Follow TV Tropes


Dueling Player Characters

Go To
You're pretty strong... but how do you compare against the very best?

Most single-player video games have a single Player Character whom the player steers throughout the adventure. Some feature more of them, with the player controlling each one of them in turns. And then there are some that pit one player character against another, controlled by the player and the AI, respectively. If the two playable characters are rivals or Arch-Enemies to one another, this is all but guaranteed to happen at some point.

If the battle is fought to the death, it can become a powerful Player Punch, especially if the player is forced to decide which character lives and who dies. Even if it's not to the death, the outcome of who wins may cause the story to branch off in different paths.

May overlap with Previous Player-Character Cameo and Rogue Protagonist if it takes place in a sequel. May or may not be a Duel Boss encounter. If the two characters play similarly enough to one another, the battle may serve as a Mirror Boss. If a character appears as a boss fight first and is later unlockable as a playable character, they have been Promoted to Playable.

Compare Main Character Final Boss, where the main protagonist of the game enters a Face–Heel Turn near the end of the game and becomes the Final Boss. Not to be confused with Player Versus Player, which is specific to multiplayer games. See also Fighting Your Friend.


    open/close all folders 

  • Hotline Miami: In one level, Jacket has a boss battle against a cleaver-wielding biker and ends up killing him. In the game's epilogue, the player gets to play as the Biker (taking place a few days before the battle) and eventually has the fight again, except playing the other character. But this time, Biker kills Jacket. It's not even a proper boss battle this time around, instead an Anti-Climax Boss.

    Action Adventure 
  • In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, one of the boss fights is a duel between the two protagonists, Kain and Raziel. For the first half of the fight, you control Kain trying to beat Raziel into submission, before control switches to Raziel halfway through.
  • In LEGO Star Wars, you play through most of the last level of Episode III as either Obi-Wan or Anakin. Come the last stage, the character not being used becomes the boss (although you can still switch control of the characters even during the duel). There's only one way it'll turn out despite who wins. Oddly, this does actually give an easy victory, activate the second player and simply kill them without them defending.
  • Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith ends with the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin, both of whom have been playable characters up to that point. In the PS2 and Xbox versions, by default, you play as Obi-Wan, but after beating the game, you can choose to play as Anakin, which gets you an alternate ending where Anakin kills both Obi-Wan and Palpatine to rule the galaxy himself. In the GBA and DS versions, both men have separate story routes that converge on Mustafar, and no matter who you're controlling the story proceeds as if Obi-Wan won the fight.
  • Deadly Creatures has a few portions where the tarantula and scorpion cross paths and you have to beat one with the other.
  • Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance sees the male characters who are not picked as the player character getting fought in order to join your gang, which means depending on who you select at the beginning, you'll have to fight either two or three of them.
  • In the Yakuza series, in the games with multiple protagonists, there are occasionally boss battles where two of the protagonists face off against one another (typically Kiryu and another character). In Yakuza 5, you're given the option of choosing which character you wish to control for that battle.
    • Notably in Yakuza 4, Kiryu fights against two of the newly introduced protagonists of this game — Akiyama and Tanimura. Despite being outnumbered, it's ultimately the latter two that are winded compared to Kiryu, who didn't even break a sweat.
      • Before that, Kiryu himself can be fought against as Saejima in an earlier chapter. Pray to SEGA that he doesn't use his signature Tiger Drop against you…
      • Though in this case, Kiryu and Saejima are on equal footing and fight to a standstill, until Saejima's wounds from his prison escape re-open.
    • Averted in Yakuza 0, however, as Kiryu and Majima never even meet throughout the entirety of the game… until The Stinger, that is.
      • However, come Yakuza Kiwami and Majima, who was previously playable in 0 and uses his fighting styles from the above game, is now a Recurring Boss!
    • Yakuza Kiwami 2 once again has Majima as a playable character in his own side story and once again, he's fought against in the main story proper.
    • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: The above-mentioned Majima and Saejima are both fought at the same time! And if that wasn't enough… Kiryu is once again a boss character! Again, pray to SEGA that he doesn't instantly kill you with his Tiger Drop.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In Devil May Cry 4, the main protagonist of the previous games, Dante, is the very first enemy fought in the game by Nero during the tutorial level and becomes his pursued target for half the game. Of particular note is Dante's second boss fight, which has been called as one of the most difficult in the series.
    • Devil May Cry 5:
      • There is a variation where late in the game, Dante has to fight V's familiars, who have all the moves that you've unlocked for them.
      • In the Special Edition, Vergil's Final Boss fight is against Dante.
  • In Croixleur Sigma, clearing the story in less than 10 minutes will put you up in an extra fight against Francesca. Defeating her will unlock her for use in the game. Likewise, if you choose Fran, then Lucrezia will be your final opponent.
  • In A Way Out, Leo and Vincent end up fighting one another in the final level after it's revealed that Vincent is an undercover cop who was using Leo to get to the villain. The ending of the game depends on who survives the confrontation.
  • Monolith opens with Null fighting D-13 as a Warm-Up Boss. Defeating the Final Boss with Null lets you play as D-13, who fights Null as its final boss, but this time Null is under the influence of the Power Eternal.

