->''"Mario! The chain! Aim for the chain!"''
-->-- '''Toadstool,''' ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG''

A boss that is beaten through trickery rather than brute force. This is usually enforced by making the boss completely invulnerable to conventional attacks, forcing you to find another strategy to defeat it -- which usually involves one of the following two scenarios:

* One is to make use of some [[BossArenaIdiocy convenient feature of the arena]] which may either directly damage the boss, or simply [[ForMassiveDamage expose their weak spot]] so you ''can'' attack it conventionally. The first case especially [[FridgeLogic raises the question]] of how the player's conventional rocket launcher/tripmine/lightsaber/fireball spells don't manage to do any damage no matter how many attacks you land, while the environment's (often comparably lame) hazards are so intrinsically fatal.

* The other is to observe the boss and wait for some kind of opening that the boss's strategy [[TacticalSuicideBoss deliberately leaves open for you to exploit]]. Like an attack that if successfully [[CounterAttack countered]] -- ActionCommands optional -- leaves the boss temporarily vulnerable to conventional damage. (Obviously, for gameplay purposes, the boss will seldom learn from this mistake; even when it TurnsRed, its new attack patterns will have similar vulnerabilities the player can exploit.)

A subtrope of ConvenientWeaknessPlacement. Not to be confused with a TrickBoss, which is more about the boss's place in the story rather than the method of the boss fight itself.

When the solution to the puzzle is to not actively fight the boss at all, see SheatheYourSword. The inversion to PuzzleBoss is DamageSpongeBoss, which has no trickery at all and simply ''is'' worn down through brute force.

Note that a boss whose weakness is very difficult to figure out using the in-game information may qualify as a GuideDangIt. Other times, the solution could be an OutsideTheBoxTactic, a possible oversight (or deliberate EasterEgg; nobody knows for sure) on the part of the designers.

Due to the nature of this trope, many of the examples below will be '''spoilers''', and will almost certainly dampen the challenge if read. (Although if you're not the sort of player who likes difficulty, you probably won't care.)

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!!Examples:

* Usually in TurnBasedCombat [[RolePlayingGame RPGs]] the player would have nothing to combat bosses with except attacks and items, but at one point in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time]]'' you have to fight a [[AlienInvasion General Shroob]] who commands Shroob grunts to attack you (without ever attacking on his own). Occasionally, he will call in a three-Shroob squad to carry a giant bomb into the arena, after which he scurries off the screen, unable to be targeted. In order to bring him out again the player must eliminate the Shroob farthest to the back, causing the other two to lose their balance and drop the bomb[[note]]Most players would probably use power-ups like Trampolines or Copy Flowers in order to kill them all at once, but this will cause the bomb to roll towards ''you'' instead[[/note]], sending it rolling off the screen and launching the General back onto the stage in the ensuing detonation. However, [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard he doesn't take any damage (at least, there is no indication) from the explosion, while Mario and Luigi get hit so hard they fly to the top screen and back down, taking quite a number out of their health.]]
* Many in the main series ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games would qualify, especially later in the game when you have access to more Mons, [=TMs=], breeding, and maybe a guide. {{Bonus Boss}} Red from VideoGame/{{Pokemon Gold and Silver}} is the worst, as his levels are so high there is little to discourage you from simply raising a custom team to curb stomp him.
* The first form of [[BigBad Rhapthorne]] from ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' makes the party members all use an item in their inventories to "pray" to the Goddess Scepter. If all four of them do it, a spirit is summoned. The party has to do this for seven turns before they move on to fight Rhapthorne for real.
* ''{{Okami}}'' has most {{Boss Battle}}s as this. To summarize, you will probably be using/practicing the brush technique you most recently learned on your next boss. Especially frustrating with techniques that require a learning curve, such as the Vine technique used to beat the Spider Queen. [[spoiler:The Final Boss, Yami is very guilty of this since, chances are, you'll be using ALL of your brush powers as you get them back.]]
* A few boss battles in Telltale's episodic ''SamAndMax'' series are puzzles in which the player must trick the boss into defeating themselves. Examples include:
** Brady Culture, defeated through a ''DuckSeasonRabbitSeason''-like puzzle.
** Myra Stump, defeated by causing her to inadvertently move her microphone onto a wet patch on her desk, electrifying her.
** In the final episode of Season Two, [[spoiler:the Soda Poppers]] are defeated by causing them to blow out a candle. So the final puzzle involves the player having to bake them a birthday cake and placing the candle on the cake.
* [[ClashOfHeroes MightAndMagicClashOfHeroes]], besides having a puzzle-based battle system, also has some battles where the objective is to hit specific rows or in a certain order.
** The beginning of the fifth chapter has three battles that are impossible to win unless you figure out how: the first has a wall of fire that destroys all of your units before they can attack (you need to use Ghosts, which are invincible when charging), the second pits you against three linked, extremely powerful Rakshasa (you need to use Druids to de-sync them), and a mage who weakens your charging units at every turn (you need an Angel to replenish their attack).
* All of the bosses in ''ShadowOfTheColossus'' are defeated in this manner.
* In the battle against the Shadow Queen at the end of ''[[VideoGame/{{Ico}} ICO]],'' she does nothing except emit waves that 1-hit kill you (which only the spirit sword and the 2 movable statues can protect you from) while hiding behind her shield. Every time you attack her, the shield weakens but the spirit sword is knocked flying from your hands by the shock, forcing you to retrieve it using the statues.
* Mad Jack's arena from ''DonkeyKong64'' had switches that electrified the platforms.
** Pufftoss from the same game required Lanky to complete a boating course to activate lightning rods for each hit.
** The final battle against King K. Rool is a hilarious 5-round boxing match, with a different Kong fighting him each round and a different tactic needed to beat him. Over the course of the battle, you'll end up shooting the spotlights above the arena so they'll fall on him, tricking him into slipping on a giant banana peel and shrinking down so you can enter a hole in his shoes and beat up his toes.
* ''SonicTheHedgehog'' stayed away from this trope for the first few games, but after discovering it, the designers seem to have positively ''adored'' it ever since.
** That is to say, [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog the first game]] still wasn't completely devoid of them. Star Light Zone's boss is only reachable by standing on a lever as he drops a bomb to launch yourself up high enough, or perhaps using yourself to launch the bomb.
** ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic The Hedgehog 3]]'' has the Carnival Night Zone Act 1 boss. Your attacks can't hurt it... but they do make it vulnerable to its own attacks.
** ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic & Knuckles]]'' is the Sonic series's ''king'' of Puzzle Bosses. Flying Battery Zone Act 2 had a mid-level "boss battle" that simply ended after it attacked several times, Sandopolis Zone Act 1 had a boss that had to be dumped into quicksand, and no fewer than ''four'' stages (Flying Battery Zone Act 1, Lava Reef Zone Act 2, the mini-boss of Death Egg Zone Act 2, and The Doomsday Zone) had bosses that were defeated by getting them to hit themselves with their own attacks.
** ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' required Amy to knock Zero into an electric fence during her final confrontation with the robot, and Sonic and Knuckles to freeze Chaos 6 by throwing an object into its mouth.
** Technically, a mech walker battle in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'' had an explosive canister in the center that could be shot to damage anyone in its vicinity, but it rarely proved useful. You were allowed to just whale on the enemy.
*** Since the lock-on system loves to target anything and everything, it was more likely that you would hurt yourself with said canister. Not to mention that you pass through the middle a lot trying to get close to your opponent so that the WaveMotionGun isn't as hard to dodge.
** All bosses of Sonic Adventure 2 have weakpoints except for Eggman/Tails and Rouge/Knuckles. For Sonic and Shadow, it's their backs. For the walkers, it's their cockpits. Some have trickier ones, like jumping up platforms to strike the weakspot on the Egg Golem's head, or hitting an hourglass so that light fills a pyramid to cause King Boom Boo (a giant ghost who breathes fire) to turn into a shadow on the ground... and then, of course, you have to chase said shadow and then ''dig into him''. Then, after you dig him out of the ground, you have to ''chase him again'' and then finally punch him. But then of course, there's the two incarnations of the final boss: You have to grind the tubes hanging from his mouth to strike the weakspot on his back, and then later you have to homing attack eggs just to reach it the final time. Then, when he becomes bigger and badder (as in he ''melds himself into a space station that is quickly falling towards Earth''), his weakspot actually ''changes places as you fight him''.
** The Dark Guardian in the hi-definition version of ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' requires you to push boxes to an area, which will remove his invincibility temporarily and progressively nullify his regeneration. (In the Wii version, though, he's the only boss that amounts to a plain old fisticuff fight, no exposing weak points involved.)
*** For that matter, the Dark Gaia Phoenix required you to throw barrels of water at it, or trick it into flying into said barrels of water, in order to render it vulnerable. The Dark Moray had a similar mechanic involving freezing it with canisters of cold gas before being able to attack its weak point safely.
** ''Every'' boss in ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD Sonic CD]]'' is a puzzle boss.
** Several in some of the newer 2D games. SonicAdvance 2's Super Sonic fight entailed smacking missiles back into Eggman. Sonic Advance 3 has a boss which can be damaged by the platforms that fall as you jump off them as everything scrolls up, and also one where you hit balls to make them deadly to Eggman (the balls bounce around the room). In Rush, there is a scarab beetle boss in which you have to smack the ball, and make it hit the back of Eggman. And in Rush Adventure, there's a boss in which you must smack a pendulum based system with enough force to hit the weak point at the top. Both Rush games also have you knocking missiles into the Eggmen in the Super fights.
* Those odd bosses like the Dark Guardian are a carry-over from another major Sonic Team property, NiGHTS. This franchise has among the most cryptic bosses in video game history -- as [=NiGHTS=]'s only means of attack is the Paraloop, which is a circular vacuum attack done by tracing a full circle in the air, [=NiGHTS=] very rarely engages into direct combat. In addition, [=NiGHTS=] is invincible and can only lose by time running out, so the bosses tend to focus around stalling and wasting time rather than a blitz of powerful attacks.
** In ''[=NiGHTS=]: Into Dreams...'', the Sega Saturn game:
*** Puffy is a lagomorphic opera singer who must be thrown into a wall of crystalline spikes at the end of a long hallway, which instantly defeats her. She is invulnerable otherwise; the process of figuring this out may be long and hard for someone who doesn't already know where they are.
*** Gulpo, a fish swimming around a cylinder-shaped floating glob of water, sits outside of reach of the cylinder surface [=NiGHTS=] is normally restricted to. Instead, [=NiGHTS=] has to find fish who are pointed at Gulpo. The fish launch [=NiGHTS=] into the center of the cylinder to hit Gulpo via ramming.
*** Clawz is a black cat who plants dynamite sticks dressed like mice that hover in midair, then jumps around them. [=NiGHTS=] must neutralize the lit dynamite sticks before they explode by pushing them away. Normally, Clawz is very fast and can't be hit. Once there's only one dynamite stick left, Clawz is vulnerable.
** In ''[=NiGHTS=]: Journey of Dreams'', the Wii game, all of the bosses are fought through nonconventional means:
*** Donbalon plays very much like Puffy, except his arena is vertical instead of horizontal. The spikes lie at the top. Neither Puffy nor Donbalon deal any direct attacks; they passively wait for [=NiGHTS=] to run out of time.
*** Chamelan hides behind a veil that completely covers the background. The Paraloop will cause a circular hole in the veil the size of the Paraloop, but it closes over time. In order to find Chamelan, the player needs to identify rows of playing cards behind the veil in order of value; Chamelan will be hiding behind the ace that's transparent. There is a rematch later on where multiple rows of cards with aces pointing in different spots; the opaque aces trigger bombs with very large blast radii. Chamelan's disguise is blown when a Paraloop happens in front of him; he is defeated with a second Paraloop.
*** Cerberus is a pair, and in the rematch, a trio of dogs chained together. They can only take damage if [=NiGHTS=] grabs the center of the chain, marked by a yellow ball, and pushes the ball to ram the heads together. The third dog, which only shows up in the rematch, sprouts from this yellow ball whenever [=NiGHTS=] gets close, forcing [=NiGHTS=] to act quickly before it can fully transform.
*** Girania is a monstrous fish that can swim inside the ground. It must be pushed on the forehead when it leaps up in an attempt to swallow [=NiGHTS=], which transforms it into a cloud of colorful spheres. [=NiGHTS=] must then use the Paraloop to suck in the spheres via the vacuum created through this attack. Girania wll eventually re-form itself, though the number of spheres left is directly proportional to its size. A sufficiently small Girania will be defeated through a Paraloop.
*** Bomamba is a witch with a lot of black cats. She creates a triangular platform with holes that [=NiGHTS=] can't reach but can tilt by pushing or pulling on one of its knobs. In order to defeat Bomamba, all of the black cats must fall into the holes in the triangular platform. This causes the platform to vanish and Bomamba to fall into her cauldron below. In the rematch, Bomamba creates a second and harder platform after the first one disappears, along with a second wave of cats.
*** Queen Bella is a giant spider dressed in gothic lolita who crawls above [=NiGHTS=]'s reach. She goes above [=NiGHTS=] and drops balls of silk. [=NiGHTS=] needs to grab this ball and throw it at the platforms around the arena. A silk ball destroys any chunk of platform it hits and will bounce, potentially destroying more platforms like a wraparound ''Breakout''. Queen Bella is defeated when she has no platforms left to stand on and falls into the lava below.
*** Even Reala, [=NiGHTS=]'s rival, isn't defeated traditionally. In both fights, the arena is filled with balls the size of Donbalon. The only way for [=NiGHTS=] to damage Reala, and Reala to [=NiGHTS=], is to launch one of these balls by throwing them and then hit the other Nightmaren.
*** Wizeman is the final boss of the game. He assumes three forms. One is set underwater and automatically changes [=NiGHTS=] into the Dolphin persona. [=NiGHTS=] needs to dodge the whirlpools and get to Wizeman to damage him. Another phase involves an asteroid field. Here, Wizeman is very far away and can only be reached in time if [=NiGHTS=] changes into the Rocket persona. The third phase involves fireballs and strong winds, where [=NiGHTS=] must use the Dragon persona, who's immune to wind effects. In each instance, pushing [=NiGHTS=] against Wizeman and dashing in an attempt to ram him isn't enough. [[spoiler:Both Will and Helen, the two kids assuming the form and powers of [=NiGHTS=], must ram into Wizeman at the same time to damage him.]]
