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Some video games have bosses that are extremely easy compared to the levels before them. Regardless of whether the levels are simple or Platform Hell, the bosses are a breeze compared to the skill and effort to just get to them.

Reasons for this can vary. Perhaps the developer honestly thought that easier bosses would balance out the game's difficulty. Or there could be a Puzzle Boss which might take work to figure out, but is ridiculously easy to pull off that pattern.

A Sub-Trope of Boss Dissonance.

Compare Mooks but No Bosses.

Contrast Easy Levels Hard Bosses, SNK Boss.

Examples of Hard Levels Easy Bosses include:


Action Adventure

  • In Castlevania Rebirth, The amount of damage you sustain by the normal stage enemies is determined by the stage number, in the vein of Castlevania I and III. However, every boss in the game always inflicts the minimum amount of damage for the particular difficulty mode you are playing through.
  • In Super Castlevania IV, Stage 8 is frustratingly difficult, but the boss (Frankenstein) is one of the easiest in the game.
  • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time's Water Temple, one of the most hair-pulling 3D temples with Morpha, one of the easiest bosses ever (sit in a corner, and watch how you effortlessly get a no-damage win).
    • In The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, there's the Stone Tower Temple, likely the most diabolical and convoluted dungeon in the game (and one of the most in the entire series, for that matter), but whose boss simply requires you to turn into a giant and constantly hit its permanently exposed weak points (tail and head) to be defeated. This boss, Twinmold, doesn't even try to attack you, since it just moves around the battle arena.
    • Oracle Of Ages has the very long Jabu-Jabu's Belly, with the disappointing Electric Jellyfish boss.
  • Richter Mode in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a fairly extreme example. Even the easiest mooks can kill you if you aren't careful, and some of the more challenging mooks can kill you in one or two hits. On the other hand, bosses can usually be kept at a distance and killed without too much difficulty (and if you use Hydro Storm on them, most die as fast as your average mook).
  • There are three bosses in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest: Carmilla, Death, and -of course- Dracula. Carmilla sticks to a laughably easy pattern that can be avoided by simply standing still and deflecting her fireballs with Dracula's Rib and Dracula himself can be taken out in roughly 15 seconds with either the Sacred Flame or the Golden Knife. Meanwhile, Death -normally among the hardest bosses in the series- can be dealt with here by simply dropping a garlic in front of him and leaving to make a plate of nachos.

Action Game

  • Spider-Man: The Movie game has harder bosses in the beginning of the game, when you're fighting faceless mooks, and harder levels towards the end, when you fight omnipowerful robots.
  • God of War featured several really difficult and lethal environmental challenges, along with a few miniboss pile-on challenges. Fighting the bosses, particularly the end boss, was practically a relief.
  • Ninja Gaiden games tend to have hard levels early on. For example: Even the second level in Ninja Gaiden 2 for the NES has gusts that blow Ryu into pits and takes a bit of mastery, but Baron Spider (the boss) is trivial, especially if you have the Fire Wheel and the Clones. A lot of the difficulty of bosses comes from having half one's life bar from the previous stage and trying not to die.
  • Captain Cabot Toth of Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter is mindnumbingly easy. Especially compared to the level you just faced. Made all the worse by the fact that he's vulnerable to your Force lightning.

MMORPGs

  • World of Warcraft:
    • The high level dungeons tend to fall in this category. Getting to a boss requires carefully planned engagement with mook groups using every bit of "crowd control" the party has to offer, but most of the bosses are fairly straightforward. Some bosses do require comparable efforts... because they are accompanied by minor mooks.
    • The true "Endgame" bosses (which require teams of 10 and 25 to face), on the other hand, go back and forth between this trope at a ludicrous pace; The Mount Hyjal scenario exemplifies this trope in both forms, pitting you against endurance battles with the bosses; depending on the makeup of your team, these are usually either comically easy or ludicrously difficult. The final boss, on the other hand, fits squarely under That One Boss (and has an actual break before facing him, unlike the others).
    • This trope is also evident in many of the smaller, 5-man dungeons, where a suboptimal group may easily beat the bosses but wipe hard on the trash leading up to them. Gnomeregan, I'm looking at you.
    • Cataclysm dungeons and raids have significantly harder trash mobs than previous ones and tend to require unique strategies for each one. Some of them are fairly easy with a little crowd control and strategy, others have mechanics that must be followed to avoid wiping (such as tanks swapping after taking stacks of a debuff), and still others are so hard that groups will not pull them if they do not have to. At times, there may be only two or three trash pulls between bosses, each of which is completely different, rather than several encounters with similar enemies.

