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Degraded Boss

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"I'm a great filler boss today, and I can be an even better one tomorrow! Imagine! I could paint myself blue and play the part of Ice Variant. I could shadow-clone myself and swap between bodies. I could reappear at the end of an adventure in a Boss Rush! Maybe even show up as a common thug later, you know, to make you feel really, really powerful."

A boss who, after being defeated, returns later in the game, not as a boss, but as a regular enemy instead (sometimes more than one appearing at once). Sometimes, the boss you fought is the "strongest" of the monsters; sometimes you've attained a new weapon which is particularly effective against that boss, or just leveled up enough that you're able to take on several at a time. In some games, later enemies will be palette-swapped versions of the boss's sprite/model, and may actually be stronger than the original boss form. It makes you wonder why they're not in charge.


Sometimes confused with Villain Decay. The two may overlap, however, if The Man Behind the Man pops up and reveals that there are multiple copies of his previously-unique underling. In narrative, this looks a lot like the Conservation of Ninjutsu. Sometimes the result of Villain Forgot to Level Grind; Level 1's boss is exactly as strong, but by reaching level 10 the player has beefed up considerably. Not to be confused with the Boss in Mook Clothing. Compare with Boss Rush where previous bosses return as bosses in rapid succession.

A common version of this is for the first boss of the game to reappear as a Giant Mook or Elite Mook or at best a Mini-Boss throughout the rest of the game.

See Recurring Boss for examples where they don't get degraded. This may overlap with Artifact Mook if the boss has no real reason for returning as a mook other than to add flavor to the game. Mook Promotion is the opposite of this trope.



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    Action Adventure 
  • The Haunted Mansion: Every enemy is introduced with a lot of fanfare, and you are put into a one-on-one match with them. As soon as you beat them, they begin showing up as regular enemies. Fortunately, Zeke's weapon gets powerful enough to accommodate for this.
  • Killer7: Many minibosses become this, since the miniboss battles are meant to introduce a new type of Heaven Smile for the next chapter (Mook Debut Cutscene included). The trope is averted for the first miniboss (Speed Smile) and the last two (Timer and Galactic Tomahawk), as they never show up again, and for the latter two it's justified due to their late appearance in the game.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity: The Henchmen become normal enemies in the last area of the game.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda makes considerable use of this. Dodongo, Manhandla, Gleeok, Digdogger, and Gohma all reappear in later dungeons as normal enemies. Dodongo even appears in threes later, Gleeok grows extra heads (it has two in its first appearance, three later on and four eventually, although the latter is for when it is reused as the boss of Level 8), and Digdogger splits into three after playing the Flute anywhere but its debut, where it splits into two. That's just the first quest; they show up sooner and more often in the second one. In the case of Dodongo, in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, Dodongos are run-of-the-mill nuisances. In fact, Ocarina of Time has King Dodongo as the boss version to differentiate it from the regular version, operating much like the original Dodongo.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Rebonack, a mounted Iron Knuckle who starts out as the boss of the Island Palace, appears as a miniboss a couple times in the sixth palace. Horsehead also reappears in the fifth, but only in the Japanese FDS version (he's replaced by a blue Iron Knuckle in the international NES versions).
    • Dark Link has taken many different roles, including, but not limited to, surprise final boss in Adventure of Link, mini-boss in Ocarina of Time, merely appearing in a cut scene in Twilight Princess, several easily defeated Mooks created by a boss in Oracle of Ages, The Dragon of Four Swords Adventures, and Superboss in Spirit Tracks.
    • In a series-wide example, the Mothulas went from being a boss in A Link to the Past and Oracle of Seasons to a miniboss and later mook in The Wind Waker. Arrghus also went from an A Link to the Past boss to a miniboss in Majora's Mask (called "Wart" in the latter game, as well as in the Japanese version of the former). In Majora's Mask Gyorg is a boss, in The Wind Waker a common mook, and in The Minish Cap it goes back to being a boss, then goes back to mook status in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: Many of the mini-bosses from early levels show up as regular enemies later in that same game. In some cases, there's a new weapon that makes it easier. In other cases, not so much.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has pairs of Lizalfos presented as Mini Bosses in the second dungeon, while you play Link as a child. Adult Link finds them later as regular enemies and can take them out in two hits with the Biggoron Sword, and by that point in the game young Link has enough equipment and hearts to turn them into mooks. Stalfos are another example, as they also act as minibosses in their first encounter, but you also encounter them as regular enemies later. Then they are used as minibosses again, with the added challenge of beating them both at once in a short time, lest they rise up again. Lastly, Iron Knuckles appear as minibosses in the Spirit Temple but are only enemies in Ganon's Tower.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Dinolfos and Wizzrobes are minibosses in their respective debuting temples (Woodfall Temple and Snowhead Temple), then regular enemies in later temples (Snowhead Temple and Stone Tower Temple), then bumped back to minibosses in the optional Secret Shrine. Wizzrobe is also fought as a miniboss in the Ancient Castle of Ikana, while Dinolfos is in an optional room in the Moon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games are filled with degraded boss versions of bosses from earlier entries in the series. Facade goes from 6th dungeon boss in Link's Awakening to 2nd dungeon miniboss in Oracle of Seasons, while Oracle of Seasons' fourth dungeon miniboss, Agunima, and Oracle of Ages' final one, the Blue Stalfos, are expose of Agahnim, a major story villain from A Link to the Past. On the other hand, the Oracle games also invert this trope with Vire, the sixth dungeon miniboss in both games, which uses the exact same sprite as a regular enemy from the final dungeon of Link's Awakening and similar tactics, though this miniboss version naturally takes a lot more hits and moves even quicker. On top of that, Vires were very unremarkable enemies in the original Legend of Zelda, wandering around the room and splitting into two even more unremarkable bat enemies called Keese — the weakest enemies in every game they're in — if hit (at least, until you're powered up enough to take Vires out in one hit). This Vire is a fast flier with three types of attack, intelligent enough to try and dodge your sword, and who does much more damage than the original, and when you've finally defeated him, the two bat enemies he splits into are similarly much bigger of a nuisance than a Keese.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Nearly every dungeon miniboss in the game is encountered as a regular enemy sometime after their original appearance. For example, the large Moblins with spears are presented as inmune guardians Link must avoid confronting in Forsaken Fortress, then one is fought as a Mini-Boss in Dragon Roost Cavern; afterwards, however, they're reduced largely to tough minions. This same role is later filled by the Darknuts, the first of which shows up as a sub-boss in the Tower of the Gods, but the very next section following its completion pits you up against six of them and twelve Moblins (their later incarnations are more powerful, but you almost always fight at least two). And so on with the shielded Bokoblins, Mothulas, Stalfos, enemy-summoning Wizzrobes and Mighty Darknuts. The remaining minibosses (Phantom Ganon, Big Octo, and Cyclos) are the only aversions: The former two always challenge Link in miniboss fashion, while Cyclos is fought only once to begin with.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: A Green ChuChu serves as the main boss of Deepwood Shrine. Later, in the Temple of Droplets, a Blue subspecies with electric affinity appears as a miniboss.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The City in the Sky features a fight with an Aeralfos, a winged reptilian creature that uses a sword, shield, and a suit of armor. Later in the dungeon, you're faced with two of them at once and the Cave of Ordeals features scores of such creatures; one is fought as an enemy in Hyrule Castle as well. Darknuts switch from miniboss (Temple of Time), to enemy (Cave of Ordeals), then miniboss (Hyrule Castle at the mid), and enemy yet again (Hyrule Castle at the end).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: Two of the mini-bosses in the game actually appear again as regular enemies within their own dungeons (specifically, they're Snapper, the whip-wielding guy from the Ocean Temple, and Heatoise, the giant tortoise from the Fire Temple). In both cases, the dungeon item you get from the first battle makes the later ones much easier. More so in the case of Heatoise, since right after defeating it and gaining the dungeon's item, two more drop into the room as normal enemies.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Moldarach debuts as boss in the third dungeon, and reappears as a miniboss in the Shipyard. In the case of Moldorms, one appears as a sporadic, optional enemy in a grotto from the Fire Sanctuary, but the next one is fought as a miniboss later in the same dungeon. The ones found afterwards (one in a grotto during the Stealth-Based Mission in Eldin Volcano and another in the grotto of a certain island in the Sky) are regular enemies, but another two are minibosses in the final dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: This occurs with Moldorm and Arrghus, who go from dungeon bosses to mini bosses later in the game (both appear in Lorule Castle, and the former also appears as the 'boss' in the enemy gauntlet of Treacherous Tower).
  • Ōkami: Both the Tube Foxes fought inside the Water Dragon and Ichiro, a shark monster found in the Sunken Ship, are introduced as mini-bosses, but can be fought again later in the games overworld as regular, albeit incredibly rare, enemies. The Spider Queen, the first boss of the game, also counts as the Bandit Spider enemies are fought in the same way and closely resemble her, but are not meant as bosses, just slightly tougher enemies.
  • Onimusha: Warlords: Reynaldo, who is set up as a mini-boss but is quickly revealed to be a really tough (and regenerating/self-duplicating) mook. Then there's Volchiman, who you must first fight as ninja girl Kaede, who is significantly weaker than main character Samonosuke; later on, you may encounter two Volchiman at once. However, there's also Marcellus, whose prototype you face first. The real deal is a much, much more difficult opponent — probably more so than final boss Fortinbras.
  • One of the various mech bosses in Shadow Complex returns as a regular enemy at one point, but strangely still has his boss lifebar if you're near it. In the final boss fight, you fight all of them.
  • Shocker, from Ultimate Spider-Man (2005). He's the first boss, and will later appear throughout the game's "City Events," where you will have to stop him from committing robberies or breaking in, and he'll be barely stronger than a regular mook.
  • The Wonderful 101:
    • The Gah-Goojins get hit with this trope. Operation 002 revolves entirely around defeating one of them, who appeared earlier in Operation 001 (you can tell it’s the same one because it’s missing its arm, which was destroyed at the end of the encounter) and it puts up a hell of a fight before finally going down (and even then it has enough energy to try a pull a Taking You with Me). When a second one appears in Operation 005, the fight ends early because the Wonderful 100 decide that hijacking it and using it themselves would be easier. In the final level, where the main characters have a giant robot of their own, Gah-Goojins basically play the role of The Goomba.
    • There is also the Ankho enemies fought later on, who are basically reskinned versions of Laambo, and the Vaaiki, who was fought as a boss in Operation 007 before fighting it's larger byproducts in the final level as mooks.
    • You’ve also got the Kaizor versions of Orowchee and Diejeah that show up from time to time, serving as weaker versions of the two bosses.

    Action Game 
  • In the indie title Ares, the Mini-Bosses from Stage 1 and 2 also show up as regular mooks by Stage 3. Thanks to upgraded weapons, they hardly even count as Elite Mooks anymore.
  • Cyber Chaser: Survival Mode has previously defeated bosses appear as standard enemies. There can even be two or three of them at once.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Played with in the first game. Phantom, Griffon, and Nelo Angelo all are bosses you fight multiple times in-game, and each actually gains new attacks and abilities in between fights. However, after you kill them when fighting the boss Nightmare, it can absorb you and force you to fight a weaker illusionary form of one of the prior bosses.
    • The Hell Vanguard from Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening returns in later parts of the game as a lifebar-less mook. However, all recurrences are as strong as the first one. Furthermore, on one occasion (Mission 17's Trial of the Warrior room), the Hell Vanguard "mook" taps into the latent "Devil Trigger" power and becomes even more powerful than the boss version. On the highest difficulty, all "mook" versions of the Hell Vanguard can potentially use the Devil Trigger power.
    • Devil May Cry 4 combines this trope with Cutscene Power to the Max. After defeating the frog demon Dagon, you are treated to a cutscene where Dante receives a new Devil Arm. Suddenly, the courtyard is full of Dagon's brothers. Dante then proceeds to use his new weapon to quickly annihilate every giant frog in sight.
  • Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 has the Vymish Mama and the Soul Harvester, who are both first encountered as bosses, but later start appearing as regular enemies (though the Vymish Mama is encountered as a boss a second time).
  • Another inversion: Fritz the Firing Train in Iron Tank first appears as a Giant Mook-type encounter, ie without the ominous boss music, then later as a proper boss encounter.
  • Ninja Gaiden:
    • A twist occurs in the first two games for the NES: the Malice Four from the first Ninja Gaiden appears in Ninja Gaiden II as mooks who are literal clones of the originals created by Ashtar. The clones are the same size as Ryu and are killed with a single strike like other regular mooks.
    • Done both in-game and in-story in Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos. The basic Mooks you first fight are in fact clones of the first boss of the original game. Clones of the games subsequent three bosses also appear, usually in Giant Mook form, though Kelberos comes back in full Boss form.
    • The boss you face in the first chapter of seventh-generation Ninja Gaiden II is Rasetsu, a large, literal Demonic spider/Human hybrid who stands about 8 feet tall with 4 large bladed appendages protruding from his back. You also encounter another Spider Ninja Fiend in the second chapter, backed up by spider ninja Mooks. In the last chapters you end up slaying a couple dozen of them; sometimes in pairs. They are still as strong as the first encounter, but by then you're a lot stronger.
  • The first encounter with the centaurs in Tomb Raider is considered a boss fight, because they're the first Atlanteans you see in the game and their appearance is a shock. More centaurs are encountered later as regular enemies. The Video Game Remake, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, changes this by changing the first centaurs into a Puzzle Boss, and only the later ones act as regular enemies.
  • The second boss of SAR: Search and Rescue, a robot tank, isn't too powerful when first fought, but in the third stage it returns as a low-level robot mook in large numbers that goes down with just a handful of shots.
  • Many minibosses from Strider (2014) suffer from this, being introduced in boss fashion (Subtitles and all) and fought one-on-one, but chances are, you'll fight them again a few minutes later without any introduction, sometimes even in pairs. You'll also fight stronger variations of them later in the game, and even they'll suffer the same fate as their "originals".

