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That One Boss / Sonic the Hedgehog

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These Sonic bosses will make you pray for Rings.

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    Sonic 1-3, CD, and Knuckles 
  • The Labyrinth Zone boss in Sonic the Hedgehog. Unlike the other bosses, the player must chase Dr. Robotnik through a dangerous, vertical passageway filled with moving spears and fire statues. If the player becomes submerged, there are no air bubbles on the route. Failing to reach the top of the passage, and you're as good as dead — and God help you if you've hit the lamp post before the boss and you die here, because between the lamp post and the boss, there are no rings, just a shield; and you can't backtrack at all past that point. Good luck.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has the Death Egg's back-to-back boss fights: First you have to beat Sonic's doppelganger, Silver Sonic, without any rings to spare. Silver Sonic requires a hell of a lot of memorization in order to dodge his attacks, because unless you know his pattern, you're going to die. The Death Egg Robot follows right after, and defeating the robot requires very good timing (which is even harder when playing as Knuckles due to his poor jump height), dodging very fast attacks, and if you get stuck behind him, consider yourself stumped as you likely will have no room to avoid the subsequent shower of explosives. One single hit will send the player right back to Silver Sonic, which only adds to the aggravation.
  • Barrier Eggman in Wing Fortress Zone is very tricky to defeat. It's a laser gun in the ceiling, too high to hit without using the spiked platforms that move around, fast, in unpredictable paths. The gun is only vulnerable when it opens up. So you have to keep your eyes on the gun and the platforms, or you'll get hit by one or the other. The small arena means it usually only takes a couple of hits before all your rings fall outside the lasers and you can't retrieve them, and you can be also crushed by the platforms if you're underneath them.
  • If you're playing Sonic 2 with Knuckles (through the use of Sonic & Knuckles or in the iOS remaster), the already challenging Flying Eggman in Metropolis Zone becomes this. Due to Knuckles's poor jumping skills, there is no way you can avoid taking damage unless you're Super Knuckles.
  • The boss of Mystic Cave Zone is notable for the checkpoint just prior to it, which renders you unable to collect any rings if you die to it — and just like the aforementioned Labyrinth Zone boss, you can't backtrack into the level again. Good luck dodging the stalactites with no rings.
  • While Sonic CD has pathetically easy bosses, Metal Sonic's race falls under this category. Sonic must race with his robotic clone from start to finish, with several spikes throughout the path, and sections that hamper your speed if stumbled into. Metal Sonic can just plow through the spikes like nobody's business, and if you're ahead of him, he'll create a barrier around himself, and rush forward with breakneck speed, running through you and causing you to lose all your momentum and rings if you aren't paying attention. If he's ahead of you, then his movements slow to a crawl, but he also generates lightning around himself, which will also hurt you. Meanwhile, Robotnik is trailing behind you firing a laser from his craft; if you fall too far behind and touch the laser, you die on the spot. He also accelerates for the duration of the race; if you stop suddenly near the end of the course, there's a very high chance that you'll get zapped by him before you can regain your speed. No pressure or anything!
  • For Sonic 3 & Knuckles, who That One Boss is depends mostly on which character you're playing as.
    • For both Tails and Knuckles, the Energy Ship (Carnival Night) can becomes this; Robotnik drops a large dark green orb, performs an electricity wall attack that sucks in the player, then comes down to pick up the orb — the only window of opportunity to hit him before waiting all over again. It has tendency to take a long time to defeat, right after what's also one of the longest Acts in the game, leading to a lot of deaths when players ran out of time. The worst part is that you really need to be careful where you let Robotnik drop the ball, because if you're careless, there's a chance you might off-screen him, wasting even more time.
    • When playing solo as Tails, the Jet Drill (Marble Garden) is surprisingly tough: Unlike Sonic's version, where Tails is carrying Sonic through the air while you hurl Sonic at Jet Drill, Sonic himself is a no-show, meaning the only way for Tails to damage the boss is to ram at it from underneath with his propeller tails. 50% of Robotnik's movement patterns make this a tall order to say the least. The safe approach is to simply dodge around him until he flies across the screen horizontally, which alleviates the frustration but turns it into a Marathon Boss.
    • For Knuckles, the already challenging Freeze-O-Matic (Ice Cap) becomes harder than for Sonic or Tails: As it is, the machine sprays freezing gas all over itself, and it's really hard to predict its patterns. The worst part is when the machine will retract the platform just after firing the freezing gas to the sides, making the jumps very hard to execute, meaning the attack timing must be dead on or the player will be hit. And during its kamikaze run, Knuckles can't jump over it, so you'll have to land the two last blows fast enough or be killed.
      • The mid-boss of Ice Cap Zone isn't much easier, as you need pixel-perfect timing to be able to hit the boss without being damaged by its shield. If you try to wait and only hit the boss while its shield is down, you'll probably run out of time and die.
    • Outside of the character-specific irritating bosses, the mid-boss of Sandopolis Zone, the Guardian, is a very menacing Puzzle Boss that probably threw many a young player for a loop. What looks like the obvious way to damage it doesn't inflict damage at all, it only attacks by slowly jumping at you, and this is at the end of a fairly long level with the specter of the 10 minute time limit looming. The trick is simply to lure or push it into the quicksand pit to the left, which destroys it instantly.

