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Cutscene Boss

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Well, he never said the player was expected to be there too.
Sometimes, instead of allowing the player to face a Video Game boss directly in battle, the game will instead present the battle as a non-interactive sequence or cutscene. This has a few advantages, in that by removing the player's skill from the equation, the battle can achieve a specific outcome using strict choreography — fully rendered CGI cutscenes can apply their Cutscene Power to the Max, with the player and/or boss executing awesome acrobatic feats that would not otherwise be possible in an actual, in-game battle. This may also happen if the "Boss" was fought in a way outside the purview of the game's genre (or the limitation of its engine).

On the other hand, if the player was expecting to engage the boss directly, seeing the battle play out with no input from them whatsoever can feel very anticlimactic, even more so than a Zero-Effort Boss.

This can be downplayed somewhat if the cutscene employs Press X to Not Die, allowing the player some interactivity even if they have no ultimate say in the battle's outcome (as in most cases, failing to hit the right button immediately fails the battle, forcing the player to try the sequence again).

Compare Coup de Grâce Cutscene, where the Boss Battle itself was fully interactive, but a cutscene is used to depict the killing blow. See also The Unfought.


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  • In Alice: Madness Returns, Alice and the Hatter found themselves face-to-face with a steampunk Humongous Mecha. Hatter was swiftly caught by a hook and suspended in mid air off-screen, and the player expects a difficult boss fight alone against the mecha. Suddenly, just as the mecha was going to flatten Alice, a giant tea-pot falls onto it and destroyed the entire mecha. Then, the Hatter nimbly and unflinchingly lands in front of the carnage...
  • In Asura's Wrath, Kalrow, Sergei and Olga are disposed of in cutscenes, though the former at least gets a QTE. Somewhat justified in that they seem to be more military commanders rather than warriors like the other deities.
  • In Battle Princess Madelyn, the Baron of Germany boss fight ramps up just like any other...and then, right before the battle begins, he's killed off by another character. To add insult to injury, the responsible party is a child that had gone missing from the village earlier, and you were asked to find.
  • Mission: Impossible (Konami): The first boss you encounter is an old man in a wheelchair. Before you can even move, he ends up falling through a trap door in the floor, ending the stage without you having to do anything.
  • Messiah: The battle with Father Prime. The cutscene shows Bob (possessing a Behemoth) approaching the boss, dodging his laser beam and slaying him with one blow. You could argue that the true challenge lies in possessing the none-too-cooperative Behemoth in the first place.
  • In Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals, at the end, you defeat Krux's two true dark spectrobes, he then summons a bigger true dark spectrobe, which is defeated by the emergence of the Ultimate Spectrobe Tindera from its previously broken Geo. You then face Krux himself. He's pitiful. But you don't actually kill him.
  • The final "battle" of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order pits Cal against Darth Vader. Unlike most cutscene bosses, this one highlights how utterly outmatched the player character is against the foe. Nothing Cal does even scratches the boss and all he can do is try to flee. Reinforced by the fact that this boss doesn't even have a health bar.

    Action Game 
  • Tomb Raider series:
    • At the end of Tomb Raider: Underworld, Natla dies in a cutscene after you disable her doomsday machine.
    • Larson in Tomb Raider: Anniversary, as opposed to the fight in the original game, simply stands in Lara's way holding the key she needs, confidently stating she doesn't have the heart to kill him. In a cutscene, she proves him wrong by shooting him, which is played out in a slow-motion quick-time event.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Batman: Arkham Asylum used this trope for the Harley Quinn confrontation. After all the build up involving taking down an army of her Mooks she was taken down in a cutscene, then you fight Bane instead. Perhaps to avoid the dreaded sight of Batman hitting a girl.
    • Three times in the sequel, Batman: Arkham City. The first is Bane, who is involved in one of the optional subplots. The most glaring and frustrating is Hugo Strange, since he's effectively the main villain of the story (or at least The Heavy). The other is The Joker, but that's not quite as bad, because by the time you find that out, you did fight him, it just wasn't the real Joker. There are numerous borderline examples who are taken out with little effort, but whether they count - and whether the challenge of getting to them makes up for it - is a matter of personal opinion. There is also Ra's Al Ghul, who turns out to be The Man Behind the Man for Hugo Strange, but like The Joker you actually did fight him much earlier in the story, and unlike the Joker, it was really him.
    • The Joker is this again in Batman: Arkham Origins. Batman fights him as a Post-Final Boss, with the real Final Boss being Bane, who has been supercharged with the Titan formula. It's possible to die to The Joker, but that requires letting him talk while pointing a gun at Batman's head. If you let him shoot you, you kind of have it coming.
    • In Batman: Arkham Knight, once Batman has defeated his greatest fear (The remaining taint of Joker's blood taking him over), Scarecrow's fear toxin no longer effects him. Scarecrow is defeated, injected with his own toxins, and turned over to the GCPD as a broken wreck without any player input whatsoever. Also, to the bitter disappointment of people hoping for a Batman/Deathstroke showdown (similar to the one in Origins), the boss fight with Deathstroke takes place with both characters in tanks, and following the destruction of his tank Deathstroke emerges only to be effortlessly taken down in a cutscene.
  • God of War III has Hephaestus. His "godly possession" lampshades this, as it unlocks a cheat that automatically completes quick-time events for you. Helios also goes down without being fought in-game. Lastly, Hera is literally killed in a regular cutscene with no player input whatsoever.
  • Final Zone II's Big Bad, Ruman, is executed by Bowie in the underwhelmingly short ending cutscene.