    Adventure Game 
  • Often plays a part in Quantic Dream games:
    • In addition to the whole "one character leaves clues, the two others find them" mechanic in Fahrenheit, there is an episode where Carla and Tyler spar at the police gym. Notably, not only can you decide whom to control during the sparring, but you can also lose (even on purpose), which is helpful because the winner gets a boost to their Sanity Meter (which Carla usually needs more than Tyler).
    • Likewise, in Heavy Rain, Ethan, Madison, or Norman (whoever is alive at that point) must fight Scott a.k.a. the Origami Killer in the endgame. You control the former, but you can still lose and have your current character killed.
    • One of the player characters in Detroit: Become Human is an advanced prototype android named Connor who is designed to work with the law enforcement in hunting down androids who have deviated from their programmed behavior. As a result, you end up on the trail of the two other player characters, Kara and Markus, who became deviants. Depending on whether Connor becomes deviant or remains a programmed machine in the "Crossroads" chapter, he either does a Heel–Face Turn and sides with Markus' revolution or is the Villain Protagonist all the way to the end; if the latter, Markus faces Connor as the Final Boss fight and the player determines who wins.
  • Not a physical conflict, but in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, when April and Kian meet for the first time, they engage in a heated argument over the Azadi politics in the Northlands. Notably, you can select both characters' responses, so it is possible to either convince April to reconsider her views on Azadi, or force Kian to take a good look at his superiors. Too bad it doesn't really lead to any Story Branching.

    Beat 'em Up Game 
  • In Double Dragon, if both Lee brothers defeat Machine Gun Willy together, then they are forced to fight each other over who wins Marian's affections.
  • In Streets of Rage, the bad ending is achieved this way. If one player refuses Mr. X's offer to join him while the other accepts, both players will duke it out, with the victor fighting Mr. X alone then taking his place.

    Card Battle Game 
  • Hearthstone: The Great Dalaran Heist single-player mode from Rise of Shadows had the player take control of nine Villain Protagonists in order to rob the city. In the following singleplayer mode, Tombs of Terror, all of them returned as bosses (except Vessina, who became a playable card in Saviors of Uldum, and Rakanishu, who's a boss-exclusive minion). The Warlock representative, Tekahn, is the Final Boss of the whole set.

    Fighting Game 
  • In the single-player story mode of X-Men vs. Street Fighter, after defeating Apocalypse, the player takes control of whichever character landed the final blow and must then fight his tag partner in a one-on-one match. This turn of events goes unexplained.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the single-player campaign has you swapping characters at the end of most chapters, and every so often you'll end up in a fight with a character you controlled in a previous chapter.
    • Injustice 2 continues this; you continually switch characters throughout the story mode, and often fight someone you controlled earlier or take control of someone you fought earlier. The final battle of the story is between Batman and Superman, and you get to choose which one to play as.
  • Much like Injustice, the NetherRealm Studios-developed Mortal Kombat games have story modes where you change characters each chapter. Mortal Kombat 11 has an Aftermath DLC story in which the final battle is between Liu Kang and Shang Tsung, and just like in Injustice 2, you get to choose which one to play as, which determines the ending.
  • Dead or Alive 5 has a story mode similar to the Injustice example above. Swapping characters throughout the story, sometimes fighting against previously-controlled characters.
  • In the "Subspace Emissary" mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, this happens numerous times:
    • "Midair Stadium", and by extension the entire game, begins with a competitive bout between Mario and Kirby. This fight is a reference to the ending of Smash Bros. 64's into video and the player can choose to play as either character. In either case, the fight ends with the victor and the defeated shaking hands.
    • After a battle against a shadow bug doppelganger of Princess Peach or Princess Zelda in "The Lake Shore", Mario and Pit face off against Link and Yoshi, after one of the teams mistakes the other for having just killed the princess. Which team is in control of the player depends on which princess was saved earlier.
    • At the end of "The Path to the Ruins", Lucas and Pokémon Trainer a.k.a. Red (who at this point only has Squirtle) fight Wario in vengeance of Ness. The player only has control over the former two.
    • At the end of "The Ruins", Lucas and Pokémon Trainer (who now has Ivysaur in addition to Squirtle) battle Charizard, whom Pokémon Trainer captures afterward with his Poké Ball. Again, the player has control over Lucas and Pokémon Trainer.
    • At the end of "The Glacial Peak", Lucario and Meta Knight fight, which is between this and Defeat Means Playable (since it's Lucario's first appearance in the story). Just like with Mario and Kirby at the beginning of the game, the player can choose either character before the fight.
    • Finally, at the end of the first iteration of "Subspace", the player takes control of King Dedede as he is forced to fight Bowser, who at this point is unaware that Tabuu is behind the entire plot.
  • Near the end of the campaign of For Honor the player-controlled Orochi ends up in a duel with the Warden, the player character of the first third of the game. The Raider, another protagonist, also shows up twice but is never actually fought.
  • In Them's Fightin' Herds, some of the boss fights are actually the other playable characters. This is justified due the game's plot as there can ony be one champion, so fighting the others at some point is to be expected.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Happens often in Tribes: Vengeance. First is when Victoria fights and kills her lover Daniel after he is tricked into killing her father. Then subverted when Julia chases after Jericho, only to be one-upped by Mercury (who is also a player character), but played straight when she fights and kills Mercury himself.
  • There is a brief level in the original Call of Juarez where Ray finally catches up with Billy and guns him down (though Billy survives). Subverted in Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, however, where it looks like you, as Ray, will have to duel Thomas over his supposed betrayal in the final level, but William sacrifices himself in a cutscene to stop them, and then Colonel Barnsby swoops in like a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere to provide a common enemy for the brothers to fight together.
  • Half of the Vault Hunters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! would chronologically later be fought as bosses in other Borderlands games (which is inevitable given that this set of Vault Hunters worked for the Big Bad of Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack). Wilhelm and Nisha are fought in 2 while Aurelia Hammerlock would be fought in 3.