    Game Gear Games 
  • The Antlion Mecha of Underground Zone from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is almost more infamous than the game itself; You can't damage it on your own, you can only win by dodging the barrage of boulders that come bouncing downhill from the other side of the screen to make it hit the boss. And since you don't get any rings, failing to dodge even one hit kills you.
    • If that just doesn't sound enough "That One Boss"-ish for you, it seems the people who made the game agreed — it was made for the Master System first, then ported to the Game Gear. In the transition, they made the boulders able to bounce downhill at three different speeds selected at random. Yes, that's right — they made it harder on the version with the smaller screen area to see shit in! Guess which version GameCube owners had to deal with?
  • Another Game Gear boss is the Jungle Zone boss of Sonic 1. None of the bosses allow you to have rings as it is, but you're on a tiny rope thing while Robotnik is above you firing cannon balls down, which roll on the rope. You can only hit him with enough height from the edges, but try not to fall into the abyss. Frustratingly, it's quite easy to mistime your jump to the capsule afterwards, and fall into the pit after having beaten him.
  • Sonic Blast has the true final boss, which is an Eggman mech shaped like a cracked egg with two spikes on the top and spikes covering both parts of the shell. To hit him successfully, you have to jump on the lower portion of the egg without getting hit by the spikes on either portion, then hit the top portion that isn't covered by spikes. While you're doing this, and after landing a hit, it shoots fire at you, and for the last few hits the bottom shell moves as you stand on it. You start the battle with 99 rings and can still die.

    Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 
  • Egg Viper from Sonic Adventure, about the only boss in that game to usually present a problem. Toward the end of the fight, Eggman begins destroying sections of your only remaining foothold. That itself is motivation to hurry up, but when you "defeat" the Viper, Eggman goes kamikaze and attempts to drag you down into a very deep hole by crashing into the foothold. Should you have more than one section of platform to stand on by then, just dodge to the side. Should you have nothing to dodge to the side to, well... try harder next time. If that weren't enough, due to how the Homing Attack is programmed you have to delay your attacks to actually hit it.
    • E-101 Mk. II. He can't be damaged until he charges at you, after which his back is vulnerable once he's passed. But when his health starts getting low, he begins to fire oodles of missiles immediately before charging, which can get in the way of targeting the robot itself before your laser disappears, to say nothing of having to dodge said missiles at the same time. Keep in mind that this is timed, like all of E-102's missions.
  • The final Tails vs. Eggman fight in Sonic Adventure 2. Regardless of which one you're playing as, your opponent at various stages of their health will attack with their super attacks from the game's Vs. Mode that you can't use regardless of who you're playing as, including the dreaded Power Laser, which is RIDICULOUSLY hard to dodge as your opponent is constantly turning in your direction while firing it. To top it all off, it's extremely hard to hit them with your blasts and you're much better off just using your standard pea shooter to get in hits; but since your pea shooter and homing missiles are tied to the same button, there's a chance you'll hit the respawning floating green canister in the middle of the arena, which will likely do a ton of damage to you due to being in close proximity of it thanks to chasing your opponent everywhere. To make it matter worse, there are no rings during the battle, and there's no way to refill heath. Win or lose, the outcome of this battle will be decided in seconds.
    • The Egg Golem as Dr. Eggman. With Sonic it was easy, but could be a bit irritating at times; but with Dr. Eggman it's a complete nightmare. The Egg Golem is malfunctioning after his fight with Sonic, and now it moves a lot faster, while you control Dr. Eggman who moves a lot slower and is a much bigger target. The worst part is unlike Sonic who can just pick up rings to survive his attacks, Dr. Eggman has a fixed health amount and can only take a couple of hits before he falls. It only gets harder when you realize that his attacks can easily knock you down to the quicksand pit area with small platforms, and unlike Sonic who can jump to escape the quicksand if need be, Dr. Eggman isn't so lucky and instantly sinks if he touches it. Although it's worth noting that the small platforms are only there in Eggman's version of the fight and are specifically there so he can hover over to them and not worry about sinking in the quicksand.
    • The Biolizard is renowned as the hardest fight in the game due to its attack pattern switching up every few hits, said attacks being as fast as Shadow, the limited amount of rings in the arena, and the length of time it takes to successfully attack it. Trying to get the final hit in is one of the most difficult parts. Shadow is floating in mid-air in a bouncy wave pattern, dodging floating eggs that are individually launched and each trying to hit you (and since you cannot recover rings in mid-air, this means you can only take two hits at most before instant death, which brings you back to the beginning of this long slog), all while attempting to get into the very center of those killer floating eggs to pull off a perfectly timed press of the A button. Too close? Take damage. Too far? Doesn't work. After the final hit is dealt, Shadow falls to a random part of the circular battlefield you're on, and you can't control where he lands, which means that if he falls into one of the small streams leading to a waterfall, you instantly die and have to restart the entire battle again.

    Sonic Advance series 
  • Egg Spider (Ice Mountain) from Sonic Advance when playing as Sonic. Eggman pilots a drill machine which drills the ceiling to make stalactites fall, which you have to ascend to be able to reach him. Trouble is, you're fighting him underwater. And in this game, it doesn't take as long to drown as it did in previous titles, and your movement is significantly slowed down.