* The first boss battle in ''Comicbook/{{X-Men}}: Wolverine's Revenge'' was against a mutant who healed faster than you could kill him using normal attacks (and if you did get his LifeMeter down to near zero, [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard the computer would cheat]] to buy him healing time); you had to throw him against a fuel tank at one end of the room, which on the third iteration would explode, stunning him and letting you finish him off.
* Almost all of the bosses in ''LegacyOfKain: Soul Reaver'' were some form of Puzzle Boss. Rahab, for example, could be beaten if the player shattered the windows of the chamber and let sunlight in to fry him.
** In the case of Rahab, the game almost outright tells you to do this -- if you bother to pay close enough attention to what the Elder God says when you come across the Drowned Abbey area, and a clue somewhere in either the game's voiceovers or manual, that of all the Brothers, Rahab is the most vulnerable to sunlight.
* The same is true for Blood Omen 2, but with a twist. The vampire bosses in that game alternate between puzzle and muscle stages. For example, in the first boss's first stage, he has to be fought, and the second stage, he has to be tricked. All the while, you're lowering his HP until he is defeated.
* Just about every boss in the ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' series is this, starting with the Hydra, which you defeat by pinning the smaller heads to the deck before impaling the main head on a ship mast. Another is a giant Minotaur that is defeated by stunning it with ActionCommands before using a cannon that fires flaming logs to break his armor. They show up frequently in the sequel as well, the greatest example of which involves trapping two of the fates in between dimensions by hurling them into a mirror and then shattering it, as well as pinning down Clotho's hands before using a pendulum to stab her in the head. There is also the Colossus of Rhodes, who is only defeated via draining Kratos' godly energy that had been transferred into it. The final bosses of each game, Ares and Zeus, are fairly straightforward fights, as are Theseus, the Barbarian King and Eurayle in the second game.
* In inverse, one boss battle in ''PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheLegendOfJackSparrow'' requires that the players set fire to a ship's mast to cover their escape. Rather than using the arena to kill the boss, the players must use the boss to destroy the arena: The mast is protected by an indestructible (by them) steel plate, which the players can remove only by provoking the ship's captain into using his ultimate attack while nearby.
* By now, one in fact has to wonder if Mario would even be able to beat Bowser were it not for Bowser's tendency to choose [[BossArenaIdiocy terrible arenas]] or [[TacticalSuicideBoss attack patterns]]. Consider:
** In the original ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros'', there are two ways to beat Bowser. If you have the Fire Flower, you can just throw fireballs at him until he dies; if you don't, you have to get past him (either jumping over him or running under him) and touch an axe sitting just behind him, which will cause the bridge he's standing on to withdraw and dump him in the LavaPit.
** Defeating Bowser in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' requires that Mario simply stay alive as Bowser smashes the arena, until he's destroyed enough of it that he falls through the floor to his demise (though the traditional strategy of hitting him with enough fireballs/hammers still works).
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'', Bowser lost to you throwing his own Mechakoopas at him.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' had you throw Bowser into bombs lining the arena. The bombs serve no purpose other than to hurt him, since he can't (or won't) throw you into the bombs himself, and you frankly have to be suicidal to run into them.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'' had you use FLUDD'S rocket pack to do ground pounds until the point that the hot tub Bowser is sitting in breaks apart. [[ItMakesSenseInContext Yes, really]].
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'', perhaps in a throwback to Mario Bros. 3, had you defeat Bowser by having him smash into structural weak points on the artificial planetoid you're fighting on. This set his tail on fire and caused him to run away from you; you had to run the other way to intercept him, then spin into him before he could turn around to knock him on his back and set him spinning around the planetoid. Spinning into him again would deal damage.
*** Ditto the final "Story Minigame" of ''VideoGame/MarioParty 5''. Yes, ''really''. And then after that stage, the [[SequentialBoss final stage]] had one of his attacks hitting the residue from another of his attacks to create something that could actually be used against him.
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'', you have to use your Ground Pound to launch meteors into Bowser. The catch is that Bowser himself summons the meteors, and they can't be launched into him until he punches the planetoid and knocks them back into the air.
** Even in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'', where almost all other bosses and enemies are battled in traditional turn-based RPG style, Bowser is defeated by attacking a chain and dropping the chandelier he's standing on.
** And in a separate Mario example, in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', you faced the Iron Adonis Twins - two Clefts made out of a metal that's literally impervious to all but an equally hard substance. You beat them by getting a Yoshi to spit one at the other until they're both KO'd.
** A rather frustrating one was the Shroob-omb Battle in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time]]'', where the order you defeat the Support Shroobs is vital to winning, but with no indication of such, it became a real GuideDangIt moment.
*** Another Partners In Time example: Sunnycide has (probably) the highest defense yet in the game, until you free the Yoshis to make them push a boulder and knock him over.
*** And the Swiggler from the Vim Factory. If you didn't get rid of the mushrooms that the doctor shroobs had, they would feel them to the swiggler and fully heal him. Unless they were grey mushrooms, in which case they made it ill.
** Most Mario hacks generally stick to the regular bosses. But the main feature of BrutalMario is facing off against bosses from a host of different games, many of them {{Puzzle Boss}}es.
** ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]]'' has three bosses which generally follow this. The first is Alpha Kretin, who you have to defeat by turning all the segments of him blue (and they can only be attacked by the brother whose colour matches said segment) and then defeating in his next form. Dark Star is invincible, but has its defense lowered after you damage its two flunkies and then hammer them back at it. Dark Bowser/Fawful Bug requires you to hurt Dark Bowser (1000 HP), then hit his stomach when he becomes giant, then eat the Dark Fawful Bug/Star Core, then as Mario and Luigi kill the legs and glasses, then attack the core of that. Oh, and you get to finish off Dark Bowser with five more massive punches to the face after all this.
** The [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi Mario & Luigi]] series in general has quite a few Puzzle Bosses. The FinalBoss of each game tends to have CognizantLimbs which need to be attacked in a certain order.
*** Heck, even the rank-and-file Mooks have puzzle elements to them. Sure, you could just attack them, and they attack you back. But almost every enemy attack can be blocked or dodged in some way, many even letting you counterattack!
* Most bosses in platformers like ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' or ''KameoElementsOfPower'' require you to send an opponent's attack back at him, launch part of the environment at him, or do something else to weaken him before you can actually launch a physical attack.
** Ripper Roo in the first two ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' games, for example, is defeated by simply dodging his TNT/Nitro crates (tiles in the second game) and waiting until he hurts himself.
** Tiny Tiger from ''Videogame/CrashBandicoot2CortexStrikesBack'' is completely invulnerable and chases the player over nine floating platforms. Eventually several of those platforms turn red, and will drop after a few seconds. You have to make it so he's on the red one when he drops, or so he tries to jump a gap too big for him.
** Cortex from [[Videogame/CrashBandicoot1996 the first Crash]] is an example of a GuideDangIt puzzle boss. To clarify, he spends the battle shooting three different-colored laser shots at you: pink, green, and blue. You have to work out that you have to spin the green shots back at him. Other than the different color, there's absolutely nothing to clue you in that you're supposed to do something with those shots, and even then, because the rule throughout the rest of the game has been that laser shots will kill you, most players would never think to [[ViolationOfCommonSense spin into them]]. Unless you've seen this boss beaten before, there's almost no way you'll ever figure out how to beat this boss aside from sheer luck or consulting a guide.
* Some bosses need to be tricked into eliminating their own defenses with their own attacks, either by reflecting them or with DeadlyDodging.
** The Reactor of the Halberd in ''{{Kirby}} Super Star'' can only be damaged with its own "reflector lasers".
** As mentioned earlier, ''[[SonicTheHedgehog Sonic & Knuckles]]'' used this extensively.
** A similar tactic will defeat Barbos from ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry 3: Dixie's Double Trouble'' -- protected by two invincible spiny shields, the player must trick homing torpedos into hitting the shields.
* Quite a few bosses in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series require odd strategies and unique weapon usages to defeat them. Often, the boss's defenses have to be weakened with a secondary weapon or tool, usually the one you just got in the dungeon, before more conventional attacks can be used to deal actual damage (as with the Helmasaur King from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast''; King Dodongo and Morpha from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''; the King of Ikana Castle in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', and Gohma from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker''). Other bosses (Agahnim, Twinrova, Phantom Ganon, Ganondorf himself in some incarnations) have to have their attacks reflected before they can be damaged, sometimes resulting in PlayingTennisWithTheBoss before the blast hits. The version of Ganondorf from ''Wind Waker'' can only be defeated by having the computer-controlled Zelda bounce Light Arrows off your Mirror Shield and then ''immediately'' attacking with the sword. Smog, from Crown Dungeon in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames Oracle of Ages]]'', is the most blatant example, involving a classic puzzle-like interface followed by a brief encounter with the real boss who is less capable of defending himself than normal foes.
** And there's Fraaz, from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'', who at first can be harmed using the fire and ice torches in his arena. Halfway through the battle, he [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy destroys both of them]], but starts using a new attack that [[IdiotBall works just as well.]]
** The stone golem boss of the eighth dungeon in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleOfAges'' is this in spades. He has four forms, each of which has no obvious weak point and must be defeated via clever use of an item - a different item for each form. Fortunately, astute players may notice that the four obstacles blocking the door to his room are overcome with these same four items...
* In ''VideoGame/NoOneLivesForever'', defeating an otherwise invulnerable Inge Wagner requires the player to repeatedly electrify a pool of water and lure her across it (taking advantage of the moments when Wagner would burst into her much-dreaded singing, which temporarily disabled the otherwise endlessly spawning goons in the level, was an available if not crucial option in accomplishing the first part of this maneuver).
* The original ''VideoGame/TombRaider'' had an alien boss which copied Lara's movements. Shooting at it caused Lara's health to go down as well, resulting in a simultaneous death. The only way to defeat it was to position Lara so that the alien, on their side of the room, walked into a pit. The recent "Anniversary" remake once again features the same boss, with the added complications of having to "cooperate" with the Doppelgänger in order to seal its fate.
** ''CrashBandicoot2NTranced'' for the GBA has a similiar, if not identical boss to said ''Tomb Raider'' foe in Fake Crash.
*** And so does ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia1'' with a battle against a ghostly copy of the Prince, which was earlier created by a magic mirror. It would mimic your actions, so attacking would cause it to strike you as well -- additionally, there was a red herring 'pit trap' nearby; luring the boss into it caused you to die as well. The only solution was to SheatheYourSword, with the copy doing the same.
** In fact, most ''Tomb Raider'' bosses are Puzzle Bosses. Examples: The Dragon of Xian in [=TR2=], where you must put the dragon to sleep, then remove the dagger, causing him to revert to human form. Sophia in [=TR3=], who is ImmuneToBullets, and you must electrocute her by shooting the fuse box (GuideDangIt?). Dr. Willard's OneWingedAngel spider form in the same game, which can only be temporarily stunned, until you have all the meteor fragments. The ghost and statue boss in ''Angel Of Darkness''. Finally, the first battle with the "[[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere unknown entity]]" in ''Legend'', which involves a lot of switches, electrical orbs, and a Tesla gun.
** Pretty much all the bosses in ''Tomb Raider: Anniversary'' are puzzle bosses. An example is when you are fighting two centaurs that can turn you to stone. You must use a shield to reflect their spell and turn themselves into stone, then use the opportunity to attack them.
* Most ActionAdventure games tend to feature bosses like this. ''{{Okami}}'' had a spider boss which could only be harmed after tying its back to three floating hooks, a flaming skeletal monster that could only be damaged after the fires were put out, a a kitsune that could only be injured by using lightning strikes against it, and a dragon that you had to get drunk. ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' likewise had a boss that can only be damaged by tossing explosive barrels at him.
* For that matter, Andross's first form in ''VideoGame/StarFox 64'' could be damaged without any tricky techniques, but would almost certainly win a war of attrition if the player merely aims for his weak spot and keeps firing. Either using Nova Bombs to counter his auto-hit inhaling attack or smacking his eyes would slow his rate of attack, and as a result one of the above tactics is nearly necessary.
** The "auto-hit" attack could be dodged by holding R, steering all the way to the right, and spamming the brakes (which, for some reason, apply a backward force on the Arwing even if it's supposedly not moving forward).
** While not technically necessary, Mechbeth certainly qualifies. You can face him straight up in [[ThatOneBoss probably the toughest boss battle in the entire game]], while {{Mooks}} occasionally appear to harass your wingmen (which, unlike in most boss fights, actually ''do'' increase your score a little, but not enough to be worthwhile)... or you can shoot the eight switches to unlock the switcher box, then shoot that twice to open it up and switch the track, sending the entire train [[StuffBlowingUp careening into the weapons factory]] and getting you a total of 51 points. Yeah, exactly.
** ''Command'' has no less than 3 puzzle bosses. One has to be hit on the upper half to change its course into the lava, one hides in pots, and the last one is quite literally a puzzle (you need to shoot its 4 parts to match in the right color; matching another color results in attacks.)
** The [[VideoGame/StarFox1 original]] had one in the alternate final boss, [[spoiler:the Slot Machine. You need to get Triple Sevens. Unlike most Puzzle Bosses, [[GoddamnedBoss knowing the boss's weakness does not really speed up the process.]]]]
* Many ''Franchise/MetalGear'' bosses need a special strategy to defeat.
** Psycho Mantis in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' will dodge most bullets and melee attacks if fought normally, but switching controller ports or blowing away reflective items first makes him a bit easier to hit. Thankfully, players will get a hint about this one after long enough.
** [[spoiler:Vamp]] in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' continually regenerates from "death." [[spoiler:If you remember where his HealingFactor comes from, you should realize you have a [[ChekhovsGun certain item]] that can nullify it.]] He starts boasting after a while, giving you a hint.
** Screaming Mantis inherits many of Psycho Mantis's tricks. [[spoiler:And the counters to them are different this time around.]]
** The Sorrow, also from ''Snake Eater''. The key to beating him is [[spoiler:the revive pill from Snake's inventory. Once Snake dies from the Fake Death Pill (assuming you kept it instead of using it like the ketchup packet to draw the guard in), making it to The Sorrow, being overwhelmed by the ghosts, or drowning, you can open your side inventory to find its still accessible for some reason. Welp, we have an unremovable Revival Pill...]]
*** [[spoiler:GuideDangIt since the revival pill is stated to be an antidote to the fake death pill, not a catch-all way of coming back from the dead.]]
