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That One Boss / Shoot 'em Ups

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"If you're at this page, you're either (a) curious, ,(b) heard rumours about Titanic Lance or ,(c) foolish enough to wander into Zone M. If you belong to the first two categories, may this serve as a suitable deterrent to meet him. If you belong to the third category....well, so do I, so I will refrain from commenting on you."
This page on the Darius Gaiden boss Titanic Lance.

Brush up your bullet-dodging and panic-bombing skills for these game-ending bosses.

NOTE: Final Boss and Wake-Up Call Boss cannot be That One Boss without being overly hard by their standards. Please do not add them as examples. Bonus Boss is banned from being That One Boss entirely. It's supposed to be overpowerful by definition and it's completely optional to fight them.

Shmup games with their own pages


Other games

  • Godomuga, the fourth boss of Contra. The first phase has you shoot some panels, but to make the second phase easier you should first destroy the cannon that shoots three bullets. While doing this, four mooks come in on the platforms above and shoot diagonally or downward at you (though the four that come after are easier). Then for the second phase, the boss is comprised of two robots who split into two phantasms and are only vulnerable when merged as one. Fortunately this is in the same position so it's easy to anticipate, but they shoot energy balls that home in on you, although at LEAST these can be destroyed with one hit, but having to shoot them can make it tough to shoot Godomuga. The fact that the previous part of the level is extremely difficult to beat without losing a life practically guarantees you won't have a powered up weapon against him.
  • Fatty Glutton in Darius Gaiden. Made even worse in the first game because if you've done well, you may have powered up to the laser, which you need to do to get the Wave later on, but which is worse than your starting weapon.
    • Fatty Glutton, however, is nothing compared to the Battleship Raid boss that is Titanic Lance. When the normally 2 minutes long stage is now only 30 seconds just to accommodate the boss is saying something. Furthermore, not even the final boss is larger than this guy...which is so large it is basically a Sequential Boss as well. Titanic Lance has attacks that are very difficult to avoid in almost all of its phases, such as moving towards your vertical position with a Wave-Motion Gun, a swarm of homing lasers, cannons with Macross Missile Massacre, electrical mines with crushers, and a Demonic Spider maker.
    • The "Thousand" family from the Dariusburst sub-series due to constantly using its quills to not only shoot at you but also block your shots. This boss can last an unnecessarily long time unless you have a laser shot (or wave shot, if using the Origin or Gaiden ships), and unfortunately, several missions in Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours require you to fight Thousand Bullets with a basic non-piercing shot. Oh, and these folks like to spam a very wide Wave-Motion Gun attack (which is not a Burst beam, by the way, so you can't Burst Counter it) with increasing frequency as they get closer to death, known by some players as the "Fuck You" Laser. Thousand Edge is the worst offender, as its quills swap out bullets and lasers for Homing Lasers.
    • Phantom Castle, also from Dariusburst, is a lot like Mirage Castle: Starts off with a cluster of armor that attacks you until you sufficiently whittle its armor down. Only, once it sheds the armor entirely, it gains a nasty new trick of spamming Homing Lasers every time it leaves the screen. A Burst will take care of them, but if you're using the Burst-less Origin and Second ships, expect to lose several points of shield at best and meet the "No more ship left" or "MISSION FAILED" screens at worst.
    • Savage Ruler spreads more bullets than the Golden and Violent Ruler. Not to mention that his purple lasers are longer that can reach you and his large beam now explodes in the screen.
    • and then we got Gigantic Bite, dear god.
  • The Hermit boss of Chapter 3 of The House of the Dead is cheap. A Giant Spider with a very small weak point, that starts out just inches from your face, if you miss here, loss of health is inevitable. This phase has prematurely ended many games. Then it retreats further down the tunnel, becoming even harder to hit, and after being hit it turns its weak point away from you to shoot volleys of web balls at you. The longer you take, the more projectiles will be fired per volley. In the final phase, it guards its weak point until it gets up close and personal, again you have only a split second to hit it before it hits you.
    • Strength in House of the Dead 2, who on top of brandishing his chainsaw wildly, making his head difficult to shoot, will sometimes jump down from above and immediately take a life off.
    • Tower in the Sand Area is just as bad, hiding itself in the sand, only coming up for an attack (and, hence, is the only time you can attack it).
