What was the last boss fight that made you rage?

Spilling water on a keyboard
(Image credit: Aukey)

Maybe you didn't rage enough to quit right out of a game, uninstall it, format the drive, put the drive in a bin, and finally throw that bin in the sea, but you probably said some rude words to the screen. You might have had to step away for a bit and drink some water.

There are plenty of annoyances in videogames, but boss fights are usually the worst culprit. They're deliberate progress-blockers, designed to slow your roll and make you sit up and pay attention to teacher whether you're in the mood for that or not. More than any other videogame frustration, they're the thing that makes us rage. That's OK, it was probably time to step away and take a break anyway.

What was the last boss fight that made you rage?

Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.

Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: I rarely ragequit games. I'm pretty calm but I am stubborn, so I push through even some of the worst fights eventually without too much drama. Except for Jotun in 2015, the boss-fighting RPG from the folks who've since made the very different Spiritfarer. Jotun's final fight against Odin involves maddening target-seeking lightning spears while the All-Father summons all the bosses you've beaten so far to attack you in his place. It's an infuriating fight and I attempted it for hours before I finally decided that no, I simply didn't need to win. I'd got to Jotun's final fight and I was frankly finished with it. Good game, Odin. You win.

Christopher Livingston, Features Producer: The final boss of Dying Light 2, Waltz, was a four-phaser. It wasn't that the fight was all that hard because I'd completely overprepared, and I only died a couple times. But the same quest text popped up on the screen every time he regrew a new health bar: "Kill Waltz." After killing Waltz, and then killing Waltz, and then killing Waltz, and then killing Waltz again, a cutscene played where my character shouted at Waltz (who still wasn't dead), "I don't want to kill you, Waltz!" And then I yelled at the screen, "Yes I do!" Much as I enjoyed making Aiden kick zombies and bandits off rooftops, he instantly became an idiot once a cutscene began.

Shadow Warrior 3 review

(Image credit: Flying Wild Hog)

Andy Chalk, NA News Lead: This one's easy because you can ask it any time and the answer is always going to be "the most recent boss fight I had to put up with," which right now is Shadow Warrior 3's Ancient Cock. That's right, the Ancient Cock, it's a juvenile penis joke which is literally the only good thing about it. That's not to say it's an especially "bad" boss fight in any way, it's fairly conventional as these things go, but boss fights are garbage as a general thing and SURPRISE, this one is no exception. I wasted way too much damn on it, couldn't beat it, got mad, quit, came back the next day and dropped the difficulty level as low as it would go, beat the cock, screamed "WHO'S THE COCK NOW" at no one in particular, put the difficulty back up, and went on to enjoy the rest of the game.

Boss fights suck, man.

Control key art

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Robin Valentine, Print Editor: I'm usually very chill about boss fights. Even FromSoft bosses don't really make me angry—I tend to just play until I'm bored of trying, and just give up if I don't want to do it anymore. Which is why I really appreciate Elden Ring letting you just wander off and do something else when you hit a wall.

That said, Control pressed all of my boss buttons. I was determined to complete the game, because I enjoyed the story and atmosphere so much, but some of those boss fights were absolutely ridiculous. Just the most frustrating slogs, running completely counter to the power fantasy that toolset was supposed to create. There was one against a big worm thing where I died over and over just to falling through a hole in the floor that I couldn't see rather than his actual attacks. Infuriating—and worse, you couldn't even turn the difficulty down. 

Elden Ring Great Runes

(Image credit: From Software)

Imogen Mellor, Features Producer: It's hard to get me to rage at bosses. I'm historically pretty stubborn and that means I just run at things again and again until they're dead. I did Dark Souls' Ornstein and Smough in over 100 attempts and a dozen hours without raising my voice at them. But Godrick the Grafted from Elden Ring got under my skin. It wasn't that he was just hard, it's a FromSoftware game, of course he's hard. But I was getting so good at him and being killed with slithers of health left each time. I must have gotten him to 2–5% of his health three or four times before dying and it was the frustration with myself that was making me rage. I was either too hesitant or too greedy and he'd use the exact move I didn't predict to finish me off. 

I finally killed Godrick, of course, and was very satisfied to see another NPC stamping on his corpse on my behalf. 

Elden Ring character approaches Radahn boss fight

(Image credit: 옹발이 ONGBAL / FromSoftware)

Fraser Brown, Online Editor: I have been known to overreact to adversity. And when I say adversity I mean missing my train, stubbing my toe or having to get up 15 minutes earlier than usual. The big stuff. So yes, I've had the odd temper tantrum when a game hasn't gone my way. But there are few things more embarrassing than some middle-aged dude yelling at a videogame, so I've learned to channel my rage in more mature ways, like singing sweary little rhymes. "Radahn, you fuck, I hate you and you suck," is a recent composition. That's the level most of them are at. It's not quite as cathartic, though. But I've not actually faced many frustrations in Elden Ring—I'm just that good (at being cheesy and spamming rock sling). Bloodborne, on the other hand, I ragequit so hard that I left it for seven years (and counting).  

Nat Clayton, Features Producer: There are annoying boss fights, sure. Radahn Elden Ring can absolutely do one—as can Sifu's lineup of bosses who not only require perfect parries, but ask that you perfectly clear a gauntlet of mooks and mini-bosses so as to not age too much in that final confrontation. But I'm a competitive multiplayer lass, and none of these AI-controlled chuds could be said to get under my skin in the same way another human being can. What was the last boss that made me rage? Every single Wraith main in Apex Legends, that's what.

