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Final Fantasy has been one of the most iconic franchises in gaming for over 30 years. The games have spanned from every genre imaginable, and it’s one of those names that you can say to a random person, and chances are, they’ll have some idea of what you’re talking about. While it started from a humble beginning, using a modest turn-based system for combat that would soon become their calling card, they also introduced Final Fantasy bosses to RPG games in the first mainstream way.
These bosses were different than games like Zelda and Mario had as the turn-based system meant you had time to think about your moves before you made them, and trying to predict what attack was coming next for each boss was a great puzzle to figure out.
Through the years, the bosses in Final Fantasy have evolved more and more not only in their difficulty but their artistic designs as well. To this day, some boss battles in Final Fantasy are still looked at as perfection in the world of video game design.
I’ve been a Final Fantasy fan for over 20 years, and before I experienced Final Fantasy VII for the first time, my biggest experience with bosses was just with action games that were usually in 2D, so the excitement just never hit me, and they were more annoyances in my eyes than epic challenges that represented the culmination of a level or game.
With Final Fantasy VII, that all changed for me. Bosses would get their own music, the designs were incredibly intimidating, and the fights demanded you pay close attention to what was going on in the fight; suddenly, I learned that magic and item management were going to be a theme in the games I played from then on.
Each Final Fantasy has some incredible battles, and whether it’s in super popular games like Final Fantasy X or less praised ones such as Final Fantasy XIII, the boss encounters are always special looking, and they always have some awesome attack design and AI at play to make it feel like you’re facing something far more powerful than you.
It’s a long list to choose from, so we’re going to take a look at some of the best bosses in the series history. In no particular order, these are the most memorable fights that stay with you years after defeating them.
- Standout bosses
- Memorable story encounters
- Difficult optional bosses
- Amazing fight design
- Iconic bosses that appear throughout the series
Garland- Final Fantasy
Why not start with the boss fight that started it all? Garland wasn’t the most developed villain in the series, but his fight was a memorable fight nonetheless. You have the opportunity to fight him a few times, but if you fight him too early, you will most likely get destroyed.
This concept introduced the world to the love it or hate it the task of level grinding. It produced a feeling of getting stronger so you could overcome the toughest odds and emerge victoriously.
Garland is far from the toughest boss out there, but he is important because he is the very first one, and the way his fight plays out sets the stage for some of the most iconic fights in the entire series.
Here’s our complete guide on how to deal with Garland.
Ruby Weapon- Final Fantasy VII
You can be certain that this isn’t going to be the only boss from Final Fantasy 7 to show up on this list. Ruby Weapon is one of the most fascinating bosses encounters in Final Fantasy history in so many ways. For me, I had never encountered what is commonly well known in RPGs as a Superboss, so when I saw a strange red serpent poking its head out of the ground in Final Fantasy VII, the last thing I expected was for this horrific monstrosity to come bounding out of the sand and into my nightmares.
Its background is very interesting on its own, as Ruby Weapon is one of five “Weapons” that are unleashed by the planet as a defense mechanism. In the Japanese version of the game, you only fought one of these, Ultima Weapon, but in the English releases, Diamond, Ruby, and Emerald Weapon were added into the game as well.
Ruby is such an incredibly tough fight because for the first time I could remember in a game, the boss kills your party member for good. As in, no Phoenix Downs will bring them back, so you’re initially hamstrung badly and could be completely screwed depending on which party member the horrific “Whirlsand” attack decided to swallow.
In order to beat this beast, you had to have an incredibly powerful cast of characters, and you had to be prepared to fight with one character only throughout the whole fight, so getting creative with your Materia setup was paramount, as was having the strongest summon in the game, The Knights of the Round equipped as well. To this day, there are few more intimidating boss battles than Ruby Weapon.
Sephiroth- Final Final Fantasy VII
I still get chills thinking of the final battle against Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII. The setting is the Northern Crater, where after 60+hours of gameplay with wild story beats and the most shocking death in video game history, you finally encounter Sephiroth in his true form.
You find out that Sephiroth has been in the crater the whole time, controlling Jenova through a copy of his body and that he’s been preparing his ascent to godhood while summoning the world-ending spell Meteor.
The fight is broken up into three parts, with each one being as striking visually as the last.
Things start out weird as you fought his first form, Bizarro Sephiroth, which was an excellent dichotomy to Safer Sephiroth and looked horrifically deformed and evil, showing his true nature. This fight was very odd, and felt like you were fighting another villain completely as this barely even resembled the silver-haired villain.