    Adventure Game 
  • The climactic battle in Hopkins FBI consists of a non-interactive swordfight that ends with the protagonist running the villain through. The challenge is in making sure the villain stays dead.
  • At the end of King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones, the final showdown between Graham and Gervain, also known as The Father, is this, with Graham coming out on top in a sword fight.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Call of Duty series has almost nothing but this due to a casual pretense of realism (no one survives a full magazine of bullets to the chest, making any potential boss battle a very short affair by default). The best you can hope for when it comes to fighting a major villain is a quicktime event; fortunately, when this happens it is usually done very well.
    • Al-Asad in Modern Warfare 1 is brutally interrogated before being shot. In the finale, you are immobilized by an explosion, watch helplessly as your squad mates die, get a Gunship Rescue, and then Captain Price slides you a pistol and you gun down Zakhaev.
    • General Shepherd from Modern Warfare 2, stabs Soap in the chest and then gives Price a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. You watch this happen, and then (slowly and agonizingly) pull the blade out of your chest, and throw it into his eye.
    • In Modern Warfare 3, Makarov is beaten, smashed through a glass ceiling, and is hanged.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II has a surprising aversion - if you catch up to DeFalco in the mission "Karma" before he escapes, you get to blast him in a straight-up firefight. Naturally, he has as much health as a common mook. Played straight with Big Bad Raul Menendez, though, who you knock down in the final interactable sequence in the game after sliding down rubble and kill his allies in the room—including DeFalco if he survived up to this point—and then you're given the option to kill or arrest him. There were also earlier encounters with Menendez which are totally uninteractable, further playing it straight.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) breaks tradition by giving you an actual Final Boss fight against a Juggernaut. There is then a more traditional quicktime sequence against Barkov: you sneak up behind him, get into a brief fist fight with him, and then stab him. Then stab him some more. And then some more. You can then either shoot him in the head or throw him out of the helicopter.
    • Kravchenko in Call of Duty: Black Ops is a straight example. You merely watch as Woods grapples with him, Kravchenko arms a grenade belt, and then Woods tackles him out the window, saving your life at the expense of his. And played straight again in Black Ops II when he turns out to have survived and Mason gets into a fight with him; they exchange blows, but the only interactivity in all of his screentime is during the next scene when he's been captured and under interrogation and Mason has to resist his long-dormant brainwashing from the previous game or else he'll kill Kravchenko before getting all the information he can out of him.
  • Die Hard: Vendetta contains plenty of boss fights, but the Big Bad Piet Gruber was killed in a cutscene, when John McClane's daughter Lucy puts a single bullet in him. His Dragon Ascendant, Jack, is far more competent as a boss.
  • Battlefield 3's final boss Solomon ends up being the Press X to Not Die type of "QTE boss," who (other than in an in-engine cutscene with a bound Jonathan Miller about to be executed) is only encountered in person in a few QTE sequences during the middle and the end of the final level (unless one counts the first level which is a preview of the first half of the final level), all of which are of the Press X to Not Die variety. However, much like the above Call of Duty example, it's not necessarily a bad thing, as the sequence itself is pretty exciting, plus the final result (Bashing Solomon's skull in with a brick) is quite satisfying, given what's transpired up to that point.
  • For two thirds of BioShock, you're hunting down Andrew Ryan, The Leader of the underwater city in which you're trapped and perpetrator of many crimes against you and your Mission Control. When you finally meet him, he uses your Trigger Phrase on you in order to demonstrate how you've been brainwashed, demonstrates its chilling effect on you in a Breaking Speech, and effectively commits Suicide By Manchurian Agent while screaming his mantra in your face, all in a non-interactive cutscene to show how hopeless and out of your own control you really are, while also affirming his Objectivist philosophy- if he's going to die, he'll die on his own terms, not Fontaine's. Tropes Are Not Bad— it's extremely effective. The game also deliberately prepares you for a boss battle by leaving ammo and med kits lying around before you find him.
    "A man chooses! A slave obeys! OBEY!"
  • BioShock Infinite:
    • The Big Bad "Prophet" Zachary Hale Comstock is killed in a cutscene when Booker beats him against his own baptismal font while screaming at him for all the horrible things he did to Elizabeth. Not really a spoiler, since we learn early on that he's an aged man with about half a dozen flavors of terminal cancer, and thus not particularly physically intimidating.
    • Songbird is also killed in a cutscene, though in this case it's not Booker who does the deed. Elizabeth teleports all three of them to the Rapture of BioShock, but drops Songbird in the depths outside. Songbird's Achilles' Heel is water pressure (being designed for high atmosphere, he had trouble with being even a dozen feet underwater), so he dies quite quickly at the bottom of the ocean.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved, the Master Chief encounters the proto-Gravemind Flood form, which Captain Keyes has been absorbed into, and buries his fist in its face to extract Keyes' neural implants. Unusually though, this doesn't actually kill the proto-Gravemind, nor does it attempt to directly fight back; it's killed off-screen by the Covenant.
    • In Halo 2, unlike the Prophet of Regret, who was fought in a full-on Boss Battle, the Prophet of Mercy is jumped by a Flood infection form in a cutscene on the way to his ship and left for dead by Truth, leaving the Master Chief to kill him in the following cutscene by ripping the infection form away from Mercy's throat.
    • The Prophet of Truth, the original trilogy's Big Bad, is ultimately killed in Halo 3 in a cutscene; he doesn't even put up a fight and is already dying by the time the main characters reach him. Even the climactic fight leading up to him isn't particularly notable (other than the Fuel Rod Cannon spamming Heavy Grunts). Of course, Bungie was never particularly good at handling boss fights (as Halo 2 can attest), so some fans consider this forgivable. On the other hand, even as a cutscene, Truth's death is still viciously cathartic.
    • Same goes to the the Ur-Didact in Halo 4, who is taken out via a quick-time event.
  • Resistance:
    • After hearing about the Angel for quite a while, you enter the room where one is being held... only to open it and blast its brains out with a rifle in a cutscene.
    • Mick Cutler, leader of The Warden in Resistance 3, is fought with a lot of QTE button presses. Likely justified, as there's nothing about him (aside from the potential of Rank Scales with Asskicking) that would make him any stronger than a standard mook, so the cutscene fight gives him something special. That said, if this fight is encountered with a friend in co-op, the QTEs are removed, turning him into just a literal Cutscene Boss.
  • In Unreal II: The Awakening, the game ends with the player discovering that his boss, Sector Commander Hawkins, was the Big Bad all along. Hawkins gets quickly executed in a cutscene by a single pistol shot to the gut, although as an unarmed human officer it's not like he could have put up much of a fight anyway.
  • Goldfinger in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. Justified in that he's set a trap for you, and doesn't know that you can control the OMEN from where you are.
  • The 2008 reboot of Turok at least handled this in a semi-original way that actually managed to be reasonably organic. The final fight with the Big Bad is a QTE knife-fight (similar to the one from Resident Evil 4 against Krauser), but failing a QTE doesn't kill you instantly, it just changes the fight slightly so that the flow of the fight goes against you instead of for you. The fight lasts several QTEs, and varies quite a bit depending of which QTEs you win and which ones you lose.

