"Let's see if you remember everything you learned, slowbeef."A Final Exam Boss is a boss (usually the Final Boss, or at least late in the game) that can only be defeated by using every (or almost every) item and power you've acquired throughout the game (oftentimes in the same order you got them, even). Sometimes you just have to use those items to make the boss vulnerable to conventional weapons, like freezing a water monster form before bashing it with your Weapon of Choice. Such a boss often employs weakness-changing abilities. A variant applies this to the whole stage instead of, or in addition to, the boss: you have to use all of your special abilities to get through The Very Definitely Final Dungeon for the big showdown. Of course, this is the finale of the Plot Tailored to the Party. Obviously overlaps with Sequential Boss and Puzzle Boss. For the television version, see Final Exam Finale. For the dungeon version, see All the Worlds Are a Stage.
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- Beating Wizeman in NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams requires use of all three of the Personas you acquire in the game.
- EOE: Eve Of Extinction: Agla cannot be damaged unless you use a Legacy weapon of the corresponding color they change into.
- In Mega Man Powered Up, the Normal and Hard versions of the Wily Machine use the Robot Masters' attacks against you, requiring you to fight back with the weapon of the Robot Master it is strong against. However, Time Slow is useless against the Wily Machine when it is in Super Arm mode (it could only be harmed by Time Man's projectiles, and they're only available if you actually play as Time Man), but fortunately the Wily Machine doesn't attack during this state.
- The final battle against Omega in Mega Man Zero 3. The initial phase is very similar to the first time you face him (in the intro, to be specific), but faster and adds new attacks. His Fusion Omega form is all about mastering the dash-jump. And lastly the Grand Finale against Omega Zero, which tests EVERYTHING you know from dashing away, dodging his attacks and either blasting him to oblivion or slashing him to ribbons.
- The final boss of Altered Beast for the PS2 has six forms, each of which requires one of your transformations to take down.
- The four legendary ships from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag are optional Super Boss challenges, and taking them down involves you using every trick you have learnt in navigation, use of resources (chain shot, heat shot, broadside, fire barrels), and controlling the sail speeds. It's all strategy and represents the culmination of the Franchise's naval component. Special mention has to go to the two Spanish ships — La Dama Negra and El Impoluto, with the latter being almost Shadow of the Colossus worthy as a fight.
- Henry in No More Heroes is the pinnacle of real difficulty. You have to manage to learn how to Dark Step, emergency evade, and slash the hell out of him. He manages to be completely fair, despite his various unblockable attacks and his dreaded yet awesome One-Hit Kill, not to mention the Boss Remix "We Are Finally Cowboys" blaring in the background. The game actually makes sure that you're (hopefully) at the top of your game by requiring you to attain all beam katanas before facing off against him.
- Yami in Ōkami manages to work in a use for every single Celestial Brush technique in the game, even if it has to make up completely new functions in some cases,note and the one and only Brush Technique that the Sequential Boss battle didn't require, and is otherwise useless (Sunrise), is its ultimate weakness in its final form.
- The eponymous final boss of Metroid Prime requires you to use all of your beam weapons against it in the first form, and all of your visors against it in the second.
- The first form of Gorea from Metroid Prime: Hunters requires you to use all six of your beam weapons against it in a game of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors if you want to fight the second form and get the good ending.
- The last form of the Emperor Ing in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes subtly changes colour to reveal its weakness to either the Dark Beam or Light Beam, though the Annihilator Beam will hurt it in both situations.
- Gandrayda in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is a shapeshifter that cycles through the forms of several bosses you have already fought (as well as a couple standard mooks, and Samus herself). Each form must be dealt with using the correct weapons.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Every game in this series is often set up so that you get a new item from a dungeon, learn a new technique, or receive special powers that will undoubtably play a major role in taking out a dungeon boss or the final boss. This is notably averted by Ghirahim who isn't vulnerable to the dungeon item, but there to see if you've mastered the Wiimote controls. You're in for a world of hurt if you haven't.
- The Shadow of Nightmares, the final boss in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. It morphs into a grand total of five different enemies you've fought before (excluding the Giant Bot), and if you're familiar with them, you know exactly how to counter their moves. Then, you have to endure the true form of the Nightmare, and the real final battle is underway.
- The Ganondorf fight in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess qualifies. In the very first part of the battle, against Puppet Zelda, you need to practice your defensive skills, such as your various dodging techniques, the Shield Attack, etc. The next section is played as Wolf Link, and you have to use the trick you learned for catching runaway rams to beat him. After that, you engage in some horseback combat. Wrap it all up with some serious need for the special sword techniques. Or distract him with the fishing rod.
- Also from Twilight Princess, Zant not only has you use almost every dungeon weapon in your bag, but even clues you in by changing the environment to that of the dungeon where you first used it. And still manages to make the solutions creative.
- Majora from Majora's Mask is this, with each phase of the battle requiring a strategy that, in one way or another, mirrors that of a previous boss. But then since Majora and all the previous bosses can pretty much just be beaten by shooting arrows, it's not a deep skillset. But that's assuming you don't actually use the Fierce Deity Mask, which makes the "final exam" completely unnecessary. Granted, the Fierce Deity mask is harder to get than just beating the final boss, so in this case it's more like getting exempt from the final because you aced the entire rest of the class.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time requires that you remember the Phantom Ganon battle to combat Ganondorf (or how to use a bottle in unorthodox ways), and figure out the Light Arrows are designed to smite evil. Running down the Tower forces you to face Stalfos again, who only drop their guard when attacking, but also regenerate if their comrades aren't all slain quickly enough, and hopefully you remember how to stop a Redead without the Sun's Song. On to the final battle, where Ganon swats away your sword. So, unless you got the Biggoron Sword, you have to use basically everything else in your arsenal: Megaton Hammer, bombs, arrows, even Deku Nuts. Finally, you have to unleash the Master Sword's Informed Ability at last — use it to deliver the final blow.
- The final fight in Oracle of Ages rehashes an old battle wherein you had to use Mystery Seeds and the Switch Hook. Move on to simple swordplay and seed shooting, not to mention a couple tricks to find out how to move those Dark Links around. Finally, it's time to use bombs, sword, and the seed shooter. Also, Pegasus seeds help a lot. Damn beetle form.
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has a final battle that involves the grappling hook, the bow, a new form of the drawing gimmick, and even some boat combat. To finish it all off is a form of swordplay you've been developing by battles against Jolene. And it is awesome.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: The first fight with Vaati requires a jar of winds, you need a bow for his next stage, and his final form requires the Cane of Pacci. The ability to multiply is also required for form 2 and 3.
- The final boss of Hyrule Warriors, Ganon, starts off by mimicking attacks from some of the earlier bosses in the game, and you have to use your bombs, boomerang, bow, and hookshot at the right times in order to weaken it to start dealing actual damage to it.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the Boss, while not exactly a final exam boss, does test almost all your skills learned in the game. You have to remain hidden, use camouflage, there's still food to hunt, she hides, you have to use your gunplay, and most notably all your CQC skills. And MGS4 takes it to the extreme. The last fight with Revolver Ocelot incorporates strategies from the three previous games, even going so far as to change the health bar to match.
- The pseudo-Boss Rush final boss in Nicktoons Unite combines this with a Plot Tailored to the Party.
- Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City is invulnerable to frontal attacks and has a deadly freeze ray, plus he hunts you relentlessly through the area you fight him in. To take him down, you need to use every single different attack and gadget Batman has, because Freeze keeps activating countermeasures to stop you from performing the same trick twice. Curiously, this boss fight takes place near the middle of the game, rather than the end.
- Every battle with the eponymous character of Batman: Arkham Knight tests you on some facet of gameplay. The first battle with him in his tank tests your skills with the Battank. The Excavator tests your skills with driving and avoidance, and the stealth duel forces you to battle enemies who cannot be seen with your detective vision.
- Also in Arkham Knight, the Riddler's mech tests your combat skills with and without a partner. While he is optional, he can only be fought after obtaining 100% completion, so he is the true final exam.
- Sunset Overdrive's final boss is Fizz Co's headquarters, revealed to be a giant robot. The level of fighting is pathetic, but it's all about the Super Le Parkour that you've been learning throughout the game. Besides, you already did all the fighting to awaken the final boss. Also, the final boss is geared for destruction, not fighting. And it's angry about that, because...
Final Boss: I have a power core?! Why wasn't I told about this?! The only reason you have a power core is so that someone CAN DESTROY THE POWER CORE!!! When I find the guy who-
- The final boss of Ittle Dew, rather than attacking you directly, puts you in situations that force you to use your Fire Sword, your Portal Wand, and your Ice Wand effectively. The boss goes through fewer phases if you make it to the end with only two of the three tools, but is no less difficult for it.
- To beat the sword master in The Secret of Monkey Island you have to learn every insult and response in the game, because the answers to her all unique insults are ones that you initially learn as responses to other insults. People in random encounters will sometimes tell you you are ready to face her, before you've actually learnt all the insults.
- In the Carmen Sandiego game "Great chase through Time", the final stage is more like classic Carmen Sandiego games where you have to go to different time periods and ask the people there where they saw her go next. Normally, they give clues you would not get unless you've been paying attention to the general principles of the setting.
First Person Shooter
- El Toro in Wrath of the Black Manta. He only has 4 life boxes, but he can only be hurt by specific ninja arts... in order. If you use the wrong technique, he immediately regenerates to FULL life. More annoyingly, this happens even if you use the right technique, but from the wrong side of the screen!
- The final boss battles against Gruntilda in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. In fact, this is taken to the literal extent in Tooie, as Gruntilda will go easier on you if you correctly answer the trivia questions she asks during the fight. This was also seen on a smaller scale in the interquel Banjo Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge as well as in Nuts & Bolts.
- King K. Rool in Donkey Kong 64. It's a five-round boxing match, and each Kong has to make use of their unique abilities to incapacitate K. Rool.
- GLaDOS in Portal, only with portal-using techniques instead of weapons or powers. Even more obvious if you've heard the developer's commentary, which constantly keeps mentioning how the game is supposed to teach you how to use the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.
- Also in Portal 2, where the use of all three types of gels and redirection of bombs is necessary to beat Wheatley.
- The final boss of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (not counting the unlosable scripted part after the fight) has three forms. The first is fought as a straight fight, the second requires you to use the environment to set up a Speed Kill, and the final part is a tricky platforming challenge, while being shot at by the boss.
- In La-Mulana, the Mother has five forms, and each form must be defeated with a different main weapon, of which you have five of. In the remake, it qualifies as this, but in a different way. Sure, now it doesn't matter which weapon you use against her in each form, but she makes up for it in her final form, which gains new attacks based on the signature attacks of each guardian as certain amounts of damage is dealt to her.
- Defeating Reflux in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc requires the use of every Sealed Ability in a Can in the game. There's even a part where you dogfight him with a plane used in the penultimate level.
- Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy makes use of previous spin techniques and such for defeating him when you battle him in Bowser's Galaxy Reactor.
- Dark Corvo from Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg summons shadow clones of previous bosses to attack the player.
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, the battle with Zara has you using all of the abilities you've learned, as well as a mini-game.
- Both of the Zero Escape games have this in the form of their final escape sequences (the Study in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and the Q Room in Virtue's Last Reward). Both rooms consist of the hardest puzzles in the game re-envisioned and a unique puzzle based on the overall concept of each game.
- The Impossible Quiz 2's final question, question 120, references one of the first 100 questions in some obscure way. You have to know exactly which question it's referring to in order to win.
Real Time Strategy
- The Titan Dweevil of Pikmin 2 attacks using poison, water, electricity, and fire. That's funny, there's a type of Pikmin invulnerable for each element used! As for the Purple Pikmin, their strength just helps kill it in its defenseless form faster.
- Pikmin 3 continues this tradition with the Plasm Wraith. On top of being able to use every hazard in the game against you, its piercing attacks can only be blocked by Rock Pikmin, and it'll often fly up high out of reach of even Yellow Pikmin, forcing you to use Winged Pikmin to attack it. Even getting to the actual fight requires you to have a good enough grasp on commanding and managing Pikmin.
- The Rhythm Heaven series have these in the form of Remixes, which are basically mashups of the past 4-5 levels you've played. Then each game has a true Final Exam Boss in the form of Remix 6 for Tengoku, Remix 10 for Heaven and Heaven Fever, and the Left-Hand, Right-Hand, and Final Remixes in Megamix.
- The final boss of BIT.TRIP Core is a compilation of a bunch of patterns from the entire game, with the beats looking like asteroids that each move at different speeds.
- Dance Dance Revolution has PARANOiA Revolution's Expert charts, which are mishmashes of past charts, many of which are boss charts.
- While not exactly a boss per se, Adventure Mode in Don't Starve is incredibly difficult to complete without knowledge of the game that some casual players may not ever learn. For example, thorny bushes hurt when picked, but a shovel can be used to uproot the entire plant and grant you twigs without costing health. Not very useful in Sandbox Mode where saplings are plentiful, but quite vital in Adventure Mode if the game decides that all saplings should be converted into thorny bushes just to spite you.
- The True Destroyer in Romancing SaGa 3. However, completely optional if you kill the Abyss Devil Lords beforehand.
- The final boss of Wild ARMs 3 has a grand total of ten forms, most of which require the use of one specific spell in your repertoire. Then again, the Clive/Finest Arts trick deals so much damage that it can bypass any other trick you might be having trouble with through sheer brute force. The "Reflect" Spell can also cause a Crowning Moment of Funny if used against the right boss.
- A literal example is from Ultima IV. Rather than fighting an overt evil, the game is about mastering the world's code of moral virtues and behavior. At the bottom of the final dungeon, rather than a tough boss, the player is quizzed on the virtues.
- The final boss in Bloodnet repeatedly transforms into various major characters encountered throughout the game, requiring the player to use specific weapons and armor to take advantage of each form's particular weaknesses (for example, deflecting a cyborg's laser shots by wearing a reflector shield, or instantly killing a vampire with a consecrated blade).
- Silver, the penultimate boss in Silver, requires you to use all the magic you've acquired to destroy an object that is holding his power. Yes, even the Healing orb and Time orb, which normally have no offensive power on their own, can hurt that thing.
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- Most games tend to have at least one boss like this in each game, but the requirements for each one are not necessarily as specific as many other examples. For example, in Digital Devil Saga, the final boss of the game requires you to smash orbs floating around it to destroy the boss. These orbs are each resistant to different elements, and the boss acquires said resistances from any orbs that are still standing. You don't need EVERY spell in the game, but you do need a good variety. The most common version of this in the series is a Sequential Boss, where the boss has a set pattern of abilities, and you must plan for all of them. In true That One Boss fashion, some of these bosses require to you get hit at times to avoid enraging them, like Trumpeter in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
- Nyx Avatar in Persona 3 has you go through each arcana one at a time; while it's not necessary to know what works for each Arcana, it certainly helps.
- And beyond Nyx, there is the secret boss, Elizabeth, whom you have to fight with only your main character, and who, like you, can change Personas, thus switching her weaknesses and defenses. You better know the traits of each of her Personas, and you better learn the partner of her fight and be equipped with a good variety of Personas yourself if you expect to win.
