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"Let's see if you remember everything you learned, Slowbeef."

A Final Exam Boss is a Final Boss that can only be defeated by using just about every item and power you've acquired throughout the game (a lot of times, in the same order you got them!) Sometimes you just have to use those items to make the boss vulnerable to conventional weapons, like freezing a water monster form before bashing it with your Weapon of Choice. Such a boss often employs weakness-changing abilities. A variant applies this to the whole stage instead of, or in addition to, the boss: you have to use all your special abilities to get through The Very Definitely Final Dungeon for the big showdown. Of course, this is the finale of the Plot Tailored to the Party.

Obviously overlaps with Sequential Boss and Puzzle Boss. For the television version, see Final Exam Finale. For the dungeon version previously listed below, see All the Worlds Are a Stage.

Examples of Final Exam Boss include:
  • Sasuke's fight with Itachi in Naruto is a lot like this. Sasuke uses every skill he has ever learned (swordfighting, Sharingan, summoning, shuriken, the Art of the Shadow Shuriken, Chidori, several fire style attacks, kunai, kunai bombs, and a new lightning technique called Kirin) and still gets his rear end handed over to him. Interestingly, he actually wounded Itachi with an exploding Fuuma Shuriken, but the fact that Itachi's leg was impaled is completely ignored for the rest of the fight.
  • El Toro in Wrath of the Black Manta. He only has 4 life boxes, but he can only be hurt by specific ninja arts... in order. If you use the wrong technique, he immediately regenerates to FULL life. More annoyingly, this happens even if you use the right technique, but from the wrong side of the screen!
  • Henry in No More Heroes is the pinnacle of real difficulty. You have to manage to learn how to Dark Step, emergency evade and slash the hell out of him. He manages to be completely fair, despite his various unblockable attacks and his dreaded yet awesome One-Hit Kill, not to mention the Boss Remix "We Are Finally Cowboys" blaring in the background. The game actually makes sure that you're (hopefully) at the top of your game by requiring you to attain all beam katanas before facing off against him.
  • Yami in Okami manages to work in a use for every single Celestial Brush technique in the game, even if it has to make up completely new functions in some cases (for example, the Crescent technique normally just turns day to night, but in this battle, it summons Susano to slice the boss vertically), and the one and only Brush Technique that the Sequential Boss battle didn't require, and is otherwise useless (Sunrise), is its ultimate weakness in its final form.
  • The final boss battles in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. In fact, this is taken to the literal extent in Tooie, as Gruntilda will go easier on you if you correctly answer the trivia questions she asks during the fight!
  • King K. Rool in Donkey Kong 64.
  • GLaDOS in Portal, only with portal-using techniques instead of weapons or powers. Even more obvious if you've heard the developer's commentary, which constantly keeps mentioning how the game is supposed to teach you how to use the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.
    • Also in Portal 2, where the use of all three types of gels and redirection of bombs is necessary to beat Wheatley.
  • The True Destroyer in Romancing SaGa 3. However, completely optional if you kill the Abyss Devil Lords beforehand.
  • Metroid Prime, from the game which is named after it, required you to use all of your beam weapons against it in the first form, and all of your visors against it in the second.
    • The first form of Gorea from Metroid Prime Hunters required you to use all six of your beam weapons against it in a game of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.or just use the power beam
    • The last form of the Emperor Ing in Metroid Prime 2 subtly changed colour to reveal which beam it was weak to, though the Annihilator Beam will hurt it whether light or dark.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Every game in this series is often set up so that you get a new item from a dungeon, learn a new technique, or receive special powers that will undoubtably play a major role in taking out a dungeon boss or the final boss.
    • The Shadow of Nightmares, the final boss in The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening. It morphs into a grand total of five different enemies you've fought before (excluding the Giant Bot), and if you're familiar with them, you know exactly how to counter their moves. Then, you have to endure the true form of the Nightmare, and the real final battle is underway.
    • The Ganondorf fight in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess qualifies. In the very first part of the battle, against Puppet Zelda, you need to practice your defensive skills, such as your various dodging techniques, the Shield Attack, etc. The next section is played as Wolf Link, you have to use the trick you learned for catching runaway rams to beat him, and it involves some horseback combat. Wrap it all up with some serious need for the special sword techniques. Or distract him with the fishing rod.
