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Hard Levels, Easy Bosses

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"But as difficult as it can be to slay the regular enemies, the boss battles are ridiculously easy if you know what weapon to use. They only take one hit!"

Some video games have bosses that are extremely easy compared to the levels before them. Regardless of whether the levels are simple or Nintendo Hard, the bosses are a breeze compared to the skill and effort to just get to them. As such, the real difficulty of these easy bosses may lie in the fact that a less-than-perfect player may have to fight them while their health and resources are exhausted from completing the difficult stage.

Reasons for this can vary. Perhaps the developer thought easier bosses would balance out the game's difficulty. Depending on the genre, maybe they wanted to be realistic and avert Rank Scales with Asskicking. Perhaps it's a Puzzle Boss which might take some work to decode, but becomes ridiculously easy as soon as you figure it out. Maybe they're easy precisely because they're a boss: a single powerful enemy fought in an area meant solely for that purpose can be a lot easier to work with than a cluster of Goddamned Bats that have to be fought while you're trying to progress in a level, and while you wouldn't dare waste any of your Too Awesome to Use abilities on the average Mook, a boss fight is the exact scenario you were stockpiling your best items for. This can also occur because the developers prioritized making the boss encounters climactic, cinematic experiences over making them actually challenging, leading to very impressive-looking foes that are defeated through a few Action Commands and pose little threat in comparison to the less-organized and more organic encounters with normal enemies. And sometimes the boss is easy because it just so happens to be a normal enemy given a hugely inflated health pool, meaning killing them isn't much harder than taking down a lone threat, just longer.

A Sub-Trope of Boss Dissonance.

Compare Mooks, but no Bosses and Anti-Climax Boss.

Contrast Easy Levels, Hard Bosses, SNK Boss.

See also Weak Boss, Strong Underlings.


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    Action Adventure 
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth, the amount of damage you sustain by the normal stage enemies is determined by the stage number, in the vein of Castlevania and III. However, every boss in the game always inflicts the minimum amount of damage for the particular difficulty mode you are playing through.
    • In Super Castlevania IV, the stages can still be tricky despite the generally decreased difficulty, with them possessing a bevy of One-Hit Kill spikes and bottomless pits. Most of the bosses on the other hand are a complete joke, as if you stand there just swinging your whip at them and make no effort to dodge their attacks, you'll kill them before they kill you unless you're standing literally inside of them. Even the bosses that require more strategy than this like Slogra and Death are still very manageable with only your whip, unlike the hardest bosses of the other Classicvania games where only the very skilled could feasibly take them on with just the whip.
    • Richter Mode in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a fairly extreme example. Even the easiest mooks can kill you if you aren't careful, and some of the more challenging mooks can kill you in one or two hits. On the other hand, bosses can usually be kept at a distance and killed without too much difficulty (and if you use Hydro Storm on them, most die as fast as your average mook). The only real exception is Superboss Galamoth—using the Hydro Storm on him will simply result in him shrugging off the damage and then killing Richter while he's stuck in the attack animation.
    • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest features some incredibly cryptic puzzles and deadly level design, but there are only three bosses: Carmilla, Death, and (of course) Dracula. Carmilla sticks to a laughably easy pattern that can be avoided by simply standing still and deflecting her fireballs with Dracula's Rib. Death (normally among the hardest bosses in the series) can be dealt with here by simply dropping a garlic in front of him and leaving to make a plate of nachos. Even worse, you don't have to fight Death—just keep walking and go prosess Dracula's Eye. And then there's Dracula himself: he spends the first few seconds slowly rising out of his coffin, and you have many weapons that inflict damage over time. You can kill him before he's done with his entrance animation.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda has the dungeons hidden away in some places that require specific items to reach them or knowledge of where the dungeons themselves are located. Each dungeon is also filled with dangerous mooks, some of which can utterly ruin Link's day. But the bosses, including the Final Boss, are generally a joke, with them usually suffering from damage too low to really threaten Link, going down way too fast, or susceptibility to an easily-exploited weakness. Gleeok is considered one of the only ones to be an actual challenge, and even that pales in comparison to the good old-fashioned Blue Wizzrobe.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has some incredible AI for almost all of the simple mooks throughout the entire games, where almost everything can be considered Goddamned Bats or Demonic Spiders, even basic slimes, and yet almost all of the bosses are fairly pattern-based that require little more strategy than "Wait until they get in range, jump up, and hit them in the head". Only the Thunderbird and Dark Link at the very end of the game provide any real tactical challenge, and even the latter has a well-known exploit.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has some rather fiendishly tricky dungeons and bosses that go down in under a minute. Standing out in particular is the Angler's Tunnel, a fairly difficult water dungeon that can be made Unintentionally Unwinnable, and the Angler Fish itself, which is beaten by the difficult tactic of "swim in its face and mash the attack button for about ten seconds."
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Water Temple, one of the most hair-pulling 3D temples with Morpha, whose difficulty flies right out the window with the right technique (sit in a corner, and watch how you effortlessly get a no-damage win).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, there's the Stone Tower Temple, likely the most diabolical and convoluted dungeon in the game (and to an extent one of the most in the series), but whose boss simply requires you to turn into a giant and constantly hit its permanently exposed weak points (tail and head) to be defeated. This boss, Twinmold, doesn't even try to attack you, since it just moves around the battle arena. This is revised in the 3DS remake, where the boss does attack Link and the strategy to defeat it is more difficult.
    • Oracle of Ages has the very long Jabu-Jabu's Belly, with the incredibly easy Electric Jellyfish boss.
    • The CD-i games are notorious for this. The levels are filled with ridiculous amounts of frustrating Fake Difficulty, but the bosses are One Hit Point Wonders. Ganon is probably one of the most anti-climactic final bosses in the history of video games. You defeat him by throwing a book/wand at him. Afterwards, all you get is a ridiculous cutscene.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is very similar to the first game where enemies in the overworld are a bigger threat than the dungeons themselves. The dungeons barely have any enemies since they rely more on puzzle solving and the bosses in them serve more as a Puzzle Boss. The Final Dungeon and first phase of the Final Boss are more tricky.
  • In every playset in Disney Infinity that has bosses at all, they're among the easiest parts of the game.
    • In Pirates of the Caribbean, the last mook fight is massively harder than the final boss battle — largely because the final boss is a battle at sea using your fully-upgraded ship while said mook fight occurs on land using your character's own weak weaponry.
    • The Incredibles hits you with a constant stream of nightmarish tank mooks falling from the sky and has trivially easy boss fights.
    • The Lone Ranger ends with a very long Puzzle Boss fight, but it's still easier than many of the timed missions you've faced earlier in the game.
  • Shantae (2002): With every death sending you to the start of an area with only three hearts, surprisingly beefy Mooks, a normal attack with very short reach, a rather small range of vision due to the Gameboy Color screen, and lots and lots of Spikes of Doom and Bottomless Pits, traversing the overworld and dungeons of this game is going to kill you a lot. On the other hand, most of the bosses are relatively simple affairs where the main challenge is figuring out how to use the latest transformation dance to beat them. The only exception is the Final Boss, who is absolutely brutal.
  • Battle Princess Madelyn: As a general rule, the bosses in Story Mode aren't that hard: their attack patterns aren't that hard to figure out, and some even have safe zones if you need to take a breather. By contrast, the levels tend to relentlessly throw enemies and dangers at you
  • In Metroid, the levels are loaded with hazards and hostile wildlife that will make short work of you if you keep your guard down. The boss fights aren't a total cakewalk, but they're much less challenging in contrast, especially since two of the bosses (Ridley and Mother Brain) just stay stationary while attacking you with projectiles, while you spam missiles at them in turn. Kraid is tougher, but still much easier than his brutal lair.
  • In the LEGO Adaptation Game series, while most of the bosses are some form of Puzzle Boss to provide a challenge, the fact Death Is a Slap on the Wrist and you Respawn on the Spot means they're a total Foregone Victory. But that respawn mechanic doesn't help much when dealing with hordes of Respawning Enemies or getting stumped by obtuse puzzles, meaning getting through the levels leading up to those bosses can be quite difficult even with unlocked cheats. The "Darth Vader" level for LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game exemplifies this especially well, as each area is a Timed Mission that brings you back to the start after a failure, while the Dueling Player Characters battle between Anakin and Obi-wan is easily cheesed with either repeated Force slams or activating player two and having the main player wail on the other.

