30 Best & Coolest Final Fantasy Bosses Of All Time

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There’s no Final Fantasy story without villains and monsters terrorizing towns, guarding ancient ruins, or just trying to become gods, as one does.

Stopping their reign of terror is what moves our heroes into action.

But some of these baddies are more motivating than others.

Not all bosses are made the same, and there are some in Final Fantasy that we just love to hate.

Take a look at our picks for the coolest bosses in the entire Final Fantasy franchise.


30. Marlboro – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Marlboro – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles boss

The Marlboro has been a staple of Final Fantasy games ever since FF2. They first appeared as common enemies, a trait they’ve maintained for most of their run – with some exceptions.

In the excellent Action-RPG FF Crystal Chronicles, the Marlboro appears as a real boss for the first time, complete with its signature Bad Breath ailment cocktail and the same grotesque appearance.

You may also see this backyard Eldritch abomination as a field boss in FFCC: The Crystal Bearers on the Nintendo Wii.

It’s just nice to finally see this committed common enemy achieve its dreams of becoming a boss.


29. Orphan – Final Fantasy XIII

Orphan from Final Fantasy XIII

Orphan is nobody’s favorite boss.

But it gets a lot of points for having the single most pretentious design of all FFXIII bosses – and that’s saying a lot.

The fal’Cie Orphan takes the form of a monolithic statue depicting male and female forces as representations of good and evil revolving around its cherubic face. You’re likely to forget how the fight went, but you won’t quickly forget that this thing was the game’s final boss.

Anticlimactic battles and weird design choices aside, Orphan was the fal’Cie providing the power needed to keep Coccoon afloat. Defeating it means defeating fate itself, which makes it a cool fight in the end.


28. Ardyn – Final Fantasy XV

Ardyn – Final Fantasy XV boss

If this were a ranking of FF’s best villains, Ardyn Izunia would make it much higher.

He’s a fantastic character with a humorously cynical demeanor, a cool bohemian dressing style, and a tragic backstory to boot.

Regrettably, Ardyn does a better job as the manipulative Chancellor of Niflheim than he does as a boss.

During the battle, the visual effects are on point, but Ardyn just isn’t challenging enough for the fight to feel rewarding. Well, I guess this was an issue with a lot of fights in FFXV.


27. Behemoth – Final Fantasy II

Behemoth in Final Fantasy II

Much like the Marlboro, the Behemoth is a Final Fantasy staple that always appears as a medium or high-level mob and sometimes even a minor boss.

This ferocious beast was introduced in the series’ second installment as a boss unleashed upon our heroes by the Emperor of Palamecia.

The fight was challenging, and people liked the enemy, so it stuck.

In recent years, the Behemoth broadened its horizons by appearing as an endgame-level mark in Monster Hunter: World during a collab with the Final Fantasy franchise – a total win for FF fans.


26. Ultros – Final Fantasy

Ultros from Final Fantasy

Also known as Orthros in some games, Ultros is a recurring enemy seen in FFIV: The After Years, FFVI, and many other titles in the franchise.

Despite being a sort of joke enemy with a ridiculous design and a lecherous old-man personality, fights against Ultros can get tricky in some games – especially when he’s accompanied by Typhon, his partner in crime (who’s about as ugly as he is).

Despite his terrible jokes and weird design, people at Square-Enix seem to love it.

They even included him in the Kingsglaive: FFXV movie, and he’s the final boss in A King’s Tale: FFXV.


25. Nidhogg – Final Fantasy XIV

Nidhogg Final Fantasy XIV boss

The Wyrmking of Dravania has terrorized Coerthas since the first founding of Ishgard.

So it was only a matter of time before a group of brave adventurers had to deal with the majestic dragon.

This bizarre and menacing-looking beast sits at the top of the food chain among dragons, and he can rally them to war in the form of the Dravanian Horde by singing the Dragonsong.

Defeating this colossal draconic beast during the Final Steps of Faith can be incredibly difficult if you don’t have a well-organized party.

It’ll be a fight you and your brothers in arms will remember for a long time.


24. Cloud of Darkness – Final Fantasy III

Cloud of Darkness in Final Fantasy III

Something I loved about older Final Fantasy games is how creative their bosses could be.

