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Boss Arena Recovery

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So, you've collected all the suspiciously placed items left before the boss door, and the boss has suddenly appeared from nowhere. After a long, drawn-out struggle, your character is doggedly squeaking along on 1 HP. What's a video game character to do?

The answer is usually "Scour the arena". Chances are you'll find some nice recovery items right there in the arena, just right for the poor player who's having difficulty with the boss. This might come in the form of the boss's minions being easily killable, dropping health and coming in infinite numbers; an extra life just lying around the arena; or even just some health in the form of some convenient healing items placed where you can grab them at your leisure.

This occurs more often in recent games. Older Nintendo Hard games tended to give you no options except to keep trying the same, frustrating boss until your fingers bleed.

A type of Anti-Frustration Feature. Compare After Boss Recovery, where you're given health and ammunition refills after defeating the boss, and Suspicious Videogame Generosity, where the game gives full refills right before the evil creature tries to obliterate your characters.


  • Bosses in 8Bit Killer are fought on maps with some ammo pickups strewn around. The ones appearing when fighting the Final Boss even respawn, which is very helpful as even with all the magazine extensions collected, the boss can survive more shots from the most powerful weapon in your arsenal than you can carry at once.
  • Many bosses in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie will gradually drop Honeycombs upon taking damage.
  • In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, there are always several eggs lying around the boss arena, which will often reappear. Justified though, because you'd be screwed without them.
  • If you run out of antidotes while fighting the Blood-Starved Beast in Bloodborne, there is a stack of three hidden conveniently behind the altar in the back of its boss arena.
  • The final battles at the end of each era in Body Harvest consist of you in a floaty-feeling hovercraft, battling an enormous creature that obliterates most of your shields with each hit in a dish shaped crater, and your weapons gobble down ammo at an astonishing rate. Fortunately, the boss drops a bunch of powerups whenever it soaks up enough damage, so the fights tend to consist of getting knocked around the crater like a billiard ball while trying to swoop under the boss to collect powerups it drops.
  • Almost every boss (if not every boss) in the Borderlands series will have some way of summoning an indefinite number of easily-killable mooks. This lets the players get extra ammo and second winds since the bosses will usually have too much health to kill quick enough for most of the fight.
    • Some of the boss areas also have terminals that will teleport in lootable crates when activated.
  • Enemies in the boss arenas in the game The Cat in the Hat can be dispatched to collect health items, such as slices of cake.
  • With a few exceptions, the bosses in Cave Story all spawn mooks or spam projectiles, either of which can be destroyed for powerups.
  • In the final battle against Shadow Destroyer in Multifaria in Champions Online, there is a group of Resistance fighters just outside the main arena who will periodically drop health pickups if you go to them.
  • Chaos Legion often had Mooks and Mook Makers in the boss arenas.
  • In Chimera Beast, you can use your "eat" move on bosses, damaging them while restoring your health after a few bites.
  • When you fight a boss in the Dawn of War II, the area you fight them in is often surrounded by boxes that you can destroy that yield crates when destroyed that, when clicked on, add one to the number of uses for any item of wargear a has that has a limited number of uses, like Frag Grenades.
  • Dead Space. Particularly the battle with the Leviathan.
  • Berial in Devil May Cry 4 leaves behind health-restoring Green Orbs when he destroys buildings in his arena. This only applies in the lower difficulty modes, so don't expect them to appear in the harder modes where he becomes a Wake-Up Call Boss.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins: The sections that take place in the Fade have lyrium veins in the ares where you fight bosses. You can use them to recharge your health (and mana for mages). Unless your character is a dwarf.
    • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The final area of the Wending Wood questline pits your player party against two tactics-aware dragons with Wonder Twin Powers. Yes, that's as bad as it sounds. Fortunately, every now and then, they would simultaneously take off and leave the room for a couple of seconds, which counts as the end of the encounter in gameplay terms, allowing your party healer to recover from the Non-Lethal K.O..
  • Some of the (non-tank) bosses in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime will drop medicinal herbs in battle.
  • Fable: In the Arena fight sequence, the audience throws random items into the arena when you get them excited enough, ranging from flowers and trinkets to occasional useful items.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
    • Ring of Fates had this. Players are advised to enjoy it while they can.
