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Climax Boss

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A climactic, plot-important Boss Battle, usually occurring after a major revelation in the plot (e.g., about 2/3 into the game). Naturally, this means higher stakes and a more dramatic tone than your regular boss fight. The boss in question is also likely to be a major figure in the overall plot or a personal enemy of one of the main characters instead of some sort of one-scene monster. If you suddenly start hearing Battle Theme Music that's not the usual one used for boss battles and you know you're not even close to the Final Boss, then you're definitely dealing with one of these.


Note that to qualify for this trope, the boss must be at least somewhat of a challenge; if they're a complete pushover, that's Anti-Climax Boss. However, the boss fight does not have to be overly difficult, and a particularly difficult boss fight does not qualify as a Climax Boss unless it comes at a climactic point in the plot. Final Bosses also do not qualify, nor do bosses fought very close to the Final Boss (unless said boss was a constant presence throughout the story, meaning that you're finally getting some payoff for all that buildup); ideally a Climax Boss would take place somewhere around the two-thirds or three-quarters mark, not nine-tenths.

See Pre-Final Boss for bosses that come right before the final boss, Wake-Up Call Boss for the first hard boss fight early in the game and Hopeless Boss Fight when there is no way in hell the boss will be beaten just because of plot. Also differs from a Disc-One Final Boss in that the Climax Boss is not presented as the final boss despite being more dramatic than the usual boss.


Not to be confused with Pivotal Boss, which is a boss that the battle literally pivots around, like a wheel and its axle. Contrast Anti-Climax Boss, That One Boss, Final Boss. Inversion is The Unfought, where this kind of battle is set up, but never happens. It isn't usually required to beat them in Orgasmic Combat.


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    Action Adventure Game 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight has the Arkham Knight fighting you in an excavator and then the stealth duel with him immediately after. It's also the only classic "hit their weakpoint three times" boss in the game.
  • Most Metroidvania-type Castlevania games tend to have one or two. The vast majority become Final Bosses if on the path to a bad ending:
  • Cave Story: The Core fight, which comes after a minor plot revelation and is followed by a more important one. Plus, it's got its own BGM track, loads of creepy atmospheric build-up, and is followed by both a Player Punch and a fork in the road.
  • Hollow Knight, open-ended game that it is, has several options.
    • Soul Master comes at the end of the City of Tears' story, guards the Desolate Dive spell, and is a major lore figure.
    • For the general game (you dont have to fight the others, but you do have to do these fights), there's the choice of the Broken Vessel, Uumuu, or the Watcher Knights (the first guards the Monarch Wings, the others guard Dreamers), whichever you want to fight first. Killing one of these and getting to what they're guarding (killing a Dreamer or finding the Monarch Wings) triggers a major status quo change as the Infection will leak out of the Black Egg Temple and transform the Forgotten Crossroads into the Infecteed Crossroads. Uumuu's charge Monomon serves as the climax of Quirrel's story, while the Broken Vessel's existence has serious implications as another member of the Knight's species.
    • If you're going for the Dream No More ending, the climax boss is Hornet's second boss fight, Hornet Sentinel (Her first fight, Hornet Protector, is more a Wake-Up Call Boss). She guards the Kingsbrand needed to reach the bottom of the Abyss and learn the Knight's past, and there are no bosses between her and the back-to-back Final Boss and True Final Boss- just platforming challenges.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The wizard Agahnim, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, is fought after retrieving the three Pendants of Virtue and the Master Sword. Link only thought he was the Big Bad, and after defeating him, is transported to the Dark World to rescue the seven maidens.
    • Phantom Ganon and Twinrova fill this role in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in different capacities. They are typically the first and last adult bosses respectively. Phantom Ganon's second phase is a preview of the fight with Ganondorf, and he contacts you at the end of the fight to taunt you. Twinrova are Co-Dragons to Ganondorf, and are more active before their fight than any other boss.
    • In Oracle of Ages, you fight Veran-possessed Nayru 3/4 of the way through the game. Veran then possesses Queen Ambi and continues her Evil Plan to build the Black Tower to the heavens.
    • Helmaroc King in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It being the kidnapper of Link's sister, Aryll, as well as having kidnapped other girls and overall terrorizing the Great Sea. But it's only Ganondorf's second-in-command.
    • Zant from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fills much the same role, being a Final-Exam Boss ending with a crazed and desperate finale.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has the fight with Byrne at the top of the Tower of Spirits, unique theme and all.
    • The last of three fights against Ghirahim in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. He was active in impeding Link's progress and trying to kidnap Zelda, and his final, desperate fight is the last thing you need to do before facing off once and for all against the real Big Bad.
    • The first two battles with The Imprisoned in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are this as well. It is a nameless threat that has been looming over Link and haunting his dreams from the very start, and battles with it close the first and second acts of the game. Each time, the old woman watching over it making it very clear that every resealing is only temporary and it will keep growing more and more powerful. It becomes the Final Boss Demise after devouring Zelda's soul.
    • Yuga is this in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, appearing in Hyrule Castle as a boss with a very similar backstory and battle to Agahnim in A Link to the Past. It's after he's defeated that Link actually learns about Lorule and the captured sages.
  • In the Metroid series, Ridley often plays this role as the second- or third-to-last to last major boss fought, as he often guards the way to the Final Boss and is equally often That One Boss in any given game. But to elaborate:
    • Metroid: Zero Mission: In contrast to the original, Ridley is treated as the climax boss before Mother Brain, after several added cutscenes heralding his impending boss fight. (The original Metroid had very little plot to speak of and both Ridley and Kraid were given equal importance as the bosses that had to be killed to access the final boss.)
    • Metroid Prime: Ridley again, as Samus first goes to the planet the game takes place on chasing him, tracks him throughout the game, and finally battles him right before going to the final boss' area.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Ridley once more, who again appears early on — this time as a boss battle — and later acts as the final Leviathan guardian fought before Samus and the Federation take the battle to Phazon's origin on Phaaze.
    • Super Metroid: Ridley once more! This time he sets the entire plot into motion by stealing the last Metroid at the beginning of the game, but when Samus finally catches up to him and defeats him, the Metroid has escaped containment, setting up the last leg of the story.
    • Metroid Fusion: Fusion breaks with tradition by having Nightmare act as the climax boss; it's foreshadowed in the background several times before it's fought, and its very existence foreshadows that the research on the BSL station involves biological weapons.
  • The "White Assassin" in Mirror's Edge is actually the only actual boss fight in the game. The after-fight cutscene also makes it the Wham Level.
  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams: In Will's story, Reala fights NiGHTS after revealing the latter was actually a Nightmaren all along.
  • Ōkami has two Climax Bosses: Orochi and Ninetails. Both bring a new revelation: Orochi's death causes all the other bosses to be let loose upon the world, and Ninetails reveals the existence of Yami.

