While I’m no Seth Killian or Daigo, I like to amuse myself with the thought that I’m at least halfway competent in the fighting game genre. From dabbling in Street Fighter IV to full on obsessing over Mortal Kombat and Tekken 5, I’ve tried to become well-rounded in this space even if it means not liking every loaf of bread in the bakery. Despite differences in region or time period, they almost always have one thing in common: a cheap, rage-inducing final boss fight. Rules are broken, conventions are tossed out of the arcade, and, if the time period corresponds, quarters are lost when it comes to that broken tenth fight. So why are these encounters so busted? Easy. Money. Well, quarters anyway. So who are these assholes causing us all the grief? Let’s take a gander at a couple of these jerks.
Note: This won’t include every painful last boss, just the ones in the fighting games I’ve played.
Azazel – Tekken 6
Tekken 6 had its fair share of issues outside of the actual brawling, so it didn’t need a terrible last fight stacked on top of that. But lo and behold, we got one. This stupid pink son of a bitch broke a few key rules that resulted in his fight being a complete headache. Simultaneously blocking and attacking, appearing out of nowhere, and having unorthodox attacks threw strategy to the sidelines while you tried to come up with some cheap way to deplete his life bar to nothing. Playing cheap shouldn’t be a moral issue, as he seems to do it without a guilty conscience.
Seth – Street Fighter IV
I was exclusively a Tekken 3 kid growing up, so adjusting to Street Fighter IV‘s mechanics took extra time. Warm welcomes aren’t a ritual in the Street Fighter IV universe as evidenced by my many, many losses I endured in the Arcade Ladder. After an embarassing amount of time, I finally made it to Seth. What a lame name, right? I’ll admit to being terrible at Street Fighter IV, but there’s only so much of this I can place on my skill level. He wiped the floor with me for over an hour straight with little avail by me. I was lucky to land a few hits on him even on the easiest setting. His AI was so far beyond the set difficulty level that it felt impossible to settle in. I blame this traumatic encounter for my failure to grasp Street Fighter IV.
Akuma/Ogre – Street Fighter X Tekken
…But I didn’t stop there. Hoping I’d at least have a tiny head start because of Tekken half of the title, I tried Street Fighter X Tekken. The Arcade Ladder felt appropriately difficult, but doable to the point where I felt I could actually understand this game. Aspirations were crushed when I made it to the final fight against Akuma. If all the other opponents had their difficulty at ten, he had his at fifty. Round after round, Akuma just completely destroyed me on a whole other level, one that made me sour on the game as a whole. Ogre didn’t go any softer because he was too busy using my face to mop the ground… on Normal. Capcom, if I wanted to play on Hard, then I would have played on Hard.
Bloody Marie – Skullgirls
Being so innocent looking and young doesn’t exempt her from being a complete bitch to fight. Instead of just excusing herself from the rules (which, don’t worry, she does), Bloody Marie just… floats there. She dishes out attacks without any sort of frequency or tells, leaving the fight to a crap shoot of what projectiles or move she’ll use next. Even if she wasn’t overpowered, she just isn’t any fun to fight. She was a training dummy with the soul of Satan inside of her.
Galactus – Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Speaking of some chump that barely moves, Galactus from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 comes straight to mind. Similarly to Street Fighter IV (I even borrowed both from the same person), I tried to jump into this iteration after having no prior experience. Unlike Seth, Galactus wasn’t much for destroying my health bar without mercy… he just wasn’t any fun to fight. Statically standing in the abyss of space and nearly filling the entire screen, he’d just sit back and take my poorly executed attack strings, retaliating every so once in a while when he felt like it. It would have been cheaper for Capcom to just put a pink skyscraper in space for me to throw Hadokens at.
Shao Kahn – Mortal Kombat
While he’s been plaguing the Mortal Kombat franchise since its inception, he only recently came into my life with this past release. Unblockable attacks, an extremely powerful X-Ray, an extended health bar, and the power to shrug off attacks made going toe to toe with King Asshole the most grating, unfair part in the entire game. He’ll break your neck, headbutt you, insult you, and I bet he didn’t pay his child support for Kitana. Shao Kahn is a true monster.
Goro/Kintaro – Mortal Kombat
Since we’re on the Mortal Kombat train right now, I might as well bring up these two buffoons. Serving as the penultimate fight before Shao Kahn, these interchangeable four-armed abominations make sure to use these extra appendages to bend the rules if you happen to be juggling them around like the bastards they are. They’ve got all the same imbalances that Shao Kahn has, so despising one entitles you to despising the other two as well. But let’s look past their cheap fighting styles and just analyze their look for a bit. One looks like a four-armed Tony the Tiger and the other is eerily similar to a deformed redneck with a terrible ponytail/mullet. Maybe we should pity them.
So are there any good ones?
Yes, but less than a handful. Tekken 3, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and Tekken 5 all have fair, but challenging final encounters. Ogre, Unknown, and Jinpachi (respectively) all fight within the realm of the rules, but have stronger AI to make them feel like climactic final conflict. To demonstrate the balance these bosses have received, you can play as all of the Tekken bosses like normal characters.
I know I’ve missed some, but I could be here all day listing off horrible boss fights in fighting games. These were in my personal list, so who would be in yours? Let me know!