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"Finally! A boss fight!"
—Gene, God Hand
A climactic confrontation with a unique, stronger than average, and often monstrous enemy creature known colloquially as a "boss". It has several important features, depending on the genre of game in which it is found.
In old-school Shoot Em Ups and 2D Platformers, the boss comes at the end of a level or series of levels (commonly called a "world"). He will often require a special trick to defeat, or have a targetable Weak Spot.
In RPGs, they wait at the end of dungeons (though the larger dungeons may have multiple boss fights). They have a mountain of Hit Points. If they're the last one, you'll most likely fight them more than once. Most have a specific weakness.
In a Fighting Game, the boss is simply the last character you fight, in that even when the rest of the battles have you going up against a randomly-selected opponent, the boss is always the same. The boss is typically not a playable character (though circumstances may allow him to be unlocked later), and tends to be the most difficult opponent. Occasionally, the penultimate battle will also be against a "boss". (The penultimate opponent is often dubbed a "Mini Boss".)
Note that in some games, the boss isn't always at the end of any given level or dungeon.
- Advancing Boss of Doom
A boss that keeps chasing you and you have to continually flee from.
- After Boss Recovery
After a Boss Battle, you get lots of healing items, or are healed fully for whatever reason.
- Anticlimax Boss
A boss that's easier than the plot implies.
- Attack Its Weak Point
If you see a shiny or glowing target anywhere on the boss villain's body, chances are that's where you need to attack.
- Authority Equals Asskicking
The higher a character is in his hierarchy, the better he is in a fight.
- Background Boss
A Platform Game boss that stands in the background and unleashes attacks into the foreground.
- Bait and Switch Boss
You see a normal-looking boss, who's suddenly removed or killed and replaced with a much bigger or nastier one.
- Barrier Change Boss
A boss that changes what element it's weak to.
- Battleship Raid
The boss takes up the whole level.
- Big Bad
The one behind the entire plot.
- The Big Bad Shuffle
When there's more than one Big Bad all competing to see who ends up the final villain.
- Bonus Boss
An optional boss who is often much more difficult than even the Final Boss of the game.
- Boss Arena Recovery
Where you can find recovery items during a Boss Battle itself.
- Boss Banter
When a boss talks to you during combat.
- Boss Corridor
That one empty hallway right before the Boss Room.
- Boss Dissonance
Where the difficulty level of the bosses and the rest of the game are totally different.
- Boss Game
A game consists of nothing but boss battles.
- Boss in Mook Clothing
A "normal battle" with an enemy that, as it turns out, can wipe the floor with you.
- Boss-Only Level
A level consisting entirely of a Boss Battle
- Boss Remix
The music that plays during the boss fight is a remix of some other tune in the game.
- Boss Room
The room in a Video Game where the boss and the player exchange blows.
- Boss Rush
A segment in which you're forced to fight a collection of previously-defeated bosses in sequence.
- Boss Subtitles
Where the boss is introduced with a big show of its name and a title or descriptive line.
- Boss Vulnerability
Some bosses are more susceptible to attack than others. This Trope lists all types.
- Braggart Boss
A blustering, over-the-top buffoon who confronts the heroic party, often completely out of nowhere, pompously and dramatically introduces himself, and challenges the heroes to battle.
- Breather Boss
A surprisingly easy, but not plot-critical, boss.
- Bullfight Boss
A boss that charges at you over and over again.
- Cat and Mouse Boss
Where you and the boss take turns chasing each other.
- Chasing Your Tail
A Boss Battle where the player and the boss run around in circles trying to catch and/or escape each other.
- Climax Boss
Boss fight usually occurring after a major revelation in the plot.
- Cognizant Limbs
A boss with multiple parts of his body, each of which acts as a separate monster and can be targetted separately.
- Collapsing Ceiling Boss
A boss who shakes the foundation and makes debris fall out of the ceiling onto your head.
- Colossus Climb
Where the boss is many, many times the size of The Hero and must be climbed to reach a weak spot.
