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"[...] and where do you get off being so impossible anyway. we spent more than half the game fighting you."
Problem Sleuth's Strongly Worded Letter to Demonhead Mobster Kingpin, Problem Sleuth

A boss fight which requires a significant amount of time to defeat. Can be related to Sequential Boss, as while one part of the boss isn't long, all the parts together are. Has a good chance of happening with Final and Bonus Bosses. See the Marathon Level for the level version of this, which may well have a Marathon Boss at the end.

These bosses frequently elicit cries of "Why Won't You Die?!" among players. Compare Padded Sumo Gameplay, of which it is often a logical consequence; contrast with Rush Boss, this trope's inverse.

Examples of Marathon Boss include:
  • MMORPGs have an unfortunate habit of sending players after these sorts of bad guys, especially for Raid encounters. Especially painful when pausing hurts the team.
    • The all-time god-king of this trope is Pandemonium Warden of Final Fantasy XI. Absolute Virtue may be practically invincible, but 18 hours, and the Warden still isn't dead? Makes one wonder if the developers like leather and pain, really.
      • Square Enix has changed things in response to the bad press about Pandemonium Warden so that both it and Absolute Virtue are weakened and will vanish after two hours of fighting. However, while the new PW isn't unreasonable to beat within the alloted time, AV remains unbeaten without cheating. SE seems to be fond of the Guide Dang It Puzzle Boss, except without the "guide" part.
      • While we're on the subject of AV: Square-Enix seems determined to make this guy literally unbeatable. Every time a group manages to defeat him, they claim that the method they used was "improper" and then patches him to cover that weakness. Even a strategy that Square-Enix themselves used to beat him, and subsequently published in a video, was later patched.
    • City of Heroes and City of Villains mostly avoids this, but the old version of Hamidon could take three hours even with a large raid and smart players. Nowadays people have gotten him down to 15 minutes.
      • The last mission of the Imperious Task Force can go this way, with the Nictus-infused Romulus having three 'pet' Nictus Essences that deliver additional damage, one of whom also has an area-of-effect heal (on top of Romulus' own impressive healing rate) whose effect increases for each player character within a fairly long radius, often making this fight a protracted and painful process.
        • Comparatively, a well-built team can take his down pets in short order and then him in a matter of seconds
    • World of Warcraft. Early Molten Core raids regularly spent an hour or so on the earlier bosses.
      • Take Kael'Thas Sunstrider, for instance. In his first phase, he sends his four minions at you one at a time. Then you fight magical moving weaponry for phase two. When those go down you you fight all four of the minions at once after he... had a soulstone on them or something. Phase four he finally attacks you. In phase five, he adds a couple neat tricks. Did I mention he talks for about ten minutes at the start, each of the mini bosses have their own line when they attack/die and there's a speech between every phase? Plus after this there's Magister's Terrace because he was empowered by a demon lord. This weakened him into a five man where he continued to talk you to death. People literally lost the fight because they stopped paying attention during his speeches only to find out the fight had started.
      • General Rajaxx and co in Ahn'Qiraj will send waves of his mooks and Quirky Miniboss Squad before you fight him.
      • For that matter, every boss except Archimonde in Mount Hyjal, because you needed to kill eight waves of mooks before the boss even showed up. Fighting Illidan in Black Temple also takes around 15 minutes, when other bosses in the Black Temple take around three minutes each.
        • ALL of the Caverns of Time instances really, especially Dark Portal, you have little time to rest in between waves of miniboss / Giant Mooks.
      • Nowadays, it's short so it sucks: All of the top-level raid content can be completed in a few hours, leaving the players to twiddle their thumbs until the bosses respawn, after years of complaints about this trope. You really can't please anyone, can you?
    • Ever Quest has more than its share of Marathon Bosses, although some of them, such as the Sleeper, probably weren't supposed to be killed.
    • The difference between the real bosses and the smaller "Area Bosses" in Maple Story is that the real bosses take upwards of two hours to kill with a full party of overleveled characters while the Area Bosses go down in less than two or three minutes if they don't kill you first.
    • This is actually a built in mechanic for the Player Owned Station's in Eve Online. Which have incredibly staggering amounts of hitpoints, the larger stations tended to have so much, that they required dedicated ships whose sole purpose was to function as siege tanks against these shields, whom deployed specialized heavy caliber weapons that could only be realistically used against these shields, with a unique module that assisted in doing so. And it still took hours if not more then a day, with multiple units, just to collapse these shields. Justified in the fact that this was to allow the owners of the station time to mount a counterattack before the station could be taken down.
      • Additionally, most of the higher end Sleeper drones in the more dangerous wormholes have incredibly high amounts of hitpoints and do staggering amounts of damage. So that even super carriers can't solo them.
  • Fighting the more powerful dragons in The Last Remnant with an extremely underpowered team can take over 40 minutes. This is more due to being able to defeat strong bosses with a weak team with good tactics (heal spamming), than the boss itself having high hp. (Basically, the dragons will take out around half your team each hit, meaning each party member spents 99% of their time either dead or reviving other party members, and 1% of their time actually attacking the dragon, for a pitiful amount of scratch damage.)
  • If you're playing cautious with your Pikmin, the final boss of Pikmin 2 can go on for somewhere around 45 minutes.
    • The Emperor Bulblax in Pikmin 1 was even worse, if only because you had a limited time before you have to go back to your ship.
  • Persona 3:
    • The Final Boss is the "lots of smaller fights in a row" variant. Unless you're insane enough to build everyone to Level 99, in which case... fifteen minutes. Less if you have Armageddon.