    • The Fool in House of the Dead III. You need to shoot one of his limbs (marked with a green targeting sight) in order to stop its advance. This is easy enough with his first limb, but his next two limbs tend to get obstructed by the stairs, and his fourth one is used to swing around making it hard to hit. And then his last phase consists of jumping at you to attack, with the only way to stop him being to shoot 6 bullets while it's in the air (you have 6 bullets per reload, by the way). But if you're playing with a 2nd player every boss will have double defense, meaning if the other player is incompetent, being a Jerkass, or is simply screwing around, you will lose lives for something that's not your fault.
      • And the reload is so slow on the PC version that it's actually physically impossible to stop yourself being hit.
      • Also, taking down first 3 limbs require you to deplete its attack gauge 3 times. If you did it too slow in 1st or 2nd (or both), it's guaranteed that the boss will hit you.
    • Did you enjoy The Magician? Then you'll love The Star, the boss of Chapter 5 of The House of the Dead 4. He bears many similarities to The Magician; he's a humanoid zombie who flies around the arena, fires dozens of energy-based projectiles that need to be shot down lest you lose a life and has two charge attacks, one of which involves GOING OFF THE SCREEN for a moment in a completely dick move that will almost guarantee a life lost. Many players find him to be more difficult than The World, the final boss.
      • Vampire Night, another light gun game by the same House of the Dead team, features a winged boss that has attacks that are basically a hybrid of Hot D 1's Hangedman and Magician, but who stays faaaaar in the background most of the time. You have to be a crack shot to hurt him any substantial amount before he switches phases and starts circling the player and carving away with a laser.
    • The Magician's The Typing of the Dead incarnation. Every boss has some sort of gimmick that makes them stand out from regular enemies; the Magician's in particular requires you to type phrases as usual, but if you miss once, you will take damage as if you typed too slowly.
  • The second boss of ESWAT is essentially two Terminators who shoot rapid-fire at you. One of them is always standing, so standing up will welcome you with a spray of bullets, and the other one jumps around and shoots at ground level, so ducking isn't 100% safe either. You only have 4 HP by the way. Thankfully you can destroy their bullets by shooting them, or this boss would truly be impossible. At least the reward is awesome: A robotic suit that quadruples your health bar, gives you rapid-fire capabilities, and lets you fly. Oh, and it can be upgraded.
    • The first boss could qualify as well. As a helicopter that flies around at the top of the screen and guns you down for standing still (which you need to do in order to fire your gun), it's fairly difficult. And if the battle takes too long (20 seconds or more) he will descend to your level and spam bullets in your direction. Good luck.
  • The entire fourth stage in Ikaruga is fought against the level boss, a floating fortress that spends ten minutes hurling ridiculous amounts of enemies and spirograph-patterns of alternating dots at you. Casual players will most likely lack the coordination to switch their ship's polarity in tune with the incoming fire, the return fire from destroyed enemies, and the few enemies who fire on their own to boot. The actual "boss fight" at the end of the level places the player in a tiny space filled with beam weapons that alternate color while firing, and the boss itself is only vulnerable at three (moving) points, all of which have three doors that must be shot through first.
    • And then there's Tageri's third form in Chapter 5, who fires homing lasers (not unlike yours) at you, alternates polarity, and repeats this process, at an increasingly faster pace. It doesn't help that you whittle his health down, he starts to fire waves of bullets that also alternate in polarity.
  • Ikaruga's spiritual predecessor, Radiant Silvergun, also features a stage (5A) that is ten minutes against a gigantic flying fortress. Whose walls close in on you while girders scroll down and lasers surround you and enemies come from all sides. Ohtrigen the phoenix also deserves mention for the high speed and number of its projectiles in a game that generally focuses on measured action. All of this in a game that's already disgustingly difficult even on its easiest setting.
  • The first half of mission 11 in Project Sylpheed. The difficulty REALLY spikes here, as the Acropolis' armour might as well be paper here, even on easy: first you have to defend against waves of fighters and bombers, and BOTH types can attack the Acropolis. Then, halfway through, the Guilty Roses show up and they're pretty deadly against ANYONE (though if you can pull it off, a well aimed XGS Grav Cannon shot can take all 4 of them out in one shot... but thats only in a second playthrough or later).
