By Bryan Smith on April 12, 2015 at 2:39pm
The “Kingdom Hearts” series is a dearly beloved series with a tie between the wonderful worlds of Disney and “Final Fantasy” (with “The World Ends With You” thrown in as well). On paper, it sounded like a crack pairing. Square Enix (Square Soft at the time) proved, however, that “Kingdom Hearts” would have such a staying power with excellent hack-n-slash gameplay, heartbreakingly beautiful music, and a wild roller coaster of a plot (for better or for worse).
With most “Kingdom Hearts” games comes the stable of several hidden bosses. These optional bosses are the cream of the crop in terms of testing one’s skill and they don’t come any better than here. Today we’re going to count down the best of the hidden bosses that “Kingdom Hearts” has to offer.
As with any kind of list that deals with hidden bosses, MASSIVE SPOILERS.
10. Monstro from "Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix"
We’re starting off the list with a surprise boss: Monstro. Or to be more precise, more of a surprise for Japan and more of a “good to know” for everyone outside Japan as it was for the Japan-exclusive “Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix.” Everyone else wouldn’t get to see Monstro and other bosses until “Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix.”
What makes this boss more surprising than some is that Monstro served as an entire world in the first “Kingdom Hearts.” Imagine this: the whole world Sora once traversed in before is now actively attacking you. A world. Now size may be a bit of a head-scratcher considering Aqua, Terra, and Ventus stand the size of a human to a regular size whale and Sora, Donald, and Goofy were somehow much smaller, but I consider that as a hindsight of cartoon design than anything else. The battle features a unique feature of battling inside the whale, forcing it to sneeze your player out, and battling outside fast enough to defeat it before it swallows you again, thus repeating the process. Overall, I like the battle as it goes down the basic fight between a woman/man and a giant monstrous whale.
9. Ice Titan from "Kingdom Hearts"
The Olympus Coliseum houses a lot of secret bosses (though not all of them will be featured on this list). The Hades Cup has Hades himself and the Rock Titan. They, however, are standard bosses. Yes, a giant Titan made of rock is rather easy all things considered. The Rock Titan isn’t the only Titan in the game though. Later in the game a new challenge with only question marks appears. To anyone new, this could just about be anything. To those who have faced the challenge, however, this is the Gold Match with the Ice Titan.
You fight the Ice Titan alone with just Sora. As opposed to simply smacking the Rock Titan over and over until it falls over, the Ice Titan requires you to time your hits to deflect ice shards being fired at you and small openings the Ice Titan isn’t attacking. He can get rather relentless with his attacks with constant barrages of ice shards and ice meteors. Funny enough, however, that the Ice Titan nets you additional experience for all of the ice shards you deflect back at him, which would be a good place to grind some experience if you haven’t gotten to the max. The Ice Titan is an overall decent boss for Sora to deal with alone.
8. Kurt Zisa from "Kingdom Hearts"
Meet Kurt Zisa. He is a giant Heartless (minor spoiler, the only Heartless boss on this list) from the Agrabah world with two giant swords. He was also named after some guy from New York for winning a contest to have your name in the game. This particular Heartless, along with its companion Phantom, are two optional Heartless bosses that North America, PAL regions, and “Kingdom Hearts Final Mix” received. Kurt Zisa gets the nod here because his battle is more intuitive and easier to pick up. Without a guidebook, it would take an extremely wild guess to know that you have to use the spell Stop on Big Ben to stop the Death sentence on your characters and you.
Kurt Zisa has two main phases- He uses Silencega to stop any magic use for one phase and he has a barrier to block physical attacks for the second. With each of his offensive phases, it tests your skills on being strictly physical with attacks and technical with magic and skills. It offers a nice challenge and takes some players out of their comfort zone of not having magic to heal or basic attacks.
7. The 49th Seed in the Hades Paradox from "Kingdom Hearts II"
One of the special encounters in “Kingdom Hearts” series come from the “Final Fantasy” characters. By “Final Fantasy” characters, I mean Cloud, Squall (called Leon more commonly in “Kingdom Hearts”), Yuffie, and Tifa. The ones with Tidus, Seifer, and the like are nice enough, but these four are the real deal when it comes to the “Final Fantasy” part of the crossover. Considering the nature of “Kingdom Hearts,” the four move and fight like how I would imagine they would on a 3D plane. It also helps that they aren’t pushovers either.