    Action Game 
  • The final battle with the Blood Ark in Another Century's Episode 3, at the end of the middle stage of the game. While it is a battle against the Final Boss pilot, and it has the first use of a specific boss battle theme, it is almost laughably easy, since your forces have been getting upgraded, and the villain is using the same mech he had at the beginning. The climax comes from the removal of his unusually obscuring mask which averts Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Several in Asura's Wrath. Each of them is an episode all on their own, or at least have a fight that lasts most of the episode. The fights against Yasha, Augus, Olga's fleet, and Wrath Asura are probably the best examples.
  • Darth Vader in The Force Unleashed. In the Wii/PS2 version, the second duel with Kento Marek, aka Galen's father may count as well. And for the DLC, OBI-WAN KENOBI AND LUKE SKYWALKER!
  • The fourth and final battle with Prince Vorkken in The Wonderful 101. He turns out to be the one at the last Super Reactor, and he even killed the Geathjerk officer that would have attacked the Super Reactor offscreen, showing that he's no longer fully loyal to anyone anymore. He is fought right after Immorta gives his backstory, and right before The Dragon Gimme is introduced, two major turning points in the game that mark its Cerebus Syndrome.

    Beat 'em Up 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Lazarus Malkoth in Dark Watch is a rare example where the Big Bad qualifies as this trope instead of being the final confrontation. He is fought at the start of the story's final act when the main protagonist's lover Tala turned traitor and allowed his forces to invade the Darkwatch citadel.
  • The Cyberdemon in Doom is the boss of the second episode out of three. It was even featured on the sequel's cover!
    • The Khan Maykr is this for DOOM Eternal, fought in the mission straight after Nekravol, which reveals the secrets of the Argent Energy she's been manufacturing. The very next mission after her fight is the Final Boss, the Icon of Sin.
  • Yuma in Far Cry 4 provides the game's only proper boss fight.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 2:
      • The Prophet of Regret, unless you just jump on his chair and punch him in the face, then he's a textbook Anti-Climax Boss.
      • The Heretic Leader is another example, although he's only the first boss, he's the hardest of the three, at least on Legendary.
      • Legendary co-op turns all the boss fights into That One Boss instead. The Heretic leader becomes the easiest because if you get lucky, you can assassinate him in one hit. The Prophet of Regret is a absolute nightmare (you have to watch out for his teleporting chair). If his giant laser (one shot kill) doesn't get you, the grenade spamming grunts will. If they don't, then the elites (both dual wielding plasma pistols AND using swords) sure will. On top of that, if you are skilled/fast/lucky enough to survive all three, your partner had better damn well be too. The final boss almost seems EASY after that.
    • In Halo 3, the Dual Boss against two Scarabs and the assault on the Citadel can count. On the other hand, Truth is hyped up to be this, but he just gets killed by the Arbiter in a cutscene.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein has the Ubersoldat, the second boss who benefits from both plot placement and grandiose battle.
  • Strife has The Programmer. Most of the game to this point had been preparing to storm his castle. During his fight, you are introduced to The Sigil and spend the rest of the game collecting its components from his colleagues.

    Platform Game 
  • Several in Copy Kitty due to the game's length being extended several times over its development, including the swordsman Arikan, the Humongous Mecha Fortress Virs and Giga Dengrahx (all of whom were formerly the game's Final Bosses), and Yoggval, a Recurring Boss throughout the game who eventually gets taken over and powered up into a final battle as Phoenix Yoggval.
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land gives us Grand Doomer, whose defeat triggers the completion of the Lor Starcutter and the group arriving at Halcandra.
  • Klonoa
    • Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and the Wii remake has Ghadius's Dragon, Joka/Joker. After dealing with him for the majority of the game, and witnessing him murder his grandfather, Klonoa's battle with Joka serves to signal the beginning of the endgame, opening the path to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • Klonoa: Lunatea's Veil has Cursed Leorina (Leorina transformed by the Power of Sorrow), also serving as the Disc-One Final Boss. Defeating her reveals the existence of the true Big Bad of the game, and allows Leorina to go through a Heel–Face Turn and join forces with the heroes.
  • X vs. Zero in Mega Man X5. This battle is built up by four games' worth of storyline (even included in a prophecy, or something close to one for a sci-fi series), gives genuine conflict to the characters involved, and one of their deaths brings about the end of the series (supposedly). The awesome battle theme cements its status as one of the best battles in the X series (some say even the entire Mega Man continuity).
  • Craft in Mega Man Zero 4 serves as this, as he's introduced as the leader of the Einherjar Eight Warriors in the beginning of the game, is fought at the midpoint and kidnaps Neige, then is fought as the penultimate boss after becoming The Starscream from Neige's words during her captivity and shooting Dr Weil with his own Kill Sat, while also killing millions of Neo Arcadian civilians in the process.
  • Prometheus and Pandora serve as this in the Mega Man ZX series, a unique example of a recurring Climax Boss. In the first game, Prometheus is fought after four of the eight Pseudoroids are defeated when he attacks and tries to destroy the Guardian HQ while challenging Vent/Aile to a match to see if they can join "the game". Pandora is fought after all the Pseudoroids are defeated and Vent/Aile enter Area M to destroy Model W, only for her to run interference for Serpent to get it to safety. Then they're both fought in the penultimate mission, where they reveal Serpent is just an Unwitting Pawn and there's someone else running things behind the scenes. In Advent, they are once more the penultimate bosses where they reveal their reasons for betraying and killing Albert before Albert reveals he planned for this and awakens Model W's ultimate form.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The last Launch Base Zone boss (the final boss from Sonic 3 alone) becomes this in the full game, marking the end of the game's first half. It's also a turning point in the story, as it's when Sonic stops the relaunch of the Death Egg, knocking it down to Angel Island's volcano and setting in motion the 'Sonic & Knuckles portion of the story.
    • The Egg Viper in Sonic Adventure. To a degree, the Egg Walker too, but it's pretty easy.
      • E-101 Mark II qualifies as well, and possibly Alpha/ZERO. They each get their own unique themes and act as the final bosses to their side-stories. E-101 Beta Mk II also comes straight after a Wham Line clarifying the playable character E-102 Gamma's Foregone Conclusion (after destroying Beta, he himself is his remaining target)..
      • To a degree, the Sonic and Tails vs Gamma character battle. While it's a pathetically easy boss on any side, it occurs just after Gamma's Pet the Dog moment rescuing Amy, leading her to stand up for him and break the fight up, finalizing his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Despite being the penultimate boss, Metal Sonic serves this role in Sonic CD. Prior to this point, Metal kidnapped Amy Rose and changed the past to help Dr. Robotnik rule the future, leaving Sonic to spend the entire game undoing his actions. When Sonic finally confronts him, they duke it out in a style of Boss Battle previously unseen in this series, racing, along with appropriate music.note  This race concludes with Sonic finally rescuing Amy and defeating Metal, with only Robotnik left to oppose him. It's arguably the most memorable moment of the game, as well as the most challenging.
    • Metal Sonic serves this role again in Sonic Mania. Though he's still the boss of Stardust Speedway, this time it's halfway through the game (Zone six out of twelve) and he heralds the point where Mania stops playing around and starts getting serious. His battle is much longer than the previous bosses, has four phases, and Metal himself is only vulnerable at specific times during the fourth phase while you're being chased by a wall of spikes. And like in CD this climax is accompanied by an amazing remix of the Japanese theme from CD. As of the Encore update, the final phase of the battle is changed to Eggman using the Phantom Ruby to make Metal Sonic transform into a One-Winged Angel.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon gives us Scorch, the boss of the penultimate world, Evening Lake. The cutscene before the fight gives a major plot revelation: The Sorceress is not a Well-Intentioned Extremist, which she reveals to Bianca. Bianca, this Not Being What She Signed Up For, finally performs her Heel–Face Turn. Anyway, the Sorceress needs a "Monster to End All Monsters" so she takes one of her minions, as she and Bianca have done twice already, but this one is unique. Unlike previous times, this minion is frightened and needs to be pushed over by his partner. Also, you don't see the boss in the cutscene this time. Then, we get to the actual fight, in which Bentley tells Spyro that the Sorceress is going to use Scorch to crush her enemies, starting with them.
  • Super Mario Sunshine has Mecha-Bowser. After Shadow Mario kidnaps Princess Peach, he takes her to Pinna Park, where he tries to take Mario down with this giant robotic Bowser lookalike. It's one of the few bosses in the game with a unique battle theme, and its defeat is followed by the reveal of Shadow Mario's identity. It's Bowser Jr.