  • Sherudo Garo, the Stage 2 boss and Disc-One Final Boss of Time Crisis. He hits quickly with his throwing knives, which have a 100% chance of taking off a life. On top of that, he pops out only momentarily to do this. Most notable in that he's the second boss after Moz, who's a complete pushover. Wild Dog, while certainly a beast, isn't anywhere near a jump over Sherduo as Sherudo is over Moz.
    • The Dual Boss Tiger and Edgey in the spinoff Crisis Zone. Tiger throws heavy objects and can take a ton of damage, although slow. Edgey, on the other hand, is extremely fast, making him hard to hit before he claws you, and he also throws volleys of knives at you(unlike Sherudo, these can be shot out of the air).
    • In fact any McNinja type boss in a lightgun shoot-em-up is probably that one boss.
    • The Stage 2 boss of Time Crisis 3. If you thought ninjas weren't horrible enough, this guy is a multi-lifebar ninja who often runs around the bridge you're on, making him a faraway target, and he has two ninja minions with him.
  • Star Fox has one or two for each path. Path 1 features Phantron's One-Winged Angel form. Path 2 features Plasma Hydra. In Path 3, EVERY boss form Monarch Dodora on has the potential to be either this or a Breather Boss, and the Destructor and Blade Barrier can be this for new players.
    • Though in Path 3, THAT One Boss, the one everyone agrees on, is the Great Commander in the Venom Orbit. It has six extremely small hitboxes/turrets that must all be hit and slowly uses stronger attacks as you destroy more of the turrets. It'll get to the point where you have to risk Collision Damage to hit that last turret, and in this game, Collision Damage is a big deal. Multiple Lets Plays of the game will at least attempt to beat it fairly, but then use Game Genie codes to get unlimited Nova Bombs, which are the Great Commander's weakness.
  • Star Fox 64: Macbeth. That Scottish Planet. Perhaps the only time it has ever actually been easier to complete the special mission to go on the more difficult route (by shooting the eight switches to reroute the train into the weapons factory) than to not complete the special mission (forcing you to fight this ridiculous boss). Once you know where all of the switches are, this becomes easy, but if you miss one, prepare for a really challenging boss fight.
    • Said boss fight also comes slapped in with a nice time limit on it... that doesn't display. Take too long and the guy in the train says "It's time to finish this!" and then smacks the boss into you for an instant kill.
    • Sarumarine, the boss of Zoness kind of counts, too. A boss that actually forces you to use bombs. But carefully, because you don't really want to blow one of the cannon pontoons off while the exhaust pipes are still there. Oh, and if you're low on power (or playing on Expert, where your wings break at the slightest impact), remember to dodge to the side of the screen at the end, or else you'll get hit by the shrapnel from dealing the final blow.
      • The 3DS remake has far "better" detection for what qualifies as a proper hit, resulting in Smart Bombs being nerfed. Smaller blast radius means that Sarumarine goes from "kind of counts" to "the toughest, or at least most tedious, in the game."
    • The Bolse Core, too. You wouldn't think destroying a satellite would be annoying, would you? It starts shooting back. Add to that the fact that the core rotates, and near the end, you could end up approaching the core only to find that the remaining targets are on the far side and you're getting nothing but a face full of lasers. Also, Star Wolf shows up on this level if you either didn't beat them all on Fortuna or came from a different route. Yay...
    • The Gorgon. Oh, God, the Gorgon. It's a gigantic space station armed to the teeth with robotic Combat Tentacles, missiles, enemy fighters, teleporting capabilities, and a massive Wave-Motion Gun that can tear the crust off a planet's surface. Not only is it the most powerful boss in the game, it's also the longest and most tedious to deal with. Trying to survive the absolute bullet-hell it puts you through, you have to destroy the tentacles, forcing it to open up and repair. You need to destroy the three energy balls generating the shield to the Gorgon's core... three times over. After that, you actually get to damage its core and destroy it, but good luck getting there. Andross's Ultimate Space Weapon has felled more than a few new players while they try to destabilize the Gorgon's defenses.
  • The Guardian Legend:
    • Blue Optomon is definitely the toughest boss at the time you fight him. Absurdly powerful and long blue tentacles that are very hard to dodge, and you will go down in three hits or less no matter how much you're tried to powerup first, and you cannot gain recovery powerups during the fight at all. He takes forever to kill. And there is no secret trick to winning easily, unlike most other bosses.
