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Duel Boss
Come, let us finish this charade!

The Black Knight: "I won't allow anyone to interfere with our fight."
Ike: "Agreed. It's better this way. I can focus on you!"

In video games where you control multiple characters at a time (almost always RPGs), a boss that you have to fight with just one character, usually the lead. Either the other party members are missing or incapacitated somehow, or it's simply something he's got to do himself. Often a Climax Boss, or an enemy with personal significance to the other duelist.

Usually the boss's stats are lowered to compensate for your reduced fighting strength. The challenge is finding a way to win with limited options available to you.

Sometimes you have to do this without your weapons as well. At other times, the boss is another player character.

Worthy Opponents and Blood Knights are the opponents most likely to try this.

Do not confuse with the (deliberately) similar-sounding Dual Boss. If the Duel Boss is also the Final Boss, this trope overlaps with In the End, You Are on Your Own.


Examples:

Action Adventure Games
  • The last level of Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams has each character facing down each of their personal rivals by themselves with their Leitmotifs playing in the background (save for Jubei, in which case it's a remixed version).
  • After a fight sequence on horseback, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess concludes with a final, epic one-on-one duel sequence (you receive no help from Midna or Zelda) against Ganondorf, set against the ruins of Hyrule Castle in the background.
  • The Whip's Memory/Richter Belmont in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is fought with Jonathan alone, without his partner Charlotte.
  • While most of Dark Messiah is a partyless game baring a few fights, one boss actively challenges you to a duel. You can follow the conditions of the duel (no magic) and face him on his own, or fight his 4 henchman along with him. Given the boss is already crazy tough (he can survive a finisher), it may be in your best interest.
  • The endings of the first three Assassin's Creed games are duels, though in the first case it's more "cut up a number of illusions then chase the guy around the area", the second ends in a fistfight. The third one is a real duel, on top of a castle tower.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins has Deathstroke, who fights Batman one-on-one and relies solely on his martial arts skills and equipment.

Action Games
  • Both times you fight against Solo-Wing Pixy in Ace Combat Zero, you must do so without your wingman, because the first time around, he technically still is your wingman, betraying you right after a nuke knocks everybody else out of commission and the second time, he kills your new wingman with the first blast.
  • Operations 000, 004-A, 004-B and 006-B in The Wonderful 101.
    • The first Kahkoo-regah of the game (although the player will have to backtrack to get it, so it's not the first accessible one) in the Prologue drops Red into the Kahkoo-regah arena with no teammates, and he's forced to fight a Chew-Dough Goo with his bare hands. On the other difficulties, this is replaced with a Diedough Goo.
    • 004-A introduces Vijounne. Blue immediately abandons the team for unknown reasons purely so he can fight her alone. During this fight, however, Blue is given special enhanced abilities including combos, a block move and a dodge move (characters usually only have just a generic attack on their own) to make the fight much more interesting.
    • 004-B puts the rest of the team momentarily out of commission as they have to provide support to a broken, underwater tube (or else the facility will flood). Red goes alone and, even though he meets up with Blue, the player will not have access to any abilities that require teammates, namely the Wonder Liner and the Unite Morphs. During this part, Red will have the same enhanced abilities as Blue in the previous chapter, which includes unique blocking and dodging moves akin to Unite Guts and Unite Spring. Tensions rise between them and Blue decides that if Red wants to get Blue to talk that badly, he'll have to prove it in a fight.
    • 006-B will put you face to face with Laambo while under the control of Laurence Nelson, Wonder-Red (Emeritus); subverted here, however, in that you're only expected to do the beginning of the fight one-on-one, and recruit team members as the fight goes on.

Driving Games

Fighting Games
  • In Super Smash Bros.. Brawl, at the end of "The Glacial Peak" stage, Lucario challenges Meta Knight to a fight, reducing the Ice Climbers into mere bystanders. A unique thing about this particular Duel Boss is that you can choose to play as either Meta Knight or Lucario.

First Person Shooters
  • In Rainbow Six Vegas 2 you must battle the game's final boss (an attack helicopter) without the help of your teammates.