    Immersive Sim 
  • Played With in the original Dishonored and its DLC: the fight against the Skippable Boss Daud becomes this trope retroactively, after Daud is Promoted to Playable in the Another Side, Another Story DLC Knife of Dunwall. The next DLC starring him, The Brigmore Witches, subverts it twice: Daud fights Corvo in the first mission, but it turns out to be All Just a Dream; they fight for real after the last mission, but it takes place entirely off-screen, with the narration picking up just as Corvo disarms Daud, who then asks for his life (with the success determined by Daud's Chaos level).
  • Downplayed in Dishonored 2, whose Tutorial Level is framed as Emily's training session with Corvo, which culminates in several rounds of friendly sparring.

    Light Gun Game 
  • Time Crisis:
    • In several console games, there is a Crisis Mission mode where the unnamed protagonist goes through a series of VSSE combat training exercises. The final test requires you to go up against one of the player character VSSE agents to demonstrate that you're as good as they are: Richard Miller (Time Crisis 1 protagonist) in Time Crisis II, Wesley Lambert and Alan Dunaway in Time Crisis 3 (the protagonists of the same game's main mode), and Richard Miller disguised as Wild Dog in Time Crisis 4.
    • In Time Crisis 5: True Mastermind Edition, Keith Martin, player 1 character of Time Crisis II, is the stage 4 boss and the apparent traitor of the VSSE. After defeating him, he reveals that he's Good All Along and that the real traitor is your Mission Control Robert Baxter, player 2 character of Time Crisis II, who you fight in the final stage.

    Party Game 
  • In Crash Bash, finishing a two-player co-op Adventure mode playthrough with a good and evil character will lead to a tiebreaker round, where both players are pitted against each other to determine the ending.

