Multiple large-scale fights in a row. Most common with a boss who morphs in shape (where multiple areas must be disabled
to do real damage on the controlling target, see also: One-Winged Angel
,) although it sometimes happens with separate bosses. The game may or may not be nice enough to replenish your health in between the fights, but a major danger is using important items or techniques too early in the fight. With sequential bosses that are multiple fights against the same creature, occasionally the game will try to trick you into thinking that the first fight was the only one
, showing victory animations and so on.
This trope is VERY common with Final Bosses
. The number of stages will often be three
If you're fighting multiple bosses at the same time
, then that's a different story
. Needless to say, Crystal Dragon Jesus
help you if you have Sequential Dual Bosses
, though those are blessedly rare for now...
Compare Boss Rush
when fighting more than one past enemy in a sequential order and Boss Bonanza
when there is a high amount of new bosses in a row.
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- Asura's Wrath has several of these.
- The first one is Wyzen in chapters 4 and 5. Asura starts fighting Wyzen at normal size, then fights his over 100 meters tall Vajra form, then his planet sized Gongen form.
- When fighting Deus, you first go at him with Asura, then Yasha, and then use Asura again.
- When fighting Gohma Vlitra for the last time, he first sprouts out other Gohma to fight, then you fight one of his Orochi heads, then eventually start fighting all of them, and then its main face, then the true form of Vlitra in the Earth's core.
- When fighting against Yasha for the final time, Asura and Yasha start off on a massive tower, then flash back to a training fight between the two as you fall down the tower, then fight Yasha in his Unlimited mode.
- Then there's the final fight with Chakravartin, where you fight his giant intergalactic form, then a smaller version in Naraka, then his Human form, then his Creator form, then a coup de grace QTE battle with him.
- Parodied in the web game Chibi Knight: after you defeat the last boss, the Demon Beast, he explodes and you have to fight what's left of him, the Demon Eye. However, it does absolutely nothing and you can kick it around as you please before it dies!
- Lance in Contra: Shattered Soldier. And Mission 6 consists almost entirely of a sequential boss fight against the Relic of Morai's many forms. If you complete the game up to here with an S ranking, you get to fight the disappointingly easy True Final Boss.
- Green from Gunstar Heroes is pretty much the grandmaster of this trope, boasting a grand total of seven forms with the power of his transforming mech, Seven Force. Sure, you only have to face a couple of them on easy, but harder difficulties have you facing the full set, back to back. He comes back later on using all the forms in conjunction with each other, but this one plays out more like a standard boss battle.
- In the first God of War game, you fight Ares. Then he sucks you into a portal where you find your "family" and must donate your health to them while being attacked by versions of yourself. THEN, you fight Ares again, only without any of your upgraded weapons or magic.
- Every boss in Gundemonium Recollection has at least two forms, but the final boss has an amazing eleven. The eleventh is fortunately the True Final Boss and is only triggered under certain conditions, but you do have to deal with the rest on every playthrough, either by defeating them or managing to stay alive until the timer empties.
- The Challenge missions in Trauma Center: New Blood would have you operate on multiple patients in a row, with the vitals from the last carrying over to the next. Sort of justified in that it's supposed to be a VR simulation, not real operations.
- The final battle with Dr. Tongue in Zombies Ate My Neighbors includes two forms: one against the spider form fought in a previous level, and one where he turns into a giant head.
- The final fight in The Matrix Path Of Neo against the Mega-Smith takes place over three rounds, each stage damaging him more each time.
- Aquaria's final boss, The Creator, fits this trope to a T. First, he appears as a 'perfect' humanoid figure sitting on a throne. Then, his face falls off and he grows tentacles and chases you. Then, he turns into a monster, flees, and you have to track him down by listening to the background music. Then, he becomes a 'lite' version of the first form, which you defeat by singing in the correct sequence. When you win there, he falls on his side and it looks like you've won, but then you're warped to the final battlefield and have to face him as he truly is: a god.
- Subverted and parodied in the first BloodRayne game. The final boss of Act 2 is a 10-foot tall Nazi cyborg. After you drain his health bar to zero and he collapses, he stands back up again, raises his arms high into the air, and screams "You can't defeat me THAT easily!"... then promptly falls over dead. Rayne even makes a snarky comment about this.
- Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils:
- Final Boss Chelsea has a whopping seven distinct stages.
- Septentrion Pleiades has five stages, but this fight happens back to back with possessed Bunny, who also has three stages and is directly followed by yet another three-stage boss (whose second stage is fortunately unbeatable). The game even gives you an award if you manage to finish all those fights without ever running out of HP.
- Castlevania series:
- Just about every Castlevania game ends with a two-stage Dracula battle. Typically, the first half is against Dracula in a humanoid form, and the second is a hulking, demonic form called "True Dracula". Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse went even further, with a two-stage Grim Reaper battle and a three-stage Dracula battle; both versions of Stage 7 end with the Mummies, Cyclops, and Gargoyle being released from coffins in succession by the Evil Flame.
- In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, due to its flashback prologue, the game begins with the two-stage Dracula battle from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.
- Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, which gives you the same two forms as in Rondo of Blood, but then gives you the TRUE FORM (and despair!) for a THIRD Dracula fight.
- Another strange example is in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, where Dracula does have two forms, but instead of the second form being a demon thing, the second form renders the first form in 3-D.
- Aria of Sorrow had a two-stage fight with Graham for the normal ending. Beating him with the three souls that best represent Dracula's powers (Giant Bat, Succubus, and Flame Demon) equipped let you progress further in the game to fight Chaos so you don't turn into Dracula (losing to him causes exactly that to happen) in another two-stage battle.
- Cave Story:
- At the end of the game, you fight Misery, then fight The Doctor, who is himself a two-part boss fight, then fight the real final boss, who's backed up with two flunkies. There's no saving or recovery in between, but if you know how, it's possible to get partially healed right before the last one.
- The Bonus Level Of Hell is even worse: You fight the Heavy Press, which can do a lot of damage if you mess up, and instantly kill you in its death throes, then get some decidedly-less-than-generous Suspicious Videogame Generosity before going on to the secret final boss, which has four stages, each one of which can kill you in under six hits with a Boss Arena Recovery that's more likely to cause more damage than it is to heal you, and all of this is at the end of the longest and hardest level in the game without a save point.
- The Family Guy Video Game! had the Giant Chicken as the final boss, naturally. The battle takes place in seven different areas, with the chicken gaining additional abilities between most of the scenery changes.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a bit of an exception since there is an escape sequence between his two forms. Twinrova before him, however, is two forms right after each other.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess does this for pretty much every boss, in some cases even tricking you (and Link) into thinking the battle is over.
- Zant himself is a personified Boss Rush with minor variations. The final boss has four different forms.
- Played for laughs with Armogohma, whose second form (his eye on legs) runs away to a sillier version of the boss music and dies very easily.
- The final battle with Majora from Majora's Mask features three forms, named "Majora's Mask," "Majora's Incarnation," and "Majora's Wrath".
- Dethl in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening probably takes the prize, having six forms (although the last two forms can be one-shotted with the right weapons).
- Veran from The Legend Of Zelda Oracle of Ages probably comes second after Dethl, and none of her forms are one-hits. You have to fight Veran-possessing-Ambi, Veran's "True Form (and despair!)", and her final battle (in which she shapeshifts between three forms), one after the other, without healing. And if it's a linked game, you then go on to face Twinrova and Ganon! Hooray!
- Vaati from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap does not like to die. His first form is a humanoid boss version of Patra, and his second form is a giant eye. He appears to die after this, bringing down the castle with him, but just Link is almost to safety, a third form appears that looks like another giant eye, this time with arms. Woe be to you if you used up all of your potions and fairies already.
- With the exception of Scaldera and The Imprisoned, every boss in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has two phases.
- Metroid series:
- The final boss of Metroid Prime has two phases: the first phase is basically the same thing with increasing shifts to different weaknesses, and the second phase requires you to switch visors to locate the phasing Prime and blast it with the Phazon Beam.
- Finally, in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, you fight Aurora 313 right after putting down Dark Samus. 313 itself has two forms: complete and floating severed head.
- Mother Brain from Super Metroid has 3 different phases. First you fight her like in the first game, as just the brain protected by turrets and zeebetite barriers. After you beat her and examine the body, she rises out of the floor on a robotic body. After dealing enough damage to her, she'll use an extremely powerful attack to reduce you to low health, after which the Metroid hatchling shows up to save the day. But then she comes back to life again and you have to beat the crap out of her again, this time armed with the Hyper Beam. And then you have to escape the planet before it blows up.
- Ōkami's example of this trope is Yami, who you fight five times, all the while regaining your Celestial Brush techniques, which Yami zapped out of Amaterasu at the start of the fight. It has to be mentioned though, that Yami's first four forms aren't that different, being a different variety of ball each time. When you face him in Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, he does the same thing, but with only three forms.
- All of the Wii One Piece games have at least one of those.
- Unlimited Adventure has two.
- You fight against Rob Lucci twice in a row (once in human form and once in leopard form).
- At the end of the game, you fight the Evil Guardian, who upon defeat transforms into the Evil Master Beast.
- Unlimited Cruise:
- Episode 1 has a fight against the cowardly Spandam and a bunch of Marine flunkies, followed immediately by a fight against Aokiji.
- Episode 2 has one of these for its final fight. After defeating Yami's first form (a large golemlike creature), he transforms into a much nastier creature composed of tree roots and darkness.
- Marvel vs. Capcom:
- Final boss Onslaught of the first game is just plain insane.
The first form is as tall as the screen, will teleport away whenever you try to hit him (especially if you try using a super-combo), and all his attacks are as powerful as super-combos. If you manage to beat the first form, he becomes even bigger, with his body floating at the background. You can't hit the body, you must aim for the small head, which usually requires super-jumps. Also, your health was not replenished after the first form.
- The sequel game had the demon Abyss, who had three forms to defeat, each with different attack styles and weaknesses.
- Ridiculously done in Naruto: Path of the Ninja. You fight the Sound Ninja trio four times in a row, first with Sakura and Lee, then just Sakura, then Sakura and Shikamaru, and finally Sakura and Sasuke. They finally run off after that, or else they probably would've brought in every other character to fight with Sakura.
- Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has these for ALL their boss fights. In order:
- Kakashi vs Naruto and Sakura: A battle in the training field in standard play, followed up by a lake area where he shoots Water Dragons. If you avoid them or have Sakura knock him off his high point, he shoots fireballs and guns you down with Lightning Blades.
- Deidara vs Gaara: A battle on top of the Kazekage's Mansion, dodging his explosive birds and spiders, waiting for opportunities to knock him off his bird and open a gourd of sandy whoopass. When you take a healthy chunk of his HP, an aerial chase ensues, where you have to again avoid his fire and pelt him with Sand Shuriken.
- Orochimaru vs Naruto: Again, fairly normal until Naruto goes Four-Tailed Fox on Snaky. Beam Spam ensues.
- Ranma One Half Hard Battle: The first of the final bosses is Pantyhose Taro in his human form. After you beat him, you then fight him again, this time in his Cursed with Awesome form.
- The Simpsons Arcade Game has two:
- The first is a giant bowling ball late in the game that has four different forms, each one with a different type of attack.