    Rhythm Game 

    Role-Playing Game 
  • AdventureQuest Worlds gives us the Lords of Chaos, who are all Climax Bosses save for Discordia (who wasn't really a Chaos Lord) and Kimberly (other than the health bars which players on all servers worked to get their health bars down to 0 during the One-Eyed Doll Live Event, although Kimberly had the ability to heal the health bar a few times).
  • Baten Kaitos seems to have an affinity for these: the first game has Geldoblame, Kalas, and the final fight with Giacomo, Ayme, and Folon; the second game has Guillo, Shananth, and Wiseman, though the last of those is actually hidden away in a sidequest.
  • Bloodborne has Rom, the Vacuous Spider. Defeating her causes the Blood Moon to descend, opening up the endgame areas and causing previous areas to get harder. The Blood Moon phase is also when the game goes full ahead with the cosmic horror, which had previously been limited to a few scattered enemies and oblique hints. Everything usually hidden is now permanently visible (including the Eldritch Abomination hanging out on the safe house), most survivors go insane, and enemies include Cthulhumanoids and minor Great Ones.
  • Breath of Fire 3 had Garr, the Dragon-slayer at the end of Angel Tower, and the Dragon Elder much later in the game.
  • In Chrono Cross, there's Miguel. Chronopolis by itself reveals a lot about the nature of what happens when you mess around with time too often; Miguel is just where the story reaches its apex with it.
  • Chrono Trigger
    • The Hopeless Boss Fight against Lavos. It's actually winnable if you're of a high enough level, but you'll have to go through the New Game+ before you get to that point. And go through New Game+ several times before it ceases to be hard.
    • Magus. In addition to having intense boss music, it's where the true nature of what Lavos has done to the planet and the timelines starts emerging.
  • Cordelia's dragon form in Child of Light, which happens shortly after a huge revelation (Nox's betrayal) in the game. Her battle music is also different from the normal boss music.
  • Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls. Epic music, extremely challenging for the right reasons, and takes place in a huge and grand hall. Defeating the pair is the final test before meeting Gywnevere and recieving the Lordvessel, kicking off the second half of the Chosen Undead's quest.
  • Pontiff Sulyvahn and Saint Aldrich in Dark Souls 3 are the Big Bad Duumvirate for the first half of the game, and are both fought and killed at around the halfway point. Sulyvahn is The Heavy and responsible for countless other enemies and bosses you've already encountered, and is revealed to have masterminded a significant part of the plot. Aldrich, meanwhile, is the last major boss the player fights before they're supposed to go to Lothric Castle (assuming they killed Yhorm first). Their fights also come with two major revelations to add to their tensity; the Cathedral of the Deep had invaded and defiled Anor Londo, and Sulyvahn had fed Gwyndolin to Aldrich.
  • The first Digital Devil Saga has Varin Omega and his demon form, Ravana… story-wise, anyway. In the second game, it's Heat's new demon form Vritra, the last real boss fight before Gale and Cielo's sacrifices and Serph and Sera's fusion leading up to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • The Arishok at the end of Act II in Dragon Age II. This victory earns Hawke the title of "Champion". This in turn makes Hawke the most important person in Kirkwall, which forces Hawke to take sides in the Mage-Templar conflict in Act III.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest V: Kon is the last opponent before the last timeskip, and marks the transition to the fatherhood portion of the game. He even has an appropriately climactic setup, kidnapping the Hero's wife and having a unique battle setup where the kidnapped wife needs to weaken him in order to damage him.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, there's Marcello, which really starts ramping up how bad the Big Bad is making things once Marcello is beaten.
  • In EarthBound, most of the problems in the Eagleland section (Onett to Fourside) were caused by the Mani Mani Statue sent by Giygas. The statue manipulated six people directlynote  and large crowds though them, and is finally confronted by Ness and Jeff in an illusion world it created. It's not a defenseless statue, though, and fights back. Destroying it lets everyone in Fourside manipulated by it go back to normal, except for Pokey.
  • Final Fantasy series:
    • The Emperor in Final Fantasy II, who has every appearance of being the final boss, but there's still two more dungeons afterward.
    • Xande in Final Fantasy III is the Evil Overlord behind all the conflict in the game, until you kill him, at which point the Cloud of Darkness appears and you're transported to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon to fight it.
    • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, after the revelation that despite Fusoya and Golbez successfully killing the Mysterious Girl, she won't stay dead, the moon's crystals are all shattered, which results in the resurrection of Zeromus with only Golbez and Fusoya there to stop him. Fans of the first game will immediately know how overwhelmingly fucked they are.
    • Both of the first actual confrontations against Exdeath in Final Fantasy V. Also unique that both of them have a unique battle theme.
    • Final Fantasy VI has the fights against Kefka at Narshe and against Atma Weapon on the Floating Continent, which are the last fights of their respective acts of the story. The latter in particular directly precedes the game's biggest twist, in which Kefka kills Gestahl, destroys most of the world, and becomes the godlike ruler of what remains, radically shifting the focus of the story in its third and final act.
    • Jenova:LIFE in Final Fantasy VII could be seen as one, even though the fight itself isn't too difficult. However, Hojo at the end of Disc 2 would fit the description most accurately, being late in the plot, being an Act Boss, and also giving his own revelation before going into battle.
    • Both battles with Edea in Final Fantasy VIII, and later the battle with Adel.
    • Garland AND Kuja in Final Fantasy IX.
    • Seymour Natus in Bevelle and later Yunalesca in Zanarkand in Final Fantasy X.
    • Staying true to the Final Fantasy tradition of making sweet, sweet love with this trope, Final Fantasy XI has several of these.
      • In the Rise of the Zilart expansion, Kam'lanaut in the Stellar Fulcrum.
      • In the Chains of Promathia expansion, Tenzen on the airship. Omega and Ultima Weapons may count as well.
      • In the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion, Gessho in Talacca Cove.
      • Though not yet finished, the Climax Boss of the Wings of the Goddess expansion seems to be Cait Sith Ceithir. But considering the bombs they love to drop in every set of missions, the final fight of every mission set seems to be a Climax Boss..
    • Final Fantasy XIII has a whole series of Climax Bosses, the Eidolons. They appear for each party member when they cross their Despair Event Horizon—and typically mark the point where the characters begin overcoming their Fatal Flaws.
      • As for the overall plot, there's the first battle against Primarch Dysley, a.k.a. the fal'Cie Barthandelus.
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • Shadowbringers has Innocence, the final Lightwarden and most powerful of the Sin Eaters. Due to Vauthry turning out to be him, his defeat marks the end of the Sin Eaters' portion of the plot, as well as the end of Eulmore's role as antagonistic faction. After defeating him, however, the Player Character's body starts to break apart from the Light they absorbed from the Lightwardens, Emet-Selch shows up, kidnaps the Crystal Exarch, and usurps the role of main villain for the final part of the main plot.
      • Endwalker has Hydaelyn, the goddess your character has worked for since the game's beginning. Her fight is one final test to see if the Warrior of Light and the Scions are ready to face the Endsinger.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has these at the end (or near the end) of each Act:
      • Act I: Argath. Ramza figures out that his brothers are dicks.
      • Act II: Cardinal Delacroix/Cu Chulainn. Oh my Ajora, the Lucavi are real!
      • Act III has two, back to back.
      • Wiegraf /Belias. The Dark Side Made Him Forget why he's fighting Ramza in the first place.
      • Marquis Elmdore and his bodyguards, Celia, and Lettie. Alma is to be the vessel of Ultima.
      • Act IV: Dycedarg, your elder brother/Adrammelech. This is the end of the Beoulve family.
    • Dark Lord in Final Fantasy Adventure and its remakes. After Storming the Castle, you finally confront the Big Bad. Only to realize The Dragon, Julius, has played you and Dark Lord for fools and completed Dark Lord's plans without him.
  • All of the trophy bouts in Fleuret Blanc. They always occur at the end of a day and are thus usually in the proximity of an important plot event, and it's (usually) the first time you're able to bout a member. (In the case of Masque, it's also their first appearance.) Gameplay-wise, both Florentine and her opponent have twice as many Hit Points as they do in normal bouts, making the fight longer and more intense.
  • Glory of Heracles III has the boss of Mount Atlas, Baor. Not only does it reveal said character's fate, but what follows is a massive Wham Episode.
  • Golden Sun:
