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Healing Boss

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Hey! Only heroes are supposed to do that!

"Destroy the Revival Prisms to prevent the Electro Hypostasis from reviving."
On-screen notice during Electro Hypostasis boss fight, Genshin Impact

You're fighting the boss and you've got him on the ropes. There's no way you can lose! But remember those healing spells you've been using the entire game? Turns out your enemies can use them too. Suddenly, the boss has gotten a huge chunk of his health back, and is ready to tear you a new one.

Often though, these heals will be restricted to once per battle and/or only used when certain criteria are met. This is because they generally have more HP than regular enemies and if they could heal whenever they wanted the way you could, the fight might be unwinnable. This trope can also occur when an ally heals the boss, in which case Shoot the Medic First is generally in effect.

Far more common in Roleplaying Games than in most other genres, as the ability to heal is so important in the genre that the White Mage is considered a mandatory inclusion on every party, provided the game has the concept of a party to begin with. So, it makes sense that your enemies would have this ability has well.

Some examples may allow the player to exploit Anti-Regeneration to make the fight easier, by denying the boss their healing or even turning it against them.

The most common variant is the self-healing one that players will have to account for in battles, but there's also another variant that involves players healing the bosses themselves with their own healing abilities. It can either be a punishment to screw over players for not thinking about their methods correctly (especially if the boss has a passive Life Drain ability to counter player healing spells), or it can be tied to a special Escort Mission objective that involves not killing the boss but keeping them alive via player healing.

The inverse of Mook Medic. Contrast No Cure for Evil, as the vast majority of bosses in video games are also villains. Not to be confused with Self-Recovery Surprise, which is when a boss you thought you just killed turns out to not be dead. See also Healing Loop which this may end up causing. Will often be That One Boss or Goddamned Boss.

Important Note: Only bosses can count for this trope. If the healing abilities are instead used by powerful enemies not considered bosses like Elite Mooks, Beef Gates, Metal Slimes, or any enemy that can pass off as a Demonic Spider, they don't count. The only exception is if enemies are spawned by a Flunky Boss specifically to heal them. Mini Bosses and Bosses in Mook Clothing are in a bit of a gray area because they border the line between a regular enemy and a boss, but they should still count as long as they share boss-like traits and stats. As for Degraded Bosses, only the initial boss counts, but the enemies encountered later that are based on the boss don't.

Video Game Examples

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  • Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures: The gum monster has two machines next to it that spit more ABC gum onto it, rebuilding its body. Pac-Man has to transform with a Power Pellet and repeatedly eat the ghosts attempting to operate the machines to keep the monster from recovering while you slingshot it to death.

  • Batman: Arkham City: Solomon Grundy is a reanimated corpse a la Frankenstein that has his health bar restored every so often by three generators that shoot electricity. What's interesting about this example is that you have no way of reducing his health bar, he just loses health on his own since he's decaying. So the object of the fight isn't depleting the bosses' health, but stopping him from healing so he can naturally die.
  • Blood Knights have the Vampire Countess boss, Blood Fox, who's fought in an area filled with unfortunate, impaled prisoners. Every now and then during the boss battle, upon sustaining enough damage Fox will drain blood from a random captive from a distance (which she squeezes out like a bloody red mist) to replenish her health. The battle goes on until she runs out of prisoners to absorb blood from.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:
    • One of the bosses of Dian Cecht cathedral is named Bloodless. She has an ability she can use called Blood Steal which when activated,allows her absorb blood from around the room Miriam fights her in and use it to replenish her health.
    • Valefar has the ability to heal himself once he's taken enough damage by using the ability Plunder to steal Miriam's money and replenish his health. The amount of health he recovers is determined by how much money Miriam is carrying.
  • Bound by Blades: Mittux is a Flunky Boss who can summon flying underlings during its fight. If you reduce Mittux's health by half, it will snatch one of its mooks with its tongue and devour it to gain health.
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon: When one of the Dragon Zombies is defeated, the other will chow down on its corpse to recover a large amount of health.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2021): The Dweller-In-Darkness can re-fill the health bar for each of his tentacles by putting in some goop. The thing is, his attempt to do this is the perfect opportunity for Star-Lord and Gamora to chop off said tentacle, permanently removing it from the fight.
  • La-Mulana: In the room directly above where you fight the sub-boss Chi You, an endless procession of maidens throw themselves into a spike-filled pit. Normally, their blood heals Chi You when it drips down, making the fight against him completely unwinnable. The only way to beat him is to seal off the pit and stop the sacrifices prior to the fight, preventing him from healing.
  • Spider-Man 2 – Enter: Electro: Hyper Electro has a gimmick of using a tower with electric conduits to fully heal himself when his health gets too low. Destroying the conduits to disable the tower is necessary in order to defeat him.
  • Yakuza:
    • In Yakuza Kiwami, some bosses will suddenly go limp and start rapidly regenerating health over time, while an aura glows around them. This is your time to use your "Essence of Extreme Brawler/Rush/Beast/Dragon" Heat Action to prematurely cancel it. One of the things that makes Shimano in Chapter 3 a tough boss is most players will not have the specific Extreme Heat Action unlocked by then, so his fight lasts a lot longer than it's supposed to.
    • The Final Boss of Yakuza 3 heals himself while in one of his Battle Auras and it's uninterruptible without using a Heat Action. While he heals only about less than half a life bar each time, the game's overly defensive AI makes it particularly annoying.

