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Boss in Mook Clothing
"Let's be very careful here. We don't want to see him... (pwooow, pwooow) Uhhh, oh no! IT'S HIIIIM."
"Final Fantasy (NES) RMSCRT part 17a of 19"note 

Mooks in video games typically aren't supposed to be too hard on their own. They are usually just there to soften up the heroes before the Boss Battle of a level (usually). But there are exceptions, enemies that are annoying, dangerous, and/or powerful. This trope is the top tier of these, which are enemies that are so powerful, you wouldn't be blamed for mistaking them for bosses (hence the trope name).

For example, let's say you are playing an Eastern RPG. You're walking along on your quest to save the world, when you run into a Random Encounter with a three-headed, skeletal dragon. Okay, you're 12 levels higher than the average enemy here, so just give it a few attacks, and it should be over with.

But not only is it still standing after three turns, but most of your party has lost over half their health. So you don't hold back. You launch your best spells and special attacks at it, using your healer's super expensive full party heal spell. Eventually, it goes down, but not before you had to resurrect the mage twice, and you had to use up two-thirds of your total magic point pool. Time to warp to the nearest Trauma Inn.

In order to determine if a regular enemy qualifies, it must have at least two of the following traits. It can be any of these traits, but it must have two or more.
  • It has a lot more HP than a regular enemy.
  • It does a lot more damage than a regular enemy (moot if the protagonist is a One-Hit-Point Wonder) and is quite capable of Total Party Kills.
    • Can also have attacks that are difficult to avoid (moot if it's a game where dodging is based on chance, like a turn-based RPG).
      • Tend not to miss, even in the games where you can improve your dodge chances.
  • Requires a lot more strategy to defeat than a regular enemy. (The Useless Useful Spell is almost certainly useless here, unless used as an Outside-the-Box Tactic.)
  • Has at least one of the following points, but one of the above must still be included to count:
    • Has a lot of varied attacks compared to regular enemies.
    • Has the ability to inflict many Standard Status Effects on you, sometimes multiple effects at once.
    • Has an entrance like a boss or mid-boss, but is not in a designated Boss Room and/or has no Life Meter.
    • Does not respawn the first few times you meet it (assuming the game has respawns), but is still not in a designated boss area.
    • Gives you either a lot of rewards for your effort or barely any at all.
    • Appears by itself, or with a few small enemies that can be wiped out easily.

Compare Smash Mook, That One Boss, Demonic Spiders, Kung-Fu Proof Mook, Mini-Boss. Contrast Goddamned Bats, King Mook, Mook Promotion, Anticlimax Boss, Degraded Boss, Level in Boss Clothing.

Not to be confused with Bonus Boss or Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.

Before Editing: Check to see if Elite Mook or King Mook is a better fit for your example.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • The Guardian (also known as the Final Guard in later games) from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. They protect the room to Dracula (poorly, since there is the way below), but they are still really tough to beat (barring Game Breaker methods).
    • And the Cthulhu when you first encounter it in the Marble Gallery. They only guard a way back to the entrance but they are very difficult at this point in the game. They are easy when you encounter them in the Inverted Castle though, since this much later in the game.
    • Victory Armor from Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. It's a pushover when you meet it just before Death, but until then, watch out.
    • The Devil from Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
      • So much so that the final room of The Arena (a series of fights with large groups of Demonic Spiders with no magic) is populated only by a single Devil.
    • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood has a few. There is an armour type knight very similar to the later Guardian that can do heavy damage. In one level, there are two at once, in a tiny room with little breathing room. Better hope you have enough hearts to item crash!
      • In Stage 5, there is a painting that moves. If you get hit by it, it somehow catches you and then snaps in half, instantly killing your character. Just keep attacking it from a distance as it flies around the room or you're fucked.
  • Darknuts and Iron Knuckles from The Legend of Zelda are frequently like this, when they aren't used as bosses or mini bosses themselves. Both The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker feature Multi Mook Melees that end in fights against three Darknuts, and they're arguably more difficult than the final bosses. (However, in Twilight Princess, if you have the Magic Armor that eats money, you're pretty well set or Wind Waker's Magic Armor that eats magic, and a few blue or green potions...
    • Twilight Princess does use a Darknut as a miniboss, it's widely considered a Best Boss Ever, given that you can unleash your full arsenal of moves against it.
    • The Ball and Chain Soldiers of A Link to the Past can be this thanks to their high health and hard-to-dodge weapon. A Link Between Worlds even includes one with a flaming ball and chain in a final dungeon Boss Rush where the other three you fight were the official bosses of their previous dungeons.
  • The Alpha Sections in Beyond Good & Evil; not to mention that they're everywhere. While they do have a multitude of weaknesses and tricks that can be used to take them out easily, taking them head-on is almost guranteed to end in your ownage. They have mines, lasers, and hammers that deal tons of damage, and they have shields that make them extremely hard to hit. Luckily, you can sneak past them most of the time.
  • The Dust Men mecha conduits in inFAMOUS are two stories tall, have attacks involving chucking fiery projectiles the size of cars and an equally fiery gattling gun, and are armored HP on legs that take a good five-to-ten minutes to kill. The first time you see one, you fight it alone on an empty field...but after that, they populate the game world, and are often surrounded by boatloads of other enemies and distractions. One particularly harrowing Hold the Line mission involves fighting off two at once while two dozen other Dust Men pepper you with gunfire around them.
  • Blue Dragon, the Aquamantis homage from 3D Dot Game Heroes. It does ridiculous amounts of damage and can take a few hits to boot. The good news is it rarely shows up, the bad news is it can show virtually anywhere.
  • In Goof Troop, Cannons. Since they show up at least once per level, typically require the same combat strategy as bosses, and use increasingly difficult rooms to fight in, one could see them as unofficial mini-bosses.
  • The Last of Us has Bloaters, heavily armored, extremely accurate when throwing things at you, and can waste you in two hits if you're not careful. And in one hit if you get into melee.
  • The Koshas from Donkey Kong 64 are immune to almost all attacks, wield gigantic spiked clubs that can deal twice the normal damage with just one hit, and in Crystal Caves, a giant one causes level-wide tremors that make debris and stalactites fall all over the place.

    Action Game 
  • The Alto Angelo armors in Devil May Cry 4. Tough, fast and hard-hitting, almost always in packs with their Bianco Angelo lesser versions. Fortunately, there is an exploit to clean house fast, and paying Homage to Zangief with the Devil Triggered Buster against them is always a satisfying payoff.
    • And the Shadow monsters in the original Devil May Cry. While not quite as difficult as the actual bosses (most of which are That One Boss), they qualify in every other respect and would be difficult bosses in most games.
    • Devil May Cry 4 also has the Blitz enemies. Spends most of it's time encased in a lightning shield which hurts Dante/Nero should they melee attack them whilst it's up, leaving you to spam the weak ranged moves to get rid of the shield. They also love to teleport around the arena in a ball of lightning, are invincible whilst doing so, and will appear and strike without warning, sometimes right in front of you. Thankfully in story you only have to deal with one at a time, but in the Bloody Palace survival mode, you have to deal with 2 at once. The only thing that makes these guys even slightly easier is that because they're blind they sometimes attack anything that fights in the room. Then if you take them down to a certain evel of health, but don't do enough damage to finish them them during their shield down phase, it Turns Red and in addition to normal attacking at even greater speeds, will find great joy in trying to spear you with their horns, and blow up with you impaled on them (thankfully, like all DMC grabs, this can be broken by entering DT mode).
    • Devil May Cry 3 Double Subverted with the Hell Vanguard. Initially, you fight him on level two as a proper boss fight. Some stages later, Hell Vanguards appear regularly in the middle of levels as if they're regular foes. In some instances, you fight two of them at once, and Hell Vanguards are not the kind of enemy you want to fight two-on-one. In Bloody Palace mode, there are levels where you can fight three of them at once. When a game turns an earlier boss into an Mini-Boss for kicks, you know it wants to murder your ass.
  • DmC: Devil May Cry gives us Dreamrunner, which, for all intents and purposes, are actually a Palette Swap offshoot of an actual boss, Drekavac. These ninjas can and will block everything you shoot at them, sometimes even reflecting them, are damn fast, and when comboed can suddenly break out of your combo and counter you with nigh-undodgeable attacks. Fighting them in harder difficulty modes where you'll see them together with other enemies, sometimes OTHER Dreamrunners, and especially in Hell and Hell where you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder, is a nightmare.
    • Let's not forget the Witch. Annoying enough in lower difficulty thanks to their shield which can only br broken with Angel weapons and that they can teleport as well as shoot homing attacks, and worst of all, they can transfer their shield to another enemy, but in hard mode where they'll get paired with the WORST enemies (including said Dreamrunners), you'll be pulling your hair out.
  • In God Hand, sometimes, when you kill an enemy, a demon jumps out. Now normally these are no rougher than the standard Giant Mook, although they can really suck if you're low on health. But after Level Four, there is a chance that when you kill an enemy, one of the Four-Armed Demons will emerge. The first one you met in the game got its own cutscene. They have a beam attack, deal great damage, and carry a massive trident. If at all possible, run for your freaking life.
    • Similarly, the Sensei. Like demons, these samurai-wannabes have unique health bars and the first one got a cutscene. Deadly reach, pretty damn resilient and powerful. Consider them a That One Boss Preview - if you have difficulty with them, their Old Master, the Great Sensei, will eliminate you with very little effort.
  • Bayonetta has the enemy duo known as Gracious and Glorious. While they don't have a huge amount of health or hit extremely hard, they make up for it in sheer speed: the two of them can easily hit and combo you, and it's difficult to keep pummeling them even after you've gotten some solid hits in because they can break out of your combos so easily. To make matters worse, it's impossible to use Witch Time against them through normal methods. Oh, and expect to face off with Gracious and Glorious more frequently on Hard difficulty and above.
  • In Anarchy Reigns, there is a survival mode that pits you and two others (possibly CPU) against 10 waves of assorted Mooks from single player. But there is one unique one... And it's... the Bar-Bot from the cutscenes? The one that was the Butt Monkey of said cutscenes? Yeah, that one. Here's something interesting, the Bar-Bot will kick your ass. You remember the Cybrid Joes? These are ten times worse. They move faster, hit harder and have a lot more health. To top it off, they have THEIR OWN RAMPAGE MODE. Many a player has fallen short of the finish line fighting these guys. But it gets better! In Mad Survival, a harder DLC edition of survival, the fifth wave pits you up against two Maxes and three Bar-Bots at once. Have fun!
  • Ninja Gaiden Black has the Vigoorian Berserkers. They have a crapton of health, don't flinch easily and turn red after a certain amount of damage. All of their attacks are very damaging and guard breaking (except in the PS3 version Sigma where you can block the first attack), and while not exceptionally fast, they are certainly not slow. When you fight two or three of them, the others will keep their distance, which would be very nice of them if they didn't create magic landmines under your feet while you're fighting. Oh, and needless to say, they will make you pay dearly for trying to spam the Flying Swallow (a fast, medium range diving attack).

