No Final Boss for You
For one reason or another, you felt like replaying this game you like. You have just beaten That One Boss
and now you're almost at the end of the game. OK, you did things differently this time around, like not waiting for your buddy Superfly
, and you caused Atlantis to sink (you were pretty sure there wasn't anything important or powerful in there). But now you're about to face the final boss and beat the game agai- what trial? GUILTY? CREDITS?!
That's right, No Final Boss for You. It's when a game with a final boss denies you that final boss because you did something different. Sometimes, it's something bad
— in which case being denied that closure is a Non-Standard Game Over
. Other times, your "crime" is playing the game with training wheels on
. But for whatever the reason, you don't get to fight a final boss, hence the name.
Contrast with True Final Boss
, which is a special final boss fight that occurs if you've done everything right.
- The Good Cop endgame of True Crime: New York City has no final boss, just a subway chase that ends with The Mole/Big Bad dying in a cutscene. In contrast, the Bad Cop endgame has a final punchout against your Jerkass boss Captain Navarro.
- Astro Boy: Omega Factor stops you from seeing the last level (and thus the final battle) on the first playthrough ("Birth"), because Death Mask judges all robots on Earth as guilty and obliterates the lot of them — including Astro. Only by playing through "Rebirth", the second playthrough, can you complete the game.
- The Bubble Bobble series:
- In Vanguard Bandits, if your party's morale is low enough on the Kingdom Branch, you'll be sent to the Bad Ending and won't fight the normal final boss. This is because, without Bastion's friends having the will to back him up, Faulkner blasts him with Zulwarn's brainwashing wave, turning Bastion against his allies. The final battle becomes you cutting down your former allies.
- Some endings in Star Fox Command can lead to this, though the game does always end with a boss fight. The True Final Boss, Emperor Anglar's True Form, is only fought in four out of nine possible endings — making the original path's ending a Final Boss Preview.
- Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose cuts stages and parts of stages if you're playing on the easiest difficulty level, including the final boss.
- Playing as Almond in Noitu Love 2 locks you out of either Final Boss fights with Tango and Waltz, instead stopping after the boss of stage 5.
- Streets of Rage 3 allows you to complete only the first five of its seven levels on Easy difficulty. Once you beat the boss of level 5, it taunts you that you have not discovered the location of its hostage (the chief of police), and Dr. Zan admits to the rest of the group that they need to do better. This only applies to the North American version; the Japanese version will let you complete the entire game regardless of difficulty level.
- In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, you don't fight the disco ball in the sky, Kagutsuchi, in the demon ending. Why? Because demons are not allowed to create their own world, and the Demi-Fiend is demonic enough to fall under this rule.
- In Devil Survivor, if you choose Yuzu's route, in which you escape the lockdown, you won't fight Babel, the final boss in other routes. Instead, you fight Amane and Izuna, who guard the lockdown as final bosses (said battle isn't that much easier, since angels on the field absorb your mana, and you don't have access to some powerful endgame demons from the other routes). Also, day 7 isn't one big Boss Rush like on other routes, since it contains only 2 battles (including the final battle) on Yuzu's route. The ending isn't exactly happy though.
- While you are still given a final boss, the Chaos route of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey doesn't allow you to face the super-tough final boss of the other two routes, Mem Aleph, because on this route you decided to ally with her. Instead, you're given a match with Zelenin. Said fight is as easy as, if not easier than, the fight with her in the final chapter on the Neutral Route — in which she's the first of the many bosses you'll face in the chapter.
- In Persona 3, you can simply choose not to fight the final boss and skip the last month of the game, which gives you a "happy" ending with a bad aftertaste. Similarly, Persona 4 will deny you any real closure at two separate points if you fail to find out the true identity of the serial killer, which can be a Guide Dang It! for some.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you can choose to eschew the traditional Law, Neutral, and Chaos routes in favor of a fourth ending: the "Nothingness" ending. Defeating the sole boss of this route, if you can even call it one, results in an ending in which you destroy the entire universe. It's the only route in which you don't fight Merkabah or Lucifer.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, it's the Law and Chaos paths that lead to this trope. On Law, Lucifer becomes the Final Boss and immediately afterwards you get an ending similar to IV's Law ending, with Tokyo being sucked into a black hole and Mikado being ushered into an era of peace, though with the caveat that Flynn is still at large. On Chaos, with Merkabah already dead, you get an ending similar to IV's Chaos ending, in which Lucifer crowns you the new king of Tokyo and Mikado in a society where Might Makes Right and both cities run ablaze with eternal individual warfare, though he also tasks you with eventually defeating Flynn to complete the picture. Either way, you don't get to enter the Cosmic Egg, you don't get to kill the Divine Powers for real, and you don't get to fight the real Final Boss, YHVH.
- Should you make it to the end of Romancing Walker without a high enough relationship with anyone in your Battle Harem, you have no choice but to retreat and wait as the Final Boss destroys the universe. You can also trigger the same Non-Standard Game Over if you do have a high enough relationship with any of your partners, but decide to leave the Astral Plane anyway.
- Undertale has a variation. The normal path normally has a penultimate boss followed by the final boss. But if you play this path more than once in a row, without seeing either of the other endings, the expected final boss will be skipped because Flowey knows when you reset, and knows he'll just lose again, so he doesn't bother to fight you. Seeing one of the other endings allows a "True Reset", which wipes Flowey's memories; the neutral ending does not grant this option. There's still a final boss... it's just what would normally be the penultimate boss.
- In Soul Calibur III's Story Mode, if you lose a match, even once, the game will end when you beat Zasalamel/Abyss. If you don't lose (and know to make some specific decisions during the game), you will also face Olcadan and Night Terror (although if you lose to Olcadan you won't face Night Terror). This is of note because Namco has never done this before in one of their Fighting Games. Olcadan is hard to beat, but Night Terror is Nintendo Hard.
- In Tech Romancer, there are very few routes in the branching storylines that don't result in a final confrontation between the characters and Big Bad Goldibus, but they do exist. Some substitute a rival character instead of Goldibus, some don't have the second half of the boss fight.
- Played with in Godzilla Unleashed: Part of the plot involves strange, powerful crystals forming on Earth. At the conclusion of the story mode, SpaceGodzilla uses their power to manifest on Earth and assert himself the Final Boss. If, however, your monster spent all the previous levels corrupting itself by absorbing power from the crystals, you don't get to fight SpaceGodzilla. Instead, you essentially become the final boss as every other faction in the game teams up to take your mutated ass down, leading to a whole different game ending should you win.
- The Trauma mode ending from Painkiller skips the game's final chapter (including the final boss) entirely, and instead gives you a genuinely happy ending where Daniel gets let into Heaven to reunite with his wife.
- Gal*Gun: Double Peace locks you out of a final boss battle if you don't have a good enough relationship with your chosen love interest by the end of the second-to-last stage.
- In the Underground installment of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, you reach the end of the game, and Eric Sparrow turns up and taunts the player character with the tape of their Crowning Moment of Awesome from earlier in the game, which only Eric & the main character were witness to, before challenging the player to follow Eric's run across the entirety of the New Jersey level, whilst Eric is throwing things at them. Play through the game a second time, and as Eric pulls out the tape and starts taunting the main character, they just punch him out and take the tape.
- The UFO endings for the Silent Hill games do this. However, that may be because they are joke endings (and usually take place less than halfway through the game).
- In the New Game+ of Haunting Ground, you can get a key that will let you get an early ending if you use it on the front gates. The ending is actually worth it to watch because you get to see the Big Bad get his comeuppance (and an old crippled man falling downstairs).
- If you don't travel to the past and defeat Wiseman in a sidequest in Baten Kaitos Origins, then you won't get to fight Verus-Wiseman at the end of the game.
- In Resident Evil, if you don't do the sidequests to get the good ending, you'll miss out on the final Tyrant fight.
