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Coup de Grâce Cutscene

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A video game trope where, after defeating a boss, there is a cutscene showing The Hero delivering a final blow. Sometimes the boss battle will end when the boss has a tiny sliver of health left to justify it. This may be seen as a way to avoid Critical Existence Failure, by implying that the enemy's health bar/Hit Points were to show how close you were to sufficiently weakening it to the point where the attack can be delivered. This does not cover incidences where a cutscene shows a boss dying or ignores the fact you just kicked its arse after the fight, but it can still be a form of Story Overwrite if the finishing blow is the exact same attack that you used dozens of times in the actual battle. (If it's so efficient, why didn't it work the first time(s) you used it?) Bonus points if a player character consistently delivers the final blow in the same manner after every boss fight.

Subtrope of Coup de Grâce. Compare Limit Break and Finishing Move, which serve the same function, but are delivered as part of normal gameplay rather than a cutscene. The two can meet halfway in "Press X to Not Die".


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  • No More Heroes does this with all of its bosses. Starting from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle onwards, you perform an unloseable Action Command to deliver the final blow yourself.
  • Asura's Wrath has these usually at the end of each boss or mini boss encounter (And after each burst), with the added bonus of doing a surprisingly skippable QTE (Though there are exceptions and not pressing those lowers your score).
  • Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance has several of these for your character, when disposing enemies with a special move. Either knocking a weakened gladiator off his feet and stab the gladiator repeatedly while sitting on him, or jumping on the backs of enemies larger than him and sending his BFS crashing down. All these scenes accompanied by plenty of glorious red spray.
  • The God of War series loves doing this with boss battles, with Kratos killing the boss in over-the-top and usually goretastic fashion.
  • Done in The Force Unleashed. First with quicktime events once the boss is sufficiently hurt, then with a final cutscene of them dying or escaping.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
    • In Metroid Prime, Meta-Ridley is finished off by the (now angry?) Chozo monument, specifically the heads towering far above the battlefield.
    • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the free-fall battle against Meta-Ridley ends with Samus landing on Ridley's head, sticking her Arm Cannon down his throat, and blasting away. She then leaves him to continue falling while Rundas swoops down to return her to the surface. He survives, of course, and returns near the end of the game as Omega Ridley.
  • Metroid: Samus Returns mixes this with Offhand Backhand. After the Diggernaut boss fight, Samus approaches the Power Bomb pickup. The fallen boss attempts one last attack on our heroine...only for her to nonchalantly blast it in the eye point-blank with a charge shot while staring at her new weapon.
  • In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, after Dingo defeats Nohman in Anubis while inside Aumaan at the end of the game, followed by a cutscene in which Nohman reveals that he killed Dingo's comrades before, the player can finish off Nohman by either obliterating him or by slashing him.

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: At the end of the battle with Titan-Joker, Batman delivers the knockout punch during a cutscene once he has been worn down sufficiently, knocking him out cold.
    • Even better, he sprays explosive gel on his fist before making the punch.
  • In Gravity Rush, when you whittle down a boss's health bar, you're told to "finish them" by tapping a crosshair that appears on their weak point (in the original Vita version) or getting close enough to make the prompt appear (Remastered and the sequel), activating a cutscene where Kat attacks them with a powered-up version of the Spiraling Claw special attack. Failing to activate the prompt in time allows the boss to regain some of their health and resume fighting.
    • Subverted in your first battle with Raven in the first game. They do the same move to counter it, sending Kat flying back.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: During duels (in the Playstation version) Harry will finish off his opponent with Expelliamus in a cutscene as soon as their health runs out.
  • Hyper Light Drifter: Judgement, the Final Boss, does not immediately "die" when it is defeated. It sits there, breathing heavily, unable to move, attack, or defend itself. The Drifter must deliberately finish it off — with a non-standard flourish of strikes culminating in a leap and a Sword Plant, driving their Laser Blade deep into Judgement's body. Then, in an Ominous Visual Glitch, Judgement vanishes and it appears that the Drifter instead fatally stabbed the Immortal Cell. This raises questions about how "real" Judgement was, or whether the fight was more a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 did this during every boss.
  • Used in Overlord II with the overlord jumping on and slicing open every boss after you've sufficiently drained its health bar.

