Note: Spoilers may come up behind you with an oversized sword, then proceed to cast Thundaga on you. Ensure you are equipped with a pre-emptive ability.

Dear reader, today I will be counting down entries from a series which has dominated my life since the age of six. We are talking three quarters of my life at this point, which is an unbelievable thing to consider in retrospect, and as such I feel like I have to write a list that will do justice to one of the greatest gaming series of all time: Final Fantasy.

Everyone knows the story: Squaresoft, who had released several financially unsuccessful games in 1986, saw the success that rival company Enix had had with Dragon Quest and pooled their remaining resources in what they thought could be their final game. The result sold 800,000 copies and spawned a mega-franchise that to this day is making millions. Although people are not convinced by the modern Square-Enix, you cannot deny their success.

Final Fantasy has many hallmarks: random encounters, mini-games, enormous swords, silly hair, chocobos, Cid, moogles, summons, magic spells and memorable villains combine to create this video game behemoth. But what about the bosses? With a series which now has several dozen main titles and spin-offs, there are many bosses to think about when considering the best bosses in the series. For me though, I wanted to think about the most memorable, the most interesting, the ones with the most depth, and ones which inspire the player.

Most importantly, it is not only about the battle itself. I could easily fill the list with superbosses and final bosses, but this is not one of those lists. These bosses have something special that makes them great. You may not agree with some of the entries on the list, but I am a Final Fantasy fan through and through, and as a result I will attempt to do this list justice, no matter which ten I pick. This is a love letter to a series that has given me so much, much like I did for Dragon Quest.

With that said, let us equip materia, change jobs, augment ourselves and prepare for battle as I count down through what I consider to be the Top 10 Final Fantasy Bosses of all time!

I could have selected any number of games to be the representative for the fourth game. However, while Zeromus is pretty cool and Golbez memorable, nothing comes close to the feeling you get when you face the Demon Wall for the very first time. I remember being incredibly stressed.

In the Underworld lies the Sealed Cave, home of one of the Dark Crystals. Due to Golbez attempting to collect them all, you make your way through one of the most tricky dungeons in the game. Upon reaching the end and trying to escape, the Demon Wall attacks - quickly. You are thrust into a battle with stressful music, and a boss which endlessly encroaches on you. Getting too close will result in it using Crush, killing the party. It's even worse in the DS version, where the boss has 40,000 HP and a knack of destroying even the best players.

Even though a simple Slow spell can help, Demon Wall is still one of the most epic bosses in the storyline of Final Fantasy IV. Reappearing in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XII as equally difficult bosses relative to your power, this boss will be mercilessly crushing its foes for years to come.

Say what you like, Final Fantasy VI is not a happy game. Yes, it may have its moments of fun and merriment, but overall the tone of the game is pretty depressing. However, every game needs some comic relief to lighten the mood, and we are delivered that in spades with the tentacled wonder himself, Ultros.

This creep just doesn't know when to stop. Ultros is a shadow along your route for much of the game, first attacking you at the Lethe River for no reason whatsoever. With a penchent for ladies, and a hatred of fire and the muscular, Ultros is a charismatic enemy who loves to thrash a tentacle in your face and splash ink in your face. Accompanied in a later battle with his sidekick Typhon, his is never a serious threat, but his appearances mark a welcome break in the seriousness of the game. I keep going on about it, but why is this so important?

When you consider the tone of the game, it is important to still have those moments of hope and enjoyment. Ultros is almost Shakespearean in his employment, appearing at just the right moment to bring some light relief, much like the Shakespearean fool character. Appearing in later games too, Ultros' iconic status is cemented by just how unique he is. Ultros is certainly a winner!

Many people despise the very existence of Yiazmat. I mean, who would want to willingly subject themselves to a boss like this? Well, as the god of superbosses, that is exactly the point of Yiazmat - prove your dedication to this already long game by beating the mother of all monsters. One tiny snag, however... her has 50 million HP.

