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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Runner-Ups


Well folks, it finally happened.

Yesterday we finally finished working our way up through the ranks of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and named Mike Tyson as the rightful owner of the #1 spot.

As per the norm whenever I put together a top 10 list, today we’ll be taking a look at some of the runner-ups to the list.

Some of the omissions surprise even myself, so expect a few exceptionally tough cookies to pop up in the proceedings.

That being said, let’s get to take a look at the top 5 runner-ups, presented, for my convenience; in no particular order:

#5. SS01-Schwarzgeist – Einhander

Pictured: The Astraea FGA Mk.I does battle with the heavily armed orbital satellite, the SS01-Schwarzgeist.

In case you’re wondering “Schwarzgeist” is German for “Black Ghost.”

With a name like that, the developers of Einhander were pretty much obligated to make this guy totally badass.

To be fair, they also went ahead and made pretty much the entire game absolutely fucking badass.

I’ve mentioned Einhander elsewhere on this blog, but for those who might not know, the game is a supremely difficult Playstation 1 scrolling shooter developed by Square.

While the game is populated by a host of tough bosses, each sporting a number of variable attack patterns depending on the approach you take in fighting them; “The Black Ghost” is likely the most difficult overall.

He also happens to have one of the better tracks in the game as his battle theme.

Boasting an absurdly complex attack pattern that is nearly impossible to grasp without burning a continue or 2, “The Black Ghost” is a brutal challenge that is nevertheless, much easier to defeat through brute force than pure skill.

That is to say, coming into the fight with the right weapons *Cough!* Grenade Launcher! *Cough!* is key to victory.

The fact that “The Black Ghost” has a definable and not all that well hidden weakness, is likely the reason he didn’t make the Top 10.

Despite this, his despicable variety of attack patterns, combined with Einhander’s unforgiving gameplay system of only allowing you 1 life before each continue; make a strong case for his presence among the runner-ups.


 

#4. Isaac Frost – Fight Night Champion

Pictured: Andre Bishop goes toe-to-toe with heavyweight champion Isaac Frost AKA The White Guy.

Another game that I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Fight Night Champion’s inclusion of a nearly invincible final boss came of somewhat of a surprise to me.

Then again, these days it’s almost a tradition to include at least 1 overpowered athlete in sports games.

That’s right, I’m lookin’ at you Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson and NBA Jam Scottie Pippen

Designed to be fought in a round-to-round, objective based system; the actual procedure involved in fighting Isaac Frost contributes almost as much to his difficulty as his actual fighting ability.

Possessed of unbalanced punching power, speed, and stamina, Frost holds all the cards from the opening bell, and yet his beastly-ness is further bolstered by the fact that the game forces you to fight him a certain way.

Essentially, throughout each round of the fight you are required to follow a pre-determined gameplan, be it using your legs and hanging back, or landing haymakers to the body.

It’s an entirely inorganic procedure that doesn’t exist outside of the “story mode” of the game, resulting in whatever skills you learned playing the game competitively getting tossed to the curb in terms of usefulness.

To date I have yet to beat Isaac Frost, largely due to his insane attribute bonuses, but the fact that the game forces me to fight him the way it wants me to really grinds my gears to an exceptional degree.

With that, I leave you with this video of Frost obliterating Super Middleweight, Anthony Mundine:


 

#3. General Akboob/Hitler – Total Carnage

Pictured: Captain Carnage and Major Mayhem do battle with the giant heads of General Akboob and Adolf Hitler.

In terms of pure quarter munching arcade shooter goodness, few games can measure up to Smash T.V. and Total Carnage.

Virtually identical in terms of gameplay, both are exceedingly difficult top-down shooters that absolutely revel in chewing up players and spitting them out.

While every second of these games is a challenge of the most epic variety, the bosses featured in them are quite likely the most difficult aspect of them.

On that note, I don’t think many people would argue with me in crowning General Akboob, the final boss of Total Carnage, as the toughest among them.

His pattern involves filling the screen with projectiles at all times.

Most of his attacks have an accurate homing capability.