    Beat Em Up 
  • 9 Monkeys of Shaolin has a powerful ghost sentinel boss in the temple stage that has multiple life-bars, whose design was later recycled into minor ghost enemies, this time with one life bar.
  • In Alien vs. Predator (Capcom), the first boss, Chrysalis, reappears twice in the final stages and in a pair each time. The third boss, purple Arachnoid, reappears throughout the last two stages - on one occasion, six of them at once. And you don't have endless ammo this time. And the fifth boss, Power Loader, appears twice during the last round as well.
  • In Bayonetta, after you completely brutalize a Cardinal Virtue (or a Golem), weaker versions will appear later in the game. Mostly during the Boss Rush. Clones of Temperentia in particular are fought four times throughout the game. The clones have significant, though subtle, variations in character design, that denote their lower status, as well as "plain English" versions of their Latin names. As an example, Iustitia appears as a sphere covered in fifteen faces; its degraded version is called Justice and only has three faces on the side facing you (with the rest of it being simply a sphere of light).
  • The first boss of Blade Master, a giant fish monster-humanoid, returns in later levels as Elite Mooks. There's also the second boss, a massive suit of Animated Armor, who comes back in the final stage as a trio of Wolfpack Boss.
  • The first boss of Bloody Zombies is a gigantic zombie brute who returns as a common Giant Mook enemy. There are also several early bosses who return later in the game in pairs as Dual Bosses, where they're actually easier in the second encounter because you have levelled up at that point and obtained far better weapons.
  • Seen at least twice in BOTS:
    • The boss of the tutorial level is the chunky, surprise-hammer-wielding Bubbleboy, who returns in the Micro and Macro levels as a Giant Mook.
    • Much later in the game, shortly after the aforementioned levels, you meet the powerful and brutally militarized Chernobyl, guarding the virus-producing Main Core. After destroying the core and beating the level, a respawning "Ghost-Chernobyl" pursues you through the next level in a downplaying of Advancing Boss of Doom (as you can kill it, but it's less practical than just completing the level, especially at the intended level). In the following Escape The Deck level, as well as later in the Hackenn levels, Chernobyls are seen as Giant/Elite Mooks guarding VIPs or key components.
  • Happens a couple of times in Cadillacs and Dinosaurs : first boss Vice T. and sixth boss Tyrog reappear as common enemies called, respectively, Walther and Tyrog 2.
  • In the arcade version of Double Dragon, the Elite Mooks that appear near the end of Mission 3 and during the final battle in Mission 4 are all palette-swaps of Jeff, the Mission 2 boss (who was in turn, a head-swapped Lee brother). However, they're just as tough as the boss version of Jeff. It also happens to Chin Taimei (Jeff's equivalent as the Mission 2 boss) in the NES version. In fact, it happens rather immediately, as the second fight in Mission 3 is against a group of three Chin clones. And in Super Double Dragon, Steve and Jackson, the first two bosses, appear throughout the rest of the game as mooks. All of the previous bosses also appear in the final stage.
  • From the Dusty series:
    • Boris from the re-release of Dusty Revenge returns in the follow-up, Dusty Raging Fist, but as a Mini-boss with one health bar. He doesn't have his own boss music either, although it might be justified since Raging Fist is a prequel and this could be a younger Boris.
    • The first boss of Raging Fist, a gigantic deer mecha, returns as mooks summoned by the Gatekeeper boss.
  • Inverted in Dynamite Dux, where a miniboss that appeared in the first stage later becomes the main boss of the fourth stage.
  • Exaggerated in Gaiapolis: The first stage's boss becomes not only a regular enemy, but the most common enemy in the entire game.
  • Golden Axe and its sequels. Particularly noteworthy is Golden Axe II where after fighting four purple Hell Lizards as a boss, they begin returning on a regular basis (sometimes in the stronger green form). Of similar note are the huge minotaurs who appear as palette-swapped bosses twice then return as normal enemies! And remember, this is Golden Axe — there's no levelling up in this game!
  • In The King of Dragons: the Dragon Rider (Level 8 Boss) appears as a weaker Palette Swap twice in Level 9 and once in Level 12.
  • In Knights of the Round, Scorn (the first boss) reappears many times as an Elite Mook called "Tall Man." He's equally annoying, except he has less health.
  • The Punisher (Capcom) also reuses the first boss Scully as a mook in the final stage.
  • This happens quite often in Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage for the SNES, most notably with the two long-haired girls who act as the boss of the first stage and quickly become annoyingly common enemies.
  • Raging Blades has a Mechanical Monster as an early boss in the Castle of Immortal. The later stage, Tower of Apocalypse, have the tower summoning previously-defeated bosses, but the aforementioned monster is now brought back in large numbers as Giant Mook-variety enemies.
  • Raging Justice have the bosses of it's first two stages - Tiny in the first, the Dual Boss Charlton and Dwayne in the second - coming back as common mooks later on. There's also Eddie the boss of the junkyard level, who's difficult in his initial encounter but later returns in the first area of the later circus stage as a one-shot enemy without his powerful abilities and a much shorter life meter.
  • Splatterhouse 3 has a big yellow ogre for the first level's boss. The second level features two of them as normal enemies, and the third level has 2 green ogres. Dammit. Splatterhouse 2010 has the Teratoid, a big monster with a tentacle for one arm that hits pretty hard and can regenerate other monsters. You later start encountering Teratoids regularly throughout the game.
  • Done with the Streets of Rage series with some of their boss characters. Lampshaded in Streets of Rage 2, with the weaker mook version of the boss "R. Bear" being called "Bear Jr." 2 takes it pretty quickly, too. After beating the twin robot bosses in Stage 7, the very first enemies you fight in Stage 8 are two more. The fourth game does this only once with three Nora clones fought near the end of stage 11 before fighting Mr. Y.
  • In Undercover Cops, generic, already-damaged clones of the first boss show up in the last level.
  • Done in Violent Storm where clones of Dabel (but without the mask) appear as generic enemies near the end of the game.

    Fighting Game 
  • Typically this will happen in fighting games if the endgame of the previous title in the series caused the main boss to lose their standing and are forced to fight against whoever took over to get it back. For the sequel, they will then become a playable cast member as they are considered a "participant" rather than the "organizer". Examples include Tekken's Heihachi Mishima between the first and second games (then again between the fourth and fifth games), Cervantes de Leon after Soul Blade, and Gaia after the first Battle Arena Toshinden.
  • Krizalid from The King of Fighters '99 reappears as one of Zero's allies in KOF 2001.
  • Inverted in Super Smash Bros. Melee with the event challenges. The first one "Trouble King" is Mario against a highly nerfed version of Bowser. It's fairly easy to complete without even getting hit once, let alone losing a life, and you have to almost try to lose. The sequel, "Trouble King II" is where Luigi faces a giant, souped-up Bowser on the Pokemon Floats level. You're more likely to win by outsmarting Bowser here than fighting him head-on.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Amsterdoom has this in every stage, with the boss of the area becoming a recurring type of enemy in the next.
  • In BioShock, most of the game's bosses are simply regular enemy types with more health and the occasional attribute tweak (the Iceman in Fort Frolic is immune to ice attacks, for example). Most bosses are encountered before you fight regular Splicers of that type. For example, the game's first boss Dr. Steinman is a machinegun-wielding Leadhead Splicer, the regular versions of which you don't encounter until 3/4ths of the way through the game.
  • In Bioshock Infinite:
    • The Fireman, Zealot and Motorized Patriot all have their introductory battles on their own, with an impressive opening, but with each case, they start appearing as just an elite mook in a crowd of mooks before you meet the next boss.
    • Taken further in The DLC Clash in the Clouds, where some challenges require you to take on two Handymen at once, sometimes with other mooks around. Justified in this case, as the selection of weapons at the Armory, the massive amount of cash gained from Blue Ribbon Challenges, and Gears and Infusions won as the spoils of victory make Booker greatly more powerful than he'd be in the Main Game.
  • Blood plays around with this:
    • Excluding the final boss Tchernobog, all the boss enemies in the original game appear as regular enemies in the episode(s) following their boss fight. Each one also has a subordinate version of themselves that first appears in the episode they're the boss of — regular gargoyles appear from the beginning to foreshadow the stone gargoyle Cheogh, smaller spiders start appearing in the second episode for Shial, and hellhounds make their debut in the third episode to pave the way for Cerberus.
    • The expansions both invert this in some manner. For the third-party Cryptic Passage, while the subordinate enemies all show up at one point or another throughout the episode, the bosses themselves remain a one-time encounter at the very end of the episode, Shial and Cheogh as the Boss Rush and Cerberus, now two at once, getting to be the final boss. The first-party Plasma Pak, meanwhile, manages to make a challenging final boss out of yet another Palette Swap of the bog-standard Cultist, of all things — given red robes, a faster rate of fire, more health, and the ability to transform into a hideous beast when you kill him the first time.
    • Blood II: The Chosen mixes it up. The final boss, as expected, doesn't have time to show up again (even in the expansion, which uses an entirely different final boss), while the Prophet from halfway through Chapter 1, the Behemoth from the end of Chapter 2, and the Death Shroud from early in Chapter 3 become more common enemies in later levels. The Naga from the end of Chapter 1, however, remains a one-time encounter, while the three Undead Chosen from the second level of the last chapter appear only one other time near the end of the expansion to act as a more spread-out boss rush, and Gideon takes more of a Sequential Boss route, fighting you in one form as the last boss of Chapter 3 before running away and fighting you again in One-Winged Angel form at the start of Chapter 4's first level.
  • The Dark Forces Saga is rather fond of this trope. The Dark Troopers of the original game are introduced in this way, as are AT-STs in later installments. In Jedi Academy, in which lightsaber-wielding opponents are so numerous that they are basically Elite Mooks by the end of the game, an early level features one as a de facto boss. Even the Kothos Twins from the end of the second act get this sort of treatment, with unnamed Reborn Masters popping up in the finale of the third act, who have all the Force powers the originals did, but now also have lightsabers. Mind you, Reborn Masters can be more difficult than many of the bosses.
  • The first boss of Descent 2, aka the "Red Fatty", later returns in Palette Swap Giant Mook form, armed with Mercury Missiles and Phoenix Cannons. In the first game, Fusion Hulks are a palette swap of the first boss that have Fusion Cannons.
  • Doom:
    • The Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind boss monsters of the first game return in the sequels as regular level monsters (though they're just as tough as they were as bosses), while the final bosses are upgraded to multiple-stories-high monster-spawning buildings that take up the side of an entire wall. Both have since been re-promoted to bosses — the Cyberdemon did so for Doom³ and DOOM (2016), while the Spider Mastermind, interestingly, did so not only for the 2016 reboot but also Episode 4 of The Ultimate Doom, which was released after Doom II made it a more common enemy. DOOM Eternal degrades the Cyberdemon into a standard enemy once again, but in a more meta sense; the Tyrants aren't the same species as the Cyberdemon encountered in 2016, but they have a very similar moveset.
    • The bosses of the shareware episode of the first game, the Barons of Hell, become more common in the retail episodes. Again, they're just as tough as they were as bosses, though the energy weapons (the plasma gun and the BFG) that you acquire later on make quick work of them.
    • Doom II also adds the Hell Knights, a Palette Swap of the Baron with half the health but the same power. Combined with the addition of the double-barreled shotgun, they show up more than the Barons without unbalancing things too drastically. Likewise, the Arachnotrons are basically smaller versions of the Spider Mastermind with plasma cannons instead of a chaingun.
    • In Doom 3, in a homage to the original Doom, you fight a pair of Hell Knights as bosses right before you teleport into Hell. Starting with Hell you encounter them as regular enemies (but now they actually have less hit points than when they were bosses).
    • Vagary, the first boss of Doom 3, later reappears as a mook, albeit a tough one.
    • In DOOM Eternal, the Doom Hunter is introduced in an early chapter as a boss. After you kill one, it's immediately followed up with two Doom Hunters, with periodic appearances in later levels.
  • Duke Nukem 3D has Mini Battlelords, which are, obviously, smaller and weaker versions of the Battlelord. They're still a huge pain in the ass, however, since "weaker" only refers to their health (a mere 1000 to the big one's 4500) and not their tremendous damage output — worst-case scenario, they can shred you in under three seconds. Gets even worse when they decide to spam their grenade launchers. And then there's the fact that in one of the later chapters there's one level where you end up facing three at once. The only thing they're especially weak to is the Shrinker.
  • Half-Life:
    • Half-Life 1: The Tentacles, which are first encountered as a boss in "Blast Pit". In subsequent encounters with Tentacles, they are more or less hazards.
    • Half-Life 2: Episode Two:
      • The climax pits you against a small army of biomechanical tripods known as "Striders", several of which made your life a living hell in a certain battle in the original Half-Life 2, and one of which was the actual boss of Half-Life 2: Episode One. Oh, and this time they have Hunter support. This battle would be quite a bit harder if you didn't have a car and a weapon that could One-Hit Kill them. Their machine guns receive a significant downgrade from the near-instakill they were in earlier installments.
      • The Hunters were introduced with one nearly killing Alyx, and two or three of them was a boss battle early in the Episode. Two or three of them escort every Strider. Fortunately, you have a weapon that can One-Hit Kill them, too.
      • There's also the Antlion Guardian — when you first meet it (when you're instructed not to kill it, not that you can anyway), it has a poison attack. When you later actually get to kill it, this is missing, making it only a Palette Swap of the Antlion Guard. Not that it needs any help killing you all the same.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved, Zealot Elites were Boss in Mook Clothing-type enemies that were much tougher and more agile than normal Elites. In Halo 2, their shields were downgraded to the level of Major Elites and they only wielded Energy Swords, while their former stats (and then some) were given to the new Ultra Elites. Conversely, Halo: Reach promoted the Zealots back to their former status and downgraded the Ultras somewhat.
    • In Halo 2, Brute Chieftain Tartarus is the game's final boss, with a one-hit-kill gravity hammer and an invincible forcefield that can only be brought down by Sgt. Johnson's particle rifle. From Halo 3 onward, Brute Chieftains regularly appear as King Mook minibosses; they're armed with one-hit-kill gravity hammers (or some other heavy weapon) and one-time-use invincibility shields that last for a couple dozen seconds. Justified in this case by the fact that Tartarus was the highest-ranking Chieftain of his entire species.
  • Heretic (and Hexen):
    • The end boss of Heretic episode 1 is a small group of Iron Liches, who appear sporadically throughout the other episodes. The Maulotaur makes its first appearance as the boss of episode 2 and appears mid-level a few times in the episodes that follow. Interestingly, both of these creature types return as final bosses in the expansion — it has two episodes, and the first ends with a battle with a horde of Iron Liches, the second with one of Maulotaurs. Another way of twisting the concept around is when a former boss appears at the beginning of an episode as a Giant Mook — and is more difficult than as a boss because you just don't have the weapons and ammunition to beat it yet at that point.
    • The final boss of Heretic appears riding a large green creature referred to as a Serpent (although it doesn't look particularly snake-like in appearance). The pseudo-sequel to Heretic, Hexen, uses these creatures in its levels as regular mooks, albeit much easier to beat and without anybody riding on top of them. They come in palette swap form as well, with the regular green ones behaving exactly like the one we saw in Heretic, while the brown ones are tougher and attack you with a different projectile.
  • Marathon:
    • In the second game, a Mother of All Hunters is fought as a boss on "If I had a rocket launcher...", then the final stage has at least three of them. On the Infinity level "You think you're big time?" they get re-promoted to boss status, and have homing projectiles this time. In 2, the King Mook version of the Cyborgs only appears once, while in Infinity it is a recurring enemy, although still rare.
    • Marathon: EVIL has you first fight a Pfhor Mystic in a boss-style encounter on the level "Hackers", then they are regular encounters from then on out, save for a King Mook variation on the final level. The giant Cyborgs are also now a regular occurrence.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Prime: Plated Beetles, adult Sheegoths and Chozo Ghosts all first appear as mini-bosses, but later become regular enemies. The Sheegoth particularly feels degraded, as it was a quite hard to beat on the first time, but after you get the Plasma Beam, you can kill it with one shot without even waiting for it to expose its weak spot!
    • Metroid: Zero Mission: There is a Dessgeega that you encounter early in the game as a mini-boss after acquiring the long beam and discovering the currently locked entrance to the Big Bad's lair. This miniboss turns out to be a common enemy in a later level.
    • Metroid: Other M: You first run into the FG-1000 security drones early on in the game, where they function as a fairly tricky miniboss battle. Much later, you find a few more, but by that time, you can blast through them with a single charged Plasma Beam blast, without even having to wait for them to expose their weak point.
  • Painkiller: Every boss in the game is a unique one-shot, but the fan-made expansion Overdose abuses this to hell and back by taking the end-of-level miniboss from the first level of Painkiller and reusing him a grand total of over 50 times, with more than a dozen showing up for each individual encounter.
  • Prey (2006): After you fight Jen, you will face it again as summoned mook when you're fighting the Keeper. And after you fight the Keeper, you will then need to fight against more Keepers to get out. Fortunately for the latter case, the Keepers will not summon mooks and there are leech gun ammo around.
  • In Quake:
    • A pair of Vores are fought as a boss battle at the end of Episode 2, then they become recurring enemies in the last two episodes.
    • In the second game, the Super Tank and Tank Flyer first appear as King Mook bosses, then as normal enemies, although they're just as tough as before.
  • Inverted with the Uber Soldat in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, as you first fight a prototype Mook version, then a tougher boss version. Then played straight when the Uber version itself becomes a normal enemy alongside the Proto Soldats.
  • Serious Sam:
    • The First Encounter has the Aludran Reptiloid, Highlander, which appears as a boss. When it reappears in subsequent installments of Serious Sam, it has been demoted to a mook. Ironically, in The Second Encounter, they can actually withstand more punishment before dying than they did as a boss. It also follows a variation of Doom's Baron of Hell/Hell Knight dichotomy, as a smaller and weaker Common variation later shows up in more frequent numbers.
    • In Serious Sam 3, the first Adult Arachnoid is counted as a boss. It subsequently appears as a normal enemy and soon a smaller version of them also appears. The same goes for the first Major Biomechanoid, Technopolip, Khnum, and Witch-Bride you encounter.
    • Inverted in the "Legend of the Beast" DLC for The Second Encounter HD, which adds an even stronger version of BFE's Khnum as the final boss.
  • Shadow of the Wool Ball: After you defeat the spider-legged bosses at the end of episode 1, smaller spider-legged enemies begin appearing throughout episodes 2 and 3 and the larger version of the boss makes a surprise re-appearance near the end of the game.
  • The Serpent God and the Sumo in Shadow Warrior (1997). Both start as bosses, both become enemies later in the game.
  • Unreal does this with Titans; the first encounter is a locked-in boss fight (including an entire level essentially built around foreshadowing it), then later on you just encounter them standing around in normal situations; as they are as strong as the first time and tend to come in multiples, running away seems to be promoted. Your final encounter with one is another built-up boss fight with a much tougher version (which can be dropped into lava if desired).
  • In ULTRAKILL, all the enemies that appear as bosses in mid-layer levels appear as regular enemies later in the game or at least in cybergrind. The boss versions of the said enemies have more health.
  • The first boss in Will Rock is a huge Cyclops. From the following level onward you have to fight several other cyclopses (their stone-spitting attack is different though). Then, the second boss, Hepheastus is later found as a King Mook on Mount Olympus. Several of them, actually.
  • The Altered from Wolfenstein (2009). The first time you fight one, you're armed with nothing more than small arms and have to use the environment to kill it. Later in the game, you acquire a BFG that can kill one in a single hit. The Heavy Trooper and Despoiled are also treated as bosses the first times you encounter them before later encounters have no fanfare and eventually start throwing more than one at you.