Take the Cloud of Darkness, for example.

Rather than a dark omen or the consequence of some dark spell by a crazed wizard, the dark clouds looming over the horizon are the actual threat in Final Fantasy III.

The Cloud of Darkness is an amalgamation of chaotic elemental forces trying to destroy the Crystals.

For some reason, it manifests as a hot green lady coming out of a dark portal, making the event memorable for impressionable teens.


23. Bhunivelze – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII-3

Bhunivelze – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII-3 boss

After the Dr. Who levels of timeline-hopping insanity that was Final Fantasy XIII-2, it’s no surprise that Lightning Returns turned out to be such a unique game.

When your protagonist is a divine champion that’s defied fate over and over again, you need to find her a suitable rival – someone like, maybe, the God of Light.

Despite Bhunivelze being such an uninteresting character, the battle against him is simply incredible. The way he merges with the battlefield and both change throughout the fight is exciting, and the excellent soundtrack makes you feel the weight of the moment.


22. Golbez – Final Fantasy IV

Golbez from Final Fantasy IV

Rocking the classic Black Knight look comes Golbez, one of the main antagonists in FFIV.

He’s encountered in the Dwarven Castle as he tries to steal a Crystal, and beating him can be a big challenge depending on your playstyle.

The soundtrack for this fight is great. So at least you’ll jam while you keep trying to overpower this strong spellcaster.

Golbez would later become one of the main playable characters in FFIV: The After Years, where we see him atoning for the atrocities he performed while being manipulated by Zemus. Having played that makes the fight in FFIV feel more meaningful.


21. Doctor Cid – Final Fantasy XII

Doctor Cid – Final Fantasy XII boss

For every Final Fantasy, there’s a Cid.

But not all are made the same.

For the most part, Cid appears as an older character with much knowledge in engineering. Sometimes he’s a supportive NPC, others a party member – and very rarely, he’s a boss.

The most iconic example is also the first one.

Doctor Cid in FFXII is Archadia’s Chief Researcher and the creator of the Sky Fortress Bahamut (which acts as the game’s final dungeon). He’s fought twice throughout the game.


20. Yiazmat – FFXII

Yiazmat from FFXII

Yiazmat is just one of those hard-as-nails boss fights that stay in people’s memories as traumatic experiences.

Well, at least it was like that for me. While some friends at the time seemed to breeze through it as if it was nothing.

What made this fight so tricky was probably the absurd length.

Yiazmat gets especially frisky near its last bit of health, and the change in speed after chipping off damage for such a long time caught people off-guard.

But hey, we need those kinds of battles once in a while to put our skills to the test!


19. The Five Judge Magisters – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

The Five Judge Magisters – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

If we’re talking amazing bosses in FFXII, we have to mention the Archadian Judge Magisters.

These self-proclaimed Protectors of Archadia are fought in the 100th and final stage of the Trial Mode – and it might very well be the most challenging fight in the entire game.

As expected from the Elite Guard of House Solidor, these knights are immune to most common ailments – and Libra won’t tell you any useful information about them, like how much HP they have left.

It’ll take you a long time to finally beat them. And you’ll remember your struggle for years after defeating the knights.


18. Wiegraf Folles – Final Fantasy Tactics

Wiegraf Folles – Final Fantasy Tactics boss

Some bosses are cool because of their design. Others are beloved for their role in the story – and others are just unforgettably unfair.

Wiegraf Folles is the leader of a terrorist organization known as the Corpse Brigade.

He’s a White Knight with some bad-ass moves and also the reason why many people had to drop FFT halfway through.

Unless you’ve built your main character a somewhat specific way, you won’t be able to clear the third fight against Wiegraf, which sees Ramza locked in a room with the knight for a forced one-on-one.


17. Gigantuar – FFVI

Gigantuar from FFVI

Cactuars, like many non-mobile cactus species, won’t stop growing as long as the environment allows it – and some never stop.

The Gigantuar was first fought in FFIV and has returned in many games since.

In games like FFXV, it’s about the size of a person.

In FFXIII, it towers over your party at several stories high.