    Action Games 
  • Spider-Man: The Movie game has harder bosses in the beginning of the game, when you're fighting faceless mooks, and harder levels towards the end, when you fight omnipowerful robots.
  • God of War featured several really difficult and lethal environmental challenges, along with a few miniboss pile-on challenges. Fighting the bosses, particularly the end boss, was practically a relief.
  • Ninja Gaiden games tend to have hard levels early on. For example: Even the second level in Ninja Gaiden 2 for the NES has gusts that blow Ryu into pits and takes a bit of mastery, but Baron Spider (the boss) is trivial, especially if you have the Fire Wheel and the Clones. A lot of the difficulty of bosses comes from having half one's life bar from the previous stage and trying not to die.
  • Captain Cabot Toth of Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter is mindnumbingly easy. Especially compared to the level you just faced. Made all the worse by the fact that he's vulnerable to your Force lightning.
  • The levels in Loaded are lenghty and intricate, requiring careful positioning and crowd control to clear some of the bigger rooms and rationing of your limited health supplies. Meanwhile, the bosses (of which there are only two, though one is fought multiple times) have simple and predictable attack patterns, little health and weak attacks.
  • This seems to be an issue of Dante's Inferno. Most areas are absurdly harder than the boss of that area. And Lucifer himself is the EASIEST BOSS IN THE GAME. But maybe it is because your skills improved, or maybe because they won't be causing much damage later on...

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Castle Crashers gives us the long and tedious Fire-Demon filled level Lava World, and tops it off with a volcano that does nothing but shoot easily avoided and not that powerful fireballs (the only challenge is realising you need to have a beefy-sandwich to beat him) and a huge fire-dragon that breathes weak fire, drops boulders towards you that are very easy to avoid, and swats you with his left, sock-puppeted hand if you try to go through the exit door.
  • The Streets of Rage series zig-zags with this trope. In the first game, the challenge comes from fending off several waves of mooks that gang up on you while you try not to lose too many lives just reaching the boss of the level. The bosses themselves follow a fairly predictable pattern and are easy to beat once you know how to avoid their attacks. The final boss will always have mooks with him. The second game has mooks appear for several bosses, and the bosses themselves have less predictable moves and are harder to stunlock, averting the trope. The third game follows what the first game did; waves of mooks in the levels and bosses appearing by themselves. The only exception to the rule is Jet, the boss of Stage 6, where he always has mooks with him, unless you have a lot of patience... Note
  • Double Dragon II: Stage 8 on the NES version throws every Demonic Spider in the game one after another, but the boss of the level (which is actually the final boss of the arcade version) has been significantly watered down. On this version, he's a Goddamned Boss at worst, but he's nothing compared to the rest of the level.
  • The Amstrad CPC port of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja had levels full of mooks coming from all directions, and bosses with trivial attack patterns and a glaring weakness to being attacked when they land after jumping above you.
  • Battletoads is this, but only because the bosses aren't Nintendo Hard like the levels. In comparison to plenty of near-ubiquitous situations where many things can cheaply One-Hit Kill, the bosses are about as hard as stuff from the first two Breather Levels and don't take out your health bar in one hit. Even if they have more health than most enemies, they're still quite forgiving by the game's standards.

    Collectible Card Games 
  • KanColle:
    • Usually averted, but occasionally played straight. For example, at 3-2, the boss node only has destroyers, transports and light cruisers, but most fleets are forced to retreat by the pre-boss node, which has battleships and heavy cruisers.
    • 3-5 north route also applies. The boss node is one light cruiser, two transports, one battleship and two destroyers. Nothing particularly tough. But to get there, you'll have to go through one node with up to three Flagship Wo-class standard carriers, and another with Northern Ocean Princess. The south route isn't much better; due to the closing torpedo phase, the light ships you'll have to use for it have a high chance of being damaged to red in either of the two nodes before the boss, forcing you to retreat.

    Fighting Games 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: For the most part, bosses tend to be brought down pretty quickly by hitting them with Wooden Stakes over and over. They're probably less likely to kill you than the labyrinth of rooms infested with monsters.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D has this with pretty much every boss aside from Hitler, due to several of them favoring the Painfully Slow Projectile. When nearly every standard enemy in the game uses Hitscan and can slaughter you in under five seconds on high difficulties, it just becomes a relief that you can now move freely and circle-strafe them to death fairly comfortably. The other bosses with hitscan access can usually be defeated by ducking into cover, and are Damage Sponge Bosses at most.
  • Doom and the other games on its engine have fairly unimpressive boss battles, with the Barons of Hell, Cyberdemon, Spider Mastermind, and Icon of Sin all being relatively easy fights. This is especially pronounced on higher difficulties, which up the number of enemies substantially, meaning chewing your way through an entire army is now a much bigger feat. A lot of this is because common enemies make much more judicious use of Hitscan—particularly Doom II, which introduces the hilariously deadly Chaingunner enemy. The Spider Mastermind is the only one of the above to use hitscan, but it also has lower health than you'd think and is easy to stunlock. Quite tellingly, a lot of fanmade hacks convert the Barons and the Cyberdemon into Elite Mooks and still end up fairly beatable (less so the Spider Mastermind, due to it being much harder to work with).

