That One Boss / Kingdom Hearts

"Where's the fun in this?"
Xaldin. Our sentiments exactly.

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 overpowering, as well as optional, so they don't belong here. The same applies to Olympus coliseum cups and Mirage arenas. That One Boss only applies to storyline bosses who are abnormally difficult.

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     Kingdom Hearts 
  • In Hollow Bastion, it's frequently a toss up between the fight against Dragon Maleficent, and the second battle against Riku, 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, Goofy, or Beast's help, and it's in a small arena that doesn't give you much room to maneuver. Compound that with the fact that he is fast and insanely aggressive, and that his Dark Aura attack - while not too difficult to avoid with proper timing - can do an enormous amount of damage very quickly, and you have a potentially very nasty boss fight on your hands.
  • Both battles against Maleficent and against 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.
    • During the second fight, 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 you can read later, she's always difficult.
      • Additionally, casting any form of Aero actually increases the amount of damage you take from her attacks.
  • 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. This is atop her speed and levitation that can make it difficult to break her slights with your own, even with Zero cards she can still use her own slights to break those.
  • 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 forms in the remake are 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.
  • Dragon Maleficent is a monster in the original GBA game. Her head is the only weak point, and it floats high above the battlefield and renders most sleights and friend cards useless. Her attacks eat through Sora's HP with great speed and hit the entire screen, and she uses high-level cards that are hard to break without relying on easily-broken zeros or nigh-useless sleights. The green Mickey Head card creates a platform that makes hitting her much easier, but its appearance is semi-random and Maleficent can destroy the platform with a Shockwave Stomp. Like Hook, gameplay changes in the PS2 remake made her much easier to deal with.
  • Riku Replica. The third and fourth time you fight him in Sora's half of the game, he's just plain hard. His Dark Aura attack requires a Zero card (or a powerful enough slight in the GBA version provided you have the cards) to break it, and he spams the move again and again. The second time you fight him as Riku is worse though, due to your fixed deck: you only have a one-use enemy card and unpredictably spawned Mickey cards to heal you (and in the original GBA version, you didn't even have Mickey cards)!

    Kingdom Hearts II 
  • 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. Making matters worse is how the reaction command seems to do the job of destroying them just fine, but actually isn't enough to take them all down before the timer expires. 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.
  • 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 combines high damage, teleporting, impressive reach and the fiendishly hard to avoid Wind Dragon attack. 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!
  • The Thresholder on Critical Mode (Final Mix only). He hits really hard and you don't have healing spells yet in the game. Mickey can save you, and you honestly might need it (especially if you went here first instead of the Land of Dragons because you wanted Cure early).
  • In the Final Mix version, Roxas is fast and hits hard, which only makes sense since he's Sora. It's actually recommended by most players to just avoid him when he tries to initiate Duel. Sure, getting to use his keyblades against him is cool and all, but that doesn't really make up for the fact that now his telegraphed and easily-blocked attacks have been replaced with spamming light beams.
  • Jafar has some shades of this, if only because you're fighting him while riding Carpet which, much like Atlantica's swimming in the first game, doesn't let you use all your abilities (like Drive Forms or Dodge Roll). When Jafar is low on HP, he'll start spamming fire and thunder spells so quickly that you basically need to be circle-strafing at top speed instead of attacking to avoid getting stun-locked. On Normal or Proud Mode, you might be able to shrug off enough hits to do some damage of your own to Jafar's weak spot, but Critical makes it a constant session of needling in one or two hits before retreating to heal (unless you're really good with Reflect and are lucky enough to get close to Jafar before the spell locks you in place).
  • Scar is a very high speed battle and in Critical Mode, Scar hits like a truck and can kill you in one hit especially when he gets surrounded by darkness. His attacks are fairly hard to dodge, and 9/10 times he'll combo you into oblivion before Simba (or Donald if you brought him) can heal you. Worse, you don't have access to very many dodging abilities in the Lion form so you have to avoid pretty much all his attacks in Critical Mode if you want to live. To make matters worse, you're probably spending your MP on Simba's Limit so you probably don't have any MP to heal yourself. And since Scar attacks in rapid succession, you can't stop to heal especially when he says "My anger grows!" and bum rushes you with a shadowy blast. Hope you brought lots of Elixirs...
  • Xemnas, the final boss himself, is quite difficult when one fights him and his various forms at the recommended combat level of 50. The most difficult thing about him in the final phase of the fight is undoubtedly his fast movement and hard-hitting laser attacks. In particular, his triple laser flip attack can take out most of Sora's HP in one go. Then there's the phase of playing as Riku which can be doubly dangerous since his moveset is different from Sora's and it can take some time to get used to. At the same time, Sora is losing HP as you fight using Riku.