Yep, you read right. Yiazmat holds the title of most HP of any superboss in the series, and he is quite rightly a tough nut to crack. His arena is littered with traps that can kill you, he can cast regen on himeself, he can gain defence which limits your attack power, he can kill you instantly over. And over. And over again. Yiazmat holds all the cards, and the battle only gets harder as you go on. The only saving grace is that you can leave the battle and save, coming back to fight another day, but that only lengthens the torment. And I have subject myself to this battle twice.

Yiazmat may be a love-hate boss, but I know which camp I live in. After fighting all the Marks, and exploring every location, fighting Yiazmat feels like the culmination of an epic quest, which is exactly what it is. Although it may not be the very last thing you do in the game, Yiazmat is still the battle of will which will test the resolve of every player, without the benefit of Knights of the Round, Frog Drop or Zanmato. No short cuts!

If you have ever popped over to the Final Fantasy VII Board, you will know the infamy that this boss has. If not, then you probably have heard of it anyway, because it is the subject of much pain and suffering for players of Final Fantasy VII. Sneakier than Sephiroth, more cheap than the WEAPONs, Carry Armor is a boss which is as memorable as it is hated. But that's why it's so special.

Taking pride of place at the end of the Junon Underwater Reactor, the Carry Armor is summoned by Reno to destroy AVALANCHE. Thing is, Carry Armor is tough. It uses Lapis Laser to decimate your party - more often as his HP decreases - and can use it several times in a row. On top of that, it is non-elemental, which leaves only a few ways to protect yourself from it. Even worse, it can pick up your party and leave them hanging in the air... until they die. Nasty. Thing is, there are some aces up your sleeve - chief of which is Magic Hammer. Just don't go into the battle like I did with a Reflect Ring, then case Regen. It won't end well.

The bane of casual gamers and the challenge crowd alike, Carry Armor inspires a level of hate which could normally be appropriate for most superbosses. Just don't cheapen yourself and resort to Knights of the Round... it will leave you in a veghetative state (a little joke for the Final Fantasy VII Board).

Due to the nature of Final Fantasy VIII as a fun yet easily breakable game gameplay-wise, I struggled to think of a good enough representative for it. While Omega Weapon is tricky and Adel is formidable, neither come close to matching the feeling you get when facing former foes and a major antagonist for the first time. You get that with Seifer and Edea.

I will put them together due to their relationship: Seifer, childhood acquaintance and fierce rival of Squall, gives up on the SeeD life to become the Sorceress Edea's knight. Edea, former Matron of the orphanage which looked after Squall, Seifer and the others, is possessed by Ultimecia, but our party do not know this as they form a plan to assassinate her at her parade in Deling City. Almost succeeding, they are not prepared to face Seifer, or Edea, who inevitably wins.

While the bosses themselves are not inherently difficult, it is the build up and the experience that makes these two special. Twice in as many disks you have to battle them one after the other, at critical points at the end of a major and epic sequence, and battling them has overarching consequences for the remainder of the game. Edea is one of the most enigmatic villains to grace the series, and her redemption is just as satisfying. A wonderful couple of bosses.

Final Fantasy V isn't exactly blessed with many excellent bosses - thank the lord for the Job System and humour, at least. Still, that latter element is provided in some way by a boss, and what a boss he is. Gilgamesh is as much a part of the fabric of the series as any of its other recurring elements, and his initial appearance as a boss in the fifth game really explains why.

Gilgamesh is the loyal - if inept - right hand man of Exdeath. Always thrusting himeself into the fold, he develops an unusual rivalry with Bartz, throwing sarcastic and hilarious retorts at you in the battles you fight. Never exactly a true threat, he neverthless tries his hardest, using spells such as Haste and Protect and some pretty powerful physical attacks. Faced three times during your adventure, his true colours begin to shine through as he questions his own morality and his position on the side of evil.