* Every boss in ''VoodooVince'' is a variant puzzle boss, requiring you to find an environmental hazard to hit Vince with. As a magically animated Voodoo doll, he's immune to non-magical harm, and will redirect it at the boss.
* A number of bosses in the DarkForcesSaga are this, notably the PsychoSerum-infused Rancor in ''Jedi Academy''.
* ''[[LegoAdaptationGame Lego Star Wars II]]'' does this with the Rancor. Also done to an extent somewhat against Darth Vader in the first Cloud City level; the second time you face him, you have to use the gas vents in the carbon-freezing room to stun him before you can attack.
** Not just Star Wars, but other Lego games as well, most notably Lego Batman. Almost every boss is a Puzzle Boss!
*** Clayface in "You can Bank on Batman" has you blasting objects in the area with bombs to damage him, and for the final hit you must use a batarang to hit the little targets above him to hit Clayface with toxic gas.
*** "Two-Face Chase" has you using the Batmobile to first shoot Two-Face's armored van to disable it, then tow the boss over to a spotlight to hurt him.
*** "A Poisonous Appointment" has Poison Ivy, who rides in a giant plant. To get her out, you must wait for the plants to spit up Lego pieces, and use said pieces to build a bomb to blow up the plants. After that, you will be able to hurt Poison Ivy successfully.
*** Man-Bat in "Zoo's Company" follows this to a T. After you beat him up a bit, you must construct a giant record player and play it to overload his hearing and bring him back down to earth, conveniently within melee range.
*** Penguin and Catwoman attack in tag-team style at the end of "Penguin's Lair." You have to construct a paddle to redirect his bombs to his machine, disabling it so you can hit it with batarangs and shock him.
*** Mad Hatter in "The Joker's Turf" is another obvious example; at one point you must hit switches to drop him into the toxic waste in the room, and at another, you must switch partners when he mesmerizes you to attack him.
**** The Emperor had a similar trick in the Star Wars games -- he'd always zap the player with Force Lightning, so you'd need to switch to the other guy and strike while he's distracted.
*** "Flight of the Bat" features a battle against The Scarecrow, whom tails you constantly. You must snag him with the Batcopter's tow cable before switching to the Batwing and blasting it with a torpedo.
*** Killer Moth in "In the Dark Night" suffers the same glaring weakness as Man-Bat -- only instead of a record player, you have a giant light bulb that you can turn on by building the generators in the room.
*** The Joker and Harley Quinn in "To the Top of the Tower" hide inside bells in the room, and can only be knocked free by ringing them. After you take down his Helicopter, you face him in melee, and like Mad Hatter, he forces you to switch characters when attacking because of his electrical joy buzzer.
*** Commissioner Gordon in "A Surprise for the Commissioner" is a painfully obvious one -- after you hurt him, he retreats and sends a police truck after you. You have to use the crane nearby to pick an exploding teddy bear (really) and drop it on the truck to get the boss to reappear.
* All bosses in ''VideoGame/NightmareCreatures'' are puzzle bosses. One needs to have a ceiling dropped onto it before it becomes vulnerable. Another one is unreachable, and must be killed by setting off ExplodingBarrels found in the stage. The final boss cannot be damaged, only stunned, and must be killed by decapitation while he's stunned.
* The final boss of ''SeriousSam: The First Encounter'' was a combination normal boss and puzzle boss. Ugh-Zan III had a lifebar, and he could be damaged normally -- until he was in the red, at which point he regenerated progressively faster the more damaged he was, making conventional weapons useless. The player has to bring his health down and keep it there while activating a large laser on a spaceship above, which does enough damage to kill Ugh-Zan before he can regenerate.
** Ugh-Zan IV from ''Serious Sam 3'' is also a puzzle boss. He has regeneration much like the previous Ugh-Zan, which really kicks in if the player manages to knock him down past half his health. The trick is [[spoiler:shoving metal poles into his back every time he loses interest in you and fights the sand whale instead. This attracts lightning to him, which does heavy damage and disables his regeneration for a short time.]]
* The final puzzle of ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'' is disguised as a regular old boss battle against [[spoiler:a giant stone [=LeChuck=]]] in the rock-paper-scissors-esque fighting minigame "Monkey Kombat." The player initially assumes that this fight has to be won in the same fashion as other Monkey Kombat games, but since both combatants regenerate health automatically, victory ''and'' defeat are both impossible. The one way to end it is to [[spoiler:irritate the enemy into slapping his own head by drawing three times in a row, crushing Ozzie Mandrill, who happens to be riding atop [=LeChuck=] and controlling him with the [[ArtifactOfDoom Ultimate Insult]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManX 6'', Gate can only be harmed by the fragments of his own energy spheres; you must destroy them at the appropriate time so that he is hit. As a side note, the fragments also destroy some of your platforms and there is a bottomless pit (instant death) at the bottom of the room (luckily your character can climb the walls). It's a bit difficult, [[spoiler:and makes the requisite battle against a weak and deranged [[HijackedByGanon Sigma]] afterwards rather anticlimactic.]] A charged Yanmar Option allows X to stay off to one side and let the bugs kill the balls of death for him, so it's mostly down to holding out against the stream of attacks.
* The Crocomire boss from ''Super {{Metroid}}'' forces you to keep shooting at its mouth when it's open in order to force it back onto some crumbling blocks and send it falling into the lava. Particularly nefarious because there's no boss life meter, so it's hard to tell you're not really doing any damage, and because Crocomire keeps advancing towards you, essentially healing itself.
** Apparently, with some creative jumping, you can actually end up ''behind'' Crocomire, causing it to back itself up all the way to its death.
** Inversely, don't use Power Bombs against Crocomire. Crocomire [[BerserkButton does not like Power Bombs.]]
** From the same game, Draygon is easily beaten by breaking one of the weapon turrets, letting Draygon grab you, and then shooting your grappling beam into the broken turret. There's a massive electrical discharge that hurts you, but fries Draygon a lot quicker.
* Several boss monsters in the computer action RPG ''DungeonSiege 2'' and especially in ''Dungeon Siege 2: Shattered World'', including the final mega-boss.
* Both bosses in the original ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'' are Puzzle Bosses. Chthon, the big lava monster you fight at the end of the first episode, is only killable by lowering two big pillars level with Chthon's head and then hitting the button that triggers the lightning. In easy modes, only one blast is necessary to kill him, but on the hard modes, you need three of them. The final battle with Shub-Niggurath is particularly anti-climactic. There's a little pod thing that goes around the chamber [[MookMaker dropping off monsters for you to kill]] and at one point passes through Shub's sluglike body. Entering the transporter at that point warps you into her body and telefrags her.
** It used to be possible to kill Shub-Niggurath with conventional weapons, but this has been patched.
** The final boss in the expansion pack ''Shrak''.
** ''VideoGame/QuakeIV'' has the [[spoiler:Stroylent creature]] that is immune to normal weapons. The way to defeat it is to [[spoiler:run across its chamber, using the pillars as cover from its claw attacks. Pressing the button at the far end of the chamber causes a chemical spray to irritate the creature so that it breaks a window and opens the way to a control room. Using the "feed" button in the control room causes the creature's stomach to rupture, killing it. The released gastric juices burn a hole in the floor -- guess where you're headed next?]]
* The Crest Guardians in ''BraveFencerMusashi'' seem to be specifically designed to be beaten by the [[ElementalPowers elemental crest]] they guard: a fire monster guards the water crest, an ice monster guards the fire crest, etc. Apart from them, the FinalBoss can only be defeated through a strategy that is rather [[GuideDangIt annoying]] to figure out: while it is floating around between attacks, the player must [[spoiler:throw the Fusion sword at it and "Assimilate" it, temporarily shrinking it into a small, attackable orb.]] Consider that its vulnerable period lasts for about a second or less, [[spoiler:Assimilate has a charge time]], and you'd probably never think to do it because [[spoiler:assimilating an enemy usually kills it instantly, and like any UselessUsefulSpell, would be expected not to work on bosses. Which, apart from this one battle, it doesn't.]]
* Exactly one main boss from each game in the ''Franchise/SlyCooper'' series: Muggshot in [[VideoGame/SlyCooperAndThethieviusRaccoonus the first]], Jean Bison in [[VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves the second]], and Octavio in [[VideoGame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves the third]]. Muggshot is defeated with a strange setup involving mirrors and crystals which causes his guns to explode, Jean Bison must be lured into the inner workings of a logging plant, and Octavio is defeated by trapping him in tar, then [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer punching him really hard.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', attacking Ozzie directly results in a counterattack against your entire party. To defeat him, the player must attack various switch mechanisms around the room until the last one opens a pit from under him.
** The next time you meet him, he subverts this by having the pit open up under your party instead, dropping you back a couple of rooms. Once you get back to him, he becomes an AnticlimaxBoss -- a kitten walks up and hits the proper switch, opening the pit under him.
** Nizbel and Nizbel II have obscenely high defense until they are hit by Lightning-based attacks.
*** [[ForMassiveDamage Same thing]] works on all dinos. What makes Nizbel special is that he will surprise you by "discharing electric energy" and zapping your entire team to get rid of the "shocked" status. So the real trick of the battle comes down to A: shocking him, and B: keeping the party prepared for his retaliatory shock.
*** Even a fair number of regular enemies get this treatment. Once you get magic, about half the enemies in the game will be heavily resistant to physical attacks, magic in general, or magic apart from one element.
*** A similar tactic is required when fighting the optional boss Rentinite. Only this time, it's water based attacks. Any other damage to it raises its defenses to nigh invulnerability.
** Heck, Lavos itself could be considered one by some standards. [[spoiler:The giant flipper-monster that made a dramatic entrance before the battle? Yeah, that's not Lavos's true form. Kill the center guy to drop the defenses on the two bits, then aim for the Right Bit.]]
** There's also the optional boss Son of Sun, which consists of one large orb surrounded by five small ones. The main body is immune to any damage it doesn't absorb and counterattacks with powerful magic if attacked. The way to hurt it is to attack the correct small orb, [[TrialAndErrorGameplay which is indistinguishable from the others. Attacking the wrong one gets you a counterattack as well, and they get shuffled around repeatedly.]] The greatest key to the Sun of Sun battle is to NEVER use area attacks. If you do, ALL of the fire orbs AND the main body use their counterattack.
* [[VideoGame/ChronoCross The sequel's]] final boss could be defeated by force; [[spoiler:however, this results in a [[BadEnd bad ending.]] Only by using spells of the six different elements in a specific order, ''then'' using a seventh, special element, could the boss be truly defeated. This proves to be quite difficult, because the boss's spells mess with the order, so you have to either hope that the boss uses elements that complement the sequence, or have characters fast enough to complete the sequence without being interrupted.]]
** ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' also features the BonusBoss Criosphinx. To defeat him, you have to respond to his riddles with an Element of the proper color. [[spoiler:The order of the colors to answer his riddles is the same order that is needed to activate the Chrono Cross to defeat the last boss. Of course, the game never directly tells you this, so it is still a massive GuideDangIt.]] You can defeat him with brute force, but it's not easy.
*** But it should be noted that simply casting the right spells isn't enough. You have to cause enough damage to kill him while playing his game. Otherwise, he runs at the end of the puzzle. If you cast the wrong spell, however, he will proceed to nuke you with high level earth spells until you are dead, which will happen VERY fast if you don't have the earth absorbing armor on.
* ''In {{Kirby}} and the Amazing Mirror'', the fifth boss can only be harmed by 2 abilities... and pushing him into the walls of his arena.
** A miniboss in ''Kirby Super Star'' can be harmed normally, but is invisible most of the time... unless Kirby inhales one of his attacks to gain the Paint power, which not only damages the boss, but also makes him visible for a while.
* With the exceptions of Necrogiant, the bosses in ''{{Painkiller}}'' fall into this category. Detonating bubbles is needed to make Swamp Thing vulnerable, as is destroying Guardian's hammer. Alastor's statues can heal him and make him invincible -- and can't be dealt with unless they're doing so. Then there's your [[PlayingTennisWithTheBoss tennis date]] with Lucifer. In the expansion pack ''Battle Out Of Hell'', all the bosses are of this category. For better or worse, in the follow-up ''Overdose'', only the first of the three bosses was of this type.
* None of the Marine's weapons are effective against the Xenomorph Queen in ''AliensVsPredator''. Instead, you must avoid her attacks while triggering the mechanism that will open the bay doors to Space, then make it to a small room and close the door before the bay door opens so that you don't get sucked out into Space along with the Queen.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManAndBass'', it at first seems like Burner Man can't be damaged much by any weapon, including his weakness, the Ice Wall. However, if you push the Ice Wall ''into'' him, you'll notice that he'll be pushed by the Wall along the ground... and if he ends up being pushed into one of the spiked pits on either side of the arena by it, he's dealt massive damage.
** There's also the first castle boss, whose weak spot is revealed when you stand on the platform.
* Film example in ''TheIncredibles'': in both fights against the Omnidroid, which can't be damaged by anything (except, Mr. Incredible realizes, itself). The first time, Mr. Incredible climbs inside the Omnidroid, and in its attempts to reach him, the robot punctures itself several times until it hits its power core and deactivates. In the rematch, the Incredibles are able to claim the Omnidroid's remote control, using it to launch a detached claw through the power core.
* A lot of the bosses in ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying'' are pretty much invincible until they run out of juice. Lizbeth goes invincible with her LimitBreak, and you have to wait for her to tucker out before you can take her head off. Ambrose gets all [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever gigantimous]], and you have to wait until he's distracted so that you can [[ForMassiveDamage hit his weak point for massive damage]]. Aaron is invulnerable until one of his spears gets stuck, at which point you rush in and finish him off.
* The penultimate boss of ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' is six attack droids that continue to respawn until the player can destroy/reprogram the machines spawning them.
** And the FinalBoss uses conveniently placed prisoner Republic officers whom the boss can full-heal from, 8 times -- but you can do it too, if you have the Drain Life power. Even if you can't, you can still kill the prisoners by more conventional means. You more or less have to do one of these things, because you're very unlikely to win a battle of attrition against the guy otherwise. It's possible, but not likely.
** The game also had a Rancor monster as an early boss in the sewers of Taris. It is almost impossible to kill conventionally, but it is possible to trick it into eating a grenade and blowing up from the inside. Or you can run your entire party to the other door and shoot the beast to death from a hallway which it can't get into.
* Shadow, one of the supervillains in ''FreedomForce'', will keep regenerating, even if she is killed. The only way to defeat her is by destroying the pillars in her subterranean lair, thus collapsing the ceiling and exposing her to sunlight.