Destiny 2

(Image credit: Bungie)

Phil Savage, Editor-in-Chief: For the first 24 hours after a Destiny 2 raid launches, Bungie enables 'contest mode', which hard caps each player's power level to ensure a level playing field for the world's first completion race. After hours battling bugs, mechanics, and the more general survivability issues of being forced to play it underleveled, our team finally called it quits at the second encounter of The Witch Queen's Vow of the Disciple raid.

The Caretaker is the first boss of the raid—a fight that requires players to split into various teams to perform a variety of jobs. Some go into a dark, spooky room to collect symbols. Others attempt to stun the boss, slowing his ascent towards the pillar that, once reached, wipes the team. Everyone else clears adds and shoots down the tracking bombs that constantly spawn from the Caretaker's back. Once the symbols have been collected and inputted in a specific way, the DPS phase starts, and everyone moves between three plates that activate in sequence to damage the boss.

It didn't take us long to get a handle on the fight's mechanics. The problem was damage. Normally in Destiny 2 raids, overleveled players make a mockery of the DPS portion of any particular fight. Here, though, there were no easy answers. We had to perfectly execute the mechanics across multiple phases and ensure we'd done enough damage to actually finish the boss by the end. It proved too much: ammo economy was a major problem, with pretty much all of our team running out of heavy after the first phase. We looked to see how other teams were completing it, and many had switched to Outbreak Perfected: an Exotic primary weapon that does more damage the more people use it. Alas, no luck: three of our LFG team didn't own the gun. In the end, it was clear it wasn't going to happen. Between the earlier bugs, the seemingly inconsistent DPS window, and our own increasingly tired mistakes, we called it quits—resigning ourselves to finishing the fight after contest mode was disabled.

From our forum

Zloth: Horizon: Zero Dawn. That last Fire Claw caused some raging, but not all that much and it was mostly directed at myself for doing stupid things. One of the early cauldrons, though, got me pretty annoyed. The game teaches you about making traps early on, but I never used them after the introduction and pretty much forgot about them. Even once I remembered them, that was a rough battle. If anyone happened to wander by my window, I apologize for any distress I might have caused. Thank you for not calling the police.

Frag Maniac: Definitely has to be the Queen Valkyrie in God of War 2018. I found her very intimidating, but after numerous tries only got her down to 1/3 of her health left, then I was pretty annoyed.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Kaamos_Llama: Sword Saint Isshin in Sekiro. 

I spent hours running at him the first time I played through the game, so much so I eventually noped out and went and played something else. I went through the whole game a second time and got him months later, I may have picked up more attack power, but mainly I think just got better at the game because I also got a lot more optional bosses the second time. So satisfying when I nailed him in the end. Haven't broken a keyboard, controller, or smashed anything. Just standard cursing, which happens all the time.

Frindis: Had a really annoying fight last night in Elden Ring. It was against a version of the Erdtree Burial Watchdog that also spawns ads. My character is invested in poise/heavy weapons so I can't really roll much, making it easy to get killed with bleed buildup from the multiple ads. I could go naked in, but I need my clothes for style points. I'll go back eventually when I have made some firebombs and can bomb the shait out of the ads or get high enough int so I can cast the crystal burst spell.

A dark elf in a golden squid mask

(Image credit: Sega)

Pifanjr: In Total War: Warhammer 2, in the end battle of my Vortex campaign with Direfin, I had been fighting wave after wave with meticulous micromanaging for at least 30 minutes, trying to be done in time before having to leave for an appointment, when my wife asked me to do something right as the last wave started and in my haste I accidentally pulled the plug out of my computer.

I was so annoyed, I just abandoned what I was doing and left for my appointment. I tried again in the evening and won the entire fight in about 20 minutes.

(Image credit: Larian)

mainer: These past few years I've been pretty lucky in that I haven't faced any truly terrible boss battles or final battles. Going back a few years, I think the last one I raged at was the final battle in Divinity Original Sin 2, I believe it was called "End Times" in the quest log.

There were a lot of conversation choices, both before & after, affecting the outcome of the game, but the battle itself was just brutal (and a bit over the top in my opinion). The main boss there was Braccus Rex of course, but there was also the Kraken, as well as other enemies and also summoned creatures. I felt like I spent most of my time healing and casting resurrection scrolls while the enemies were just beating the snot out of me.

I believe I made three attempts, trying various strategies, and didn't even get close to killing Braccus. And being turn based combat, the combat rounds felt like they lasted forever. Finally, in frustration, I just had to turn it off and walk away before I broke something.

But I came back to it the next day with a clearer mind and a calmer attitude, and I was able to finally kill Braccus as well as the Kraken and complete the game. DOS2 is a great RPG, but knowing what that final battle is like prevents me from replaying it. But I do think it helps to walk away from a game for an hour, or two, or even a day if you find yourself raging, then go back to it in a better state of mind. It seems to work for me anyway.

Dark Souls 3

(Image credit: From Software)

Sarafan: I'll go with something standard. The first thing that comes to mind when you think about hard bosses is the Dark Souls series.

There's an interesting swamp location in Dark Souls 3. You can encounter some really hard moments in this location, but the worst in my opinion is the last part which ends with a boss fight—The Abyss Watchers. It's one of the hardest (if not the hardest!) boss fight in this game. If you're really unlucky even the first part can get messy. You confront 2 or 3 sword warriors with a really nice choreography of sword wielding. They have a tendency to fight with each other, but this helps only a little. If you manage to defeat them, there's the second part (like with almost every other boss fight in DS3). This time the adversary is only one, but it has a flaming sword and barely gives you time for healing.

I needed maybe 30 tries to beat this boss with my character and it costed me a lot of nerves. The situation was so bad at some point that I even considered not only bringing some online help, but dropping the game completely. Thankfully I managed to beat it before I lost all my hair. The memories however will stay with me forever...

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