Platform Game

  • Crash Bandicoot... in the first two games, the bosses were oftentimes the only thing that didn't kill you.
  • Mario:
    • Sometime appears, though it varies; earlier games in the series tended to have bosses as difficult or harder than their levels (though they were Nintendo Hard overall.)
    • Also, near every Super Mario World or other game hack ever created, simply because the bosses are far more difficult to edit than the levels; hence, most hacks usually leave the normal bosses after massively tough, Nintendo Hard levels, meaning that the bosses go down in about 2 seconds as a result.
      • Subverted by Kaizo Mario World. The first game featured two boss fights, against the Big Boo and Invisible Bowser. The second had two, Underwater Bowser and Reznor, but in a room full of spiked logs and rising lava.
      • Inverted by Brutal Mario. The levels are harder, but not mind-numbingly hard. The sub-bosses include The Mammon Machine and King K. Rool, and the Koopa kids are simply brutal, brutal fights.
    • Mario games have eventually shaken the trend a bit. Super Mario Sunshine has pathetic bosses like Gooper Blooper, but Phantamanta and Eely-Mouth can be extremely difficult. Super Mario Galaxy has some tricky bosses, particularly in the daredevil runs; Bouldergeist in particular is rather frustrating. The bosses in New SMB Wii always retreat into their shell after each hit, so even the easier fights at least take some time to win. Then there's the final boss. Super Mario Galaxy 2 has an easy final Bowser battle compared to the trials before him, while the fight in Super Mario 3D Land is quite tough.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: In general, the bosses are significantly easier than the levels themselves, with the exception of one or two bosses per game. See Easy Levels Hard Bosses for the exceptions.
  • The first Spyro the Dragon game had tricky platforming aplenty, but the bosses were laughably pathetic. Each was a case of Get Back Here Boss, took no more than three hits to defeat, and were usually no more powerful than the Mooks populating the rest of their respective levels. However, this is inverted with Spyro 2 and Spyro 3, especially with the final bosses.
  • The first Donkey Kong Country game. The levels get increasingly harder, but all the bosses (except for K. Rool) are a cakewalk.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2 qualifies as well. The bosses are more challenging than those in the first game, but none of them will make you tear your hair out in frustration. Many of the levels, however, are absolutely brutal.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy is like this to an extent. Both parts are incredibly hard, but the bosses are easier... "easier" being the key word here.
  • Super Ghouls & Ghosts, which lives on almost every top-10 hardest games of all times lists, has some of the easiest bosses ever. Not just easy for SG&G, or easier than the levels around them. Drop dead simple. The Hydra is perhaps the easiest boss in any videogame (and his level is one of the hardest. There's dissonance right there); you stand there and shoot him with his weapon, while dodging rock attacks that he telegraphs a mile away and only throws out every 3-5 seconds anyway. The final boss is pathetically wimpy.
  • The original Prince of Persia has levels filled with precipitous falls and Spikes of Doom of the deadliest sort. The almost only boss in the game is Jaffar, who fights like all the other Mooks and can be killed just by pushing him off the platform if you get behind him. (This doesn't apply to the SNES version, which has completely different bosses and many more of them.)
  • Wario Land 1-3, being based off the Mario series, fell into this, bar the one boss in the first game that actually posed a challenge.
  • While Banjo Tooie wasn't really hard, the bosses actually got easier as the stages progressed, with the final boss being difficult more due to length than challenge. The sequel didn't have bosses per se, but the challenges offered by Grunty were all pathetically easy with the proper application of creative thinking. This is because the characters grow disproportionately powerful compared to the bosses, provided you find the items. There's no excusing Minji-Jongo. Try the bosses on Boss Replay, and the final boss suddenly becomes hair-pulling.
  • In Yoshis Island, Marching Milde was a relatively easy boss, but she came at the end of a frustratingly long stage, one of the longest in the game.
  • Battletoads might as well be the level-focused poster-boy. The bosses are rather easy, but several of the stages are almost up there with I Wanna Be the Guy in difficulty.
  • New Super Marisa Land's bosses are, with the exception of the World 7 boss, much easier than the stages preceding them.
  • Megaman X6 tends to have extremely brutal stages (Blaze Heatnix and Metal Sharkplayer come to mind) followed by insultingly easy bosses in comparison. The only exception is Gate's second stage, which has both a difficult level, and two difficult boss fights (High Max and Gate himself). Played straight once again with Sigma, who's an absolute joke.