  • World of Warcraft:
    • The high level dungeons tend to fall in this category. Getting to a boss requires carefully planned engagement with mook groups using every bit of "crowd control" the party has to offer, but most of the bosses are fairly straightforward. Some bosses do require comparable efforts... because they are accompanied by minor mooks.
    • The true "Endgame" bosses (which require teams of 10 and 25 to face), on the other hand, go back and forth between this trope at a ludicrous pace; The Mount Hyjal scenario exemplifies this trope in both forms, pitting you against endurance battles with the bosses; depending on the makeup of your team, these are usually either comically easy or ludicrously difficult. The final boss, on the other hand, fits squarely under That One Boss (and has an actual break before facing him, unlike the others).
    • This trope is also evident in many of the smaller, 5-man dungeons, where a suboptimal group may easily beat the bosses but wipe hard on the trash leading up to them.
    • Cataclysm dungeons and raids have significantly harder trash mobs than previous ones and tend to require unique strategies for each one. Some of them are fairly easy with a little crowd control and strategy, others have mechanics that must be followed to avoid wiping (such as tanks swapping after taking stacks of a debuff), and still others are so hard that groups will not pull them if they do not have to. At times, there may be only two or three trash pulls between bosses, each of which is completely different, rather than several encounters with similar enemies.
    • WoW in general switches been this and Easy Levels, Hard Bosses depending on the difficulty and where in progressions players usually are. Regular tends to be this Easy Levels, Hard Bosses while Heroic tends to be this trope until players are overgeared for it, when it becomes easy all around.
    • In Legion, Mythic Keystone dungeons, which increase in difficulty based on the level of the keystone and can have additional effects that empower enemies, can have the "Fortified" affix, which makes the non-boss enemies potentially stronger. When combined with "Teeming," which increases the number of trash mobs in the dungeon, as well as certain other affixes, normal battles can be fairly difficult. Averted with the "Tyrannical" affix which massively increases boss damage and health.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the Super Adventure Box special dungeon. The levels are essentially lengthy jumping puzzles with enemies added to disrupt progress. Bosses meanwhile are little more than damage sponges; the standard Lord Vanquish cages can be defeated simply by running in a circle around them while spamming the attack while King Toad and Storm Wizard have simple patterns. This trope became more exaggerated with the addition of World 2 and even worse in Tribulation Mode.
  • The Plague City quest line is notorious for being one of the hardest in Runescape, with the Underground Pass and Temple of Light involving serious amounts of luck in conjunction with puzzles and Goddamn Bats harassing you every step of the way. The quest that finally unlocks Prifddinas, the capital city of the Elves and late-game hub city has another intricate Light and Mirrors Puzzle and culminates with a series of fights against the Dark Lord, which, after all the puzzles, is a fairly straightforward ordeal with no real strings attached.
  • Dungeons in Final Fantasy XIV can be this if your tank is too reckless (or your DPS acts like it's their job to draw enemies). Although enemies are grouped into small clusters throughout each dungeon, relatively few dungeons have a Kill Enemies to Open mechanic that requires you to fight only one cluster of enemies at a time. A well-prepared and properly-equipped party can use this to get more mileage out of their Area of Effect attacks. An unprepared or under-equipped party that includes Leeroy Jenkins is more likely to aggro everything between them and the boss arena and barely defeat the enemies that they've dragged along with them - if not slowly whittle down their numbers throughout myriad full-party wipes. By the time Leeroy's party reaches a boss (of which dungeons usually have three each), the fact that the boss battles have a fixed number of enemies will make them MUCH easier than the dungeon they're scattered throughout.