    Augmented Reality 
  • Jurassic World Alive: Some of the Raid bosses having healing abilities that will either heal themselves, whichever of their two Minions has the lowest health, or both Minions and the Boss themselves, and it's a mechanic the 4 players taking on the Raid will have to account for since it usually gets used on the second or third turns of each round in a Raid, although some actually have a healing ability that's a counter and thus only applies if they're dealt direct damage.. Currently, the only Bosses with some variant of a healing ability are as follows:
    • For the Apex (the strongest rarity in the game) Bosses, it's just Hadros Lux and Hydra Boa. Hydra Boa could only heal itself though, and it's an effect that's applied after dealing damage to one of the players, while Hadros Lux can heal a surviving Minion if one's still kicking, but will otherwise heal itself as well.
    • For the Uniques, there's only Parasauthops, although the former Grypolyth Boss also had a healing ability. Parasauthops heals itself regardless and its Minions if one or both of them are still up, while Grypolyth's healing mechanic is similar to Hadros Lux's.
    • Among the Legendaries, Fukuimimus is the only current one with healing abilities. Uniquely for its particular raid though, it will heal either a surviving Minion or itself (like Hadros and Grypolyth), but the ability itself is also an attack that targets the player with lowest health, although unlike Hydra Boa the damage is dealt after the healing effect is applied. The former Legendary Raid Bosses Mammotherium and Megalosuchus also had healing abilities, although Mammotherium could only heal itself.
    • Lastly, there's the Epic boss Postimetrodon, former Epic boss Sinoceratops, and Rare bosses Meiolania and Bajadasaurus, all of whom are faced without Minions and thus only heal themselves.

    Beat 'em Ups 
  • Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley: In the final chapter of Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids, the titular cupids of the comic will restore the boss to full health after Captain Smiley gets it low twice.
    Captain Smiley: "Wait a second. Did that little girl just heal him? That is totally cheating!"

