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After Boss Recovery

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It was down to the wire. You beat the giant towering lizard. Fought someone one on one? He's done. You even almost died against your own shadow. So now what do you do? Your health is near empty, your HP/MP is on the verge of rolling down to zero, and you'll have to resort to using a knife or some other melee attack since you have very few bullets left. Typically, most boss fights will leave you barely surviving or having few resources left and it can seem like suicide to move on since you don't know what lies ahead.

But wait, what's this? There's a ton of health power-ups lying around where the boss used to be! Sweet! There's even ammo! That's this trope. When you beat a boss, the enemy either leaves behind a ton of health/ammo refills for you to recover after the fight, leaves behind a new item or ability that also restores you, or you get treated to a recovery in the next room or next cut scene. Or you just suddenly have full HP/MP after the fight. The recoveries may be a full restore or recover just enough to keep playing without worrying about dying.

Sometimes this is done even if the next section of the game is story-driven with no danger in it, to keep the player from being on-edge, and to prevent Critical Annoyance.

Compare when the game gives you helpful items before the fight, or when it gives you helpful items during the fight. If there's a Save Point after the boss, then this can overlap with Healing Checkpoint. When this happens after every fight, see After-Combat Recovery.


  • ANNO: Mutationem: Following a major boss fight, there's always a container in the next area with the standard healing items to make use for recovery if low on health.
  • Fury Unleashed: Except in the Dark World, bosses drop at least 2 Health Orbs, more if you have a particular skill. Normal enemies only drop 1 and that's only if you kill them within a combo of sufficient length.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Defeating Ridley and/or Kraid will result in Samus's missile carrying capacity being increased by 75 (granting her an extra amount of missiles of that same number). Also, both bosses have Energy Tanks hidden in or near their lairs—even if you already have six of them, it'll replenish your health. These also double as Anti-Frustration Features.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus: The Metroid Queen is the only boss to give Samus energy and missile refills, and is of course the only boss where she almost certainly would not need them, not that a first time player would know this for sure.
    • In several of the games, beaten enemies drop energy and ammo, stronger enemies drop more energy and ammo, and bosses drop lots of energy and ammo while not necessarily fully healing. Rather, it's more of a way to help you not die on your way back to the save point.
    • Metroid: Zero Mission continues to use this even though half of the major bosses have Chozo statues in the rooms behind them that provide armor upgrades with full energy/ammo recharge, but this is mostly for players going for no-item runs. The next save point is usually very close to the Boss room too, which can be used to fully heal Samus anyway. This happens after the Mother Brain fight and subsequent escape sequence. Defeating the Ruins Test automatically heals you too, though the save point is close by, and either way it's a very justified example as Samus's health usually indicates her suit's shielding and she's just been given an entirely new suit.
    • Metroid Prime: In addition to the health and ammo spawned after defeating the Omega Pirate in Phazon Mines, the room right afterwards contains an Energy Tank in plain sight, which not only restores you to full health, but increases your maximum amount of HP.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: The energy controllers, accessed after beating each of the major bosses in Dark Aether (specifically in the Dark Temples), restore your health fully. Even after the first recovery lot.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: The Leviathan Guardians don't have many drops, but once you destroy the Leviathan, you go back to your ship, which is what fully heals you.
    • Metroid: Other M: The game shows a notable aversion for the series. This is due to there being no health and missile pickups whatsoever, because of a technique called Concentration where you can restore health and missiles. Restoring health is only at critical damage, though, and sometimes you're automatically healed anyway.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Starting with this game, almost all installments in the series have dungeons let you not only fully recover from a major boss fight, but also permanently increase your health meter by obtaining Heart Containers.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Defeating a boss in a dungeon won't recover Link's health. However, placing one of the six crystals into the dungeon's lectern will not only fully recover his health and magic meters, but also give him experience points up to the next level-up.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Obtaining a Heart Container doesn't heal you. However, rescuing the maiden from each dungeon (which also happens after defeating the boss) will recover your health.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: In this and other handheld games in the series, beating a mini-boss always causes a fairy to appear, in addition to the Heart Containers from the big bosses.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess somewhat parodies this after the boss fight in the Yetis' mansion. When the yeti couple reunite, they emit TONS of recovery hearts that you can pick up... but is moot since a Heart Container is right there.
