Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Top 50 Most Memorable Final Fantasy Bosses: #10 to #1 (+more!)

Hi again and welcome to the final part of my 5 part series celebrating some of the most amazing bosses of the Final Fantasy series. This is a biased list and what I think are the most memorable bosses in the entire series. We’ve already counted down from #50 to #11, so if you’ve missed them click here for #50 to #41, here for #40 to #31, here for #30 to #21, and here for #20 to #11.

As explained before this list deals with spoilers, so if you’re not too familiar with the series and don’t want anything spoiled, I’d suggest you look no further. Without any further delay here’s my Top 10 Most Memorable Final Fantasy Bosses!
#10 – Hojo
Game: Final Fantasy VII
Other names: Helletic Hojo, Heretic Hojo, Lifeform-Hojo N, Lifeform Hojo
When do you fight them: The last boss of Disc 2 (of 3)
Location: Sector 8
HP: 69,000
Difficulty: 6

Note: The HP above is the total HP for all three of Hojo’s forms put together, separate they are 13,000HP for his original form, 26,000HP for Helletic Hojo and then 30,000HP for Lifeform Hojo.

So we start the Top 10 with the epic battle with Hojo. The fight itself is actually relatively easy, none of his forms should give you too much trouble. He doesn’t hit that hard and while he does use a lot of status ailments, they can be easily cured. Helletic Hojo is probably the hardest form because his arm swipe can waste some damage if you’re not careful, otherwise he’s surprisingly easy.

This boss is memorable for two reasons. Firstly, Hojo himself as a character. You’ve spent the good part of two discs wanting to kick Hojo’s ass, for kidnapping Red XIII and Aerith, considering the idea of breeding them because they’re the last of their respective species, and then ultimately being responsible for experimenting on Vincent, Cloud and Zack and creating Sephiroth to being the monster he currently is. For a lot of people he’s the true villain of FF7 because he’s responsible for so much disaster in the game. So when you finally get your hands on him, you know you’re going to give him a brutal beating.

The other reason is the transformations of Hojo. Now, if you, like a lot of people including myself, played FF7 first, then seeing Hojo transform into different forms was probably the first time you’ve seen it happen in a Final Fantasy game. Some of the greatest Final Fantasy bosses mutate and transform into different shapes and Hojo’s are no different. But what is special about Hojo’s transformations are just how different they are to one another. Lifeform Hojo, the final form, looks so sinister, you’d creep out so much if you saw that in real life with his long tail, no legs and white face. But for me it’s Helletic Hojo that’s the most memorable, he’s absolutely fuck ugly (mind my language), possibly one of the most disgustingly grotesque monsters in Final Fantasy history, that will look gloriously horrifying when fully rendered in the remake. Hojo’s experiments are inhumane, but at least he saved the most horrible looking experiment for last, on himself.
#9 – Diablos
Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Completely optional, any time from early on in Disc 1 throughout the game, including Disc 4 (of 4)
Location: Inside a magical lamp
HP: 80,800
Difficulty: 8
Note: All enemies on FF8 have varying stats depending on what level you are. For the sake of this listing I’ll be putting down the maximum HP that the boss can have.

Diablos is definitely one of the most memorable boss fights in Final Fantasy history. He looks tough, he is tough and, even though he’s optional, chances are if you’ve played FF8 you’ve been against this guy and he’s kicked your ass.

Because you can go against him at virtually any point in the game, his HP is dramatically different at different times. His lowest HP is actually 1,600, less than 50 times his maximum. But no matter when you go against him, he’s such a tough guy to beat. It’s mainly because he uses gravity attacks and he has a strong physical attack. He’s fast too so he’ll use Gravija, which reduces all your characters HP to a quarter, and can then attack you not long after, KO-ing one of your party relatively easy. What makes the fight even harder is that he’s one of only 11 enemies that you can stock Demi from, and he’s certainly the earliest point in which you can get it. So while you’re trying to chip his HP down to defeat him, you also want to stock as many as you can from him. Diablos is a badass GF, is as tough as nails and is one of the coolest and most difficult bosses in FF8, for sure.

