10 Worst Multi-Phase Video Game Boss Battles

Dark Souls 3's Sister Friede will make you cry.

Sister Friede

Depending on the game, boss fights are either something tremendously exciting or utterly dread-inducing.

The thrill of taking down a tricky, creatively designed boss speaks for itself, though it's also fair to say that sometimes developers get a little carried away with themselves.

One of the simplest ways for a game to prolong a boss fight is to divide the battle into a series of phases, such that just when the player thinks they've triumphed, they find out that there's another one, two, or three (or more!) sections to go.

This can be a wonderfully pleasant surprise when it's done well - Sekiro's Guardian Ape being a classic recent example - because it gives players a second and maybe even third chance to beat the living hell out of a thoroughly deserving boss.

But on the other hand, multi-phase boss fights can be emblematic of lazy, cheap game design, where the developers couldn't conceive of a smarter way to challenge the player beyond forcing them into a brutal endurance trial.

These 10 boss fights all bamboozled players with their ridiculous extra phases, often made worse by an aggravating lack of checkpoints and general absence of mercy...

10. King K. Rool - Donkey Kong 64

Sister Friede

King K. Rool is Donkey Kong 64's final boss, but rather than simply have Donkey Kong go toe-to-toe with him in a boxing ring, players have to take part in a five-phase boss fight where each of the playable Kongs must beat him in turn.

Though each of the phases changes up the gameplay a little, some majorly frustrating constraints are enforced upon the player, namely a tight 2.5-minute time limit per round.

If you can't drain K. Rool's health in that time, the round will restart with his health restored, all while the player's isn't.

Worse still, you've only got 12 rounds to complete the five phases with zero checkpoints. If you fail or any of your Kongs loses all their health, you'll have to start the entire boss fight again.

Considering that even a good run through the battle takes close to 20 minutes, it can take hours to beat this thing, especially as the final phase ratchets up the difficulty considerably.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.