    Beat Em Up 
  • In Final Fight the Andore family serve this purpose. Andore Juniors are just considered Smash Mook of sorts, but starting with Sr.'s and above are horrible. Stage 3 even has two (or three if there are 2 players; the third Andore is called Uncle) called Father and Grandpa which serve as a Mini-Boss but nothing to indicate that they were any more than just mooks.
  • Likewise for Double Dragon, the Abobo.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Hunters in the Halo series. Also to some extent the Gold Elites (later known as Zealots) in the first game (which slice and dice your Red Shirt Army) and the Silver Ultra ones in the second. Especially in the Arbiter Mausoleum, aka "Breaking Benjamin Room" Multi-Mook Melee. Zealots and Ultras stay this way, and the Brute Chieftains (when they finally appear) count as well.
    • In the first Halo once one knows how to deal with them the Hunters become ridiculously easy, especially evident on the hardest difficulty, where even the lowliest Elite is a dangerous threat. Simply get close to the Hunter, wait for it to try to melee, dodge and circle around to its back and put a single pistol or shotgun round into the exposed flesh For Massive Damage, which brings them down in a single stroke. They fixed this in the next game, where Hunters have an attack designed specifically to crush players standing directly behind them, and it takes multiple sniper shots (as opposed to one shot from any precision weapon) into their unarmored areas to kill them.
      • By Halo: Reach Hunters had reached some sort of boss in mook clothing nirvana. They take ridiculous amounts of ammunition to kill, are near impossible to get behind no matter how much you run, jump or even jetpack over them, their attacks are near one hit kill on Normal, and one hit kill by Legendary, they are faster, tougher, and quicker. The best bet is literally to sit as far away as possible and rocket spam them, which isn't always an option. Even going up behind them and shooting their exposed backs with the shotgun takes 3-4 hits on Heroic, and more on Legendary. And since they'll turn around and take Extreme Melee Revenge on you as soon as you fire once, and your shotgun is pump-action...Even plasma grenades are significantly reduced in effectiveness, because the Hunters can catch them on the shield.
    • Also in Reach's third mission, another pseudo-boss encounter involves a pair of indigenous life-form giant reptilian monkey-like creatures called Gutas who you find in the middle of stomping on various grunts, which are not seen anywhere else in the game, and are surprisingly dangerous if you actually do grab their attention. There's also the improved Elite Zealots and the new General rank.
  • In BioShock, certain machine gun-wielding enemies in Apollo Square have as much or MORE health as the game's major bosses, but are otherwise completely undistinguishable from the regular machine gun-wielding enemies who have much less health.
    • Leadhead splicers are supposedly resistant to bullets, so other weapons should still be effective.
    • Then there is the matter of "Rose" a spider splicer with several times more health than other spider splicers. She is the first splicer you see and is virtually unkillable in one encounter, only becoming vulnerable later after she lures you into a trap.
    • BioShock Infinite also has this but in a different way - there is only really one enemy that's treated as a miniboss, and that's the Siren. Firemen, Zealots, Motorized Patriots, and Handymen all get their introductory fight but then appear right along with other mooks. Zealots (also known as Crows) like to try and sneak attack you, and their bird forms are easy to glance over. Beasts deal in explosive weapons and have metal armor that makes them much harder to kill than standard mooks, but don't even count as heavy hitters like the rest of the mentioned foes, so at least you can use Possession to quickly kill them.
  • The Shamblers in Quake. Horrific Yeti-type monster with a ton of HP, resistance to stunning and explosive damage, a nasty close-up claw attack, and a lethal line-of-sight lightning attack, similar to the Archvile's flame attack in Doom II. The spideresque Vores too, which appear as a sort of Mini-Boss at the end of the second episode. Their homing exploding spiked ball attack is nigh-impossible to dodge, and would chase you at high speed through winding corridors. You had better know the level like the back of your hand and hope you don't run into any obstacles.
  • From the Doom series:
    • Arch-Viles from Doom II. They have a very powerful flame attack that does heavy damage if you're in their line of sight when it finishes, and they can resurrect dead monsters as often as they like, with the exception of Cyberdemons, Spider Masterminds, and of course other Arch-Viles. They are the fastest moving enemies in the game as well, meaning they can quickly get themselves in position to attack you. They also have the lowest pain chance of any enemy, meaning if there's nowhere to hide, it's very hard to interrupt its attack by making it flinch. Oh, and their toughness is approaching 3/4 that of a Baron of Hell, two of which showed up as the Boss Battle of Doom's first episode before showing up as a Degraded Boss in various levels in Doom and Doom II thereafter.
      • Thankfully though they do have a maximum range, and are unable to attack if you're over a certain distance away. Unless you hit them first, in which case they will retaliate against your aggression. The only other saving grace is that if another monster accidentally hits them, the Arch-vile will immediately target that other monster and attack it instead, possibly buying you some time.
    • The stand-alone source port mod Scoredoom has quite a big variety of these type of enemies, with many of the superboss enemies (each one having 6000 hitpoints, with the Superdemon having only 4000) being much worse than the UDoom Endbosses.
    • Brutal Doom brings many otherwise medium-level enemies to miniboss status, and you encounter them all the friggin' time. The Barons of Hell and Hell Knights, in particular, get a lot more health, double damage and an alternate attack that lets them deal triple the firepower.
    • Hell Knights in Doom 3 are that particular game's answer to the Barons of Hell. And just like the original, you fight a pair of them before warping into hell. This time, you probably have the BFG, although you lose it shortly after.
    • Bruisers in Resurrection of Evil - take a Hell Knight, cross him with a Mancubus, and then stand the hell back.
  • Quake II and Quake IV had the Tanks, which themselves have an Elite Mook variation, Gladiators, Harvesters, Iron Maidens(Q4), Stream Protectors, Heavy Hover Tanks(Tank plus Assault Commander from Duke Nukem 3D), etc. One room near the end of Q4 is a Multi-Mook Melee with these types of enemies.
    • The Super Tank, and the Hornet/Tankflyer, which may be considered King Mooks that reappear as Degraded Bosses.
    • The Quake III: Arena Mod "Hunt" subverts it a little by having no actual bosses. But out of the three types of monsters, the Titans are definitely the closest thing you can get. (Though they are complete raving lunatics and will attack their own team, including other Titans). The best strategy for these guys is to snipe from afar or to hit them with the BFG. The mod itself is so customizable that it's simple to make EVERY SINGLE ENEMY like this.
    • The Q4 version of the Gladiator was probably the worst regular enemy in that game, other than maybe the Heavy Hover Tank. Made of Iron, Deflector Shields, deadly Super Nailgun, and its railgun was a lot more unpredictable and harder to dodge. And it only deactivates its shield when it's about to fire the railgun.
  • Purr-Linn Juggernauts, Lords of the Flesh, Mantid Soldiers, and Elite Primagen Troopers in Turok 2. All are Made of Iron, have small weak points, and attack with deadly plasma bolts. The Juggernauts and Flesh Lords are also Demonic Spiders, due to their unusual agility for their size.
  • Voltigores in Half-Life: Opposing Force. Giant Race-X monsters with ungodly health, incredibly powerful electrical attacks with area of effect damage, and the ability to self-destruct upon death. Late in the game, you come up against a massive horde of them, in a completely black sewer tunnel.
  • The Inquisitors in Strife have as many hit points as some of the bosses, can fly, and their grenades deal tremendous damage. There's only a handful in the game, thankfully.
  • Khnums from Serious Sam 3: BFE are big enough to stomp you into jelly, and they soak up rockets and C4 like they're going out of style. (They're also Immune to Bullets.) They lob handfuls of fireballs which move extremely fast and decimate your health and armor. As if that wasn't bad enough, they have the brains to Lead The Target and dodge incoming fire. And despite all this, you will encounter groups of them in the later levels of the game, even in the middle of Multi-Mook Melees and War Sequences.
  • Borderlands 2 has the Badass Pyro Threshers. Threshers are already pains in the ass to kill, and Badasses are immensely more powerful than the bog standard Mook. Combining one and the other makes an almost ludicrously powerful flaming sandworm that has a truly ridiculous amount of HP and can down a character just by erupting out of the ground.
    • Varkids can evolve by putting themselves in pods in the middle of a battle. Let an Ultimate Badass Varkid do that and what do you get ? Vermivorous The Invincible, who could be called "Crawmerax III" or "Terramorphous II" seeing how much of a pain he is.
    • Rabid Skags and Stalkers. They do not register as Badasses but more often than not they are much more of a danger due to their speed and power. Technically every enemy type has one (Angelic Guards, Juggernauts, Bullyrots, to name a few) but they are either clearly badasses (Juggs) or are only mildly more dangerous than their counterparts. A single Rabid can harass an entire team of four if left unchecked, and they rarely spawn alone...
  • In Perfect Dark Zero, at the beginning of the Trinity Infiltration mission, you fight "The Brothers", a Fat and Skinny duo in cowboy-like uniforms who can take about five times more punishment than normal enemies despite not wearing armor, and are armed with Laptop Guns, which they can throw out as turrets, with DY-357's as a secondary weapon.
  • Descent had Fusion Hulks, gigantic versions of the Hulk armed with the most powerful primary weapon in the game, the Fusion Cannon. They have a ton of health (being one of only three things in the game that can tank a direct hit by a Mega Missile, and the other two are explicit bosses), and a single shot from the cannons can bring you down to half health, regardless of difficulty. Fortunately, they are almost always alone or in pairs at the worst, but there is a Mook Maker in one of the final levels that generates one of them every six seconds. Run.
    • Descent 2 introduced a similar idea, with the robot affectionately dubbed the Red Fatty Jr. Another miniboss - while the projectiles it fires aren't half as damaging as the Fusion Hulk's, it has even more HP - the most out of any non-boss enemy in Descent 1 and 2.

