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10 most frustrating dungeons in Final Fantasy history

Many of Final Fantasy's dungeons are great, but some are just infuriating (Image via Square Enix)
Many of Final Fantasy's dungeons are great, but some are just infuriating (Image via Square Enix)

Final Fantasy games inevitably have challenging dungeons, but some are infuriating. For every gorgeous, well-designed dungeon, one has a mechanic, feature, or encounter that makes players dread ever stepping foot into them.

They range from tedious to overwhelmingly difficult to frustrating due to story reasons. No Final Fantasy title is truly perfect, so here are some dungeons that have annoyed users over the years.

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Which dungeons in Final Fantasy are the most aggravating to play?

When it comes to this list, it’s another one with some criteria to it to make this a little easier to put together. One of these is “No Final Fantasy XIV dungeons” because that could be its own list.

Criteria to be on frustrating dungeons list

  • No MMO dungeons
  • No optional dungeons from remakes or re-releases
  • Dungeons that are a part of the main storyline of a game

While a dungeon can be frustrating, there are typically ways to make them more manageable. Some of these at the bottom of the list are only frustrating the first time they’re played through, while others can be a reason to turn the game off and do something else.

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Final Fantasy is an incredible franchise filled with unforgettable stories, but some dungeons are also just as unforgettable, if for different reasons.


10) Escape from Karnak (FFV)

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Perhaps the weakest offender on this list is Final Fantasy V’s Escape from Karnak Castle. After the Fire Crystal is destroyed, players have ten minutes to flee the castle before it detonates.

The timer ticks down even in battle, so users really have to get moving. There are amazing item drops here, too, such as a Ribbon.

The problem with this dungeon is that the boss battle triggers after leaving the castle. Before gamers can genuinely escape, with the timer still ticking, they have to battle Iron Claw!

If they took too long or had a hard time with the boss, individuals can see their game over here and have to do it all again. It's absolutely vexing, this dungeon. After once or twice, though, it’s pretty easy to get through.


9) Oeilvert (FFIX)

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In Final Fantasy IX, Zidane and his friends get captured by Kuja and are sent to Oeilvert for something. It’s a reverse Cult of Kefka tower, where the team cannot use any Magical abilities. Kuja also takes the other party members and sets them in a lava deathtrap.

Now it’s up to Cid to rescue them, and no pressure, as players only have six minutes. They have to win Red Light Green Light against a Hedgehog Pie, and after this, they head off to the desert palace.

Oeilvert is just frustrating, but thankfully, it’s very short and has incredible music. It’s not the worst dungeon in Final Fantasy, but it can still infuriate players.


8) Magnes Cave (FFIV)

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Final Fantasy IV’s Magnes Cave/Magnet Cave is on a secluded island, meaning the team needs to use a Black Chocobo to fly there. In this cave, metal gear on a character will permanently paralyze them until they are removed out of combat. So characters with metal equipped cannot fight.

It’s a long cave, but at least it has save points to stop and rest at, and decent equipment drops. Simply adjusting gear, giving Cecil weaker equipment, and a bow & arrow makes the run plodding. Then there’s the boss, which requires the party to lose to it on the first attempt.

Thankfully, there is a straightforward way to defeat the Dark Imp’s transformed form in most versions of the game: cast weak on it when it changes and just hit it once!


7) Hojo’s Laboratory (FFVII REMAKE)

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This is the worst dungeon in the entire FFVII REMAKE, or at least in part I. The writer will have to see when future releases drop.

Forcing the party to split up and do tedious mazes and puzzles to get through is incredibly tiresome. The dungeon is massive, and users have to swap parties frequently to get through.

Aesthetically, it’s terrific. It does a great job of being repulsive and vast. It fits the area’s theme and the game as a whole, but the actual going through all of the first part of the lab, then going through the party splits and mazes?

It’s the worst part of the entire game. It’s the final dungeon of the title, and the mechanic where Red XIII has to run around and flip switches was very tiresome.


6) Pandaemonium (FFII)

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Technically, the Jade Passage is a part of this Final Fantasy dungeon in its own way. Why? If the players leave Pandaemonium, they cannot get back there easily.

There are so many empty, dead-end rooms in Pandaemonium. It’s vast, frustrating, and, of course, has mighty monsters. That makes sense, though, as a Final Dungeon.

There is no easy way back, and there’s no shortcut in. If gamers exit, they have to complete the Jade Passage again and then all the way back through Pandaemonium too. Having to complete two dungeons just to get through one each time is infuriating.