The second part has you fighting Safer Sephiroth, who takes on the form of an angel with an iconic black wing and retains his human appearance. While the normal attacks he dishes out here hit hard, nothing compares to his Supernova attack, which at the time was the most visually impressive thing I’d had ever seen on Playstation. The attack essentially destroyed the world, and if he managed to unleash this on your party, it was curtains.
The final part of the battle is Cloud vs. Sephiroth, one on one, with the Sephiroth theme with the bell playing in the background. There is no way to lose at this point, and the only command available is to use the most powerful Limit Break in the game, Omnislash, and send Sephiroth out of existence. Chills.
The best part of the battle, though, maybe the iconic song playing in the background titled “One-Winged Angel.” To this day, it’s one of the most incredible pieces of videogame music ever made, and it induces anxiety and a feeling of epicness that has never been matched.
Sin- Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy has always been an expert at creating dread around a villain that you haven’t encountered yet. With Final Fantasy X, that villain was Sin, a world-destroying, flying whale monstrosity that would appear every handful of years to destroy everything and reset civilization.
The fight against Sin is incredibly intimidating as you fight him while onboard an airship and the boss is so freaking huge that you can only attack different parts of him. This isn’t just a suggestion either because if you want to get cute and try to hit all of him at once using a summon attack, you will see your game literally lag as it struggles to capture the massiveness of Sin onscreen.
The fight feels more terrifying because Sin doesn’t seem like an inherently evil creature but rather one that is bound by something to fulfill this destiny of cyclical destruction. Sin doesn’t come at you with anger and fury like a lot of main bosses in the series; instead, his attacks are insanely powerful but come from a place of sadness almost, and that feeling is reiterated later in the game when you find out just what Sin is.
The crazy part of this boss battle is the countdown that begins. At a certain point in the fight, you will see an ominous counter begin at the top of your screen, and it will countdown from 10-0, and when it hits zero after as many turns, it unleashes Giga Graviton, one of the most bizarre-looking and outright horrifying attacks in Final Fantasy history and it’s basically a one-hit kill.
Kefka- Final Fantasy VI
Kefka starts out the game as a jester who is barely taken seriously. Sure, he’s funny and sadistic, but very little from him early on would tell you that he eventually turns himself into a god and literally destroys the world, yet, that’s exactly what he does. That means when you finally encounter him at the very end of the game, you’re fighting against a literal god.
This fight represents one of the only bosses in Final Fantasy history who achieved the goal of godhood. Sephiroth tried, and many more did as well. This fight is an awesome theme as well, and the fight is among the toughest in series history.
As the god of magic, Kefka comes at you hard and heavy with some incredibly powerful magic attacks, and you have to be seriously on your game and leveled up properly to be ready for this fight. The sight of Kefka towering over your party in his god form is still one of the most chilling sights in Final Fantasy history.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kefka in Final Fantasy.
Demon Wall- Final Fantasy XII
The Demon Wall has been in several Final Fantasy games throughout the series history, but the thing that made the boss finally stand out was its appearance in Final Fantasy XII. In the past, the Demon Wall would slowly move forward with each turn, and once it got close enough to your party, that would kill each party member you had and essentially end the game. That’s all well and good, but the feeling of the Demon Wall being this overbearing forced just didn’t resonate much with the turn-based combat.
In Final Fantasy XII, the combat was finally in real-time, so this Demon Wall actually would be moving the entire fight, and having it slowly bare down on you became a fight to deal as much damage as possible in as little time as possible. The finality of this fight would come if the Demon Wall reached the end of the room still alive, and that would cause an immediate game over.
Although some may rebel against it, real-time combat in Final Fantasy games allows these iconic monsters to really show how scary they can be, and Demon Wall is one of the best examples of that.
Ozma- Final Fantasy IX
Another optional boss on the lines of Ruby Weapon, Ozma is one of the most unique enemies in all of Final Fantasy. It’s a bizarre sphere with swirling colors, and it resembles more of something you’d find in a gumball machine than in a Final Fantasy boss, but regardless, it remains the strangest boss in all of the games.
Its strangeness comes supported by an insane difficulty as well, and if you’re not well prepared, this is one of the hardest bosses ever. Its location is possibly the most unsettling thing about Ozma, as it resides in the back of a floating sanctuary for Chocobos called the Chocobo’s Air Garden. When you get there, you will find an Eidolon cave in the back, and if you go near it, Ozma will appear out of nowhere and attack you ferociously, without any explanation, and can eliminate you in just a few turns if you’re not careful.
The crazy thing about the fight is you can’t even damage Ozma without first completing the “Friendly Enemies” sidequest, and figuring this out is something that’s just about impossible without a strategy guide.
Continue reading our complete guide on how to obtain the Ozma mount.