    • Even worse is the Egg Snake (Cosmic Angel), which seems to be fairly straightforward on how to defeat it in theory, but becomes highly misleading in practice. You're stuck in a pit, with the boss taking place literally on the ground, a odd platform made up of spheres. Eggman's mech is free to slide around the platform while shooting projectiles that are difficult to dodge, meanwhile there are no rings to collect and any lost rings can easily bounce off the screen. And how is the player supposed to attack Eggman? You have to jump and land on the platforms right near Eggman and flip his mech over to expose his vulnerable cockpit...which thanks to the platform's irritating wonky buoyancy/physics, and Eggman's constantly moving machine, is much harder than it sounds. The worst part of it all is that upon his last hit points, Eggman after being hit darts across the platform, which is nearly impossible to avoid and can finish you off just when you think you might finally have the battle in the bag.
    • The final boss, EGG-X, is frustrating for having some of the least telegraphed attacks out of any Sonic boss. It cycles from a few possible attacks such as a laser, a bomb tosser, and a giant hand. You can only land a hit on it during one of these attacks. However, these attacks are not telegraphed at all, forcing you to react near inhumanly fast if you want to dodge the attack and still manage to land a hit. Even worse, the attacks are random, so you'll never know what attack Eggman will be using next.
  • The Egg Frog in Sonic Advance 2, because it's very fast and it can jump on the ceiling, which makes hitting it even harder without taking damage. However, you can switch between running on the ceiling and the floor at will during this fight by pressing up or down. Think of Gravity Man's boss fight in Mega Man 5, but while you're in Sonic & Knuckles' Jet Mobile-esque battle.
    • Egg Saucer from the same game has got to be a major contender for poster child of this trope. The vehicle is equipped with a laser gun that fires an invisible laser with deadly aim; the major threat is a metal hand that can slap at the player from a distance. While the laser gun can be destroyed, it will also makes the hand (which, naturally, is invincible) become faster and harder to dodge. Because of these two weapons and the constant spinning motion of the machine, the player can only damage Eggman from above. Now then, for the punchline: if the player destroys the laser and is pinned against the floor by the hand's long-range whirling attack, the player will die instantly, even if they have rings. Run out of lives against this mech, and the player will sent back to Act 1 of an already long and frustrating zone.
  • Sonic Advance 3. As opposed to the bosses you can actually hit, the Twinkle Snow Zone boss, Egg Chase, takes a bit of intuition. It's a climbing platform with a wrecking ball that shoots out at you. You can't hit it directly, but you can land on platforms and jump off to make them drop, which will hopefully fall on him to inflict damage. The problem is, if the wrecking ball should intercept you as you're jumping towards a platform, you will likely fall off the bottom and die, unless you can very quickly switch to flight. That requires a team where the lead character can fly on their own, or Knuckles to climb up the walls. The wrecking ball doesn't instantly kill you upon contact, but the knockback means it might as well be a One-Hit Kill.
    • Egg Cube (Toy Kingdom) is nothing to sneeze at either. The cube is a literal jack-in-the-box located on a small platform surrounded by Bottomless Pits. The goal is to hit Eggman when he's exposed, which punts the boss to the right, and ultimately push the box off the cliff. Unfortunately the jack-in-the-box is well-equipped—between Gemerl's two forms as either a giant spiked chain or a rocket and groups of toy soldier badniks tossed out the box; the jack-in-the-box's attacks make it extremely easy for your players to get hit; and like the above example, if you're not careful with your positioning, a well-placed attack by the boss can cause a deadly knockback into the nearby bottomless pit. As if that wasn't enough, the jack-in-the-box is placed very close to the left end of the platform and steadily edges to the edge if you haven't attacked it for long enough. If he reaches the edge (somehow), he speeds across the platform, likely pushing you off. This ultimately leaves the player facing off against a boss that is not only a drag to destroy, but can also make short work of your lives.