MMORPGs
  • Final Fantasy XI, the first MMO of the series, emphasizes party play with other people, so it wouldn't have this, right? Wrong. There are several special fights that are nothing but Duel Bosses, the most important of which are the fights that raise the level cap to 75. Any job that came before the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion had you face the sometimes unfair Old Master Maat. All jobs from Aht Urhgan onwards had a separate fight against a master of that job.
    • You can also take on your Adventuring Fellow in order to raise your level cap to 70. There's also the L20 Avatar battles, of course.
  • In Guild Wars the player has to fight an enemy called the Doppleganger in order to become ascended. The Doppleganger copies the players skills and abilities, and must be fought alone.
    • In the Eye of the North expansion there is a tournament run by the Norn folk where you duel other famous NPCs from the different campaigns. Each win advances you to the next round, and all of these fights are essentially duel bosses - especially the final boss, Magni The Bison (who himself is a shout out to M. Bison), who takes a lot of damage and hits pretty hard, and often requires some cheap tactics to defeat.
      • Averted when you fight Danika, who brings her two pet Fungal Wallows into the fight, essentially making it three-on-one. Zho is a ranger in the tournament who brings her pet Black Moa into battle with her. Old Mac enters the tournament with his pet devourer, Joe.
    • Eye of the North also has a ridiculously difficult one-on-one battle against a griffon that likes to summon various spirits that shut down a wide variety of character builds. Depending on what type of character you play, this fight can either be stupid-easy or stupid-hard.
    • Again in Eye of the North, there's a quest involving a rowdy Norn making trouble outside the Eye and challenging all comers. You have to beat him in one-on-one combat to finish the quest.
      • All of the above are partially averted if you happen to play a Ranger with a pet, or a Necromancer who summons minions, a Ritualist who summons spirits, or any other class who can spawn helpers. Though these skills could be considered "attacks" and therefore are usually temporary, except in the Ranger's case.
    • In the Bonus Mission Pack, there's a mission where you get to play as Turai Ossa, leading his army through the Battle of Jahai. At the end, you get to relive his famous duel against Palawa Joko.
    • If you play as an Assassin and decide to go solo against Shiro in the final battle, it can be this. Despite Shiro's overwhelming ability to wipe entire parties, it's entirely possible to win solo with the right build.
  • Most bosses in AdventureQuest Worlds must be fought as a group (though they can also be soloed given the proper class, build and strategy). However, several bosses are meant to be fought one-on-one, including:
    • Dogear and the Princess from the storyline intro missions.
    • The Orc Trainer boss from Noobshire.
    • The opponents that you face in the Dragon Koi Tournament during the Kitsune saga.
    • And most recently, Vordred himself during the Doomwood saga.
  • Vindictus also has several bosses that must be fought solo. Episode 8's Succubus is a good example, as well as Episode 9's Shakarr, who you fight in full Level 2 Dark Knight or Paladin mode for the entire battle.

Platform Games
  • The first two battles against Bowser in Super Mario 64 DS can be fought with anyone (Mario is only required to unlock the Star Door leading to the particular levels where said boss battles are held), though Yoshi can't win them since he can't grab and throw Bowser. However, the final battle (and thus the level before it) is a straight duel boss for Mario; Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario will get stuck in the endless stairs leading to the final stage regardless of whether or not Mario unlocked the top of the staircase (unless you perform a glitch that bypasses it).
    Bowser (to anyone but Mario): Grrr...I have lost so many Power Stars. However, Mario is the only one I can call my rival. So GET LOST!
  • In Ratchet: Deadlocked, you spend most missions benefiting from fire support courtesy a pair of robots, who will also do most of the tedious unlocking bits and pieces so you can focus on killing everything in the area with machineguns. Every boss fight except Shellshock (whose battle takes place outside of the Battledome) takes these guys away, leaving you fighting solo against an experienced gladiator. Luckily Ratchet has saved at least two galaxies...
  • The 2008 Prince of Persia game has basically every enemy doing this (though technically, you and Elika "gang up" on them). The rest of it is platforming.
  • The Wing Fortress Zone and Death Egg Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has no Tails to help you, as he was gunned down at the start of Wing Fortress. Wing Fortress is a full level, while Death Egg is two consecutive Duel Bosses.
  • In Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra, Meta Knight does this at the end of Revenge Of Meta Knight.

Real-Time Strategy
  • In Desperados you control a rag-tag team of foolhardy guys and gals in pursuit of a notorious bandit El Diablo. Each of the Desperados has unique abilities for you to use in appropriate combination and only the leader can climb walls. At the closure of the pursuit El Diablo so conveniently collapses a lift leading to his lair, so the leader is forced to face the villain alone.

Role-Playing Games
  • Defeating Garurumon in Digimon World prompts him to accuse you of cheating, as he thinks that having to fight a Digimon backed up by a human is not fair. He asks you to come back the next day to fight him again, but this time, you aren't allowed to use items on your Digimon or even give him commands.
  • It's traditional for each game in the Tales Series to have at least one Duel Boss. What's notable is that almost every duel is fought between friendly characters who are not fighting out of malice, but rather as a means to resolve some outstanding issue or difference of opinion. There's often the added subtext of the less experienced fighter trying to surpass the more experienced one.
    • Tales of Phantasia has Cless fight Meia, and, as an optional boss later in the game, Odin.
    • Tales of Destiny has Stahn fight Dymlos (to unlock the full potential of the Swordians.)
    • Tales of Eternia has Reid fight Cless, though it becomes a Dual Boss on harder difficulties with Arche joining in. He can also fight Valkyrie as an optional boss.
    • Tales of Symphonia has Lloyd fight Kratos (so that Lloyd can release the seal on Origin, but also to prove himself to Kratos. Likewise, Kratos is also testing his son to see how much he's grown.) There are also two optional duels: Sheena against Kuchinawa, and Zelos against Seles.
      • To say nothing of the fact that you can face Seles twice (one with Zelos, one with anybody) in the Coliseum, which has a set of one-on-one tournaments too. Which means you can get two Last Fencers (Zelos' strongest weapon).
    • Tales of Rebirth has Veigue facing Milhaust.
    • Tales of Legendia has Senel against Chloe, and later, Moses.
    • Tales of the Abyss has Luke fighting Asch (so they can resolve their identities as original and clone.)
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Emil fighting Ratatosk (to assimilate both his personalities into one, and to prove that Emil has surpassed his original self in strength of personality.)
    • Tales of Vesperia has two: Yuri against Flynn (to settle the argument between them over whether Yuri's actions during the game were justified) and Yuri against Estelle (to free her from Alexei's control). The Updated Re-release also adds in a duel between Yuri and Don Whitehorse, which is close to a Hopeless Boss Fight, but not quite.
    • Tales of Graces has three: Asbel against Hubert (a Hopeless Boss Fight where Hubert shows how far he's surpassed Asbel), Asbel against Malik (so Asbel can prove to himself that he has grown as a fighter and as a man), Asbel against Sophie (so the latter can prove to herself that she is capable of fighting a friend, in preparation for her fighting Richard), and Asbel against Hubert again.
      • It should be noted that the later three Duel Bosses are completely optional (activated via skit chats), and that losing or winning the battle has no real impact on the story.
      • Tales of Graces F also adds yet another optional Duel Boss in the Future Arc: Cheria against Pascal. Because the latter refuses to take a bath......
    • Tales of Xillia has Jude against Agria, Ivar, then Gaivis. There's also Milla against Muzet.
    • Tales of Xillia 2 has Ludger against his half brother Julius, both as a test of the former's skills and because the latter knows his death is necessary for the world's survival.
  • It's starting to look like it would be easier to list the Final Fantasy games that don't use this trope...
    • Cecil fights his dark side in a duel early in Final Fantasy IV, shortly after a Hopeless Boss Fight between Kain and Cecil. In the Updated Re-release for the Game Boy Advance, Kain has to fight Lunar Bahamut by himself.
      • Additionally, Edward winds up fighting Sahagin by himself early on in the game.
    • In Final Fantasy V, Galuf must fight ExDeath on his own to free the rest of the party. Notably, ExDeath nukes Galuf to 0 HP as early as the first turn of the battle, but Galuf continues to fight without HP until ExDeath submits.
    • Final Fantasy VI featured a duel between General Leo and Kefka in a major fight about halfway through the game. Earlier, Sabin interferes into the battle between Vargas and the party, and the two duel.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Barret goes up against his former friend Dyne, who has gone Ax-Crazy; rather, he says; "Stay the hell out of this, Cloud! This is my problem!" And about four hours earlier, Cloud takes on Rufus and his mutant dog alone, as the rest of the party escapes from the Shinra Tower. In Wutai, Yuffie takes on the Wutai Pagoda and her father by herself. At the end of the game, Cloud fights Sephiroth in an Unwinnable battle... that is, Unwinnable for Sephiroth. If you enter the battle with Ruby Weapon with all your party members alive, it turns into this.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the first battle against Seifer is a duel between him and Squall. Practically impossible to lose, though, since his stats are downright pathetic.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, Zidane duels Amarant (at that point known only as "Red") as a test of strength; he joins your party afterwards. Earlier, the first Black Waltz and Sealion fight Zidane in a combination of Duel Boss, Dual Boss and Wake-Up Call Boss.
    • In Final Fantasy X, Kimahri has to fight the two Ronso, Yenke and Biran, by himself; much earlier in the plot, Kimahri attacks Tidus, who takes him on alone.
      • Giving the patient player a chance to learn all the Blue Magic abilities they may have missed up to that point if you wait for one of them to use the skill and then cast Lancet on them (which also charges Kimahri's Overdrive fully each time you learn a new ability from on of them). The dialogue implies this may be the point of them challenging him (for all their mocking and derision about his horn, the two jerks just want to see him get stronger).
    • Final Fantasy X-2 had one sidequest battle where Yuna must fight Rikku and Paine in a one-on-one fight as two separate battles.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, Snow is the only party member to fight his Eidolon alone. Since his is the Shiva Sisters, the fight is technically both a Duel Boss and a Dual Boss.
  • The Disc One Final Boss of Baten Kaitos Origins initially knocks the companions of the main character, Sagi, out of the fight, and Sagi must fight him alone until they recover and rejoin him.
    • There's two in the first one as well; as Xelha, you have to face Xelha's mother, the Ice Queen, in order to gain the Ocean Mirror. As Mizuti, you have to fight the Magician's Shadow to finish Mizuti's sidquest. In both cases, the game uses an even more unorthodox fight system; instead of picking your Magnus cards to fight, you are presented with a handful of face down cards, and one face-up card. You have to find the card that matches the face-up card among the one's face down in order to advance to the next round. If you get the wrong one, you take damage. Obviously, this is a Luck-Based Mission. What makes it more egregious is that there is a Camera Magnus in there, and of course, you only have this chance to take a photo of the Boss.
  • There's one on Rannoch in Mass Effect 3, where you have to help destroy a Reaper by targeting its weak points while on foot, but strangely, your squadmates are nowhere to be seen until you deal the final blow, at which point one disappears completely and the other, Tali, shows up behind you - as does Legion, who was nowhere near you at the time.
  • Most of the chapters in Live-A-Live have this somewhere. Masaru's chapter is one slog of duel bosses, Sunset has one at the beginning and at the end (if you let your rival live), Oboro's final boss can be one if you do not pick up the optional two allies in his chapter. Lastly Akira (or rather, Buriki Daioh), Cube, Sammo/Lei/Yuan and Orsted all have their final bosses as this.
    • And then there's the best ending of the game itself, which is every hero facing against each of their own final bosses in pathetically easy duels to represent how powerful they have truly become.
  • In Chrono Trigger, if you choose to fight Magus in his second appearance with Frog in your party, Frog will send the other party members away for the fight because he wants to defeat Magus himself. In addition, Robo vs. Atropos, during the Geno Dome sidequest.
  • Once you've depleted half of Jonathan Jones's HP in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Johnny powers up and challenges Mario to one-on-one combat, which cannot be declined. Unless Mario is overlevelled and/or has a crapton of healing items, he is going to die. An easy trick to avoid this duel is to not defeat all of Johnny's flunkies.
    • Later, Dodo briefly forces your second character into a one-on-one during the fight with Valentina.
  • This happens to Sora repeatedly in Kingdom Hearts: first against Riku, then the third Darkside fight, and then two rounds with Ansem. He also has optional one-on-ones with Hercules, the Ice Titan and Sephiroth (oh, and all the Olympus tournaments have a solo mode).
    • There are still more of these in Kingdom Hearts II: Luxord, Xemnas' first phase, Hercules and Sephiroth again, and Roxas in Final Mix+...
      • 358/2 Days has a few, but the most notable are Xion as the penultimate boss and Riku as the final boss.
    • It'd be easier to count which bosses aren't a Duel Boss in Birth by Sleep, mostly because the characters are alone 90% of the time.
    • There's some odd zig-zagging examples in Kingdom Hearts 3D in the form of Ansem and the Armored Ventus Nightmare. The former starts you off solo against him, with your dream eater alllies trapped in the darkness below until you reality shift, at which point they can aid you until he destroys the platform you've created. The latter periodically gathers the darkness engulfing the arena (And by extension, your dream eaters) and weaponizes it, forcing you to go solo during that time.
  • Before Yuri can rejoin the party in Shadow Hearts, he must defeat the to-this-point Implacable Man Fox Face in single combat.
    • You can lose this fight without getting a game over. This leads to the bad (and canon) ending.
  • EarthBound: Ness must face an entire world in his own mind (and thus by himself), including the requisite Duel Boss, before the shift to the endgame; said Duel Boss is the embodiment of the dark side of his mind.
    • You do get help from the Flying Men (though it's impressive if you get any of them to survive long enough to accompany you to the boss point). Of course, these are also part of you, so it's still a duel. Of course, the boss is ALSO a part of your own mind. So technically, while up to three fighters can be involved, only one person is actually doing any fighting.
  • MOTHER 3 ends with a Duel Boss battle between Lucas and the Masked Man, who has blasted down the rest of his party with a powerful lightning strike, Lucas being protected from it by his Franklin Badge. While Lucas CAN use healing PSI to revive everyone, this just provokes the enemy to immediately respond with the same lightning attack and strike them down before they can even make a move. When Flint tries to interfere about halfway through, he too gets taken down brutally.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Darth Malak pops up and promptly freezes your party members using the Force, then tries to cut you to pieces... twice. Stats lowered, of course: by that point the main character is strong enough that after a Force buff or two it's trivially easy to hurt Malak enough to force him to retreat... which does nothing to prevent one of your party members making a Heroic Sacrifice to "save" you from the guy you were effortlessly demolishing mere moments ago. When you face Malak again at the end of the game, you also fight alone... and this time, he's the most powerful enemy in the entirety of KOTOR. Though this is justified because the space station he's on amplifies his Dark Side powers.
    • Incidentally, even then he ain't that tough a Sith. All that is needed is liberal use of the Force Choke/Force Wave and a lot of running.
    • Juhani and Bastila do this too.
    • And the sequel loves this trope as well, making you fight Atris, Darth Sion and Darth Traya alone... which incidentally serves to undercut its overall message about drawing strength from others.
    • Interestingly what the main character of KOTOR II is "drawing" on is the Force connections of his/her friends, which isn't a good thing, by the way.
  • Pick a Suikoden game. Any Suikoden game. (See also Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors.)
    • While these fights are almost always done in the special Duel battle system, Suikoden 2 bizarrely has one such fight that uses the regular battle system. Which is designed more for 6-on-6 battles.
  • Breath of Fire
    • Breath of Fire II: In a rare optional example, the penultimate boss, Barubary, challenges your main character to fight him one on one. If you accept it, the main character get healed before the duel. The only reward for doing this is a vague hint about where to find a hidden piece of equipment.
    • Breath of Fire III: Young Ryu versus Garr, who's actually a dragon hunter who's been plotting to trap and kill Ryu the whole time. Win or lose, Ryu supposedly dies but wakes up Twenty Minutes into the Future, older and stronger.
      • Also, near the end of the game, Teepo forces Ryu to look into his own mind and that of his party members, which is in fact a sort of mini-dungeon which Ryu must navigate alone, including an end-of-dungeon boss battle.
    • Breath of Fire IV: Ryu has some opponents that he faces alone. Actually, this trope is played with when you face Ight: it seems like it's a normal boss fight (well, you defeated easily all the others one summoned by Rasso), until you realize two things: first, the classic boss battle music is replaced by one way more ominous and eerie; second, the boss proceeds to OHKO your entire party during its first turn. Then, as your characters are lying on the ground, defeated, the battle doesn't stop: Ryu will stand up, go berserk, transforms into Kaiser Dragon, and single-handedly destroys the boss in a demonstration of Unstoppable Rage (only Nina managed to snap him out of it after, thanks to her Cooldown Hug). Later, Ryu will face Fou-Lu alone, but it's an Hopeless Boss Fight (coincidentally, the same eerie music that you heard while fighting Ight will play here). As for Fou-Lu himself, pretty much all of his battles are duels, but as a Demi-God way more powerful than Ryu (Ryu begins at level 1 ; Fou-Lu begins at level 65 !), all of these fights are a piece of cake.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2 the main character must either fight Lorne alone, or choose a single party member to battle in his place. Light of Heavens, while not a boss, requires you to fight her alone if you want to recruit her for your keep, but nothing stops you from using party members to buff yourself up beforehand.
    • Its expansion Mask of the Betrayer has this when you fight in the Ice Troll Lodge to gain one of the admission to become a member of the berserkers, and in the end except if you have a lover.
  • Fei gets a lot of these in Xenogears including battles with Bart, Elly, Ramsus, Wiseman, Grahf... even the final battle.
  • Golden Sun does this trope three times by having Isaac fighting warriors at the Colosso in one-on-one fights as a way to prove his strength to Babi. What makes it tricky is having to navigate an obstacle course beforehand so you can reach the goal first and get the better item to use in battle. Luckily, Isaac's allies can use their Psynergy before the contests to make the obstacle course easier.
  • Grandia has Justin and Mullen clashing in a duel when Mullen demands Justin to prove his will to him.
    • And don't forget when Gadwin leaves your party. You get one of the best attacks in the game after beating the boss. By the way, both battles are fought with Crowning Music of Awesome.
    • There's another one with Baal, in between the above two fights.
  • The final battle with Kitanji as Draco Cantus in The World Ends with You is fought by Neku alone... to an extent. His partners can't actively fight, but they do send him light pucks that increase the amount of damage he deals, and unlike normal light pucks that last only for a single finisher attack before being passed to the other character, these stay active for the duration of the whole battle.
    • The Dual Boss fight against Uzuki and Kariya is also a Duel Boss fight because they fight in no way different than the player characters, having a light puck of their own and even a Fusion Attack. This makes them Those Two Bosses for most people, especially if you're not over leveled.
  • Beyond Divinity ends with a duel against The Death Knight, your NPC partner/companion throughout the entire game.
  • Almost every Wild ARMs game has at least one of these in the course of the main storyline (not including each character's individual prologues where they typically go through a dungeon and a boss fight alone):
    • Wild ARMs 1: Jack vs. Harken and Cecilia vs. Elizabeth; in Alter Code F, Rudy's optional fight with the Rotting Beast to save Surf Village. Again.
    • Wild ARMs 2: Ashley has a couple of solo fights that coincide with going Knight Blazer - the first against recurring WA monster Trask, the second against Caina (and as Knight Blazer is pretty much the most powerful party member, they go down very easily); Tim and Kanon each get a duel against Judecca; Ashley gets one against Vinsfeld at the end of Disc One (not forced into Knight Blazer like the others, but he can certainly do it); three party members of your choice get one against the Kuiper Belt roots in the final Boss Rush; and Ashley gets one last one against Lord Blazer, although he uses the The Power of Friendship anyway. But it's still totally awesome.
    • Wild ARMs 3 is actually the exception: aside from each character's prologue boss, the party manages to stick together for the most part so that no one ever fights a boss alone.
    • Wild ARMs 4: Jude vs. Kresnik.
    • Wild ARMs 5: Everyone but Avril gets one. Dean fights Nightburn, and the remaining four each take on a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad for their own reasons.
  • The Lunar games have a few instances of this.
    • In Silver Star Story Complete, Alex faces Tempest in a one-on-one match when the latter attempts to hang a con man for selling fake medicine; before the remake occured, Alex needed to fight two Dragon Angels alone in Althena's Tower.
    • In Eternal Blue Complete, Hiro and Jean face Leo and Lunn (respectively) in solo matches, and the final boss of the Epilogue is also a Duel Boss.
    • In Dragon Song, Jian does this a lot: he has a series of gladiator-style solo fights, takes on the Beast King Zethos alone, and tries to fight without the rest of the party on several other occasions.
  • The last boss battle against Apocalypse in Silver has you fight without your friends and everything you own except Falcon and Nemesis' shield and sword.
    • Two of the "regular" bosses, an ice dragon and The Dragon, who's curiously not a dragon but merely a brute with double BF Ses, incapacitate your comrades, both times appealing to Cutscene Power to the Max and incapacitating both your comrades with attack that later only damage you and make you fight alone.
  • Happens frequently in Jade Empire, from a duel with your rival, Gao the Lesser, near the start, to fighting the final boss- and in a way, it's come full circle, as the final boss is Sun Li, your master.
  • In Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 2, the player character must fight Charles, a wealthy rival of Tycho's, to the death for an apartment. It's a purposely Anticlimax Boss, as you're much more powerful than he is.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Sanger Zonvolt must face his Alternate Universe self Wodan Ymir in one-on-one, BFS-on-BFS combat. The difficulty was amped up in the Updated Re-release, Original Generations, due to Wodan's Humongous Mecha getting a brand new (and VERY damaging) Limit Break.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, when you confront Loghain at the Landsmeet, regardless of whether you won or not you will end up in a duel with him. You can choose any party member, apart from your dog, for this, or just do it yourself.
    • In Dragon Age II, the Arishok will challenge you to a duel, depending on whether or not he respects you (or if Fenris is in the party). You can deny this challenge, in which case both the rest of your party and the rest of the Qunari in the room have your standard massive brawl.
  • In .hack//G.U. you fight the real Tri-Edge , Ovan, in the end of Reminisce, your partners are incapacitate even before trying to react the Big Bad's attacks leaving you alone to face him. Surely it can be seen as a Cutscene Power to the Max depending of your view and/or skill.
    • Any avatar battle also fit in this trope.
  • In Super Paper Mario, the final chapters bosses are all this for every single character, who also conveniently is incapacitated after the boss along WITH the said boss. Except for Count Bleck
    • Even with Count Bleck, Mario is the only one to initially fight him. However, after jumping on him a few times, everybody else enters the room and joins you, at which point you switch to Luigi.
    • And of course, there's the battle with Bowser in the Bitlands, during which Peach is separated from Mario (who must fight him).
  • Croix versus Prince Targana in Ar Tonelico 2, of the This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself type. What makes this battle even more bizarre is the battle system, which allows the Vanguards, like Croix, to defend from attacks only while defending Reivyteils, but since Croix is alone for this fight, he can't defend any attacks and the player is forced to take every blow completely head on. Luckily, Targana's attack power seems to reflect this. To add to it, this boss has to be fought twice back-to-back. The first battle Croix will forcibly not launch any attacks higher than level 2, basically crippling you further, for the second fight, Croix stops holding back and you can go all out.
  • In Persona 3, the player has to fight the secret boss Elizabeth alone. Even if you bring your party members with you before confronting her, they won't be able to take part. The same goes for her brother, Theodore in the Portable version.
  • In NieR, the player character starts out controlling one character but slowly builds a party of True Companions over the course of the game. In the endgame, he loses all of them and is forced to fight the Final Boss and True Final Boss by himself. As an additional twist of the knife the True Final Boss is one of his friends.
  • In Alter A.I.L.A., Blue must have a climactic final duel with Green midway through the story. Depending on the story path, she is either killed or the fight never even occurs.
  • Three times in Sonic Chronicles. Sonic vs General Raxos, Sonic vs Shadow, and Super Sonic vs Emperor Ix.
  • On the landmass of Lowee, Neptune and Arfoire square off in Hyperdimension Neptunia in the event "The Last Battle?!" The next game has a scripted Duel Boss battle in the beginning where Nepgear unleashes the power of the Sharicite on CFW Judge, though it has next to no effect. Later on, Uni insists that she and Nepgear have a one-on-one battle after defeating Linda/Underling at Rebeat Resort.
  • Near the end of Exit Fate, Daniel and Leonius get into one.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the add-on "Dragonborn" Miraak the final boss of the expansion, you can only fight him by entering a realm of Oblivion which your companions cannot enter.
  • Happens twice in Forum Fantasy with Prelich's Madness and the Krazier rematch's second phase.
  • Legend of Legaia and its sequel, Duel Saga have a few examples.
    • In the first game:
      • The fights against the Delilas Family consist of three separate and consecutive one-on-one duels, with no chance to rest or save until all three are defeated.
      • Earlier in the game, Gala will fight his rival and former friend, Songi, solo. After the fight, he remarks that in the future, the party will have to fight him as a team.
    • Despite the title, there are only two instances of this in Duel Saga:
      • Lang has the option to fight the second boss, the Mighty Balken, solo, but can subvert this by fighting with Maya. If you choose the former option, Balken will commend you on your honor.
      • At the end of the Inevitable Tournament, Lang will have to fight The Black Knight Rauss in a one-on-one showdown in the arena.
  • A rather surprising one at the end of The Infyn Prism, in the Infinity Tower Control room, Greta and Atlese come to a head, and duel, 1 on 1, despite both sides arguing against it. In order to progress the story, Greta must kill her older sister.
  • OFF has a rather peculiar example. If you pick the Judge ending, you take control of the Judge and fight the Batter, your own Player Character, without his Add-Ons.
  • The final boss of Dark Souls is a one-on-one duel with Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, who wield a massive flaming sword and nothing else.

Turn-Based Strategy
  • Partway through Final Fantasy Tactics, Ramza is forced into a solo battle against Wiegraf. After landing the killing blow on him, Wiegraf transforms into an inhuman, monstrous being and summons several demons to aid him... whereupon the rest of Ramza's allies show up. (Technically, your troops pull a big damn heroes moment and he summons his guys to 'even the playing field'. Very humorous if you happened to be doing a Solo Ramza Challenge.)
    • There's also a fight with a giant gate separating Ramza and Gafgarion from the rest of the party (and the rest of the bad guys). You can open the gate, but it takes a lot of regular move to get up there. As it is, the fight turns into a sort of a one on one happening at the same time as a regular fight; some abilities allow you to circumvent this, however.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, after getting Frimelda to join your party they have a special mission of their own where they fight Ghi Yelgi one-on-one.
      • And before that, Adelle has to win a duel mission to awaken her dormant Heritor powers
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, there is a chapter where the main character, Marche, is trapped in a room with the Big Bad's Dragon, Llednar Twem, and must fight him alone. Unfortunately, this is also a Hopeless Boss Fight, and Marche's only options are to run and heal until reinforcements arrive. An alternate trick is available to well-prepared Thieves, as stealing the enemy's entire outfit leaves him very ineffectual (and gives you his outfit, which is quite useful for the point in the story the fight is at). The Damage to MP skill also makes the battle quite trival, because overflow damage doesn't hit HP (and you regain 5 MP a turn).
      • Before that you fight Babus in Exodus' chamber. Exodus is inanimate and helpless. Babus is not.
  • In Disgaea2 there's a situation where you have to do a Hopeless Boss Fight against Laharl. You CAN win, but it ends up being a non standard game over, so to progress the story you have to lose, which you will likely do anyways because your first play through you're likely, at best, level 60, and Laharl is level 1200. When you lose, you're suddenly given control of Rozalin in a full powered form and are level 2000. This is the only time in the game this happens, and you have no base panel so you can't summon anyone else to aid this character. The battle might as well be scripted, though, as it's nearly impossible to lose to Laharl unless you're deliberately trying because Rozalin is suddenly dishing out way more damage than Laharl can even attempt.
  • Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn (quoted above) features a twist on this battle: Ike and the Black Knight fight each other on one half of the battlefield, while everyone else fights on the other half; neither half can interfere with the other. Being a tactical RPG, a simple duel would be short and not require much strategy (such a duel is featured near the end of Fire Emblem Path of Radiance, where it is quite luck based); in fact, the only thing that prevents the player from just killing him in under 2 turns is 1) EXP (being 3 fractions of a chapter away from the end boss, you likely don't need it) and 2) getting the other boss's Infinity Plus One Lance.
    • This happens again in Chapter 23 of Fire Emblem Awakening, and in the same manner to boot. Chrom and the Avatar face off against Validar on the top half of the map, while everyone else fights a bunch of mooks. After wasting him the first time, the barrier breaks down and it becomes a normal battle from then on out. Notably, it's the only level where the Avatar is a Required Party Member.
  • Ogre Battle 64 has Grozz Nuy, the Divine Dragon, whom you must beat if you want to get the Sword of Tiamat and unlock the Dragoon class. You'll face off against him with the leader of whichever unit you sent. He's actually really easy to beat as long as you send someone that gets three attacks per turn.
  • One of the final battles in Vanguard Bandits has Bastion attempt this against Faulkner. It's then subverted by you getting help to deal with him.
  • In La Pucelle Tactics, Captain Homard has a duel with Demon Lord Veloute, the last of Noir's Demon Lord lieutenants and the one who murdered Homard's parents. It's pretty much Unwinnable...for Veloute since Homard unlocks his Burning Soul super move (which deals massive damage to demon lords like Veloute) during the fight.
  • In the later routes of Duel Savior Destiny you're expected to be more proficient at the game than you were at the start, so the game starts throwing these at you. Even if you can't bring your allies, many of the fights where you're alone but the bad guy has minions are actually easier than these because the boss figure has a reduced AI and stats plus the minions are cannon fodder that let you build your combo meter.
  • The final mission of the Life campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a duel between your main hero and the Big Bad.