And worst of all, he has no less than a half dozen forms, one of which is a giant Hitler head!

I have no idea what that has to do with anything, especially since the very Russian looking/sounding Akboob is supposed to be Middle Eastern, but whatever it was the 90’s.

Anyway, all of this results in a horribly drawn out battle of endurance.

… A battle of endurance in a game where your character dies in one hit.

You do the math.


 

#2. Emerald and Ruby Weapon – Final Fantasy VII

Pictured: 2 brave parties face down the infamous Emerald and Ruby Weapons.

I just realized this, but there weren’t any RPG bosses on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

I’m guessing it has something to do with my own (heavily biased) opinions, but the simple fact of the matter is that I really haven’t played an RPG since Final Fantasy VIII way back in ’99.

I did however, play quite a few before that point, mostly of JRPG variety.

That being said, while I’ve heard that some of the Shin Megami Tensei bosses are absolutely balls out insane in terms of their capacity to rob you of hours of your life, I haven’t actually played any of those games, so I don’t really have an educated opinion in that matter.

The point is, from my experiences with pre-1999 RPGs, Emerald and Ruby Weapon were the only 2 bosses that I recall having an inordinate amount of trouble with.

From what I hear, the debate rages on which of the 2 is more difficult, though I got my ass served by both of them equally, hence their dual ownership of the their spot among the runner-ups.

I remember Emerald had, no joke, about a million hit points, and Ruby was able to eject your characters from the fight, making doing battle with either of the pair an absolute pain in the ass.

From what I’ve been told, much of the strategy involved in defeating either of the 2 involves an incredible amount of dedication and prep work, as well as a healthy dose of luck.

When Final Fantasy VII came out, I was barely a pre-teen, so I had neither the patience nor the intelligence to figure out which angle to attack them from.

This resulted in me getting literally whipped to death by Ruby, and sat on by Emerald more times than I’d care to admit.

That being said, here’s a clip of some Narutard beating them both into the ground.

Don’t ask me why he dubbed the Final Fantasy themed J-ballad over it….


 

#1. Geese Howard – Fatal Fury

Pictured: Terry Bogard blocks a Reppuken from his nemesis, Geese Howard.

Geese Howard was, and always shall remain, one of the toughest bosses in all of fighting games.

Oh yeah, and he’s quite possibly one of the pimp-est videogames of all time to boot.

That’s saying a lot considering how far fighting games have come since 1991.

Possessed of a limited, but utterly devastating repertoire of moves, Geese was tough to beat for all the reasons you’d expect an SNK boss to be.

He was better than you in every way, especially in his capacity to dole out chip damage on par with some of your clean hits.

Despite this, I’d hesitate to call Geese cheap, merely inordinately difficult and just a little bit frustrating.

Much like Sagat from the original Street Fighter, Geese was a fighting game boss who’s bread and butter consisted of brutal and relentless fireball traps.

Perhaps worst of all though, ‘ole Geese also had a counter-throw capable of cancelling most of your melee attacks.

I don’t think I have to tell you that he often employed this technique with pinpoint timing, often using it to ruin your offensive rallies at the most inopportune of moments.


 

Thus concludes The Azn Badger’s Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights!

Thanks for reading!

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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #1


Alrighty folks, today we finally reach the big #1 on our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

On our journey up through the Top 10, we’ve covered bosses featured in games of numerous genres, ranging from action platformers to 2D fighters.

Yesterday we took a closer look at Tageri and Ubusunagami Okinokai, a pair of end-game bosses from the acclaimed Treasure shoot ’em up, Ikaruga.

While some bosses earned their places on this list through being deceptive or unpredictable, the 2 bosses mentioned above did so through possessing entirely predictable, but immensely complex and oppressively persistent attack patterns.

There are innumerable traits and profiles to choose from, but when it comes to describing that which makes for the most difficult of boss fights, in my mind the combination of the 2 listed above makes for the perfect unbeatable monster of the videogame realm.

To be “unpredictable in one’s predictability.”

That’s what makes for the greatest challenges, not just in gaming, but in all things of a competitive or adversarial nature.

