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Duel Boss

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Come, let us finish this charade!

The Black Knight: I won't allow anyone to interfere with our fight.
Ike: Agreed. It's better this way. I can focus on you!

In video games where you control multiple characters at a time (almost always RPGs), a boss that you have to fight with just one character, usually the lead. Either the other party members are missing or incapacitated somehow, or it's simply something he's got to do himself. Often a Climax Boss, or an enemy with personal significance to the other duelist.

Usually the boss's stats are lowered to compensate for your reduced fighting strength. The challenge is finding a way to win with limited options available to you.

Sometimes you have to do this without your weapons as well. At other times, the boss is another player character.

Worthy Opponents and Blood Knights are the most likely to try this. Compare Let's Fight Like Gentlemen.

Do not confuse with the (deliberately) similar-sounding Dual Boss, where you fight two bosses at the same time, and their stats are likely not lowered. If the Duel Boss is also the Final Boss, this trope overlaps with In the End, You Are on Your Own, and if the Duel Boss is also The Rival (along with being the Final Boss), then it a Rival Final Boss. Does not count if you were alone to begin with.


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    Action Adventure Games 
  • The endings of the first three Assassin's Creed games are duels, though in the first case it's more "cut up a number of illusions then chase the guy around the area", the second ends in a fistfight. The third one is a real duel, on top of a castle tower.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins has Deathstroke, who fights Batman one-on-one and relies solely on his martial arts skills and equipment.
  • The Whip's Memory/Richter Belmont in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is fought with Jonathan alone, without his partner Charlotte.
  • While most of Dark Messiah is a partyless game barring a few fights, one boss actively challenges you to a duel. You can follow the conditions of the duel (no magic) and face him on his own, or fight his 4 henchman along with him. Given the boss is already crazy tough (he can survive a finisher), it may be in your best interest.
  • In No More Heroes, after a slew of boss fights against all manner of miscreants and misanthropes, the True Final Boss of the whole game is Travis' long-lost Irish brother and Sylvia's husband of ten years, Henry. No gimmicks, no interventions, just two young men with Laser Blades, similar fighting styles and a score to settle in a deserted car park.
  • At the end of the Mount Corvo area on One Piece: Unlimited World Red you must fight Ace using only Luffy.
    • Subverted later in Marineford. When the crew are attacked by Kizaru your crew decide to face him to and allow Luffy to continue alone to face Akainu. Before you can reach Akainu however you are attacked by Aokiji. At first it seems you will have to face him solo but Fake Ace shows up and faces him solo. After this instead of facing Akainu with only Luffy, Ace will join in the battle.
  • The last level of Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams has each character facing down each of their personal rivals by themselves with their Leitmotifs playing in the background (save for Jubei, in which case it's a remixed version).
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji has Tsumuji against his rival Hayate four times, using their own skills and abilities.

    Action Games 
  • Several Ace Combat games have bosses set like this:
    • Both times you fight against Solo-Wing Pixy in Ace Combat Zero, you must do so without your wingman, because the first time around, he technically still is your wingman, betraying you right after a nuke knocks everybody else out of commission and the second time, he kills your new wingman with the first blast.
    • In Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, your last encounter of the enemy ace Mihaly is set like this. Although you fly in the mission with your allies, the difference in skill between you and Mihaly compared to the rest of them forces them to hold off from directly participating, leading to one last 1-v-1 air duel in the game.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the fight against Samuel "Jetstream" Rodrigues plays out like this. Raiden even explicitly orders Blade Wolf not to interfere in their fight beforehand. It's a surprisingly difficult fight, since Raiden's primary method of healing relies on defeating and slicing open Mooks to get their caches of repair nanopaste.
  • Project Wingman has the antagonist, Crimson 1, go out of his way to set the scene against you. Using the experimental PW-Mk.I plane to shoot down all aircraft and nuke the surrounding area to remove all air and ground elements from the battle to focus solely on you and him.
  • Most boss fights in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith are one-on-one lightsaber duels between Jedi and Sith.
  • Operations 000, 004-A, 004-B and 006-B in The Wonderful 101.
    • The first Kahkoo-regah of the game (although the player will have to backtrack to get it, so it's not the first accessible one) in the Prologue drops Red into the Kahkoo-regah arena with no teammates, and he's forced to fight a Chew-Dough Goo with his bare hands. On the other difficulties, this is replaced with a Diedough Goo.
    • 004-A introduces Vijounne. Blue immediately abandons the team for unknown reasons purely so he can fight her alone. During this fight, however, Blue is given special enhanced abilities including combos, a block move and a dodge move (characters usually only have just a generic attack on their own) to make the fight much more interesting.
    • 004-B puts the rest of the team momentarily out of commission as they have to provide support to a broken, underwater tube (or else the facility will flood). Red goes alone and, even though he meets up with Blue, the player will not have access to any abilities that require teammates, namely the Wonder Liner and the Unite Morphs. During this part, Red will have the same enhanced abilities as Blue in the previous chapter, which includes unique blocking and dodging moves akin to Unite Guts and Unite Spring. Tensions rise between them and Blue decides that if Red wants to get Blue to talk that badly, he'll have to prove it in a fight.
    • 006-B will put you face to face with Laambo while under the control of Laurence Nelson, Wonder-Red (Emeritus); subverted here, however, in that you're only expected to do the beginning of the fight one-on-one, and recruit team members as the fight goes on.

    Driving Games 
  • Crash Team Racing is notable for having you race bosses in one-on-one challenges where they spam traps against you like no tomorrow. And in Nitros Oxide's case, jumping the green light.
    • Crash Nitro Kart meanwhile continues this trend with its first two bosses at first, before mixing things up with the remaining three (Norm is accompanied by Big Norm for his race as a Dual Boss while both Geary and Velo have two minions each to assist them in their races).
  • ModNation Racers has the Elite Racers, skilled drivers who sometimes challenge you to one-on-one races.
  • Ridge Racer is known for having the fastest cars unlocked by defeating them in one-on-one races after beating the main game.

    Fighting Games 
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, at the end of "The Glacial Peak" stage, Lucario challenges Meta Knight to a fight, reducing the Ice Climbers into mere bystanders. A unique thing about this particular Duel Boss is that you can choose to play as either Meta Knight or Lucario.

    First Person Shooters 
  • In Rainbow Six Vegas 2 you must battle the game's final boss (an attack helicopter) without the help of your teammates.
  • Richter in Titanfall 2 ,While the other bosses fight you with some form of backup, Richter fight one on one, no for honor mind you, but rather the fact that you literally kill his entire squad.

