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That One Boss / Rhythm

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''Wearing a bucket on your head will not increase your chances of beating this song, or maybe it will."
— The loading Screen for "Jordan" in Guitar Hero 2

If it helps, these infamous boss songs also tend to be Awesome Music. Often times though you'll play them so many times that they'll echo in your head for life.

NOTE: Due to how a majority of these Rhythm Games work (mainly in that the player typically gets to pick their songs), looser definitions of Bonus Boss are being applied for this section. Songs that can be expected to be played in any given session are perfectly fair game; as a general rule, if a song is rated x but it's harder than songs of its rating and it may as well be rated x+1, it's most likely an example. Final Bosses should be compared to where the difficulty curve would put them before being listed, and bonus songs and Downloadable Content should be added sparingly. Wake Up Call Bosses should be fair game unless there is a particular reason why they must be done at/by a specific point (e.g. Career Mode in older Guitar Hero games), in which case they should be strongly considered before addition to this page.


Please don't add examples of songs used in games that use user-created simfiles, like StepMania or osu!, unless they are of major significance or are officially ranked in the case of osu!note , as anyone can make an obnoxiously-difficult chart on those software.

Always list (and assume) that these songs are played on the highest difficulty, unless they're so frustrating that even the lowest difficulty will give someone trouble.

DanceDanceRevolution and Pump It Up now have their own pages.

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    Songs That Are Consistently That One Boss Across Multiple Games 
Because of most modern arcade rhythm games regulating song lengths to approximately 2 minutes, give or take about 20 seconds, as well as arcade rhythm game developers in Japan being rather buddy-buddy with each other, it is possible for songs to not only appear within multiple games by the same company (Konami's BEMANI games cross songs over pretty much all the time thanks to online events) but even multiple games by different companies. Often, whenever two games have a crossover collaboration, one or two of the hardest songs from each game will be crossed over to the other (alongside a few wider-appeal songs) with charts that are just as equally difficult.

Band games Guitar Hero and Rock Band, due to being based around the same genres of music, share some common songs, and if a song is in both games and it's super hard in one game, expect it to be super hard in the other game as well. Sometimes with different charts to screw you over further!

  • If you see "FREEDOM DiVE↓" by xi in a rhythm game or rhythm game simulator, expect it to have extremely difficult charts featuring 16th notes running at 222.22 BPMnote . Clearing its "FOUR DIMENSIONS" charts in Lunatic Rave 2 and osu! is something of a rite of passage. In Cytus, it is one of the "big three" charts alongside Codename : Zero's and L2 (Ver.B)'s Hard charts, being exceptionally difficult even by level 9 standards, it is the first song of Chapter 10, the final main chapter of the game, and just to add salt on top of the already-existing salt in the wound, it has a hidden Hard chart with 2,000 notes over the course of 2 1/2 minutes that makes every player wonder if whoever designed the chart had a really bad day. In CHUNITHM, not only does it have a level 13+ Master chart, it also has a World's End chart. Except, unlike other World's End charts, "FREEDOM DiVE"'s sole gimmick is "this is what its BMS charts looks like and now you're going to die."
  • If you see "Through the Fire and Flames" in a music game (especially a guitar based one) expect it to be absolutely brutal. In Rock Band and Guitar Hero, its one of both franchise's most infamous Bonus Boss and has That One Attack as its intro and some nasty solos throughout. In Music Times, its a 10+ chart.

    In the GITADORA "classic" games, its Drum, Guitar, and Open Extreme charts are rated 92, 94, and 95 (out of 99), respectively, and in the XG games and later its Guitar Master chart is rated a 9.55 (out of 10.00). However, there are many other songs with charts this difficult so the song loses some of its TOB status.
  • 冥 ("Mei"):
    • "Mei" was first introduced in beatmania IIDX 12 HAPPY SKY as that version's One More Extra Stage, and is actually a modestly difficult song to normal clear (where you don't automatically fail the song if your groove gauge bottoms out), but Mei is by far and away one of the hardest songs to hard clear, due to a part around the middle where the BPM incrementally increases during a complex arrangement of notes, speeding up until its reaches the point where you're hitting almost 30 notes per second. Over 10 years later, in a series that constantly tops itself in difficulty, Mei remains an incredibly sturdy song (many players still consider it the hardest song in IIDX), and has remained the final single player Kaiden (the highest difficulty of class mode) song of every arcade entry.
    • In DanceDanceRevolution, its Challenge charts are rated 18 out of 20, with 730 notes across its Challenge Single chart and 684 notes across its Challenge Double chart.
    • "Mei" even put in an appearance in Toy's March 2, boasting a chart that one would not expect in a rhythm game aimed at younger players.
  • "Night of Nights" isn't as extreme as other songs-in-multiple-games examples, but its charts (such as those in DanceDanceRevolution, jubeat, and maimai) have a reputation for being less focused on technique and more on repetitive yet dense patterns that wear the player's stamina out. For those with the stamina necessary, its charts are merely annoying.
  • The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku and The Intense Voice of Hatsune Miku, both extraordinarily difficult songs from cosMo due to their gratuitous use of Motor Mouth and are almost invariably among the hardest songs in the game whenever they appear, and they appear often. The Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series even tends to invoke Broke the Rating Scale, and in Project SEKAI they are the only songs in the game with a difficulty rating of 33.
    • The original incarnation of Intense Voice from Project DIVA 2nd is often considered one of the hardest charts in the entire franchise, and insanely difficult for an official console rhythm game. This chart, and specifically its horrendous and excruciating Button Mashing segments, is often credited with singlehandedly breaking the buttons on many PlayStation Portable systems.
  • "conflict" by siromaru and cranky appears in over twenty different rhythm games. It being a BMS contest winner, it often gets boss-class charts that takes advantage of its rapid bassline:
    • In Cytus, where it is rated a 9 on Hard (not that it really matters since level 9 in this game has such a wide variety of difficulty) there are a lot of jackhammer patterns that can wear out the player's fingers.
    • In Arcaea, it is rated a 10 and has a lot of roll patterns that utilize Floor Notes and Sky Notes in rapid succession, requiring the player to be very adept with the game's three-dimensional elements.