5) The Bevelle Cloister of Trials (FFX)

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While the Bevelle Cloister of Trials in Final Fantasy X has little to no combat, that in no way changes how frustrating it is. Gamers have to figure out a tedious trial puzzle, ride automatic floors and escalators, and swap spheres around to just get to the end.

The Bevelle Cloister is honestly just boring. Sure, there are awesome treasures here, and Bahamut is incredible, but pushing slabs of stone around, moving spheres, and waiting to get anywhere is a baffling design choice. Then if a player doesn’t hit the “stop” button at the right time, they have to wait even more.

At the very least, the moving floor looks cool, and the music is soothing.


4) Ultimecia’s Castle (FFVIII)

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As the final dungeon of Final Fantasy VIII, it’s supposed to be challenging. That’s perfectly acceptable.

It’s already a suitably challenging game, especially considering players can level however they like and combat scales to them. It was a toss-up between this and D-District Prison, but Ultimecia’s Castle wins out.

This is because, upon entering, users’ combat commands and abilities are locked until they defeat bosses. Each boss allows them to get one of the following abilities back: Draw, Save, Resurrect, GF, Item, Command, Magic, Limit Break. If that wasn’t bad enough, the party is split and will have to work together to get all of the abilities back.

It’s a weaker version of FFVI’s various party-split dungeons. At least in those, the players can swap parties at will.


3) The Earth Cave (FFI)

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Another one that was a bit of a toss-up, it was almost the tedious Marsh Cave in Final Fantasy I. But its only crimes are how many Pures/Antidotes are needed and the need to come back later for optional items. The Earth Cave is easily the worst dungeon in the entire game, which cannot be completed in one go.

Without access to the Exit spell, gamers go deep into the dungeon, defeat the Vampire boss, acquire the Ruby, leave the dungeon, trade it to the Giant, get the Crowbar, come back, go all the way back through the dungeon again, and finally, fight Lich. Not being able to save within this dungeon on the NES made it even more difficult.

On top of that, there’s the Hall of Giants on the first floor. Stumbling into this part of the map will guarantee a fight on every single step against a host of annoying, powerful giants. Great exp, but it also frustrates many.


2) Cult of Kefka Tower (FFVI)

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What a frustrating gimmick dungeon. Final Fantasy VI had many gimmick dungeons, and this one is the worst of the whole game. It’s a dungeon that only goes one way: up. Climb the stairs, occasionally go in a door for a treasure chest, and climb some more.

Users who go in here can only use the Magic and Item abilities. No skills, no magical powers, no physical combat. The enemies are “Level 10-90 Magic,” and they start coming built-in with auto-Reflect before long.

Ultima can make a lot of the dungeon trivial, but it’s still a very long haul.

The boss, the Magi Master, also randomly changes his weakness, the only spell type that can hurt him. Thankfully, he can be berserked to stop that.

It will not, however, stop his auto-Ultima counterattack upon death. If that isn’t enough to make someone scream, gamers then have to walk all the way back down. There’s no easy way out.

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It’s a long, frustrating, time-consuming chore, and if players miss the White Dragon fight, they have to come all the way back if they want the Crusader esper.


1) The Sealed Cave/Luca Cave (FFIV)

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Out of every dungeon in Final Fantasy history, no other dungeon frustrates this writer more, despite Final Fantasy IV being the writer’s favorite. The Sealed Cave is where the final Dark Crystal is hidden and is a deep cave with several ropes to slide down and doors to go through. Every entry in the entire dungeon is trapped!

These trap doors are encounters that, after a round or two, instant-kill a member or two of the player’s party. From there, it transforms into a Manticore. Users have to fight their way through every single one of these doors, likely losing a party member in every single fight.

Once they finally get to the end of this long, winding cavern, they have to fight the fast, powerful Evil Wall boss. If the gamers don’t defeat it quick enough, it starts using “Crush” and instant-killing party members.

The boss itself isn’t super difficult, thankfully. However, then individuals have to walk all the way back. Thanks to story reasons, this dungeon cannot be left via the exit.

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Players can use Warp, but they will have to warp through every door they went through in the dungeon. It’s almost faster to walk. The Sealed Cave is undoubtedly the most frustrating dungeon in all of Final Fantasy.


Despite these dungeons and issues, the Final Fantasy games they are a part of are still enjoyable games to get through. The stories are still good.

Unfortunately, not every dungeon is quite as fun to explore. Many also have valuable items. These are not the only frustrating dungeons, but they’re among the most bothersome.

Note: This article reflects the writer’s opinions.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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