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SNK Boss Syndrome is a term often used to mock SNK Playmore for their tendency of making bosses in their fighting games such Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series ridiculously cheap and frustrating, it got so bad that they implemented a continue service so you can fight bosses with many advantages like having a full super bar (in some cases infinite), or having the boss' life reduced by 1/4 or 1/3. This trope was first used in Arcade games for the sake of making the player lose and be tempted to put in more coins to try again.

Unfortunately this syndrome also exists in fighting games made by other companies such as Capcom, Namco etc

SNK bosses normally have many characteristics that make them cheap, including (but not limited to):

  1. Broken moves: Not only do these moves deal damage, but can also have additional negative effects. For example, Mizuki's projectiles reverse your controls, Zero's coat attacks deal a lot of damage but also break defense if blocked and can hit so many times that he earns a super bar each time he uses them. There are also other moves that can leave you paralyzed like Neo Dio's clone, or the infamous whips of Igniz that can be used to stunlock the player, and much much more.
  2. Priority: If the boss and your character throw a close-range attack at the same time while standing next to each other, the boss' attack will hit almost 100% of the time
  3. Ridiculous damage: SNK bosses (especially in the KoF franchise) often deal obscene amounts of damage. For example, Rugal can take 75% of your health bar with his Genocide Cutter attack.
  4. Cheap tactics and A.I.: These bosses implement many annoying strategies like spamming (Goodman, Magaki, and Goenitz) or others like Geese in Art of Fighting 2 who tries to corner you by using his buzzsaw and sliding kick, his buzzsaw acts becomes an opening to counterattack after being blocked. However, if he is low on health, he will resort to using the slide kick only which has almost no recovery time effectively cornering you and leaving you with no escape.
  5. Fast movement speed: SNK bosses tend to move and attack really fast, barely leaving an opening.
  6. Unfair advantages: Like the super regeneration of red health For Goodman from Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, or Igniz and Original Zero having an infinite super bar.
  7. Overly long-range attacks: One good example is Zankuro Minazuki, with his sword, he cannot only deal damage but also cover a lot of the screen with one swing.
  8. Programming flaws: SNK bosses, while cheap, are susceptible to tactics that make them unable to defend themselves; basically, this means you can defeat them by being as cheap as them, which speaks volumes of the poor design of the bosses.
  9. Only one oportunity: Some bosses besides beign hard, only allow you to fight them once, if you lose you get an instant game over, this is common with secret boss fights like Omega Rugal in Kof 2002 UM or Mu-12 in Blazblue Continuum shift, however other bosses despite beign mandatory still cause a game over like Uranus the Chimera in Bloody Roar 3, Ryoho the dragon in Bloody Roar 4, Eternal Champion in Eternal Champions, Night Terror from Soul Calibur III, Dark Champion in Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Darkside or more infamuously Final Bison in Street fighter Alpha 3 who also gives you a bad ending if you fail to defeat him. Special cases like Giga Bowser will allow you to continue but they will not allow you to fight him again.
  10. Hard to find : bosses like the ones on SVC Chaos, Shadow Jago and others need some ridiculous amount, or extremely hard of requisites to fight them.