    Rock Band Series 
  • Similar to "Free Bird" in Guitar Hero II is "Green Grass and High Tides" from Rock Band. It isn't so much that it's boringly easy for any period of time. No, it's the fact that the song itself is long and mostly moderate in difficulty, then after nearly eight minutes, it throws 15 seconds of extremely fast zig-zag (an eternity for all but the most skilled), shortly follows it up with ANOTHER 12 seconds of zig-zag (not Overdrive bluffing your way through that one), and ends the song with 20 seconds of extremely fast three fret rolls. It's one thing to lose because you lack the skill required; it's another to lose after eight minutes because they throw in the music game equivalent of a cheap shot.
    • That's not the problem, in fact, mainly because hammer-ons and, more importantly, pull-offs still apply to solos. The REAL difficulty is that the strummy part (in the second solo) is SO FAST it fits just under the strum limit of notes per second (the NPS is about 0.20 below the limit there, get over the limit and you'll accrue a crapton of misses). It has reached the point that it's less about FC'ing the song, and more about doing a perfect run BESIDES that part.
    • Of course, there is the crowning king of difficult guitar segments...Through the Fire and the Flames on DLC. While the song was hard enough when released on Rock Band 3 (Operation Ground and Pound would end up being harder), the Rivals update to Rock Band 4 also brought with it a rechart for the guitar part, adding sextuplet tapping to the first solo and a 32nd-note tapping section (with green anchored) to the last solo, in addition to other adjustments like fixing forced strums and changing just enough notes to throw off people who learned the song prior to the update.
    • Rock Band also has a good number of these on drums. One particularly notable example is "Foreplay/Long Time", where the instrumental "Foreplay" section features a fast, repeated triplet pattern of two reds and a green or blue and bass hit; the main difficulty is that there is no way to hit this pattern with the standard alternating left and right hand hits. And it comes up a lot during those first two minutes. Comparatively, the remaining "Long Time" section of the song is incredibly easy, but the main difficulty is getting there...
      • Ironically, even the original drummer may not have been able to pull this off. The song is considerably easier on a real drum set, since the bounciness of the drum head helps you do the snare double-hits without killing your arm.
      • While that part is definitely easier on a real drum set for the aforementioned reasons, a relatively decent drummer should be able to compensate for the lack of bounciness. It is quite possible to hit that pattern without alternate sticking, you just need a good left wrist.
      • The Cover for Run to the Hills is especially crazy on the Hard difficulty (on drums), compared to the songs leading up to it, and indeed the finale after it. The developers themselves even said that some of them have more issues on Hard difficulty than on Expert. The DLC version remedies this by NOT switching snare and hi-hat and using an eighth-note run for the hi-hat instead of a "The Hand That Feeds" (Expert) pattern.
    • It has to be said that, being much closer to how real drums are played, this is less of a game example and more of a Truth in Television case of That One Boss.
      • Similarly vocals. If you can sing, there's little difficulty to be found at any level (save for very specific songs - I Get By (see below) being one of them). Otherwise, only Easy for you.
    • The other infamous career-stopper for Drums on Expert is "(Don't Fear) The Reaper". It's pretty easy up until the guitar solo, which throws rapid-fire bass pedaling and a long sequence of snare rolls at you. And because of how the game engine works, it's all too easy to get off-beat and fail five seconds later.
      • Not to mention that after beating this part, there's still a whole lot of tough drumming for your fatigued and overly-excited body to perform.
      • Even the vocalist doesn't get away unbruised from Don't Fear the Reaper. The song is easy enough to sing, but during the instrumental parts of the song you need to clap your hand on the microphone (in a very specific manner, may I add) to simulate playing the cowbell. The outro of the song has you doing this 96 times in a row. By the time you're done, the palm of your hand resembles a raw steak, and will be thinking "No more cowbell!" (There are other ways to do this, such as hitting A on the controller, or... taking a spare drumstick and hitting the microphone like a cowbell.)
    • You don't even wanna think about Flirtin' With Disaster on drums, do you? The trick is the chorus and opening. But after that, its off beat bass hits.
    • Over half of the bonus songs (which you have to play to complete the "Endless Setlist", so they don't really count as "bonus" per se) are insanely difficult on vocals, but the worst by a long shot is I Get By. Especially the middle bit, with its insanely fast tonal shifts and rapid-fire vocals, most of which still require you to actually be in tune (which is not the case for most other songs this fast).
      • That song is nothing compared to Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld (on guitar at least)." This song, on medium, makes "Maps" on Hard and "Run For the Hills" on medium look easier than the tutorial. It has a ridiculously hard note pattern and speed, four seconds in! It repeats this three more times before the vocals start.
    • Young Man Blues on drums. It was released as DLC in July 2008. It was not FC'ed on Expert until July 2012.
    • Another final tier song: Next To You. A very short, but very painful experience in flailing (and failing), because of the quick tempo, the insane combination of hits and the what seems to be never ending bass pedal hits. If you still, somehow, get past that, you still have Flirtin' With Distaster, Tom Sawyer, Won't Get Fooled Again, and, of course, Run to the Hills (all on the same tier). HAVE FUN!