    • The battle against Fortune and Strength usually lasts about half an hour, though certain strategies, correct abilities and good timing on Fortune's Status Effect Roulette can end the fight in minutes.
  • If you want to beat Gades during your first encounter with him in Lufia II and have put in the required amount of level grinding to actually LET you do it, you're in for a good 20-30 minutes of battle.
  • Dragon Quest VIII features a Final Boss where before you could even attack, you had to use a special item seven times by all four party members. Moreover, you're being attacked the whole time, and pretty much have to heal every other turn. Then comes the absurdly large health meter - and this boss has a habit of healing himself regularly, stretching it out even further.
    • Keep in mind though, once you have used said item seven times to destroy his shield the battle restarts with you fully healed, so that part is more like a qualifying round.
  • Dragon Quest IV does this. Necrosaro/Psaro the Manslayer refuses to die. He will transform six times for a whopping seven forms. His fourth form, the one where he finally gets serious, has the most HP and he constantly spams a healing technique. Dragon Quest IV's final fight can be boiled down to whether he runs out of HP before your healers run out of MP.
  • Elizabeth Greene in Prototype. Depending on how you've set up Alex and how you use artillery, tanks, and helicopters, you can potentially take down Greene in, oh, say, fifteen minutes of continuous pounding.
  • A lot of bosses in Metroid Prime 2 are given ridiculous longevity (large amounts of HP and multiple phases), as well as the fun bonus of them being Puzzle Bosses. Adding to it is that most of them are fought in an environment that constantly drains your energy. Note that they are horribly long battles by action game standards, as they are still much shorter than many other of the examples in this page.
    • The final bosses take the cake, though. The first one has multiple phases, all of which are long endurance matches, while the second is timed and you have to use an almost Guide Dang It-y trick to beat it... fortunately, losing just causes you to go back to the beginning of the second boss.
    • The chykka (wasp thing) takes a particularly long time. Dark World boss fights do have the light crystals, which slowly heal you, so they might have felt justified in that you have a theoretically infinite supply of health.
    • Mogenar from Prime 3 can seem to move towards this, if you don't know how to beat him. If you try to use the wrong strategy, prepare to try to fight is regeneration. However, if you attack him the right way (and are quick), his regeneration doesn't even factor into it.
    • Metroid Prime's first form from the first game is very much this. The battle itself really isn't too hard, but it takes forever. Even your most powerful weapons, like the Ice Spreader, do only minor damage to it, and a lot of times miss and hit his impervious lower body. Nothing says "screw you" like wasting ten good missiles to hit him with an Ice Spreader, only for it to bounce off.
      • While you can just wait for it to stand (relatively) still so it can eat the missiles, its second form can be one due entirely to the RNG, since the only way you can deal damage to that form is to wait for Prime to do something very specific. If you're extremely unlucky, you may be just jumping shockwaves for a long while.
  • The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker: While not an actual boss, you have the option to train with Orca in a sparring match where you have to hit him as many times as you can before getting struck 3 times. If you manage to hit him 1000 times, he will stop the fight and cry with pride over your unrivaled awesomeness. He even lampshades it afterwards by asking you if your left index finger is numb. (which after holding onto the lock-on key for about 30 minutes, it usually is)
    • Most players will have changed the lock-on setting to "toggle". Still, having to press the B (sword) button all the time takes its toll.
  • Want to take over Earth, Luna, Stardock Alpha or Ruby in Escape Velocity? Demanding tribute from any one of those will force you to gradually work your way through the several thousand ships in its defense fleet.
    • Or Omm in Override. For a planet of worm eating pacifist monks, they have a surprisingly large defence force. Council isn't even worth trying.
  • And of course, Metal Gear Solid 3 has The End, a sniper battle that can easily take an hour or more if you don't kill him via Easter Egg (by sniping him before the battle starts, or by waiting a real-time week for him to die of old age.)
    • Or just save, quit, set the Play Station 2's system clock forward a week, and reload.
    • The fight with The Sorrow can easily become one if you've been playing aggressively so far, and you don't know (or don't use) the quick way.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2's penultimate boss fight, Metal Gear RAY. On the easiest difficulty setting, you only have to take off enough HP to beat three and they can be killed in one attack. On the hardest two, you have to take off enough HP to beat 20 and they all have masses of HP.
    • In Peace Walker, the second Peace Walker fight can easily be one of these in single-player mode. She has massive amounts of HP, a weak point which she often moves around making it difficult to hit her, various attacks which can freeze you or knock you over, and an ability which makes rocket weapons useless for about two minutes. She also regularly takes cover behind some buildings you can't follow her to. And you have limited ammo.
  • Final Fantasy III for the NES could be considered as having a pentathlon marathon boss: The final boss isn't that hard if you did your grinding, but there's a catch: It is absolutely invincible until you defeat the four guardians of the Dark Crystals, which will take you a long time because of the random encounters, and each one is pretty far away from the other, giving you no shortcuts. The worst part? Once you enter this fortress (where you fight the guardians and the final boss), you cannot go back. You can't use tents, cabins, cannot rest nor save your game, so spend everything before entering... oh. The door. You already went through a maze which takes half to a full hour to brave through from your last possible save point/shop to enter this place of no return. So, after two-three hours of fighting the goddamn bats at the random encounters and spending almost all of your precious, non-buyable Ethers... The Final Boss flarewaves you twice. Then you die. And your last 3-4 hours (plus the massive level grinding you were unable to save) will be sadistically forfeit.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • The Kaiser Dragon. He has 327,500 HP, which is about two hours of fighting, not counting time spent healing.