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The fights against Dragon-Maleficent and Possessed!Riku in Kingdom Hearts. Chernabog may also qualify, as he directly preceds the Final Boss.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories has three of these. Vexen serves as the first one in Sora's story, in which he is the first Organization member to be rematched, and right in the middle of a Wham Episode; he is also the first to be killed off. The rematch with Larxene is the second one, as it occurs right after the biggest revelations in the plot. In Reverse/Rebirth, this role is given to Zexion, despite being The Unfought in the Game Boy Advance version: he attempts to trap Riku in an illusion, only for this to backfire when Riku stops fighting with his inner darkness and finally embraces it; he is also the last Organization member in the game (but not the series) to be killed off.
    • Kingdom Hearts II doesn't have a traditional Climax Boss, but instead a Boss Rush through Xigbar, Luxord, Saix, and Xemnas in his regular form prior to the Final Boss. In the Final Mix version, Roxas is added to the start of this Boss Rush.
    • Data-Sora's Heartless in Kingdom Hearts coded, who seems to be the last boss in the last chapter, but there is in fact another chapter and another boss waiting after him.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has Saix, who had served as the closest thing to a Big Bad the story had and is finally fought when Roxas makes his pivotal decision to leave the Organization. Some argue that Xion, who is the [[Pre-Final Boss penultimate boss])<, also qualifies, while others consider that to be the real Final Boss since the following one is almost impossible to lose to and is only the last boss due to being a Foregone Conclusion.
    • Master Eraqus for Terra's story in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Also, the final bosses of all three story modes might qualify since there is a True Final Boss for the game in the Final Episode unlocked after completing the three story modes.
      • And even THAT boss becomes another Climax Boss in the Final Mix version, which adds one more bonus storyline ending in its own final boss.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D, Sora has Xemnas, who appears to drop bombshells about the Organization's purpose and ends Sora's storyline but not the game. Riku has Xehanort's Heartless, and the teenage Xehanort. The last one is arguably more challenging than the final boss, who is fought after the villains' main plan is already stopped. It originally wasn't supposed to be in the game at all, which would explain the lower difficulty, as the prior Climax Boss was supposed to be the Final Boss.
    • Similar to Kingdom Hearts II, there is no single Climax Boss in Kingdom Hearts III, instead being a Boss Rush through Luxord, Larxene and Marluxia, Riku Replica and Xigbar, Vanitas and Terra-Xehanort, Xion and Saix, and Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort prior to facing the Final Boss.
  • Templar Octienne, the Balor, and Gadflow in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Darth Malak, who's also the final boss, is first fought inconclusively right after the huge revelation about what his interest in the Player Character is.
  • The Legend of Dragoon had roughly one per disc. Disc 1 had Feyrbrand and Graham and Freugal (second time), Disc 2 had Lenus (first time) and Disc 3 had the Divine Dragon. Freugal and Divine Dragon were variations in that a lengthy amount of plot was developed after defeating them that had nothing to do with the bosses themselves. In addition, the final bosses to the first three discs usually had a large plot bomb dropped on the player either before or after the fight.
  • Isolde in Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis. Combined with the awesome song Nefertiti, it's easily one of the best boss battles in the game. And you battle her twice!!
  • Mass Effect:
    • The first game allows you to come face-to-face with Saren on Virmire, right after you learn the true nature of Sovereign, the starship he's been using to wreak havoc around the galaxy and brainwash people to his will, along with its goals. He possesses powers from all three of the skill trees available in the game and is an example of Heads I Win, Tails You Lose, considering that no matter how much damage you do to him, he gets away scot-free, leaving you to make a Sadistic Choice on whether to save Kaidan or Ashley when you destroy his base.
    • Mass Effect 2 has the mission on the abandoned Collector ship featuring that game's Big Bad, Harbinger, whom you never directly confront but rather have to defeat his multiple drones which he can Villain Override. This isn't your first time confronting such an avatar, but that occasion falls under Wake-Up Call Boss. This is right after you learn that his plan for an Alien Abduction is considerably larger in scale than believed, and that the Collectors are all that's left of the Protheans.
    • Mass Effect 3's closest equivalent is the fight on Thessia, where the underpinnings of the Asari culture are totally undermined, Kai Leng steals the secret of the McGuffin that you've been trying to construct in order to have any chance of winning or surviving the war with the Reapers, and like in Mass Effect, is another Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: Colonel, MegaMan's former ally from the fifth game, who MegaMan refuses to fight throughout the sixth title until he realizes that words cannot get through to him. Among his new attacks is a finishing move that is used once your HP reaches a certain point. If it connects, you are instantly killed unless MegaMan is equipped with Under Shirt.
  • Mega Man Star Force:
    • The first game has the two battles against Gemini Spark, with the first battle resulting in the story taking a darker turn and the second battle signaling the beginning of the endgame.
    • The second game has the battle against Rogue at the end of the Bermuda Maze, representing the clash between his and Geo's philosophies. Defeating him allows the bad guys to take the OOPart from Mega Man and set their plan into motion.
    • The third game has Dread Joker. The fights against Jack Corvus and Queen Virgo inside Meteor G could also count, though they're both directly before the Final Boss.
  • NEO: The World Ends with You has the fight with Susukichi at the end of Week 1 and the fight with Tsugumi/Grus Cantus at the end of Week 2. Especially the latter, because it comes right before a Wham Episode that reveals the full extent to which the Ruinbringers are Fixing the Game — they're actually just the Shinjuku Reapers, and as long as Shiba's around, nobody is going to be able to get out.
  • The Knave of Hearts in NieR attacks the main characters' hometown just as you finish collecting the sealed verses to cure Yonah. You can't defeat it yet, only seal it away. And while you're busy with that, the Shadowlord kidnaps Yonah.
  • Enoch in OFF, the largest and most powerful Guardian in the game's world that is faced right before the Room and shortly after the reveal of what, exactly, the "sugar" the Elsen are so obsessed with is really made of. He is also the first character in the game who explicitly points out that "purifying" a Zone kills almost all life in it and fills it with monsters called "Secretaries." The player does have the option to go back and see this as soon as Dedan is killed, but it is always optional; Enoch finally mentions that something happens to a Zone in his last words.
  • Persona 4:
    • Shadow Mitsuo, the boss of Void Quest. Both in gameplay because he tends to be a brick wall for many players, and in story because the Investigation Team thinks his arrest will bring the end of the kidnappings. It doesn't.
    • Kunino-Sagiri, the fragment of the Big Bad inside Namatame. Namatame has kidnapped your little cousin in an attempt to save her (or so he thinks), and at this point in time, he is supposed to be considered the true killer. He can end up being the final boss of the game if you go with the bad ending. And on top of all that, he's another stone wall for players.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth:
    • The Old Doll FOE, which counts as this for the third labyrinth. Early on in the dungeon, it's only visible on the map and cannot be actually encountered. Then, it ambushes the player in a cutscene, but you escape. Then comes the last floor before the real boss fight, where it chases you through most of the floor. It will catch you at least once, and successfully trapping it is very much like a climax for that floor, though neither it nor the dungeon are over.
    • Best Friend serves as this for the game as whole. It's fought at the end of what you believe is the last dungeon, it gets its own battle music, is Rei's Shadow, making it the embodiment of all her issues which you've spent most of the game trying to figure out, and its defeat leads into a Wham Episode that finally gives The Reveal of Zen and Rei's true natures.
  • Persona 5 features the multi-stage boss battle with the traitor. After the traitor is defeated, The Conspiracy goes into high gear, and the Big Bad Ensemble is the only real challenge remaining for the Phantom Thieves.
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth has Doe, who is fought at the end of the seemingly last labyrinth and is revealed to be a cognition of Hikari's father who was actually trying to help her, but got corrupted by her trauma-distorted cognition. The battle with him helps Hikari overcome her depression and come to terms with herself, as well as granting her and her friends the last key needed to leave the Cinema, leading to The Reveal of the true Big Bad and opening the path to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • Phantasy Star II has Neifirst, who concludes the end of Rolf's initial mission to end the Biomonster threat. Nothing Is the Same Anymore once she is killed; Nei dies as well, Climatrol has blown up, and Rolf and his party are now wanted by the Motavian government as terrorists.