    Beat 'em up 
  • Devil's Hunt grants one of these every time you finish off an enemy with a special move, either punching them into the sky before penetrating their torso before they land, or flinging them to the ground before stomping their skulls apart.
  • In Devil May Cry, every time you land the "kill" shot on a boss, the game immediately switches to a cutscene, usually involving Dante finishing off the boss (or in Nero's case, trying to go for the kill but being foiled by Villain: Exit, Stage Left). Needless to say, this doesn't happen during the inevitable Boss Rush, or the Bloody Palace.
  • Done with nearly every boss in Bayonetta. The boss fight itself has Bayonetta weakening her massive Angelic/Demonic foe, finishing off with a flashy sequence (often accompanied by Button Mashing) to summon a larger demon to destroy (and drag away) the boss.
  • Gungrave ends with Grave holding a gun on the Big Bad. He doesn't fire until you press the Fire button. Very satisfying.
    • Don't forget Grave's boss fatality shots, the Graveyard Special. Get a boss to about 15-20% health, and the Demolition Shot gauge starts blinking. Pressing the triangle button switches to a scene of a graveyard where Grave pulls off a flashy coffin attack that finishes the boss off.
    • In the second game, during the end stages, depleting a major boss' life meter blurs the screen to a cutscene of your character (out of three) finishing the boss off with an exaggerated version of one of their high-level/max level Demolition Shots. In the case of Grave vs. Fangoram, Grave uses at least four of his D. Shots in one combo. And a vanity pause.
  • In Legend of Success Joe, when Joe wins a match, a pixelated and poorly animated instant replay of the finishing blow is shown on the screen above the ring.
  • In UFO Kamen Yakisoban: Kettler no Kuroi Inbou, every Boss Battle is followed by a cutscene in which Yakisoban unleashes his Noodle Attack.
  • In Yakuza Kiwami 2, against some important bosses, they'll survive with a tiny bit of health and become stunned. This is your time to mash X to refill your Heat meter ("Feel the Heat!") and unleash a special Heat Action on them. This technique is called the Essence of Finishing Blow.

  • Soulcalibur IV, at least for some character's stories. Others just show the Big Bad dying, etc.
  • In Punch-Out!! for the Wii, exactly one of the special cutscenes triggered by finishing the opponent with a Star Punch (or under certain other circumstances) features Little Mac delivering additional punches that finally send the opponent to the canvas.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, this happens after every boss fight.
  • In Mortal Kombat 9, once you defeat Shao Kahn in Arcade Mode, your character lands a series of finishing blows before Kahn staggers back and explodes into chunks.
  • This is how enemies are shown defeated in Infinity Blade, with special cutscenes if the enemy is on a ledge.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Every boss in the original three episodes of Duke Nukem 3D is finished in a cutscene. The first takes a shotgun blast to the skull. The third and final boss has his eye kicked through an American football goal. The second boss however has his head ripped off and his neck shat in. Literally.
  • After defeating the final boss in Perfect Dark, the cutscene shows Joanna shooting off a shard from an altar which impales the boss.
  • Inverted with Halo: Reach's epilogue, "Lone Wolf", where Noble Six receives a coup de grâce from a squad of Elites after being defeated.
  • After the fight with Primagen in Turok 2, the Energy Totems, if you saved them all, fire off beams to finish him off.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Hero of Sparta allows you a special cutscene whenever you deal an execution move on an enemy, either jumping on a Minotaur's back and shoving your sword down it's nape, slitting a gorgons' throat, repeatedly stabbing a ghoul into the guts, and the like. And somehow, surrounding enemies will not interfere in your execution.

    Light Gun Game 
  • After defeating the Final Boss of The House of the Dead III, he goes on a final rant, concluding with "Daniel, you need me..."note  Both heroes effectively tell him to shut up, Daniel declares "You're Not My Father!", and blast him away with one final shot from each of their shotguns.