    Platform Game 
  • In Mega Man X5, if you can save Zero from going Maverick, then X and Zero get into an argument that escalates into a fight (with you playing as whomever you took into the level). If Zero goes Maverick, then you have no choice and X has to destroy Zero.
  • The second ending for each character in Muramasa: The Demon Blade features the other as the final boss.
  • All the playable knights in Shovel Knight (Shovel Knight, Plague Knight, Specter Knight and King Knight) become this due to how they all are bosses in each other's stories.
    • Shovel Knight is the most evident and literal of this, considering he does everything he can do when a player along with acting like a player, down to how he uses the Relics and even healing himself with Ichor. He even uses items and abilities that you can't actually obtain by that point in the game. Maybe he's on NG+.
    • Plague Knight's duel with Shovel Knight is a "Rashomon"-Style re-take on his boss fight in Shovel of Hope, told from Plague Knight's point of view. The game heavily implies that Plague Knight is an Unreliable Narrator, since Shovel Knight uncharacteristically feigns defeat in order to stab him in the back once you 'win'.
  • This is actually pretty common in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, usually when two characters' current goals clash with one another.
    • Sonic vs Knuckles at the end of Hidden Palace Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Knuckles misinterpreted the mural found in the fight's background, and believes Dr. Robotnik is the good guy trying to protect the Master Emerald from the "evil" Sonic. The inverse of this fight doesn't happen, however, as Knuckles' story takes place some time after Sonic's.
    • Sonic Adventure: Sonic fights Knuckles again, after Knuckles (who still doesn't trust Sonic at this point) sees him with the green Chaos Emerald and mistakes it for a shard of the broken Master Emerald. Sonic also fights the rogue Eggman robot E-102 Gamma on the deck of the Egg Carrier. This time, however, playing as Knuckles and Gamma allows the player to fight Sonic as the boss, and playing as Tails puts him in the fights instead of Sonic.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has the story split into two sides: a 'Hero' side with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and a 'Dark' side with Shadow, Eggman, and Rouge. Each character is matched to another, and fights their counterpart several times over the course of the game. Again, the fights are playable from both perspectives.
    • Sonic Heroes has the characters split into 4 teams of 3, with two of the other teams serving as Boss Battles during the game — Team Sonic and Team Chaotix fight Team Rose and Team Dark, whilst Team Dark and Team Rose fight Team Sonic and Team Chaotix.
    • The Sonic Rivals spin-off series has this as its main gimmick - you're always racing against another player character for one reason or another, with several 1v1 duels mixed in. Even when you're in a boss battle, you still need to beat the boss before the other character/person does!
    • Sonic Rush has Sonic vs Blaze at the end of Dead Line Zone, with Blaze declaring she'll fight the Eggmans alone while Sonic tries to tell her it doesn't work that way around here. Blaze, whose loner attitude has been challenged throughout the game, finally snaps and decides to clash with Sonic to force him to stay out of her way.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has Sonic and Shadow fight Silver at least once. Again, you can play either side of the same fight, according to which character's story mode you're playing.
    • Sonic Battle, a Sonic fighting game, takes all this to its logical conclusion.
  • In Ghostbusters (1990) for the Sega Genesis, the player is given a choice between Peter, Ray, and Egon at the beginning. The two that are not picked will later be fought as bosses with the in-story justification of being possessed. Essentially, you are fighting the demons, which means that you have to avoid your friends' attacks.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, rivals Gunvolt and Copen run into each other in the midpoint of Tenjian's level as a Mini-Boss, and later, where either hero is the True Final Boss. In both occasions, if you're playing as Gunvolt, the Boss would be Copen, and vice-versa.
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent, Mega Man Model A Grey/Ashe will fight Mega Man Model ZX Aile/Vent, the previous game's Schrödinger's Player Character, in the Quarry level over a misunderstanding in attempting to obtain a Model W, with both sides believing the other to be yet another enemy Mega Man collecting it for the villains. Defeating Aile/Vent nets Grey/Ashe the ability to transform into them at any point.
  • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Soma Cruz and Julius Belmont can eventually fight each other. Julius is fought as the Climax Boss of Soma's campaign. Soma is fought as the Final Boss of Julius' campaign in the sequel Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.
  • In the Jurassic Park Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis, you can choose to play as either Dr. Grant or a velociraptor. The Final Boss of the raptor's route is, naturally, Dr. Grant, trying to keep the raptor from escaping the island. Grant, on the other hand, encounters multiple raptors on his route, any of which could hypothetically be the player-character raptor, though none are explicitly identified as such.
  • In Blaster Master Zero III, Jason Frudnick gets into a Hopeless Boss Fight against Kane Gardner, the protagonist of the Japanese version of the original Blaster Master game, MetaFight, in the first area. In the Golden Ending, you can choose to face off against Kane or Jason in the final boss fight, but the ending is the same regardless of your choice.
  • Rosenkreuz Stilette:
    • The first game's alternate mode, Grollschwert, puts you in control of Grolla Seyfarth, one of the bosses in the main mode- as such, the boss of her stage is instead main heroine Spiritia Rosenberg and her Fairy Companion Lilli, who fight you with the abilities they have in the main mode.
    • Freudenstachel and its alternate mode Weißsilber also have Freudia and Pamela fight Spiritia, this time as the first phase of the final boss, as she is being possessed by Big Bad Iris Zeppelin.
  • In Freedom Planet 2, during the Battlesphere arc there’s a stage where you need to fight the other three player characters in a battle royale. It’s just a sporting event though, so there’s no ill will after the fact. Also in General Gong's training, you can fight any of them 1-on-1 in a sparring match.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • In Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, you spend the game alternating between controlling two parties; a party of human characters led by Kharg, and a party of deimos led by Darc. In the final chapter of the game, both parties meet each other and you have to choose one party that you control in order to defeat the other (shortly before the Big Bad appears and forces them into an Enemy Mine situation).
  • Dark Souls III:
    • The Final Boss is the Soul of Cinder, an incarnation of everyone who has ever linked the First Flame. Naturally, this includes you, the Chosen Undead, and the other you, the Bearer of the Curse.
    • The second mandatory boss of the Ringed City, Halflight, Spear of the Church, is essentially a player character with a couple of flunkies and some tricks up his sleeve that you don't have access to… unless you're playing online, in which case you're fighting an actual Player Character in a Player Versus Player battle. And they have the same unique abilities that Halflight has.
  • In Fortune Summoners, there's a brief section where you play as Stella in a flashback explaining how she got to the section of dungeon you just reached. When you reach the present, she challenges Arche to a duel, serving as a Boss Fight (something of a Curb-Stomp Battle, since she's a Squishy Wizard and the battle takes place in a small arena), before joining the Player Party.
  • In Live A Live, the Final chapter has you either fight the character you played as the chapter before, Oersted, who has turned into the Greater-Scope Villain, the Demon King Odio, or doing a reverse boss rush against the rest of the protagonists which is guaranteed to net you a Bad Ending.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, an Imperial Flashpoint sees you hunt down and eliminate the protagonist of the original Knights of the Old Republic. Needless to say, Darth Revan puts up a hell of a fight. One of the Sith Warrior story missions also has you fight it out with either a Light Side or Dark Side version of yourself (which one you fight depends on your own alignment). A later Expansion, "Shadow of Revan", has the former as the new Arc Villain.
  • Midway through Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the Mario Bros. fight Bowser after finally getting out from his insides. Bowser has the attacks he learned while under the player's command, but is much less competent when controlled by the AI; he fails attack commands regularly and never uses defensive commands. However, his HP is much greater than he had when controlled by the player.
  • In Super Paper Mario, after the group has been split, Mario and Luigi manage to find Bowser. They have a fight due to some misunderstandings, and he comes to his senses afterwards and rejoins, of course.
  • In Legend of Mana, Escad and Daena come to blows over disagreeing about what to do with Irwin. You're forced to take a side (refusing to take a side will have them choose for you), and the battle is to the death. No matter what, one party member isn't coming out of that fight alive. And then it's all made moot when Daena's third option is outright rejected by Matilda and you're driven to kill Irwin anyway.