    Platform Games 
  • Bugdom can get pretty damn hard in the later levels. Then the boss fight consists of you kicking a pipe to extinguish Thorax's scepter and crown (making him vulnerable), attacking him, and repeating this process until he dies. Easy peasy.
  • The unreleased Action 52 spinoff Cheetahmen II, due in large part to its unfinished state. The common enemies are incredibly troublesome to deal with, being small and erratic with Hitbox Dissonance on their side, comboing poorly with the notoriously wonky controls of an Action 52 platformer. Meanwhile, the bosses have pathetic AI and attack patterns (Doctor Morbus, for instance, does nothing but run to the left), and they're large enough targets that you can hit them and even stunlock them easily.
  • Crash Bandicoot generally falls under this; the first two games in particular had almost laughable bosses in comparison to the challenges the levels presented. Some of the later games have some truly challenging battles (with notorious examples including Dingodile in Crash Twinsanity and Uka Uka in Crash of the Titans) but still usually had way more of a challenge in just getting to the fights.
    • Taken to a ridiculous height at the final boss of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. The boss fight itself is quite challenging on its own, but the level leading up to said boss is absurdly hard it makes the boss fight looks easy in comparison, especially at the last 2 checkpoint where you're required to use all 4 masks in quick succession while still requiring precise timing AND landing since even a minor slip-up WILL kill you. See for yourself.
  • Skate or Die: Bad 'N Rad has punishing levels that have many instant-death scenarios and rely on rote memorization to make it through, with the added complication of your skateboard's momentum affecting platforming. The bosses are much easier since, with one exception, there's no danger of instantly dying.
  • Mario:
    • Super Mario Bros. and (especially) Lost Levels both have lots of precision platforming in the levels before each Bowser fight. So what do you do with the famed Koopa King? Avoid a few fireballs, wait for a break in the thrown hammers (if it's the last few worlds), and then run underneath when he jumps to get to the bridge switch. And that's if you don't make it to the end as Fire Mario, and can just lob fireballs from across the screen.
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: Bosses just require dodging a few things and then throwing blocks/bombs/vegetables at them. Only Fryguy and Clawgrip will prove challenging for most players (even then, that only means their associated levels are even harder, especially 5-3).
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 usually requires dodging the boss's attacks (usually projectiles or jumping at the player), and then Goomba Stomping them three times. Bowser is the exception. Just jump out of the way when he's about to try to Goomba Stomp you, and he will eventually fall through the floor.
    • Super Mario World is the same as the third game (save for Bowser, who does require a lot more skill to defeat this time). Even hacks have trouble adding challenge to the bosses, other than adding extra obstacles in the rooms.
    • Super Mario 64: The levels can be quite hard. The bosses are absolutely simple by comparison. Best shown in Lethal Lava Land, which has some tricky platforming, some annoying obstacles, and the Big Bully as the only boss in it.
    • The series has eventually shaken the trend a bit. Super Mario Sunshine has easy bosses like Gooper Blooper, but Phantamanta and Eely-Mouth can be tricky and difficult. Super Mario Galaxy has some tricky bosses, particularly in the daredevil runs; Bouldergeist in particular is frustrating. The bosses in New Super Mario Bros. Wii always retreat into their shell after each hit, so even the easier fights at least take some time to win; then there's the final boss, which requires good reflexes for being Advancing Boss of Doom. Super Mario Galaxy 2 has an easy final Bowser battle compared to the trials before him, while the fight in Super Mario 3D Land is quite tough.
  • Generally in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, the bosses in the series are significantly easier than the levels, with the exception of a few Wake Up Call Bosses.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit):
      • The Aqua Lake Zone is fairly hard, especially act 2 which takes place entirely underwater. The boss, however, is practically a Zero-Effort Boss, as his only attack requires several seconds to "charge up", during which you can interrupt it by jumping on him and damaging him in the process.
      • The Scrambled Egg Zone is by far the hardest zone in the game. The boss (Silver Sonic) however is probably the easiest boss in the game aside from the Aqua Lake boss, and doubles as an Anti-Climax Boss as he is either the penultimate boss or the final boss if you failed to collect all the Chaos Emeralds.
    • Sonic Heroes stands out particularly for this. Much of the difficulty in the game comes from dealing with the rather slippery controls and clumsy physics engine, while the bosses are generally straightforward "mash the attack button" affairs. It's especially evident in the battles with other teams, where your opponents will suffer from Artificial Stupidity a lot.
  • Sonic Robo Blast 2 is also a large offender, with bosses that are very basic compared to the stage, at least until (of course) you reach a familiar mechanical behemoth. Of course, this could be attributed to the ten years spent designing the game.
  • The first Spyro the Dragon (1998) game had tricky platforming aplenty, but the bosses were laughably pathetic. Each was a case of "Get Back Here!" Boss, took no more than three hits to defeat, and were usually no more powerful than the Mooks populating the rest of their respective levels.
  • Donkey Kong '94's later levels require precise movement and puzzle solving to clear, but Donkey Kong himself almost always goes down in three hits and isn't particularly hard to hit with his own barrels or other projectiles.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • In the first game, the levels get increasingly harder, but all the bosses (except for K. Rool, and possibly the second battle with Necky) are a cakewalk.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest qualifies as well. The bosses are more challenging than those in the first game, but none of them will make you tear your hair out in frustration. Many of the levels, however, are absolutely brutal. This doubly applies to the Lost World levels which are the hardest in the game. Beating all of them unlocks a hidden rematch against K. Rool who is somewhat easier to beat compared to his battle at the end of the game, but he lets out a long string of attacks you have to dodge before you get the chance to land a blow on him and he's a One-Hit-Point Wonder to boot.
    • In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the bosses are no pushovers and are quite challenging, especially the last one. However, you will lose far more lives in the levels.
  • Earthworm Jim falls under this category occasionally, with the third level "Down The Tubes" being a prime offender. The entire second part of the level is a race against a brutal clock inside a glass submarine with as much endurance as wet tissue through a maze full of tight corners and jagged rocks. The boss is...a goldfish. You win by knocking his bowl off the stand.
  • Skullmonkeys is a game that has a fast difficulty curve, filled with tons of tricky jumps, swarms of enemies that are invulnerable to said jumps, and long worlds that will take you all the way back to the first stage when you lose all your lives. The bosses, meanwhile, are a joke. The first boss, Shriney Guard, goes down in under 10 seconds. Joe Head Joe requires some simple ducking and dodging. Glen Yntis tells you where he's going to attack. Monkey Mage requires a little more timing and platforming, but is still easy. The final boss, Klogg, involves you shooting his projectiles back in one hell of an anticlimax. Luckily, there is another level after Klogg that's pure hell. It's almost like the bosses were an afterthought.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy is like this to an extent. Both parts are incredibly hard, but the bosses are easier... "easier" being the key word here.
  • Super Ghouls & Ghosts, which lives on almost every top-10 hardest SNES games of all times list, has some of the easiest bosses ever. Not just easy for SG&G, or easier than the levels around them. Drop dead simple. The Hydra is a particular cakewalk (and his level is one of the hardest. There's dissonance right there); you stand there and shoot him with your weapon, while dodging rock attacks that he telegraphs a mile away and only throws out every 3-5 seconds anyway. The final boss is pathetically wimpy.