  • Rock Band 2: Battery on Guitar and Bass, almost reasonable compared to
    • Visions would like to see your drummer, bassist, and guitarist. Doing that song on Expert makes Panic Attack and Painkiller (other candidates for hardest song) look easy.
      • Made all the worse when you step down to Hard guitar or bass and realize it is just as bad, if not worse, because there are practically no hammer-ons in the Hard charts...
    • Ace Of Spades '08 on Bass. I hope you like off-beat, asymmetric double strums, cause you're screwed if you can't master that.
    • Panic Attack's bass track makes Painkiller look like a warm-up in comparison. The song opens with the bass playing essentially the exact same riff as the guitar, only without the benefit of any sort of lead-in or percussion to help you keep track of the 5/4 timing, and just keeps getting worse from there.
    • Screw getting TO the fills in Everlong (on drums), the hard part is staying alive long enough for your bandmates to use overdrive to recover during the Run To The Hills-like hi-hat run that takes up about... 50% of the song. And it's on Red, which makes it count more towards your performance guage dropping like a rock
  • Rock Band 3 has quite a few. Let's start listing the big ones:
    • Full Band: Take your pick between Roundabout (5 on vocals, 6 on everything else) and Llama (6 on everything)
    • Drums: Llama again, and in more ways than one - 3-starring the song on Expert is a requirement for the Hall Of Fame Challenge set list (on Expert) to be completable. You also need a 250-note streak for another challenge. Expect to clear Guns of Summer before you get either of those two goals, even with judicious use of No-Fail.
    • Bass: Roundabout again.
    • Guitar: Freebird, for reasons similar to why it's so damn hard in Guitar Hero 2.
    • Keyboard: Roundabout yet again.
    • Vocals: Jury's out on this one, though Good Vibrations (LIVE) or Bohemian Rhapsody are generally considered the hardest (the third hardest listed, Llama, is actually extremely easy if you can hum)

  • Rock Band 4: The song difficulties are in!
    • Band: "Dream Genie" by Lightning Bolt and "Metropolis, Pt. 1" by Dream Theater are Devil-Tier on ALL instruments. The closest runner-up is "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" by Rick Derringer, whose easiest instrument is a 5 on Drums.
    • Guitar: "Hail to the King" by Avenged Sevenfold is a level-6; everything else is a 0.
    • Drums: "I Am Electric" by Heaven's Basement.
    • Vocals: "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes. is at level 6, while everything else is a simple 0.