    • Both versions of Grimgrin. These bosses (especially Red Grimgrin) have far more health than any other boss in the game and takes a long time to kill, moves around erratically, and fires out homing eyeballs that have a good amount of health and deal a lot of damage. When damaged enough, it loses its eyes, making it lose most of its attacks... then when it's health gets even lower, it Turns Red and starts spamming a huge shower of very painful eyeball projectiles. Thankfully, the Laser weapon makes this boss somewhat easier.

  • Solar Striker starts off as a pretty easy shooter until you get to the fourth boss, which is probably the closest the Game Boy has ever gotten to Bullet Hell. Be prepared to dodge like crazy as it constantly fires out of the sixteen turrets that surround it (half of them are uncomfortably close to you). There is a safe spot, but you're dead if you're even one pixel off.
  • In Einhänder, almost every boss can be That One Boss if you don't know what you're doing, but even experienced players have trouble with Schwarzgeist and Hyperion. The first loves Beam Spam and Macross Missile Massacre (though you can destroy the missile spawners) and has a small, hard-to-hit weak point. The second has a small weakpoint, spawns LOADS of Attack Drones and Homing Projectiles, and if you run out of time when fighting it, it instakills you in an unavoidable huge laser.
  • Battle Garegga:
    • G-616 "Black Heart" is a prototype stealth fighter encountered after the Boss Rush in Stage 5. Unlike the first four bosses (MD-113 "Nose Lavagghin", SF-5418 "Mad Ball", ST-22 "Earth Crisis", and PS-50 "Satanic Surfer") which can be picked apart to disable some of their attacks, Black Heart has no parts that can be chipped off and thus you're forced to bear the full force of its attacks from start to finish. One of its most brutal attacks is a duo of five-way bullet streams that fans back and forth, which requires absolute precision to slip through. As this tribute to Garegga puts it:
      Black Heart represents the negation of all of Garegga’s tirelessly-established principles. Instead of a collection of armaments to pick apart, you have a core and two wings. The wings are invulnerable too, just to rub it in. Instead of phases determined by parts destroyed, you now have phases determined by core health—with them only switching after the previous attack completes. Everything about Black Heart is ruthlessly prescriptive, and comes as a shock in this game which up until now has never told you what you ought to do.
    • After defeating it, it returns in the final stage, rebuilt as N-617 "Black Heart MKII". This reborn stealth fighter serves as the penultimate boss, and is now TEN TIMES WORSE. Black Heart MKII unleashes harder and denser patterns than any other boss in the game and has a much smaller weak spot that is really hard to hit (unless you're using Gain, whose ship fires broadswords that can pierce through enemies). It's only fitting that the best scoring trick in the game involves intentionally increasing the difficulty rank to jack up its aggressiveness and health to insane levels and dumping nearly all your remaining lives and bombs on it.
  • DonPachi
    • Ryuukou, the Stage 6 Boss of DoDonPachi, is a shining example of how drastic a penultimate boss encounter can be in a CAVE game. This large, towering battleship is the reason why most players forfeit a No Miss, No Bomb run upon reaching it in the second loop, as its attacks are that annoying. And it has been known to end runs. Ryuukou moves erratically, firing spirals of pink bullets along with blue bullets meant to trap you in, and also firing indistinct spreads of blue bullets while zipping around the top of the screen, causing the bullets to come from unpredictable angles whenever they come at you. Not to mention its final attack, which consists of firing sweeping waves of fast, narrow pink bullets with small windows to dodge through. Oh, and Ryuukou fires blue streams of bullets at your ship while you're trying to deal with precise dodging through the pink waves.
    • Byakko, the boss of Stage 2 in DoDonPachi DaiOuJou, is much worse. This awkward-appearing, tower-like hovercraft is easily considered more annoying than any other boss in the game besides Hibachi itself, maybe even more than Kouryuu, Hibachi's container, which is fairly difficult itself! Most of the bosses in the game have set patterns to their attacks. Not Byakko, though. It does what it wants to, whenever it wants to, and sometimes for however long it wants to. And if you're unlucky, some of its attacks will mix together into an undodgeable bullet soup that'll wall you in. And this is supposed to be early in the game! Like with Ryuukou, it's worse in the 2nd Loop, where you are possibly guaranteed to be trapped by inescapable clusters of blue and pink bullets.