    Card Battle Games 
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: Many bosses can heal themselves such as Lord Marrowgar who will use Skeletal Reconstruction to heal himself to full at the end of each turn. If the player gives him an Auchenai Soulpriest and its effect goes off, he blows up! There's also Moon Priestess Nici from The Dalarian Heist who not only has cards such as Flash Heal but also has Blessings of Elune as her ability, DOUBLING the amount of healing she and her minions receive.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Multiple opponents have cards that give them extra Life Points such as Tea whose deck in the early games consisted of large amounts of these cards such as Nimble Momonga and Kisetai. These can be turned back on them via Bad Reaction to Simochi or Darklord Reficule which cause the opponent's healing effects to damage them equal to the amount of Life Points they would have gained instead.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • Bloodborne: Vicar Amelia can pause in the middle of her battle to pray to a medallion in her hand, healing herself through that whole duration. The flipside to this is that she leaves herself open to attack that whole time, meaning the player can wail on her to negate any of the health she's restoring.
  • Bravely Default:
    • Holly Whyte can use healing magic to restore her ally's HP or her own. The same applies for her appearance in Second.
    • Victor S. Court can cast healing magic to restore his ally's HP or his own.
    • When battling The Adventurer and The Comrade, the latter can cast Curaga when the HP of either of them is low. The Adventurer can also use Call Comrade to revive The Comrade should the latter be defeated the previous turn.
  • Bravely Second:
    • Nikolai Nikolanikov can cast healing magic to restore his ally's HP or his own.
    • Geist can use Undo to negate all damage done to him in a single turn.
    • Any time its HP reaches 0, Diamante will revive itself.
  • Bug Fables: Multiple bosses can restore their own health in various ways.
    • When fighting Zasp and Mothiva, should Zasp fall first, and Mothiva would revive him for small amount of health, thus requiring the player to beat Mothiva first.
    • Venus' Guardian can summon a Venus' Bud in its last phase to have it heal itself.
    • Ahoneynation's attacks summon miniature Abomihoneys that, if not defeated quickly, will fuse together with the boss, restoring its health in an equal amount of Abomihoneys' health.
    • Monsieus Scarlet, one of the first Optional Bosses in the game, can heal himself by draining the party members' health with his attacks, thus requiring the player to ensure that their total damage per turn would outbeat Scarlet's healing.
    • Kali can heal brainwashed Kabbu for a small amount of health, and should he fall first, she will revive him with some healing dust, thus ensuring that the battle would end only if Kali herself would be defeated.
    • The Watcher can restore its own health as one of its pre-attack support moves. It can also turn itself into a sand whirlpool and constantly drain the party member's health until it gets successfully repelled.
    • Cenn and Pisci can heal themselves each other for a small amount of health with Crunchy Leaves. Cross and Poi can heal themselves in a similar manner with Succulent Platters, also giving a short regeneration effect to the one who got healed.
    • Mother Chomper and the Beast can restore their own health by biting party members, restoring an amount of health slightly lower than their inflicted damage.
    • Before attacking, Carmina always uses a Wheel of Decisions for some random effect, given the luck-based mechanics of her boss fight. One of the outcomes is her healing herself for a small amount of health.
    • Devourer, one of the game's Bounty bosses, can heal itself by swallowing a party member alive, continuously damaging it for 3 turns, each time restoring its own health equal to that of an inflicted damage.
    • False Monarch, another Bounty boss, can heal itself in a similar way to Ahoneynation, summoning Mothflies that, if not defeated, would end up fusing back with it, restoring amount of health equal to Mothflies' health.
    • Wasp King can heal himself for a small amount of health with Spicy Fries and Burly Chips, increasing his attack or defense respectively, depending on an item used. His One-Winged Angel form, the Everlasting King, constantly has his health restored when he's rooted to the ground, also being able to use the attack that can leech away a party member's health until they break free. Also, whenever his health drops down to 10 HP, he would heal himself for a massive amount of health, initiating the next phase of battle, being able to do so two times before his final defeat.
    • Two post-game Superbosses, Team Maki and Team Slacker, can also heal themselves, with Team Maki having Yin as a Support Party Member who can heal her allies and Kina being able to heal Maki with MiteBurger, also giving him a regeneration boost. Team Slacker can also heal and give a regeneration boost to each other with MiteBurgers, and can also restore the entire team's health for a massive amount with Queen's Dinner, and if one team member falls, the remaining member would revive them with a Magic Seed.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Mother Brain has three displays that heal her.
    • Lavos's final form plays with this. It consists of a humanoid form in the center of the screen that launches powerful magic attacks, a pod on the left that casts support spells, and a pod on the right with high defense that doesn't seem to do much. If the humanoid form or left pod are killed, the right pod will lower its defenses and revive the others. But if the right pod dies, the others die with it.
  • Costume Quest 2: Kronoculus and his Krony minions all have the ability to control and manipulate time. Kronoculus and all Kronies have an ability called "Time Heals All Wounds", where upon taking damage, they will fully heal if a certain amount of turns pass and they aren't killed.
  • Dark Souls III: The Dual Boss between Princes Lorian and Lothric won't end if you bring Lorian's health to zero, since Lothric will use his Miracle spellcasting to restore half his health each time he gets knocked down. You have to Shoot the Medic First and kill Lothric first, which is tough because he's piggy-backing on the ferocious Lorian.
  • Dragalia Lost:
    • Volk can cast an undodgeable arena-wide life-drain. On higher difficulties of the fight, he can heal a massive amount for each adventurer he hits with it, but this can be prevented if the adventurer is currently affected by his plague, and he'll absorb the plague instead.
    • Kai Yan will occasionally summon Supreme Spheres. If one is allowed to touch him before being destroyed, he'll be granted various buffs which may include HP regeneration.
    • Fallen Angel Gabrial and the archdemon Jaldabaoth occasionally cast incantations to buff themselves and the Mooks they summon. One of the buffs they grant is HP regeneration. The incantation can be interrupted by attacking the weak points that appear while they perform it.
  • Dragon Quest II: Hargon, Pazuzu, and Belial will cast Fullheal when at low health. More infamously, the final boss Malroth will cast it whenever he wants in the NES version. Since this turned the final boss battle into a Luck-Based Mission, the spell was removed from his list in the various remakes, along with reducing Hargon's Fullheal to a more manageable Midheal.
  • Elden Ring:
    • Some bosses (such as Sir Gideon Ofnir) are actually just NPC invaders with Boss Subtitles, and as such are able to use a Flask of Crimson Tears, just like the Player Character. Nevertheless, almost all of them are limited to just one healing charge, as opposed to the PC's maximum of 14.
    • The Superboss Malenia, Blade of Miquela, heals herself for hundreds of HP every time she hits you, regardless of actually dealing damage. Combined with her high mobility, damage output, and aggressiveness, this self-healing makes Malenia a strong contender for the toughest boss in FromSoftware's history.
  • Healing bosses are a semi-frequent appearance in the Epic Battle Fantasy series:
    • The Zombie Hydra, a reocurring boss first introduced in the second game, will revive its heads when they're killed (with full HP, to boot). Killing all of its heads in a single turn is mandatory to prevent this.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 1: The first boss, King Slime, has a dedicated self-heal ability.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 2: The second boss, named the Guardian, has the ability to repair its arms if either are broken, restoring them to full HP. Preventing this via inflicting Stun or Seal is vital, as it will pummel you otherwise.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 4: Below 65% HP, Rafflesia gains access to Photosynthesis, which heals it and removes all debuffs and negative status effects on both itself and its allies. On Hard or Epic difficulty, its allies also gain two stacks of Regen.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5: Neon Valhalla, a stronger version of Neon Valkyrie, will heal 2% of its maximum health every turn (increased to 3.5% on Hard or Epic difficulty). Combined with its sky-high health pool and immunity to Poison, Burn, Virus and Scorch, this makes it capable of tanking frankly absurd amounts of damage.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The Climax Boss in the Camelot chapter, Demon God Pillar Amun-Ra. In the first fight against him, after you clear half of his health he activates a skill that heals him by 10000 HP in every turn. In the second fight (which follows immediately after the first), he opens with this move, and once he reaches half health he activates it again - bringing his recovery up to 20000 HP per turn.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy: If you don't take down the Final Boss, Chaos fast enough, he'll cast Curaja to completely heal himself.
    • Final Fantasy III:
      • Echidna can cast Drain to absorb HP from one of your party members.
      • Ahriman can cast Curaja to restore a considerable amount of HP.
    • Final Fantasy IV: Asura continually heals herself while countering physical attacks. To defeat her, and earn her as a summon, you must cast Reflect on her so her healing bounces to your party.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: The boss fight against Adel is made more difficult due to the fact that she has forcibly absorbed Rinoa into her body, and will periodically drain Rinoa's HP to replenish her own. If Adel isn't defeated before draining all of Rinoa's HP, it will result in a Non Standard Game Over.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Ozma stands out among Final Fantasy superbosses by not having a ridiculously huge amount of HP. Instead, it has access to both Curaga (healing it for around 8000 a pop) and Doomsday (a Shadow-elemental attack that hits everyone on the field; Ozma absorbs the Shadow element).
    • Final Fantasy X: One of Yu Yevon's summons heals it for 9999 health every turn. However, the boss is not immune to the Zombie effect, which makes it all too easy to turn it into 9999 damage every turn, a fitting end for an Almighty Idiot.
    • Final Fantasy XII:
      • Superboss Yiazmat famously (and indirectly) does this to players who aren't paying attention. Once reaching about 30% health (of his fifty million HP), he will start casting Reflectga on the party, giving everyone Reflect status and so if the player is in the midst of healing, all spells will be reflected onto Yiazmat. Infamously, having Renew reflected restores Yiazmat's entire HP bar, starting the entire fight all over. More conventionally, however, if the player wanders too far away from Yiazmat, it will cast Regen on itself and slowly heal itself back from any damage taken, so long as it is still on-screen.
      • The Zodiac Age adds the fight against the five Judges as the final battle of Trial Mode. Gabranth and Zargabaath will use Elixirs on each other when low on HP, meaning that standard tactics involve putting one or the other to sleep in order to prevent this from happening.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics:
      • Argath, the boss of chapter 1, has Auto-Potion as his reaction ability, meaning each time he's hit he has a chance to heal 30 HP. (And unlike the player, he cannot run out of potions.) So you'd best hit him with attacks that do at least 31 damage.
      • Gaffgarion's primary attack is Shadowblade, which heals him for the same amount of damage he does to his targets - and for the point in the game he's fought it does a lot of damage.
      • Confessor Zalmour's job class is Celebrant - basically a white mage with much better base hitpoints. He has access to all the most important white magic spells, so instead of being a threat because of the damage he hands out, he'll spend the whole fight healing, buffing and even reviving his allies in addition to himself. He also has inherent regeneration, so as annoying as him healing his allies is it's still usually necessary to kill them all so that your entire party can pile on him and damage him faster than he can heal.
  • Fire Emblem: While bosses tend not to be able to heal themselves, many have one or more allied healers, allowing health restoration if the player doesn't do anything to stop it. However, bosses tend to stand on tiles called thrones that grant healing and sometimes other boni to them every turn, and some legendary weapons wielded by bosses have an active healing or Life Drain effect.
  • Fossil Fighters Champions: The final boss has a move called "Law of the Jungle" that allows it to replenish health. The catch is that said health is drained from one of its allies, meaning the move can't be used indefinitely.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • The Hypostases bosses will enter a state of recovery once their HP is close to zero, during which, you'll have to solve a minor puzzle related to their Elemental Powers to either finish them off or negate their self-recovery state before they can regenerate 50% of their HP.