  • In Odin Sphere, several of the boss battles are the other characters in the story. Gwendolyn fights Velvet and Mercedes, Cornelius fights Velvet (actually Ingway in disguise) and Mercedes, Mercedes fights Oswald, and Velvet fights Mercedes.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver and the remakes have the post-Elite Four battle with Red, the Player Character you controlled if you played Pokémon Red and Blue before that.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei series:
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, you spend the first five hours of the game playing as Roxas, before the player character switches to Sora. Near the end of the game, Sora fights Roxas, who's revealed to be his Nobody, in a cutscene battle, which is made an actual battle in the Final Mix version.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, you play as three characters: Terra, Ventus, and Aqua. Aqua's story contains boss battles against possessed versions of both of her friends, and Terra's story ends with taking control of Terra's Lingering Will, fighting his own possessed body in an (unsuccessful) attempt to get it back from Xehanort. This also retroactively makes the secret boss of KH 2 Final Mix, Lingering Will, this.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] features Sora and Riku as playable characters. At the end of the game, a possessed Sora, clad in Ventus's armor and fighting with his fighting style, serves as the Post-Final Boss.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, after defeating the Big Bad, Emil ends up in a life-or-death battle against Marta and Lloyd. The reason isn't quite as clear-cut as most examples, and winning gets you the Bad Ending.
  • The final battle in OMORI is between Omori, the Villain Protagonist of the Headspace segments, and Sunny, the actual protagonist of the real life segments. You play as Sunny attempting to prevent Omori from performing a Split-Personality Takeover.
  • River City Ransom has an interesting example. If you choose to go solo rather than bringing a partner character with you (since EX allows you to edit characters with the right cheats; it's not always Alex or Ryan) at the start of the game, eventually you'll run into them again where otherwise you wouldn't find anyone. If you have the right conversation, the two of you will have a fight. If you've chosen the right file save for who would have been your partner, you're easily in for the hardest fight in the entire game.
  • The "Actually Ed the Undying" challenge path of Kingdom of Loathing features %playername the Adventurer as the final boss, though your quest isn't quite over when you defeat them, as you still need to recover your Holy MacGuffin, and as you'll recall from your regular playthroughs, you handed that over to the Council of Loathing who stored it in a secret warehouse.
    • Playing in one of the first three "Avatar of [Hero]" paths will eventually put you against another Avatar, who takes the place of the final boss.
  • If the player chooses to side with a certain faction in Deus Ex: Invisible War, they must fight the protagonist of the first game — J.C. Denton as the end-game boss.
  • In Eternal Sonata, Chopin is your final enemy. He realizes that the game world is his Dying Dream and he attempts to survive it by trying to destroy it and everyone inside it. The game is interesting in this case since winning the fight will end up with Chopin dying of his tuberculosis in Real Life while losing it on purpose ends with everyone in the otherworld ceasing to exist, but Chopin waking up and deciding that he wants to live.
  • Near the end of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, you must go up against the previous Future Warrior, who (if save data from the original is imported) is your old character.
  • In the Drakengard franchise:
    • In Drakengard, Angelus is the final boss of ending C.
    • In Drakengard 2, both Caim and Angelus, the protagonists of Drakengard, are fought as bosses. In addition, Legna is the final boss of endings A and C.
    • In Drakengard 3, Zero is possessed by the Flower and serves as the final boss of ending D.
    • In NieR: Automata, the final confrontation in Route C/D is between A2 and 9S, your two player characters from that route. You choose which one to play as; the other one becomes the final boss and determines which ending you get. (Playing as A2 results in Ending C, and playing as 9S results in Ending D.)
  • Subverted in Golden Sun: The Lost Age: The previous game allows you to transfer your party's stats to the second game, despite starring Felix (who Isaac spends the first game chasing after and failing to prevent him from lighting the elemental beacons). Both parties keep barely missing each other until Jupiter Lighthouse, at which point Isaac's party is split apart and defeated by the tower's bosses (particularly grating if you'd done a lot of Level Grinding), then Felix's party defeats them. The climactic battle between Isaac and Felix… doesn't take place, as Isaac now understands why Felix was running around trying to light the elemental beacons (both because the Big Bad was holding his sister hostage, and because if the beacons remain unlit, the world will eventually crumble away, whereas if they're lit, humanity might abuse the power of the elements to fight destructive wars and destroy the world).
  • During the Divertissement chapter of Trails of Cold Steel II, you control Lloyd Bannings, protagonist of The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, with the boss of the chapter being Rean Schwarzer, protagonist of the game.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie has the player controlling Rean's party at first fighting against C's party. Halfway through, the perspective switches and then the player has to use C's party, fighting against Rean's party. This happens twice in chapter two.
  • In the Middle-earth: Shadow of War DLC "The Blade of Galadriel", the first boss fight is against Talion, who has taken Isildur's Ring of Power and become a renegade Nazgûl. The Final Boss is a rematch with Talion, who has succumbed to the corruption of Isildur's Ring.
  • In the original Persona 5, The Traitor, Goro Akechi, is fought just before the penultimate dungeon's end, with his ultimate outcome being uncertain.
    • In Royal, Akechi can be fought in the third-to-last rank of his Confidant, with the other two progressing with the story like in the original game.
    • Also in Royal, during the visit to Maruki's Palace, "Kasumi", who is actually revealed to be Sumire, the thought-to-be deceased sister of the former, briefly turns against Joker and Akechi, forcing Joker to bring her to her senses.
      • Royal also comes with some bonus challenge fights, including two DLC fights where you can battle the protagonists of Persona 3 and Persona 4.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, the final Gauntlet in the Shadow of Doom expansion, "The Ultimate Gauntlet", consists of ten challenges framed as Alliances from parallel dimensions battling each other. The first nine challenges pit you against fractions of the entire 51-character roster — Challenge 1 is the Guardians of the Galaxynote , Challenge 2 is the Web Warriorsnote , Challenge 3 is the Marvel Knightsnote  and the Defendersnote , Challenge 4 is the Avengersnote , Challenge 5 is the X-Mennote , Challenge 6 is three sets of miscellaneous heroesnote , Challenge 7 is a group of female heroesnote , Challenge 8 is the Fantastic Fournote  and Challenge 9 is three villainsnote . The tenth and final challenge has you fight the following characters one after another: Doctor Strange in his masked costume from the late sixties-early seventies, Spider-Man in his Symbiote suit, Daredevil's black costume from The Man Without Fear, Captain Marvel in her Ms. Marvel costume, the Punisher in his Age of Apocalypse costume, Wolverine as Old Man Logan, Star-Lord in his Annihilation: Conquest costume, Crystal in her Avengers uniform, Thor as Ultimate Thor, Mister Fantastic in his Future Foundation uniform, and Iron Man in his Extremis armor.
  • In Game of Thrones, you have to choose between Alester and Mors as the main character for the last 2 chapters, with the other aiding you in the final battle against Valar. After defeating Valar, the two turn on each other when it's revealed that Alester was the one who helped Valar kill Mors' family on orders from Tywin Lannister, with the Post-Final Boss being whichever character you didn't pick.
  • In Fuga: Melodies of Steel, the Chapter 11 boss is Britz, one of the last characters to join your party, deceived by the Big Bad into fighting the heroes under the assumption that his mother and sister won't be harmed. You cannot use any of the player character's skills or the Soul Cannon, and depending on what level Britz's affinity is at with everyone else prior to his defection, then he'll either rejoin the player group after realizing he's been duped, or take his own life by self-destructing his tank after the match is over.
  • For the first three chapters of Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, Mei, Boron, Socks, Britz, and Hannah from the first game are all rendered Brainwashed and Crazy and must be fought in order to recruit them back to Malt's side. However, because of their friendship, Malt can make the battle easier on the crew by calling out to them in Awakening Chances to momentarily stun them with words.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, the first of three boss fights late in Chapter 1 is a battle between the player-controlled Kevesi party members and the soon-to-be Agnian party members. They even have the same Damager, Healer, Tank lineup, though with different variations on the roles.
  • The final boss of Little Witch Nobeta is a Battle in the Center of the Mind against Nonota, a.k.a. the false Nobeta that the player had been controlling during the first half of the game. The true Nobeta wants to restore her true self while Nonota doesn't want to disappear leading to their confrontation.

    Scrolling Shooter 
  • In R-Type Final, if you have met a certain condition, you will traverse a dark forest and pit against R-13A Cerberus, the only protagonist in Delta who failed to escape the forest and ended up turned into a Bydo.note  It is more of a Mercy Kill rather than a proper duel.
  • In a couple of the Touhou Project games (Touhou Gensokyo ~ Lotus Land Story and Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night), you have to fight either Marisa or Reimu as the stage 4 boss, depending on who you're playing as.
  • Thunder Force:
    • Thunder Force V has you fighting the Vasteel Original, which is Earth's codename for the Rynex from Thunder Force IV. Rynex had been recovered by Earth sometime after the ending of Thunder Force IV, wherein the ship completed its mission but was damaged and left to float through space for some time before being picked up; the people of Earth realized how advanced it was and reverse-engineered technology out of it, only for the Rynex and the Guardian, one of the byproducts of the discovery, to go rogue due to a virus. As for the fight itself, Rynex not only uses its own attacks, but also attaches a series of weapons to itself to bolster its firepower.
    • Thunder Force VI has you fight Vasteel Nocht, which assembles giant versions of the Styx, Rynex, and Gauntlet, the player ships of Thunder Force III, IV, and V, respectively. Notably, VI has the Rynex-R as an unlockable ship, making it the closest in the series you can get to a Mirror Match.
  • At the end of In the Hunt, if two players are present, they will fight each other until either player runs out of lives, with the winner becoming the new leader of D.A.S. If the timer runs out before either player's life stock is depleted, both players will be destroyed.
  • In Ginga Force, Alex and Margaret face off against Natsuki in Chapter 7. Natsuki Chronicles is a P.O.V. Sequel from Natsuki's perspective, and which has the same boss fight but from her point of view in Stage 7, where she tries to capture Alex and Margaret's ship.

