So, the player is near the end of the game. You really want to make this feel climactic: The player needs to be pushed to their limit to make the conclusion that much more exciting. Well, what's more challenging and exciting than a good old-fashioned Boss Fight
? The answer, apparently, is "a whole lot
of good old-fashioned Boss Fights."
This trope generally comes into play during the final stage, dungeon, or chapter of the game (though it can rarely show up during another climactic part of the story, such as the Disc One Final Dungeon
). In these areas, the boss density is much higher than in the rest of the game, perhaps to test the player's skills or to make it seem like the Big Bad
is finally pulling out all the stops
. Note that it is the contrast of this area with the rest of the game that is important: A final dungeon with four Mini Bosses
would qualify if every other dungeon only had one boss, but not if that many bosses was the norm.
Likely to involve a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere
or two, if only because the sheer number of bosses makes each individual boss less significant. On the other extreme, you could end up cutting down well-established villains en masse, which may evoke the feeling of a Cosmic Deadline
. May also involve a mandatory Boss Rush
(most Boss Rushes
tend to fall into this trope anyway): to fall into this trope and not Boss Rush
, there has to be a substantial amount of new bosses. For example, if the only unique boss is the last boss, it is a Boss Rush
, though, as mentioned above, a Boss Rush
may be considered one giant boss if there's no dangers separating them and there are enough new bosses fought close together.
As this trope is mostly found near the end of a given game, spoilers will be unmarked. You have been warned.
- In Musashi Samurai Legend all the dungeons seen so far have one boss (except the first two who have two bosses): the final level put you against Gandrake's Quirky Miniboss Squad (4 battles, as one is a Dual Boss), your Evil Knockoff and then Gandrake's One-Winged Angel form.
- At the end of Cave Story, you have to fight Misery, the Doctor (who is a Sequential Boss himself, constituting two forms) and the Undead Core. If you're going for the best ending, then at the end of the new area you need to fight the Heavy Press and Ballos, a four form Sequential Boss.
- In Geist, Raimi fights three bosses in the final level: Two giant statues, Alexander Volks and the demon who is possessing him. All of them consecutively.
- Odin Sphere's final book consists entirely of five boss battles. You can at least stock up and/or Level Grind between battles, but the battles themselves are no picnic.
- Kingdom Hearts I has the Hades Cup, consisting of 50 rounds against various assorted enemies, up to and including several bosses: Yuffie, Behemoth, Cerberus, Cloud, Leon, Opposite Armor, Hades and the Rock Titan. Considering the previous cups featured only one boss...
- From the same game, Hollow Bastion. It makes for a very convincing Disc One Final Dungeon.
- Kingdom Hearts II has The World That Never Was. Most worlds thus far have one final boss of moderate-high difficulty right at the end of each trip, maybe with an easy mini boss. Not so here. Here, you face every surviving member of Organization XIII, all of which are incredibly powerful, with distinct strategies required for each. All in all, you fight four (five, if you're playing the Final Mix) incredibly powerful bosses before you even get to the Point of No Return.
- Kingdom Hearts 3D pits the player against a total of six bosses in the final world, several of which are fought sequentially without breaks, Boss Rush-style.
- The World Ends with You: Week 3, Day 7 has a whopping four bosses, more than any day in the game. You have to fight Sequential Puzzle Boss Tigris Cantus, which is followed by the Point of No Return and three fights with Megumi Kitaniji, once in his Reaper form with a brainwashed Shiki, once in his Noise form Anguis Cantus, and one last time after integrating Joshua into Anguis Cantus to become Draco Cantus. And this is after the Hopeless Boss Fight in the previous day against Taboo Minamimoto. Week 3 was in itself chunked with bosses, not even including Wooly AOR and Goth Metal Drake.
- E.V.O.: Search for Eden: Africa in Era 5. The first area is skippable, but if you enter, you have to refight the Queen Bee, who is stronger this time. The next area, which is requires, is like a regular area... except the fact that the enemies are the Tyrasaurs. The Very Definitely Final Dungeon starts immediately with a boss fight with a giant human named Cro-Maine, and the Final Boss at the end is Bolbox, who is an eight form Boss Rush that can also attack on his own. And this is all soon after the Yeti Avenger and Rogon King fights.
- Between the final savepoint of NieR and the ending, you must face The Betrayers, Goose (in a 3-stage battle), The Betrayers again, Grimoire Noire, the Shadowlord , and optionally Kaine.
- Very common in Final Fantasy games as a rule for the series (aside from Final Fantasy I, which has a standard Boss Rush).