    • Going beyond Kaiser, we have THE marathon boss in this game: The Omega Weapon. He has the same amount of HP as Kaiser, but dualcasts Heartless Angel and Delta Attack, which results in your entire party dying, regardless of level.
  • Final Fantasy VII:
    • Bonus Bosses Ruby and Emerald Weapons. Emerald Weapon is a particularly cruel case in that the game gives you a 20-minute time limit to beat it, unless one of the characters is equipped with a stupidly obscure piece of materia, which is more or less mandatory if you don't have a special strategy in mind.
    • There's also Sephiroth, the Final Boss. If you play through normally and don't grind for experience, the battle is about the length that you'd expect. However, reaching level 99 is a curse rather than a blessing, for Sephiroth's HP is proportional to your level, meaning he'll end up with an obscene pool of damage (even more if you used the Knights of the Round summon before fighting him). Sephiroth can end up with 400,000 HP and obscene defensive/attacking stats, meaning you'll be fighting him for quite a while.
  • Final Fantasy VIII:
    • The Omega Weapon.
    • Ultimecia . There are two abilities that can break the standard cap of 9999 damage, and both are fairly hard to get, so you'll probably be damaging at or below that cap with every attack. The "Regen" spell heals you by a small amount every once in a while, apparently a set fraction of your maximum health. When you cast Regen on yourself with a maximum health of 9999 HP, that being another cap, the healing is still in the double digits. If Ultimecia's second form casts Regen, it'll heal itself in the high quadruple digits. Ultimecia has four forms. Have "fun."
  • In Final Fantasy IX, the optional Marathon Boss was Ozma because the Ozma challenge was a Guide Dang It, That One Boss Bonus Boss Luck-Based Mission, in which you would spend more time healing, reviving and waiting to counter its attacks than actually dealing much damage. With a mere 65000 HP, Ozma can be taken down with less than nine hits, but that's before he casts Curse, followed by Meteor.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Nemesis, the ultimate Monster Arena opponent, has 10 million HP. Many of the other creations may count too, depending on your level.
    • Many of the Dark Aeons and the mother of all bonus bosses, Penance, from Final Fantasy X International. The weakest of the Dark Aeons has around 1 million HP. Dark Anima has 8 million HP (the highest of the Dark Aeons). Penance tops that with 12 million HP. And unlike some of the marathon bosses, all of them are hard. This Youtube video of the Penance fight: just under 49 Minutes.
  • Final Fantasy X-2:
    • Angra Mainyu.
    • Bonus Boss Trema, who has 999999 HP, which is insane considering his defense. Funnily, he still goes down easier than Paragon that he killed in the pre-fight cutscene.
  • Final Fantasy XII:
    • Yiazmat, the ultimate Bonus Boss shown in the picture above, regularly takes players as much as 12 hours to kill, thanks to its astronomical 50 million HP. You're allowed to leave and come back, though. The International version nerfs him a bit by making him vulnerable to the four "Break" abilities, allowing you to greatly reduce his stats. Combine that with the fact that the damage cap is removed (so you can do more than 9999 damage per attack) and he goes down much easier. The real kicker? Near the end of the fight, Yiazmat pulls off a little trick that, if not caught and stopped, heals him back to full health.
    • If you fight Zodiark as soon as you can (after beating Giruvegan, but before you can buy the spell Scathe), and aren't at a high enough level to slice off his last 50,000 or so HP before he puts up a Paling, expect to spend at least half an hour taking off the last of his HP bit by bit with non-elemental magic spells such as Scourge or Drain.
  • Final Fantasy XIII:
    • For main game bosses, it's Barthandelus. The first two fights with him can easily take up to 20 minutes because of his ridiculously high HP. He actually goes down fast in his final incarnation, but that's only the beginning.
    • Vercingetorix, who has 15.8 million HP (although it's worth noting that the default damage cap in that game is 99,999, not 9,999, and the fight will probably take no more than 15-20 minutes).
    • Some of the oretoises. An Adamantoise has loads of HP and its resistances mean you only do 10% of normal damage (1% of normal with any elemental attack.), although those resistances can be lowered by attacking its legs, which renders it briefly helpless and vulnerable. The target time for killing one is around 30 minutes (although a high-level party can potentially win in 2-3). The good news is that they're susceptible to Death, so with a little luck or a lot of patience the fight can be very short. Long Gui (the more powerful version of Adamantoise), however, are not vulnerable to Death.
  • Not present in the original Dissidia Final Fantasy, but there in the prequel, Duodecim. The version of Feral Chaos one must beat to unlock him as a playable character is, in addition to being at level 130 when the player is capped at 100, in possession of a stunning 125,000+ HP. In the Dissidia combat system, the most damage that can be done at one time is 9999--but, given the way combat works, the player will only be able to pull off a 9999 damage hit rarely if at all against Feral Chaos, with hits in 500-1200HP damage range being far more likely. This, plus the fact that the player will be performing Bravery attacks in addition to HP attacks, plus the fact that the player is going to spend a loooot of time trying to avoid Feral Chaos' utterly devastating attacks, given that the player is likely to have only somewhere in the realm of 10K HP and basically has little-to-no healing...essentially, it adds up to a very long fight.
    • While Feral Chaos is certainly intended to be a monster who takes a monstrously long time to beat, there have been reports of people manipulating the game mechanics (and not by cheating or hacking) to knock out all of Feral Chaos' HP in less than five minutes.