    • Nameless, an Optional Boss tied to the "Dreams of Sword Art" World Quest in Inazuma, will enter an enraged state that also restores 100% of his HP when he's close to zero. He is entirely scripted to do this with a brief invincibility stance so there's no way to defeat him in his first phase before he can heal, even with the best DPS builds, but he can only do this once.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: The Serpent can be fought almost as soon as you enter the Gaia Rock dungeon, but doing so means it heals 200 HP every turn (the same as the Dullahan Optional Boss, the toughest fight in the game). Completing the dungeon by letting light into its lair to weaken it reduces this to a much more reasonable 30 HP.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • One of the many reasons the Boss Fight with Clayton in Deep Jungle is so challenging is that he is the only main antagonist to be able to heal himself not once, but twice, nullifying your efforts to KO him as soon as possible. To add insult to injury, the Cure magic is obtained only after defeating him.
    • Kingdom Hearts: In Oogie Boogie's boss fight, the values of the dice he rolls dictates what actions he takes. If he rolls sixes, he walks over to a machine that heals a portion of his health.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Xion's first three forms will all sometimes leap into the air and become encased in a barrier that heals a significant portion of their health. The only way to prevent this is to hit them mid-jump to interrupt it.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep:
      • Terra-Xehanort can cast Cure Magic on himself, which makes sense since he's stolen your body.
      • Vanitas Remnant is a super boss with only one bar of health. However, he is infamous for the fact that will heal back up to full HP whenever you use Cure Magic. You can get around this by using potions. However, using this exploit means you're denied the precious invincibility frames afforded by Leaf Bracer.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]:
      • The Anti-Black Coat Nightmare can drain your health bar down to one HP to refill its own. It can do this as many times as it wants.
      • Young Xehanort, upon reaching his last health bar, will reverse time to restore some of his health bars. Fortunately, you can stop this but if you don't... Have fun.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: This trope is the reason that Shirley is the only original Dragoon not fought in her Dragoon form. The Dragoon of the White-Silver Dragon's basic spell heals the target to full health, and enemies do not need MP, which would have made Shirley impossible to defeat. Her original boss fight was Dummied Out and replaced with a Puzzle Boss instead; her in-game battle data is still on the disk.
  • Mario & Luigi:
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga:
      • If Popple is successful in stealing a mushroom from you, he will later use it on himself or his ally to restore HP.
      • Mom Piranha can heal small portions of health if there are Piranha Plants in the battle that are the same color as her.
      • When performing its inhaling attack, Trunkle can potentially consume mushrooms to restore HP if they are not intercepted by the bros. In addition, in the Japanese version, if you attack its tree, it will immediately restore a good chunk of health to it and the mutant Sudowoodo's inhaling attack now inhales it for some health based off of each item, not just a fixed 10 (discounting Mushrooms).
      • After taking a certain amount of damage, Hermie III will retreat inside his shell to restore HP, but using Firebrand-based attacks on him will force him back out.
      • Jojora can conjure blizzards that not only damage the bros., but also heal her friend.
      • Bowletta can absorb any Flarets she summons to restore HP.
      • When exposed in the final battle, Cackletta's heart can restore the HP of her arms or itself.
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
      • Durmite the caterpillar is able to recover HP by sticking a straw in the ground (Bowser's internals) and drink from a straw. This can be stopped at any time by dealing enough damage to the straw.
      • When fighting Bowser Memories M and L, if M is KO'd first, L can use a 1-up mushroom to bring M back into the fight.
      • The last two bosses each have the means to restore their HP entirely, and will inevitably do so. The key to winning the battle is to inhale the smaller entity healing the larger one, then defeat the smaller entity from inside.
  • Melolune: The game has Mola in a boss fight. The boss doesn't self heal, but is instead supported by two melons, one of which heals the entire group. Additionally, said melon can get revived if it is destroyed.
  • Mother:
    • EarthBound (1994):
      • Various bosses are able to use Lifeup in order to heal themselves. Specifically, Mondo Mole, Shrooom!, and the Department Store Spook know Lifeup Alpha, while Ness's Nightmare knows Lifeup Omega.
      • Master Belch will automatically recover large swaths of his HP, more than the amount of damage a typical player can inflict at this point, when attacked. However, if the player uses the Jar of Fly Honey on him, he'll be so distracted that he becomes a Zero-Effort Boss, among other things losing his healing ability.
      • Played with in the case of the Clumsy Robot. One of its actions during battle is to supposedly heal itself with a Bologna Sandwich, but in actuality, it does nothing.
      • Electro Specter possesses a Hungry HP Sucker, which saps HP from the party in order to heal itself.
    • Mother 3: Both New Fassad and Miracle Fassad are capable of eating Luxury Bananas in the middle of their fights to recover large chunks of HP.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario 64:
      • Bowser, the final boss, has the capability to heal himself, as shown in the page image. He can only do this three times, and only if Mario has more HP than him.
      • The Crystal King would heal as well, only twice.
      • Huff N Puff is infamous for this. Any damage dealt could be negated due to him reabsorbing his minions back into his body. It would take attacks that could damage all on-screen enemies to at least keep his healing to a minimum.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: The game has three scripted examples:
      • After getting Hooktail's health down to zero, she will attempt to trick you into coming closer to get a cheap shot in. Regardless of whether or not you fall for the tricks, she will then devour some of the audience to restore some of her health.
      • When he falls below 10 HP in his third form, Cortez will suck the souls of half the audience to heal himself to full health.
      • Upon dropping the Shadow Queen's health to half in the first fight, she will show her true form and become invincible. After a few turns she will use her powers to consume the entire audience and restore herself to full health. Her second fight also has an attack that will deal 7 damage to Mario and company, and then heal herself for that same amount.
    • Super Paper Mario: Mr. L has an infinite supply of Shroom Shakes at his disposal. If left alone long enough, he can use one to heal 10 HP.
  • Parasite Eve has two cases of this:
    • Sheeva, the police dog, mutates into a three headed monstrosity at the end of the third chapter. Each head can use a different ability and one can heal itself or the other heads for 100 HP randomly.
    • Purebred Eve/Maya can heal herself for 1000 HP if you attack her when she has a helper summoned. Each further instance of this raises the HP restored by another 1000.
  • Persona 2 Eternal Punishment:
    • The very first boss you fight is a trio of Early-Bird Cameo Mooks, of which one can heal its teammates. The boss is meant to teach you how to strategize and use fusion spells, as the only way not to have the fight draw out (excluding grinding yourself silly) is to use a fusion spell on the healer.
    • One of the members of "The Metal Trio" can heal itself or any of its allies at any moment, though the value is not very high.
    • Was Sugawara recovers over 700 HP at the end of each turn with absolutely no way to stop his recovery, which is a problem because he's a Damage Sponge and he has ways to stop you from using attacks that can top that number.
    • Shadow Maya uses an Evil counterpart of Maya's Persona, which comes with Diarama, the mid-tier healing skill.
    • In the PSP-exclusive "Tatsuya Scenario", Takahisa Kandori can recover his health too, which can quickly turn into a huge issue because he is a Duel Boss and the only equipped Persona simply cannot to that much damage. Pray he won't spam it because YOU don't have healing for that fight.
  • Persona 4
    • Shadow Yukiko summons a Charming Prince, which can attack you or heal her. The Prince has too much health to be feasibly defeated, but if you damage Shadow Yukiko enough, the Prince will retreat.
    • Margaret, the game's Velvet Room attendant superboss, heals herself to full after losing about three fifths of her health.
  • Persona 5
    • In the first phase of the Shadow Kamoshida battle, Kamoshida will eat out of his trophy, restoring much of his HP. In order to stop him, you have to destroy the trophy.
    • The first form of the original game's final boss, the Holy Grail, heals itself too quickly for you to defeat it, resulting in a Hopeless Boss Fight in the first encounter. In the rematch, you have to send one of your party to cut off the healing.
  • Pokémon:
    • Gym Leaders, the Elite Four, and the Champion will frequently use HP restoring items when their active Pokemon is low on health. Generally, this is restricted to once per battle. Sometimes they can do this many times they like though.
    • Some legendary Pokemon that can be considered optional bosses have Self-Healing moves, particularly Recover on Mewtwo and Deoxys as well as Rest on Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross:
    • Various late game bosses can recover HP when their HP initially reaches zero, usually about 25-50%.
    • Final Boss Ban can completely revive with full health if he is defeated while having certain amount of orbs (three for first phase, five for second phase) in his Ultimate Gauge. He can do this up to three times per phase.
    • As most bosses have the same abilities as their playable unit counterparts, ones with heals naturally have access to these abilities, such as Lilia and Hendrickson.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne:
      • Mara is a puzzle boss who can cast Diarahan (which fully restores a single target's HP) whenever he pleases. It's not really much of a puzzle though. If you made it this far into the game you know what the answer is. Because it's the same way you beat every boss in this game. Buff your offense and debuff his defense to the degree that you can kill him before he has a chance to use it.
      • Lucifer in the Maniax Chronicles Edition starts with well over 60,000 HP. On hard mode, he will cast Diarahan when he gets below 20,000, fully restoring his HP. On normal mode though, he will only cast Diarama, which at this point in the game is tantamount to wasting a turn. You should be dealing the amount of damage he just healed many times over with one attack.
      • Daisoujou has the ability to steal life and mana from the party through its Meditation spell.
      • Clotho of the Moirae sisters is able to cast Dia, Diarama and Mediarama on herself and her sisters.
      • During the fight with the Angel trio, Uriel and Raphael both have the single-target full-health Diarahan spell.
      • The Trumpeter's Holy Melody restores the target to full HP. It will always aim it at the character with the lowest percentage of HP, so the fight can become a Puzzle Boss where you want to avoid it casting on itself and force it to cast it on one of your party instead.
      • Baal Avatar is able to summon minions that heal her if you inflict a certain amount of damage on her without killing her outright.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: The Ancient of Days DLC Super Boss will casts Diarahan on itself if its weaknesses to Electricity or Force is exploited. The twist is that the boss is vulnerable to the Brand status ailment that makes one inmune to healing spells. If the Ancient of Days is successfully branded, then the player can shock it/blow it away to their hearts' content while it tries and fails to recover HP.
    • Shin Megami Tensei V: The DLC superboss Demi-fiend will cast Mediarahan when he gets below half HP, fully healing his entire party. You can skip him doing this if you inflict the charm status on him before putting him beneath that threshold though.
  • Toontown: Corporate Clash: One of the roaming bosses, Bellringer, can ring his bell to heal himself and his allies. The catch is that enemies can be healed past their maximum HP. If you destroy one in one turn while it's overhealed, it will explode and badly damage everyone in the battle. The key is to keep blowing them up faster than Bellringer can heal back.
  • Trails Series: Orbal arts is the game's magic system, which among other things gives access to healing spells. Bosses can also use these to heal as well, and some bosses, such as Gilbert Stein, even sometimes have access to curative items.
  • Undertale: Attempted by Photoshop Flowey at the end of his boss battle. After exploiting SAVE files to attack Frisk, he uses one to heal himself to full health after you beat him. The souls he absorbed then revolt and tear him open from the inside, defeating him again and removing his power over the game itself.
  • Yo-kai Watch: Dr. Maddiman sometimes stops when his exposed heart is beating too quickly after enough damage has been dealt to him. As such, you will have to pin all the hearts so that he won't regain a huge chunk of his HP.
  • Yo-kai Watch 2: When Kin or Gin lose all their health in battle, the still-active sister will take out a magic stone that reverses time to heal the other one. You will have to use the pin to destroy the stone so you can defeat both of them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom: Many enemies, particularly in the later parts of the campaigns carry Blue Medicine and/or Red Medicine to replenish health. In addition, towards the end, you encounter teams with monsters who can regenerate their health such as Cosmo Queen and two enemies in the penultimate mission for Yami Yugi and Kaiba have Fairy's Gift whose special replenishes 50% of the entire team's health. Finally, you have a Seiyaryu who possesses a whopping nine Red Medicine. As the strategy guide puts it: "The Seiyaryu here possesses nine Red Medicine. Nine."

