{{Boss Battle}}s in video games tend towards two extremes. One type is the boss that takes a very long time to beat, but poses little offensive threat; a boss that is a StoneWall, in effect. This is the MarathonBoss. Then you have these -- bosses that [[GlassCannon hit hard but die fast]]. However, these bosses are not necessarily [[BreatherBoss easy]], just as {{Marathon Boss}}es are not always difficult. These bosses ''can'' be {{Sequential Boss}}es, though this trait usually applies to individual forms in that case.

In game design, these models may be favoured for being more exciting than MarathonBoss-style wars of attrition, though if they die too quickly, players may be able to bypass whatever gimmick or strategy they were supposed to use simply by using an AttackAttackAttack strategy. In addition, their attacks are usually difficult to dodge, since, obviously, dodging attacks would negate their offensive power.

Note that this is not merely a boss that goes down very quickly -- that usually falls under BreatherBoss or AnticlimaxBoss. They must be able to take ''you'' down very quickly as well. FragileSpeedster-type bosses that frequently dodge attacks do not count either, since in that case it's as if they have high defense anyway. See GetBackHereBoss for that. Some RushBoss may be compared to TimeLimitBoss as well, particularly in cases where the time limit is short before the boss ends the player.

Subtrope of RocketTagGameplay.

Not to be confused with BossRush. For a boss that literally rushes at you, see BullfightBoss.


* Most of the Brothers in ''VideoGame/{{Turgor}}'', in contrast to the giant Predators, who are {{Marathon Boss}}es. Whaler in particular; he turns into more and more of a GlassCannon as the fight progresses, to the point where you can kill him in one hit if enough time has elapsed. In addition, his vulnerability wheels never fall off, making him the only boss that is actually capable of dying in a single hit.
* The Bone Demon in ''Videogame/{{MARDEK}}''. It has the lowest HP of all the chapter 3 {{Bonus Boss}}es, but has very powerful attacks.
* Jubei Yagyu in ''VideoGame/{{Onimusha}} Dawn of Dreams'' can unleash several quick and damaging sword slashes in a row, which is quite bad for your health. However, with a good defense timing, you can pull an easy Issen counterattack and finish her off in two or three attacks.
* Both final bosses of ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol''. One uses a series of deadly miniguns but has horrible damage resistance, while the other uses a rocket launcher but can be defeated in a single punch (although getting close enough to do so can be a problem).
* Ridley in the 2D ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'' games, due to being one of the few (if not the ''only'') boss who is always vulnerable to attack. However, you usually fight him in a cramped space, and his attacks are both hard to dodge and powerful.
* For ''VideoGame/{{Alundra}}'', the US localization team specifically noted that they tweaked a few bosses to have more attack power and less HP than in the original Japanese version, because they felt some of the {{Boss Battle}}s were more tedious than challenging.
* In the [[WebGames flash game]] ''VideoGame/{{LARRY and the GNOMES}}'', the Purple Monster boss has the least health of all the bosses; however, its attacks reduce a lot of health with a single hit, it attacks very rapidly, and its charge can kill you quickly if you don't dodge it.
* ''VideoGame/BushidoBlade'': The game's intent of realistic combat (i.e: no [[LifeMeter lifebars]]) effectively means that ''any'' battle can end in just [[OneHitKill one clean strike]] against your opponent.
* In contrast to the series's love of the inverse, most boss fights in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' are of this trope. Odin in particular stands out, being that the party has to defeat him in ''one minute'' or they will lose. The first [[FanTranslation legal]] and [[PortingDisaster decent]] release of the game outside of Japan was on a portable system, which was suited well to this trope, luckily.
* The [[DuelBoss duel with Luca Blight]] in ''VideoGame/SuikodenII''. Thanks to the prior SequentialBoss fight, he only has a sliver of health left, but he's still strong enough to kill you in two attacks.
* Many of the DPS Race raid bosses in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' have enrage timers that are notably shorter than bosses who are more of a battle of survival (typically 5 or 6 minutes, compared to standard 9-10 minute enrage timers), and the greatest danger is most often killing them before the timer expires and they start one-shotting the raiders.
* In ''VideoGame/HearthstoneHeroesOfWarcraft'', there are several cards that will end up having your hero replaced by a whole new hero that are basically having low Hit Points, but has their way to dish out massive damage just as quick. Killing Majordomo Executus will replace your hero with Ragnaros the Firelord, capable of dealing 8 damage to a random enemy for his hero spell... but only has 8 HP. Playing the Jaraxxus card replaces your hero with the aforementioned '''EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!!''' who has 15 HP, but possesses a 3/8 Weapon and his heroic ability lets you summon a 6/6 creature for 2 mana every turn.
* Odin is a common RushBoss in the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series as a whole, since he will generally give you a short amount of time to kill him before he uses Zantetsuken (which is either an attack that is almost impossible to survive or a NonStandardGameOver). At the same time, he tends to have less HP than bosses of equivalent difficulty.
* Most of the key bosses in ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' are marathon bosses (including all the Act Bosses except possibly Andarial, who's a bit of a half-way house), but the mid-act boss in Act 2, The Summoner, is a classic Rush Boss. He's extremely fragile, going down in two or three hits, but depending on your build he can easily OneHitKill ''you'', at least on Normal difficulty. He also has fantastic range (well over your character's sight range), meaning new players often die to him before they even see him.
* Elec Man and Ice Man in ''VideoGame/MegaMan1''. Both of them can destroy Mega Man in three hits, but Mega Man can destroy them in 3 hits if he [[ElementalRockPaperScissors uses the correct weapon]].
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', most Lucavi, especially Velius, can be killed relatively quickly, but can, on the other hand, very quickly obliterate you as well.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', the battle between Link and Cyclos lasts only 30 seconds, but that time is ''decisive''. If you fail to quickly shoot three arrows to Cyclos, he will use his cyclone to take you away to a random part of the Great Sea, forcing you to look for him again for a rematch. And if you aim for HundredPercentCompletion, then you will also need to take a picto shot to the opponent before defeating him, [[PermanentlyMissableContent otherwise you will never have another chance.]]
* The Demon Wall in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', being an AdvancingWallOfDoom in boss form, is naturally one of these.
* In ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'', many of the Golden Manikins are set up like this: They have so little HP (sometimes only ''[[OneHitPointWonder one]]'') that even a level 1 character can kill them in a single blow. However, their bravery/attack is often high enough that ''they'' can kill a level 99 character in a single blow, and are usually programmed to be aggressive, evasive, and use their best attacks.
* Professor Hangar, the boss of Titania in the original ''VideoGame/StarFox'', has very light armor, but his attacks are tricky to dodge. Typically, one of you will be dead within 30 seconds.
* ''VideoGame/AbmneshiTheProphecy'' has a secret TrueFinalBoss, Avatar, which has only a fraction of the preceding boss's HP but nonetheless dwarfs it in sheer difficulty.
* Bosses in the ''VideoGame/{{Izuna}}'' games tend to hit ''very'' hard, especially with their special attacks. But you're just as dangerous to them as long as you use items and talismans well instead of just hacking away.
* The BonusBoss of ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'', Panthera Cantus, can be defeated in as quickly as 35 seconds. However, he is also the single most damaging enemy in the entire game; even at level 100 and with severely-boosted HP, he can still wipe the floor with both of your characters.
* Vanitas Remnant, one of the [[BonusBoss Bonus Bosses]] in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'', only has one health bar, but hits extremely hard and attacks so frequently that even getting a hit in is a challenge. Oh, and if you heal yourself, it heals ''itself''. '''Completely.''' You can cry now.
* The KillerRabbit of ''VideoGame/DragonsCrown''. It has low health for a boss, but it's fast, hard to hit, deals very heavy damage and stuns with its moves, and also gains a move that [[OneHitKill deals your Max Health in damage]] when it TurnsRed.
* Raivolt in ''VideoGame/GridWarrior''. It doesn't have that much health, but it's fast, can stun you then charge at you, and its attacks deal armor-piercing damage. Its DesperationAttack can be a OneHitKill if you don't avoid the laser which stuns you, then it lands on you to finish you off.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Hellsinker}}'', the boss of Segment 2 Lead, the Scarlet Queen, has a hidden form if you defeat her with high enough [[DynamicDifficulty Stella]]. The good news: it's only 15 seconds long. The bad news: It spits out very fast and dense patterns that will probably cost you a life (offsetting the OneUp you'll get for killing it) unless you bomb through it.
* TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} and TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons before 4th edition were all about this trope for ''most'' [[BossBattle boss battles]]. The climactic fight in a dungeon would often be able to lay down enough damage to break a party in a few rounds and may have incredibly powerful debuffs or OneHitKO powers. Players would immediately realize the situation had crossed the GodzillaThreshold and pour forth all of their most potent, limited-use items. Additionally, the boss would be targeted by every one of the StandardStatusEffects since there was no UselessUsefulSpell. It didn't help that the game rules naturally favor RocketTagGameplay. Fourth Edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' goes for MarathonBoss more often.
* Master level enemies in ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy'', ''TabletopGame/BlackCrusade'', ''TabletopGame/RogueTrader'', ''TabletopGame/{{Deathwatch}}'', and ''TabletopGame/OnlyWar'' cause gameplay to turn to RocketTag. Enemies at those levels can turn player characters into a fine red mist in no time flat.
* The Four Kings in ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsI'' are best fought by doing as much damage as quickly as possible because you start fighting one, but a new one enters the arena every minute until you've done enough damage to them together, [[UnstableEquilibrium making it harder to fight the ones that are already there without dying]]. In practice, they're either a RushBoss or a ''very'' difficult WolfpackBoss. They're often considered the hardest boss in the game simply because this is ''so'' different from the rest of the game, which encourages you to fight slowly and methodically. Most other bosses in games also take only a few minutes at most to kill, with the difficulty coming from them being able to kill you even quicker.
** A similar gimmick is attempted by the earlier Pinwheel boss, who can create infinite replicas of himself. While each illusion folds in one hit, his [[LongRangeFighter aproach to combat]] means that you'll get pinned down by an endless barrage of fireballs if you don't take him out fast him. The problem? [[BreatherBoss it's really easy to take him out fast enough, thanks to his abysmal healthpool]], meaning that he never even gets to that point.
* In ''VideoGame/TheEvilWithin'', most bosses can tear you in half if they get too close (sometimes [[OneHitKill literally]]), but surprisingly can't take too much damage themselves, turning encounters into panic-filled rocket tag.
* [[spoiler:Possessed]] Richter in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' dies in relatively few hits compared to most of the game's bosses. He also moves fast and hits hard, including one attack that fills the entire screen. [[spoiler:Of course, [[PuzzleBoss killing him only leads to the bad ending, since the real intended objective is to lift the curse cast by Shaft]].]]
* Desann, the final boss of ''VideoGame/JediKnightIIJediOutcast'', is a LightningBruiser who can kill you in a couple hits and can use supercharged force powers which are impossible to resist. However, he can also be killed with about 3 solid hits from the strong saber style. A straight duel with him (without using the Force energy beam in the center of the room to beat him) usually ends in less than half a minute, one way or the other.
* In ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'', the final ranked fight, [[spoiler:Jeane]]. They're the ''last'' boss of the game [[spoiler:save for TrueFinalBoss Henry]], but they have the lowest health of any conventional boss in the game. Of course, given that they FlashStep like it's not even a thing, hit like a tank, and can even [[spoiler:counter your wrestling moves with their own]], they'll make you work for every sliver of damage you get on them.
* In ''VideoGame/FreedomPlanet'':
** The final fight with [[EvilOverlord Lord Brevon]], once you've [[SequentialBoss destroyed his starfighter and combat mech]]. His knife ([[ThatOneAttack which comes out with little warning]]) will take out a massive chunk of your HP, he leads the player with his laser pistol to make dodging that much harder, he moves fast enough to keep [[SuperSpeed Lilac]] on her toes, and he can even counter some of your attacks, but it doesn't take that many hits to put him down if you can survive his onslaught.
** Spade is like this too. He is small, very fast, spends a lot of time in the air, can perform mid-air dashes to dodge any aerial attacks you might throw at him, and reacts instantly to things you do. He's also very good at positioning himself so his [[FightLikeACardPlayer razor-sharp playing cards he throws]] hit you. Spade takes the fewest amount of hits of any boss in the game, but he is very hard to actually hit.
* Rapid-Fire Magician, one of the AI opponents in ''YuGiOh Ultimate Masters'', must be challenged under the conditions where both players begin with 2000 LifePoints (as opposed to the standard 8000). Under this condition, it can be defeated easily if you land a couple of direct attacks, but this opponent is also designed to take advantage of the situation and runs a burn deck which can deplete your own Life Points in a couple of turns. It can boil down to a LuckBasedMission to not get defeated in the blink of an eye.
* Classic bump-attack games in the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series (namely, ''I'', ''II'', and ''IV'') due to [[CollisionDamage the way it works]] bosses and even simple enemies can rip you a new one just as fast as you can them. Take for instance, ''the very first foe'' you see in ''I'', which will kill you in seconds flat if you don't know what you're doing. Later games switch to a more traditional ActionRPG style of combat, so they don't count as much, with even ''Ys 7'' boasting some borderline Marathon Bosses.
* Sigma from ''VideoGame/MegaManX3'' is a brutally difficult and overwhelming fight, but once you have your timing down, you can defeat both of his phases with only three shots by fully charging the upgraded X Buster.
* One minigame in ''VideoGame/ShmupsSkillTest'' has you destroying a boss named Larilari. You either kill it in about a second with sufficiently fast ButtonMashing, get crushed just as quickly from not firing fast enough or as a penalty for shooting before the core turns red, or [[WhatAnIdiot ram into it]].
* Bowser and his fakes from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros'', if Mario isn't powered-up. All it takes to defeat them is to run under or leap over them once and touch the ax at the end of the bridge. On the other hand, if Mario touches them or any of their hammers without a power-up, it's back to the beginning of the level.
* The Brigand 8-Pounder is a Weald boss in ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'' that requires the player to deal damage to both it and its matchman that it spawns, or else it will deal ''heavy'' amounts of damage that can easily knock almost every party member to near Death's Door at full health (it has a chance to misfire, but that's not something you'd want to bet on).
* Dark Knight Alternis Dim in ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault''. Once he gets below a certain percentage of HP, the fight basically becomes a race to finish him off quickly before his Minus Strike's One-Hit Kill capacity gets out of hand.
* Final bosses fought as Super Sonic in Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog games tend to fall under this category, as Sonic begins with the 50 Rings needed to transform into Super Sonic but loses one Ring per second. Because Super Sonic is even faster than regular Sonic and is invincible against almost all of these bosses, they are designed to waste time in order to make Super Sonic lose his Rings and turn back into his normal state, upon which he is typically killed instantly due to [[AstralFinale being in outer space]] or [[AmazingTechnicolorBattlefield in some inhospitable alternate dimension]]. Hence, Super Sonic battles either end quickly, or the bosses end Super Sonic quickly. This is even more pronounced with [[VideoGame/SonicAdvanceSeries True Area 53]] and [[VideoGame/SonicMania Phantom King]], both of whom can pull Rings away from Super Sonic causing him to deplete them even faster. Nearly every case has Rings floating around for Super Sonic to pick up, but they're not abundant enough to make up for the lost Rings.
* [[spoiler:The boss battle against the Snatcher at the end of Chapter 3]] in ''VideoGame/AHatInTime'' is pretty much the definition of this: his attacks are all very difficult to dodge, fast, and ruthless, but he only takes five hits once vulnerable - a minuscule amount compared to the rest of the bosses.