    • Jecht can take him down in 34 seconds!
  • Just about every version of Pokémon contains the legendaries, should you choose to capture them (or in the case of Pokémon Black and White, the legendary you MUST capture to finish the game) Some run wild, leaving you to wander around aimlessly until you randomly encounter them. Stationary legendaries aren't tough to KO exactly, but if you want to catch them (and who doesn't?) save your game and prepare to spend hours chucking Ultra Balls, or Dusk Balls in the case of cave-based legendaries.
    • Master Balls will always work, although you only receive one normally.
    • This can also be hilariously subverted at times, since it's possible to catch any legendary at full HP with any type of Poke Ball on your first throw - just exceedingly unlikely. Quick Balls from the fourth gen games in particular are most effective when used on the first turn of the battle, and can turn one of those battles into an Anticlimax Boss with just a bit of luck. People also frequently subvert this with Action Replay hacks like having 999 masterballs in their bag or inputting a code that makes wild Pokemon easy to catch.
    • Also, the Elite Four are invariably a chain of Marathon Bosses, especially if you count the slog through Victory Road. Unless you should be lucky enough to have brought Pokemon that have a) crazy speed b) supereffective attacks against all opponents and c) a several-level advantage, you will be at it for quite a while. Luckily, the game does let you save and heal in between each boss.
      • And Pokémon Black and White makes it even longer by having you face the Elite Four, then go immediately into the final battle with various Team Plasma grunts and then Reshiram/Zekram,depending on your version, then Ghetsis and N.
  • The final bosses of both GBA Golden Sun games. The first game's final boss is also a Sequential Boss (and its first form being a Dual Boss). Many of Golden Sun: The Lost Age's Bonus Bosses also qualify, most notably the Star Magician. The Dullahan can be, because it's a Puzzle Boss (unless you're massively overleveled) with attacks capable of screwing up your strategy.
    • Dullahan has more HP than the final boss, and if you play Hard Mode and randomly fight him in the Arena, he has the most HP any single monster can have. Alan Averill, formerly of Nintendo Power, said that most of the time he spent writing the part of the strategy guide for Dullahan was massive Level Grinding. To quote him, "When Dullahan finally fell to my blade, I ran around screaming like a madman."
    • For the first Golden Sun, there was Deadbeard, who was considerably harder than the final boss because of the fact that he resided in the biggest, hardest dungeon in the game.
  • The level 7 boss and the Final Boss of the original Descent both took absurd amounts of damage before dying and would take you from full health to nearly dead with one missile. In fact, if you don't apply a patch, the final boss is actually invincible on all but the two easiest difficulty levels, making the game Unwinnable. Said patch also makes the level 7 boss die much more quickly.
  • Dungeon Siege II has a number of these bosses: with the black mage battles, you must destroy 3 crystal prisms that form an impenetrable shield around the boss before you can do any damage; you are then allowed to take away about a sixteenth of their health before the crystal prisms return.
  • The Sa-Matra in Star Control 2.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel: Practically every boss fight is like this, especially the endgame, where you have to [[spoiler:fight THREE giant chimeras at the same time, one of which heals itself, then fight two more bosses with no refuel. And then two more bosses. While winning the last one is optional, it makes it pretty damn hard to achieve One Hundred Percent Completion. This optional fight is against Colonel Mustang and Major Armstrong simultaneously. They have 6999 and 9999 health respectively, and your regular attacks do one damage per hit. Death of a Thousand Cuts indeed. The kicker? You need to do this fight twice to get 100% completion, because the fight ends before you can grab the item drop from whichever one you beat second.

  Travis Willingham (about this game): "Yeah, I still haven't kicked my own ass."

  • Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne has Noah who likes to change what he takes damage from and is one of the few things resistant to almighty spells so if you don't have demons with multiple elemental attacks you will have a long ass battle, and even if you do its still going to take awhile.
  • Digital Devil Saga: While he doesn't take as long as some of these other examples Hitoshura himself takes around 30 minutes to beat at least. It doesn't help that he is extremely difficult where, if you are unlucky, you can wipe at any time (and not from Gaea Rage)
  • Diablo himself in Diablo II, who not only has a ton of HP, but most certainly is a threat. You'll spend a lot of time attacking and a lot of time dying.
  • Mega Man 9 plays with this trope. One of the achievements there can be gotten only after fighting a boss for at least 10 minutes and winning.
  • All of Monster Hunter. Almost every mission is a boss fight, and while the earlier ones can take 10-15 minutes, the end game bosses can take up to 45 minutes (it actually has a time limit in this case), and some of these are even with four hunters hitting it.
    • Debatable. The bosses of Monster Hunter are all arguably Puzzle Bosses since randomly hitting the armored parts of the boss dozens of times can do less damage than a single hit to the weak spot. This naturally leads to huge differences in the amount of time taken to kill a boss between groups of similarly equipped but differently skilled players.
  • The True Final Boss of No More Heroes, Henry, on Bitter difficulty, can take nearly a thousand hits before dying. You generally can do less than ten hits off a dark step (the timing for which is tighter in this fight than in any other in the game). Trying to exploit his normal openings will land you maybe three hits at a time, and a high chance of getting countered by something nasty.
  • The Bonus Boss in Shadow Hearts that is required for the Good Ending is a real grind. It's not particularly challenging, as its attacks don't vary much, but the fact that you have to fight it with only one character, who takes all the damage and has to do all his own healing, can make the fight last half an hour or more.