His scenes towards the end of the game are incredibly memorable, and his banishment to the Void setting up the only link between the various games in the series. Gilgamesh is an iconic character - and boss fight - in the series; even though he isn't difficult, he is one of the best secondary bosses ever.

What can be said about Sephiroth that hasn't been said a million times before? Our favourite silver-haired, Masamune-wielding madman has been tormenting the world for almost two decades, his popularity unabated. There is just something so enigmatic about him. It could be the event that he partakes in, it could be his dark persona and his overall plan for world domination. Needless to say, his final boss forms are memorable to the extreme.

Upon journeying into the Northan Crater (and moseying on down into the Planet's Core), Sephiroth awaits intent on causing deepest death. Starting off with his Bizzaro form, a multi-part boss which is a pain to destroy but nothing special, you then move on to one of the most iconic bosses of them all: Safer Sephiroth. Capable of inflicting a multitude of status elements, and being able to cause your HP to sink to 1, these moves pale in comparison to his infamous Supernova attack, which defies all logic. Once defeated, a one-on-one dual with Cloud ends a journey of highs, lows, and a little bit of Omnislash.

My little synopsis of the battles doesn't go into nearly the detail that I would like to. There is just so much to say: Sephiroth may be considered overrated by some, but in my opinion his persona, aura and overall design still makes him one of the greatest bosses in the entire series, if not gaming in general. Or maybe we just wanted to take our revenge after all our hurt... *sniff*.

I know what you're thinking readers - what about Ozma? What about Kuja? What about Necron? While these three powerhouses are great bosses, there is one battle which has stayed with me for an awful long time due to the circumstances surrounding the fight. It also helps that Beatrix is one of the best characters in the entire series. Beautiful, softly-spoken and dangerous, Beatrix is a charismatic and memorable addition to the series.

Burmecia has been destroyed, laid waste by the Black Mage army, and Zidane travels deep into the city to locate his missing comrades. At the throne room, you are confronted by Brahne, a mysterious silver-haired figure and Beatrix, who threatens you with destruction. The music, the atmosphere, the power she exudes - it's infectious, and makes the battle all the more epic. She reappears twice more: once in Cleyra, once in Alexandria, cementing a ruthless streak. Beatrix will always finish the fight by dropping you down to critical HP, meaning that you will never beat her. She also holds the distinction of having some of the most difficult steal-rates in the game.

Although her morality and goodness ultimately shines through, her appearances in the early part of the game makes her give off an aura of complete confidence. You could imagine you would never cross General Beatrix and you really shouldn't: you'd be dead in a heartbeat.

Picture the scene. You have just travelled thousands of miles on a pilgrimage, which just so happens to be the only way of destroying the menace of an enormous monster. Even though the threat returns, you do it to make sure the people are at peace. So when you arrive at Zanarkand and are introduced to Lady Yunalesca, who then proceeds to tell you that whatever happens the cycle of death will continue forever, you can imagine you'd be pretty miffed. And that's where Tidus and company decided to destroy the only way of doing so - and Yunalesca isn't pleased.

Yunalesca is a boss with serious anger problems. She comes in three forms, each more deadly than the last. Her first form is replete with status effects and nullfication techniques, and isn't much of a threat. The second form introduces the dangerous Zombie status to her repertoire, meaning that healing becomes treacherous. However, the main twist is that you have to stay in Zombie, because her third form begins with the Mega Death move which will kill the party instantly, unless zombiefied. Ouch.

Yunalesca is the culmination of an entire, painful journey, and when you discover just how evil and corrupt the Final Aeon process actually is you just feel angered yourself. A real battle of emotion, Yunalesca is one of the more difficult and memorable bosses in the entire series.

Ahh, the cackling Crown Prince of Cataclysms is here! Renowned as the only antagonist to ever achieve his goal of world destruction, Kefka is just fantastic. Often jostling for the title of most popular main villain with Sephiroth, Kefka's maniacal laugh and penchent for fancy clothing is just two of the reasons why he is so damn memorable.