  • The first part of the ending cut scene in Super Mario Galaxy where Mario punches Bowser hard enough just after the final attack to send him into the surface of a star.
  • In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, this is how the battles between Grand Doomer and Magolor end, with Kirby attacking them with the Ultra Sword. Subverted in Magolor's case, as you end up fighting Magolor Soul afterwards.
  • Portal 2 does this for the Final Boss. Your last portal shot puts it in a very inconvenient position, but it claims to be able to recover even from that until GLaDOS punts it into deep space and rescues you.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, not only is the coup de grace done in a cutscene, it's not even Banjo or Kazooie who directly delivers it; the player's last relevant action is to release the Jinjonator, who defeats Gruntilda in a cutscene shortly afterward.
  • Also subverted in Mega Man Zero 3. The final boss seems to be fine after being defeated and knocks Zero down, but Zero gets some help and the player then receives control for one last unmissable attack.
  • In Donkey Kong Country Returns, this happens twice with bosses. Once after you deliver the final blow to whatever critter the Tiki of that world is possessing (showing the critter fall unconscious in an over-the-top manner), and one where Donkey Kong punches out that Tiki. The latter comes with Action Commands to add more hits!
  • Iji's fight against Annihilator Iosa ends when you disable her nanoshield, which is immediately followed by Iji putting her gun to Iosa's head. What happens after that depends on which version of the game you're playing.
    • In all versions up to 1.5, there's a Beat while Iosa seems momentarily frozen in shock, followed by a gunshot and Smash to Black.
    • Version 1.6 added the option for a true Pacifist Run. If you've managed to get Assassin Ansaksie on your side, then she's the one to deliver the final blow, allowing Iji to keep her kill counter at 0. Otherwise, the scene plays out the same as in previous versions.
    • In Version 1.7, you actually have the option to kill Iosa or leave her alive. If you leave her alive, she comes back during the ending cutscene and kills Iji.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy inverts the trope: if you get hit with a specific move of Kraidgief's, it turns into a ridiculously awesome piledriver with Fist of the North Star music playing in the background. This is pretty blatant overkill, as just touching Kraidgief is more than enough to kill The Kid.
  • In the True Final Boss level of Sonic Rush, after you weaken the Egg Salamander enough, you get a cutscene of Sonic and Blaze finishing it off.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Age of Mythology ends its campaign with a showdown between the allies of the gods, led by the recently-glorified Arkantos, and the allies of the Titans, led by a giant animated statue of Poseidon. Bringing down the statue in-game is depicted in-cutscene with the end of an epic duel between the two.
    • Even if you manage to kill the statue without using Arkantos.
  • Dawn of War: Several units get their sync kills (an animation performed when meleeing a specific enemy type to death) highlighted in a cutscene.
    • In Winter Assault, the Bloodthirster is summoned to destroy the Avatar (otherwise immune to normal weapons), while Chaplain Varnus is introduced killing another Bloodthirster (using the Force Commander's sync kill no less: grabbing it by the horns standing on its head, and beating its brains out).
    • Dark Crusade: The Eldar stronghold ends with a representative unit in single combat with the Avatar, the Bloodthirster and Librarian showing off their their sync kills.
    • Retribution: the Deranged Champion of Chaos is introduced singlehandedly killing a Carnifex (a Tyranid bigger than most tanks), while every campaign ends with Daemon Prince Kyras taking the faction's ultimate support power to the face (the Tyranid and Chaos ones in particular involve impaling/sawing his head, the others use some form of orbital bombardment).