Today’s boss, the #1 ranked entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, possesses the aforementioned elusiveness, while at once making use of crushing attack power and inhuman speed.

That being said, The Hardest Boss Fight is:

“Iron” Mike Tyson – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Pictured: Little Mac mere nano-seconds away from eating a right uppercut from Tyson.

Mike Tyson is of those rare bosses that is so hard that there’s a certain elegance to be found in the brutally of his design.

The original Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (that’s right, we’re not talkin’ that Mr. Dream bullshit) came out in 1987, smack dab in the era in which few would argue “Iron” Mike’s claim to the title of “Baddest Man on the Planet.”

To put things in perspective, at the time of the game’s release Tyson was 31-0, with only 4 of his wins going to decision.

The rest, went pretty much like this:

While time has gone on to prove things otherwise, in 1987 Mike Tyson was, for lack of a better term; invincible.

What better than to honor the man’s reputation than by creating an 8-bit digital version of him that was every bit as powerful, quick, elusive and intimidating than the real thing?

In case you couldn’t tell by now, that’s pretty much what the folks over at Nintendo did.

That’s right, they took the terrifying essence of Mike Tyson, and crammed it into an NES cartridge for mass consumption.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!: The game that eats your children.

In real life, Tyson’s aura of invincibility was shattered in 1990 through a complex combination of a lax training camp, possible fatigue generated by traveling to Japan and fighting at an off-time, and the relentless, pressuring attack of one James “Buster” Douglas, a B-level fighter emboldened by the recent passing of his mother.

While that’s how things went down in real life, the sad fact of the matter is that, in order to even last 2 seconds with the “Iron” Mike featured in Punch-Out!!, one’s best bet is to play defensive and look to land blows immediately after slipping one of his.

Which, if you've never seen it before; results in THIS delightful face.

Of course, if it were that simple Mike Tyson wouldn’t be the Hardest Boss on this list, now would he?

The core mechanics of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! are extraordinarily simple on paper, though in practice their complexity is not to be denied.

Much like real boxing, in every fight in the game the basic strategy, without fail; is to dodge or block your opponent’s blows while landing your own in response.

In the game, when you miss or block punches you lose “hearts,” which are representative of one’s stamina and must be exchanged at a rate of 1:1 in order throw punches.

Countering an opponent “clean,” that is; at the exact frame of animation in which they would’ve hit you with a blow of their own, awards you with “stars” that can be used to execute a devastating (but slow) super punch.

Every fight in the game goes a maximum of 3 rounds, with decision wins being a possibility, though more often than not fights end with one of the boxers being TKO’d due to the 3 knockdown rule being in effect.

Which will result Tyson doing his nifty "win" pose.

At it’s core, Punch-Out!! is a game that is based around timing and memorization.

Every fighter in the game has “tell” of some sort that signals you of their actions, though it’s up to the player to identify the meaning of these signals while surviving under the strength of their reflexes in the meantime.

All of the fighters in the game have a complex pattern to their actions, though many of them expand on their repertoire of moves should they be allowed to advance to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the fight.

Mike Tyson takes all of the above complexities and turns them up to 11.

His power is unworldly.

His timing is deceptive and uncertain.

To put it in his own words:

Seriously man, words cannot describe the beastly-ness of Mike Tyson.

Like our #2 entrant(s) on this list, Mike Tyson is a rare example of a final challenge that demands absolute precision and excellence in all of the skills you’ve acquired throughout the game.

While I’d argue that such a gesture on the part of the game’s developers is actually quite admirable, especially in this modern age of gaming where “hand-holding” is in many ways the norm; there’s no denying that Mike Tyson is a videogame challenge was designed to be conquered by only the best of the best.

AKA The Koreans.

His absurd power and speed alone would likely make him worthy of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, however at the end of the day it’s his indecipherable timing that make him it’s king.

Like all of the fighters in Punch-Out!!, “Iron” Mike signals his attacks with a gesture or facial tic, however the reaction time necessary to avoid the resulting attacks,; let alone capitalize on the openings presented by them, is downright superhuman.