  • Most bosses in AdventureQuest Worlds must be fought as a group (though they can also be soloed given the proper class, build and strategy). However, several bosses are meant to be fought one-on-one, including:
    • Dogear and the Princess from the storyline intro missions.
    • The Orc Trainer boss from Noobshire.
    • The opponents that you face in the Dragon Koi Tournament during the Kitsune saga.
    • And most recently, Vordred himself during the Doomwood saga.
  • Final Fantasy XI, the first MMO of the series, emphasizes party play with other people, so it wouldn't have this, right? Wrong. There are several special fights that are nothing but Duel Bosses, the most important of which are the fights that raise the level cap to 75. Any job that came before the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion had you face the sometimes unfair Old Master Maat. All jobs from Aht Urhgan onwards had a separate fight against a master of that job.
    • You can also take on your Adventuring Fellow in order to raise your level cap to 70. There's also the L20 Avatar battles, of course.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a Duel Boss fight in one of the storyline quests, though the fight itself is an arranged friendly duel between you and your group's paladin in order to entertain a bunch of a kids that are eager to learn how to be an adventurer. Halfway through the fight, the paladin's black mage friend joins in, making it a Dual Boss.
    • The final quest (level 30) for all of the class quests is a Duel Boss: having been acknowledged as the best gladiator, or marauder, or rogue, or what-have-you, the members of your guild take on the task of keeping the extras away from you so that you can focus specifically on the main target. Noteworthy in the Marauder quest, where the giant beast that you've been preparing to face is confronted by the entire Marauder guild...who then leave it up to you.
    • In the Bozjan Southern Front, certain Critical Engagements (mini-raids) can lead into a special solo battle against one of the enemy commanders. To qualify, you have to beat the prerequisite battle without taking any avoidable damage. The duels are very difficult, with a single hit often killing you outright, and there's some Guide Dang It! to the mechanics unless you're willing to go for trial-and-error. The rewards for winning are considerable though; each of the three duels awards a title, with an additional title for beating all of them, and you also get the bosses entry in the Field Notes (otherwise hard to get) and 99 lockboxes.
    • At the very end of Endwalker, after defeating the Endsinger, there is one final solo duty to complete: a final duel with your perennial nemesis since Stormblood, Zenos.
  • In Guild Wars the player has to fight an enemy called the Doppleganger in order to become ascended. The Doppleganger copies the players skills and abilities, and must be fought alone.
    • In the Eye of the North expansion there is a tournament run by the Norn folk where you duel other famous NPCs from the different campaigns. Each win advances you to the next round, and all of these fights are essentially duel bosses - especially the final boss, Magni The Bison (who himself is a Shout-Out to M. Bison), who takes a lot of damage and hits pretty hard, and often requires some cheap tactics to defeat.
      • Averted when you fight Danika, who brings her two pet Fungal Wallows into the fight, essentially making it three-on-one. Zho is a ranger in the tournament who brings her pet Black Moa into battle with her. Old Mac enters the tournament with his pet devourer, Joe.
    • Eye of the North also has a ridiculously difficult one-on-one battle against a griffon that likes to summon various spirits that shut down a wide variety of character builds. Depending on what type of character you play, this fight can either be stupid-easy or stupid-hard.
    • Again in Eye of the North, there's a quest involving a rowdy Norn making trouble outside the Eye and challenging all comers. You have to beat him in one-on-one combat to finish the quest.
      • All of the above are partially averted if you happen to play a Ranger with a pet, or a Necromancer who summons minions, a Ritualist who summons spirits, or any other class who can spawn helpers. Though these skills could be considered "attacks" and therefore are usually temporary, except in the Ranger's case.
    • In the Bonus Mission Pack, there's a mission where you get to play as Turai Ossa, leading his army through the Battle of Jahai. At the end, you get to relive his famous duel against Palawa Joko.
    • If you play as an Assassin and decide to go solo against Shiro in the final battle, it can be this. Despite Shiro's overwhelming ability to wipe entire parties, it's entirely possible to win solo with the right build.
  • RuneScape
    • The Twin Furies are a pair of demon sisters that take turns doing different special attacks. The two of them share a health pool so they always die at the same time no matter how much damage you do to them individually.
    • Vindicta & Gorvek are a Dragon Rider and her Dragon. In the first phase of the fight, you fight against Vindicta while Gorvek flies around and occasionally creates walls of purple fire. In the second phase, you fight both of them while Vindicta is mounted on Gorvek. The challenge mode version of the fight adds a third phase where Vindicta dies but Gorvek doesn't die with her and goes berserk.
    • The quest Battle of Forinthry has the player battling against Zemoregal and an undead dragon called Vorkath that he enslaved. Vorkath is resisting Zemoregal's control and will briefly turn on Zemoregal when his health is reduced to certain amounts and will fly away when it completely runs out. The player normally has to defeat Vorkath first because Zemoregal can't be damaged by the player while Vorkath still has health except during a short period when Vorkath flies high into the air to perform his most powerful attack. If the player is very skilled, it is possible to defeat Zemoregal during that period, which also causes Vorkath to fly away, thus letting the player skip a large part of the fight.
  • Vindictus also has several bosses that must be fought solo. Episode 8's Succubus is a good example, as well as Episode 9's Shakarr, who you fight in full Level 2 Dark Knight or Paladin mode for the entire battle.

    Platform Games 
  • In Astal, Astal is incapacitated in one Boss Battle, forcing Bird to fight alone.
  • Just before the final boss fight of Nightmare Mode in Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, Zangetsu wounds Alfred and Gebel, forcing them to sit most of the fight out and leaving only Miriam to battle him. They do help at points in the battle, but you can't switch to them.
  • The Kirby series has played with this on a few occasions. In Kirby's Adventure and its GBA remake, Meta Knight, fought as the boss of Orange Ocean, forces the player to carry the Sword ability for the duration of the fight; this is repeated in Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra at the end of Revenge Of Meta Knight, though the player can use another ability if they form a helper with their current ability, grab Sword, discard it, convert their helper back into a helper item, and then inhale it to gain their old ability back. Or they could just wait thirty seconds until Meta Knight gets bored and forgoes the Sword requirement (you ARE on a falling airship, after all). Kirby & the Amazing Mirror and Kirby: Squeak Squad take things a step further: in both games, Meta Knight and Dark Meta Knight don't try to force the Sword ability on Kirby, but the stars they drop throughout the battle do grant the ability when inhaled. Additionally, a Sword bubble is given in the room before Meta Knight's boss fight in Squeak Squad, but the player isn't required to activate or even grab it.
  • The 2008 Prince of Persia game has basically every enemy doing this (though technically, you and Elika "gang up" on them). The rest of it is platforming.
  • In Ratchet: Deadlocked, you spend most missions benefiting from fire support courtesy a pair of robots, who will also do most of the tedious unlocking bits and pieces so you can focus on killing everything in the area with machineguns. Every boss fight except Shellshock (whose battle takes place outside of the Battledome) takes these guys away, leaving you fighting solo against an experienced gladiator. Luckily Ratchet has saved at least two galaxies...
  • The Wing Fortress Zone and Death Egg Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has no Tails to help you, as he was gunned down at the start of Wing Fortress. Wing Fortress is a full level, while Death Egg is two consecutive Duel Bosses.
  • The first two battles against Bowser in Super Mario 64 DS can be fought with anyone (Mario is only required to unlock the Star Door leading to the particular levels where said boss battles are held), though Yoshi needs a Cap in order to win them since he can't grab and throw Bowser without one. However, the final battle (and thus the level before it) is a straight duel boss for Mario; Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario will get stuck in the endless stairs leading to the final stage regardless of whether or not Mario unlocked the top of the staircase (unless you perform a glitch that bypasses it).
    Bowser (to anyone but Mario): Grrr...I have lost so many Power Stars. However, Mario is the only one I can call my rival. So GET LOST!

