- Before Shining Force, there was Shining in the Darkness, whose hard-hitting Kaiser Krab gave players their first real challenge.
- Shining Force: The series' poster child for nasty first bosses is the Marionette: it can recover hit points, has Freeze 3 (which can kill up to five units at once), and has more than enough MP to wipe your party out. You need to coordinate your units, or else it'll destroy your troops and be back up to full health before back-up can even get there. If you promote your units too early, this boss is even more difficult. Judicious use of the Power Ring is the key here. Mishaela, much later in the game, serves a similar purpose with her stupidly-large-area Bolt 2.
- Shining Force II
- The Kraken is the only boss that can be fought out-of-order, but is hard enough even when fought as intended. It has eight strong legs, a pair of even stronger arms that can strike units at a distance, and the head itself, which has high HP and a bubble attack that ignores defense. As a sadistic joke, it's resistant to fire but weak to ice, even though Kazin, your only mage at the time, can only cast the former. To make matters worse, you have limited movement and of the two (three if you promoted Kiwi) flying units you can have at this point, Peter is the only one who can consistently and immediately do some damage.
- The boss after that is Taros, an iron giant that can only be harmed by Bowie if he's equipped with the Achilles Sword: players who've made the mistake of leaving Bowie behind during battlesnote will be forced to Level Grind if they wish to continue. Even with a fully-level Bowie, Taros is difficult in his own right: he can take a beating, deliver heavy damage to one unit with regular attacks or multiple targets with Bolt spells, and like every other boss, gets two turns to attack.
- Shining Force III
- The old Vandal from Chapter 3, Scenario 1, which is this game's equivalent to the Marionette. In addition to having a barrier that must first be disabled, he heals 20 HP (out of 120 total) every turn, can make the most out of his Bolt spell with the cramped space he prefers fighting in, and has a morbidly high evasion rate, the only moment in this game (compared to earlier games in the series) where evasion rates are a problem. Justified, as he is specifically identified as a member of one of the most powerful races in the game's universe. The Force even wonders how they managed to kill him, and anticipate how they will stand up against stronger, healthier Vandals.
- Later in Chapter 3 is Spiriel, a general with a very high Counter rate, a high Attack, and a preference for attacking weaker characters, such as Mages or Healers, when given the opportunity. While not as difficult as the above example, she's still powerful and unpredictable, and may be the first boss that actually requires strategy to defeat.
Wake Up Call Boss / Shining Force