  • In Rock Band and Guitar Hero, while the time needed to beat them may pale in compaison to some other examples on this page, any song that reaches over eight minutes or so becomes one of these. "Do You Feel Like We Do" (Live) from Guitar Hero 5 pushes it even further with almost fourteen minutes of playing.
    • "Freebird", the Final Boss of GH2, and "Through The Fire and Flames", the Bonus Boss of GH3. Also, the final battle with the Devil in that game.
    • And speaking of Rock Band, the Endless Setlist challenges in the numbered titles are guaranteed to take over an hour. Subverted slightly in that you can pause in the middle of any song... unless, of course, you want that Steel Bladder achievement, in which case you have to never pause the game and never fail a song during the entire setlist.
    • In Rock Band, the Endless Setlist challenges will take (on average) 5+ hours. The challenge itself is to play the entire game's tracklist in one concert. 84 songs x 3(on average though usually higher) minutes, = approximately 300 minutes, or 5 hours.
  • Fallout 3 has this in some of the expansion packs, although with new high level creatures rather than bosses. There are now ghouls that can take several dozen shots to the head from the strongest weapons in the game and not flinch.
  • In Star Ocean Till the End of Time, Freya becomes an optional boss you can fight after completing the main game. She has 20 million HP (and that's just on easy mode!) and her attacks, namely Ether Strike, can kill even the highest leveled characters in one or two hits. To even have a tiny hope of winning, your team must be maxed out to level 255 and be equipped with the strongest weapons and accessories that can be found in the game. You must also have a whole inventory's worth of bombs, so that you can hopefully interrupt her attacks by blowing her up.
    • Her predecessors The Celestial Queen and Lenneth, while not even possessing a fraction of her power can drag on for an eternity. Raise Fayt's defense to the point that he takes zero damage from their attacks, and the fight still drags on for on the upper echelon of 45 minutes. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe Star Ocean Till the End of Time's Bonus Bosses.
    • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, many story line bosses and Bonus Bosses can go on for an hour or more. The final boss has around 2 million HP on Galaxy (Normal) mode.
  • Of the six bosses in Iji, three could be easily said to be marathon bosses, especially on higher difficulty levels; worse still is the fact that they're Puzzle Bosses who you're supposed to damage with either the arena or by reflecting one of their attacks, which serves to make the fights very repetitive.
  • Perfect Cherry Blossom has Yukari Yakumo, who takes over 10 minutes to defeat, and over 15 minutes if you try to time out her attacks (say, to graze for score). Many shmups take about 20-30 minutes to complete, total.
    • Arguably, every Extra boss in the Touhou series is relatively guilty of this. The only thing that really puts Yukari in a league of her own is her final card/attack, Danmaku Bounded Field. She's invincible during the whole thing, and it lasts for a minute and a half. Have fun. The timer for her last card stops any time you die or bomb until your invincibility wears off, unlike every other time-out card in the entire series. Have fun, indeed.
    • Typically the last spellcard in any game is absurdly long. The average spellcard lasts about 15-20 seconds, 45 if you're going for the timeout. Final spellcards can last two and a half minutes. Kanako Yasaka's final card is particularly terrifying. Once again, Yukari takes the cake. Her optional Last Word spellcard in Imperishable Night is an extended version of the aforementioned last spellcard in PCB. Except you're not even allowed to bomb at all.
  • Since the .hack// games try to emulate an MMO, they had to include a couple of these bosses. For instance: most of the Phases, in particular Macha, Corbenik (both from Volume 4), and Skeith (from Volume 1), the last of which is arguably the hardest boss in the series, and especially the final Cubia fight, in which you fight your way through three of his "Cores", with each having more health than the last. Then you get to fight Cubia proper... and he fully regenerates his health once you kill him. So you get to kill him again... and then he regenerates again, at which point the plot takes over and he's killed in a different way.
  • Bonetail from Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door. It has a grand total of 200 HP, which is 50 more than the final boss (both actually being big numbers in this game). It will prolong the fights by causing Confusion and healing itself for 20-30 HP per heal, amongst other things. Woe be you if it defeats you after you trekked down all 100 floors to get to it.
    • And Culex from Super Mario RPG, with his four Crystals and a total of over 12,000 HP between the five (with Culex himself having the most). Though you can speed things up a little by focusing your attacks on Culex, that means you'll have to endure the bombardment from him and the Crystals. It's a long fight no matter how you approach it.
  • Bouldergeist from Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Amaltea, the Guild Quest Bonus Boss from Arc Rise Fantasia: High HP, multiple layers of defense against magic, physical, and Excels(single, Trinity Acts, and Excel Trinities).
  • Luca Blight, from Suikoden II. You have three fights in a row against him (each time with 6 different characters), in which he may or may not kick everyone's behinds before proceeding to the next one. Each one of these fights take around 15 minutes, and after all that you get to run after a fleeing Blight, fight a few mooks, and finally you kill him... after a one on one duel in which he may OHKO you if you pick a single command wrong. You can't save between fights either.
  • Reflux, the final boss of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, goes through several phases and can take over an hour to defeat.
  • Spoofed in Kingdom of Loathing, where the final battle actually doesn't take all that long, but the dialogue at the start of the third form claims it is:

 "Dang it!" you shout. "How many times do I have to kill you? This battle has taken over a half an hour and there's no save point!"

    • Spoofed again with Ed the Undying, whom you have to fight seven times, dismembering him into progressively smaller collections of limbs (and halving his maximum hit points each time). You eventually sweep his remains into the corner while he's still taunting you.