    • Phantasy Star III ends each generation with a climax boss. Rhys battles the king of Cille to complete his goal of finding Maia, and depending on who Rhys marries, his son will have to fight one of the former generals in the war between Orakio and Laya: Siren for Ayn, and Lune for Nial.
    • Zio of Phantasy Star IV has all the trappings of being a Big Bad; he's an evil sorcerer running a Religion of Evil on Motavia. And just like Neifirst, meeting him brings with it the death of a main character, namely Alys.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the first half of the game is devoted to learning about, finding, and reaching Ravel Puzzlewell, original speaker of the Arc Words and the one responsible for your immortality. She has a lot of exposition and confrontational dialogue for you… and is not letting you go without a fight. After you defeat her, the real Big Bad shows up as the Transcendent One steps in to kill her for real.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the second, third, fourth, and sixth generations of Pokémon, the fights against the leader of the local crime syndicate typically take place immediately before battling the eighth Gym Leader and put an end to the main conflict of the story. In the third, fourth, and sixth generations, the battle against the game's flagship legendary also takes place in the same scenario. The first generation mixes it up as Giovanni, the Big Bad, is the eighth Gym Leader. The fifth generation abandons this formula completely; the leader, Ghetsis, is the Final Boss.
    • The same logic may be applied to whichever Legendary Pokémon is featured in the cover of your game. After all, they're usually the reason the evil team leader even has a goal to begin with. A reckless awakening later and suddenly the whole region is under massive danger because the Legendary Pokémon in question started messing with a fundamental force of the universe. Only by capturing/defeating them can you prevent certain doom and restore the natural order of things, and chances are that the criminal leader has already been dealt with by then.
    • The Eighth Gym Leaders in each game usually qualify, especially considering how much time you're going to have to spend Level Grinding between beating them and tackling the Elite Four. Giovanni in Pokémon Red and Blue is probably the best example from a story perspective, being the ringleader of Team Rocket, and Clair in Gold, Silver, and Crystal is probably the best example in terms of difficulty.
    • Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald have another Climax Boss: Norman, the fifth Gym Leader, and the player's father. Despite the fact that his Gym is closest to home, he refuses to fight you until you beat the other four Gym Leaders in the western half of the region. During the entire first half of the game, growing strong enough to challenge Norman is the player's primary goal. Beating him allows the player to use the Surf TM, unlocking the right half of the Hoenn region. Surpassing your father is what really gets you noticed by various NPCs. And Norman represents a massive Difficulty Spike compared to the other Gym Leaders. The remakes make this even more apparent by adding particular focus on Norman's battle and its aftermath, wherein he sees you off as you and Wally set out for the other half of Hoenn and he even smiles at how proud he is at you surpassing him.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon has both battles against Lusamine; the first one at Aether Paradise after learning she's Lillie's mother and her idea of "protecting" Pokémon is to cryogenically freeze them, and the second one in Ultra Space after she's fused with the Ultra-Beast Nihilego.
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has the second battle with Necrozma, having transformed into Ultra Necrozma, which occurs before the player's final Trial and takes the place of Motherbeast Lusamine from the original games. Faced at Level 60 at a point when Trainers' Pokémon are in the low 50s, it's easily the strongest Pokémon in the story. And that's without accounting for a diverse movepool, an Ability that makes super effective moves hit harder, an aura giving it a +1 boost to all its stats from the start, and stats eclipsing those of Arceus.
  • Radiata Stories features a branching storyline that ultimately sees the main character on one side or the other of a war. Each side has Jack visiting the Fire Dragon's volcano approximately 3/4 of the way through the game, though; in the Human Path Jack attacks and slays the Fire Dragon, while in the Fairy Path Jack tries to prevent the Fire Dragon's death, fails, and engages in a Hopeless Boss Fight against Cross.
  • Shining Force has the fight against Kane, the Runefaustian general that destroyed the main character's hometown and is given the greatest build-up of all the bosses in the game. He's also one of the toughest, with an extremely high attack proportional to that of the playable characters'.
  • Shining the Holy Ark has you fight Rilix after you learn that the King is nothing but a puppet and that she plans to revive the thousand year kingdom. Oh, and she plans to kill you.
  • Shin Megami Tensei main games:
    • As a general rule of thumb, bosses immediately before alignment lock or as a consequence of choosing your alignment tend to be this.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei I, Thor is the final boss fought before a major Point of No Return, and how you handle him and Gotou serves as your first major alignment decision. Once you beat him (or on Law, ally with him), the nukes start flying and Tokyo goes up in flames.
    • Uriel and Raphael, Michael, and the fake YHVH in Shin Megami Tensei II. They're all fought sequentially, mark the game's first major climax (these are the ones responsible for everything wrong up to this point, and even get new boss music. After beating them, however, more plot twists emerge and new villains (namely Lucifer, Satan, and the real YHVH) are revealed.
    • The Moirae Sisters take this role in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne as the guards of Yuko Takao, who the Demi-Fiend has been looking for since the Conception started. Later, Girimehkala and Sakahagi act as the second Climax Boss fight, with Sakahagi being built up as a great evil power that has to be stopped.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey:
      • Maia Ouroboros is built up as the last demon in your way of escape and is also the first major boss after the Tyrants. She is also a massive step up in difficulty after the already tough Asura and must be fought twice.
      • If you follow the Law or Chaos routes, there is also Commander Gore. He is regarded as one of the hardest bosses in the entire game, and will restore half of his full HP when you first get it down to 0. Luckily, if you go Neutral, then this fight is avoided, as you are fighting for the good of humankind. On Neutral, the Climax Boss is Zelenin, your brainwashed former ally who guards two of the MacGuffins necessary to save the world.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, depending on if you sided with Jonathan or Walter, the Climax Boss is either Lilith or Yamato-Takeru. Lilith has been dogging you since near the beginning of the game, while Yamato-Takeru works for Tayama, the most loathsome character in the setting; the two of them had been the main villains of the game up to this point, and winning this battle resolves their arcs and makes way for the real bad guys, namely the White, Merkabah, and Lucifer.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse:
      • Krishna, leader of the Divine Powers, serves this role, as the threat that the Divine Powers pose is enough to make humans, angels, and demons cease their three-way war as much as they need to in order to stop them. He is fought in Tsukiji Konganji, which he's set up as HQ for himself and his fellow polytheistic gods, and once he's downed, the first three factions go back to being at each other's throats. Then it turns out the Powers all faked their defeats and they proceed with the next step of their plan for humanity's "salvation".
      • After the second of two alignment locks, you either fight Dagda on Bonds as he takes your powers away in revenge for betraying him while Danu tries to make a new Dagda to keep you alive, or all of your partners (except Asahi, who's already dead by this point) on Massacre as they try to stop you and by extension Dagda from carrying out your omnicidal plans to remake the universe.
  • Skies of Arcadia features quite a few. There are two Hopeless Boss Fights against Ramirez, and the fight against Galcian's fleet and Galcian himself near the end. The fights against the Gigas and the other Admirals, whether in their ships or in hand-to-hand combat could count.
  • The battle against Luca Blight in Suikoden II embodies this trope, especially since you have to beat him three times in succession, then duel him with the Hero afterwards.
  • Super Mario Bros. RPGs:
  • Each boss battle with the Big Bad Smithy's weapon-based minions in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Also, Punchinello for being a stand-in to the weapon fight.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Van. While the party defeats him, it's a fake ending.
  • Tales of Berseria has the Hopeless Boss Fight against Innominat, which starts Velvet's massive Heroic BSoD and sets the tone for the second act of the game.
