Created By: Stratadrake on August 20, 2011 Last Edited By: Stratadrake on July 27, 2015

Boss Rematch

Early boss returns with an upgrade for one more battle

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Trope
Do We Have This One?? Beware of confusion with Recurring Boss.
A pattern in some Video Games where, despite most bosses being unique opponents, one boss who appears relatively early on will re-appear in one later level with some kind of power-up or upgrade that raises the difficulty level of the fight. Perhaps the terrain has changed, the new boss has a wider variety of attacks, or is simply on fire this time around. Whether or not the second boss actually is the same individual as the first is irrelevant, but the resemblance is clear, and the strategy to defeat him is similar -- just with added wrinkles to increase the difficulty.

This is related to the Recurring Boss, although a Recurring Boss has greater narrative prominence (often being a Quirky Miniboss Squad or perhaps even The Dragon) and is fought at least three times throughout a given playthrough.

See also Underground Monkey, and Call Back.


  • The original Blaster Master has a mutant frog as the boss of area 3, and a fiery mutant frog as the boss of area 7 (with a longer attack pattern). The boss of area 6 is similar to the boss of area 2 as well, just with longer-reaching claws.
    • Blaster Master Overdrive has a few remixed bosses of its own, with the boss of area 3 being a similar armored crab as the boss of area 1, but with added firebreath.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns has Mugly as World 1 boss, then Thugly in World 6, who is essentially the same but with red-hot armor covering his weak point, and nasty fire breath.
  • If the player fights Vile early in Mega Man X 3, they will fight him again during the final levels, with him piloting a larger Powered Armor.
  • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, each of the Koopalings is fought twice in their respective world: The first match is relatively straightforward (and similar) for any of them, but for the second match, Magikoopa arrives and enchants something, usually the terrain, to make the battle more difficult.
  • Super Mario Galaxy has a few remixed bosses between its two games:
    • Dino Piranha later reappears as the on-fire Lava Piranha, who spits fireballs and can't be approached so easily.
    • King Caliente's rematch takes place on a field of Temporary Platforms floating in hot lava, rather than solid ground.
    • Gobblegut in the sequel is also on fire during his rematch, leaving pools of lava every time he carves a tunnel through the planetoid arena.

Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • August 20, 2011
    NESBoy
    I suggest you rename the trope something else, since we already have Boss Remix as a music trope.
  • August 21, 2011
    peccantis
  • August 21, 2011
    theindefiniteone
    Another example:

    • The Jabberwock of American Mc Gees Alice returns after being defeated by the Gryphon at first, and this time, you have to kill him off yourself.
  • August 21, 2011
    terrafox
    • Castlevania SOTN features the Doppleganger, who fights Alucard twice: The first time he is a Lv 10 boss, the second time he is Lv 40.
      • Not sure if the two encounters with Death would count, as the first time he just takes your equipment from you and leaves.
  • August 21, 2011
    OmarKarindu

    Mario Bros. Series
    • Every Koopaling in New Super Mario Brothers Wii is fought twice in each stage; the second time, Kamek alters the battle. In all but two cases, the only change is that he alters the terrain, while the Koopalings attack just as they did the first time.
    • In Super Mario Brothers 3, every world's one or two fortresses ended with a battle against Boom Boom, who occasionally got upgrades like wings or greater speed in later battles.
    • The American Super Mario Brothers 2 used this to the point of overkill: not only did all but one of the x-1 and x-2 worlds pit the player against some variety of palette-swapped Birdo enemies who shared the exact same attack pattern with different projectile types, but two of the World Bosses -- Mouser and Triclyde -- are fought twice in battles with only minor changes to terrain or number of hit points.
    • And of course the original Super Mario Brothers and most of its Enhanced Remake counterparts used only one boss template, Bowser, who is fought with only minor changes -- new environmental hazards, and, after world 4, a new hammer attack -- eight times. The "Lost Levels" Mission Pack Sequel doesn't change this and adds further such battles.