Some notable offenders

  • Rugal/Omega Rugal/God Rugal (KoF 94, 95, 98, 98 UM, 2002, 2002 UM and Capcom Vs SNK 2)
  • Goentiz (KoF 96 and 98 UM)
  • Orochi (KoF 97 and 98 UM)
  • Krizalid (KoF 99 and 2002 UM)
  • Clone Zero (KoF 2000 and 2002 UM)
  • Original Zero (2001 and 2002 UM)
  • Igniz (KoF 2001 and 2002 UM)
  • Mukai (KoF 2003)
  • Magaki (KoF XI)
  • True Saiki/ Dark Ash (KoF XIII)
  • Jivatma (KoF Maximum Impact 2)
  • Geese Howard (Fatal Fury 1, possibly the starter of the entire trend)
  • Wolfgang Krauser (Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury Special)
  • Jin Chonrei (Fatal Fury 3)
  • Nightmare Geese (Real Bout Fatal Fury Special)
  • Mr. Karate/Serious Mr. Karate (Art Of Fighting and SVC Chaos: SNK VS. Capcom)
  • Young Geese Howard (Art Of Fighting 2 and KoF Neowave)
  • Amakusa (Samurai Shodown 1, 4 and 5 Special)
  • Mizuki (Samurai Shodown 2 and 5 Special)
  • Zankuro (Samurai Shodown 3, 4, 5 Special and 6)
  • Gaoh/Demon Gaoh (Samurai Shodown 5, 5 Special and 6)
  • Yuga the Destroyer (Samurai Shodown 64)
  • Draco (Sub-Boss) (Samurai Shodown Sen/Edge of Destiny)
  • Golba (Samurai Shodown Sen/Edge of Destiny)
  • Kouryu (Last Blade 2)
  • Johann (Rage Of The Dragons)
  • Athena & Firebrand, (AKA Red Arremer in the game) (SVC Chaos: SNK VS. Capcom)
  • Mizuchi (Neo Geo Battle Coliseum)
  • Shin Shishioh, AKA King Leo (Savage Reign, Kizuna Encounter & Neo Geo Battle Coliseum)
  • Neo Dio (World Heroes 2, World Heroes Perfect & Neo Geo Battle Coliseum)
  • Neo Geegus (World Heroes & World Heroes 2)
  • Zeus (World Heroes 2 Jet & World Heroes Perfect)
  • Goodman (Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, arguably the cheapest boss ever made by SNK)
  • Kukri (SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy)
  • Justice (Guilty Gear)
  • Dizzy (Guilty Gear X)
  • I-No (Guilty Gear XX)
  • Unlimited Hakumen (Blazblue: Calamity Tigger)
  • Nu-13 (Blazblue: Calamity Tigger)
  • Unlimited Ragna (Blazblue: Calamity Tigger)
  • Unlimited Hazama (Blazblue: Continuum Shift EXTEND)
  • Mu-12 (Blazblue: Continuum Shift EXTEND)
  • Unlimited Terumi (Blazblue: Chronophantasma EXTEND)
  • Izayoi (Blazblue: Chronophantasma EXTEND)
  • Nine the Phantom (Blazblue: Central Fiction)
  • Izanami (Blazblue: Central Fiction)
  • Susanoo (Blazblue: Central Fiction)
  • The whole Grim of Abyss mode's Boss Rush Dungeon, especially Haku-Men (Blazblue: Central Fiction)
  • Brainiac (Injustice 2)
  • Sagat (Street Fighter 1 aka Fighting Street in the US, another possibe starter of the entire trend)
  • M. Bison, (AKA Vega in Japan) (Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter EX3)
  • Akuma/Shin Akuma/Cyber Akuma, (AKA Gouki in Japan) (SSF2T, MSHvSF, SFA2, SFA3, Capcom Vs SNK 2, SVC Chaos and Tekken 7)
  • Gill (Street Fighter 3: Second Impact and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike)
  • Seth (Street Fighter 4)
  • Heihachi Michima (Tekken 1 and Tekken 7 (Treasure Battle mode))
  • Devil Kazuya (Tekken 2 (arcade) and Tekken 7 (Treasure Battle mode))
  • Jinpachi Mishima (Tekken 5)
  • Azazel (Tekken 6)
  • Jin Kazama (Tekken 6 and Tekken 7 (Treasure Battle mode))
  • NANCY-MI847J (Tekken 6)
  • Unknown (Tekken Tag Tournament 1 and 2)
  • Cervantes/Soul Edge (Soul Blade aka Soul Edge in Japan)