  • Tales of Graces continues the tradition with Emeraude, who is both this and That One Boss.
  • Tales of Legendia has Vaclav, after which point the true face of the game starts getting turned on its head, the invasion subplot is dropped, and the story focuses more on an Apocalypse Maiden.
  • Tales of Symphonia loves these. Not only does it have a bunch of them, it likes to spring them on you in groups: three climax bosses in a row, one of whom is all but unbeatable: Remiel, Kratos, Yggdrasill; two in a row: Pronyma, Yggdrasill; two in a row: Kratos, Origin.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Commander Brute, the apparent leader of the Vanguard and Marta's father.
  • Tales of Vesperia has Barbos for the end of Part 1 and Alexei for the end of Part 2.
  • Tales of Xillia really liked this trope, having not one but four of these, due to multiple characters competing for the role of the main villain. First is King Nachtigal, who turns out to just be the Disc-One Final Boss. Then comes Gaius, who also doubles as an open-ended boss (you can either win or lose). Then comes the battle against Gilland and Celsius, which wraps up of the main conflict of the game up to that point. And finally, the battle with the real Maxwell, which starts off as a Hopeless Boss Fight but then becomes winnable.
  • Archos in the single-player campaign of Telepath Tactics. Unlike previous bosses, he is an established character, and one of the major players in the central conflict: this is the first time you're fighting someone directly affiliated with the mining company, rather than one of their patsies.
  • The Tiamat Sacrament: Gyle as a strategy board boss is fought right after a rather complex revelation. First, Kelburn betrays the party to Ry'jin and reveals that he was spying on the Saphirites for the villains' behalf. Then he frees Az'uar and reveals he had to play along with the villains in order to steal the sixth Soul Gem from under Ry'jin's nose. The two then have to rescue Xandra and team up with the remaining Saphirites to drive Gyle's forces out of town.
  • Uncommon Time has three, one for each chapter.
    • Though it's a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, the Winterspirit, fought at the end of Movement 1 immediately after the World Tuning fails, definitely fulfills the role.
    • Teagan, fought at the end of Movement 2.
    • The Herald of Winter, fought at the end of Alto's Vision Quest. It represents Alto's subconscious hatred and desire to destroy the world. If you lose, you're treated to a Non Standard Game Over where the Herald dominates Alto's personality and ushers in an ice age that will destroy civilization.
  • In Undertale, Undyne is fought at the end of Waterfall, a backstory-dense level which reveals much about the Underground and its history. She will also make explicit the consequences of your chosen playstyle in her pre-battle speech; on a Pacifist route, she mentions her surprise that a human would be so non-violent and mock you for it, on the Neutral route, she'll remember the names of all the monsters you've killed (changing her speech entirely if you've killed Papyrus), and on a No-Mercy route, after being mortally wounded, she'll realize that you're out to kill humans and monsters alike, transforms herself into Undyne the Undying, and give you your first real challenge of the run.
  • Selvaria in Valkyria Chronicles, who stands at the top of a fortress and will rain bullets down upon any fool who's in the open long enough with a BFG. The strategy to defeat her is long and involved and can easily take several retries if you're not careful.
  • Selvaria in Valkyria Chronicles III, because The Nameless is supposed to assassinate Prince Maximilian. Turns out she's the reason why nobody else tried doing this! And then things goes downhill from there, with The Nameless branded as traitors and Gusurg missing, only to turn out to have switched sides.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky has multiple. Archbishop Gebhart and the Judgment are particularly notable, as they mark the end of the childhood arc. The third fight against Rutger also counts, as it involves taking down a long-term villain who presents a major threat to the world. Oliver, fought during the liberation of Avishun, may also count. He isn't a major villain and the battle doesn't coincide with as important a plot event as the other two examples, but it is fairly important (and difficult). All of these get special Battle Theme Music, too.
  • Wild Arms:
  • Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus, Big Bad of the first half of Wild ARMs 2, is fought at the transition point between the two halves of the game. Bucks tradition by including major plot points immediately after his boss fight, rather than before.
  • Ziekfried in Wild ARMs 3.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Two instances.
    • The rematch with Metal Face at Prison Island, approximately halfway through the game. Shulk's Monado is finally upgraded to be able to hurt Metal Face, a number of important characters are either killed off or revealed to still be alive, and the aftermath of the fight completely changes Shulk's motivations going into the second half.
    • The battle against Egil in the Heart of Mechonis, about three-quarters of the way into the game, after which the major plot shake-up happens. Egil is attempting to destroy the Bionis (and will, if you fail to stop him in time), and he represents the climax of almost all of the build-up, even from the beginning of the game.
  • The chapter-based structure of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 results in every chapter boss corresponding with a major shift in the story and a cliffhanger, but its most prominent example is the fight with Praetor Amalthus at the end of Chapter 9. While unusually late, Amalthus had been a constant presence in the story since Chapter 5 and by this point has been outed as the direct cause of every major conflict in the game. His fight leads to the deaths of several key characters, re-contextualizes his actions in earlier chapters, and directly precedes the very twist-heavy final chapter.
  • Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection Has 3, all centered around Thermidor and Exmachina in some way.
    • The fourth boss fight, against Thermidor's familiar, Fafnir, not only has him reveal his true colors as a demon, but also implies that he was responsible for Ragna's Dark and Troubled Past.
    • The first encounter with the Big Bad, Marquis Zahar, is just a Hopeless Boss Fight, but it also reveals Exmachina, the doll-like girl who works for Zahar, is actually his sister Mia, who went missing for seven years. Worse, she refuses to acknowledge Ragna as her brother, insisting he got the wrong person. Ragna is so heartbroken over this that he goes into a long period of Heroic B So D until the attack on Starfall Hamlet.
    • The scenes after the final fight against Zahar reveals Thermidor as The Man Behind the Man to Zahar. He admits to reviving him just to retrieve the Demon Lord Lucian's sealed powers from Luna Mundus as he strikes the killing blow to him. Not only that, it is also revealed that Mia was the reincarnated soul of Lucian.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Battle Garegga has Black Heart at the end of Stage 5 (of 7), which comes at the end of a stage with a couple revived bosses in between and is by far the hardest boss at this point due to a combination of tricky attacks and having only one part with a ton of hit points rather than a "core" and individually-destructible components like all previous bosses, ensuring that the player can't weaken its attacks before going in for the kill. After Black Heart is defeated, the player then proceeds into the enemy base.
  • The penultimate boss of Einhänder, Schwarzgeist. Defeating this boss leads right into the game's Wham Episode.
  • ALLTYNEX OS from Kamui is probably the game's most important boss fight, but there's still the Adjudicator to fight after it.
  • Dread Bomber in Raiden II is the last boss before you go into space, has four forms, and is considerably harder than previous bosses.
  • ZODIAC Virgo from RefleX. Ever since this mechanical terror destroyed the Human-Type Cancer, it's inevitable that the player has to fight it later on, resulting in one of the longest boss fights in the game besides ZODIAC Libra. It destroys the Phoenix and kills its pilot, only for the ship to resurrect as ZODIAC Ophiuchus.
  • Thunder Force has the Vasteel Original from V, which happens to be the resurrected Rynex from the previous game, and which was discovered by Earth and its technology reverse-engineered for great gain until an A.I. based on it went haywire and turned against humanity. The boss theme, "Duel On Top" is a remix of IV's intro theme.
  • Sol Cresta has the Stage 5 boss, Shadow Mandler, piloted by Chandor.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed II has the first fight with Rodrigo Borgia. Especially once the other Assassins arrive.
  • Assassin's Creed III has Connor against his father Haytham, mainly since he's a far more effective swordsman than any other enemy in the game and requires a specific move to beat him. He actually feels more like a final boss than the actual final boss.
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla has Paladin Fulke, also known as The Instrument in the Order of the Ancients. It becomes a Gondor Calls for Aid moment as all of the allies Eivor's racked up to that point when they go after her, not to mention it's very personal for them since she's not only held their brother Sigurd in captivity for days on end... but has also cut off his arm and left it as a souvenir for them to find.