- Subverted in Final Fantasy II because all of the bosses in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon save for the Emperor himself were sealed in chests.
- Final Fantasy III has the Crystal Palace and Dark World dungeon crawl. After the battle with Xande, you then have a Hopeless Boss Fight with the Cloud of Darkness, followed by four battles in the Dark World and then the rematch battle with the Cloud. As this is Final Fantasy III, you have to beat all these bosses with no opportunities to save between them.
- The Lunar Core of Final Fantasy IV has six bosses in it, although only the final boss is mandatory; the other five guard powerful weapons.
- The final dungeon of Final Fantasy IV The After Years has 34 bosses in it. Needless to say this large number is found nowhere else in the game. It includes three Bonus Bosses guarding powerful weapons.
- For Final Fantasy V, there are numerous bosses for the final dungeon. You got Calofisteri in the forest area, optional boss Omega in the waterfalls, Apanda in the library, Azulmagia, Catastrophe, Halicarnassus, Twintania, and as well as six Alte Roite mini bosses in the castle area, then Necrophobe, optional boss Shinryu and final boss Exdeath in the last area.
- In Final Fantasy VI you have in Kefka's Tower Ultima Buster, Inferno, two of the Eight Dragons, Guardian, the Warring Triad, then the four-stage Final Boss.
- Final Fantasy VIII has a last dungeon full of semi-optional bosses who need to be defeated to unlock abilities for the final battles.
- Final Fantasy IX:
- The penultimate bosses of this game: Nova Dragon, Maliris, Tiamat, Kraken, optional boss Hades, Lich, Deathgaze, and finally Trance Kuja and Necron.
- The three consecutive bosses at the end of Disc 3 also count. And since only a brief plot segment with no encounters intervenes before Nova Dragon, in all that's eleven bosses in a row (though there are also random encounters in Memoria).
- In Final Fantasy X:
- After you go through Zanarkand and go off to fight Sin, you face three of its parts (left and right fins, then the core) in succession. After that, you have to fight Sin's head, but you're allowed to leave the airship after destroying the core and come back later.
- At the end of the game, you get to face Jecht/Braska's Final Aeon, all of your summons, and Yu Yevon. Although, the first one is the only one that you fight without Auto-Life status, so the others are essentially un-loseable (unless you actually try to lose). As such, the first one is widely considered to be the "final" boss of the game.
- Final Fantasy XIII ends with Orphan's Cradle. Travel to successive areas of the Cradle requires teleportation, which drops you in a room with a powerful monster and no explanation before taking you to your destination. You end up fighting three bosses because of these teleports (including a Dual Boss), in addition to the Final Boss.
- Super Mario RPG and sequels:
- Super Mario RPG:
- The Factory stage. Just getting in requires that you defeat an evil alarm clock, followed by Domino & Cloaker, a Dual Sequential Boss (whose second stage is another Dual Boss). Inside the Factory proper, Mario has to fight through four levels of factory management, the first three of which have bodyguards while the Factory Chief has his own autonomous secret weapon. In the factory you also get to fight mook versions of all the previous bosses. One even being a required fight.
- Also, the end of Bowser's Keep is made of three other bosses: Magikoopa (Kamek), Boomer, and Exor. And there is a chance the fight a Boss in Mook Clothing, Chester, right before the Magikoopa. You're not given a chance to heal in-between Boomer and Exor either.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door's Palace of Shadow contains boss fights against Dark Bones (more of an Elite Mook really; appears twice during the dungeon), Gloomtail, the Shadow Sirens (and Doopliss), Grodus, Bowser and Kammy together, and The Shadow Queen.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has a separate boss fight for each of the seven Koopalings in Bowser's Castle, followed by Fawful, Bowletta, and the Essence of Cackletta.
- Castle Bleck in Super Paper Mario is divided into four sub-chapters, each of which ends in boss fight: O'Chunks, Mimi, Dimentio, and Count Bleck, respectively. After Bleck's defeat is the Super Dimentio fight.
- The end of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time features a minigame fight with the Shroob Mothership, then normal boss fight with Princess Shroob, then her older sister, and then said sister's One-Winged Angel form. THEN there's a Post Final Boss, Shrowser, after that.
- The repurposed Peach's Castle in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story holds Junker, Blizzard Midbus, Dark Star, Super Peach's Castle, Dark Fawful, Dark Bowser, and the Dark Star Core. Starting with the Dark Star, the only plot events are these boss fights and the buildup for them, and if you just go right for these bosses and do nothing else, there won't even be any regular enemies.