- The second is the game's final level at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, which has you fight first Smithers, and then Mr. Burns in a giant robot, who additionally has five different forms.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game ends with you fighting General Traag, Krang, and Shredder, all in a row — though the latter two fights are fought in a final boss room that is actually considered a new stage on the NES version.
- Cue Ball/Parcs in Undercover Cops. First, you fight his human disguise along with a few Mooks. After half of his lifebar is gone, his skin gets damaged and you fight his robotic form as he attempts to throw you in a trash compactor.
- The standalone mod/emulator Scoredoom invokes this in the face when it comes to the boss fights. Whereas before in vanilla Doom the player would have to take down a heavily armed and incredibly tough monster at the end of the episode, Scoredoom has the corpse give a handful of ammo and health refills before respawning it as another, usually harder form. As the forms are usually (although not always) unconnected, this could be a one-level Boss Game, the but the fact that the last level of the last (original) episode consists of around ten of the boss monsters back to back makes it obvious why the ammo, health, and power of some of the guns were increased to compensate.
- Heretic's final boss uses the same idea: D'Sparil starts out riding a fire-breathing serpent, then after you kill the mount he falls off and starts teleporting around, summoning monsters, and shooting stuff.
- Quake II's final boss has two forms: the Makron riding some sort of monstrous cyborg mount, and then the Makron alone (with several weapons he wasn't using when mounted).
- Particularly annoying in Red Faction 2. The final boss is your Super Soldier commander piloting a Mini-Mecha. The mecha has an insane amount of health but its weapons are only of average power. After you blow it up, the boss jumps out to fight you on foot. The annoying part is that he fights with a one-hit-kill railgun, so if he manages to shoot you just once, you die and have to restart the level and fight the mech suit all over again (including sitting through the unskippable pre-boss cutscene).
Massively Multiplayer Online RPG
- City of Heroes does this once with Snaptooth, a particularly nasty member of the Red Caps who only appears during the special holiday missions. In the Valentine's event, he first appears in the mission as a Lieutenant class Red Cap and is not very tough. Upon nearly being defeated, he pulls the trick that they sometimes pull and drives into the ground, only to pop back out larger and tougher as a Boss class. Then when he is nearly defeated again, he pulls the stunt for a second time and pops back out being even bigger and now an Elite Boss.
- Kingdom of Loathing:
- The Naughty Sorceress. Your character even exclaims at the last form, as a Lampshade Hanging: "Dang it!" you shout. "How many times do I have to kill you? This battle has taken over a half an hour and there's no save point!"
- Also parodied in the battle against Ed the Undying, a mummy who has to be defeated seven times in a row and, as the name suggests, doesn't actually die, he's just too damaged to keep fighting. Ironically, each time you fight him, he has less HP than the previous time, to a ridiculously low amount in the last form. Shown as just his skull loosely attached to his arm.
- RuneScape has a few of these:
- The Dream Mentor quest boss has 4 forms which represent different aspects of Cyrisus' fear of combat.
- The Recipe for Disaster quest has 6 sequential bosses at the end, although you can leave between battles.
- The Kalphite Queen, a high-level raid boss, has 2 forms, an armored beetle that is immune to ranged and magic attacks, and a flying wasp that is (mostly) immune to melee attacks.
- World of Warcraft has pretty much all variations imaginable.
- The longest sequence is the Dark Portal dungeon, a retelling of a historical keypoint. The enemies come from portals, each of which is linked to a mini boss, with each sixth being linked to a real boss. The players have little time to rest between portals, although they are given a generous breather after each major boss, the ability to summon a guard to distract the enemies, and finally the quest target can take some beating if necessary. But since the portals open in a preset interval, you do need to keep up.
- The Violet Hold instance in the expansion pack is almost exactly the same, except that the two first major bosses are random (the final boss is always the same).
- Another variation is an event where a single player takes control over a demon to destroy the protective barrier around a demon portal. The catch here is that for the first two bosses, control is transferred after their defeat, forcing the player to adapt a new playstyle each. The third demon then fights 3 bosses in a row, while the other two have to deal with waves of mooks first.
- Perhaps the most memorable example is Kael'thas Sunstrider, final boss of Tempest Keep in the Burning Crusade expansion, with no less than five distinct phases. First, you fight his four bodyguards one after another, then he animates a number of weapons to fight you, then he revives the bodyguards all at once. Only after their second demise do you actually get to fight him, and he himself goes into a Phlebotinum Overload phase when reduced to half health.
- The Black Knight is perhaps the most straightforward example of the One-Winged Angel variant: He has to be killed three times, going from an undead to a skeleton to a ghost. Note that this battle is also after what could be considered a sequential battle comprised of three random bosses, which in tu- Oh, screw it. The entire instance is one damn sequence from beginning to end.
- The final showdown with Deathwing in the finale of the Cataclysm expansion takes place over two separate encounters, each with multiple phases with different mechanics and loot.
- Bagular in Bomberman Hero has three forms with no breaks in between (besides a cutscene after beating the first form and another after the second). Also, your score will keep ticking down throughout each of the forms.
- The final boss of Donkey Kong Country is King K. Rool. After you defeat him, fake credits roll by. After the credits, the boss gets up for a second go.
- The final boss of Donkey Kong 64 is a five-round boxing match with K. Rool, with each round featuring a different playable character.
- I Wanna Be the Guy:
- The Guy has two forms with six increasingly overpowered methods of attack. The game actually tries to trick you into thinking you've won halfway through, right before it gets insane.
- The Koopa Clown Car fight earlier in the game pits you against Bowser, Wart, and Wily in sequence.
- Kirby games will have anything from two-to-four boss battles in a row for the Final Confrontation.
- Kirby Superstar:
- Kirby's Dreamland 3:
- The fourth boss, Ado, summons the Ice Dragon, Sweet Stuff, Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, and Kracko, right before Ado charges. Ado only takes a slide or exhale to beat, but some of the Kirby's Dreamland 2 bosses are rather tough.
- The last boss, DeDeDe, is identical to the last boss of the previous game, except he doesn't Turn Red, but after you put his life to zero, he starts flying and has really scary attacks. If you had all the Heart-Stars when you beat him, you unlock the True Final Boss. Once you enter, you fight Dark Matter, the last boss of the previous game. After you finally defeat him, the screen flashes and the True True Final Boss appears out of nowhere. He splits parts of himself open to shoot blood at you, and he could do it from the background, causing the blood to hit the screen. After you take all his HP down, his Iris rips out in incredibly gory manner and you have to fight him again, and this time he's bleeding and chases you. And this is a KIRBY game.
- The final battles of Kirby and The Amazing Mirror. There are four different forms (including the fight with Dark Meta Knight), but the second of those must be defeated four times over.
- The Final Boss of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Miracle Matter, plays with this. Like the final bosses of Kirby and The Amazing Mirror, it has seven forms. Instead of going one after one, it alternates between each form. Defeating each form destroys Miracle Matter. So far, however, the final battles of Amazing Mirror and Miracle Matter are tied for the most forms in the series, despite being done differently.
- In ''Kirby's Return To Dreamland'', the final boss has three parts to it. First a Shmup battle with the Lor Starcutter, who uses techniques Kabula, Dark Matter, and Zero used with its own moves. Then, Magolor is fought, who takes his lead mainly from Marx. After that, he goes into a second form that looks like Dark Mind and can use Super Abilities at will. Also, in Extra Mode, the Metal General becomes one of these, summoning Dedede's Humongous Mecha HR-D3 after he's defeated and piloting it. HR-D3 itself has two forms.
- In Kirby Triple Deluxe, the final battles consist of a two-part battle with a mind-controlled King Dedede, Queen Sectonia, then after a brief interlude, a two-part battle with the queen's One-Winged Angel form.
- La-Mulana raises the roof with a five-stage Final Boss battle, with no saves or health recharges.
- Essentially every Mega Man game, from the first game up to Mega Man ZX, has had this type of final boss.
- Dr. Wily (switched ships)
- Sigma (switched bodies)
- There's also Morph Moth from X2, who starts out as a chrysalis, then becomes a moth after half his health is gone.
- All three Ninja Gaiden games for the NES had multi-form bosses in the final battle, usually consisting of three separate phases.
- The final boss of Rainbow Islands is a giant bubble dragon that turns into a skeleton after defeat. The skeleton's bones crumble and the remaining skull is a giant Skel-Monsta which you have to defeat.
- The final bosses in the first three Rayman games were sequential.
- Rayman: Mr. Dark assaults you for a bit, then disappears and sics three mash-ups of the previous bosses on you.
- Rayman 2: You fight Golgroth on the Crow's Nest, then both of you fall into a lava-filled chamber for Round 2.
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc: The battle against Reflux gets a bit ridiculous. First, you fight his normal form, then he transforms into a giant, warty monster. After that, he grows some wings and you have to work your way up to his level and shoot missiles at him. Then, you have a dogfight with him and, finally, use the same plane to kill a ton of Hoodlums before they regenerate his health.
- Rockman 4 Minus Infinity:
- After you knock Pharaoh Man down to a low amount of HP in his stage, he goes berserk, destroying his arena in the process. He then receives power from the pyramid to heal himself, activates the pyramid's curse, and fights you again.
- After beating Proto Sniper Joe, he blows up and turns into 2 Sniper Joes.
- After beating Shadow Mega Man, he steals 4 of your weapons to become a more complete Mirror Boss.
- Several times in the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
- Sonic 2 ended with a fight against Silver Sonic, and then Robotnik's Humongous Mecha. With no rings for either fight.
- In Sonic 3, Launch Base Zone ends with three fights against Robotnik, in three different vehicles, with nothing but a cutscene between them.
Oddly, when the this level is played as part of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, you only fight two of these bosses. Sonic and Tails skip the third, while Knuckles skips the first.
- In Sonic and Knuckles, Death Egg Zone ends with a fight against a Puzzle Boss, then a two-stage fight against the Great Eggman Robo, and finally a chase sequence where you have to destroy Robotnik's escape pod. (Sonic can also fight a True Final Boss immediately after this, but it's counted as a separate level.) Meanwhile, Knuckles' game ends in Sky Sanctuary Zone, fighting Mecha Sonic and then Super Mecha Sonic.
- Sonic Adventure does it weird: once you've depleted the final boss's life meter... it comes back with another life meter. It's a bit tougher, but otherwise nothing's changed except the music.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, the player must fight the Biolizard directly before the FinalHazard. However, the two battles are not particularly connected other than being sequential, and how well you do on the Biolizard has no bearing on the difficulty of the FinalHazard. Similarly, you face the Egg Golem with Sonic immediately after battling King Boom Boo with Knuckles.
- Sonic Heroes plays it straight with Metal Madness/Metal Overlord, a four-stage boss.
- Sonic Unleashed does it again with the Egg Dragoon and Dark Gaia (the latter being a three-stage fight).
- Super Mario Bros.:
- The final boss battle against Bowser at the end of Super Mario Galaxy, which starts off with Bowser turning into a rock (which later inspired the rock power-up from the sequel) and charging at you, and Mario/Luigi actually had to spin his face to defeat him, then Bowser curls up into his shell and starts charging at you again, but this time, because of the spikes on his shell, Mario/Luigi actually had to slap rubber plants onto Bowser to knock him out, and finally Bowser starts chasing you, and as a result you have to lure him into a puddle of lava to make his tail catch fire, then spin him to take him down completely!
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 had a few of these as well; the final battle, for example, had 2 parts. And there was also the Boss Blitz Galaxy which strung together 5 or 6 boss battles in a row.
- The final Bowser battle in Super Mario 3D Land, where Mario and Bowser start chasing each other through the hallways of the castle. During the fight, Bowser mostly resorts to shooting fire out of his mouth, and then for some reason he starts throwing barrels at Mario. The remainder of the battle has Bowser shooting plasma jets at Mario, before finally being thrown into a pit of lava and being hit on the head by a boulder mid-air.
- Wario Land The Shake Dimension's Final Boss (The Shake King) has multiple stages in the battle, with two or three stages in the first battle, each adding a few more attacks, then straight after the real final battle with the deadly energy beam and lightning attacks found normally against One-Winged Angel type final bosses.
- Every boss in the NES game Wacky Races has two phases; they enter their second phase after they're down to exactly half HP, from there they use new, more aggressive attack patterns.
- Freeware game Karoshi also had a five-stage final boss... or rather, five final boss stages.
- The sequel, Karoshi 2, has four different final boss segments in the game, the first of which has you against the final boss eight times in a row, each in a different way. Talk about an extended ending!
- Zuma's Revenge. First, you have to extinguish some torches while not dying. Then, you have to fight his chef. Then, you get Fake Credits dumped on you, which then happens to have the REAL final boss drop onto it. Then, when you've got him halfway down, he's replaced by an evil bat thing. And then, just to rub salt in your wounds, you go through a Mirror Battle. Thankfully, if you've beaten the levels before this sequence, this probably will be a piece of cake.
- The last couple installations of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series actually feature multi-stage bosses in a racing game. Though most of the races you participate in are simple one-on-one matches, some may have you taking on multiple opponents: you may be competing against a leader of a racing crew and, once you have him halfway beat, suddenly find yourself confronted with a second, equally high-powered member of the racing crew which will help give your original opponent an increased advantage. Since beating opponents requires you to drain their "battle meter" by gaining a large enough lead, throwing in a second rival with a fresh battle meter midway through a race can complicate things significantly.
Role Playing Games
- Baten Kaitos combines this with the Dual Boss to have you fight the three generals all at the same time — and then again immediately afterwards with no time to heal/save.
- Chrono Cross features the Dragon God/Fused Dragons, who has seven different forms (though they all look the same): one form for each Elemental Color in the game, except White, which gets two forms.
- The final boss of Digital Devil Saga 2 has five different forms, each aligned with a different element.
- Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten spoofs this with Death King Hugo. After defeating him, Valvatorez warns the party that they shouldn't bother to celebrate, because there's at least two One-Winged Angel transformations coming up. It's then subverted, as Hugo admits to having lost the strength to do the requisite transformations long ago.
- .hack has Corbenik, who may well take the cake for most bizarre forms ever: he starts out as a giant seed, then he turns into a leaf, and when that doesn't work he becomes a Giant Eye of Doom.
- The Dragon Quest series is even more fond of this than the Final Fantasy series; three of the first four Big Bads were sequential boss fights.
- In the original Dragon Quest I game for the NES, when you first fight the Dragonlord, he has a humanoid appearance. When you beat him, he morphs into his much tougher true dragon form.
- In the final boss level of Dragon Quest III (or Dragon Warrior III in the states), first the party must fight Barabombus, with heavy defense but weak attack, then Baragonus, with high attack and no defense, then the party must face Zoma, the Final Boss (though you can fight several heretofore unreferenced bosses when you beat the game once.)
- Dragon Quest IV is pretty much the most iconic example of this entire trope, with the final fight against Necrosaro, a seven-part boss battle where he starts by looking like prior boss Estark, only for the player to hack off his arms one by one, followed by his head, after which he simply grows a new face on his stomach, and regrows all his limbs...including his head. Needless to say, just about every change to his body corresponds to changes in his tactics.
- In the Mother series:
- The second boss, Franky. After admitting defeat, he immediately sends in his creation, Frankystein Mark II, to finish you off.
- There is a boss called Carbon Dog. After you defeat him, he changes into Diamond Dog and you must defeat him again.
- The final fight has three forms, the first against Giygas and Porky together, but Giygas has a permanent Shield-PSI Shield Beta combo up, being the only enemy in the game with one up, forcing you to attack Porky. After beating him, he attempts to scare the party to death by deactivating the shield and letting Giygas attack. The next two forms are just against Giygas, but with different attack methods.
- In Mother 3, the last three bosses all play with this. The Porky Bots use three different attack formations to defeat the party. The first is an all out assault, and then the second have them come one at a time while summoning weak enemies. The third formation is a Cutscene Boss. The Final Boss, Porky Minch himself. has one regular form, then a second form that ends immediately after two turns. The Post Final Boss, the Masked Man, now revealed to be Claus, starts regaining his memories later on in the fight, lowering his stats.
- Enchanted Arms makes its Final Boss (the Infinity Devil Golem) go through at least three forms. It also has a Healing Factor.
- The Final Fantasy series seems fond of these, having them for practically every Final Boss starting with Final Fantasy IV.
- Final Fantasy IV later on barely has any bosses fought on their own or just once. Two of the Fiends have you fight their minions right before them, as does Golbez when you first fight him for real. The Fiend Boss Rush, as well.
- Archeoavis from Final Fantasy V is an interesting example. It appears as if he only has two forms - his only noticeable form change happens towards the end when he dies and comes back to life. However, if you keep careful watch of his health with Scan or use a particular instant death spell that surprisingly works on him, you'll realize that he actually has four forms. The other two forms are easy to miss because they all use the exact same sprite, and when one form is killed, there is no visual indication that it has died (except for the aforementioned last form).
- Kefka of Final Fantasy VI has four forms, the first three having Cognizant Limbs.
- Ultimecia, the Final Boss from Final Fantasy VIII, starts relatively normal and quickly moves into sheer insanity. The distinct stages of the battle: 1) Fights our heroes in human form after mixing up what party members Squall fights alongside, 2) Summons her badass Guardian Force to duke it out with you, 3) orders said Guardian Force to show you his true power, gaining new abilities and Crowning Music of Awesome, 4) merges with said Guardian Force, 5) continues to attack you after having her new body chopped down to nearly-human size, 6) appears to die, only to reappear in One-Winged Angel form, and finally 7) the One-Winged Angel form with an ultimate attack (though not terribly ultimate, really). Even by the standards of Square Enix, the fight sets a new level for sheer spectacle, not matched again until Kingdom Hearts II.
- Seymour Guado's first fight against the party is one of these. First he starts as a Flunky Boss (said flunkies have the annoying habit of tossing Hi-Potions when anyone on their side is hurt) who will constantly cast powerful - for that point - elemental magic on your party, then he'll whip out Anima once the flunkies are dead and he's at 50% HP, and once she's dead, he'll start using the -ga level spells, which are a guaranteed One-Hit Kill on anyone who isn't Lulu or using Nul-Spells. After this, he'll finally go down.
- Final Fantasy X:
- Lady Yunalesca (not the Final Boss, but arguably the game's toughest Climax Boss) comes in three forms. First, she will pull out some very low-level attacks, cast drain spells on your party members, and counter all attacks with Blind (physical), Silence (magical), or Sleep (special - e.g. Steal or Overdrives). Her second form becomes a little more monstrous, then alternates between spamming Zombie and Cure magic. Afterwards, she transforms into her monstrous third form, and opens by casting Mega-Death, killing all but the Zombie-afflicted party members, then she will cycle through healing magic, zombie attacks, an attack that afflicts the party with a cocktail of ailments (including confusion!), drain, osmose, and occasionally, Mega-Death again. And, overall, she has 132,000 HP. Have fun, kids.
- The party launches a full-scale assault on Sin's outer shell, weakening it by destroying the three power cores on its arms and back. All three fights are played in a row, with no chance to heal and with your positive status effects (i.e. Haste) not carrying over.
- After the final Point of No Return, you face Braska's Final Aeon, all of Yuna's Aeons, and Yu Yevon in a row. The former is a large threat, but the latter 6 (9 if you got the optional Aeons) fights are a Foregone Victory due to permanent Auto-Life status.
- Uncle Rupee in Freshly Picked Tingles Rosy Rupeeland has a normal form, a green powered up form, an orange powered up form, a red powered up form, and finally a giant rupee head form.
- At the end of the first Golden Sun, you must first fight Saturos and Menardi and then, after a short (by Golden Sun standards) cut scene, fight the two of them combined into a two-headed dragon. The inability to heal or replenish PP in between battles is the main reason the second battle is difficult at all, with the actual boss being weaker than the ones that proceed it.
- Kingdom Hearts: Considering it's a Square Enix series, you kinda have to see it coming.
- Ansem from the first game has 7 forms (all but the first 3 involving a thunder-spamming phallic face monster) or 10 if you include the fights with the heartless to get your comrades back. And you can't save between the fights.
- Xemnas from Kingdom Hearts II is just as overkill as Ultimecia, if not moreso. Right after the first stage of the fight (where you duel him while he's Dual Wielding Laser Blades), you have time to save and go elsewhere afterward, but it's completely back-to-back from then on. First there's the rush to Xemnas's floating fortress thing, then the two turbines, then the core, then Armored King Xemnas one, wielding the weapons of the Org. XIII members that appear in this game, then an attack on Xemnas' dragon-shaped Humongous Mecha in rail-shooter style, then another round with Armored King Xemnas (dropping many of his attacks for kickass skyscraper-destroying sequences), then finally one final fight with Xemnas himself, in Twilight form. No, not that Twilight...
- Riku faces a trio of boss fights at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3D, first going up against the Anti Black Coat Nightmare, followed by Ansem and his One-Winged Angel form.
- Marluxia has two in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and is given a third in the remake. Marluxia is notably the only member of Organization XIII besides Xemnas himself to have multiple stages, which is of course because he's the final boss of his game.
- There was a slight aversion of this trope in Knights of the Old Republic, in the final battle with Darth Malak. After storming his personal space station (which is huge), you fight through the expected mooks, and a boss battle just before finally facing Darth Malak himself. He has a few tricks up his sleeves, though — namely a group of 8 pods containing captive Jedi. Whenever you get close to killing him, he will go drain one of them, and come back with full health and force power, giving him eight lives with which to fight you with. This would be VERY aggravating... if you couldn't use them too.
- The Legend of Dragoon went a little crazy with its Sequential Boss. Minor bosses like Urobolus and Doel have a few forms. Melbu Frahma goes through six generations, four of which fight back hard, and still needs a cutscene to actually die.
- Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis features a combination of Flunky Boss and Sequential Boss. Frequently in the Sidequests, some Bosses are fought this way, where the player has to fight through a sequence of normal enemies before the Boss. For an example in the storyline, there's the very first Boss who is fought in the same way.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has a variation of this with the final boss, alternating between Bowser and the Bros at least twice.
- The final boss of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga also has two forms, but you begin the second form with 1 HP on each of your characters.
- The final battles of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time are also sequential; first you fight Princess Shroob's mothership in a minigame, then you fight Princess Shroob herself, followed by the two forms of the Elder Princess Shroob. And after that, you fight Shrowser.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has Wiggler and Popple, two opponents fought directly after one another. Unlike many other examples, though, the latter boss is the easier one, so you should use your best items and attacks then instead of waiting for the second battle.
- Mega Man Battle Network series:
- Anytime enemy navis decided to gang up on the player, they have each battle after the last one is killed. While HP isn't restored, used chips are returned to the player's folder (which is done anyways after every fight). Disappointingly, the series never has two navis fought at the same time.
- The Final Boss of Battle Network 3. Bass with 2000 hp, a regenerating barrier that can only be taken off with an attack that does more than 100 damage in one go, and some extremely devastating attacks; immediately followed by Alpha, also having 2000 hp, a shield, and some equally devastating attacks. The only thing between the two of them is a single cutscene, no healing, no saving, right back into the action.
- The final book of Odin Sphere, Armageddon, is a series of five boss fights. Good thing there's five playable characters, huh?
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, you fight Grodus directly before Bowser, with no chance to heal. Fortunately, leveling up in between restores your health entirely and there is a third boss right after (with two stages), but at least you get the chance to heal and save (or even go back out and do some sidequests) before you tackle that one.
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: Yoyogi Park has two bosses back to back; Sakahagi sics Girimekhala on you, and then takes you on himself after it fails to finish you off. You get no chance to heal in between the two, but fortunately, Sakahagi isn't as hard as Girimekhala, and can easily be taken down in two turns.
- The final boss of Persona 3 has a whopping fourteen forms (not counting the human form the main characters knew him as earlier in the game). While the first thirteen forms are relatively easy to defeat (differing mainly in their elemental weaknesses), the final form is quite difficult and can take at least half an hour to defeat for those who aren't using some sort of Game Breaker.
- The Elite Four and Champion battles at the end of every game.
- Pokémon Black and White tops the other games with a sequence of Elite Four, a number of Team Plasma grunts, the legendary dragon of your version, then the final two bosses, N and Ghetsis. You don't go near the League Champion until you face the Elite Four a second time. You do get to heal at times though.
- At least those let you save in between battles; Pokémon Ranger doesn't even give you that. Made even worse by the fact that Entei, the Final Boss, is so hard that it would still be nearly impossible to beat even if your health hadn't been drained by Raikou and Suicune.
- Rogue Galaxy's final boss has a lot of forms. Mother has two forms, then the Demon Battleship has EIGHT separate battles, one-on-one duels between every member of your party and one part of the final boss. If you screw up even ONCE, you have to do the whole damn thing all over again. ARGH.
- In the original SNES release of Romancing SaGa, you have to fight the final boss's minions one by one and then fight all three at once — all in the same place before confronting the final boss. In the PS2 remake, you only have to fight one battle near the final boss's chamber — unless you defeated them all individually in the final dungeon to get their treasures. Furthermore, the final boss is sequential in the remake only.
- SaGa Frontier has several of these, most notably Lute's final boss: a giant mech that slowly falls apart as you fight it. Others include Blue's fight with Satan (who continually switches between two different forms) and T260's battle with Genocide Heart. The sub-boss fights in Red's story where the party goes to an alternate dimension may also count.
- Skies of Arcadia's three final bosses are like this, with a variation — the first and third forms are fought on foot, while the middle form is a ship battle.
- Super Mario RPG:
- You fight Smithy at the end, then a stronger version of Smithy.
- There is also the Czar Dragon, who changes from a typical fire dragon to a skeletal dragon after you beat on him enough.
- Tales Series:
- Tales of Graces has two of them: In the penultimate dungeon, you have to fight Lambda Richard and then Emeraude. Lambda Richard is That One Boss, but Emeraude is surprisingly easy, despite her constant teleporting around. Then in the final dungeon you first fight Lambda Richard (again) and finally Lambda Angelus.
- Tales of Symphonia:
- The game contains a rather infamous string of three sequential bosses at the climax of its fake ending (in actuality only about a third of the way through the game.) First up is Remiel, who tries to eliminate the party after sealing Colette's soul. He's reasonably challenging, but no harder than an average boss up until that point. Once you deal with him, Kratos reappears just in time to announce that he's been stringing you along the whole time and that he intends to deliver Colette to his superiors. While not set up as a Hopeless Boss Fight, he would be extremely difficult to overcome with a fresh party, let alone one that's just finished a previous boss fight. Then, just to add insult to injury, whether or not the party manages to defeat him, his boss shows up and utterly destroys the party in a true Hopeless Boss Fight. Naturally, there's no way to save or heal in between any of these encounters.
- Done properly at the next fake ending with a Dual Boss (Pronyma and the two Idun) followed by a fight with the Big Bad, Yggdrassil, which doesn't actually lead to any closure, as he leaves when you knock off a quarter of his max HP. And again in the real finale, with two forms of Mithos.
- This trick is also pulled at the Wind Seal where the party must fight a boss in order for Colette to release the seal. This battle, while not very hard, can be draining on your items. As the party is exiting the dungeon, Sheena attacks the party for a second, more difficult fight that is made harder due to the fact that you likely used many healing items earlier. Of course, this sequence would not be mentioned on this page if there was a save point present between the two points, so have fun fighting the first boss again if you lose to Sheena.
- Unlimited Saga: in addition to the antagonist of the Scenario, you also have to fight Chaos immediately afterward (4 forms), though you do recover some HP and LP. This isn't even covering Mythe's Scenario, where you have to fight a Sequential Boss and then another powerful boss before even fighting Chaos.
- The final boss of Wild ARMs 3 takes this Serial Escalation. Its final boss has a whopping eleven forms... making this a literal case of taking it Up to Eleven.
- Xenogears has tons of these sequences. By far the worst is the battle with Ramsus and Miang's gears on Disc 2. The first boss has the ability to reduce all your gears to 1 HP instantly, forcing you to waste fuel healing, and is followed by one of the HARDEST bosses in the game, with no chance to recover.
- Dark Souls has Ornstein and Smough, who are also a Dual Boss. When you kill one of them, the other returns to full health and gains different abilities. Smough becomes charged with lightning and gains powerful shockwave attacks, and Ornstein becomes giant and most of his moveset changes.
Shoot Em Up
- In Gradius Galaxies, the first mid-boss of Stage 8 fights you three times, getting repairs and upgrades for its second and third forms.
- The Final Boss of In the Hunt is a giant warhead rocket. The first segment spawns weak submarines, the second fires out lots of INDESTRUCTIBLE mines that block shots (in a game where most enemy projectiles in the game are destructible, this is bad news), the third shoots out massive rockets, and the fourth does the mine storm AGAIN. Finally, you get to the main warhead that spams missiles. If you had used any continues before this, you will get the good ending; otherwise, the bomb blows up along with your submarine.
- Radiant Silvergun has tons of them. One boss is where all its parts are sequential, some bosses themselves are sequential, and near the end of the game, you'll fight several bosses (some being sequential themselves) in a row without stages being in between them.
- The final boss of Gungrave: Overdose has two phases. In the first phase, the boss is protected by a barrier, which your character must break through by destroying the three generators that flank the room. With the barrier gone, the boss moves to the second phase by creating some sort of bizarre space and decides to get dangerous by using time-based attacks against your character.
- The final boss of Ikaruga has four phases, and the last disables your weapons and forces you to survive for a minute just by dodging.
- Raiden is pretty fond of these. Every boss has multiple stages of combat based on difficulty. You transition between sequences by blasting the crap out of it and causing things to explode. After exploding, what's left of the boss transforms and resumes combat. This can happen up to ten times in later games like Raiden IV.
- Both Strikers 1945 games (a.k.a just 1945 I & II) had sequential bosses ending each level. In the early levels they usually had two stages (first a regular battleship, tank, airplane and such, which then transforms to a Humongous Mecha), later bosses usually have 3 or 4 stages (transforming from a mech to two smaller mechs and so on).
- Touhou bosses always have multiple life bars, one for each bullet pattern they shoot. Early bosses usually have at most 4, whereas final bosses have many: Kaguya Houraisan from the eighth game, for example, has 10 life bars on every difficulty, plus five optional Last Spells after that.
- In Lotus Land Story, you fight Gengetsu/Gengetu immediately after you defeat the first bonus boss, Mugetsu.
- Based on how well you're doing, Triggerheart Exelica bosses can go from one phase to up to five phases. The better equipped you are (more lives, bombs, point items, and score), the harder it gets.
- Abmneshi The Prophecy downplays this trope; bosses have many lifebars, but they don't change at all between forms, they just have different attacks. The final boss, Kelbris, and second True Final Boss, Drowned, have sixteen lifebars.
- Trigonometry Wars has several examples, both of the different-lifebars-have-different-attacks kind and the more interesting kind.
- Trigonometry Wars 4 has its final boss, Idryo's Heart, who is fought first in a green mecha, which literally Turns Red for the second phase, before finally fighting you alone.
- In Trigonometry Wars 3 Redux: The Revengeoning, Apollyon's Eye is fought immediately after Apollyon the Destroyer. And then in the second loop, this gets taken through the roof, as you then must fight Idryo the Creator, who herself has two forms.
- Sin and Punishment 2 hads the Stage 2 boss, Armon Ritter, morphing through several rather strange-looking forms as you fought over the ocean. His final form is...a dolphin.
- Metal Gear:
- In Metal Gear Solid, the player must fight Liquid Snake both in and on top of Metal Gear REX sequentially.
- Similarly, in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden must fight a number of Metal Gear RAYs (the number depends on the difficulty selected); after a long (and confusing) cutscene, the player must fight Solidus Snake. Without skipping anything, the whole thing probably takes upwards of a half hour.
- Finally, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had Volgin, who did. Not. Give. Up. First, you fight him hand to hand. Then he jumps in the Shagohod and chases you as you escape in a motorcycle. Then you blow up a bridge to sink the Shagohod into a river. Then it rises out of the river, and you strafe it in the motorcycle. Then you run around on foot, as in previous (or rather future) fights with Metal Gear.
- Super Robot Wars loves this, sometimes having both kinds at the same time.
- One level of Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 has you fighting Axel Almar, Sikalog, Aguija (Sikalog and Aguika fight together), and finally Wendolo.
- Level 29 from Super Robot Wars Judgment is probably one of the longest stages in the game. It starts off pretty simple, just a couple sets of Mazinger Z and Full Metal Panic! mooks. Then an FMP boss shows up with a batch of reinforcements on the second enemy turn. Then on your third turn, Gauron shows up with a set of Elite Mooks from Mazinger, and four Behemoths (One of which was a stage boss five levels ago.). Take out Gauron, and Zeorymer's Rose C'est La Vie of the Moon comes along as well. Defeat him, and the level rounds off with you fighting Baron Ashura.
- The final level of Super Robot Wars Destiny; You first have to defeat Ignus and his units, then Aquila and the reinforcements he brings. Then, in the second half of the mission, you have to defeat both Contagio and Umbra, who regain their HP when they are below 1/3 of their HP, and then you have to fight the machines of the 5 enemy generals all at once in addition to the final boss. By the way, you have to fight the final boss twice; he gains reinforcements after he is defeated the first time.
- The final chapter of Fire Emblem Rekka no Ken has you fighting the Morphs of various bosses that were fought earlier in the story plus the previously unfought Brendan, in a specific order, before fighting Nergal.