    Hack And Slash 
  • Bujingai has several minibosses in the forms of demonic "Overlords" of Tears, Sin, Despair, and Pain. They look like basically any other demon, except for the facts that they're the only enemies aside from the final boss to have a counter meter like you do and that whenever you see one you're immediately trapped in that area.
  • The Oblivion Knights in Diablo 2 and the minions of Destruction in the expansion. The first acting a lot like a boss would: commanding large armies of minions while bombing you with powerful attacks and curses, while the second is powerful enough to take out a player character 1 on 1. Yes, both are normal creatures. God help you if you meet a unique variant (and you WILL). Luckily, they only appear directly before the boss battle of their respective acts.
    • Interestingly in the first game, Diablo himself, the final boss of the game, is treated as a regular mook known simply as "The Dark Lord".
  • Lu Bu. Full...freakin...stop. Especially if you're playing the older games. Since by the time you fought him, the only non generic officers you might have fought by the time you reach him is Zhang Jiao and possibly Zhang Liao, he doesn't seem like he'd be that much of a challenge. The game is at least nice enough to tell you to don't pursue Lu Bu...most of the time.

    MMORPG 
  • In Final Fantasy XI, woe unto anyone stupid enough to attack a bunny past Level 30 or so unless they are Easy Prey or easier and even then they can be quite hard. The higher you get in levels, the more absurd these little furred critters become. Once you start finding them in areas like Buburimu, they even gain new abilities. Such abilities include area attacks that do high damage, a blinding attack that hits a cone in front of it (does more damage based upon how much health it has left, at near-full health, it can near one-shot a player), and a single, hard-hitting melee attack. These rabbits also get a self-heal that involves digging a carrot out of the ground to heal itself (which heals for an absurd amount of health). They have a very high evasion rate, and their regular melee attacks hit harder than most other mobs' attacks do. A bunny that rates "Incredibly Tough" though barely so will mop the floor with a group that is easily capable of taking down the same level goblin, dhalmel (think, camel), or other baddie.
  • World of Warcraft has its own classification for such monsters: elite. While those monsters mostly show up in dungeons geared for a group of player capable to deal with them, but some of them are found in the open world and can quickly kill unsuspecting players. The three most infamous examples:
    • WANTED: HOGGER - Woe to any newbies who think he is just your average level 11 gnoll!
      • This low-level mob's fearsome reputation has been immortalized in the recent expansion. Not only is he a memory alongside raid and dungeon bosses you may fight during one encounter, he now has his very own statistic tracked by the game: Deaths by Hogger.
      • Hogger got so famous that he lost this trope. In Cataclysm, he was moved and is the new endboss of the Stormwind Stockade dungeon. This effectively turns Hogger into a King Mook.
    • Devilsaurs, T-Rex-like enemies that patrol an entire zone. Unlike other giant enemies, their movement isn't easy to hear, earning them a reputation of being sneaky.
      • Devilsaurs also have a rare elite King Mook named King Mosh, who is absurdly powerful and very difficult to solo even for massively overleveled players - basically THE Boss of this whole race of Bosses In Mook Clothing. And yes, he too can jump you and is not drastically different from other Devilsaurs. Albeit classified as "rare", meaning his respawn time is fairly long, he is usually there because his mediocre loot is not worth the time and effort needed to kill him.
    • Sons of Arugal, scoring bonus points for looking a lot like regular enemies in the same area, but being as tough as their brothers found in a nearby dungeon. And being ten levels higher than anything else in the area. Fortunately, their numbers were cut back somewhat in a patch.
    • Fel Reavers, being seventy-feet tall mechanical constructs that blot out the horizon, sound like a freight train piling into a factory of tubas, and shake the landscape for yards around with every step. They seem about as stealthy as a sumo wrestler wearing full plate mail trying to tiptoe through a room of sleeping cats, but just you try and sit down and rest for a moment in the Hellfire Peninsula without experiencing that dread moment of looking behind you only to see an eclipse of black metal and green fire just close enough to ruin your day. As an aside, for a brief period during the beta, the Fel Reavers' models accidentally switched to that of a regular bear; with predictable results. More than a few lives were lost to the dreaded Bear Reavers.
      • Their scream is like a hellish pig squealing through Pink Floyd's concert microphone system. You never forget the first time you hear that scream as you start wondering why the ground is suddenly shaking...
    • Another classification of monster is "rare", which only spawn once every several hours, can (usually with the higher levelled ones) take a concentrated group effort to down, and act as mobile loot pinatas. Rares are distinguished by the smaller silver dragon around their portrait. Finally, you can combine both types into the "elite rare" class, which has a big silver dragon around its portrait and usually a necklace of player skulls around its neck...
      • One good example of a "rare elite" was Zaricotl, though he was hit with a nerfbat in recent patches and became just rare. Elite and terrifyingly overleveled for the zone, this vulture could tear players apart with ease. To add insult to injury, he had a unique property: after killing a player he would emote "Zaricotl seems much calmer now that it has eaten the remains of (player name)" and become temporarily non-agressive. That's right, he's not content with killing you, he also devours your corpse.
    • The Storm Giants that patrol Howling Fjord may also count. Thankfully, they have very loud footsteps, so you can at least hear them coming from a long way off.
    • Giants tend to be this in general. Especially dangerous are Sea Giants, mostly because they're arguably the most common type of giant. There are a quite a few wandering around Desolace, probably one of the first times you'll see them. But the waters of Feralas and Tanaris have veritable armies of them patrolling the depths and beaches.
    • Garginox, the flesh giant in the Eastern Plaguelands. He patrols a single area for no apparent reason other than to screw players over. He's got nearly 28000 health and has dungeon endboss-like damage output. Worse, the area he's in is a questing area, and if you happen to be looking in the wrong direction, turns out he's much quicker and quieter than his mountainous size would imply.
    • Although few and far between, regular nonelite mooks displaying this are not unheard of. As an example, the now removed Scalding and Boiling elementals were a nightmare to kill as a mage, since they were immune to Frost and ungodly resistant to Fire. Scalding elementals also had a powerful instant spell dealing heavy fire damage and stunning the target. Another elemental example, the nonelite rare Eck'alom (now nerfed) had a Freeze spell, a stun lasting 12 seconds, inflicting continuous damage and not breaking on damage - 12 seconds being more than enough to kill any player approximately its own level.
  • EverQuest was so full of this trope it had its own name: the dreaded undercon. Monsters way more powerful than their level (shown prosaically through the /consider command) indicated, many a newbie and soloer have died to undercons over the years. In the game's early days almost every mob was an undercon after level 20, meaning that unless a player was a dedicated solo class, they had to group to progress.
    • Holly Windstalker was a particularly notorious example. Not only did she undercon, but she appeared to be a friendly, fairly weak NPC innocently wandering a low-level zone. She would also immediately aggro if the character was an "evil" class or caught harassing the local wildlife (which the zone was full of, most of them aggressive on their own), making her this trope, a Wake-Up Call Boss and That One Boss all combined. Her nickname was "the bitch" for a reason.
  • Ultima Online had a fair amount of these. Their were a limited number of sprites for monsters and many monsters used the same sprite with a palette swap. For instance, one player could handily dispatch an air elemental. A team of experienced players could take down a blood elemental. An acid elemental was a sort of walking nuke and would occasionally kite a player into the wilderness where it would slaughter unsuspecting travelers and haunt the dreams of children until the server reset.