  • Raiden Fighters Jet's penultimate boss, a large Hover Tank, is a prime example of this sort of boss in a non-danmaku game that uses only bullets for enemy attacks. Every form has absurd amounts of health, it has an attack that leaves very slow bullets on the screen to trap you, and it spews undodgeable (unless you choose a certain tiny ship) attacks should you destroy forms at the wrong time. Did we also mention that if you lose all your lives and use a continue here, you get the Downer Ending?
  • Sin and Punishment's Birth Model. A gross name for a gross enemy. It's basically an enormous pile of eggs, which can shoot at you. Specifically, every individual egg can shoot at you. Good luck!
    • The final boss, which has you defending the ENTIRE Earth from an imitation Earth, which shoots a truly obscene amount of projectiles that you have to shoot right back at it. Fortunately, you're pretty much guaranteed unlimited continues for this fight, since said obscene amount of projectiles are the perfect opportunity to rack up gigantic combos, combined with the fact that said combos will never break, as the projectiles hit the Earth instead of you.
    • Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, Stage 6 endboss. AKA: A Fighting Game segment in a Rail Shooter. If it's any comfort, at least it's a CPU-controlled opponent and not Daigo Umehara.
  • In some versions of Parodius Da!, stage nine (the zombie level) has a mid-boss that IS impossible without powerups. The boss is a series of umbrellas that circle the screen once, before homing it on you. The health they have makes an unpowered shot kill each enemy closer to you than the previous one was, up until one gets you. In the arcade version of the game, there is a space you can use in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
    • That boss is based off of Gradius 3's stage 3 mid-boss. And since the boss after that is That One Boss (At least in the arcade verson), if you get killed by that boss (And you will) you have to fight the mid boss again, and since THAT boss is That One Boss without powerups you have to face TWO That One Bosses in a row.
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles has William Birkin, who wasn't exactly easy to beat in the original games. The second last chapter of the "Memory of a Lost City" stages has you first fighting your way through a level crawling with Giant Moths, Evolved Lickers, and Ivies, the latter two usually coming in packs of 2 or 3, and then facing off against Birkin — not just in his second form, oh no, you're gonna fight forms 2, 3 and 4! And did I mention that this is a sequential fight? As in, you need to face down each form, one after the other, in a single battle? The one mercy is that there's a checkpoint engaged between forms 3 and 4, which doesn't do you much good if you've already run out of ammo for your better guns on forms 2 and 3. The next level has Combat Mode Mr. X and then Birkin 5. Good luck.
    • You will come to hate Alexia Ashford, for more reasons than one. Her first form is easy, but once she evolves, prepare for hell. If her throwing fireballs that need to be shot out of the air isn't enough of a chore, how about tentacles that won't go the fuck away! Oh, she's easy because she's stationary, huh? Well, say hello to form 3; now she can fly, and unless you go through the button prompts, you can't get high enough to use the Linear Launcher without missing her constantly. And did I mention that you need the Linear Launcher to land the final blow on both forms 2 and 3?
    • Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles has the Ivans: twin T-103 Tyrants clad in protective kevlar coats that leave only their heads exposed. You have to shoot them in the head, which becomes exponentially harder with the two of them double-teaming you. Worse yet, the game's most accurate weapons don't do enough damage to really make a difference, while the powerful shotguns and rapid-fire SMGs aren't accurate enough to hit the target consistently. To top it all off, dodging is nearly impossible; to stop them from hitting you, you have to shoot them in the head. Fun, huh?
  • Sigma Star Saga features the Chapter 5 boss, The Ghost of Iot. Although touching him will not damage you (unlike every other enemy in the game... he is a ghost after all), he has a very small hitbox, tons of health, and his attacks come at you from the background. From. The. Background. The most frustrating part is that he knows how to lead his shots, meaning that you have to be constantly weaving around in bizarre patterns to avoid getting killed. The only mercy in this fight is that, unlike most shmups, you are not a One-Hit Point Wonder, and can take a few hits before dying.
  • Cobra is the bane of Silent Scope players. In one path in the first game, he runs around a stadium with the president's daughter on his shoulder. Failing to defeat cobra herenote  will cause the other encounter to occur, in which he is riding in a constantly-weaving car using the president's daughter as a Human Shield, and throwing grenades at you, after which he hijacks a semi and tries to ram you, here you only have a small window to get a headshotnote  before you lose a life. In the second game, he is on a grounded plane swaying back and forth, hiding behind a hanging hostage, and in addition to scrap metal and grenades, throwing hostages at you; the only way to avoid damage here is to get a precise hit while he's picking them up.