This last incarnation is one of my favorites for its great size. It looks way too ridiculous next to the sleek character designs and detailed graphics, and it’s hilarious.


16. The Weapons – FFVII

The Weapons from FFVII

Like our bodies, the planet Final Fantasy VII takes place on has ways to defend itself against dangerous organisms.

These Weapons were created by the planet itself over 2000 years before the game’s events, back when the extraterrestrial lifeform Jenova first made landfall.

Now they’re on a rampage, and it’s up to you to stop them from destroying everything in their path.

These fights are tough.

Defeating these frighteningly strong foes was among the most memorable moments of FFVII.


15. Phantom Train – FFVI

Phantom Train in FFVI

Final Fantasy is nothing if not creative.

And they’ve never been afraid of completely ignoring the laws of nature.

That’s the only explanation for the Phantom Train, which has your party of three somehow running next to a ghostly locomotive at max speed and attacking it at the same time.

It’s the “Phantom” part that makes this fight so memorable, though. And maybe some of the memes.

This train is responsible for taking the souls of the deceased to the great beyond. After the fight, Cyan gets one last look at his family before their untimely departure.


14. Memiroa – Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

Memiroa – Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles boss

FFCC is one of my most beloved entries in the franchise.

Not only is its gameplay a unique take on the formula, but the art-style, characters, and world-building just made it very endearing to me.

What I’m trying to say is I’m biased toward this game, and possibly toward its final boss – Memiroa.

Memiroa is a fusion of Lady Mio and Raem, the game’s main antagonist. Its name is an anagram of “Memoria”, Latin for “Memory”. This ties in nicely into the overarching themes of the game.

Its design is weird in the way JRPG final bosses often are, but it’s memorable, and the fight can be pretty challenging. You might want to get some co-op help.


13. Seymour Flux – FFX

Seymour Flux – FFX boss

Seymour Flux may not be the final boss of FFX – that would be Yu Yevon – but it’s the most exciting of the fights leading up to the game’s resolution.

He’s ridiculously strong.

To the point where the battle tends to feel hopeless from beginning to end.

Not only that, but he’s supported by Mortiorchis – a summon he’s using as a throne during the fight.

This allows him to unleash devastating 1-2 combos that could wipe out your entire party if you’re unlucky.


12. Trance Kuja – FFIX

Trance Kuja from FFIX

Much like FFX, its predecessor suffers from a terrible final boss.

I mean, what is Necron supposed to be? What does he bring to the story? Wasn’t Trance Kuja enough?

I’d argue the game would have been much better if it had just ended after the fight with Trance Kuja.

It’s challenging, exciting, and lets you resolve the feelings you’ve built up toward the character as the game progressed.

Instead, Kuja casts Ultima upon being defeated, sending you to face Necron and effectively ruining the ending with an unnecessary extra boss.


11. Emet-Selch – FFXIV

Emet-Selch from FFXIV

The Founder of the Garlean Empire, Solus Zos Galvus, played a vital role in FFXIV’s storyline from the very beginning.

And it all comes to a climax during the Shadowbringers expansion, where he reveals his true identity as Emet-Selch.

This OP Ascian has been trying to sacrifice the entirety of the world to resurrect his own people, clinging to a distant past that cannot be – at least not while you and millions of players worldwide are there to stop him.

An epic encounter that resolves so many mysteries will always be loved by the fans.


10. The Undying – FFXII

The Undying – FFXII boss

The final boss of Final Fantasy XII has no life bar, will gun you down with a Defense-ignoring arm cannon, and has sculptured abs that would make anyone feel self-conscious.

After Vaan mortally wounds him, Vayne fuses with Venat and some scrap parts from the collapsing Sky Fortress Bahamut.

The result is basically a Pillar Man from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency.

This somewhat draconic magical cyborg of a boss will challenge even the most seasoned FFXII players.

Still, the more you keep trying, the sweeter it will taste to destroy this abomination at last.


9. Beatrix – FFIX

Beatrix from FFIX

Bosses-turned-allies aren’t all that uncommon in the Final Fantasy series, but FFIX’s Beatrix is easily the coolest one in the bunch.

She’s the commander of an all-female army serving the citizens of Alexandria, but she’s rumored to have the battle prowess of a small army by herself.