- In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, World 6 forces you to fight Bowser Jr., Kamek, and Bowser. There's little gameplay in between, but you can go back and do whatever you want in between each fight.
- In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, you fight Kamek different 3 times in Neo Bowser Castle before you face off Giant Bowser, Antasma, and Dreamy Bowser.
- Between the end of the Baskar Ruins and the Valeria Chateau siege in Wild ARMS 2, you're forced to battle five bosses in succession (Gehenna Neros, Antenora(I), Judecca(I), Blastodon and Alphael), with only plot advancement in between. Having to repeatedly endure the Boss Subtitles is a maddening experience.
- Eternal Sonata generally only pits you against one or two bosses per chapter. The final chapter requires you to defeat a Dual Boss to earn the right to enter the Double Reed Tower of Sand, which is actually two towers, each of which must be ascended twice with a boss fight on each ascent. This lets you fight the apparent final boss (another Dual Boss in the PS3 version). The real Final Boss shows up shortly thereafter.
- The Pokémon series has numerous examples.
- Most of the main series games in general are applicable to this trope, as the Elite Four and the Champion are five bosses in one location while the rest of the game has Gym Leaders as one boss per location.
- Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver has an additional lesser example with the four Team Rocket Executives. On three separate occasions earlier in the game you battle one of them at the end of a location. Then, when they infiltrate the Radio Tower, you have to face all three of them in a row before going straight to facing the fourth head Executive.
- Pokemon Black And White extends the usual Elite Four + Champion motif. You have the Elite Four battle, then immediately afterward, catch the version mascot and then, the battles with N and Ghetsis. Fortunately, there's phlebotinum to heal your Pokemon before pushing onto those last two, so you aren't going in depleted.
- Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 has the Team Plasma finale after fighting the eighth Gym Leader, Marlon. You fight Zinzolin on the Plasma Frigate, then chase the Plasma Frigate again. When you board it again you fight Zinzolin, Colress, all three members of the Shadow Triad, either Black or White Kyurem depending on your version, and finally Ghetsis all in quick succession. After that comes the standard run through Victory Road where you fight your rival, followed by the Elite Four and Champion.
- In Pokémon Colosseum, before you ascend the tower for the Final Battle, you have to fight Miror B., Lady Venus, Dakim and Ein(but you can heal your Pokémon between the battles or do anything else you need), where you have to do another one, three powerful trainers, then Nascour, then Evice.
- The Black Omen in Chrono Trigger, where you fight Mega Mutant, Giga Mutant, Tera Mutant, the Elder Lavos Spawn, Queen Zeal's first form, the Mammon Machine, and Queen Zeal's second form. After that, you fight the Boss Rush Lavos, although technically you don't fight it in the Black Omen.
- Shin Megami Tensei games are fond of pulling out multiple bosses in large, climactic dungeons. Just looking at the numbered games:
- Shin Megami Tensei I has the Great Cathedral (Basilica in the iOS translation), which contains four bosses for the forces of Law (Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael) and four for Chaos (Surt, Astaroth, Arioch, and Asura), in addition to the alignment heroes and, for Chaos, Lilith.
- Shin Megami Tensei II features a mid-game Bonanza and an end-game Bonanza. The mid-game Bonanza pits you against three bosses in a row: Raphael and Uriel, then Michael, then the fake YHVH. The end-game Bonanza, accessible only on Neutral or Chaos (Law skips you to the Final Boss) is Eden, where you fight Sabaoth, Shaddai, Elohim, Satan, and the real YHVH.
- Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has the Tower of Kagutsuchi, where you fight (depending on alignment) Ahriman, Noah, Thor, Baal Avatar, Kagutsuchi, and Lucifer.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV has two final dungeons, Purgatorium and Lucifer Palace. Purgatorium features two Hordes, Kazfiel, Azrael, Aniel, Seraph, and Merkabah. Lucifer Palace features Lucifuge, Belial, and Lucifer.
- In addition, the final dungeons of both Digital Devil Saga games had five to ten bosses and/or sub-bosses within them.
- Breath of Fire 3 In the Myria station. There are plenty of new bosses. But given how some of the bosses are inside some segments of the station itself... it might not qualify specially in the end where you get to the inner laboratory where you face the Experiments which are mostly a Boss Rush per Capcom's tradition but they included a few new ones (including a Dodo bird, still the crowning moment of funny is when you have to face Rocky X 5 Giant Rooster, considering it can still inflict you the Egg status, Ovum spell).