  • Prince of Persia had levels filled with precipitous falls and Spikes of Doom of the deadliest sort. The almost only boss in the game is Jaffar, who fights like all the other Mooks and can be killed just by pushing him off the platform if you get behind him. This doesn't apply to the SNES version, which has completely different bosses and many more of them.
  • Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, being based off the Mario series, falls into this. It has a Wake-Up Call Boss at the start to make sure you're acquainted with Wario's abilities, but past that, the bosses are easy to hit and have predictable patterns, while the levels are a lot tougher to get through without losing a life. The other games in the series, however, aren't like this.
  • In Yoshi's Island, Marching Milde was a relatively easy boss, but she came at the end of a frustratingly long stage, one of the longest in the game.
  • Battletoads might as well be the level-focused poster-boy. The bosses are rather easy, but several of the stages are almost up there with I Wanna Be the Guy in difficulty - even the creator of IWBTG thought Battletoads was impossible. Part of the gap is due to most levels being on a checkpoint system, while boss fights never are, which means you don't have to start over when you lose a life fighting a boss. Levels 10 (Rat Race) and 11 (Clinger-Winger) are particularly notable examples — both of them are racing levels with absolutely no room for error, but General Slaughter at the end of the former is relatively easy to juggle, and the Hypno-Orb for the latter is an outright Breather Boss.
  • New Super Marisa Land's bosses are, with the exception of the World 7 boss, much easier than the stages preceding them.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man (Classic) boss levels are often much more difficult than the robot masters at the end of them, especially when utility items or Rush aren't available. Part of this can be pinned on the predictable patterns some bosses had. Guts Man's stage has the notorious platforms which drop you off, but Guts Man himself is slow and takes double damage from the Mega Buster. Heat Man's stage has the thrice-damned disappearing block segments over instant-death lava or bottomless pits, but Heat Man is an easy Bullfight Boss. Toad Man's stage has wind and water pushing Mega Man around into more bottomless pits, but Toad Man is a borderline Zero-Effort Boss, and so on. Don't be surprised to spend more lives on the levels than the bosses in more than a few instances.
    • Mega Man III is known for having some of the most ruthlessly difficult stages in the series, packed full of tight jumps, One-Hit Kill spikes, and enemies that deal loads of damage and are difficult to avoid considering the small screen. However, the bosses are surprisingly easy by comparison; the Mega Buster has charge shots this time, so bosses are more doable even if you don't have their weakness, and several of the faster bosses from the NES games, such as Shadow Man, were slowed down to compensate for the smaller screen. That's not to say there aren't a fair few difficult fights in the game, though, especially Punk.
    • Mega Man & Bass changes between this and Easy Levels, Hard Bosses depending on which character you choose. Playing as Mega Man makes the stages harder, since he doesn't have Bass's Double Jump, dash, or ability to fire in seven directions. However, his Mega Buster can charge, allowing him to deal more damage to the bosses, and their Mercy Invincibility is just about right for him to charge up another shot. They're still not easy fights, mind.
    • Mega Man 9 has two harder difficulty modes, Hero mode and Superhero mode, which increase the difficulty of the stages by increasing the number of enemies and giving them more dangerous placements. However, these modes don't increase the difficulty of the boss fights at all, so players who have mastered them on normal mode should have an easy time with them.
    • Mega Man X6 tends to have extremely brutal stages (Blaze Heatnix and Metal Shark Player come to mind) followed by insultingly easy bosses in comparison. The only exception is Gate's second stage, which has both a difficult level, and two difficult boss fights (High Max and Gate himself). Played straight once again with Sigma, who's an absolute joke.
    • The Mega Man fangame Unlimited is infamous for this trope, a lot of the levels being borderline Marathon Levels with some rather sadistic platforming at times, but a lot of the bosses (with the exception of Glue Man) being a cinch to beat buster only.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, for the most part. The majority of the game borders on Platform Hell, but the bosses are usually a simple affair of "shoot it until it goes down."
  • The bosses in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) are relatively easy compared to the Demonic Spiders-infested levels leading up to them.
  • Mibibli's Quest has some brutal levels that require a good combination of skill, memory, and knowledge of the game mechanics. The bosses, while no slouch in difficulty, are significantly easier, as they tend to follow a pattern.
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves has the rather easy fight with the Contessa, which comes after the insanely annoying Episode 6.
  • Shovel Knight:
    • The co-op mode of Shovel of Hope falls face-first into this owing to Unfriendly Fire that, while not damaging, can still get in the way of each other's jumps and attempts at platforming. You and your partner will spend all your time getting in each other's way and bonking each other off of cliffs or into enemies, or just leaving one player dead so the other can run through unhindered which kind of defeats the purpose of co-op in the first place. Bosses on the other hand, even though they get a health boost to attempt to even the odds, can just be ping-ponged between the multiple knights and just swiftly drained of all their health.
    • Compared to the original Shovel of Hope campaign, Specter of Torment has harder levels and easier bosses owing to the titular character's Difficult, but Awesome movement. As he relies heavily on Wall Crawling, Wall Jumping, and Dashing, it is very easy to undershoot a jump, overestimate how far you can run up a wall, be bonked off a ledge by an ill-placed enemy, or simply lose control and hurtle to your death. Bosses on the other hand can be taken down rather swiftly with these same attacks and abilities: even if all you're relying on is simple Button Mashing you'll be able to easily dodge attacks and just hammer them relentlessly until they go down.
  • Hollow Knight: The Trial of the Warrior's challenge involves you surviving the onslaught of enemies until the very end, where you fight a Zero-Effort Boss (assuming you unlocked him; if you didn't, there's no boss — or at least no boss with subtitles — whatsoever).
  • If you're content with just getting through the level, Pizza Tower is the opposite trope, but if you're going for S and P ranks, it becomes this. While the bosses are no slouch, their attack patterns are clear, learnable, and short, and a decent player can memorize their procedure after a few replays. Levels, on the other hand, have a LOT more that a player has to commit to memory in order to score S—and especially P—ranks. Couple that with having to execute precise platforming perfectly twice in one go on Lap 2 runs and suddenly the No-Damage Run boss fights don't sound so bad.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Angry Birds Space, unlike most other games in the Angry Birds franchise, has bosses, but they're all easy to beat, especially considering how maddening some of the levels leading up to them are. King Pig's tank generates the stones you need to crush it with, and aiming birds to get the stones to land on the sides of his tank isn't too hard. His UFO is even easier, with the icy stones being able to split and land tons of hits on him. The Fat Pig at the end of Utopia is slightly tougher, but still not very hard to force-feed stones and birds until he pops. And so on.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • The Dawn of War expansions Dark Crusade and Soulstorm suffer from this on later levels. A regular map is played as a standard skirmish against the AI albeit with a few weak units and lowered ressources. On later levels, you play a two-on-one, and if the computer's Player Character is on he the map, starts with extra regular units which immediately attack your base. Strongholds, on the other hand, send in one big attack at the beginning, subsequent attack waves are much weaker than usual (and this is before the special features like stealing the enemy's artillery or disabling their special attacks). It is even possible to defeat the Dark Eldar without even building a base, as they do not send attacks before you do so.
  • Syndicate and the sequel, Syndicate Wars, enemy leaders are usually no stronger than an average mook (they may have an enhancement or two more, but it hardly makes a difference). A few of them are even weaker, being simple civilians with little to no combat ability. The main challenge is getting to them rather than than killing or "persuading" them.