* The Grinning Colossus in the freeware game ''VideoGame/YouHaveToBurnTheRope'' can only be defeated by burning the rope. Of course, this is the entire point of the game.
* The ''MetroidPrime'' series has a lot of bosses of the "reveal the weak point" variety, but ''Echoes'' has a few bosses that fall even more decisively under the PuzzleBoss heading. The Spider Guardian and Power Guardian both require you to simply navigate a morph ball course. [[spoiler:Also, Dark Samus becomes invincible to conventional attacks in her last phase. You can only damage her by using the Charge Beam to absorb the Phazon energy she launches in a particular attack and launch it back at her.]]
** ''MetroidPrime: Hunters''' final boss can only be beaten for real by [[spoiler:using all the weapons you've collected to shoot the orb-lights around the room in a particular order, causing it to [[SequentialBoss enter a second, more desperate form]]]]. Fighting the boss conventionally gets you a [[MultipleEndings bad ending]].
* Giygas, the final boss from ''VideoGame/{{Earthbound}}'' (''Mother 2''), ends as a Puzzle Boss. His initial form must be attacked and weakened like any other boss, but to ultimately defeat him, you must [[spoiler:repeatedly use the previously nigh-useless Pray command.]]
* Similarly, in ''VideoGame/{{Mother 1}}'', the final boss can only be defeated by using [[spoiler:the now-existent Sing command]].
* And in ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'', you can only defeat the final boss (the Masked Man [[spoiler:aka Claus]]) by [[spoiler:not attacking him]]. A lot. At first [[spoiler:Lucas just can't attack, due to a sort of AngstySurvivingTwin thing]], but after that, [[spoiler:if you do attack, Hinawa's ghost explicitly says "Lucas, you stop fighting first."]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' also has the Pig King Statue, a ludicrously powerful BonusBoss who also has an HP count of ''99,999,999'' (that's one HP short of ''one-hundred million'', folks!) in a game where dealing 200 damage with a physical attack is doing really well for yourself. With the brute-force option out of the question[[note]][[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything Even if you did manage to do enough damage with brute force to deplete a lot of his HP, the game would crash, as if deliberately, to prevent you from using brute force to win the fight]][[/note]], there's only two ways to really hurt the thing: [[spoiler:Hit it with a New Year's Eve bomb, which brings its HPToOne, and then hit it once, or attack it with PK Flash a few times, and watch as the attack causes instant death. The Statue is the only boss in the entire game vulnerable to those moves.]]
* Quite some Bosses (and even a couple of common enemies) from the ''FinalFantasy'' series are puzzle bosses.
** A common enemy reappearing in various games is the [[FairyBattle magical pot]]. It talks and tells you to give him an elixir. Otherwise, it will either be simply undefeatable or it will knock you out in no time, if you try just to kill him. (Though, because he tells you how to beat him, you may argue how much of a puzzle it is.) In X, you can grab items from it by striking the correct eye (which is randomized), and in XII, you might very well not realize it's there in the dark levels until you piss it off and it sends a Flare (or something even stronger) at you -- which isn't helped by all the undead.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' there are two enemies, which are either hard or undefeatable. Garuda can be defeated almost only by Dragoons -- though there are hints by townspeople before fighting him. The final boss, [[spoiler:Cloud of Darkness]], can only be harmed after defeating her four guardians.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' features several, most notably Asura and Bahamut. Both are very hard -- Asura because she keeps healing herself, and Bahamut because his attacks are very powerful. However, both can be easily defeated by casting Wall on them, thus causing their moves to reflect onto the opposite side... At least, that's how it used to be. In the [[VideoGameRemake DS version]], while Reflect is still required for Asura, Bahamut's Megaflare will ignore Reflect and leave you in a world of hurt, meaning that your entire strategy is going to need an overhaul. Because of this, the book describing him in the Eidolon's Library is changed to match, this time suggesting that no warrior could defeat him, except possibly one capable of "rising to the heavens to deliver the finishing blow". Hey! Guess who one of the final party members is?
*** Don't forget [[spoiler:Dark Knight Cecil]], who is most easily defeated by [[SheatheYourSword not attacking]].
*** Calcobrena takes the form of six dolls, two sets of three. Defeat all of one set, and the dolls will combine into a giant, monstrous, and quite powerful enemy for a while, then turn back into the six dolls. If you don't feel like trying to wear down the big Calcobrena, you have to take out the last Cal and the last Brena in a fairly short interval without giving them a chance to become Calcobrena.
**** It doesn't help that when you have one or the other down to one, they love to use Self-Destruct to suicide on you and give the others an excuse to turn into Calcobrena.
*** In the DS remake, Golbez is kind of like a Puzzle Boss. He puts up a barrier that absorbs every element (even Rydia's Summons) except for one of them; you have to make one character use Libra on him to find out which one he won't absorb. Doesn't help that he changes the barrier every few turns.
*** There is also Dr. Lugae who, in the DS version, releases Reversal Gas at random intervals. Reversal gas causes healing items to hurt and anything which causes damage to heal. A second application returns things to normal. A quick way to beat him involves [[spoiler:2 Elixirs when under Reversal Gas]]. Otherwise, it is a very hard fight.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' features a couple of puzzle enemies that can only be attacked in a certain state or such. Most notably is Gogo the mimic, who responds to regular attacks and spells with a powerful counterattack and the Flare spell, respectively. The solution is to simply wait, and he will eventually ''congratulate you for mimicking his doing nothing'' and surrender. Because he is at the end of a bonus dungeon with an instant-death time limit, the player is expected to be frantically throwing attacks at him in order to beat him and escape. Sitting around doing nothing with a clearly visible countdown timer is very counter-intuitive to most players.
*** FFV also has Omega, a notorious ThatOneBoss who'll wipe the walls with you no matter what level you're at, UNLESS you know [[GuideDangIt the trick to beating him]], which makes him almost pathetically easy.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has some enemies that can be killed by draining all of their MP, like the Atma Weapon, energy given form with a ridiculously large amount of HP.
*** This is a good strategy for beating the BonusBoss at the top of the Fanatics' Tower if you do not have Life 3, due to the boss using Ultima when he is low on HP, usually killing your party. This strategy takes absolutely FOREVER though, and should be combined with Berserk to make sure he doesn't attack much.
*** One bonus boss [[spoiler:-- namely, the Skull Dragon in the Dragon's Den --]] ''must'' be defeated this way, or else he just regenerates.
*** A lot of the dragon's den bosses are puzzle bosses. The Red Dragon can't be killed, only survived against until he burns out all his life. Storm Dragon becomes nigh-unhittable, so bring characters with abilities that ignore evasion. And so on.
*** The first boss, Whelk, is a puzzle boss. However, not only is the trick easy to figure out, it is flat out given to you: "Right. So whatever you do... don't attack the shell!" Of course, you can ignore this and drain all of the shell's HP (with Fire Beam and Tek Missile; it doesn't absorb these) for an Elixir, but since Whelk will counterattack each blow you make, you need to heal every other turn. It's not worth it though, because you can find Elixirs [[spoiler:in nearly every clock in the game.]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' features many bosses with special attack points or such which must be destroyed first. For example, [[spoiler:the aliens]] on board Ragnarok come in four colors and must be defeated in order of color or they'll regenerate in no time.
*** There is also a pair of optional bosses who can rapidly recover from any attack due to [[ElementalRockPaperScissors the power of earth]]. Casting "Float" on them prevents them from healing themselves. [[note]]Those familiar with classical mythology -- specifically, Hercules's fight with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antaeus Antaeus]] -- should easily figure this out on their own.[[/note]]
** The Seymour fights, particularly Natus and Flux, in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' are basically puzzle bosses because of his set attack pattern -- there are specific counters to all of his attacks. Sure, you could try to strong arm it, but that would require overleveling compared to the nearby monsters.
*** Yunalesca requires the player to keep the "Zombie" [[StandardStatusEffects debuff]] in order to survive her Megadeath attack. However, this prevents you from being able to heal. Deathproof and Zombieproof is a viable, though expensive alternative.
*** Defender-X, the mech encountered at the base of Mount Gagazet. It has an array of very, very powerful attacks that can leave a player who hacks-and-slashes their way through tearing their hair out (especially since its HP is high and it is Armored, meaning it takes very little damage and thus you will have to survive a number of these attacks)... but there's a way to beat it very easily, though it's extremely counterintuitive. Have [[GlassCannon Tidus]] use his Provoke move, which will goad the monster into targeting only him -- sounds incredibly stupid, given Tidus's low general survivability (seriously, why didn't they give that move to Auron instead?), but the catch is that once Provoked, the monster will ''also'' only use the move that deals percentage-based damage. That move is devastating combined with his other attacks, but if it's the only thing he uses, it means that he is actually incapable of killing even one party member, let alone the [[TotalPartyKill total party kills]] he is otherwise quite proficient at, turning the entire fight into a cakewalk.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' features the battles with each character's Eidolon. You're supposed to fill a gauge above the Eidolon's head, then push square to end the battle. Theoretically, you could just keep hitting the thing until the gauge is full. However, these are TimedBattles, and mashing attack just isn't very efficient. Instead, you can use a Librascope item or the Libra technique to learn the Eidolon's weakness, which are generally kind of counterintuitive. For example, when fighting the Shiva sisters, you only have one party member, Snow. Snow can do some damage on his own, but he won't be able to stagger the enemy by himself. You are ''supposed'' to switch to the Sentinel role, which specializes in defense. Blocking the sisters' attacks fills the gauge more efficiently than attacking. Similarly, you're supposed to heal wounds during the Odin fight instead of attacking.
*** The Eidolon battles are intended to teach the characters a lesson. Snow's strategies are of the AttackAttackAttack variety, with little concern for anyone else, and the Shiva sisters are trying to show him that just attacking isn't helping anyone. Lightning was about to abandon Hope, who was slowing her down, and Odin is trying to show her that only by helping others can she continue her journey. It's not always ''obvious'', mind you, but it's an interesting take on GameplayAndStoryIntegration.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII-2'' has most of the DLC bosses, but Snow takes the cake. Go at him normally, and he'll cause a TotalPartyWipe due to getting stronger the longer he goes without being provoked. Either have him jump between two Sentinels or let him ko the Sentinel, revive them, and have it re-aggro Snow.
* Pick a boss in VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}. ''Any'' boss.
** The Den Mother from The ''Milkman Conspiracy'' jumps away when you get close. However, she throws exploding boxes of cookies (seriously), which you can pick up with telekinesis and throw at her. However, she turns out the lights, making the room go dark so you can't see her. What then? [[spoiler:Well, SHE can see in the dark, as she brags. And you happen to have acquired a power in this level that allows you to see through the eyes of those you use it on. Voila! You see yourself through the eyes of the Den Mother, and attack her that way. Also, her eyes glow red in the dark.]]
*** Or, by using the Invisibility power (which is very useful for getting past her sentry), which you probably have by now, you can just prance on up to her and attack. You still need to use the special manuever for the second part.
** The Hulking Lungfish, the game's halfway-point boss, is defeated by [[FeedItABomb making it suck up nails]] in its first half. In its second half, you must trick it into attacking clams with its lure, which clamp down on it and hold it helpless so you can pummel it.
** [[spoiler:Jasper]] in Gloria's Theater floats high up in the sky, and can (again) block your Psi-Blasts. However, he really hates the light. If you can find a way to blind him, you can attack him... [[spoiler:By using Levitation to ride a current of music from the orchestra pit, you can make your way up into the catwalks and use Pyrokinesis to light the candles powering the spotlights, which shine on his face and disorient him. Commence pummeling.]]
** TheButcher is invulnerable all over his huge body, except for his [[AchillesHeel tiny head.]] But his head is too high up to attack with anything, even your Psi-Blasts. [[spoiler:However, when he swings his meat cleavers, they become trapped in the ground, and their broad, flat tops are just wide enough for a nimble acrobat to [[ColossusClimb climb up them, up his arm]], and attack his head. Raz just happens to be an acrobat... In his second form, his cleavers are ''on fire...'' But a nasty juggler in the background is throwing spiked, flaming clubs at you that just so happen to make great ammo.]]
** The prototype Brain Tank is impervious to direct hits and Psi-Blasts, its only weak point being on its underside. And no, you can't get under it, it's much too small and close to the ground. [[spoiler:The trick here is to watch it before it starts its attacks. Sometimes, it'll rear up enough for you to knock it right over with a blast.]]
** Black Velvetopia's boss fights tend to be ''somewhat'' straightforward. No special tricks are required for the first three luchadores, though they make things a load easier. Then you get to the fourth one, who is invincible unless distracted with a confusion grenade. The first part of the BullfightBoss is also fairly simple. DeadlyDodging doesn't even come into play and the only trick to it is that you can only damage the boss by telekinetically hurling the banderillas stuck around the ring at him. [[spoiler:The second half of the fight adds complications when you find yourself having to protect the bull, yank out the spears, use confusion on the ''matador'' to make him think ''he's'' the bull, and commence skewering]].
** The Nightmare minibosses in the Milkman Conspiracy can take attacks in any way but can only be killed by having a [[FeedItABomb bomb thrown into a sort of mouth-thing that yawns open on their mid-bodies]] after they take enough damage.
** The Mega Censor, who is mostly defeated through sheer firepower, must first be weakened by [[spoiler:shutting down the censors' valves]].
** However, the truly final boss is taken down through raw firepower. [[spoiler:[[EleventhHourSuperpower Brand new shiny firepower]] that only works for a little while at a time, but raw firepower nonetheless.]]
* Ditto for ''BrutalLegend'' (also made by Tim Schafer): the initial bosses can only be defeated through application of otherwise optional skills.
** The Giant Worm is killed by evading his smashing attack, so that his tongues become stuck in the ground, then ramming them with the Deuce.
** Mittens is defeated by using the Earth Shaker move to drop coal unto him from above. In the second part of the fight, you must play a battle cry into his headset to save your minions from his minions.
** The Metal Queen has to be stunned with the Shocker to expose her weak spot. Her small spider minions can only be fought off with an Earth Shaker.
** Lyonwhyte and [[spoiler:Drowned Ophelia]], on the other hand, are head-on Stage Battles.
** The final boss, [[spoiler:Doviculus himself]], once again is a puzzle one, who can only be defeated by forcing him into a temporarily invulnerable chained state, then breaking the chains with the Shocker or Pyro and repeating the process until the DECAPITATIIIIOOOOON!
