Damage-Sponge Boss

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DamageSpongeAVGN2_1205.jpg
Gonna be fighting that boss for a while? Grab a Snickers.

"Whoa! Is that a long health bar, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?"
Nathan Spencer, Bionic Commando (2009)

The absolutely most basic type of boss monster in a video game, generally a Giant Mook or King Mook with much higher health than standard enemies and attacks that cause lots of damage. It generally makes no attempt to block or evade the player's offenses, so no special strategies are required - just attack it until it dies, or if you want to get really fancy, circlestrafe it. These sorts of bosses tend to become a battle of attrition where the player must spend large amounts of time grinding down the boss's health while avoiding making any mistakes. Can be considered the antithesis of a Puzzle Boss. Mostly prevalent in the FPS genre, but can also show up in other genres - even RPGs if the designers were uninspired enough.

Put this kind of boss on a time limit and you'll have a lot of very angry players.

Named after an industry term for this type of boss, whose main attribute is that they can soak up damage like a sponge absorbs water. Their primary way of defeating the player is holding out until they make enough mistakes before their Life Meter runs out.

If the HP is really high and the boss doesn't have any interesting moves, you have Fake Longevity.

Related to Smash Mook, When All You Have Is a Hammer, Health/Damage Asymmetry, and Marathon Boss. God help you if this overlaps with Sequential Boss. Contrast Rush Boss, which goes down fast but hits hard to compensate.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Adventure 
  • All the bosses in Rule of Rose follow this mechanic: keep away from their decimating attacks. Attack whenever there's an opening. Continue for 15 minutes or so. Especially frustrating with the Mermaid Princess who you can only hit twice in a row before she retreats back to the ceiling for another attack.

    Action 
  • Rank 10 in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is equal parts a damage sponge (it's a giant Brain in a Jar, they take some killing) and a "Get Back Here!" Boss, making the fight feel even longer.
  • Every boss in the obscure SNES game Xardion. Ideally you're supposed to level your characters up to do more damage to them, but even then they still take forever to kill.
  • All the bosses in Cowboy Kid for the NES. All the bosses do is follow the same pattern over and over, and take dozens of bullets and tomahawks until they finally go down. The worst boss is hands-down the Mad Brothers, who take the average player upwards of ten minutes to fight, and the fact that they can't even hurt you unless you deliberately jump up to their platform makes it all the more frustrating.
  • About half of the Extra Ops missions from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker involve taking on an armored vehicle, tank, chopper or AI-controlled mech of some degree, pretty much all of which would qualify for this trope. The easiest way to clear one of these stages involves neutralizing a couple dozen escort troops, then slowly whittling down up to 85% of the vehicle's health before its pilot pokes his head out for a relatively easy shot. To get there, you'll have to restock your ammo several times during the battle, and only missiles and armor-piercing weapons have any hope of damaging the things even a little bit.

    Action-Adventure 
  • Most Elder Dragons from the Monster Hunter series would count. Any one that uses the Dragonator, basically. Whereas most fights in the game consist of being acutely aware of attack patterns and attacking when it's open, for these giant guys you just keep shooting cannonballs at them, mostly. It's less a matter of getting killed and more a matter of doing enough damage quickly enough (there is a time limit, if you're too slow you'll just repel them, and if you're really slow you'll outright fail). Notable is Ceadeus in Tri; as well as Jhen Mohran and Lao-Shan Lung.
    • Black Fatalis borders on this, boasting impressive one hit kills, but not being particularly fast or aggressive compared to any of the other bosses.
  • The Bonus Boss in Ittle Dew simply needs to be repeatedly hit until defeated, as opposed to the puzzle based bosses that occupy the rest of the game.
  • The Tyrannosaurus Rex from Tomb Raider: Anniversary takes a metric ton of shots to take down. Fully justified as it's a flipping T-REX and all you have to take it down are a pair of pistols and, if you're lucky, a well-hidden shotgun.

    Action RPG 
  • Dark Souls has a plethora of bosses each possessing a significant amount of health and damage resistances, sometimes making it hard for the player to make it to the end of the fight. The New Game+ mechanism also bolsters their health and damage inflicted up until NG+7, where it's not uncommon to see an otherwise basic boss sport a massive health bar and oneshotting you.
    • The Stray Demon and Demon Firesage are both slow and are easily worn out by bleed-inflicting weapon, but they are more than likely encountered at a time when your equipment is not maxed out.
    • The Four Kings have the highest HP count in the vanilla game (9,500 HP, specifically), and you can end up fighting all four at once. It's played with a bit due to each individual king having his own health bar, and damaging him contributes to whittling down the total health. It's even worse in New Game+, where the total HP gets boosted to 16,000; in a game where the hardest hitting physical attack doesn't deal more than 800 damage, this is saying something.
    • The Downloadable Content adds Manus, Father of the Abyss. His total health on a normal playthrough is at an intimidating 6,666 HP, and his physical and magical resistances are some the highest, effectively cutting down your damage to Scratch Damage.
  • Dark Souls II similarly has some.
    • King Vendrick has extremely basic, slow attacks and his actual health is only a bit above average for a boss, but any damage you do is divided by 32. However, he's really more of a Puzzle Boss: collecting certain items negates his damage resistance, each one doubling the damage you do with five letting you do full damage.
    • The Ancient Dragon has the highest possible health bar in a Souls game, topping at a basic 19,840 HP. It's slow and really doesn't care about your attacks, and it will unleash one One-Hit Kill after another.
    • The Lost Crowns Trilogy is chock full of bonus bosses whose health bar and resistances outstrip even the vanilla game's Final Boss, with the exception being the Adventurer trio (even then, they have unreasonably high parameters for player-sized enemies).