  • Bosses in the first two Ys games get most of their difficulty from this trope. In the first game, you're evidently supposed to fight the final boss at level 24 (that being the Cap in the original PC-8801 version and the remake), but walkthroughs for the Turbo Grafx 16 version generally recommend level 40 so you're killing him by a method other than Death of a Thousand Cuts. It's a bit harder to tell what level you're supposed to be at for the second game's fights, but killing every Mook you see, then consistently hitting the boss with fully powered-up attacks, leaves you doing so little damage that you need to hit the bosses twice to even notice a change in their screen-spanning life bars.
    • Darm in II is also a really long boss fight, even with your EXP maxed out. Then there's his teleport spamming and the constant rain of fireballs you must dodge.
    • Arem, the Big Bad of Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys, takes it Up to Eleven. He has three lifebars(the last form fortunately is a Clipped-Wing Angel), a laundry list of powerful attacks, is hard to hit, your attacks only do miniscule damage even with max EXP, and he can regenerate his HP.
  • Some of the later bosses in the DS FPS Moon can take 192 bullets from your rifle (that being the maximum you can carry) and still be less than halfway to dead. Matters are exacerbated by the fact that sniper rifle ammunition is rare and the pistol's hard to use while dodging, so you'll be using your assault rifle for the rest of the fight, which damages bosses so little that only on the rare occasions they stop shooting at you temporarily will you be able to see their health bars going down as you pump them full of lead. Dying and retrying four or five times can lead to physical pain in one's left hand (that being the one in charge of holding down the L button to rapid-fire.)
  • Devil Survivor: Belberith is pretty nasty, forcing you to walk all over the map before you can hurt him, all the while attacking you and summoning enemies. And when you finally get in range to hurt him he has tonnes of HP, nasty resistances, and regeneration. And he pales in comparison to the final boss. If you're playing Amane or Naoya's path it merely involves taking down a boss while enemies are spawning, taking out all of the Bels, including Belberith, and then killing the supremely nasty Babel. If you're on Gin or Atsuro's path it's longer and even nastier (though not including the Bels). Especially Atsuro's.
    • On Gin's path, you lose your demons, ALL of your demons, before going up against Babel's final form. This is annoying on your first playthrough, but your characters would probably be roughly on par with your demons so it wouldn't be THAT bad if you prepared for it. However, if you're not aware of how the fight works and are on your third or fourth playthrough, during which you probably completely relied on the end-game demons you carried over from each game, it's a good chance you'll lose due to being underleveled. Now, while the story hints at this, it's easy to assume you'd lose your demons AFTER Babel dies. Nope.
  • Super Robot Wars games have a bad habit of this. The worst offenders are probably the Original Generation games. In OG 2, any boss worth mentioning is going to have over 100,000 HP, and the last few stages will have lots of them in a row. All of the last three stages (four if you face the True Final Boss) are going to have over a million HP's worth of bosses, and that doesn't even include Mooks' HP.
    • The real offenders are the end bosses from @ Gaiden. Shu regens ALL his health 5 times.
  • Both Orcus and General Akhboob from Total Carnage. The game goes as far as to worn you that Orcus is "the mother of all boss monsters". Also, of the two, Akhboob is the only one with a health meter. And they're the only bosses of the game.
  • The final boss of Gundemonium Recollection, Elixirel, has 11 forms, one for each node on the Tree of the Sefirot. The good news is the 11th is the True Final Boss, so you only have to deal with 10 most of the time.
  • Dark Gaia, final boss of Sonic Unleashed will force the player through multiple rounds of at least three different, yet similarly difficult styles of gameplay that must be executed with near flawless percision to win. Mercifully, the game marks each genre change as a checkpoint of sorts, meaning that deaths aren't too frustrating.
  • Hot Limit and other "long version" songs in Dance Dance Revolution: 5th Mix.
    • Or you know This. Not only clocking in at seven minutes (while the average DDR song is under two,) it also has in the neighborhood of 2000 steps, meaning you can get multiple 300+ combos in a single song (where as 300 is about typical for one song on the highest DDR difficulty.) Granted, you have to find and download the song for yourself to run in Stepmania, but some of us go out of our way to run (nearly literal) marathons.
  • The Big Bad Primagen in Turok 2: Seeds of Evil already has a ton of HP, and also has an annoying regeneration ability that can draw out the fight even longer.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories has Marluxia, the final boss. Most bosses have two, maybe three health bars. He has four. Not only that, but you can't actually damage him normally unless you go through his entire attack pattern. And when you do reach that point, you only have a few seconds since wind is blowing you off. Thankfully he's also open to attack every now and then, but it's unlikely you'll have strong enough cards to really exploit it until after you beat him.
    • Ansem, the final boss for the Reverse/Rebirth mode, is just as bad, if not worse.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix has No Heart. Like most Bonus Bosses in the series, he attacks almost constantly. On top of this he has 9 Health bars and excellent defense (Roughly 1800 HP and the most a player can ever do is 10-15 with maxed level and equipment). This amounts to 20-40 minutes of battling, monstrous compared to the 2-5 minutes typical of the series.
    • The series' other Bonus Bosses are just as bad. From Kingdom Hearts, we have the Ice Titan and Sephiroth. The Ice Titan is a pain because the primary way to damage it is to deflect one of its attacks back at it, which as the fight goes on, it will do less and less, and often whilst you are in no position to be able to deflect. Sephiroth is easier to damage, but has a ridiculously large shield to whittle down before his health bar even begins to deplete, and has attacks which will almost kill you, even at full health. Kingdom Hearts II has Sephiroth again, who has 15 health bars (the final boss has at most 7/8) and loves to do back-to-back "Sin Heartless Angel" and "Teleport Flash" before you can heal. Hope you kept those Elixers!