    Fighting Game 
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, every major antagonistic force that is not a playable character is disposed of via cutscenes, despite being built up as bosses in trailers or by the game's own story mode. This includes Dah'ren Mohran, MODOK, the giant symbiote, and Grandmaster Meio. The two exceptions are Ultron Sigma and his One-Winged Angel, Ultron Omega.
  • In Street Fighter II: The Interactive Movie, the finale leads up to the fight against Ryu with the stats you’ve accumulated so far. However, it’s possible to score a Perfect on the one round with Ryu. Should you pull this off, Bison comments on the defeat of Ryu as a montage plays with scenes from the movie...which then results in the Cyborg snapping and turning against M. Bison. He expected it though, and challenges the Cyborg. This results in a fight with the Cyborg and M. Bison, with the two being equally matched, with the infamous sliding kick move being shown in the process. Ultimately, the Cyborg wins and kills M. Bison by shooting a fireball into the vehicle M. Bison used. The aftermath shows the Cyborg as a wandering warrior.


    Hack and Slash 
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has two: Dolzaev and a Desperado scientist. The former blows himself up after Mistral's defeat, while Raiden personally one-shots the latter.

    Mecha Game 
  • Golg Boldoza in his appearance in Another Century's Episode 2. The entire final stretch of the game is dedicated to the climatic battle as seen in Do You Remember Love, and the final stage sees the player rushing through Boldoza's battleship for a final showdown. The player reaches the central core (courtesy of a Sekiha Tenkyouken from Domon Kasshu), and Boldoza... Simply screams "UWOOOOOOOOH!! PROTOCULTUUUUUURE!!" as the player and his wingmen unload their strongest weapons and attacks right in the face, killing him instantly.
  • The final battle of Macross Frontier, as depicted in Another Century's Episode: R, is just as bad if not worse. The original Macross finale was depicted in ACE2 as two stages of chaotic battle with the Zentraedi horde before the final stage as described above. Frontier's final battle is all one stage, consisting of three or four Rail Shooter sequences sandwiched between several long unskippable Cut Scenes (which spawned the infamous "NOT SKIP MOVIE" or "NSM" meme in Japan) that show the battle playing out almost exactly as it did in the original anime, complete with Alto finishing Big Bad Grace O'Connor himself. Overall, the impact of non-Frontier characters is entirely negligible, which is Comically Missing the Point of ACE (and its progenitor Super Robot Wars).
  • In Super Robot Wars L, Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-hen, and Super Robot Wars V, the Eight Angel is reduced to a cutscene where the 3 EVA hold it up and kill it by stabbing it in its core.

  • Toontown Online has 2; The V.P. falls off of the tallest skyscraper and the C.F.O. tries to run away, but gets hit with his own trains.
  • The third form of The Naughty Sorceress in Kingdom of Loathing is effectively a non-combat adventure that you either beat or lose to depending on whether you have the Wand of Nagamar in your inventory, made from a W, an A, an N and a D.
  • Fahrad at the end of the Fangs of the Father questline in World of Warcraft, who is "fought" after turning in the last quest, which involves defeating Deathwing after completing all the previous quests.

    Party Game 
  • Mario Party 2 has Bowser play this role in all boards after a Super Star (the board's winner) is about to be declared:
    • In Pirate Land, the Super Star and Bowser duel with pirate blades. The Super Star eventually wins.
    • In Western Land, the Super Star and Bowser duel with pistols. Due to Bowser's size and the position of his hand while he shoots, his bullet flies above the Super Star's head and misses, while the Super Star's projectile does land on Bowser, defeating him.
    • In Space Land, Bowser (known here as Black Hole Bowser) is mounting a vehicle protected by a force field. The Super Star attempts to shoot at him, but the vehicle's force field protects him. They then try to attack him from behind, as the force field isn't protecting the back side, but Bowser always manages to cover it by keeping track of the Super Star's movements. The Super Star then spins around him rapidly, dizzying him; this gives them the chance to shoot at the vehicle from behind, defeating Bowser.
    • In Mystery Land, Bowser asks a Koopa Troopa to solve a riddle by guessing the identity of a character covered in a black silhouette. The Koopa Troopa fails by erroneously suggesting it's a cow, so Bowser casts a curse on him. The Super Star then appears, and is given the same riddle; upon close observation, they correctly guess that the silhouette is the face of Bowser himself, which undoes the Koopa King's curses (including that of the latest victim) and saves a Bob-omb Buddy who had been turned into a gold statue a long time ago.
    • In Horror Land, Bowser and the Super Star duel with wands. Their magic's beams begin clashing and, while it seems like Bowser is going to get the upper hand, the Super Star's beam makes a comeback and ultimately overcomes Bowser's, defeating him and turning him into a frog.
    • In Bowser Land, Bowser begins by using his fire breath, though the Super Star manages to dodge it by jumping whenever necessary. Next, Bowser tempts the Super Star to grab him from the tail and throw him away (like Mario did to him in Super Mario 64); the Super Star accepts the challenge and tries to grab him, but Bowser turns into metal and is too heavy to be moved. With the power of the Star Toad gives to them, the Super Star grabs Bowser's tail once again and manages to throw him away for good, defeating him.