  • TaleSpin: Level 5 skyscraper boss is one of these. If you have not done a pricey upgrade to a more durable plane yet, you have 3 hits against a boss who makes it impossible not to take damage. You likely will need some other pricey upgrades to survive this as well. On the lower right of the screen is a stationary target who fires both low and high bouncing balls off the ground. Along the ceiling is a wrecking ball type apparatus that slides across the top, finds you and drops straight down on you. It can stretch about half the length of the screen downward. There is virtually no space for you to consistently avoid both the wrecking ball and the little bouncing balls long enough to get back to the lower left of the screen where you can land shots on the boss. If you can hit the wrecking ball enough times, it can be destroyed, giving you more space to avoid the bouncing balls. However it is not made clear this can be done, and it still takes many hits to the wrecking ball. It is possible to win this fight without destroying the wrecking ball but it is an absolute exercise in frustration to try.
  • Descent: The original version of the 6-degrees-of-freedom first-person shooter has one of these bosses. The Level 7 boss is in the Shareware version of the game, too, which was always available to download for free. This guy is freakishly hard to beat, even by level 7 which requires a great deal of skill development to get to in the first place. By this time you don't have any really powerful weapons - the best you have are homing missiles (the 2nd weakest secondary weapon) and level 4 dual lasers (powerful, but slow moving, primary weapons). He, on the other hand, has rapid-fire smart missiles which are super-fast homers AND launch homing plasma charges upon impact with an inert object. He also happens to have the ability to teleport when he's in danger, and does so every time you hit him with something. You end up flying around, trying to dodge in and out of the caves in the middle, like a madman. Or cowering and hiding until he randomly teleports to you, firing, and ducking back in to a safe area. Ugh.
    • This is more of a Wake Up Boss. Not that you'll fight many more bosses like him (only one more in the full version in the final level) but a relatively simple tactic renders this boss an easy victory every time. The secret? You can fly as fast as homing missiles do. Just keep flying and you can't be hit.
  • The zero-gravity level in Air Buster / Aero Blasters has a nasty Mini-Boss that has halted many games due to the difficulty of dodging its attacks with the floaty controls.
  • Raiden IV's third boss. Three phases, the first two of which are already quite difficult, then it Turns Red and all Bullet Hell breaks loose.
  • In the X-Wing games, Super Star Destroyers tend to be this. Not for the ships themselves, but more for the fact that they tend to be stocked with TIE Defenders!
  • In Bio Ship Paladin, pretty much every even stage's boss is That One Boss, if only at the first time you fight it.
    • The second boss is unpredictable until after you've fought it a few times, and is sure to get off a few cheap kills. In addition, its shots are fast and it rarely exposes its weak point.
    • The fourth boss pops in from the top of the screen and spews a ridiculous shower of lasers downwards, which is much faster than most of the weapons in the game and is very likely to hit you at least once even if you know it's coming. In addition, it moves in a pattern that will pretty much crush you if you don't have enough speed ups.
    • The sixth boss has two forms, and switching to its second form launches a shower of debris that's incredibly difficult to deal with. In addition, it has a pair of arms which make it extremely difficult to maneuver. The worst part? The best weapon to destroy them with is the defensive fire, but if you end up in front of the it only way to stay alive is to be in offensive mode (where you can actually move). Add on a difficult stage and you have a really nasty foe.
  • Super Spy Hunter features the boss of level 4: A long level that features a single narrow road, with patches of frictionless glass and long jumps that are easy to miss in less than 30 second intervals. They throw a boss, which is a moderate size cube only two vilnerable spots, which are two lasers that can one-shot your car even with full health. Once you destroy the lasers, it chases you aggressively, continuously shoots its spread shot at you and can only be hit from exactly straight ahead or behind. Any little deflection of angle and your shots harmlessly impact his invincible spots.
  • Heavy Weapon:
    • Eyebot. It's bad enough that it comes at the end of the level that introduces the infamous Havanski Atomic Bombers. Then it just eats up your few remaining lives with its massive lightning blasts that kill you in one hit. The only saving grace is that its tentacles that shoot the lightning blasts are destructible.