     Kingdom Hearts: 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.
  • Challenge Mode can make bosses even more ridiculous than Mission Mode. While completing the objective that earns you challenge sigals can be difficult enough (these include a No Damage Run, a time limit and not missing with attacks) but the restrictions imposed on you at the same time make it even worse. You can end up having no magic, no ability to heal, having your level capped or the enemy level getting a boost. Oh, and most challenges impose multiple restrictions.
  • 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.
    • His Omnislash can be dodged; he only warps around three times before finishing, staying in the same place each time to wail on Terra with slashes. It becomes a lot easier to avoid (even with Sonic Impact equipped) when one times their dodges, instead on mashing on the square button. Still, it'll probably take more than one try to figure out the timing to avoid it completely.
  • 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 only way you're ever going to use his own moves against him is by blocking his attacks (without using Counter Hammer), then taking advantage of a (very) small window of vulnerability by starting off with a regular combo before using said commands.
  • 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.
  • The Dark Hide in Final Mix. Very fast, very powerful (can potentially kill you less than 3 seconds into the fight if you're on Critical Mode), and like the above, you can't use anyone but Aqua to fight it.

    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 pillars while 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. Heck, Sora even lampshades this right after you finish the boss fight!

    Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance 
  • Xemnas's 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. Compare the True Final Boss who is much easier than Xehanort.
  • 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.
    • Rinzler is one of the few bosses in Dream Drop Distance to encourage a purely reactive fighting style, encouraging the player to make use of their recently-acquired Counter Rush command. Nearly all of his moves can be blocked and possess considerable telegraphing because of all the flipping around before he attacks, making the easiest path to victory be to Block —> Counter Rush —> Block —> Counter Rush with the occasional projectile magic when he's very far away. This is completely unlike every other boss in the game, who near-universally encourage a much greater focus on offense.
  • 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 in 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 get to benefit from the smaller arena you're fighting in. Killing the Spellican for good in Symphony of Sorcery was very satisfying after that.
  • In The World that Never Was, as Riku, you have to deal with Those Sequential Bosses:
    • 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. If you're playing on Standard, this boss is often considered the test of if you made the correct Dream Eaters to get the Second Chance and Once More abilities that make fights immeasurably easier. While they're valuable against most bosses, this is the first time a boss does so much damage that they're all but mandatory.
  • 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.

    Kingdom Hearts χ 
  • In mission 425 of Unchained, the player faces Master Ava. This opponent has far and away more HP than any other non-raid boss enemy introduced in the global version so far, with over 20 health bars. The boss is also immune to all status effects, alternates between boosting attack and defense every other turn, and increases these boosts even further when HP is low, at which point the boss's boosted attacks are extremely likely to one-shot an unprepared player. Getting through the mission requires patience, luck, and a carefully chosen set of medals that may be difficult to impossible to get without buying lots of them with Jewels.
  • The Darklings of quest 540. As if standard three attacks per turn that kill you without def. boosts wasn't enough, these fuckers can inflict status effects. Have fun getting poisoned every other damn turn!
  • Foreteller battles return with a vengeance when you battle Ava disguised as your Union's Foreteller (Ira if you're in Vulpes). Their powerful attacks can wipe anyone in two turns, and woe betide the fool who attempts a different strategy than when fighting Ava, but even that doesn't stop having to fork over the Jewels when you inevitably get tired of dying. Hope you saved up!

    Kingdom Hearts 0. 2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- 
  • The Demon Tide is quickly gaining notoriety for being a terribly unfair boss, especially at higher difficulty levels. It appears to have practically no consistency in its fight pattern, roughly throwing out attacks every five to fifteen seconds. Its first phase isn't too difficult, in which it knows only two attacks, albeit very hard-hitting ones. The second phase is the most infuriating; the core becomes surrounded by a twister of Shadows, and once it gets going, it doesn't stop; it constantly chucks out long-ranged, extremely high-damage attacks at seemingly random patterns, with some twister attacks spliced in-between that hit unpredictably and take a huge chunk of HP on hit. There's also the fact that it lobs huge balls of Shadows at you, which also bounce strangely and in difficult-to-avoid ways, and the really freaking stupid air toss move, which throws Aqua into the air and then summons Shadow balls constantly that are extremely hard to dodge with your limited aerial mobility. And on Proud and Critical, expect any hit/combo to bring you down to either half or 0 HP almost immediately.