- In Mother 3, Chapter 8 only featured one small dungeon, the New Pork City Sewers, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Empire Porky Building and its basement, and bosses sprinkled throughout. First off is Miracle Fassad in the sewers. After him, there's a Bonus Boss, the King Statue, that can be fought in New Pork City itself. After completing the games to see if Lucas is worthy enough to meet Porky, the Natural Killer Cyborg is fought. After a Call Back to the previous two games, the Porky Bots are fought. Porky then reveals himself and sends Lucas, his party, and Flint to the basement, where there's a short stretch of enemies leading up to the Final Boss: Porky Minch himself. After beating him, the Post Final Boss, the rematch with the Masked Man, is available.
- Mission 89 in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days requires you to fight six boss Heartless. Defeating the Dust flier is the optional objective.
- In No one Lives Forever, basically all of the bosses and mini bosses can fall under this aside from the first boss (which is like a half way boss). You fight Armstrong in "The Indomitable Cate Archer Scene 2". Once this chapter ends and you get to "A Very Large Explosion Scene 1" this is when the frequency of boss fights really starts pick up as you are first put to the test against the 3 elite guard chicks (seen in cut scenes throughout the game mentioning how bored they always are) which are each treated as tough mini bosses. In scene 2 you are forced to fight off several helicopters that all either bring several shots to take down or some luck in surviving long enough to get a shot at the gunner when they open the helicopter doors once close to you to get more precise shots in at you. Immediately after, in the same scene, you are forced to duke it out with Volkov while he starts with an AK-47, and you start with nothing as you are forced to find a gun before he kills you. Once you beat him, you move on to "Such is the Nature of Revenge Scene 1" where you are forced to have a quick fight with Baroness Dumas, and finally in Scene 2, you have to beat Tom Goodman, the final boss of the game.
- In the sequel, No One Lives Forever 2, the boss format is very similar, but a little less epic than in the first game. It's got a halfway boss, and then a high frequency of bosses at the end. This includes Pierre the Mime King near the end of Chapter 13, Volkov followed immediately by Isako at the end of Chapter 14, and then, surprisingly a bit anti climatic, a Super Soldier Lieutenant at the end of Chapter 15 who is basically a miniboss, but serves as the final boss of the game. His fighting style is very similar to that of a regular Super Soldier and he doesn't even get a health bar as he only has about 2.5 times as much hp as a regular one (however, if you fail to shoot him with the anti super soldier serum in time he will still recharge to full health just like a regular one). In fact, a Super Soldier Lieutenant is encountered two times in Chapter 10, but just can't be beaten without cheating since you don't yet have the anti super soldier serum to permanently get rid of them.
- The currently final levels of Brutal Mario have this, Bowser's Castle having 8 different bosses in it including the end one. Then again, so do a lot of Super Mario World game mods, A Super Mario Thing has a significant amount of bosses in the void level as well. And Super Mario Infinity has more than a few, one of the last levels has about SIXTEEN boss fights in it, albeit with them all being with one of exactly two different characters.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 has the player facing Birdo (twice, if a certain route is chosen), then the Hawkmouth brought to life and finally Wart in the last level.
- Gunstar Heroes is another Treasure example where several previously-fought characters are fought again at the end in completely new ways.
- Super Castlevania IV ends with consecutive fights against Slogra, Gaibon, Death and Dracula.
- Iji starts with having bosses every other level, until a Sequential Boss in the penultimate level and two bosses (one of which is skippable) in the last one.
- Rockman 4 Minus Infinity:
- Cossack 4 pits you against Nightmare Suzy, Punk, Ballade, Terra, and the Cossack Catcher's two forms.
- The final level has you fight Chimerabots of Cutman + Elecman, Woodman + Quickman, and Needleman + Geminiman, then the Bullet Hell Wily Capsule, and finally tiny versions of the Robot Masters.
- In Kirby Squeak Squad, though it's not at the every end of the game, world 5-3 has you fight Bonkers, Gao Gao, Big Metalum, and finally Storo. Perhaps of more significance, though, is world 6-5 that has you fight every member of the Squeak Squad (Spini, Storo, and Doc) other than the leader (Daroach, but is fought immediately after in world 6-boss).
- In La-Mulana, the Dimensional Corridor (usually the last level people finish before the final level and final boss) consists almost entirely of boss battles against the children of Tiamat.
Shoot 'em Up
- In Titan Quest: The Immortal Throne, the very last level is Hades' Palace. Not counting the randomly-generated bosses (Monster Heroes including Machae, Melenides and Giants), you will surely find (in this order): Undead Typhon, Hades' Three Machae Generals, The Lady of the Night, The Soul Jailer and finally Hades himself. While not strictly necessary, you will end up fighting them all at least once in order to complete a quest.