    Simulation Game 
  • In the (non-canon) Brutal Bonus Level of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, you, as Cipher, must fight the True Final Boss — Mobius One, the protagonist of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. This has since become a staple in the Ace Combat series to include protagonists of previous games as bosses in the non-canon bonus levels. Perhaps the farthest callback is the bonus level of Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception, where the bonus aces were the ZOE Commander (simply identified as ZOE) in his red ADF-01 Falken and Scarface One (just credited as Scarface) in the XFA-27, which was the ultimate plane all the way back in Ace Combat 2.
  • It's entirely possible for the Hero (playable character of the last sequence) and the Dragon (playable character of the preceding sequences) to fight each other at the end of How to Raise a Dragon. Three endings determine on who survives the fight - assuming that they don't end up killing each other.
  • MechWarrior 4 has the player, Ian Dresari, fighting to reclaim his family's right to rule; depending on your choices, he leaves his sister to die to claim a weapons cache and the throne, or sacrifices the cache and saves his sister to put her on the throne. The Expansion Pack Black Knight assumes the former choice, with Dresari becoming a tyrant whom the Black Knight Legion is hired to take down.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A rare example of this trope in a pencil-and-paper RPG comes in a set of adventures for Vampire: The Masquerade, The Giovanni Chronicles. In book one, the player characters are turned into vampires during a pivotal moment in vampiric history in 1444, then deal with consequences of that event in books two (1666) and three (1848/1882). In the fourth book, the players create entirely new characters, who get involved in a war against factions led by their previous characters, set in 1929. The players don't necessarily have to directly combat their previous characters—sending neonates up against 600-year-old elders would result in an extremely short fight—but they are intended to act as foils.
  • The Pathfinder Adventure Path "Hell's Rebels" takes place at the same time as the Evil Adventure Path "Hell's Vengeance". The Post-game section of the latter offers suggestions for having the Players fight their previous characters if they've gone through one then the other.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron:
    • The finale involves the player selecting to control either Optimus Prime or Megatron as they have their final battle before landing on Earth.
    • A part has you playing as Bruticus rampaging atop the Ark. The very next segment switches you to Jazz, who now has to stop Bruticus.
  • In the Dark Side ending of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, you, as Jaden Korr, must fight Kyle Katarn, Jaden's former mentor and the protagonist of the previous games in the series.
  • In Monolith, you fight the protagonist of hard mode, D-13, as the protagonist of normal mode, Null, in the tutorial. Then, you fight Null, who's Drunk on the Dark Side as D-13's final boss.
  • Splatoon 2: Near the end of Octo Expansion, Agent 8 must fight Agent 3, the protagonist of Splatoon's Hero Mode, who has been Brainwashed and Crazy by the Telephone. Getting One Hundred Percent the expansion will unlock the Superboss, in which Agent 8 imagines what it would have been like to fight Agent 3 two years ago.
  • In The Last of Us Part II, the two main playable characters are antagonists to one another which culminates in a fight between Ellie and Abby from the perspective of the latter late in the game. The final fight is another fight between the two, this time a Fisticuffs Boss where you control Ellie.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Puyo Puyo Gaiden: Puyo Wars: When Daichi goes berserk and hulks out into a giant half-Puyo creature, Sho and Marin, who were introduced as enemies in an Unwinnable Boss Fight and are first playable in this instance, along with any units currently deployed, are forced to battle him.
  • In Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 1, whoever is the chosen protagonist team will end dueling with the other protagonist team, just after they beat their respective Disc-One Final Boss.
  • Happens repeatedly during Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. There's a twist in this game; when you fight an alternate team, they keep the levels and items from when you were last controlling them. If you manage to keep both teams around the same power, it's an even match-up, but if they're not balanced, you'll spend half the levels plowing through 'yourself' and the other half running away from 'yourself'.
  • This is guaranteed to happen in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, thanks to the multiple routes. At the start, the player is asked to lead one of the houses in the Officer’s Academy, each of which has it’s own set of eight characters. There are two mock battles involving the other houses, where the characters for those houses appear as enemies. There is a Time Skip later on, where the factions the houses represent end up at war with each other. The player partakes in the war with their house’s faction, and any characters from the other houses who weren’t recruited end up as enemies, likely getting Killed Off for Real by the player’s army.