    Platform Game 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Bionic Commando:
    • The final leg builds up to two dramatic confrontations — Groeder and Super Joe. Groeder lives up to the build-up... but You beat Super Joe in a cutscene after a neat Press X to Not Die sequence to get to him.
    • At one point, you enter a circle of statues that practically promises a boss fight. Instead, a cutscene boss is defeated, non-interactive, and the protagonist just walks away not having done any fighting during the level.
  • After going through the final stage in Ghostbusters II four times (one for each Ghostbuster), you are in front of Vigo... and automatically shoot him repeatedly until he goes down.
  • The final boss in Trine gets a lot of show, screaming at you and flying around as you try to climb a tower while lava advances, and various obstacles are summoned in your way. Then once you get to the top... the heroes separate, and The Knight hits the boss in the head with the hammer in a cutscene. Cue "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • Mirror's Edge has quite a bad habit of Anticlimax Bosses, with only one out of three presenting any prolonged effort. However the first one is 100% Press X to Not Die; he's a wrestler who comes charging at you with a pipe (in a cutscene), at which point you have a nanosecond to disarm him before he clobbers you and chucks you off a building (in a cutscene). When you finally get this right, you are treated (in a cutscene) to him falling off said building, catching the ledge, exchanging a few pleasantries with you and getting shot by a sniper.
  • In Psychonauts, despite being one of the main antagonists throughout most of the game Doctor Loboto is unceremoniously knocked off a cliff by his own weapon in a cutscene. You never get to go into his mind, either.
  • Psychonauts 2: In the final level Fatherland Follies, Gristol is defeated in his own brain by Lili beating him up with a metal case.
  • Bob the Goldfish from Earthworm Jim 2. In the first game, he was easy enough. In this game, you get up to him, his final defences slide away revealing his bowl, letters come down declaring "FIGHT,"... and then Jim eats him.
  • In the Colossus level of Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, you're told that you must kill a yeti that's been terrorising the inhabitants of the world. As soon as you step into its cage, it roars and stomps the ground...causing a statue to fall and crush it to death.
  • At the end of the Sega Genesis Ninja Gaiden clone El Viento, the final boss is neither Bishop Henry, leader of the evil cult, nor Hastur, the elder god they were trying to summon. Instead, once you kill the witch the cult was intending to sacrifice to summon Hastur, the cult's plans are foiled and Henry is shown led away in chains.
  • Metroid:
    • Super Metroid:
      • The Super Metroid, which is completely invincible; it reduces Samus down to 1 HP and then flies off.
      • Much of the fight with the final boss is taken up by the cutscene of the Super Metroid attacking, then Mother Brain killing the Super Metroid, after which Samus gets the Hyper Beam and the fight becomes a Zero-Effort Boss.
    • In Metroid: Other M, the final boss fight with MB takes the form of one very brief FPS segment - aim at the boss and Federation soldiers storm in and finish the job.
  • The SNES Alien³ builds up to a confrontation with the Alien Queen, but when you actually reach her there's just a cut scene of Ripley forcing her into a smelting vat. A Winner Is You!
  • The Joker is this in the beta version of Batman for the NES. After you defeat one of his cronies at Gotham Cathedral, you watch a cutscene of Batman punching the Joker and the credits roll. The Joker is upgraded to Final Boss in the final version of the game.
  • In the first Ty the Tasmanian Tiger game the first fight against Sly is fun, frantic and ends with an ominous promise of a rematch. Said rematch conforms to this trope.
  • In the Nintendo DS version of LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, there's a particularly bad example. When you complete the first level of Revenge of the Sith, it rushes through the scenes on Greivous' ship and shows a very short scene where Count Dooku dies. It's just the beheading. That's all.
  • Mega Man
    • The FMV in Mega Man 8 where Mega Man reaches Wily Tower for the first time, guarded by a Giant Mook, Gori-Three. Mega Man and Rush could not defeat the robot, and Duo has to save them.
    • After defeating four bosses as Zero in Mega Man X4, he's challenged to a duel by Colonel, which takes place entirely in an FMV cutscene. Made odder by the fact that he does the same to X, but X gets an actual boss fight against him.
  • Super Mario Odyssey begins with a cutscene of Mario fighting Bowser on his airship. Bowser wins by knocking Mario off, sending him to the first playable area of the game.
  • Portal Runner: While Vikki readies her assault on the Martian Emperor, Sarge and Leo fight off Rage and a brigade of Martians in a cutscene.