#8 – Yunalesca

Game: Final Fantasy X
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Approaching the end of the game
Location: Zanarkand Dome
HP: 132,000
Difficulty: 7
Note: The total HP above is all three forms of Yunalesca put together, her original form has 24,000HP, her second form has 48,000HP and her last form has 60,000HP. She’s difficult to defeat but shouldn’t give you too much trouble, providing you can deal with her status ailments and not let them overcome you.

So two entries ago I mentioned that Hojo was probably the first monster transformations Final Fantasy fans had seen. But for me, Yunalesca’s transformations are insane, certainly some of the best in the whole series. Going against Yunalesca on her own in her normal form is fun, but you just know that’s not how it’s going to end. So in her second form she develops a large purple veil which extends behind her into the ground. It looks like purple flesh actually. She also has snake-like creatures come out and bite your party from behind. 

But it’s her final form that’s the most insane. You realise that those snake-like creatures that have been biting you are actually her hair. And that purple flesh is actually the neck of a far larger, more grotesque Yunalesca. The final battle is basically a massive face of a deformed Yunalesca. It’s pretty fucked up but it looks amazing.

What I love the most about Yunalesca’s transformations is that it’s all one monster. Most transformations in the games usually depend on “killing off” the first or second parts, before the next one appears, or it depends on a sequence like an FMV or it “loads” like a second boss battle. Yunalesca’s transformations are not only done in sequence, but parts of her don’t “die off”, the original Yunalesca ends up riding the back of the large monstrous neck of the large Yunalesca face in the front. It’s hard to explain but it’s definitely worth seeing if you’ve not seen it before, it’s insane!

#7 – Demon’s Gate

Game: Final Fantasy VII
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Around two thirds of the way through Disc 1 (of 3)
Location: Temple of the Ancients
HP: 10,000
Difficulty: 8
What. A. Bastard. In terms of what boss battles frustrate me the most, this guy is very high on the list. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, there are countless FF fans that stumble on Demon’s Gate and probably have raged quit too. In terms of mandatory boss battles I believe (although I haven’t fully researched) he’s the first boss in FF7 to break the five digit HP threshold (I know Godo does too, but he’s optional), I certainly remember seeing his HP as a kid and going “oh shit, here we go!”. It’s not just his high HP that gets you though. It’s his ridiculously high Magic Defense. Virtually all your magic attacks are worthless in this battle. Some of your higher summons are worth using – and Bahamut is a MUST! If you didn’t pick up Bahamut from where you went against the Red Dragon then that makes this battle so much harder. Otherwise, it’s actually best to hit him with physical attacks – but there’s a snag in that plan too. His attacks are so strong and so physical it’s highly recommended that you put your characters in the back row. Chances are his Falling Rock attack will instantly KO any party member without Barrier and not in the back row. In a nutshell this is a seriously strong test for any amateur Final Fantasy fan, and even the people who have played through many FF games struggle with him, he’s just a total bastard!

#6 – Tantarian

Game: Final Fantasy IX
Other names: Dantalion
When do you fight him: Completely optional, two opportunities to fight him, one is around halfway through Disc 2, the other is towards the start of Disc 3 (of 4)
Location: Alexandria Castle
HP: 21,997
Difficulty: 8
Speaking of bastards, here’s another one! Tantarian is completely optional, but certainly memorable. I’ve gotten Game Over many many times to this guy because he’s just so tough. You have only two opportunities to fight him and he’s super tough the second time you can go against him, never mind the first time! I’ve never beaten him on the first attempt, you’re so much weaker on Disc 2 and not only that, but you’re in the middle of a 30 minute time limit to rescue Dagger, and you’re about to take on Zorn and Thorn in that time too! So unless you want the feeling of accomplishment of doing it on Disc 2, definitely take him on at the second opportunity.

What makes Tantarian so different from, well, probably every other boss battle in Final Fantasy history is the fact that you have to find him, hidden inside of a large book. You attack the book and he lands on different pages, and unless he lands on a certain select few pages he’ll be hidden from being attacked. When he’s hidden, he’s stupidly strong and you can barely cause any damage. When he’s revealed, he’s exposed and is vulnerable to good damage from your party, whilst only being able to use Poison you. After a few turns he hides again.

He’s mainly on this list because, as I stated, he’s an absolute bastard. His main attack is Paper Storm and it can cripple your party’s HP. Recovering from that attack alone sets you back, because your target is to hit Tantarian as often as possible (even if the attacks don’t waste much health) so that he gets found as quickly as possible. When he’s found, you just destroy him with as much damage as possible, preferably magic spells and Fire because he’s week against it. And rinse and repeat. But he’s a tough little bastard and trying to deal with him and making sure you don’t lose is a heavy task indeed.

#5 – X-ATM092

Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Other names: Black Widow, X-ATM082
When do you fight him: Very early on in the game on Disc 1 (of 4)
Location: Dollet
HP: 5,872
Difficulty: 7
Note: All enemies on FF8 have varying stats depending on what level you are. For the sake of this listing I’ll be putting down the maximum HP that the boss can have.
I was going to knock him down to 6/10 for difficulty but if you’re actually trying to defeat him, then the battle is long and a little difficult so I thought 7/10 is fair.

Ah, X-ATM092. What a true bastard you are. I actually love this battle. It’s so much fun running away from this beast of a machine. The fact that it’s so tenacious makes your adrenaline pump, the music helps too.

I, have never defeated X-ATM092. I’ve always wanted to try but just couldn’t be bothered, whenever I’ve decided to play FF8. I always end up running away from him, and usually can avoid getting caught up apart from on that damn bridge. It’s just a really fun segment of the game, incredibly memorable, hell if you’ve not gone against X-ATM092 you can’t really say you’ve played FF8!

#4 – Midgar Zolom

Game: Final Fantasy VII
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Completely optional, any time at around a third of the way through Disc 1 (of 3) onwards
Location: Grasslands Area of World Map
HP: 4,000
Difficulty: 8
I know I’ve said it so often but, what a bastard! Midgar Zolom may be completely optional but I bet you any money you gave him a go didn’t you?? Some of you succeeded and some of you failed, but you all wanted to see what the big deal was about going against the massive snake in the marshlands!

Of course you can go against him at any point in the game and going against him towards the end of Disc 1 onwards means he’s relatively easy. But his difficulty rating of 8/10 stems from if you actually choose to go against him when you first can on your first run through that part of the game. And I always do go against him, so I can get the Enemy Skill “Beta”, and he’s the only enemy in the whole game that knows the move, not to mention learning “Beta” that early in the game makes it the strongest move available by some distance at that point.

I’m sure you already know but there are three ways to avoid going against the Midgar Zolom if you choose not to. The first is to catch a chocobo at the nearby Chocobo Ranch, and cross the marshland with ease that way. The second way is to time your run across the marshland to perfection, thus avoiding the Midgar Zolom on foot. Or the third option is to take advantage of the save glitch, which is to time your run relatively well, get around halfway across the marshland and save your game. Reset the game and the Midgar Zolom is very far away, and just run the rest of the distance.

But if you do fight him, this is how it goes down. There’s three stages to going against the Midgar Zolom, the first is when he’s crouching and he bites you. His attacks can easily KO any member of your team so it’s best to put everyone in the back row. If you can survive this part then when he loses around 1000HP he extends and leans on his tail. You realise there and then how huge he really is. This part is very similar to the first, apart from he can also knock off party members from the screen, meaning you have to fight with two, or even one, member of your party. When he goes down to around 1500HP he will counter attack with a single use of “Beta”, which deals HUGE fire damage to all your party. This attack at this part of the game is so hard to overcome, so you have to have at least one member of your time have Fire and Elemental material on their armour, and to have enough HP to deal with that attack. If you want to learn “Beta” that party member also needs to have the Enemy Skill material. At that part of the game chances are your other characters just won’t survive “Beta”, and if this individual party member does, you have to quickly either finish off the Midgar Zolom or revive party members who got knocked out, if they’re still on the field! Midgar Zolom is an unforgettable boss battle, completely optional but is practically legendary among the great boss battles of Final Fantasy, or at least, I think so.