    Rail Shooter 

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive you control a rag-tag team of foolhardy guys and gals in pursuit of a notorious bandit El Diablo. Each of the Desperados has unique abilities for you to use in appropriate combination and only the leader can climb walls. At the closure of the pursuit El Diablo so conveniently collapses a lift leading to his lair, so the leader is forced to face the villain alone.
  • Subverted about halfway through the original Starcraft I's zerg campaign. Tassadar makes it seem like he wants a one on one fight with Infested Kerrigan, but the Tassadar that shows up is just an illusion.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • In Alter A.I.L.A., Blue must have a climactic final duel with Green midway through the story. Depending on the story path, she is either killed or the fight never even occurs.
  • In Angry Birds Epic, you can only bring one party member to the fight with Sword Spirit. You also cannot use potions.
  • Croix versus Prince Targana in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, of the This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself type. What makes this battle even more bizarre is the battle system, which allows the Vanguards, like Croix, to defend from attacks only while defending Reivyteils, but since Croix is alone for this fight, he can't defend any attacks and the player is forced to take every blow completely head on. Luckily, Targana's attack power seems to reflect this. To add to it, this boss has to be fought twice back-to-back. The first battle Croix will forcibly not launch any attacks higher than level 2, basically crippling you further, for the second fight, Croix stops holding back and you can go all out.
  • Astra Hunter Zosma: While traversing Scorpius Shoal, the player will have two ship battles pitting Captain Scuttlebone's Silver Blossom against Colonel Spectrus's Salty Specter, with the latter being stronger and more durable than the regular encounter ships. While each ship has its own crew, they also count as single combat units in terms of gameplay.
  • One of the boss battles in Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is your first encounter with Fee, after saving Max. Not really a hard fight, if you had full health at the beginning of it because she attacks first and she has extremely high speed stat.
    • Also another one is you fighting alone against Chaos due to the rest of your party celebrating your victory against the Empire.
  • Baldur's Gate II has you duel a drow captain who is concerned his boss Sendai would otherwise claim the glory of defeating you for herself. With you being the child of the god of murder, you turn him to a bloody pulp in a matter of seconds (as one character notes before the fight even starts). Also, due to a spell cast before the fight, all of his dozen or so companions die the second he does.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • There's two in the first one as well; as Xelha, you have to face Xelha's mother, the Ice Queen, in order to gain the Ocean Mirror. As Mizuti, you have to fight the Magician's Shadow to finish Mizuti's sidquest. In both cases, the game uses an even more unorthodox fight system; instead of picking your Magnus cards to fight, you are presented with a handful of face down cards, and one face-up card. You have to find the card that matches the face-up card among the one's face down in order to advance to the next round. If you get the wrong one, you take damage. Obviously, this is a Luck-Based Mission. What makes it more egregious is that there is a Camera Magnus in there, and of course, you only have this chance to take a photo of the Boss.
    • The Disc-One Final Boss of Baten Kaitos Origins initially knocks the companions of the main character, Sagi, out of the fight, and Sagi must fight him alone until they recover and rejoin him.
  • Beyond Divinity ends with a duel against The Death Knight, your NPC partner/companion throughout the entire game.
  • Gehrman of Bloodborne is a one-on-one dual with an elderly hunter wielding a Sinister Scythe, who urged to Mercy Kill you, there is no NPC summon for you note . A subversion existed in Chalice Dungeon, Forgotten Madman appeared to be this trope at first, but it turns into Dual Boss when he reached half health.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has a traintop duel between Catie and Tyalie in Chapter 6, and then later, a much more serious duel between Catie and Boxxyfan during the True Ending route.
  • Breath of Fire
    • Breath of Fire II: In a rare optional example, the penultimate boss, Barubary, challenges your main character to fight him one on one. If you accept it, the main character get healed before the duel. The only reward for doing this is a vague hint about where to find a hidden piece of equipment.
    • Breath of Fire III does this several times.
      • The first time is during the Contest of Champions: round one in the Room of Fire features each party of three facing off against each other one at a time. The second time is also during the Contest of Champions, when Ryu is told to face the champion Garr one-on-one. Given that Garr has been the champion of the contest for many years, and fights alone in a contest designed for three-on-three battles, Ryu doesn't fare too well.
      • Later in the story, Ryu faces Garr again, immediately after finding out that Garr is actually a dragon hunter who's been plotting to trap and kill Ryu the whole time. Regardless of whether you win or lose, Ryu accidentally unleashes the power of the Kaiser dragon, resulting in Garr being completely overwhelmed and realizing that the dragons could have effortlessly stopped the dragon hunters from killing them, but didn't for reasons unknown, resulting in a crisis of faith when he realizes his Goddess lied to him about the danger the dragons represented. Ryu blacks out and wakes up 20 Minutes in the Future, setting up the second half of the game.
      • Also, near the end of the game, Teepo forces Ryu to look into his own mind and that of his party members, which is in fact a sort of mini-dungeon which Ryu must navigate alone, including an end-of-dungeon boss battle.
    • Breath of Fire IV: Ryu has some opponents that he faces alone. Actually, this trope is played with when you face Ight: it seems like it's a normal boss fight (well, you defeated easily all the others one summoned by Rasso), until you realize two things: first, the classic boss battle music is replaced by one way more ominous and eerie; second, the boss proceeds to OHKO your entire party during its first turn. Then, as your characters are lying on the ground, defeated, the battle doesn't stop: Ryu will stand up, go berserk, transforms into Kaiser Dragon, and single-handedly destroys the boss in a demonstration of Unstoppable Rage (only Nina managed to snap him out of it after, thanks to her Cooldown Hug). Later, Ryu will face Fou-Lu alone, but it's an Hopeless Boss Fight (coincidentally, the same eerie music that you heard while fighting Ight will play here). As for Fou-Lu himself, pretty much all of his battles are duels, but as a Demi-God way more powerful than Ryu (Ryu begins at level 1 ; Fou-Lu begins at level 65 !), all of these fights are a piece of cake.
  • The Caligula Effect:
    • The first encounter with Wicked is a one-on-one fight between her and the protagonist, on account of her having knocked out the rest of the party.
    • In Overdose, there are two that ensue as part of Eiji's Character Episode. The first is against Kouki, and the second is with Eiji himself, after the protagonist figures out the truth about him; he attacks the protagonist to try and silence them.
    • The betrayal ending has Lucid fighting the entire Go-Home Club on their own, culminating in two back-to-back duel bosses against Shogo and Aria.
  • In Chrono Trigger, if you choose to fight Magus in his second appearance with Frog in your party, Frog will send the other party members away for the fight because he wants to defeat Magus himself. However, many players might prefer to refuse to fight Magus, since in that case he joins your party. In addition, Robo fights Atropos solo during the Geno Dome sidequest.
  • In Chapter 2 of Deltarune, Kris fights Spamton one-on-one in an alleyway. Meanwhile, the hidden Weird Route culminates in a fight against Spamton's upgraded form, Spamton NEO, also with just Kris; normally, the boss is fought with the full party in tow.
  • Defeating Garurumon in Digimon World prompts him to accuse you of cheating, as he thinks that having to fight a Digimon backed up by a human is not fair. He asks you to come back the next day to fight him again, but this time, you aren't allowed to use items on your Digimon or even give him commands.
  • Dragon Age
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, when you confront Loghain at the Landsmeet, regardless of whether you won or not you will end up in a duel with him. You can choose any party member, apart from your dog, for this, or just do it yourself.
    • In Dragon Age II, the Arishok will challenge you to a duel, depending on whether or not he respects you (or if Fenris is in the party). You can deny this challenge, in which case both the rest of your party and the rest of the Qunari in the room have your standard massive brawl.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • Late in the main quest, you must enter Sovngarde, the Warrior Heaven of Nordic mythology, alone in pursuit of Alduin. Here, you meet Tsun, the old Nordic god of "trials against adversity" and shield-thane of Shor. He tests warrior spirits for their worthiness to enter Shor's Hall of Valor, and the Dragonborn is no exception. Tsun will need to be defeated in single combat, and he is a tough foe with Contractual Boss Immunity to essentially everything but direct damage attacks.
    • In the Dragonborn DLC, the Dragonborn must face Miraak, the Evil Counterpart Big Bad of the DLC storyline, alone. You can only fight him by entering a realm of Oblivion which your companions cannot enter. However, Miraak is aided by two dragons — though you tame a third to even the playing field.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code:
    • In Jericho, Joshwa has to duel Lamech using only his spear. This results in a minigame rather than a proper playable battle, where the player has to choose actions based on Lamech's dialogue. In the endgame, Joshwa has to duel Lamech for real when it turns out the latter is the one who planted the infernos in Mount Sinai.
    • In Jordan Crossing, Beyoz has to fight the final phase of the Shedim Eater by himself, since Ruthia is trying to pull Joshua up from a ledge.
    • Joshwa, Beyoz, and Ruthia must duel Sfyros, Sphynx, and Gilgamesh respectively in order to obtain their ultimate weapons.
  • Daniel of Exit Fate gets into two, against Rorschach somewhat early on and Leonius in the final dungeon. Frore vs. Kella is set up during Frore's recruitment quest, but averted — they both back down realizing that it would be pointless to fight.
  • Faraway Story allows Pia to duel her friends (with the exception of Mimi) in order to officially recruit them as party members. However, defeating Ellevark results in a non-canon ending rather than immediate recruitment. In Chapter 11, Ellevark is the only playable character, which means he has to defeat the chapter boss by himself.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy IV
      • Edward winds up fighting a Sahagin by himself early on in the game.
      • Cecil fights his dark side in a duel earlyshortly after a Hopeless Boss Fight between Kain and Cecil. In the Updated Re-release for the Game Boy Advance, Kain has to fight Lunar Bahamut by himself.
    • In the sequel, the player has the choice to have Edge face Rubicante alone, giving his fire-absorbing cape as a reward for Edge to wear.
    • In Final Fantasy V, Galuf must fight [1] Exdeath on his own to free the rest of the party. Notably, Exdeath nukes Galuf to 0 HP as early as the first turn of the battle, but Galuf continues to fight without HP until Exdeath submits.
    • In Final Fantasy VI:
      • Sabin first appears to interfere into the battle between Vargas and the party, and the two duel.
      • About halfway through the game features a duel between General Leo and Kefka.
      • There's also the battle between Humbaba and Terra shortly after you find her in the World of Ruin, but it's a Hopeless Boss Fight and she needs to be rescued.
    • In Final Fantasy VII:
      • Barret goes up against his former friend Dyne, who has gone Ax-Crazy; rather, he says; "Stay the hell out of this, Cloud! This is my problem!"
      • In Wutai, Yuffie takes on the Wutai Pagoda and her father by herself in a test of strength, with her final Limit Break manual and the Leviathan materia as the rewards.
      • At the end of the game, Cloud fights Sephiroth in a Curb-Stomp Cloud's favor.