  • Let's also just note that there are two full Megadeth albums as DLC. You could pick a song at random, and it will probably be bone crunchingly hard.
    • Special mention has to be given to "Take No Prisoners" off of the Rust in Peace album. The intro has some weird hammer-ons and pull-offs on guitar, but Guitar Riff 2 throws all rhyme and reason out the window.
      • To add on to that, near the beginning of the song you're thrown a bunch of fast descending scales which lasts for eight measures. Even worse, if you're playing Rock Band 2, you won't be able to overdrive, as they only give you 1/4 a bar for it. Because of that, some people struggle to even pass the song. Rock Band 3 was a little more generous to us with that, putting a unison bonus in that spot so you can overdrive for half of it, but it's still unforgiving.
    • By the way, remember breaking your fingers over "Hangar 18" from Guitar Hero 2? Guess what: it got harder.
  • Afterlife has some lightning fast guitar riffs at the start, but at least they're simple. Then it throws away all reason during the solo. It's not even rated at the highest difficulty, though it is still rated "nightmare" ("Challenging" in Rock Band 2 due to cutoff changes), which is a good description for the quickly advancing army of gems set out to destroy any guitarist foolish enough to challenge them.
  • Good Mourning/Black Friday plays the same treachery as Battery, making you complacent in the first minute or so, then kicking the crap out of you...on ANY instrument.
  • Painkiller, the last song in Endless Setlist II, is the hardest song on disc (As of Rock Band 2's release), but it's currently the second-hardest full-band song (Including all Pre-Rock Band 3 DLC to date) just behind Satch Boogie. Take everything that's hard about it from GHWT and add a smaller timing window. You have a decent chance of failure at the surf solo on Guitar Hero. You have an almost guaranteed chance of failure at the same section on Rock Band if the Guitarist is on expert.
  • Soundgarden's Jesus Christ Pose. For the vocalist, good luck figuring out the pitches on your first or fifth attempt on Expert, especially if you don't sing falsetto. For the drummer... well, good luck and hope you can handle the same rhythm for about half the song. For the Guitarist... well, you get off relatively easy. for the Bassist, hope you have good stamina.
  • Guns of Summer by Coheed and Cambria. May God have mercy on your guitarist and drummer's soul.
    • Elaborating on this: Remember Through The Fire And Flames back on Guitar Hero III and how the difficulties roughly were on that for Lead Guitar? Remember failing out at 5 percent into the song on Expert going "What the Fuck?!?!?"? Remember when you first hit Visions? That's more or less what Drums are, only more so since you can 5-star it on Drums-Hard and only reach 8% on Drums-Expert. The Guitarist has it easy in comparison (with an easy-to-figure out hard-to-fc riff for the most part), but still needs to be good at sliding.
  • Green Day: Rock Band isn't very hard, but one MAY qualify for this trope. We Are The Waiting/St. Jimmy. It starts of with We Are The Waiting, an easy song with a damn catchy chorus. The only hard part in this song is after the first chorus, where it throws 3 button chords at you inbetween an easy riff. Then it stops and St. Jimmy begins. It is basically an alt. strumming discord with an incredibly fast beat.
    • While we're on the subject of Green Day and in turn Green Day Rock Band, the DLC song East Jesus Nowhere deserves special mention. Why you ask? Well the song for the most part is quite easy on guitar, but then comes the bridge...oh dear lord. The bridge is comprised of rapid alt-strumming to the extreme up and down the fretboard that barely scrapes through the notes per second limit and is the only reason why very few people have fc'ed it. Have fun.
      • Also, while Green Day Rock Band is a cakewalk on guitar and bass, drums are a different story. The drum solos on offer in Emenius Sleepus and Burnout are insane, not to mention Chump's outro, and then comes Homecoming. The rolls in the middle last for a good minute or so and are very, very fast. These rolls are a key reason why no one has fc'ed the song in it's entirety yet. Have fun drummers.
      • ...Until January 24th, 2015, that is.
  • The Avenged Sevenfold track pack has some rather challenging songs. "Nightmare" on drums has a bunch of fills that was done by none other than former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. "Scream" has a pretty nasty flailfest solo. "Seize the Day" is pretty easy at first, being a standard Avenged Sevenfold Power Ballad... until the final minute where there is a solo that arguably makes Surfing With the Alien's intense clusterfuck of notes look easy by throwing in about a minute's worth. Have fun.
  • You want real action? We Are the Nightmare on Expert Drums. Watch and weep. I don't think I need to say anything else.
  • While around 40% of the Rock Band Network tracks qualify, anything by Chaotrope will definitely push the limits of anyone who tries it. Oh, you full-combo'd Guns of Summer on Drums? You've Gold-Starred the entire Rock Band 3 on-disc setlist without ever touching the shredboard? Expect to fail out repeatedly. Especially on Baptized By Fire.
  • With DLC, you also get hit with one of these in the absolute LAST place you'd expect, the Miley Cyrus DLC pack. A cakewalk for the most part as you'd anticipate, then you get to "Can't Be Tamed" on Expert guitar, and you're effortlessly gliding through until a little over the 2 minute mark, and then the game throws you a curveball in the form of a really nasty 40 second long zig-zag solo that one section can single-handedly cause you to fail the song. To add insult to injury, the song itself has no actual guitar, Harmonix charted that solo just for the game, and most players weren't expecting such a difficult solo section in a song that has no guitars.
  • Another one on the DLC front, "Pulse of the Maggots" by Slipknot. The verses are relatively simple, and there are two fast strumming parts in the song that end with a sweep and repeat four times (not strum limit approaching, but still), but that's nothing compared to the two monstrous solos full of random strums and very fast sweeps. One of them is the very end of the song. It was released as DLC in September 2011 and still remains un-FC'd. In fact, it took a while before solo 1 was hit on its own, and the ending solo is arguably even worse.
  • A good example for full band would be Lynyrd Skynyrd's Tuesday's Gone. Arguably the best example of lanes' difficulty, both on G/B/K and drums. And all in an eight minute long song. Joy.
  • In Rock Band 2's World Tour mode, remember the West Coast Marathon in LA? Remember how it's six songs which can be done on normal? New York has the East Coast Marathon, 8 songs which range from 'OK' to 'Fingers falling off' in difficulty. And it can only be done on Hard or Expert.