- Contractual Boss Immunity
Any overpowered or instant-death skill will be useless on big bosses.
- Cores and Turrets Boss
A completely mechanical boss that mainly consists of turrets (which shoot at you) and cores (which you shoot at).
- Cowardly Boss
A boss that the party fights, that then randomly runs after taking a certain amount of damage, forcing you to have to hunt that boss down and fight them again.
- Crosshair Aware
The player will be fighting a boss, and a target sight will be shown tracking the player.
- Damage Sponge Boss
The most basic boss type: Strong attacks, lots of Hit Points; the only strategy is to hit it until it dies.
- Didn't Need Those Anyway
When a boss is literally "falling to pieces".
- Dual Boss
Fighting two bosses at once.
- Duel Boss
A one-on-one boss fight, in a game that primarily involves team battles.
- Degraded Boss
Once you beat the boss, it comes back as a normal enemy later.
- Disc One Final Boss
Yeah, that guy who blew up your home? You beat him and he was someone's minion.
- The Dragon
The villain that's second in power after the Big Bad, and is often the second-to-last boss.
- Early Bird Boss
A boss that appears early on and is difficult primarily due to your characters' lack of stats and abilities that they will acquire later.
- Fighting Your Friend
A Boss Battle in which you fight against a character who's explicitly on your side.
- Final Boss
This is it, man! One last challenge before watching the ending!
- Final Exam Boss
When the boss can only be defeated by using just about every item, power-up, and skill you've spent the entire game obtaining.
- No Final Boss for You
When doing things a certain way makes you skip out on a Final Boss or two.
- True Final Boss
Where a second "Final Boss" appears after the first one, but only when particular requirements are filled.
- Post Final Boss
An easy to effortless Boss Battle after the real Final Boss in order to wrap up the plot.
- Final Exam Boss
- Final Boss, New Dimension
You have to enter a different "dimension" to fight the Final Boss.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield
Lookit all the pretty stars and streams and blinky things!
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield
- Final Boss Preview
A fight in mid-game with the Final Boss or his second-in-command, which you will inevitably lose.
- Fisticuffs Boss
A boss where you can't use weapons or abilities, just plain old duking it out.
- Flunky Boss
A boss that has several of its minions fight alongside it.
- Free-Fall Fight
A boss that you fight in freefall.
- Get Back Here Boss
A boss that you have to keep chasing after or stake out in order to beat.
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere
A boss with no relevance whatsoever to the actual plot.
- Goddamned Boss
A boss that's not very dangerous, but very annoying or frustrating to fight.
- Goldfish Poop Gang
Characters who keep popping up, requiring you to fight them multiple times through the game.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
A Boss Battle where you get a Game Over if you lose, but if you win, the boss immediately proceeds to beat you in a cutscene.
- He Was Right There All Along
A boss who's already in the room when you enter, and only reveals himself after you go partway into the room.
- High Altitude Battle
In which The Hero of a Video Game has to go up in the sky and defeat the enemy.
- High Speed Battle
Where The Hero and villain are fighting whilst one is chasing the other on moving vehicles.
- Hopeless Boss Fight
An incredibly powerful boss which you are supposed to lose to, and won't get a Game Over when you do.
- I Let You Win
A Boss Battle which seems normal, but after which the boss says he actually let you win to further his nefarious plans.
- Jaws First Person Perspective
An underwater boss who is revealed by a first-person view from the boss's perspective before it jumps The Hero.
- King Mook
A boss who resembles an enlarged or palette swapped version of a regular enemy, possibly with a crown or some other identifying feature.
- Level in Boss Clothing
A battle that plays out more like a level than like a normal boss fight.
- Load-Bearing Boss
A boss-type monster whose destruction causes the location to collapse or self-destruct.
- Lone Wolf Boss
The boss is not associated with the Big Bad in any way. He's a villain all on his own.
- The Man Behind the Man
So you thought that guy was the Big Bad all this time? He was small potatoes, This is the real Big Kahuna.
