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Monstro KHBBSFM

Monstro, the climax adversary in "Pinocchio"

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Boss fight usually occurring after a major revelation in the plot (e.g., about 2/3 into the game). Usually notable for being a long and difficult battle... that is, if it isn't a Hopeless Boss Fight.

In a game which has only one battle music for normal battles and one for most bosses, a climax boss may have its own unique battle music, a distinction otherwise reserved for a Final Boss.

Note that to qualify for this trope, the boss must be at least somewhat of a challenge; if they're a complete pushover, that's Anticlimax Boss. However, the boss fight does not have to be overly difficult, and a particularly difficult boss fight does not qualify as a Climax Boss unless it comes at a climactic point in the plot. Final Bosses also do not qualify, nor do bosses fought very close to the Final Boss; ideally a Climax Boss would take place somewhere around the two-thirds or three-quarters mark, not nine-tenths.

Contrast Anticlimax Boss, That One Boss, Final Boss. Inversion is The Unfought, where this kind of battle is set up, but never happens. It isn't usually required to beat him in Orgasmic Combat.

Tropes used in Climax Boss include:


  • Yunalesca in Final Fantasy X.
  • Atma/Ultima Weapon in Final Fantasy VI. He comes in right at the end of the The Floating Continent and has a boss theme that only plays twice in the game, his appearance being the first time.
  • The Über-Soldat and, to a lesser extent, Olaric in Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
  • Saturos in Golden Sun.
    • Agatio and Karst in the sequel, which incidentally is the only boss fight you're allowed to lose.
  • The fights against Dragon-Maleficent and Possessed!Riku in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Tales of Symphonia loves these. Not only does it have a bunch of them, it likes to spring them on you in groups: three climax bosses in a row, one of whom is all but unbeatable: Remiel, Kratos, Yggdrasill; two in a row: Pronyma, Yggdrasill; two in a row: Kratos, Origin.
    • Thankfully with the first set, winning to boss 2 is optional (all you miss is a ton of experience) and you can't beat boss 3.
      • Unfortunately, battle 3 of the first set can be a case of kicking you while you're down because it occurs regardless of whether or not you win the fight before it, and if you lose the one before it, you start this fight off with only 1 HP.
  • Breath of Fire 3 had Garr, the Dragon-slayer at the end of Angel Tower, and the Dragon Elder much later in the game.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has Cackletta, and much later, Fawful.
  • Galaxy Angel -- the first fight with Noa in the Black Moon's core.
  • The Lupino Showdown from the original Max Payne, which has Max fighting roughly thirteen mooks that swarm in one after another after him before Jack Lupino himself makes his entrance with two of his personal guard and a sawed-off shotgun.
  • The Black Knight/ General Zelgius from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.
  • Dhoulmagus in Dragon Quest VIII, and later Marcello.
  • Jenova:LIFE in Final Fantasy VII could be seen as one, even though the fight itself isn't too difficult.
    • Hell, all of the Jenova battles past the first can be seen like this, what with plot importance, difficulty and unique battle theme.
      • However, Hojo at the end of Disc 2 would fit the description most accurately, being late in the plot, being an Act Boss, and also giving his own relevation before going into battle.
  • Both of the first actual confrontations against Exdeath in Final Fantasy V. Also unique that both of them has a unique battle theme.
  • The battle against Luca Blight in Suikoden II embodies this trope, especially since you have to beat him three times in succession.
    • Not to mention duel him with the Hero afterwards.
  • Both battles with Edea in Final Fantasy VIII, and later the battle with Adel.
  • Garland AND Kuja in Final Fantasy IX.
  • Each boss battle with the Big Bad Smithy's weapon based minions in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
  • Hrist Valkyrie and Odin in Valkyrie Profile Silmeria.
  • The Omega Pirate in Metroid Prime.
  • Tales of Vesperia has Barbos for the end of Part 1 and Alexei for the end of Part 2.
  • Tales of Legendia has Vaclav.
  • Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World has Commander Brute, the apparent leader of the Vanguard and Marta's father.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Van. Of course, this is a false ending
  • The battle with Frenzied Toroko in Cave Story mixes this with a heaping helping of Player Punch for even more of a dramatic effect.
    • And then there's the Core fight, which comes after a minor plot revelation and is followed by a more important one. Plus, it's got its own BGM track, loads of creepy atmospheric build-up, and is followed by both a Player Punch and a fork in the road.
  • An action game example is the final battle with the Blood Ark in Another Century's Episode 3, at the end of the middle stage of the game. While it is a battle against the Final Boss pilot, and it has the first use of a specific boss battle theme, it is almost laughably easy, since your forces have been getting upgraded, and the villain is using the same mech he had at the beginning. The climax comes from the removal of his unusually obscuring mask.
  • Darth Vader in The Force Unleashed. In the Wii/PS2 version, the second duel with Kento Marek, aka., Galen's father may count as well.
    • And for the future DLC, OBI-WAN KENOBI AND LUKE SKYWALKER!
  • Miguel, FATE, and the Dragon God in Chrono Cross.
  • Magus in Chrono Trigger.
  • Asmodeus in Star Ocean 1.
  • Mother in Wild Arms 1, and Ziekfried in Wild Arms 3.
  • Hanged Man, the last of the Full Moon Shadows, in Persona 3.
  • Kunino-sagiri in Persona 4.
    • Arguably, Shadow Mitsuo, the boss of Void Quest. Both in gameplay because he tends to be brick wall for many players, and also because the Investigation Team thinks his arrest will bring the end of the kidnappings. It doesn't.
  • Ugh Zan III in Serious Sam - The First Encounter. Probably the tallest boss at its time in first-person shooters.
    • Except that he's the Final Boss. In First Encounter, the Uber Lava Golem may qualify. In Second Encounter, it's that horrid larva mech thing.
  • Halo 2: The Prophet of Regret.
    • Unless you just jump on his chair and punch him in the face, then he's a textbook Anticlimax Boss.
    • The Heretic Leader is another example, although he's only the first boss, he's the hardest of the three, at least on Legendary.
    • Legendary co-op turns all the boss fights into That One Boss instead. The Heretic leader becomes the easiest because if you get lucky you can assassinate him in one hit. The Prophet of Regret is a absolute nightmare (you have to watch out for his teleporting chair. If his giant laser (one shot kill) doesn't get you, the grenade spamming grunts will. If they don't then the elites (both dual wielding plasma pistols AND using swords) sure as hell will. On top of that if you are skilled/fast/lucky enough to survive all three, your partner had better damn well be too. The final boss almost seems EASY after that.
  • In Halo 3, the Dual Boss against two Scarabs and the assault on the Citadel can count. On the other hand, Truth is hyped up to be this but he just gets killed by the Arbiter in a cutscene.
  • X vs. Zero in Mega Man X 5. This battle is built up by four games' worth of storyline (even included in a prophecy, or something close to one for a sci-fi series), gives genuine conflict to the characters involved, and one of their deaths brings about the end of the series (supposedly). The awesome battle theme cements its status as one of the best battles in the X series (some say even the entire Mega Man continuity).
  • Isolde in Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al Revis. Combined with the awesome song Nefertiti, it's easily one of the best boss battles in the game. And you battle her twice!!
  • The wizard Agahnim, in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past. Link only thought he was the Big Bad.
  • Selvaria in Valkyria Chronicles, who stands at the top of a fortress and will rain bullets down upon any fool who's in the open long enough with a BFG. The strategy to defeat her is long and involved and can easily take several retries if you're not careful.
  • Colonel Volgin and the Shagohod in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
    • Cunningham in Portable Ops.
  • The "White Assassin" in Mirror's Edge is actually the only actual boss fight in the game. The aftre-fight cutscene also makes it the Wham Level.
  • Legend of Dragoon had roughly one per disc. Disc 1 had Feyrbrand and Graham and Freugal (second time), Disc 2 had Lenus (first time) and Disc 3 had the Divine Dragon. Freugal and Divine Dragon were variations in that a lengthy amount of plot was developed after defeating them that had nothing to do with the bosses themselves. In addition, the final bosses to the first three discs usually had a large plot bomb dropped on the player either before or after the fight.
  • The Egg Viper in Sonic Adventure. To a degree the Egg Walker too, but it's pretty easy.
    • E-101 Beta qualifies as well, and possibly Alpha/Zero. They even get their unique themes each and act as the final bosses to the side-story.
  • Staying true to the Final Fantasy tradition of making sweet, sweet love with this trope, Final Fantasy XI has several of these.
    • In the Rise of the Zilart expansion, Kam'lanaut in the Stellar Fulcrum.
    • In the Chains of Promathia expansion, Tenzen on the airship. Omega and Ultima Weapons may count as well.
    • In the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion, Gessho in Talacca Cove.
    • Though not yet finished, the Climax Boss of the Wings of the Goddess expansion seems to be Cait Sith Ceithir. But considering the bombs they love to drop in every set of missions, the final fight of every mission set seems to be a Climax Boss.
  • Final Fantasy XIII continues the tradition proudly with Barthandelus, the true fal'Cie form of Primarch Galenth Dysley.
  • The first Shredder fight in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. Once he's defeated, the actual time-travel part of the game begins.
