It shouldn’t be controversial to anyone for someone to say that fighting games are hard. Most of them take a big time investment to properly learn unique mechanics and combinations. Without that kind of dedication, no one’s going to be able to go pro.
While putting in a lot of effort is great for playing competitively, there is an aspect of fighting games that is often ignored: the single-player story and arcade modes. Within these modes, you’ll find yourself fighting all the characters your chosen game has to offer, and it’ll be capped off with what might just be one of the hardest bosses in video games.
10 M. Bison – Street Fighter 2
It doesn’t really matter which Street Fighter 2 version you’re playing, M. Bison is never an easy opponent to beat. Back in the days of Street Fighter 2, M. Bison could be downright impossible for a lot of people to beat, even with plenty of practice.
The leader of The Shadaloo and master of Psycho Power was capable of sweeping players two rounds in a row without ever getting hit. The sheer speed and strength of his attacks can be hard to handle, especially for a player who has no clue what they’re in for.
9 Mike Tyson – Punch-Out!!
It can be argued that once you know the trick to beating Punch-Out’s Mike Tyson, the entire fight is much easier, but a fight going from impossible to extremely difficult doesn’t really equate to easy. Even getting to him is a rough challenge, but one small mistake against Tyson and it's lights out.
Taking him on without any kind of guide is likely to have you putting literal hours into the fight before you even manage to land a few solid strikes. Mastering the mechanics is basically required to have any hope of beating the champion.
8 Onslaught – Marvel Vs. Capcom
Don’t be fooled by all the people who have been playing Marvel Vs. Capcom for literal decades and can take on Onslaught with any of the game's many characters, the fight is tough. Understanding the boss’s moveset and hitbox is key to seeing any kind of success.
In both phases, Onslaught has extremely damaging moves with huge hitboxes, and once he enters his second phase, he can be a serious challenge to deal any real damage to. It’s a boss fight that demands practice in order to finally overcome the challenge.
7 Azazel – Tekken 6
If you aren’t ready to take on Azazel at the end of Tekken 6, the ancient being is absolutely going to mess you up. A lot has been said about the boss over the years, with one of the most striking comments being just how cheap it can feel to fight it.
If your combo skills aren’t honed enough, you will be obliterated by the giant beast's heavy hits. Without understanding precisely when to block, Azazel might end up combo-stringing you, completely draining your health bar.
6 Shin Akuma – Tekken 7
Depending on who you ask, Shin Akuma might not be the technical final boss of Tekken 7, but as a special final challenge, he far surpasses Kazuya in terms of difficulty. While most people will put up a solid fight against Kazuya on a first attempt, most people will be curb-stomped by Akuma regardless of how good you've gotten with that character you love so much.
All of his attacks hit like a truck, he constantly spams special attacks and making all that worse, what little damage you do slowly regenerates over time. You are forced to press the attack against an enemy that practically begs you to be in his face.
5 Seth – Street Fighter 4
It could be said that the entire game serves as a kind of training to take on Seth, but for most people, as soon as you reach the boss, all of that training goes out the window. In classic final fighting game boss fashion, it’s as if Seth reads all of your inputs (because he probably does).
His moves have no issue keeping you far away from his hitbox while he demolishes your health bar. Even with a ton of practice, beating Seth on the harder difficulties practically requires luck on your part to simply not be spammed to death.
4 Rugal Bernstein – King Of Fighters ‘94
Those who haven’t played King Of Fighters ‘94 have been spared from one of the toughest boss fights in any game. There are so many things that go into making Rugal Bernstein one of the toughest bosses, and the fact that he can essentially beat you in two moves plays into that.
Even worse, perhaps more than many other bosses, Bernstein is capable of, and likely will, block almost every attack you throw at him. Just when you think you have an opening, you’ll simply end up blocked before taking a heavy dose of damage, if you even survive the exchange.
3 Night Terror – Soul Calibur 3
Imagine trying to fight the fashion disaster that is Nightmare on the hardest difficulty of your chosen Soul Calibur game, only Nightmare can move way faster, hit a bigger area, and attack way harder. That’s what you get when you take on Night Terror.
Most people fell to this boss without landing a single hit on their first attempt at the fight. The fight demands patience and knowledge of your chosen character if you even hope to put up a fight.
2 Gill – Street Fighter 3 Third Strike
Gill might just be the most guilty boss in fighting games when it comes to input reading. To a lot of people, taking him on amounts to the cheapest fight in the series, something that some people say isn’t even worth it.
The serious challenge can come from not knowing that Gill can resurrect once you think you have the fight won. A completely refilled health bar can take you by surprise as he prepares to finish what he started moments ago.
1 Shao Kahn – Mortal Kombat 9
You don’t even need to point to Shao Kahn’s final boss fight in Mortal Kombat 9 alone. You have two unique boss fights against him, and both are equally horrific. You fight him once with Liu Kang early in the game, and once with Raiden at the very end.
In both instances, it can feel impossible to take him down. If you don’t luck out and get the computer to taunt repeatedly, you’re probably going to feel the wrath of Kahn and his many glowing hammers. For the final fight, distance is key, but it’s still not a sure path to victory.
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