    Strategy Game 
  • Crying Suns has two such bosses, both of which come before a major plot revelation rather than after.
    • General Vivar comes right before your encounter with the Strand A Idaho, who brings you up to speed on all the dirty secrets your AI companion Kaliban has been keeping from you.
    • The boss of Chapter V, Admiral Okonkwo, comes right before your meeting with Oberon, where you finally learn who caused the Shutdown and lock yourself into one of the game's multiple endings.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Marquess Darin of Laus and Sonia Reed in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. The latter is, bizarrely, completely optional.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has: Tirado, Carlyle (Eirika's route), Vigarde (Ephraim's), Orson, and Lyon.
    • The Black Knight/General Zelgius from both Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has three, each accompanied by a common boss battle theme: Gangrel at the end of the first act, Walhart at the end of the second act, and Validar just a few chapters before the end of the game.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has three, depending on which route you're playing, all against someone the Avatar cares for. In Birthright, it's Xander who forces the Avatar into a final duel after Elise is killed defending them from Xander's attack, but it's really so he can commit Suicide by Cop by letting the Avatar kill him. Conquest has Ryoma who has just been led to believe that the Avatar has killed Hinoka and is overcome with rage; unlike Xander in Birthright, Ryoma really is fighting to kill his sibling though he'll wait at least twenty-five turns before he makes his attack. Revelations meanwhile has Gunter, after his status as The Manchurian Agent for Anankos and the murderer of Scarlet is revealed and he attacks the Avatar's forces with an army of Vallite soldiers. The first two are also examples of duel bosses since Xander and Ryoma will separate the Avatar from their forces for the fight (though it's possible-almost mandatory in Ryoma's case-for them to reach the Avatar in time).
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has the final battle of Part I. It's a dramatic battle where the Flame Emperor shows off all of their true power and launches a full invasion of Garreg Mach Monastery, epic music that is exclusive to this chapter in the main story plays, and pretty much every major antagonist up to this point converges in this fight. It's also notable in that if you're a Black Eagle and attended Edelgard's coronation in the previous chapter, you can defect to her side and fight alongside her in this battle instead of against her, making Rhea the Climax Boss in her stead.
  • Galaxy Angel — the first fight with Noa in the Black Moon's core.
  • The Grand Zamboa in Third Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku-hen because the Anti-Spiral was pretty much the General in charge of this "battalion" of the Ba'al with something like half the villainous series used under his authority. The entire original story practically surrounded what he was doing in the background.In a lot of ways, he was kind of like what the Aerogators were to the entire Balmar Empire in the Alpha series. Everything in the story was leading up to the encounter with the Anti-Spiral.
  • XCOM 2 has an Avatar, the strongest unit in the alien army, who emerges during normal missions once the proper conditions are met late in the game. After the Avatar is destroyed, the alien Elders begin to ramp up their plans for humanity, hurtling the game into the grand finale.