  • Ninja Gaiden II (the original NES version) has a climax boss in Ashtar, who we initially believe is the Big Bad behind the game. Ryu defeats him about halfway through the game, but the threat posed by the Dark Sword of Chaos isn't over yet, and the true Big Bad turns out to be Jacquio, who you defeated in the very first game, and who has revived himself using the Power of Evil. The same Final Boss music is used for both major battles.
  • In the second, third, and fourth generations of Pokémon, the fights against the leader of the local crime syndicate typically take place immediately before battling the eighth Gym Leader and put an end to the main conflict of the story. In the third and fourth generations, the battle against the game's flagship legendary also takes place in the same scenario. The first generation mixes it up as Giovanni, the Big Bad, is the eighth Gym Leader. The fifth generation abandons this formula completely; the leader, Ghetsis IS the Final Boss. Instead, the last Gym Leader acts as a Climax Boss, what with the coolness of the Gym and the difficulty of the fight.
    • The Eighth Gym Leaders in each game usually qualify, especially considering how much time you're going to have to spend Level Grinding between beating them and tackling the Elite Four. Giovanni is probably the best example from a story perspective, and Claire is probably the best example in terms of difficulty.
    • In Black and White, later battles with N also qualify for this.
  • Radiata Stories features a branching storyline that ultimately sees the main character on one side or the other of a war. Each side has Jack visiting the Fire Dragon's volcano approximately 3/4 of the way through the game, though; in the Human Path Jack attacks and slays the Fire Dragon, while in the Fairy Path Jack tries to prevent the Fire Dragon's death, fails, and engages in a Hopeless Boss Fight against Cross.
  • Assassin's Creed 2 has the first fight with Rodrigo Borgia. Especially once the other Assassins arrive.
  • Alltynex from Siter Skain Kamui is probably the games most important bossfight.
    • Raiwat Virgo from the sequal RefleX might count aswell.
  • Purge the King from Space Channel 5 Part 2.
  • Strife has The Programmer. Most of the game to this point had been preparing to storm his castle. During his fight you are introduced to The Sigil and spend the rest of the game collecting it's components from his colleagues.
  • Dread Joker in Mega Man Star Force 3, arguably. The fights against Jack Corvus and Queen Virgo inside Meteor G could also count, though they're both directly before the Final Boss.
  • In God of War II, Lakhesis and/or Atrophos, two of the Sisters of Fate. (Clotho, the third sister, is more of a Puzzle Boss.)
  • Skies of Arcadia features quite a few. There are two Hopeless Boss Fights against Ramirez, and the fight against Galcian's fleet and Galcian himself near the end. The fights against the Gigas and the other Admirals, whether in their ships or in hand-to-hand combat could count.
  • Sin and Punishment has the battle against Kachua, which actually shares its battle theme with the final boss, and where Saki first transforms into a monster.
    • The second has the fight at the end of Stage 6, a lengthy, 3-stage ordeal, ending in a hand-to-hand fight, and ultimately resulting in one of the characters being knocked out, and the other transforming into a monster in order to storm the final level.
  • Starfox 64 has the Star Wolf fights. The Area 6 fight might also count, being difficult and right after storming the greatest defenses of the Big Bad.
  • Super Paper Mario has a series of fights in the final dungeon, each one picking off one of the party members and one of the major underlings.
  • The 3D Mario games have Bowser or Bowser Jr. fights throughout, unlocking new levels after each one.
  • Adventure Quest Worlds gives us the Lords of Chaos, who are all Climax Bosses save for Discordia (who wasn't really a Chaos Lord) and Kimberly (other than the health bars which players on all servers worked to get their health bars down to 0 during the One-Eyed Doll Live Event, although Kimberly had the ability to heal the health bar a few times). There's also quite a few non-Chaos Lord bosses that have special challenges for fighting them.
    • Escherion: While the Staff of Inversion is alive, Escherion does not take any damage.
    • Vath: If you attack Vath first, Stalagbite will stomp the whole party to death for massive damage. If you attack Stalagbite first, your damage is significantly reduced when attacking Vath.
    • Kitsune: He'll shapeshift into a giant Kitsune that's immune to your attacks for a while. Wait until he reverts back to normal to continue damaging him.
    • Wolfwing: He'll heal himself up to five times per fight, and once his HP drops below 10,000, that's where he starts going berserk.
    • French Horned Toadragon: Every once in a while, the toad will use an attack that petrifies as many players as it wants for at least two attacks.
    • Ledgermayne: Every once in a while it will stop to charge up a powerful attack. Enter the glowing safe zones that open up when this happens to avoid damage. The safe zones will heal you when you're in them.