#3 – Beatrix
Game: Final Fantasy IX
Other names: General Beatrix
When do you fight him: Three times, she’s the last boss on Disc 1, then you go against her twice again in the first third of Disc 2 (of 4)
Location: Firstly in Burmecia, secondly in Cleyra and lastly in Alexandria
HP: 5,709
Difficulty: 8

Note: You go against her three times, and her health is different each time. Above is the highest her health gets to, which is the last time you go against her.
If you’ve followed my work on this website before you know how besotted I am with Beatrix. She’s beautiful and strong and is royal and just magical. If only… ahem! Anyway. Beatrix is a beautiful bastard! Yes even though I love her she’s also incredibly tough to deal with, and that’s not once, but all three times. Every battle is practically the same and depending on how strong your characters are, these battles can either be a battle to survive or a battle to Steal as many items from her as you can. There’s just no point in attacking her because she’s practically invincible, or at least, defeating her makes her take your party out regardless. She has a very high HP in every encounter so taking her down is a task even if you wanted to, but as I said it’s pointless. So just concentrate on stealing and surviving.

But surviving is so tough. All her attacks deal significant damage, most of her attacks can KO any member at one time and she’s fast too. So Phoenix Downs, Potions, Hi-Potions and Stealing are what you need to do. Because the battles are timed chances are you won’t be able to steal all the items off her anyway, because they’re hard to get anyway. I think in all the times I’ve gone against Beatrix over the years, I’ve only managed to Steal everything once. And that’s probably a good 20-30 times I’ve gone against her over the years.

Final Fantasy IX isn’t as popular as VI, VII, VIII and X so Beatrix isn’t as popular as many other bosses. But I can reassure you, that Beatrix among FF9 fans is a very popular character and her boss battles are very well thought of. I love her, and even if she kicks my ass every time, I love battling her.

#2 – Kefka

Game: Final Fantasy VI
Other names: None
When do you fight him: Technically you go against Kefka six times over the course of the game, but as actual proper battles go only twice, firstly around a third of the way through the game, then he’s the final boss of the whole game
Location: Narshe, Kefka’s Tower
HP: 62,000
Difficulty: 7
Note: As stated above you technically go against him twice, and his health is different each time. Above is the highest his health gets to, which is the last time you go against him.

I only just found out at the time of writing this that the battle beforehand is actually not Kefka, all of those parts of the god-like structure are actually the Warring Triad, who have pledged their allegiance to Kefka who has ascented into Godhood. I actually thought they were all parts of Kefka, and then at the top you just go against him as the final boss. But nope, when exploring Kefka’s Tower you go against the Warring Triad individually, then go against them all together as a huge structure which is called “The Statue of the Gods” before taking on Kefka at the end.

Anyway, yes. Kefka. I placed him at #1 in my Top 50 Favourite Final Fantasy Characters. As a character he’s incredible, funny and as deliciously evil as villains come. And his boss battle is up there with the best. As stated before, you have to go through The Statue of the Gods before you can even get to him, and that’s a task in itself. Going against Kefka is also a heck of a battle, but if you’ve beatin The Statue of the Gods beforehand you should be able to finish the job with Kefka.

What makes this battle legendary is the theme song “Dancing Mad”. Actually “Dancing Mad” is played in four parts throughout the final boss. Each part of the Statue of the Gods gets its own part of the song “Dancing Mad”, and the finale of the song is when you go against Kefka. Still, it’s an incredible piece of music and it really gets you pumping to take down Kefka. Hearing his legendary laugh mid-track once in a while is a brilliant touch as well.

Kefka looks incredible in his final form, as a god, he looks just awful but not quite deformed. I’ve always wanted to collect the Final Fantasy Master Creature figurines, and Kefka’s figure looks INSANE. Check them out if you get a chance!

#1 – Sephiroth

Game: Final Fantasy VII
Other names: Bizarro∙Sephiroth, Safer∙Sephiroth
When do you fight him: You go against him three times, all after each other as the final boss of the game, although the last battle is technically a scripted one
Location: Northern Crater
HP: 580,001
Difficulty: 8
Note: Because each battle is one after the other, I’ve decided to put all his HP together. Both Bizarro∙Sephiroth and Safer∙Sephiroth can vary in HP depending on a gazillion factors (that I’m not going to go into), so above is the maximum HP they can both have, and the single 1 HP the final battle has.