    Sonic Heroes 
  • Sonic Heroes has the Robot Storm, which is essentially a mook rush. Not too bad for the most part. Playing it as Team Dark can be incredibly rough though. Firstly, their Team Blast stops time after use for a short period, meaning it just makes you waste more time waiting for the next wave of robots to appear rather than giving you a useful secondary effect (such as invincibility or a shitload of rings, that allows you to build up more Team Blasts). Secondly, they have the worst enemy combinations, such as having you fight three deadly Egg Hammers while magician robots positioned off the platforms siphon all your rings away, or fighting three Egg Hammers, one of which has a helmet. Knockback can also be an issue as all the teams, as it'll send you down the bottomless pit, and there are no checkpoints whatsoever.

    Sonic Rush series 
  • The Dead Line zone boss in Sonic Rush is the Duel Boss fight we've been waiting for all game: Sonic vs. Blaze. However, once you get your opponent (whoever they are) down to their last hit point, you have to try and push them off the other end of the platform to finish them. You do this by tapping the X and Y buttons together (not a comfortable setup, for those without a DS) at an insanely high speed to stop the incredibly strong A.I. from just slamming you off your end, forcing you to start over, and you have to keep it up for however long it takes to knock them off. Depending on how much the balance swings, this can be as long as five minutes of intense button-mashing quite probably far above the abilities of the target audience.
    • Unknown, also known as Point W/F-Zone. It's the game's Final Boss outside of Exception, and it lives up to the position as a gauntlet to get through. Sonic/Blaze square off against Eggman Nega/Eggman, who each pilot the Egg King, a giant titan of a mech armed to the teeth—lasers, magnetic beams, bombs, and giant, heavy arms that can create shockwaves across the ground or be slammed hard enough to cause a One-Hit Kill if the player's unable to dodge it fast enough. So it goes without saying that the Egg King will do everything in its power to make sure you get hit. A lot. And quickly lose the few rings you are provided at the start of the fight. The only way to hit the mech is to briefly stun the arms when the boss is at the side of the stage, upon which you can run up the arm and hit the cockpit as quickly as possible, but you'll have to put with a lot of crap to get to that point every time. It only gets better when the boss decides to cut loose with its attack patterns, upon which they all get either either faster, larger, unpredictable in timing, and/or drawn out in use. At this point, it should come as no surprise that the boss tries to drag the player down with them on its last hit point, so the player will either have to hit the boss at just the right time to destroy it, or die trying.
  • An example from Sonic Rush Adventure is the Ghost Titan. The story mode version is almost as bad, but when you're Sol Emerald hunting in mission mode, the difficulty is ramped up to insane proportions. Ghost Titan has a hefty amount of attacks under its belt, and it can use several of them simultaneously. Many of its attacks are very, very hard to dodge. The most efficient way to damage it is to launch yourself into a cannon and shoot yourself at it, and you must first do this by having the boss attack the cannon's electric barrier enough times (while not getting rammed yourself). Then, you must attack the cannon enough times as it constantly fires across the field. As though that weren't painful enough, dropped rings behave rather strangely in this game: the more you get hit, the farther your rings fly. Get hit enough times and your rings will fly off the screen, rendering it impossible to pick them back up. You can't really conserve on-field rings since all the running and jumping around forces you to collect them, and there are rings high above that you can only reach during a descent after launching yourself in a cannon.

    Shadow the Hedgehog 
  • Egg Breaker from Shadow the Hedgehog shows up in three different places over the story and is predictably easy two of those times (the Iron Jungle battle can even be easily won in about 7 seconds). The Mad Matrix rematch is considered to be the most difficult — the Egg Pawns you're supposed to get ammo from are flooding the stage with rocket launcher explosions, and backing away from Eggman to avoid his melee attacks will cause him to send out bombs.

    Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 
  • Fighting Silver as Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is a nightmare. You don't have much room to maneuver, the camera is completely unhelpful and leaves you to fend for yourself, the only time Silver's vulnerable is when he's about to throw something at you (signified by him saying "How about THIS!"), and if he grabs you with his telekinesis, you're going to die and no amount of rings can save you. This is because he'll throw you a second time as you're reeling from the first attack — Mercy Invincibility doesn't work. Especially brutal if you go into this battle for the first time, not knowing what to expect; you take one step forward and all of a sudden, you're thrown into the air and killed. He collapses in roughly four hits, if you can actually get the chance to do so. Expect to hear "IT'S NO USE!" a lot during his battle. Shadow's version is slightly easier, since you have a little more room to maneuver, and less chance of being stuck in an infinite loop... but it's still tricky as hell. (But at the same time, Shadow's combo attack mechanics make it harder for him to get out of telekinetic-grabbing range in time to avoid being tossed after scoring a hit.)
    • It's possibly unintentional, but in Silver's version of the battle, Sonic is laughably easy to beat.
    • The Egg Genesis as Sonic is reasonably fun by this game's standards, but as Silver, it's infuriating because you're supposed to shoot projectiles at the base, only the camera is terrible and you can often lose sight of Silver himself. This also messes up your aim.
  • The fight with Iblis in Flame Core isn't necessarily hard, but it's a brutally long fight with slow attack patterns and a limited window in which you can land a hit.

    Sonic Unleashed 
  • The final boss of Sonic Unleashed (Dark Gaia) will cause a ceaseless stream of profanities for anyone unfamiliar with it. A rundown of the Wii/PS2 version:
    • The last phase (with Super Sonic) can be brutal — rings can sometimes be hard to find, the game gives little to no indication as to how to lock on to an eye (and once you do, you have lots of meteors to contend with), and Perfect Dark Gaia's attacks can be hard to avoid even if you know where it's going to hit. It's nearly impossible unless you use the Gamecube Controller.
    • The PS3/360 version of the fight takes the frustration past eleven and possibly to twenty.
      • For half the time in the first phase, you must fly over to the boss as the Gaia Colossus, while dodging fireballs, and complete a series of QTE's to proceed. After throwing a series of giant fireballs (which are hard to avoid thanks to sluggish controls), the boss will unleash an unavoidable beam which, if you didn't hit "guard" in time, will take a significant chunk of your health away. In other words, this is a Damage-Sponge Boss in reverse. For the first two runs, they're manageable; for the third and final flythrough, good luck resisting the urge to throw your controller out the window.
      • The other half of the time, you must run through the Gaia Colossus as Sonic to the end of a tricky obstacle course and complete a small sequence of QTE's, as in the WiiS2 version. Unlike the PSWii version, however, you are timed. If you don't make it to the end in time, you die and have to start over from the beginning of the section.
      • The final phase of the battle requires you, as Super Sonic, to destroy seven barrier-emitting tentacles of Perfect Dark Gaia, while the Gaia Colossus distracts it. Though Super Sonic has a health bar, the Gaia Colossus has one as well, and it serves as a timer constantly ticking down to failure and a restart. After the shield's destroyed, you must defeat the boss with a very long sequence of QTE's, the last of which requires you to mash the X button 60 times in 10 seconds. This is not an exaggeration.
      • On the 360 version, you need to mash the left and right bumpers all the same. Those buttons were not made for mashing!
      • If you happen to run out of lives anywhere in any of the above sequences and get a Game Over, you have to go back and re-fight Egg Dragoon, an easy but tedious boss, before you can reach the final boss again. Even worse is that this gauntlet comes after the horrors that Eggmanland visited upon your life counter, and if you hit Game Over, back to the beginning!

    Sonic the Hedgehog 4 
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, the Death Egg Robot from Sonic 2 is brought back as the final boss. This time, however, the mech has two phases, and with much more hit points. The mech's second phase is barely open to attack, and requires a ridiculous amount of work from the player for it to be actually brought down to a damageable state (which only lasts a few crucial seconds). It also in this move sprints forward from one end of the room to another, which is nearly unavoidable unless the player performs a very well-timed spindash underneath the mech when it's moving. And finally, on its last hit, the machine pulls an Egg Viper: it will fly up and crash down on the player as a last resort, which creates a subsequent shockwave on the ground, and ultimately results in the space station's collapse. The player will have to entirely dodge the last attack and hit the boss's head within a few seconds before the whole thing comes crashing down. Anything less and the player have to redo the fight from the start. It doesn't help either that one of the achievements means completing E.G.G Station Zone (which is a boss rush level, with all of the bosses in their second attack modes) without being hit once.
    • This same game has the Lost Labyrinth Zone boss. Not only is its first phase a rehash of the Labyrinth Zone boss from Sonic 1 (you have to follow it up a shaft filled with traps, with the rising water hot on your heels), but its pinch mode consists of Sonic being closed between two walls with Eggman, who attacks by routinely floating to a particular spot at the top as groups of pillars close in and smash together, filling up every inch of the screen, except for Eggman's immediate vicinity, and Sonic must hurry to that same spot to score a hit, or be crushed to death instantly. This attack sequence is unfairly difficult to even predict, let alone dodge.

    Sonic Generations 
  • Sonic Generations has two bosses: The Egg Dragoon and Time Eater.
    • The Egg Dragoon is a Modern Eggman invention capable of matching or beating Sonic's top running speed. It is armed with several weapons, including freeze and heat rays, homing missiles whose explosions can still hurt you after you dodged them, plus in a 2D shift, a crushing attack you have to wall jump up while dodging freezing shots to do a homing attack on Eggman. As if this wasn't bad enough, damage him enough and he'll start launching several of these attacks simultaneously, making it very difficult to get through unscathed. There is one phase where you are falling and must boost your way down while dodging missiles.
    • The Time Eater, on the other hand, has four attacks, none of which are very effective. The trouble is even with Super Sonic boosting, it can be very hard to hit this boss the four times required to defeat it. There's lots of debris and the Sonic you send ahead to blast away the debris isn't very accurate. On top of this, rings become very hard to see in time and while boosting can draw rings your way, it's a matter of timing and proximity. In short, by the time you get the third hit in, you might be seriously hurting for enough rings to sustain you for the "sure" final blow against the boss. Then there's the achievement for beating it without getting hit.