    Other Game Series 
  • Guitar Hero's less famous predecessors Frequency and Amplitude had several songs, usually near the end of the game, all composed by members of Harmonix's in-house music team, which become this. Furious finger-work and judicious use of the Auto-Blaster power-up are almost mandatory for survival.
    • The blink-182 song's rightmost drum track was mostly not all that hard, except for the occasional drum fills. Hitting the same shoulder button three or four times in a row in time to 16th notes at 193-odd BPM? Yeah, good luck with that... Even Spaztik, the Bonus Boss, wasn't quite that sadistic.
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan has two: "Koi No Dance Site," infamously tough on the Insane difficulty, and "Ready Steady Go," the last song, where hit markers are everywhere at the end. The American spiritual sequel, Elite Beat Agents, is considered by most to be a touch easier... aside from the syncopated "off-beats" on "Canned Heat." Then you get to the final song, "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and its near-impossible final verse. Similarily, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 has the final stage on Insane difficulty.
    • On the highest difficulty, Jumpin' Jack Flash has a health bar that drains very fast, so not only are there a lot of notes to hit, but you have to hit them with good timing. It's possible to lose without breaking your combo, and conversely hard to pass without getting an A.
    • Honestly? The ice-skater level on Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 is possibly the most difficult level on the hardest difficulty, if only because combos don't come up fast enough to keep you alive if you don't get PERFECT 300s for almost every beat combo. The bar drains ridiculously fast.
    • The VERY LAST PART of Countdown on Insane difficulty. Can you say "YOU WA SHOCK!!!"?
    • And then there's virtually every single fan-made level in its PC counterpart, osu! Combine the less-precise mouse controls with maps made by people who routinely seem to forget that this isn't DanceDanceRevolution, and have fun!
  • "Aurora no Kaze ni Notte" in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: Pichi Pichitto Live Start. The song is one of the more difficult ones on its own, but what really drives you to insanity is that you can only play as Caren, whose singing voice is beyond Hollywood Tone-Deaf and genuinely terrible. Bound to distract anyone that doesn't play with the music off, which defeats the whole point of playing the game.
  • Bathroom Rap in the first Parappa The Rapper game where you rap against all the masters to get ahead in line for the bathroom was pure evil.
    • The game's painfully small timing window certainly doesn't make this any easier. Of course, on subsequent replays this can become a lot easier if you get a Cool rank right at the start and improvise your way through the whole level.
    • The first time through the game Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken's RAP will feel a lot like That One Boss, due to it featuring syncopated rhythms more than any other song in the game. The only reason it doesn't qualify is because the aforementioned All Masters' RAP comes immediately after, putting it's difficulty to shame.
    • Taste of Teriyaki from Um Jammer Lammy. Complicated offbeat rhythms combined with the small timing window? Forget it.
  • Daigasso! Band Brothers for DS has "Recording Ticket Gold", which randomly picks 3 songs from the main 38 tracks and a random instrument from each, and requires you to get total score of 297%. Yeah, you get a 3% margin of error on 3 random songs on the hardest mode. You can't pause either.
    • In the Daigasso! Band Brothers games, pretty much anything on Pro (Master in DBBDX) Drums is essentially impossible.
    • It's hard to pin a single song down as "That One Boss" in DBB / DBBDX, since most of it is user created content, but some songs like Necrofantasia, Battle on the Big Bridge, and FF7's Boss theme are commonly referred to as "Totally freaking impossible."
  • Taiko no Tatsujin for DS. GoGo Kitchen (written in Katakana) WILL make you punch a hole in your DS.
    • Correction: Aside from 1-4 star songs, ANY song on Oni mode in Taiko no Tatsujin will make you destroy your DS. Also, any song from the 2000 series.
  • Rhythm Heaven:
    • Remix 8 from Heaven. Due to its fast pace, this song requires precise timing to succeed at, especially if you're aiming for a Superb rating. It doesn't help that it cycles through several different games in quick succession, and towards the end, it gets even faster.
    • Likewise, Remix 5 in its No Export for You predecessor, Rhythm Tengoku for the GBA. It's not QUITE as fast, but still goes at a speedy clip, requires precise timing to get right, and what makes it worse is that, like Remix 8 from Rhythm Heaven / Tengoku Gold, it doubles as Awesome Music.
    • Rhythm Heaven Fever has its own Remix 8, which require to play with slow cues (Air Rally) or no cues (Exhibition Match) with Awesome Music in the background.
    • Megamix has the Machine Remix. The thing that elevates it to That One Boss status? The "Rhythm Tweezers" sections near the end, which require fast memory and reflexes.
  • The final boss of Bit.Trip Beat completely drops the rhythm aspect of the game and forces you to play a full game of pong against a computer player, complete with the old school physics that make the ball go absolutely haywire if hit the right way. If you perfected the incredibly difficult song up until this point... Getting a perfect score has just become a Luck-Based Mission. Oh... And if you start winning, the computer paddle starts splitting into two... Then four...
    • And again in Bit.Trip Core, the second boss is notoriously difficult. You have to play a game of Missile Command against falling beats, and starting in the second wave, the beats start erratically changing directions and faking you out. You die if you miss about four of them. (Thankfully, the rhythm aspect of the game is retained this time.)
