With Final Fantasy XV rolling out at long last, many of us have allowed our thoughts to wistfully stray to those cherished memories from the series' bygone days, and the numerous hours spent in the quixotic realms of the past. They're enough to bring a tear to the eye.
But as ever, nostalgia needs to be greeted with all the skepticism of a policeman being told on New Year's Eve that, yes officer, I've only had one. Beneath those rose-tinted glasses lies a far less idealised truth; those happy recollections are often littered with unwelcome blemishes, repressed periods of frustration best left forgotten.
For all the Final Fantasies of our now long-distant youth were joyous affairs, they weren't without their 'moments'. Between the fun, there were those particularly unpleasant bosses that caused tears to roll amid a trail of destruction; DualShock pads flung against the wall, NES boxes booted to oblivion, and a whole range of other possessions destroyed in disproportionate response to petulant game-rage. It's not my fault, mum, stop going on at me! I'd nearly killed it!
But when we did beat them: oh, what sweet, sweet pleasure. Throughout its glittering history, Final Fantasy has provided numerous moments of pride-filled triumph, and those were never felt so acutely as when we bested the following - the 15 most brutal bosses the series has ever produced.
15. Demon's Gate (FFVII)
The Temple of the Ancients' bouncer is by no means the hardest boss in the whole of Final Fantasy VII, but it's one that caught many a complacent Strifer totally off-guard.
After a dungeon that was as much a pain in the arse as a stiff wooden chair is to a haemmorhoids sufferer, being floored by a, well, wall, was utterly infuriating. Not to mention embarrassing. Who gets killed by a wall, really?
Pretty much everybody, it turns out, as countless FFVII first-timers fell at this suddenly much higher hurdle (or gate, if you will). Following a fairly straightforward run through the game's opening disc, Demon's Gate is a firm boot up the backside for any under-levelled party coasting along, asking them to throw all balls to the devilish wall lest it crush them - quite literally.
Final Fantasy players with a longer memory rightly lamented - the Demon Wall had previously appeared in Final Fantasy IV, and was just as annoying.
Cactaur Needles O' Pain: 10