    Survival Horror 

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Skorge in Gears of War 2.
  • The Lupino Showdown from the original Max Payne, which has Max fighting roughly thirteen mooks that swarm in one after another after him before Jack Lupino himself makes his entrance with two of his personal guard and a sawed-off shotgun. He's also hopped up on drugs and completely insane.
  • Sin and Punishment:
    • The battle against Kachua, which actually shares its battle theme with the final boss, and where Saki first transforms into a monster.
    • The fight at the end of Stage 6, a lengthy, 3-stage ordeal, ending in a hand-to-hand fight, and ultimately resulting in one of the characters being knocked out, and the other transforming into a monster in order to storm the final level.
  • Spec Ops: The Line: Right between Lugo's death and Adam staying behind for a Last Stand near the end of the game, Captain Walker has to fight a hallucination of Lugo, who is programmed as a Heavy with far more health.
  • Star Fox 64 has the Star Wolf fight on Fortuna/Fichina. The other two fights are fought too late to be considered this.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Hollow Fields, Summer Polanski serves this role with her Death Trap. After two volumes of tormenting Lucy Snow and indirectly threatening her with detention, she makes the decision to go all the way and outright attempt to kill her. Escaping this situation requires Lucy to use the skills she learned up to this point, as well as team up with Claude and act on the fly. She then goes on to confront the Big Bad in Volume 3.
  • In Kill la Kill, Nui Harime is first fought immediately after revealing that she was Isshin's killer.
  • One Piece
    • Arlong serves as this for the East Blue saga, the first major saga of the series. He's Nami's Arch-Enemy and the primary driving force of many of her actions since she first met Luffy and Zoro, and he's also the strongest pirate in the East Blue. On top of giving Luffy a more difficult fight than any other previous antagonist, his defeat causes Luffy to receive his first bounty and fully establishes the Straw Hats as the strongest pirate crew in their home sea, signaling that there's nothing left for them to do there and that they're ready to enter the Grand Line.
    • While the series has continued long since his defeat, the Alabasta arc, and Crocodile's defeat at Luffy's hands, actually kicked off a lot of the major events that are still transpiring in the manga. Not to mention that, according to Oda, One Piece was originally written to last around 5 years and end with the Alabasta Arc. So, it's no surprise that Crocodile's defeat had lingering Final Boss vibes.
    • Donquixote Doflamingo's final battle with Luffy goes in four stages (Fight with Luffy & Law, dealing with both Luffy and Law separately at the same time, battle with Luffy across Dressrosa, Race Against the Clock final showdown) which took over 30 chapters, with him being the first to push Luffy to his limits post-Timeskip, and signifying that the New World is only going to get more challenging from then on. Doflamingo himself seems to have regarded himself as the "gatekeeper" keeping all the major players in check, with it only going to be total chaos once they collide with him gone. He also marks the final instance where a Warlord is the Big Bad of an arc, after this point, the paradigm shifts to the Straw Hats and their allies fighting the Emperors and the World Government, and the Warlords are relegated to mostly secondary antagonists.
    • Charlotte Katakuri is highly formidable compared to the rest of the Big Mom Pirates — we're talking as bad as Jack, if not worse. In fact, he is the biggest threat aside from Big Mom in the whole Totto Land Arc, who only comes into the foray when the tea party commences, but from that moment on, he is shown racking up a body count with no effort and bringing an incredible sense of danger along with him and being the one person who is able to assist his entire family at once when they are incapacitated. His Climax Boss status was cemented in Chapter 878 when Luffy forced him into a mano o mano confrontation to cut off his pursuit of the Straw Hat Pirates.

    Fan Works 
  • Grand King Ghidorah in The Bridge. Nearly everything bad in the series can be tracked back to him in some fashion (he's in part responsible for Bagan in the first place, caused Monster X and the evil Xilians to exist, and a number of other things), and his fight marks the Godzilla family finally mending and uniting together against a single threat.

  • In Fengshen Yanyi, the Grand Tutor Wen Zhong is the most powerful servant of King Zhou, supervisor of all civil affairs and a skilled general with amazing taoist magic at his disposal, as well as being pals with powerful taoists Immortals who are more than willing to lend him a hand and plague Jiang Ziya and his disciples, especially the dreaded Mo Brothers, the extremly powerful Zhao Gongming and the infamous Ten Heavenly Lords. Wen Zhong takes the longest to defeat of all the invasions and marks the first time when all the forces of Kunlun Mountain Range have to come and lend a hand to the heroes, and even then they find their match.
  • Journey to the West: Among the countless demons and monsters fought by Sun Wukong and his pals, only two are really noteworthy for their skills, power and trouble: the first was the Bull Demon King, former buddy of Monkey, almost equal to him in battle and so strong and rebellious that Wukong needed help from Nezha and the Heavenly Soldiers to finally force him to surrender, all of this taking place halfway through and resolving a lenghty miniarc. The other candidate are the three Demon Kings of Camel Lion Mountain Ridge, three extremely powerful demons and former buddhist mounts who require a lenghty battle and the help of Buddha to relent. Most notably, all demons met after them aren't nearly as strong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Choushinsei Flashman: Great Emperor Ra Deus is the overlord of the Mess and the one responsible for the Flashmen all being snatched from their parents as infants. [[spoiler:He's fought and destroyed in the penultimate episode, needing two hits from Rolling Vulcan to go down no less. The final episode sees his Number Two taking the reigns, though the conflict isn't about him so much as it is the Flashmen needing to leave Earth before they perish from the "Anti-Flash" phenomenon.
  • King Octávio in Deus Salve O Rei is one of the primary villains introduced halfway through the series and becomes practically the biggest threat of the show if it were not for Princess Catarina being the real instigator of the crisis. He is slain just three episodes before the show ends by Afonso himself and the rest of the story is holding Catarina on trial for her crimes and executing her.
  • Kamen Rider Saber: Master Logos isn't the Final Boss, but he's the mastermind behind the show's Myth Arc and it takes the Kamen Riders all putting their swords together to give Touma a reality-warping Super Mode in order to defeat him.
  • Shane is the main antagonist of the second season of The Walking Dead, as he tries to usurp Rick after losing leadership of the group as well as Lori and Carl's affections to him. The penultimate episode of the season features their final confrontation that resolves their story arc and proves Shane wrong in that Rick is a man who can do what needs to be done to protect his family and friends.

    Web Video 
  • This was one of Game Dude's many gripes about Mickey Mousecapade: he gasped in astonishment at how short Pete's level was, and complained that, despite being on the cover art, he isn't actually the Final Boss.

    Western Animation