There were sequences really near the beginning that kicked my ass until I was wearing my buttocks like a hat while the closest thing to a final boss fight is basically you versus a wheelchair bound cross-eyed hobbit and you’re armed with the BFG 9000.
A boss that is about as threatening as the crates
you destroy for ammo
. Best case scenario, you actively have to try in order to lose. At its worst, you are incapable of losing even if you try.
The most common version is The Man Behind the Curtain
variety. You have slaughtered the Big Bad
, infiltrated his Evil Tower of Ominousness
, battled through his Elite Guard
, and barely survived the fight against his Dragon
. All that's left is the weak, unarmed, defenseless mastermind behind it all. A subversion of Authority Equals Asskicking
, usually The Dragon
was intended to be the real Final Boss
, and this one-shot kill is meant to provide closure to the story
. Or maybe it's just Played for Laughs
that the Dark Lord Bludentiers is a fat slob who can barely lift a sword. Sometimes, there is an actual battle, but it's effectively won on the penultimate hit, requiring the player to finish off a vastly weakened enemy.
A less common variety is that for some reason, perhaps Eleventh Hour Superpower
, you are invincible for the final battle. This invincibility may not be obvious at first, since you still suffer damage and get attacked, and only reveal itself when you lose all health. Either way, it is impossible to lose.
Compare Breather Boss
and Anti-Climax Boss
. Not to be confused with a Cutscene Boss
, which is not only zero-effort, but zero-interactivity. It doesn't count if you spent 10 hours Level Grinding
to kill the boss in one hit, that's not zero-effort. Compare Clipped Wing Angel
Contrast Hopeless Boss Fight
, which relates to boss battles you cannot win for the sake of the plot.
Video game examples:
- Cannon Fodder 2 features what may be one of the earliest examples; after blasting your way through dozens of nigh-on-impossible battles, your last mission is to assassinate a general. Your squad appears on a tiny map, positioned practically right next to him. He's unarmed. You're not. Bang.
- According to Stoo Campbell's Web site, this was meant to represent a firing squad.
- When you encounter Mysterio in a store in Spider-Man 2, the intense battle music begins, his life bar, which is much, much bigger than any of the games other boss', appears on-screen, and it appears that you're in for one hell of a fight... until you realize that his only "attack" is yelling increasingly desperate (and ultimately, ineffectual) threats at you, and that his whole life bar is completely drained with a single punch. It's obviously a joke, and fits with the character's status as a Master of Illusion. View the epic battle here.
- It also embodies his Diminishing Villain Threat, since when he first popped up he was attacking the city with robot drones and attempting to steal the Statue of Liberty, but when you run into him for the final battle he's holding up a convenience store.
- It gets funnier. Turns out that you can actually ignore Mysterio and then calmly walk past him out of the store and then walk down the street. The whole time you do this you can here Mysterio in the background yelling at you making threats and trying to make it seem like he scared you off. Walk back into the store to clock him in the face and see how quickly you can crush any remaining self esteem Mysterio might have.
- You can actually face away from him and punch the air and he will still fall over pathetically.
- Operation C ends its final stage with a combat cyborg, followed by a hallway with a trio of timed deathraps, leading up to... an alien cell in a giant jar. You can still die, there's a bottomless pit in front of you, but the cell itself has no form of defense.
- Gungrave, after beating the last boss you are left only with the game's Big Bad... who just stands there and lets you shoot him. It'd be a cutscene boss except the game does force you to press x to kill him, and if you refuse to press anything then you just stand there with your gun trained on him forever.
- In Bloody Wolf, there is a boss who only fights with a knife. The first time you fight him, you are also restricted to using your knife for non-specified reasons, making him a possible threat. The second time, you can use your gun, which kills him with one hit.
- In killer7, the battle against the Handsome Men is predetermined; the Smiths will always win 4 - 3, though there is considerable symbolism and foreshadowing in the fight. For example: Harman is a Decoy Protagonist to Garcian, much like how Handsome Red, Harman's opponent, is one to Handsome Pink, Garcian's opponent.
- The Final Boss, Greg Nightmare, is the type that's very, very hard to lose to provided you can figure out that Garcian can pick up the Golden Gun. The Post Final Bosses, Emir Parkreiner and the Last Shot Smile, cannot be lost to.
- A staple of the Assassin's Creed games as the bosses are just regular humans and thusly vulnerable to getting a blade shoved into their neck, not more or less than every other person. There are still some targets that you could call a boss fight but those are mostly people that know how to block your attacks. Justified in that it is about assassinations and in most encounters you are supposed to get them when they don´t expect it.
- The straightest example would be in Assassin's Creed III where in the present Daniel Cross suffers a sequence of the bleeding effect meaning that he runs around in a big room like a lunatic and you can just wait on the spot you are standing until he comes around. Vidic is even more extreme, as he is killed in what is essentially a cutscene where you have to press X once.
Beat 'em Up
- The final bosses in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 would normally be pretty challenging, if not for the bit where you're, y'know, impossible to kill...
- Metroid: Other M has MB, the cybernetic reincarnation of Mother Brain, is incredibly easy to beat despite being built up to be quite threatening. Some players kill her by accident.
- That said, some other players won't notice her at all and be slowly hacked to death by the at-this-point-invincible Desbrachians that you are desperately fending off.
- Zeke in the Evil ending of inFAMOUS 2. It's justified as he understands that he is just a regular human, and is even considerably weakened by a terminal disease to boot, and stands no chance against the super-powered Cole, but believes that he still has to try to prevent Cole from destroying the RFI and killing all non-Conduits. It's more a Last Stand than anything.
- James Bond 007 for the Game Boy has this. One mid-game boss is a big, burly man that the game has hyped up as being a major threat. However, he's actually a wimp; he gives up after one hit from any weapon and starts crying.
- At the end of the first chapter of Alice: Madness Returns you face the Dormouse and March Hare who are driving a giant robot. Dramatic music begins to play, the robot begins to prepare its attack... then a giant teapot falls from the ceiling and kills them both.
- In the Adventure Time video game, there's Bliblob, the Cutest Warrior (one of the Cute King's lackeys from the episode "Conquest of Cuteness"). He is destroyed in one hit.
- The boss of the Temple of Time from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Armagohma. All it does is scuttle slowly around the room and let you take free shots at it, it dies in three hits, and you're likely to kill it in about 20 seconds. Compare and contrast the Darknut, the Mini-Boss of the same dungeon that amounts to an epic sword fight that takes all of Link's techniques, is a considerable challenge for the first time, and is fondly remembered as one of the most epic boss battles in the game while Armagohma is all but forgotten.
- The so-called "final boss" in The Incredible Hulk for the Super NES is the Leader, one of the Hulk's deadliest foes in the comics, thanks to his tremendous intellect... but in the game, all he does is stand in one place and laugh, and one punch is enough to defeat him, sending him tumbling down a Bottomless Pit. You have to uppercut him though, he laughs at standing punches for some reason.
- Having slashed your way through Bangler's entire military in The Ninja Warriors, you corner Bangler himself in a dead end in the capitol building. He cowers, hyperventilating, against the wall, and takes a single unopposed slash to kill. However, you do have to walk across the entire width of the screen to do this, as for some reason he's completely immune to your shurikens.
- If you take too long to kill him, he will take out a gun to shoot you. But you have to be trying in order for him to do so.
- Obscure ZX Spectrum game Oriental Hero is so impossibly difficult that the only way to even reach the final boss is cheating. The final boss himself on the other hand… well, look for yourself.
- The Shainto clan in Bushido Blade 2 face an insanely difficult boss battle, but after this enemy is finally killed, the player learns that he was merely The Dragon and the true leader of the Narukagami is... an unarmed young woman kneeling in the next room. She patiently awaits her death, but the player can choose to spare her if so inclined.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
- In FEAR, you spend the entire game trying to find Paxton Fettel. You eventually come across him kneeling in a small cell. He starts babbling madly, but one pistol shot to the head takes care of him and his psychically-controlled clone soldiers.
- Marathon has you fighting through an entire alien army to find and kill the alien general. But when you find him he turns out to be a deskbound pushover, with no weapons and no attacks.
- Near the end of No One Lives Forever, the player finally comes face to face with Baroness Dumas (basically the Big Bad, though there is another Boss Battle after her). She has no weapon, doesn't move, and is defeated with a couple of shots from the pistol. Of course at the this point she begins to explode (um... don't ask), leading onto the real point of the level which begins with you encountering her, which is to get everyone away from the area before she blows up.
- Borderlands 2:
- Face McShooty needs your help. Shoot him in the face. Even better than a boss, since this counts as a side-quest, meaning you get an experience-point reward. And an achievement if you're playing on Steam or the Xbox. Many people don't kill him immediately because Face McShooty's insane ranting (about you shooting him in the face, of course) is one of the funniest moments in the game!
- Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt has Professor Nakayama, who more or less defeats himself when he trips and falls down a flight of stairs after coming out to confront you.
- Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep has Prince Jeffrey, who immediately surrenders in a single hit. You can then proceed to slap him some more just to hear him whine some more (at least until Tina runs out of dialog for him).
- Crysis 3: The True Ceph warship, for all its buildup in-story, is this. You hack into Archangel, line it up and fire. There is so much time to aim that you have to deliberately refuse to fire to lose.
- After you fight the Vizier's magical duplicates in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the actual Vizier takes only two hits to defeat. One to knock him out a window, then one to finish him after he somehow gets back up and ineffectually threatens you and Farah.
- Dracula's final form in I Wanna Be the Guy. It's a Waddle Doo incapable of doing any damage, in a game where just about everything does damage to your One-Hit-Point Wonder.
- In You Have to Burn the Rope, the protagonist has unlimited health, and the only boss (the only enemy, actually) dies after a single hit from a falling chandelier. You don't even have to time the chandelier-drop correctly; the boss will always walk right under it when it starts to fall.
- In Ristar, Adahan, the boss of Planet Scorch spends most of the fight at roughly the ideal difficulty. After you've landed the penultimate blow however, the robot mole explodes, and you see it's damaged remains fall from up high. Followed by the pilot, who now tries to continue the fight despite being completely harmless without his armoured suit. He starts crying the next time you hit him.
- A rare non-Anti-Climax Boss example is Bob the Goldfish from the first Earthworm Jim. You reach him at the end of a gruelling tube maze and an insane bathysphere race against time. He floats in his bowl, sneering at you. Any attack, or just touching him, will knock his bowl off the pedestal, leaving him to flop around.
- In the sequel, Jim will simply eat Bob when you finish the stage.
- Mega Man Zero 3. After defeating the final boss in his three forms a cutscene follows, paralyzes him, and you get to land the final blow with the saber.
- Adeline in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is a sort-of example. As a miniboss, the monsters she summons through her paintings are actually pretty challenging. However, when Adeline finally attacks you herself, any single kind of attack will defeat her. Even just running into her.
- Before her, Ado from Kirby's Dreamland 3 ends the fight in the same way.
- One of the bosses in Kirby Super Star's Arena is a Waddle Dee. Though it does have more HP than the average Dee, it just stands there and doesn't even try to attack you with Collision Damage.
- In Kirby Super Star Ultra it now wears a blue bandana like the Waddle Dee in the Megaton Punch minigame, and it can actually walk (slowly) and jump. It's still very easy, however. It also shows up late in the new sub-game "Revenge of the King" as well.
- The Brain in a Jar from Space Station Silicon Valley. It's a brain in a jar. It just sits there. You're a killer robot with Eye Beams. The only way you can lose the match is if your console were to short-circuit at some point during the three seconds it takes to fry it.
- The final boss of Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils in Chelsea's storyline. After a Hopeless Boss Fight against a gigantic Dechronos, Bunny comes to Chelsea's rescue. Not only is she far stronger than she was in her own storyline, she automatically Guard Blocks all of his attacks, negating all damage he deals.
- Dynamite Headdy has a fairly difficult boss midway through the game called Baby Face, which is a giant head on a pole that shifts through the various stages of life as you progress through the battle. Most of the stages also have a hand on a pole doing various things to try to kill you or screw you up. When you finally reach the Old Man, the final stage, the only attack is a withered hand that constantly shoots up and tries to grab you. If you successfully avoid it and blast away the last mask, you get a bonus point. However, if the hand grabs you, the boss laughs evilly...then promptly dies of old age.
- In Rayman 2, one would expect Umber, one of the four Guardians (in this case, of the Sanctuary of Stone and Fire), to put up a fight. Instead, he simply waits for Rayman to take up residence on his head and then walks along the lava corridor and eventually is submerged completely, but not before enabling Rayman to jump off onto the platform bearing the mask Umber is supposed to protect. Umber explains this in Revolution: Ly contacted Umber, telling him about Rayman and his efforts to defeat Razorbeard. He knew Rayman was the chosen one without a doubt, and willingly gave him passage to the mask, where Rayman then met Razorbeard's robot pirates waiting to ambush him.
- The very first boss in Monster Party is simply a crab corpse that apologizes for being dead. There is also a later boss fight against a pair of zombies that can be defeated by just watching them dance as they tell you to.
- Yoshi's Story features Cloud n' Candy, the boss of Page 3's level 1. He's incredibly slow at first, and you only have to gradually eat him up to win, but eating him heals your character, and the only thing resembling effort in the entire fight is that he does move a little quickly once he becomes very small, but you still have to work hard to lose to him, as he just jumps around and never focuses on attacking you.
- Puzzle Man in Megaman 5: Indonesian Artifact. Sure he flips the gravity around, but he just stands there. He is immune to the Mega Buster, though.
- A subversion for the boss fight against Dingodile in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, in that the first boss fight against him is actually fairly challenging. The goal is to dodge the fireballs he shoots at you and trick him into melting the ring of icicles that surround him so you can go in and attack him, causing his flamethrower to self destruct. Sounds a bit challenging, right? All this changes once you obtain the double jump immediately after the boss fight with him, because while you can't jump over the icicles, you can double jump over them, meaning you can skip waiting on Dingodile's attacks and just hop on over and take him out before he even gets a chance to attack.
- A Stable Time Loop in Bookworm Adventures 2 sets this up in one chapter: In an earlier chapter, Lex encountered what he assumed was an Evil Counterpart of himself who made off with his Magic Pen. When he acquires a time helmet, he decides to travel back in time to this chapter to stop his evil counterpart from stealing the Magic Pen only to discover after a series of tough literary opponents that the "boss" is his previous self who only has 4 hearts and goes down with one blow. Turns out that "EviLex" was actually the future Lex!
when Lex uses his time helmet to travel through time to stop his evil counterpart from..., he fights a series of literary characters with over 20 hearts of health and painful attacks and then meets the boss...
Real Time Strategy
- In Pikmin 2, the Eldritch Abomination Waterwraith is a hard fight at first, but then halfway through the fight he becomes incapable of harming you at all. You still have to chase him around and attack him, and he can run away, but you can't lose after that point.
Shoot 'em Up
- Final Fantasy X has Yu Yevon, the Post Final Boss of the game and the biggest single threat in the world... except all he does is heal himself and use percentage-based attacks (he only uses Ultima when low on health), so it's very unlikely he'll cause enough damage to kill you, and even if he did, everyone in the battle has permanent Auto-Life so they spring right back to life as soon as they get knocked out. The only way you could possibly lose is by deliberately casting petrification spells on all your characters. Hell, you can even Zombify the boss, and watch as he slowly whittles his own health away with healing magic.
- In Final Fantasy VII, after the epic One-Winged Angel battle against Safer Sephiroth, (with kickass music) there's one more fight against him in the Lifestream. He is impossible to lose against — the only attack you can do is the Limit Break Omnislash, which kills him in one hit, he can't do enough damage to kill you because his attack is percentage-based, and if you do wait for him to attack, you automatically (whether or not you had the materia equipped) counter with a normal attack which also kills him in one hit.
- Dramatic example in Final Fantasy V, where all but one of your party members is incapacitated, requiring the one to take on Exdeath solo. Despite laying into him with everything he's got, doing enough damage to kill him several times over, Galuf remains standing through sheer force of will. It isn't until Exdeath is defeated that Galuf finally allows himself to die.
- Another example: Famed Mimic Gogo. In the sunken tower of Walse, you can find him at the bottom of the tower. How do you defeat him? Stare at him. Do absolutely nothing, and you'll win. Now, say, what happens if you attack him? He'll counter with attacks that deal 9,999 points of damage, then, if you get him down to a certain point, he'll cast Meteor three times, killing everyone, unless one is using cheats. It is possible to win by killing him before he gets off the three Meteors, though.
- In Final Fantasy VI, fake Siegfried on the Phantom Train opens the battle with a flurry of hits, all of which are pathetic, and has such low health he'll die in one hit to anything. If you're using the Black Belt accessory, or even if you still have Shadow and his dog Interceptor decides to, y'know, intercept, he'll probably die before he finishes his initial attack combo. The battle against Siegfried in the Colosseum later on? Not so easy.
- The Post Final Boss of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean offers no resistance whatsoever. Despite having a mountain of HP, his attacks are weaker than most of the mooks you've been facing for the past hour. Granted, having the Disc One Final Boss' head suddenly rise from the earth and challenge the party to a battle was the last thing any sane player expected at that point, and it does provide for an interesting bit of story near the end.
- In Xenosaga II, the very last boss fight of the game is against Albedo, who sets himself up as being godlike and goes on and on about how powerful he is, but it is actually IMPOSSIBLE to lose the battle. Albedo will even heal you if you use skills that deplete your own HP too far. Albedo throws the battle because he wants Jr. to kill him.
- The Golem Boss from Chrono Trigger isn't the final boss, but it has plenty of buildup: after you fight the Heads I Win, Tails You Lose battle against the Golem and defeat That One Boss, the Golem Twins, the game pits you against the Golem Boss in a battle atop an airship. Unfortunately for the Golem Boss, it's too afraid of heights to attack.
- Some effort is involved in killing the boss before it automatically flees after a set amount of time, however. You can't lose, but you can be denied some juicy XP.
- Ozzie is also a pitiful excuse for a boss the two times you battle him. His entire strategy is to hide behind a barrier and surround himself with switches that open trap doors (including, bizarrely enough, one that opens under him). If you choose to attack Ozzie directly, he'll counter with an attack that does very little damage; even less in New Game+. The only possible way to lose against him is to continue attacking him directly without ever bothering to heal yourself; do enough damage to him, and you're essentially forced to attack one of the switches.
- Augst from Wild ARMs 4 injects himself with cells that make him super powerful. Unfortunately all he does is become a giant super powerful traffic barrier with a speed stat of 0. He will never get to act, unless you somehow give him a speed boost, in which case, he just skips his turns.
- The second battle isn't much better, but at least he counters.
- In the first two games of the Mario & Luigi series, it is impossible to lose to the introductory tutorial boss.
- While not technically a boss, the Apprentice from Super Mario RPG should count, since you can't run away from him once he challenges you and will probably go down in one or two hits, and the only way you can possibly lose is if you do nothing but defend and try to run away while he whittles away your HP with Scratch Damage. If you do lose, he will actually be hired as Snifit 4 and appear in Booster Tower, though you don't get anything for it.
- If you do lose to this Snifit, another will appear in his place. You can actually do this up to five times, and upon losing the fifth time, if you return to Booster Tower, instead of meeting Snifit 8, you'll just find the normal Apprentice sulking in the corner.
Shriek! The boss only wants 7 Snifits
! All my training was in vain! What a rip!
- In Paper Mario, there is Tubba Blubba, an invincible boss with high attack power and immunity to everything. You have to discover his secret and defeat his dragon to make him lose his immunity. Then, turns out he has very low HP, and can be defeated in one single turn.
- Monstar is the epitome of this. This ghostly creature looks dangerous, but it only has 20 HP and a single attack that does 1 damage. This would be a difficult fight if you didn't encounter it near the end of the game. Even moreso if you have the Defend Plus badge equipped (which you should), which reduces all damage by 1 (making you completely immune to Monstar's attack).
- There's also Peach and Twink's battle against Kammy Koopa in the final dungeon. While you technically control both characters, they only have one action each, making the fight impossible to lose.
- Fable II has this. You've spent the entire game foiling Lucien's plans, he's kidnapped the people that were supposed to give you the power to beat him, he's SHOT YOUR DOG and, if you got married and had a kid, KILLED YOUR FAMILY. You can shoot and kill him in one shot while he does his evil monologue. Either that, or Reaver does it for you. Granted, you're given a MacGuffin that renders him powerless beforehand. Some consider this a form of poetic justice.
- Negative Man from MOTHER 3. He mostly just cries and mopes while you assault him. He can attack, but it's extremely weak and he attacks so rarely that players may never see him attack at all.
- Also the story telling robots in Saturn Valley. They actually cannot attack.
- In Albion, the final boss has the maximum number of hit points allowed by the game engine (which is WAY more than what any other character or enemy in the game has), and is also impervious to physical attacks and 90% resistant to magical ones. His attack also kills pretty much any character in 1 hit. Why is he is a Zero Effort Boss? Because you automatically win the fight after he kills 2 of your party members.
- The first boss of Secret of Mana is this, as Jema will revive you each time you die until you win. Which is a good thing, because you're probably going to die at least three times over before you can finally kill the bastard.
- Mega Man Star Force 3. After defeating the final boss, a cutscene follows, showing Mega Man's final form (The one shown on the game box), unlocked. After that, you refight the final boss, who now has an astonishing 8000 HP. This may be daunting, but his attacks can not kill you, even at 1 HP, and the battle doesn't end until you land the final move. (Also dependent on the game's version)
- The Starman Junior in EarthBound might have been a pretty tough opponent on his own, given he has enough hit points to last him a while and attacks. However, you have a computer-controlled Buzz Buzz with you for the battle, and the bot will always have him put up a shield that absorbs all damage, and to replace it when it runs out. The only possible way to lose is to spend hours leveling up in the starting area until eventually the shielding stops working like it should.
- Sol in Final Fantasy Legend 3 just stands there and says "Kill me" so he'll take Xagor down with him. (Suicide by Cop) However, the True Final Boss comes right after that fight; so it's perfect to put on some buffs.
- The Floor 99 Boss of the Ancient Cave in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is impossible to lose to. He spends 2 rounds healing you, idles for one round, and then kills himself. The trick is to deal 10k HP damage before he kills himself or kill off your own party, if you want his key. Of course, few would know either of those, due to the Nintendo Hard nature of the Ancient Cave....
- The Gray Prince in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, who is your last adversary in the Arena, can easily become this... but only after you do a Side Quest that reveals his true origins (he's the son of a vampire). Upon learning of it, he decides that he doesn't want to live anymore and asks you to kill him.
- The last boss in Persona 3 has a form that does nothing but smile arrogantly, which has no effect. It gets harder afterwards.
- She does have an attack that hits the entire party for a small amount of Almighty damage, after the first few turns; she's just easy enough to kill that you're unlikely to see it. (All forms except her last one have 1500 HP, and while later forms generally have multiple invulnerabilities and a ton of defense the first one does not and goes down in a few hits).
- The True Final Boss after that cannot be lost to, even though it deals 9999 damage attacks every round (your health caps at 999) eventually, you just start blocking the attacks, and then on the last round every command is greyed out except the one skill that will finish the fight.
- The same applies for Persona 4.
- A lot of the bosses in Valkyrie Profile turn into this thanks to Weapon of X-Slaying type equipment that kills anything in its category in one shot, and which you can just find in a normal playthrough, without going very much out of your way, if at all. The first of these you get is Dragon Slayer, then Beast Slayer, and half the game's dungeons culminate in a boss that fits into one of those two categories. Same goes for weapons with "[Element]+DEATH" in its description. In the A ending, one of the final three bosses is susceptible to this because of a weakness to fire.