  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. The dungeons themselves will see you using up the majority of your wiles and resources, while most bosses can be made utterly harmless with a single status seed. Bosses with minions are exceptions, though, depending on your items and moves. This also happens with the third instalment, to the extent where the final level doesn't even have a boss; the challenge is negotiating a dungeon without any allies.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • In the RPG The 7th Saga, random encounters are invariably more dangerous than a typical boss; just walking from one town to the next requires a ton of Forced Level-Grinding. There are a few obscenely overpowered bosses, but they're special.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei I and Shin Megami Tensei II, random encounters come hard and fast and you're pretty lucky if you can get to the end of the boss without being horribly mangled. The Boss you fight, on the other hand is at best marginally harder than one of the standard enemies outside... that you had to fight like eighteen of every two steps.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth falls into this. Dungeons are long and filled with tough enemies, as well as F.O.Es; enemies so strong you're meant to avoid fighting them. The actual bosses of the dungeons are much easier by comparison, generally being Damage Sponge Bosses at best and vulnerable to crippling status effects like Poison and Strength/Magic Bind. Going back to fight the dungeon's F.O.Es when you're strong enough is the real challenge. Its sequel, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.
  • Persona 5 has palaces which are long and filled to the brim with tough enemies, traps, and puzzles that are likely to chew you up and spit you out if you're not careful, and frequently feature encounters many levels higher than you which have powerful elemental attacks that hit everyone and cause knockdowns, one-hit KO moves, or both. By contrast, the bosses are surprisingly easy by Atlus standards, as other than Shadow Madarame (or Shadow Okumura in Royal), none of them other than the last ones are likely to give you much trouble. Part of the reason is that in this game, you generally are able to fight bosses with full health and SP, since they're usually the only battles on the days the party carries out the change of heart.
  • Demon's Souls:
    • Some players call it this. Helps that there's sometimes an exploit that makes the boss a breeze (safe zones, inability to attack at a distance, etcetera).
    • A straight forward example is the Swamp of Sorrow, aka 5-2. Getting through it is literally a slog, taking you through deep muck that constantly poisons you and prevents you from moving quickly or dodge rolling. The Giant Depraved Ones, meanwhile, are capable of running very quickly through it, making them almost impossible to fight except on the small islands that litter the area. Even the one shortcut you can open up, which lets you bypass nearly all of the muck, requires a long trek out of your way, compared to the other shortcuts you practically bump into on the way forward. And then you open the fog gate and encounter the Filthy Colossus, a Stationary Boss whose attacks are among the most well-telegraphed in the entire game, is not very good at targeting the player, and is weak to both fire and magic. And the best part of all: you're fighting him entirely on solid ground.
    • World 4 in its entirety is one of the most challenging levels, with powerful enemies and plenty of places to fall to your death, yet each of the bosses is a complete joke. Adjudicator can be easily defeated by running around him clockwise, Old Hero is BLIND, and the Storm King can be defeated effortlessly with the amazing tactic of hiding in the safe zone behind the runed house while carving him up with the Stormruler.
  • Dark Souls has more of the opposite, but a few areas play out this way.
    • The Depths is a labrynthine, confusing sewer level crawling with rats and curse-spewing Basilisks. The boss (while terrifying) is one of the easiest in the game.
    • Sen's Fortress is filled with traps, pitfalls, and horrid enemies. The boss can be easily soloed by an NPC phantom (although to be fair Iron Tarkus is the strongest NPC phantom in the game; the Iron Golem is still relatively simple though, with a trick to beating it).
    • The Catacombs are filled with endlessly respawning skeletons, which are some of the nastiest enemies in the game, and deeper into the level are the even worse Wheel Skeletons. The boss of the area, Pinwheel, is considered an absolute joke, having so little HP and attacking so slowly that many players kill him their first time before he can even start attacking. With a divine build, on the other hand, you can stop the skeletons from respawning, and can thus go into the area at an earlier level, making for a fairer fight and something closer to the opposite trope — not that many people do that.
    • Played straight with a Sorcery-proficient build, however. Going from bonfire to bonfire involves carefully managing magic charges and not overextend usage on common enemies, and to get the most out of spells they have to invest heavily in intelligence, which means they're most likely not gonna have as much hit points and stamina, and also only have access to a smaller pool of weapons. Bosses on the other hand almost always boil down to running away and spamming any leftover magic for a quick kill.
  • Dark Souls II has a few of these as well:
    • The Forest of Fallen Giants is arguably the first level you're intended to do after you complete the tutorial in Things Betwixt (you have a few ways you can go, but this is the obvious one), but as far as first levels go it's absolutely brutal; enemies mob you in groups, you die in a handful of hits, you won't have a 100% physical block shield, it's easy to get lost, there are a number of really annoying enemies to deal with (the Old Ironclad Soldiers in particular), several dangerous traps and ambushes, and even a couple of tricky platforming challenges if you want all the optional loot. When you finally get to the end, the first boss you face (the Last Giant), while intimidating, is a piece of cake. Sure he can 2-shot you if he hits you, but he's lumbering, slow, telegraphs all his attacks way in advance, and you can summon not one but two useful phantoms to help deal with him. The Pursuer, on the other hand...
    • Heide's Tower of Flame can be even more brutal- the area is short, linear and impossible to get lost in, but it's packed with towering, heavily-armoured Old Knights wielding gigantic weapons that are dangerous when fought alone, lethal when fought in groups, particularly the mace-wielding ones. Things are even worse in Scholar of the First Sin edition if you aggro the Heide Knights, most of whom are initially passive but can and will cut you to ribbons if provoked (or if you approach the few that aren't naturally passive). If you can get past this brutal gauntlet, the area's main boss (the Dragonrider) is an ordinary halberd-wielding enemy barely tougher than the Old Knights you fought to reach him; you can even trick him into killing himself with a bit of cunning. Just to add insult to injury, after you kill the Dragonrider all the formerly-passive Heide Knights in the area become permanently hostile, making return trips through the area even worse. Of course, once again there's the alternate route, leading to the Hellkite Dragon minibossnote  and the Old Dragonslayer in the Cathedral of Blue (which, while not quite That One Boss, will certainly give you more of a workout).
    • The Iron Keep is a difficult lava-filled gauntlet stuffed to the brim with Elite Mooks, but the boss at the end is amazingly easy (almost an outright joke if you're a ranged character), especially for a fight that's supposed to be fairly major. In fact, the boss is less threatening than the lava surrounding its arena. The optional boss of Iron Keep, however...
    • The Black Gulch is just horrible, filled with statues that spit poison at you every few steps, tar pits that contain horrible lurking monsters, a couple of giant worms, and not one but two NPC invaders (although only one will invade you at a time). It's just a short, straight jog down the slope from the entrance to the boss, but the density of the obstacles makes it one of the most-hated areas in the game. The boss of the area, The Rotten, is relatively straightforward, so much so that a lot of players repeatedly respawn him with Bonfire Ascetics just to farm him for souls, even though this pushes him up another NG+ tier every time.
    • The Shrine of Amana is covered in water that is home to bottomless pits and lurking monsters that jump out when you're least expecting. Its main feature, however, is its sorcerers, who constantly fire homing magic blasts, and can do so from very far away. Constantly. The boss of the Shrine is one of the easiest bosses in the whole game.
  • Bloodborne has Yahar'gul, which unlike typical Soulsborne levels, features constantly respawning enemies unless you take care of the bell-ringing women hidden around the level, as well as not one or two but THREE NPC hunters that will ambush you all at once if you aren't careful. By comparison, The One Reborn is fairly easy as far as Bloodborne bosses go - you have to take out an array of bell-ringing women buffing the boss from above, and the biggest threat is accidentally knocking one of them down into the boss arena proper or getting hit by an occasional tentacle. After all the bell-ringing women are taken care of, it's trivial to stunlock the boss.
  • Touhou Mother is often stated to have fairly easy bosses, but many dangerous random encounters that make the dungeons themselves much more difficult to go through than any boss fight.
  • Mega Man Battle Network features difficult random encounters and much more relaxed bosses against other NetNavis. Even in the layer games, where there are numerous difficult Navi battles, the real danger in most games is presented through the random virus encounters, especially deep into the Internet as the games throw some absolutely heinous combinations at you where the strategy is simply "Delete the viruses within seconds or be deleted". The Navis, on the other hand, give you far less to worry about and can strategically be picked apart.
  • The Spirit Engine 2 is usually this type, since normal enemies can be quite difficult (generally they accomplish almost as much in one turn as a boss, except there'll be three of them and they mostly have enough health that you can't just hope they run out first) and are very numerous. Certain regular enemies also have armor values far outstripping the bosses, since the author learned his lesson after giving a few bosses in the first game too much armor; this means that dealing significant damage to them is only possible with a few specific moves. And that's ignoring the two sections where you have to fight several defensively-oriented groups of enemies on a time limit.
  • Golden Sun as a general rule tends to involve more tricky puzzles than tough battles, and most of the bosses are no exception (the few that are tend to end up That One Boss anyway). The Lost Age mitigates this somewhat by having a Hard Mode, ramping up the difficulty of the bosses for you. Dark Dawn does not have a Hard Mode, and gives you an assist for the puzzles, which made it painfully easy for some fans.
  • Disc 2 of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time had ridiculously tough regular enemies, many of which are way more trouble than they're worth, but the bosses usually aren't too bad. Some bosses even appear as normal enemies soon after the initial battle; one of the first bosses on Disc 2 appears in a pair in the next area!
  • The final level in Alpha Protocol is like this. The level itself is pretty tough (especially since you have a limited number of health power-ups), but Final Boss is the easiest boss in the game, as he stands absolutely still (no ducking or running away) and has very low damage reduction.
  • While the normal mode in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team comes under the opposite trope, this one is in full effect for the unlockable hard mode. Why? Because generally, players are prepared for difficult bosses, and have usually memorised their attack patterns in the first playthrough. They haven't often however prepared for the normal monsters being able to kill them in two to three hits. Hence most deaths there aren't from super hard bosses like in the main game, but from a player being overly confident, thinking they can take down a dangerous enemy with about half their health gone like in the main game and getting thoroughly crushed by a mixture of high damage, unanticipated attack patterns and status effects like burn or dizzyness. This doesn't work for the Giant Bosses, which can easily swing around the other way. While they, too, use the same attack patterns as before, they are a lot more punishing on hard mode, you can't grind levels for them, and if you lose, you get a gameover as usual... meaning a bunch of cutscenes to get through (some are skippable) before you can take another shot at them.
  • Dragon Quest IX can suffer from this with its Randomly Generated grotto system. The monsters a grotto contains and its final boss are often at complete odds with each other, and it is quite often faster (if riskier) to Level Grind by hunting down the bottom-floor monsters (which sometimes include Metal Slimes) than to take out bosses.
  • In the Fuchsia City Gym of Pokémon Red and Blue, the trainers are fairly nasty for that point in the game, as the majority of them are Jugglers, who use Drowzee, Hypno, and Kadabra—all of which are very nasty to face off against, since they're Psychic-type (giving them essentially no weakness) and have great movesets. The two non-Jugglers use Sandslash, which can dish out a lot of damage with its always-critting Slash move. And then there's Koga himself, who is one of the easiest Gym leaders in the game: his team is entirely Poison-type, which in the running for the worst type in the first generation, and they're not good Poison-types, either, with little to no coverage outside of Normal and Poison moves and an emphasis on accuracy-dropping that really just serves to make him annoying. His only strong offensive move is Weezing's Selfdestruct, and if he's using that and you have more than one surviving team member, you've already beaten him.
  • In Xenosaga Episode I, regular enemies can devastate your party if you are not prepared or properly leveled; even if they aren't doing much damage they can wear you down with numbers, normal encounters often have enemies protected in the back row where they can't be easily damaged, and most late game enemies will spam area of effect attacks. Bosses, in contrast, are almost always a single enemy, which limits overall damage, and AGWS do not depend on character stats, so you can usually power through regardless of your levels.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • In Adventures of Dino Riki, the levels are filled with small mooks swarming all over the stage and shooting homing bullets at you. The bosses are large with slow and predictable attack patterns, easily defeated even with only the Stone (Riki's default, and weakest, weapon).
  • Big Core in any version of the original Gradius. His only attack is a four-laser spread, albeit one that gets faster the more your ship is powered up. The only time where he might be more difficult is on Stages 1 and 4, where dormant volcanoes will reduce your flying space. And even if you have a hard time hitting him (as a result of being underpowered or possessing the Double powerup, which halves your firing rate), you can still "defeat" him by waiting until he self-destructs, which usually takes no more than a minute.
  • In both Nanostray, the obstacles in the stage makes the stage much harder than the boss.
  • In Thunder Force III, nearly every boss is much easier than the stage preceding it, especially if you have Sever, in which case they'll go down in under 20 seconds each. And in Thunder Force VI, if you're using the Rynex-R, and have at least one Over Weapon gauge ready, most bosses will go down in at most five seconds. On Maniac difficulty, this is a big relief from a normal shooter-turned-Bullet Hell.
  • Sly Spy has extremely simple boss fights. All the actual bosses have only a single, easily dodgeable attack with the motorcycle and underwater levels being the worst offenders. However, some boss fights are just rushes of Elite Mooks which are very good at eating away at your health.
  • In Space Harrier, the levels consist of tricky controlling around dangerous scenery and large amounts of Everything Trying to Kill You; the bosses are fought in clean areas with incredibly predictable movement and attack patterns and can be downed with about 5 seconds of gunfire.
  • Levels in Heavy Weapon tend to be grind-fests which later on tend to be filled with Demonic Spiders. In contrast, bosses are somewhat more tame than those levels itself. (X-bot, War Wrecker, Bustczar, Twinblade on the rematch, X-bot, and even Eyebot come to mind)
  • The first two Virtua Cop games. The bosses are easy when compared to the stages themselves.

