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So, you've collected all the suspiciously placed items left before the boss door, and the boss has suddenly appeared from nowhere. After a long, drawn-out struggle, your character is doggedly squeaking along on 1 HP. What's a video game character to do?

The answer is usually "Scour the arena". Chances are you'll find some nice recovery items right there in the arena, just right for the poor player who's having difficulty with the boss. This might come in the form of the boss's minions being easily killable, dropping health and coming in infinite numbers; an extra life just lying around the arena; or even just some health in the form of some convenient healing items placed where you can grab them at your leisure.

Seems to occur more often in recent games. Nintendo Hard games tended to give you no options except to keep trying the same, frustrating boss until your fingers bleed.

Compare After Boss Recovery, where you're given health and ammunition refills after defeating the boss, and Suspicious Videogame Generosity, where the game gives full refills right before the evil creature tries to obliterate your characters. A type of Anti Frustration Feature.

Examples of Boss Arena Recovery include:

  • Zelda series loves this one, especially in 3-D games. Here, every single boss and even many Mini Bosses have convenient pots, skulls, or tufts of grass to collect hearts, magic pots, and item refills from during the battle. If a boss required a certain type of ammunition to defeat, you would almost certainly be able to find that type of ammunition somewhere in the arena, even if it was from the boss itself.
    • However, this is averted with Ganondorf, from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. If you don't have enough magic to make more light arrows, you've already lost.
      • Actually... not so much.
    • On one particular boss in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker (the Third Dungeons'), it's actually justified by the fact that this boss is only there to test Link. This boss will down right GIVE you Arrow and Bomb Refills (which you need to defeat it) if you are low on them.
    • From the Ocarina of Time, the Iron Knuckles of the Spirit Temple can be lured into helping you out. Their axes are capable of destroying the pillars and throne usually decorating their arenas. Often, this yields the player three much needed hearts.
      • Ganon can also end up doing this to the rubble of his castle, and it should be noted that this is the only way to get heart/magic refills during the fight.
    • Averted in The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap: the final boss has nothing around his arena that you can milk for health or ammo.
    • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword subverts this in the harder difficulty as far as hearts are concerned, unless you have the heart medal. And for the Boss Rush, even that doesn't work. The final two bosses don't have anything in the area that can provide health or ammo (but ammo isn't required either).
  • The Super Mario Bros. series, again mostly in the 3-D games. Super Mario Galaxy actually has small plants and lights to shoot at for coins in the boss arenas for just this reason.
    • In Super Mario 64, Bowser's fire breath left behind health-restoring coins when it burnt out. King Boo does the same thing in the remake, and Chief Chilly drops coins when punched.
    • Not to forget Super Mario World, where in the fight against Bowser the Princess throws you a mushroom between attack waves.
  • The boss arenas of the latter two Time Splitters games.
  • Gauntlet (1985 video game) Legends console games always had a small amount of recovery items hidden in the boss level.
  • Even Grand Theft Auto got into this, providing suspiciously out-of-universe health packs in areas of key difficulty.
  • It could be argued this is present on the bosses of Shadow of the Colossus, where there are usually convenient places to rest for stamina recovery on the boss.
  • In the new Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360, you can only hold 30 arrows at a time. Whenever you're at a flying boss (or somewhere else that where you'd need arrows), there's a dead guy lying in the ground with an unlimited number of arrows stuck in him that you can scavenge.
  • Many of the boss areas and very difficult areas of Resident Evil 4 contained ammo and healing items (but then again, so did the less difficult areas).
  • Most games in the Metroid Prime subseries have at least one boss whose shots you can shoot out of the air for ammo and health. Almost every single major boss in 2 and 3 have these. (Those that don't are pretty much guaranteed That One Boss). In 2, it's due to the Dark World which steadily takes away health, meaning that sometimes you have to fight the battle with no safe zones. In 3, it's because you need health to activate Hyper Mode, which is required to kill most bosses.
    • Some of the 2D games have it as well. The easiest to remember are the nails Kraid shoots in Super Metroid.
      • In Super Metroid that was probably a necessity to keep the player from running out of Missiles, since otherwise only charged shots would have any effect on the boss and the Charge Beam wasn't a required powerup.
      • Don't forget what happens as you shoot up Core-X and Hard Core-X in Metroid fusion. The boss fight is pretty much all said and done once the X mimic transforms into its true form because you could rapidfire the darn things and squirt out almost obscene numbers of green and yellow X parasites to heal and restock from.
  • In the Warriors game, some of the bosses can only be hurt with ranged attacks. In this case, there will always be a beer carton on the ground that provides infinite glass bottles for throwing.
  • Chaos Legion often had Mooks and Mook Makers in the boss arenas.
  • Kirby boss battles are made of this trope. Since you're theoretically supposed to be able to defeat bosses without any of your copy abilities, your only offensive option may be slurping up Circling Birdies or Mook Maker offspring and launching them back at your opponent.
  • Similarly, extra Mooks present during boss fights in Beat'Em Up games with a focus on grapples and throws (like Mike Haggar in Final Fight) tend to function less as enemies and more as ammunition.
  • The final battles at the end of each era in Body Harvest consist of you in a floaty-feeling hovercraft, battling an enormous creature that obliterates most of your shields with each hit in a dish shaped crater, and your weapons gobble down ammo at an astonishing rate. Fortunately, the boss drops a bunch of powerups whenever it soaks up enough damage, so the fights tend to consist of getting knocked around the crater like a billiard ball while trying to swoop under the boss to collect powerups it drops.
  • While it doesn't have normal boss fights, the Medal of Honor series provides its inexplicable health restoration in the form of medkits that drop from dead enemy soldiers.
  • In Overlord, most significant boss battles feature spawning pits from whence the player can call forth more minions, the goblin-like creatures that do the player's fighting/dying/pillaging/heavy lifting for him. This isn't exactly the same as a health pickup because the number of minions the player has is always limited, and can't be replenished during a boss battle -- but the number of minions following the player at any one time is much more limited, meaning the spawning pits are used to replace casualties and function essentially like the trope.
    • The number of minions you possess (not the ones you command) is a very theoretical limit. If you grind for about half an hour, you're unlikely to run out even if you're playing true to form.
  • Berial, the first boss in Devil May Cry 4, leaves behind health-restoring orbs when he smashes buildings. At least, until you get to the higher difficulties -- which turns him into a sort of Wake Up Call Boss if you were still expecting them.
  • Most of the boss battles in No More Heroes have at least one chest with a full-health recover and one with a full battery recharge. These are removed on Bitter Difficulty, in addition to the bosses being more aggressive.
  • Early bosses in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Ring of Fates had this. Players are advised to enjoy it while they can.
    • The sequel Echoes of Time also generously stocks the first few boss areas with chests full of recovery items. It also includes a couple of boss rush minigames where all the boss arenas include 2 respawning minions that always drop food, but this goes straight past Suspicious Videogame Generosity and into Malevolent Videogame Generosity, since the extra mooks mean more attacks to avoid and can stun-lock you together with the boss.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the final battle with Emperor Palpatine would be much harder if it weren't for the health you get from killing his guards, who are occasionally sent into the arena as Palpatine levitates up and watches.
  • Dead Space. Particularly the battle with the Leviathan.
  • In the Black Temple dungeon in World of Warcraft, there is a boss called Reliquary of Souls that attacks in phases. Between phases, swarms of Mooks show up that refill the group's health and mana when killed. From a mechanical standpoint, this is justified as the boss prevents all healing in its first phase, and drains mana in the second, but it still seems like a kind of chivalry from a creature that's supposed to be trying to kill you.
  • In Iji, the first three bosses have enough health items scattered about their arenas to fill you to full multiple times, and the latter three bosses drop one or two roughly every time you "deal damage" (or at least every time you hit them with the thing you were intended to beat them with, or in the case of the final boss every time he reaches that point in his attack cycle]]
  • Odin Sphere has a fairly bizarre example of this; during every boss fight (if you had the foresight to bring seeds) you can kill the Mooks that the boss summons/appear with the boss, then use the released Phozons to grow fruit, which can then be used to heal.
  • In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, there are always several eggs lying around the boss arena, which will often reappear. Justified though, because you'd be f*** ed without them.
  • Turok 2 has it's final boss retreat, and send robot minions after you, which can be slaughtered for health.
  • Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat has a few boss fights that feature these, usually in the form of respawning kegs, hammers, and/or grog.
  • Strangely enough, Malefor himself acts as this in The Legend Of Spyro: Dawn Of The Dragon. His boss fight would be a lot harder, if he didn't keep releasing health and Mana crystals every single time he was physically hit.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, you get one of these during your three consecutive boss fights against Shang Tsung, Kintaro, and Shao Khan.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines mocks the player using this trope. In the fight against plague spreader Bishop Vick, a few human shamble around the room. They look like free blood refills, but drinking even a little will cause your character to stand in place and vomit uncontrollably until you're killed. Serves you right for forgetting that he's spreading a massively infectious virus.
  • When you fight a boss in the Dawn of War II, the area you fight them in is often surrounded by boxes that you can destroy that yield crates when destroyed that, when clicked on, add one to the number of uses for any item of wargear a has that has a limited number of uses, like Frag Grenades.
  • The Ork Warboss in Space Marine periodically summoned swarms of grunts for you to Execute and regain health and Fury from.
  • During the final boss of Okami, there are a few chests littered around the battlefield you can open for inventory items. One of the boss's forms even mimics a slot machine, and one combination makes it give up a load of recovery power-ups. Not that you necessarily need such instant-use rejuvenation when you probably have an inventory stuffed with cheap and effective healing.
    • Not to mention that using your slow-time-down power, occasionally one of the characters from earlier in the game will drop health for you.
  • A strange version of this appears in Yoshis Story with the boss Cloud N. Candy (which is a giant ball of cotton candy). The only way to beat it is to eat it, which heals you.
  • In every single SpongeBob SquarePants game made from Heavy Iron Studios's boss arena. Except for battle for bikini's bottom final bosses FINAL form. Its first form still has recovery items.
  • In Cave Story, not so much the arena as the boss itself. With a few exceptions, the bosses all spawn mooks or spam projectiles, either of which can be destroyed for powerups.
  • The first boss in Rocket Knight (2010) has a pair of health pickups on either side of the room.
  • Smash TV is one of the earliest games to do this. Justified in that most bosses are invulnerable or highly resistant to your regular peashooter gun, and special weapons all have limited ammo.
  • Metal Gear Solid spawns ammo during boss fights (for example, Stinger missiles during the boss fight against the helicopter because they are the only effective weapon against it).
  • The final battle of Half-Life 2: Episode Two against a horde of Striders and Hunters is fought within easy access to several shacks that continuously restock themselves with Medkits and ammunition for all weapons. Though some can easily be destroyed by the Striders there are some that always remain.
    • Half-Life 1 has small healing pools scattered around the final Boss area, in addition to the usual Med Kits lying next to dead explorers.
  • The final area of the Wending Wood questline in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening pits your player party against two tactics-aware dragons with Wonder Twin Powers. Yes, that's as bad as it sounds. Fortunately, every now and then, they would simultaneously take off and leave the room for a couple of seconds, which counts as the end of the encounter in gameplay terms, allowing your party healer to recover from the Non-Lethal KO.
  • Nearly each boss battle in Unreal II the Awakening. However, due to the speed of the playable character and the amount of damage dealt by the bosses, most of those tend to overlap with After Boss Recovery... Except that after defeating a boss, your health and inventory are always automatically recovered anyway. Especially Egregious example is the boss of the Hell level - the arena includes stations that allow you to regenerate health and shields... Provided that you don't move.
  • Most boss arenas in the Viewtiful Joe series have a box or two with items that can recover your Life or VFX. They're often in the background, meaning you'll have to hit the boss with your Mach Speed power, creating after images to break them open for you.
    • It's Played With in Viewtiful Joe 2. Mad Scientist cyborg Dr. Kranken fires at you from the background while his creation Cameo Leon assaults you with his Overly Long Tongue. The Doctor throws cheeseburgers and Molotov Cocktails at Leon that he can use to recover. You can whack him to prevent him from consuming them, or take a cheeseburger for yourself.
    • In Double Trouble Joe often teams up with his sister Jasmine against a boss. By tapping on her she tosses you fast food!
  • Most bosses in Prototype periodically send waves of very, very weak mooks at you. The mooks are there so that you have something to eat to get your health back up.
  • Some of the (non-tank) bosses in Dragon Quest Heroes Rocket Slime will drop medicinal herbs in battle.
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