      • When you run into a Darknut for the first time, you have a combo of attacks that will do a number on its armor- the Shield Attack to stun it, and then the Helm Splitter to rip apart its helmet. Just have good luck dealing with them when they lose the weighty metal plates.
      • Zant qualifies as a full Final Exam Boss, since he not only has you use almost every weapon in your bag, but even clues you in by changing the environment to that of the dungeon where you first used it. And still manages to make the solutions creative.
    • Similar to the aformentioned Helm Splitter, The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker has a parry move that will sever a Darknut's cape, armor straps or helmet, depending on the counterstrike.
      • The fight with Phantom is a classic case of a Zelda back-and-forth struggle with magic attacks- Dead Man's Volley. You have to use Phantom Ganon's own attacks against him to win. When you've reached the final stages of the game, it becomes a key tidbit of knowledge when becomes the most incorrigible of the game, hounding you in room after room- where you discover another secret- his sword always clatters to the ground pointing at the right doors of a maze.
    • Majora from Majora's Mask... assuming you don't actually use the Fierce Deity Mask, which makes the "final exam" completely unnecessary. Granted, the Fierce Deity mask is harder to get than just beating the final boss, so in this case it's more like getting exempt from the final because you aced the entire rest of the class!
      • It's made more obvious if you ask Tatl for hints when fighting Majora, as she says "Remember your battles!". To be specific, the first form, Majora's Mask, has the hint "When something resistant would deflect your weapons, what was its backside usually like?" and requires you to hit the mask in its back (Zora Link's boomerang attack works best) to stun it, then whack it with your sword. The second form, Majora's Incarnation, hints "When you fought things that ran around, didn't you battle them using your own body?", requiring you to use the Goron Mask and roll into it (however, other methods of attack, such as Deku Link's Spin Attack, are arguably more effective. The final form, Majora's Wrath, hints "Think about battles and weapons! When you had the chance before an enemy was about to attack, didn't you usually try shooting it?", meaning you need to shoot it to stun it and then hit it with your sword.
    • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time requires that you remember the Phantom Ganon battle to combat Ganondorf (or how to use a bottle in unorthodox ways), and figure out the Light Arrows are designed to smite evil. Running down the Tower forces you to face Stalfos again, who only drop their guard when attacking, but also regenerate if their comrades aren't all slain quickly enough, and hopefully you remember how to stop a Redead without the Sun's Song. On to the final battle, where Ganon swats away your sword. So, unless you got the Biggoron Sword, you have to use basically everything else in your arsenal: Megaton Hammer, bombs, arrows, even Deku Nuts. Finally, you have to unleash the Master Sword's Informed Ability at last- use it to deliver the final blow.
    • The final fight in Oracle of Ages rehashes an old battle wherein you had to use Mystery Seeds and the Switch Hook. Move on to simple swordplay and seed shooting, not to mention a couple tricks to find out how to move those Dark Links around. Finally, it's time to use bombs, sword, and seed shooter. Also, Pegasus seeds help a lot. Damn beetle form.
    • The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass has a final battle that involves the grappling hook, the bow, a new form of the drawing gimmick, and even some boat combat. To finish it all off is a form of swordplay you've been developing by battles against Jolene. And it is awesome.
    • The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks is clever about its prominent boss fights. With Byrne, you've got to cooperate with Zelda to take him down for good- she pins down his mechanical arm while you move in to strike. In the last battles of the game, you have to remember what to do to survive. To reach the Demon Train, you better know how to avoid trains that can finish you off with one strike. When you battle the Demon Train, you have to disable its cars and the train itself before the tracks run out, while dodging obstacles on the rails by switching tracks and adjusting your speed for the enemy's sudden attacks. To fight Cole and Malladus, you battle in tandem with Link and Phantom-possessing Zelda, knowing she has a fear of rats Cole will gladly exploit, then get her to pin down Malladus and her own body and launch a Light Arrow at it to cast him out. The final battle puts you to the ultimate test- using your sword to deflect a torrent of fireballs, playing the Spirit Flute to curse Malladus with a weak spot, and finally, distract Malladus with Link, while Zelda takes aim from behind until Link can hack away at his horns and exposed crystal weak point. To top it off, you both deliver the final blow!