    Hack And Slash 
  • Darksiders II: Gharn, the boss of The Cauldron, is a hard-hitting corrupted Construct and the most powerful one you've fought so far. Later on, it's recast as a recurring Mini-Boss referred to as "Construct Champion" with almost all the same moves and dangers aside from its explosion move, with Death even being able to fight two at once! And that's not even mentioning "Ghorn", a boss of an optional side quest who's effectively a beefed up red Gharn with lava, a few new unique moves, and more personality. Justified in that Gharn was never a unique Construct in the first place and just one of his type who had the luxury of a name to be told.
  • Diablo:
    • The Butcher is an Overlord demon and a challenging boss early on, but later you can dispatch countless Overlords who are even stronger, albeit without the cleaver. Lampshaded in the third game with Cain's lore entry on the Butchers after killing one as a boss.
    • Zhar the Mad appears halfway through the game as a boss. Dark mage type enemies resembling him are later found in the final Hell levels.
  • Diablo III mostly averts this by having bosses use unique models. The single outlier is Iskatu who is followed by identical Terror Demons, though they lack his abilities.
    • Inverted with the boss Izual whose model, while reskinned, is the same as the Destroyer mooks fought throughout Act IV before and after him.
  • Gorgons in God of War. Medusa serves as the player's introduction to the enemy type as well as providing a demonstration of how to perform a special kill by ripping off the head. Every Gorgon you meet from that point onward (even the ones you face a few minutes later) is much, much stronger than she is.
  • In Metal Gear Rising:
    • The second boss you face is the LQ-84i, AKA blade wolf. Later on, you fight lesser LQ-84 models, which look and fight just like it.
    • The GRAD starts off as a midboss before becoming an Elite Mook in both later stages and the Dlc.

    Mecha Game 
  • MechWarrior:
    • Due to the presence of a stronger narrative structure in the games, various named enemy characters are present, many of whom serve as 'bosses' of a sort. As there is no character level structure in the series, the only thing determining the difficulty most enemies is what they ride, especially in comparison to the player's Humongous Mecha. Early on, players will often be in light or medium 'Mechs, and enemy heavies and assaults can be cast as 'boss' encounters. As the game advances though, what would have been a boss encounter is degraded to a common enemy, usually by virtue of the player having salvaged materiel that puts them on par with the enemy.
    • In MechWarrior 3, the player starts in a basic medium 'Mech and is tasked to fight mostly smaller, less well-armed or armored machines. The first 'boss' fight is a Mirror Match against an enemy using the same model of 'Mech as the player, and later boss characters often involve the introduction of dangerous heavy or assault 'Mechs at the end of a mission. By the later missions, though, the player's starting Mech is plainly outclassed, but the enemy will still use that chassis, and they become little more than speed bumps by that point.
    • MechWarrior 4. The player starts in another medium Mech but will fight against superior heavies and assault class machines as named encounters, including going up against several Lightning Bruiser designs. Come the end of the game, though, even those designs are not the challenge they once were.
    • Battletech continues the tradition. The first time the player character fights Victoria Espinosa directly, she's piloting a 60-ton Catapult and leading a lance that's made up of two similarly heavy mechs and one relatively fragile but still quite dangerous Firestarter: Unless you've done an awful lot of grinding for better hardware, this mission becomes a nasty wakeup call. By the last two or three story missions you've acquired at least one 90-ton Highlander (guaranteed by a previous story event) and probably have several more mechs of equal tonnage and firepower.
      • The trope is also inverted in one mission late in the game, when the enemy suddenly start fielding a large number of notoriously fragile and poorly-armed (albeit very fast) Spider battlemechs... which have been modified to act as Target Spotters for a massive artillery cannon that can fire once every other turn from off the map and One-Hit Kill just about any mech that doesn't get out of the way fast enough.
  • The final stage in Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner throws endless copies of Nephtis, the game's second boss at you, which you can cut down by the dozen with near impunity. Playing through the New Game Plus with the 11th-Hour Superpower you get at the beginning of that stage will confirm that they haven't been made weaker than the original.

  • City of Heroes and its Villain counterpart do this as well in a few cases. Some specific missions have Boss or Elite Boss versions of enemies that are normally only minion or lieutenants normally, while in other cases Bosses are eventually downgraded to lower status. Villains can run into this as early as level 5 and the Lt. Blechley enemy, an Elite Boss version of the normally lieutenant-powered Council Vampyri. Heroes encounter this as well, although the most notable case doesn't come into play until level 45, where the dangerous Malta Gunslingers begin to regularly apply as lieutenants instead of their previous Boss counterparts.Justified as heroes don't even start to encounter the Vampyri until level 20, while villains encounter Lt. Blechley before level 10. At that stage in the game, he would be tough for a hero as well.
  • Happens a lot in Dungeon Fighter Online, with nearly every single boss you fight at the start of the game.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has this as a running theme with Garlean magitek. Examples include the Armored Weapon (Boss in Baelsar's Wall at the end of Heavensward, then shows up in every Garlean-controlled dungeon throughout Stormblood), the Magitek Scorpion (Boss in Ala Mhigo, mook in the Ghimlyt Dark). Exaggerated with the Magna Roader in Castrum Abania: Its mook equivalents start showing up two rooms after fighting it as a boss. Justified, as all of these enemies are either robots or piloted war machines; despite being destroyed, they were still successful enough to be mass-produced.
  • Grand Chase has quite a few of these. The first is the Orc Warrior, who is degraded to a normal mook a mere two stages after his appearance as a boss. Then there's the Troll [Two stages again], Lich, Gorgos, and Paradom, although these appear as Mini-Bosses. The Hero Dungeon also has buffed versions of Gaikoz, Gardosen, Kamiki, Giant Stone Golem, and Basilisk as minibosses. Multiple at once.
  • Guild Wars Nightfall, a powerful boss early in the game is a construct made of floating stone fragments called the Apocrypha. In the final third of the game, identical creatures appear in large group as regular encounters, and are called "graven monoliths." And in Factions, the first mission on the mainland has you fighting a Shiro'ken boss at the end, while by the second to last mission, the Shiro'ken are essentially elite mooks.
  • Mabinogi has an interesting example: "Boss" status refers to a monster being so many levels above you, and while dungeons have unique boss encounters, you'll come across many "Boss" monsters outside which will eventually downgrade to normal and "weak" after you've leveled sufficiently.
  • RuneScape
    • The TzTok-Jad, is the boss of the Fight Cave. In the Fight Kiln, the sequel to the Fight Cave, a very similar enemy called TokHaar-Jad appears, as a Mini-Boss which you have to beat a total of seven times, with the last two appearing at the same time.
    • TokTz-Ket-Dill first appears as the boss of a quest. You have to fight more of them in the sequel quest, and the Fight Kiln also has a similar enemy called TokHaar-Ket-Dill.
    • The last two enemies you need to defeat in the quest "While Guthix Sleeps" is a pair of Tormented Demons. You can find more of them if you go back to the place where you fought them after the quests, although they will be harder than before because when you fight then during the quest your stats are greatly boosted.
    • A Glacor appears as an Optional Boss in the quest "Ritual of the Mahjarrat". The Big Bad summons one to stop you from repairing a beacon, but you can repair the beacon without killing it and it will disappear when you do. It likely is optional to kill because it is much harder to beat than any of the other monsters you fight in the quest. After the quest is over you can find more Glacors in a cave nearby.
    • Nihils first appear as a Wolfpack Boss where you fight four of them at once in the quest "Fate of the Gods". If you return to the room where you fought them after the quest, you can either redo the boss fight or spawn a whole bunch of them as regular enemies that no longer charge through the room before you attack them and aren't aggressive if you are holding the Shard of Zaros.
  • The Butcher in Rusty Hearts starts out as the boss of the Subterranean Canals B2, but turns into a regular (though slightly more powerful than normal) enemy on the Hard and Very Hard difficulties in Wine Cellar 1F. In fact, all Butcher-type enemies (Armored Butcher, Hammer Butcher, Gloves, etc.) become degraded bosses later on in the game. In Blood Mode versions of certain levels, you'll fight at least one Butcher in every room before the boss.
  • For Toontown Online, the C.E.O. turns into a Flunky...which can't be fought. You all win the battle after that.
  • In World of Warcraft, it happens when a boss uses a unique model that is well-liked and is then later on reused for other enemies. Many raid bosses with unique models are also later reskinned and modified to act as mooks.
    • There's a particularly interesting example in Return to Karazhan (level 110 dungeon) with the Mana Devourer. Literally right after you fight the boss, you fight an entire pack of them as the next trash pull. They're much easier now, though, because you and your allies fought the first one while shrunk down to a tiny size and after the fight, you grow to regular size.

    Platform Game 
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd II: ASSimilation, Jimmy from the first game's "Boo! Haunted House" Dual Boss fight returns as a Giant Mook in the Monster Madness stages.
  • The first boss of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command the video game, encountered on Jo-ad, is one of Torque's thugs. Despite having three lives like most other bosses, the same type of thug appears in several different locations starting from the second mission to Jo-ad, except having much less health and a less impressive (albeit homing) weapon.
  • Castlevania games have been doing this since the beginning, when the first level boss, the Giant Bat, reappeared multiple times on the last level.
    • The Giant Bat from the first game is echoed by the Armor Battler in Castlevania: Bloodlines; several instances of it appear in quick succession in the last level, with heavily reduced hit points.
    • Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth has the first boss appear a few times on the final level as a normal enemy. It has less health than when it was fought as a boss.
    • Several early bosses in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Gaibon and Slogra, Karusuman, the Lesser Demon, plus the arena's Werewolf and Minotaur). The degradation seems to have stuck, as several of these monsters have remained normal enemies in later games in the series.
    • Aria of Sorrow loved this. The first four bosses — the Creaking Skull, Manticore, Giant Armor and Big Golem — reappear in later levels as regular, if rather tanky enemies, with stronger palette-swapped versions of the Creaking Skull and Giant Armor even replacing them down the road. This is reflected in their relatively basic movesets, and that all subsequent bosses also have at least two phases. The Man Eater is an inversion. It's a regular enemy that shows up in the Boss Rush mode for some reason. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia brings it back as a full-fledged boss.
    • The Frankenstein's Monster Boss has bounced back and forth from boss, to normal enemy, to boss over many of the later games. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia had it both ways, with several palette-swapped Frankenstein's Monster types as normal enemies (The Creature-which is the name the original boss and most normal enemy incarnations go by, Enkidu, Rebuild) and one as a boss (Goliath)
    • The Giant Skeleton in Order of Ecclesia gets this treatment, in the "two-at-once" variety. Considering that this Castlevania is a good deal harder than other recent ones, and everything in the game had a good chance of killing you anyway, this isn't surprising.
    • The Stone Golem and Werewolf have also bounced between Mook and Boss status from game to game.
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin also uses a lot of degraded bosses. Many of the bosses from Rondo of Blood (Including Minotaur, Wyvern, Dogether, and Camilla's assistant Laura the catgirl) appear as normal enemies, as well as the aforementioned Slogra and Gaibon. However, the Werewolf and The Creature are back to being bosses again — but 2 of The Creature appear in the Nest Of Evil. And you better believe they're not degraded whatsoever despite not being the floor boss(es).
    • The Dullahan enemy moves up from Mook to Wake-Up Call Boss in Portrait of Ruin, only to go back to Mook just one game later in Order of Ecclesia. Though the mook version is often called Durhan. Series wise, the boss version is a King Mook variation. Before and after, it's a mook, that one time it's a boss. However, they appear as mooks again in Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, exactly the same as in Portrait of Ruin (giant, hard to get around with projectiles that curse, and you have to hit a floating head).
    • The Giant Armor in Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance appears as an enemy later on.
    • Many of the early bosses from Lords of Shadow show up as palette-swapped recurring mooks by Chapter 2. The first boss shows up as a Boss in Mook Clothing as early as the second level.
    • Slogra and Gaibon have degraded just about as far as you can go by now. In their first appearance in Super Castlevania, they were fought individually as two of the three final bosses before Dracula (the other one was Death), and they weren't easy. In Symphony of the Night, they were fought as a team as the first boss, which wasn't that hard. Further games stripped them of boss status entirely, but at least kept them on as tough mooks found near the end of the game. By Portrait of Ruin, they have become little more than standard issue dead-in-two-hits mooks found randomly in the middle of the game.
    • There are a couple of slight inversions as well, normal mooks becoming Elite Mooks later. In general, the games have the same enemies in each game, only their status as mook, King Mook, Elite Mook, Underground Monkey, Boss in Mook Clothing, Degraded Boss and actual boss varies from game to game.
  • In The Caverns Of Hammerfest, every single 'boss', with an exception of the Final Boss, are rather introductions to more powerful enemies you will find in the next levels.
  • In Copy Kitty, the first time Boki fights a Virs it is introduced as a boss battle. They make rare appearances throughout the game afterward as Giant Mooks, and even have an Elite Mook variant introduced in the later game, the Eclipse Virs.
  • In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Dingodile, Tiny and N. Tropy, who were all major villains and bosses in the previous game, appear as regular mooks in the Atlasphere levels.
  • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, the GBA-exclusive boss Kerosene fights you with Kleevers. Unlike the boss Kleever fought in the Crocodile Cauldron area, the ones used by Kerosene can be defeated in one hit.
  • In the sixth stage of Ghosts 'n Goblins, the bosses from stages 1-4 show up again as regular enemies that can be bypassed without fighting. They're no weaker than they were earlier, though.
  • The regular assassins in Iji appear after you fight Asha. Their tactics are less showy and give more time between attacks but also gain an attack that Asha couldn't perform because he only has one arm. In fact, nearly every boss enemy or notable character is just a normal enemy with some backstory and an optional supermove (and more health).
  • Keith Courage in Alpha Zones brings many of the earlier bosses back several times, as palette swaps, two-at-once bosses, and infinitely recurring enemies.
  • Kirby likes to use this:
  • Some of the Mini Bosses in La-Mulana are reused this way in Hell Temple.
  • The boss of the first level in The Lion King is a hyena. They are demoted to "mere" Demonic Spiders in the Elephant Graveyard and even further to common Mooks in the later adult Simba levels. Through all of those encounters though in this case their stamina and attack pattern remains the same, its only as an adult lion who can fight back directly with his paws that any difference becomes apparent.
  • In Magic Sword: Heroic Fantasy, the first dragon boss is reused as a Palette Swap Giant Mook midway through the game.
  • Mega Man:
    • In Mega Man X8, various enemy reploids in the final stage use copy chips to turn into duplicates of Sigma, the heroes' recurring nemesis (and final boss of the first seven games). Fortunately, they only have access to Sigma's original body, not any of the nightmarish battle forms he loves to inflict on the player.
    • In Battle Network and Star Force, after defeating a boss, they'll have a ghost version hiding on a specific tile somewhere in the Cyberworld / on the Wave Roads, usually in a dead end or a corner of a wide platform. Step there and a stronger version of the boss will appear to fight you. After you defeat it, an even stronger version becomes a rare random encounter, usually in the same area. This can be a rude surprise if you're not expecting it as you can be thrust into a fairly tricky battle without any forewarning and thus not saved prior to starting a boss fight (plus this is compounded by the fact that, unlike most examples, these new battles make the boss stronger than the first time, giving them more HP and new strategies).
    • In Mega Man 9, the second Wily Stage's boss is a ship that has three parts, each with their own health bar and attack pattern. The battle is pretty tough, especially because it's a Wily boss, so you have to conserve weapon energy. So what do they do? They take the already super-tough downloadable Fake Man stage and stick in the ship along with several mini-bosses. And because it's a Time-Attack-only stage, you have only one life and no E-tanks. What you basically have is a Degraded Boss who takes this trope in a bunch of different directions. Better hope the enemies drop some energy pellets, because you'll need them.
    • Mega Man Legends: The Karumuna Bash first debuts as a Triple Boss battle, before showing up in weaker forms, although as Elite Mooks.
    • The gameplay videos for Rockman Online have shown old bosses such as Stone Man as normal enemies.
    • After fighting Botos in Mega Man X: Command Mission, he sends decoys after you a bit later in the game, which are notably weaker than Botos himself. When you actually fight the real one, he just beats you up for a little bit and then runs away.
    • In Mega Man Zero, the intro boss, the Golem, would only take Scratch Damage from Zero's attacks; Zero only manages to defeat it when a mysterious figure gives him back his signature Z-Saber, which defeats the Golem in one hit. In Mega Man Zero 2, elemental versions of the Golem appears as mini-bosses; now they gain varying attacks and just take normal damage from your buster or saber, but they also have elemental weaknesses you can exploit.
    • In Mega Man ZX Advent, the mini-bosses Desert Aspis and Cankerfly are based on the first game's Warm Up Bosses, Giga Aspis and Rayfly. In a variant, several mooks in the second game carry some characteristics of the main 8 bosses from the first game, such as Skull Anchor (from Leganchor the Gelroid). This is explained by the Secret Disk entries as each one incorporating the Pseudoroid DNA of the fallen bosses.
    • Rockman 7 EP: The Dust Crusher is initially promoted to the position of midboss in Junk Man's stage, but it becomes a recurring enemy in Wily 2. In Wily Stage 5, Mega Man has to fight downgraded versions of the Robot Masters as mooks.
  • In Mickey Mousecapade, Peg-Leg Pete, the boss from the Pirate Ship, returns as a sub-boss in the Castle.
  • Midnight Wanderers, one of the three games forming Three Wonders', has the flamethrower from the Terror Twins (Stage 2 Boss) and Dumpty (Stage 3 Mini-Boss) reappear later as minor mooks.
  • In Ori and the Blind Forest, the "elemental orb" boss from the Ginso Tree becomes a common enemy in and near the Final Dungeon.
  • The Gourmet Ogre who appears as an early boss in Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? comes back as a drunken party guest in the Sakura Palace stage in the sequel, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!. He has less health (though still quite a lot for a regular enemy) but now has added a homing attack to his arsenal making him more dangerous than he was as a boss. He also appears in the same manor in each section of the hidden stage Operation V-Panties but upgrades back to full boss status at the end of the stage thanks to pervert power!
  • Mini-Boss demons in Purple get demoted to (elite) in-stage enemies in world 6.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, some of the stages operated by Eggman contained enemies that were near-duplicates of E-102 Gamma from the previous game. Interestingly, in Sonic Adventure, Gamma was both a player character and a boss, and made occasional appearances as an NPC, so he ends up having had quite a varied career. Also, Big Foot troops showed up as the first bosses for the hero and dark side story arcs. When they show up again in Shadow the Hedgehog, they are reduced to standard enemies in the stage 5 and stage 6 options.
  • In Spyro this happens on occasion. The best example would be Buzz, the first boss in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. When he first appears you have to knock him in lava six times to kill him, and each time he gets out you have to dodge his roll attack (and the last two times he gets out he has a powerful fire breath). Cue the third boss, Scorch, who spits Buzz out as an egg. After being hatched, Buzz still has to be knocked into lava/acid, but only once to kill him this time, and you don't have to deal with his roll attack or fire breath.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: The pink-colored Birdo makes four appearances: Three as a Mini-Boss (World 1-1, 1-2 and 2-1 respectively) and one as an unbeknownst-to-it Helpful Mook in 4-3. Subsequent levels in the game have either a Red Birdo, a Green Birdo, or a major boss.
    • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: Tatanga, who is the Final Boss of the previous game (Super Mario Land), returns in the sequel as a regular boss working for Wario.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: The boss of World 1-8 is Salvo the Slime. In World 6-4, different colored versions of him appear. Defeating one gets you a key, and beating another brings forth one of the five flowers of the level. He also reappears in one of the routes of World 6-8, where his defeat once again grants a key.
    • Super Mario Sunshine: Gooper Blooper is fought twice as a boss in its debuting world (Ricco Harbor), but is reduced to a Mini-Boss in Noki Bay (hence why the Battle Theme Music used in the latter is that of the actual minibosses).
    • Super Mario Galaxy: Inverted with King Kaliente. He first appears as a standard boss in Good Egg Galaxy (thus a Mini-Boss in relation to the Grand Star bosses in the game) and then returns as a Climax Boss guarding his own Grand Star in the Engine Room's last galaxy.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2: The Undergrunt Gunner is a Recurring Boss in Super Mario Galaxy. In the sequel, the Gunners are now ordinary mooks appearing in Bowser Jr.'s Fearsome Fleet and the Fleet Glide Galaxy.
    • Super Mario 3D World: Boss Brolder, the boss of World 4, returns as a blockade enemy later in the game with regular blockade music. And the blockade isn't even named after him; it's named after Brolders in general.
    • Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2: You can place Bowser and Bowser Jr. anywhere, and in any setting to boot, which means you can place them in a grassland themed level and not just in a castle. You can even place up to three of them simultaneously for one sub-level each. In the second game, this also applies to the added bosses (Boom-Boom, Pom Pom, Meowser and the seven Koopalings).
  • Fire Leo from Viewtiful Joe reappears in the next chapter as a normal enemy called Metal Leo with severely reduced health and no fire attacks.
  • In Wario World, SandWorm, the boss of Greenhorn Ruins, reappears in Pecan Sands. However, this time he's weaker, not the level's boss, and not a required fight.
  • The Daemon mini-bosses in the SNES and Genesis game Warlock appear as regular enemies two levels after they're introduced. The player hasn't gained any more power, and they have the same amount of health. The only difference is that they are now skippable.
  • The Knight in Wonder Boy in Monster Land, in addition to having several palette swaps, also appears as a recurring enemy late in the game, as does the Grim Reaper, who also returns in Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair's fifth stage as swarms of miniature versions.

    Rail Shooter 
  • The fourth archive of Child of Eden features the "running man" form of Rez's fourth boss as a sub-boss.
  • Common in the House of the Dead series, with House of the Dead 2 simply throwing ultra-weak versions of every boss in the game at the player in the buildup to the final boss.
  • In Panzer Dragoon, the Imperial Battleship, the boss of Episode 1, appears several times as a mini-boss enemy in Episodes 3 and 5.
  • Moz, the ninja boss in the first Time Crisis reappears as a Mini-Boss in Stage 3-3, then as a mook during the Final Boss battle.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • The Gladiators in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim are introduced about halfway through the game as a Wolfpack Boss fight that establishes that they function the same as your own first-generation Sentinels. By the time you reach the end, though, mass-produced versions of them have joined the rank and file of other Deimos mooks.
  • AI War 2: Under normal circumstances, Extragalactic War units of all tiers are bosses of a sort, due to being the AI's frenzied attempts to bring the variable that is you under control even at Tier 1 and more powerful than anything they usually throw at you individually. Each with its own specialty at making your life difficult, and only spawning if you're growing too powerful. But if you're playing with Fallen Spire enabled, the massive boost in strength you get and the AI's particular hatred for the Spire race will make sure you're both utterly spammed with Tier 1 and 2 Extragalactic War units, and able to kill them more or less casually if you use your fleets decently. Tier 3 and up never do degrade, however; 3 needs you to go overboard and usually have powerful allies, 4 usually needs all these plus enemy AIs around, and 5 means you were asking for it even before you started the game and everything in the galaxy is gonna die now.
  • In the original Homeworld the Taiidan heavy cruiser remains the most powerful enemy ship, but is first encountered when the player only has ships up to destroyer class but in the final two missions, they can build heavy cruisers themselves. It's even worse for the carrier, that brings fighters and can build ships up until frigate class: when it's first encountered it's the Taiidan flagship the player can only build ships up to frigate class and has to be destroyed before it retreats or the mission fails, the second time the player can build destroyers and their own carriers (not that they have much firepower), the third time destroying it ceases not a requirement anymore (not that engaging it is wise), the fourth and the fifth times the player can now build the mighty heavy cruisers, though the fifth time it now has to be destroyed while it won't flee, and in the final mission the Taiidan have brought their mothership, thus the carriers at that battle aren't flagships and are outclassed by the Taiidan's mothership ability to build ships up to cruiser size and even carriers.
  • Mindustry has the Fortress mechs and Revenant air units spawn as bosses in the first few maps. Much later in the game, they start appearing in normal enemy waves and you even get an option to manufacture your own.
  • Pikmin 2: The Burrowing Snagret — the boss of the third dungeon you visit — appears as a regular enemy later on in the game (and not that much later), and often in pairs. The Emperor Bulblax, which was the Final Boss of Pikmin (2001), appears also as a boss in one dungeon, but later on occur as mere mini-bosses and in pairs. The Beady Long Legs, the boss of what is likely to be the fourth dungeon, appears in the overworld after Day 30.
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm: The explicit bossfights in the game are either never seen again (the Archangel, Zurvan), superpowered versions of normal units (Brakk, Slivan), or show up during the evolution missions as unique enemies to kill and absorb DNA from (Yagdra, Kraith).
  • Warcraft III.
    • The Elite Guard in the orc bonus campaign. In "Old Hatreds" the elite guard plays the role of boss, but in "A Blaze of Glory" they're degraded to Elite Mooks.
    • The giant phoenix in the orc bonus campaign. Initially is a boss that the player has to defeat to get an egg and that Chen joins the team. After that becomes a standard enemy, with several of them being in the same area. Although facing them is optional, because the player has no need to return to that area, beyond farming experience and gold.
    • The Abomination. In its initial mission, the abomination is treated as a unique enemy (though not hard to beat), in the next mission there are 5 of them acting as a mini-bosses protecting Kel'thuzad, but after that, they become standard enemies that the undead can train normally.
    • Doomguards in "Warchasers". The first to appear is a boss named Kathuulon, but the next ones to appear are standard enemies, first in Hell if the player is unlucky enough to fall into it, and then in the final stage of the game.

    Rhythm Game 
  • In general, any BEMANI game which has boss songs become regular songs in subsequent mixes is naturally an example of this. GITADORA has an interesting spin on this concept: Since GF/DM V3, the ENCORE STAGE system in each game has seen songs previously available only on that stage swapped out for even harder songs over the course of each game's lifetime, and these songs become unlockable by default by clearing them as EXTRA STAGE. (In more recent versions, you can degrade the boss even earlier by getting high proportions of PERFECT ratings on the song when it gets bumped down to EXTRA STAGE.)

  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • Some early bosses can appear as regular enemies as early as 1-3 levels after you'd normally fight them, and most of the game's splitting bosses can have smaller versions found on the same level they'd be a boss of. By the time you get to Sheol or the Cathedral, a majority of the game's non-storyline bosses can show up in any room and the Seven Deadly Sins can show up in any room. When you get to the level after that, every non-storyline boss can appear, and almost every room contains bosses. Usually two or more of them at once, or three of the Seven Deadly Sins at once, or even a dozen sins and super sins in the same large room.
    • The "It Lives" boss and Mega Satan also summon earlier bosses.
  • When looping in Nuclear Throne, Big Bandit is replaced by a group of Big Bandits, with each being more aggressive than the original. The group grows larger with each loop, making them a very dangerous threat in the late game.
  • Risk of Rain: Given time, enemies you've fought as Teleporter bosses in the first few stages will show up as an occasional enemy spawn in later stages.

    Role Playing Game 
  • AdventureQuest does this a lot with war bosses, which in many cases end up in random encounter lists. This gets lampshaded in one quest where you have to fight Drakath the Undead Dragon, who it's likely the player has run up against at least 3 or 4 times before, and their character wonders, "Who keeps reanimating that dragon?"
  • In Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, you first encounter a Bluefin (basically a giant weasel) near the start of the game, where it's a Hopeless Boss Fight that serves to introduce Empel and Lila as your Big Damn Heroes. A few hours later, you visit their natural habitat, the Maple Delta, where they are easily defeated thanks to your Item Crafting skills giving you much stronger equipment.
  • Baldur's Gate II: possibly Tazok, with a caveat: he was a powerful fighter in the first game, while in the second he returns as nothing more than a named mook that your high level party will easily beat.
  • Bloodborne:
    • Half the bosses in the Chalice Dungeons are Giant Mook enemies with increased health and maybe one or two extra attacks. Another quarter are recycled bosses from the main game. The only unique bosses in the Chalice Dungeons are the Pthumerian Descendant, the Pthumerian Elder, the Watchdog of the Old Lords, the Bloodletting Beast, the Abhorrent Beast, and the Pthumerian Queen.
      • The Merciless Watchers are encountered in the first layer of the very first Chalice Dungeon as a Wolfpack Boss with a screen-spanning health bar that depletes equally as you kill the three of them. In every layer and dungeon after that, they're common enemies.
      • The Keeper of the Old Lords Chalice Dungeon boss becomes a regular enemy in harder chalice dungeons, as do the Merciless Watchers (usually guarding chests, levers, or coffins).
      • The Undead Giant is a boss in the earliest Chalice Dungeons, but a regular enemy after that.
      • The Beast-possessed Soul is much the same.
      • The game also sometimes inverts this by making a single regular enemy from earlier in the game the boss of a Chalice Dungeon layer, with no changes aside from increased health. This is done with the Maneater Boar, the Brainsucker, the Silverbeast, and the Forgotten Madmen (who are just NPC Hunters nigh-identical to the type encountered as early minibosses).
    • The Shadow of Yharnam bosses appear as regular enemies in the Nightmare of Mensis. Unlike the Chalice Dungeon cases above, which are nigh-identical, the mook versions of the Shadows not only have much less health but don't power up and go into a second stage when injured like the boss version.
    • The Blood-Starved Beast from Old Yharnam and some Chalice Dungeons reappears as a mook in Hunter's Nightmare. It's also in a small pitch-black cave, so it's nigh-impossible to see without a torch (which fills up your ranged weapon slot). It doesn't Turn Red this time though, making it slightly easier.
  • Breath of Fire makes recurrent use of the trope in their early entries:
    • Several of the less important, nameless and/or monstrous bosses in Breath of Fire return later as Palette Swapped mooks, most notably the trio of dragons serving as Ryu's trials and the Gremlin, a rather memorable early boss.
    • Breath of Fire II makes the same reuse of boss sprites, though it doesn't limit itself with minor bosses, as guys like Shupkay, M.C. Tusk (end-of-arc bosses) and Ray are among the degraded lot.
    • Breath of Fire III and forward practically avert the trope almost completely. In III, for example, the only example comes from 4 Mini Bosses from very early.
  • Case 02: Paranormal Evil: During the Final Boss fight, there are normal enemy versions of the Miasma Giant boss. While their fight is resolved in a single roll instead of a drawn out boss battle, they do so much damage that the player might as well have just fought the boss version.
  • The Giant Snake, a difficult Action Commands boss from the first Dark Cloud, appears as a regular (albeit hard) foe in Dark Chronicle's second area. The level where it first appears in is even named after it.
  • Dark Souls:
    • The Taurus Demon, Capra Demons, Pinwheels, Bell Gargoyles, and Moonlight Butterflies can all be encountered as normal, respawning enemies later in the game, usually stronger than the boss versions earlier. The Taurus Demon is particularly bad about this as with the others, you can sometimes fight them one on one, and in a relatively safe environment. The area where you first see the "Lesser" Taurus Demons (which actually have slightly more HP than the boss did) you see them in a recently cooled down lava lake, with still bubbling lava. Oh, and there's about seven of them.
    • The Sanctuary Guardian boss in the Artorias of the Abyss DLC becomes a degraded boss after you rescue Dusk of Oolacile. Two of them appear in the arena where you fought the first one, but they have much less health.
  • Dark Souls II:
    • Played straight with the Flexile Sentry and Ruin Sentinel bosses. The Flexile Sentry is the boss of No-Man's Wharf, and you fight three Ruin Sentinels as bosses in Lost Bastille. You later fight a Flexile Sentry treated as a Mook on the way to Drangleic Castle, and you can fight five Ruin Sentinels within the castle. Two more Flexile Sentries can be found in the Crown of the Ivory King DLC, again treated as normal enemies.
    • The Guardian Dragon boss in Aldia's Keep is recycled in the Dragon Aerie, where you have to fight several of them to progress. In Scholar of the First Sin, it's also possible to encounter a weaker version near the beginning of the game in Heide's Tower of Flame, guarding the route to the Cathedral of Blue.
    • The Bell Gargoyles are an optional Wolfpack Boss (fighting against a group of six of them) in Belfry Luna in the early game. More gargoyles are encountered later in Drangleic Castle, though since you're fighting only one at a time, they are much easier to deal with.
    • The first Dragonrider is fought in Heide's Tower of Flame, who can be tricked into charging off the platform to his death. Then there are two fought as a Dual Boss in Drangleic Castle, with one fighting identically to the first with the other one attacking as an archer until aggro'd and switching to the same fighting style while having much less health than his companion. The Scholar of the First Sin Updated Re-release turns him into a non-respawnable enemy that can be fought in several different places, and once more can be tricked into killing himself. You can also fight another version of the Exceutioner's Chariot Steed in Drangleic Castle, albeit with much less health.
    • The Pursuer starts out as a reasonably challenging boss in the early-game and pops up for round two in the Smelter Demon's boss arena, if you go there after beating the Demon - plus a fight against two in Drangleic Caste on New Game Plus. Scholar of the First Sin, the Updated Re-release, then ramps this up further; the Pursuer will dog your path through the game, making a total of nine appearances in NG+, some of them in places with other opponents you also need to deal with.
  • Dark Souls III:
    • The first Crystal Sage you encounter is an early-game boss. A second Crystal Sage shows up near the end as a miniboss, nigh-identical to the first except she has a slightly different head, 50% more health, and doesn't create clones of herself. The geography of the area also makes it much harder to follow her around as she teleports (the first one was fought in an open field), with her teleports being scripted as your ascend the level, and the premises are crawling with enemies, so if anything she's actually harder than the boss version (and will almost certainly take longer to kill). She just doesn't have a health bar at the bottom of the screen.
    • The Dragonslayer Armor is a late game boss in the main game, but in the Ringed City DLC it appears again as an optional miniboss. It isn't any weaker than before, but this time there's no Pilgrim Butterflies shooting projectiles at you from beyond your reach (and the arena, being a corner of a giant swamp rather than a bridge, has no instant-death drops if you dodge badly), so the fight is easier.
    • Inverted with the Deacons of the Deep, who are regular mooks that later get a collective boss health bar for a room full of them, and with the Ancient Wyvern, who is identical in appearance to, and shares moves with, the non-boss wyverns that showed up earlier in the game (he has way more HP and a unique manner of death, though). Also, while neither technically get a boss health bar, only one of the two Fire Demons (the stronger one in the catacombs) drops a boss soul.
  • Dice and the Tower of the Reanimator: Glorious Princess: In the bad ending, the Reanimator will summon a zombified giant orc, which is the same as the first boss, but it only consists of one roll rather than several turns.
  • Digital Devil Saga:
    • In the first game, Jatayu and Garuda are fought on the outside of the higher levels of the Karma Temple. After being defeated and going back inside the temple they can be encountered in random battles.
    • The second game does this as well, with Vetala and Hecatoncheires, the first two bosses of the game, later showing up as random encounters in the Power Plant and the corrupt EGG Installation respectively. Somewhat justified, as the soldiers that transform into them initially are nameless Mooks anyway.
  • The first boss you face in the main storyline of Dragon Age: Origins is an ogre, which becomes a normal enemy later in the game (with more powerful versions at times.) Justified in that you're trying to retake an area that's off to one side of the main battle, and the darkspawn would've just sent a strike force consisting of their normal troops to take it in the first place. Same thing happens in Dragon Age II: an ogre is the very first boss you fight in the game (twice), and even Flemeth comments on how impressive it is to beat one. The next ones you meet in the end of Act I are considerably less difficult. By Act III, Hawke and Companions will crunch them for breakfast.
  • Pride demons also suffer this in Dragon Age: Inquisition: one serves as the first boss, where it's actually fairly tough, but later they start showing up in groups with much less HP, or being spat out of Fade Rifts along with other demons. Part of this is that it has regenerating armor that you have to disrupt the rift to take down, a mechanic that never shows up again.
  • At least in the Super Famicom game, Dragon Ball Z: Legend of the Super Saiyan, there are random encounter enemies late in the game that are palette swaps of Cui, Dodoria, Zarbon, and the Ginyu Force that are weaker or stronger than you originally fought as bosses.
  • The Tyrannosaurus Rex looking dinosaur from Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku that were immune to Kamehameha. The first one is a very long-winded battle. But after the first one, more of them show up in later levels of the game, each time easier to kill as Goku gets stronger until he's too fast and strong for the dinos to even be worth the time.
  • Dragon Quest, as a rule of thumb, will often have you fight a boss, then later meet a common monster counterpart. Specific examples include:
    • In Dragon Quest I, you must rescue the princess from the Dragon early on. Later, dragons are all over the place. The Axe Knight also first appears as a boss guarding Erdrick's Armor, then as a recurring enemy in the Final Dungeon.
    • In Dragon Quest II, Atlas, Pazuzu and Belial are Hargon's three lieutenants. Later DQ games would recycle their designs as common enemies and mini-bosses.
    • Dragon Quest III: In the kingdom of Samanao, the Hero fights a vicious giant Troll who is plagues the realm by pretending to be the king. Later, giant Trolls show up in Alefgard as regular enemies.
    • Dragon Quest VII: all the bosses fought in the various islands will have, somewhere, a common monster counterpart waiting for you. The sole exception is Rainac, a rain-causing monster who's just a souped up tongue-fu monster, a type of enemy you've already encountered and beaten.
  • In EarthBound (1994), the Kraken, which was fought on the way to Scaraba, reappears in the Sea of Eden (where Ness has to fight them alone), though the Krakens here don't respawn like most other enemies in the game. It then reappears again in the Cave of the Past as "Bionic Kraken". Also, several other enemies in the Cave of the Past are renamed and palette-swapped versions of previous bosses (such as of Starman DX and Boogey Tent).
  • Ascended Sleepers in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Various named Dagoths encountered in the latter half of the main quest are modified Ascended Sleepers, but they're actually downgraded from the normal enemy (which only shows up at extremely high levels — it is in fact the highest levelled non-unique monster in the game). So it is quite possible to learn to hate Ascended Sleepers before knowing what they're actually called.
  • Elden Ring loves giving an Elite Mook or Giant Mook a screen-spanning health bar and unique arena in one area, only to have you fight statistically identical or stronger versions in other ones as generic respawning enemies. Since the game world is so open it's completely possible, nay likely, to run into the "boss" after clearing areas where he's a common foe, to predictable results. Examples of enemies like this include large Scaly Misbegotten, Pumpkin Heads, Stonedigger Trolls, Demi-Human Chiefs/Queens, Farum Azula Beastmen, Guardian Golems, and Cleanrot Knights. Other bosses that get reused a lot like Crucible Knights, Night's Cavalry, Ulcerated Tree Spirits, Erdtree Guardians, and Crystalians don't really count for this trope as, while they can be encountered later in the game without a boss arena or health bar (despite actually being stronger than the boss versions), they never really become "regular" enemies like the above do (they remain dangerous and almost none of them respawn).
  • E.V.O.: Search for Eden features a few examples:
    • The Kuraselache King ruled the sea in the first chapter and tried to stop the creatures from heading to land so he could continue to rule. In the penultimate major area, the Final Ocean, two copies of him are fought outside the Rogon stronghold.
    • Debustega was the strongest of the Ikustega in the second area and was the second boss of the game. Bolbox, the Final Boss, summons a pink copy of him during the fight with him. Debustega is the only boss to be given this treatment, as the other creatures summoned by Bolbox are stronger variants of regular enemies.
    • The Queen Bee was the second major boss of the game as the last Amphibian era boss. Bolbox strengthens and revives her so she can kill anyone who makes it to Africa as a minor, skippable boss.
    • The Tyrannosaurus clan was fought as the third major boss in the Dinosaur era. Come the next chapter, after most of the dinosaurs died, and they're hunted by the Yeti and becomes normal, but strong, enemies. They also become Bolbox's second line of defense after the Queen Bee in Africa.
  • Fable:
    • Fable I: The first White Balverine you face is a legendary monster that's the focus of its own quest and can only be harmed with silver weapons (at first — Gameplay and Story Segregation kicks in before your final fight). Later ones are tough but unremarkable Elite Mooks, and the local Monster Arena even uses a small pack of them. Similarly, regular Balverines, Earth Trolls, and Rock Trolls are all introduced as minibosses with their own cutscenes. Almost immediately afterwards, they become normal encounters. If you grind too much early on, it's possible to face the first two before they're officially introduced.
    • Fable II:
      • The Dragon is not immune to this; after you kill the Commandant very similar looking people who have the same powers and abilities appear. This is at least a justified case, as the Commandant is introduced as a prototype, and similar creations are explicitly being mass-produced during the 10 year interval at the game's halfway point.
      • The boss Thag the Impatient later returns as common Bandit chiefs.
    • Fable III: Downgraded versions of Captain Saker and Lieutenant Simmons (deceased) appear once you've defeated them and are a high enough level.
  • Fallout has Deathclaws. The first one is at the end of a quest, and locals of the nearby town speak of it as though it were a mythical being whose very existence is in doubt. A later quest has you destroying a nest of them.
  • The Final Fantasy series does this many times, in many ways.
    • The Vampire is a boss early on in Final Fantasy, and you get attacked by swarms of them later in the game. This game also has palette swaps of Astos, an early boss, later in the game as more powerful enemies. Many powerful enemies that served as uncommon foes or guarded treasure chests in various dungeons, such as dragons, gigases and elementals, become significantly more common in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • Almost every boss in Final Fantasy II appears as a regular enemy later, some as soon as the dungeon right after the one they were a boss in. Case in point, after you defeat the first form of the Emperor, who fights you alongside minions after you win a few battles with his personal guard, doppelgangers called "Imperial Shadows" appear in the next dungeon.
    • Final Fantasy III sends palette swaps of two previous bosses, explicitly labeled as clones, on the way to the Big Bad. In The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, clones of the Big Bad appear as a Chest Monster.
    • Final Fantasy IV has a meta variation: The very first monsters to appear in the game are Palette Swaps of the Ahriman, a boss that first appeared in the previous game. Here, they're a scripted battle that ends in one hit as Cecil roasts three of them with a Red Fang. They later appear as regular enemies, albeit in the final dungeon, and since have become recurring enemies for the series as a whole.
    • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the Mysterious Girl, a constant threat throughout the story who is faced in several Hopeless Boss Fights, is ultimately revealed to actually be an entire army of Artificial Humans known as Maenads. Near the end of the final dungeon, Maenads are fought as random encounters, often in groups!
    • Final Fantasy V:
      • After defeating Exdeath for the first time, you could fight a Palette Swap called Exdeath's Soul in the Sealed Castle.
      • After you beat Garula at the Walse Tower, you can encounter it again as a random encounter near the Walse Meteorite. This version won't harm you. Justified in-universe as the boss Garula was controlled by Exdeath and made unnaturally aggresive as part of his ploy to destroy the Water Crystal.
      • Two bosses from earlier in the game, Soul Cannon and Liquid Flame, could be fought again in the Phoenix Tower if you chose the wrong staircases. In the case of Soul Cannon, the results can be quite nasty.
    • Final Fantasy VI:
      • Most of the monsters seen on the Veldt are just regular enemies. However, you can find both forms of Behemoth King and the Holy Dragon (one of eight allegedly unique dragons) after killing them normally and get their rages and the items they drop upon defeat.
      • The Magitek Armors. You fight two of them as a boss when you first get Edgar (though two shots from Edgar's Auto Crossbow will kill them.) Then, in Sabin's scenario, they're all over the place in the Imperial outpost as forced and avoidable non-random encounters and easily fall victim to Sabin's Blitzes or Shadow's shurikens, especially after you get Magitek Armor Suits of your own (and you can use a Bolt Beam to attack their weak points for massive damage.) You can also find them on the Veldt, though Gau starts with their (useless) rage.
    • Every single boss in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, with five exceptions- the crystal guardians (and their Palette Swap counterparts in Doom Castle) and the final boss- shows up later as a normal enemy. For example, in the Bone Dungeon, you can encounter palette swaps of the Behemoth, whom you fight in the game's tutorial battle, and the Minotaur, which is the first real boss.
    • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is full of these. Sometimes they're storyline bosses, sometimes they're mission-ending uniques.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Granaldo and its Raldo minions are fought on Disc 1 as a regular boss, but they appear in Disc 2 as pets of the Garden Faculty. Also, a few bosses, namely Granaldo and the Oilboyles, appear in the final dungeon as regular enemies.
    • Final Fantasy IX: The Four Chaoses (Lich, Marilith, Kraken, and Tiamat) show up as regular bosses in specific points throughout Memoria. However, weaker, "Crystal" versions of them appear later in the Crystal World as random encounters.
    • Final Fantasy X: Defender X, a rock creature boss summoned by Guado underlings of Seymour. After being defeated a weaker version with all the same attacks but far less than half the original HP can be found in the very next available area.
    • Final Fantasy X-2:
      • The Bonus Dungeon has a lot of these. In the 100-floor dungeon, you encounter bosses on every 20th floor, and after beating the 80th floor boss, all the level bosses you've beaten thus far will start showing up as normal enemies beyond the 81st floor. Considering how incredibly powerful they are (the last two have over 10 times the HP of the final boss!), it's generally a VERY good idea to run if you run into them, as they're NOT worth the effort to beat a second time.
      • Some bosses from earlier in the game also show up later. If you revisit the Floating Ruins in later chapters, you will occasionally encounter Boris, the boss from the first mission there. He has exactly the same stats as last time, therefore making him much easier to defeat.
      • Ultima and Omega Weapon, usually Bonus Bosses, have been relegated to random encounters for this game. Surprisingly, Omega is the easier of the two.
      • X-2 also has bosses from Final Fantasy X return as regular encounters. Because the mechanics of the games are so different, they can be much easier or more difficult then your remember.
    • Final Fantasy XII plays it straight with the Urutan Eater—reappearing as the Emeralditan in the Nabreus Deadlands and Garuda, which reappears as the Garuda-Egi in Paramina Rift, and inverts it with the Rogue Tomato, a level 3ish boss who reappears as a much bigger pain in the ass called the Deadly Nightshade, and the squad of five Mandragoras, initially an easy and fun boss fight and then later reappearing (if you can spawn them, that is) as regular enemies that are very good at making the gamer hate his or her life.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has several enemies that count in this category, such as various Behemoths and Wyverns. Of particular note is the Juggurnaut, a giant mechanical monstrosity that can tear your team to shreds should you stumble into it early in the Pulsian underground. However, when they appear later, your party will be strong enough to turn them into scrap metal in about a minute.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 has a couple cross-game inversions: The Immortal and Ochus were regular, if strong and rare, enemies in the first game, but are unique Bonus Bosses here. There are also regular examples cross-game such as the Dreadnaught (still a fairly tough enemy but nowhere near boss-material).
    • The Zaltys that serves as the boss of the tutorial in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII appears a regular enemy in the same area when you revisit it. The game also has the Aster Protoflorian, which is a hard end of chapter boss in 13, returning as a normal (though by no means trivial) enemy.
  • Fleuret Blanc does this, sort of. After fighting them in trophy bouts (usually the first time you can do so), you can fight FOIL members again at any time for practice and Money Grinding, but they'll have half Hit Points. However, some of them will gain different techniques, possibly making them harder than they were the first time.
  • Glory of Heracles III has one area where all of the random encounters are previous boss fights, including some of the first few boss fights in the game. And since you've been turned into a massive monster, you can wipe them out with ease.
  • Haven (2020)
    • Nokk is a boss fought on the islet Atokko in order to learn the Flow Burst. Shortly after, smaller versions called Minokks are regularly encountered.
    • The Babulardo is a scripted boss encounter at the Tsupiko Greenhouse. Later, a smaller variety, Babulidos, appear in groups of up to five at once.
    • The Hornets first appear as a Wolfpack Boss in a scripted encounter on Chogedon. Later on, there are roaming encounters with pairs or trios of Hornets, though some of these include tougher "Leader" Hornets.
  • The Lotus Assassins of Jade Empire get this hard. The first one you meet, you can't even fight - an NPC rushes in to defeat the assassin and says you wouldn't have stood a chance. Later, you fight a couple, but each is at the center of a boss fight. A couple of acts later, and you're taking on entire squads of assassins by yourself without breaking a sweat.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts does this with the Behemoth Heartless; after appearing as the "boss" of your second visit to Hollow Bastion, you fight more of them in the Hades Cup and the End of the World, only this time they're basically Giant Mooks. The Stealth Sneak also appears as this in the Hades Cup, but subverts this by being stronger than the original, and you face two of them at once. The first game also has the the Guard Armor, an early boss consisting of an animated suit of armor, appear again in the arena. Except that in most matches only parts of it appear, so you're confronted with a random armored leg or arm fighting in the arena.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: The first time a Neoshadow is encountered in Mission 29, it is treated as a miniboss. During the last mission of the game, Mission 93, a large number show up as normal Mooks that die with 1-2 hits.
    • The Darkside Heartless is a Recurring Boss throughout the entire franchise, usually serving as the first proper boss in a game. In Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, there is an area swarming with them as hazards in a single area, three of which can be fought as Giant Mooks. However, there is one at the end of the area that gets a proper boss fight, and has significantly more health and moves than the rest.
    • Ice Titan is a multiple-game example, and while it never becomes a mere enemy, its Boss status has degraded as the series progressed. In Kingdom Hearts I, it was a Bonus Boss. In the Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, it was a world boss. In Kingdom Hearts III, it's fought alongside the other titans as the first world boss.
  • Halfway through the first disc of The Legend of Dragoon you face a "Sandora Elite", an assassin who fights with kunai, earth-based ninjutsu and two ninja clones at his side. They become standard enemies in the Disc-One Final Dungeon, minus the dopplegangers.
  • Legend of Legaia has you fight against two Viguro early in the game. They're second-tier Seru while you're still on first-tier spells. Interesting in that it is still possible to absorb them in this fight if you're lucky enough, giving you a considerable boost in damage output for as long as you can meet the higher MP requirement. The Kemaro mini-boss fight is a lesser example.
  • A few minor bosses such as the Desert Axebeaks in Legend of Mana are simply normal enemies with a boss-level hit point bar, although due to the game's level scaling system these downgraded enemies can eventually become more dangerous than their Boss equivalents.
  • Many, many bosses in Lufia & The Fortress of Doom. With the exception of the Sinistrals, you don't fight an actual unique boss until around the halfway point of the game.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals loves this as well. The general rule of thumb there is, "if the boss doesn't have any lines of dialogue and the game hasn't hit its 3/4th complete point, expect to see it in normal dungeons regularly later on."
  • Priel from Luminous Arc gets smacked with this. In the first game, she's The Dragon, and a royal pain every time you fight her. In the sequel, her sprite is reused as a generic ranged Mook you'll see in the first five chapters.
  • The first "real" boss you face in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is three Shroobs in Holli Jolli Village. Mario and Luigi kill off one of them before the UFO bomb is set off that knocks them out, then the babies come to the rescue and learn how to use Bros Items to defeat the remaining two. Later on in the game, they become a recurring enemy and eventually even become The Goombas (the first "goombas" you faced were tiny, harmless Shrooblets that were initially used for practice battles).
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, the boss on Therum is a Krogan Battlemaster. You fight them later in the game, but they are much easier. This is as much due to starting the fight exposed and surrounded by mooks in cover as to his actual power, though.
    • Inverted with the Geth Colossus and Thresher Maw. In the first game, you'd probably end up killing a dozen of each since you had the Mako IFV (though you could always fight them on foot if you were feeling suicidally overconfident). However, in the second game, only one of each is fought; since you have to fight them on foot this time, they're treated as bosses.
    • In Mass Effect 2, an YMIR heavy mech is the first boss. As the game progresses, they show up frequently as elite mooks, sometimes in pairs. They're never easy, and in the harder battles (especially when they start out near the party, since they can absolutely shred Shepard at short range), they qualify as Boss in Mook Clothing, and are sometimes harder than actual bosses.
    • The first Brute in Mass Effect 3 counts as a miniboss, complete with arena-like setting and cinematic introduction, but others will be introduced later in the same mission with much less drama. Ditto for Banshee later in the game.
    • Also in the third game, the Atlas Mech is counted as an outright boss when encountered during Priority: Sur'Kesh and Priority: Eden Prime. They become more common in later missions though. In fact, it's possible to fight a "regular" Atlas before any of their "boss" encounters note , which can lead some players to wonder what all the fuss is about when the latter are given a whole cutscene to themselves.
    • This happens to the Geth Prime on a meta level between games. In the first game, there's only one Prime you're forced to fight on foot, as a mini-boss in the leadup to the endgame, but in the second they're reduced to level bosses and by the third game you're fighting several at once.
    • The first Behemoth in Mass Effect: Andromeda is treated as an end-level miniboss in the first encounter, but they are freely mixed into regular firefights from then on.
  • Might and Magic games do this frequently, especially 3D era games:
    • VI has the Fallen Defender, assuming you let the Beef Gates guide you. It serves as the boss in the Hall of the Fire Lord dungeon, which is a mid-game dungeon. In the Tomb of VARN, a late-game dungeon, you find Defenders, Sentinels and Guardians of VARN, increasingly powerful non-boss monsters. The Fallen Defender is actually less powerful than even the least powerful of the non-boss variants (it lacks the secondary attacks and is slower), although that might have something to do with the implied reason for the Fallen Defender being so far from the rest of its kind: it's malfunctioning.
    • VI and VII have occasional lone dragons such as one on Emerald Isle in VII which is on starting island and you're supposed to leave it alone, but it is beatable if you arm yourself with bows and patience. Both games also require you to slay a dragon as a part of promotion quest. Late into the game you get into places with swarms of them.
    • VI has also single Power Lich at the end of two low-to-mid level dungeons and likewise they infest one of late-game dungeons.
    • VIII has a strange example in Pirate Captains on their ships, each with unique name, on Dagger Wound Islands. At the beginning of the game they are able to One-Hit Kill any of your party members, but without Fly spell you can't even reach them and you're not required to do so, so you would have to go pretty out of your way to fight them as soon as possible. When you return here searching for access to Regna (when you most likely have Fly), they will be at the level of average monster which is Regna full of.
    • X has two of these in two early Dangerous Caves (Cyclops and Shadow Dragon) and will appear later as somewhat semi-regular enemies.
  • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri): The Great Jaggi is your first large Monster Hunt. By the time you fight the Royal Ludroth, you're taking them on two at a time, and they're barely worth hunting anymore. Note that at this point, you're still fighting the weakest monsters in the game. In Monster Hunter Portable 3rd and the expansion Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, the lowest-tier large monsters end up being the first of many monsters fought successively on multi-monster quests.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth has the Wind Guardian, Serpent Lord, Vampire Lord, Rock Mold, Dinosaur King, and Hypnosis, who all get random enemy counterparts after you defeat them. The only inversion is the nameless boss that guards the Time medium, which is a palette swap of a golem enemy.
  • Odin Sphere: Inverted. The player normally encounters Halja in the Netherworld as midbosses, but in Oswald's story, two of them are fought at once as an end-of-stage boss.
  • Paper Mario 64:
    • The Putrid Piranhas are midbosses encountered twice in a Chapter 5. In the sequel, they are ordinary mooks, also encountered in chapter 5, oddly enough.
    • A Chain Chomp serves as one half of the Chapter 2 boss in the first game, but are ordinary enemies in both Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario.
    • In the original game, a Magikoopa is first encountered as a midboss to teach the player how to use action commands. They're later encountered as ordinary enemies MUCH later in the game.
  • Atomic Boo debuted as an optional boss in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. In Super Paper Mario, they are rare enemies.
  • In Paper Mario: Color Splash:
    • Shunned Guy is the boss of the early stage Indigo Underground and is a major threat due to being immune to both Mario's Jump and Hammer. Mario gains more attack options as he goes through the game, and when Shunned Guy reappears in the late-game stage Sunset Express, he's more an annoyance than anything, and is a non-special, albeit rare encounter. For further degradation, Shunned Guy is whom Mario will play Rock–Paper–Scissors with in Roshambo Temple #3 if the Rock Paper Wizard isn't there.
    • Black Shy Guy is a mini-boss in Violet Passage on your first visit, with the mini-boss music playing when you fight him. He is then treated as a normal enemy that can always be found in one corner of Fort Cobalt. In a true instance of boss degradation, Mario can whack the Black Shy Guy in Fort Cobalt with his hammer to instantly defeat him without a fight.
  • Phantasy Star IV:
    • Prophallus is basically a (very powerful) variation of the Final Boss of the first game.
    • Juza, the boss of Zio's fort has palette swaps later on called Greneris and Radhin.
    • Gy-Laguiah, the boss of Ladea Tower has palette swaps named Lw-Admer and Cula-Bellr.
  • Pokémon:
    • You'll be fighting trainers with Com Mons, and the gym leaders have evolved Pokémon, or Pokémon not available to you yet. Eventually you'll be able to find evolved Pokémon, or stronger unevolved Pokémon both in the wild and used by trainers.
    • Brock is particularly notable, as he is somewhat challenging if the player picked Charmander and as such cannot one-shot his team with super-effective damage. Yet there is an entire Trainer class later in the game that specializes in Geodude and Onix—the very mons that make up his team—all of which have more of them at a higher level than what Brock uses, one of whom is in the very next dungeon. However, they provide no challenge whatever even for Charmander trainers, since the player has access to at least one water move by then.
    • Besides gym leaders, the true bosses of the series are Legendary Pokémon. One of a kind so only the player can have one. Yet, for some reason, you'll be finding a couple of them in use by Non Player Characters in the Battle Frontier of Pokémon Emerald.
  • Sakura Dungeon: With a few exceptions, every boss you defeat (be they plotline or optional) will always become a common monster later on, even as early as the next floor for dungeon floor overseers.
  • Secret of Evermore had the Eye of Rimsala; the first is a boss about halfway through the game. The last dungeon area has one guarding most corridors, and the last Sequential Boss fight includes a segment where you take on three at once.
  • Any Shin Megami Tensei game with the recruitable demon mechanic will allow you to recruit, fuse, or otherwise obtain many of the bosses you fight after beating them at least once. Shin Megami Tensei II features a specific example of this that's notable for the rare case of having obvious justification. The enemy Betelgeuse first appears as a boss... and a giant monster. Later, you encounter him as a normal enemy, but in this form, he's human-sized and humanoid.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Persona 3's "The Answer" more then likely caused some episodes of PTSD when one of the most challenging bosses from the main game, The World Balance, showed up as a regular encounter with all its moves and stats intact.
    • Persona 4
      • The game has a (sub-)boss with a really quick turnover: the Avenger Knight (who can kill an unprepared party real easily) appears on the floor right after his initial appearance, sometimes appearing in pairs! Thankfully, these have a fraction of the HP and none of the physical skills the boss had and can be one hit killed 100% of the time via Hama/light, easily found on Angel at this point
      • A similar turnaround happens with the Dominating Machine sub-boss in Naoto's dungeon. It reappears later on with slightly more HP but with a mere 1 Endurance, meaning that your attacks are much more damaging and can easily kill the Machine in a round or two.
    • A lot of bosses from P3 can be found as random encounters in P4.
      • World Balance shows up again, but it's an interesting case; you find it as a random encounter way before you fight it as a sub-boss. Fighting it then gives you a version that resists physical attacks as well as all elements, but falls instantly to Hama and Mudo and only knows Ziodyne. Later on, you fight a powered-up version in Nanako's dungeon, which still isn't as hard as the nightmare it was in the previous game. Here, the World Balance has a simple pattern (Mind Charge and then a -dyne spell) and has low HP for a boss.
      • The Magical Magus appears in the first level of the game, and in P3, you didn't fight it until you got to the third block of Tartarus.
      • The Natural Dancer also makes an appearance. It only has two skills now; Navas Nebula (Physical attack, whole party, causes Exhaustion, which drains SP each turn) and Marakunda (Debuff, lowers defense of all enemies). It also picked up a weakness to ice, which it didn't have in the previous game.
    • The first boss you fight in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is Orias, who shows he's serious by killing off several Strike Team members and Commander Gore. He's level 7, and can't do anything but attack. A few sectors later, Orias is a random encounter... and he's level 27 and throws Magarulas around like they're free candy.
    • A few bosses in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne are fought in later dungeons as random encounters. This includes Forneus, the Troll (although he was only a miniboss to begin with), Ose, Yaksini (same as the Troll), and a few others.
    • Wendigo in Devil Survivor is a major boss in the first in-game day, and overcoming it is how the protagonists avert their untimely deaths. A few days later, when you've gained several levels since then, it becomes a regular enemy and you can even get one for yourself. It's actually even invoked, as one of your party members will mention how Wendigo appearing as a regular enemy means that you're fighting tougher demons now.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, the executioner you face fairly early in the game appears reskinned as a mook in one of the climactic sequences. The original inspired nightmares, his green-painted cousins are easy meat, probably because you gained about 30 levels and now have access to Fina's wide range of healing powers.
    • The Sentinel is the second boss of the game, fought at the end of Shrine Island. A modestly more powerful version known as Guardians are fought as regular mooks in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Star Ocean has a case of a boss being degraded before you fight him. It's the Velcant. It's a rare random encounter in his dungeon, so some people don't run into it. What's worse is it's a Wake-Up Call Boss, one that either forces you to grind or forces you to learn how to effectively use the battle system and control the party rather than just mashing A and let the AI control your other party members.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time does this with nearly every single boss in the second disk. They don't wait for the player to get stronger before showing up again, nor do they get weaker upon being degraded, they just get a little stronger and show up as normal enemies from then on out.
  • In the Bonus Dungeon of Star Ocean: The Second Story, this happens multiple times. The boss of one floor of the dungeon will often be a random encounter on the next.
  • The Barbarian Fighter and the Iron Golem from Summoner. The first can be fought in a normal encounter practically right after you fight him as a boss, and the Iron Golem can be found as enemy before he's a boss, if you're a glutton for punishment and go wandering in the mountains.
  • In Super Lesbian Animal RPG the Core Guardian's design is recycled to create a mass produced version, although it's ability to transform and it's shield mode were removed. The Abominable Automaton Also known as Glyph also has a Mass Production Automaton counterpart which the party encounters while exploring the Crypt
  • Super Mario RPG presents a spin on this: several of the game's bosses (namely, those who identified themselves as members of the Smithy Gang) reappear in the game's final dungeon, a factory that literally churns them out. They're even called "Machine Made", and no matter what boss they're copies of, every single one is called "Machine Made". Unlike most examples of this trope, the boss music still plays while fighting Machine Mades, interestingly.
  • Almost every boss in Tales of Phantasia reappears later in the game as a standard enemy, even such important bosses like summon spirits (Undine and Volt in particular).
  • Vagrant Story featured bosses that often become normal mooks with varied stat decreases. The Harpy and Lich both appear as mooks a few rooms following their boss arenas, though, unlike other examples in the same game, has their stats decreased.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky does something similar to Fleuret Blanc; after beating the game, you can refight any story boss by talking to the town gravedigger. Most of them will be trivial by that point, of course.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt expansion pack Blood and Wine: The first Bruxa you fight is a pretty tough boss fight. After that, they serve as an uncommon Elite Mook.
  • Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land contains several examples.
    • On level 4 you fight an enemy and minions as a mini boss for an optional quest. By level 6 these are normal enemies.
    • On level 8 you will fight a mini boss in a certain room that due to timing and various other factors makes this the hardest fight in the game to get right at the time you get there. And it's just an optional quest mini boss with near zero plot importance. On the final level of the game you fight this exact enemy as a normal encounter with the same minions... and may even encounter it at the same time as another difficult enemy. Post game you will sometimes fight two at once and minions as a normal encounter.
    • Post game you can fight bosses as normal enemies. Even the ones that actually were bosses.
  • In The World Ends with You, there are various lower-level Noise (examples including the lowest form of wolf, shark, and rhino), which when you encounter them for the first time, they're treated as a boss. Later in the game however, they're just another type of Noise to defeat - sorry, erase.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xord is the first Faced Mechon you fight proper. Later on, Mass-Produced Faces that look and fight exactly like him show up as regular enemies. One of the few examples that are entirely justified in-story though, as there are implications that Xord is a Mass-Produced Face himself, meaning the minor antagonist you assumed was The Brute turned out to be just a run-of-the-mill Elite Mook who happened to have a backstory.
    • Various Telethia fought before Shulk revives and Dickson escapes in Colony 6 become optional enemies throughout the rest of the game.
  • In Xenogears, you first face off against Redrum. A bit later, you fight Bloody, a palette swapped version that has higher stats, but is weaker relative to your higher level party. Then, late in the game, there are random encounters with a pair of Bloody Brothers. They're identical to Bloody, except they use Redrum/Bloody's trademark attack, "Murder" much less often, and by this point in the game all their other attacks only deal 1 damage.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Two variants occurs in Contra ReBirth. The giant alien worm faced as the first boss of the game becomes "ammunition" for the penultimate boss (or Final Boss if playing on Easy), Uranian Devil Gaba / Jagger Froid, serving a similar purpose to the Recurring Boss's appendages in the other games. On the same boss stage, another Recurring Boss that served as the Final Boss of Super C is reduced to mini versions on a stampede.
  • Darius Twin's final stage. There are no normal mooks to be had...every last thing you run into is either a mid-boss or stage boss you've encountered prior. And they will swarm the screen to no end.
  • Several of the mooks in Fester's Quest are miniature versions of bosses from Blaster Master; both games were by Sunsoft.
  • Gradius:
    • Big Core in the series as a whole; they were the first game's Recurring Boss and came back for Boss Rushes in subsequent games. In Gradius V, they've been reduced to regular enemy status, appearing frequently in Stage 1, 3, and 7 and getting killed pretty quickly. To compensate with this issue, a modified Big Core appears as a stage boss in Stage 1.
    • Another level boss Gaw appeared in Life Force at the end of Stage 5. It appeared in Gradius II's Boss Rush before becoming a pre-stage enemy for the bio levels in Gaiden and V.
    • The giant worm that was the first boss of Gaiden appears as an enemy in V's bio stage.
    • The worst is Zelos Force, the final boss of Salamander/Life Force, degraded to a simple obstacle course of multiple Zelos Forces in Stage 1 of Gradius V.
  • Metal Slug: The third game brings back several bosses from previous installments in the final stage, but as various Mini-Boss enemies encountered halfway and easier to destroy than their original counterparts. Notably the Hairbuster Riberts airship which is fought on a Jet Pack instead of on foot (making his attacks easier to avoid), the Hi-Do (where the boss area now contains an automatic gatling gun), as well as the Rugname (which you fight in outer space with a jet booster, allowing you to dodge majority of it's attacks by flying to the top of the screen). The Dai-Manji also returns, as a Giant Mook trio you defeat before facing the Rugname.
  • In Raiden IV, the twin spider tanks from Raiden II return in smaller form in Stage 4, but then they are re-promoted to bosses in that same stage. The series' recurring jet boss, Ichneumon, becomes a regular enemy in Stages 5 and 6 of the Xbox 360 version.
  • The first boss of RayStorm, Pendragon returns as a Mini-Boss in the Judgement and Emotion stages of RayCrisis. In the same game, Sem-Slut/Strut, the boss of the Emotion stage, appears in mook form in the Memory and Consciousness stages.
  • Space Invaders Infinite Gene is insane with this, with a hundred or so of these in the normal game (of 30 levels) alone. The degraded versions usually have less health, come with different enemies\obstacles each time, and they'll go away if you can't beat them in time.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Yuyuko, final boss of Perfect Cherry Blossom, is the Stage 1 boss of Ten Desires. Justified in that she's Willfully Weak; she just wants to get in some practice with you before you go on the investigation.
    • The fangame Concealed the Conclusion is full of them: Flandre and Mokou (Bonus Bosses in original games) are stage 1 minibosses, Kaguya and Mima (originally Final Bosses) are stage 1 bosses, powerhouses like Remilia, Eirin, Eiki and Yuuka are on stages 2-3, etc.

    Survival Horror 
  • The first tele-flankers in Alan Wake (Carl Stucky and Rusty) are fought as bosses, in the last chapters you fight them like normal enemies.
  • The Tripod from Dead Space 2 may be a challenge when you first fight it but it has to attack in increasing numbers to be a threat later on. One actually runs away from its own boss fight.
  • The Demolishers from Dying Light reappear with some frequency after the initial battle with one in Rais's Pit. This is justified by the first one being much harder to defeat because they are larger, more heavily armored, have a different fighting style than any other zombie thus far, the player is given no indication on how to beat it, and Crane is missing all of his weapons besides a single machete. The area of the game where the Demolishers are found with some regularity, Old Town, is said time and time again to have more advanced and ferocious infected than the Slums, and when fighting them on the open-world map you have the opportunity to just stand on top of something (the areas where they are found is always walled off somehow) and throw knives at them.
  • Resident Evil: Gun Survivor brings back the T-00 Tyrant from Resident Evil 2, but they're degraded to regular Giant Mook enemies. At one point in the Umbrella Lab, you can even come across an entire room full of tanks containing mass-produced, deactivated T-00 units.
  • Los Gigantes from Resident Evil 4 undergo an interesting form of degrading. When you first encounter one, El Gigante is a ridiculously powerful boss that you only manage to beat because you have lots of room to maneuver and (hopefully) a dog to provide a distraction. The second time, you lack this room, and you're expected to use the terrain to delay it long enough to escape. By the third and final time, you've got enough firepower to handle two Gigantes with relative ease — and since you retain your arsenal when you start the game over, from the second round on Los Gigantes are pushovers from the start. It also helps the 3rd time that you can activate a lava pit and eliminate one of them quickly. In true RE tradition, Convection, Schmonvection applies. And be very wary of the Gigante flailing around in the pit since, if Leon get close enough to it while it's still flailing about, it'll grab Leon, killing both of them.
  • The Prototype Tyrants in Resident Evil 0, although this is more of an inversion, as the game is a prequel.
  • Silent Hill:
    • Silent Hill 2 miniboss, the Doorman (or Abstract Daddy) appears as a common monster in a later level, albeit a smaller, weaker version of the original. The reason for this being, based on the most popular theory, that the psychological reasons for the original creature to exist are sort of "echoing" themselves. Or something.
    • In Silent Hill 3, the Missionary, which you first fight as a boss after one of them kills Harry, becomes a recurring mook in the cult's church near the end of the game.
    • In Silent Hill: Origins, Caliban, the boss of the theater, becomes a mook in the outdoor segment almost immediately after you beat the boss version. Along with the giant versions of the dogs, these act as a very, very unsubtle hint that you should probably just be running from enemies on the streets now instead of wasting ammunition and Breakable Weapons fighting them.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Dirge of Cerberus does this a lot, most notably with the Heavy Armor Soldier mini-boss in the third level.
  • In Gears of War, the minigun-wielding Grinders in the second game are functionally weaker versions of the first game's final boss, General RAAM, with less health and no Kryll Shield. Story-wise they're two entirely different beasts (RAAM being an ascended Theron Guard while Grinders are big dumb Boomers), but gameplay-wise they're very similar.
  • The first Bloater in The Last of Us is a powerful juggernaut that can only be killed with several Molotov cocktails. Every Bloater after this point but one can be avoided, and the only one you must fight has greatly reduced health. Plus, most of the avoidable Bloaters appear after you get the flamethrower, making killing them much easier if you so choose.
  • Max Payne 2 has Kaufman, the much-feared leader of the Squeaky Cleaning Company hitmen, whose baseball cap and jacket set him apart from his jumpsuit-wearing lackeys. In the levels following his death, Cleaners wearing his outfit are only a little less common than the standard models.
  • MDK2. You beat and destroy a Minecrawler Pilot as the very first boss of this game. Level 7? You end up fighting at least five as "regular" enemies.
  • Hunters in [PROTOTYPE], although they don't degrade by a lot until much later in the game. It isn't that they get weaker, it's that your character grows in power a lot. Fighting them is still very tricky until you get the hunter dirtnap ability (which lets you chokeslam them). Once you get the blade power, however, they fall in one hit.
  • In the 2004 Transformers game by Atari, the boss of Level One is a "Heavy Unit" wielding dual-energy blasters, homing missiles, and a mean Shockwave Stomp. And you fight him in relatively close quarters (with some terrain for cover), too. He becomes a standard Giant Mook no later than level two, when the game reveals its true Nintendo Hard colors: They can survive one or two Boom Headshots from your Sniper Rifle (depending on your aim), and are frequently stationed out in wide-open areas where they are free to launch their homing missiles at you from really long-range. And nearby reinforcements will wonder what they're shooting at and start searching for you themselves. Fun game though.
  • Shadows of the Empire has an AT-ST walker appear as a Warm-Up Boss in Echo Base, then as a normal Giant Mook in Gall Spaceport.

    Tower Defence 
  • The Battle Cats uses this liberally. Almost every enemy in the game, even the former final or bonus bosses, will show up again later in the game, either in greater numbers or under a greater strength magnification. One particularly notable example: Berserkory is introduced as a boss in his first appearance, with special music and only a few Brollows for support. The very next level includes no less than three Berserkories, no less powerful than before.
  • In Bloons Tower Defense, MOAB-class Bloons are huge blimps that have loads of health compared to other enemy types. They serve as "boss" rounds in their first appearance, where they're the only Bloon that spawns for that round due to their huge power making them a serious challenge on their own. A few rounds later, they'll start spawning more and more often during regular rounds. By the time you get to freeplay, they'll have become more common than regular Bloons.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, the Hollow known as Mad Eater serves as a Starter Villain who Matsuri and Fujimaru have to fend off multiple times, finally managing to defeat him shortly before the Time Skip. Later on in the game, you encounter generic Hollows called Evil Eaters, who are identical to Mad Eater but with higher stats and varied attributes (and also no voice acting).
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Happens in pretty much every game. The first bosses are different classes. As you get some of your own, the bosses become higher tier classes, with the mooks being like the first bosses. Get some of your own of that too, then by the end of the game, all the mooks swarming each level could have been a boss of an earlier level.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
      • The Cyclops, fought as a regular boss previously, appear as a regular enemy in the Endgame and Bonus Dungeons. It's as tough as before though; it's your party that's become stronger.
      • Proving it's never too late to pull this, the boss of the second-to-last chapter is a Dracozombie. You have to fight two as regular Mooks (though they're more Bosses In Mook Clothing) in the final chapter, and even more appear in the Bonus Dungeon. Interestingly, the first one you fight has a radically different sprite... because he's Morva, a very significant NPC and Myrrh's father, suffering a case of Came Back Wrong.
  • Shining Force used this often, with several bosses on stages being a Minotaur, a Golem, a Witch creature, a Black Knight, etc., all of whom would appear frequently as simple mooks in later missions, once the team got stronger.
  • Shining in the Darkness had the Kaiserkrab, the insanely hard-to-beat first boss. When it reappears as a mook, it's just as powerful but easier to beat, since you have two extra teammates by then.
  • In Super Robot Wars games, on the final stage, you'll usually not only have the Final Boss to deal with but around two dozen variants on previous original bosses, usually mass-produced models of Super Prototype mechs the Quirky Miniboss Squad used. In some of the more challenging ones, they're just as strong as the originals.
  • In Telepath RPG the first Mechanic Captain you fight serves as a boss in a early mission, eventually, Mechanic Captains will replace normal swordsmen in normal battle. They are as strong as the first you fought but in the meantime, you got stronger and got new party members.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The special zombies in Dead Island show up initially as bosses, complete with cut scenes showing shocked protagonist reactions. After a couple of areas have been passed, they show up mixed in with regular zombies, as strong as they were before (stronger, in fact, as they level with the players). As they tend to have elements of a Puzzle Boss about them (disable the arms first, use ranged weapons, only attack from behind etc) it's usually best to mop up the mook before attempting to take them down.
  • Kingpin in Spider-Man (PS4) shows up as the first boss fight. After beating him, you'll start encountering regular enemies called Brutes that have similar moves and immunities and will require the same special tactics.

  • Nintendo Land goes nuts with this in its Pikmin Adventure and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest attractions. Had trouble against the Greater Bladed Baub? Let's see how you fare against three in a row!note  You know it's bad when Ganon gets this treatment. However, it's inverted in the Metroid Blast attraction. The first time you face Ridley, he gets no fanfare and is treated as a normal enemy. Every time you face him after that, he gets an intro cutscene reserved for bosses.
  • Trauma Center: Earlier strains of GUILT/Stigma will typically get treated as proper bosses in their introductory operation, but become just another part of later operations and can show up side-by-side with other versions of GUILT/Stigma. Being degraded bosses does not make them any less dangerous. This is best shown with Kyriaki and Tetarti, the two most recurring forms of GUILT in the series.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • Gillians in Bleach. The first one which appeared in the series seemed like an Eldritch Abomination with the power of mass destruction, giving Ichigo one of his toughest early fights yet. Turns out it was just a mindless Giant Mook even a moderately-trained Soul Reaper or Quincy could defeat with effort. During the Fake Karakura Town battle, a few dozen are summoned by Hooleer to attack the weakened Soul Reapers and were easily dealt with by the Visoreds pulling a Big Damn Heroes.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Vamdemon (Myotismon) was the longest-lasting villain — 12 episodes in his original form and two more as VenomVamdemon, which would be enough to make his arc the longest even on its own, but the five episodes immediately preceding his debut involved one of his minions stirring up trouble. And even then he wasn't defeated, coming back in Digimon Adventure 02 as BelialVamdemon/MaloMyotismon to serve as that season's man behind the man, er, mon. Cut ahead to Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time, and mass-produced Vamdemon clones are being slaughtered wholesale.
  • The Wazatori strain of the Kabane in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are dangerous because they retain fighting skills from when they were still human. The Wazatori that first appears in the show is a Dual Wielding swordsman that takes an entire episode and a ton of effort from the Koutetsujou's entire crew to kill. But after this, the main characters get their Mid-Season Upgrade and all subsequent Wazatori are defeated as easily as any random Kabane.
  • Anyone with a Two-Star uniform in Kill la Kill becomes this... around Episode 5, which should probably tell you something about the ridiculous power scale of the show. By episode 7, they're lucky to get even two lines of dialogue before Ryuko strips them. Hell, one of them doesn't even get to announce their name before getting taken out.
  • The Gouf, the Dom and the Gelgoog first appear in Mobile Suit Gundam as unique mobile suits, but they soon reappear as mass-production units in episodes following Amuro's first encounters with them.
  • Similarly, in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, The Earth Alliance's powerful Mobile Armors such as the Zamzah-Zah and Destroy Gundam appear in greater numbers later in the series.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • The 0-point robots in the entrance exam were treated as obstacles that were meant to be avoided because they were enormous and held no benefits if beaten. They are later reused as obstacles in the Sports Festival race, where several students are easily able to handle them.
    • Nomu was the main boss of the USJ Arc and beyond the level of the students or even their teacher, Aizawa, who is also a Pro Hero, with only All Might having any actual chance against it. Nomus are later shown to be mass-produced, although still beyond the levels of the students and only Pro Heroes have been able to beat them so far (thus, it's more of a downplayed example). Justified though, as the original Nomu was especially worked on to defeat All Might, so it makes sense for it to be more powerful than the others.
  • One Piece:
    • The Pacifistas. The first one encountered by the Straw Hat Pirates required the joint effort of all the crew members in order to defeat it. Cut to 2 years later, where Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji alone now can easily destroy two of them (although it's worth noting that the Pacifistas they defeated were outdated models). Much later, after the Warlord system is abolished and the Marines go to capture Boa Hancock, with Blackbeard eventually showing there for her fruit, the secret project Vegapunk was working on to replace the Warlords turns out to be the Seraphims, newer and more effective Pacifistas modeled after the Warlords AND Lunarians, able to fight and put both the Blackbeard Pirates and the Kuja on the ropes.
    • Captain-ranked Marines such as Smoker, Hina, Axe-Hand Morgan, and Nezumi (this last one being The Unfought) were usually major antagonists during the earlier arcs of One Piece. Come the end of the Enies Lobby arc, and the entire Straw Hat crew is now fighting two hundred Marine Captains at the same time, many of them nameless with only a few (i.e. Devil Fruit users) getting any sort of focus.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Dark and Silver robots from Zentrix were the villains of one, two, or three-part episodes, but by the end of the show they started being produced en mass, with these mass-produced versions going down about as easily as run-of-the-mill Mooks.

  • In the Alien series, some xenomorphs are victims of this trope. A sole "drone" is the main villain of the first movie, while in the film Aliens, there's multiple "warriors" which are demoted to Elite Mooks. Easily justified by how the lone aliens in the first and third films are stalking prey that has no effective weaponry with which to fight back. In general, Xenomorphs are less threatening when they're up against colonial marines rather than unarmed civilians, though they still shouldn't be underestimated.
  • In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, during the chase scene with Obi-Wan and Jango in the asteroid field, Jango launches a missile at Obi-Wan's ship, which is treated like a terrifying, nearly inescapable weapon. Obi-Wan is chased for a good minute before he gets lucky and manages to destroy it by tricking it to fly between two huge asteroids. In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin and Obi-Wan are flying in a space battle and FOUR of those same missiles come after them, and they act like they are no big deal and destroy them in about fifteen seconds just by SPINNING.

  • In "Trial Under Fire" (the MechWarrior 3 novelization), the team's first encounter with a 100 ton Annihilator is described as an epic battle. Mid book, it is stated it "no longer held any special terror for" the main character, and towards the end, the lance destroys them two or three at a time.
  • In the second book of the Sword of Truth series, Richard fights a mriswith, and it's described as an epic battle requiring him to push his skill to a new level. The end of the next book is taken up by a battle in which he faces hundreds of them and kills dozens (although they would have eventually overwhelmed him if not for The Cavalry arriving).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the seventh and final season, the first Turok-Han (or "uber-vamp") is a terrifyingly powerful enemy that Buffy is only able to defeat with extreme difficulty. The rest of them are fought during the Series Finale.
    • Forrest's cyborg self is reduced to a type of mook in the game Chaos Bleeds.
  • It seems that Game of Thrones will be setting this up with the White Walkers. The first White Walker was a great threat and was terrorizing Samwell Tarly since the end of Season 2 and was notable for being the first White Walker we clearly saw onscreen. Samwell is considered The Hero after miraculously killing him. The second White Walker who seemed to be one of the Night's King's lieutenants was a very difficult challenger for Jon Snow. But it seems that at the end, there will be a big battle against White Walkers with all of them as Mooks and the Night's King as their leader.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In the final arc of Kamen Rider Hibiki, it is hinted that Orochi will occur soon. One of its indicators is the sudden increase of monsters. However, these monsters are more easily defeated compared to their earlier appearances, in which it took one to two episodes to defeat them.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim
      • During the first arc, among the main enemies were Evolved Invess, which served as a Monster of the Week. It took a full fight scene to take down one of them. As the series progresses, the Evolved Invess appear more and more, but are taken down just as easily as a Mook.
      • A minor example is Kamen Rider Kurokage. The first user of the suit is Ryoji Hase, who serves as a minor rival to the other characters. After the first arc is concluded, Ryoji lost his Rider powers, while Yggdrassil mass produced the Kurokage suit to create its own army of Mooks.
  • Super Sentai and its adaptation Power Rangers:
    • In Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger/Power Rangers S.P.D., there was a three-tier Mook system: Silver ones cannon fodder, blue ones smarter and tougher, gold ones mega-badass. At first. The first blue mook was actually the series' first Monster of the Week. They became much easier to deal with afterward being more Elite Mooks (though it never got to the point where the Rangers could beat them unmorphed.) Then there were the gold mooks. The first one gave the Rangers a lot of trouble, clearly outclassing the two it fought at first and requiring the whole team to go all-out. The second one was powerful against but eventually fell to two Rangers. It was a while to the next one, but from then on, they were nothing special. Of course, as grunts of all tiers were summoned in ever greater numbers, it seems they just fell to Conservation of Ninjutsu. One Orangehead will always be worse than four.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Power Rangers Mystic Force had a two-tier Mook system. One of the Elite Mooks actually served as a Monster of the Week in an early episode. By the time the heroes came onto their own, the Elite Mooks didn't appear stronger than their regular counterparts.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: The first game had the terror mobs, which were essentially bosses. Until the final showdown, where the showed up in hordes and got mowed down en masse.

    Tabletop Role-Playing Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition actually invokes this with the Elite and Minion monsters. Elites are sort of mini-bosses, being twice as tough as normal monsters, while Minions are weak and only have 1 HP. You could fight a level 4 Elite orc enemy, then later fight a level 9 normal orc who is very similar to the Elite you fought 5 levels early. This could be taken further by fighting a level 14 Minion orc who looks like the two previous enemies. In addition, you could downgrade a Solo Monster (IE boss monster) to a higher level Elite.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • During the first seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Hordak serves as the main antagonist, when Horde Prime appears, clones equal to Hordak appear that perform as standard Mooks. Even the Hordak himself is stripped of his individuality and becomes another random Mook.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Demoted Boss


Black Shy Guy

Black Shy Guy appears as a miniboss in Violet Passage, but then as a regular enemy in Fort Cobalt.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / DegradedBoss

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