* The entirety of Tecmo's ''{{Deception}}'' series is puzzle bosses, as every enemy must be defeated with a number of available "traps" (environmental hazards). The hero of the first game gets a sword that does pin-prick damage, but it's all puzzles from there.
* Most of the bosses in ''VideoGame/{{Aquaria}}'':
** The Energy Temple boss can't be harmed by you (shooting him will only push him back). You can, however, damage him by shooting the trigger for a special energy beam generator while the boss is over the generator, thus sending a beam of pure energy straight through him. The catch is that the boss wises up to this after the first two times you hit him with the beam, and can't be lured over it again. The solution? Simply [[spoiler:charge up your shot, then trick him into sending his arm out to claw you. The arm then comes lashing out at you, right into the path of the beam. Simply fire, and...]]
** And again later in the game, when you fight Mithala (a beast 15+ times the size of the protagonist!) Your shots won't even push him back this time, and there's nothing that can damage the boss nearby. However, the boss regularly releases mermen that swim at you to attack you. If you [[spoiler:lure the mermen down to a pit at the bottom of the screen, they'll turn into poisonous, bloated mermen that you can drag around. The boss regularly does an attack where he sucks in water with his mouth, dragging you in to try to swallow you. If you place bloated mermen so the boss will swallow them when he next draws in...]]
** Topped once again even later in the game, where you fight two monsters: an unstoppable juggernaut with hammers for hands, and a wraith who hovers around (and comforts) the first monster. The juggernaut is invulnerable to just about anything you throw at him. However, [[spoiler:he occasionally releases a special pink jellyfish from his head. If you eat this jellyfish in Beast Form, you get 1 special orange shot. It won't damage the monster, but it'll knock the wraith temporarily out of commission -- then, your normal Energy Form shot will cause loads of damage.]]
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'', the only boss that this wasn't an option for was Hel. Every other boss had something in their arena that made their fights a heck of a lot easier; for example, the Count [[spoiler:happens to have two skylights in his move path]], Carmilla [[spoiler:takes [[ForMassiveDamage massive damage]] from her own petrification shots]], etc.
* Tigris Cantus in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' is a major and overly elaborate case of this. You even get a phone message beforehand containing a cryptic hint at how to damage her. Initially, Neku can only harm her by knocking Taboo Noise into the [[PaintingTheMedium static at the bottom of his screen]], and keeping obstacles (which harm Beat) and regular Noise (which heal Konishi) off it, while Beat attacks her on the top screen. After being damaged enough, she teleports between both screens and is fair game to both characters, but is invisible in the top screen until right before she teleports. After being damaged further, she steals all of Neku's pins and can only be harmed by Beat, but Neku can help out by stepping into her shadow, causing one of the clones she uses to block Beat to disappear every time he does so; however, he has to keep her from touching his shadow with hers, which harms Neku. Eventually she drops the Rhyme pin and turns almost completely invisible... except you can use Neku's shadow to estimate her position and make her visible by hitting her with the Rhyme pin.
** Vespertilio/Pterupus Canor. In the beginning of the fight, the giant bat noise will be shrouded in darkness, invincible to normal attack. The strategy? Use your partner to trash the gabbabats blocking the lights on the second floor of the stage to illuminate the place. With said lights on, Verpertilio will become vulnerable and eventually stunned, ready for a plummeling.
* Defeating [[spoiler:[=GLaDOS=]]] at the end of ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'' requires you to redirect the missile turret fire with portals to hit her, and then to use the portal gun to shuttle the parts that fly off into a furnace. Then again, this is ''Portal'', so a puzzle boss is expected, if a boss at all.
** ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'''s final boss works similarly, involving redirecting thrown bombs to hit the boss's weak point, then attaching a part to the boss to corrupt it.
* Virtually every boss in ''MSSagaANewDawn'' requires the player to memorize its attack pattern and use one of the game's shield spells to prevent it from using its strongest attacks. Doing so takes many bosses from virtually undefeatable to incredibly easy.
* ''VideoGame/MegaMan2'', in addition to being the best example of the series, has a shining example of a PuzzleBoss. Wily's Castle, level 4. The boss is a number of laser turrets, who can only be hurt by Crash Bombs, protected by walls that can only be broken by Crash Bombs. Yes, you could bullheadedly blast through all the walls surrounding the turrets, but if you do that, you'll run out of Crash Bombs before reaching the last turret and make the fight {{Unwinnable}}. The solution, of course, is to use Item-1 to float up past the big glaring open areas underneath or above the less-shielded turrets, thereby bypassing the shields. If you do it that way, then you'll kill the last turret with your very ''last'' Crash Bomb, so don't screw up.
** In ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'', the first Wily Boss is dangling from the ceiling, far from the reach of any conventional weapon except Astro Crash. Which you only have four/five uses of, and it'll just leave scratch marks on the boss. So what do you do? Use that NotCompletelyUseless weapon, the Mega Ball. If you kick it upwards at the right spots, it'll hit the boss.
* The Giant "Metal Gear" [=DomZ=], the third boss of ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil.'' A giant, bipedal cyborg, its only obvious weakness is too high off the ground to hit, and protected by a metal grate. It flinches if you attack its legs, but it seems otherwise imperturbable. [[spoiler:But what's this you hear? IncomingHam! [[CharacterWitness Double H]] bursts in, and you can instruct him to attack its other leg. When you both attack its legs, it falls, and you can dish out the hurt.]]
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'':
** The Tentacle required you to explore the silo activating fuel lines and turning on the power generator for the rocket motor above the creature's head, and then burn it.
** The first Gargantua had to be lured into a massive electricity generator and electrocuted, while later on in the game, another Gargantua had to be led into an open area where you used a tactical map to call air-strikes on it. Gargantuas are susceptible to explosives damage, so if you are inclined to do so, a full supply of grenades and explosive packs is ''just'' enough to kill each of them. It's kind of a waste, though.
** The final boss was immune to all damage until you destroyed the energy crystals around it, whereupon its head would pop open, allowing you to shoot its exposed brain.
** ''Half-Life: Opposing Force'' has a fight similar to the Tentacle Creature, where you have to activate the drainage system of a huge septic tank to flush the monster away.
* ''VideoGame/{{Prey}}'' had two examples:
** The Centurion takes minimal damage from conventional weapons; the way to defeat it was to hide in a corridor and wait for it to reach in to grab you, then activate the forcefield that will sever its arm as well as the cannon grafted on, allowing you to deal much more damage to the monster using its own weapon.
** The final boss has an impenetrable shield, and the only way to hurt it was to launch mines from conveniently placed mine launchers around the arena and destroy them when the boss got near, momentarily disrupting her shield and allowing you to attack with conventional weapons.
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'' had two bosses. The first is the Guardian, which is blind and relies on small floating demons in the arena to see, so you had to kill all of them and the Guardian will spawn more, revealing his weak spot for you to attack. The final boss -- the Cyberdemon -- could only be hurt by the Soul Cube, and the only way to use it was to kill the enemies that constantly spawned around the arena while avoiding the Cyberdemon's rockets. Once you have killed a sufficient number of enemies, the Soul Cube is fully charged and can be used.
* ''VideoGame/MegaMan: Dr. Wily's Revenge'' (don't remember it? It was on the Game Boy) gives you a weapon near the end of the game called the Mirror Buster, which does no damage on its own but can reflect projectiles back at enemies. Guess what the only way to damage the final form of the final boss is. Go on, guess.
* In ''KingdomHearts'', Hercules is normally invincible during his one-on-one arena duel with Sora, but can be made vulnerable by tossing barrels at him.
** Not to mention certain bosses in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', like Oogie Boogie (knock toys into the basket), Demyx (find a way to kill his clones and fast), and Luxord (exploit your third-person perspective to cheat at cards). More may qualify, depending on how much you view use of [[PressXToNotDie Reaction commands]] as a requisite for being a puzzle boss.
** [[KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories]] has Vexen, who is completely invincible by merit of his Big Freaking Shield... unless you perform a card break.
* The FinalBoss of ''R-Type Final'' has elements of this. [[spoiler:Specifically, the Bydo core cannot be damaged by any of the player's weapons. Instead, the player has to launch the Force, which in the rest of the game results in attacking ForMassiveDamage. This time, however, it ''sticks'' to the boss, as the Bydo attempts to absorb it. Then, the player has to use a fully charged Wave Cannon attack to make the Force explode, resulting in a massive wave of energy that ''still'' doesn't kill the boss, but ''does'' irrepairably damage the Wave Cannon. The trick at this point is to avoid the enemy projectiles while trying to charge the Wave Cannon, which takes fully 90 seconds and results in a blast that kills ''everything''.]]
** ''R-Type Delta'' had a similar final puzzle boss: [[spoiler:the boss is totally impervious to ''everything'', even the Force and Wave Cannon. You have to avoid it and the sperm ([[AbnormalAmmo yes, really]]) it launches until it tries to absorb the Force device. Then you have to wait about thirty more seconds as your Dose Attack slowly builds (dodging stuff all the while), and fire it when it finally charges. This kills the boss, and blows up the supposedly invincible Force.]]
* The beholder at the end of ''VideoGame/EyeOfTheBeholder'' was supposed to be defeated by [[spoiler:using a special wand to push it onto a trap]]. Regular combat would kill it, but the beholder has several save-or-die effects that made it hard to do this before your whole party was gone.
* Most bosses in ''VideoGame/TheAdventuresOfRadGravity'', and they also are often GuideDangIt's. EG, the NighInvulnerable "Twinbots" on the planet Vernia. You have to use the Crystal Bombs to keep them from winding each other back up, so they self-destruct. Then there's the shield-bearing robo-demon on Utopia, where you have to give Crystal Bombs to an ally to throw at its back. And the lava golem boss, where you have to shoot a pillar to make it launch lava bombs at him. The FinalBoss, Kakos, takes the cake as ThatOneBoss, where you have to zero-g maneuvers such as to [[MisguidedMissile trick his missiles]] into hitting him, like ''Sonic & Knuckles'''s PerfectRunFinalBoss, but worse.
* Several bosses in the ''SyphonFilter'' series, but most notably the final battle with Chance, TheMole, in ''SyphonFilter 2''. He wears full body armor that not only makes him ImmuneToBullets, but to the shrapnel and shockwave of ''grenade impact explosions'' as well (NoOneCouldSurviveThat in real life, even with a heavy-duty anti-bomb suit). And it doesn't hinder his movement, either. The only way to defeat him is to procure the UAS-12 auto-shotgun from the helicopter, and use its blast to [[BlownAcrossTheRoom push him backward]] [[HelicopterBlender into the spinning tail rotor]], which his [[ArmorIsUseless armor is useless]] against, resulting in a spray of HighPressureBlood, although no severed limbs.
** In the cutscene before the battle, Chance's head is uncovered (presumably to make him recognizable) and he isn't even shown donning his helmet. [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim Why don't they just shoot him in the head then?]]
** You have to use the same strategy with Rhoemer during a flashback sequence in ''SyphonFilter 3'', except you push him out of a plane, and he happens to have a parachute.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun: The Lost Age'' has the Serpent, (whose entire scenario seems to be a ShoutOut to the [[{{Orochi}} Susanoo]] legend in Japanese mythology), who you ''can'' reach upon beginning of the dungeon. However, it has a nasty habit of regenerating ungodly amounts of HitPoints every turn. The solution? Scale the wall outside the entrance to get the Dancing Idol, which you can then use on the odd altar-slash-table things at the entrance, then go through the ''real'' dungeon (as opposed to the comparatively short puzzle involving [[TheLostWoods identical rooms]] with a plant that you must cast [[GreenThumb Growth]] on to find the right direction to move) and use your [[BlowYouAway Gale Psynergy]] to move plants off of holes in the ground to send beams of light down onto crystals in the Serpent's chamber. Each beam of light reduces its regenerative power one-third of its strength, with all four being needed to render the regeneration almost completely useless at 30HP per turn, as opposed to the 2430 per turn that it starts with -- nearly seventy percent of its maximum health. Considering how weak your party is likely to be by that point in the game without LevelGrinding, you'll need to have more than just one or two lights on or it'll be practically invincible anyway. Even with all four lights, it's still [[ThatOneBoss annoying as hell,]] though thankfully having all four lights on removes one of its turns, reducing it to two actions per round as opposed to three.
** The first installment also had the Bonus Boss Deadbeard, an [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot giant undead pirate clad in a knight's armor]] whose battle was pretty much uphill, with him using several debuffs, strong sword attacks, and even stronger magics. The only hint given to defeat him without slaving the player too hard (or overlevelling towards unnecessary levels) are the system messages from the screen bottom describing his moves. Those who paid enough attention to see how the game describes actions will notice that consumable items are described with the verb "used", and magics with "cast". Given how this matters little to enemy attacks, seeing as they have access to exclusive techniques with are also as described as "used", [[DamnYouMuscleMemory hardly anyone would notice how Deadbeard's skilltree is made exclusively with magic spells]]. [[spoiler:Which can all be sealed by assigning Ivan to exclusively cast and set ad-infinitum the djinn Luff, which can inflict that status with 100% chance on about any monster, but for only two turns. Back that up with Garet casting defense buffs sometimes, seeing how the boss will be reduced to only use physical attacks, and Deadbeard is suddenly the easiest boss in the whole game!]]
** ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' has BonusBoss Ancient Devil pull off an interesting variation of this trope. While he can be defeated through brute force as normal, he will sometimes use Ancient Sign to take control of one of your party members so that they fight against you. Depending on who he possesses, the controlled ally could be disastrous if they know powerful healing abilities or other abilities to buff themselves and the boss with, or waste rare items like the full restore Potion. Even if you do knock them out, not only you have to revive the person you put down, but the boss will just take control of someone else. If you have any Djinn on standby, the possessed ally [[HoistByHisOwnPetard will summon them against your party]]. The puzzle here is to try and get the boss to take control of a party member that is either very weak or does not have many strong items or abilities so that the fight does not get any harder.
