It would be a misnomer to call these boss fights the most frustrating of all boss fights. Rather, these are bosses that have tormented me personally. These are the kinds of boss fights where my brain becomes numb after repeated attempts and I lose all track of time and sleep. These are the boss fights that I have thrown away hundreds, maybe even thousands of lives at. These are the boss fights where my wife says, “It seems like you’ve been doing nothing but fighting this boss for hours,” to which I reply (without making eye contact or moving), “That’s exactly what I've been doing.”

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – The Forgotten One
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a game that sneaks up on you. I didn’t start truly falling in love with it until the second half. After an impressive cliffhanger, I excitedly awaited the game’s DLC. MercrySteam later admitted it was not originally planned and was rushed though development after the game’s release. The fight against Forgotten One, the focus of the second DLC, is absolutely infuriating.

In the rush to get the DLC out, balance was clearly thrown out the window as The Forgotten One is way too hard. After playing the full game, and playing through the game’s first DLC, there was no way I was going to let it collapse into the black hole that is my, ‘I’ll return to it later’ list. I beat him, but not without shouting at my TV like an insane person for hours. I’m sure my neighbors loved it.

Donkey Kong Country Returns – Tiki Tong
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a hard game, but gathering lives for repeated attempts is not an unreasonable task. Despite the many deaths leading up the fight with Tiki Kong, I had a collection of lives that reached into triple digits. When I finally made it to the fight after the difficult rocket-barrel climb preceeding it, I still lost nearly all of my lives trying to memorize the patterns and perfect my platforming to wipe the smile off that stupid sentient tiki torch’s dumb wooden face.

Mark of Kri – The Final Horde (Dark One)
The Final Horde isn’t a singular boss, but it does serve as Mark of Kri’s final fight. Rau Utu's antagonist is reached after finally destroying the final horde, but he is killed in a cutscene when Rau Utu throws an axe into his head. In many games this would be a disappointing anti-climax – killing the end boss in a final cutscene – but after making my way through The Final Horde, I was more than happy to not have to fight anymore.

Mark of Kri is a stealth game. There is traditional action combat, but the game encourages players to avoid confrontation wherever possible. The final level, however, throws all of that out the window, hands Rau Utu a battleaxe, and tells him to get to swingin’. You have to play the game differently than you have been trained for the levels leading up to it, and it’s a huge, difficult pain.

Metroid Prime 3 – Dark Samus
The fight against Dark Samus is one that begins in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, so it’s understandable that taking her on would be a difficult fight after so much build-up. She employs a number of familiar boss-battle tactics, like sending out shock-waves you must leap over and cloning herself, but just because her tactics are familiar doesn’t make adapting to them any easier. I distinctly remember my left hand's fingers and wrist being in incredible pain from holding the nunchuck so tightly for so long after finally taking her down.

Mega Man X4 – Sigma
Sigma always serves as a challenge in the Mega Man X series, but Mega Man X4’s iteration was the one that gave me the most difficulty in my ever-raging war against the Mavericks. Rather than defeat Sigma’s assorted forms one by one, Sigma gets the bright idea to basically use all of his forms at the same time and cycle among them in a single battle. He’s three floating heads, an upper body with a gun, and a pile of difficult-to-damage robot trash all at once and I will always hate him for it.

Head to page two for the rest of the list, as well as a bonus non-boss entry.