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Bioshock: Dr Steinman has a healing station built into the room he fights Jack in, and will use it to recover after taking damage. It's possible for the player to hack it and turn it against him so it will kill him instead.
  • Doom Eternal: The final battle with the Dark Lord in the Ancient Gods DLC has him healing up some of his lifebar when he hits you with one of his shield or sword attacks. The Dark Lord has multiple lifebars that must be taken down in order to end him for good, but this healing ability only applies to the current lifebar and cannot be used to bring back lifebars already taken down. Considering that the Dark Lord is essentially Hell's version of the Doom Slayer, who can heal by Glory Killing demons, this is quite justified.
  • Half-Life:
    • The Nihilanth in Half-Life 1 can heal itself using the orbs circling around its head, which are replenished by three large crystals in its chamber. Only after you destroy all of these crystals are you able to defeat it.
    • Black Mesa's rendition of the Nihilanth can heal itself by harnessing the crystals directly, during the second phase of its fight. Said crystals also only emerge when the Nihilanth is using them, giving you a limited time to attack and destroy each of them.
  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: The boss at the end of chapter 2, Rosh Penin, is accompanied by two Reborn Master Sith that will channel Force healing into the boss when he's critically wounded. Killing them is necessary before you can defeat the boss properly.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Dark Samus can use Phazon energy to restore her health, but is vulnerable to Samus's attacks during this process. Therefore, Dark Samus uses clones of herself to distract Samus.
  • Serious Sam: The First Encounter: Ugh-Zan is a Damage-Sponge Boss with a HUGE health pool that comes with Regenerating Health. Defeating him requires using a superpowerful superweapon. His ship has such a weapon.

    Horror Games 
  • Dead Rising 2: The psychopath Antoine Thomas is capable of restoring his health by consuming dishes scattered throughout the restaurant you fight him in.
  • Eternal Darkness Sanitys Requiem: In Edward Roivas' chapter, the first enemy you face is a creature known as a vampire. It goes about the mansion attacking the servants, and Edward needs to stop it. However, each time it's fought off, it retreats to the basement to replenish its health from a stone with a rune on it. To kill it permanently, Edward must first destroy the stone.
  • POPGOES Arcade: Corrupt Bonnie frequently uses the Dig ability that has him unearth an acorn that heals him for a large amount of health. As such, Popgoes is required to use the damage-boosting items to outpower Bonnie's healing to be able to defeat him. Bonnie retains this ability even after coming Back from the Dead as Dead Bonnie.

  • Most bosses in Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds including all Field Bosses and Chaos Bosses generate a continuous healing field on themselves. If you aren't strong enough to overwhelm this, they simply can't be defeated. Or, in the case of Field / Chaos Bosses, the boss won't go down until enough players of sufficient strength have gathered to take it on.
  • RuneScape:
    • TzTok-Jad, the boss of the Fight Caves, will summon monsters to heal him when he reaches half health.
    • The Kalphite King will heal himself in battle if the player gets the King in a situation where his attacks cannot reach the player for more than 10 seconds.
    • Nex: Angel of Death can heal herself in phase 1 and phase 4 of the fight, with both forcing the player to fight something else in the room to prevent her healing.
    • Vorago has several situations in which he can heal himself, largely to force the player to do a large amount of damage in a short time.
    • The Gluttonous Behemoth fights the players in a room with some bovimastyx carcasses, and will attempt to eat the carcasses to restore its hitpoints once it has been sufficiently damaged. Players can stand between the behemoth and the carcasses to prevent this from happening.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Raid bosses often use healing mechanics of various types. For example, the first stage of the "Dread Palace" final boss fight has each of the remaining Dread Masters jump back off the battlefield onto their thrones when they hit 50% health and begin healing up (becoming invincible while they do so). Advancing to the next stage of the fight requires the PCs to get them all to this state simultaneously.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • A few bosses heal themselves, usually with the intent that players will have to strategize to minimize this healing during the fight. For instance Baron Ashbury in Heroic Shadowfang Keep will reduce all players to 1 HP, then start healing both them and himself, and the party must decide at which point to interrupt the heal.
    • Garrosh Hellscream in Siege of Orgrimmar, the Final Boss for the Mists of Pandaria expansion, is an exception: he has three phases and unavoidably heals to full at the start of each phase. This is because boss hit points had grown so much that the game could not handle enough hit points for the entire fight. Not coincidentally, the next expansion had a "stat squish" where all player and NPC attributes were cut back.