    Puzzle Game 
  • One of the earliest Cutscene Bosses has to be "the Great Devil" of the puzzle game The Adventures of Lolo. You only get to see him during the ending cutscene, in which he is seen standing completely still and grinning like an idiot. Lolo shoots a projectile at him, encasing him in an eggshell. Lolo then shoots another projectile, and the egg goes flying off into the distance. Thus, the Great Devil is revealed to be a One-Hit-Point Wonder, and the day is saved. (The sequels avoided this by including actual boss battles with bosses that, you know, fight back.)
  • The NES game Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos concludes with the main character automatically defeating the Big Bad with the restored Staff of Demnos.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The first Dark Cloud. In a game featuring several important cutscenes requiring timed button presses, it may come as a surprise when the main character uses the Moon People's Sun Giant to take on the Dark Genie entirely without player interaction. And shortly before discovering that you were just Fighting a Shadow, with the real Dark Genie about to return the favor.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, Surt, the leader of the Vanir, becomes this if the player manages to lock themselves on the path to the A Ending. Here, Loki, after gaining his true form with the Dragon Orb, kills him in one shot and prepares to destroy Midgard after stealing Jotunheim's treasure. If you played the game normally and didn't mess up, Surt is the actual Final Boss.
  • The first of the Arcana Shadows in Persona 3, Arcana Magician, is this, serving as a catalyst for the protagonist to summon his/her initial Persona, Orpheus (and Thanatos) for the first time. You fight two small remnants of the Shadow after it dies, but they die in one hit, making it a Zero-Effort Boss.
  • At the end of Lunar: Dragon Song, you've gone three rounds with The Dragon and finally killed him, avenging a party member he killed earlier. It's time to fight the powerful Big Bad and save Lucia. And after a dramatic cutscene with him... earthquake! Ignatius falls down a pit and that's all she wrote. The Dragon was the final boss, which is why he was so persistent.
  • Ephidel, the apparent Dragon, from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade lives just long enough for you to meet his boss, Big Bad Nergal, before getting offed in a cutscene. Every other high-ranking Fang gets faced at least once (except for the one that does a Heel–Face Turn), but Ephidel, who canonically is probably Nergal's second-most powerful morph, gets killed by a cutscene, pathetically screaming for Nergal to help him. Hacking the game reveals he doesn't even have stats programmed in. (While several less important NPCs do)
  • Mass Effect:
    • Under specific circumstances, Saren is potentially a cutscene boss. If the player's persuasion skills are high enough, he can be convinced to commit suicide during the cutscene that takes place before the boss battle, completely avoiding the second-to final battle.
    • Vido Santiago on the Renegade path through Zaeed's loyalty mission.
  • Mass Effect 3: The Illusive Man. Depending on your previous choices, he can be convinced to shoot himself or you will have to shoot him yourself.
  • In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII, three WEAPONs are released, and two are killed in cutscenes. In the International version, a fight against Diamond WEAPON is added to the game (as well as two more optional WEAPONs that can be fought by the player), but Sapphire WEAPON is still killed in a cutscene.
  • Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II. The Updated Re-release upgrades him to a full-fledged Duel Boss. Additionally there was Captain Hook in 358/2 Days as well as The Queen and Lady Tremaine in Birth by Sleep, Frollo in Dream Drop Distance and Zexion in the GBA version of Chain of Memories.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, immediately following a two-part Warmup Boss battle as Lightning against Chaos Bahamut, you're treated to a Cutscene Boss fight against Big Bad Caius, with some a few quicktime events thrown in.
  • Skies of Arcadia:
    • Admiral Alfonso and Empress Teodora, with both being a part of The Empire and all. You actually fight Alfonso in a ship fight and two of his more dangerous Mooks, but given that he's a Smug Snake and can apparently fence judging from the cutscenes, it's infuriating to see him die during the Rains of Destruction via crushing by a pillar. It's more implausible with Teodora because she never actively does anything.