      • If you enter the battle with Ruby Weapon with all your party members alive, it will invoke this trope by using Whirlsand to permanently remove two of your three party members (chosen randomly). It's possible (and highly recommended) to avoid this by starting the fight with two party members KOd, then reviving them as soon as he buries his tentacles.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the first battle against Seifer is a duel between him and Squall. Practically impossible to lose, though, since his stats are downright pathetic.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, Zidane duels Amarant (at that point known only as "Red") as a test of strength; he joins your party afterwards.
    • In Final Fantasy X all summoner battles are fought by Yuna using her Aeons alone. The exception to this are the summoners who use the Dark Aeons, who are fought with a regular party.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 had one optional event where Yuna must fight Rikku and Paine separately in one-on-one battles.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, Snow is the only party member to fight his Eidolon alone. Although the Shiva Sisters are technically two people, they're not a Dual Boss; Snow only needs to concern himself with Nix, while Stiria just casts Doom at the start, floats out of the way, and casts healing magic every so often.
    • In Final Fantasy XV, Noctis is forced to confront Ardyn, the Final Boss, by himself, as the latter takes out Noct's party, claiming that they have no place in "the battle of kings."
  • Forever Home:
    • Slash is a Hero Antagonist example who is trying to get the protagonist to evacuate a burning town. Unfortunately, Xero is too mentally broken at the moment to listen to reason, so Slash has to knock him out in a Hopeless Boss Fight.
    • Captain Farrell fights Xero one-on-one in the first Aquadome.
    • The Guide, aka a Bad Future version of Xero, fights Xero in a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
    • The entire Singles Rank portion of the stadium only allows the player to use one character, and some of the rounds feature boss-tier enemies.
    • In Burns's character quest, he ends up fighting Helmer and Cross separately.
    • The third phase of the Final Boss fight only allows the player to control Xero, who can only end the battle by using his new Limit Break.
  • Happens twice in Forum Fantasy with Prelich's Madness and the Krazier rematch's second phase.
  • Golden Sun does this trope three times by having Isaac fighting warriors at the Colosso in one-on-one fights as a way to prove his strength to Babi. What makes it tricky is having to navigate an obstacle course beforehand so you can reach the goal first and get the better item to use in battle. Luckily, Isaac's allies can use their Psynergy before the contests to make the obstacle course easier (Babi insists this isn't cheating, but a linked sequel has the gladiators show up for revenge, and this time there's no duel).
  • Grandia has Justin and Mullen clashing in a duel when Mullen demands Justin to prove his will to him.
    • And don't forget when Gadwin leaves your party. You get one of the best attacks in the game after beating the boss. By the way, both battles are fought with Awesome Music.
    • There's another one with Baal, in between the above two fights.
  • In .hack//G.U. you fight the real Tri-Edge , Ovan, in the end of Reminisce, your partners are incapacitate even before trying to react the Big Bad's attacks leaving you alone to face him. Surely it can be seen as a Cutscene Power to the Max depending of your view and/or skill.
    • Any avatar battle also fit in this trope.
  • On the landmass of Lowee, Neptune and Arfoire square off in Hyperdimension Neptunia in the event "The Last Battle?!" The next game has a scripted Duel Boss battle in the beginning where Nepgear unleashes the power of the Sharicite on CFW Judge, though it has next to no effect. Later on, Uni insists that she and Nepgear have a one-on-one battle after defeating Linda/Underling at Rebeat Resort.
  • A rather surprising one at the end of The Infyn Prism, in the Infinity Tower Control room, Greta and Atlese come to a head, and duel, 1 on 1, despite both sides arguing against it. In order to progress the story, Greta must kill her older sister.
  • Happens frequently in Jade Empire, from a duel with your rival, Gao the Lesser, near the start, to fighting the final boss- and in a way, it's come full circle, as the final boss is Sun Li, your master.
  • Journey On: If the Dark Sanctuary is expanded enough, Shirley can fight the Corrupted King Valimur by herself.
  • In the numbered titles of the Kingdom Hearts series, the tutorial area entails a Dive to the Heart, in which a giant enemy is fought alone (Darksides in I and III, a Twilight Thorn in II).
    • This happens to Sora repeatedly in Kingdom Hearts: first against Riku, then the third Darkside fight, and then two rounds with Ansem. He also has optional one-on-ones with Hercules, the Ice Titan and Sephiroth (oh, and all the Olympus tournaments have a solo mode). Donald and Goofy even call him out for deciding to go one-on-one with Hercules.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora's party members are relegated to pseudo-Summon Magic. The spirit of trope still applies on Floor 12, after Sora's desperation to find Naminé has him leave Donald and Goofy behind; he goes the floor without access to Friend cards, during which he fights the Darkside and Riku Replica by himself before they catch up.
    • There are still more of these in Kingdom Hearts II: Roxas doesn't have any party members during the first six days, during which he fights Axel twice. Sora later fights Luxord, Xemnas' first phase, and Roxas in the Final Mix. Optional duels include a rematch with Sephiroth and half of the tournaments in the Underdrome, the bosses of which are Hercules and Cerberus.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has numerous, due to the Organization putting the kibosh on cooperative missions after Castle Oblivion, but the most notable are the two Final Bosses. Xion on day 357, widely regarded as the Final Boss for practical purposes, and Riku on Day 358, in a sharp case of Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.
    • It'd be easier to count which bosses aren't a Duel Boss in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, mostly because the characters are alone 90% of the time. Terra, Ventus, and Aqua team up against the Trinity Armor, Ventus and Aqua each get a fight alongside Experiment 626 and a fight alongside Mickey, and Ven further gets a Jellyshade horde with Zack and Hercules; everything else follows this trope.
    • There's some odd zig-zagging examples in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] in the form of Ansem and the Armored Ventus Nightmare. The former starts you off solo against him, with your Dream Eater allies trapped in the darkness below until you perform a Reality Shift, at which point they can aid you until he destroys the platform you've created. The latter periodically gathers the darkness engulfing the arena (and by extension, your Dream Eaters) and weaponizes it, forcing you to go solo during that time.
    • Kingdom Hearts III has Riku's second fight with a Demon Tower in the Realm of Darkness, immediately followed by Sora's battle with Anti-Aqua. On the other side of the next save point, Aqua insists on facing Vanitas alone.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • When you find Juhani in Dantooine, she freezes your party members in stasis and you have to face her alone.
    • While escaping from the Leviathan, your party faces Malak, and he freezes your party members and fights you alone. Twice. However, his stats are low enough that you can whittle down his HP easily despite the handicap. It doesn't keep Bastila from barging in to "save" you from him the second time.
    • Regardless of route, you end up facing Darth Malak alone aboard the Star Forge. Light Side players are forced this way because Dark Side Bastila freezes your companions in stasis and the door seals behind you so that you fight her alone. Dark Side players lose access to their party members, including Bastila, because they have to stay behind to ensure that Bastila can use her Battle Mediation to help the Sith army win.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • The Exile goes through most of the endgame alone, because most of the party has split up to accomplish their own goals.
    • On the Dark Side path, the Exile will have to fight Masters Kavar, Vrook and Zez-Kai Ell alone, and also have the possibility of fighting Queen Talia in a duel.
    • Mira has to fight Hanharr alone on Nar Shaddaa and on the Light Side path, again on Malachor V.
    • In the TSLRCM, Atton will duel Darth Sion on Malachor V, with the result being the deciding factor in his survival.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky:
    • Halfway into SC, Joshua will face Mueller Vander, a Lightning Bruiser Master Swordsman. On paper, this trope is averted because you have Josette as a guest character. In practice, she will fall very quickly and will deal Scratch Damage, meaning Joshua may as well be alone.
    • In the 3rd, Star Door 1 has Julia face Mueller in a friendly duel, though she's given fewer Arts and items to work with than Joshua.
    • The second part of Moon Door 1 has Agate face Tita in her Orbal Gear mecha, twice.
    • Star Door 5 pits Anelace against Richard, who was the penultimate boss of FC.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has Rean dueling a bunch of characters throughout all four games: Victor, Ol-Gardia, Ash, Aurelia, Wallace, Crow, Arianrhod, the Nameless One, Cassius representing his ogre self, Jessica, Fie, and Sara to name a few (though the last three is an inverted example where they are the playable characters while Rean is the boss fight).
  • Legend of Legaia and its sequel, Duel Saga have a few examples.
    • In the first game:
      • The fights against the Delilas Family consist of three separate and consecutive one-on-one duels, with no chance to rest or save until all three are defeated.
      • Earlier in the game, Gala will fight his rival and former friend, Songi, solo. After the fight, he remarks that in the future, the party will have to fight him as a team.
    • Despite the title, there are only two instances of this in Duel Saga:
      • Lang has the option to fight the second boss, the Mighty Balken, solo, but can subvert this by fighting with Maya. If you choose the former option, Balken will commend you on your honor.
      • At the end of the Inevitable Tournament, Lang will have to fight The Black Knight Rauss in a one-on-one showdown in the arena.
  • Library of Ruina allows the player to Invoke this trope at any time by only having a single active Librarian against any single-enemy reception, but twice the game forces you to use a specific floor with only its Patron Librarian against a singular enemy. Both Olivier and Argalia must be fought with Roland and Roland alone. To help even the odds, the former is when Roland reveals his identity as The Black Silence, giving you access to all the overpowered pages that come with his old equipment.
  • Lie of Caelum:
    • The very first battle of the main story is Kyou image-training against himself.
    • The full release of Episode 1 adds a duel between Kyou and Miyu in Souen Fields, with the player controlling Kyou.
    • In Souen Forest, Kenzo uses a binding spell on Miyu, forcing Kyou to fight him one-on-one.
    • When Kyou reveals that he was hiding a red-eyed Super Mode from his friends, Hitoshi is angered that Kyou held back in their previous matches and challenges him to a fight on the roof. The player will control Hitoshi for this fight, which means they'll be on the receiving end of Kyou's hidden 6th Eye powers.
  • Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth:
    • Ichiban has Asakura, whom he battles by himself all four times they fight. The first time is just because it's the beginning of the game and nobody else has joined the party yet, but the remaining times Asakura requests a one-on-one fight with Ichiban to gauge his own strength and growth.
    • Kiryu has a one-on-one fight with Komaki in one of his Bucket List substories.
  • Most of the chapters in Live A Live have this somewhere. Masaru's chapter is one slog of duel bosses, Sunset has one at the beginning and at the end (if you let your rival live), Oboro's final boss can be one if you do not pick up the optional two allies in his chapter. Lastly Akira (or rather, the Steel Titan), Cube, Hong/Lei/Yuan and Oersted all have their final bosses as this.
    • And then there's the best ending of the game itself, which is every hero facing against each of their own final bosses in pathetically easy duels to represent how powerful they have truly become.