- In the final chapter of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, you face off against Salamence and a pair of Chandelure, then Purugly and a mob of six Excadrill, then Munna, Toxicroak, and their back-up squad consisting of a Chandelure and four Gigalith, then Kyurem, then last of all, the Bittercold in a two phase battle. This is a huge contrast from the rest of the game, where you fight only one boss per chapter.
- Gradius Gaiden's stage 8 is a mix of this and a Boss Rush: Two bosses (Tetran mk-II and Neo Big Core) are successors of previous Gradius bosses, two Deaths from Gradius II appear alongside a new boss, and the rest of the bosses, including the pseudo-Bonus Boss encountered only on subsequent loops, are completely new.
- Hellsinker has two separate instances of this trope:
- One is in the Shrine of Farewell. You fight four bosses, with a Kaname Stone between each one. Additionally, you're on a time limit—take too long to kill them all and the stage will immediately end. Fortunately, you get infinite lives, but dying reduces number of crystals you get at the end of the stage.
- The other takes place at the end of Segment 5—Perpetual Calendar has five phases, with more bosses between each phase. You don't get the benefit of infinite lives here.
- Sin and Punishment: Star Successor has multiple stage bosses or a series of boss battles in every stage, but they go for broke on the final stage. This stage features an enhanced Boss Rush (previous bosses in completely new forms) along with new bosses and an ultimate multi-stage final boss.
- From a certain viewpoint, nearly every chapter of Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu could be considered this due to the way chapters worked in this game; however, the final chapters of each generation almost certainly count due to the number of plot-relevant bosses, and many chapters have more bosses than castles to capture. The final chapter, though, takes the cake.
- In the first section of the chapter, two bosses lead charges towards you while a third guards Edda Castle.
- Once Edda is captured, two more bosses leave Dozel Castle in different directions, one trying to capture Chalphy (your starting base) and the other trying to recapture Edda, while another guards Dozel and a fourth, capable of long-range magic, stays nearby. One of these is the first plot-relevant boss of the chapter.
- Another plot-relevant boss, one who has in fact already been defeated in a previous chapter, holds Freege Castle, and shortly after Dozel is captured, another plot-relevant boss comes up from the southwest with his own troops, trying to pin you between two fronts.
- After Freege is captured, four bosses charge towards it from the east, three of them fulfilling the otherwise player-exclusive Pegasus Trio archetype, while a fifth boss comes onto the scene from the south with a few troops, near Chalphy, which can result in a quick game over if Chalphy is left unguarded and is captured. Mercifully, you can fend off this threat with a single unit, provided it's the right unit—Altenna can talk to this boss to turn him and his troops into allied NP Cs. Once you fend off the four bosses charging from the direction of Belhalla—where the Final Boss awaits, surrounded by twelve other bosses who will move to attack any units within range but will otherwise retreat back towards Belhalla, making it impossible to lure them away—you're expected to sneak past this barrage of bosses for the moment (note also that Julius has long-range magic) and defeat The Heavy, Manfroy, at Velthomer, while not defeating the other boss-level enemy guarding Velthomer because she's one of your units whom Manfroy captured and brainwashed and talking to her after capturing Velthomer allows you to rerecruit her, which is almost a necessity for defeating Julius.
- Fire Emblem: Rekka No Ken pits you in the final chapter against NINE bosses, though not all at once, thankfully. And when you're done, you fight the Final Boss, though that's technically another stage. Otherwise, you face one or maybe two bosses per chapter, tops.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn had this in its 5 consecutive endgame chapters. Each of which was themed around a particular named and plot relevant boss, some chapters even had two. Even before that, every level leading up the endgame had a plot-important senator as a boss, whereas before that only every few levels had a boss that was actually meaningful to the plot.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: Chapter 20 gives you three bosses when every map before it had only one. Then in Chapter 22, all thirteen enemies are new, unique characters with powerful/legendary weapons.
- In King's Bounty The Legend near the end of the game you have to venture forth into the Dragon Labyrinth and fight the seven incarnations of Haas, the Big Bad dragon. Each of them is an optional boss fight, but killing all seven of them will grant you an easier passage across the maze. After that there are the Orclands, which are full of bosses (as in: hostile armies led by a leader, hence more dangerous and capable of spells.)
- In Chapter 12 of Marvel Avengers Alliance, all normal mission hotspots (aside from deploys) are Boss battles. It's possible to finish each mission in a single battle (because the game's mechanics allows the player to fight as many Bosses in one battle), with the exception of Mission 2, which contains the Epic Boss of that chapter.