    • The sequel Echoes of Time also generously stocks the first few boss areas with chests full of recovery items. It also includes a couple of boss rush minigames where all the boss arenas include 2 respawning minions that always drop food, but this goes straight past Suspicious Videogame Generosity and into Malevolent Videogame Generosity, since the extra mooks mean more attacks to avoid and can stun-lock you together with the boss.
  • Similarly, extra Mooks present during boss fights in Beat 'em Up games with a focus on grapples and throws (like Mike Haggar in Final Fight) tend to function less as enemies and more as ammunition.
  • Gauntlet Legends console games always had a small amount of recovery items hidden in the boss level.
  • Gears 5: When you fight the Swarmak, there are plenty of EMBARs, Boomshots, Tri-shots, Lancers and ammo pickups scattered around.
  • Even Grand Theft Auto got into this, providing suspiciously out-of-universe health packs in areas of key difficulty.
  • Half-Life series:
    • The final battle of Half-Life 2: Episode Two against a horde of Striders and Hunters is fought within easy access to several shacks that continuously restock themselves with Medkits and ammunition for all weapons. Though some can easily be destroyed by the Striders there are some that always remain.
    • Half-Life has small healing pools scattered around the final Boss area, in addition to the usual med kits lying next to dead explorers.
  • Iconoclasts: Some bosses will summon weak enemies that Robin can take out for some health pickups. The first Black battle is the most standout example, as the boss in question will sometimes use an unavoidable HP To Not Quite 1 attack, and then promptly taunt at Robin while weak Controller enemies that are nearly guaranteed to drop health pickups come into the arena.
  • In Iji, the first two bosses have enough health items scattered about their arenas to fill you to full multiple times, and the latter three bosses drop one or two health pickups every time you hit them with the objects in the room (or their own attack in the case of the Final Boss), as all of them are Puzzle Bosses to some extent.
  • M.A.C.E from Intrusion 2. Being a Marathon Damage-Sponge Boss, it's a good thing that he will sometimes take a huge container and dump its contents onto the battlefield, which contains some goodies like health and ammo well as Mooks.
  • Often, eco vents or creates with ammo can appear in boss battles throughout the Jak and Daxter games. And in some battles, one can collect ammo or eco orbs from defeated mooks.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series has some bosses that drop HP orbs under certain conditions and objects that drop HP orbs or (in the first game) even items if you're lucky. Kingdom Hearts II has Megara supply HP and MP orbs during the second Olympus Coliseum boss fight.
  • Kirby boss battles are made of this trope. Since you're theoretically supposed to be able to defeat bosses without any of your copy abilities, your only offensive option may be slurping up Circling Birdies or Mook Maker offspring and launching them back at your opponent.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
  • The Legend of Zelda: In games from Ocarina of Time onwards, almost every single boss and even many Mini Bosses have convenient pots, skulls, or tufts of grass to collect hearts, magic pots, and item refills from during the battle. If a boss required a certain type of ammunition to defeat, you would almost certainly be able to find that type of ammunition somewhere in the arena, even if it was from the boss itself.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • The Iron Knuckles of the Spirit Temple can be lured into helping you out. Their axes are capable of destroying the pillars and throne usually decorating their arenas. Often, this yields the player three much-needed hearts.
      • Ganon can end up doing this to the rubble of his castle, and it should be noted that this is the only way to get heart/magic refills during the fight without potions.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker:
      • Gohdan (the boss of the third dungeon) is a justified case, as the boss is only there to test Link. This boss will GIVE you Arrow and Bomb Refills (which you need to defeat it) if you are low on them.
      • From the same game, the Final Boss arena seems to avert this. Until you figure out you can use your Hookshot on Princess Zelda to strip hearts from her to heal yourself!
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword subverts this in the harder difficulty as far as hearts are concerned, unless you have the heart medal. And for the Boss Rush, even that doesn't work. The final two bosses don't have anything in the area that can provide health or ammo (but ammo isn't required either). On a side note, one boss can be exploited in much the same way as the Iron Knuckles/Ganon.
  • In Mass Effect 2, during some decisive fights you can find a supply of heatsinks that replenishes after a while. You can even get a resupply of heavy weapons ammo (which normally is Too Awesome to Use) while fighting the Final Boss.