    • In the same portion of the game, some of the recruitable allies (namely, Akira, Pogo, Masaru, the new Shifu, and Oboromaru) are fought one-on-one with your chosen lead character before they can join your party.
  • Artea's apprentice in Lufia & The Fortress of Doom demands that the Hero fight him one-on-one before he'll tell the party where to find Artea.
  • The Lunar games have a few instances of this.
    • Lunar: The Silver Star features a Dual Duel Boss — Alex has to fight two Dragon Angels alone in Althena's Tower. The remake Silver Star Story Complete cuts that scenario, but includes a different man-to-man fight between Alex and Tempest when the latter attempts to hang a con man for selling fake medicine.
    • In Eternal Blue Complete, Hiro and Jean face Leo and Lunn (respectively) in solo matches, and the final boss of the Epilogue is also a Duel Boss. The original version subverts this with the Phantom Sentry, who begins his Boss Battle by freezing every party member except Hiro, but they recover soon enough.
    • In Dragon Song, Jian does this a lot: he has a series of gladiator-style solo fights, takes on the Beast King Zethos alone, and tries to fight without the rest of the party on several other occasions.
  • Manafinder:
    • Before the fight against Lhania, she'll knock Scar out, forcing Lambda to fight alone.
    • At the end of Chapter 3, Illia traps Lambda in a nightmare world without Scar to back her up. Lambda is forced to fight one-on-one battles against a manifestation of her doubt, a shadow version of herself, and Baphomet.
    • Scar will get knocked out while destroying the Blue Dragon's wing, leaving Lambda to fight the dragon alone.
    • Lambda will take on the final chapter by herself, and the bosses are Nidhoggr, Noosphere, Finaevi, Entity of Hate, and Illia on Frederick's route. On Starkas's route, she has to fight Nattmara, Vritra, Fenrir, Arthro, and King Vikar.
  • There's one on Rannoch in Mass Effect 3, where you have to help destroy a Reaper by targeting its weak points while on foot, but strangely, your squadmates are nowhere to be seen until you deal the final blow, at which point one disappears completely and the other, Tali, shows up behind you — as does Legion, who was nowhere near you at the time.
  • Mother
    • In EarthBound Beginnings, when you get to Ellay and perform a show in a club, Teddy comes onstage when you're done and demands to know who is beating up his gang members. He pulls Ninten into a one on one fight that doesn't last long, which results in him joining your group for a while.
    • In MOTHER: Cognitive Dissonance, everyone in your party gets one of these when they enter their own doors inside Giegue's mind, each talking about how their counterpart forced them into being.
    • EarthBound (1994): Ness must face an entire world in his own mind (and thus by himself), including the requisite Duel Boss, before the shift to the endgame; said Duel Boss is the embodiment of the dark side of his mind. You don't even get help from the Flying Men (though it's impressive if you get any of them to survive long enough to accompany you to the boss point), as he collapses on the very first turn if he even survives to that point.
    • Mother 3 ends with a Duel Boss battle between Lucas and the Masked Man, who has blasted down the rest of his party with a powerful lightning strike, Lucas being protected from it by his Franklin Badge. While Lucas CAN use healing PSI to revive everyone, this just provokes the enemy to immediately respond with the same lightning attack and strike them down before they can even make a move. When Flint tries to interfere about halfway through, he too gets taken down brutally.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2 the main character must either fight Lorne alone, or choose a single party member to battle in his place. Light of Heavens, while not a boss, requires you to fight her alone if you want to recruit her for your keep, but nothing stops you from using party members to buff yourself up beforehand.
    • Its expansion Mask of the Betrayer has this when you fight in the Ice Troll Lodge to gain one of the admission to become a member of the berserkers, and in the end except if you have a lover.
  • In NieR, the player character starts out controlling one character but slowly builds a party of True Companions over the course of the game. In the endgame, he loses all of them and is forced to fight the Final Boss and True Final Boss by himself. As an additional twist of the knife the True Final Boss is one of his friends.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • Any random NPC you challenge as Olberic or H'aanit must be fought with them only.
    • There is also a special plot-example in Olberic's storyline: He automatically Challenges Erhardt when he has the chance to and fights him alone.
  • OFF has a rather peculiar example. If you pick the Judge ending, you take control of the Judge and fight the Batter, your own Player Character, without his Add-Ons (but in a monstrous form). Ironically, this fight is even easier than its opposite number (in which you fight The Judge, who has fairly low health, with Batter and all three Add-Ons), because the Judge can inflict Palsy, which stops the boss from doing anything.
  • In Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 2, the player character must fight Charles, a wealthy rival of Tycho's, to the death for an apartment. It's a purposely Anticlimax Boss, as you're much more powerful than he is.
  • Persona 2: Tatsuya Suou is way too fond of this trope.
    • In Innocent Sin, where he's the protagonist, in the first fight against Longinus 13, you have the option to take on one of them by yourself.
    • Happens off-screen on several occasions in Eternal Punishment. Tatsuya operates on his own for most of the game, and occasionally takes some fire off the party. So if you go on Elly's route, he'll end up fighting solo against JOKER Junko Kurosu, and if you go on Nanjo's route, he'll fight Takahisa Kandori and Wang Long Chizuru. On both routes he solos an X-1 Mini-Mecha while your party is fighting three of them.
    • Tatsuya's Scenario of Eternal Punishment's Updated Re-release details what happened to Tatsuya before and during Nanjo's route. So we have Shub-Niggurath, Drunk Tatsuya Sudou, X-0, and Wendigo. You also have to play out the fight against Takahisa Kandori that happens off-screen in the main game.
  • In Persona 3, the player has to fight the secret boss Elizabeth alone. Even if you bring your party members with you before confronting her, they won't be able to take part. The same goes for her brother, Theodore in the Portable version.
  • In Persona 5:
    • Sojiro's Mementos request must be fought with only the protagonist and Support Party Member Futaba, as Futaba doesn't want to drag the other party members into what she sees as a personal issue that she doesn't feel comfortable talking about yet.
    • The battle arena in the sixth Palace is a double subversion. The guy running the place tells you it will be a series of one-on-one fights, so the Phantom Thieves send in the protagonist to clean house. Then the first two fights are actually a bunch of guys ganging up on you. The third actually is a duel, though, against Thor.
    • In the Royal Updated Re-release, Akechi challenges the protagonist to a one-on-one fight in Mementos in his Confidant Rank 8 event. Unlike the other examples, you don't even get Futaba for this one. You cannot complete rank 8 until you win the fight.
    • In the Royal version of the Shadow Shido fight, once Shido is brought down to low health, he knocks away the other party members and forces Joker to finish him off personally. His damage takes a small hit and he loses most of his actions per turn, but he does start using powerful single target attacks. Fortunately, they follow a set pattern of Zio/Garu/Agi/Bufu with frequent Bless attacks, meaning if you've been diligent in your persona fusions you shouldn't take much damage.
    • In the third semester, when it comes time to fight Sumire, Akechi bows out and lets you handle it yourself because he's afraid he'd probably go too far and accidentally kill her.
    • In Persona 5 Strikers, the final boss of the Kyoto Jail is a team of cognitive copies of the Phantom Thieves. In order to make the fight more manageable, Morgana suggests that everyone takes out their doppelgänger in a one-on-one duel, though the player only ends up doing Joker's fight.
  • Phantasy Star II contains a deconstruction of this. When Nei meets her evil sister Neifirst, she insists on fighting her one-on-one because it's her duty to stop her. Neifirst is much stronger than Nei unless you've been grinding to an insane degree, and Nei accomplishes nothing except her own death, forcing the rest of the party to fight Neifirst afterwards.
  • In the Pokémon series:
    • In Pokémon X and Y, the final storyline battle with Korrina is a one-on-one battle between her Mega Lucario and a second Mega Lucario that she loans to you.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield's Isle of Armor DLC expansion, the second battle with Mustard is a one-on-one battle between your Kubfu and his Kubfu.
    • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the Final Boss fight has your cover legendary face the berserk Paradise Protection Program's cover legendary in single combat.
  • Prayer of the Faithless:
    • The first fight against the Junsunia is conducted in Aeyr's nightmare, where he has to fight alone. The second fight has Amalie backing him up, but once Aeyr becomes a Revenant, he has to fight the Junsunia alone again.
    • After the Junsunia is slain in the real world, Amalie attacks Aeyr believing that as a Revenant, he's Always Chaotic Evil. The player then has to play as Aeyr and use his new Revenant powers to defeat her too.
    • After the proper Final Boss fight with Gauron, Aeyr and Mia will fight each other over their conflicting ideals, and the duel plays out six times. Before the start of each match, the game checks if a character completed a Resolve requirement, and each character has three checks. If the character succeeds in a check, the player takes control of them. If not, the player takes control of the other character.
  • Radiant Arc:
    • In the Ice Cave, Linky is forced to fight a nameless armored swordsman by himself. The swordsman is actually Derek, who threw his lot in with the Morians out of jealousy towards Linky for becoming the Radiant Arc. He is fought in one more duel in the Chaos Tower, where he's much stronger and victory is optional.
    • The paladin, Jono, tries to forcefully take Carrie as his wife, resulting in Richard fighting him in a one-on-one Cock Fight. Surprisingly, Jono goes down in only a few hits despite Richard being a Support Party Member with limited offensive capabilities.
  • RealityMinds:
    • In the Space of Mystery, Astrake has to fight Silvana to prevent her from killing herself. Depending on the dialogue choice before the battle, the player will control either Astrake or Silvana.
    • In the final phase of the main story Final Boss, Astrake and Silvana share the latter's body in order to defeat Kvena.
  • Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins:
    • In the upper part of the Dragon Tower, the player can select a party member to fight the self-proclaimed Nightseed King, who is immune to weapons and magic, but not fists. If the chosen character wins, the Nightseed King rewards the player with strength-boosting equipment.
    • In the Ancient City, once per day, the player can select a party member to fight several consecutive duels against human minibosses in an arena.
    • On the rogue route, if the player refuses to participate in Pingar and Teor's planned assassination of Duke Kamur, they will fight Paris because the latter is desperate for help from Pingar and revenge against the Duke and the protagonist wants to prevent their friend from doing something they'll regret.
    • Also on the rogue route, Laban will offer to fight Uryu one-on-one in the duke's mansion. While she is normally a very strong boss, she gets weakened in this duel because Laban is familiar with her swordplay.
  • Sacred Earth - Alternative: Konoe gets no party members, which means she has to fight the Envoys of the Beginning, Present, and End in one-on-one duels. She continues to fight alone in the final dungeon against the Phantom of the Past and the original Konoe.
  • Shadow Hearts series
    • Series-wide, most Fusion monsters are fought by the Harmonixer alone. In Yuri's case it's because he fights them inside his soul, while Shania's Fusion monsters are just testing her, and it wouldn't be much of a test in four-on-one.
    • The first game:
      • Before Yuri can rejoin the party in Europe, he must defeat the to-this-point Implacable Man Fox Face in single combat.
