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VOICE OVER: Rudolph Strong WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Alexander
If you want to reach the end of these games, you'll have some tough final levels to conquer. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the most difficult last bosses, dungeons, or missions in gaming. Our countdown for the hardest final levels in video games includes Kiln of the First Flame from “Dark Souls III” (2016), The Final Stage from “Ghosts 'n Goblins” (1985), Sector Horologium from “Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey” (2010), Rainbow Road from the “Mario Kart” Franchise, and more!
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the most difficult last bosses, dungeons, or missions in gaming.

#10: Command Deck

“BioShock Infinite” (2013) The final stretch of this game is basically a glorified escort mission. All you have to do is protect the ship’s core long enough to clear the stage. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, “Infinite’s” last level isn’t a test of skill. It’s a war of attrition. No matter what you do, enemy gunships will keep dropping off motorized patriots. And vox soldiers. And rapid-fire turrets. It happens again and again and again, until you're so overwhelmed you can barely think straight. Let alone defend the core. Even if you’re the best marksman in the world, it’ll still take a few tries to see “BioShock Infinite’s” credits.

#9: Fire Field

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“F-Zero” (1990) Despite how it looks, there’s actually no way to drive into the lava on this track. But, having bumpers doesn’t make “F-Zero’s” climactic circuit easy. Not by a long shot. All it takes is one bad turn to leave you bouncing off the walls like a pinball. If you make it through the first one unscathed, don’t worry. There’s plenty more tight, 180 degree turns where that came from. Then, in truly despicable fashion, the end of the lap makes you choose between your one pit stop and a much-faster shortcut. Suffice it to say, Fire Field was designed to keep you on your toes. Or, rather, on the brakes.

#8: Sector Horologium

“Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey” (2010) Calling this a “level” isn’t quite right. No, Sector Horologium is a full-on labyrinth. As the eighth and final area of the game’s main dungeon, Horologium is the utter culmination of what “Strange Journey” has to offer. Both in and out of combat. The confusing, maze-like layout forces you to thoroughly explore each of its sprawling floors. But, you can’t take too much time, or the high-level encounters will shred straight through your damaged team. As if that isn’t stressful enough, the choices made in here also lock the player into one of “Strange Journey’s” three endings. Oh, and don’t even get us started on that final boss.

#7: Rainbow Road

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“Mario Kart” Franchise It’s all fun and games until someone picks Rainbow Road. Whether you’re playing on the original SNES track or any of its iterations since, this concluding race is always a white-knuckled fight to the finish. And all it takes is one try to see why. The sharp drifts and distinct lack of bumpers turn even mushroom boosts into lop-sided gambles. Well, unless you’re trying to shoot off into orbit, that is. Then again, you probably don’t need to hear any of this from us. Rainbow Road and its many, many hazards have been terrorizing “Mario Kart” players for generations. At this point, it’s just part of the experience.

#6: Temple Ship Assault

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“XCOM: Enemy Unknown” (2012) Thwarting an alien invasion is never easy. But, “XCOM’s” final mission takes that idea to a whole other level. Since you’re attacking the mothership, there’s never enough cover to completely avoid taking damage. Those tiny nicks quickly add up when you’re blasting through six consecutive swarms of enemies. Trial-and-error is basically the only way to get through it. And yet, sometimes you’ll still just lose for no reason. Thanks to “XCOM’s” infamous accuracy checks, even the best-laid plans can go south with a few unlucky misses. If, by some miracle, you make it to the last stage, you’re rewarded with a beastly throwdown against the Uber Ethereal. Not even perfect stats would make that fight easy.

#5: The Empireo

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“Catherine” (2011) When Vincent’s asleep, he’s forced to ascend an imaginary clubhouse by turning stacks of cubes into staircases. Unfortunately, the last level turns that dream into a gamer’s nightmare. The Empireo, introduced at the eleventh hour of the campaign, decides to throw all sorts of new mechanics at the player. Suddenly, Vincent is avoiding spike blocks, monster blocks, and blocks that are hidden until he’s already stepped on them. All the while, you’re trying to climb fast enough to avoid an instant game over from the rising floor. Clearly, no one’s getting through The Empireo without absolutely mastering “Catherine’s” puzzle-like gameplay. Still, it is technically fair. If only barely.

#4: Kiln of the First Flame

“Dark Souls III” (2016) It takes four Chaos Lord souls, incredible dexterity, and five Black Knight fights just to make it through the Kiln of the First Flame. But, when you finally walk into the last room, you have one more visitor to contend with. The Soul of Cinder. AKA, the final boss to end all final bosses. Since he’s the amalgamation of all the Lords of Cinder, he fights with a staggering amount of different spells and patterns. Then, once you whittle him down, he suddenly regenerates all his health, and his second phase begins. This time, with yet another new move set to learn. “Dark Souls 3” really makes you work for its ending, that’s for sure.

#3: Alien’s Lair

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“Contra” (1987) Seven stages in, “Contra” brings out the big guns by taking away yours. In the original arcade version, there’s not a single power-up in the entire level. So, either you win without getting hit, or you’re stuck with a painfully low-damage blaster. Unfortunately, the level is also littered with complex platforming, tricky enemy patterns, and foes that home in on you. Even when you get to the final area, it still takes some serious skill to secure the win. To be fair, though, hard final levels are kind of “Contra’s” thing. In the third game, “Alien Wars,” you don’t just blow up the invader’s heart. You have to beat the uber-difficult Emperor Demon Gava, too.

#2: The Final Stage

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“Ghosts ‘n Goblins” (1985) It’s only fitting that one of the hardest games of all time also has a hair-pulling last level. To set the stage, you’re fighting a boss with two different fireballs, you can only be hit twice, and your weapon is a spammable shield toss. But, you can’t throw it while standing, or at the peak of your jump. Yeah, it’s a grueling slugfest, and that’s putting it lightly. The worst part, though, is that this isn’t even the final boss. After defeating the evil Astaroth the first time, you have to replay the entire game on a new, higher difficulty to unlock the true last stage. Spoiler: it’s Astaroth again, just even more obnoxiously overpowered.

#1: Act Six

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“Ninja Gaiden” (1988) This famous NES title is not for the faint of heart. Or, really, for anyone who values their sanity. “Ninja Gaiden’s” final act includes not one, not two, but three boss fights. And yes, they all have to be beaten in succession. Due to a notorious bug in the game’s code, if you die at all in the final stages, you’re sent right back to the start of the act. You heard that right. Not the previous fight or area; the last act. So, in order to see the ending, you have to beat the most brutal stretch of “Ninja Gaiden” in a single, perfect run. The word “hard” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Have you beaten any of these insurmountable levels? Brag about it in the comments below!

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