** ''Dark Dawn'''s version of the Dullahan is arguably a version of this as well. While he's even ''harder'' than his ThatOneBoss incarnation in the previous games and truly deserves the title of hardest damn enemy in the game to kill, there is a trick that reduces his difficulty from "nearly unbeatable" to "difficult". Dullahan has a distinct pattern to which moves he uses [[GuideDangIt (not that you'd EVER figure it out without a frigging walkthrough or hundreds of tries)]], that allows you to predict when his stupidly lethal Djinn Storm is coming to wreck your strategy and leave your characters dealing ScratchDamage for god knows how long while the Dullahan regens most of his health back. Setting things up properly can allow you to use the Chasm Djinn to reduce his deadly Charon Summon's damage to less than 20 (and hopefully avoid the instant-death chance the summon has) followed by deploying either Doldrum or Ivy to stop Dullahan from using one of his three moves for the turn; if you exploited the pattern perfectly, you can lock Dullahan out of his Djinn Storm and typically weather all of his other attacks unless you're unlucky enough to be hit by his instant-death moves. Without Djinn Storm, Dullahan is much, '''''much''''' easier to defeat.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia'' has Wallman; attacking him the conventional way will only cause him to eventually drink a Super Potion that restores all of his HP, which the game states he has 9,999 of, but he actually stops taking damage before he hits 0. The only way to kill him is to [[spoiler:steal his Glyph, which becomes visible and absorbable when he retreats into the wall.]] Making this fight harder than it sounds is his VideoGame/{{Bomberman}}-esque bombs, which explode into four-way explosions that will interrupt Shanoa's glyph-absorbing animation if she gets hit.
** You have to get Brachyura to destroy ceilings as you progress upwards through the lighthouse you fight it in, and at the top, you [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome drop an elevator on it.]]
* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork 2'' brings us the Protecto, the firewall to end all firewalls. In order to destroy them, you need to take down ''every one'' of them in ''one hit''. Multi-hit attacks don't work (they instantly recover all of their HP after ''any'' non-lethal damage), so there's no taking the cheap way out and using [[GameBreaker Gater]]). Fortunately, another combo, Ultra Bomb, works quite efficiently -- except against the Protectos that have [[OhCrap 620 HP]]. [[spoiler:You need Lifesword3 PA, Atk+20, Atk+30. [[GuideDangIt It's the only way]].]]
** In ''Battle Network 3'', the new {{Puzzle Boss}}es are the "numbers". Pay attention: You need to destroy all [=Number1s=] in one hit, then all [=Number2s=] in one hit, and finally all [=Number3s=] in one hit. This requires the right combo.
* Triti from ''TraumaCenter'' starts out as a huge mass of triangles, held in place by thorns. Trying to remove one section at a time will send legions of them out into the organ. The key is to take the thorns out in certain patterns, to prevent any respawning that you don't want. Specifically, when you remove a triangle, if there are two thorns next to each other and on the edge of the set of triangles, a triangle will spawn there if there is room to respawn. With some planning, Triti in Episode [[BonusBoss X-3]] of ''Second Opinion'' can be [[BreatherBoss easily defeated]] in less than a minute and a half.
** It doesn't help that the in-game hints are horribly vague and don't well describe how Triti regenerates.
** In a more archetypal 'weak-point reveal' boss, a single Deftera is a pair of red and blue bodies that drift around the organ, creating tumors. While drifting, they're invincible. However, in the event that a red and a blue come in contact, they become a tumor and you can drain them. Rather simple, right up until every time after the first you come into contact with it when there's more than one of each color. At that point, two of the same color meeting will create another tumor as well as make the patient's vitals drop. In addition, even once a red and blue one meet, a third of either color getting involved will break them up before you can drain them. Solution? [[spoiler:They can't cross Antibiotic Gel walls.]] Also, [[spoiler:Deftera will not even attempt to meet with another Deftera body if they're not at the same strength, though they will still interrupt a pair.]]
* Some of the ''JakAndDaxter'' games tried this. Klaww in the original game had to be defeated by dodging his thrown rocks and then using Yellow Eco to hurl fireballs into his crotch until he dropped the massive rock he was creating on his own head, and then the process had to be repeated. ALL of ''Jak 3'''s bosses have some element of this in them: a Precursor mech, for example, is entirely bulletproof but can be downed by dodging multiple energy blasts and the lightsaber it is wielding, waiting for it to create pillars for no real reason, then climbing them to repeatedly shoot a mine cart to fall on its head.
* The Geb Queen from obscurish action game ''Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy'' is a particularly complex example. At most times, she is completely invulnerable, being surrounded by a glowing shield. There's an unreachable platform above her that contains two monster cages, holding {{Personal Space Invader}}s and a shielded crown. One of her attacks, however, is shooting blue magical spells that turn you into a frog. You ''have'' to be [[StupidityIsTheOnlyOption hit by said spells]], use the frog's extra jumping power to leap up to the platform, and press the buttons next to the cages, releasing the {{Personal Space Invader}}s. They'll attack the queen in the way they do, leaving her vulnerable to a strike. In later rounds, the queen starts [[FlunkyBoss summoning mooks]], who will kill the spiderlike enemies if you don't defeat them first.
* Iosa the Invincible from ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' is, well, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. You can damage her exoskeleton with your guns, but you're better off using the ceiling-mounted lasers against her. Once the exoskeleton is destroyed, you have to wait for an opening to knock her into the wall, which stuns her long enough to hack into and deactivate her nanoshield controller. Then the game [[GoryDiscretionShot cuts to black]], and you hear the Shotgun firing.
** Similarly, the previous boss, the Sentinel, is a spherical satellite-like robot that throws explosive bullets and missiles everywhere, continuously tracks you, and takes half damage from ALL of your weapons. The trick here is to kick it into one of the two electrical fences at the sides of the arena ForMassiveDamage (and a few of the next spoken lines change accordingly to how much damage you took and how soon you figured out the trick).
*** Alternately, NOT using the electropods grants you a Supercharge, but you have to know how to juggle it to minimize its use of the Nuke, which blows five of your Health units straight to hell. The Velocithor does full damage to it regardless of all that armor, which makes it useful when the Sentinel's powering up the Nuke.
** A few bosses can be skipped entirely if you're needing that pacifist run. But you need to figure out how to do that.
* The "bad cat" in the original Mac game ''VideoGame/{{Glider}}''. There's no way to harm it, and there's no way to get by it... [[spoiler:(Only the former is true.)]]
* The Archmage in the Flash game ''Inquisitive Dave'' is beaten the same way as Claus above. Since [[spoiler:[[NoFourthWall he was programmed into the game to fight you, just avoiding him gives him no reason to exist.]]]]
* ''MarvelUltimateAlliance'' has:
** IronMan's archenemy, the Mandarin. After whaling on him for a while, he retreats to a safe balcony; follow him through a teleporter and the Ultimo up there will send you back. To prevent this, you have to lure a spider bot to a teleporter, after which it will blow up on the Ultimo, allowing you to get up there.
** The Destroyer Armor, which gets its ultimate attack charging up if you dare to attack it. You have to go through the four warps and defeat the {{Mook}}s inside, after which you will stumble upon Loki's frozen body. Trick the Armor into unleashing said move on him and they both die.
* ''[[NicktoonsUnite Nicktoons: Globs of Doom]]'' does this with:
** [[WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom Cujo the Ghost Dog]], who was defeated by tricking him into lowering four switches for you and then running around as he mindlessly trips on some electric lines while chasing you.
** JimmyNeutron's mutated Girl Eating Plant. To quote Technus: "We have to find a way [[WombLevel inside that plant!]]" (And that way is to get to a certain spot where it will swallow you.) And the plant adapts, as its giant roots will block the previous path you took to get to that area and leave open the next one after each round of whacking its innards. There's a reason why you have to get there in order to be eaten. (Hint: The name of the boss, the battle takes place in a mall, and you're stuck with SpongeBobSquarePants and Technus. [[{{Crossdresser}} Go figure.]])
* Every boss in the indie physics-based platformer ''{{Gish}}'' is of this variety, usually involving employing some manner of object in the arena to find a way to kill them. Such examples include tossing a block at a fragile ceiling to cause a giant block to drop down and crush the demonic cat chasing you, or finding a way of breaking a bridge to dump the pair of gimp-masked fleshy titans into lava pits. The bosses all die in one hit, too, so the battles tend to be either extremely drawn-out or very short.
* In the first ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier'' game, the Ring Lord in Riku's scenario is only beatable if you rack up a combo score of ten; this becomes nigh-impossible once the Ring Lord gets bored with sitting around and starts stomping your party into the ground. Interestingly, the DSC counts as a combo for the purposes of the fight, so if you've got a character who can pull it off, they can rack up up to 5 points at a time by themselves.
* A ''ton'' of bosses in ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 3}}'' fall under this trope, and considering there are somewhere in the area of eighty story bosses, we do mean a ''ton.'' The first major one is Trask, who halves all elemental damage and nullifies physical damage... [[spoiler:until you cast a fire spell and then follow it up with an ice spell -- since heating and then rapidly cooling something makes it brittle, this makes him incredibly weak to physical attacks now.]] Some of these ''do'' fall under GuideDangIt (the spoilered method is referred to only in an easily-missed book in the preceding town), but for the most part, they're pretty easy and fun to figure out. Some other notable ones:
** Melody, the first time you fight her, has powerful magic and poison attacks... [[spoiler:but is constantly attacking Clive, because he just [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath verbally ripped her a new one]]. Thus, if you manage to keep Clive alive, you can't lose.]] The rest of the time, she simply has a damage barrier that soaks up 350 points of damage.
** Malik is so fast that he can't be hit by bullets... [[spoiler:until you cast the [[UselessUsefulSpell Decelerate spell]] on him, making him extremely vulnerable.]]
** In every fight against the Schroedinger family, [[spoiler:you can set Todd's afro on fire, which acts like poison and quickly takes the most dangerous opponent out.]]
** Janus, after absorbing a Guardian's power, seems incredibly quick, powerful, and downright impossible to beat... [[spoiler:unless you cast [[UselessUsefulSpell the status-buff-nullifying Eraser spell]], which erases all the status buffs the Guardian gave him and making him pitifully easy.]]
** Siegfried, being the game's main BigBad for 90% of it, is of course incredibly powerful and can also use the [[spoiler:[[MacGuffin Teardrop]]]] to heal to full HP if he takes too much damage... [[spoiler:which you can easily swipe from him by using the Pickpocket spell.]]
** The Hydra also has a heal-to-full-HP spell... [[spoiler:which can be brought down to an eventual 0 if you continually cast the fire spell on it, "cauterizing" its necks like the original myth.]]
** And then, of course, the final boss, [[spoiler:Nega Filgaia]], has a whopping ''[[SequentialBoss ten forms]]'', all of which require some kind of unusual strategy to defeat. Whew. [[spoiler:You could always just [[MegatonPunch Finest-Arts]] most of them to death, though.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 4}}'', many bosses were Puzzle Bosses as well, especially the Brionac fights.
* Gnome's dungeon in ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' seems to like this. First, there are little mini-bosses called Clay Idols that can't be damaged in any way, save for one otherwise-useless spell. Thankfully, you can just run past them rather than engage them. Then there's Gnome itself, which splits into four bodies when anyone gets too close to it, making it immune to every attack in your arsenal and going ballistic on your team. The trick is to keep away from him, avoiding the usual strategy of having the MeatShield Cless run up to the boss and whaling away at it. Either just sit back and let the casters destroy Gnome with their spells, or help them out with the long-range Demon Fang.
** Gnome doesn't stay constituted for long enough to hit him with a spell without ''excellent'' timing. Normally, you use Cless' Sword Rain, a multi-hit attack, to keep him together and expand your window.
* The Rhino in a number of the ''[[SpiderMan Spider-Man]]'' games is a PuzzleBoss -- his skin/suit thing is too tough for Spidey to hurt, so defeating him tends to rely on directing his charging attacks into appropriately hard/zappy items.
* In Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro for the PS1, the final boss is (surprise) a supercharged Electro. In order to render him vunerable, you have to make him fire a bolt at a generator, damaging his power-up device. The fact that he doesn't stop falling for this is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Spidey himself if the fight drags on for longer than necessary, and at the end, he simply quips "This goes to show that good wins because... EvilIsDumb."
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'': the majority of the battles in the Naughty Sorceress's castle. The Tower monsters have insanely high HP, but can be [[OneHitKill OHKOed]] by a specific battle item (most of which sort of make sense in a punny way, like throwing a literal plot hole at a best-selling novelist). Then there's the shadow of yourself, which you must defeat [[spoiler:[[ReviveKillsZombie by healing yourself every turn]]]]. After that, you face the Naughty Sorceress's familiar; you must beat it with a familiar of your own of at least 20 pounds, with the five possible enemy familiars each being weak against a specific one of the other four. Finally, there is the battle with the Naughty Sorceress herself, which comes in three parts, one after another without any saves or time to change equipment between stages. The third is either an automatic win or an automatic loss, depending on whether or not you have [[spoiler:the Wand of Nagamar]] in your inventory. (Earlier, you had to have it equipped, but since it's a fairly weak weapon this was changed so you can wage battle with a weapon of your choice.)
** She can be defeated without the Wand. [[spoiler:One trick is that while her transformation makes her invincible, it does not cure status effects that already exist. If you can dump enough damage over time effects on her before the end of the second phase.... This used to be fairly simple, but after people started exploiting it, her HP got bumped up drastically.]] There are several other methods that work as well with varying degrees of success as well.
** The [[WormThatWalks Guy Made Of Bees]] is similar; he has ridiculous stats and will kill you after the first round unless you [[spoiler:break an antique hand mirror]] to kill him instantly.
* Every bullet pattern in the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' games can be dodged with enough sheer skill (or just bombing), but many spellcards have small tricks to them that allow for easier dodging. One of the most popular is [[{{Miko}} Sanae]]'s "Bumper Crop Rice Shower" spellcard; it's possible to stay at the bottom and dodge the random bullets that fall down on you, but it's much easier to [[spoiler: place yourself directly on the spot from which Sanae spawns red bullets. If you angle yourself correctly, no green/yellow bullets will hit you, you can still damage Sanae, and you can easily rack up 2000+ grazes if you wait until it's almost over before finishing her off.]]
** Of course, the most infamous of these is Icicle Fall on Easy difficulty, which can be [[WeaksauceWeakness avoided entirely just by being right in front of Cirno.]]
** Another, gaining notoriety since ''Subterranean Animism'' was released, is [[GreenEyedMonster Parsee]]. Several of her spells have gimmicks not usually seen until endgame, such as actively chasing you around the screen. However, her patterns are quite simple once figured out -- her infamous "Green-Eyed Monster" can be thwarted by moving slowly upwards -- leading to [[HypeBacklash some players wondering]] why she has a reputation as ThatOneBoss.