    Sports Games 

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • The main form of gameplay in the Hitman series. Your target is placed somewhere that normal civilians cannot get to, are often surrounded by bodyguards, and depending on the game, certain NPC:s can see through any disguise you're wearing if you wander too close. The targets, however, can often be killed with one button press, especially if you manage to get behind them. The only exception are scripted bosses, for example Mark Parchezzi III. Also, while the series' major villains tend to be considerably tougher than regular enemies, they can still be killed instantly with a headshot or sustained automatic weapons fire.

    Survival Horror 
  • Resident Evil 4:
    • In some cases. Granted, the mooks aren't much harder, but there are a couple bosses that can be instantly killed with one hit from a rocket launcher, or a few shots from an upgraded magnum. Avoiding the super powerful weapons swings things closer to the lethal boss end of the spectrum; the bosses will take several shots from a normal gun and can dish out serious pain.
    • By the fifth stage (and especially on Pro), the Island, it's both. You will pull your hair out fighting Krauser again and again, and then when you do beat him, spend the next few hours warding off waves of enemies and machine gun turrets.
  • Resident Evil 5 is worse. Every boss in the game, even the final boss, can be killed in one hit with the rocket launcher. You can go back to Level 3-1 whenever you want to pick up as many rocket launchers as you like, and while you can only carry one at a time you can have as many as you like in reserve, so there's little chance of an enemy posing any real threat unless you miss and are really adamant on not resetting. There's even more fun to be had if you have the infinite rocket launch. At least Resident Evil 6 fixes this by making it so the rocket launcher is just a one time item.
  • Alan Wake: Bosses are either possessed machinery, slow and cumbersome, which you don't even need your firearms to defeat, or buffed up versions of regular enemies, who only present danger through numbers and surprise, which bosses obviously lack. And the final boss is as anti-climactic as it gets.
  • In Dead Space, most bosses tend to be slow-to-immobile and heavily telegraph their attacks. The Hunter doesn't run, and although you cannot kill it via normal means, you can disable it temporarily about as easily as you can dispatch the basic mooks. The Leviathan attacks with slow moving tentacles and a slow-moving exploding projectile you can shoot back at it, while you can move rapidly out of the way thanks to the Zero-G environment. The Slug is somewhat hard, if only because the ADS Cannon doesn't have very good controls. Finally, the Hive Mind either spawns weak mooks or slaps at you with a highly telegraphed tentacle strike; the only challenging part is an aiming sequence about midway through.
  • Dead Space 2 is also like this. The Tormentor is dealt with in a series of aiming sequences. The Ubermorph is The Hunter again, although it's a bit tougher as you have to put up with him while running a gauntlet of Necromorphs and you're given less warning about him. Finally Marker!Nicole is very slow moving and fairly easy to damage; the toughest part about the fight is that it's at the tail end of the aformentioned gauntlet, and you have to deal with the Pack while during the fight.
  • The Silent Hill games have very few difficult bosses, usually due to the cramped quarters you fight them in, like the Abstract Daddy from 2. 3's bosses are all very easy with simple, slow attack patterns, even the final boss, God.
  • Much of The Evil Within 2's difficulty comes from scarcity of ammunition and Breakable Weapons, and your Emergency Weapon being very ineffective except for sneak attacks. Boss fights either leave lots of ammo laying around or have it respawn continuously, making them much more straightforward. This means the hardest enemies to take down are the boss-like enemies encountered in the field, as the game does not have to accommodate players having too little ammo to take them down.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons, regrettably, often works out like this - singular powerful monsters can often be a trivial challenge, simply because everybody gets their one set of actions a round. So the boss gets to move and attack... and then four to six party members get to do the same thing. Boss monsters tend to get buried in a pile of player character actions, plus many spells, even at low levels, that can win such fights with a single dice roll, and at high levels with no dice roll. Fourth Edition attempts to avert this with Solo monsters, which get a lot more HP than normal enemies, and may also receive multiple actions to make them a challenge for a full party. And, since the boss is usually at the end of a day, in 4th edition players may decide to use their daily powers against them (since you lose your chance after an extended rest), speeding things up a bit. A Balor? No sweat. Tucker's kobolds? Run.