Then comes the ultimate “Final Fantasy” battle (that doesn’t include a certain iconic villain…) in “Kingdom Hearts II.” That is the 49th seed in the Hades Paradox Cup. Instead of a simple fight against Cloud or a duo of Leon and Yuffie, you fight Cloud, Leon, Yuffie, and Tifa all at once and you’re by yourself. Predictably, fighting a team you would play in “Final Fantasy VII” with Squall isn’t going to be a walk in the park. In fact, this battle is the hardest one in the Hades Paradox Cup. The fight following is a breeze in comparison, as you’re only fighting Hades with the help of Hercules. The four not only offer a challenge, but they have an attack that matches their ultimate attacks from their respectful games.
6. No Heart from "Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix"
You’re going to see similar bosses being featured over others on this list a lot. I was debating which ones to put on here out of Vantias Remnant, Armor of Eraqus, and No Heart. I, however, went with the one that was more surprisingly and less like a repeat boss from earlier in the game. That boss is No Heart, or otherwise known as the armor Master Xehanort would wear. For those perceptive of the cutscene right before the fight and of the overall design, the armor is the exact same armor Xemnas uses in the final battle for “Kingdom Hearts II.”
As I have stated before, No Heart is more original of a fight as its tactics and attacks are completely different from the other armor bosses with a few new attacks and higher difficulties. Aside from being a challenging boss, No Heart brings up the question of “why haven’t we seen Master Xehanort use his armor before? Xemnas barely used it to the fullest degree when Sora fought him in ‘KH2.’” It’s a little strange that Xehanort’s armor barely fights like Master Xehanort does. I think that the developers are giving us the players a slight glimpse of what the final battle for “Kingdom Hearts III” will look like. No Heart, a shell of Xehanort in his armor, is just the iceberg and Sora will fight an ultimate battle with the true Xehanort in his armor. That’s just speculation though. I guess we’ll have to wait and see when “Kingdom Hearts III” releases.
5. Absent Silhouettes from "Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix"
I think Square did a really nice job in not only adding in the deceased Organization XIII members’ fights but giving them some flavor in terms of the boss mechanics. These include Zexion, Lexaeus, Vexen, Marluxia, and Larxene. Save for Larxene’s fight, which is just a tough fight with her and her clones, each one offers a unique approach to fight and defeat.
For example, Marluxia puts a counter curse on you that only lets Sora take a certain amount of hits before dying. However, most attacks don’t affect your health. Vexen has an emblem on the ground that scans Sora and makes an Anti-Sora copy (the one that you play as if you get Anti-Form) if he gets enough data from Sora. His attacks also hit like a truck. These five bosses are tough and require some more thought than other bosses. Speaking of these bosses, they also can be fought again with Organization XIII Data Rematches.
4. Roxas Data-Battle from "Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix"
Or otherwise known as the Organization XIII Data Rematches. I decided to go with Roxas as the frontrunner of this choice because Roxas’s battle is the only original fight brand new to “KH2 Final Mix” that Sora/Riku didn’t fight in a previous game or in the original “KH2.” This single boss fight is one of the best fights in the entire series to make a boss make such an impact emotionally.
I’m a real sucker for this game’s music and Roxas’s battle music, “The Other Promise,” is extremely chilling, somber, and surprisingly epic at the same time. The running theme of these bosses is the challenge, of course, but this is the one battle to elicit a raw emotion of sorrow out of the boss- Roxas. You feel his pain just from strong strings at the high points of the music. He is full of rage, and yet Sora doesn’t understand why there’s rage in the first place because of unfortunate events long before. Even with the data rematch, the same feeling remains, and it might be even stronger now because Roxas doesn’t say anything to Sora once the fight starts. It may very well be Roxas accepting a sad but true reality at this point. Or it could just be the fact that it’s just data, but I’m open to the idea of somber symbolism.
3. Unknown from "Kingdom Hearts Final Mix"
This Unknown is the first Unknown seen in the series, as in the one that appeared in the first “Final Mix.” I’m not including “Birth By Sleep’s” Unknown battle because the first “Final Mix” does it better in terms of shock value and strategy and it somewhat feels like an attempt from Square to say, “Sorry Americans that you haven’t see the first Unknown battle. Here, take this so you forget about it ever existed.” Funnily enough, everyone outside of Japan would be able to fight the first Unknown with “Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix.”