  • beatmania IIDX naturally has a bunch, especially given how the design philosophy of IIDX is basically "let's make this entry the hardest yet!"
    • 5.1.1. [Another], particularly before the new Hyper chart was released. Okay, 5.1.1. [Normal] and [Hyper] (again, pre-redesigned Hyper), great beginner's charts. So the Another shouldn't be too bad, right? Wrong. Constant scratching combined with difficult scales turn 5.1.1. from a a simple newcomer-level song into complete hell.
    • The PS2 release of DJ Troopers introduces the Black Another charts. If a song has one, then it's bound to be That One. Among the worst are Do It Do It, which has to be seen to be believed, ICARUS which has BPM changes that rival those of Mei (and even replaced it as the last kaiden song for the console entry of DJ TROOPERS) and especially MENDES, a monster of a chart that has more notes than any other single chart in IIDX.
    • The series features Dan courses, designed to measure your abilities and give you a rank corresponding to your skill level. Several Dan courses are particularly notorious:
      • 5th Dan as of tricoro has snow storm [Hyper], a level 9 chart that has no right to be in a 5th Dan course, which is supposed to consist of level 8 songs and low-tier level 9 songs. It has 1173 notes when many level 10 songs of comparable length have as many or even slightly less notes, and the second half of the song features a very fast scale pattern followed by more waves of scales until the end.
      • 7th Dan simply prevents a lot of players from graduating from 6th Dan. Ever since the dan system was implemented in 7th Style, every single 7th Dan course ends in THE SAFARI [Hyper], which features fast "mashing" sections. It's so infamously hard that there are video tutorials on how to "cheat" the chart, and there are players who simply Ragequit 7th Dan and complete 8th Dan instead because they find it to be EASIER; players in Japan who do this are known as Safari nanmin (Safari Refugees).
    • All these examples are single player. That's not saying Doubles players are let off easy; there's Mei (again), Almagest, Quasar (which has been the final Kaiden song since the course's creation), Quantum Teleportation and Quell -The Seventh Slave-. Quell in particular is so hard that, as of August 2011, it has a clear rate of 1%.
      • And then there's charts that clearly weren't designed with a single player in mind, such as Cheer Train [Another], which has the nerve to group turntable and key notes together on one side!
    • "CONTRACT" on SP Normal is notorious for the final two measures of its chart, which is a horrendous Difficulty Spike compared to the rest of the chart. It is a sudden surge of partial sixteenth-note scales at 180 BPM mixed with scratches, and has caused many players to fail an otherwise solid run. The chart would qualify as only a level-7 chart, but because of those two measures, it was initially rated an 8 and later a 9, the highest difficulty ever given to a Single Normal chart. It's a fine example of the Fake Difficulty caused by a combination of the Groove Gauge and sudden-difficulty endings.
      • "CONTRACT" on SP †LEGGENDARIA, shown here. Let's throw double-scale patterns next to scratches, what could possibly go wrong?
  • DJMAX Technika's Popular Mode has some paricularly challenging songs on its 3rd stage. Sweet Shining Shooting Star is a somewhat easy song up until the chorus section, at which point you're presented with a charlie foxtrot of notes, while Blythe, Sin, and Son Of Sun get their difficulty from having double-speed wipes combined with lots of eighth notes, some of which are of the "chain" variety to make things worse.
    • The Heartbeat Set's normal last stage, Colours of Sorrow TP. If you're only good enough to play the easiest songs in the set (typically Divine Service TP, Remember TP, and either Play the Future TP or Stop TP), CoS TP's difficulty will likely come off as a shock to you. It doesn't help that the sections with repeat notes will be a source of many misses unless you hit the touchscreen in a rather specific way.
    • And ditto for Customizer Set, which has Son of Sun TP as its normal last stage. If you're only good enough to clear Shoreline PP, Y TP, and Sweet Shining Shooting Star PP, SoS will give you a mental SOS.
      • Customizer's '>95% MAX' boss, SIN TP, is no slouch, either, with the main killer being the middle section that features repeat note/regular note combinations. For many, this is likely their first encounter of this type of note layout...and often times get killed.
    • The normal boss for the Challenger Set is End of the Moonlight TP, which is regarded by everyone to be harder than the SP chart. Its biggest challenge and stumbling block for many players is the jackhammer sequence during the intro. The easiest way to handle this is by playing the notes together as chords rather than individually, which takes plenty of practice. Chances are that by the time you've coasted through the intro, your gauge is sufficiently depleted that the rest of the song will destroy you if you're not careful. This is the sole reason the SP and TP charts became HD and MX respectively during the transition to the second game.
    • Enemy Storm SP (MX from the second game onwards) is absolutely evil. The jackhammers in this pattern are even more complex than the aforementioned End of the Moonlight. You can either power your way through them or glitch them like hell, but playing them correctly will often leave you dead, or for dead. And good luck trying to finish this song in the Specialist set, where it appears as a regular boss; the harder-to-reach boss is Son of Sun SP, but that's its own separate kettle of fish.