    • Likewise, their were at least four different creatures that used the demon sprite, ranging from minor demons that weren't especially horrid, to the Balron (not to be mistaken for the similar yet totally distinct Balrog), which had one of the highest hit point totals in the game and could outrun a mounted player in a straight run. Which didn't stop someone from soloing them for fun. While riding a Llama.
  • All over the place in MapleStory, as well as Fluffy the Terrible, as most enemies look either harmless, cute, or similar to another enemy. There are often also one or two much more deadly enemies in areas filled with more level friendly enemies. This would be a lot less egregious if there was a way to tell how strong an enemy is in-game other then letting it hit you.
    • They fixed this, sort of. You can either click on it to open the book to sort of gauge its level, or you can attack it, know for sure what level it is, then get killed because you pissed it off.
      • They have totally fixed it, as attacking an enemy now shows its HP Meter, name, and level, along with a coloration of its name. Yellow means it's more than 20 levels lower than you (too weak to even bother killing, as there is an EXP penalty for killing a monster more than 10 levels lower than you); white indicates a monster within 20 levels of you, either below (the closer to you the better most of the time) or above (usually still okay until the difference is at least 7 or 8); red is for monsters more than 20 levels higher than you (run). Needless to say, you will sometimes die because that little furball in Leafre was around level 100 and you didn't realize it until you attacked.
  • Warhammer Online loves this trope. Fighting a bunch of nameless mooks? Well odds are there will be one in that pack wandering around somewhere who is a champion which means many more HP and hits a lot harder. They also tend to be physically identical to the nameless mooks.
  • Gaia Online's MMO zOMG! has the Mask of Death and Rebirth enemies in the Ruins. As you attack a Mask, it cycles through three forms, each of which has a large health meter and a supply of status-inducing Eye Beams. Use Iron Will? Even at maximum rage, the Mask can overcome it. Bring friends? So did it. And not only do they spawn in areas you need to go through to finish the plot, but the plot itself includes a farming quest for Jewel Eyes. Have fun with that!
  • Battle Stations features a few of these. When exploring, a higher level player may encounter such enemies as the Royo Skycutter or worse, the Hydra. These creatures are almost impossible to beat by players in the level ranges for which they appear.
  • The Stone Summit mobs in the elite dungeon Slaver's Exile of Guild Wars. Unlike the haphazard build of many enemies, these have strong and coordinated builds with multiple resurrection skills. On top of that, they possess all the usual monster perks like having effectively infinite energy and being almost half again your level, reducing the damage they take and increasing the damage you take.
    • Expanded with the Guild Wars: Beyond updates. New questlines introduce new mooks throughout Cantha and Kryta who have the same perks as the Exiled Stone Summit.
    • For that matter, ArenaNet's definition of "boss" means that many of the final bosses in campaigns and dungeons are easily mistaken for regular mooks. They are deemed "boss-like foes", which means while they enjoy all the perks of being a boss (double damage and unique abilities), the player cannot copy their skills and they lack the signature boss aura.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Baiowulf, which is an Ultra Rare encounter, and the only thing in the game which drops the incredibly valuable Talisman of Baio. It also has triple the stats of any other encounter in the area. It's still a pushover if you're backtracking, but encountering it when you first unlock the area means you're likely to get beaten up by it.
    • Adventurers in the undersea zone Octopus's Garden should be wary of the moister oyster, a super-tough monster with substantial resistance to all types of damage encountered there on a semi-rare basis.
  • Perfect World seems to love dropping the occasional level 100 monster in relatively low-level areas.
  • Atlantica Online's dungeons have, rare enemies that for all intents and purposes are almost as strong as a boss and share their immunity to stuns and other incapacitating effects. Their loot doesn't compensate for the trouble at all, and with a few exceptions they aren't relevant to any quest either.
  • In Dynasty Warriors Online, there are a few ways this comes into play, all of them more YMMV ways to think of them as mooks.
    • Players, when they set up correctly, and completely take you by surprise when you go in to attack, such as being able to murder your tanking setup in one hit, or having rendered themselves immune to flinching beforehand, meaning that when you attacked they could just turn and bring out the pain, or by using an item that allows them to change their move-set, but not their stats, allowing them to attack you in a way you didn't see coming.
    • If you have yet to face a general, the characters from the original games rather than a created character, you may be surprised on how much damage they can take, dish out, and the fact that they don't flinch to almost (or sometimes) all of your attacks. Aside from their battle aura, you may fully mistake them for another player, meaning that they seem so very mookish. It doesn't help that using specific items, players can temporarily turn into them.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has three separate classifications of enemies tougher than standard-issue mooks: Strong, Elite, and Champion. Strong enemies are usually found alone, as opposed to packs of three for basic foes, and put up a significant fight. It's not uncommon for one to take out a player who made a particular blunder or aggroed one enemy too many. Elites are almost always isolated fights in open zones (in instanced Heroic and Flashpoint zones, which are meant for groups, Elites are the basic enemy), and are in many cases more difficult than actual bosses; indeed, most bosses are elite-grade. Champions exist for two reasons — as a challenge for groups, or to obliterate players who wander into the opposite faction's territory.
  • Runescape has a skill called Dungeoneering in which the player travels through a cave called Daemonheim fighting monsters. Sometimes, it seems, that monsters and their levels are random, which means you'll find an ordinary looking mook who is severely overpowered. For example, a level 95 Giant Rat (who are usually level 2).
    • Tormented Demons spawn with a flame shield that has to be removed with a specific demon-slaying sword, swap around protection prayers to block your attack style, and can hit incredibly hard.
    • The Glacors fit the bill perfectly. They have loads of health, can only be feasibly killed with fire magic, summon flunkies around half health, and take on a passive buff from the final flunky you kill.
  • Spiral Knights presents us with Trojans and Deadnaughts. Both of them carry shields which make them impervious to frontal attacks(apart from bombs). The former is almost impossible to shield push(which, starting from Tier 2, becomes vital to your survival), hits like a truck and can inflict Shock on you with its Area of Effect attack. The latter looks almost puny by comparison... until you realize it can revive fallen Zombies/Bombies. Both of them appear very infrequently.
    • For an actual boss in mook's clothing, we have Maulos, The Big Iron and Arkus. The first and the last are Trojan's reskins(albeit with different attacks), the second one is Battlepod's variation.
  • Plenty of variations on this theme appear in The Lord of the Rings Online. There are areas of the open world map designed to be tackled by groups rather than single players; a solo player who stumbles into them will find ordinary on-level mooks are extremely difficult to kill. (This is usually achieved by giving them much, much more HP than ordinary mobs as well as nastier attacks.) The game also generates rare, uniquely-named wandering mobs that are much tougher than ordinary landscape creatures. Most of these don't look any different than ordinary mooks, though, so they can be a nasty surprise to the inattentive player.
  • Wildstar features 'Prime' rank foes, which are much more powerful than comparable foes in a given area. Not only do they typically have much larger and more powerful telegraph attacks than a normal enemy, they also possess layers of "Interrupt Armor" that makes it almost impossible for a solo player (or an uncoordinated team) to disrupt their attacks and expose their weaknesses. Prime foes look identical to their more common brethren, save for a red glow. You encounter them as early as the second zone you visit, and if you fail to recognize that "red glow = bad", they will kill you.

