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That One Boss / Kingdom Hearts

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"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 Superboss is supposed to be overpowering, as well as optional, so bosses such as Unknown, Lingering Will and Yozora 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 two fights which occur within minutes of each other:
    • First, Dragon Maleficent. She has a massive amount of health, hits hard, and the location of her one weak point frequently forces you to stand right in her line of fire. Since she takes up so much of the room, there's also a lack of places to dodge and/or hide.
    • The second, Riku possessed by Ansem, is fast and insanely aggressive, immune to magic, and boasts a signature move that can do enormous damage very quickly if not dodged (or flown over). Compounding the difficulty, you fight him without any party members in an arena that gives little room to maneuver. However, despite all of that, his infamy stems mainly from the fact that in the original release of the game, you couldn't skip cutscenes. That meant you had to watch all of two and a half minutes of the preceding cutscene before the fight even began.
  • The first fight with Ursula has a gimmick where you must throw magic at her cauldron to stun her in order to win. Unfortunately, all the game does to explain that gimmick is have Triton warn you about it before you head off, leaving players to flounder around wondering why they can't beat her. Flotsam and Jetsam don't help by getting in the way of your targeting, although they do help replenish your MP by hitting them with standard attacks.
    • The second fight with her is no cakewalk either. While most of her attacks can be avoided by super-swimming around her, you'll still have a hard time hitting her without being hit yourself. The thing is, she has unbelievably strong attacks, she's constantly throwing them out, and she can't be staggered, so there's no halting her moves.
    • Keep in mind; both these fights are underwater meaning having to not only deal with slower and more awkward controls, you completely lose your ability to dodge AND block, which only serves to increase the difficulty of both of Ursula's forms dramatically. And no, the game does not loosen her up much to compensate for your lack of these abilities.
  • Cerberus, if you choose to fight him at the point the game recommends, serves as a major Wake-Up Call Boss. He hits hard, you have to hit his mouth directly which just so happens to be exactly where he’s constantly spamming the bite attacks that will kill you in 2-3 hits, he spams hard-hitting dark portal attacks if you try to run from him, and worst of all, you won’t have cure yet since that’s your reward for beating the next level, Deep Jungle. Meaning that you have to depend on a limited supply of potions and Donald’s healing to survive, which can be perilous due to the low MP threshold at this stage of the game. Thankfully, if you choose to Rage Quit the boss, you aren’t required to beat him to progress the game, though you do miss out on getting the Inferno Band accessory.
  • For an early boss, Clayton is an absolute nightmare. This is a two-phase fight, the first has Clayton alongside a group of Powerwilds, the second has Clayton riding the giant and invisible Stealth Sneak. Clayton's attacks are fast, heavy hitting and unpredictable, and he can also heal himself. The Stealth Sneak isn't entirely invisible, but good luck predicting its attacks. There's no healing in between the two phases, and you only get Cure right after beating this boss. Thankfully, you only need to beat Clayton to win (though beating Stealth Sneak first nets you additional experience).
  • The second fight against the Parasite Cage in Monstro can be the absolute pits if you're not prepared for it. The room you fight it in is surrounded by stomach acids (you know, since you're inside a whale's stomach), meaning if you step in, you're taking a bit of damage. On top of that, the only way to attack this thing is up front, where it can spew its poisonous breath at you. And even if you stand on the nearby platforms, you're not safe from its Combat Tentacles, which have an incredible range and can hit like a truck if you don't block them. And much like Ansem!Riku after it, the PS2 version of the game forces you to watch an incredibly long cutscene before the fight even starts.

    Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories 
  • Trickmaster in Reverse/Rebirth. Riku's deck in Wonderland is not good, having only 9 cards with nothing with a value higher than 5. This also makes it very difficult to break anything Trickmaster throws at you without stocking cards.
  • The fight with the Parasite Cage is similar to its second fight in the last game with hard hitting attacks and an acidic floor that can drain your health, but now the only safe ground for most of the fight are four small platforms that rotate constantly, making it hard to land hits on the thing without taking some damage, provided it doesn’t break your cards first. Pray that you can get a Gimmick Card to temporarily lower the stomach acids down.
  • Vexen. The original Chain of Memories requires that you attack him from behind — this is harder in the original than it is in the remake because of the perspective only allowing characters to face left or right. In the remake, his attacks are pretty hard to dodge and can stunlock, he still can't be attacked from the front, and his deck is stacked with high-numbered attack-cards. He also has Elixirs and Hi-Ethers with him, making the strategy of breaking all his good cards hard to execute — especially in the rematch, in which he also owns a card that prevents breaking items. In both versions, he has a card that revives him once with a little bit of health if he dies, artificially extending the fight.
  • Larxene zips around the battlefield, making it difficult to catch up to her and hit her. She also spams multi-hit ranged attacks using mostly high number cards that are near impossible to dodge constantly, which makes the use of the zero card breaking strategy useless against her as she'll kill you long before she ever gets to the point it would work.
  • Captain Hook. His Geo Effects screw up your summon cards, his dodge rate is insane, he can throw bombs seemingly without end, and his sword attack is extremely difficult to dodge. Better bring your zeroes and your cures — you're gonna need it all. The PS2 remake, on the other hand, made him somewhat easier because the fight is done in a 3D space instead of a 2.5D one. The ship also doesn't rock violently and interfere with your movement.
  • Hades is one of two Disney bosses (Hook being the other one) that uses Sleights and loves making your life a living hell with them. Not only do they hit like a truck, his Enemy Cards either boost his fire damage or his overall damage as he loses health. He also has a fairly high amount of speed to chase you around if you try to dodge, with a number of his attacks having large range. Firagaball even triggers twice in a row.
  • Ursula in Reverse/Rebirth. Almost every move she makes is an 8 or 9 card, making it very difficult to break her to charge up Dark Points, she spends most of the match out of range of Riku's Sleights and Duel attacks, destroying her tentacles forces Riku to get into melee range and likely be attacked back, and remember your only source of healing is Mickey. The developers clearly did not design this boss with Riku's different style of gameplay in mind, and it shows.
  • To make up for his anti-climatic second form, Marluxia's third form in the remake uses almost nothing but rapid-fire Sleights, making it much harder to interrupt him. He can hit you from almost anywhere on the stage (especially with the aptly-named Omni Laser), blow you out of striking range, wipe out your deck with Whirlwind to the Void and then render the lost cards unrecoverable with Circle Reject. And to top it off, he can hit you with Doom, which locks you in place and instantly kills you if you can't break six of his cards in six seconds. This attack not only completely ignores the Vexen card (gives you one free auto-revive should you die) that a player may have equipped, but the resulting death will boot you back to Marluxia's second form, meaning you have to endure two bosses in consecutive order to beat the game. If the rest of the game hasn't taught you how to use 0s, Marluxia's final form will make you regret it.
  • The fourth fight against Riku Replica in Sora's story, as he loves to spam his sleights and uses his own enemy card (which prevents him from losing the first sleight card for 5 sleights). Additionally, Sora doesn't have access to any friend cards during this battle, as he ran away from Donald and Goofy before he entered Destiny Islands. This is wildly considered to be the hardest mandatory boss in the franchise, generally considered to the Kingdom Hearts equitant of the battles with Yunelesca in Final Fantasy X or the race with Erol in Jak II: Renegade.
    • The final battle with Riku Replica in Riku Mode isn't much better. Doubly so in the Game Boy Advance version since you have only one method of healing: Regen. Better use it well.
  • Ansem, Riku's final boss, in the Game Boy Advance version is notorious for being able to constantly stun-lock you with attacks that have a very short-cooldown and can then attack while you're still staggered. He normally runs at you and hits you first. He’ll also break your attacks, especially longer ones with ease (such as Mickey Mouse), meaning the only reliable sleight you have is Dark Firaga (since it's too quick if you're close enough and can stun enemies). You more or less have to exploit the Double Jump Glitch or Dark Mode, though Dark Mode making the final boss easier does make thematic sense. In the remake it is still a highly difficult boss fight, but the new Duel mechanic can make the battle significantly easier as just initiating the duel and spamming every card in your deck will ensure victory pretty much every single time, dealing significant damage.