    • Technika 2 has D2 (Hard). It would actually be easier than its Normal chart, but there's one particularly harsh condition that makes it otherwise. The timeline in the Normal chart is scrolling at double speed, which for some makes the chart fast enough. On Hard? It scrolls at quadruple speed—it takes the timeline about a second to completely scroll to one direction and back. To make matters more difficult, the timing windows are much stricter than on any other chart. Many players find that even if they watch videos of the chart many times and think they can do the chart, it's when they try the chart for real that they realize that it is MUCH harder than it looks.
    • And now that Crew Race, a mode where player-created crews can make their own courses with target scores to beat, you can BECOME That One Boss! Most of the crews like to put high-end songs with high scores and annoying modifiers. Failing that, there's crew courses consisting of easier songs...but many of those will require you to nail a Perfect Play of the entire course to win.
    • With the recent release of "Maximum Set" on Technika 2 only a few people had passed its boss songs, Cypher Gate MX and D2 MX because it's just so HARD to clear, and Club Mixing's not-so-lenient Groove Meter doesn't help too. To elaborate:
      • Cypher Gate MX is a massive technical challenge that demands strong musical aptitude from the player. The off-beat heavy rhythm is hard to get down precisely and even harder to play due to the narrow window in playing the notes and the hardware-based limitations. It's telling when the more accomplished Technika players themselves say that a song and the set it's feature in are far and above the rest of the game.
      • D2 MX, or Dance of Death, is brutality incarnate. It retains the 356-BPM scroll speed madness from the HD chart and the density of the NM chart, combining them into what is regarded by many to be one of the most difficult songs in the series. Like with the HD chart, the fast scroll speed means that the judgment is at its tightest, and the note layout doesn't give you time to catch your breath.
    • Technika 3 features Black Swan, the first song in the series to be in a non-4/4 signature, AND to have multiple time signatures. Here's a look at its Hard chart, and it isn't pretty.
    • Thought that the likes of Thor, Airwave, and Landscape were insane with their pink-note waves? Meet Xeus (also from Technika 3), the spiritual successor to Thor (by the same composer: Xeon). Its NM chart is tame, but its HD features the same myriad-of-notes segment from the three aforementioned songs. And the MX chart goes batshit with this by having not one, but TWO of these gauntlets. Good luck.
    • The "Fatality" Club Mixing Set is the most difficult of its kind. It features nothing but MX charts (half of which are among the hardest) and contain the following songs: Rain Maker, Chemical Slave, Showdown, Victim of Love, AD2222 and Angel. The low and high bosses are Supernova and the aforementioned Xeus, respectively. And taken into consideration the formula that Technika follows to calculate what boss you get, you need to play the two most difficult songs in the set just to play the Xeus.
  • Any song with an "Insane" level in the Mungyodance series. The Destination series, Reasons To Live, Origin, and Chaos Theory come to mind.
    • Gabba Bond (4Skips vs. Big Kiss Remix) on Insane, due to the heavy amount of mines in the chart. And after hitting one, avoiding any more becomes a sadistic endeavor due to the added mods.
    • The Seven Gates. The steps aren't too hard compared to the likes of the above songs, but it's still very draining, mainly for the fact that it's almost 11 minutes long.
  • While Evila is the most-cited That One Boss in Space Channel 5, Giant Evila and Purge the King usually aren't far behind. You need to do the opposite of what they say before shooting, or else you'll hit your allies. Giant Evila sends out a lot of shoot commands, which gets confusing, and while Purge the King has a much shorter segment, he only gives you three chances to fail.
  • "Bounce (FSG Remix)" in DJ Hero. A low amount of checkpoints, one of the faster songs in the game, and good luck clearing it in Empire mode, because the AI almost never misses a beat. You have to be completely precise in your hits; so much as one screw-up could through the whole mix away for you.
  • In the Groove 2 has Bloodrush, which on hard is a 9. Not quite so hard to pass, but a long string of crossover 16ths at during the slow section and more crossovers at full speed later in the song guarantee that unless you've really practiced, you won't get a good score, even if you've done well on 10s and 11s.
    • Determinator Expert. 24th-note triplets at ~170BPM for a solid 5 seconds. That's 17 arrows a second! (Max 300 is 10, Pandemonium is a bit over 11). The song is rated a 12, but if That One Run was extended to the entire song, it would be more like a 15. (For reference, official ITG songs only go up to 13.)
  • Music Times has "Hatsune Miku no Shoushitsu [NM]", a Level 9 with patterns not normally seen in most 10s. Done in 8ths. At 240BPM.
    • For other examples, try "Let It Go", a level 8 with needless jackhammer hits everywhere, and "Secret", with its signature (hated) 16th chord-sweep pattern.
    • 10+s are definitely designed to be hard, but "Oblivion (Rockin' Night Style) [HD]" is just taking the piss. Seemingly random double-note 8th runs and jackhammer chords contribute to a complete mess of a chart. That's saying nothing of "Through the Fire and Flames"...
  • Kitasaitama 2000, Garakuta Doll Play and Caliburne ~ Story of The Legendary Sword from maimai. All of those feature insanely fast notes that require very fast reflexes and movement speed in expert difficulty that normally only appears on music in the unlockable master difficulty.
  • Deemo has "Magnolia" and its sequel, "Myosotis", both of which, on their hardest difficulties, combine lightning-fast piano sections with dubstep sections that have you sliding your fingers all over the place like a madman. It's telling that, in a game where the highest difficulty rating is typically 10, the latter is rated 11.