Not only that, the timing of his attacks, and his pattern on the whole, is somewhat variable; resulting in instances of familiarity on repeat plays, but never complete consistency.

Even if you somehow manage to avoid his attacks and land a follow up shot, if the timing of your offense is off by a fraction of a second, or worse yet, you overextend yourself and throw one too many punches; his recovery time is usually quick enough to punish you.

Pictured: What it looks like to be "punished" by Tyson.

Another tricky aspect of “Iron” Mike’s game, is the fact that his blows suck stamina like a fuckin’ Dyson, resulting the inevitable instance or 2 in which you’ll have to hang on for dear life and dodge a few of his shots in sequence in order to get your wind back.

Given the imperceptible nature of most of his attacks, this is usually the point in the fight when Mike Tyson picks you apart and puts you to sleep.

Dodging his attacks every now and again isn’t terribly difficult, but doing so several times consecutively is a whole ‘nother story.

Such is the indescribably nerve-wracking experience that is fighting Mike Tyson.

I’ve never beaten him, and to date I’ve only gotten to Mike Tyson maybe 1 or 2 times in my life.

While he’s quite a bit more “fight-able” than some of the lesser bosses of this list, (*cough!* Duriel *cough!*) in that it’s possible for an above-average player to hit, and even knock him down once, Mike Tyson remains to me the Hardest Boss Fight in videogames.

In fact, in many ways “Iron” Mike’s faux vulnerability is what makes him the #1 entrant on this list.

While as the final boss of the game he was appropriately given the tools to run over you at the outset of the fight, his AI was cleverly designed to fight in unpredictable fits and spurts, resulting in a perpetually tense situation wherein you don’t know what kind of Tyson you’re going to be dealing with.

You could spend 2 thirds of the fight straight-up handling a relatively lax and predictable Tyson, only to have him suddenly shift gears and unexpectedly put you to sleep in the closing moments of the final round kind of like this:

There’s no such thing as catching your rhythm or finding your “comfort zone” with Mike Tyson.

Much of Tyson’s aura of invincibility in real-life was perpetuated by psychological means, through the fear each of his opponents failed to conquer, before and after stepping into the ring with him.

If Mike Tyson was unbeatable in his prime for this reason (among others) in real-life, then personally I find it’s only befitting that his videogame counterpart should share this reputation.

Thanks For Reading!

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Another Japanese Fighter Bites The Dust…

Pictured: Akifumi Shimoda smacks super-underdog champion Ryol Li Lee.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions based on the heading of this post, let it be known; nobody actually died.

I merely used the phrase “bites the dust” because, well; frankly it sounds cool.

That being said, this past Saturday night, I was blessed with a rare opportunity to see a Japanese boxer fight on American soil in the form of Jr. featherweight champion Akifumi Shimoda’s title defense against amateur stand-out, Rico Ramos.

Said fight was staged on HBO, which in the boxing business basically translates to “the big leagues.”

That being said, I came into the fight hopeful, but fully aware of what to expect.

As detailed in some of my previous posts here, and here; Japanese boxer’s are not exactly a dominant force in the sport.

Well, except for maybe Piston Honda...

In most cases I have to go very much out of my way to dig up videos and records of Japanese fighters, largely because even the very best of them rarely get to a stage in their career where fighting outside of Japan is an option, let alone economically viable.

The fact of the matter is, Japan is a small island nation that isn’t exactly crazy about boxing; making it difficult for their fighters to grow beyond the competitive confines of their nation’s borders.

The last couple of fights that I can recall involving a Japanese fighter fighting in a high-profile match on foreign soil; had very mixed results.

On the one hand, long-standing (or should “sitting”) middleweight champ Felix Sturm tattooed the face of, and utterly annihilated the unproven Koji Sato.

Pictured: What happens when protected champions are fed unproven competition.

On the other, underdog Nobuhiro Ishida managed to beat the odds and inexplicably force a first round stoppage of up-and-coming Jr. middleweight beast, James Kirkland.