    • The original game in the Legend Of Zelda series reused two end bosses in this fashion. Aquamentus, the dragon at the end of level one, is also the level seven boss, but he isn't upgraded at all. Gleeok guards the Triforce in levels four and eight, and also pops up as a Degraded Boss in level 6; the only difference is that he gains a head each time he returns. Another boss, Gohma, returns in degraded form with a palette swap and added hit points. And in the final level, there are several examples of the Lanmola and Patra Mini Boss enemies with slightly different patterns or rates of movement.
    • In the first several Punch Out games, where the use of blatant Palette Swaps means that virtually every boxer resembles an earlier one. The patterns may be sufficiently different that this no longer holds. In the NES game, though, three fighters return as themselves in the final circuit with altered gimmicks and patterns. The Wii game goes even further by having the player go through literal rematches with upgraded versions of every fighter in the game.
  • August 21, 2011
    jaytee
    Ultros from Final Fantasy 6
  • August 21, 2011
    RangerSix
    At least one of the bosses in the first episode of Raptor: Call of the Shadows returns in a later episode, but with upgraded weapons.
  • August 21, 2011
    Ultrayellow
    In Mass Effect, Saren gets cybernetically upgraded by Sovereign for round 2, then is resurrected as a remotely controlled cyborg for the final Boss Fight.
  • August 21, 2011
    Smo
    Final Fantasy VIII had you fight a blue mechanized tank twice, the second time it actually malfunctioning while being piloted by your allies
  • August 21, 2011
    Bishop22
    In Mother 3, you fight New Fassad in the volcano, then he returns in the New Pork City sewers as Miracle Fassad. [1]
  • August 21, 2011
    paraguay
    In Tales Of Vesperia, the party fights with a homicidal maniac zagi around four times. With each encounter his appearance gets upgraded and he becomes more powerful.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Contrast Degraded Boss, where a character introduced as a boss is downgraded to a recurring Mook or Big Mook.

    Recurring bosses is something so common, I barely notice it anymore. I still have trouble believing this hasn't been troped yet.

  • August 21, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Sarcasm Mode much?

    I would suggest the Rule Of Three for splitting between a Boss Rematch and the Recurring Boss; I would also suggest avoiding the RPG genre for locating examples.

    The first Devil May Cry, for example: Phantom, Griffon, and the Nightmare, each one of them you had to fight and defeat three times, in different terrain and/or with the boss sporting new attacks.
  • January 11, 2015
    Tropesmanisready!
    Trope name suggestion: King Monkey (King Mook + Underground Monkey)
  • January 11, 2015
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • There are several examples in Sonic Adventure.
      • In Sonic and Knuckles' stories, they each have to fight different forms of Chaos as Dr. Robotnik collects the Chaos Emeralds for him throughout the game. Sonic fights Chaos' 0, 4, and 6 forms, while Knuckles fights Chaos' 2, 4, and 6 forms.
      • In the beginning of E-102 Gamma's story, just after the first stage, Gamma has to fight his older brother, E-101 Beta, as a test to see who will serve on the Egg Carrier. When Gamma wins, Beta insists he come along, so Robotnik decides to use Beta's spare parts on his other robots. In the middle of the story, it is revealed that Beta is undergoing a new transformation, and at the end, the upgraded Beta serves as Gamma's final boss.
  • January 11, 2015
    KarjamP
    I'd like to point out that the name of the magikoopa in New Super Mario Brothers Wii is "Kamek", not "Magikoopa".
  • January 11, 2015
    DAN004
    If the only thing separating this from Recurring Boss is quantity (of encounters), then I don't see this as splittable.
  • January 11, 2015
    acrobox
    The Same But More Specific.

    Its just Underground Monkey but with bosses, or Recurring Boss.

    Like Underground Boss Monkey. I don't know if that's really splittable.
  • July 27, 2015
    NESBoy
    • In New Super Mario Bros U, most of the Tower levels end with a battle with Boom-Boom, just like in Super Mario Bros 3. After the first battle, each subsequent one is preceeded with Kamek enhancing Boom-Boom with a new form or ability. Notably, the Sparkling Waters and Frosted Glacier battles have Boom-Boom gaining the same enhancement (jumping high), but what separates the two battles is that the Frosted Glacier version has a floor made entirely out of Frictionless Ice.
  • July 27, 2015
    Chabal2
    Twilight Princess: King Bulblin is fought twice on horseback. The first time, Link sends him off a bridge by hitting him with his sword, so in the next battle Bulblin shows up with massive shields on either arm. Fortunately, by this point Link has gotten the bow, so he can just shoot him off.
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