    • Rhaknam is briefly fought by the Little Jack in Valua, but there's no boss battle against him.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Sebastian LaCroix plays with this. Thanks to the way Dominate works in lore, you technically fight him while he's possessing a suicide bomber (it's not a hard fight, even with the time limit), but the man himself is a different story. After you kill his dragon the Sheriff, he tries using Dominate on you, and when that fails, he falls to his knees and starts whining and simpering. Depending on your ending, the main character may take this opportunity to give LaCroix a physical evaluation of his management style. You don't get to kill him in the end: Either Ming Xiao or Strauss takes him away for execution, or the contents of the Ankharan Sarcophagus does him (and potentially you) in.
  • At the end of Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, you don't kill the Burrower that had driven Duke Hector Barrik and his people insane. You just have to reach the Burrower's lair and use a scroll to summon the Immortal Ka the Preserver and he kills the Burrower. Justified in that Burrowers are invincible by any other means.
  • Gestahl in Final Fantasy VI - you're going to fight him? Nope, Wham Episode. The -real- Big Bad does him in in a cutscene.
  • Subverted at the end of Final Fantasy IV, right at the bottom of the Lunar Subterrane, when the party comes face to face with Zemus, a cutscene starts and Zemus is killed by a former player character and a NPC. But before the victory can be celebrated, the embodiment of Zemus' hate attacks the party, providing a suitably brutal Final Boss fight.
  • Shin Megami Tensei NINE has the Legion that attacks Studio Alto at the beginning of the game. Normally, the party acts on its own in battle unless ordered to perform specific tasks, but you don't get the ability to give these orders until after this battle, so it ends without any player involvement.
  • Subverted with Orias in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. He is fought by Commander Gore in a cutscene, and Orias surrenders and goes away...but it's a trick, as he delivers a fatal attack to Gore shortly afterward. After this happens, you fight an (injured) Orias.
  • Final Fantasy XIII does it for dramatic effect with Jhil. A battle with her got a lot of buildup, but she gets brushed aside from the Big Bad. She can be challenged in the sequel as DLC though.
  • Mull, The Big Bad of Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, is presented in the final room in the game summoning a Sealed Evil in a Can which immediately kills him once the battle scene begins.
  • The final boss of Citizens of Earth is a one-on-one fight between the Vice President of Earth, who up until then had been relying on his citizens to do the fighting, and the Misery Machine. The VP has only one attack, his smile, and whenever his HP drops too low a cutscene plays where the citizens cheer him on, which fully heals him.
  • Undertale has this with Asgore in the True Pacifist run. Considering the fact you already fought him in the Neutral Route, that is to be expected. The Genocide path, though, has the battle with Asgore starting after Sans is beaten, but Chara decides, "Oh, it's the end? Better make this one quick!" and one-shots Asgore. That's not all. Flowey kills Asgore, and then destroys the soul. Flowey then pops up and then begs Chara not to kill Flowey. But Chara just kills Flowey with multiple hits. That is when Chara talks to you after all of this.
  • In Let It Die, after the protagonist defeats Taro Gunkanyama and makes it to the top of the Tower of Barbs, Uncle Death congratulates them for their victory and reveals that he had the Tower of Barbs created so that he could take the souls of those they killed on the way up there to weigh down the moon and cause it to crash-land into Earth... only to change his mind last minute after being entertained by the protagonist. Then an Undead Abomination appears (having been implied to be the Final Boss) before Uncle Death kills him in one hit.
  • The GBA version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring resolves all encounters that could've served as boss battles (i.e. the Ringwraiths, the Watcher in the Water, and the Balrog) with very short slideshow cutscenes.
  • In Wizardry IV, Kadorto, the apparent Final Boss of both the "evil" ending and the Golden Ending, is fought in a cutscene. The last real battle leading up to this is Hawkwind.