     Sonic Lost World 
  • For the most part, Sonic Lost World has pitifully easy bosses... and then you get to fight Zavok. The first fight with him is easy, but can be fustrating if you don't know you can land on the square platforms when the reticule for homing attacking breaks your chain. The second fight is a major case of Guide Dang It! — in the third phase, you have to make the homing attack lock on to him several times in order to knock him off the edge — anything less, he blocks. The third fight in Lava Mountain Zone 3 is probably the worst — he grows to a giant size and chases Sonic up the tower while destroying all the platforms he comes across. You have to bounce onto red blocks scattered around the climb to hurt him. Problem is, he takes a lot of them before he keels over, and the climb has a top, so if you haven't beaten him by the time you get to the top, you will die.

    Sonic Mania 
  • The Heavy Gunner boss in Studiopolis Act 1, which has gotten a fair amount of critique as one of the more offensively difficult bosses in the game, despite being in the third zone. An auto-scrolling boss fight where the Heavy Gunner fires missiles at the player, the player is supposed to dodge the red missiles that can hurt you, while landing on the blue missiles that can ricochet back into the Heavy Gunner. It's borderline impossible to do either of the two, however, thanks to a metric ton of inertia at play when you jump; ring recovery is also hardly achievable as well for the same reasons. Not helping matters is that the red missiles are notably faster than the blue missiles, so it's rather common to try jumping on a blue missile, only for a red missile to get in the way at the last second.

    What really makes this boss frustrating however is players are just as likely to die by merely losing to the clock instead—the Heavy Gunner boss only takes four hits to defeat, but the Heavy Gunner takes about ten-fifteen seconds to shoot his rounds of missiles; and every time you hit him, the boss flees and you have to run through a segment in order to re-collect some rings before he returns. As a result, each attempt to attack him can take up an entire minute in game time...and in a game that has quite a handful of pretty lengthy stages to get through, this is far from ideal. Thankfully, this element was partially addressed by the patch released in summer 2018, which adds an option to turn off the timer and sets it as the default. While it doesn't change the Heavy Gunner from being a Marathon Boss, the option to remove the time limit takes the pressure off quite a bit.
  • Mega Octus in Oil Ocean Act 2. The boss is surrounded by lots of oil with rising platforms and has multiple tentacles that need to be destroyed. Those said tentacles also fire little balls of energy which are hard to dodge. Good luck recollecting fallen rings as well as they will sink down to the bottom of the oil quite quickly where a death pit awaits. Also, if you lose all your lives and get a Game Over, it's back to Act 1 of Oil Ocean as well; which is a tricky zone in itself.
  • The Spider Mobile boss from Flying Battery Act 2 is considered one of the hardest bosses of the game, and not without good reason. It can't be damaged by normal means, so you'll need to hit the boss's giant bumper body into groups of spikes on the wall, which is normally done with the spinning poles that appear earlier in the zone. The boss is constantly shimmying up and down the screen, it can shoot electricity beams, and the fight takes place in an vertical auto-scrolling elevator platform (meaning the aforementioned poles and spikes show up just as fast as they disappear from the screen). Needless to say, your platforming skills better be polished to a sheen to avoid mistakes. And you will feel any mistakes you have made in the process—missing your target when jumping from the poles typically results in the player simply flying headlong into the walls of spikes, and whether you have any rings or a shield on hand will be the difference between continuing with less protection or losing a life altogether (and due to the auto-scrolling nature, it's also not uncommon to be flung under the descending spikes and be crushed to death). Just like with the Heavy Gunner example, it's also notable for appearing earlier in the game (fourth zone) and dragging long enough to invoke a Time Over against the player until the aforementioned 2018 patch was released.
  • Crimson Eye is quite possibly the toughest mini boss in the entire game. The first phase has you try and attack him while dodging his massive shield of balls. However, this shield is incredibly difficult to avoid, and every time you land a hit on Crimson Eye, one of the balls will explode causing projectiles to fly all over the screen. The second phase is easier, but its much more time-consuming, as the opportunity in which you can hit Crimson Eye is incredibly slim, turning this boss into a Marathon Boss for an already long and time-consuming level.

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