*** ''SA'' in general is full of this. Only [[WarmupBoss Yamame]] and [[FinalBoss Utsuho]] are straightforward.
*** For direct attacks, Utusho can be goaded into giving you safe zones.
* Virtually every LucasArts adventure game ends with one of those, which is obvious considering they are essentially entire puzzle GAMES:
** ''VideoGame/ManiacMansion'': [[spoiler:Turn off the mind control machine, put on the radiation suit, pick up the Meteor, lock him up in the car trunk and send him off into space... or get the meteor a publishing contract... or call the meteor police in on him... [[MultipleEndings Or...]] ]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Loom}}'': [[spoiler:Trick Shadow into teaching you the destruction draft, then destroy the loom.]]
** ''VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland'': [[spoiler:Splash [=LeChuck=] with root beer.]] Additionally, [[spoiler:Carla in the same game could only be beaten by mastering the game's insult sword fighting system and guessing the proper responses to her insults.]]
** ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge'': [[spoiler:Make a [=LeChuck=] voodoo doll and use it against him.]]
** ''IndianaJonesAndTheFateOfAtlantis'': [[spoiler:Trick Kerner and then Dr. Übermann into using the Atlantean god-machine on themselves.]]
** ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'': [[spoiler:Use the bowling ball on the tentacles, then trick old Purple Tentacle into shooting Dr. Fred.]]
** ''SamAndMax Hit The Road'': While not technically the game's last puzzle, [[spoiler:Conroy Bumpus is defeated by locking him in a freezer.]]
** ''VideoGame/FullThrottle'': [[spoiler:Retract the machinegun.]] Can't beat a Corley.
** ''VideoGame/TheDig'': [[spoiler:Retract the bridge under the Cocytan guard dog.]] This one also had three OTHER puzzle bosses earlier in the game, first [[spoiler:the sea monster, defeated through high explosives and a very GuideDangIt skeleton puzzle]], second [[spoiler:the first guard dog you encounter, defeated by reviving his buddy]], and third [[spoiler:the giant spider monster, defeated by diverting a blocked up waterflow right into its web]].
** ''VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland'': [[spoiler:Get [=LeChuck=] to blow up the rum barrel you carefully placed in a position to bury him under tons of snow. Rottingham]] in the same game is essentially defeated in the exact same way as [[spoiler:Carla]] from the original.
** ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'': [[spoiler:Poison Hector's greenhouse's sprinklers with sproutella.]] Also, [[spoiler:Domino is defeated by essentially distracting him from the gigantic coral grinders headed his way.]]
* ''VideoGame/MoleMania'' has a number of these, as one might expect from a puzzle game, though the game more or less tells you exactly what you need to do prior to the fights and it's fairly obvious even if you manage to overlook the tips, thanks to BossArenaIdiocy.
* The ''PunchOut'' series makes frequent use of this trope. While most of the early fighters, like Glass Joe and Von Kaiser, can be defeated through brute force and the occasional block/dodge, the rest of the boxers have different fighting styles that prevent you from just whaling on them, such as Don Flamenco relying on you to strike so he can block/dodge and then counterattack. Except for Super Punch Out[[note]]where you just had to build a stamina meter by landing good shots and not getting hit; then you could throw KO punches at will as long as the meter was full[[/note]], figuring out how to earn star punches was also a puzzle itself -- so difficult, in fact, that in the Wii remake, the DangerouslyGenreSavvy designers decided to make Exhibition Mode challenges out of finding them. Good luck finding them on your own, as some of them are [[GuideDangIt fiendishly difficult to either figure out or nail just right.]]
* Each of Alhazad's battles become this in the remake of ''VideoGame/WildArms1''. He has two trios of drones that sheild him from physical and magic attacks. Destroying either of the trios results in him simply regenerating them. [[spoiler:The trick is to leave one of both Drones alive.]]
* The final boss of ''RocketKnightAdventures'' cannot be hurt at all, with Sparkster being bound up [[spoiler:in an escape pod at the time.]] The boss is chasing after you in a HighAltitudeBattle that literally ends in flaming glory as [[spoiler:the computer that controls the [[EvilMinions Pig Army]] burns up in re-entry.]]
* ''VideoGame/InTheHunt'' had the boss of the [[UnderwaterRuins Seabed Ruins]], a large statue that chases your submarine up to the surface. [[ImmuneToBullets Completely invulnerable to your attacks]], you had to attack the [[FridgeLogic floating stone blocks]] [[BossArenaIdiocy at the surface of the water]] so that they would crash down onto the statue's head, damaging it.
* ''All'' of the bosses in the Wii version of ''VideoGame/ABoyAndHisBlob''. That Boy's just a little kid; he can't attack. You have to find ways to use the bosses' tactics against them with the Blob's different transformations. It's also worth noting that the bosses [[TacticalSuicideBoss won't just use the same, vulnerability-causing attack over and over again]], they switch up tactics and force you to think quickly.
* Tomator in ''TheLostVikings''. He's invincible (shooting him only shocks him for a short period of time), so you have to bomb the platform he stands on. Later, you have to shoot him twice, then shoot some switches while he's shocked (and can't shoot at you). He still doesn't give up -- the Vikings meet him two times more in that level before he's gone.
* SigmaStarSaga has what is probably [[ThatOneBoss *the* most annoying Puzzle Boss ever designed]], and it's only [[BossInMookClothing a miniboss.]] It's a light blue rock/crystal with an eye in the centre and six orbs floating around it (three purple, three blue). It shoots one slow-moving bullet at you every three seconds or so. In order to open the eye and make it vulnerable, [[spoiler:you have to shoot the purple orbs once each, turning them blue in the process.]] Sound easy so far? Not when it fires another bullet at you for every ineffective hit made and most players, up to this point in the game, have equipped their ships with [[SpamAttack rapid-fire bullets, usually with some sort of spread]]. To make matters worse, there is [[GuideDangIt no indication whatsoever]] (apart from [[spoiler:the already-shot orbs reverting to purple if you hit a blue orb or the boss when its eye is closed, but how would anyone notice that if ''they're shooting every part of the boss at once''?]]) whether or not you're doing it right; most players just shoot the boss repeatedly, hoping they're doing damage, and die in the cloud of counterattacks. In many cases, especially due to the [[LuckBasedMission possibility of having to use a large ship that can hardly move]] and (nigh) impossibility of [[spoiler:hitting ''only'' the purple orbs and ''only'' once each with a SpamAttack weapon]], the battle is utterly hopeless. In fact, it's one of the two main reasons why so many people have to [[GuideDangIt use online help to beat this game]], assuming the [[GameBreakingBug Game Breaking Bugs]] on the Forgotten Planet and [[LuckBasedMission ever-present probability a random encounter will get you killed in a ship that literally CAN'T fit through certain tunnels]] don't make them give up completely. (Incidentally, both "reasons" are on the Ice Planet.)
** Arguably the first part of the FinalBoss. [[spoiler:In order to get the best ending, you have to cripple its artillery cannons without destroying the main body.]] If you are hovering above her, she can't hit you. So using Gun number 1 or anything with a bomb secondary weapon allows you to do just that.
* ''SilentHill2'' has the Dual Pyramid Head boss, in which you must face [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin two Pyramid Heads]] in a two-on-one fight. The truth, however, is that you don't actually have to attack them; the battle runs on an invisible timer, and attacking just helps to speed things up before they kill themselves for you. Once you've got that figured out, you can probably save most, if not all of your ammo for the final boss afterwards.
** Early in the game, James is trapped in a room with Pyramid Head. He's NighInvulnerable, but slow-moving. The correct response is to [[WaitingPuzzle keep running away until he gets bored and leaves]].
** In ''SilentHill1'', to get the best ending, you have to throw the bottle of red liquid you collected in the hospital on Cybil to exorcise the PuppeteerParasite from her.
* Every boss in ''ZackAndWiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure'' due to the [[PuzzleGame nature of]] [[AdventureGame the game]]. Most of the time, aside from the giant monster, there's little distinction between the boss stages and regular stages.
* The original ViewtifulJoe plays this pretty straight in that all bosses and even many normal enemies will take trifling damage unless you work out how to stun them first. You can often still win by pounding away with your best attacks, but it will take about ten times as long.
** One of the best examples is the first boss, a giant bat who will evade all direct attacks by splitting into a cloud of normal bats. You have to knock a stalactite into him to bring him down to earth before attacking to do any decent damage.
* In ''Videogame/AloneInTheDark1992'', the stairway is blocked by a pair of Lovecraftian Nightgaunts, who are invincible to physical attacks and can only be defeated by their own reflections. Got either of the mirrors broken by a monster? [[UnwinnableByDesign Too bad!]]
* ''NeverwinterNights'' has a series of tests to gain access to an exclusive spellcaster's club. This culminates in an arena fight with a giant golem who may well turn you into paste -- apart from the fact that it will not attack unless attacked first, and that there is a table with four one-shot elemental wands in the arena. By deciphering the clues from the previous part of the quest, the player can use the wands in a certain order on the golem, making it crumble away without ever attacking. If the golem ever attacks, it's because you failed the puzzle -- it remains passive as long as the player is making the correct choices, and actually recites a story to describe the elements as each wand is used.
* The final battle with Baldus in the canon route of ''VideoGame/BlazeUnion''. Actually defeating Baldus is not the trick; it's getting him to join you--and that's easy enough as long as you bother to follow Nessiah's instructions to the letter. There are plenty of cases of players ignoring Nessiah and accidentally killing Baldus, though.
** The final stage of the C route gives the boss a Protect lock -- these prevent Morale from dropping below 1, and effectively confer invincibility -- which cannot be broken except by moving a specific party member to a specific location during a specific stage of the fight in order to destroy the boss's power source.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', raid bosses and more recent instance bosses can act like this, especially when groups are first encountering them and learning their abilities.
** Ignis the Furnace Maker summons invincible golems. However, if they are first drawn through fire until they melt, then dragged into water, they become brittle and a single sufficiently powerful hit will shatter them. They do, however, explode when you do so...
** Magmaw could theoretically be treated as a DamageSpongeBoss, but with proper timing, that's unnecessary. When he slams his head down, you can mount his head and throw chains to pull him onto a spike, exposing his head and leaving him extremely vulnerable for a short time.
** When fighting Anub'arak in his raid version, the biggest dangers are the abilities involving burrowing. The only way to prevent this is to shoot down innocuous floating ice crystals to spawn icy patches, preventing lesser mobs from burrowing and stopping the boss' spikes from chasing you.
** In the second phase of the fight against Jin'do the Godbreaker, there are three chains binding Hakkar that must be destroyed, but are protected by a shield. To break the shield, you have to trick the berserkers into slamming onto the chains, and since the slams target players, the players must stand by the shielded chains.
** Dark Animus in Throne of Thunder was designed as one. There are 100 units of Anima that start out in small golems, and are transferred to other nearby golems once a golem is killed. When the boss comes out, it absorbs one unit of Anima from every active golem, and once it reaches 100 Anima, quickly wipes the raid. The goal is to delay it from getting to 100 Anima for as long as possible by consolidating the Anima in the largest golems (achieved by killing the smallest golems near them), resulting in the boss taking the longest time to get to full power.
* TheWitcher has a stone golem boss which you have to re-animate and then kill [[spoiler:using pillars surrounding it that generate lightning bolts]] (you can kill it very quickly this way). The monster can also be killed by conventional weaponry, but this will take a long, long, LONG time. A skilled player can keep hacking at it and dodging its attacks until it dies, so this makes it a PuzzleBoss or a MarathonBoss depending on how the player tries to kill it.
* ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesTurtlesInTime'' has a rare beat 'em up example -- at least in the Super NES version. It's the ClimaxBoss battle against Shredder about halfway through the game. Rather than fighting you himself, as is his custom in the video games, Shredder instead battles you in some sort of Dimension X war machine thing. He himself is shown in the far foreground, and cannot be hit using normal attacks. Fortunately, he's also flooding the arena with Foot Soldiers, who the Turtles can actually throw into the camera, which in this case damages Shredder. Can be a SLIGHT case of GuideDangIt, because this is the only point in the game where this skill does anything more than insta-killing the Foot Soldier for three points.
* ''VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' has [[spoiler:The Werewolf]], an ImplacableMan that can only be defeated by running away or by [[spoiler:finding an extremely out-of-the-way switch and using it to activate the observatory doors of Griffith Park and crushing the Werewolf between the doors]]. There's also [[spoiler:The Sheriff's]] OneWingedAngel form, which can be defeated a lot easier by turning on the spotlights in the final fighting arena, which stuns it and allows melee characters a chance to damage it.
* The first boss, Raditz, in ''DragonBallZ: Legend of the Super Saiyan'' for the Super Famicom. He doesn't take damage when attacking him, and has a lot higher power level than you do. Like the story, in order to defeat him, you have to use the Gohan card received from Mr. Popo to weaken him. Then another option opens up allowing Goku to grab Raditz from behind, which allows Piccolo to impale them both when using his Special Beam Cannon attack.
* In the endgame of ''{{Persona 3}} Portable'', Margaret (of ''{{Persona 4}}'' fame) opens up a door in Tartarus wherein you can fight four puzzle bosses -- for each one, your party, group of Personae, level/stats, and so on are set to a certain fixed thing, so grinding and such are useless; you have to figure out how to defeat each boss with what you're given.
** {{Subverted}} for the Strength and Fortune Full Moon bosses. While you can beat the crap out of them the regular way, you have to utilise the Wheel Of Fortune attack to your advantage, and (contrary to what [[MissionControl Fuuka]] hints at), it's possible to control the wheel [[spoiler:by letting it spin around a few times, then pressing X on the condition opposite the one you want. Also, this is the only time when [[OneHitKO Ghastly Wail]] can be used against a boss.]]
* ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsOnline'' features puzzle bosses for a few raid encounters, notably the Black Abbot and Stormreaver. The latter encounter is followed by a literal puzzle: a game of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_%28board_game%29 mastermind]].
* In ''OperatorsSide'', aka ''Lifeline'', the first boss is ImmuneToBullets; to defeat it, you have to tell Rio ''exactly'' when to throw a homemade Molotov Cocktail. Waiting too long causes the flame to burn itself out; if that happens, or if you have her throw it at the wrong time... [[TheManyDeathsOfYou sorry, Rio]].
* In ''VideoGame/AvalonCode'', even though cleverness isn't always compulsory, it sure does help in most boss fights. But there are several bosses that will require a good brain to defeat. For instance, Guardian Torsol may seem like a DamageSpongeBoss, but when he loses color and becomes immobile, he also becomes immune to your attacks. The trick? [[spoiler:You push him off a ledge while he can't move, like as you do with a boulder]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Braid}}'' has the player use time travel to see how many times they can drop the same chandelier on the same monster.
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'', both The Warrior and The Concubine are these. The Warrior is nigh-invincible, which forces you to [[spoiler:bait the Warrior to the edge of the fighting ground, which then spawns a QTE to try to topple him over and out.]] During the final confrontation with The Concubine, she traps Elika and creates multiple clones of her, forcing you to find the right one in order to proceed. Experimentation and some thinking will provide you with the correct answer. Protip: [[spoiler:What's the one thing only the real Elika can do?]]. Answer: [[spoiler:save the Prince from death, so hurling yourself off the arena will break the spell as Elika activates her powers to save you.]]
* The final boss of ''VideoGame/{{Cryostasis}}'' must be defeated in a weird game instead of direct combat. On a circular arena with constantly spawning monsters, both of you are awarded points for killing (though in the protagonist's case this may count as saving) them, and the first one to get ten positive points wins the battle. It's obviously a bit more complex than that.
* The final boss of [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]] has two stages. The first one goes down easily, which opens up a door to the final chamber. The second has a script that heals it of all damage every frame, and doing enough damage to kill it in one hit breaks the main quest[[note]]There was no way to directly make a creature invincible[[/note]]. Unusually for a PuzzleBoss, there is little thinking on the player's part involved in defeating Dagoth Ur, as another character provides instructions before sending you out to find the remaining necessary tools to pull the trickery off.
* Some players approach the Big Daddy battles in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' like this (kind of a "DIY" PuzzleBoss). Rather than just fight the brutes head on and unload as much lead as they can muster, they will lay a long line of things to trap and damage the Big Daddy as it comes barreling at them. Explosions, electricity, and other objects on the land make for great Big Daddy roadblocks. It's all in how you set it up that determines how much damage can be done by the time he's made his way through your gauntlet of pain.
* The final Vorticon in ''VideoGame/CommanderKeen'': Marooned on Mars is completely immune to your ray gun. The chain holding the giant stone slab directly above him on the other hand, only takes one shot.
* ''HeadOverHeels'' typically mixed up puzzle challenges with physical tests (typically Head's advanced manoeuverability got him the physical challenges, while Heels' bag let him carry things around -- which lent itself naturally to the BlockPuzzle). The Crown rooms were the last vestiges of the original plan to have more combination problems (with both physical and puzzle elements; mostly ditched after playtesting showed that if people failed the physical part, they'd all-too-often think it was because they got the puzzle wrong), but Penitentiary -- the Crown room and most of the rest of that planet -- is clearly the most heavily puzzle-based.
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' has a number of puzzle bosses, but none stand out more than Mr. Freeze -- there are twelve ways to damage Mr. Freeze, and every time you use one of them, he makes sure to nullify it. Jam his freeze gun? He'll rewrite its coding to prevent it. Glide kick him? He makes sure the air's too dense to allow gliding. It goes into NintendoHard levels when you do this in NewGamePlus, where you have to use ''at least eleven techniques to win''.
* The Bed of Chaos in ''DarkSouls'' will die from a single hit. The challenge of the fight is exposing its weak point. You must destroy the big obvious glowing orbs on either side of the boss to break its shield and then run towards the crumbling center of the room and land on the root leading to the boss' weak point. The Bed of Chaos gets progressively more aggressive as it becomes vulnerable: it attacks you using its huge branch arms, destroys the floor of the arena to drop you into bottomless pits, and rains fire on you.
* The Dragon God in ''DemonsSouls'' can only be defeated by taking advantage of the environment to avoid its attacks long enough to fire a pair of huge ballistas into its shoulders. Once that's done the near helpless dragon can be killed with a few blows to the face.
* In ''VideoGame/TheFoolsErrand'', the challenge in "The Three Ships" is to click on the "?" button, but it always runs away from the cursor. The trick is to [[spoiler:move the button by using secret key commands]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} IV: Mask of the Sun'', [[BigBad Eldeel]] is invincible during the first phase of the battle. After dodging his attacks for a minute, you get a prompt to throw the Necklace on him to render him vulnerable. In his third phase, he gains nigh-impenetrable armor, and you must dodge him again until the Disciples break it for you.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'', Nemesis's final form is impervious to bullets, so you have to push in the three batteries to activate the WaveMotionGun, then lure him into its line of fire.
** In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'', the super final form of the final boss of Leon's campaign is this, which was [[EndingFatigue especially]] [[DisappointingLastLevel frustrating]] to some players, as there were a ton of battles with him prior. It doesn't help that it took most players a long time to figure out [[ConvenientWeaknessPlacement what to do]], as it differed from the RE boss standard of shooting and dodge as it regenerated itself.
** Each of the Blob enemies from ResidentEvil5 DLC, "Lost in Nightmares", are essentially a BossInMookClothing. In one sequence, you're required to find cranks to kill them, but you've lost all your equipment. So you're reduced to avoiding/hiding from them as well.
* In {{Wizard101}}, quite a few begin to appear after the first story arc. The most popular techniques are to punish the player with an interrupt casting (cast a spell free from pip cost and out of turn) a super powered spell if the player doesn't play by the hinted ([[GuideDangIt or unstated]]) rules, or make the boss have a shield that reduces any attack on them by 50-90% unless certain conditions are met.
** Another puzzle used exclusively by the Jabberwock is that it triples the damage it takes for a single attack after using a super powered meteor spell. This is almost required, since the Jabberwock has more health than the combined health of the [[DualBoss two dragons]] that acts as the final boss for Avalon.
** The worst of these is possibly [[spoiler:teenage Morgan]], since even months after the fight has been released, players still haven't solved all of the parts of the puzzle needed to prevent her from interrupt casting the most powerful ice spell in the game.
* All the bosses in ''{{VideoGame/Vessel}}'' are puzzle bosses. Fitting, considering the game is a puzzle-based platformer. The first boss in the factory is made of lava, which needs a plumbing change to defeat. The generator at the orchard requires the player to exploit what happens when blue and red goo mix. The final boss is remotely controlled and needs the player to use their knowledge of how the Flouros in the control areas react to the light from the glow goo to mess with the boss's controls.
* ''VideoGame/XenoGears'': Had quite a few, especially in the Gear battles where each could only be feasible defeated at your level by fighting a certain way, but [[spoiler:Deus]] is memorable in that every time you attack, he heals for all his HP. His HP is huge, and in no way could you do enough damage to kill him in this way. The true method to killing him is by [[spoiler:letting him keep using his only move, which halves the hp of everyone on the field, and then tearing into him when his health is low enough to kill in one turn]].
* Pick a boss from ''TheLastStory''. ANY boss.
* ''VideoGame/{{Hitman}}'' and its sequels have optional puzzle bosses in the people you're sent to kill. Most of them can be killed in 'accidental' manners that will not alert their bodyguards to your position -- poison their food, drop a heavy load on them, wire a generator to a sink that will fry them when they wash their hands... or you can [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim just shoot them]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Bioforge}}'': There are two or three of these. Though you must engage in actual combat with the cyber-raptor, you can't beat it until you knock it onto the DilatingDoor on the floor and open the door, dropping it into a cryo tank where it will fight with another unbeatable monster serving as a BeefGate. Later on, there is another acid-dwelling monster that you must blow up with a missile from a crashed dropship.
* Revas in your second and final fight in ''VideoGame/AssaultOnDarkAthena''. She's immune to any conventional attacks, but the SCAR gun can knock her back down. Beating her requires opening the doors of the elevator shaft behind her, and knocking her back enough times to make her fall in it to her death.
* ''{{VideoGame/RuneScape}}'' has several bosses that have to be defeated by exploiting a gimmick, or at least are much easier to beat by exploiting said gimmick. The best known and most obvious examples are the battles with [[BarrierChangeBoss the Daggonnoth and Gelatinnoth Mothers]], which both display their current weakness through their skin color. The confrontation with [[spoiler:Wizard Ellaron]] at the end of ''Rune Memories'' [[TheUnfought doesn't involve combat]], but it's similar enough in theme and execution to likewise be considered an example of a color-changing puzzle boss.
* ''VideoGame/{{Messiah}}'': The first stage of the battle with [[spoiler:Satan]] has you running around to trip four switches in order to deactivate the boss's forcefield, all while demon-possessed enemies are shooting at you.
* In ''VideoGame/SheepDogNWolf'', you have a boss that you must defeat by first making him dizzy, and then turning on some spotlights to exploit his [[WeakenedByTheLight fear of light]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Scribblenauts}}'' Unmasked. it might seem a fun idea to summon the Green, Blue and White Lantern corps to fight your evil twin while the Joker battles Batman, but that just doesn't cut it, you have to do something specific to weaken him. Normal gameplay in this entry in the series, however, can be steamrolled if the player chooses.
** The FinalBoss, [[spoiler:Brainiac]], can only be defeated by [[spoiler:summoning AlternateContinuity versions of the heroes (e.g., Red Son Superman, Batman Beyond Batman, and Flashpoint Cyborg)]].
* ''TalesOfGraces'' Arc's FinalBoss, Fodra Queen. At 6% health left, she will use one Hi Ougi after another, starting with Dual the Sol. What the player has to do at this point is ''press certain buttons during each Hi Ougi'' to prevent a full-party KO. Nowhere is it mentioned that you have to press buttons - as pressing buttons never ''did'' anything during a Hi Ougi beforehand - or which button to press, making this also a GuideDangIt moment for a boss fight.
** Only upside: the above only counts for the higher difficulties. On the lower difficulties, she will stop after four or five Hi Ougi and, if you pressed the buttons correctly, your party will not be dead and she can simply be killed by brute force.
* ''EpicBattleFantasy 4'' has Rafflesia, to a certain extent. While the previous bosses had summoned {{mook}}s to back them up, they only did so once every few rounds at worst, making them easy to dispatch. Rafflesia summons one ''every round'', and when it TurnsRed, it starts summoning '''two''' per round, leading to an unprepared player getting quickly overwhelmed. The solution? Use nothing but Ice attacks - one of the mooks Rafflesia summons absorbs ice, while the other varieties are all weak to it. The one that absorbs Ice is by far the least threatening, and one of its attacks is Cloudburst, which is basically a total [[InvertedTrope inversion]] of ThatOneAttack - it does no damage but makes everything on the field take heavy damage from Ice attacks. Including Rafflesia, who was already weak to Ice. Eventually Rafflesia's field will be full of mooks that are actually helping ''you'' out more than Rafflesia, and because of the ArbitraryHeadcountLimit, it won't be able to summon anything that poses a threat.

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!Non-video game examples:

* Jake Martinez of ''TigerAndBunny'' is practically unbeatable in a one on one fight thanks to his [[BarrierWarrior telekinetic shields]] and [[{{Telepathy}} mind reading]] NEXT powers. Kotetsu lies to Barnaby about the true nature of Jake's power, since the only way to fool a mind reader is to fool the mind being read. Like other Puzzle Bosses, Jake goes down quickly afterwards, since he has very low pain tolerance.
* Subverted in ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura''. Late in the first season, our heroes find themselves trapped in a magical maze. The "always go left" track doesn't work, if they try to cut the walls with their swords, they just grow back together, and if Sakura tries to fly above the walls, they just get infinitely higher. Just when it looks like all is lost, supporting character Mizaki-sensei appears, carrying a magical bell... which she proceeds to use as a hammer and ''[[DungeonBypass bashes the walls down]]'', [[DungeonBypass one after the other, in a straight line to the edge of the maze]].
** Nonetheless, almost every [[MonsterOfTheWeek Card Of The Week]] would qualify as a PuzzleBoss.
* In an episode of SuperFriends, ''Battle of the Gods'', Zeus forces the heroes to go through several myth-based challenges. {{Superman}} had to enter [[TheMaze The Labyrinth]] and capture the Minotaur. In one chamber with a lit torch, his shadow comes to life and proceeds to kick the crap out of him. When he tries to fight back, his attacks go right through it. He defeats it by [[spoiler:putting out the fire. Without light, the shadow disappears.]]
** Comicbook/{{Aquaman}} had to find and take the Golden Fleece. It was guarded by an invisible ogre, who whales on him. Aquaman [[spoiler:shakes a tree, causing the ogre to be covered with leaves. Now that he is visible, Aquaman takes him out with one hit and takes the Fleece.]]
* Once the concept of Stands was introduced, many of the fight scenes in ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' turned into this. Most of the fights consisted of matches against a seemingly untouchable Stand user, with the main characters spending most of the time trying to figure out how their opponent's Stand works so they can combat it, often in very unconventional ways (i.e., a Stand that exists as air defeated by being breathed in by another Stand until the enemy Stand user suffocates.)
** A few important fights before that had puzzle elements as well. by pitting the characters against NighInvulnerable, super-intelligent, clever and DangerouslyGenreSavvy villains. Perhaps the biggest example is Joseph vs. ACDC, which ended in the two trying to [[OutGambitted Out-Gambit]] each other repeatedly with Hamon-powered RazorFloss and [[BodyHorror prehensile blood-vessels filled with 1000-degree blood.]]
* Some ''[[DungeonsAndDragons Dungeons & Dragons]]'' monsters can be this. Golems in some older editions are a good example -- physically powerful and immune to virtually all spells (with a very few specific exceptions for each type) and all but powerful magical weapons, a golem that hits a poorly prepared party with no ready way to retreat can easily wipe it out. However, golems are ''also'' virtually mindless, and if encountered alone, almost always simply follow a set of "pre-programmed" instructions, which may allow the same player characters that could never defeat them in a stand-up fight to simply avoid one by figuring out in time just what their standing orders are.
* In [[LightNovel/DotHackAIBuster .hack//AI Buster]], [[spoiler: The One Sin, the boss that made Balmung and Orca famous.]]
* All of the bosses in ''Chasm: The Rift''
* In ''VideoGame/SweetHome'', the FinalBoss Lady Mamiya can only be defeated by using the "pray" command in battle repeatedly along with four items deeply personal to her in the correct order. This will little by little help her realize her current situation and convince her to let go and fade away.
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', Negi finds himself having to fight the infamously difficult-to-injure Jack Rakan. He eventually manages by creating a technique that allowed him to appear to be fighting while in actuality he was setting up an enormous rune on the battlefield to allow him to absorb Jack's own power and shoot it back at him.
* ''VideoGame/QuackShot'' has the "Riddle of the Sphinx," which has the boss music playing but threatens the player only with a DescendingCeiling, with a ControlRoomPuzzle for stopping it.
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