  • Eastward: After each boss battle, John's health is fully restored and receives a Heart Container afterwards.
  • In Quest 64, after you beat a boss, you gain 20 more HP, and are healed fully. Your MP doesn't recover, though.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • In the Castlevania series, a red orb is also the most usual form of this. If there's no orb, a Save Room will be close by.
    • The bosses of the very first Castlevania dropped red orbs which refilled HP. (Even the Final Boss did this, which perplexed The Angry Video Game Nerd.)
    • Nearly every boss in Symphony of the Night drops a Life Max Up which restores you to full HP.
    • In Aria of Sorrow, any boss you defeat leaves behind a special powerup that restores all your HP and MP.
    • Lament of Innocence does this too; every major boss leaves a different-colored orb behind when defeated, which restores all your HP. The same thing happens with optional bosses, which is a little weird considering that they drop weapons, not orbs.
    • Bosses in Curse of Darkness leave behind glowing circles on the floor. Stand in them and your health and Hearts are fully restored, after which the circle fades.
    • In Circle of the Moon, unlike other Castlevania games, you don't get a thing to help you get back to the save point intact. Pain and death tends to follow, and with some bosses actually killing the thing is only half the battle - the save point is a good distance and a gauntlet away, and recovery items are incredibly rare in the first place. Ow.
    • Rondo of Blood bosses leave either a red or blue orb behind; the color determines what stage you go to next.
    • Harmomy of Dissonance includes the orbs, and the developers must have noticed how players would try and catch them in every pose possible in the previous games, because if you catch an orb by jumping and attacking, or dive-kicking into it, a little message like "Good!" or "Great!" will appear. The fangame Castlevania Fighter expands on this by giving you HP, MP and attack power bonuses if you catch the orbs by jumping, jumping and attacking, or doing a special move.
    • Some story critical bosses in the Castlevania games won't drop anything, but the Save Point is always right next to the boss room in this instance.
    • In the fan-made Castlevania: Nocturne of the Tabletop, all players will regain full health once a stage’s boss is defeated.
  • Bosses from The Crystal of Kings automatically drop a maximum health crystal after their defeat. Unfortunately they drop just one - on two-player mode, the player will either compromise and let the weaker of the two gain the power-up, or fight over it.
  • Happens in a lot of Kirby games, though sometimes it only happens after refighting a boss, with a Maxim Tomato replacing the Plot Coupon it drops. In modern games starting with Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the health refill is done so automatically after defeating any end-of-area boss without the need of a special item to do so.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy for NES. While you aren't healed, per se, after fighting a Fiend, a few more steps teleports you completely out of the dungeon back to the world, where the party can rest via tent (provided one is in inventory), or in the case of the third Fiend, appear right back in town, and the Inn is right there.
    • Final Fantasy III DS instantly heals your party and restores dead party members when you defeat a boss, which is real nice, considering there are no Tents, Phoenix Downs are a rare commodity, and towns may or may not have the stuff to revive party members. But if you're playing the NES version, the only way to recover magic points in the final dungeon is with an elixir.
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates also uses this. Doesn't matter how close to dead you are, those white flashes and strange choking noises the DS throws at you when you kill the big bosses heal you right up to 100%. Epilepsy the wonder-cure. Who knew?
    • Final Fantasy IV does this with Rubicante, who heals you right after a boss battle. Since you have to fight him right away, it's only fair.
    • Final Fantasy X removes any negative status effects after battle. This includes KO; any downed party members will come back with 1 HP.
  • In BioShock, after you defeat a boss you can find lots of ammo, first aid and EVE nearby.
  • In the original Metal Gear Solid, every time you beat a boss, Snake smokes a cigarette and recovers about half of his now-higher health. Unusual, considering that in actual gameplay, smoking slowly drains your heath instead. The Twin Snakes has the life bar maxed out at the beginning, and it unceremoniously fully recovers at the end of every boss fight.
  • Right after you defeat the helicopter in Half-Life 2, there's a little bit of uncontested walking followed by a lightly defended room full of more ammo than you can even carry and lots of medical supplies too... despite the fact that you fought the helicopter with your airboat's machinegun, which does not require any ammo. On top of that, the next chapter involves absolutely no combat (and few items). The chapter after that, on the other hand, is the reason why you got so much loot. Strangely, fast-forwarding to that chapter with the handy Select Chapter function leaves you with very little ammo.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: The bosses at the end of most levels (except the flying T-Rex, because you're not supposed to kill it), upon their demise, will collapse and explode... into piles and piles of gems, coins, and loot. You can then collect as much loot as possible and use them in the next area, a provision shop which sells you power-ups, health, weapons and the like before moving on the next level.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is another example. In this case, it actually makes sense in the context of the game; Raziel regains health by devouring the souls of his enemies, and the more powerful an enemy is, the more "filling" its soul is.