- In the Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark Expansion Pack, you can engineer this yourself: by obtaining a couple of very valuable pieces of information, you can end the Final Boss during the pre-battle banter.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines had two final bosses: Ming Xiao and the Sheriff. Siding with the Kuei-jin or LaCroix, respectively, in the end freed you from fighting one of them. Too bad that their endings give you either a bad case of dead or an eternity spent on the ocean floor. In the good endings, you have to defeat both bosses.
- Completing a certain sidequest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion turns the Arena grand champion into a Zero-Effort Boss.
- Technically, of course, he's still the final boss of the storyline even then. It's just that it turns the battle from a (likely) tough battle to something amounting to an execution.
- There's actually two contenders for the final boss of Fallout (The Master and the Lieutenant) depending on whether you tackle the Cathedral or the Military Base last, but fights with either of them can be skipped by sneaking in and blowing up the buildings they're in (or in The Master's case, convincing him that his entire plan is futile and causing him to commit suicide).
- In Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters, there's an option to have the computer automatically fight battles for you, thus skipping them. If you have this activated when you engage in the final battle against the Sa-Matra, it will skip the battle and go straight to the ending cutscene.
- The MSX version of Salamander denied the final stage and good ending to players who didn't put Gradius 2 in the second slot and pick up a crystal in one of the previous stages.
- Touhou has a couple of these.
- Play on Easy in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and you are flat-out refused stage 6 and the battle with the final boss.
- On Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, you will not be able to fight the "true" culprit of the game's incidents if you so much as choose either Remilia or Patchouli. You'll still get an ending, but you'll ultimately not resolve the incident. You also cannot be able to fight the culprit if you use her on the story mode, but, well... That's kinda obvious.
- Meta example on Hisoutensoku; both Sanae and Cirno fail to fight against the strange giant they were chasing about. Sanae ended up sparring with one of her shrine's goddesses, and Cirno ended up fighting Alice's Goliath Doll experiment. Fun fact: they were chasing after a hot-air balloon. Meiling's case is arguable, since it was just a dream fueled by a tengu manga after all.
- In Hellsinker, there are several ways that you can get snubbed on fighting a final boss. The first and most obvious is if you used a continue. Others include failing Rax Cavalier's final attack or failing to bring the penultimate boss's Satisfaction gauge to at least 1 or above.
- The seventh and final stage of Giga Wing, including the Final Bosses, requires a no-continue run up to the end of stage 6. If you use a continue before then, you get locked into a Heroic Sacrifice Bittersweet Ending.
- Crimzon Clover's Final Boss, Crimson Heart, requires a no-continue clear up to the final stage's second boss, Gorgoneion. Failing to meet this condition results in a screen encouraging you to do so next time and a Game Over.
- Razing Storm's final stage and Final Boss require you to successfully complete the final segment of Stage 3, which has you defending the bridge you're standing on from a last-ditch Macross Missile Massacre by the giant mecha spider you've been fighting. If the bridge is destroyed, the game ends immediately, with no opportunity to continue. While Stage 4 is presented as a "bonus stage", the fact that you don't qualify for the high score table if you don't access and complete it makes the Stage 4 boss fall under this trope.
- Raiden Fighters Jet:
- Reaching Simulation Level 35 or 50 results in an ending after the stage ends that basically tells the player that they didn't qualify. Both of those levels have several possible requirements to unlock them, but the most common way of getting to them is through using continues.
- Dying in Real Battle phase 1 results in a bad ending when you complete the next stage, which tells you that you arrived too late to destroy the stolen nuclear bomber and ends with the sound of a city being nuked to pieces.
Non-video game examples:
- Non video game (well, sort of) example: in Homestuck, the game Sburb has a number of variations depending on what the players do and don't do as they play. Every player gets a kernelsprite, a glowing orb that acts as a guide for the player and takes a different form depending on what they put in it. However, a rule the players don't know before playing is that at least one player must put something in their kernelsprite before they enter the game proper, because if they don't, their session's game will become unwinnable as the final boss fight cannot occur. One session's players failed to prototype their sprites, and their game would have come to nothing had they not been bailed out by another group.