If the game is to be believed, Beatrix could have singlehandedly won the Battle of Thermopylae for the Greeks.

She’s fought three times throughout the game, and you can’t beat her once.

At least you can steal some good stuff from her, including her sword – Save the Queen.


8. Adamantoise – FFII

Adamantoise – FFII boss

I adore bosses that mess with your sense of scale, and Adamantoises have done that a fair amount of times.

It may not have been evident when fighting them for the first time in FFII, but take a look at these hard-shelled giants in the fields of Gran Pulse in FFXIII and you’ll get a sense of how insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of things.

This beast is even bigger in FFXV, rivaling the size of a mountain, which makes the sight of Noctis poking at it with his magical swords a little bit ridiculous.


7. Neo Exdeath – FFV

Neo Exdeath from FFV

You’d think falling into something called “the Void” and being consumed by it would be harmful to one’s health – but not Exdeath.

No, Exdeath seems invigorated by the experience, returning as Neo Exdeath – an Eldritch abomination that looks nothing like the tree he used to be.

This new form set a precedent for future Final Fantasy boss battles, helping turn them into the epic showdowns we love today.


6. Chaos – Final Fantasy

Chaos from Final Fantasy

Chaos is the quintessential medieval fantasy final boss.

He looks like you’d expect a Demon King to look, down to the bad-ass dragon tail and the angry faces on his knees.

Did I mention he also has a face on his groin?

No matter what you think about his appearance, Chaos will make you take him seriously with devastating magic attacks and the cumbersome ability to heal himself.

The first final boss in the history of the franchise may not be the most unique, but it holds a special place in our hearts and deserves the honor of the position.


5. Gilgamesh – FFV

Gilgamesh – FFV boss

Another timeless entry in our ranking is Gilgamesh, a warrior looking to test his blade against the strongest opponents.

We see him for the first time as one of Exdeath’s subordinates in FFV. But his stay is cut short by the evil mastermind after making a fool of himself with the fake sword Excalipoor.

This fighting spirit made Gilgamesh a hit with the fans, earning him a spot on most games in the franchise, including remakes of the first few titles.


4. Shinryu – FFV

Shinryu from FFV

This divine being, also known as the Nova Dragon, is the final boss of FFV, and one of the strongest returning creature in further games.

Shinryu has a menacing design with razor-sharp claws, teeth, horns, and scales.

Everything about this dragon looks dangerous. And judging by its combat prowess, it probably is.

This dragon is often included as an optional superboss that’s somehow related to obtaining Ragnarok – one of the series’ most prized and powerful weapons.


3. Ultimecia – FFVIII

Ultimecia in FFVIII

The eighth installment in the Final Fantasy franchise has a lot going for it.

But its final boss is at the top of the list.

This powerful sorceress wants to compress the fabric of space and time into a single point to become a god – the usual.

Interestingly, it’s the first real female main antagonist in the series (as the Cloud of Darkness doesn’t have a gender).

This multi-round fight could take a toll on even the best parties. Don’t worry, though. A fantastic soundtrack accompanies it, so you’ll enjoy every minute it takes to prevail at last.


2. Sephiroth – FFVII

Sephiroth from FFVII

If this list were about the most famous Final Fantasy bosses, Sephiroth would be at the top.

This One-Winged Angel is fought in the core of the North Crater near the end of FFVII.

His most fearsome form is Safer-Sephiroth, a monstrous/angelic form with untold power that’s the last real challenge of the game..

No matter what age you are or how many times you’ve cleared FFVII, it always feels like a big deal to finally defeat Sephiroth after he spent the whole game taunting you over and over.


1. Kefka – FFVI

Kefka – FFVI boss

But even Sephiroth’s apocalyptic ambitions pale in front of FFVI’s Kefka.

This twisted jester of a wizard is one of the most powerful villains in the series, and possibly the most successful.

He actually manages to plunge the world into ruin and rule over it as a god for a fair amount of time before our heroes finally defeat him.

On the final confrontation against him, he presents himself as a dark seraphic Adonis that’ll intimidate you with divine power and chiseled abs simultaneously.

They just don’t make bosses like this nowadays.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.