    • All Kingdom Hearts games seem to end with ridiculously long bosses. Kingdom Hearts II has a final boss with at least 6 different parts to it; one part, The Giant Nobody Dragon, is even split into 3/4 stages! Kingdom Hearts has a similar number of parts to its final fight. Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has the fight against Xion, which contains 4 stages, and isn't even the final boss. Although, despite being the second-last boss, it's arguably more of a final boss than the actual final boss, Riku, who doesn't have multiple phases.
  • The boss of the Rubina level in Hydorah doesn't actually have much health, however there are two rotating rings of shields which make hitting it really difficult. Plus your weapons are almost certainly at the lowest level when you face it, given Continuing Is Painful and the difficulty of the preceding level. Expect to hear the music loop multiple times during the fight.
    • Unless you use the Wave, in which case you can defeat it in seconds. Unfortunately, you can't get the Wave until much later in the game, so it doesn't help unless you deliberately skip Rubina and come back to it later.
  • Tropicallo from Legend of Mana: instead of taking damage like a regular boss, it loses a set fraction every time one of its two tendrils dies. One of them is an insanely tough attacking type tendril, the other casts magic and has a humongous self-destruct attack when detached.
    • This gets turned Up to Eleven in the Nightmare and No Future modes - it does rather more damage, but is still a cakewalk. Unfortunately, while it winds up with a hundred health bars, the amount of damage dealt to it with each tendril's death doesn't increase, meaning that you will literally spend hours trying to put it out of its well-deserved misery. (Unless you turned off No Future mode before fighting it...)
  • Bosses in the Mortal Kombat series usually have much more HP or higher defense than normal characters, and most are SNK Bosses to boot.
  • Non-game example: the fight against DMK in Problem Sleuth takes up nearly half of the entire series. It's a deliberate parody of JRPG boss fights though, so it's heavily Lampshaded of course. Just one example...

 what is with all these heads and where do you get off being so impossible anyway. we spent more than half the game fighting you.

  • SaGa Frontier 2: the final boss of the game, and arguably the whole last dungeon. The final boss doesn't have a lot of HP (~60 000), but is empowered by his henchmen, the Anima Masters, which grants him special powers (such as healing or a OHKO move that can turn everyone to stone) and extra HP (which can double his initial HP) if you didn't defeat them earlier in the very last dungeon. The catch ? They are skippable, in a dungeon where you can't go back to fight them once they have been skipped (something a player can't possibly guess before reaching the final boss). Only 4 of them can be challenged to a fight, and two of them are Duel Boss, which lead to the loss of the character who stay behind, in what seems to be Heroic Sacrifice. On top of that, your party grows weaker and weaker after each fight, losing Mana Points which are difficult to resplenish if you don't have in your inventory the correct items (which are useless for 99% of the game : you may have tossed them because of inventory limits, and you can't use them during a battle!) which can lead them to be forced to use their own life force in order to continue on fighting. True, your characters do more damage the lower ManaPoints they have, but doing so will kill them once they run of Life Points (LPs). Now, take into account that unless you are Crazy Prepared (which you will not be the first time), you won't do more than 2000 damages to the final boss per turn, and that this boss loves to depletes your characters of their LPs. Oh, and your main character only have 14 LPs, which means that unless you looted from one of the final boss's henchmen the one and only item of the game which prevents you from losing LPs when taking a hit, you'll hit a game over once she runs out of these (mind you, all others characters may die in battle, you won't get a game over). So, basically, you're stuck in a very long battle, where you must take down the final boss before it takes you down, and in which some party members may die permanently if they run out of LPs. Have fun!
    • Not nearly so bad as it's made out to be, as each of those can be bypassed: If the player moves extra characters to the reserve, you can take down all six of the Anima Masters...which has the unfortunate side effect of reducing your party for the last of them (admittedly, he's the hardest). There is also a guaranteed drop of a second item that prevents LP damage, much earlier in the game, but you have to choose to fight rather than bypass a particular battle. Admittedly the final boss is still lengthy in this case, making it as much of a Guide Dang It as a Marathon Boss.
  • This video. Even with the assistance of a macro to spam the fire button, it's still absurd.
  • A prominent Bonus Boss in Tales of Symphonia, Abyssion, is also a Marathon Boss, featuring higher HP than the Final Boss and a more dangerous base of attacks. The easiest method of dealing with this boss, an item called "all divide" makes this even more of a marathon, as it splits damage received in half, but also damage given, the only way it makes it easier being that your ability to heal remains the same.
    • Also another Tales' Bonus Boss is Nebilim with the situation is relatively similar and that's on Normal with you're level in the 90+ and higher.
    • Any of the "giant monster" bosses from Tales of the Abyss Unknown Mode, especially Replicantis. The very first monster battle on Unknown usually takes about 15 minutes, just to get an idea.
    • However, a rare Tales (series) example in which the Marathon Boss is not a Bonus Boss: In Tales of Destiny 2, Fortuna, the Final Boss takes forever to beat. Look up videos of it on YouTube, and you'll notice that they're often split into multiple parts or have most of the fight edited out. The only indication that they're going down is that the music changes.
    • On higher difficulties, practically every single boss in Tales of Xillia ends up like this, due to how low the party's overall damage output is compared to other games in the series and the fact that bosses can escape from combos a lot more easily then in previous games. Only once one has fully powered up the Fell Arms and/or boosted their party's stats significantly with items do they go down in what could be considered a normal span of time.