    Kingdom Hearts II 
  • The first "fight" (That is, performing a hasty retreat after Sora realizes it's an unwinnable fight due to the Underworld sapping our heroes’ strength) with Hades has one of the biggest jumps in difficulty change when playing in Critical Mode; getting hit even once during this fight results in a near immediate death and with various enemies all over the place and Hades firing unpredictably; it can be a frustrating slog. The only saving grace is its briefness. Among critical mode speedrunners "Hades' Chase" is an incredibly notorious and difficult section due to the sheer random death chance.
  • Despite how Demyx appears to be the Quirky Bard slacker who really doesn't care about anything except playing sitar, you'd be surprised how many people think he fits this trope. He seems harmless at first, but then the timer starts. He creates a batch of water clones, which while harmless on their own, you have to kill within a time limit or lose instantly. This happens multiple times during his fight, and the final round requires you to defeat 10 clones in 10 seconds. Pray they all spawn close to one another, or that you can manage to transform into Wisdom Form instead of Antiform (which is more likely in Organization battles)! The Final Mix version, mercifully, changes the time limit to 15 seconds. Even without the clone attack, Demyx attacks weakly but rapidly and can quickly set up massive combos on Sora, draining your health quickly. His attacks are also rather erratic and very hard to predict and even blocking will only get you so far with the water walls he can summon. He is also the first boss in vanilla KH 2 (and the first story boss in Final Mix) that makes heavy use of the Revenge Value system in-game that prevents Sora from simply using a hyper-aggressive approach to win, which most other bosses did little to discourage prior.
  • Xaldin combines high damage, teleporting, weaponized teleporting, impressive reach and the fiendishly hard to avoid Wind Dragon attack. You'd better pray that Mickey shows up to save you if you're killed. Thankfully his Achilles Heel is quite simple; blocking any of his attacks. This boss is a primary roadblock for the X mashers out there and serves as a good lesson in how to deal with the upcoming challenges.
  • Roxas (only fought in Final Mix) is fast, unpredictable 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.
  • Xigbar is most players' biggest challenge in the World that Never Was, as he's capable of sniping you from a distance, frequently teleports out of your line of fire, and has a nasty Desperation Attack which he uses with increasing frequency as he takes more damage. In fact, when his health gets to the last bar he will use start to use it at the end of every single combo he does.
  • Final Xemnas in the II.5 HD ReMIX version used to suffer from a glitch where his reaction commands don't always appear, making a normally decent challenge a cheap death montage. Playing this boss on Critical mode requires either excessive Reflega spamming or limit abuse, otherwise just let Jesus take the wheel and hope for the best that the command won't be missed.

    Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days 
  • Leechgrave. It has a lot of HP for that point in the story, hits like a truck when you get close enough to hit it, and has four regenerating tentacles that you'll have to deal with repeatedly in order to stun it. Prepare for a long fight. Doesn't help that none of the tentacles drop health orbs upon defeating them, forcing you to rely solely on potions and healing magic to recover health.
  • Ruler of the Sky is constantly flying away from you, in a huge arena, and its attacks are nasty when it does come for you. Dying in this fight is especially punishing because of the sheer amount of time it takes to whittle it down. Thankfully it doesn't deal much damage in succession so this boss is more a test of the player's patience than anything. Expect to be sick of its boss theme before long.

    Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep 
  • Remember Xigbar? Meet his original self, Braig. He's basically everything you hated about Xigbar, but he now staggers sporadically, there are no Reaction Commands to counter his abilities, and his speed is guaranteed to outpace Terra in particular.
  • 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 Coliseum. 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. It cannot be interrupted. It cannot be blocked. And he uses this as his opening attack. Pray to Kingdom Hearts you didn't equip that fancy Double-Impact you got immediately before.
  • The final boss of Terra's story can quickly turn into this. 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. And the reason why he even has your moves? He's basically you. As in, he literally hijacked your body. It doesn't help that you're as slow as molasses and your main evasive move doesn't grant invincibility the whole way through.
  • Experiment 221/Sparky, Terra's boss of Deep Space. He's fast, attacks like a truck, and has unbelievably dastardly moves such as possessing laser cannons and firing them at you. And since you're playing as Terra, you're gonna have a hard time pursuing Sparky around.
  • Vanitas keeps teleporting out of everything you throw at him. He has multiple counters: hurling three fireballs at you, a repetitive dodging attack, and especially his diving attack. No wonder his battle quotes are so sadistic: he's hard, and he wants you to know it.

    Kingdom Hearts Re:coded 
  • Pete. Yes, PETE! He hits like a truck, his combo attack (which is almost impossible to get out from if hit, if he doesn't kill you first) also creates a shockwave that makes several danger blox fall on the field, his sphere attack can cast Silence and he can teleport. During the second phase, he also add an attack where he turns into a thunder sphere that will chase you, and if you stop moving even for one second, you'll be in for a shocking surprise. It's quite fitting considering how from a bumbling comic relief, he becomes a genuinely threatening villain in this game.
  • Data-Riku. Where do we even begin? The guy has three freaking phases, each harder than the previous one. He can counter, he's fast, he can teleport behind you and take you by surprise... But what really makes him a That One Boss is certainly the third phase. To summarize it in one sentence... Just try to keep up! That attack is almost impossible to dodge. And it is not an overestimation, it really is almost impossible to dodge. Riku rapidly charges at you five times in a cross-like pattern (you can block only the first one; the others will inevitably hit if you try) and will end in an attack from above that creates a shockwave. Luckily, like all bosses in this game, you don't have to repeat the whole fight if you die, and you will start at the beginning of the phase you ended up dying to. But trial-and-error is almost inevitable with him.
  • Dragon Maleficent is fought as part of a side-scrolling segment, so you don't have any of your regular commands, including healing. Her attacks are surprisingly difficult to avoid as well.
  • Roxas is still a beast. 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 3D: Dream Drop Distance 
  • Wargoyle when fought as Sora. He moves all over the place, hits like a truck and he has an annoying habit of using his attacks in rapid succession making it very easy to get stun locked. And as he gets less HP, how long he chains his attacks together gets ridiculous. Not helped by La Cité des Cloches, the world where it's fought, being the second world in the game by recommended order, meaning you more than likely don't have access to some of the better tools in your arsenal just yet.
  • Young Xehanort. Being the penultimate boss and the true form of the Mysterious Figure, he's not easy to begin with, but the real punishment comes when you deplete his first batch of life bars. Fail to pull off a Reality Shift in a tiny window, and he partially revives himself, forcing you to fight him down once more. Succeed and the fight continues, but now he's surrounded by clones which attack almost without pause, using his old moves from when he was the Mysterious Figure. He Teleport Spams, he's open for only a fraction of a second before attacking, and his attacks are blistering fast. That's not all: you now have a time limit to defeat him... or rewind back to phase 1. The True Final Boss is actually easier.
  • Rinzler can be a nasty surprise to anyone who expected a regular Disney villain fight and not a cyber ninja. He's fast, he hits hard both up close and at a distance with a hard-to-predict attack style, and when he flips gravity, the camera doesn't follow suit.
  • Spellican, the boss of Sora's visit to Symphony of Sorcery. The first part of the fight locks you into Flowmotion, meaning no Cures or healing items. Later on you have to do the Flowmotion segment again, almost certainly with less HP to work with. While outside of Flowmotion, he has a variety of painful attacks and a habit of teleporting to hard-to-reach locations and spawning brooms for backup.
  • Anti Black Coat Nightmare's attacks are really hard to dodge/predict to begin with. Then That One Attack 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. And it's worse, as there's a chance the boss will attack Riku while he's still stunned and on 1HP.
  • Ansem, Seeker of Darkness's second form is often considered the test of if you made the correct Dream Eaters to get the Second Chance and Once More abilities. And if you decide you need to go back and grind some more, you have to deal with both his forms and Anti Black Coat all over again.