      • Deconstructed with Atman battle in the bad ending route. Alice has to fight it alone because she has agreed to exchange hers life for Yuri's, and the battle is basically Four Masks coming to collect the debt. And there's no one to help her. Tellingly, in the good ending route, Yuri comes to her aid, and the boss starts splitting its One-Hit Kill attack between them, averting this trope and making it possible to win.
    • Covenant: Opponents in Blanca's and Joachim's sidequests are fought alone simply because these battles are formal competitions.
    • From the New World: Mao's sidequest is about filming a movie, so naturally, she fights thinly-veiled Expies of famous actors all on her own.
  • The last boss battle against Apocalypse in Silver has you fight without your friends and everything you own except Falcon and Nemesis' shield and sword.
    • Two of the "regular" bosses, an ice dragon and The Dragon, who's curiously not a dragon but merely a brute with double BFSes, incapacitate your comrades, both times appealing to Cutscene Power to the Max and incapacitating both your comrades with attack that later only damage you and make you fight alone.
  • Slave Knight Gael, the Final Boss of the whole Souls series, is this as well, and also has no NPC summon sign because you fight him in the far future at the end of the world. This stands out after the previous four DLC bosses had all been of the Dual Boss type (Champion Gravetender and Gravetender Greatwolf, Sister Friede and Father Ariandel, the Demon in Pain and the Demon From Below, the Spear of the Church and the Church Guardians).
  • Suikoden: While these fights are almost always done in the special Duel battle system, Suikoden II bizarrely has one such fight that uses the regular battle system. Which is designed more for 6-on-6 battles. (See also Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors.)
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars:
    • Once you've depleted half of Jonathan Jones's HP, he powers up and challenges Mario to one-on-one combat, which cannot be declined. Unless Mario is overlevelled and/or has a crapton of healing items, he is going to die. An easy trick to avoid this duel is to not defeat all of Johnny's flunkies. In the remake, his post-game fight is a straight example — Mario vs. him, with no items allowed. Party members can be selected to give passive buffs to Mario, but they won't act in the fight.
    • Later, Dodo briefly forces your second character into a one-on-one during the fight with Valentina.
  • In Super Paper Mario, the final chapter's bosses are all this for every single character, who also conveniently is incapacitated after the boss along WITH the said boss. Except for Count Bleck.
    • Even with Count Bleck, Mario is the only one to initially fight him. However, after jumping on him a few times, everybody else enters the room and joins you, at which point you switch to Luigi.
    • And of course, there's the battle with Bowser in the Bitlands, during which Peach is separated from Mario (who must fight him).
  • Sword of Paladin:
    • Nade fights Theseus one-on-one, which is deliberately designed to be impossible without using Iai Blade in order to teach the player to use that skill.
    • The final opponent for the trial of the Paladin is the spirit of Durandal. This introduces the rock-paper-scissors dueling system where Nade has to choose between three actions to counter his opponent's actions.
    • On the rooftop of Arc Guard Castle, Nade challenges Lancelot to a duel in order to stop the latter's coup.
    • In the Eagle Pirates' hideout, Captain Eagle challenges Nade to a friendly duel.
    • During Armadias's attack on Port Rissel, Nade has to fight Curtis Drake's sea creature form. Since the enemy no longer has a human form, Nade has to win under the regular battle system.
    • Miguel fights the Armadias Conquistador, Anatasia, by himself as a demonstration of his demon lord lineage.
    • Lena fights the assassin, Thalia, in the Queen Saber desert.
    • Will has to fight the second round against Eldorado by himself, since Red Rose, the necromancer maintaining his party members, died and got absorbed. In Chapter 4, he has to fight Eldorado again, who is trying to retake the Curse of the Deep.
    • When Berienstahl confirms that he killed Alex's mother, Alex challenges him alone using the power of Arthur's Royal Gem.
    • Before Will joins with his new flying ship, Nade has to defeat him in a duel.
    • In Vanaheim, all party members except Emilia have to take on a duke by themselves. Nade has to fight Dark Knight Zechs at the very end of the dungeon. If the player gives Zechs the twelve Satan Gems and fully masters all Paladin skills, Nade can duel a stronger version of Zechs after beating Anguis.
    • In Yggdrasil, Nade has to duel Alex, who is under the influence of former emperor Ragnarek. In the postgame, Nade can challenge Alex again, who has new tells that the player has to memorize.
    • In Dragoon Grace, Nade duels Anguis, a human who is the source of the Miasma. However, Anguis cuts the duel short after taking enough damage.
  • It's traditional for each game in the Tales Series to have at least one Duel Boss. What's notable is that almost every duel is fought between friendly characters who are not fighting out of malice, but rather as a means to resolve some outstanding issue or difference of opinion. There's often the added subtext of the less experienced fighter trying to surpass the more experienced one. They also tend to range from difficult to nearly impossible, but failure usually only results in missed gear and bruised egos rather than a game over.
    • Tales of Phantasia has Cless fight Meia, and, as an optional boss later in the game, Odin.
    • Tales of Destiny has Stahn fight Dymlos (to unlock the full potential of the Swordians.)
    • Tales of Eternia has Reid fight Cless, though it becomes a Dual Boss on harder difficulties with Arche joining in. He can also fight Valkyrie as an optional boss.
    • Tales of Symphonia has Lloyd fight Kratos (so that Lloyd can release the seal on Origin, but also to prove himself to Kratos. Likewise, Kratos is also testing his son to see how much he's grown.) There are also two optional duels: Sheena against Kuchinawa, and Zelos against Seles.
      • To say nothing of the fact that you can face Seles twice (one with Zelos, one with anybody) in the Coliseum, which has a set of one-on-one tournaments too. Which means you can get two Last Fencers (Zelos' strongest weapon).
    • Tales of Rebirth has Veigue facing Milhaust.
    • Tales of Legendia has Senel against Chloe, and later, Moses.
    • Tales of the Abyss has Luke fighting Asch twice (first due to Luke having a Heroic BSoD over the truth of his existence and Asch's bad temper and the second so they can resolve their identities as original and clone.)
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Emil fighting Ratatosk (to assimilate both his personalities into one, and to prove that Emil has surpassed his original self in strength of personality.)
    • Tales of the Tempest has Forest fight Thols, his friend, who wants to take revenge on humans. Forest has to "persuade" him to reconsider this decision. Unusually, the battle doesn't involve the main character, and is really easy.
    • Tales of Vesperia has two: Yuri against Flynn (to settle the argument between them over whether Yuri's actions during the game were justified) and Yuri against Estelle (to free her from Alexei's control). The Updated Re-release also adds in a duel between Yuri and Don Whitehorse, which is close to a Hopeless Boss Fight, but not quite.
    • Tales of Graces has three: Asbel against Hubert (a Hopeless Boss Fight where Hubert shows how far he's surpassed Asbel), Asbel against Malik (so Asbel can prove to himself that he has grown as a fighter and as a man), Asbel against Sophie (so the latter can prove to herself that she is capable of fighting a friend, in preparation for her fighting Richard), and Asbel against Hubert again.
      • It should be noted that the later three Duel Bosses are completely optional (activated via skit chats), and that losing or winning the battle has no real impact on the story.
      • Tales of Graces F also adds yet another optional Duel Boss in the Future Arc: Cheria against Pascal. Because the latter refuses to take a bath......
    • Tales of Xillia has Jude against Agria, Ivar, then Gaius. There's also Milla against Muzet.
    • Tales of Xillia 2 has Ludger against his half brother Julius, both as a test of the former's skills and because the latter knows his death is necessary for the world's survival. The game also starts with a battle between Ludger and Julius before the player can do anything else, but it's All Just a Dream, and you can't win, no matter what.
    • Tales of Zestiria has Sorey against Heldalf after sacrificing his Seraphim friends and separating himself from Rose
    • Tales of Berseria has Velvet against Eleanor to force her to join the party since she formed a pact with Laphicet.
      • Subverted when it comes to Rokurou against Shigure as the party insists on jumping in during every fight. He does get his duel against Shigure, but only as a cutscene.
    • Tales of Arise has Alphen against Vholran thanks to the rest of the party being separated from him during the final boss battle, a first for the Tales franchise.
  • In the Trials of Mana remake, three of the battles fought to obtain a character's Class 4 Sphere are duel bosses.
    • Kevin faces off against his father, Ferolia's King Gauser.
    • Angela fights against a shadow version of herself as part of the Trial of Queenship.
    • Duran ends up fighting the Golden Knight Loki, a Back from the Dead version of his father, whom he previously only fought as the Darkshine Knight.
  • In The Untold Tales Of The Vocaloids, this happens several times:
    • Early in the story, Teto must face the Hell Hound alone to get a material needed to unlock her Chimera Form.
    • Because she got separated from the others in Whispering Cave because of an earthquake, Rin must fight the local boss alone.
    • At one point, Remilia challenged Rin to a duel just for fun.
  • Almost every Wild ARMs game has at least one of these in the course of the main storyline (not including each character's individual prologues where they typically go through a dungeon and a boss fight alone):
    • Wild ARMs: Jack vs. Harken and Cecilia vs. Elizabeth; in Alter Code F, Rudy's optional fight with the Rotting Beast to save Surf Village. Again.
    • Wild ARMs 2: Ashley has a couple of solo fights that coincide with going Knight Blazer — the first against recurring WA monster Trask, the second against Caina (and as Knight Blazer is pretty much the most powerful party member, they go down very easily); Tim and Kanon each get a duel against Judecca; Ashley gets one against Vinsfeld at the end of Disc One (not forced into Knight Blazer like the others, but he can certainly do it); three party members of your choice get one against the Kuiper Belt roots in the final Boss Rush; and Ashley gets one last one against Lord Blazer, although he uses the The Power of Friendship anyway. But it's still totally awesome.
    • Wild ARMs 3 is actually the exception: aside from each character's prologue boss, the party manages to stick together for the most part so that no one ever fights a boss alone.
    • Wild ARMs 4: Jude vs. Kresnik.
    • Wild ARMs 5: Everyone but Avril gets one. Dean fights Nightburn, and the remaining four each take on a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad for their own reasons.
  • The final battle with Kitanji as Draco Cantus in The World Ends with You is fought by Neku alone... to an extent. His partners can't actively fight, but they do send him light pucks that increase the amount of damage he deals, and unlike normal light pucks that last only for a single finisher attack before being passed to the other character, these stay active for the duration of the whole battle.
    • The Dual Boss fight against Uzuki and Kariya is also a Duel Boss fight because they fight in no way different than the player characters, having a light puck of their own and even a Fusion Attack. This makes them Those Two Bosses for most people, especially if you're not over leveled.
  • Fei gets a lot of these in Xenogears including battles with Bart, Elly, Ramsus, Wiseman, Grahf... even the final battle with Urobolus/Miang.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon has its first and last boss fights play out like this:
    • The first fight against Jo Sawashiro has Ichiban fight him alone not long after Adachi joins his party.
    • The final boss fight against Masato sees Ichiban face him alone, defaulting to his Freelancer class (which if it hasn't been leveled will temporarily be upgraded to unlock all the moves for this battle) in the process.

    Survival Horror 
  • This can be invoked by the player in Alisa. If you arrive to Isabella Flora's boss fight only armed with a saber, she'll respect your courage and avoid using her own ranged attacks as well, to make it a fair fight.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories there's a situation where you have to do a Hopeless Boss Fight against Laharl. You CAN win, but it ends up being a Non-Standard Game Over, so to progress the story you have to lose, which you will likely do anyways because your first play through you're likely, at best, level 60, and Laharl is level 1200. When you lose, you're suddenly given control of Rozalin in a full-powered form at level 2000. This is the only time in the game this happens, and you have no base panel so you can't summon anyone else to aid this character. The battle might as well be scripted, though, as it's nearly impossible to lose to Laharl unless you're deliberately trying because Rozalin is suddenly dishing out way more damage than Laharl can even attempt.
  • In the later routes of Duel Savior Destiny you're expected to be more proficient at the game than you were at the start, so the game starts throwing these at you. Even if you can't bring your allies, many of the fights where you're alone but the bad guy has minions are actually easier than these because the boss figure has a reduced AI and stats plus the minions are cannon fodder that let you build your combo meter.
  • Partway through Final Fantasy Tactics, Ramza is forced into a solo battle against Wiegraf. After landing the killing blow on him, Wiegraf transforms into an inhuman, monstrous being and summons several demons to aid him... whereupon the rest of Ramza's allies show up. (Technically, your troops pull a big damn heroes moment and he summons his guys to 'even the playing field'. Very humorous if you happened to be doing a Solo Ramza Challenge.)
    • There's also a fight with a giant gate separating Ramza and Gafgarion from the rest of the party (and the rest of the bad guys). You can open the gate, but it takes a lot of regular move to get up there. As it is, the fight turns into a sort of a one on one happening at the same time as a regular fight; some abilities allow you to circumvent this, however.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, after getting Frimelda to join your party they have a special mission of their own where they fight Ghi Yelgi one-on-one.
      • And before that, Adelle has to win a duel mission to awaken her dormant Heritor powers
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, there is a chapter where the main character, Marche, is trapped in a room with the Big Bad's Dragon, Llednar Twem, and must fight him alone. Unfortunately, this is also a Hopeless Boss Fight, and Marche's only options are to run and heal until reinforcements arrive. An alternate trick is available to well-prepared Thieves, as stealing the enemy's entire outfit leaves him very ineffectual (and gives you his outfit, which is quite useful for the point in the story the fight is at). The Damage to MP skill also makes the battle quite trival, because overflow damage doesn't hit HP (and you regain 5 MP a turn).
      • Before that you fight Babus in Exodus' chamber. Exodus is inanimate and helpless. Babus is not.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (quoted above) features a twist on this battle: Ike and the Black Knight fight each other on one half of the battlefield, while everyone else fights on the other half; neither half can interfere with the other. Being a tactical RPG, a simple duel would be short and not require much strategy (such a duel is featured near the end of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, where it is quite luck based); in fact, the only thing that prevents the player from just killing him in under 2 turns is 1) EXP (being 3 fractions of a chapter away from the end boss, you likely don't need it) and 2) getting the other boss's Infinity Plus One Lance.
    • This happens again in Chapter 23 of Fire Emblem: Awakening, and in the same manner to boot. Chrom and the Avatar face off against Validar on the top half of the map, while everyone else fights a bunch of mooks. After wasting him the first time, the barrier breaks down and it becomes a normal battle from then on out. Notably, it's the only level where the Avatar is a Required Party Member.
    • Two main paths in Fire Emblem Fates also feature a boss like this - in Birthright Chapter 26, the Avatar needs to defeat Prince Xander, and in Conquest Chapter 25, they must fight Prince Ryoma. In both cases, the Avatar and the boss start in an isolated chamber in the middle of the map, while other units start outside and need to fight regular enemies. However, the player can interrupt the duel either by unlocking the door (Birthright) or defeating one (on Normal difficulty) or both (on Hard or Lunatic) minibosses (Ryoma's retainers Saizo and Kagero) (Conquest); the chamber will open and the other units will be able to swarm the boss, and the Conquest boss angrily Lampshades the trope:
      Ryoma: Only an honorless boor would interfere with a duel!
    • The ROM hack Elibian Nights plays this straight in Karel's tale with his fight against fellow tribesman Kaherdin. Except you're more than likely going to lose against him.
  • The final mission of the Life campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a duel between your main hero and the Big Bad.
  • In La Pucelle Tactics, Captain Homard has a duel with Demon Lord Veloute, the last of Noir's Demon Lord lieutenants and the one who murdered Homard's parents. It's pretty much Unwinnable...for Veloute since Homard unlocks his Burning Soul super move (which deals massive damage to demon lords like Veloute) during the fight.
  • Ogre Battle 64 has Grozz Nuy, the Divine Dragon, whom you must beat if you want to get the Sword of Tiamat and unlock the Dragoon class. You'll face off against him with the leader of whichever unit you sent. He's actually really easy to beat as long as you send someone that gets three attacks per turn.
  • Happens quite a bit in the Super Robot Wars series.
  • In the single-player campaign of Telepath Tactics, Harriet duels Malcolm alone, since It's Personal. This is also a Mirror Match, since they're both spear-fighters.
  • One of the final battles in Vanguard Bandits has Bastion attempt this against Faulkner. It's then subverted by you getting help to deal with him.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has the fight between Kyojuro Rengoku and the Upper Rank 3 Kizuki Akaza during the Mugen Train Arc. Becomes a literal one in The Hinokami Chronicles.
  • Fairy Tail
    • After Bluenote Stinger spends a few chapters kicking several of the main characters around, Gildarts Clive shows up to take him on. Everyone promptly gets out of his way.
    • Laxus Dreyar is a subversion in the Fantasia arc. Natsu wants to take him down alone, as he's a Boisterous Bruiser with a desire to prove and challenge himself, and Laxus is well known as being absurdly strong. After Gajeel has to pull him out of the way of a fatal attack, Natsu accepts his offer for a team up.
  • Though it's a two-on-one fight, the final skirmish between the Nishizumi sisters and Alice Shimada in Girls und Panzer der Film is this in two symbolic ways. First, it's a duel between rival schools, Nishizumi-ryu and Shimada-ryu sensha-do, that have been going strong since their mothers' time. Second, it's a technological duel between their tanks: Miho's Panzer IV and Maho's Tiger I are the faces of World War II tank develpment, for good reason, while Alice's Centurion rendered them both obsolete by marrying their best characteristics and created the concept of the Main Battle Tank.
  • One Piece usually goes this route for the Big Bad of the particular arc fighting solo versus Luffy. There are some times where the other heroes fight said Big Bad's lackeys, one on one (two notable examples are Alabasta and Skypiea, where each Straw Hat gets a turn against a different villain).
  • Sword Art Online, Kirito's duel with Heathcliff is essentially this. The second one also qualifies as In the End, You Are on Your Own.

