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Scripted Battle
A battle in a video game, often an RPG, that follows a script, either for a segment or for the entire thing, instead of acting like a regular battle. Often serves as an aversion of Gameplay and Story Segregation. If a battle is scripted in its entirety, it will often be either Hopeless Boss Fight or Foregone Victory, but the reverse is less likely: a battle whose outcome is predetermined may not care how you arrive at that outcome. A Hopeless Boss Fight that immediately kills you on the first turn simply because the boss is so powerful can be an example, depending on how important the manner in which that's done is. A normal boss battle that scripts you to lose in the end is also Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.

Subtrope of Scripted Event.


Examples

  • The battle with Nyx at the end of Persona 3 is scripted to portray the protagonist charging up his Combined Energy Attack and Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Persona 4 has three examples:
    • The first battle in the game is like this, with the 'mysterious figure' being impossible to hit. The fight predictably ends after a few turns.
    • Shadow Rise will become invincible and taunt you for a few turns when you take off half her HP bar. Then she blasts you into oblivion. It's possible to deplete her HP if you're overpowered enough, but it still won't change the outcome.
    • The final boss, Izanami-no-Okami, once her HP reaches 0, starts using a guaranteed instant-kill attack. Each of your party members in turn will knock you out of the way with their Diving Save ability and take the attack themselves, until you're the only one left. Then you get hit, a cutscene ensues in which you charge up your Combined Energy Attack, and you come back. Izanami gets several turns in a row to hit you with deadly attacks, which you shrug off, and when your turn comes, your only choice is to use the skill Myriad Truths and defeat her.
  • Digital Devil Saga has one between you and Heat, where he pummels you in a ploy to get back Sera. Fortunately, he'll only beat you up so much, before the next cutscene happens.
  • Many games have scripted tutorial battles.
    • Disgaea plays with this: Etna scripts the tutorial battle to make you lose.
      Etna: That was an example of something not to do.
      • Rozalin and Mao both do the same thing. Notable for the latter as he winds up doing himself in.
  • The third form of Kingdom of Loathing's Naughty Sorceress can take one of two paths depending on whether or not you have a certain item, and will either be a Hopeless Boss Fight or a Foregone Victory by the time you make it there. Either way, the battle consists of one entirely scripted attack (barring years' worth of Sequence Breaking).
  • Final Fantasy does this quite a lot.
    • The fight with the king and queen in Final Fantasy IV proceeds normally until "the king and queen break free of their spells" and you have a long conversation in combat mode.
      • Several battles with Golbez in Final Fantasy IV are entirely scripted, to the point where you never even gain control.
      • The battle with Zemus is scripted, and an automatic win for Golbez and Fusoya... which just summons the final boss.
    • The trend continues with The After Years. There are several boss battles that are scripted. Including The Creator, who continues to follow you throughout the escape of the final dungeon, but wriggles away after a few turns of punching himself.
    • The fight with Vargas in the beginning of Final Fantasy VI is a one-on-one battle. The only commands available to Sabin are Attack and Blitz, and you don't know how to use Blitz until a conversation when the battle's almost over, after which you defeat Vargas by using Raging Fist.
      • The third battle with Ultros in Final Fantasy VI is a normal boss fight until Relm shows up, and then, after a conversation, you win the battle by having Relm use her Sketch ability to paint a picture of the boss.
      • Also in Final Fantasy VI, the first random encounters you come across in the World of Ruin have Sap and very low HP, so they tend to immediately die off on their own; this illustrates the bleak state of the new world.
    • Cloud's last battle with Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII is lots of staring and one Omnislash. If you really want, you can replace the Omnislash with an attack from Sephiroth and a counterattack from Cloud, but it's clear that the Omnislash is how the battle is supposed to go.
    • If you have Odin when you fight Seifer for the last time in Final Fantasy VIII, he'll appear at the beginning of the battle and Seifer will kill him. Halfway through the battle, Gilgamesh will show up, grab Odin's sword, and defeat Seifer for you.
      • Also in this game, the Final Battle with Ultimecia. When her HP drops to 0, she will not immediately die, and will continue to fight. Each attack that hits her from this point on, no matter how much damage or what status effects it inflicts, will only cause her to speak a few lines from her parting monologue. Once the player has attacked all the lines out of her, she finally dies.note 
    • Beatrix and Kuja in Final Fantasy IX defeats your party instantly with a powerful attack once you drop their HP to zero or after a certain amount of time has passed and it is completely unavoidable. On top of this, they are still standing, despite everything you threw at them. The only exception is the final battle against Kuja at the end of disc 3 since his lifespan is nearly at its end and he does collapse later on after the Final Boss. This is to emphasize just how powerful these characters are, no matter how much Level Grinding the player had done previously.
      • Similarly, the fight against the Masked Man in the very beginning advances the plot whether you win the battle or not since the fight was just a surprise training for the party.
    • At one point in Final Fantasy X Tidus faces a powerful enemy alone, until two other characters show up mid-battle and speak to him.
      • Once you beat Braska's final aeon, you proceed to fight every single Aeon you had acquired throughout the game, then Yu Yevon himself. In these final battles, every character in your party is bestowed with permanent Auto-Life status, making it impossible to lose. The very last boss even damages himself more than you probably will.
      • The first random encounter after a new party member joins will always be scripted for the purpose of teaching the player how to use the new member's unique skills.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, scripted events are usually in the form of a Hannibal Lecture from the enemy, though in a few battles you can cause people to prematurely leave the battlefield.
  • During the final battle of Paper Mario, at one point, the game cuts away to a secondary fight of Peach and Twink vs. Kammy. You control it like a normal battle, but each character has only one action, so there's only one path the battle can take.
    • In Super Paper Mario, in the final battle with Count Bleck, he's impervious to your attacks at first. After you hit him a few times, a cutscene occurs where Bowser, Peach, and Luigi return, and the Count becomes vulnerable. A similar stunt is done with Super Dimentio afterward, with Tippi coming back in this case.
  • The Super Metroid at the end of Super Metroid is unkillable and will usually capture you almost immediately, draining you to 1 energy before recognizing Samus and stopping. It is a storyline reminder of the creature's earlier encounter with Samus, and also serves to prime you for a way out of the following unwinnable battle with Mother Brain.
    • The battle with Mother Brain also has a scripted segment, involving the Super Metroid's Heroic Sacrifice and Samus's Mama Bear reaction with her new Hyper Beam.
      • However, if you haven't found enough Energy Tanks or skipped out most of the items via Sequence Breaking, it IS possible to actually lose the fight you're supposed to survive in.
    • Similarly, in Metroid: Fusion, the final boss is an Omega Metroid. You cannot harm it at all, and you must take a hit that automatically puts you with one health unit left. The Core-X arrives, becomes an SA-X, and fires Ice Beams at the Omega Metroid in an attempt to kill its natural enemy. After taking a few hits, the Omega Metroid reduces the SA-X into a Core-X again, giving Samus the opportunity to absorb it and regain all her health and the Ice Beam.
  • Fire Emblem does this from time to time, such as ensuring that certain attacks hit or miss during Blazing Sword's tutorial segment, or forcing a critical hit so that someone is killed or injured in spectacular fashion. Some people usually hack the game to see what happens if there is no critical hit, or to break the script only to find that the game freezes.
  • Every final boss in the MOTHER series. The first game had you sing to win, the second game had you pray, and the third game simply had you do nothing (well, except for guarding and healing yourself) until the battle ended.
    • Earthbound has a segment where Poo meditates before heading to meet the rest of the party. This takes place in a "battle" where the enemy systematically takes Poo's limbs and senses. You emerge completely fine, with a rather nice level up, despite being reduced to 0 HP during the sequence, which normally would invoke a Game Over.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed the end of every boss battle (as well as fights against Imperial Walkers) is scripted out with Quicktime Events. The main reason is so that you can be even more Bad Ass than usual; seriously, jumping onto a walker's head, stabbing through the windshield with a lightsaber, zapping the bejeezus out of it, then taking a flying leap away and crushing the whole thing into a tiny ball? Holy crap.
  • The final boss in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is this, with only Shrowser (the boss) getting to attack, Mario and Luigi having to dodge and each dodged attack hurting Shrowser/ghost Princess Shroob.
  • The original Persona had segments where your friends would get their Personas for the first time. They look like standard battles on the surface, but they're deliberately designed so that your party members get away without a scratch. Everyone also gets a free level-up in the process, regardless of how many EXP you would get from fighting the enemy party in an actual battle.
  • Penny Arcade OTRSPOD ep II has one and lampshades it.
  • Technically one could probably count the QTE battle with Krauser in Resident Evil 4.
  • Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Warriors Orochi are rife with scripted events that can be either triggered or prevented depending on the circumstance.
  • Baldur's Gate: The first time you encounter Sarevok, Gorion covers for your retreat by engaging him and his minions. In an interesting variation of the trope, only half of the battle is scripted. No matter how effective Gorion's attacks are or how ineffective Saverok's attack are, the former will always be killed by the latter (even if Saverok is in between attacks). Whether or not Gorion manages to kill any of Saverok's minions is not scripted so their deaths are variable.
    • Later in the game, there's another such battle with Sarevok. While you're in the city of Baldur's Gate, you encounter him and his minions at a palace party event (or something... it's been a while), and no matter how well you fight, you can't kill him. He can kill you, however, so you can either lose or die, but not win. The battle isn't scripted in the sense that anything specific happens during the fight, but at the end, the script is that Sarevok and pals walk away.
    • Specifically, Sarevok is scripted to attack the PC for 15 seconds, while the other members of his band slaughter as many guests as possible. It is possible to lose the game 2 ways here. If either the PC dies, or if both the remaining major lords of the city die, since you need 1 of them to keep the portal open and hunt Sarevok.
  • The final boss battle of The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge has Jack Skellington fight his old nemesis Oogie Boogie while singing!
  • The "first" battle of Hyperdimension Neptunia is Neptune receiving all of the Limit Breaks of the three goddesses.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, a scene plays out where Isaac and Ivan fight against Agatio Karst in the Jupiter Lighthouse. You get to watch a battle scene take place where Ivan is already down and Agatio downs Isaac with powerful Psynergy. Even though the scene takes place on a battle screen, you don't get to control Isaac or Ivan but you do get to fight the antagonists a few minutes later with your own party.
    • And when you do get to fight the pair, the beginning of the fight is scripted. The battle starts with just Felix and Piers in your party and after two turns have passed, Jenna is shown walking in and then joining in on the fight. After another two turns, Sheba shows up and joins in as well. The script here ends and the battle proceeds as normal.
  • The final level of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is this entirely (and there are various other examples in the game before that.) It doesn't matter how many missiles you cram up the final boss' PAK-FA fighter plane, the game forces you to play out the scripted dialogue for the mission. Any form of Script Breaking the level results in you failing it because it'll give the proper conditions for the boss to win. In fact, you have to keep fighting him just because that's the only way to advance the script.
  • Harbinger at the end of Mass Effect 3.
  • The Super Robot Wars series regularly uses these to reenact scenes from anime or otherwise advance the plot. It's very common for a unit to be crippled at the beginning of a stage, leaving it with just a fraction of its HP and unable to move.
  • The Handsome Men in Killer7. The fight takes place as a series of one-on-one duels between the members, and the Handsome Men only attack when you do, meaning that the same characters win every time (and the final match between Garcian and Handsome Pink is interrupted by a cutscene.)

Rush BossBoss BattleSequential Boss

alternative title(s): Scripted Battles
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