[[quoteright:330:[[VideoGame/KirbysAdventure http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/minibosstvtropes_699.png]]]]
->''"Who gives a damn about you? Your new name is 'Mid-Boss'."''
-->-- '''Laharl''', ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'', giving his opinion of Vyers The Dark Adonis

A Mini-Boss, Sub Boss or Mid Boss is a distinct, generally unique, stronger-than-average monster that you encounter usually halfway to two-thirds through the level/dungeon/etc. It is noteworthy because it's tougher than any ordinary enemy (and isn't encountered under normal conditions like a GiantMook), yet it still isn't as strong as the actual {{boss|Battle}} that awaits you at the end. In story terms, the mini-boss is often TheDragon to the level boss.

Some games would have worlds split up into levels, and the level bosses would be mid bosses with the world boss being the "proper" boss.

Recurring antagonists, such as the GoldfishPoopGang and the QuirkyMinibossSquad, are often mini-bosses.

In the days when NintendoHard was the norm, this was especially sadistic. But as games got easier, such enemies were often just a little harder than the regular {{Mook}}s, and in some cases would just be {{Breather Boss}}es. But it's not always the case. Some lucky ones might even be a WakeUpCallBoss or ThatOneBoss.

Fighting games like to use the "New Challenger" screen normally used for when a second player joins when a midboss arrives.

If there is one, the reward for defeating the mini-boss is usually a map of the level, the featured item or weapon of the dungeon (as in the case of ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games), or a PlotCoupon, such as the Boss Key.

May [[DegradedBoss return as a regular enemy later]] in the game. Of course, normal bosses may become sub-bosses later as well.

In [=RPGs=] and related game genres, mini-bosses are often significantly less evil than the regular bosses, and are usually not directly interested in whatever evil agenda the BigBad and TheDragon have. They can be HiredGuns, PunchClockVillain, or maybe they are JustFollowingOrders. Since they are less evil than seriously bad guys and are more intelligent and sensible than the random mook, they can defect or even perform a HeelFaceTurn at some point in the plot when they realize they are not on the right side.

Compare SmashMook (and some often are), EliteMooks and DiscOneFinalBoss. MiniDungeon is a non-boss SisterTrope.

Compare and contrast BossInMookClothing, which is comparable in power to this, but is skipped just as easily as an average mook. Contrast FinalBoss, naturally.


[[folder:Video Game Examples]]
* Many RunAndGun games like ''VideoGame/{{Contra}}'', ''VideoGame/GunstarHeroes'', ''VideoGame/AlienSoldier'' and ''VideoGame/AlienHominid'' are usually ''filled'' with them. ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'', being a BossGame, has at least three per level, some being tougher than the stage-end boss.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'' onward have at least one per dungeon. In comparison, the games before it only have regular bosses refought in later dungeons. In the case of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'', its few mini-bosses (Jolene, a bigger-than-usual Eye Plant, a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere near Goron Island and [[spoiler:a group of Phantoms in the Temple of the Ocean King]]) are all fought in the overworld except the latter one; the normal dungeons avert this trope.
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games have some.
** The Sealed Cave from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' is in large part that way due to the Trapdoor minibosses. Yes, plural - ''almost every door'' is a Trapdoor.
** The four elemental worlds in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyMysticQuest'' would have two lesser dungeon bosses before the final crystal guardians.
* ''VideoGame/{{Vindictus}}'' has so very many. Sometimes you even get [[DualBoss Dual Minibosses]]!
* ''KingdomHearts'' has a few. The Shadow Sora miniboss fight in the Neverland level is infamous for being much, MUCH harder than the final boss for the level (Captain Hook).
* ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' had a couple.
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha 3'' had you fight a character relevant to your own character's story halfway through the game; this has shown up in other {{Fighting Game}}s and are often referred to as "story battles". This returns in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'', happening just before the final battle in each character's story mode.
* ''VideoGame/GodHand'' loves these; every stage has at least one, and most have two or better.
* ''VideoGame/SaGaFrontier'' has quite a few.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea|Hour of Darkness}}'', this is spoofed with RecurringBoss [[Characters/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness Vyers]], known to himself as [[SpellMyNameWithAThe "The Dark Adonis"]], gets [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname stuck with the nickname]] "Mid-Boss". This is the characters calling him a minor obstacle, not an actual description of his effects on the game or story. (He's actually the final boss of three of the four chapters in which he is fought.)
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'' is a rare instance of the sub bosses are often as powerful, if not more than the normal bosses.
** The two bosses you fight in the volcano during Disc 1 come to mind: Virage and the Flame Bird. The Virage is fought part-way through the level, and serves to prove why they were so feared in ages past. Then you fight the Flame Bird (which most people had forgotten about, after the trauma of the Virage battle), and it turns out to have twice as much HP, but only half the fight.
* ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' games. They started appearing regularly in the third game (not counting BossInMookClothing enemies such as Bigeyes). The ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' series has them as a mainstay of each level.
** ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'' also had a miniboss at the halfway point of half the levels (Sword Man, Clown Man, Aqua Man and Grenade Man).
** ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series: Usually 4 of the eight stages would have at least one.
** Inverted in two stages of ''VideoGame/MegaManZX Advent'', when the main boss is at the beginning of one level and the midboss of that level is at the end.
* ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'':
** At least since ''VideoGame/KirbysAdventure'', Kirby games have had a bunch of recurring ones, though one of them, Poppy Bros Sr, debuted in the very first game. In the games with a BossRush mode, they appear again in groups to make up for the lack of power compared to a normal boss. Some of them provide hard to come by [[PowerCopying abilities]] such as Cook.
** The series as a whole also has Kracko Jr., which is an easier version of Kracko, a boss (and is usually fought in the same level), and also debuted in the first game. On occassion, however, Kracko Jr was part of a SequentialBoss fight with Kracko.
** ''VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards'' didn't have unique mini-bosses, but it did have larger versions of common enemies serving as the mini-bosses of the levels, and one of these would eventually be fleshed out into a proper mini-boss in the later games.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Darius}}'' series has Sub Bosses as tradition.
** Particularly notable are the Sub Bosses of ''Darius Gaiden''; each sub-boss has a spherical orb, usually on the top of it; if you destroy just that part, you can collect the orb, causing the sub-boss to pull a HeelFaceTurn and fight for you! Though, it slowly explodes over time and eventually dies. For those who play this game for score, clearing the game nets a huge bonus for each sub-boss captured.
** In G-Darius, your ship has the ability to capture all regular enemies enemies and make them fight for you, including Mini-Bosses, although the difference this time around is that you need to first shoot off the gold-colored shielding with normal shots before they can be captured. Once captured, they stick around until they take too much hits from the other enemies, and each one has a special attack they used against you, useable by inputting a set of joystick motions, much like in {{Fighting Game}}s. And yes, like in the previous game, keeping them alive until to the end of the stage is worth a large score bonus, although they can be utilized to cause a long-lasting SmartBomb explosion or a stronger-than-normal WaveMotionGun blast.
* ''VideoGame/DeaeTonosamaAppareIchiban'' has many minibosses, but their presence is somewhat undermined by the fact that the playable characters' SuperMode can defeat most of them with ''one punch''.
* ''VideoGame/StarFox'', ''VideoGame/StarFox64'', and ''VideoGame/StarFoxAssault'' sometimes have a stronger enemy appear about halfway through the level, although you don't have to defeat them to progress. A straight example would be the Venom Guardians' second fights (the first fights are full fledged bosses) in the original: Phantron, the Galactic Riders, and the Great Commander, but which you fight depends on which route you pick. In ''Star Fox 64'', either the last Star Wolf fight or the Golemech on either Venom Route qualify as this. ''Command'' also has some minibosses guarding motherships in the harder levels. The aforementioned Star Wolf collectively act as a full-fledged boss fight in Fortuna/Fichina as well.
* The ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' games usually have this in the form of either one-time-appearance enemies (such as post-mission update enemies) or the antagonist ace squadrons, such as Yellow Squadron and Strigon Team; the former becomes a DegradedBoss by ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies 04]]'''s final mission though.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}''
** The series is very fond of midbosses. With the exception of (as of ''Ten Desires'') two stages, ''every'' stage has one. Sometimes more, though this is about as rare as not having one. The thing is, every boss has to have a unique character design and profile, so dedicated midbosses are rare. Which means that it's usually the same character as the stage's actual boss, even if this makes no sense from a story perspective. Other times you get stage bosses midbossing for other characters (sometimes between games!), though this is usually explained.
** ''Phantasmagoria of Flower View'' has a recurring midboss. ''Phantasmagoria of Flower View'' is a versus shooter, and as such ''doesn't have stages''. Said character, [[OurFairiesAreDifferent Lily White]], is also a midboss in ''all'' other games where she appears, outside endings. Two other unique fairies, commonly known as Daiyousei and Koushi/Rengeteki are also recurring fairy midbosses, the former appearing in the Windows games, while the latter showed up in the PC-98 series.
** In many games there's one fairy somewhere who looks like every other fairy, has no name, but is ''very'' tough and powerful by fairy standards.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' games often have mini-bosses, though their characteristics depend on each game:
** The instruction manual of ''VideoGame/{{Metroid 1}}'' referred to the two bosses required to enter the final area (Kraid and Ridley) as "mini-bosses", which leaves Mother Brain as the only true boss in the game. The sequel, ''VideoGame/MetroidIIReturnOfSamus'', only has one regular boss (Arachnus), numerous mini-bosses (Metroid evolutions of increasing strength) and a final boss (Metroid Queen); the remake ''VideoGame/MetroidSamusReturns'' adds two main bosses (Diggernaut and [[spoiler:Proteus Ridley]] to the mix.
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'' and ''VideoGame/MetroidZeroMission'' all bosses other than final ones and those you need to kill to open a way to the final boss are considered minibosses (which means Kraid and Ridley are nominally upgraded to main bosses in the latter game).
** In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeTrilogy'', bosses and mini-bosses are sorted by the rewards and outcomes upon beating them. In [[VideoGame/MetroidPrime the first game]], minibosses and actual bosses are easily distinquished: mini-bosses don't have a health bar and [[DegradedBoss tend to become recurring enemies later on]]. In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'', both main bosses and mini-bosses have a healthbar, but the Energy Controller guardians are often considered to be main bosses and the item guardians mini-bosses (although in this case some of the [[ThatOneBoss most annoying fights]] are item guardians). ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'' has several mini-bosses, including corrupted hunters, that you fight about halfway through the zones and planets (the actual bosses are the Leviathan Guardians).
** ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'' has the six antagonic hunters (fought at various midpoints of the areas) and the Fire and Arctic Spawns. The main bosses are the Octoliths' protectors ([[RecurringBoss Slench and Cretaphid]]) and [[FinalBoss Gorea]].
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic 3 & Knuckles]]'' features two levels (Acts) per thematic area (Zone). In earlier games, there would only be a boss at the end of the Zone, but in ''S3&K'', there is also a sub-boss at the end of each first Act. They are distinct from other bosses, in that they are autonomous, not controlled by Eggman/[=EggRobo=]. An interesting thing about the ''Sonic 3'' mini-bosses is that if the game is locked on to ''Sonic & Knuckles'', they use the mini-boss music from ''S&K'' instead of ''Sonic 3'''s mini-boss music. A GoodBadBug reveals that the ''S&K'' mini-boss music is actually on the ''Sonic 3'' cartridge.
** Some of the character fights in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure''. You only do them during story mode, and they are pathetically easy. In ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'', ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'', ''VideoGame/{{Sonic Rush|Series}}'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'', and ''VideoGame/SonicAndTheBlackKnight'' however, they are classed as normal bosses, and some of them can be really irritating. There's also the E-100 robots from the same game.
** The final level of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' has one, a trio of firefly [[MechaMooks badniks]] named Hotaru.
** There's a handful in ''VideoGame/SonicColors'', like Big Chaser and the giant eyeball in Asteroid Coaster.
* ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' has a great variety of minibosses scattered throughout the ruins. The Dimensional Corridor is packed with them, with 11 different minibosses to defeat before the area's BossBattle.
* Beginning in ''VideoGame/WildArms3'', the ''VideoGame/WildArms'' series began having mini-bosses literally pop out of nowhere - the party will be shown walking around an empty corridor, one person says "Something's coming!" (or words to that effect), and boom, you're fighting a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' examples:
** There is one for each of the 2D games, so they also act as {{Recurring Boss}}es: Birdo in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'', Boom-Boom in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' and ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosU'', Reznor in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' and ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros2'', Bowser Jr. in ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros'' and the 3D game ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'' (in the form of Shadow Mario, and always in an level episode ''[[InvertedTrope past the defeat of a boss]]''), and the first Koopaling fights in ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii'' (facing them a second time, with a tougher battlefield, counts as proper boss battles). Some of these games also have unique non-recurring minibosses fought at certain points, like [[spoiler:the living Mask Gate]] in ''Super Mario Bros 2'', Big Boo in ''World'', Kamek in ''New Super Mario Bros Wii'', ''U'' and ''Luigi U'', and Sumo Bro in the latter two games.
** Among the many things that separate ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld2YoshisIsland'' and its sequels from the other ''Mario'' platformers, is that every world has its own miniboss, instead of the game having just one appearing every time it can.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' has the KingMook enemies that don't have a background boss theme (Big Boo, the Big Bullies, Mr. I, etc.), while the ones with boss music (Big Bob-Omb, Bowser, Eyerok, etc.) are obviously bosses.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'' has, in addition to Shadow Mario, the Polluted Piranha Plant (fought five times), the Plungelos and Phantamanta.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' and [[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2 its sequel]] both have lots of minibosses, which are the bosses of the galaxies that precede the Grand Star stages (where the actual bosses reside).
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'', minibosses aren't seen until World 6, which introduces Prince Bully. The subsequent worlds have {{Degraded Boss}}es who will act as enemy blockades, as will [[spoiler:Queen Hisstocrat (the female version of Hisstocrat)]] near the end of the game.
** ''VideoGame/LuigisMansionDarkMoon'' has the Poltergeists (each fought in a different level, and each of which requires a different strategy to be defeated) and the Three Sisters (fought together in one battle).
** ''VideoGame/MarioParty 9'' and ''10'' both have a signature miniboss per board in Story Mode, which is fought in the halfway point. In party mode, players can choose which one to fight regardless of the board they're playing. Notably, one of the minibosses, Bowser Jr., can also be fought in up to 10 different minigames, one of which is triggered by player choice when he or she lands upon the Bowser Jr. space.
** The [[GameMod ROM hack]] ''VideoGame/MarioAdventure'' has a Boom-Boom (sometimes more than one) at the end of almost every level.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', several dungeons have Mini-Boss shadows around half-way through them, which also double as a case of BossInMookClothing
* The Tour Official in ''VideoGame/{{Backyard S|ports}}kateboarding''.
* ''[[VideoGame/StreetsOfRage Streets of Rage 2]]'' and ''3'' had loads of these, including Jack (a knife-wielding gangbanger), Electra (the lady with the whip), the Fat Boys, and Hakuyo (the Chinese martial artist). They would often reappear in later levels either as [[DegradedBoss Degraded Midbosses]] or in conjuction with other Mid Bosses.
* Many first encounters with enemies that are stronger than the average angel in ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' count as well. By the end of the game, however, they become regular enemies and even some of the previous bosses become minibosses as well. The game suggests that they're different from the original bosses by giving them a different color scheme and an English name while the original versions had Latin ones.
* ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'' will sometimes have a character challenge you from nowhere, interrupting the normal flow. These characters usually fight alone (unlike the usual team battle), but usually have increased defense to balance it. In the console version of ''KOF XI'', your actions up to that point determined the midboss, and if you beat them, you unlocked them.
* In ''Wing Commander'', named Kilrathi [[AcePilot aces]] such as Bhurak "Starkiller" nar Caxki and Bakhtosh [[RedBaron "Baron Redclaw"]] nar Kiranka in the first game, or [[LukeNounverber Kur Human-Killer]] in the second, qualify as minibosses.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers'', [[spoiler:Regice, Regirock and Registeel]] to Regigigas.
* ''VideoGame/CapcomVsSNK2MarkOfTheMillennium'' [[BossWarningSiren announces one]] as follows: "W-W-Wait a sec! A new opponent has interrupted the tournament!". Depending on your score, you'll either face [[Franchise/StreetFighter M. Bison]] or [[VideoGame/FatalFury Geese Howard]].
* For an action-adventure game that follows the footsteps of ''Zelda'', ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' has a miniboss cast as well. In order of appearance, they are Waka, the Satomi Canine Warriors, the Tube Foxes, [[spoiler:Evil Rao]], Oki, and [[spoiler:Nagi]]. A [[BonusBoss Bandit Spider]], almost a replica of the first boss, can also be fought three times (one in each of the Devil Gate grottos that house the ''very'' difficult MultiMookMelee matches). Lastly, judging from the tense music and the fact that they have to be hit more than once before giving up, the three big fish creatures that are [[FishingMinigame captured]] at different points (Whopper, Cutlass Sword and Marlin) are minibosses as well.
* There are five in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle'', and are fought through the optional revenge missions. They are the ones who kill Bishop (Travis's friend) after the start of the game.
* In the third ''VideoGame/FatalFury'' game, Yamazaki will step in to challenge you twice, once midway and once at the end of the arcade ladder. The first battle is a one-round fight and he's not too strong but in the second bout, the gloves come off and you take him to the full length of the match. Succeed and you move onto the Jin brothers, [[FinalBoss Chonshu]] and (provided you do well enough against Chonshu) [[TrueFinalBoss Chonrei]].
* In ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'', the first two mini-bosses (a pitchfork and a wild bull) are traditionally found at a mid point of their residing levels, but the rest (such as [[WolfpackBoss groups of fiery imps or cavemen]], for example) are fought right before the actual bosses.
* In ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'', several of them consists of [[WolfpackBoss groups of regular enemies]], though there's also a giant spider and a big evil toy.
* In ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'', you can tell an opponent is a miniboss if it's just [[WolfpackBoss a group of special enemies]], and note that they still lurk on their own in entire levels, like the main bosses. In ''Banjo-Tooie'', every single level is guarded by a full-fledged boss, while Klungo serves as the resident miniboss fought during key moments of the game. In ''Nuts and Bolts'', there are almost no bosses or minibosses due to the different gameplay concepts.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'': The final area in the main quest and each of the main quests of the expansions features one of these.
** About halfway through Dagoth Ur's Red Mountain citadel, you'll face Dagoth Gilvoth, one of Dagoth Ur's Ash Vampire minions. (The six other Ash Vampires in the game are each the boss of their own stronghold.)
** In ''Tribunal'', near the end of [[spoiler: Sotha Sil's Clockwork City]], you'll have to battle the Imperfect, a giant [[MechaMook fabricant]] which hits hard and comes with [[ShockAndAwe lightning attacks]].
** In Bloodmoon, you'll face several of these [[spoiler: [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame as your fellow competitors inside Hircine's glacial hunting grounds]]]].
* Some of the linear ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' games would have this.
** ''VideoGame/SuperCastlevaniaIV'' had only a mid boss in level 2, while level 4 had both a mid boss and a level boss.
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaBloodlines'' and ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaTheAdventureRebirth'' have mini bosses in each stage. They also use [[BattleThemeMusic their own battle music]].
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaRondoOfBlood'' occasionally has a more powerful and complex enemy during the level which you're required to defeat to progress.
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin'' has the [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Dragon Zombie]] that shows up in a couple of places. Unlike most other non-boss enemies, it appears the first time you visit the room and is replaced by weaker enemies in future visits.
** The first Armor Lord in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' is like this as well. Except it just disappears rather than being replaced by weaker enemies.
* The NES ''Videogame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' game featured Bebop as a miniboss halfway through the first major stage, who goes down fairly easily unlike Rocksteady, who you have to fight in order to rescue April. The third NES game has a mini boss fight with Slash in the third level, while later on you twice battle a foot soldier riding a giant mouser.
* ''VideoGame/Rockman4MinusInfinity'':
** Shadow Man is a {{recurring boss}} version of this trope. He shows up in Toad Man, Bright Man, and Pharaoh Man Robot Master stages.
** Whopper and The Trio of Ring Rings in Ring Man's stage
** Hogale and Enker in Dive Man's stage.
** Quint and Kabatoncue in Drill Man's stage.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bujingai}}'' has several with [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demonic]] "Overlords" of Tears, Sin, Despair, and Pain.
* ''VideoGame/MadWorld'' has several different ones for different areas; Big Bull Crocker, Yee Fung, Tengu, Death Blade, Big Long Driller, and the Cyber Slashers in order of appearance. They have surprisingly high health, a variety of attacks, and the ability to get into Power Struggles with Jack. Naturally, you tangle with nearly all of them in the stage leading up to the final boss (Death Blade and the Cyber Slashers, for whatever reason, weren't in on that action). In that stage, the Quirky Mini-Boss Rush turns Yee Fung into a Mook Master, has Tengu flanked by dozens of ninjas, and finally has [[StealthPun two Bulls and a Driller]].
* ''Franchise/DevilMayCry'':
** Hell vanguard from ''Devil May Cry 3''.
** The original ''Devil May Cry'' has a few, like Shadows. They also have their own [[BattleThemeMusic unique music]].
** ''Devil May Cry 4'' has the Blitz and The alto angelo.
* ''VideoGame/AnvilOfDawn'' has Messengers, who function as field commanders for the Big Bad. You fight about seven throughout the game. There's also a tougher, recolored Wither Priest guarding the key to [[TheDragon the Castellan's]] hall.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' has a few (with Dr. Salvador doubling as a MascotMook) and are often fought in order to get an important item, or gain access to an area.
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' has quite a few of these, most prominently are the [[MascotMook Black Knights]]. Mini-bosses in Dark Souls are much tougher than normal enemies and don't respawn, but don't have their health bar constantly on-screen or trap you in a BossArena as you're fighting them. Some of them turn up as [[DegradedBoss regular enemies]] later.
* ''Videogame/DarkSoulsII'' has several powerful enemies that don't respawn, such as the Heide Knights, the Giant Basilisk in the Shaded Ruins, and the Guardian Dragons in the Dragon Aerie. The tutorial zone Things Betwixt is also home to several non-respawning Ogres which are way too powerful for a brand new character to handle.
* Traditionally, the ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' series includes a particularly challenging sub-boss right before the final boss in arcade mode. Those who fill the role include:
** Goro filled this role in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' and the home versions of ''VideoGame/MortalKombat4'', then split the role of second-to-last opponent in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9''.
** Kintaro took over in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatII'', then became the other possible penultimate opponent in ''9''.
** Motaro took the role to new levels of SNKBoss frustration in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3'' and its updates.
** In the arcade version of ''4'', it was Quan Chi. It made sense from a storyline perspective, but he was a selectable character from the very start already.
** Moloch was next to take the role in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatDeadlyAlliance''.
** ''VideoGame/MortalKombatDeception'' changes things up a bit by having the tag team of Noob Saibot and Smoke. In the [=PS2=] and Xbox versions, you had to unlock them, but on the Gamecube and PSP, they were available right away.
** ''VideoGame/MortalKombatArmageddon'' picks randomly from seven different MightyGlacier characters on the [=PS2=] and Xbox. On the Wii, two normal fighters, Khameleon, who was only available on the Wii, and Scorpion, who's just there because he's the EnsembleDarkhorse, get added into the selection.
** ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'' has Darkseid or Shao Kahn as your penultimate opponent. If you fight only opponents from either Mortal Kombat or DC, then you will fight their representative MightyGlacier, but if you fight opponents from both sides, the game picks at random.
** In addition to Goro and Kintaro, Shang Tsung is always your eighth opponent. The twist is that he can access some AI-only moves.
* ''VideoGame/{{Purple}}'' features demons acting as mini-bosses you can [[RandomEncounters encounter randomly]] while stepping on blank nodes on the stage select screen. [[DualBoss Sometimes two]], as well. In World 6, [[DegradedBoss they appear as tough enemies]] instead.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dogyuun}}'' has ''at least one'' per level. The first one also counts as a FakeUltimateMook, as you face it right after the first wave of enemies!
* Unique monsters may play this role in ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}''.
* ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' has the Brute Necromorph, which moves fast, hits hard, and blocks Isaac's path forward periodically until it's dealt with.
* Many levels in ''VideoGame/{{Raiden}}'' and ''Raiden2'' have pairs of minibosses. For instance, in Raiden stage 6 there's the two big bombers that come up behind you, and in Raiden 2 stage 2 there's the two amphibious tanks.
* ''VideoGame/DynamiteDux'' has one of these in every stage. They tend to be pretty strange.
* ''VideoGame/{{Einhander}}'' has a mini-boss signaling the halfway point for most of the levels. In the first level for example, while you storm through the capital city of the Earth Empire, the police unleash a new weapon to stop you called the Greif. After you destroy it, the police eventually decide the only thing they can do is back off and escort you like a low speed chase right up to the Drache, the first level's boss.
* ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' does this in an interesting way. In arcade mode (from T5:DR onward), opponents are essentially ghost replay data, that the game has programmed in to act like CPU opponents, complete with an increasing rank system as you go along, that determines how sophisticated the ghost data is (in terms of combo execution, blocking, reversals etc). However, when you get to central storyline sub-bosses (like Tekken 6's Jin, or Tekken Tag 2's Jun, and to a lesser extent T5:DR's Devil Jin) you'll notice their rank will shoot up regardless of what yours is at the time, making them far more skilled in previous mentioned mechanics, which can really take you by surprise if you're not ready for it. Their single attacks aren't powerful, but it's the way the A.I strings the attacks together that chips off your health. They are of course only sub bosses to the cheap boss bastards that come afterwards (Tekken 5:DR's Jinpachi, Tekken 6's Azazel, Tekken Tag 2's Unknown) who rely on the typical SNKBoss overpowered, durable, limited moveset tactic, that ignores the ghost data system.
* The ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' games have three groups of large monsters that serve this role: Ursid Fanged Beasts (Arzuros, Lagombi and Volvidon) Theropod Bird Wyverns (Velocidrome, Gendrome, Iodrome, Giadrome, Great Jaggi, Great Wroggi, Great Baggi and Great Maccao), and certain Neopterons (Vespoid Queen, male Seltas and its Desert subspecies). These monsters have a lower HP than others, are considered to have a threat level of only three stars (the lowest for a large monster), and have a soft-paced battle theme that differs from those of the main areas where they're found; and since they're the lowest-ranked large monsters there's always a BackgroundMusicOverride upon the appearance of another monster. In the multi-monster quests with two or three monsters, one of these miniboss beasts will appear first and, upon hunt or capture, will be followed by a larger monster.
* In each ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' game, minibosses are fought in the single-player modes:
** In the original's 1P Game, the Fighting Polygon Team is found right before Master Hand.
** In ''Melee'', there's the Fighting Wire Frame team as well as the Metal Bros. (Metal Mario and Metal Luigi) in Adventure Mode. Cassic Mode has just a fight against the metal version of any character.
** In ''Brawl'', minibosses are very plentiful in the Subspace Emissary, and include dark versions of Diddy, Peach, Zelda and (during The Great Maze) all remaining characters that appeared up to that point. Strangely, ''Brawl'' is also the only game in the series whose Classic Mode averts this trope, since the designated QuirkyMinibossSquad (the Fighting Alloys) are only fought in the [[MultiMookMelee Multi Mook Brawl]] modes.
** In the 3DS instalment, the Fighting Mii Team, while optional, are always on one of the penultimate paths before the final battle with Master Hand. In the Wii U instalment, the Fighting Mii Team is always fought right before Master Hand.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} 2'', the Burrowing Snagrets are {{degraded|Boss}} to this in the Snagret Hole, since the main boss there is the more powerful and dangerous Pileated Snagret. ''Pikmin 3'' has the Shaggy Long Legs, Burrowing Snagret and the Bug-Eyed Crawmad, fought at different points in the game.
* ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'' has Octostriker, fought in one stage per world (minus the first) in Octo Valley mode. In each of its levels, it will periodically attack the player with a cyclone of ink, making the level more difficult. Only when the player meets the Octostriker in person, the battle will ensue. Also an example of RecurringBoss.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' has one for each of the first four stages - [[FriendlyGhost Napstablook]] for the Ruins, [[BigFriendlyDog Greater Dog]] for Snowdin, [[MurderousMannequin Mad Dummy]] for Waterfall, and [[CuteMonsterGirl Muffet]] for Hotland. All of them but the Greater Dog have their own versions of the same theme. Muffet, however, borders on being a regular boss (albeit a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere) due to being able to (a) change your heart color - something generally reserved for major bosses, and (b) [[ThatOneBoss absolutely destroy you.]]
* Minibosses are relatively rare in the ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey'' series (note that the F.O.E. are BossInMookClothing opponents, as they simply lurk in the mazes and it's almost never mandatory to defeat them), but they exist. In ''Legends of the Titan'', there's the first Bloodbear found in Lush Woodlands, [[DefeatMeansPlayable eventually-recruitable characters]] like [[spoiler:Kibegami and Logre]], Prince Baldur, and sidequest-related opponents like Baboon King and Sand Leviathan; all of them use the theme "Unrest - The End of Raging Winds" (a remixed version of the ocean battle theme in ''The Drowned City'').

[[folder:Non-Video Game Examples]]
* ''Roleplay/DestroyTheGodmodder'': Lots. There are many entities summoned at one point or another called bosses, but due to the fact that everything that is going on has the godmodder in the background, mini-boss is a better term.