    Platform Game 
  • The Red Demon/Red Arremer from the Ghosts N Goblins series. It dodges your attacks with frustrating consistency, its dive attack is hard to dodge, and because of its HP, you have to dodge it a lot.
  • The obscure Platformer Scaler has Dragon War Beasts, enormous monsters with several attacks, they're only vulnerable after performing a certain attack, and gobs of health. They're usually only found at the end of Multi Mook Melees. However, there's also an extra-fast, camoflauging monster with high defense and HP that shows up all over the place - it's very annoying.
  • Big Eye (essentially an 80's-style telephone on a pogo stick) from Mega Man 1. Sure, the game is Nintendo Hard, but these things are three times as tall and wide as Mega Man, take an immense number of hits to kill (20 buster shots), are immune to many of the boss weapons, and take off a third of Mega Man's health bar with one collision. Not to mention that they hop at Mega Man with impressive speed. The only way to get away from them is to run under them when they do an extra-big hop, which happens at random. It gets a bit easier when you get Ice Man's weapon, which freezes them in place for a few seconds, allowing you to either escape, or to switch to the P-Shooter and unload. Almost every Mega Man game since then had their own Boss in Mook Clothing, but none are as notorious (or stupid-looking) as Big Eye.
  • The originally-named "Obsidian Enforcers" in Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. A few of them show up in the last few levels, and although their attacks aren't any harder to dodge than the normal enemies of their type, they have approximately 1.65 metric boatloads of Hit Points. It's entirely possible to empty the entire ammunition supply of a level 1 RYNO IV into one on Challenge Mode and have it survive. They don't get a health bar like the other type of miniboss, either, which brings up the truly horrifying thought that maybe they were just intended to be regular enemies.
  • Examples from the Metroid series:
    • The Black Space Pirates in Zero Mission. You can usually just run past them, but there are two you must defeat in the final escape sequence. Trouble is, they're much, much harder than regular pirates. Bad enough under normal conditions; tragic if you barely scraped past the final boss, which is likely in a low-percent run, and even more so in a 100% run, where the final boss is greatly leveled up. These two bastards caused more retries and general frustration than anything else in the game until a good AI exploit was found.
    • In several games, Ridley has a pair of souped-up pirates as his guards. They're no real threat in Fusion, but in Super Metroid, they'll trash you easily if you don't know what you're doing. It doesn't help that Ridley is That One Boss.
    • And let's not forget the metroids themselves. They don't look like much, but they're a lot more agile than most enemies, are resistant to many attacks, and do a lot of damage fast once they latch onto you.
    • The Fargul Hatcher from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. It's in only one room in the game, and that's a good thing. It's only vulnerable while its mouth is opened- trouble is, it spews swarms of Fargul Wasps while doing this, and the wasps hunt you down. Meaning, 9 times out of 10, you'll be fighting the wasps more than the Hatcher. By the time the first swarm is dead, another will just be released. Last thing, the Hatcher itself has a ton of health.
    • Also, from the original Prime, the Baby Sheegoths, at least when you first encounter them. Can deal out huge amounts of damage, freeze you, take a serious beating, and are only vulnerable from behind. If you missed the Charge Beam earlier, you're going to break your thumb on the A button.
      • Grenchlers from Echoes are even worse. They do even nastier damage than the Baby Sheegoths, can jump up ledges, and their shells have rather wonky hit detection, making landing hits with the Dark Beam even harder than normal. Even worse, you have to fight a number of them underwater before you get the Gravity Boost.
  • Komato Annihilators from Iji. 4.7 metre tall death machines (good luck trying to jump over it), they have a large arsenal of weaponry, a melee attack thrice as powerful as any other enemy's, so much HP that they seem invincible, and an anti-knockback system preventing you from stunning them. They give a huge amount of ammo and nano if killed, but often not enough to make up for the ammo you spent killing them.
    • Yukabacera from the same game is literally one of these. He looks like an ordinary Tasen Soldier, but he is even faster than Iji herself (who is supposed to be the fastest moving person in the game, mind you), has plenty of HP (50 to be exact) and has weapons that could only be given to someone with a Tasen Stat of 10 and a Komato Stat of 10. (The highest level any stats can be) Kill him, however, and you'll not only obtain tons of ammo and nano, but the Scrambler as well.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • The Gatling Groink from Pikmin 2. It uses a powerful bombing attack with a wide blast radius, capable of killing many of your Pikmin in a single hit. It can fire a long way and usually has a wide "territory," meaning it's capable of reaching your Pikmin almost anywhere. Your captains can't really kill it on their own, and it has a shield that prevents it from being attacked from the front at all. To make matters worse, its health actually begins to regenerate once you "kill" it—so it'll just come back unless you have your Pikmin quickly take it back to your ship, which does it in for good.
    • The Adult Bulbear from the same game deserves mentioning as well. Unlike most enemies, the Bulbear will actively pursue your Pikmin once it runs into them. It will not stop until it is killed, and it can take quite a beating. Finally, it does the same health regeneration thing as the Gatling Groink, so you have to take it to the ship quickly, or you have to do the whole thing over again. Also, it's likely that you'll have to deal with Dwarf Bulbears along with the Adult, which will only increase Pikmin casualties. And in order to get 100% completion you have to, at one point, defeat 3 of them without any Pikmin dying.
    • The enemy placement in the underground levels is random every time you visit it, so the best way to defeat them is to just keep restarting until they spawn in a place that gives you a better strategic advantage.
    • The groinks appear in some multiplayer levels as well, which allows for an admittedly rather cheap but still legitimate strategy: particularly clever players can trick an enemy into leading their army past one of these.
  • In StarCraft: Brood War, during the final Terran mission, the Overmind deploys the "Torrasque", a souped-up version of the Ultralisk and a Shout-Out to Dungeons & Dragons' Tarrasque. It's an appropriate Shout-Out, for the Ultralisk is already a powerful unit, able to survive multiple Siege Tank shots and One-Hit Kill a normal marine: the Torrasque simply takes these traits Up to Eleven, allowing it to tank a Battlecruiser's Wave Motion Gun and still plow through even the most fortified positions. Worse, if it is killed, the Cerebrate in control of it simply respawns it a few minutes later. This makes it all the more satisfying when you can acquire your own Torrasque in one of the first Zerg missions and send him forth to single-handedly annihilate entire Terran bases. However, this one doesn't respawn if it dies, so take care not to let it take too many Siege Tank shots if you want to keep your super-Ultralisk.
  • Dawn of War II has Tyranid Carnifexes, enourmous, massively powerful creatures that will easily cleave through entire squads. There is one relatively early mission where the objective is the kill a Carnifex, and despite lacking any boss traits (special attacks and a health bar) it is just as difficult to kill. Attempting the Argus Gate mission— in which three Carnifexes attack simultaneously— without the Dreadnought is an exercise in futility.

    Rhythm Game 
  • The Rock Band games have these occasionally pop up in the forms of songs that are waaaayyy more difficult than their ranking indicates. The most infamous is probably the DLC song "Constant Motion", which is ranked at tier 5 out of 6, but contains what is probably the most difficult guitar solo of any song in the game (of which there are over 1000).
    • There's also "Can't Be Tamed" which most players will probably dismiss as a cakewalk at first glance due to only being a Tier 3 and being a pop song, but the solo section is so difficult that it should at least be a Tier-4 category.
  • Dance Dance Revolution has several songs that are way harder than their difficulty ratings (in the older games, ranked out of 10) suggest, mainly because of stamina. "Flashdance (What a Feeling)" (8 on Heavy) and "So Deep (Perfect Sphere Remix)" (9 on Heavy, filled to the brim with tiring gallops) are probably the more infamous examples. Then for the U.S.-exclusive Universe 3, they managed to squeeze a 10-foot Oni chart out of "Conga" by Miami Sound Machine. It's one of the most clustered charts in the series, that playing without a speed mod is suicidal. Now, note that usually, licensed songs tend to be easier songs, and boss songs are usually not unlocked from the start of the game.
  • From the beatmania IIDX series (as of RED CS), there's Gambol Another, which has the exact same charts as the lower difficulties. The timing is so exact, that anything that isn't absolutely on target would be considered a "bad."