  • Scurge: Hive has the life forces of minor foes providing a bit of healing and experience, while bosses full-heal you and purge you of disease.
  • Happens twice in SaGa Frontier Before and After the Fight with Metal Black 3, however after the battle is interesting because when Metal Black 3 explodes, your characters are instantaneously rejuvenated by the mist that scatters from the explosion
  • Warcraft:
    • Video Game/Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne introduces Runes pretty much for this reason, pick up items that restored mana or health or a variety of other beneficial effects (although they were scattered around the maps with no bases aswell, to speed up the action rather than forcing the player to return to a mana/health fountain after a hard fight.
    • World of Warcraft:
      • ome actions available out of combat help speeding up recovery; eating and drinking as well as casting resurrection spells on teammates. Careful though, some debuffs from the boss may still affect people, such as the "Mortal Wound" debuff which damages over time until the affected target is fully healed simply because the healer made that very mistake. Another boss summons a large number of weak enemies when he dies, which may catch people by surprise.
      • In the battle against the Lich King, bringing him to 10% results in him killing you all, but then Frostmourne is destroyed and the entire raid is resurrected, free to kill him without him being able to fight back
  • Shoot Em Ups with life meters do this a lot. Some, like 1943, only partially restore your life, while others, such as U.N. Squadron and 1941: Counter Attack, fully restore your life; in fact, in the latter, several stages extend your life meter by one unit upon completion.
  • In An Untitled Story, all bosses but the final one drop hearts that fully heal you after you kill them, along with a bunch of the game's currency. This is evened out by the fact that killing bosses, along with finding Save Points, is the only way to fully heal yourself in the game.
  • SoulBlazer gives you a full recovery after the boss is dead, since you have to make your way back to the mostly convenient nearby teleportation square and it'd be nice if you weren't killed by Scratch Damage on your way out.
  • Illusion of Gaia, the Creator-Driven Successor to SoulBlazer, also does this, with your HP magically filling back up to maximum; it even adds in any powerup "jewels" that you failed to gain in the course of the level (each level contains about 6-10 jewels, some HP, some +attack, some +defence). However you get don't get this when you play all the bosses again in the final Boss Rush.
  • Terranigma is another sort-of sequel to SoulBlazer but subverts this trope, as you do not get any recovery at all. It is entirely possible to beat a boss with 1 HP left, then continue through the next town to the next level and immediately die.
  • The battle with the Thug Leader on Endako in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. There's plenty of ammo crates around for resupply if Ratchet dies in the attempt, since there's no weapons vendor around.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, after you've defeated three of Millenium's elders who were archangels in disguise the fourth one will run in and announce that there is one more foe to fight. He'll then heal the entire party before you fight the final boss... GOD. Although it's not the real God. He's saved for the Final Boss battle.
  • Secret of Mana does this with every boss battle. This is great in most situations when you can't teleport to the nearest town or there are multiple bosses in one area, but after obtaining your method of transportation, this becomes somewhat moot.
  • The Witcher; Geralt's midgame climactic battle is followed up by treatment, and thorough physical inspection, from a sorceress in lingerie.
  • All the bosses in E.V.O.: Search for Eden turn into meat that's worth a lot of health recovery and evo points when killed (even in cases where you'll lose all those evo points right after due to becoming another order of animal).
  • God of War II does a subtler version of this during its Taste of Power opening act. The act is structured as several smaller tutorials with a miniboss at the end of each one, and after every fight the game silently refills your health and magic metres, with zero fanfare. This is not carried over to the rest of the game.
  • In Cave Story, the very first boss, Balrog, drops weapon powerups after you defeat him. Defeating the standard Final Boss (the Undead Core) automatically refills your health.
  • Used fairly often in Kingdom Hearts. Noticeable in the first game, when fighting a Behemoth in The End of the World, after it dies, it leaves a mountain of HP orbs, MP bubbles, and usually some really rare items.
  • Fallout 3 does this with Super Mutant Behemoths, while killing one usually uses more resources than it replenishes, they'll almost always have ammo and stimpaks on their corpses.