  • Air Fortress: The Reactor Boss in each stage self-heals, requiring the player to rapidly fire shots to destroy it. Note that there's no visible boss health meter, the regeneration is just kept in the background.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: The Final Boss and True Final Boss have a move where they create duplicates that spread out across the stage and attempt to regenerate a large chunk of health, represented by the boss's health bar gaining a glowing portion. Kirby can deplete the amount of health restored by finding and attacking the real boss; successfully depleting all of the extra health prematurely ends the move and stuns the boss.
  • Mega Man & Bass: Dynamo Man's boss room has a pod in the ceiling, which he will sometimes jump into to regain health after being damaged. Breaking him out of the pod requires shooting the left and right panels.
  • Metroid Dread: Experiment Z-57 has a move where it uses its arms to drain energy from its surroundings and heal itself, but it gives Samus an opportunity to blast the arms.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked: Ace Hardlight employs self-healing during his fight, but he has a finite number of medpacks on hand and comments when he runs out.
  • Skylanders: Trap Team:
    • Traptanium Kaos will heal a chunk of health at the beginning of every phase.
    • The Golden Queen heals if she collects treasure, which she drops when attacked.
  • Sonic Unleashed: In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the boss of Shamar; Dark Guardian, will warp to the edge of the arena to heal itself while bombarding you with a barrage of lightning bolts to keep you at bay. If you're skilled enough to dodge the lightning strikes and catch up to it, you can interrupt its healing process and trigger a quick-time event for a bonus chance to undo some of the health it gained back.
  • Super Princess Peach: In the second phase of the boss fight against Bowser, once you've damaged him enough, he surrounds himself with a Calm bubble that proceeds to heal him. You need to break the bubble with one of your vibes to stop him.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising: During Araghast the Pillager's bossfight, he summons squads of cultists which he attacks to regain health and pulls back through a portal when he runs low on health and cultists. The fight ends when Eliphas (who's opening the portals) betrays him and leaves him to die.
  • Magic and Mayhem: Bosses can have the same heal spell you do. Particularly noticeable with the Overlord in his ultimate form; try to wear his health down, and he has a tendency to cast heal in bulk to recover his strength.
  • Pikmin: If you decide to take on Emperor Bulblax on any other day but the final one, his health will regenerate when he takes damage.

    Roguelike Games 
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • Rag Man heals himself for a small amount whenever he resurrects one of the Trites that he can summon. His Black Champion variant makes this his main mechanic, removing his resurrection but instead making him spam the mini-heal throughout the fight.
    • Ultra Greed has a slot machine attack with one of four different outcomes (all bad for you, of course). One of them spawns a bunch of hearts around the arena and you have a few seconds to destroy as many as you can. Any left standing will fly to Ultra Greed and heal him. Also, he heals himself for a small amount whenever he picks up a coin, which his attacks will conveniently make you drop if they connect.
  • Brutal Orchestra: Many of the game's bosses are capable of healing themselves, although often in ways that tie back into the fight's main mechanics: for instance, Roids' fight is meant to teach the player when to apply pressure on the enemy, which is why he heals himself a small amount of health at the end of the turn, erasing some of the effort gone into fighting him. Another good example are the Hickories, whose Burning Passion skill can heal one of them to match the health of the other, encouraging you to damage them both evenly.
  • Into the Breach: The Bot Leader isn't particularly dangerous compared to other bosses, but if it takes any damage, it will retreat and shield itself to repair itself to full health the next turn. It's particularly hard to kill with squads that don't have much direct damage and lack convenient ways to interrupt it.
  • Moria: Some of the titular Moria's monsters can drain mana from spellcasting player, which also doubles as the healing spell in the game. The Final Boss has this spell among its abilities.
  • Soul Knight: The Giant Crystal Crab, one of the first-stage bosses, deploys a version of this. It can retreat into its shell, during which any damage it receives will heal it instead.

