Most fighting games can be classified as "easy to learn, difficult to master." Few things about the fighting game experience beat this into my head more than coming up on the boss fight. They tend to be overpowered, jumping into carpel tunnel inducing combos not meant for human hands. They barely give you time to breathe before you're searching the Amazon store in your mind for a cheap TV to replace the one you just tossed your controller through. 

My first had to be Onslaught of Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Heroes. No matter who I chose, his mighty hand and full-screen dashes knocked my pre-teen ass down fight after fight after fight. The fight against Galactus and his clones in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was Flashback City. 

As long as there are fighting games, there will always be impossibly powerful fighting game bosses, so I decided to go down the rabbit hole and pick some of the hardest bosses around. Before you sound off in the comments, these are in no particular order.   

1. Seth in Street Fighter IV 

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When Street Fighter IV first dropped 10 years ago in 2008(!!!), final boss Seth was the most indistinct thing about the game. He's a white mannequin with a yin-yang where his stomach should be and uses repurposed character moves. He could get under your skin fast, though. Talk to me after taking your 25th multi-kick to the face. 



2. Goro in Mortal Kombat

Controller-Snappingly Frustrating Fighting Game Bosses

Fighting regular CPUs Arcade/Story mode of Mortal Kombat 2 is hard enough, but Goro was literally and figuratively a new beast. His fireballs and his ridiculous jump teleport have ended many a climb up the ladder. And don't even get me started on Kintaro...



3. Jinpachi in Tekken 5

undefined Jinpachi looks impossible. Surrounded by a hazy purple aura and a mouth where his stomach should be, he's a boss that really looks as fearsome as he is. He lets off impossible combos and has a fireball move that he can stagger , crosses full screen and take out at least a quarter of your health. He's the bane of many a Saturay night for me, an annoying itch only made slightly less terrible by his inclusion as a playable character in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection


4. Azazel in Tekken 6 

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If you thought Jinpachi was bad, meeting Azazel was even worse. A crystalline bird/alien who had randoms bouts of invulnerability and lengthy combos that could half your health in four hits or less. WHY WON'T YOU LET ME HIT YOU?!?



5. Parace L'Sia in Arcana Heart 2

undefined Those boots raining down from the sky will forever haunt my memories. L'Sia's floating gems, phasing, and rushdown fighting style caught more than a few Arcana Hearts 2 players by surprise over the years. 



6. Geese Howard in any King of Fighters game

undefined If fighting games ever taught me anything, it's that the simpler someone is dressed, the more likely they are to be able to kick your ass in a game. Geese Howard pulls no punches whenever you fight him across the King of Fighters series, his fast jump kicks and his reppuken projectile attack making him a mean adversary. An entire generation of fighting fans probably fulfilled fantasies being able to pull those moves against people when he was included in Tekken 7 last year. 



7. Shao Khan in Mortal Kombat (2011)

undefinedShao Kahn has never been a pushover in Mortal Kombat, but he was a special kind of infuriating in the franchise's ninth installment. You're lucky if you can even get a hit in some rounds. That damn flying hammer. His bone-crunching 52% damage X-Ray. Shoulder charge after shoulder charge. Even on easy mode, Shao Kahn is ridiculously overpowered. 


8. Tabuu in Super Smash Bros. Brawl 

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Remember how hard Master Hand used to seem? And Crazy hand after that in Smash Bros. Melee? Now imagine a boss as wild as those two but also comes equipped with an area attack that's a guaranteed K.O? Meet Tabuu, a giant floating Dr. Manhattan wannabe who can rot in Hell for all eternity. 


9. Unlimited Hazama in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 

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I promise you that there isn't any other boss on this list who will stomp your face out 20+ times and make you feel like you deserve it. Hazama is one of several characters who appears in a buffed up Unlimited version at the end of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift's Arcade Mode, and is considered by many to be one of the hardest. His knife chain and insane air combos will pull you into a world of pain. 


10. Mike Tyson in Punch-Out

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The only thing standing between Little Mac and victory was the surly "Iron Mike" Tyson. On top of being at least double your size, he hits like a truck made of bricks, decimating health meters around the world. In a way, it's good that he was never brought back in any of the other Punch-Out games. His iron fists are their own legacy.