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Cat-and-Mouse Boss

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In a Cat-and-Mouse Boss, there is a narrow passage, and the Boss is invincible. The Hero suddenly finds themselves running for their lives, dodging assorted things and whatnot while running from the boss. But hey! What's that in the distance? A cheesy gimmick that'll hurt the boss!? The tables have been turned, and the boss is now running for their lives, giving our Hero a chance to pummel him. At the end of the corridor, the worst happens; the Boss is powered up and the Hero's weapon is useless. The tables have been turned once more, and the Hero finds himself running again. After a few games of this, the Boss dies for good.

The video game equivalent of a Zig-Zagging Trope. A Sub-Trope of Puzzle Boss. Compare Chasing Your Tail.


  • The final boss of Batman: Arkham Origins pits the Dark Knight against Bane. Problem is, Bane has just injected himself with a dose of TN-1, which has hideously enlarged his physique from that of a pro-bodybuilder to the level he is most recognized for. Batman must duck and weave through vents and around corners and throw him into electric doors before the TN-1 takes full effect and he is able to kill Batman in one punch. The background music doesn't help at all.
  • In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, there's a mutated, flaming version of Crunch. Crash must run away from Crunch for a while, and soon finds a FLUDD-like waterpack, reversing the scenario.
  • The whole game of Pac-Man. The ghosts chase Pac-Man and kill him instantly on touch. One Power Pellet later, and now Pac-Man's chasing the ghosts and disables them instantly on touch.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • King Boom Boo from Sonic Adventure 2 falls under this category. Combine this with Chasing Your Tail, as its weakness (A minion holding a switch that exposes sunlight, turning Boom Boo corporeal so he can be hit) always follows the boss's tail.
    • The Shadow rival battle in Sonic Generations plays like a mix of this trope and a standard race - the first part of the fight is Sonic and Shadow racing to gain control of orbs of energy which will power you or him up. When one of you has powered up, they chase after the other. Getting close enough to Shadow while powered up and whittling away his rings is the easiest way to win.
  • A great many bosses in The Legend of Zelda go along the following: You're in a large, round room. There is a large boss, who chases you around that room. Either you have to outrun the boss and hit him from behind, grab a nearby object and throw at him, or both, with examples such as Great Dodongo and Big Octorok from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Goht from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
  • The Itchy & Scratchy Game tends to include this trope. Your character - the mouse, Itchy - and the main antagonist - the cat, Scratchy - run around the non-boss levels, after and from each other, while you both amass and deplete weapons of cartoon violence to use against each other.
  • Fighting the Ice Queen in Stonekeep can turn into one of these games. As noted.
  • The last boss of Psychonauts, except that you don't have to actually do anything to make it vulnerable, just wait for your 11th-Hour Superpower to recharge.
  • The final level of the Playable Epilogue in Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time. The Vortex Queen is now in an invincible larval state and trying to reach the Time Machine to personally mess up the timeline you just spent the whole game fixing. You have to chase her through the ruins without her seeing you, or else SMACK. And then you realize you have to trick her into forcing open doors for you too...
  • Begoniax from Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Usually she chases you around with a fork, but when you manage to splash some magic potion on her to turn her into a frog, the tables are turned and you chase her around to get some hits in.
  • The RedEye King from Star Fox Adventures. It took place in a square hallway, and woe betide you if you accidentally ran too far ahead or didn't know which way he was coming from. Beating him involved hiding in holes in the wall, picking up a bomb, and then stepping on a switch in the floor that would cause electricity to literally burst out of the walls and zap that sucker good. And then you had to hit him in the face with the bomb, and run for your life because as soon as he was hit, he was up and after your blood again.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the fight against Yelena Federova roughly fits into this. She'll start by chasing after you several times to launch a nasty AOE attack. Afterwards, she'll cloak herself and retreat until she's charged up again.
  • The final Bowser battle of Super Mario 3D Land has multiple bridges to break.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the sniper battle against The End would qualify as a variation of a cat & mouse boss, in that Snake and his opponent are each attempting to get the other in their sights, while remaining unseen themselves.
  • In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of World of Warcraft, the "cat" is the Lich King himself, chasing you down a hallway. This sequence is used to make clear to you that the Lich King is probably too powerful to beat.
  • The very last Special Forcefield Thug in Goldeneye Rogue Agent. Your problems are threefold: 1) He has a forcefield, which means your Goldeneye Powers have no effect. 2) He wields an OMEN X-R, a Disintegrator Ray that'll turn you to powder in one hit. 3) You have a lot of fairly-weak weapons at your disposal, most of which may not be fully loaded. You're stuck playing defense until you can overwhelm his shielding...fortunately, even the basic machine gun is pretty good for just that.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Mask of Infamy is both cat and mouse at the same time. It consists of an invulnerable mask that continuously chases you and a vulnerable heart that you have to chase down and attack in order to deal damage. When the heart dies, the back of the mask becomes a weak point and the fight turns into Chasing Your Tail.
  • Iron Helix features only a single enemy: the ship's automated security drone, which is unrelenting in its pursuit of you, an intruder, which requires you to never stay in one area for very long or it will find you and kill you. You are only able to stop the drone when you get access to the ship's systems, the exact method of dealing with it changes depending on which difficulty you are playing on.
  • The giant Mechaniloid Mini-Boss of Earthrock Trilobyte's level in Mega Man X8 is an Advancing Boss of Doom that chases X/Zero/Axl until they reach the top of a cliff where a control panel for crane resides, which is the only means of damaging the boss. After hitting the boss a few times with the crane, it retreats and the heroes have to chase it all the way back to the beginning of the level.