    • Tibicenas: He'll steal HP from as much players as possible up to eight times per fight. When his HP hits below 5,500 and he heals for the sixth time, that's where he goes berserk.
    • Ultra-Tibicenas: Same as Tibicenas except he steals HP more often, goes berserk when his HP hits below 20,000, and, worse yet, petrifies you every once in a while.
    • Baron Luca: As an Expy of Dracula from Castlevania, he, at half-health, turns into his demonic bat form, just like Dracula himself, which deals a bit more damage than his first form.
    • Moganth, Udaroth, Cellot, Zellare , & Desoloth: Same as Ledgermayne, except the damage of their charged attacks is lower and only does about 500-700 damage, and you don't have to enter any glowing safe zones to avoid the attack.
    • Gruaige Baas: She'll petrify you for a few seconds with a laser attack every once in a while, plus, also every once in a while, except later, she charges powerful attacks and hits for about 500-600 damage.
    • Khasaanda: She can sometimes lock your skills for a few minutes when you use them, plus she can forsee all attacks every once in a while and counter them with the same amount of damage you would've dealt to her for a few seconds.
  • Father Dagon from Call of Cthulhu Dark Corners of the Earth.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6. Colonel, Megaman's former ally in the previous game, who Megaman refuses to fight throughout the game until he realizes that words cannot get through to him. Among his new attacks is a finishing move that is used once your HP reaches a certain point. If it connects, you are instantly killed unless Megaman is equipped with Under Shirt.
  • Marquess Darin of Laus and Sonia Reed in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword. The latter is, bizarrely, completely optional.
  • The Arishok at the end of Act II in Dragon Age II. This victory earns Hawke the title of "Champion". This in turn makes Hawke the most important person in Kirkwall, which forces Hawke to take sides in the Mage-Templar conflict in Act III.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has these at the end (or near the end) of each Acts:
    • Act I: Algus. Ramza figures out that his brothers are dicks.
    • Act II: Cardinal Draclau / Queklainn. Oh my Ajora, the Lucavi are real!
    • Act III has two, back to back.
      • Wiegraf /Velius. The Dark Side Made Him Forget why he's fighting Ramza in the first place.
      • Marquis Elmdor, Celia, Lete. Alma is to be the vessel of Ultima.
    • Act IV: Dycedarg, your elder brother / Adrammelech. This is the end of Beoulve family.
  • Okami has three Climax Bosses: Orochi, Ninetails, and Lechku & Nechku. Each one brings a new revelation: Orochi's death causes all the other bosses to be let loose upon the world, Ninetails reveals the existence of Yami, and the deaths of Lechku and Nechku causes the Ark of Yamato to rise up.
  • Baten Kaitos seems to have an affinity for these: the first game has Geldoblame, Kalas, and the final fight with Giacomo, Ayme, and Folon; the second game has Guillo, Shananth, and Wiseman, though the last of those is actually hidden away in a sidequest.
  • Fossil Fighters does this twice, first with a showdown of Olympus Mons, then against the leader of an alien race of dinosaur people before even learning about the Final Boss.
  • Skorge in Gears of War 2.
  • Dread Bomber in Raiden II is the last boss before you go into space, has four forms, and is considerably harder than previous bosses.
  • Kirbys Return to Dream Land gives us Grand Doomer and Landia. Grand Doomer's defeat triggers the completion of the Lor Starcutter and the group arriving at Halcandra, and Landia's defeat reveals Magolor to be the true enemy who used Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight and Waddle Dee to get the Master Crown for him as well as the True Final Boss.
  • Barlowe in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
  • Several in Asura's Wrath. Each of them is an episode all on their own, or at least have a fight that lasts most of the episode. The fights against Wyzen, Augus, Olga's Fleet with Berserker Asura, The Final Deus Fight, and ESPECIALLY Gohma Vlitra are stand out examples.
  • Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls. Epic music, extremely challenging, and takes place in a huge and grand hall. Defeating the pair is the final test before receiving your next major task after ringing the Bells of Awakening.
  • Commander Gore in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey if you follow the Law or Chaos routes. He is regarded as one of the hardest bosses in the entire game, and will restore half of his full HP when you first get it down to 0. Luckily, if you go Neutral, then this fight is avoided, as you are fighting for the good of humankind.
  • Namco X Capcom features the boss rush fights in Chapters 43 and 44. They are accompanied by the intense song A Storm Called Destiny. 
  • The first Project X Zone game has Jedah Dohma and his group in Chapter 39. Defeating them clears the way for the final route to Oros Phlox place of origin.
  • Project X Zone 2 has the fight with Saya, Unknown, and the real Dural. Their defeat leads to the reveal of Oumas hidden base of operations above Fluxtown setting it up for the final stage.
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