    Beatm 'em Up/Fighting 
  • Many 90's Beat 'Em Ups, starting with Final Fight, would feature health bars for enemies. Sometimes short, sometimes long. Bosses would often have differently shaded health bars to indicate having multiple lengths of health bars, requiring you to pound on them repeatedly until they finally changed to whatever the standard health bar colour was, and eventually to whatever colour an empty health bar was. Later bosses would often force you to punch through an ever-escalating rainbow of colours to finally have the bosses registering damage.
  • Related to the above Streets of Rage 2 and 3 would have an indicator (Numerical or symbolic) that would show how many health bars you had to work through on the current boss.
  • God, God Hand loves this trope. Demon Elvis is probably the best example.
  • The Corn Boss in Castle Crashers. While his constant disappearing-under-ground-and-popping-up-under-you might keep you on your toes and make it more entertaining than standing there and whaling on him, it also limits how often you can hit the bastard. Him dropping health every time he's hit also removes any challenge of staying alive, meaning you just dodge and chisel away at that enormous health bar for ages.
  • King Famardy from King of the Monsters 2 has an extremely long life bar and the most damaging attacks you can use only take a small chip o

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Doom:
    • The Cyberdemon is one of the most memorable examples - he takes a lot of hits, shoots rockets which can one-shot you with a direct hit at 100% health, and is defeated by circle strafing and shooting. The same goes for just about every other boss in the original Doom games, including the Barons of Hell and the Spider Mastermind.
    • Although at least with the Spider Mastermind, the fact that its Triple Chaingun is a hitscan weapon does require you to put a little thought into not getting killed. But still, that only changes the strategy to "Shoot it until it dies, and don't wind up full of hot lead."
    • There's another complication regarding the Cyberdemon in the first Doom game. When you first encounter him, the level there has a huge supply of ammo for your Rocket Launcher, which is (at that point in the game) the weapon with the most raw power. Problem is, the Cyberdemon is immune to splash damage, meaning that only the damage caused by the direct hit has any effect on him. If you opt to use the rocket launcher, the battle ends up being drawn out even longer. If you have a surplus of cells, it's far faster to whip out the Plasma Rifle instead. Thankfully when he appears again in the secret level of episode 3, you might've finally found the BFG, which makes the rematch a lot easier.
    • In its first appearance, you can get the Cyberdemon caught up on the building architecture. Then shoot through a tiny gap in the building. Safely pecking it to death with the pistol becomes tedious though.
    • The Mother Demon in Doom 64. If you thought the Cyberdemon's 4000 HP was huge, this one has 5000! If you did not collect the keys, enjoy wasting a lot of ammo against a plethora of enemies before facing the Mother Demon. Fortunately, the spot where the Mother Demon is located respawns supercharge soul spheres. Unlike the Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind, the Mother Demon is not immune to splash damage.
  • Any given boss in Painkiller has a 50% chance of being either this or a Puzzle Boss. Or Puzzle Boss in one phase and Damage-Sponge Boss in other phase.
  • The Big Daddies in BioShock can take a ludicrous amount of punishment if one relies solely on bullets. A good example to do this is to set an alarm on the Daddy, spawning Security Bots to attack it. No matter what, the machine-gun fire from the bots (coupled with turrets if there are any in the area, and the player's own bullets) deal only Scratch Damage to the thing, and it takes time to whittle that health down. Even explosive weapons like grenades and rockets only deal a visible fragment of damage to the Daddy's health bar. Probably the easiest/most spectacular way to kill a Big Daddy quickly is by luring it into a tight corridor booby-trapped with electric bolts, or simply spending all your upgrades on the wrench and whacking it to death. Alternatively, you can set two Daddies to fight each other to the death.
    • The Handyman from BioShock Infinite also qualifies. Expect to spend a lot of ammo and death screens on this guy, as he cannot be truly weakened (only stunned) by Vigors and even direct hits from the RPG or Flak Cannon to his heart don't seem to have much effect on his health bar.
  • The Nihilanth in Half-Life provides a cruel example of combining this with Puzzle Boss: you have to jump through a set of hoops just to unlock the path up to his Weak Spot, then you have to do a ridiculous (as in "use up all the ammo of all your weapons, including rocket launchers") amount of damage to it to finish the game. This has to be done in mid-air, and unless the xen crystals in the walls are destroyed he'll replenish all his health.
  • Left 4 Dead. The Tank is basically a Boss in Mook Clothing in that they can take a ludicrous amount of punishment before their demise, which is why most players prefer to just toss a molotov at one of them to kill them quickly.note  The Charger in Left 4 Dead 2 acts like a light version of the Tank in some respects, but dies much faster, so he's more akin to a Bullfight Boss.
  • The bosses of the second and third "episodes" of Duke Nukem 3D are both defeated by shooting at them and dodging their non-hitscan projectiles. It's not the case for the first boss, whose main weapon is hitscan and is defeated by shooting at it over a wall.
  • Most bosses in Borderlands are euther Puzzle Bosses or Flunky Bosses. Not so with the final guy, the Destroyer, who can soak up more bullets than most people can actually carry without the highest-level cargo expansions.
  • Borderlands 2 ups the ante by having Terramorphous the Invincible, whose major selling point on release was needing more ammo to kill than a player is capable of carrying, and since bullet regeneration class mods are extremely rare, this lowers the player's options down to two characters unless you're in a party or use a combination like The Bee and the Conference Call.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has EOS as the final boss of the claptrap DLC, a boss that is almost guaranteed to empty out at least one-two weapons from your inventory before death. It doesn't help that it regens its powerful shields during the battle three times, has 8 turrets attached to its body that have their own health, and has a first form that must be defeated first. It still takes an absolutely ludicrous amount of shots even when you're seriously over its level.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo 2 and Reach, Brutes soak up an absurd amount of damage and barely react until they suddenly collapse. Tartarus takes this to absurd levels in Halo 2 as the final boss.
    • Hunters become this from Halo 2 onward, becoming ever tougher in each subsequent release. To make things worse, unless you have heavy weapons, you'll have to aim at the orange spots if you want to do any damage.
    • In Halo 2, the health of the three boss characters (the Heretic Leader, Regret, and Tartarus) increases exponentially with difficulty level. On Normal difficulty they go down as easily as a standard enemy, while on Legendary they can soak enormous amounts of punishment before dying.
    • One of the biggest criticisms of Halo 4's campaign is how insanely tough the Promethean Knights were, especially considering that they also had recharging shields and the ability to teleport away whenever their shields were down (plus the Watchers could both heal and revive them). They creatively rectified this in Halo 5: Guardians; the Knights are overall tougher than they were in 4, but no longer have recharging shields or teleportation (or Watcher revives), and damaging them enough will expose big glowing weak points.
    • Halo 5: Guardians:
      • Most Warzone bosses are basically this, since most of them are usually nothing more than tougher versions of regular enemies. In the campaign, the Warden Eternal himself on higher difficulties is this until you damage him enough to expose his weak spot.
      • These bosses are one of the more contentious issues in Warzone Firefight. Take the normal damage-sponge bosses, and then: add multilple iterations of the same boss, surround them with also-spongey Mooks and Elite Mooks, add multiple phases of bosses within the same round, make them insanely accurate with their attacks, place them in a hard-to-reach position across the map from the players, make spawned-in power weapons irretrievable upon death, increase the respawn time to as high as 30 seconds, give the players 5 minutes to complete their objectives, and start the timer before the enemies even spawn. Have fun.
  • In the Call of Duty series, Juggernauts are this with a light machine gun. In MW3, you can just gib them, but it takes about seven blocks of C4. Each of those blocks is a several-pound solid hunk of explosives.
  • The boss at the end of Star Trek: Elite Force was this despite having a bunch of glowing blinking gems on his body. What makes fighting it really aggravating is the fact that throughout the fight there is no indication that it's actually taking damage until it dies.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Tank Robot in the Mann Versus Machine game mode in has no weapons, blithely follows a clearly marked linear path, and will not defend itself. The challenge isn't attacking it, it's attacking it enough to actually destroy the thing, since the only thing it recognizes is damage; no other effects will apply to it. The spongiest versions have 60,000 health—the equivalent of trying to kill 200 heavies, without the benefits of headshots or backstabs (and, by the way, the Tank takes less damage from bullets than other robots). And if it comes in the middle of a wave, you'll likely be combating other robots at the same time, which means even less damage being directed towards the Tank. Needless to say, if your team doesn't have one or more Demomen, Soldiers, and/or Pyros at the time a Tank rolls out, you're dead.
      • Also in MvM we have Captain Punch. Slow, 60,000 health plus 40% damage resistance to ranged attacks, a health regeneration mechanic on top of that, one-hit-kill punches, snail-like walking pace that can go over Engineer buildings.
      • A fairly tame, but nevertheless effective version for the easier modes, or simply as the first guy you fight on harder ones, is the generic Giant Soldier which is no more dangerous than your average soldier-robot offensively, or the Giant Pyro and Demoknight whose slow speed makes them nothing more than bullet sponges with some sort of defensive gimmick to attentive players.
    • The Horseless Headless Horsemann always has 5000 HP at the very least (usually much more), and its only attack consists on decapitating you instantly with a swing of his axe. The only strategy that works here is "shoot him and stay the hell away".
    • Simpler versions of the fan-made Juggernaut game mode known as Versus Saxton Hale, presented players with a fast, powerful single boss enemy with absurdly high health in the quadruple or quintiple digits (that only got higher as more players faced him) who could do one of three things: punch a player in the face, scream his name at them to frighten or stun anyone around him, or do a high jump. Beating him came down to outlasting him, as Saxton Hale could one-shot almost any class with a single punch, and the game's two One-Hit Kill attacks in turn didn't actually kill him in one hit.
    • Merasmus is an especially ridiculous version of this. He has at least 100,000 health. Needless to say, team cooperation is absolutely required to beat him.
  • Nosferatu The Wrath Of Malachi: Almost all of them except the penultimate one are this to some extent. They system of having to track them down in a coffin after fighting them to kill them at least introduces some sort of strategy. The only non-final boss without a coffin, the Foul Beast Vampire, is also the only one to require a more complex strategy for the actual fight (you don't have to use it, but unless you have the Chalice, it's pretty much suicidal not to).
  • Nemesis in the Catacomb Fantasy Trilogy, at least in the first game before he starts cloning himself. He takes more hits than anyone else and shoots for more damage and... well, there's no "and".
  • Every pre-expansion boss in Destiny, with the exception of a couple of the Raid bosses, is a King Mook with a much larger health bar. Strike bosses in particular are especially absorbent, and Golgoroth, the second boss of the Raid King's Fall, is even more notable, with conservative estimates putting his health at 10 million or more.

    Hack N' Slash 
  • Izual from Diablo II is legendary for this trope. Despite his scary appearance, the fallen angel doesn't do much beyond a couple of basic attacks—most characters can just stand there and attack him until the Hit Points are gone. This is so bad that the Amazon's Valkyrie summon can actually regenerate health faster than Izual can deal it, while slowly whittling his health down. He will also never change targets once he starts attacking your minion. Feel free to go make yourself a sandwich. The hard part about the fight is that your weapons will eventually wear out.
    • In Diablo III, the fight with Izual is not this.
    • Also in Diablo III, Ghom is so much a damage sponge that the time you need to kill him is used as a way to calculate your effective damage per second so that you can compare your damage with other players.
  • The Final Boss of Torchlight is this in a nutshell. It has stupid quantities of HP, does lots of damage, and frequently summons nearly-unending swarms of things that themselves have lots of HP. There's no strategy that can be employed outside "attack it with stuff and resurrect when you die." Indeed, many of the bosses are like this, but the final boss is the most egregious.
  • In Ginormo Sword, you can encounter the Golden Knight, an upgraded version of Living Armor. Much like Living Armor, the Golden Knight doesn't have any attacks of its own and can only harm you if you let it wander right into your sprite. It, however, has such an ungodly amount of HP that unless your level is deep into the thousands you'll spend at least 20 minutes (and no, that's not an exaggeration) whittling down its health bit by bit and praying that you don't accidentally wander off the screen and be forced to start all over again. There are other upgraded versions of various monsters that fall under this trope too, but this Golden Knight is the worst of them all, especially since it drops an armor that's all but required to beat the True Final Boss.
  • In the Dynasty Warriors series of video games, many endgame bosses usually end up as this. These games are already notorious for its mindlessly dumb A.I., and the company's idea of making the difficulty harder is to simply give the enemies more health and have them do more damage, instead of programming the A.I. to fight smarter, which unfortunately leads to artificial difficulty.
    • Hyrule Warriors has The Imprisoned. He doesn't target you directly unless he starts sliding and all he really does is slowly stomp around, but he has far more health than any of the other bosses and takes significantly longer to beat. Stunning him requires destroying all of his toes, and he is immune to the Focus Spirit Special Attack, which can normally down any other boss (besides Ganon). His weakness gauge cannot be depleted in one hit, as he automatically breaks out of stun when his weakness gauge reaches half. When you finally manage to deplete his weakness gauge and go for a Weak Point Smash? It takes off about a fifth of his health. As far as damage goes? His stomps, electrical bursts, and slide can take off several hearts at a time.
  • Path of Exile has General Gravicius, the mid-boss of Act 3. Unlike Piety with her elemental Stance System or Dominus's waves of mini-bosses, Gravicius doesn't bring any special tricks to the fight. He just has some basic fire spells, a substantial amount of Energy Shield, and an aura that grants even more shielding to himself and his mooks. The boss fight amounts to "Cap out fire resist and chew through a lot of health."

    MMORPG 
  • Every boss ever in MapleStory.
  • In World of Warcraft they are currently known as "Tank and Spank" bosses, due to the tactics used to defeat them: Have a tank hold their attention while dps spanks them. For raids or heroics they are often called "Gear Check" bosses; even with the best teamwork and strategy possible, if the group does not have sufficient stats deal the damage needed to kill them, the group needs to return to earlier content.
    • Another popular designation for these fights is "Patchwerk," named after one of the most famous instances of this in Classic. The original Patchwerk was a boss in the first iteration of Naxxramas with only one special ability that was easily countered. The main difficulty was his enrage timer, as he would wipe a raid if he was not killed before it ran out. Patchwerk returned in the Wrath version of Naxxramas, but like the rest of the instance he was considerably easier (the fight mechanics were the same but the enrage timer was more forgiving).note 
    • The first bosses made available on the Test Realms tend to be variants of this. The more complicated bosses appear later in the testing and raids.
      • This is intentional, as having a gear check boss at the start of the dungeon (just as Patchwerk was to Naxxramas) serves as bouncer to turn away groups that are unlikely to have the stats needed to survive the more complex fights deeper inside.
  • EverQuest displayed an evolution of this as gameplay progressed. With each expansion, the developers had to find new ways to challenge players. In the Shadows of Luclin expansion, bosses (and even low-end trash mobs) with literally millions of hit points, at a time where it was rare for players to be able to inflict more than a thousand damage per second, were the next step in creating challenging content with the limited technology they had at the time. This often resulted in bosses that would take dozens of players pounding on them for a half hour or more to kill them.
    • The omega of this for EverQuest would be Kerafyrm the Sleeper. Never having been intended to even be attacked, they simply gave him a massive amount of HP rather than make him invincible. In the second run at this monster (the first was stopped by SONY because they presumed something was screwing up), it took over 180 players from the top three guilds almost three hours to whittle down his estimated quarter billion HP to nothing.
  • One complaint about Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition at launch was that the Solo monsters had too many hitpoints, too high defenses, and not enough ability to act, reducing many fights to a stun-and-grind. Monster Manual 2 reduced the number of hitpoints and gave all solos some sort of ability to avoid being denied actions (as well as extra actions in many cases) to make the fights more interesting.
  • Ragnarok Online has the Angeling, a souped-up version of the weakest (and most iconic) monster in the game. With 55,000 hitpoints - more than almost every non-boss monster in the game - daring low-level players may find themselves disappointed at the Angeling's inability to put up an actual FIGHT. Pretty much any player with the ability to outdamage its heals will almost certainly be able to kill it, provided their own healing potions hold out, but it will take a very, very long time if you aren't high enough level to render the creature irrelevant.
  • Guild Wars has the infamous Rotscale, a bone dragon that has fairly simple moves, a small entourage of mooks... and over 20,000 HP. In a game where you normally have around 500 health, and a SERIOUSLY stacked player might get up to 1,500. If you somehow manage not to get mauled by the always-poisoned arena and the mob that's with him, it can still take upwards of ten minutes to whittle him down.
    • And a few years back, the Underworld, already the hardest and longest dungeon in the game (a normal run can take 3 hours or more), got an endboss, with roughly 100,000 health. The fight with him isn't that difficult compared to some others in the game, but you still have to keep paying attention or you die, for a whole 20 minutes.
    • Unfortunately, most of the (non super-)bosses in the sequel are just slightly stronger versions of regular mooks, just with a LOT more HP.
  • The Outposts in Battlestar Galactica Online are these. Each has 30,000 HP, when player ships almost never exceed 10,000, and more than enough firepower to shred even small groups of players.
  • Grand Chase has a couple of these. Starkiln has a large amount of health compared to previous bosses, but his attack patterns are very easy to avoid, provided you keep near him. Arawn, the highest level boss in the game so far, deals rather low damage, and the only attack to really worry about is his 'Thunder Hammer'. He also has about 14 health bars on 3* difficulty, and 38 on Champion Mode. Throw in Increased Defense, and it's more like you're fighting 50.
  • Eden Eternal is crawling with Damage Sponge Bosses, mostly as the game is driven around social interactions, so you're expected to play in groups. Most bosses also have attacks proportionate to their health bars, and a Mook attacking you during a boss fight is not good. Being a social game, Eden Eternal is hard to play through solo as that turns some mooks into Damage Sponge Bosses.
  • Aion Online has tons and tons of this. One notable example would be Yamennes Painflare, with a whopping 5.9 million HP and offensive capabilities enough to drop anyone unprepared. And he has the ability to buff himself, negate your tank's healing completely, and a massive area - of - effect nuke with a disable. It takes a full party of 12 max - leveled characters at least fifteen minutes to kill him. And his Mook guards in the rest of the dungeon aren't slouches either - with each having at least a few million HP of their own. And, as if he wasn't annoying enough to deal with, he constantly summons more mooks as the fight drags on.
    • To put this in perspective, at max level your abilities won't have a base damage above twenty thousand at most, and that kind of ability has incredibly long recharge times. One, the Cursecloud of the Spiritmaster class, can only be used once an hour.
  • Every group boss ever in Marvel: Avengers Alliance takes so much punishment that he must be fought multiple times to defeat him.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, the final boss of the Mysterious Island War quest, The Man (or The Big Wisniewski if you're playing for the Frat Boys) has no special abilities other than having the most hit points of any monster in the main quest-line (unless you count the third form of the Naughty Sorceress, which isn't even defeated in normal combat).
  • City of Heroes has Reichsman. He's got a quarter-million HP in contrast to a typical end-boss's 30,000, but other than that, he's got nothing that distinguishes him from the zillion other evil Mirror Universe copies of Statesman running around. The final battle is supposed to be a juggling act where the players need to balance their effort between fighting Reichsman and fighting the end-boss-class reinforcements he summons, but most teams simply focus on the bag of hitpoints and let splash damage take care of the rest. The typical run of the Dr. Kahn Task Force takes 45 minutes, of which 20 will be spent fighting Reichsman.

    Platformer 
  • Most of the bosses in The Legend of Spyro trilogy are this way—especially in the first game. While later games gave the bosses more distinct patterns, the general strategy for most of them remained "Attack them while they're vulnerable; back up when they're not" strategy.
  • The Metroid series has two noteworthy ones, in that they're also the two Recurring Bosses of the series.
    • Mother Brain is notably straightforward, requiring dodging the laser rings, not falling into the lava that floods her chamber, and blasting her with rockets until she goes down. Super Metroid has a second stage to the boss fight, where, after a particular powerup event, it's just you pumping missiles and energy blasts into her before she kills you.
    • Ridley is the prime example of the series, being fought in most of the games, if not multiple times in one game. You almost always fight Ridley near the end of the game, when you're loaded with energy tanks and missile upgrades, and he's programmed to take advantage of that. While most bosses require finding the weak point and striking it while staying out of danger, Ridley's fights are raw, brutal slugfests, where he throws everything he has at you, and you do the same, hoping you're powered up enough to kill him before he kills you.
  • The sentinel in Iji is specially armored and nearly invincible. You're supposed to just knock it into the electric shocky things, but defeating it "normally" gives you a Supercharge. None of the infinite-ammo weapons have any effect on it, and getting enough ammo to kill it is a challenge in itself.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd parodies this in his Star Wars episode, where the boss' health bar in one of the Super Star Wars games is Photoshopped to stretch beyond his TV screen and across the room.
  • What makes the battle against Rajan in Sly 2: Band of Thieves so difficult is his ginormous health which takes ages to chip down, all whilst he's sending in waves of mooks and continually attacking you. What makes it hurt even more is that you battle him as Murray, the team powerhouse!
  • Unlike most 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games, where they usually give out after 8 solid strikes, the bosses in Sonic Rush Adventure have a ton of health — for example, the very first takes 20 hits to defeat. As a trade-off, though, their weak points are vulnerable far more often, which arguably makes them less of a pain overall.
  • Most of the bosses in The Nightmare Before Christmas The Pumpkin King have no real strategy other than attacking them while doing your best to avoid their attacks, one of the worst offenders being the first battle with Oogie Boogie.

    Roleplay 

    Role Playing Game 
  • Some of the Tarturus bosses and Arcana Priestess in Persona 3 and most of the mini-bosses in Persona 4. And the final boss of Persona 4, to an extent.
  • Masakado in Shin Megami Tensei IV. He has double the HP of the final bosses, resists Almighty to an absurd degree, is fought in a brutal Timed Mission, and, oh, yeah... drains or nulls everything you throw at him without Pierce attributes.
  • Every FOE and boss (except for the second stratum's, oddly enough) in Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight. Your biggest threat against them isn't their dangerous attacks killing you, but being worn down enough that you aren't able to put up with their attacks for 40+ turns.
  • Every boss in Knights of the Old Republic (both games) except Malak (as the final boss) in game one and Sion in game 2.
  • The Final Fantasy games often include some of these as superbosses.
    • The Wendigo from Final Fantasy X. Just after finishing up a long-winded Puzzle Boss, you get to fight a big, dumb monster that can kill any member of your party in one punch, no other tricks needed. Thankfully, this boss seems to be missing the standard Contractual Boss Immunity to being blinded.
    • Also from X, the Monster Arena Bonus Bosses. With the exception of exactly two bosses, HP values start at six digits and only get worse. Going into battle with any of these bosses without a character that can hit for 99,999 HP or more in one turn is asking to fail.
    • Yiazmat from Final Fantasy XII. He has over 50 million HP. Your party members can do a maximum of 9999 damage per hit, with that figure dropping to 6999 once you've gotten his HP down to half its starting value. Suffice it to say, you'll be there for a while. (Mercifully, you don't have to finish the fight in one sitting; you can leave the fight at any time, and when you come back, the boss's HP will be the same as when you left.)
      • This is made more merciful in Updated Re-release of the game, which allows you to exceed the previous damage cap, while also providing you with stronger weapons and making Yiazmat susceptible to Expose, which will make it take even more damage.
    • Safer Sephiroth, Final Fantasy VII. This fight is, depending on how many Megalixirs and Remedies you have, either way too easy or way too hard.
    • Vercingetorix in Final Fantasy XIII. As the final Cieth Stone mission boss, this bad boy sports a massive 15,840,000 HP health bar, and has the infuriating habit of casting Impenetrable Aura (impervious to all attacks, unable to be staggered, and constant healing for its duration) whenever your party has just begun or is in the middle of attacking it while it's staggered. It also gradually sends out stronger attacks as its health bar depletes, sometimes forcing you to switch to a defensive paradigm just to keep up with its onslaught.
      • Relatedly, the Long Guis found in the Archylte Steppe. A step up from the normal Adamantoises and Adamantortoises, these behemoths all sport a whopping 16,200,000 HP, which is not helped by the fact that you have to temporarily pause your attacks on its legs once it starts stomping the ground. To add insult to injury, it will sometimes cast Ultima right off the bat, or use Roar in order to temporarily stun your party, allowing it to deal massive damage with a single stomp unchecked.
    • Valfodr in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Unlike Vercingetorix, he starts out with a decent HP count for a Bonus Boss, but each subsequent fight with him raises his level, stats and number of abilities appropriately, up until his level 99 incarnation, where he starts out with 15,516,000 HP and rarely pauses when attacking you. His high resistances, coupled with the ability to heal and use status buffs on himself, all culminate in an uphill battle where your party has to deal with his area-wide debuffs and -ga level spells, giving you little time to fill up his stagger gauge.
    • The Aeronite in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has a ridiculous amount of HP compared to any other boss in the game (11 million HP on Normal and 38.5 million on Hard, which can further be increased by an additional 50% to 57.75 million HP if you choose to fight it in a Chaos zone, topping Yiazmat's previous record for the highest enemy HP in the series by another 7+ million HP, although to compensate, you can remove 10% or rarely 25% of its initial HP if you strike it first). It mostly bombards you with -ra and -ga level spells, occasionally mixing in a much stronger, but heavily telegraphed special attack that needs to be blocked. It also takes very little damage until it's been staggered four times (each stagger doubling the damage you do to it, from 50% to 100% then 200% then 400%), but once that happens, it weakens greatly, losing access to its stronger moves and slowing its attacks, which turns it into little more than a punching bag. However, there's a time limit of 3 minutes for each stagger and if you don't accomplish another one before then and ultimately kill it off by the fourth stagger, it gets fed up and escapes.
      • The Aeronite can be made a lot easier on subsequent playthroughs due to Lightning keeping all her prior stats and Weapon upgrades. So the more you repeat, the stronger she becomes and the easier the fight becomes. 57m HP doesn't sound like much when you can take off 500k per hit...
    • The very first Final Fantasy has the Wizards. They have no special moves at all, but they are horribly tough. They can soak up AND deal large amounts of damage. The first fight with them to obtain the Crown is arguably a Luck-Based Mission since random encounter logic decides whether you fight 2 of them or 4 of them.
  • The major difference between the difficulties in the first Mass Effect game was that on higher difficulties you had to spend more time sitting there on full-auto before anything died, leading to enemies taking comical amounts of punishment without the 'warp' de-buff or special ammo types.
    • Mass Effect 2 made it a lot more interesting, with one exception: a 'Praetorian' that replaces its barriers repeatedly.
    • In one boss section, where you are expected to whittle down a ship's drive core while fending off zombies, you can subvert this by just shooting it with a (sort of) portable Nuke Launcher
    • In both of the first two games during a recruitment mission (Liara's in the first, Tali's in the second) you have to fight a Geth Colossus on foot. If you don't have the nuke launcher, it becomes an exercise in ducking, shooting, ducking, shooting, again and again until its dead. In the first game, if you get behind the wall on the left once you take out the smaller geth units you can stand there with impunity and keep shoot through the holes, so not even ducking is involved.
  • Dragon Quest IX has the boss fight with the Lleviathan fairly early on. It doesn't doesn't really do anything special, it just hits a single target or your entire party with powerful physical attacks and takes an age and a half to kill.
    • The second and last phase of the Final Boss in the first Dragon Quest game is probably one of the purest examples of this. All it does is hit you hard either by physical attacks or breathing fire, and it has ridiculously high defense. The extent of the strategy is to attack it and cast Healmore on yourself when your HP gets low. If you can't win, do some Level Grinding and try again when you're stronger.
    • Dragon Quest V has Bjørn the Behemoose. In the original game, he's tied with the final boss's second form for the most HP of any enemy...and Bjørn is fought a little past mid-game. In the DS remake, Bjørn has even more HP than in the original Super Famicom version (though this puts him at merely second to the considerably buffed final boss). But in both versions he's not particularly hard, just time-consuming. All he does is hit you reasonably hard and raise his own defense.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • The Rock Titan in Kingdom Hearts I, at least relative to the other bossess. Two of his three attacks are ridiculously easy to dodge, and battling him is more of a matter of time than difficulty.
    • The second form of Ansem in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance qualifies, having the second highest HP out of any boss in the game, only beaten by the bonus boss. He's also a Stationary Boss and is almost constantly firing various projectiles at you, that while very painful, aren't especially difficult to avoid once you memorize their movement patterns.
    • Days took the Invisible, a Lightning Bruiser demon Heartless from the first game with high (but not ridiculous) health, and gave it a lot more health. Days also has the Zip Slasher and Dustflier. Thankfully, all three are optional. Most of the bosses have a lot of health, but these three stand out.
  • Tales of Destiny 2: Fortuna. She has so much HP and defense it can take a skilled player 20 minutes to beat her.
  • Tales of the Tempest: All bosses are this to some degree because of how easy the game is, but the first fight against Albert is particularly bad. He has 12 000 HP when you probably won't be doing more than 100 damage per strong hit and may not be over 1000 HP yourself.
  • The Gaets in Tales of Legendia have truckloads of HP compared to other bosses (The first one has triple the HP of the previous boss, and the last one has the highest HP in the game), but aren't particularly difficult due to being huge targets and slow attackers.
  • Due to RPG-Maker's limited mechanics, all the bosses in OFF are these. Special mention goes to the Bonus Boss Sugar, whose battle will probably take you a good 10 minutes even at a high level.
    • However, Sugar lacks Contractual Boss Immunity to poison damage (like many of OFF's bosses), and poison scales with enemy HP. Use one poison Competency and you can win with 45 seconds of Cherry Tapping.
  • Dangaard in Seiken Densetsu 3. The fight isn't difficult, just long. It is split into four phases, alternating between overhead and side views. Prolonging the fight even further is the fact that you have to recast any buffs or debuffs you want to use each time the perspective changes.
  • Ys 6 and 7, where you take at least 3-5 minutes to subdue a boss. Likewise for the final bosses of most of the games.
  • Although not usually a true boss, Chansey and Blissey from the Pokémon series count. They have the highest HP stats in the game (at level 100, their HP is a minimum of 600, and can easily reach up to 700), and a very notable Special Defense stat. To make up for this, their physical defenses are practically nonexistent, making them extremely vulnerable to Fighting-type moves.
    • One infamous subversion of this trope is Wobbuffet. Its stats are pitiful across the board except its HP, one of the highest in the franchise (Chansey and Blissey above are among the few whose HP are higher). You would think that such a battle would be a simple matter of hammering away at its high HP, but what makes Wobbuffet a subversion is the fact that it causes damage using Counter and Mirror Coat, which causes double the damage to an opponent who used a physical or special attack, respectively. Due to Wobbuffet's massive HP and poor defenses, it will be able to survive attacks that cause a lot of damage and cause twice the damage to opponents, making it almost certain that Wobbuffet will not be defeated without taking down at least one opponent (it can also guarantee this by using Destiny Bond, which knocks out the opponent if their next attack knocks out Wobbuffet). This is made even worse by the fact that as of Gen III, Wobbuffet's ability is Shadow Tag, which prevents opponents from escaping, so unless you're playing a Gen VI game and you have a Ghost-type in the front of your party, if you run into one, you're screwed.
    • Also of note is Zygarde, or to be more specific Zygarde's Complete Forme, which it gains acces to starting from Sun and Moon onward. In this forme, the only real boost Zygarde gets is that it's HP is doubled (from an already great 108 to 216), and a slight increase in Special attack (from a mediocre 81 to a passable 91). Outside of the HP boost, Complete Zygarde's stats are strong but overall quite underwhelming for a legendary. However, its insane amount of HP lets it perform a variety of roles, one of which is boosting its offensive stats and Speed to ridiculous proportions with Dragon Dance and/or Coil while having the bulk to perform it multiple times safely. Add in the fact it can use an unavoidable Ground-Type Attack with Thousand Arrows, and you've got yourself a ridiculous powerhouse. In fact, it was the first Pokémon in the Generation 7 Metagame Smogon saw fit to ban to Ubers.
  • One of the two types of "bosses" in Evil Islands. A few examples include the Ogre Brothers, the White Wolf and a fair share of lone dragons, cyclops or ogres.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team manages to combine this with Puzzle Boss, of all things, somehow. Why? The boss in question heals off a certain amount every 3 or 4 seconds. The way to beat this boss is to hit it faster than it regens. This means using the attack you can spam the fastest. If you've been playing this game, you know which one it is. Overlaps with Guide Dang It too because of this.
  • Earthbound manages to subvert this with Giygas, the final boss of the game. You can hit him with your most powerful attacks, but they'll do extremely little damage, making players think he's a Damage Sponge. The secret is to use Paula's Pray Command, which causes people around the world to send positive thoughts to you; these thoughts decimate Giygas's defenses, allowing you to destroy him.
  • The Water Guardian boss in Summoners War: Sky Arena has 500% increased health, and to make things worse, gets increased damage as time goes on. This makes Continuous Damage the only viable way to take him down.
  • The last two Bonus Bosses of the second Digital Devil Saga. Whereas the two optional bosses before them, Shiva and Vishnu, have roughly 10,000 HP, Seth has 23,000 and Satan has 30,000. What takes this into Damage Sponge Boss instead of Fake Longevity is that they do indeed have interesting moves, especially Satan.
  • In Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven, every single boss after Elfriede joins the party. The most glaring example is Final Boss Kaiser, who has around 1 million hp. This makes poison bottles a god-send, as your party members usually dish out damage in the four-digit range at best.
  • The very first monster-slaying sidequest in Alphadia Genesis is up against one of these as he has thousands of HP when your strongest attacks will likely be doing little more than 100. Thankfully he doesn't hit very hard and becomes even easier with the equipment upgrade from the second town.
  • Take to the extreme by Trillion: God of Destruction. That's an Antagonist Title, by the way. The entire game is built around getting strong enough to whittle down his HP before all your Overlords fall in battle or the neatherworld is destroyed.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has the level 71 tyrant Gradivus, the Headless Emperor. While not particularly impressive on the offensive front, he has 100 million HP, ten times that of the level 99 superboss Telethia, and high resistance to most damage types.
  • Ovis Cantus, the first week boss of The World Ends with You, has 8000 HP. The next major boss has 3141. However, Ovis is entirely stationary, whereas other bosses move around a bunch and can be a pain to even hit at all, so he's not too tough to whittle down.

    Real-Time Stategy 
  • During the final mission of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun's expansion pack, Firestorm, you must face a foe unlike any other encountered in the series before or since. CABAL's Core Defender is a massive bipedal robot which can withstand obscene amounts of firepower; enough to level entire bases thrice over. It wields a powerful laser cannon from each arm, capable of shredding most any ground unit in one shot; even GDI's most powerful unit, the Mammoth Mk. II, can only take two hits. EMP also doesn't work, and using it propts an Evil Laugh from CABAL. The only silver lining is that there is only one of these things, and you don't necessarily have to beat it to complete the mission (doing so is extremely satisfying, however).
    • Averted if you lure him onto cloaked Firestorm grid, cloaked de-activated Laser fence, and then activate it. Or just blow a bridge away while he's standing on it. Alternatively, the thing is helpless against aircraft.
  • Every single boss in the Dawn of War II campaign is one of these. It gets a bit ridiculous.
  • Every Final-Exam Boss in the Pikmin games is this in one way or another, but one non-final example is the Raging Long Legs from the second game. It's much slower than its relatives, but it has twice as much health as the final boss. All you need to do is attack it, wait until it stops raging, and then attack it once more.
    • The Emperor Bulblax from the first game has more health than any other enemy in the game, with the Bonus Boss being a close second. The only strategy is to Feed It a Bomb and then throw as many Pikmin onto it as possible.
    • The Titan Dweevil of the second game is one of the more notable examples due to the fact that you also have to defeat the treasures attached to it, one by one. The boss itself is surprisingly bulky, but it's defenseless once you knock out all of its treasures.
    • The only thing you can do to the third game's Plasm Wraith is to simply swarm all of your Pikmin onto its body, but it can take a ridiculous amount of punishment even if you use Ultra-Spicy Spray. Worse yet, if you don't attack the blobs the boss drops upon losing health, it heals itself. Said blobs eventually become cubes that you have to use a certain Pikmin type to take out, so the battle can drag on for a long time if you don't try to take out the blobs/cubes alongside attacking the boss.

    Shoot-em-ups 
  • Pretty much every boss in a Shoot 'em Up game a la Raiden. Basically, both the boss and the player fill the screen with bullets until one of them dies.
    • Pretty much every boss in Bullet Hell shooters qualifies for this.
  • The final boss in Sunset Riders, a guy in a business suit, can take an absolutely insane amount of punishment because he's wearing an iron plate under his shirt. Once he laughs and drops it, he goes down easily.
  • In E.D.F.: Earth Defense Force, pretty much all the bosses are big ugly damage sponges. The only one that goes slightly against type is a Segmented Serpent exclusive to the SNES version, which is only vulnerable in the head.

    Other 
  • The Grand Theft Auto series has a history with this: Sonny, the end boss of Vice City, is different from your average mobster only in that he can take three rockets to the face before dying.
  • Every single boss (and enemy) in the StreetPass Mii Plaza game Find Mii. This is because there's no accuracy stats or hero lifebar so to speak, enemies simply scare away each hero after their attack. And the final bosses have between 150 and 250 health, in a game where a low ranked hero might be able to do between 3 and 6 damage.
  • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity has the Wily Machine, which has several dozen life bars (though each bar can only take 3 or 4 hits apiece) and ergo takes a good while to kill. Its second form, thankfully, only has one bar.
  • One of the major criticisms with Namco × Capcom and Project X Zone is that the more you progress through the game, the more the bosses start to feel like this. Really, the strategy comes from there being multiple bosses at a time, not from a single boss. The Final Boss of the later game takes this Up to Eleven by having even more health, wide reaching attacks that hit hard, and being able to summon other bosses.
  • Candy box! 2 has The Teapot, a 1 million HP 'boss' that is, in fact, a perfectly normal teapot, save that it is giant and has one million HP. Damage is, at best, measured in hundreds per second. The Result: a boss most easily defeated by leaving the game running and auto-attacking for a few hours.
  • The bosses in Kirby's Pinball Land are all defeated the same way — keep hitting them until they fall down.
  • Both of the new final bosses added to The Binding of Isaac in Afterbirth, Hush and Ultra Greed, are like this, due to having a special sort of Damage Reduction. A Game Breaker of a run that would kill any and every other enemy and boss within a few seconds will still take a very long time to wear either of them down. In theory, a loadout that does less damage would kill them at about the same rate... except they also spawn ridiculous amounts of minions that could easily overwhelm you if you're not doing enough damage and, in the case of Ultra Greed, heal him if you don't kill them. The skewed Damage Reduction is particularly noticeable with Hush, since you fight an unmodified version of the True Final Boss of the original The Binding of Isaac as a warm up, and he generally dies in less than thirty seconds. You can kill them in a single hit with the Chaos Card and can easily beat Hush if thrown correctly (throw the card at it from the bottom of the stage) if you have one.
  • Not a video-game example: monsters and large enemies in Anima: Beyond Fantasy. They've no defensive abilities except their armor and/or damage reduction, relying instead on an (often insanely) vast pool of HP and the quite often nasty bites they can give back.


Alternative Title(s): Damage Sponge, Hit It Until It Dies

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DamageSpongeBoss