Seymour Flux- Final Fantasy X
Seymour had the tough duty of being the villain to follow Sephiroth and then two titles later, Kuja, and when Final Fantasy X was released for the PS2, fans were expecting a villain to carry on their impressive streak. Luckily, Seymour was just that, an incredible villain who appears to be a friend and even fights alongside you at first, until his ambitions turn him into a being hungry for power and infused with so much magical energy that he can barely control it.
That loss of control comes to a head with Seymour Flux, a weird-looking mechanical beast that proves to be not only one of the hardest bosses in the game but one of the hardest bosses in Final Fantasy History.
Seymour Flux is incredibly strong, uses spells like Zombie to make it impossible to heal your party, and has several attacks that do incredibly serious damage to everyone. He’s also got a massive amount of HP, so prepare for a war of attrition here, and if you’ve prepared enough and studied his moves, you should be able to come away victorious from one of the most memorable and difficult fights out there. It took me at least 20 tries, and my 11-year-old mind at the time was not happy about it.
Braska’s Final Aeon
This fight is pretty much considered the final boss in Final Fantasy X, and it carries with it all of the epicness you’d expect from such an incredible journey. Figuring out who Braska’s Final Aeon is prior makes this fight incredibly emotional for Tidus and Auron, and the fight is so amazing because of it.
An uncharacteristic rock soundtrack blasts in the background during this fight, and all of a sudden, it becomes a very personal one. Tidus having to put down his father, who had been forced to become the next Sin, is incredibly sad to witness, and yet in order to give him peace, you know it must be done.
Seeing Jecht’s headband on this monstrosity of a boss is chilling, and the way in which he fights is both aggressive and docile at the same time, serving the thoughts going on within the remnants of Jechts mind, trying to coerce Tidus into destroying him while also trying not to harm his only son.
This sequence then gives way to one of the best endings in Final Fantasy history.
Ardyn- Final Fantasy XV
While not everyone was crazy about Final Fantasy XV, something that everyone could agree on was that Ardyn, the game’s main villain was one of the best the series had seen in over a decade. He was clever, sly, and psychotic, and the brilliant voice acting made him ever more fully realized than iconic villains like Kefka and Sephiroth ever could be.
It takes a long time to make your way to Ardyn for the final fight, but when you do, you are treated to an absolute spectacle of a fight which, while not that difficult, feels appropriately epic when considering what’s on the line in the battle.
Ardyn has been playing the world like a chessboard for almost 1000 years, and he finally has the chance to finish off the last piece of the puzzle that Bahamut had forced him to build in Noctis’s rise to Kingdom.
The fight is just one on one, so your party members you’ve been relying on all games are not there to save you, and the fight has multiple phases, with one almost resembling a Dragon Ball Z fight as you soar through the air launching magical attacks at each other.
Final Fantasy XV may not be the most beloved game, but the boss fights in it were certainly something special.
Wiegraf Folles- Final Fantasy Tactics
Most bosses in Final Fantasy history are tough but reasonable, and very few, if any, have ever forced a player to restart the game. That’s what makes Wiegraf Folles such a memorable boss, and it’s for all of the wrong reasons. You encounter this leader of the Corpse Brigade about halfway through the gargantuan adventure of Final Fantasy Tactics.
What makes this fight so difficult is that there are three phases against Wiegraf and the final one makes the player go one on one with Wiegraf for the first time all game. In Final Fantasy Tactics, you are basically as strong as your team is, and here, your team is ripped away from you, and unless you’ve built up Ramza to be an absolute truck in melee combat, you simply can’t win the one on one against Wiegraf.
That’s no big deal, though, right? This is Final Fantasy! We can grind till we win…right? Well, that’s the catch here because you can’t get out of the castle once you’ve entered here, and that means no grinding. If you have a previous save, you can load that up and prepare for the fight that way, but if you don’t, you have to start the ENTIRE GAME OVER AGAIN.
Caps for emphasis, but this game is 110+ hours if you are a completionist, so this could mean erasing 50 hours of progress at this point. There is a reason that many people claim this is the worst boss in Final Fantasy history.
Beatrix- Final Fantasy IX
Beatrix is an amazing encounter every time you face her, but it’s the first time around where she really makes an impression. Beatrix is one of the most human-feeling villains you’ll face in the game, and her knowing one of your party’s main members, Steiner, makes the fight carry all the more weight.
Beatrix leads an army of women and is said to be able to take on an army on her lonesome if she had to. This reputation comes to fruition in Final Fantasy IX, as she will absolutely beat your party downtime and time again. You will never forget the attack called “Climhazard,” and her variety of melee and long-ranged attacks will have your party in fits before too long.