    • In The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap: The first fight with Vaati requires a jar of winds, you need a bow for his next stage, and his final form requires the Cane of Pacci. The ability to multiply is also required for form 2 and 3.
    • The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past demands you must have the Silver Arrows to ensure Ganon bites the dust. No arrows? You're screwed.
    • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword: Ghirahim will always try to anticipate and block your sword strikes and jabs. You have to confuse him until you can land a hit. As for the final battle with Demise, you can use the power of lightning he keeps channeling through his blade against him by pointing the Master Sword to the heavens until it gets struck by a thunderbolt, then send a massive shockwave back at him.
  • "The Emperor", the final boss from House of the Dead 2, is a variation; his second attack pattern is to throw at you metallic clones of the previous bosses. These can only be stopped by shooting at their specific weak point, which you saw at the end of the original levels.
    • Taken even more literally by Typing of the Dead, where all the bosses test one particular area of typing [1], and The Emperor is a test of pretty much everything.
  • Beating Wizeman in NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams requires use of all three of the Personas you acquire in the game.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, the Boss, while not exactly a final exam boss, does test almost all your skills learned in the game. You have to remain hidden, use camouflage, there's still food to hunt, she hides, you have to use your gunplay and most notably all your CQC skills.
    • And MGS4 takes it to the extreme. The last fight with Revolver Ocelot incorporates strategies from the three previous games, even going so far as to change the health bar to match.
  • The final boss of Wild Arms 3 has a grand total of ten forms, most of which require the use of one specific spell in your repertoire. Then again, the Clive/Finest Arts trick deals so much damage that it can bypass any other trick you might be having trouble with through sheer brute force.
  • A literal example is from Ultima IV. Rather than fighting an overt evil, the game is about mastering the world's code of moral virtues and behavior. At the bottom of the final dungeon, rather than a tough boss, the player is quizzed on the virtues.
    • This is after a similar final event in Ultima III, where in order to defeat Exodus, you have to insert four punch cards into his computer core in the correct order. While random explosions are going off and the floors are trying to kill you.
  • The final battle of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 requires the player to use numerous tactics introduced throughout the game.
  • The final boss of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones not counting the unlosable scripted part after the fight has three forms. The first is fought as a straight fight, the second requires you to use the environment to set up a Speed Kill, and the final part is a tricky platforming challenge, while being shot at by the boss.
  • The final boss in Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2, Aletheia, attacks by spawning copies of earlier bosses. You have to repeat your methods for destroying them before you can deal damage to Aletheia.
  • The Titan Dweevil of Pikmin 2 attacks using poison, water, electricity, and fire. That's funny, there's a type of Pikmin invulnerable for each element used! As for the Purple Pikmin, their strength just helps kill it in its defenseless form faster.
  • The final boss in Bloodnet repeatedly transforms into various major characters encountered throughout the game, requiring the player to use specific weapons and armor to take advantage of each form's particular weaknesses (for example, deflecting a cyborg's laser shots by wearing a reflector shield, or instantly killing a vampire with a consecrated blade).
  • The final boss of La-Mulana has five forms, and each form must be defeated with a different main weapon, of which you have five of.
  • Silver, the penultimate boss in Silver requires you to use all the magic you've acquired to destroy an object that is holding his power. Yes, even Healing orb and Time orb which normally have no offensive power on its own can hurt that thing.
  • The pseudo-Boss Rush final boss in Nicktoons Unite combines this with a Plot Tailored to the Party.
  • Defeating Reflux in Rayman 3 requires the use of every Sealed Ability in a Can in the game. There's even a part where you dogfight him with a plane used in the penultimate level.
  • Shin Megami Tensei games tend to have at least one boss like this in each game, but the requirements for each one are not necessarily as specific as many other examples. For example, in Digital Devil Saga, the final boss of the game requires you to smash orbs floating around it to destroy the boss. These orbs are each resistant to different elements, and the boss acquires said resistances from any orbs that are still standing. You don't need EVERY spell in the game, but you do need a good variety. The most common version of this in the series is a Sequence Boss, where the boss has a set pattern of abilities, and you must plan for all of them. In true That One Boss fashion, some of these bosses require to you get hit at times to avoid enraging them, like Trumpeter in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne.
