guns blazing, you will die. Very quickly. It also doesn't help that he's the first boss that is not a Dream Eater, which possibly makes him a Wake-Up Call Boss.
Rinzler's difficulty can be summed up as 1) he's the first boss to make use of Interface Screw (when he flips gravity, your camera doesn't follow suit), and 2) he has a very weird, flipping attack style that impacts at weird times. Both of these can be a nasty surprise to anyone who expected a regular Disney villain fight and not a cyber ninja.
You know who's a fun boss? Spellican. The first part of the fight, you have to skate toward him while avoiding dark blasts and rocks sliding toward you. This would be merely an annoying gimmick, if not for the fact that it's all Flowmotion, and as you may have learned, while Flowmotioning, your command deck is locked. Meaning no Cures or healing items. After you take out enough HP, you will have to do this a second time only this time, its far harder to reach him, you almost certainly don't have as much HP to work with, and you're pretty much screwed. While you're actually going on regular fighting, he has a variety of painful attacks such as stars and an energy beam that he swings around. He often teleports away from you and to locations where its hard to reach him. And in said locations, you will probably only land one combo before you fall and have to reach him again. Plus, he can summon lightning making brooms. All and all, a really frustrating boss.
The first time you meet the Spellican is on your second visit to Traverse Town, Riku doesn't get a boss fight at the end, but Sora's side picks up big-time. Spellican, instead of fighting against you, summons three previous bosses, one at a time, to deal with you, all are souped up. Hockomonkey, while not a difficult boss, is a bit more difficult to fight in the smaller arena that you're in, but the boss that comes after is just plain hard in a smaller arena, and is still souped up like the other bosses: Grounded. Wargoyle! After that, it's Char Clawbster, whose projectiles too gets to benefit from the smaller arena you're fighting in. Killing the Spellican for good in Symphony of Sorcery was very satisfying after that.
First there's Anti Black Coat Nightmare. Yes, his attacks are really hard to dodge/predict, but the real problem is an attack where he shoots out a line, and if it hits you, it drains all but one of your health — and then drops it all over the arena as HP orbs, which the boss can pick up. Luckily, so can you, but taking time out of a battle to pick up your own health does tend to leave a massive opening.
Then you face Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. A number of factors combine to make this one frustrating. The first phase of the battle is in a featureless black void, where it's hard to tell up from down. And you're tasked with avoiding the charge attacks which hit for around 1/5 of your health, and you usually get combo'd into another if you get hit once, avoiding the attack is hard mostly due to the fact you probably can't see where you're going. The challenge is somewhat mitigated by the fact he stops to taunt you every so often, allowing to get hits in. The phase after that is mercifully much easier, but if you take too long to finish him off after that, it goes right back to the first phase.
And for the third and final stage, the second-stage boss goes One-Winged Angel: this time he's hiding inside his guardian and takes very little damage from attacks. Doesn't stop him from laying down the hurt with laser discs, fists, and other attacks. Occasionally he'll blow your entire party back and assault you with poison spheres, discs, or, worst of all, two lasers that are very hard to dodge, very hard to read, and do a lot of damage. Much of the difficulty in this entire sequence stems from the fact that if you're not properly grinded or prepared, you're stuck. And if you absolutely need to go back, you have to deal with all three bosses all over again.
Wargoyle, both forms! As Sora, it is fast, and has a lot of powerful melee attacks that will most likely hit you because of it's range, and can also counter after it's vulnerable period. As Riku, it is still fast and powerful, gets projectiles and charging attacks, and it FLIES! In both forms, it can summon meteors which are very difficult to dodge. Wake-Up Call Boss for both, even counting the fact that you've probably faced Hockomonkey for Riku, the Mage version, first. The danger here is that it can summon hands which will proceed to pick up and use the enviroment against you to good effect, especially since you probably don't have a lot of powerful commands yet. Additionally, it likes to stay away from you and your attacks, which is annoying. Also a Wake-Up Call Boss given how early it comes in the story.
Char Clawblaster is one insane Lightning Bruiser of a boss, will not stop running away from your attacks and is resistant to fire, the most reliable ranged attack. The only way to get to him fast enough is to flowmotion, but the flowmotion attacks do little against him so you have to take the time to land safely, and on Riku's side, you have to deal with the annoying mechanic of running to a switch and turning the arena upside down when he hangs out on the ceiling. Thankfully he's not as hard on Sora's side, and can be easily poisoned.
Char Clawbster also has a sleeping gas attack that speeds up the Drop Gauge if it hits you, making it more likely that you'll switch over to Sora before beating it. (Thus causing you to start the fight over during the next drop) Thankfully, this is easily avoided. What's not easily avoided? His Turns Red mode, in which he spams several projectile attacks at you (making it difficult to hit him on account of dodging all the time) and finishes off with a Fricking Laser Beams attack that can kill you if you don't avoid it.