    Kingdom Hearts χ 
  • In mission 425 of Unchained/Union Cross, the player faces Master Ava. This opponent has far and away more HP than any other non-raid boss enemy before them, 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.
  • This also extends to the boss of mission 555, the foreteller of the player's union or Foreteller Ira for Vulpes players. This boss starts off with a massive defense boost which can make dealing damage nigh impossible without some sort of dispel or defense debuff in tow. On top of this is also a massive pool of health extending up to 48 bars of HP. They switch up buffs on the second turn to an immense attack buff that can and will defeat you instantly. And the objectives want you to defeat said boss in only two turns. Strong speed medals with their special attack bonus, or guilt, unlocked are almost mandatory to achieve these objectives.
  • The Darkside Union Cross quest. The Darkside has a lot of HP (to the tune of twenty million, where other Union Cross bosses peak at less than four million) and its attacks are capable of one-shotting even the strongest of players. It gets even worse if you're matched up with weaker teammates who don't deal a lot of damage and constantly need to be revived, which takes up one of your attacks for each counter they have. It's far harder than any other Union Cross boss, but its rewards aren't adjusted at all to compensate. Thankfully, it has since been severely nerfed to the point where it is on par with the other bosses.
  • Quest 660 has the Mean Maiden; on top of that name being one of the biggest descriptive understatements ever, this Heartless takes no prisoners. She starts the fight off with a counter above her head. Seven hits and she attacks. She'll conjure a cage to fall on you and when it breaks, it does two hits that can easily take out half your health without any defense skills on your medals and causes paralyze and poison, on top of her regular attack that does two more hits that most likely will kill you. She's backed up by two cats: when the cat on the left hits zero, he buffs the enemy team's damage while the cat on the left restores the enemies' health.
  • If you thought Maleficent's dragon form was tough in other games, think again! Here she's spiked up to level 1000 with an HP bar to match, her attacks are easily one-hit kills, she automatically attacks after a certain number of hits, and her defense is so ludicrously high that without the trait that reduces Ground Defense, even the game's biggest Game Breakers will do nothing but Scratch Damage.
  • The Iron Giant added to Proud 160. Fifty-eight health bars, high defense, and One-Hit Kill attacks are bad enough on their own, but normally they can be overcome with attack and defense buffs. Except this is Proud Mode, and in this quest you're restricted to medals that deal eight or more hits, which locks all the best buff medals which generally deal one hit, and you're also locked to a specific keyblade, which may be nowhere near your best. And, to a lesser degree, the Trickmaster Omega added to Proud 230, which plays under the same eight or more hit restriction.

    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, throwing out highly damaging attacks with seemingly random timing and strange, difficult-to-avoid movements. It also has a frustrating air toss move, which throws Aqua into the air and then summons Shadow balls that are extremely hard to dodge with your limited aerial mobility. And the best part? There's barely any clue towards when it uses what attack. note 

    Kingdom Hearts III 

    Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory 
  • The last stage of the game "Dark Domination", where you fight Xehanort as Sora on Proud Mode is considered by many to be the hardest boss and music stage in the game (excluding the optional secret boss levels you unlock later), throwing previously unseen combos at you that require tons of coordination and focus and generally makes the experience a matter of surviving to the end rather than actually playing the song well. The fight is much easier on Beginner on Standard, but people who do Proud-only are in for a real treat. And it does not help that on the World Tour version, you can't even use items.