  • Skies of Arcadia has a few, mostly ship battles like; Georgio, the Hydra and of course Zelos(hell all of the gigas count really). But it also has a tortoise boss battle where the boss can put up a shield to prevent you causing any damage and it will heal itself. It'll do this around every four turns so you better hope you can cause enough damage to keep up with it.
  • Bosses in The Legend of Dragoon are all like this due simply to the mechanics of the game. If you haven't played it, magic is outrageously rare and is pretty much for use on bosses only. Only two characters have healing magic at all[2], and the item limit is quite low. The way you heal is that every time you defend, you heal 10% of your maximum health. Your Mileage May Vary as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it definitely adds length to every boss fight.
    • This isn't to say anything about the Final Boss, really requires you to take out an hour or so.
  • Bosses in the arcade version of Double Dragon II are in general much tougher than the first game, but Abore, the Andre The Giant Ersatz in Mission 2 , takes the cake. It doesn't help that you fight two of him in the final stage.
  • Lord Burroughs from Clock Tower 3. First of all, he has two health bars while the other bosses only have one. Each health bar takes twice the damage of a normal boss. He has two main attacks; a tether ball projectile similar to yours, and a pool of red slime that traps the player for a few seconds, leaving them open to projectiles. He does have a sword, though he only uses it at close range. What makes this boss a pain in the ass is that when he tethers you with three balls, he does an instant-kill attack. These can be dodged by crouching, but using this strategy drags on the fight for more than half an hour.
  • ZOMG: The Landshark and Shallow Sea / Sea Lab X. It can take 6 hours to complete the latter with a full crew. On medium. The former takes around an hour to beat...with 20 other people attacking it.
  • The Arishok in Dragon Age II has an extra long health bar, high defense, and also uses health potions. On top of that, his swings are very hard hitting, enough to knock you down each time unless you have high fortitude or are immune to knockdown. And he can get you into an infinite knockdown chain, meaning you're potentially done if he hits you even once. Have fun.
    • However, this is only if you duel him. He's way easier if you opt to face him along with his goons, because at least then you have a party helping you.
  • Magic: The Gathering's first video game, on the plane of Shandalar, featured the Big Bad Arzakon. On the easiest level, he has 100 life. On the hardest level, he has 400. To put this in context, in a standard game of Magic, players have 20 life, and in Shandalar, both you and the mooks tend to have lower life. But he uses a five-color deck with almost no mana fixing, so it's entirely possible that, even at 400 life, you're staring at just land on the other side of the table. Err, screen.
    • At least he's still vulnerable to milling and poison.
  • May God help you if you fight Borderlands' Final Boss on Playthough 2 Solo. If so, be prepared to spend about 15-20 unloading all of your weapons into its weakpoint while being flung back by it's shockwave and laser attacks. Oh, and if you die, its health Regenerates. Ditto General Knoxx on Playthough 2.5. Not only can he easily kill in a single attack if you are not being careful, but he has Devastators in both Normal and Badass forms, as well as Lance Medics who can heal about 5 minutes worth of damage in 10 SECONDS.
  • The final bosses in most of the House of the Dead games, especially The Wheel of Fate and The World (two forms and two lifebars, to boot).
  • The Facebook game Viking Clan scoffs at those puny bosses. World bosses are meant to be fought by thousands of players together (anyone can take part in the battle). The Phoenix, the weakest of these bosses (Level 10, apparently), has 26,343,750,000 health points. That's 26 billions. The battle is timed, lasting 14 days, and individual players must wait 4 hours between attacks. Fortunately, it's really just a question of length as it doesn't seem to heal and deals very little damage.
  • The second boss in Fester's Quest, and most others.
  • Rinnosuke in Labyrinth of Touhou. He has 7 different forms, can switch between the first 6 at will, and when he isn't using other forms, they actually regenerate HP. When added together, his collective HP more than triples that of the previous boss (Yukari) and her 3 forms.
  • The final boss battle in Child of Eden has about five forms and can take over 10 minutes to complete; witness it in all its glory here.
  • The final boss of Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising has 3 million HP and can regenerate about 200 000 at a time. Your units can deal 1000-2000 damage at best. Kind of justified, since he's a Greater Daemon of Nurgle, and those are said to be able to destroy whole planets alone.
  • Tyr/Myria from Breath of Fire. Then again, you should have known after the previous bosses that after the health bar you actually see is only a fraction of their actual health.
  • The final fight against the Thugs 4 Less leader in Ratchet and Clank Going Commando. Mostly because you'll be sat in a turret, constantly trying to shoot away his bombs, rather than actually just shooting him. Even the developers admit he simply has way too many hit points.

Uses of this trope outside video games:

  • Problem Sleuth: The final boss fight with Demonhead Mobster Kingpin took up over half the comic, spawning an absurd number of fresh HP gauges at one point; being that the comic was a parody of Eastern RPGs, this was very likely an Affectionate Parody of the trope. Lampshaded by Problem Sleuth himself in his Strongly Worded Letter to the final boss.
  • The ending of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is like this, with a long sequence of all the surviving characters throwing all they have at the Father, in hope of exhausting his powers. he also goes through a total of three forms.

Notes

  1. For the record and comparison, this boss has 50,112,254 HP, and max damage is 9999, not including the International version. You may weep now.
  2. Shana, Miranda, and Meru, but Shana and Miranda are so much better at it than Meru and Boss battles with Shana and Miranda take forever
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