  • Band Hero, the poppy spinoff of Guitar Hero, brings us "You Better Pray" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on Guitar. The song begins with a rapidfire of hammerons and pulloffs. To date, only two people have gotten 100% on expert.
  • Guitar Hero itself has several example but a few take the cake (outside some of the Bonus Boss songs).
    • On Expert, long before you get to the final boss, you have to deal with Holiday In Cambodia. After a few easy sustains, it sends you into an amazingly fast fifteen second tremolo picking section. With every note charted exactly. It's hard enough to strum that fast, but the rhythm changes irregularly during the section. And since the game takes whatever note is closest, regardless of whether it's correct or not, getting even slightly off rhythm can cause many misses in a row and very quickly sends your rock meter plummeting. And there's nothing else to help you stay on any sort of beat. Nothing else in tier 5 requires that sort of strumming perfection and stamina.
    • The Final Boss of Guitar Hero 3, Lou, is easily the hardest of the already difficult guitar battles. It's a really difficult song even in battle form and has a long intro/verse with very fast strumming during the first verse (it takes a while to even get the first attack). Lou gets his attack first and has great AI. Even after you beat Lou, you may still fail the outro which is just barely easier than the rest of this insane song. The DLC version has you playing both parts and is sometimes considered worse than "Through the Fire and Flames".
    • "TTFAF" itself has always been infamous for its difficulty level, with rapidfire strumming and hammerons/pulloffs throughout the whole song. It's actually easy to fail before the vocals start.
    • Done on purpose with "Sudden Death" (on guitar at least), the Final Boss of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. It's a Megadeth song (those are usually difficult anyway) that was actually composed for the game to be its final boss song. And then Mustaine was told "we want more solos on it" after they heard the preliminary version. He said "Okay, I can do that." The song is littered with very difficult solos and fast strumming. To clear it the first time, you have to get a great score or else repeat the whole song.
  • Groove Coaster:
    • "Marry me, Nightmare" on Hard. Rated a 10 out of 10 and even then it's just brutal by level 10 standards. Camera Screws everywhere, a series of Jump Scares in one section of the song where the game zaps your avatar to the opposite lane, and a nonstandard time signature that can make it hard to keep the beat. The smartphone versions of the game, which have a difficulty scale that goes 1-20 with many arcade 10's being rated 15 and above, puts this chart at a 20, just to reinforce how challenging it is.
    • The aptly-named "Good Night, Bad Luck", which makes its predecessor "Marry me, Nightmare" look like a toddler's toy. This song's gimmick is "trick you into thinking you'll have to hit three or four Slide notes at once and then split them into single and dual Slides immediately before you have to hit them." Beyond that, one section features 1/16th-note streams of Critical (i.e. dual Tap) notes (and since this is an arcade exclusive, this means furiously mashing the buttons in sync with both arms) and the last 1/3 of the song is a nonstop barrage of 1/8-note Tap and Slide notes coming at you, all at 285 BPM. Don't injure your hands!
    • Do you want to destroy your arms? Look no further than "ouroboros -twin stroke of the end-", which features lightning-fast 1/16th-note Tap rolls at 188 BPM throughout the chart! Even by level 10 standards, it's regarded by many players as one of the hardest charts in the entire series.
  • Lanota has a boss song stuck at the end of each of its main chapters which forces you to play on either Acoustic or Ultra and forces you to use Purify Mode (where getting too many Fails causes a game over) until you beat the song. Each of them is introduced with a special screen showing the ratings of all four difficulties and a countdown clock (which, if it hits zero without you picking Acoustic or Ultra to play, makes you automatically fail and game over). Attempting the boss song requires clearing the immediately-preceding song in the chapter every time until you've successfully cleared it. Three of them stand out in particular:
    • You are the Miserable, the chapter III boss. This song comes out immediately after Androgynos, itself an example on the Mobile version because it is split in two parts and whatever settings you clear the first part with are automatically used on the second part immediately afterwards.
    • Stasis, the Chapter IV boss. This comes out immediately after Protoflicker, itself a difficult song with a difficulty-15 Master and difficulty-13 Ultra (which is enough to get it classified as a boss song on the Lanota wiki). When players first reach Stasis, they most likely immediately notice that its Master chart is a 16. Then they notice the Ultra Difficulty's rating: 15, a number previously reserved for Boss Songs on Master. It's also the only song to date to get an Acoustic difficulty of 13, which the previous two boss songs were rated as on Ultra.
    • SolarOrbit, the Chapter V boss. The Acoustic chart is rated a 10, which is lower than Stasis's Acoustic chart. That chart's max combo is 1096, the first such chart to have a 4-digit max combo. The song itself also has an ending fake-out, and since the Mobile version doesn't have the Song Progress indicator that the Switch version did, the only hint you might have that the ending fake-out's coming is if you're on your way to All-Combo'ing the song and look at your score. Which you won't be on a sightread. (Like Stasis before it, Ultra and Master are rated 15 and 16)



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