    • Nyx Avatar in Persona 3 has you go through each arcana one at a time, while not necessary to know what works for each Arcana, it helps.
    • And beyond Nyx, there is the secret boss, Elizabeth, whom you have to fight with only your main character, and who, like you, can change Personas, thus switching her weaknesses and defenses. You better know the traits of each of her Personas, and you better learn the partner of her fight and be equipped with a good variety of Personas yourself if you expect to win.
  • Chrono Trigger: Lavos's first form has shades of this, in the form of a Boss Rush you can heal between stages of. Do you remember how Magus's Barrier Shift trick worked? Or which hand to kill first on Giga Gaia? Oh, you'd better not have forgotten what dinosaurs are weak to. However, none of the bosses have scaled at all, so it's pretty likely you'll just brute force most of 'em with the benefit of dozens of levels. There's a bit of Fridge Logic there, too, as Lavos evidently took its DNA from the strongest creatures on the planet... who were promptly thrashed by the heroes. Also, at least one boss shows up from the future. And is a robot.
  • The Rhythm Heaven series have these in the form of Remixes, which are basically mashups of the past 4-5 levels you've played. Then each game has a true Final Exam Boss in the form of Remix 6 for Tengoku and Remix 10 for Heaven and Heaven Fever.
  • Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy makes use of previous spin techniques and such for defeating him when you battle him in Bowser's Galaxy Reactor.
  • The final boss of Bit.Trip Core is a compilation of a bunch of patterns from the entire game, with the beats looking like asteroids.
  • Happens with Emperor Sun Hai in Jade Empire, although to a lesser extent than many of the examples- he becomes immune to each type of style you use against him, so you have to repeatedly switch between Martial, Weapon and Magic styles to take him down. Or you can just hit Jade Golem Transformation.
  • Dark Corvo from Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg summons shadow clones of previous bosses to attack the player.
  • Akron in Epic Battle Fantasy 3 switches elemental resistances and weaknesses, forcing you to keep scanning him (until you've got the strengths and weaknesses of his diverse forms down, then you can simply watch the color of the spot on his abdomen) and use the correct attacks to hurt him. Good news is, if you scan him once, you can view the information at any time, which means you don't have to waste one of Lance's turns to keep up to date with what he resists and is weak against.
  • The Final Boss for Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2010: Reverse of Arcadia has to be dueled multiple times, one for each form of gameplay in the game: first a race, then a Turbo Duel, then 2-on-1 (plays like a tag duel for your side), then finally a regular duel.
  • Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City is invulnerable to frontal attacks and has a deadly freeze ray, plus he hunts you relentlessly through the area you fight him in. To take him down, you need to use every single different attack and gadget Batman has, because Freeze keeps activating countermeasures to stop you from performing the same trick twice.
  • In Mario and Luigi Bowsers Inside Story, the final boss makes use of all the brothers' (and Bowser's) defensive actions (as series tradition). But another, sort of final boss counts as this trope too. Bowser X is the final boss of the Boss Rush and temporarily gets rid of any special attack the brothers can use after being used once. And with the time limit on the fight, it means the player is required to be proficient with just about every special attack.
  • The Sorceress' Tower in Kingdom of Loathing is this. First you must use potions, then meat pasting, clovers,and instruments, fight a regular monster, use combat items, heal yourself, and equip familiars, before you face a boss that is designed to stop your strategies (she takes away your buffs and often keeps you from using skills and combat items).
  • In almost all of the Pokémon games for handheld Nintendo consoles, you have to go through a cave called Victory Road before getting to the Pokemon League. This cave usually makes use of all of the HM moves that you acquired throughout the game.
  • In the Carmen Sandiego game "Great chase through Time", the final stage is more like classic Carmen Sandiego games where you have to go to different time periods and ask the people there where they saw her go next. Normally, they give clues you would not get unless you've been paying attention to the general principles of the setting.

Notes

  1. Judgment: reflexes; Hierophant: not looking at the keyboard; Tower: decision making; Strength: sentences; Magician: accuracy
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