  • While it doesn't have normal boss fights, the Medal of Honor series provides its inexplicable health restoration in the form of medkits that drop from dead enemy soldiers.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid spawns ammo during boss fights (for example, Stinger missiles during the boss fight against the helicopter because they are the only effective weapon against it).
    • Averted in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, where the first encounter with the SKULLS you're supposed to win gives you a homing rocket launcher with which to win it. You only get 8 shots, and each of the four Parasite Units takes two hits. Nevermind the optional objective of taking down a nearby helicopter.
  • Boss fights in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance are often broken up by either dealing with random mooks or destroying big thrown objects, all of which drop healing items to keep you in the fight.
  • Metroid series:
    • Metroid Prime Trilogy: Most games in the subseries have at least one boss whose shots you can shoot out of the air for ammo and health. Almost every single major boss in 2 and 3 have these. In 2, it's due to the Dark World which steadily takes away health, meaning that sometimes you have to fight the battle with no safe zones. In 3, it's because you need health to activate Hyper Mode, which is required to kill most bosses.
    • Super Metroid uses this trope to keep the player from running out of Missiles; Other than this, only charged shots effect bosses, and the Charge Beam isn't a required powerup.
    • Core-X and Hard Core-X in Metroid Fusion. The boss fight is basically over once the X mimic transforms into its true form because you could rapidfire the darn things and squirt out almost obscene numbers of green and yellow X parasites to heal and restock from.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, you get one of these during your three consecutive boss fights against Shang Tsung, Kintaro, and Shao Khan.
  • In the new Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360, you can only hold 30 arrows at a time. Whenever you're at a flying boss (or somewhere else that where you'd need arrows), there's a dead guy lying in the ground with an unlimited number of arrows stuck in him that you can scavenge.
  • Most of the boss battles in No More Heroes have at least one chest with a full-health recover and one with a full battery recharge. These are removed on Bitter Difficulty, in addition to the bosses being more aggressive.
  • Odin Sphere has a fairly bizarre example of this; during every boss fight (if you had the foresight to bring seeds) you can kill the Mooks that the boss summons/appear with the boss, then use the released Phozons to grow fruit, which can then be used to heal.
  • Ōkami
    • Using your slow-time-down power, occasionally one of the characters will drop health for you.
    • During the final boss there are a few chests littered around the battlefield atop tall pillars you can open for inventory items. Hey, they had to put some use for the strictly non-combat Catwalk power in this Final-Exam Boss. One of the boss's forms even mimics a slot machine, and one combination makes it give up a load of recovery power-ups.
  • In Overlord, most significant boss battles feature spawning pits from whence the player can call forth more minions, the goblin-like creatures that do the player's fighting/dying/pillaging/heavy lifting for him. This isn't exactly the same as a health pickup because the number of minions the player has is always limited (though this limit is largely theoretical), and can't be replenished during a boss battle — but the number of minions following the player at any one time is much more limited, meaning the spawning pits are used to replace casualties and function essentially like the trope.
  • In Path of Exile your potions are refilled by killing enemies, and several unique items and class features give a temporary buff after killing an enemy. Most major bosses will periodically spawn mooks during the battle, such as Merveil summoning statues or siren spawn. One of the factors that makes Daresso a seriously painful fight is that he doesn't create mooks.
  • Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat has a few boss fights that feature these, usually in the form of respawning kegs, hammers, and/or grog.
  • In Portal Runner, boss fights have health pickups that will respawn after some time has passed.
  • Most bosses in [PROTOTYPE] periodically send waves of very, very weak mooks at you. The mooks are there so that you have something to eat to get your health back up.
  • Many of the boss areas and very difficult areas of Resident Evil 4 contained ammo and healing items (but then again, so did the less difficult areas).
  • River City Girls: Yamada's summoning of items to throw at the party may include a health-restoring apple.
  • The first boss in Rocket Knight (2010) has a pair of health pickups on either side of the room.
  • This is present on the bosses of Shadow of the Colossus, where there are usually convenient places to rest for stamina recovery on the boss.
  • The Shantae series: Due to Flunky Boss-es' flunkies not being immune to the Random Drop-of-recovery-items system for enemies:
    • Squid Baron's flunkies, a.k.a children, in his boss battle in Shantae: Risky's Revenge.
      • The events of the game they appeared in.