  • In EarthBound (1994), every time you defeat a Sanctuary Guardian and approach one of your sanctuaries, your party will automatically be healed of any damage and fallen comrades will be fully revived. Fortunately, you can come back to it at any time later in the game to get healed again.
  • Many of the tougher gangs in Scarface: The World Is Yours have a mini-boss; usually someone armed with explosives. Zapping him restores much health.
  • Shadow of the Colossus has Wander get teleported back to the Shrine of Worship, with his health meter restored right after beating a Colossus. It also increases each time you defeat a Colossus.
  • Pokémon Black and White:
    • N heals your Pokémon immediately after you capture your game's legendary Pokémon and before you fight Ghetsis.
    • Also happens after almost every game's final boss, the League Champion. Your Pokémon are apparently healed during the entry into the hall of fame, because when you wake up back home, everyone is healthy. Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow are the only exceptions to this.
    • In at least some of the console games, it's the same way in battle mode...your Pokémon are fully healed after each colosseum battle. However, there are a few aversions, like one of the colosseums in Pokémon Stadium.
  • Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure had the statue of the prince, which healed all your HP and MP before you fought the final boss. Parodied with the statues of Marjoly in the same area, which heals no health and magic, and makes a point of specifying it.
  • Spiral Knights has this after each phase of arena floors, as part of the reward for Danger Rooms, and oddly enough, after each of the bosses proper. Too bad, at least during the mission versions of bosses, there's not actually anything to fight after the boss that healing up would help with.
  • In Terraria, the fights with the Eye of Cthulhu, Eater of Worlds, Skeletron, King Slime and the Wall of Flesh give you enough hearts to restore 200 or so HP, along with healing potions and their respective drops. Oddly, the mechanical bosses of Hardmode don't drop any hearts. During Frost/Pumpkin Moon events, these hearts can be life savers.
  • Beating Shadow Man for the final time in Rockman 4 Minus ∞ nets you a Yashichi, which restores all your health and weapon energy. The orbs the Robot Masters drop when you fight them again in Wily Stage 3 also refill our health.
  • RefleX has a life meter that only replenishes after defeating the bosses of Areas 4 and 6.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, after beating the Tortured Soul, the party gets a blessing from the Goddess that refills their health and mana.
  • Three the Hard Way automatically heals the whole party before and after engaging a boss fight, even negating status ailments and death.
  • Souls games:
  • A staple in arcade Beat 'em Up games. Justified by Rule of Fun - dying to the first mook's lucky jab after a two-minute intensive boss battle is frustrating and not likely for the player to pop in another quarter and continue.
  • In Neutopia, after defeating a boss, you get to advance to a room with one of the medallions. Picking it up teleports you back to the old lady who refills your life gauge and extends it by one.
  • In DanceDanceRevolution MAX and a few of the games after it, the Oni/Challenge mode gives the player four HP, taking one away for every step with less than "Great" timing. After most songs, 1 HP would be given back, but after certain tough songs, multiple HP would be awarded, or the HP bar would even be maxed back to four.
  • In 20XX, killing a boss will generally net you some HP drops, but not a full refill...unless you have the Kingseeker prototype augment, which gives you all your health back after killing a boss, but stops you healing at any other point.
  • Etrian Odyssey Nexus gives your party a full recovery, including Force gauge refills (even if you used Force Breaks, which normally disable the Force gauge until you return to town), after you defeat the boss of the second Labyrinth, the Berserker King. It helps a lot, because this comes immediately before a fight with a second boss — the real endboss of the Labyrinth— that just appeared shortly before Wiglaf healed you.
  • Hades: Each time you beat one of the game's bosses, Zagreus is given access to an antechamber before ascending to the next level of Hades. Said chamber contains a healing fountain that restores 25% of Zagreus' max HP (make that 100% with a free +3% attack bonus if you have Strong Drink from Dionysus), one of Charon's stores, and the chest of keepsakes allowing you to switch to a different keepsake if the current one isn't working out.
  • Shanghai.EXE: Genso Network: After fighting the V2 Autoroids, Shanghai gets healed right after.
  • Whiplash: When you defeat the giant spider-bot boss at the end of the power department level, you are rewarded with TONS of Genron hypersnacks, which causes Spanx and Redmond to level up a bunch of times in a row!
  • Workshop In The Ironwood Grove: After the boss in the Earth Cave, the party is healed up to push boulders, deal with the undead, and leave the cave.

Non-Video Game Examples

  • In Manehattan's Lone Guardian, Reddocite is described as a a rare, tightly controlled, and incredibly expensive ore that, when destroyed, will fully repair everything inorganic in a certain radius. Each of Cocoa Mocha's agents are provided with some to keep their equipment in good repair, but Leviathan—who is technically an inorganic being—steals it at the end of every fight to essentially Full Restore herself on the spot.