    • Mechworm. Unlike Eyebot whose insta-kill lightning tentacles are destructible, there's no way to greatly ease the difficulty for this one. Touching this dude anywhere is an instant death, the shower of rocks and the bombs its segments drop make it tricky to safely move under its arc (especially in the PC version where you move along with your cursor), and when its health gets low, it gains the ability to pop up under you. Destroy all the segments on its body that drop bombs causes the worm to spam homing missiles instead. On the second fight, it's much longer, the arc it makes is narrower giving you less safe room, it starts popping up under you much earlier and pops out of the ground much faster, and if you don't move as soon as you see the Wormsign under you, you die almost immediately.
    • The Final Boss ("Secret Weapon") is tough even for final boss standards. This thing has three phases. The first phase shoots out lasers from its sides that either go straight down, diagonally, or curve around. Touch any of those and you're dead regardless of shields. The second phase has it spray purple shots while it periodically drops an A-bomb. If that even touches the ground before you shoot it down, you're also toast! The third phase is a Macross Missile Massacre that is the easiest of the three, you can shoot the missiles down and he cannot give you a dreaded One-Hit Kill. Did we also mention that when you die, you lose ALL your nukes which would have made the boss easier? Also, he comes at the end of a hard and extremely long level filled with Demonic Spiders.
  • Space Invaders Extreme 2 features a branching path system, but only five bosses, though each boss gets tougher on a harder path. The Final Boss of the hardest path is RIDICULOUS, becoming the Space Invaders equivalent of Bullet Hell. The final boss is the final boss from the first game, but MUCH larger. The boss has five different phases. The first is a long introductory attack, firing diagonal angling shots and bombs with a blast radius that can also stick onto the floor. The second and third phases alternate afterwards. Here is where you have to start attacking the weak points, which have a TON of health. The second phase is the first attack it used in the first game, but fires even quicker and for a longer period. The third phase spawns giant Mooks with a TON of health. Said Mooks spawn the game's Goddamned Bats to help them out: the enemies with Deflector Shields, which is a pretty good defense. Oh, and while this is happening, the boss and Mooks are firing. Once you beat the first two weak points, the final weak point will arrive and the fourth phase will start. the boss will summon a much smaller version of itself that fires shots that take up quite a bit of your movable area at a time while the main boss fires the angling shots that deflect off of the sides of the screen and the bombs. Once you destroy the small one, the final boss will Turn Red and go COMPLETELY berserk, firing a UFO that leaves behind energy balls that splits into three shots and lasers. While this is going on, you also have to fire at the weak point while doing so. Upon FINALLY defeating it, you can relax... but know that if you lose your all of your lives, you start over at the introductory attack if you're playing the main mode. If you select the level to play by itself, you have to do the whole level over. Have fun.
  • Hellsinker:
    • The Segment 2-Behind boss, Glorious Symbol, is needlessly difficult for an early boss. It loves to move itself into very awkward positions and its patterns are rather difficult for early in the game, not helped by the boss not only having a lot of health but also splitting that health into a lot of individual segments that show up in succession, preventing you from seeing just how much further until you defeat the boss. It is not uncommon for new players to time out the boss, assuming they don't Game Over on it entirely. If you can progress up to Segment 5, you can unlock the "Lead" versions of Segment 1 and 2, with Segment 2 Lead's boss Scarlet Queen being a significantly more fair fight, ensuring you never have to see Glorious Symbol again.
    • The Segment 6 bosses, the Apostles of the Seed, are quite possibly the hardest non-final, non-bonus bosses in the game. Their opener consists of one of them firing bullet spreads at you while the other shoots Homing Lasers, forcing you to move precisely and quickly at the same time. Once this phase is over, the next part consists of various attack patterns that are in a pseudo-random order. One exceptionally deadly attack has one of the Apostles fire a spread at you and a Wave-Motion Gun at the same time, another boxes you in with beams while it fires bullets at you. Sometimes you may get unlucky and one attack leaves you pinned and unable to dodge the next attack! The duo also have a Combination attack in which they spin around the screen rapidly connected by a beam, while spewing out various attacks at you, some of which knock you around rather than trying to kill you outright. Also, killing one of them causes the other to go berserk with an extremely hard attack. And finally, once you do kill the bosses, the stage continues and is harder than ever!