Pictured: What happens when a young fighter doesn't know how to react to a knockdown.

Oddly enough, both of these contests involved Japanese fighters from 154-160 lbs., the highest weights the national Japanese boxing commission stages fights at, and consequently some of the weaker divisions in terms of talent.

While Ishida’s win seemed like a fluke, given that Kirkland seemed very much clear-headed despite the multiple knockdowns; Sato’s loss was a forgone conclusion.

Both guys were low-rated, and obviously brought in as fodder for their opponents.

The only difference was, one pulled the upset, and the other may have had years taken off his life.

Now that I think of it, I think that’s why the fight from last Saturday night meant a little more to me than the others I mentioned:

Akifumi Shimoda went into the fight last Saturday night a legitimate, defending world champion.

While hardly a big deal to anyone outside the hardcore, it meant something to me to know that Shimoda was held in high enough regard that the people of Teiken Boxing Gym felt it wise to send him to America to defend his title.

Not only that, in winning the fight he would’ve made history as being the first Japanese champion to successfully defend his title.

In case you couldn’t tell from the way I phrased that last sentence, and indeed the heading of this post; Shimoda did not make history.

A Southpaw, Shimoda came into the fight sporting excellent footwork and a straight to the body with mean intentions.

To my surprise, Shimoda proceeded at a measured pace out the gate, cutting-off the ring and pressing the action.

He didn’t look great by any means, but he did more than enough to stymie Ramos and shut down his anemic offense.

All through the fight, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a small group of Japanese fans positioned behind Shimoda’s corner, shouting his name and waving a big white banner in support of their champion.

Like me, they were rallying behind the Japanese guy despite virtually everyone else in the New Jersey arena not giving 2-shits about who he was or where he came from.

Indeed, I felt myself wince at the sound of the ring announcer pronouncing the bout as a production of “Tai-Ken” Boxing Gym.

It’s “Teh-ee-ken,” asshole.  Get it right.

Despite my better instincts telling me Shimoda was going to get knocked the fuck out like seemingly all of his countrymen do when fighting away from home; I found myself feeling in the later rounds that Shimoda might actually get the win.

Then came the 7th round.

Early in the fight, Shimoda slammed Ramos with a nasty headbutt that opened a gash over the challenger’s eye.

The cut was pretty bad, and as such; Ramos’ trainer urged him to step up his efforts and throw more punches.

It took a few rounds of nagging from his corner, but for whatever reason; Ramos came out to fight in the 7th.

All through the round, you could tell something was different.

Mostly defensive and counter-oriented, Ramos lost the majority of the rounds in the fight purely based on his sinfully low punch output.

In the 7th, Ramos poured it on and went on the attack.

From the opening few seconds of the round, Shimoda went from being an indefatigable and confident young champion; to a fighter on the run.

Ramos backed Shimoda up for much of the round, something he hadn’t done for 1 second in any of the earlier portions of the fight; and indeed, seemingly couldn’t miss with his right hand.

Gassed or hurt, or maybe both; Shimoda spent his last moments in the fight stumbling backwards, seemingly without any answers to his opponent’s assault.

Stepping back and around the left side of Ramos amid a torrent of punches, Shimoda walked right into a cracking left hook that sent his jaw from one corner of the ring to the other.

BOOSH.

Oh yeah, and he went down too.

Splayed out on the mat, utterly devoid of consciousness, Shimoda’s last act before the referee’s stoppage was to clumsily, and pathetically rise to his knees and face first onto the mat.

In watching that 7th round, you got the sense that, had Ramos asserted himself earlier in the fight, there’s a good chance he would’ve walked right over Shimoda.

While there was no clear disparity between the 2 fighters in terms of technical ability, the difference in guts and raw athletic power seemed fairly evident during the final round.

It saddened me to see Shimoda lose his title, knowing full well that he; nor likely any other Teiken fighter would likely be making their way over to the states any time soon.

At this point it seems Toshiaki Nishioka and Koki Kameda may be the only 2 Japanese boxers that stand any chance of competing on the world stage.

