This is our list of the baddies that we spew bile at to this day, as the pain outlasts any mere console generation. We begin our journey to the dark side with...
7. Yellow Devil (Mega Man)
At the time his pattern seemed unpredictable and the small amount of damage the Mega Buster does is even more cruel. Plus you were probably wiped out just getting to that point, making you totally unprepared for this battle. Some gaming wizards unlocked his pattern and learned exploits, but the majority of us were in tears. MM games have had crueler bosses (Sigma comes to mind) but few broke our hearts and made us quit with gritted teeth and smashed controllers like Yellow Devil did.
6. Helicopters (Too many to name)
Most third person action games eventually have at least one copter show up early on, perhaps hoping to make players go "My God, the bad guys have a copter? They aren't screwing around!" Eventually you get a rocket launcher and one helicopter is dead in moments. Fortunately the devs have know how to heighten the tension by throwing dozens of new choppers at you. By the time we finished a game like Saints Row The Third, we probably destroyed more helicopters than in the history of modern warfare, and the tedium of it made us angrier every single time we destroyed the endless array of aircraft.
5. Phanto (Super Mario Bros 2)
Phanto is relentless is his pursuit of you and his key, following you from room to room, a persistence that was pretty rare on the NES. He moved ridiuclously fast and was superb at predicting where you'd be. It gave each stage he was in some excitement, at least when we weren't shouting to the heavens for deliverance from the mask's haunting face and tireless pursuit.
4. Blue Shell (Mario Kart)
It started simple enough in Mario Kart 64 as a more powerful homing shell that could still be avoided, but eventually it turned into an unavoidable homing missile that punished players for doing too well. Of course that wasn't enough, because it eventually needed a massive explosion to be truly awful. Though it was weakened slightly in Mario Kart 7, just hearing the sound of one on our tail fills us with fury toward whoever sent that hellish shell our way.
3. Pokemon Rival/Gary Oak (Pokemon)
Your rival's pushy, blow-hard nature was taken to new extremes as Gary Oak displayed in the original run of Pokemon anime episodes. He had a personal squad of cheerleaders, virtually never lost, and rode to gym battles in a fancy car, all while taunting Ash at his slow progress. It took Ash 270 episodes to finally beat him, which was well past the point most people were watching the show. Today the internet has come to embrace him as the coolest guy that ever lived, but we'll never forget how he treated us on his way to the top.
2. Alma (Ninja Gaiden)
After exploring underground tunnels and using most of your healing items, Alma explodes through a stained glass window to ruin your life. She's relentless, barely takes damage or stands still, and since you couldn't have anticipated her, you probably are ill-equipped to fight her. The unfairness of the whole thing made us so angry, as did the thought that we might never finish this otherwise great game. For many Alma was where Ninja Gaiden ended, because they had to quit before bursting a capillary in their eye.
1. Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat)
The tradition of the exploitative, super tough boss with moves that take off more than 50% health is ingrained in the genre, with SNK being especially guilty in the 90s. But Mortal Kombat's single player mode was so innovative and ahead of the curve that when we reached the end of its story we expected something far greater. Instead we were bashed with a hammer over and over by Shao Kahn until we found enough cheap exploits to barely defeat him. We thought there was a chance we'd moved past that, but MK sadly proved otherwise. Maybe next decade.