    Sports Game 
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground, if you play through Sick difficulty after beating the story mode on Normal, the cutscene leading up to your ultimate showdown with archrival Eric Sparrow is itself the entire battle. No, seriously. You smash his face in and take the tape, you did it, you won, no skate-off. Admittedly, this is kind of a fitting way for a guy like Eric to go down.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Tenchu:
    • Fatal Shadows has a boss who can either be fought normally if you finish the level through one door, or who you kill in one hit in a cut-scene if you finish the level through a different door.
    • The original game has the corrupt minister. Ayame insults him and then proceed to fight him normally, but if you are playing as Rikimaru, he'll convince the minister to die with honor and commit Seppuku.
  • In the endgame of Beyond Good & Evil you shoot down General Keck's spider ship, defeat his bodyguards, and get ready to confront him - only to find him dying in the cockpit of the ship.
  • Assassin's Creed III provides four of these:
    • When you are forced to kill Kanen'tó:kon, there's no battle at all, just a cutscene followed by Press X to Not Die. This in a way makes it all the sadder.
    • The battle against Haytham is played out, albeit with blur and stagger effects because of Connor's injury. However, its resolution becomes another Press X to Not Die.
    • You chase Charles Lee, fully expecting a climactic battle at the end, but then a cutscene occurs wherein Connor, again injured, shoots him. Even then, you have to follow him in order to finish him off, which takes place in yet another cutscene.
    • Warren Vidic, the main villain of the Framing Device story, also meets his end in a yet another Press X to Not Die scene.

  • Every boss fight in Tokyo Tattoo Girls is one of these. Despite the player's ability to recruit Disciples and Punks to bolster their forces and cause Turf Wars, no actual battles are ever depicted. Even the Syndicate encounters boil down to some dialogue, one multiple-choice prompt, and an image of a Big Ball of Violence that lasts for mere seconds.

    Survival Horror 
  • The first encounter with Krauser in Resident Evil 4 plays out entirely with a Press X to Not Die cutscene of a knife fight between the two of them. It's actually done fairly well, and you get a proper battle against him a little later on.
  • Resident Evil 5 has you do essentially the same thing against Wesker after you hitch a ride onto his bomber, only this time, there are two characters and potentially two players, which means more potential for one of you to Have a Nice Death.
  • Dead Space 2:
    • The game does this for several of its human antagonists. Stross, after he goes insane, is killed in a single button mashing sequence, while the battle with Teidemann requires you to mash twice before Isaac kills him in one shot with his own Javelin Gun.
    • The action sequence that follows reaching Daina at the end of Chapter Five. Wham - she's a Unitologist who wants you to build Markers for her. Wham - Gunship blows out the window and gibs her! Button mash or get Thrown Out the Airlock! Air-Vent Passageway escape! Then a giant Necromorph shows up, more than capable of squishing you in seconds! It starts shredding the scenery! Shoot it in the weak point for massive damage! All you did was piss it off! Run away! Gunship again, windows blown out, no handholds so out the airlock you go! You latch onto the gunship - and so does Necromorph Kong! Shoot the Fuel Tank! Then you ride the blast back into the station, dust yourself off and walk away. Whew. Isaac Clarke is a monster truck that walks like a man.
  • Outlast has a lot of bosses in this manner. Trager? Busts into the elevator you're in, only for you to shove him out and have him squished between the floor outside and the descending elevator. Chris Walker? Pureed in an airvent. Gluskin? Impaled on a piece of rebar as he tries to hang you. Jeremy Blaire? Ripped apart by the Walrider. Though Trager, Walker, and Gluskin are justified when you remember that you're just an investigative journalist/technician, and they're... well, completely insane.
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming downplays this with Judge Holloway; it's literally two Button Mashing contests back to back (using this game's version of Press X to Not Die). Succeed in both, and the boss dies. Fail in either, and Alex dies instead (the second time, by the same fate he would inflict on his adversary if he had succeeded).