  • RefleX's Area 7 boss and Area 8 bosses don't have particularly fierce attacks compared to the rest of the game's, but what makes them stand out is that while the rest of the game allows you 6 hits and refills your health twice along the way, these two boss battles have NO room for error due to storyline events that give you boosted firepower and an infinite shield at the cost of all spare armor. You must complete the last bosses without getting hit AT ALL; if a single missile reaches you (you can shoot missiles but you can't shield against them) or your shield isn't up when a bullet hits you, GAME OVER.
  • Lightning Fighters/Trigon:
    • The Stage 5 boss fires electrical beams that confine you along with dense waves of bullets that are very difficult to dodge due to the lack of Hitbox Dissonance.
    • The penultimate boss, with its dual flamethrowers that rapidly change direction, has caused many a player to give up their dream of 1cc-ing the game.
  • Judgement Silversword has Mirror Shield REH, who has a lot of health, has some very vicious patterns, and to make matters worse, when it seems like you've killed it, it goes into a second form that shoots out three-bullet spreads and gets faster the more you wear it down. Things go From Bad to Worse in Area 26, when you have to confront Mirror Shield RAH and ROH, who have the same attacks and are fought at the same time!
  • The Final Boss of NAM-1975. When you fight him in his final form, he's piloting a red Humongous Mecha that moves back and forth that shoots out grenades and fires lasers in random directions. What makes this battle hard is that you can't continue at this point. If you lose all your lives, you get an instant Non Standard Game Over.
  • Javi's Dreadnought from Tyrian. It's a multi-stage boss which only has parts of it vulnerable in each stage (and without certain weapons many of them are almost impossible to attack from any reasonable angle), and it spams incredibly deadly attacks from all over the screen. Just when it seems that you've beaten it, however, it leaves the screen and then rushes back in, instantly killing you if you don't know what's coming.
  • Ginga Force:
    • Genzo, the boss of Chapter 5. Aside from spending most of the stage as a "Get Back Here!" Boss and can sometimes surprise you every once in a while, fighting him isn't a walk in the park. His fighter can drill into the wall and can even launch debris at you. They can be shot down, but it's very hard to dodge. And when his health is down, he'll lure you into rocks for you to crash into.
    • Natsuki, the Chapter 7 boss. She spends most of the fight attacking you from behind, occasionally jumping up and attacking before going back down, making her very hard to hit. The best way to defeat her first phase is to have homing missiles equipped, then use it to attack her. And finally, when she does start attacking in front of you, she'll launch shields at you which can't be shot and can be very hard to dodge.
    • The Final Boss, Viridian. His fighter is basically an upgraded version of Tini's fighter, which fires much more bullets and lasers than Tini's. When half of his health is depleted, he starts bombing the entire screen and launches even more lasers, making him the hardest boss in the entire game.
  • The Final Boss of the original arcade version of Guerrilla War is plain unfair. Your target is not the enemy leader running back and forth on the palace rooftop, but rather, the six turrets lined up alongside him. These turrets dish out missiles at an absurd rate, and are only vulnerable to your finite supply of grenades, which is made worse by the fact that the limited range of the grenades forces you to get right next to the building and thus putting you in dangerous range of the trigger-happy turrets. Even if you do manage to find a strategy to retreat back for the turrets to briefly stop firing, safely run in and quickly throw a grenade at a turret and then retreat back, you'll eventually either run out of them or drag the battle out long enough for the 'you-took-too-long' airstrike to trigger and kill you anyway. The fact that the final stage also has no item pickups at all certainly does not help matters either. The NES version alleviates the difficulty of the fight by reducing the rate-of-fire on the turrets and giving you infinite ammo and grenades in general, but makes up for it by adding in a brand new second phase.
  • Indie Bullet Hell Danmaku Unlimited 3 is a really balanced game, until you get to the stage 4 boss. What makes the stage 4 boss special is it introduces yellow barriers that you must move around to avoid getting hit. The final phase is a right ass as it launches the yellow barriers out (and yes running into them blows up your ship) that YOU MUST hide behind, as it spams lasers that cut through everything besides the barriers on top of more bullets being fired that ignore the barriers. Bombs or activating Trance mode won't help much. There is absolutely zero room for error.

Alternative Title(s): Shoot Em Up


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