In my mind, no other bosses in gaming embody both of these definitions with as much ease as fighting game bosses.
Given the limited functionality of fighting game play mechanics, fighting game bosses are often some of the more difficult in gaming due to the head-first manner in which they must be dealt with.
There are no switches to be flicked, or items to be used; it’s just you and them, one-on-one.
Often possessing movesets consisting of absurdly quick and high profile maneuvers, as well as enhanced attributes, fighting game bosses typically boast every conceivable on-paper advantage over the standard player characters.
What’s more, in most cases bosses in fighting games have a tendency to “stretch” the rules of their respective game’s mechanics I.E. being able to execute special attacks without charge time or possessing a few unblockable moves.
These “unfair” advantages make most fighting game bosses an easy target to be labelled “cheap,” however in some cases, I actually welcome the challenge they represent.
Let me just stress the use of the word “some” in that last sentence.
Fighting games are usually won through knowing your arsenal and being able to anticipate your opponent with precision.
In games like Street Fighter, all it takes to block an attack is to hold back on the d-pad.
In that sense, the unfair advantages owned by fighting game bosses shouldn’t be looked at as straight up cheapness, but rather padding to the computer’s (hopefully) human-like AI.
The best fighting game bosses are the ones that are challenging, but human in the way they occasionally make mistakes or overextend themselves.
The hardest fighting game bosses are the ones that boast absurd attributes and flawless, frame-by-frame AI routines.
Today’s entrant on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights occasionally shows glimmers of the former in his behavior, but most of the time he proudly embodies the latter.
‘Cause he’s an epic, diaper-wearing douche-hole.
*AHEM!* That being said, our #4 is:
#4. Gill – Street Fighter III: Third Strike
Let me just get things started off here by saying that Gill is an anus sucking turtle-fucker.
Seriously man, as far as fighting game bosses go, few others have carved out a spot for themselves on my naughty list as emphatically as Gill has.
*COUGH!* Now that I’ve gotten that ugliness out of my system, I feel I’m obligated to mention the fact that Gill also happens to one of the better designed fighting game bosses in gaming history.
That should give you a good idea of how many “good” fighting bosses there have been over the years.
Gill’s natural on-paper advantages over you, the player; are extensive, to the point in which it’s hard to deny the cheapness of his design, however his AI, at least on the mid to mid-high difficulties, veers a little closer to “fair” on occasion.
Close to, but still nowhere near fair.
What I mean to say is:
Gill is a blue and red BEAST of the highest order.
He does more damage than most of the characters in the default roster.
His attacks generate an absurd amount of stun damage.
Most of his attacks strike from troublesome angles and have priority and reach advantages.
He is able to execute charge moves without charge time.
His projectiles strike twice, ensuring that he’ll win any exchange of fire.
His durability and speed are both well above average.
To fight Gill is to enter the room outgunned and outclassed from the very start.
While I’d never consider myself much more than an experienced novice at fighting games, to date I’ve only been able to beat Gill twice.
Both times it took several continues to achieve the serendipitous task that is defeating Gill.
You see, despite all the nasty traits of cheapness that I mentioned above, Gill also brings to the table a pair of utterly devastating super combos that do wonders to ruin his standing as a “great” boss in my eyes; and make beating him a feat often times a feat equally attributable to luck as to skill.
Allow me to clarify.
Gill’s greatest asset as a fighting game is his inherent fallibility.
While his moves and stats are all better than yours, I have to admit that Capcom did well to program Gill with the occasional human-like lapse in his concentration.
He never acts silly, or outright dumb, but there are times when Gill slips up and takes a hit he shouldn’t have, or fails to capitalize on a round winning opening.
Gill’s greatest success as a boss is that he’s difficult enough be one of the hardest bosses in gaming, while at the same time easy enough to be fought with some degree of success on every occasion.
Nothing is worse than a hard boss that doesn’t even let you get a hit off every time you continue.
Nearly every time I’ve fought Gill, I was at least able to take his health down considerably, or on a good day; beat him one round.
That said, Gill’s AI generally behaves with stunning precision, making use of his high priority moves to counter most of your attacks; making him a stiff challenge most of the time.
Which brings me to the aforementioned game breaking super combos:
With a full super meter, Gill has at his command the power to instantly reverse the outcome of a round.
The gameplay mechanics of Street Fighter III restrict the players to selecting and utilizing only one super combo in battle.
Gill is the only character in the entire roster that is capable of making use of all 3 of his super arts in one fight.
One of these moves, Meteor Strike; is relatively harmless.
The other 2, are utterly devastating.
First is the fearsomely boosh-tastic Seraphic Wing:
Seraphic Wing is a move that drains about a third of your life bar when blocked, and virtually all of it when landed at close range.
While it can be stopped preemptively, in most cases the deployment of Seraphic Wing usually means the end of the match in Gill’s favor.
If that’s not a kick to the boner, I don’t what is.
Oh wait, there’s one more move!
Gill’s other dick slap of a super combo is his Resurrection ability:
Basically, Resurrection is exactly what it sounds like.
Imagine this scenario:
You’ve just spent the past hour battling Gill, continuing over and over again while cycling your way through the entire roster numerous times.
Finally, after countless attempts, you’ve managed to get the upper hand on Gill and are only a precious few hits away from victory!
The tension is palpable.
Your eye twitches involuntarily.
With the clever use of an EX attack you manage to upset Gill’s impeccable timing and rocket a Shoryuken into his chin and straight towards the realm of victory!
His life bar depleted, Gill collapses in a heap on the ground in slow-motion.
Throwing up your arms in victory, you are shocked to hear the familiar sound of a super art being deployed.
Suddenly, Gill beings to levitate, and immediately his life bar begins to rapidly refill!
You quickly fire a Hadouken, only to watch as it is harmlessly repelled by the powerful vacuum generated by the Resurrection field.
Eventually, Gill’s health is restored in full, leaving you to fight him with what little you have left.
Exhausted from the historic effort you put forth from getting this far, ultimately you lose to Gill in the third round as you have on every occasion prior.
Such is the epic douchey-ness of Gill.
He’s better than you from the start.
He’s pretty damn smart, even when he’s stupid.
And to top it all off, he can take all of your hard fought efforts, and render them irrelevant with the use of a mere super combo, one of which he doesn’t even have to be alive to use.
To this day, I still hate Gill, however I do retain a certain level of respect for his AI design.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure Capcom was the first to make a genuinely incongruent 2D fighting game sprite, but that’s besides the point.
Gill: An atypically hard boss that has the gall to max-out his douchey-ness by holding back and shitting on you when it hurts the most.