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • WET's final boss battle with Tarantula and Pelham turns out to be just a series of quick-time events. A sad departure from the intense gameplay of the rest of the game, and a serious letdown considering the Roaring Rampage of Revenge that Rubi was on for much of it.
  • Mercenaries 2 has the main bad guy of the story, Ramon Solano, military dictator of Venezuela, who betrayed and attempted to kill you after you helped him by staging a coup that puts him in power, hide in a heavily fortified bunker that requires a tactical nuclear weapon to pierce, after which you go straight to an ultra lame boss battle that requires a bunch of Quick Time Events that destroy the helicopter he's in and that's it. Considering how the first game had you take on the best of the best of the North Korean Army, fighting massive waves of tanks and helicopters before defeating the top North Korean General, the boss battle in Mercenaries 2 is a major disappointment.
  • Red Faction II has one that is kind of similar to BioShock but with less symbolism. You play as a soldier whose squad defects to the rebellion to take down the dictator Sopot. When you finally get to him it turns out that rank doesn't scale with asskicking. In fact he's unarmed. In the cutscene the protagonist holds him at gunpoint and escorts him to a catwalk under a launching rocket. Then your commanding officer reveals that he only wanted to overthrow Sopot to take his place and now you have to fight your way to him to have a real boss fight.
  • In WinBack, the Big Bad Kenneth is killed in a cutscene by The Starscream Cecile a couple levels before the end.
  • General Randall is the leader of Blackwatch, the Government Conspiracy behind all of the mayhem in [PROTOTYPE]. When Alex Mercer finally catches up to Randall, he delivers a brief tirade and then consumes the general effortlessly. Which makes sense, given that Alex is able to take on entire batallions or infected hordes singlehandedly and win, and Randall's a middle-aged, one-armed man.
  • The final fight in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is an interesting example, as it's primarily a series of quick-time-event mini-cutscenes, but they're context-sensitive and mixed into a normal gameplay fistfight (basically every 2 or 3 punches triggers a QTE cutscene). It's like they took the final fight from Metal Gear Solid 4 and made it even more QTE heavy.
  • In Max Payne 3, there's Neves (the leader of Crachá Preto) who holds Max at gunpoint and then gets shot by Passos, his Dragon Milo Regos who is defeated by Press X to Not Die and Victor Branco who you don't fight in person, only blow up his plane from underneath him and then have a conversation.
  • In Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Mr. Scratch is somewhere between this trope and The Unfought, depending on how much symbolism you allow before something stops being a "fight".

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • True Crime: New York City has two ending paths. In the "good" ending path, you don't even fight the Big Bad, you just chase him through a subway car until a cutscene plays of him dying in a train wreck.
  • Sheffield from Scarface: The World Is Yours seems to be a tough opponent when he is introduced from a distance, armed with a bazooka whose power players probably are well-acquainted with. However, when Tony confronts him proper, he gives in without resisting.
  • No More Heroes:
    • Dante parody Helter Skelter is killed by Travis in the intro. An E3 demo did feature the actual fight, and the sequel starts off with a fight against his brother, Skelter Helter.
    • Letz Shake is also killed by Henry before you get to fight him, though he returns in the sequel for a proper fight.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run: Two planned boss fights in the urban area were cut due to time and budget constraints, and were dealt with in cutscenes instead. The areas that they are faced in also cannot be entered in gameplay.
    • Level 2 ends with Bart testing out the Truckasaurus and realizing too late that it was dangerous. He evades and escapes it all within the ending cutscene for the level.
    • At the end of Level 5, Bart and Apu enter the Springfield Museum and are attacked by a dinosaur skeleton brought to life by the alien Buzz Cola. It is destroyed within the same cutscene.


Video Example(s):


Pop Goes The Weasel

Klayman is chased by a hideous green monster. While the player can't do anything at this point (barring the ending), we watch Klayman acts in many ways that the player normally wouldn't.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CutsceneBoss

Media sources: