Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


That One Boss

Go To

I can't defeat Air Man.
No matter how I try to dodge all his tornadoes, he just kills me again.
And even though I can get behind him
It's no use, I try to fight, but I get blown away in the end.
I shoot as fast as I can,
But when I had to go against Air Man's tornado I was helpless again
I'll try again, of course, but this is my plan:
I'll keep my E-Tank saved in reserve just as long as I can!
I Can't Defeat Air Man (Kiwi Kenobi English Version) note 

That One Boss is, well, that one boss that falls victim to poor playtesting or was thrown in by especially cruel developers. You're leveling up normally, plowing through every battle, until you reach this particular battle and suddenly meet a nasty road block. Eventually, you Rage Quit, or you go on the Internet looking for assistance. In the event that you stop by the game's message board, lo and behold, everyone else is having the exact same problem, with entire topics asking "how do I beat That One Boss?". Walkthroughs usually list the worst offenders as "the hardest boss in the game", and eventually, such a beast receives a reputation for being just that freaking hard. A few of them may be awesome, but that still doesn't mean you won't be chewing on the controller in frustration despite it.


They are sometimes called the "brick wall boss", for obvious reasons.


Because there are so many examples of this trope, they have been categorized by genre for your viewing convenience.

Compare with the non-video game equivalent of this trope, Invincible Villain.

    open/close all folders 

    Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark:
    • Li Tung in the third game. He moves and attacks much faster than Carnby can, and can close the distance very quickly and jump-kick you from halfway across the room you fight him in. Beating him essentially requires running back and forth, popping off Winchester shots whenever you get the chance.
    • Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare:
      • The Procuraptor in the library can take a lot of damage, which forces you to use the rocket launcher. Even then, you can't damage it in its normal state, but shooting it with any weapon (even the revolver) will cause it to enter a vulnerable state during a few second where you can actually damage it. However, since this is not obvious, you can waste a lot of rockets by using them during the first state. If you didn't find enough rockets, expect a very long fight as you'll run out of them and have to resort to the shotgun.
      • Alan Morton. A brutal Lightning Bruiser with no clear attack pattern (thank goodness he can only attack at close range). And to top it off, he's a Puzzle Boss (your weapons can only knock him out for a while). You have to knock him out and find the right door which will lead you to a magical spear that kills him with one hit. And if you reach a door while he's up, he'll teleport and slam you down. But once you know the right door...
  • Fatal Frame
    • Fatal Frame II:
      • The second battle with the Kiryu Twins. One of them is a possessed doll and will not take any damage from your camera and there's no proper indication which of them is the invulnerable doll and which the spirit you need to actually fight. So you're already hesitant to use your better film here, in fear of wasting it. They also tend to attack from opposite sides, forcing you to relocate and try to get both in one shot. And that's the problem with all of their battles, but the second one is the worst because it takes place in the Doll Room. This room is pretty small, because it's filled with dolls and dollstands, so you have less room to evade them and can easily get jumped.
      • Sae. Majority of the time, she is surrounded by a red mist that makes it very difficult for your camera to focus on and damage her and she only has short moments without the mist, that allow you to properly attack her. The main issue is her apparently random AI and tendency to teleport around; she can easily teleport right in front of you and get a good hit in. Fortunately, she is the only Final Boss without a One-Hit Kill... unless the difficulty is set to Nightmare and the player is forced to do a No Damage Run against her.
    • Fatal Frame III: Reika. Contrary to Kirie and the Kusabi from the first and second game, who had One-Hit Kills but were rather slow and had easy to read movements, Reika is the complete opposite. She likes to flit around the field and fly up into the air, which is already difficult to see on its own and good luck trying to avoid her dive-bombing onto you. Her own One-Hit Kill involves her appearing at some random location near you. And if you aren't looking clearly away from her at this point, she will laugh at your health bar depleting.
    • Fatal Frame IV: The late battles against the Utsuwa (Vessel) and Kanades (Accompanists). The Utsuwa is on her own, but she likes to teleport frequently and attack randomly. So unless you get the Evade function down pat, she'll be hell to fight. The Kanades are worse, though. There are five of them and they team up well; four of them are likely to remain in your field of vision and distract you long enough, so the fifth one can easily attack you from below.
  • Resident Evil 0 has the notoriously hated bane of no-save playthroughs, the Giant Bat in the church. Firstly, it spends most of its time fluttering erratically around, which makes it hard to hit - especially with the twin hassles of RE0's simplistic aiming system and fixed camera angles. But that's not what makes it That One Boss. It's the fact that, after it takes a few hits, it begins spawning countless smaller bats, which interfere with your ability to aim at the creature because, more often than not, your auto-aim will lock onto them instead. They can also get in the way of your shots, and will whittle down your health by biting you themselves. Most guides recommend using the napalm grenades loadout for the grenade launcher, as these kill it quickly (5 hits) and have a longer-than-usual stun effect on it, but even this tip (and the fact there's a 6-pack of them in the save room before you fight the boss) are rendered useless because being stun-locked doesn't keep the giant bat still. Meaning it jerks in the air when hit, and this throws off your auto-aim's lock, making it very hard to exploit the stunlock effect. Fans used to recommend exploiting a glitch where, if you ran into the save room after the boss fight was triggered, the giant bat would die when you returned to the church... until this glitch was removed in the HD remake of the game.
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has... well, every boss that you actually have to face.
    • The Tyrant in the sea plane is a nightmare because it's a Lightning Bruiser that can take a real beating, hits like a tank, and can charge across the cargo hold, which isn't relay big enough to give you much room to manuever. Worse, unless you carefully stockpiled the explosive arrows for your bowgun, and/or brought the anti-B.O.W gas grenades, you don't have much in the way of firepower.
    • Nosferatu if you're not good with the Sniper Rifle. If you get the bright idea to bring your big guns with you to cover your ass, then you'll just wind up hosing yourself later as they won't be available for most of Chris's half (since you lose control of Claire immediately after the fight and don't control her again until close to the end of the game), so non-skilled snipers are left with the Morton's Fork of either getting stuck at a brick wall of a boss or crippling themselves for most of the latter half of the game.
    • Mutant Steve Burnside is supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight, as you're expected to run from him to the door you came in through. The problem is that he's so fast, and his axe has such a long range, that it's almost impossible to not get hit by him as you flee.
    • And then there's the final boss, Alexia. She comes in two battles; in her first battle, she throws around walls of fire that impedes your ability to manuever around her, and her only melee attack is a One-Hit Kill. Unless you found the obscure path to unlocking the Magnum, she is extremely tough to defeat. And then, in the second battle, she has two distinct phases, with no intervals between the two. Oh, and there's a time limit you have to have killed her by, or you get a game-over.
      • In the first phase, she constantly spawns small, skittering minions that swarm you and can quickly knock your health down to nothing. Add in her own flailing tentacles, and killing her before she kills you is challenging.
      • In her second phase, you need to hit her with a special weapon - the linear launcher - to kill her... except, in this phase, she's become a flying monster that zigzags erratically around the room and sporadically rains down hard-to-dodge fiery blood. If you don't know the secret that shooting flying-Alexia enough with normal weapons will put her in a "stunned" state where she moves slower and is more easily targeted with the linear launcher, and even that's only helpful if you have ammo left considering the prior phrase's Damage Sponge traits, your only real hope is to try to track her and get lucky.
  • In Resident Evil 4, you will eventually come across a fight with two El Gigante enemies (which mark your third and fourth encounter with them). It's possible to drop one into a pool of lava and have to deal with only one, however both of them have functionally double the health of the first two. Additionally, you can be aided by a dog you saved from a bear trap, which causes El Gigante to become distracted and chase it, making it far easier to shoot the guy. The second one can be avoided entirely by going a different route, and doesn't have to be fought if you do go his route thanks to the various objects that slow him down (You just have to reach the end). This fight with the Dos Gigantes is unavoidable, and there are no distractions to help you defeat the boss. You just have to learn to dodge the attacks with the somewhat stiff tank controls (which do not help in this fight), and unload on him. Even with max powered weapons, he has a terrible habit of just whipping around and slapping you for huge damage, and will soak a lot of it. Like a lot of bosses, you may have to cut into your total money and buy a rocket launcher to have any chance at survival.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted second edition's Deathlords are hugely overstatted and obnoxiously powerful, to the point where people can wonder in all seriousness why they haven't destroyed the world yet all by themselves. They were nerfed multiple times, most notably when their wtfhax perfect defense that didn't count as a Charm activation was clarified to only work a handful of times before having to be reactivated, but they remained ridiculously powerful.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse has The Chairman. 15 of his 25 cards are minions of one form or another, and the deck's mechanics mean the field will start out heavily populated and the swarm will only grow. The heroes have to defeat a certain number of minions before The Chairman's card flips and he can even be damaged... but each one defeated provokes a high-damage counterattack from The Operative. Even when The Chairman finally does become vulnerable, he counters almost every attack made at him for heavy damage. Even if The Chairman is defeated, the heroes don't win until they can bring down The Operative as well; if this happens, The Chairman goes into the discard pile like any other defeated target... which means if the Villain Deck is reshuffled (and considering he starts with 10/25 cards in the trash and you need to defeat a lot of minions to get this far, it probably will), there's a chance he can be played like any other card, return to the field invulnerable side up with full health.
    • Wager Master, Miss Information, and the Ennead can also fall into this, particularly Challenge MI and Advanced Ennead. Wager Master has a deck of random nonsense that can, depending on order, either lose him the game before he even starts or utterly wreck your shit, particularly since What Do You Really Know is an indestructible Ongoing that will deal obscene amounts of damage to you. Miss Information takes forever and is a huge pain in the neck who keeps trashing your field and causing tons of damage to you, particularly on her Clue-spamming Challenge version. Finally, the Ennead can dish out a lot of damage, and the Advanced version is essentially guaranteed to get their full numbers out quickly, at which point they become extremely hard to shift without the exact right options.

Miscellaneous Examples

  • Lone Wolf has multiple examples, which is very impressive for a gamebook series.
    • The Chaos-Master from the 11th book in this series of gamebooks. It's a hideously hard fight if you don't bring the Sommerswerd along. If you do? Chances are you will die horribly. There's a particularly infamous Let's Play of Book 11 that had the players redo the Chaos-Master fight twenty-seven times before they finally won. It's that hard.
    • So hard that pretty much everyone forgot about the series' FIRST killer enemy, the Gnaag Helghast, from The Jungle of Horrors. If you have a decent base Combat Skill, the Sommerswerd, and Psi-screen, it's a fairly challenging fight. If you don't have a decent basic Combat Skill... well, it's immune to Mindblast, so you're looking at a Combat Ratio of +1 under the best of circumstances. If you don't have the Sommerswerd, you can't do double damage. If you don't have Psi-screen you lose 2 Combat Skill points every round.
      • At the end of the same book, the Vordak fight on the skyship deserves special mention. If you don't have the Sommerswerd, you have a grand total of four rounds to win two fights; fail, and the skyship explodes and you're toast. If your starting Combat Skill is too low, it is IMPOSSIBLE to win this fight. It was so bad that Joe Dever gracious extended the time limit to six rounds in the Mongoose Publishing re-release.
    • Bested the Gnaag Helghast and those annoying Vordaks? Well done, now get ready for Zakhan Kimah in the next book, The Cauldron of Fear! If you have the Dagger of Vashna, you can settle this with a single do-or-die throw. Otherwise, prepare for a combat ratio of at best -3, and he has 40 Endurance. Oh, and if you have the Sommerswerd, he's also immune to psychic attacks.
    • Then there's Darklord Kraagenskul. Have the DoV and a reasonable number of Combat Skill boosts? Somewhat tough, but managable. Don't have it? Prepare to fight crypt spawn, then make a do-or-die lunge for his sword (although if you're successful, Kraagenskul isn't extremely tough). Have the Sommerswerd? You have a time limit to beat the crypt spawn and then have to make a do-or-die sword throw, otherwise you'll get killed even if you defeat Kraagenskul.
    • And then there's Ixiataaga, who comes at you with a Combat Skill of 60, and also at the tail end of a number of challenging battles, including Tagazin.
  • Ashley's boss microgame from WarioWare Touched features borderline Bullet Hell patterns of projectiles to dodge and an end boss that has three separate pieces shooting things at you.
    • In Warioware Twisted, all you need to know are these six words to know you're in trouble: "Ladies and gentlemen: Wario de Mambo!"
      • The same game has Dribble and Spitz's boss stage. You need to outrun a boulder and jump over holes. Simple enough, but how is the outrunning done? By shaking the GBA in a violent manner! This can make it hard to see the holes, and if you can see the holes, then chances are the boulder is on your tail. Oh, and you need to get 5 points on it in the Spindex, but good luck doing that when it goes to level 2 and 3; those difficulties make the boss microgame nearly impossible.
    • In Warioware Inc., (at least in the GBA version) there is the boss stage called "Punch Out." And the third level of that contains an opponent that is fast. Remember when the level up boss stages are optional? Here, this is NOT the case; Remix 2 will not let you through until you beat him, and he might be hard for first time players. He moves the fastest out of all of his opponents, so you need to have perfect reflexes. However, remember the One-Hit Kill move that the second opponent had on one heart? Here, he can use it anytime he wants, so if you are not quick to dodge, and you are on your last life in Remix 2, it's back to start for you.
    • Similarly, Smooth Moves involves this for two required stages (Jimmy T. and Jimmy P.), except it is the second level of the boss stage. In Jimmy P.'s stage, you have to take on Produce Stand-Off again, and the Strawberry Bandit is no pushover. For starters, the guide doesn't appear, meaning that you have to deal with the Strawberry Bandit's hard-to-parry movements. He can also be unpredictable, so if you are not focused when he strikes, you're dead.
    • Warioware DIY has Orbulon's boss stage in the form of a slider puzzle. Why is it hard, you may ask? Well, the puzzle is randomized, so you can never get the same puzzle twice. And you need to do this with the timer breathing on your neck, but sometimes you can be stuck on it; should this happen, you're screwed. And what is worse is that for Orbulon's set to be completed (getting all Orbulon's microgames unlocked) you need to do this slider puzzle multiple times.
    • In Gold, when you are clashing against Wario Deluxe, you make it to the Boss Stage, and you need to hear these words to know that a certain final boss microgame is seeking a rematch and, due to it dropping the Wii Remotes and resorting to use all the control schemes in Gold, you are in even more trouble: "Ladies and gentlemen: let's... DANCING!" Be prepared to spend a lot of coins on this.
      • Besides this, the Ultra League has a boss stage from an earlier stage set to level 3 that always appears on the first playthrough, and in the case of the Dancing Team, it's the boss microgame Punch Out. This means your opponent is "Red Typhoon" Gaz Puncho. Despite having the exact same starting health as you unlike the third opponent in Inc., he still moves quickly, and he is free to use his uppercut at any point during the fight, and the uppercut is an instant KO. The Ultra League is hard so chances are you might reach this point with 2 or 1 life left.
    • Ashley's boss microgame in Gold is a revived Crossing Guard from Twisted!, but it is harder than the Twisted! version, even on the first difficulty level. You must not only deal with the kids, but also the faster ostriches. If you are trying to go for the target score in the Index or trying to get Ashley's score mission done, then you must deal with even faster horseback riders in level 2, and bombs that must be dropped in level 3, with both levels involving two bridges. Not even Basic Training is harder than this boss microgame.
  • While the final bosses of the Ace Attorney series usually take longer to break than other culprits, the final showdown with Quercus Alba in Investigations gets special notice for being so long and difficult that there's a save point in the middle of the fight. And here's a song about how difficult it is. Amusingly enough, the song in that link is a parody of the Air Man song that is the page quote.
  • SD Gundam Capsule Fighter has three of them.
    • The first is the Psyco Gundam in the "Kill Three Psyco Gundam" mission, due to the fact that, at harder levels, it has infinite special attacks and, thus, it will gladly go into its Beam Spam special to prevent being killed. Even more frustrating when it does so at its last sliver of life with only 10 seconds left in the match.
    • The second is the Apsalus II from the "Destroy the Apsalus II" mission. Not only does it have a stun beam weapon and an ability that reverses your controls temporarily, it's flanked by two Acguy Repairs meaning that if you don't kill them off ASAP, it'll just keep regenerating its HP while it keeps hitting you with beam weaponry.
      • What makes the Acguy Repairs even more of a pain is that they're one of the few units with Auto Lock-On Jammer (which disables Auto Lock-On when the unit reaches 30%), thus you're resorting to the old Eyeball Mk I to shoot these guys down!
    • The third is the Aile Strike Gundam from the "Test Factory" mission. It spends 9/10ths of its time boosting around the boss room in the air and, as you're trying to shoot him down, you're attacked by Balls, Hizacks and Astrays, as well as missiles that will outright stun you in your tracks.

  • Minecraft:
    • The Ender Dragon falls into this category, especially notable in that it was the only boss before version 1.4 was released. It flies out of sword range, likes to knock the player off of things (usually off of the of The End and into the void), and regenerates health whenever it goes near an undestroyed Ender Crystal, located on the tops of very tall obsidian pillars. 1.9 definitely took it up a notch; the dragon now has the ability to spit magical acid, and becomes immune to arrows when it perches on top of the inactive exit, making it almost invincible at that stage in single player unless it starts killing the Endermen around it.
    • The Wither is an even worse offender. It is capable of killing you and all your friends and allies before the fight even begins by releasing a massive explosion from its body. The actual fight is no better; it flies around and spits exploding skulls that also gives any target it hits a 'Wither' debuff, with said debuff draining their health bars much like normal poison. However, unlike normal poison, this debuff will kill the target instead of leaving them with 1 HP, and, thanks to the Wither being a three-headed monster, it can spam the skulls as well as attacking multiple targets simultaneously. You can snipe it with arrows in the first part of the fight, but, after half of its health is gone, it gains a shield that makes it immune to said arrows, leaving you with Splash Potions of Health/Healing and your swords. And if you try to hide? The Wither will eat through blocks you're hiding behind. Did we mention it has a Healing Factor and Life Drain capabilities?
  • Nintendo Land's Pikmin Adventure attraction has mostly average boss difficulty... except for the Emperor Pinchipede. For his first phase, he has about 7-9 weak points, some big and some small. When you take out a small weak point, it disappears. But when you take out a big one, it stays on the field, acting as a spinning disc of doom that wanders about and damages you if you touch it (but not the boss). You must take out all weak points to move to the next phase, and it moves too fast to be able to reliably aim at any specific weak point, so you'll most likely hit the big ones and have 4 spinning doom discs on the battlefield while you continue to toss pikmin at the small weak points. And that's just the first phase.
  • Winnie the Pooh's Home Run Derby has a bunch of these.
    • Piglet throws his balls much faster than Eeyore and Lumpy before him do. It's a major Difficulty Spike.
    • Kanga and Roo start to bounce the balls, which can be frustrating when you're used to the ball coming straight at you.
    • Rabbit throws the ball really slowly, and then the ball comes REALLY fast at you. If you're playing against him the first time, you'll freak out.
    • Owl zigzags the ball and the ball comes in really fast. The zigzagging ball makes it easy to score a bunch of Foul Balls and unless you've upgraded the Power Stat, successful hits will often stay in the park because of the wonky ball momentum.
    • TIGGER. He will throw the ball at you normally, but then IT BECOMES INVISIBLE. Yes, the ball is invisible. And you have to successfully score 28 homeruns out of 40 balls. That means you can only miss, hit, or foul 12 balls.
    • Christopher. Freaking. Robin. You have to hit FORTY HOMERUNS out of FIFTY balls. Christopher Robin can use a combination of ALL of the strategies of the other characters, and will usually use Kanga and Roo's or Owl's technique. And he's capable of using invisible balls too. Oh he can throw balls normally too, but they're usually too fast for you to hit.
  • Warframe:
    • The dual boss fight with Captain Vor and Lieutenant Lech Kril on Phobos isn't that hard, as the bosses don't do much damage, but it is NOTORIOUS for glitching out and being impossible to beat. Have fun farming the Miter, Twin Gremlins, and Trinity!
    • General Sargas Ruk can be a pain in the ass for new players. The first phase of the fight is pretty easy, all he does is spray fire at you, and you have to blow off his arm. The 2nd phase he gets a room clearing Supernova that's next to impossible to dodge and knocks you down, doing a huge chunk of damage, he also gains a missle attack in this form that will absolutely WRECK you if you get hit by it, and you WILL get hit by it. His 3rd phase cuts the bullshit and he gains an attack that launches Fire Pillars out of the ground underneath you similar to Ember's World on Fire, with the appropriate damage, standing still for more than 3 seconds with kill you unless you're playing as Rhino or another beefy frame.
  • In Puyo Pop Fever, normally you have to deal with Popoi at the end of a story route, who is already fairly challenging. However, if you do well enough on the hardest story route, you run into Carbuncle, who will outright BREAK you. Basically, his dropset gives him a ton of large Puyos-more than any other character in the game-making it easier for him to both set up large combos or offset repeatedly to trigger Fever. Couple this with a brutal AI that can set up 5 and 6 chains in the blink of an eye and is prone to immediately going into a 30-second Fever mode the moment you think you have him threatened and you have one of the nastiest single-player fights in the series.
  • In Stern Pinball's High Roller Casino, the Craps game comes across as this, as it has a difficult target to shoot, an open-ended number of shots to make, and can only be advanced during single-ball play.
  • StreetPass Mii Plaza: The final boss of Warrior's Way, Emperor Fynalle. Every other battle up to him was a mix of properly dividing an army and Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors. Fynalle, on the other hand, is a straight out five round game of Rock Paper Scissors against an army that starts out eight times your size. There's no strategy; it's a Luck-Based Mission that requires either grinding for Play Coins or extreme luck in telling what he will do.
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground, it's the final skate-off with Eric Sparrow. He challenges you to a race across your hometown to regain a tape that had your ultimate stunt on it. To win it, you pretty much have to play Follow The Leader, hitting every marker while Eric drops... some sort of flames to mess you up. Oh, and you only have 3 minutes to do this. Thankfully, the game decides that once is enough and subsequent plays use a version which gives you a very satisfying Take That, Scrappy!.
  • Bloons Monkey City takes this to Tower Defense genre. Can you take on Bloonarius who can spawn a lot more bloons as it degrades? How about Vortex who stuns Bloons in its radius? Or maybe Dreadbloon who can cover itself in ceramic properties every degrade while also having lead properties? Or something like Blastapopoulos who can shoot stunning lava? Didn't we mention they can get even tougher than a Z.O.M.G.?
  • The majority of bosses in Terraria have the potential to be this.
    • Wall of Flesh. If you don't prepare yourself in a ridiculous manner before the fight, you will have a LOT of trouble. First, you have to contend with the Hungry, mouths on tentacles that do ridiculous melee damage and become flying critters when killed, forcing you to kill them twice. For added annoyance, they respawn on Expert. They make ranged weapons a problem to use (unless you use Meteor Bullets or Unholy Arrows). If you get past that, you still have to deal with the Wall itself, which has very high health and uses Beam Spam from both eyes with increasing frequency as you do damage. On top of that, it accelerates as it takes damage; on its last legs, the Wall is actually faster than the player at full sprint. NO strategy will assure success against that freaking wall. Which makes coming back with Hallowed Armor, the Megashark, Crystal Bullets, and Excalibur (or, heaven forbid the Terra Blade) for round 2 (or whatever number fight it is) all the more satisfying. Adding to this is the fact that he's prone to bugs. He may accidentally spawn heading the wrong way, which is pretty much instant death because any prepared player will summon him at the far end of the map. He can also spawn much further down than he's supposed to, making the world-spanning bridge you're basically required to build if you don't want to spend 90% of the fight swimming in lava or jumping over pits and structures useless. There's a reason why the characters' page says there's no middle ground - you're either overprepared or dead.
    • The Destroyer has become notorious as an incredibly difficult boss, ever since it got buffed. It was briefly nerfed in 1.2 reducing its defense, damage, and health, but then 1.2.3 came along and reversed the nerf big time, raising its stats even higher than they were before. Additionally, there's less healing for you during the fight (since probes now only drop hearts 33% of the time instead of 100%) and it's completely immune to all debuffs! Most strategies that would have instantly killed Destroyer before are now significantly less useful, and you'll have to contend with its massive health bar, Beam Spam, and storm of minions without those prior tricks (although piercing weapons can still take it down very quickly).
    • Skeletron Prime if you're trying to beat him solo. He has four arms, each of which has its own abilities and can do a fair amount of damage, and his head gains defense when it spins instead of losing it like the last version did. His high health and arms will soak up damage to near the end of the night, and if you don't beat him by then, he becomes practically unbeatable and gets a One-Hit KO attack.
    • The Twins are a Dual Boss that can easily box you in with little effort thanks to their huge hitboxes, incredibly fast which makes dodging them very tricky, and their Turns Red mode takes their attacks Up to Eleven. Spazmatism has a cursed flame attack in his panic mode with a ridiculously huge hitbox, and charges at you with barely a second to dodge. Meanwhile, Retinazer's Eye Beams start getting spammed to Bullet Hell levels. The only reliable strategies many players can cook up is "make a giant sky bridge that extends all the way across the world, shoot at Spazmatism while running away on a fast mount", or "use Gravitation potion and keep switching gravity as you run away from the Twins and shoot at Spazmatism".
    • Plantera suffers from a similar problem. She has a ton of HP, shoots petals (homing in Expert) and spiked balls that do a lot more damage, but if you prepared with an arena then her first form is basically a cakewalk. All that changes when she gets down to half health. She goes berserk, doubles in speed (sufficient to outrun a player wearing Lightning Boots and using a Swiftness potion) and causes even more damage. For added measure, Chlorophyte homing bullets will be negated by the Combat Tentacles she spawns for the second half, which forces you into either using melee weapons or switching to different bullets and hoping you can get enough shots through. And don't even think of going to the overworld jungle to get the advantage—she absolutely hates it.
    • The Pumpkin Moon. It starts out simple, with Scarecrows, Splinterlings, and Hellhounds that can be fairly easily handled with good crowd control weapons. Then you hit wave 4 and the Mourning Wood shows up. It's got 12,000 HP, it fires a huge spray of fire that sticks around on the ground for a few seconds and does huge damage, and it's surprisingly fast. It only gets worse from there.
    • The Frost Moon. It's The Pumpkin Moon Taken to Eleven. The first few enemies like Zombie Elves and Gingerbread men can be handled with ease with Pumpkin Moon loot, up until you hit Wave 4 and the Everscreams come out with 13,000 HP, being a harder version of the Mourning Wood. Later, you have to fight Santa-NK1, which fires very powerful missiles and presents, and boasts 18,000 HP. Even later, from Wave 12 onwards, you fight the Ice Queen. With 34,000 HP, she is pretty much Pumpking on crack, flying everywhere and firing ice shards. It gets hectic really fast; good luck getting past wave 12 on your own. To put it? Some people consider the Ice Queen to be tougher than Duke Fishron (see below).
    • Duke Fishron, introduced in version 1.2.4. He's extremely fast and powerful, and has 50,000 HP to boot. Fighting him in a small-medium sized arena is downright suicidal, as he will create huge tornadoes that not only shoot high-speed, high damaging sharks at a very fast rate, but will also limit the player's movements. Think it can't get any worse? He Turns Red when low on HP becoming even faster, 1.5x as painful, and more erratic. But Wait, There's More! — in Expert Mode, he has a third phase when on his last legs where he fogs the entire arena, turns invisible and then appears to charge at you for massive damage from various angles; the only way to tell where he'll appear is By the Lights of Their Eyes. In 1.3 (the same update that introduced Expert Mode), he got buffed even further—he will get pissed and now repeatedly use his fast charging attack if he leaves the ocean.
    • In Expert Mode, all the bosses become this, as they're twice as strong while you aren't. This is especially bad in the early game, as your options are limited because the bosses are holding the items you need to progress.
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Of the non-procedural megabeasts, Bronze Colossi qualify the most. They're huge, extremely tough, and far faster than one'd think for a statue of that size, meaning that any solid hit or grab on any of your dwarves will result in certain death, and unless you use cage traps, cave-in traps or gravity only the best of squads, armed with masterful iron or steel, will even survive.
    • Of the procedurally generated beasts (Titans and Forgotten Beasts), two things can bring them into this position. One is being made of a hard material, like rock or metals, as they will be just as invulnerable as bronze colossi with the added bonus of unusual anatomy and any extra attack such beasts can get (such as poison secretions or fire-breathing); especially bad if you get a metal Blob Monster, because there is no anatomy to exploit. The other thing is webbing: While fire breath and deadly dust are dangerous, there are ways to handle them and aren't necessarily instant death (or even death at all, if you have good shields and layout). Webs just mean every last one of your ultra-legendary warriors will get bogged down by web that makes sure they cannot dodge or block, only try to escape and take every blow at full force. And taking a blow at full force from something the size of Godzilla is obviously not an option. The only way to fight them is trap abuse, getting lucky with a dwarf that manages to escape and hit back, or notoriously buggy marksdwarves.
  • Splatoon 2 gives us the Octo Expansion DLC campaign, which alongside some of its Nintendo Hard levels are revamped boss rematches from the main game's Octo Canyon single-player campaign.
    • Octo Samurai's Revenge has the titular boss be much faster than its predecessor. And you aren't fighting him with a standard weapon; you have to face him with the Baller special, which has a pretty slow detonation speed. Thankfully, you can't take damage while using the Baller. Unfortunately, this is balanced out by you becoming incredibly susceptible to knockback. This can already be frustrating in mutliplayer, but when fighting 1-on-1 on a tiny arena with minimal fencing to prevent you from flying off? It can be a nightmare, and the AI is more than aware that this is the only way it can kill you.
    • Three Words. Inner. Agent. Three. The terribly difficult Bonus Boss of the Octo Expansion, and arguably one of the hardest bosses in any Nintendo-developed game ever. The entire fight is a Marathon Boss that involves five different phases, each of which has Agent 3 spamming one of five Special Weapons with destructive regularity thanks to removing the limiter on their weapon, with the occasional heat-seeking Autobomb in between. They can Unnecessary Combat Roll at any given time (once again, despite their weapon not normally having that ability), their weapon outranges yours, and they perform a Splashdown at the beginning of every phase. Oh, and die during any of these phases? You have to restart the entire battle from the very beginning.
      • In the first phase, they pull out the Inkjet special, which WILL kill you if they managed to break your armor beforehand, thanks to the weapon's generous blast radius.
      • During the second phase, they'll use the Bubbler, which blocks your shots. And after they're done with the Bubbler, they'll throw you a bomb, and it will very likely hit one of the bubbles. You don't want to get caught in the blast.
      • In Phase 3, they will use the Autobomb Launcher, meaning that an entire army of Autobombs will be on your tail while you try to shoot them. During this phase they may not even bother to shoot at you, choosing to bide their time with the Autobomb explosions and just dodge roll even more than before if you come too close to them.
      • Phase 4 is the closest thing to a breather phase, as they're now riding their own personal UFO. During this phase, the AI isn't at all concerned about shooting at you as it is territory control. They'll cover the arena in ink so it's harder for you to move, before using Tenta Missiles to get the kill. Defeating them here means quickly throwing two bombs (did we mention that the boss has had regenerating health this entire time?) at them. Hard to do when a single bomb uses three-fourths of your ink tank and you're running out of ink puddles to quickly refill with.
      • The final phase is the hardest, as they'll periodically super jump to your current location and use Splashdown three times in a row. You have to to end this phase quickly before it becomes too much of a chaos, as they are incredibly aggressive. If you come too close to them, they will panic-splashdown right then and there.
  • The 2005 electronic handheld game Pokemon ThinkChip+ Battle Trainer involves you training Pokemon and battling trainers. But good luck battling Gym Leaders (such as Clair) that have Pokemon with moves with status conditions (which, unlike the main core games, prevented your Pokemon from moving at all and made you unable to throw Pokeballs in wild battles) without the items to cure the status and using only one Pokemon.
    • Besides Gym Leaders, the main goal of the Battle Trainer is to, according to the manual, get a high enough Trainer Point count and catch the three Legendary Beasts (Entei, Suicune and Raikou), Lugia, two of the Weather Trio (Kyogre and Groudon) and Ho-Oh in events which rarely occur and you can only catch them if you get them to the HP zone of the 100s. However, some Legendary Pokemon will make it tedious.
      • The first of such that you will have difficulty with is Raikou. It carries two powerful moves; Thunder, which paralyzes your Pokemon automatically if it is not spammed, and Hyper Beam. It gets even worse if you got the Battle Trainer that comes with only the Charizard figure, since once Raikou unleashes Thunder, even if you got Charizard to the maximum HP (which is 450 HP), it's often an instant One-Hit Kill, meaning you had to get Raikou to the HP zone of the 100s and pray that it doesn't use Thunder.
      • Kyogre. Where to begin? It carries three moves, which are Ice Beam, Water Spout and Hydro Pump. Ice Beam will often become a problem, since if Kyogre uses any other move after using Ice Beam and then uses it again, this technically means that Kyogre can simply freeze your Pokemon solid again. If you don't have any Full Restores, Burnt Berries or Frozen Cures, you are screwed.
      • Groudon, if you bought the initial release of Battle Trainer, which comes with the Pikachu figure only. It carries Earthquake, which means that it can deal a huge amount of damage to Pikachu.
  • 100% Orange Juice!:
    • The normal mode has the Store Manager, who has 8 HP, +3 Attack and +2 Defense, making him a pain in the rear to defeat, as he can easily KO any one at full health if he's lucky enough to roll a 6, or sometimes a 5. Even Marie Poppo, Arthur, and Kiriko, who have the largest HP pools (7 and 8 respectively), aren't safe.
    • The 2019 "Minions Of The Masters" Event adds three giant bosses to the new Co-Op mode, but among them, The Star Devourer is arguably the worst. The Star Devourer is basically a giant star-riding Marie Poppo who has 75 HP, +1 Attack and -1 Defense, however, she comes with a passive that deals +1 damage for every 200 stars she has. She can also use cards to give her a boost. She's also accompanied by Big Poppo (Yep, she's back), who will hunt down other players and force them to fight her; Big Poppo doesn't deal damage, but she can steal stars from them depending on the force of her blows, and the stars go to her boss. The Star Devourer can also use cards to give her a boost: sometimes she steals stars from players who are at a certain distance from her or Big Poppo; there is a card that have the players pay stars when they want to use cards for one chapter; another one reduces all stats of the players to -1 for one battle, among other nasty tricks. So, you have to play smart and being lucky enough to dish out enough damage before she gets too strong because, as stated before, she deals +1 additional damage for every 200 stars she has in hand, and if she defeats all players or amasses 1000 stars, you lose.
    • The 2019 summer event "Summer Games" adds the Summer Beast, which is basically just a tanned QP in a swimsuit. Her base HP is only 5, which may sound pathetic and easy for Co-op boss standards, but there's a catch. She can revive up to 10 times per KO and has a hype mechanic which when full, allows her to gradually increase her HP by attacking players with Rampage. She can summon up to four Seagulls to her aid and she has some very nasty AoE attacks at her disposal with the potential of inflicting a Total Party Kill if you're unlucky. It's a deceptively difficult battle and one that will test the patience of you and your allies.
  • A particular Mario fangame, ''Super Mario Adventure'', has a sadistically hard one that's part of a boss gauntlet in the final area that many people have just resorted to outright cheating. The gauntlet starts up. A fiery version of Hookbill the Koopa is the first boss, and he is considered rather easy, as all you have to do is jump on his head a couple of times while avoiding a fire shield that spins around him (but worry about the game's awkward hitbox). The next boss however is possibly harder than most bosses on this list. It's Fry Guy - a boss that in his own game, could be defeated by Mushroom Blocks. Those aren't here. Instead, you have to wait for some Fly Guys to fly in and jump on top of them for them to fall on Fry Guy. The game has no indication whatsoever on this, and no other fight has worked like this. You're going to have to pray to the Random Number God, because his flames and direction are completely random and unpredictable. The Fly Guys thankfully don't hurt you, but you're going to have to rely on the Fly Guys being above Fry Guy before jumping on one. Fry Guy's hitbox is also abnormally big here, meaning you're likely to get hurt trying to jump on those Fly Guys too. The game expects you to land 15 hits on Fry Guy with this, making it a huge chore as well. Expect a Luck-Based Mission with this, because unless if you happen to cheat with this one, you're going to be here for a while. If you happen to defeat Fry Guy, you're not done yet - the game has two more bosses to throw on you. The following one is Luigi, who fires out Bullet Bills you have to bounce back at him - while he's spamming fireballs, but is still rather manageable. The last one is Bowser, who follows a simple pattern, but is very hard to land a hit without getting hurt due to a fire shield similar to Hookbill before. But the painful part is what happens if you lose to those following two? You have to go all the way back and fight Hookbill and Fry Guy all over again. How fun.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: