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Before getting into specific examples, it's worth noting that Authority Equals Asskicking is exactly why the bigger, badder, tougher enemy at the end of the level was called the "Boss" to begin with, hence the sheer size of this page.

  • Firstly, a strange subversion of this is in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where after defeating Silver Sonic in Death Egg Zone, Dr. Robotnik tries to escape through a long corridor on foot. You run after him, but it turns out that Dr. Eggman, the obese scientist who was re-named for his poor physical state is faster than, or capable of keeping up with Sonic, the fastest thing alive and you can't catch him! All because he immediately jumps into the cockpit of the final boss.
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  • The Super Mario Bros. series plays this to the hilt. If there is a character who is in charge, he/she will be the most powerful. On the heroic side, we have Princess Peach. While she is the Damsel in Distress, she has more than proven to be exceptionally skilled, and definitely more competent than the Toads she watches over. We also have Rosalina, who is unknown to be actual royalty, but she is clearly a mother figure and leader to the Lumas whom she lives with on her Comet Observatory. Rosalina's a Physical God and one of the most powerful characters in the series. Then of course, we have Bowser who is the King of the Koopas, and by and far the most powerful and threatening. This also applies to the various King Mooks like King Boo, Goomboss, and King Bob-omb.
  • Strategy games often make leader units and campaign characters stronger fighters than regular troops.
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  • In Streets of Rage 2, you have to fight your way through Mecha-Mooks, monsters, and The Dragon - Shiva, legendary martial artist - to get to Mr. X. He's just a big dude in a business-suit, but he's nonetheless tougher and more dangerous than any of those preceding him. No small part of this, however, is the fact that he packs an assault rifle, but even close-in, he's no slouch.
  • In Stranglehold, the final boss is Mr. Wong, the head of the notorious Dragon Claw syndicate. He's a short, balding, wrinkled guy, but that doesn't stop him from carrying around a huge sniper-rifle with one hand — and he can absorb more bullets than Dapang, his hulking, tattooed bodyguard, who was seen dual-wielding shotguns.
  • In the western-themed LucasArts videogame Outlaws, the final boss is, in all appearances, just another desperado. But since he's the leader of the gang, you will need a Gatling-Gun to take him down. When he stumbles into ending Not Quite Dead, The main character's daughter shoots him with the basic pistol.
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  • In No More Heroes, the bosses are ranked in the UAA according to their ranking as an assassin. While this trope is played straight in both games with the higher ranked assassins (Bad Girl, Jeane and Henry in the original game; Alice and Jasper Batt Jr. in the sequel), it also tends to be subverted at times: higher ranked assassins like Destroyman and Capt. Vladimir tend to be easier compared to lower assassins like Shinobu, Margaret and Ryuji. It could be possible that Shinobu, Margaret, and Ryuji were still cutting their way up to a higher rank when Travis came along.
  • Used freely, like most tropes relating to superheroes and supervillains, in the City of Heroes and City of Villains MMO:
    • Leaders of villainous groups are classified as "Archvillains", and because of this, they automatically require a large, well-coordinated team of superheroes to take 'em down.
    • Averted with The Center, leader of the Council. The two missions where he actually appears he doesn't fight... because he's somewhere around 120 years old, and in spite of his rank as the leader of the Council, one of the largest paramilitary groups in City of Heroes, he has no real combat abilities. Instead, he calls down the entire chain of command on you in the first of these, then summons several of his elite guards to fight against a hero ambush in the second. All of this while nonchalantly reading a newspaper.
    • Played very straight with Countess Crey who story-wise is just the CEO of Crey Industries with villainous business practices yet is a legal Karma Houdini. However in a late-game story arc when you finally manage to get a warrant to arrest her, she turns out to have devastating psychic abilities that are never mentioned in story.
  • In Crusader: No Regret, when you finally cross paths with the Corrupt Corporate Executive who's had it in for you since the previous game... surprise, surprise, he seems to have acquired a Humongous Mecha and is blocking your exit. Not that he's particularly good at piloting it, but...
  • In the classic FPS Wolfenstein 3D, several of the final bosses take advantage of this, including Dr. Schabbs (one of the rare examples of a Mad Scientist using this trope), at least one Nazi General, and of course, Adolf Hitler, who naturally takes this to extremes: Not only has he somehow acquired an armored battle-suit mounted with quadruple Gatling guns, once you've blasted it enough, he pops out — and continues to fight, with Gatling Guns Akimbo, while ignoring the hail of bullets you're throwing at him. Not to mention the fake Hitlers you meet before you face him, which have a unique weapon: Flamethrowers. Nasty, nasty, nasty...
  • The bizarre mecha game Metal Wolf Chaos has this as its central premise. You play as the president of the United States in a super-powerful Mini-Mecha trying to liberate the U.S. following a military coup led by the vice president who, naturally, also has a Mini-Mecha.
    • Justified, however, since both of them are veterans of the Arizona Conflict, with president Michael Wilson even receiving Medal of Honor for his actions in it.
  • In a similar vein to Metal Wolf Chaos, Liberation Maiden places players in the role of the Humongous Mecha-piloting President of New Japan (who happens to be a high school-aged young woman).
  • Halo:
    • Higher-ranked Sangheili/Elites are far more skilled at fighting than their subordinates. This is Justified as Elite promotions are based almost entirely on how many foes they killed and, by extension, how much experience and skill they have as warriors. Additionally, promotions come with better equipment; the highest ranks, like Zealots and Ultras, generally have shielding so powerful that they can withstand a charged Plasma Pistol shot on Legendary, which would instantly destroys the shields of a lesser Elite. They also get one-hit-kill energy swords.
    • Brutes work the same way, but in an even more brutal way; never mind the kill score, if they topple the current pack chief, they get his seat and shiny helmet along with tough shielding, rounded off with a gigantic more-often-than-not OHKO hammer. On higher difficulties, even being licked by its impact shockwave hurts like crap. Even if they eschew the hammer, they'll still carry around the heaviest ranged weapons available.
    • In fact, even the client Covenant species like Grunts and Jackals seem to be promoted based on combat ability; they also receive better equipment as they advance in rank.
    • On the other hand, the Prophets, who are the religious and political leaders of the Covenant, avert this entirely, being frail and barely capable of fighting. The one fight you have against one of them consisted of avoiding the easy-to-dodge fire from his hoverchair before jumping on and punching him to death. It would be an utter Curb-Stomp Battle even on Legendary if it wasn't for the continuous waves of his Elite Honor Guards.
    • Forerunner Prometheans, the highest order of Warrior-Servant a Forerunner can ascend to, are made up of only the biggest and strongest Forerunners. In fact, due to their custom of assuming different "forms" based on their rate and rank, they are specifically engineered to be the pinnacle of what a Warrior can be, mentally and physically.
  • This is almost the norm with both heroes and villains in Final Fantasy:
    • Emperor Palamecia from Final Fantasy II, the Final Boss, a master sorcerer who ends up taking over Hell itself and absorbing its power. They never make clear if he's Emperor because he's badass, or if he's badass because he's Emperor.
    • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, of the twenty-one main playable characters, eight are royalty, and another is brother to a king. In the world of Final Fantasy IV, Asura and Leviathan rule the Feymarch, Bahamut is King of Eidolons, and Odin is the former King of Baron, so the four highest ranking Summons are all royalty too.
    • In the case of Final Fantasy V, four of your five party members are royalty, and of those four, one is a badass alien king and one becomes queen by default partway through the story.
    • In Final Fantasy VI,
      • While you never actually fight him, Emperor Gestahl is able to cast high-level fire spells that are only available to the party at the very end of the game. Unfortunately for him, however, when he actually tries to use them, it is revealed that his Psycho for Hire Omnicidal Maniac Kefka has found a way to make them ineffective. Oops. Later on you discover the personal "secret treasure" he was keeping in reserve, and it turns out to be an item that grants (among other things) most of the high-level fire spells he is shown using earlier in the game.
      • Kefka himself starts out as a subversion. He is a wimp who runs away from you when you face him for the first time. It's only after he starts infusing himself with more and more magic that he becomes a threat beyond his military power and complete lack of morals.
      • On the good side of things, we have Edgar, king of Figaro, Gadgeteer Genius, and all-around asskicker. His brother Sabin counts too, though he had forsaken the throne and fled the kingdom. Celes is a former Imperial general, Cyan is the retainer to a king, and Guest-Star Party Member Leo is an Imperial general too.
    • In Final Fantasy VII:
      • This is the only explanation for Palmer. An obese and incompetent member of the Shinra Board of Directors, the party gets a memorable fight against him where he survives a good few minutes of being hit by machine guns and giant swords before getting run over by a truck.
      • Rufus Shinra is an exception to this rule, however. He is the President of the Shinra Company but is actually one of the weakest bosses in the game, compared to his Humongous Mecha-riding military directors and his mutating mad scientist. On the other hand, he did manage to fight Cloud (admittedly with help from his pet) while using a double barreled shotgun (with one hand!) and escape with only a few injuries (while grabbing onto a helicopter with one hand, holding the gun, and presumably being injured). His stats are more a matter of gameplay rather than story (Reno also had fairly low stats when you first fought him). And during his encounter with Kadaj he managed to shoot between the latter's fingers while falling down the side of a building.
      • Sephiroth, the Big Bad of the game, plays this straight as he used to be Shinra's General and was designed to be perfect for the position.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, Nooj, Baralai, and Gippal, who each lead one of the political factions vying for control, are easily the most badass members of their respective factions.
    • Final Fantasy XI has examples for pretty much every single nation. The final mission battles for each of the three starting nations has you fighting alongside a major political figure: Prince Trion, Captain Volker, and minister Ajido-Marujido. Archduke Kam'lanaut is a bit of a subversion, though: while he is a major storyline boss, it's his "little" brother Eald'narche who's the real Big Bad. Prince Trion is portrayed as a warrior-prince, Captain Volker is a captain of a special forces squad and a famous war veteran and minister Ajido-Marujido is the head of the department in-charge of the nation's Orastery (or Department of Magic). The game also takes place during wartime/a post-war period as well so there is understandably a high number of war veterans around the world.
    • In Final Fantasy XII almost any figure of considerable power is a noble:
      • First the Judges Magister. This is justified by the backstory, since they are both the highest-ranking officers of the Imperial Army AND handpicked by the emperor for their martial skills to be his guardians, officers, and advisors.
      • Then, we have Ashe and Vayne, two mighty warriors and heads of state with enough backstory to justify their power. Vayne spent his life trying to survive Archadia's murderous politics, led his country's army against two neighboring countries, both of which give him enough experience to be a credible Magnificent Bastard. Ashe has led the Resistance for two years prior to exploring three continents, battling men and monsters, taking control of Scions, and finally, successfully crossing blades with Vayne.
      • And finally, we have Cid and Larsa: Cid is an impressively dangerous researcher, smart enough to earn the respect of the borderline eldritch being Venat. Venat teaches him how to create artificial nethicite a powerful supernatural resource. He is the most influential man in the Empire after Vayne's coup. Larsa, by contrast, is a 13 year old boy skilled both with the sword and interlocking machinations, who uses his talents to stop the world war his brother planned to use to "free" mankind from the Occuria. Experimentally-enhanced fighters rising in rank and even gaining political powers is believable, and Cid's abilities can be accepted since they adhere to the rules of the world's magic, but a pre-teen able to outwit senators, emperors and even gods? House Solidor must have some interesting genetic material.
      • Larsa was guarded and trained by one of the five aforementioned Judge Magisters. Quite appropriately, he is the only non-Judge character who knows how to Dual Wield.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has Galenth, the leader of Cocoon, and also one of the main antagonists who is secretly the leader of the fal'Cie of Pulse.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics plays with this. Non-nobility characters can have high base stats and be just as effective as some of the unique characters, but chances are the characters with the cool, unique classes have a title backing them up. Ramza's father was a high ranking noble and purportedly a beast in combat. "Thunder God Cid" is of equal rank, and his skills are apparent. Agrias, Beowulf, Ramza's brothers, and others have unique classes to go with their nobility, and Delita only acquires a unique class after he moves up the social ladder.
  • This is a result of a world ruled by the Chaos factions of Shin Megami Tensei: Being able to beat down anyone who challenges you is practically a prerequisite for having power and authority; defeat means you are unworthy of it.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, Chiaki wants to reshape the world so that this philosophy (the Reason of Yosuga) is to her liking - where those who are deemed weak are slaughtered, and the strongest are deemed the upper classes.
  • In Fire Emblem, almost without exception, commanding officers are at a significantly higher level than their subordinates.
    • General is a specific class that has massive attack and defense and can beat almost any physical unit in single combat. Many, many, bosses are of this class.
    • The main characters, all members of the nobility (sans Ike) and the leaders of your army, usually have the potential to become the most powerful characters available.
    • Justified in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for the laguz and Daein. The laguz earn their ranks and respect based on strength, meaning the kings really can kick everyone else's ass. Likewise, Daein's King Ashnard lets any decent warrior become a knight, and promotions are based on talent.
    • Also justified in FE4, where members of the nobility have holy blood which gives bonus % growth and the ability to use Legendary Weapons.
    • In FE7 and FE8, the antagonists have Dark Druid and Necromancer as their classes, respectively. However, the antagonist of FE6 doesn't need Dark magic, for he is a King. And he's just as strong as his other GBA antagonists, if not stronger.
    • An interesting version of this trope is present as simply occupying a throne gives out lots of bonuses and makes characters more powerful than a fort ever could.
    • Walhart in Awakening. He fought his way to becoming ruler of the Valmese Empire. He has a skill that nullifies his horseback and armor weaknesses, and only he can use the Wolf Berg.
  • Fatal Fury:
    • Geese Howard, at first, seems to be your run-of-the-mill crime boss. Once you actually fight him, though, you can easily see why he is where he is. After all, he was the very first SNKBoss.
    • Fatal Fury 2 brings us Wolfgang Krauser, Geese's half-brother and the latest in a line of bodyguards to various European nobility. He has his own bodyguard, Lawrence Blood, but Krauser really doesn't need him: he's strong enough on his own.
    • Likewise, Rugal Bernstein has two secretaries, Vice and Mature, who also function as his bodyguards. Like Krauser, Rugal doesn't really need them, as he once took out an entire company of Heidern's troops before beating Heidern himself to a pulp. Then he killed Heidern's family for the lulz. It was also implied at one point that he had beaten both Geese and Krauser one-on-one.
    • Kain R. Heinlein from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. His Super Mode is unlimited, and his bodyguard, Grant, is also an SNK Boss. He's Geese's (and Krauser's) brother-in-law... there's something about that family...
    • And Mr. Big of Art of Fighting ain't no slouch either. He's the head of a Southtown crime syndicate, and wields two Kali Stick-things which he uses to good effect, not only for smashing heads open, but he can create Power Wave-style energy blasts from them. Add a huge, imposing body build to that mix and you have the perfect Don.
    • Years earlier in the Samurai Shodown universe, we have Gaoh, the leader of a rebel army. He is dangerous, wielding a deadly looking polearm. We haven't even GOTTEN to the fact that he can turn into a demon mid battle.
  • Starcraft:
    • Terran units have ranks going strictly by unit power/tier. Space Marines are Privates, Firebats are Corporals, and so on. By contrast, character units are a lot stronger than their normal versions but their rank is plot-dependant (and not particularly high in most cases).
    • Inverted in Starcraft II. All units start out at some basic rank that increases based on the number of kills they have.
  • Perhaps one of the more ridiculous examples is the video game adaption of Tomorrow Never Dies. In the movie, the primary villain is merely a Corrupt Corporate Executive and doesn't have any exceptional physical abilities. In the game, though, he's one of the final bosses and is able to take about a dozen grenades to the face before he dies.
  • In Musashi Samurai Legend, the villains are the Corrupt Corporate Executive Board of Directors of Gandrake Enterprises. All of them, including President Gandrake himself, are endgame-level bosses.
  • Modern Warfare:
    • Captain Price, apart from being literally unkillable for the most of the game, is usually the first one to dash into the next room full of mooks and clear the way for his team, including the PC. He also does some impressive tricks when subtlety is required.
    • Played straight with General Shepherd in Modern Warfare 2, where it turns out that the general is capable of completely whooping both Captains Mactavish and Price (two S.A.S. commandos) in a stand up fight. The two only survive because the half dead Soap manages to pull a knife out of his gut and throw it into Shepherd's eye as he's distracted while beating Price to death. Keep in mind that Shepherd has just survived a helicopter crash (whereas Soap and Price "merely" fell down a waterfall).
    • Also, Price demonstrates his extreme badassitude in MW2 when he shoots down a combat helicopter with an antipersonnel sniper rifle while dodging a minigun ON A FRICKING RUBBER BOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF A MOUNTAIN RIVER. He also has some mad hacking skills, as he hijacks a Russian nuclear submarine and rigs one of its missile to detonate exactly above Washington on his own under extreme time pressure.
    • Call of Duty is rife with this trope, yet still subverts it with Al-Asad beaten up and summarily executed by Price and Victor Zakhaev commits suicide to avoid capture, which is at least better than Al-Asad
  • The Simpsons beat-em-up video game has this, too, sort of. The final bosses are a bomb-crazed Smithers who can smack you across the screen with impunity, and C. Montgomery Burns in a breakaway huge mecha. Then again, once out of it, he shows his true strength—which is on par with Maggie's.
  • In Lost Odyssey, Prince/King Tolten wields an unusual variant of this. He's a bit of a wuss, and compared to the two Immortal melee-fighters, his stats aren't impressive. However, BECAUSE he's a member of the Royal Line of Uhra, he's got access to unique and powerful accessories, weapons and skills. Including the Ultimate Hit and the Age of The King. Once you put those things together, he actually ends up being a fighter on par with the thousand-years-old main character. Now only if there was a way to fix his accuracy problems...
  • The Star Wars video game Knights of the Old Republic had this in the villain of Admiral Saul Karath, the number two on the evil hierarchy under Darth Malak. When you fight him on the bridge of his flagship, it takes a whole arsenal of high-powered weaponry to take him down. Not bad for a guy whose reputation was as a tactical genius. Of course, Darth Malak himself is difficult and justified in being so.
  • Justified in Front Mission for the SNES and PS1. Higher ranked characters tend to have access to better Wanzers and are thus stronger in battle, even though the pilots themselves tend to not be much more skilled than low-level Mooks. For example Driscoll, the closest the game gets to having a primary antagonist, pilots a very powerful experimental Wanzer while he himself is on a comparably low level with only one pilot skill.
  • Averted within Front Mission 3. There are commanding officers among your enemies, but that doesn't necessarily make them stronger, although they do tend to have better training. There are even a few battles where the strongest Mecha on the field will be a lower-ranked individual or a non-voluntary test pilot, or even standard enemy pilots. Used straight by the time you get to Front Mission 4, where only higher ranking individuals get a name, and always come with extra abilities.
  • Final Fight:
    • Mayor Mike Haggar, who took a somewhat more direct approach than most to reducing the city's crime rate. To be fair, he was a wrestler and street fighter before becoming mayor. And after, too.
    • The crime syndicate leader and boss of the same game, Belger. He has the largest health bar of anybody in the game, and has a rapid-fire crossbow. Oh, and he's invulnerable for most of the fight with him. And he starts the fight in a wheelchair... which is entirely to lower your guard ("would you hit a man in a wheelchair?" style). Once you hit him enough, it breaks and he gets up.
  • In Max Payne 2, the "boss" criminals (Kaffman, Cowboy Mike, and Big Bad Vlad Lem can all survive more bullets than the standard mooks, but the difference is barely noticeable. Kaffman has something like 4x as much health as a standard mook, but that just means he goes down after several shots instead of just a couple. Likewise, Vlad only has somewhat more health than a normal enemy, but you fight him in an elaborate Puzzle Boss arena.
  • Alejandro Sosa from Scarface: The World Is Yours, the powerful drug lord Tony has spent the whole game building up to vengeance on, takes multiple rounds from the otherwise-One-Hit Kill Desert Eagle and gives as good as he gets. Enemy gang leaders usually pack better heat than their underlings too. Of course, you as Tony kick far more ass than any of your innumerable Red Shirt mooks.
  • In Crysis, it takes almost a dozen sniper rifle shots to the face to bring down minigun-wielding North Korean leader General Kyong. Granted, he's wearing a nanosuit, but that still doesn't explain how he can survive headshots without wearing a helmet, or the fact he survives much more damage than regular nanosuit-wearing enemy soldiers.
  • Played straight in Super Robot Wars, but usually justified since higher-ranking officers get more powerful Humongous Mecha to fight with. An example of a good character using this trope, however, is Ring Mao, CEO of Mao Industries. Using a Deadly Upgrade Real Robot? Check. Ungodly stats? Check. Taking on a small army in OG1 single-handedly? Check.
  • The entire Dynasty Warriors series operates off of this trope. Ordinary soldiers are cannon-fodder. Only enemies ranked Lieutenant or higher are any sort of a challenge, while master Strategists like Sima Yi and Zhuge Liang kick ass with the best of them. The Kings of the Three Kingdoms are, of course, packing boss-level HP whenever you meet them on the battlefield. This is particularly noticeable in various scenarios that allow you to face them before they became kings at much lower power. All player-characters are ranked Lt. General at the very least, and their rank increases as they level up. All of the titles you can attain have 'General' in it somewhere, though.
    • Averted when it comes to Dong Zhuo, who's portrayed as a relatively weak coward who's Dragon Lu Bu not only far outshines him, but everyone else in the series in sheer might. The various emperors that offically lead Wei are also treated as weak and ineffectual (with the exception of Cao Pi in the brief window of time he seized control of the throne before his death.)
  • Warframe
    • Grineer commanders and officers are universally more powerful than the regular soldiers that serve them. This is generally because, being in addition to ascending in their empire's hierarchy, successful soldiers can also afford to use cybernetic augmentations to both repair their decaying bodies (allowing them to live longer, like Captain Vor) and make themselves more powerful, imposing, and dangerous (like General Sargas Ruk or Councillor Vay Hek, both of whom are heavily augmented and hard to kill).
    • Infested bosses, on the other hand, are generally conscious, intelligent manifestations of the plague's collective Hive Mind. They can be either "small" periodic manifestations that show up in early outbreaks, like Phorid, or huge, ancient organisms like the Lephantis, who, due to being thousands of years old, was able to grow to enormous size and power. Some, like the Jordas J3 Golem, are even able to self-replicate, setting up elaborate traps to facilitate the creation of organisms similar to themselves.
    • Corpus bosses are a peculiar case. Some are high-ranking executives who, like the Grineer, employ expensive technology to defend themselves, but most are actually just robotic war machines that, if the Sortie briefings are to be believed, actually command legions of lesser robots and regular human foot-soldiers despite being just proxies themselves. This seems to stem from the fact that Corpus leadership sees little distinction between their robotic and human crewmembers, and simply puts whoever is smartest and strongest in charge, even if they are a machine.
  • In Dynasty Warriors Online, this is a much more straight example. lowly mooks still die by the hundreds. Named characters, or characters named by their rank if you are facing the non-specific kingdoms that have little importance in the story of the three kingdoms, are stronger than mooks, but sitll pushovers. Your character, starting at "guard" working his way up, can (not necessarily will) kick all kinds of ass, and the musou generals, who are the orginal chracters from the game, are teh strongest out there, and have many special abilities as backup, including backup. As a player character gets higher ranked, they can use more powerful weapons, meaning that they will get many bonuses to facing a lower level chracter if they use that ability.
  • Lord British is Nigh Invulnerable in most of the Ultima games. There's usually a way to kill him, though.
  • In Warhammer Online, this trope is taken to its logical end point; the ONLY difference between new characters and end game characters is their rank. Naturally rank allows access to better items and skill, but the fact is that a newly minted mage has the same "power" as one who can duel a greater daemon and win.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 has Emperor Yoshiro piloting the Super Prototype of the King Oni in the Soviet Campaign.
  • Valkyria Chronicles uses this partially. On the side of The Empire, battlefield commanders (probably sergeants or at least corporals) are signified by a red armor, and invariably have more HP and a better chance to dodge bullets. They also hit better, and (somehow) do more damage. However, while your own corporals and sergeants starts out pretty strong - and remain so for the entire game - several of them are eventually surpassed by some of the enlisted troops. Your second-in-command, however, is probably the most powerful unit around, and you yourself (a squadron commander ranked Lieutenant) gets to drive around in a Super Prototype tank. The truest use of this trope, however, falls to the trio of Imperial Commanders leading the invasion under the direction of Evil Prince Maximilian. Two of them pose impressive challenges by having access to unique vehicles, as does Maximilian, and the third, well, she just kicks unholy amounts of ass. And finally, at the very end, Maximilian shows that being ranked prince gives you access to some really nifty toys, and single-handedly goes up against your entire squadron, including two tanks.
  • The Witcher:
    • Both a hunched over old man and a drunk (who in the preceeding cutscene is implied to be able to kill a warrior only because he was sleeping) can take more hits then most of the randomly spawning monsters in the chapter, for no reason other then that they are pillars of the community and (one of the possible) final fight in the chapter. While the fight is not hard by any means, the necessity of this trope is questionable; they are preceeded by a much more climactic boss.
    • This is subverted with the arrival of King Foltest, appearing the macho cavalier as he insists he'll survey his city no matter what a warzone it's turned into. An assassination attempt sends him into a huddle surrounded by his footmen. After being rescued by the leader of a knightly order, who plays this trope straight, Foltest retreats to his palace with all the dignity he can muster.
    • The aforementioned leader of a knightly order who is also the Man Behind the Man and Big Bad counts. Justified in that he is the accomplished swordsman and the source who mastered his own power through the sheer force of will.
  • Regal Bryant in Tales of Symphonia, a noble and president of an important and powerful company which almost controls a whole city. He fights with his feet while handcuffed and would be more powerful if he fought with his hands, but he made a promise not to kill anyone with his hands after he euthanized his lover with them. Still uses them when it doesn't involve fighting. Case in point: he broke the group out of a prision cell with a Kame Hame Hadoken.
  • Tales of Xillia:
    • Gaius is the ruler of the country of A Jule, and is strong enough for the first fight against him to be an Open-Ended Boss Battle. He ends up being the final boss, and come Tales of Xillia 2, he's now the ruler of the entire world of Liese Maxia, a playable character, and even more of a badass then before.
    • Bisley Karcsi Bakur from Tales of Xillia 2 is the CEO of the Clanspia Company. He makes it rather clear he's not a run of the mill guy when he effortlessly avoids some attacks from one of his top agents early on, but his true strength doesn't come to light until much later where it's revealed he's the holder of the ultimate Corpse Shell, a Big Bad, and ultimately ends up becoming the final boss after he takes out Khronos, the other Big Bad. He gets extra badass points for choosing to fight with his fists when he's just as capable of conjuring a lance to wield as Ludger is.
  • The Barcid family in Tears to Tiara 2 leads the Canaanites and rules Hispania because powerful members who wields the Sword of Melqart can summon the blood thristy War God at will.
  • The faction leaders (one or two special NPCs per race) in World of Warcraft are all boss-level creatures who will mop the floor with your face if you attempt to take them on without an army behind your back. (Well, except the king of Stormwind, but he just happens to be a 4-year-old kid.) Likewise, no instance endboss ever attained his lofty status by virtue of guile, cunning or charisma. It's always a case of having more power than all other pretenders. The king of Stormwind has since been replaced with his father, who easily ranks as among the most badass characters in the game.
    • This trope is downplayed in the lore, The faction's leaders remain powerful, but they can also be killed by a relatively small group of enemies or by a surprise attack. In the lore, faction leaders would have no real chance against the Lich King or Archimonde.
  • Odin Sphere has this trope all over the place. Pretty much everyone who kicks ass is, was, or is related to, royalty. The only real exceptions are the Three Wise Men, who are just normal (though powerful) mages, and only actually failed in their schemes because every PC (sans Gwendolyn) and even an NPC or two was gunning for them at them, all at the same time. They really should have tried to make fewer enemies...
  • Iji:
    • This is justified by the Tasen Commanders and Elites having superior weapons and power armor. In the case of the Komato, it's more Asskicking Equals Authority, since the strongest and most skilled Komato get upgraded to the highest ranks... but they also get equipped on promotion with Berserker cybernetics, Annihilator exoskeletons, or even General Tor's Eidolon exoskeleton, which is the nastiest machine in existence. The only character who invokes this trope without justifying it with superior equipment is Asha, leader of the Assassins, who holds his rank by dint of skill and not gear.
    • Subverted with Playful Hacker Yukebacera, bar none the most powerful Tasen, who's only a Soldier; this is explained by him having illegally hacked himself an arsenal that's fully a match for Annihilator Iosa's.
  • Several examples in Bully. All the cliques are led by the toughest member. The school faculty (even the sixty-something female nurse) are always tougher than the students (even the linebacker). Dr. Crabblesnitch, in his one non-cutscene appearance, has four times the stamina of any other character.
    • The Jocks clique averts this, since they're lead by the star quarterback rather than the aforementioned linebacker, who's stronger.
    • The Preps play with this. To be specific, Derby's free-roam model and Bif share the exact same stats. Derby's boss fight model hasn't actually been located in the data files yet, and so can't be compared to any other character. Being that Derby spends the boss fight hiding behind his friends and he's quite a bit shorter than Bif, he's generally assumed to be the weaker of the two.
  • Touhou use this trope straightforward time and time again, except in Subterranean Animism where the bosses of stage 5 and 6 are domestic pets of stage 4 boss (who is also the mistress of the dungeon your character is fighting through).
  • In just about any Pokémon game, the hero faces an evil organization of sort, and whoever leads it (along with The Dragon and other high-ranking members) are usually the most powerful bosses in the game.
    • To be fair, Pokemon is always this way. Gym Leaders, the Elite Four and the Champion of each regions are always harder to fight than other trainers of the same level, and the legendary Pokemon are the same way. Of course, some of it is because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
  • Towards the end of Ninja Gaiden, Ryu faces the two monstrously huge forms of the Holy Vigoor Emperor, the head of state and absolute monarch of his country. While not the toughest bosses in the game, they put up a good show for themselves, and by dimensions, are the largest. The third form is revealed in the DS sequel to have been small, humanoid, and capable of running the day-to-day affairs of the small, militarized land locked Asian monarchy.
  • In Ninja Blade, it is no big surprise that the Master of your Ninja Clan is an asskicker of unsurpassed magnitude. However, it IS somewhat surprising when your Unit Commander, generally a Voice with an Internet Connection (a gray-haired bureaucrat in a pin-striped suit) turns out to be a Jui-Jitsu master powerful enough to kick The Dragon's ass in unarmed combat.
  • Colonel Radec of Killzone 2 shows you how he got that high a rank in his boss fight. Even after you take out his personal guard, he'll be blasting you in the face with a light machinegun, teleporting and going invisible to knife you from behind and being a fricking bullet sponge until you finally defeat him, at which point he commits suicide. Scolar Visari on the other hand isn't a combatant and dies after Rico shoots him in a cutscene.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms VII, higher officer classes can command more powerful armies, and higher general ranks get more tactical points. And since officer classes are determined by "deeds," and the quickest way to up your deeds marker (barring exploits) is through kicking ass in battle, while the AI usually assigns general ranks by WAR skill, you can bet that a 1st Class Supreme General will be an absolutely fearsome opponent, whether man-to-man or commanding on the battlefield.
  • Subverted with the ZOE squadron pilots in Ace Combat 2. The Captain gets a F-14, the Major gets a F/A-18E and the Colonel gets a F-22. Seems to be holding up so far, right? Well... the General gets a relatively dinky F-15S. Then the Commander, who would be pretty low on the totem pole by Common Ranks, is the Final Boss with the ADF-01 superfighter that is as capable as one would expect a non-Anticlimax Final Boss to be.
  • Fallout:
    • A side quest in Fallout 3 finds the player scavenging the ruins of a DC museum in search of Abraham Lincoln artifacts. One such antique the player can find is "Lincoln's Repeating Rifle", a gold-plated weapon that fires .44 Magnum bullets and easily outclasses most other weapons in the "Small Guns" category. Honest Abe was packin', folks. Somewhat Truth in Television, Lincoln's family had to hunt for their own food and he always kept himself up to date with developments in ordnance technologies.
    • Talon Company's leader, Commander Jabsco, who's armed with a rocket launcher and can survive more damage than a Deathclaw (the toughest "non-boss" mob in the game, not counting the expansion packs), and the truly insane General Jiang Wei, who carries a lightsaber and (depending on player level) can have more health than any other mob in the game, including the 15-foot tall Super Mutant Behemoth.
    • Averted in the game's main plotline, though, as Big Bad President Eden is a supercomputer with no combat capabilities, and his The Dragon Colonel Autumn turns out to be only marginally tougher than a standard soldier.
    • Fallout has Big Bad The Master, an evil mutant head attached to an armored throne armed with dual Gatling lasers. His Dragon, The Lieutenant, is also the toughest member of the Mutant Army.
    • And in Fallout 2 you had Frank Horrigan, who was the toughest member of the Enclave. Although completely averted with the President.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas the player can have the Courier play on this trope, doing the Wild Card main quest will allow the Courier to take control of New Vegas himself/herself, and involves stopping both the NCR and Caesar's Legion from taking control of Hoover Dam and taking New Vegas for themselves, as well as killing, or disabling Mr. House to take control of the Vegas strip from him.
    • Caesar's Legion goes both ways on this trope. Caesar himself is no stronger than his Elite Mook guards. Legate Lanius, his second in command, is one of the strongest things in the game. Vulpes Inculta, the leader of the Frumentarri, is on-par with a Prime Legionary at best, and Lucius, third in command of the Legion, is also no stronger than any of Caesar's Elite Mook guards. However, Centurions, the field commanders, have the best combat skills of any type of soldier in the Legion, and carry the best equipment, including named characters like Aurelius.
    • The New California Republic generally averts this; their leaders are leaders and their soldier are soldiers. Similar to Caesar, General Oliver is no stronger than an Elite Mook (though this is due to him simply having a regular uniform and a revolver). However, this is thrown to hell in the Lonesome Road DLC with Colonel Royez, a power armor wearing badass who has boss-level health, 100 points in every combat skill, and a Plasma Caster. He's only accessible if you decide to nuke the NCR.
    • The Lonesome Road DLC also adds Gaius Magnus, who's apparently one of the highest ranking members of the Legion since he wears the same armor as Lanius. He has many of the same attributes as Royez, only he wears slightly worse armor and wields a Minigun instead of a Plasma Caster. It makes you wonder why they didn't send either of these guys to Hoover Dam...
    • In Fallout 4, Arthur Maxson of the Brotherhood carries a unique Gatling Laser but is no tougher than any other character unless he's wearing Power Armor while his second-in-command Paladin Danse is a companion character who is always in his suit. Desdemona of the Railroad is not especially tough but Deacon, like Danse is a companion character and thus is fairly capable. Subverted with the Institute since all of their leaders are simply scientists in lab coats and their leader Shaun is a frail old man.
  • Sometimes averted, sometimes played straight in the Total War series. Depending on the traits that a leader possesses, he may be a god of war in human form that can charge into enemy ranks and massacre them easily, capable of striking fear into the hearts of enemies and raises his own army's morale through the roof. Or he can be a hypochondriac wimp that can be killed by being surrounded by peasants armed with pitchforks...
  • Every character even loosely associated with the royal bloodline of the Kingdom of Obel in Suikoden games will be, at the very least, a competent fighter. This includes the player characters in the fourth and fifth games. At some point, it goes beyond being a Warrior Prince; Obel's royal family apparently passes knowledge of warfare through the genes.
  • Subverted, then played straight in BioShock: Andrew Ryan turns out to be an Anticlimax Boss who orders you to kill him with his own golf putter, but Frank Fontaine juices himself up with ADAM so that he can be the final boss.
  • This trope is one side-effect of the way Soul Nomad & the World Eaters handles unit setup. All units in a "room" fight and move together on the battlefield, and one unit is designated as the Leader. The Leader tends to be more powerful than any other unit in the room, because all the other units contribute a percentage of their stats as a constant bonus to the leader as long as they're alive.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, this applies to the ranks of the Daedra. As you go up through the levels of lesser Daedra, they generally get more intelligent and overall more dangerous. At the top are the Daedric Princes, the outright most powerful of the Daedric spirits. While any mortal of sufficient skill can defeat any form of lesser Daedra, a Daedric Prince at full power could annihilate a mortal without a second thought. In the rare cases where a mortal directly contends with a Daedric Prince, said Prince is either weakened (such as manifesting on Mundus where metaphysical laws typically weaken their power), is Willfully Weak to intentionally give the mortal a chance (Hircine is a fan of this), or said mortal has been empowered by one of the Divines or another Prince. Even then, the Princes (like all Daedra) possess Complete Immortality. If their physical form is slain, their spirit simply returns to Oblivion to reform. Princes have been battered, beaten, banished, and even fundamentally changed, but nothing in the setting has ever been able to actually kill one.
      • This is exemplified by Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. His servants, both mortals and the lesser denizens of Oblivion, know better than to disobey or disrespect Molag Bal. Those who do tend to end up with a Fate Worse than Death.
    • In Morrowind, the various guilds and factions have skill requirements that must be met in order to be promoted. In general, the majority of high ranking faction members (especially the leadership) meet these requirements, making them quite skilled in that faction's area(s) of expertise. For example, the Mages Guild leader is a very capable mage and the Imperial Legion leader is an excellent soldier. Also helping their case is that the majority of them are very well equipped as well. This gets exaggerated with the leader of the East Empire Company in Bloodmoon, in line with the general design of Bloodmoon to place the danger to challenge high-level players rather than what'd it'd be based on the actual descriptions and what the dangers are — Carnius Magius is the head of the new local division of the East Empire Company, a monopolistic mercantile organisation. He's level 50 when base Morrowind's faction leaders are in 20-30 range.
    • Oblivion:
      • Generally played straight for the leaders of the Empire. Emperor Uriel Septim VII (who it should be noted is in his 80s) has no qualms about joining his Blades in fighting the Mythic Dawn assassins at the beginning of the game. Jauffre and Baurus, the highest ranking remaining Blades during the main quest, are both plenty capable warriors as well. Martin, Uriel's bastard son, turns out to have extensive knowledge of forbidden magic and holds his own during the Siege of Bruma near the end. (Not to mention turning into an avator of Akatosh, the chief deity of the Imperial Pantheon and Dragon God of Time, in the final act. Not bad for a formerly unknown priest from the middle of nowhere.
      • Dremora, the Horned Humanoid Proud Warrior Race of lesser Daedra, also fit. A high-leveled Player Character will encounter only Markynaz and Valkynaz-ranked ones (which are considered to be lords and princes of their realm) and are easily the strongest of their race.
    • As best exemplified in Skyrim, the Nords, a Proud Warrior Race with some Blood Knight and Honor Before Reason traits, believe this should be the case for their Jarls and Thanes. Played with in that it varies from individual to individual and it is possible for decidedly non-asskickers to end up in these positions. Nords have also had a tradition where if a their High King is challenged in combat and slain, the victorious warrior would be crowned King. This is an old tradition, however, and centuries of Imperial culture slowly filtering into Skyrim has somewhat caused it to be forgotten among the Western portion of Skyrim (where the Empire has most of its influence), to the point that actually invoking it is highly contentious by the 4th Era. (As Ulfric Stormcloak found out the hard way when he invoked it against the young High King Torygg, kicking off the Skyrim Civil War.)
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Organization XIII uses this trope in various ways. In Kingdom Hearts II the Final Boss is the organization's leader, playing this trope straight. Simultaneously subverted; The Organization's members are ranked chronologically by the order they joined from one to thirteen (with the oldest being #1, and the youngest being #13), but they gain authority by completing missions. So even though Vexen (#4) has been around for a very long time, he's done few missions for the Organization, so he's looked down on by pretty much everyone else.
    • And on the heroic side, there's Mickey, a keyblade master and the strongest Guest-Star Party Member in the game... and, of course, he's also the revered king of the Magic Kingdom. Practically a meta example, as he's also the mascot and leading character of the Disney half of KH's Square-Enix/Disney team-up, and his power and role in the storyline reflects his real-life importance.
  • Both used and averted in [PROTOTYPE]. Elizabeth Greene and the Supreme Hunter are both far more capable than standard Infected, and Leader Hunters are stronger than normal Hunters, but "mere" Captain Cross proves to be tougher than any of the random higher officers Alex consumes, and definitely more badass than the Blackwatch leader.
  • Subverted in the Revenge Of The Sith game, where the leaders of the Separatist army are easily the weakest enemies in the game. Incapable of attacking and trapped in a small conference room with Anakin, all they can do is attempt to run away as Anakin slaughters them all. Played straight later in the level, when the sole survivor and most prestigious of the Seperatists - the cowardly Nute Gunray himself - pilots his Sheathipede Transport Shuttle and becomes the level boss.
  • The Metal Gear Solid series had both Big Boss and his predecessor, The Boss. Both initially handled by the storylines as villains, both incredibly powerful warriors, and both far more complex than any of the games' heroes could have guessed.
  • Fable II:
    • Averted where the end boss after a cut scene is weaker then most random mooks you face and is taken out in one shot.
    • Played straight in the event that the player amasses property wealth in excess of 2.5 million gold, at which point they are named King/Queen. Wielding weapons like the Royal Scepter (A high-power mace with four enchantment slots), wading through bandits, Hollow Men, Hobbes, and Banshees, once the player occupies the position of authority, it most certainly does equal asskicking!
  • Averted again in Wet were after taking out the dragon, there isn't even a gameplay fight against the main boss; it's just a cutscene of Rubi executing him.
  • In Strong Hold, the Lord is the most powerful unit, being almost immune to arrows and able to outmatch up to three heavily armored swordfighters simultaneously. Unfortunately, the player cannot make much use of this advantage, since the lord's death equals a Game Over.
  • In The Godfather game, higher-ranking enemy mobsters have more health, deal more damage and must be softened up before you can grab them. On your end, as you gain Respect levels and rise through the ranks of the Corleone family, you also gain health, damage and a variety of other perks.
  • In The Godfather 2 The player starts out almost maxed out. As they advance through the story they are allowed to recruit up to 7 followers, even though they can only have 3 following at once. Followers have 3 ranks:
    • Soldiers are capable of a single specialization, though some rare ones have two.
    • Eventually you can promote up to two of them to become Capos which have double the health of a Soldier and have an additional specialization.
    • Right before the reveal of the obvious villain and traitor Hyman Roth you gain the opportunity to promote a Capo to Underboss; these guys have yet another specialization and 3 times the health of a Soldier, the same as the protagonist.
    • Averted with pretty much every other Don, however, who is at most a King Mook, but definitely not a monster in combat like the trope suggests.
  • Metroid:
    • Ridley is the leader of the Space Pirates and is a Space Dragon to boot. Being badass is inevitable, as proven by how incredibly powerful he is everytime he shows up.
    • Averted and played straight by Mother Brain and played straight by the rest of the Pirates. Mother Brain can't even attack in the first game, but is protected by indestructible turrets and has immense durability and a Healing Factor. In Metroid: Zero Mission, she lost the healing factor but gained an attack, and in Super Metroid she is attatched to a Humongous Mecha that can wipe the floor with Samus, requiring a Deus ex Machina to defeat. For the rest of the Pirates, higher rank usually nets better equipment, like the Pirate Commander's indestructible armor and personal teleprter. Weavil, a Pirate General (the same rank as Ridley, actually), has armor on par with Samus' and wields a miniature nuclear reactor in his crotch.
  • In the Quake games in which they show up, the Strogg have a supreme ruler, called the Makron. The first Makron was the final boss of Quake II (it's said he got the job by destoying any rivals), and his successor was the final boss of Quake IV (who was specifically built to counter the Human counterattack). Justified in that the Strogg are cyborgs, which means giving your leader more guns and armor on the assembly line is doable.
  • Shao Khan, the Final Boss in many games in the Mortal Kombat series, is ruler of the Outlands, and clearly didn't gain the position just by good looks. He's a terror whenever your character fights him (unless you take advantage of his frequent habit of gloating, which is pretty much the idea).
  • In Armored Core: For Answer, the world is pretty much ruled by a group of arms-manufacturing megacorporations which resolve disputes using Humongous Mecha. Guess what two of the CEOs of these corporations do to earn pocket money... yep, that's right. Semi-justified as both of them exclusively use their own respective corporations' products in combat, thus serving as walking (or rolling) advertisements.
  • In American McGee's Alice the demonic Queen of Hearts is the ruler of Wonderland not to mention the embodiment of the defense mechanism producing Alice's insanity and the Final Boss of the game. To say that she's hard to beat is an understatement.
  • The Nihilanth in Half-Life and the Combine Advisors in Half-Life 2, both leaders of vast armies and both possessing immense psychic powers. Breen could have been an aversion, though he was a figurehead at best.
  • General Viggo in Fur Fighters is naturally the Final Boss and one of the most powerful characters in the game.
  • Resonance of Fate:
    • The world of Basel is effectively a fundamentalist state, ruled by a group of Cardinals. You get to fight 4 of those Cardinals through the course of the game. (Well, technically only 3, since one of them left his position just before attacking you.) The first one inexplicably possesses Villain Teleportation, wields a grave-marker in one hand and a Sawed-Off Shotgun in the other, preferring to teleport directly behind you and unload an undodgeable combo which can (and will) take you from full health to 0 in one go... but he can be somewhat forgiven for this since he LOOKS the part.