- Make My Monster Grow
A villain grows to enormous size before the big beatdown.
- Marathon Boss
A boss that takes a really, really, really long time to beat.
- Mini Boss
A distinct, generally unique (up until that point, anyway), stronger-than-average monster that you encounter within a level.
- Mirror Boss
A boss in a game whose abilities are equivalent (if not downright identical) to those of the playable character.
- Mook Promotion
A regular enemy who functions as a level boss.
- Multi Stage Battle
A boss battle that takes place over multiple stages.
- Open-Ended Boss Battle
A boss battle that you can win or lose without triggering a Game Over or ending.
- Platform Battle
A Boss Battle that occurs on Floating Platforms. Try not to fall off....
- Puzzle Boss
A boss that is beaten by trickery rather than force.
- Reactor Boss
A final battle where you have to blow up the enemies' main reactor.
- Recurring Boss
A boss-type monster who you have to face several times over the course of the game, typically not sequentially.
- Recurring Boss Template
Where bosses in the Sequel(s) tend to act like their original counterparts.
- Ring Out Boss
Where the boss himself has to be knocked or thrown back into a dangerous substance or obstacle to cause damage.
- Rush Boss
A boss fight that doesn't take very long to beat, but can easily destroy you if you're not careful.
- Scripted Battle
A battle that follows a script, either for a segment or for the entire thing, instead of acting like a regular battle.
- Sequential Boss
Multiple large-scale fights in a row.
- Sheathe Your Sword
A boss who can only be beaten by not fighting him.
- Shielded Core Boss
A boss whose weak point is protected by some kind of protrusion which needs to be destroyed before it takes damage.
- Skippable Boss
Boss fights that feature some way to avoid fighting them altogether.
- SNK Boss
A Nintendo Hard boss in a Fighting Game. Known side effects include thrown controllers and frothing at the mouth.
- Stationary Boss
A fight where the boss remains in one place.
- Pivotal Boss
The boss is too big to move, so he turns to face you.
- Pivotal Boss
- Tactical Suicide Boss
The boss is impervious to the player's regular attacks, and would be impossible to defeat if one of its attacks didn't expose its particular Achilles' Heel in the process.
- Boss Arena Idiocy
The boss's weakness is something unique to the boss's own arena.
- Boss Arena Idiocy
- Teleport Spam
A boss that teleports all over the place.
- Tennis Boss
You have to reflect his attacks back onto him to defeat him.
- That One Boss
An extremely difficult boss that feels hopeless to defeat.
- Time Limit Boss
Bosses which have to be beaten within a certain preset period of time or turns.
- Boss Arena Urgency
Bosses who you have to beat quickly, or the boss will become impossible to beat.
- Boss Arena Urgency
- Tragic Monster
Where an ally is turned into a monster and then has to be fought as a Boss Battle.
- Training Boss
Area or location where the player can practice their moves on a more or less undefeatable character, sometimes as part of a tutorial.
- Trick Boss
A suspiciously easy boss which turns out to be a trick; the real boss is right behind him.
- Turns Red
When the boss loses health, he gains power and abilities.
- Underwater Boss Battle
Are your Super Not-Drowning Skills up to par?
- The Unfought
An antagonist in the game who plays an important role in the story, but is never really fought as an actual boss. May overlap with Bait and Switch Boss and Cutscene Boss.
- Vehicular Assault
Fight against a vehicle of some kind.
- Victory Fakeout
The boss is defeated, the stage is cleared and... wait, he's getting up again? What's he doing? Uh oh...
- "Wake-Up Call" Boss
An early boss who ends up being much harder than expected.
- Warmup Boss
The "test" boss or Mini Boss that appears at the end of the first level or after the tutorial.
- Wolfpack Boss
A boss consisting of several Mooks who wouldn't be difficult by themselves, but when acting together provide a significant challenge.
- You Will Not Evade Me
A boss that keeps coming after you or in general prevents you from running away.