Let’s be honest, was the result ever in doubt? As soon as I announced this list I reckon you knew what no1 would be. And while it’s obvious, it also needs to be stated and addressed because it’s so worthy of the accolade as “best Final Fantasy boss ever”. There aren’t many Final Fantasy fans that would disagree, and that’s regardless of FF7 being their favourite or not. I’ve seen adults fight Sephiroth for the first time getting pumped up, never mind what the feeling was as a teenager or as a kid if you played that early on in your life.

Like a lot of people, Sephiroth was my first Final Fantasy final boss. Clearly this makes me attach to it fondly but it’s not just that. Everything about this fight is practically perfect. You’ve been wanting to get your hands on Sephiroth for the whole game, and you don’t get even a legitimate sniff until right at the end. And even then, you go against Bizarro∙Sephiroth. You’re like, “wow, he looks insane”. Even going against Bizarro∙Sephiroth is epic. He looks ungodly and can, if you let him, do some damage to the party. But to be fair, Bizarro∙Sephiroth isn’t that tough. If there was any doubt that this wasn’t Sephiroth’s final form then your instincts were right. I can’t remember if I felt that way or not.

But then, you have Safer∙Sephiroth. Before you even see him you hear “One Winged Angel”, arguably the most famous track in the entire Final Fantasy series. If you’ve not heard “One Winged Angel” then it’s a modern day orchestral masterpiece. With a spiralling purple background behind him, Safer∙Sephiroth extends his arms, welcoming your party to his realm. His form is incredible, all his limbs are replaced with white cloud-like feathers, and he has a single black wing on his right arm. He just looks majestic.

He hits like a bitch too, all his attacks can cripple your party. Moves like Pale Horse, Shadow Flare and his wing attack can all land massive damage on you. He casts barriers on himself too. Luckily there’s a pattern to his moveset so you can predict what he’s using and when. I actually think this adds to the grandeur of the battle, because even though you know what’s coming, each move is so splendidly dangerous and you dread what comes next.

And then there’s Super Nova. Never in the Final Fantasy series has a boss had a move that takes over 2 minutes to prepare. I can’t think even in modern Final Fantasy games has it happened. I’d describe it to you but it’s best to see it for yourself. It puts your party in multiple status ailments and cripples your party’s HP, wasting 15/16 quarters of it. Thankfully it can never wipe your party out.

The battle against Sephiroth is long and super tough and if you survive it, the feeling you get is just amazing. It’s technically not the final battle though, because you also fight him in the Lifestream with just Cloud but as stated above, it’s mainly a scripted battle because you can’t lose. It’s still awesome though. All three battles are incredible visually and it’s just simply one of the best boss fights in video game history, never mind the Final Fantasy series.

So well done Sephiroth, you win this prestigious trophy!

Well that’s the end! Thanks so much for reading. As always I have some stats that you may or not be interested in, so for those see below.

Bosses by Final Fantasy Game Entry:

So as you can see above FF7 has the most entries in this list, despite FF9 being my favourite. It stormed the list with 14 entries. Perhaps it’s because it was my first Final Fantasy game, so the bosses hold a lot of nostalgia for me. FF9 is in second place with 8 entries and then in joint third is FF8 and FF10 with 7 entries. FF6 had 6 entries.

Bosses in order of difficulty, in brackets is the game the boss is from and after is the difficulty rating (remember, this is all in my opinion):