    Shoot 'em Ups 
  • Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires: Yoshika Miyako can use spirits to heal herself in Recovery "Heal By Desire" (where shooting at her spirit flunkies causes her to absorb them and heal) and Desire Sign "Saved Up Desire Spirit Invitation"/Desire Sign "Score Desire Eater" (where she occasionally launches some spirits, and you have to collect them before she can absorb them and heal).

    Sports Games 
  • Punch-Out!!:
    • In the SNES Super Punch Out, if you perform a KO punch on Aran Ryan, he'll follow up with a clinch that heals him while lowering your own health.
    • Wii Version:
      • Soda Popinski will drink some cola to heal up both in between rounds and in the middle of one. The amount healed in between can be decreased by skipping the scene, and he can be stopped during a round by punching the bottle out of his hand.
      • On higher difficulties, Doc Louis will pull out a chocolate bar to restore health. He can be stopped on the highest difficulty by punching the chocolate out of his hand.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Danger Girl: Major Maxim comes at you with massive firepower, a gigantic health bar, and a healing tank on his back that immediately recharges his health to maximum when you managed to drag it down by half. But to do so Maxim will have to raise his arms, giving you a few seconds to shoot the tank. Destroying it will remove Maxim's ability to heal himself and allowing him to be killed like normal - or alternatively, use pipe bombs to target his healing tank directly.
  • Splatoon 2: In Octo Expansion, Inner Agent 3 is the only boss in the entire franchise that can heal her/himself.

    Western RPGs 
  • Baldur's Gate: Boss-level enemy parties usually include a cleric who is capable of healing their allies if they're given time to do so, and boss-level melee fighters will often carry a few healing potions to use mid-battle.
  • Deltarune: To ensure that they can only be defeated through pacifism, both K. Round and Sweet Cap'n Cakes automatically heal all damage inflicted on them by drinking from an edited stock photo of Silk almond milk.
  • Dragon Age II: The Arishok, who is the boss fought at the end of Act 2, is already a difficult fight - but the fact that he will dose himself with healing potions makes it even harder.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Gedna Relvel is a lich from the Tribunal expansion fought at the end of the "Crimson Plague" questline. In addition to already having a huge pool of health (that is glitched to be even higher than intended), she also has a powerful regeneration ability that restores Health, Magicka, and Fatigue.
  • In the Mass Effect series, Commander Shepard has the ability to heal themselves and revive fallen allies by using Medigel. Mass Effect 3's final DLC, Citadel, gives its Final Boss the ability to use Medigel like Shepherd, though their supply is limited (and Shepard can access an infinite crate of Medigel that they can't).
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole: Shub-Niggurath will heal health whenever she eats "black meat", aka Token or the New Kid if the player made them black.
  • Talesworth Arena: The game has a mode called "Death Watch" which is a set of 1v1 matches against opponents, where bosses happen to be more difficult versions of regular opponents. Some of the opponents have healing abilities, although the player can interrupt them while they're being used to negate their effect.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft: The Ender Dragon's arena contains many obsidian towers with end crystals on top, which heal the dragon when it gets close. This healing has no cooldown, which means the crystals must be destroyed to kill the dragon.
  • Hours (2020): The first boss Equinox heals through two ways. The first one is through hitting the player(or the player's allies) with the Darkheart which will heal Equinox 100% of the damage it deals, the second one is the "Dark Tornado" attack which Equinox does after reaching below 33% HP. It saps HP from any entity within it's range and gives it to Equinox.

Non-Video Game Examples

  • Horror Classic Gamebooks: When playing as Dracula in Dracula's Castle, the Final Boss is Van Helsing, who counts amongst his special abilities (which he will unleash in rotation every time he wins an attack round) the ability to restore 2d6 worth of Life Points.
  • Howl of the Werewolf: If the Arch-Lycanthrope comes into range of moonlight during the battle, they can restore 4 Stamina points.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Certain powerful monsters from can cast spells to heal themselves or even just regain a certain number of their hit points at the start of each of their turns. The one that best fits the idea of a boss is the Vampire, the classic Undead master of the night who will heal unless it has been hurt by holy damage, sunlight, or running water. One of the game's greatest adventure villains, Count Strahd, is a vampire and serves as the endboss of many a campaign in Ravenloft.
    • In the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, the Final Boss Lolth had the innate ability to cast the Heal spell (which healed almost all damage) on herself three times per day, which made it very difficult for the player party to kill her.

  • Problem Sleuth: The second half is an increasingly absurd JRPG boss fight sporting multiple regenerating health bars, that compelled the three private investigators to find more and more ridiculous ways to hurt a mob boss turned One-Winged Angel.

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: Most major bosses in have some sort of way to heal to contend with the imbalance of having one or two big monsters face off against seven or eight super-powerful player characters:
    • Most human-like bosses use the same healing items and spells that players do to recover mid-combat. Necromanceress Delilah Briarwood and the wizardly gun-smith Anna Ripley both swig healing potions mid-combat, while the half-giant conquerer Kevdak orders druids to use player spells like Cure Wounds and Heal to recover his hit points.
    • Meanwhile, more monstrous bosses either have to rely on Life Drain or Healing Factors. Vampires, trolls, and the Final Boss of campaign 1 all visibly regenerate hit points so players know to really lay the pressure into them.