    Visual Novel 

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • In the final story mission of Grand Theft Auto V, Franklin is forced to kill either Michael or Trevor. However, it's also possible to Take a Third Option where the characters team up and deal with the main antagonists together.
  • Saints Row IV has one mission where you fight and kill the default player character from Saints Row 1, which is lampshaded by the Boss. After he is dealt with, the default character of Saints Row 2 appears, and then a second one. The Boss asks why there are two of them, and is told that it's the co-op player.
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • Happens twice in the Mafia series. In Mafia II, one otherwise nondescript mission tasks Vito with assassinating Tommy Angelo, the hero of the original Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. Downplayed, as the "battle" is a cutscene of you getting out of a car and shooting him in the gut. Played straight in Mafia III, where if Vito decides he's getting shafted by new protagonist Lincoln the two battle in an assassination mission. Alternatively, if Lincoln decides to rule New Bordeaux alone Vito gets killed off-screen.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] has James Heller fighting against Alex Mercer, the first game's protagonist, who during the intervening time between the two games has lost faith in humanity and decided to become the Big Bad, unleashing a new plague on New York which led to Heller's family being killed and him seeking revenge. Mercer serves as the final boss of the game.
  • Dead Rising:
    • In Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, one of the new psychopaths is Chuck Greene, the hero of the original version of DR2, who has gone insane after losing his daughter to the zombies.
    • In Dead Rising 3, two of the DLC protagonists are bosses fought in the main game: Hunter, a maniacal biker and Adam, who is one of the Special Forces commanders. Hunter's DLC ends just before his fight with Nick while Adam's DLC reveals that he survived the fight.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War does this in the Blade Of Galadriel DLC where you control Eltariel, who battles Talion after the events of the main game twice. As Talion slowly succumbs to the corruption of Isildur's ring. Eltariel tries to kill him the first time while he still believes he's one of the good guys. The second time he tries to kill her for her betrayal in the main game while she tries to convince him he's one of the good guys.