Roguelike

  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. The dungeons themselves will see you using up the majority of your wiles and resources, while most bosses can be made utterly harmless with a single status seed. Bosses with minions are exceptions, though, depending on your items and moves.

Role Playing Game

  • In the RPG The 7th Saga, random encounters are invariably more dangerous than a typical boss; just walking from one town to the next requires a ton of Forced Level Grinding. There are a few obscenely overpowered bosses, but they're special.
  • In the first two Shin Megami Tensei games, random encounters come hard and fast and you're pretty lucky if you can get to the end of the boss without being horribly mangled. The Boss you fight, on the other hand is at best marginally harder than one of the standard enemies outside... that you had to fight like eighteen of every two steps.
  • The Final Fantasy series varies widely, but the most pronounced example of Boss Dissonance would likely be Final Fantasy II. Bosses are, with few exceptions, strategically simple to kill and not possessed of extraordinary strengths. The rest of the game is an infamous veritable nightmare.
  • Demons Souls:
    • Some players call it this. Helps that there's sometimes an exploit that makes the boss a breeze. (safe zones, inability to attack at a distance, etc.)
    • A straight forward example is 5-2, Most players have a load of trouble with the level it's self, however, the Boss is pretty easy and is weak to both Fire and Magic.
  • Touhou Mother is often stated to have fairly easy bosses, but many dangerous random encounters that make the dungeons themselves much more difficult to go through than any boss fight.
  • The Spirit Engine 2 is usually this type, since normal enemies can be quite difficult (generally they accomplish almost as much in one turn as a boss, except there'll be three of them and they mostly have enough health that you can't just hope they run out first) and are very numerous. Certain regular enemies also have armor values far outstripping the bosses, since the author learned his lesson after giving a few bosses in the first game too much armor; this means that dealing significant damage to them is only possible with a few specific moves. And that's ignoring the two sections where you have to fight several defensively-oriented groups of enemies on a time limit.
  • Golden Sun as a general rule tends to involve more tricky puzzles than tough battles, and most of the bosses are no exception (the few that are tend to end up That One Boss anyway). The Lost Age mitigates this somewhat by having a Hard Mode, ramping up the difficulty of the bosses for you. Dark Dawn does not have a Hard Mode, and gives you an assist for the puzzles, which made it painfully easy for some fans.