    Roguelike 
  • Of the many, many unique monsters in the Roguelike game Angband, only Sauron and Morgoth are mandatory Boss Battles, and even they don't appear in specific Boss Rooms on the levels they guard.
    • More standard examples of bosses in mooks' clothing include the Drolem (one of the earliest max-damage poison-breathers, and one reason you don't go past 2000 feet without poison resistance; also drops a pathetically small amount of treasure), the Greater Titan (summoning, lots of HP, high-damage melee attack), and the Great Wyrm of Power (as the description says, "it can crush stars with its might").
    • A monster is represented on the screen by a letter. Each letter can represent different subclasses. So getting used to fighting one type of creature, and then seeing the same letter and thinking it's no problem only to have it turn out to be a much harder creature to kill is somewhat unnerving.
  • Though a staple in most rogue-likes, Elona has a particularly nasty variety of them. Adamantium Golems are green golems with incredible power, defense, health, and damage-adding abilities. Note that up until this point, golems merely advance in power consistently. Don't mistake them for being this game's Incredible Hulk, however, they are actually his much more indestructible rival/ally Wolverine. By the time you land a second critical hit, which seems the only thing that will actually kill them, they may've healed up the damage from the first. In the lower levels, mutants qualify, as mutants spawn with A) a random amount of limbs, and B) totally random equipment, 30% of the time it is magical in nature. Woe to the player who discovers a three-armed mutant with an enhanced weapon and shield. Both of these are encountered more rarely than other random monster spawns at the same level. If in a dungeon whose levels randomly generate, the best course of action to deal with an adamantium golem is to zap it with a rod of teleport, then flee up or down the stairs and come back. Note that for the truly unlucky, any enemy in the game may spawn as a random dungeon's "last floor boss," making the Addies more terrifying still. See also quicklings, simply replace the abundance of defense with speed.
    • There is also the Shub-Niggurath, a rare spawn at about level 25+ , who is pretty tough to kill. Luckily, they are only half-assed hostile, prefering to summon other creatures to do their bidding or hit you with mind-screw sanity-altering affects, as their name would imply. They only directly attack you if you engage them in melee combat. Their biggest danger comes from the randomness of their summons, as they may summon something that will mop the floor with you, even if you're to the point you can one-shot a Shubby. Like the golem mentioned prior. Still, that's an incomprehensibly rare occurence. More often than not they may even summon neutral or friendly NPCs who will help you fight them off. It's all chance when dealing with these, really.
      • Then, there are those rare instances of monsters that spawn with "<>" wrapped around their names. They receive the same boosts to stats and health that other dungeon bosses recieve. Enemies with "<<>>", or worse, "{}" are even more powerful, but fortunately are extremely rare.
  • The Roguelike game Ancient Domains of Mystery has a number of these that, while rare, are extremely deadly. Emperor liches are a good example; they are powerful spellcasters and can damage the player's stats, summon numerous monsters and cast Death Ray. Diamond Golems absorb every element and have very high defense. Molochs will ruin primarily melee characters or characters with very low speed. Greater titans absorb every element, too, and shoot eternium quarrels (which hit hard) from a distance. Great Karmic Wyrms cast spells, are also immune to all elements, and hitting them makes the player unluckier with each hit.
  • Every game of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series populates some of the dungeons with Pokemon that are extremely overpowered when compared to others, often taking only Scratch Damage and potentially dishing out OHK Os if you're at a level where the normal Pokemon of the dungeon still pose a threat. Sometimes, they're kind enough to make the Pokemon in question always be sleeping when they appear, (Usually) making it possible to simply walk around them, but at other times, you just have to pray that you don't run into them.
    • Rescue Team has a somewhat sneaky example of this in the form of the Abra who appear in the later floors of the Wish Cave. Virtually all of the other enemy Pokemon you're facing at that point are either evolved or incapable of evolution, so one could easily dismiss first stage Pokemon like them as being a non-issue. However, their stats are drastically higher then those of the other Pokemon, and they'll easily wipe out an unprepared player who decides to disturb their sleep. A few floors later, they're replaced by their evolved form, Kadabra, who are even stronger, and are actually the highest leveled Pokemon in the dungeon, despite showing up around the halfway point.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is a little more merciful about this in the sense that any evolved Pokémon you see will be of the level required for their evolution at the lowest, thus making it obvious as to which Pokémon you shouldn't be messing with, plus when you do encounter them, they're almost always in a sleep that's so deep, they'll only wake up if you manage to actually cause damage to them. However, it still doesn't have any qualms about sticking Pokémon like Shelgon (Level 30) and Stoutland (level 32) into the Treasure Trove dungeon, which reduces your party to level 5, and is short enough that you'll likely only be in the low to mid 10s when you encounter them. They don't sleep all the time like most overpowered Pokemon, and the latter of the three is tough enough that fixed damage attacks are the only way to put a dent in it.
      • It also has an unpleasant surprise waiting for players who open locked doors expecting free treasure like in the previous titles, as the rooms now not only house treasure, but Pokémon like Braviary and Excadrill whose levels exceed those of the ones fought in the endgame, yet you can encounter them as early as the third dungeon.
      • Thanks to enemy Pokemon now being able to evolve upon defeating one of your party members or eating a Joy Seed, a normal Pokemon is capable of becoming a Nigh Invulnerable killing machine if it manages to do so, as it'll immediately jump to the level required for its evolution (Which in the case of Pokémon like Litwick and Deino, is much higher then the level they're first encountered at).

    Roleplay 
  • Destroy The Godmodder: The UOSS was summoned with a rather large charge, but no special boss designation. It has one of the longest lifespans of an entity other than the godmodder to date and wiped the floor with the PGs before three absolutely massive elite mooks finally took it down.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The NES game Silver Surfer literally has this at the end of each stage that doesn't contain the boss. A regular mook which just happens to be a mini-boss, taking more hits than usual, and sending extra enemies out at you.
  • A few Touhou stages feature a "death fairy"/"doom fairy", a single normal-looking enemy with a health bar and attacks comparable to most boss spellcards. Notable ones are one in Stage 4 of Perfect Cherry Blossom, one in the Extra stage of Imperishable Night, and two in Stage 6 of Subterranean Animism, all right before the boss.
    • Speaking of fairies, Lily White in Phantasmagoria of Flower View is not too hard to evade on her own, but when you're dodging her attacks in the middle of a fight against Shikieiki in the midst of a Level 4 attack and a crapload of portals that spawn sticks whenever a bullet passes by, you better have a bomb ready.
  • The Web Game Enigmata 2: Genu's Revenge has four of these, which can randomly appear in a level:
    • Teramid Fragments can appear as early as the first level, and they have a ludicrous amount of health for an early-game enemy. However, they don't attack very often. There's also a blue version that is much larger, has more turrets, attacks more often and has even more hit points.
    • Nerozons (giant green and black ships) have a painful rapid machine gun, and take even longer to kill than Teramid Fragments.
    • Megazons (giant red and black ships) have 4 deadly thunder cannons that can easily rip through your shields and your armor in seconds. They have even more health than Nerozons.
    • Lastly, we have Final Guards (giant blue and grey ships). These fire a spread of slow shots in front... and said shots cannot be reflected and do continuous big damage if you keep touching them. They have more than twice the health of a Megazon, by the way.

    Simulation Game 
  • Ace Combat games every now and then have random enemy pilots without the distinctive aces' callsign in the target display who nevertheless prove unusually hard to hit or shake off. It's one thing for clearly demarcated aces to give you grief, and another thing for no-names to come close to, say, Yellow 13's level.
    • X: Skies of Deception plays with this in the mission "Operation X" that lets you go up against various Game Breaker superfighters. The mook part comes from how they are piloted by normal, un-codenamed pilots except for Scarface One and ZOE Commander. Of course, since they are in Game Breaker superfighters...
    • Joint Assault has AEGIS ships. They look like normal cruisers from afar but their twin SAMs have a much greater lock-on range than those on normal ships. Unless you grinded, you usually won't have unlocked long-range missiles to take them out with and they will almost always fire before you can, even going full afterburner.
  • X3: Terran Conflict introduces a weapon called the Plasma Burst Generator, which averts the Video Game Flamethrowers Suck trope so hard that it turns generic Space Pirate fighters into Bosses In Mook Clothing. Many are the forum threads where new players complain that they can't win against pirates with PBGs. (Of course, once you know to stay out from in front of them, they go back to being Mooks.)

    Stealth Based Game 
  • The Gekko from Metal Gear Solid 4. Initially, they only appear in scenes where the goal is to escape (the first enemy you come across is a Gekko), but they can be fought and there are mandatory set-piece battles with them later in the game, most of which are before you get the game's specific anti-Gekko weapon.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3, if you trigger an alert at the cliff near Groznyj Grad (by sniping the patrols in the base), helicopters will be sent after you. Unlike the earlier ones, these have powerful attacks and it's nearly impossible to hit them with rockets. Fortunately, these helicopters don't have to, and most likely won't be encountered. Not to mention, they only spawn in areas where Snake can man a gun turret.