Beginning the game as little more than a general in the army of Emperor Gestahl, Kefka's power increases exponentially throughout the game, gaining influence and insanity in equal measure. Having overthrown the Emperor - and later the entire planet - he sits atop the roof of the world merciless slaughtering the innocent down below. His final boss battle is no exception to this: having climbed up a series of powerful magical bosses on the way up, you then have to face the man himself, angelic face and all. Capable of destroying you with Heartless Angel, Havoc Wing and even Ultima, he is a formidable foe which even the best of preparation may not get you truly ready.

And what does he do before the battle? Sarcastically quips that the party are idiots and acts like a demented little child. Kefka is brash, hilarious, dangerous and unpredicatable in equal measure, making him almost certainly the most sadistic villain in the series. Seriously, he poisons an entire city!

There we go, then. These ten bosses are what I feel to best represent the past 27 years of Final Fantasy, from the epic to the comic, from the human to the monstrous. These bosses have enthralled and captivated audiences for years, and for good reason. But what are your personal favourite pics for the top 10? Please let me know in the Top 10 List Board, because I would probably agree with your own assessments!

Regardless, the fun doesn't stop here. I will be doing a write-up for those bosses that missed the list by the skin of their teeth. All of the following could have been here, so here are another ten bosses that are just as good as those who made the list. Enjoy!

Honourable Mentions

The Elemental Archfiends - Final Fantasy IV: These four: Cagnazzo, Scarmiglione, Rubicante and Barbariccia, are four epic bosses that attempt to stop Cecil and company at every opportunity. My personal favourite is Rubicante, but each brings something special to the table.

Jenova - Final Fantasy VII: I could select any of Jenova's iterations. The first on the Cargo Ship is unexpected and epic; the second being in one of the most significant parts of the game. Though none of them are truly difficult, Jenova is still memorable and an important part of the enjoyment of the game.

Ultimecia - Final Fantasy VIII: Although not the most captivating boss in the series, Ultimecia's appeal lies in the fact that the whole atmosphere and build up in the Castle is absolutely outstanding. What's more, you then get one of the most long and epic boss fights in the series, including excellent music and a new all-powerful spell.

Bhunivelze - Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: Sadly, I have never been able to play any of the games in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, but I have it on good authority that the battle is one of the most epic in the franchise so far. The God of Light in that universe, he poses a serious challenge.

Bahamut - Final Fantasy IV/V: Bahamut is fightable in both of these games, and in each he is a difficult enemy. They both cast Mega Flare, and difficult without implementing the Reflect spell. Nevertheless, Bahamut is a frightening foe.

Zodiark - Final Fantasy XII: While not many bosses in Final Fantasy XII are truly memorable, I remember the pain I faced fighting the final esper. Dear lord, Zodiark is tough, and I remember the glee on my face when I finally beat it. A truly terrifying enemy, and almost useless when acquired!

Chaos - Final Fantasy: While the tides of time have ravaged the once epic Chaos, his connections to the iconic Garland, and his appearance in Dissidia, still make him a relevant enemy. At least he is a challenge in the original NES version, while he is pitifully easy in many ports.

Dorga and Unne - Final Fantasy III: I choose this for the emotional connections; these battles come truly from left-field, and as they had been helping you up to this point it comes as a real surprise. I was genuinely saddened when I realised I had to kill them.

Ruby and Emerald WEAPON - Final Fantasy VII: I lump these two together because they are part of the same mould: incredibly difficult bosses, easily exploitable AI scripts and a mythical aura rivalling some real-life gods. Beating them is a rite of passage for any fan of the series.

Seymour Flux - Final Fantasy X: Seymour shadows you for the majority of the game, but after a difficult trek through Mt. Gagazet we then face one of the most tricky bosses in the main storyline, made all the more difficult by the shocking actions of Seymour on his own way up the mountain...

List by sirloinestake (08/27/2014)

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