- Fallout 3:
- You can take down President John Henry Eden using a single relatively low-level speech check, upon which he will kill himself and blow up his own base. It's so easy most people don't expect that saying it would actually defeat the President.
- The actual 'final boss' of the game, Colonel Autumn, is a normal human wearing a trench coat and armed only with a laser pistol, whereas your character is a death machine with Powered Armor and several high level guns. He can be easily killed with one headshot from any high level weapon. Even if you do nothing, Fawkes or Sarah will kill him anyway, so it's pretty much impossible to actually lose to him.
- When you finally confront Professor Calvert at the end of Point Lookout, he's a Brain in a Jar with no attacks and no way of defending himself aside from a few defective Protectrons. If your character has survived the swampfolk, ghoul reavers, and tribals that populate Point Lookout, you'd have to be trying to fail this. If you don't do anything and just stand there, Desmond will kill him for you.
- The Alien Captain from Mothership Zeta literally dies in one shot from any of the dozens of alien guns you've picked up throughout the course of the DLC. Or, like Autumn, you can just sit there and let a companion kill him.
- Bowser Jr. in your first encounter in Paper Mario: Sticker Star is this. Sure he'll regenerate after being jumped on, but you NEED to use the Scissors Sticker you automatically get before the fight, which defeats him in one hit.
- Almost every final boss in the Gradius series is the Bacterian emperor, who usually takes the form of a large brain and either fires easily-avoidable attacks or just sits there and does nothing, giving the player a chance to take him down. On the other hand, given that it's in control of the space station you just cruised through, maybe the whole level counts as the final boss.
- Special mention goes to Gradius III, in which the Bacterian emperor mutters some incomprehensible curse, starts vomiting really slow purple energy balls in a gentle curve, and spontaneously explodes fifteen seconds later (or sooner, if you fire at him). At least he actually fights back, which is something of an accomplishment considering the last two final bosses of Gradius didn't even do that. In the arcade version, getting hit by its attacks doesn't kill you, but instead teleports you to a Nostalgia Level based on either Gradius 1 or Salamander. Finishing it or dying in it takes you to the last checkpoint before the final boss.
- Another special mentions goes to Gradius Rebirth, in which the final boss sics a large group of Option Hunters on you to defend itself while taunting you. While annoying in that they steal your Options, they can't actually destroy you.
- The final boss of Salamander 2, Doom, is an exception. A major one. Venom in Nemesis II is an exception too.
- The Final Boss of Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a lone invader which you fight in old-school arcade style. It's still possible to get killed (but you have infinite lives in that sequence), and it's also possible for the invader to reach the bottom of the screen. Whether you beat it or not, the game is still completed.
- The Final Boss of R-Type 3 is no pushover, being fought in a Negative Space Wedgie. However, after (seemingly) killing that boss and returning to normal space, it will hold the Negative Space Wedgie open, ostensibly to come after you. However, its attacks are stupidly easy to dodge after the boss fight you just went through, and you can (must) kill it in one hit by smashing its face with your Force Device.
- Mambu, the super secret final boss of Sonic Wings 2. It only goes from one side of the screen to the other, then you automatically see the ending (which is a special one if you have faced him).
- Terminal Velocity, World 3 boss. When you destroy the large building, a large turret is deployed in its place. The turret faces directly at you, and shoots from the cannons on the side of the turret. As such, it takes more effort to fly into one of the projectiles than to try a head-on attack. You are also more likely to be killed by other mooks.
- Tenchu has a few bosses that follow this. In the original Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, the boss of the first level is an old merchant who goes down in one or two hits. It IS possible to lose to him if you're low on health and let him shoot you with a gun, but you have to be trying to lose. In Tenchu: Fatal Shadows, you have an early encounter with the Big Bad... who leaves while his lover volunteers to fight you. She is a defenseless Geisha girl with a small dagger who goes down in one hit. It may be impossible to actually lose unless your health is at the bare minimum and you let her attack.
- Rarely played completely straight in Metal Gear, but bosses often have zero effort phases:
- The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a Mirror Boss and Final Exam Boss, and fighting her is a true test of skill. However, after defeating her, you have to finish her off yourself.
- The Sorrow from the same game straddles the line between this and Hopeless Boss Fight. The "fight" is simply wading through a river. Whether you make it to the end or not doesn't matter in terms of story, since either way you have to take the revival pill. The only difference is that you get a bonus piece of camouflage for making it to the end.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in what is likely a call back to the third game since the AI is based on The Boss, the final phase of the fight against the titular Peace Walker is simply you shooting the AI pod, which will not move or fire back.
Turn Based Strategy
- In the remake of Resident Evil, you have to deal with Neptune, a Zombie Great White Shark. Sound tough? It would be, except since you drained the shark tank, all it can do is feebly flop around.
- Note that however if you screw around when he's splashing, chances are, you may climb down and get eaten.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Fantasy General (an old Panzer General spinoff) you fight dozens of battles across six continents to stop the Shadowlord and his vassals. Once you reach the fifth continent, the Shadowlord will cast spells at your troops each turn. However, when you finally reach the end of the campaign and storm his castle, he will get destroyed without a fight, being unable to stand against the the pure goodness emanating from you.
- "Yu-gi-oh" games have a few of these. In The Falsebound Kingdom, Emperor Heisheen, who is the established villain, is pathetic. After you cream him, it is revealed that he was just a figurehead for the real villain. Also, in Reshef of Destruction, Bandit Keith is also an intentionally anticlimactic fight. After stealing the all-powerful god cards, Keith challenges you to a duel. Keith pulls out all the stops to to get his god, The Winged Dragon of Ra, out only to find that it refuses to obey him. Ra will simply remain inert allowing you to beat Keith, who is totally at a loss when facing this setback.
- The final confrontation in The Saboteur with Nazi Officer Kurt Dierker on the top of the Eiffel Tower. It is actually not as epic as it sounds but the atmosphere really sells how far Dierker has lost it. After a very uneventful elevator ride to the top of the tower all while surrounded by Nazi's either killed, have committed suicide, or just out of their minds, you meet Dierker who is drunk and depressed, not wearing any kind of armor, and, despite having a gun, does nothing to defend himself, and all you have to do to finish off him is firing a single shot. And that is not even required, because he will jump off the tower himself if you just stand around for long enough. Though this is more due to Dierker's Diminishing Villain Threat (as before this he pretty much killed every Nazi officer under his command due to paranoia). You can clearly tell he is pretty much over the edge already and in no shape to fight.
- Billy Grey from Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned. Though the preceding level involves blasting your way into the prison to reach him, once you do, he is unarmed (as he's a prisoner) and you just shoot him down.
- The Enderdragon in Minecraft can be considered a Zero-Effort Boss in several versions due to a bug that prevents it from dealing any damage. Just make sure it doesn't throw you off of the platform...
- Killbane in Saints Row The Third. You'll have two fights with him. The first is definitely this trope, since it's just a series of quick time events. The second may be this trope or may be an actual Boss Fight, depending on which of the Multiple Endings you chose.
Non-video game examples:
Anime and Manga
- Deliora from Fairy Tail. After all that effort to stop its awakening, Natsu and Gray fail. It awakens, roars, and... crumbles to pieces. Turns out that during the ten years it was trapped in Iced Shell, Ur's spirit had steadily drained away its life.
- Dolph in Nichijou has pretty much all the troops in the airship under his command, the princess helpless, and has just finished mocking the former king, whose seat he has usurped... then he trips on his own feet, falling flat on his face. He dies. End of uprising.
- J. Jonah Jameson in Zen Studios' Spider-Man pinball, who is defeated by making one shot around the right orbit.
- Roman Emperor Claudius once fought a whale as a gladiator, with both combatants stuck on land (descriptions of the event indicate the whale was not intentionally put there). Critics were not impressed. Other Emperors are said to have fought in similarly impossible to lose matches. This trope is thus Older Than Feudalism.