    • The next one, however, is a Mad Artist with a french accent, who dual-wields a golden Luger and... a picture-frame. His bullets are powerful enough to make the roof collapse on your head, and he soaks up damage better than most of the giant mutants you've fought before. The next one is a bald, white-bearded old man who is mostly famous for his huge collection of rare books, and studious inquisitiveness. He wields a BFG and is even tougher. The final boss is Cardinal Rowen, the highest-ranking of the Cardinals, and de-facto leader of Basel. He goes Guns Akimbo with a Gold AND Silver Luger, and can absorb SICKENING ammounts of bullets.
  • Just Cause 2:
    • The game takes place on a small, East-Indian island-state, run by the short, egomaniac tyrant, 'Baby' Panay. He's clearly patterned after real-world dictator, Kim Jong-Il of North Korea, and seems to compensate for his diminutive size by errecting huge monuments in his own honor - and, of course, by executing anyone he doesn't like. However, after shooting your way through his entire army - tanks, gunships, torpedo-boats and all - he turns out to be virtually invincible on his own, starting out by shrugging off a hand-grenade to the face, and then wielding a supercharged rocket-launcher in one hand while ignoring the hail of bullets you throw his way. In the end, it takes a NUKE to kill him.
    • A lesser case is the Colonels — high-ranking army officers you are tasked with assassinating. They all wear nigh-impregnable body-armor, and if using small arms against them, can only be damaged with headshots — of which they can absorb several. Even if you bring in some heavy weaponry - a tank or a missile-armed gunship — you can expect him to take at least one direct hit without dying.
  • In Destroy All Humans! this is done with varying degrees of justification. General Armquist and Silhouette only pose such a challenge to Crypto because they've kept the best Schizo Tech for themselves, and President Huffman is originally an aversion, getting killed as easily as any random civilian . . . until his brain's put inside a 50-foot tall robot, at which point he becomes the toughest enemy in the game. However there's no real explanation for why cops can take more volts of electricity than civilians, or why soldiers can take more than cops, or why Majestic agents can take more than anyone else.
  • In the RTS game Seven Kingdoms 2: The Frythan Wars regular soldiers, once out of training, start at level 20. The King (Player) starts the game at level 100. However, it's possible for normal soldiers to equal the King eventually, at least in combat. To hone their leadership though, they need to be promoted and improve it through leading.
  • The admiral of the Navy in Dubloon is a large, tough and menacing figure who can bend space to his whim.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Ezio from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, now a Master Assassin, is a better fighter than any of the Assassins he recruits, and even more kickass than in 2 when he was younger and didn't have the authority. His position gets much more solidified in Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
    • Largely averted in the first Assassins Creed when it comes to your targets; they're powerful and influential people, but (unless there's a good reason for it), usually (and logically) less difficult to fight than their guards.
    • Played straight with Robert de Sable. Living up his title of the Grandmaster of the Knight Templars, the guy is a monstrous tank on two legs and it takes a lot of time and energy to just even hurt him.
    • Altaïr becomes the leader of the Levantine Assassins by the end of the first game.
    • Connor starts his career in the Assassins as a teenage boy on a Vision Quest. Within the next couple decades, he is not only a hero of the American Revolution, but also rebuilds the American branch of the Assassins and built a thriving community in modern day Rockford, MA. This also extends to his naval exploits: originally put at the helm of the Aquila, the flagship of the Colonial Assassins, to try and get a feel for sea travel, Connor took to the role of captain like a duck to water. The defining point of Connor's naval capabilities shows in the Battle of the Chesapeake Bay, wherein Connor manages to keep a heavily damaged Aquila afloat long enough to ram a Royal Navy man o' war, board and take out its entire crew and captain, set its powder magazine aflame, and escape back to his own ship entirely by himself, leaving the grizzled Robert Faulkner speechless.
    • It seems this trope runs in the Kenway family as Edward, Connor's grandfather, starts out as a washed-up pirate. By the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, he has become a fearsome captain of the seas. Haytham, Edward's son and Connor's father was the Templar Grand Master of the American Colonies and is a capable fighter.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Legends:
    • One of the Optional Bosses requires this trope to explain his very existence. Rupee, the leader of a legendary band of desert-bandits, inherited the position from his recently-deceased father. He's maybe 8 years old, scrawny, cowardly, and wears Nerd Glasses. His hulking bodyguard practically has to DRAG him into battle. But when it comes down to the actual fight, he's got an immense pile of HP and an arsenal of powerful magical attacks (mostly, but not solely, support-spells.) Worse yet, once you wear his HP-bar down past the halfway point he Turns Red, and starts dishing out powerful physical attacks that deal far more damage than anything his aforementioned bodyguard could hope to inflict, virtually always causing a One-Hit Kill. Notably, those special attacks are prefaced by his Nerd Glasses turning into Scary Shiny Glasses...
    • A more subtle, but nonetheless interesting application of this also occurs in the game - the 'Captain's Stripe' item you receive after winning major ship-to-ship battles. Using it powers up your current ship's stats, including HP, armor and speed. Apparently, the simple act of adding another stripe to your uniform makes your ship tougher.
  • The Kenget Kamulos in Albion make this extremely true by having their current leader become the avatar of the god of war.
  • In Vanguard Bandits, the nation leaders each have a Excavated ATAC which is significantly more powerful than the common grunt suits reverse-engineered from them. Being some of the best pilots in the game helps too.
  • In Grandia II, Roan can hold his own in battle alongside a professional mercenary, a robot warrior and a tough beast-man, despite being just a little boy. Why? 'Cause he's a prince, I guess. Later, he becomes a full-fledged king and becomes even more powerful.
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, authority is represented by how many people can work under your liberals. This depends on Juice. Since Juice and also increases statistics (Like Agility and Health]], The better you are at leading, the better your stats. And the current leader of the LCS gets 6 extra recruit slots... And a 75% damage reduction.
  • Averted in Sword of the Stars. Destroyer-based Squadron Command and Control (CnC) ships are poorly armed and best kept far from the fighting, cruiser-based Strikeforce CnCs are not much better, and while dreadnought-based Armada CnC and Flagship vessels are pretty tough they usually lose to proper combat dreads in a straight fight. Played straight with Leviathans in the sequel, which are the toughest craft in the game and have the best command.
  • Partly played straight but mostly averted in Dragon Age games. King Maric Theirin of Ferelden was pretty badass. However, as the novel Stolen Throne indicates, he was a wimp for a good portion of the book before circumstances forced him to grow into a badass. He was officially crowned king later. Inverted with Loghain Mac Tir, who became a nobleman because of his badassery. The novel Calling reveals that Duncan, the head of the Grey Wardens in Ferelden, also earned his position.
    • Averted in Dragon Age II with Viscount Marlowe Dumar of Kirkwall, who is a politician, not a fighter. The Arishok, though, is the most skilled and toughest of all the Qunari in Kirkwall. Played straight with Prince Sebastian Vael of Starkhaven, who can handle himself pretty well and is a crack shot with a bow.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Inquisitor, being the player character is the strongest individual of the Inquisition. Vivienne was a First Enchantress, meaning she is a powerful mage. The main antagonist Corypheus, being one of the original Tevinter Magisters who opened gates to the Golden City is one of the closest things to a Physical God the setting as one can get.
  • Mostly played straight in The Last Remnant. If an important character is playable, they will be a leader in battle (as opposed to a common soldier). If they also happen to be high-class or the leader of an organisation, they will usually have more skills and higher stats than the average leader, and often get a Limit Break as well.