    Survival Horror 
  • Crimson Heads in the REmake version of Resident Evil spawn when the player kills a zombie, but doesn't burn the corpse, or isn't lucky enough to inflict a kneecap blowout or Boom, Headshot first. The result is that the zombie gets back up again as a creature that is even tougher than before, can run nearly as fast as the player, and has a very lethal clawing attack that can kill the player in a couple of strikes.
  • In Resident Evil 4:
    • Regenerators. They are encountered late game and can kill Leon very easily, namely with a lunging attack, and like their name suggests, they can regenerate limbs and are nigh-unkillable unless if you bring the thermal scope and kill the Plagas inside of them. The only consolation is that they are painfully slow and are rarley encountered.
    • When Plagas start bursting out of the Ganados heads, both forms are not to be trfiled with. One has razor tentacles that make knifing impossible and the other can ( and probably will) lop off Leon's head, resulting in a game over. Thankfully those mostly useless flashbangs will kill them instantly.
  • FEAR has the tough REV mechas which appear occasionally, they fire barrages of missiles, have twin miniguns and can take several shots from the rocket launcher and/or particle beam weapons. And more frequently, there's the Heavy Armor soldiers, a form of Elite Mook which has ultra-heavy Powered Armor and usually carries either a Penetrator rifle (which damages you clean through your armor) a particle cannon, or a rocket launcher. Later expansions feature ones with miniguns and riot shields. Project Origin throws Heavies with laser rifles at you, too, who can kill you in a couple of seconds if you're out in the open.
    • Thankfully, most of the Heavy Armor soldiers are terrible shots, making them somewhat easier to kill. Of course, that just makes it even worse when you get to the ones with lasers, because, inexplicably, they have excellent aim and fast reaction time, meaning that if you don't use cover, they'll cut you to ribbons quickly.
    • They get a lot worse in the third game: they are now equipped with shields that can absorb tremendous amounts of punishment (like two full clips of shotgun ammo at point-blank range), and they can teleport through walls, which they put to excellent use in sneaking around where you aren't looking. The only mercy is that they are no longer armed with lasers, rocket launchers, or miniguns...just the Penetrator rifle.
    • Overlapping with Demonic Spiders are the Replica Assassins, which are relatively rare and much tougher and more damaging than normal enemies in spite of their small size.
    • F.3.A.R. introduces Phase Casters, which have ridiculous shields (thankfully non-regenerating), a laser rifle similar to those used by the Heavy Armors, and they can teleport groups of soldiers into the battlefield. Very irritating.
  • In the original Half-Life, you'll encounter female assassins. While they aren't terribly hard, they do cloak and run very fast making them harder to kill than most mooks.
    • The sequel introduces the poison headcrab zombies. Have loads of HP, and can fling up to three five poisonous headcrabs at you, each one capable of nullifying your HP to 1 in one bite.
      • Fortunately, it mostly regenerates over a short time (as your HEV suit injects you with an antidote)...but if anything else hits you while you are at 1 HP, you are going to die.
    • Hunters in Episode Two are absurdly brutal, able to absorb entire clips of ammunition without flinching while constantly firing explosive fletchettes, and if they get close (which they will, as they are almost always fought in confined areas) their melee attacks will swiftly chew through Gordon's health. And the damn things travel in packs. The only respite is their crippling weakness to stuff hurled by the Gravity Gun, killed in three or four hits, downgrading them to "mere" Demonic Spiders.
    • Hunters do have one other weakness, if you're good enough to use it — the car. Unfortunately, it gets worse in the final battle: the hunters are the escorts for your real enemy, a swarm of Striders.
  • Therazinosaurs in the first Dino Crisis are ludicrously powerful and very hard to put down with any of your conventional weapons. If you don't have any poison darts when you encounter these things, you are screwed. Worse yet, the game tricks you into thinking they're a one-off miniboss battle when first encountered, only to find out that they're a standard issue mook from that point on.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • The lambent gunkers in Gears of War 3 qualify. At first they appear to be about as squishy as your average lambent, until you realise they have more health than anything that isn't a proper boss, no apparent weak points, a massive, arcing ranged attack that often makes cover useless, pinpoint accuracy at any distance even when they can't see where you are, and a huge melee attack that completely ignores cover. Their very presence will instantly shift the battlefield into a frantic dodge arena, and the fact that they're capable of wiping your entire squad on their own is made even more annoying by how they are almost never alone.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has a few, ESPECIALLY on higher intensities.
    • The first one you'd likely encounter is through a gate requiring intensity 5 or higher in the FIRST LEVEL, meaning it's much harder than it might be if encountered normally with a lower intensity in a later level. The Crawler is massive, and its attacks are choreographed, but they have to be dodged at the very last second. Not only that, it has a weakness on its back, the only way of damaging it. It already turns to face you if you strafe from afar to get to it and shoot, and if you do it from close up it'll spin to knock you away and deal massive damage. It becomes easier as you get better at the game and get betters, but can easily come as a nasty surprise, even being a Wake-Up Call Boss in Mook Clothing.
    • The second is the Reapers. Encountered in Chapter 4, they're a nastry upgrade from the Demonic Spiders they were in the first game. If they see you, or you touch them or attack them, they'll, as predicted, summon reapettes, which the game points out and acts as if it is the real danger. Not so. Unlike in the first game, they start chasing you too, becoming an Implacable Man. And when they reach you, their frustratingly hard to dodge Scythe swipes will take off a huge portion of your health and knock you back really far. That doesn't mean the reapettes AREN'T dangerous. They always follow, even if you dodge them once, and inflict poison.
    • In the same level, Palutena points out an inconspicuous wriggling boulder like thing she wants you to avoid, and for good reason. Bother it, and it bloats into a giant one eyed human heart with muscular skull handed arms and chases after you, unflinching, until it gets close enough to knock you a football field away, likely into a pit. If you land safely, congratulations, it'll likely take one more hit to destroy you. They even become REQUIRED ENEMIES a few chapters later, including fighting one in a narrow hallway with no room to sidestep.
    • Later on you get the forces of nature equivalent to the Clubberskull: the Clobbler. It seems easy enough, looking like a happy little cherry plodding along. Bothering it at all, however, makes it bloat into an incredibly Grotesque Strawberry. Thankfully, unlike the clubberskull, there's never any time where you have to fight it head on, the situations where it is present put you in a good position to take them out unharmed, though if you're playing on Higher Intensities you should still watch out.
    • What is almost the Aurum equivalent is the Baglo, first appearing to be a normal structure, but if fired at suddenly opens up and reveals a wall of circular guns that let out a constant stream of lasers, giving you no time to fight back as you're constantly dodging and running low on stamina. And its health is on par with that of bosses. You definitely need a truly powerful weapon to take one down.
    • Then there's the Fort Oinks, truly late game mooks that end up becoming a Flunky Boss in Mook Clothing. True to form, it actually doesn't appear that much, but is considered a standard enemy despite taking a lot of damage and doing a lot of damage AND spawning a lot of enemies.
    • Lastly, on higher intensities there's the Mimicutie. You try to open a chest, Bam, Mimicutie. Instantly, they'll give Chun-Li style lightning kicks that will likely stun lock you until you go flying, at which point it spins along the ground to you to try to kick you while you're down. If you try to stay from afar, it'll just keep spinning towards you, likely too fast for you to get away so you'll try to dodge it, only to get hit when the dodge ends because the attack lasts for a while. Trying to take it down with melee likely won't work either, as you'll be stuck with the lightning kicks. Your only hope is to somehow get behind it when it's doing so, but you probably won't be doing any damage if you picked a range heavy weapon like a staff.
  • In Transformers: War for Cybertron we have Destroyers. Massive Transformers whose alt-modes are huge tanks. Basically, think Omega Supreme Jrs. and you're on the right track. The only difficulty they're at all simple to deal with on is easy.
  • Seeroses and Gardenies in P.N.03. The former is considerably tougher than the standard mooks and has a Charged Attack that will One-Hit Kill you at your starting stats, the latter has even higher HP and will Turn Red and Beam Spam you if you take too long killing it.
  • The Romanov robots in Vanquish are twice as big as the Gorgies, have high HP and durability, and are armed with missiles that blow Sam across the room and instantly send him into critical mode, sweeping Eye Beams, and a One-Hit Kill Wave Motion Gun Chest Blaster. Later versions have dual miniguns and homing missiles, flamethrowers, or launchable drill arms.

    Tower Defense 
  • The Titan from Mini Robot Wars. Aside from being a modified form of the Giant (whom many players already consider a Boss In Mook Clothing), it can take much more damage, and its regular attack can instantly destroy three units in one hit! Oh, and if it gets to the end of the screen, you lose the level regardless of health. You'll need a few instant-use heavy damage weapons along with many powerful units in order to beat a single one without losses.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has Red Chocobos, a somewhat rare enemy unit with a hard-hitting attack, Chocobo Meteor.
    • Black Chocobos could also count. Regardless of them of having low HP and speed, their Chocobo Pellet does even more damage if you can't evade it. Dragons, Tiamats, and Behemoths can also be a pain.
      • It gets worse. The Baraius Hill rare battle. You get attacked by a team of dragons, tiamats, and behemoths at the same time. Accidentally getting the encounter is a valid reason for a reset.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has a mechanic which allows you to build bossmooks. the 'Throw' skill usually allows you to reposition enemies and allies on the map quickly, but if you throw an enemy onto the same square as another enemy, they combine their levels (keeping the class of whichever was originally highest, but learing any new skills it would have at that level). You can quickly build a very innocuous looking Lv400 monster to decimate your Lv20 party unless you exploit battlefield conditions to wittle it down while keeping out of harms way, rewarding you several dozen levels worth of experience.
  • Draco Zombies in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. These undead dragons have a boatload of HP and have very powerful attacks that can also hit from a distance if you try to send your magic users after one. They're rarely seen outside of the Lagdou Ruins, though.
    • Mystery of the Emblem and its remake features two cases: A Fire Dragon will come out of a cave in Chapter 7 if you get too close, and it's stronger than anything you've faced before, even stronger than the actual boss of the chapter! Then an Earth Dragon (the same class as the final boss of the first game) shows up in Chapter 20, and attempting to fight it is generally a recipie for suicide. There's a way to get rid of it without actually fighting it, but it requires you to defeat the actual boss of the chapter (who's no slouch) first.
    • Manakete in Binding Blade, due to their stat boosts. The first one appears as a boss, like the Draco Zombies, which is easy enough because they lack ranged attacks and he won't move from the throne, meaning your squishy mages can exploit the low Res and take him out quickly. However, by the Nabata level, there are several on the map that will move next to your aforementioned squishy mage and destroy her. The penultimate level is composed entirely of Manakete in an enclosed space, meaning they can easily target your weak units; thus, you're forced to kill at least three with each turn or take your chances.
  • Mykene grunts in Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen all have double move, 12k+ HP and can deal about 4k damage and one shot Gundams/Reals.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Chainsaw users in Scarface: The World Is Yours. Bazooka and grenade launcher users, while also capable of One Hit Kills, at least went down in one shot from the Desert Eagle or sniper rifle, usually with dismemberment. Chainsaw guys? Multiple shots, making them fairly Implacable in the otherwise fairly realistic title.
  • Hunters in Prototype start off this way — they're tough but manageable alone, but in groups, it's generally best to just get out of there — but are demoted out of this status as you get more powerful. Shortly thereafter, the Leader Hunters step in to pick up the slack.
    • Super Soldiers, at first glance, are just larger versions of the human troops the player has been slaughtering by the truckload throughout the game. Actually treating them as such results in the player's attack being interrupted with a grab, followed by some horribly damaging wrestling move and getting tossed across the room like a ragdoll. Oh, and they can follow the player up buildings like Hunters and have an innate virus detector that sounds an alert in under a second.
  • Terraria has the Wyvern, a flying enemy that behaves like a burrowing enemy, hits like a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick, and flies as fast as a jet. It can soak up damage like nobody's business, and is known to kill players within moments and massacre entire hotels full of NPCs.
    • Because you know, that wasn't bad enough, so now in the 1.2 update and beyond, after you kill a certain new boss and head into the dungeon, you can find Paladins. Tanks on feet that, given half the chance, have no qualms about throwing hard hitting, long distance hammers at you until your pathetic little HP pool is gone. Depending on your armour, they may just hit for more than 100 damage. Your maximum is 500. Their saving grace is that as long as you're hitting them, they will not throw hammers... but they WILL keep walking at you, potentially cornering you and mauling you to death. Oh, and if you get any cute ideas about just hiding behind a wall to avoid the hammers, their hammers go through the architecture. Can your attacks do that? Of course not. And as if all of this isn't bad enough, they have 5,000 HP. So bring lots and lots of ammunition or mana potions.
  • Brutes in Saints Row: The Third are 8 foot tall musclebound lightning bruisers who take buckets of ammunition to kill, even with headshots, and wield heavy weapons such as flamethrowers and miniguns.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto has Tobi. He dresses like the ordinary members of Akatsuki, despite more-or-less being the Big Bad, and wears a mask to hide his identity and goes as far to act like a buffoon and speak in a goofy voice. Once Serial Escalation comes into effect, we discover that Tobi has the ability to bend space on almost a whim.
    • Some the Jounin the series qualify. While they're supposed to just be Elite Mooks, we see some that have power rivaling the Kages. Justified since it's brought up that most Kage's are chosen from a village's Jounin.
  • Bleach has Quilge Opie. You thought that the guy merely was tasked with rounding up Hollows and enslaving them. Think twice.
  • Inverted by the Fake Straw Hats in One Piece: they dress as the real Straw Hats and impersonate them, but they're weaker than most actual mooks and are easily dispatched by Sentomaru, who had been sent there when the Marines' informants mistook them for the real deal.
    • Played straight with Smoker — or, to be more exact, pre-Time Skip Smoker. Despite being a captain, and a commodore later on (both of which were mook ranks in the marines to the Straw Hats), he was still handing Luffy his ass thanks to his logia powers. Post-Time Skip, he becomes a vice-admiral, which subverts this trope.
  • The Dream Princess from a season 1 episode of Sailor Moon. She provides quite the challenge for the girls, hypnotising them into a deep sleep and able to create a snake whose venom nearly turns Sailor Mars to stone. In contrast to all the earlier enemies the girls had faced, this one really gave them a run for their money.

    Comic Books 
  • The unnamed burglar that killed Ben Parker was actually just what he appeared to be: nothing but a common thug. Still, considering the impact his crime had on Spider-Man's life, he could arguably be considered the greatest villain the hero ever fought.
  • By the same logic as above, the mugger that killed Bruce Wayne's parents also counts. He's not only the one villain who has the greatest impact on Batman's life, but in some continuities he's also the one villain he could never bring to justice. Not bad for someone who, in some continuities, was a pathetic drunken nobody.

    Film 

    Live Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The roll of the die can turn seemingly normal mooks into this. Some mook the players have beaten rather easily in the past, with the luck of the die (and bad luck on the player's part) can turn a random encounter into an epic battle of boss-like proportions.
    • World of Darkness is prone to this with its soak system. One encounter with Black Spiral Dancers may have your werewolfs cutting through them effortlessly; the next time, ONE Dancer may take an HOUR of combat time, if their soak rolls are good and the player's damage rolls are low.
  • The first major expansion to the board game Arkham Horror features the titular Dunwich Horror. If you can't prevent its arrival then a seemingly normal monster tile is added to the game. One with a laundry list of special rules. The Dunwich Horror has tons of health, can advance your doom counter, and a deck of cards that randomize its combat stats, drawn after you enter combat with it. On one turn it takes half damage and destroys all your gear, on the next it has no special resistances but instantly kills you. Defeating it gives you any card you wish as a reward.
  • Occasinally show up in Warhammer 40,000.
    • Thousand Sons Aspiring Sorcerers that hit almost as hard as a full-blown Chaos Sorcerer despite being a squad upgrade for a Troops choice, especially with the new Force Weapon rules.
    • Incubi Klaivexes have a better offensive statline than most armies' HQ choices and some downright scary weapons.
    • Necron Pariahs who while drastically overpriced can still hack up most anything with ease.
    • Grey Knight Paladins. Two Wounds, toughness 4, 2+/5++ save, Feel No Pain, nasty weaponry...horridly expensive, but one Paladin outmatches most HQ choices.
    • Tyranid Broodlords, which 4th edition codex were an HQ choice, in the 5th edition was reduced to an upgrade to unit of genestealers. While changes in the codex have made it less dangerous overall, those didn't include it's statline, which is higher than what most H Qs get, and in the 6th edition, the new universal pyskic powers it can get make it an absolute killing machine in challenges.
  • Magic: The Gathering has cards that seem like Mooks at first - not too expensive and not too strong at first sight - but are actually monstrously powerful due to certain factors (or in a certain deck build). Particularly notable is the infamous Psychatog, which can grow monstrously powerful.
  • The Adamantine Horror in Dungeons & Dragons, found in Monster Manual 2. It's not quite a mook, but you'd be forgiven for thinking a robot spider the size of a small dog were one, particularly given the tendency for Clockwork Horrors to move in packs. It's CR 9, which is "tough, but not world-destroyingly powerful," about the power of a frost giant. It'd be a decent miniboss encounter for a mid-level campaign - or so you'd think. The Adamantine Horror has a great 28 AC and 22 SR, none too shabby hit points and melee attacks, and three spell-like abilities, which it can activate at will: one that instantly destroys all your magic items, one that instantly disintegrates you, and one that causes one person per round to implode. It's hurling around abilities that the players don't get for another eight levels. Clockwork Horrors in general have elements of this, such as the Platinum Horror's overcharged lightning bolts, but the Adamantine Horror takes the cake - it's very rare that it won't take at least two party members and a fortune in gold down with it.
  • From Warhammer, monsters that fall under an army's Rare choices often fit this, since they can easily be more powerful than the units leading the army depending on how the lord/hero is kited out.

     Western Animation 
  • Inverted in Aachi and Ssipak. Two small mooks disguise themselves as the massive Big Bad to lure a Sociopathic Hero robot cop to their location. It works and the cop attacks them, only to be blindsided by the real villain.
  • In The Legend of Korra The Equalist Chi blockers are all at par with an Elite Mook from the original series. They are an army of Elites. Two of them were capable of taking down both the avatar and a proficient firebender. As the first season goes on, they get slightly easier to beat.

    Real Life 
  • Simo Hayha. Just an ordinary Finnish soldier during the Winter War against the Soviets. He was nicknamed "The White Death" after taking down more than 700 Soviet troops and officers with his sniper rifle.
  • While crocodiles are one of the most dangerous animals to humans, Gustave, the largest of his kind ever seen in Africa, is in a class of his own: he's killed more than 300 people over the course of his life, and regularly hunts larger prey such as hippopotamus. His frightening success has gained him infamy among the people of Lake Tanganyika, and he's even been listed as the #1 animal serial killer by Cracked.


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alternative title(s): Bosses In Mook Clothing; Boss In Mooks Clothing; Boss In Mook Clothes
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