    Part of this is in the design of the game, with bosses coming after the party had presumably fought their way through an entire dungeon, using up many of their resources as they went, so the PCs usually arrived at the boss without their full arsenal. This caused a couple of problems: 1. Published modules and/or a lot of homebrew sometimes ignored this attrition and tried to set up boss fights against the party without a lot of encounters whittling the PCs down, which results in the PCs going full stop against the boss and curbstomping them. 2. PCs picked up the general strategy built into the modules that did use attrition and deliberately tried to play conservatively and save most of their good spells/abilities for the boss by using Cantrips, taking frequent rests, etc. This results in very dull and prolonged combat against most of the minions, and then the obvious anti-climatic Curb Stomp against the Big Bad.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Ratchet & Clank tends to fall into this. The levels get more and more brutal as swarming enemies increase in both strength and number. By comparison, the bosses, especially single-target ones, aren't nearly as difficult, especially since those tough levels provide plenty of experience points.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine can be pretty brutal, but only contains two major bosses. Grimskull is a pretty pedestrian mix of Flunky Boss and Bullfight Boss who spends most of his fight throwing out predictable charges or standing in one place. Nemeroth, the Final Boss, is a perfect example of the "high-octane cinematic pushover" variety of boss: it's an epic duel mainly in freefall as Titus barely manages to hang on... conveyed almost entirely through quick-time events that aren't even timed.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In the various Final Fantasy Tactics games, bosses are almost always easier than regular battles. This is because you have five or six people and they have only one, so you get several times as many actions as them, and more often than not their attacks can't hit everyone at once, or take a long time to charge.
  • XCOM's end boss is technically a four tiles terrain with 40 armor, who dies if one of its tiles is destroyed, and is guarded by Etherals, Sectopods, and Chryssalids. So you are basically trying to shoot a terrain tile (explosives deal a fixed 50% damage to terrain, other weapons deal between 25 and 75% damage), while trying to have at least one soldier survive Mind Control and One-Hit Kill for the final showdown. In the remake, bosses like the first Sectoid Commander are already easy because a singular enemy is never very challenging unless you get caught wildly out of position. The final encounter of the game is three Ethereals, one of whom is the statistically identical final boss. You can kill him in one turn with a couple of snipers, without ever damaging his two companions, and win.
  • Jagged Alliance, in Deadly Games, a 'boss' are often nothing more than a souped up mook. However, in Jagged Alliance 2, many of the so called 'bosses' are no harder than the mooks, as they are probably there just to add to the story. Those black shirt Elite Mooks gives you more problem than anything else in the game really.
  • Many Fire Emblem bosses are a piece of cake compared to the map they occur on, largely owing to most of them refusing to move. In most cases, the challenge is simply getting all the way to them. (This is a major reason the Warp Staff is regarded as a Game-Breaker.) Once you pull that off, it's usually as simple as sending up a single strong unit with your most expensive weapon and having them hack the boss to death while someone else heals. In the early game, they often don't even have ranged attacks, making their defeat a matter of standing someone next to them with a ranged weapon. In the late game, they tend to be countered by the protagonist's Sword of Plot Advancement. That said, there are exceptions; bosses that do move, though rare, tend to be pretty terrifying, and others have ways to screw over your army without needing to.
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
      • There'ss an odd case of this on Hard Mode. One of the changes made on that version is that every enemy has boosted stats, which this game expresses by essentially giving enemies a bunch of invisible level-ups in their respective classes. Two of the game's bosses, the Final Boss and True Final Boss, have their own special classes (King and Demon Dragon). Because those classes occur nowhere else in the game, they lack growths outside of a default 10% HP growth, meaning the only difference for them on Hard is... one extra hit point.
      • The game's True Final Boss, Idunn, plays this straight across all difficulties, being far easier than the preceding chapters, most notably because they are weak to Roy's ultimate weapon, the titular Binding Blade, to the point where it is not at all uncommon for Roy to be capable of defeating them in one round of combat. And because Idunn cannot counterattack at 2 range, it is also not uncommon for this to happen without Roy losing any HP.
    • Generic enemies in the Lagdou Ruins in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones are stronger than the bosses in hard mode, but weaker in the other difficulties. This is because the generics get extra levelups in hard mode but the bosses don't.
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, particularly on Merciless Mode, features some of the most terrifyingly dangerous enemies in the franchise, with even your tankiest characters struggling to survive more than one shot from them. Standard combat doctrine in Merciless is an extreme case of Rocket-Tag Gameplay where the player tries to eliminate all opposing threats that can reach them, since even one enemy getting in the first hit will probably mean a lost unit. But bosses, barring the first three axe bosses and the Final Boss, are barely any threat. Not only do they not move, and not only do an unusual number of them lack ranged attacks (making chipping them down hilariously easy), but the vast majority are cavaliers, armored units, and dragons, all of which have a widely available Weapon of X-Slaying—a unit with a tricked-out Hammer, Ridersbane, Dragonpike, or Wing Spear can often kill them in a single shot.
  • Telepath Tactics. Huge swarms of low-level Mooks present a grueling gauntlet, but it's rare for singular, high-level enemies to be significantly more threatening, especially since you can usually win the whole mission just by focusing on them. This is a little odd, since previous games in the series leaned more towards the reverse. The change can probably be attributed to both larger army sizes and the fact that bosses have to play by the same rules as normal troops, making most of them no more significant than King Mooks.
  • Crystal Warriors has some challenging levels, especially if you let your troops die, but the bosses are all easy to beat. While they have high stats, they can only move once per turn discounting counterattacks, so they can be swarmed and overwhelmed quickly. All of them save Emperor Grym are also locked to melee, so if you surround them with bulky melee units, they can't do anything while your mages chip away at them.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The Godfather: The Game, is like this, mostly because the only characters that can be considered to be bosses (stronger body armor, powerful weapons, pinpoint aim), also have the same weaknesses as the rest of the enemies (basically, headshot kills no matter what and the ability to waltz right up to them and choke them to death), and also take you on basically one on one, or with less minions, which means a boss fight is much more favorable than the normal swarm of enemies coming to take you out. In fact, in the climax and Final Boss of the game (the assassination montage from the movie), the main challenge is driving to the multiple locations it takes place in within the time limit.
  • Batman: Arkham Series
    • In Batman: Arkham City you will be killed by random groups of street thugs more often than Mr. Freeze, Solomon Grundy, Clayface, Ra's Al Ghul and Deadshot combined especially if you're playing on Hard.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight has all of the bosses being mostly QTEs and cutscenes. The difficulty of this game comes from the Batmobile sections where he has to fight the drones, which are significantly more difficult than defeating the bosses.
  • No gunslinger in Red Dead Redemption is as deadly as a pack of wolves or a solitary cougar, or worse, a pack of bears.
  • Saints Row 2 subscribes to this philosophy, especially with the final mission, in which you have to chase down and shoot up a fleeing limo, gun your way past an oncoming horde of police and SWAT officers, and destroy a series of security stations while flying a (very clunky) helicopter and avoiding being shot down by guided missiles, at the end of which the Final Boss is...only slightly tougher than the average policeman.
  • Generally the case with Grand Theft Auto games. Most levels including or leading up to a boss fight involve shootouts with large amounts of enemies (in generally unfavorable conditions), chases or escort missions but when you get to a boss they're dispatched as easily as any other enemy. Justified since bosses in these games tend to be criminal masterminds who are only human and are rarely as badass as the protagonist.
  • Grand Theft Auto 2: On the edge of Mooks, but no Bosses - there are actually nine bosses to fight throughout the game, but they're not really any different from your average mooks. And the levels? Well, you get to blow up a couple heavily guarded power plants (somehow not powering out the whole city).