  1. Penance (10) – 10
  2. Dark Aeons (10) – 9
  3. Ozma (9) – 9
  4. Emerald Weapon (7) – 9
  5. Tantarian (9) – 8
  6. Demon's Gate (7) – 8
  7. Midgar Zolom (7) – 8
  8. Beatrix (9) – 8
  9. Seymour Flux (10) – 8
  10. Diablos (8) – 8
  11. Gizamaluke (9) – 8
  12. Odin (13) – 8
  13. Sephiroth (7) – 8
  14. Griever (8) – 8
  15. The Turks (7) – 7
  16. Seymour and Anima (10) – 7
  17. Lost Number (7) – 7
  18. Plant Brain (9) – 7
  19. Carry Armor (7) – 7
  20. Trance Kuja (9) – 7
  21. Godo (7) – 7
  22. Yunalesca (10) – 7
  23. Kefka (6) – 7
  24. Barthandelus (13) – 7
  25. Humbaba (6) – 7
  26. Elvoret (8) – 7
  27. Sinspawn Gui (10) – 7
  28. Diamond Weapon (7) – 7
  29. Bahamut (8) – 7
  30. Ultimate Weapon (7) – 7
  31. X-ATM092 (8) – 7
  32. Ba'Gamnan (12) – 7
  33. Gerogero (8) – 7
  34. Gi Nattak (7) – 6
  35. Atma Weapon (6) – 6
  36. Black Waltz 3 (9) – 6
  37. Cagnazzo (4) – 6
  38. Ultros (6) – 6
  39. Hojo (7) – 6
  40. Dahaka (13) – 6
  41. Edea and Seifer (8) – 6
  42. Sin (10) – 6
  43. Belias (12) – 6
  44. Calcabrina (4) – 6
  45. Hilgigars (9) – 6
  46. Guard Scorpion (7) – 6
  47. Whelk (6) – 6
  48. Jenova-BIRTH – (7) – 5
  49. Phantom Train (6) – 5
  50. Dark Knight (4) - 5

Please note, I’m not saying these are the 50 hardest bosses in the series, there are many, MANY harder bosses I’m not including. I just thought you’d like to see the 50 bosses in the order would be by “difficulty” rating.

Bosses in order of Total HP, in brackets is the game each boss is from (remember some bosses can vary so where applicable it’s the maximum HP that boss can have):

  1. Penance (10) – 12,000,000
  2. Dark Aeons (10) – 8,000,000
  3. Barthandelus (13) – 5,227,500
  4. Dahaka (13) – 2,314,800
  5. Emerald Weapon (7) – 1,000,000
  6. Sephiroth (7) – 580,001
  7. Sin (10) – 140,000
  8. Yunalesca (10) – 132,000
  9. Griever (8) – 115,950 
  10. Ultimate Weapon (7) – 100,000
  11. Bahamut (8) – 90,000
  12. The Turks (7) – 83,000
  13. Diablos (8) – 80,800
  14. Seymour Flux (10) – 70,000
  15. Hojo (7) – 69,000
  16. Kefka (6) – 62,000
  17. Trance Kuja (9) – 55,535
  18. Ozma (9) – 55,535
  19. Diamond Weapon (7) – 30,000
  20. Humbaba (6) – 26,000
  21. Seymour and Anima (10) – 24,000
  22. Atma Weapon (6) – 24,000
  23. Carry Armor (7) 24,000
  24. Edea and Seifer (8) – 23,400
  25. Ultros (6) – 22,000
  26. Tantarian (9) – 21,997
  27. Belias (12) – 15,943
  28. Sinspawn Gui (10) – 12,000
  29. Demon's Gate (7) – 10,000
  30. Godo (7) – 10,000
  31. Hilgigars (9) – 8,106
  32. Lost Number (7) – 7,000
  33. X-ATM092 (8) – 5,872
  34. Beatrix (9) – 5,709
  35. Gi Nattak (7) – 5,500
  36. Calcabrina (4) – 5,315
  37. Cagnazzo (4) - 5,312
  38. Dark Knight (4) – 4,520
  39. Midgar Zolom (7) – 4,000
  40. Jenova-BIRTH (7) – 4,000
  41. Ba'Gamnan (12) – 3,983
  42. Gerogero (8) – 3,650
  43. Elvoret (8) – 3,523
  44. Gizamaluke (9) – 3,175
  45. Phantom Train (6) – 1,900
  46. Whelk (6) – 1,600
  47. Black Waltz 3 (9) – 1,292
  48. Plant Brain (9) – 916
  49. Guard Scorpion (7) – 800
  50. Odin (13) – Unknown
Well that’s the end of my listing! Thank for you all so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you want to comment, agree, disagree, give your opinions on what are the best bosses or most memorable bosses, then you can do so below. Until next time, take care!
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