As I said with spoilers before, Unknown is Xemnas coming to test Sora’s abilities since he created Roxas by losing his heart. Before Unknown, Sephiroth was considered the hardest boss for “Kingdom Hearts.” When “KH Final Mix” rolled out, however, Unknown swipes that title from Sephiroth easily. Unknown has a surprising amount of strength and speed mixed with a lot of attacks in a short amount of time. Sephiroth usually has a pause in between several attacks, whereas Unknown is more relentless. Just to mark on this boss’s difficulty, he was the only one that I had died to when “Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD” released. Personally, I think this boss fight is a perfect stepping stone for between the first game and “Kingdom Hearts II” in terms of what to expect. He isn’t number one on the list, however, because Square Enix decided to showcase Unknown in several cutscenes for “KH2” and “Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories” with no context for anyone outside of Japan. Not cool guys, not cool.
2. Sephiroth from "Kingdom Hearts"
So you’re playing the first “Kingdom Hearts” and you spend your time working on leveling up, getting materials, and filling out the journal. Nearing the end of the journey, the Olympus Coliseum opens a lot of challenges. The Hades Cup finishes (somewhat) the Olympus Coliseum story and the Gold Match, as stated before, holds the Ice Titan. Then there’s the Platinum Match. Just like the Gold Match, Platinum is presented as a series of question marks. You may be wondering, “Ok, so the first one was the Ice Titan. Perhaps I fight another Titan from the movie ‘Hercules.’ Let’s find out!” Then a “Final Fantasy-like” summoning circle appears and the one-winged Sephiroth appears to a solo Sora. He then promptly beats your surprised and unprepared butt.
Sephiroth is one of the most well known villains of “Final Fantasy” lore and he easily can make the same distinction in “Kingdom Hearts” (as a boss anyways) because of the right skill needed to beat this difficult boss. He is the hardest boss for the first “Kingdom Hearts” (save for Unknown in “Final Mix”) where he does an insane amount of damage with just one swipe of his Masamune sword, and that’s just the first cycle of attacks he does in the fight. With Heartless Angel, which takes away all MP and most of your HP, and a near invincible Supernova attack, it puts your skills to the test to avoid dying and to defeat Sephiroth.
Also, I’m only including the first fight with Sephiroth because “Kingdom Hearts II” somewhat nerfed his deadliness and difficulty. He is still a nice challenge, don’t get me wrong, but Sora is more nimble and has more abilities to play with, making Sephiroth easier than before.
1. Lingering Will from "Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix"
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the secret boss to end every secret boss known to man. The Lingering Will is also the hardest and most frustrating boss that I can possibly imagine in video game history. You can lose this fight in the first five seconds with Sora being at level 100 and having every positive skill equipped.
I greatly believe that the Lingering Will is the ultimate testament for any “Kingdom Hearts” fan because he throws just about everything at you without hesitation and concern for your welfare. He takes a lot of concepts from other bosses, such as Kurt Zisa’s ability to cancel out the attack or magic command, attack relentless like Unknown, having invincibility moments, and more. The scary thing about the Lingering Will, however, is that he combines just about everything fatal from all the bosses, cranks them up past the eleven dial, and uses them as combos. The Lingering Will is in fact Terra’s mind in his armor. You even get to play as the Lingering Will in “Birth By Sleep.” The fact that the hardest boss in “Kingdom Hearts” history was once a playable character before is staggering.
I don’t think I have ever used a multi-tiered plan to approach a boss before for “Kingdom Hearts.” I just needed to make sure my abilities were equipped and I’d be go to fight. The Lingering Will requires your attention at the nanosecond he makes a move. The open window to attack him is whenever he is recovering from an attack animation, and that lasts only a few seconds. There isn’t any other time you can hit him. For whatever reason, the Lingering Will can’t be hit even if he is running at you, something that you can normally do with most other bosses. You can’t simply bludgeon the Lingering Will to submission. This is an ultimate test of wits, patience, and skill.
To be a true champion of “Kingdom Hearts,” fighting the Lingering Will is one of those hardest challenges, and it is certainly a rewarding feeling of winning such a difficult taks. So what secret bosses did you enjoy in “Kingdom Hearts?” Thought another boss should have been on the list? Post a comment and let us know!