    Role Playing Game 
  • Happens after nearly every boss in Xenoblade Chronicles 1, subverted or played straight, while this music plays.
  • In the first part of The Legend of Dragoon, every boss battle ends with Dart lunging at the boss to finish them. This is subverted a few times. Ulroborus, which wasn't quite dead after the attack; secondly, Kongol who swats Dart out of the air mid jump; finally, Lloyd, who is unexpectedly shielded by Sister Wink. In the Barrens, it's because of this that Mappi is able to steal his Dragoon spirit.
  • Subverted in Kingdom Hearts II; in the final boss battle, after warding off an extremely prolonged attack, a small cutscene shows shit going down and blows being delivered. However, at the end of all this he is not dead; just left with 1 HP and permanently stunned, allowing you to deliver the final blow.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles—the first one: when the Miasma Core is down to a sliver of health, you're transported to Raem, the true final boss. Once you defeat it, you're warped back to the Miasma Core where you finish the job.
  • In The World Ends with You this trope is combined with a Combined Energy Attack. All three of Neku's partners attack Draco Cantus but Neku grows to giant size.
  • Pretty much every boss fight in NieR does this using scaled-up versions of the Sealed Verse powers.
    • The sequel, NieR: Automata, does it a few times as well, such as after the battle against So-Shi.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins the Bosses got one, this also randomly occurs after dealing the critical hit as sort of automated Finishing Move on smaller Mobs or a Boss recurring as normal Mob (like Ogres). A rather spectacular one happens occurs at the end of the fight with the Archdemon, wherein a character grabs a nearby fallen sword to finish it off in dramatic fashion. This can variably be the PC or various party members depending on how you handle a number of earlier story decisions. May be amusing if it happens to be your staff-wielding Mage of a Warden who is normally too physically weak to even equip a sword.
  • In Fable: The Lost Chapters, if you take the evil path toward the ending of the game you end up fighting The Guildmaster, mentor and father figure of the series. After bashing your way through a deluge of guardsmen he confronts you with a cutscene asking you one last time to take the good path, and allow him to teleport you to that quest, if you say no he starts to say something along the lines of "Well, fine. But don't think you have me beat I still have a trick or--" you then brutally beat him to death in cut scene.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the battle against Jaron Namir concludes with Adam giving the boss an extremely satisfying haymaker to the jaw. A fitting payback for what the monster did to you early in the game. Even better in the vanilla version where due to a bug you could use an instant-takedown on Jaron Namir during his boss-battle, ending it instantly with a takedown cinematic.
  • Mass Effect 3 uses this twice:
    • In the boss battle against the Reaper on Rannoch, Shepard has to repeatedly call down airstrikes to damage it. Normally the targeting laser would make a "ding!" sound as you successfully targeted the firing chamber, followed by the airstrike. When you target it the last time, you hear the "ding!" and the game segues immediately into a cutscene showing the final, crippling blast raining down from the ships in orbit.
    • The second fight against Kai Leng utilizes this for the final blow: Kai Leng shakingly gets up and tries to strike Shepard with his sword, only to get an Omni-Blade to the chest for his troubles. A Renegade Interrupt lets you smash his sword first.note 
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sometimes has randomly-triggered finishing move cutscenes when you defeat enemies; there are a number of different ones depending on how you did it (with a weapon, unarmed combat, Shield Bash, whatever). Originally, these were only available if you killed an enemy with a melee attack (because of the Ludicrous Gibs potential), but later patches added in coup de grâce cutscenes for bows (Arrow Cam) and magical projectile attacks as well. You can also be subject to these; a dragon for example will pick you and shake you like a terrier with a rat before tossing your lifeless body aside, game over.
  • Beating the Dragon Tank boss in Chrono Trigger prompts Crono to jump up on its back and deliver a final blow with his katana, making it explode and blow up a bridge behind you.
  • The Final Boss of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, upon defeat, is given one final blow from Nanashi in a cutscene after a dialogue choice.
    Dagda: "Enough of this, kid. Put an end to him with your own two hands! "
  • Persona:
  • Every boss battle in Pokémon Legends: Arceus ends with a cutscene where the protagonist throws the final balm at the opponent.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid : This is subverted when Grey Fox is pinned to the wall by Metal Gear Rex and asks Snake to Mercy Kill him. No matter how many times the player pushes the fire button, Snake can't bring himself to do it.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: In the last battle, this is used as a rarity for the series and the only time it's done in the game, when Snake executes The Boss. The cutscene also ends and forces players to deliver the coup de grace themselves.
  • The Hitman series:
    • Codename 47 has 47 deliver a Neck Snap to Doctor Ortmeyer after the player shoots him. It's actually the opening cutscene for the first level in Contracts.
    • After the final shootout in Silent Assassin, 47 simply shoots Sergei in the head to finish him off.
    • At the end of Absolution, 47 delivers a final gunshot to Travis after blowing open the crypt he's hiding in.
    • Happens much more often in the World of Assassination Trilogy, where kills at the end of certain setups (such as smothering Silvio Caruso while disguised as his psychologist), while activated through the player's input, will be dealt by 47.
  • The Last of Us does this when Ellie fucks up David with a machete.
  • In Assassin's Creed, the targets all have cutscene conversations with Altaïr before dying from their wounds. Majd Addin, after admitting he staged executions because he loves power and the people's fear, gets finished off with another stab.

