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Ring Out Boss
A Sub-Trope of Puzzle Boss, and often a Bullfight Boss, the Ring Out Boss is a type of Boss Battle where the boss himself cannot be just defeated via damage, but has to simply be knocked or thrown back into a dangerous substance or obstacle to cause damage. Very much the Boss Battle type used when the hero fights the Implacable Man or a character with Nigh-Invulnerability.

There are two types of this boss:
  • Type 1 is a boss which cannot be defeated by anything other than knock back, your attacks don't directly hurt said foe most of the time, or don't take them down for good, and you have to try to make it so instead of wearing down a health bar via lots of damage, that the impact from your attacks knocks them back into something dangerous to the boss.
  • Type 2 relies on a bit more force, and actually picking up, carrying and throwing/dropping the boss into the deadly substance or obstacle.

A subtrope of Convenient Weakness Placement, and very much a subtrope of Ring Out, as that is the aim in one of these battles—albeit often with a foe who can come back a few times before being killed. Related to Boss Arena Idiocy, as it's only due to the dangerous and (for the enemy) stupid design of their battle arena that they can even be killed at all.

May be a Breather Boss due to many, many cases having limited physical damage abilities against the player character, and relying on trying to send the player into the same obstacle they're weak against.

Occasionally a Bullfight Boss who has to be lured to charge into the dangerous substance/location.

Examples of Type 1:

  • The Mario series loves this. You've got Big Bully, Chief Chilly, Topmaniac, Roger the Potted Ghost (and Shy Guy cohorts), Big Guy the Stilted and a few others.
    • Bowser himself in SMB3 - though projectile attacks can also be used.
    • Iggy and Larry from Super Mario World, which you had to knock into the lava on a giant tilting platform.
    • Bowser again in Super Mario 64. All three times you fight him, throwing him out of the ring won't work, but throwing him into the spiked bombs surrounding the arena will.
    • Zigzagged by the big Bob-Omb in Super Mario 64. He cannot hurt you directly, and if you run into him, he will just throw you further away. However, he may throw you off the mountain, resulting in fall damage and being forced to start the battle over again. At least you presumably found a Spinning Heart before reaching the top; depending on where you are thrown, it's likely that you can also recover to full health.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii is an inversion. Lemmy tries to ring you out.
    • The larger Cataquacks that walk over the mirrors in Gelato Beach, in Super Mario Sunshine.
    • The Tower Of Yikk in Bowsers Inside Story. There's river on both sides of the field. In order to damage its head, Bowser must punch it into the river while avoiding getting punched in himself.
    • Peachs' modified Castle in Bowsers Inside Story. During the battle, there will be black holes on both ends of the battlefield, and getting knocked in will cause Bowser or the Castle to take damage. The Castle is protected by a force field which must be removed by punching it into the black hole. It'll also use one of the few Always Accurate Attacks in the game to knock Bowser in anyway.
    • Giant Bowser in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. For the first part of the battle, the goal is just to knock him into the lava for more damage, but near the end, you actually have to knock him off in a way similar to the Big Bully fights from Mario 64, with Luigi spinning with his hammer and trying to ram away Bowser spinning in his shell.
    • Earthwake in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. Has Stone Wall level defences, but is defeated by you hammering it backwards off the edge of the island and into the ocean, which gives you the chance to repeatedly smash its head in. Same concept was also done in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story with the Tower of Yikk. Both also try to knock the main character into the water at the other end for massive damage too, but they rarely if ever actually succeed (the former is more likely to just kill Luigi before he gets there and the latter is very easy to avoid in general).
  • Bloomsday/Scumflower in Wario Land Shake It!
  • The Sandopolis Act 1 boss in Sonic and Knuckles has to be knocked into a pit of quicksand. The pit kind of stands out in an otherwise featureless arena.
    • Sonic CD does this kind of boss slightly differently- the boss of Quartz Quadrant is stationary and more or less invulnerable to Sonic's attacks- instead, his platform slowly wears away on the conveyor belt floor.
      • That's Quartz Quadrant, only mechanical and overly industrial in the Bad Future. As for another Sonic example, Toy Kingdom, where you pretty much evade his attacks, then hit, rinse, and repeat for a couple of minutes or so, trying to knock him into the bottomless pit.
  • The Crocomire in Super Metroid is this. Also, when it does finally fall into the acid pool, it has such a horrible Family-Unfriendly Death that some players genuinely feel bad for the poor thing.
  • The video game version of Terminator 2: Judgment Day for the original Game Boy ended with a fight against the T-1000 where, akin to the movie, he was invincible but got knocked back when shot, so the idea was to knock him off the platform into the molten stuff below.
  • Non boss example: In fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons, A character can freely move another character one square, with absolutely no way to prevent it.
    • The majority of Defender powers are about forcibly moving the enemies around. With proper build, you can do this to the Tarrasque.
  • Inverted in Super Smash Bros..: Bosses are the only fighters you have to beat with something other than a Ring Out. (Bosses that are counterparts to playable characters, such as Giga Bowser and Giant Shadow Bug Diddy Kong, still have to be ringed out, with the exception of Dark Link.)
  • The Chocobo Eater in Final Fantasy X is a subversion, as you could ultimately defeat it by depleting its HP if neither side can do enough harm for the Ring Out.
  • Once you'd beaten down Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid to the last of his health, it would slowly start restoring. The only way to beat him is to empty his life bar and then kick him off the edge of Metal Gear.
  • The Corpser in the first Gears of War was fought on a precipice overlooking a lake of what looked like heated Immulsion. Your weapons could barely penetrate its hide, but they could cause pain. Your goal was to shoot its soft spots and force it to recoil in agony, eventually backing to the point where the precipice could no longer support its weight and collapsed, dropping the creature into the Immulsion.
  • A slight aversion of type 1 occurs in Shadow of the Colossus, as you force one of the bosses off a ledge, then proceed to stab it to death with much prejudice.
  • The Warrior from Prince of Persia (2008) can be defeated only by being knocked him out of the ring or into a trap every time you fight him.
    • In Prince of Persia, the skeleton on level 3 has no life bar, and therefore cannot actually be killed. The only way to defeat it is to knock it down into a pit (twice!).
  • The easiest way to beat Ax-Crazy Burner Man from Mega Man & Bass is to push him off the platform into Spikes Of Doom using the Ice Wall weapon. Of course, for him, the spikes aren't fatal (though it does take a large chunk off his health bar) and you can beat him without doing this, if you want.
  • The final boss, in the first The Smurfs game for the SNES.
  • Algol in Soulcalibur IV can be defeated normally, but has an AI flaw that causes him to jump off the tower to his doom if you kneel close to the edge of his arena.
    • Notably averted with Night Terror in Soulcalibur III where uniquely of all enemies if you knock him off he just flies back in.
  • The first boss in Jazz Jackrabbit II.
  • In the DS version of LEGO Batman, Bane is totally immune to your attacks- the only way to beat him is to make him run into stuff and stun himself so you can drop things on him.
  • The Sumo boss in Vexx. The first go around, it's simply a matter of knocking him back a lot, but in his second battle, he becomes a much more dangerous Bullfight Boss whose arena steadily grows smaller as you fight him.
  • Chance in the final battle of Syphon Filter 2 is wearing an indestructable armored suit, so you need to shoot him with a shotgun to knock him into a helicopter's spinning blades.
  • The final boss in the Bad Ending path of True Crime: New York City has no health bar; instead you have to punch him across a subway car and use a finishing move to knock him out the rear door.
  • A lot of boss fights in the Double Dragon series feature a convenient nearby pit (often with a conveyor belt leading into it) that you can knock the boss into if you don't feel like spending several minutes beating down his health bar. Beware, bosses can do the same to you.
  • The final battle in the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King game is like this. Frodo fights Gollum "Neo vs. Smith" style, with the objective being to knock Gollum off the edge into the lava.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo game, in your first fight with Agent Smith he's invincible (as you are not yet "The One"), so you need to throw him into the path of a speeding subway car to beat him.
  • Not exactly a boss, but this is one way to fulfill the Lord British Postulate vis-a-vie the otherwise invincible Sergeant Johnson in Halo 2. In the first level, punch him into the airlock and off the space station into the void of space to kill the guy.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, the final boss is a one-on-one duel with the female Commander, who's wearing a Bubblegum Crisis-style suit of Powered Armor. You can't damage her normally, so to defeat her you need to knock her down a nearby elevator shaft.
  • Belcha, the first boss of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, is a large barrel which must be pushed into a lower portion of the floor at the end of his room. You don't have the leverage or strength to do so, and thus you must feed him beetles that occasionally fall from the ceiling - Belcha's belches steadily push him backwards whenever he eats one. Curiously the pit contains no hazards of its own and is no deeper than Belcha is tall. Considering Belcha's lack of mobility, however, the poor chap will never escape his comitragically small ditch.
    • Squirt from the same game is an inversion; he tries to ring you out. You kill him directly with damage, but he cannot damage you; instead, he tries to knock you off the ledge you're on by spewing streams of water at you.
  • The first boss in Spyro: Year of the Dragon is Buzz, who you must defeat by knocking him into the lava surrounding the arena. Your attacks have no damaging effect at all- all they do is knock him backwards. Knocking him into the lava makes the way clear for Sheila the Kangaroo to push him deeper into the lava.
  • The fight against Papes in The Legendary Starfy features this. Papes uses a big shield, so Starfy has to spin at him until he drops out of the pool of water in the middle of the room and hits a spiked wall. Doing this fight two-player allows one character to spin from the front and the other from the back, so it is theoretically possible to beat him without the ring out.
  • In Chapter 7 of StarTropics, which takes place aboard an alien spaceship, one of the bosses you face is a robotic alien called the Ostroid who can't be damaged directly. To kill him, you have to use your attacks to push him back far enough to trip a switch in the floor. This makes part of the floor disappear. Once that's done, you have to keep using your attacks to push the Ostroid back until he falls off the floor and into the void.
  • The giant spider of Alundra 2 doesn't perish upon the depletion of HP like the other bosses, but by being forced over the edge of the elevator it fights you on.
  • About giant spider bosses, Phantom from Devil May Cry will fight you three times. If you defeat him the third time as usual, he will break a skylight and fall over a statue that impales him. But one of his attacks, a big jump, can be avoided at the last second while YOU are over the skylight. Do it a few times and Phantom will break it so voilą, instant death without breaking a sweat.
  • In King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, the only way to defeat the skeleton with the chainmail in the Dimension of Death is to knock him back until he falls off of the tower you're fighting on.
  • The "Larries' Lament" boss in Super Meat Boy. Being that it's Meat Boy, you can't even knock them back without dying. You need to stand near some giant sawblades (probably dying a few times in the process) and then move so the Larries will jump into the saws without killing you in the process.
  • In Killer Instinct 2/Gold, the only way to defeat Gargos is a Knock Off. (A.K.A. Ring Out) He just comes back with more health, and you don't get healed at all if you beat him using regular HP destruction.
  • In the first Boktai, you fight Muspell, who is very much a Bullfight Boss. While you can just attack him normally, dodging his charges to have him roll into the nearby lava will make the fight end a lot faster.
  • A variant in Dawn of War II: Retribution, one campaign scenario has an Ork Battlewagon that can't be killed effectively by any method other than the recommended tactic of leading it into explosives.
  • Cyclops in Dark Messiah can only be killed in a realistic amount of time by stunning them with the scenery (or a siege weapon in their first appearance), then taking out their eye. They can be taken out by mundane means, but it will take forever, and only mage spaming lighting spells has a real chance of doing it without cheating.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has the first phase of the final battle with Ghirahim-he creates an aerial arena for you and he to fight on, and as can be imagined, you need to knock him to the ground.
    • An earlier case would be Scervo, the robot pirate miniboss of the Sandship, who is fought on a narrow gangplank and must be gradually pushed back by your sword attacks until he falls off of it.
  • The final boss in The Incredible Hulk for the Super NES combines this with Zero-Effort Boss. The Leader (one of Hulk's main foes, having been made superintelligent by a lab explosion) stands before a deep shaft. Whale on him all you like with straight punches, he offers no resistance and just laughs at you. Uppercut him, and he's lofted in a graceful arc, straight down the shaft to his doom.
  • In Kirby and The Amazing Mirror, there's the boss of Carrot Castle, the Mega Titan. Basically a flying suit of armor with four rocket-propelled fists, the only way to damage it is by knocking the main body into the electrified walls of the arena you're in.
    • Partially subverted in that the Beam and Spark abilities can also hurt it, both being electric attacks. The fight, however, will take longer since Beam is weaker than most abilities, and Spark has a short range and stops you in place when in use.
    • Subverted again since it has a second phase where you fight it's detached head (not as nightmare-inducing as it sounds) and can actually damage it directly.

Examples of Type 2:

  • Dangoro from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
  • The Minotaur/Bull boss from the original Wario Land.
  • All of the Bowser fights in Super Mario 64 are type 2 that resemble type 1 fights. You have to avoid throwing Bowser off the cliff, but rather throw him into the bombs surrounding said cliff.
    • Subverted by the boss fight against the big Bob-omb in the first world of the game. You encounter him at the top of a mountain and he is defeated by picking him up and throwing him, but if you try to throw him off the mountain (as your first instinct might be) you will do no damage, and the Bob-omb will leap back up to the top and will chastise you for fighting cheaply. To damage him, you must throw him down onto the very ground (the top of the mountain) that you're standing on.
  • Every single enemy in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver if you're unarmed. You can only stun them, then proceed to throw them into fire/water/spikes/sunlight.
  • The Sentinel in Iji, which you have to use as a soccer ball kick into electrified force fields. Though as it happens, it is possible to kill it with normal methods; it's just really hard.
  • In The Lion King game, the only way to defeat Scar is to physically throw him off the top of Pride Rock. He'll actively fight you until you beat him down hard enough, but he'll just stand there panting and occasionally hit you until you throw him clear off the rock.
  • Crow in Def Jam: Fight For New York is best killed by slamming him into a window until it breaks, sending him out it.
  • The World of Warcraft achievement "Ring Out!" is another inversion. If any of the players leave the rectangular stonework in the middle of Daakara's arena, they fail the achievement.
  • In the remake of Resident Evil you can defeat Lisa either by shooting her repeatedly to knock her into the abyss, or push the four stones to open her mother's coffin and cause her to jump off.

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