The Final Fantasy franchise has become synonymous with RPGs. It’s strange to think that the first game was actually a last-ditch effort, considering the sensation the series would become. Nevertheless, here we all are, three decades and 15 main series entries later.
All Final Fantasy fans have their own favorite memories of the series, its stories and its bosses. Today, we’re focusing on the latter. From nigh-unstoppable optional superbosses to laughably weak ‘tutorial’ boss encounters, let’s take a look at some of the strongest Final Fantasy bosses ever, right alongside some of the weakest.
10 MOST POWERFUL: Ozma (Final Fantasy IX)
Final Fantasy IX doesn’t feature any absurd optional battles against titans with 1,000,000 HP points. This game’s superboss, Ozma, has a relatively low 55,535 HP. The low enemy HP means that there are no multi-hitting skills in the game, and certainly does not mean that Ozma is a pushover.
For some fans, this is among the most hated boss battles in the series. It’s one of those encounters that you just can’t be overpowered for, because Ozma can still decimate your party in a couple of turns with Curse, Meteor and other super fun combinations of moves. The trick here is to only select commands while Ozma is already using an attack of its own, or it will immediately get another turn (because that’s totally fair). It’s the element of luck involved that makes this such a tough one.
9 WEAKEST: Gerogero (Final Fantasy VIII)
Final Fantasy VIII certainly has some memorable set pieces crammed into its opening hours. One aspect that lingers in many fans’ minds is the train hijack section in Timber, which culminates in an encounter with President Deling (or so the party believes).
Final Fantasy veterans will surely recognise exactly where we’re going with this one. The Fake President soon reveals its true hideous, lumpy form: Gerogero, an undead boss. Being an undead boss, it can be immediately defeated by a Phoenix Down. It shares this unfortunate trait with other bosses in the series (such as Final Fantasy IX’s Soulcage), but actually manages to make itself even easier for the determined player to defeat. How? If you’ve already learned Mug by this point (which is possible if you’re committed enough to grinding), you’ll find that it’s actually holding a couple of Phoenix Downs.
8 MOST POWERFUL: Emerald Weapon (Final Fantasy VII)
Final Fantasy VII was the game that introduced the series (and the concept of the JRPG in general) to so many players in the west. As a result, its superbosses were quite possibly the first that new players ever encountered in an RPG.
For some, Ruby Weapon is the more troublesome of the two. However, for our gil, Emerald Weapon comes out on top in terms of raw HP and damage potential. This underwater powerhouse boasts the devastating Aire Tam Storm (Materia Storm backwards) attack, which can hit your whole party for 9999 damage if they have a full suite of levelled materia (which they usually will to take this thing on).
7 WEAKEST: Master Gizamaluke (Final Fantasy IX)
In fairness to the great serpentine oddity, Master Gizamaluke isn’t exactly a weak boss in the conventional sense. In fact, he’s perhaps the first truly challenging encounter in the game, especially for newcomers on a first playthrough. He’s encountered in Gizamaluke’s Grotto as the party travels to Burmecia, and his party-wide Water spell and auto-Silencing move can be tough to deal with.
The thing is, he’s a unique boss that the player can really mess with by using a Tent on him. This healing item can inflict Silence, Blind and Poison on the target, though most bosses are immune to these things. The former two will take effect on Gizamaluke, though, leaving him struggling to damage your party at all.
6 MOST POWERFUL: Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)
Speaking of Blind and Silence, these status effects are just two of the many things players will have to contend with as they take on the the mighty Kefka. Final Fantasy VI’s big bad always tends to be in the running during ‘strongest villains in Final Fantasy’ debates, and rightly so.
Through the course of the game, the party fights him no less than five times. In the infamous final boss encounter, he really goes all out. He’s scripted to immediately use Heartless Angel to devastate the party’s HP, following up with a range of formidable magical attacks such as Forsaken and Ultima.
5 WEAKEST: Steiner (Final Fantasy IX)
Adelbert Steiner may be a super serious and stuffy character, but his silliness and exaggerated personality also makes him very entertaining. All of this is established very quickly, during three different boss battles against him very early in the game.
The player is still on the theater ship at this point, so these fights are hardly intended to be taxing. The knight has all kinds of unfortunate circumstances against him in these battles: he’s outnumbered, his allies quickly leave him, he’ll refuse to attack Garnet (who can freely heal the other party members), an angry bomb is growing behind him… these encounters are all but impossible to lose.
4 MOST POWERFUL: Ultimecia (Final Fantasy VIII)
Final Fantasy VIII is known for a lot of things. Its controversial Junction system, for one. Its increasingly inexplicable story, for another. First, we’re hunting Edea. Then, Adel. Finally, we learn that Ultimecia is the real villain of the piece.
When Time Compression kicks in right at the endgame, we’re transported to Ultimecia’s Castle, which makes for a fantastic final dungeon. The last encounter with the sorceress herself is a worthy one, too, as Ultimecia pulls out devastating attacks, a GF of her own, party-switching trickery and more.
3 WEAKEST: Humbaba (Final Fantasy VI)
This entry comes with another caveat: so many of the bosses of Final Fantasy VI suffer from the same issue Humbaba/Phumbaba does. Veterans will know exactly what we’re talking about: the infamous Vanish-Doom bug. Put simply, Vanish has the side effect of leaving the target vulnerable to all magical attacks, even in cases where they usually wouldn’t be. This means that Doom can be applied to bosses for an easy and painfully cheesy win.
Humbaba is a bit of a special case, though. This World of Ruin boss was supposedly ‘fixed’ in the PlayStation port, though you can still pass the effects of Vanish over to it. You fight this great green beast four separate times, and it’s a shame that such a significant enemy can be dispatched so easily.
2 MOST POWERFUL: Absolute Virtue (Final Fantasy XI)
Ah, Absolute Virtue. Never has one of Final Fantasy XI’s Notorious Monsters been so… notorious.
Absolute Virtue was added to the game in July 2005, along with the Lumoria NM System. With the level cap at the time in mind, along with all sorts of other complicating factors (the update’s missions were a real slog to grind through), it was a long time before this boss was defeated. This dastardly Dragoon regenerated its HP at a truly punishing rate, and even when methods to best it did arise, the developers deemed many of them illegitimate and promptly removed them! It was a couple of years before Absolute Virtue was nerfed to a more manageable state.
1 WEAKEST: Diablos (Final Fantasy VIII)
Just as the party leaves on their first SeeD mission, Headmaster Cid hands Squall a mysterious item, the Magical Lamp. He mentions that it’s cursed and should only be used by someone with great power. The item menu itself suggests that you save your game before using it. Are you getting the impression that there’s going to be a super strong optional boss inside? Well, you’re almost right.
The Magical Lamp houses Diablos. As threatening as it is, this being can be dispatched much earlier than intended. The key, again, is Blind. If you can inflict the status on Diablos, it’ll be largely harmless. It mostly uses Gravity magic, which can only reduce your party’s HP to 1.