      • That Squid Baron fought together with his children, who drop health pickups, is mentioned in his Character Spotlight for Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, when he talks with Shantae about how they fought:
        Squid Baron (sad): I put you [Shantae] in such danger.
        Shantae: Not completely!
        What about the little squids you spawned from time to time?
        Attacking them let me get my hearts back.
        That counts for something, right?
        Squid Baron (horrified): I forgot all about the children!
        Shantae: Oh dear.
    • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Water Lily Siren has an attack that plants seeds which quickly germinate into easily defeated enemies.
  • Smash TV is one of the earliest games to do this. Justified in that most bosses are invulnerable or highly resistant to your regular peashooter gun, and special weapons all have limited ammo.
  • Each instance of Olmec's Lair in Spelunky has suspended platforms above the arena, each with crates
  • In every single SpongeBob SquarePants game made from Heavy Iron Studios's boss arena. Except for Battle for Bikini Bottom's final boss's FINAL form. Its first form still has recovery items.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the final battle with Emperor Palpatine would be much harder if it weren't for the health you get from killing his guards, who are occasionally sent into the arena as Palpatine levitates up and watches.
  • In Streets of Rage 4, every boss arena will have a crate that drops a small healing item and one that drops a large healing item.
  • The Super Mario Bros. series has this, although again mostly in the 3-D games.
    • Super Mario Galaxy actually has small plants and lights to shoot at for coins in the boss arenas for just this reason.
    • Super Mario 64
      • Bowser's fire breath left behind health-restoring coins when it burnt out.
      • King Boo does the same thing in the remake.
      • Chief Chilly drops coins when punched.
    • Super Mario World: In the fight against Bowser the Princess throws you a mushroom between attack waves.
  • The boss arenas of the latter two TimeSplitters games.
  • Turok 2 has it's final boss retreat, and send robot minions after you, which can be slaughtered for health, as well as the respawning pickups scattered around the arena.
  • Nearly each boss battle in Unreal II: The Awakening. However, due to the speed of the playable character and the amount of damage dealt by the bosses, most of those tend to overlap with After Boss Recovery... Except that after defeating a boss, your health and inventory are always automatically recovered anyway. Especially egregious example is the boss of the Hell level — the arena includes stations that allow you to regenerate health and shields... Provided that you don't move.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines mocks the player using this trope. In the fight against plague spreader Bishop Vick, a few human shamble around the room. They look like free blood refills, but drinking even a little will cause your character to stand in place and vomit uncontrollably until you're killed. Serves you right for forgetting that he's spreading a massively infectious virus.
  • Viewtiful Joe Series:
    • Most boss arenas in the series have a box or two with items that can recover your Life or VFX. They're often in the background, meaning you'll have to hit the boss with your Mach Speed power, creating after images to break them open for you.
    • It's Played With in Viewtiful Joe 2. Mad Scientist cyborg Dr. Kranken fires at you from the background while his creation Cameo Leon assaults you with his Overly-Long Tongue. The Doctor throws cheeseburgers and Molotov Cocktails at Leon that he can use to recover. You can whack him to prevent him from consuming them, or take a cheeseburger for yourself.
    • In Double Trouble, Joe often teams up with his sister Jasmine against a boss. By tapping on her she tosses you fast food!
  • Bosses in Warframe tend to be accompanied by minions in droves that drop the usual health, energy and ammo supplies when killed. The Razorback has not only that but also breakable containers carried on magrails overhead that carry these supplies.
  • The Ork Warboss in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine periodically summoned swarms of grunts for you to Execute and regain health and Fury from.
  • In The Warriors game, some of the bosses can only be hurt with ranged attacks. In this case, there will always be a beer carton on the ground that provides infinite glass bottles for throwing.
  • In the Black Temple dungeon in World of Warcraft, there is a boss called Reliquary of Souls that attacks in phases. Between phases, swarms of Mooks show up that refill the group's health and mana when killed. From a mechanical standpoint, this is justified as the boss prevents all healing in its first phase, and drains mana in the second, but it still seems like a kind of chivalry from a creature that's supposed to be trying to kill you.
  • A strange version of this appears in Yoshi's Story with the boss Cloud N. Candy (which is a giant ball of cotton candy). The only way to beat it is to eat it, which heals you.