  • Inferno (Soul Calibur II (Weapon Master mode only) and Soul Calibur VI)
  • Abyss & Night Terror (Soul Calibur III)
  • Legendary Souls mode (Soul Calibur V)
  • Azwel (Soul Calibur VI)
  • Dural (Virtua Fighter series)
  • Metal Sonic (Sonic The Fighters/Championship)
  • Eternal Champion (Eternal Champions and Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Darkside)
  • Dark Champion (Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Darkside)
  • Eyedol (Killer Instinct)
  • Gargos (Killer Instinct 2/Gold and 2013)
  • Shadow Jago (Killer Instinct 2013)
  • Cell (Dragon Ball Budokai)
  • Kid Buu (Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 and Budokai Tenkaichi 3)
  • Omega Shenron (Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3)
  • Android 21 (Dragon Ball FighterZ)
  • Merged Zamasu (Dragon Ball FighterZ)
  • Dio Brando (AKA DIO) (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for The Future)
  • Vanilla Ice (Sub-Boss) (AKA Iced in the censored version of the game) (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for The Future (Jojo’s Venture Boss version only))
  • Ken-Oh (AKA Raoh in his boss form) (Fist Of The North Star: Twin Blue Stars Of Judgment)
  • Yami (Tatsunoko vs Capcom)
  • Giga Bowser (AKA Giga Koopa in Japan) (Super Smash Bros Melee)
  • Tabuu (Super Smash Bros Brawl)
  • Master Core/Fortress (Super Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U)
  • Fernandeath (AKA Fernandez in outside of Japan) (Waku Waku 7)
  • Magneto (X-Men: Children of the Atom)
  • Juggernaut (Sub-boss) (X-Men: Children of the Atom)
  • Thanos (Marvel Super Heroes)
  • Dr.Doom (Sub-Boss) (Marvel Super Heroes)
  • Onslaught (Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes)
  • Abyss (Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes)
  • Galactus (Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3)
  • Ultron Sigma/Ultron Omega (Marvel vs Capcom Infinite)
  • Shang Tsung (MK1 and MK:DA)
  • Goro (Sub-Boss) (MK1, MK9)
  • Kintaro (Sub-Boss) (MK2, MK9)
  • Shao Kahn (MK2, MK3/UMK3, MKT and MK9)
  • Motaro (Sub-Boss) (Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3/Trilogy)
  • Noob, Jade, Smoke and Reptile secret fights (MK1, MK2 and MK9)
  • Moloch (Sub-Boss) (Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance)
  • Onaga (Mortal Kombat Deception)
  • Blaze (Mortal Kombat Armageddon)
  • Corrupted Shinnok (Mortal Kombat X)
  • Marie (Skullgirls)
  • Filia (Skullgirls (in Fukua’s story only))
  • Kraken (Power Stone)
  • Valgas (Power Stone)
  • Pharaoh Walker (Power Stone 2)
  • Dr. Erode (Power Stone 2)
  • Uranus (Bloody Roar 3)
  • Cronos (Bloody Roar: Primal Fury/Exteme)
  • Ryoho (Bloody Roar 4)
  • Reapermon (Digimon Rumble Arena)
  • Tengu (Dead or Alive 2)
  • Omega (Dead or Alive 3)
  • Alpha 152 (Dead or Alive 4)
  • Black Battler (Umineko Golden Fantasia, arguably the cheapest fighting game boss ever made)
  • End of DeathBringer (Battle Fantasia)
  • Jaguarandi (Cyber Troopers Virtual On)
  • Z-Gradt (Cyber Troopers Virtual On)
  • Ajim (Virtual On Oratorio Tangram)
  • Bradtos (Virtual On Oratorio Tangram)
  • Tangram (Virtual On Oratorio Tangram)
  • X-Tal (Zero Divide/Zero Divide Final Conflict)
  • Parace L'sia (Arcana Heart 2 and 3)
  • General (Kaiser Knuckle)
  • Richard Wong (Psychic Force 2012)
  • Mutilator (Bio F.R.E.A.K.S)

See Also