Non-video game examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Fairy Tail
    • After Bluenote Stinger spends a few chapters kicking several of the main characters around, Gildarts Clive shows up to take him on. Everyone promptly gets out of his way.
    • Laxus Dreyar is a subversion in the Fantasia arc. Natsu wants to take him down alone, as he's a Boisterous Bruiser with a desire to prove and challenge himself, and Laxus is well known as being absurdly strong. After Gajeel has to pull him out of the way of a fatal attack, Natsu accepts his offer for a team up.
  • One Piece usually goes this route for the Big Bad of the particular arc fighting solo versus Luffy. There are some times where the other heroes fight said Big Bad's lackeys, one on one (two notable examples are Alabasta and Skypiea, where each Straw Hat gets a turn against a different villain).

Fan Fic

Literature
  • Wayne from The Alloy of Law is a rare example of a heroic Duel Boss. His favorite tactic in combat is to get close to an opponent, catch them in a speed bubble, and fight them one-on-one with his dueling canes.

Live Action TV

Web Comics
  • RPG World actually implied that Eikre was going to have one of these with former best friend Jeff near the final boss fight.
  • The Ocean's Scar fortress from Demon Fist had the "chute sequence", which would drop each member of a group (the Hookshot Pirates, as it turned out) into individual battles with some of Rosenquist's strongest officers.

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