    Survival Horror 
  • Done to various lengths in most Resident Evil games, but it's played up the most in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. After all the shit Nemesis put you through, his badly mutilated body still drags itself toward you for one final strike after the final battle. You're free to just flee and let the impending nuke take him out, but it is a hell of a lot more satisfying to watch Jill pump him full of high-calibre magnum rounds and finish the bastard off once and for all.
    Jill: You want S.T.A.R.S? I'll give you S.T.A.R.S.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Dirge of Cerberus does this with just about every end boss you fight.
  • This is how the eponymous character in Black★Rock Shooter: The Game finishes off the alien bosses.
  • Happens for quite a few bosses in Vanquish, odd thing is occasionally they combine it with a Quick Time Events so what might become a Coup De Grace could blow up in your face forcing you to fight another mode of the boss or start all over again.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake, Fire Emblem Echoes, when the game calculates that the attack will spell the final boss' defeat after running all RNG, Alm will toss his shield to the side and perform a jumping stab, a move seen nowhere else in the game. He and Celica get special dialogue before this moment in Echoes. Subverted if you decide to finish Duma off with Nosferatu, though.
  • Oddly subverted in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. When Ike attacks the final boss, the game runs all RNG calculations to determine if the attack will finish the boss off (which basically comes down to "will the attack hit" and "is it enough damage"). If it will, the game switches to a cutscene showing Yune charging up Ike's Ragnell with the power to finish this once and for all...then switches back to the usual battle animations for the actual attack (although the attack uses Ike's Critical Hit animation even though the boss has a skill protecting it from critical hits), before switching back to cutscenes for the end. (This means that if you should be able to finish the battle and the cutscene doesn't trigger, Ike's attack is about to miss.)
  • Very common in the Super Robot Wars series. Defeating important villains at the appropriate point in the plot will almost always prompt a cutscene in which they get some HP back and then get killed by the attack that defeated them in their respective show. Sometimes justified, as with GaoGaiGar's villains, since only Guy can pull out their Zonder Cores.
    • This was sometimes subverted in some games or cases, like the aforementioned Robeast coring in Super Robot Wars W, if you dealt the finishing blow with the relevent attack in the first place.
  • Used in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, overlapping with Interface Spoiler. If a killshot lands, the game camera switches from the normal overhead isometric view to a more cinematic angle, as someone goes crashing to the ground in a burst of blood and plasma. This is particularly impressive with melee kills, in which a Chryssalid rips into a victim with its claws and talons, a Muton Berserker pounds some poor bastard into a red smear on the floor, or your MEC Trooper runs up to an alien Sectopod and punches its metal face in.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Optionally used with certain targets in Grand Theft Auto IV with the introduction of the executions. When faced with a target who either pleads for their life or just stands and talks trash while awaiting death, the player can either just kill them however they want or switch to a handgun, target them, and pull the trigger to begin a short cutscene that shows the protagonist killing his target. Executions range from simple "Shoot him in da head" to "Plenty of blood and pain". Some examples are:
    • Vlad: Vlad begins threatening Niko, who places a pistol against his forehead, turns his head and covers his eyes to avoid the blood spray, and pulls the trigger.
    • Darko: Niko shoots him twelve times, one for each friend lost in the war because of him, and Darko still has enough time to thank Niko for putting him out of his misery before expiring.
    • Faustin: Faustin tells Niko that Dmitri will betray him (very true), but Niko shoots Faustin in the knee, then in the chest, causing him to fall off the roof, bounce of the awning of his own club, and splat onto the street.
    • Dimitri: If you take the Revenge path in the game, Niko will shoot through a boatyard and small tanker to get to him. The first shot goes to the nuts, and while Dimitri is holding his leaking tanker, Niko headshots him about two seconds later.
    • Pegorino: Unlike the other examples, the player has no choice of whether or not to kill him. After taking him down in regular combat, the cutscene shows Pegorino on the ground, ranting and coughing up blood, before Niko shoots him in the head with an AK-47.
    • Ray Bulgarin: After fighting through mobs of henchmen aboard Bulgarin's plane, Luis confronts him in the cockpit. When Bulgarin pulls a grenade, Luis shoots him and parachutes from the plane as it explodes.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has several of these as well, including Pulaski and Tenpenny
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City gets one of these in as well, about halfway through the game. "Say 'good night' , Mr. Diaz! *boomheadshot*"
  • Used for the defeat of every rival gang boss in the Saints Row games.
  • In Scarface: The World Is Yours, brief cutscenes play to show that the player has killed Gaspar Gomez and Alejandro Sosa

  • In Time Crisis 4. You, and possibly a second player, are armed with machine guns, grenade launchers, etc. For the whole fight, you shoot the boss while he wrestles with your ally. Once his health bar is low, it goes into a cutscene where the NPC finishes the boss off mano-a-mano.
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Several bosses have had this, notably the Lord English fight and defeating Project Binary.
  • In Guild Wars after defeating the undead Prince Rurik he apologizes for being used and asks to be destroyed. The party leader does so.
  • In the Dungeons and Dragons stream Critical Role, the player gets to describe their victory whenever Matthew Mercer utters the phrase "How do you want to do this?"
  • Subverted by the Mata Nui Online Game, a point-and-click exploration game with rare moments of conflict until the abrupt introduction of a grand battle between the Matoran (the player's people) and the infected Rahi beast hordes at the end. Once the player's team brings the Rahi's life meters down, the ensuing cutscene still implies that the fight is a lost cause until The Cavalry arrives and defeats the beasts for good, while the player gets knocked unconscious and misses out on the ultimate victory.


Video Example(s):


Bello Fresco Grand Finale

Shinigami reaps a culprit's soul by summoning a scythe and unleashing a blast attack that obliterates them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / FinishingMove

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