You face Beatrix three times throughout the game, and the best thing is no matter which battle you face her in, you can’t win. She just eventually gets bored or distracted by something, and the fight ends. She’s a certified badass, and her pairing with Steiner as a couple at the end of the game makes for one of the most endearing endings ever.
Neo Exdeath- FFV
Final Fantasy V may be one of the most unremarkable Final Fantasy games out there, but it still manages to have some incredible fights. One of the standouts of the game is the fight with Neo Exdeath, a sorcerer who was consumed by the Void and came out on the other side as one of the most horrific-looking creatures ever.
This fight isn’t necessarily a standout because of its intense difficulty or the cool attacks at play, but rather the amazing art design here. This boss looks like every Final Fantasy enemy came together and fell into a pot of soup together. The result is Neo Exdeath, and the fight becomes an overwhelming one if only because the animation on screen is so intimidating.
Neo Exdeath was a precursor to how insane Final Fantasy bosses would start to look from this point forth, and without Neo Exdeath as the blueprint, you wouldn’t see insane final forms like Safer Sephiroth, Kefka, Braska’s Final Aeon, and more.
Ultimecia- Final Fantasy VIII
Ultimecia is not looked at as one of the top villains in the Final Fantasy catalog because of her somewhat random appearance at the end of the game, but when you follow the storyline, this has been the woman pulling the strings of every major story beat for 80+ hours. With that in mind, the fight with her is an incredibly well-deserved showdown, and this one does not disappoint.
Throughout the fight, Ultimecia will taunt you and speak in a weird accent the whole time, adding to the unsettling nature of her very being. Things take a turn for the weird when she summons Griever, the medallion around Squall’s neck for the entire game, into a real-life GF beast.
Once you manage to defeat that, it gets even crazier as Ultimecia fuses with Griever to become a horrifying monstrosity that is absurdly powerful and end your entire party in one hit.
If you subscribe to the R=U theory of Final Fantasy VIII, this boss becomes incredibly tragic, and the ending that follows is truly bizarre and still up to interpretation to this day.
Scorpion Sentinel- Final Fantasy VII Remake
While everyone was likely blown away when first firing up Final Fantasy VII Remake, it wasn’t until you reached the end of the first Mako Reactor that you could feel something special was happening here.
Up until that point, every beat from the original game had played out perfectly according to the original. For fans of the original game, you knew that once you reached that Mako Reactor, it would be time to fight the game’s first game boss in the form of the Scorpion Sentinel.
Seeing this boss for the first time in 1997 and then seeing it in full 3D, supported by the best graphics you can find, was an incredible moment for me and likely many Final Fantasy fans all over. We finally had the remake we’d been waiting for all of these years. Not only that, but the new combat system fits bosses like this personally.
Instead of just targeting the bosses’ various body parts, you have to physically move to attack those parts of the body, and this physical approach to the game was so refreshing and felt like what we all might’ve envisioned back when the game was first released.
Scorpion Sentinel was an excellent way to start things off, and having just Cloud and Barrett back in our gaming lives animated so perfectly was a sight to see as well.
Zodiark- Final Fantasy XII
Optional bosses are usually tough in Final Fantasy, but rarely are they as bizarre as Zodiark. It’s hard to even define what this enemy is as it appears to be some kind of mix between a jet plane and a god. The result is an incredibly tough fight that requires you to be very high level and have the best possible equipment on hand as well.
Zodiark is immune to magic for much of the fight, so you better hope you’ve been making your characters powerful melee fighters as well. The fight is also a lengthy one, with Zodiark’s hp coming in at 300,000 HP. You will need to be patient here and use the Gambit system effectively to win, and when you finally achieve victory, Zodiark will be yours to summon from that point forth.
Want to learn more about Zodiark? Here’s our complete Zodiark Guide.
Question: What is the hardest boss in Final Fantasy history?
Answer: This is usually up to opinion, but I don’t think many will take issue with me saying Ruby Weapon in Final Fantasy VII is the hardest boss the series has ever had.
Question: What are good strategies for beating the bosses in Final Fantasy games?
Answer: The number one thing you need to do with any boss in Final Fantasy is to study their moves. You need to have a good idea of what is coming and what you need to prepare for.
Question: How long does it take to beat a boss in Final Fantasy?
Answer: This depends on which one you’re facing, but generally, most bosses take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to beat, with some of the longer ones in the series taking hours to defeat.
If you’re looking for a game that’s going to challenge your mind and your preparation rather than your reflexes, Final Fantasy is the perfect series to check out. There has yet to be a game series that creates epic boss encounters like Final Fantasy, and while this list only shows off a few of them, there are so many more epic ones to discover on your own.
Continue reading related FF enemies guides and walkthroughs