10 Best Skill-Check Bosses In Gaming History

Pass this bar or get flattened by it.

final fantasy 16 Benedikta Harman boss fight
Square Enix

Who doesn't love a good boss battle?

Final bosses, Resident Evil bosses, final bosses in Resident Evil - these represent just a fraction of the overpowered digital pugilists gamers have had to overcome over the decades, using nothing more than wit, reflexes and good old-fashioned trial and error. (If you ever want to see a Bloodborne veteran give a thousand yard stare, simply whisper "Orphan of Kos" into one ear. Four hours of effort to win a fight that lasts less than five minutes...)

Of all boss types, however, none are more vital to developing a player's skill-set than the subject of today's article: the Skill-Check Boss.

To clarify, a Skill-Check Boss is a mandatory fight that exists to make sure you've been paying attention to the fundamental mechanics of the game you're playing.

Whether that game prioritizes parrying, stat-juggling or sheer ruthless aggression (to borrow a phrase from world-famous streaker John Cena), unless you're au fait with the systems underlying its combat then these bosses will end your journey before it really begins.

Which brings us to the first entry on our list. (And yet another name that should be familiar to Bloodborne fans...).

10. Father Gascoigne (Bloodborne)

final fantasy 16 Benedikta Harman boss fight

Father Gascoigne contains one of the greatest bits of trolling in the history of boss fights.

During the first half of the fight - when Gascoigne is in his doddering old man form - there's a group of gravestones in the arena that provide a handy barrier between you and the hirsute priest. With a little maneuvering, it's possible to position Gascoigne in a manner where your attacks can reach him, but his can't touch you. It's an undeniably cheap strategy, but an effective one.

That is, until you whittle down Gascoigne down to half his health.

At that point, he transforms into a werewolf, shatters the gravestones with a single punch, and proceeds to massacre your health bar before you've had time to pick your jaw up off the floor. It's such a masterful sucker punch that you can almost hear director Hidetaka Miyazaki chuckling alongside you.

"Nice try, Padawan, but you'll need to learn how to actually fight to get past this one".

And so it goes, with Gascoigne's monstrous form proving nigh-impossible to get past unless you've got a good grasp of Bloodborne's projectile-based parrying. (Or at least a good sense of timing for when to roll out the way of his feral lunges).

Father Gascoigne is the point where it becomes clear that Bloodborne brooks no quarter from the player, and that the only way to proceed is to, as the saying goes, "git gud". That the game goes about teaching this in such a delightfully wicked manner is one of the many reasons Miyazaki's masterpiece is remembered so fondly.


Hello! My name's Iain Tayor. I write about video games, wrestling and comic books, and I apparently can't figure out how to set my profile picture correctly.