Personally, I fail to see the beauty of Kameda and his brother Daiki’s collective souls, so here’s hoping Nishioka makes his way over here someday.

Hopefully he’ll fair better than most Japanese fighters seem to.

 

 

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Heavyweight Boxing Ruined My Article!

As phenomenal a fighter as he WAS, it's never a good thing when THIS is the look of a top 10 fighter.

Heavyweight boxing has never been my thing.

Aside from the hype surrounding Mike Tyson’s post-prison bouts, I could never see the beauty in boxing fought North of 200 lbs.

Ever since Lennox Lewis dominated the division, with his superior height and reach, coupled with his fundamental based European-style boxing; I couldn’t help but be kinda’ bored by the heavyweights.

Pictured: One of Lewis' GOOD fights, against Frank Bruno.

Personally, I blame Lewis and the Klitschko brothers for being so fucking tall, and so fucking good at fighting tall, but that’s besides the point.

Honestly, I think my disenchantment with the heavyweight division has a lot to do with the era in which I grew up, an era where truly talented fighters were hard to come by.

Ask any old timer and they’ll tell you that knowing the name of the heavyweight champion of the world was common knowledge among most Americans back in the day.

Hell, I remember hearing that in WWII, the current heavyweight champs name, as well as the date and venue of the Rose Bowl (January 1st, Pasadena), were facts used as codes for determining friend from foe.

It makes me sad to know that boxing was practically the king of all sports back in the day, only for it to turn into a niche sport around the time I was growing up.

I blame the establishment of PPV, and the various belt factions, but again; that’s besides the point.

The point is:

The heavyweight boxing used to represent the pinnacle of the sport, but these days it’s reduced to a sideshow act with maybe 3 worthwhile fighters to go around, none of which are American.

 

Soda Popinski: NOT American.

While a lack of talent in divisions in relatively common in this age of boxing, wherein moving up in weight is treated not so much as a physical inevitability, but as a business tactic for seeking larger contracts; when there’s only a handful of good fighters at a weight, it’s downright painful to see them kick tomato cans back and forth between one another rather than fight each other.

Such has been the situation in the heavyweight division ever since Lennox Lewis vacated the undisputed championship (a title which, technically; has yet to be reclaimed).

It’s funny, this article was supposed to be a hopeful one, singing the praises of boxing and it’s promoters for finally getting Wladimir Klitschko into the ring with David Haye, but unfortunately; from the time I started writing this, to the present; that pivotal match-up in the sport has since fallen through… For the 3rd time.

That's one helluva' a mean-ass Godzilla impression, but that doesn't make him any less of a pussy.

Instead, we get the premier heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko; versus unproven British prospect Derek Chisora in April, and then against former light heavyweight, turned cruiserweight, turned heavyweight contender, Tomasz Adamek.

While I don’t expect Chisora to make it to the final bell, or even the 6th round; I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Adamek’s pluck and tenacity; so I give him a fair chance to put on a good show.

Seriously man, after seeing Adamek’s brawls with Paul Briggs and Steve Cunningham, it’s hard not to be a fan of the big Pole.


On a side note, Paul Briggs looks a helluva’ lot like Sam Worthington if you ask me…

While Adamek has had a good run as a heavyweight thus far, we’ve never really seen him in there with anyone as large, skillful, or powerful as a Klitschko.

Needless to say, in the case of both Chisora and Adamek, both men will be at a severe disadvantage in terms of height, reach, and perhaps most important of all; power.

I don’t expect either man to topple Dr. Steelhammer, but like I said; Adamek will find a way to make things exciting at the very least.

Like I mentioned earlier, this post was originally intended to be celebrating the emerging sense of clarity that a Klitschko/Haye match-up would provide for the heavyweight division, but instead I’m forced to write about a champion defending his title against an undersized tomato can, and an undersized tomato can that can take a punch.

It should be noted, that I give Adamek about as good a chance against Klitschko as David Haye, but in this case; Haye’s value on paper is what counts, more so than his (questionable) merit as a fighter.

Goddamnit boxing, you ruined my article!

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