Shoot'Em Up

  • Big Core in any version of the original Gradius. His only attack is a four-laser spread, albeit one that gets faster the more your ship is powered up. The only time where he might be more difficult is on Stages 1 and 4, where dormant volcanoes will reduce your flying space. And even if you have a hard time hitting him (as a result of being underpowered or possessing the Double powerup, which halves your firing rate), you can still "defeat" him by waiting until he self-destructs, which usually takes no more than a minute.
  • In both Nanostray, the obstacles in the stage makes the stage much harder than the boss.
  • In Thunder Force III, nearly every boss is much easier than the stage preceding it, especially if you have Sever, in which case they'll go down in under 20 seconds each.
    • And in Thunder Force VI, if you're using the Rynex-R, and have at least one Over Weapon gauge ready, most bosses will go down in at most five seconds. I'm not exaggerating. On Maniac difficulty, this is a big relief from a normal shooter-turned-Bullet Hell.
  • Sly Spy, an obscure Data East game, has extremely simple boss fights. All the actual bosses have only a single, easily dodgeable attack with the motorcycle and underwater levels being the worst offenders. However, some boss fights are just rushes of Elite Mooks which are very good at eating away at your health.
  • In Space Harrier, the levels consist of tricky controlling around dangerous scenery and large amounts of Everything Trying to Kill You; the bosses are fought in clean areas with incredibly predictable movement and attack patterns.

Sports Game

Survival Horror

  • Resident Evil 4:
    • In some cases. Granted, the mooks aren't much harder, but there are a couple bosses that can be instantly killed with one hit from a rocket launcher, or a few shots from an upgraded magnum. Avoiding the super powerful weapons swings things closer to the lethal boss end of the spectrum; the bosses will take several shots from a normal gun and can dish out serious pain.
    • By the fifth stage (and especially on Pro), the Island, it's both. You will pull your hair out fighting Krauser again and again, and then when you do beat him, spend the next few hours warding off waves of enemies and machine gun turrets.
  • Alan Wake: Bosses are either possessed machinery, slow and cumbersome, which you don't even need you firearms to defeat, or buffed up versions of regular enemies, who only present danger through numbers and surprise, which bosses obviously lack. And the final boss is as anti-climax as it gets.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons, regrettably, often works out like this - singular powerful monsters can often be a trivial challenge, simply because everybody gets their one set of actions a round. So the boss gets to move and attack... and then four to six party members get to do the same thing. Boss monsters tend to get buried in a pile of player character actions. Not to mention how many spells, even at low levels, can win such fights with a single dice roll, and at high levels with no dice roll. Fourth Edition attempts to avert this with Solo monsters, which get a lot more HP than normal enemies, and may also receive multiple actions to make them a challenge for a full party. And, since the boss is usually at the end of a day, in 4th edition players may decide to use their daily powers against them (since you lose your chance after an extended rest), speeding things up a bit. A Balor? No sweat. Tucker's kobolds? Run.

Third-Person Shooter

  • In Ratchet and Clank Going Commando", the final boss can be this if you have the R.Y.N.O.II
    • In general, while the levels are very difficult, the bosses (save for the Mothership) are relatively simple, especially if the player has used multiple deaths to level up weapons.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • In the various Final Fantasy Tactics games, bosses are almost always easier than regular battles. This is because you have five people and they have only one, so you can move five times as fast as them, and more often than not their attacks can't hit everyone at once, or take a long time to charge. Story battles also don't scale with you and you're always facing the same general type of Mooks (plus an occasional Elite Mook) from beginning to end while you unlock more and more ways to break the game over your knee.
  • X-COM's end boss is technically a four tiles terrain with 40 armor, who dies if one of its tiles is destroyed, and is guarded by Etherals, Sectopods, and Chryssalids. So you are basically trying to shoot a terrain tile (explosives deal a fixed 50% damage to terrain, other weapons deal between 25 and 75% damage), while trying to have at least one soldier survive Mind Control and One-Hit Kill for the final showdown.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • The Godfather: The Game, was like this, mostly because the only characters that could be considered to be bosses (stronger body armor, powerful weapons, pinpoint aim), also had the same weaknesses as the rest of the enemies (basically, headshot kills no matter what and the ability to waltz right up to them and choke them to death), and also took you on basically one on one, or with less minions, which meant a boss fight was much more favorable than the normal swarm of enemies coming to take you out.
  • In Arkham City you will be killed by random groups of street thugs more often then Mr. Freeze, Solomon Grundy, Clayface, Ras Al Ghul and Deadshot combined especially if you're playing on Hard.
  • No gunslinger in Red Dead Redemption is as deadly as a pack of wolves or a solitary cougar, or worse, a pack of bears.
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