    Fan Fic 
  • The Pez Dispenser and the Reign of Terror: Calvin invokes this trope in Chapter 5, sending the others away so he alone can fight his duplicate.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf repeatedly barges into a battle to demand a fight with the leader, first with Ramsay during the Battle of the Bastards and then with Euron during the battle of Dragonstone. In both cases it only accelerates the Westerosi's defeat (and in the Ironborn's case, none of them lift a finger to help their leader).
  • The Reaping of Hatsune Miku: What should have been Ryuto vs. Kaito and Miku turns into this when the Reaper traps Kaito in a Ring of Fire, leaving Miku to fight him alone.

  • Wayne from The Alloy of Law is a rare example of a heroic Duel Boss. His favorite tactic in combat is to get close to an opponent, catch them in a speed bubble, and fight them one-on-one with his dueling canes.
  • Ciaphas Cain: The only time Jurgen has ever disobeyed Cain is when Cain finds himself fighting the ork warboss Korbul and Cain tells Jurgen to shoot. Jurgen tells him that as long as the fight remains between Cain and Korbul, Korbul's bodyguards won't interfere either (as Korbul attacked first, one of the nobs joining would be interpreted as an insult to the warboss' fighting skill). Cain has to settle for fighting the ork one-on-one.

    Live Action TV 

    Web Comics 
  • The Ocean's Scar fortress from Demon Fist had the "chute sequence", which would drop each member of a group (the Hookshot Pirates, as it turned out) into individual battles with some of Rosenquist's strongest officers.
  • RPG World actually implied that Eikre was going to have one of these with former best friend Jeff near the final boss fight.

    Western Animation 
  • Total Drama Revenge of the Island: The final challenge is an arena brawl between the finalists, with both being given time to prepare weapons and armor. Lightning pieces together some metal plating and makes a spiked club out of a mannequin leg. Cameron opts for creating Powered Armor à la Iron Man. Their fight ends up being even, thanks to Chris forcing Cameron to waste power by fending off mutant animals and Lightning's ability to take a superhuman amount of punishment.


Video Example(s):


Barkley Vs Jordon

Warning: the video example you are about to watch is canon.

Onboard the Necron 5 space station, Barkley and Jordon settle things one on one in a battle set to Sweet Georgia Brown.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DuelBoss

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