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. Generally makes no attempt to block or evade the player's offenses, so no special strategies required - just attack it until it dies or if you want to get really fancy, circlestrafe it
. 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.
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.
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
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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Beatm 'em Up/Fighting
- 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 off it. Fun!
- The Cyberdemon boss from Doom is one of the more 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."
- When the Cyberdemon reappears as the end boss in Doom 3 it's immune to all of your weapons and can only be killed by the Soul Cube (which requires you to kill the infinitely respawning mooks to charge it before use).
- 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 plasma ammo, it might be 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.
- 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 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 quicklynote . 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 go toward puzzle-esque bosses or FlunkyBosses. Not so with the final guy, who can soak up more bullets than most people can actually carry without the highest-level cargo expansions.
- Don't forget Sledge. And Skagzilla. And Nine-Toes...
- Suffice to say, most bosses in Borderlands are variants on "don't get hit, shoot him lots".
- Borderlands 2 ups the ante by having Terramorphous, whose major selling point on release was having more ammo than a player is capable of carrying, and since bullet regeneration class mods are extremely rare, this lowers the players options down to two characters unless in a party or the player uses a combination like The Bee and Conference Call.
- In Halo, Brutes soak up an absurd amount of damage, and barely react until they suddenly collapse, in Halos 2, 3, and Reach. Tartarus takes this to absurd levels in Halo 2 as the final boss.
- Hunters might seem like this if you don't know to shoot for the orange goo... and in Halo Reach, they actually are this even if you're aiming for the orange.
- In Halo 2, the health of the 3 boss characters (Heretic, 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.
- 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.
- The Tank Robot in the Mann Versus Machine game mode in Team Fortress 2 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Before Wrath launched these were often known as Patchwerks after the vanilla game's most infamous instance of this. 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Team Fortress 2 has the Horseless Headless Horsemann, who always has 5000 hp at the very least (usually much more), and whose 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.
- The tanks in MvM can't hurt you directly, and do nothing but follow a preset path, but letting one reach the bombhole is an instant loss, and they have gigantic amounts of health.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mother Brain in the various incarnations of Metroid is one of the most uncharacteristically straightforward bosses in the game's history. Usually, she boils down to, "avoid her occasional beams/rings, don't fall into the lava, and bring out the missile spam."
- Exemplified in Super Metroid, where, after defeating Mother Brain, you get to face her again, and the strategy becomes "use what missiles you have remaining to trigger the Eleventh Hour Super Power". If you managed to find all the energy tanks, you don't even need to avoid taking damage: she simply can't hit you hard enough.
- In most incarnations, Ridley is one of the few bosses who simply has a ton of Hit Points rather than requiring Attack Its Weak Point.
- This is especially noticeable in Metroid Fusion fight. It essentially boils down to you shooting missiles like crazy and praying that you don't run out of life before he does.
- 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.
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 boss in Knights of the Old Republic (both games) except Malak (as the final boss) in game one and Sion in game 2.
- 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.
- 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 it's 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
- Dragon Quest IX has the boss fight with the Leviathan 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.
- 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 a matter of 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.
- 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.
- 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 nonexistient.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Street Pass 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 X Capcom and Project × 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.