- Chrono Trigger: Lavos's first form has shades of this, in the form of a Boss Rush you can heal between stages of. Do you remember how Magus's Barrier Shift trick worked? Or which hand to kill first on Giga Gaia? Oh, you'd better not have forgotten what dinosaurs are weak to. However, none of the bosses have scaled at all, so it's pretty likely you'll just brute force most of 'em with the benefit of dozens of levels. There's a bit of Fridge Logic there, too, as Lavos evidently took its DNA from the strongest creatures on the planet... who were promptly thrashed by the heroes. Also, at least one boss shows up from the future. And is a robot.
- Chrono Cross: At several points in the game, you see colors flashing in sequence. Note the order. It is also the order required before using the eponymous item.
- Happens with Emperor Sun Hai in Jade Empire, although to a lesser extent than many of the examples — he becomes immune to each type of style you use against him, so you have to repeatedly switch between Martial, Weapon, and Magic styles to take him down. Or you can just hit Jade Golem Transformation.
- In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the final boss makes use of all the brothers' (and Bowser's) defensive actions (as series tradition). Another example is the game's ultimate Bonus Boss. Bowser X is the final battle of the Boss Rush and temporarily disables any special attack the brothers can use after being used once. Add in a time limit on the fight, and that means the player is required to be proficient with just about every special attack.
- In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, you face all seven Koopalings at once before fighting the final boss. The first four are fought in pairs and function exactly like you fought them earlier in the game. The last three are new and their only method of attacks are to use two chase attacks and one attack which involves using Paper Mario as a trampoline to deflect a Chain Chomp back at the group. Failing to execute the last one correctly results in an instant death.
- The Sorceress' Tower in Kingdom of Loathing is this. First you must use potions, then meat pasting, clovers, and instruments, fight a regular monster, use combat items, heal yourself, and equip familiars, before you face a boss that is designed to stop your strategies (she takes away your buffs and often keeps you from using skills and combat items). The developers have stated they consider this a weakness of the quest and game, as changes to the game slowly expand the potential set of resources a player might have, and it becomes less clear to new players why post-quest additions aren't working in a challenge they appear to fit. Rather than expand the exam or add alternate solutions when adding to the game, they'd rather abandon this trope entirely as a bad idea.
- In almost all of the games for handheld Nintendo consoles, you have to go through a cave called Victory Road before getting to the Pokemon League. This cave usually makes use of all of the HM moves that you acquired throughout the game.
- The champion's team in each game is also stronger and features more variety in typing and strategy than the gym leaders and Elite Four members before them, forcing you to utilize your whole (hopefully balanced) team more over just sweeping the opponent with one or two Pokémon with type advantage.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: the final boss battle will not go well for you if you have not mastered staggering.
- If you play a True Pacifist run, you have to battle your friends as Lost Souls, captured by Asriel, and you have to dodge their attacks just as before while reaching out to them to bring them back to their senses (because you never fight Alphys in the game, she uses Mettaton's attacks due to being his creator). This part also involves every soul mode in the game, aside from the one used in Muffet's battle due to Muffet being a minor character. In a genocide run, Sans reminds you just how big of a bastard you were to his brother by having the most brutally difficult attacks in the game, many of them based on Papyrus' moves.
- Asgore on his own is a difficult-enough boss who utilizes the blue attacks seen and explained in both Papyrus and Doggo's fights, plus the orange attacks that first appear in the game as a stage hazard in the form of Frickin' Laser Beams. He also uses some faster, modified versions of Toriel's attacks in his fight near the end of the Neutral path.
- House of the Dead
- "The Emperor", the final boss from 2, is a variation; his second attack pattern is to throw at you metallic clones of the previous bosses. These can only be stopped by shooting at their specific weak point, which you saw at the end of the original levels.
- Taken even more literally by Typing of the Dead, where all the bosses test one particular area of typing note , and The Emperor is a test of everything.
- In Typing of the Dead: Overkill, the final boss allows you to type any word you want in order to deal damage — as long as said word is somehow related to a displayed topic. The instructions before the fight even literally say Final Exam!