  • Both played straight and averted in Saints Row. Some of the various gang and faction leaders are undeniably talented ass-kickers, while others are barely a threat in a straight fight. For instance, the Ronin gang carries katanas on their backs, and it's no surprise their leaders and officers are well versed in their use. Conversely, some of the Vice Kings leaders are no more threat than their Mooks. The player character pretty much becomes one of these in the course of the sequel, being both the leader of the revived Saints and the only one among them with a body count higher than Johnny Gat, the resident crazy violent bastard of the bunch who was once on trial for literally hundreds of murders. In a single case.
  • Mass Effect has numerous examples of this:
  • The reboot of Syndicate seems to follow this pattern. Sergeants are Elite Mooks, the Lieutenant shown in trailers is a miniboss at least and the Colonel in the co-op demo is a boss. However, it also subverts this in that Jack Denham is a Non-Action Big Bad.
  • Pinnacle from Dead to Rights, the corrupt mayor of Grant City who's like a cross between The Kingpin and an evil version of Mike Haggar. In their Let's Play, Slowbeef and Diabetus ponder why he even needs a security force when he's a "shaved bear in a pinstriped suit."
  • In X-COM: UFO Defense, leaders of the aliens are toughers than soldiers, who in fact aren't even more badass than the various non-combat specialists. The rare commander is badasser yet. Some races' leaders even get special abilities. XCOM: Enemy Unknown extends this to humans, too, as promotion to higher ranks comes with learning new special abilities and gaining better stats. The reverse is also true in the remake, as promotions are earned exclusively through kills. This means that the highest-ranking X-COM soldier is also the one who has killed the most aliens.
  • A standard rule in Makai Kingdom and the Disgaea series, due to the general demon mindset. The Overlord rules the Netherworld because they're strong enough to fend off anyone else trying to take over. If another demon manages to defeat the Overlord, they become the new Overlord. An Overlord can even conquer another Netherworld by defeating its established Overlord.
  • Mount & Blade has this in full effect, as the lords and kings are both a lot more experienced in the battlefield due to leading their own troops into battle and able to buy the best weaponry and armor the game has to offer. The latter makes it easier to pick them out and home in on them, which you'll probably have to do if you don't want your troops slaughtered by him.
  • Dead Space has a downplayed version: Captain Benjamin Mathius of the USG Ishimura is the first enhanced Necromorph you encounter.
  • Averted in Gradius games featuring the Bacterian Emperor, who has minimal offensive power at best and is completely stationary and incapable of combat at worst.
  • Played straight and subverted in Dark Souls. Plot-wise, each boss you face that you receive a Lord Soul from was one of the Lords who rebelled against the Dragons and defeated them with the power of the Flames. This includes Gravelord Nito, Seath the Scaleless, The Four Kings of Anor Londo, and the Bed of Chaos, formerly the Witch of Izalith. But then there's the final boss, the withered husk of the God of the Sun, Gwyn, Lord of Cinder. Unlike other bosses in the game, his attacks are absolutely relentless, and he has close to no openings during the entire fight. Not to mention that he wields a massive flaming sword that can kill you in only a couple of hits, and can damage you even as you guard. He is extremely powerful, even if at this point he's little more than a burnt-out hollow of his former self. Subverted from a gameplay standpoint, in that he is also the only boss in the game who can be parried, which can make the fight much shorter.
  • Though he looks to be almost the same age as the protagonist, Nova from Azure Striker Gunvolt is the highest ranking member of Sumeragi we've yet seen and is easily the strongest foe Gunvolt has faced, though it should be noted that he was promoted for his political skills alongside his battle ones. Whereas the other six Sumeragi Adepts use only one Glaive to hold back their powers, Nova uses three, and even without them can still fight Gunvolt on even terms. His transformed state could only be defeated thanks to some Fighting from the Inside courtesy of Joule. Likewise, Asimov, leader of QUILL unit SHEEPS, is quite powerful in his own right compared to his comrades, and uses a version of Gunvolt's own powers that are capable of rivaling him despite his recent power-up. Going even further in 2, Zonda of Sumeragi is revealed to be the leader of Eden and is the most powerful Adept amongst their ranks despite being only a child, rivaling Asimov and even Nova once she absorbs the power of the Muse.
  • Invoked in Watch_Dogs with the Black Viceroys, who were just a straight-up street gang until army veteran Delford "Iraq" Wade took control of the gang and restructured it completely. Iraq equipped and trained up the gang's upper ranks to be a credible military force while keeping the lower ranks mere gangbangers to mask the gang's overall capability to the outside world. Iraq himself is also a skilled fighter, tactician and hacker, and is just as hardy as his reputation suggests.
  • In Armello, the King has twice the Battle Dice and HP of his guards, is comfortably beyond the starting stats of most heroes, and if the art of certain cards is to be believed, the seemingly-proportionate sword he wields is larger than his guards are tall, suggesting he's at least twice the height of any hero. Becoming strong enough to kill the king and survive before his disease kills him makes you the new king, but even when he has a single heart and is within hours of dying of disease, attacking him is a risky gambit.
  • Undertale:
    • Asgore, the king of the Underground. After you befriend her, Undyne will let you know that Asgore is not to be messed with. She had only ever beat him in a sparring match once, and that was after he specifically taught her how to. And when you finally do fight him, he proves that he is anything but a pushover.
    • It's all but outright stated that Undyne herself was made head of the Royal Guard simply because she could (and quite eagerly would) wipe the floor with any potential rival.
    • Averted in the genocide run when it turns out the monster most capable of kicking the protagonist's ass is a lowly sentry infamous for barely doing his job, and who does nothing to get in your way or fight you in any other run. In comparison, Asgore does turn out to be a pushover.
  • The IPCA from Syphon Filter operates on this where the most badass agents hold the highest rank with Gabriel Logan being the highest ranked agent.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: The Founder is this in Episode 5, whipping out Kung Fu moves and dual sword attacks.
  • In Guenevere, all of the most powerful main characters (Arthur, Morgana, Lancelot, and potentially Guen herself are also among the highest socially-ranking.
  • In Mother Russia Bleeds, bosses are larger and stronger than the surrounding mooks. The second level is set inside a prison and the level's boss in the prison warden; the third level's boss is the leader of a gang. Subverted with the Premier, who's an old man who hides from the players for his "fight", which mainly consists of making sure he doesn't escape.
  • In Pulp Adventures, Nazi Generals are tougher than the Nazi mooks.
  • In the Yakuza series, most of the high-ranking Yakuza bosses are usually capable of putting up a far better fight than any of the generic grunts, with characters that are stated to be either lieutenants or head of their own clans typically being boss fights.
  • Talon, the villainous counterpart to Overwatch, is led by a somewhat enigmatic council. While not all of the members have been revealed yet, some that have been possess unknown fighting strength, and one in particular had none whatsoever, this trope is certainly embodied to some extent- two of the council members are Reaper and Doomfist himself.
  • Awesomely subverted in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. A thug named Hiroki utilizes the Clap Your Hands If You Believe property of Sumaru City to make himself stronger than Captain Death. What is Eikichi "Captain Death" Mishima's response? He renounces the title of Captain Death and beats the ever-loving shit out of him.
  • Lord Brevon, the Big Bad of Freedom Planet, who's at his most dangerous in a one-on-one fight at the end of the game, where he's perfectly capable of killing the player in two hits with nothing but a combat knife.
  • Kingdar from 8Bit Killer, The Dragon of Master Brain, carries a spread shooting Gatling gun and can take dozens of hits from a BFG that can take down even the toughest mooks in two shots.
  • If a named military character in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has at least a rank of "captain", you'd better believe they're going to back it up in combat no matter how antiquated their choice of weaponry is, and the higher their rank the more badass you can expect them to be. Brigadier General Cassius Bright in particular has such a fierce reputation as a One-Man Army that the villains' entire plot in the first game hinged on him being out of the country on other business just so he wouldn't effortlessly crush the insurrection all by himself.

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