Follow TV Tropes


Legacy Boss Battle

Go To

A Legacy Boss Battle is a boss from one game that appears as a boss in a later installment as a throwback, often in the form of an Optional Boss or Superboss.

In those cases, the boss rarely changes its tactics and techniques, as the intent is to preserve their original battle to begin with. At best, you may see a new move or two, but otherwise the whole thing is relatively unchanged. Sometimes, the recycling happens because the developers wanted to cut costs or had little time to come up something more unique. Other times, the battle is just popular enough to be considered worth the effort.

Of important note is that most Legacy Bosses are only fightable in the post-game or side areas, and have little to no role in the plot, making them closer to a reward, Easter Egg or just a way to tug your nostalgia strings (for this reason, they are generally much harder than the original boss fight). If they do appear in the main path, then they are likely a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere and the game will do only the bare minimum to justify their presence.

Remakes in particular love to do this, adding bosses from the original entries' sequels as a form of Call-Forward. If the boss' game of origin is from another franchise, then these might be Mythology Gags or Lawyer Friendly Cameos as well.

Compare and contrast Degraded Boss, Recurring Boss Template, Previous Player-Character Cameo, Hijacked by Ganon, Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome. Nostalgia Level is the stage version.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 

  • Geese Howard in the Fatal Fury series. To date he's been in every game in the series except Fatal Fury 2 and Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and of those, only one has him as not as a boss or a final boss. Usually, they use a "Nightmare" version of him to justify his appearances, seeing that he's canonically supposed to be dead in the Fatal Fury timeline.
  • Rugal (or Omega Rugal) in The King of Fighters. First appearing as the final boss for The King of Fighters '94 and its direct sequel The King of Fighters '95, Rugal returned again as the final boss for '98 (UM) and 2002 (UM). Now whenever the series has a Dream Match Game, fans can expect Rugal not to be too far behind.
  • Tekken:
    • Heihachi Mishima recurs as a boss character, since he is usually the one who hosts the Iron Fist tournament. He is the final opponent in the first game and 4, and the penultimate opponent in 3.
    • The Arcade Mode of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ends with a string of bosses from previous games: Heihachi and Jinpachi (final boss of 5) in Stage 7, Ogre (final boss of 3) in Stage 8, and Jun/Unknown (final boss of the first Tag) in Stage 9.
    • The boss characters in Tekken 7 are special matches against The Devil, Shin Heihachi, Akuma, Geese Howard & Negan.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Orochi, Da Ji, and Kiyomori from Warriors Orochi can optionally be fought in Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce after clearing certain objectives.
  • No More Heroes: Destroyman is fought in every main game as a story boss, returning as the cybernetic twins New Destroyman in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and as Destroyman True Face in No More Heroes III. There's generally no reason for this since he's a pretty minor foe in the grand scheme of things, and his moveset does not change much in-between releases (at least between the first and second games).


    Party Game 
  • Mario Party: The Top 100: The Final Battle from Mario Party 4, which was originally the last Story Mode minigame of that game and settled the fight between the player's character and Bowser, serves as the final minigame in Minigame Island. The fight remains the same aside from some tweaks and changes, but is now presented in a different context from its original game's premise.

  • Mega Man:
    • After defeating all the Robot Masters in Mega Man 3, four new stages open up, each having two Doc Robots (one as a mid boss, one as an end boss). Each Doc Robot takes on the exact same attack pattern of one of the eight Robot Masters from Mega Man 2, and their sprite is even seen descending into the Doc Robot before the fight starts.
    • The boss of Wily Castle 1 in Mega Man 10 is the Weapons Archive, which deploys robots that use the weapons and tactics of one Robot Master from each of the past nine games. Also, there are three Downloadable Content stages that each feature one of the Mega Man Killers as bosses.
    • There are several in Mega Man X5:
      • The Warm-Up Boss in the optional training area is a weakened version of Magma Dragoon from X4, having access only to his most basic attacks.
      • When you reach the end of the first Zero Space stage, Doctor Wily's logo is visible in the background for the first time in the X series. Then after the Boss Warning Siren, a remix of the Mega Man fortress boss theme plays, and the Shadow Devil, a recolor of the Yellow Devil from the same game, makes its entrance.
      • The second Zero Space stage boss is Rangda Bangda from Mega Man X, complete with a remix of the fortress boss theme from that game.
    • Mega Man X6: Dynamo appears again as a Recurring Boss, even if he has no real bearing in the plot or major differences in his moveset. He's exclusive to the secret routes you can take, but only after dealing with High-Max or Nightmare Zero, so he's mostly there to give you a way to obtain better ranks (and equips as result).
    • Mega Man X8: You can fight classic Cut Man, 8-bit sprites and all, as a bonus miniboss at the Troia Base level, assuming you have a Command Mission save file in your memory card.
    • In Mega Man ZX, Omega from Mega Man Zero 3 appears as a Superboss in the N area. Defeating him nets you the Model O Biometal, the strongest in the game. If you have completed both Zero 3 and 4 in their cartridges, linking them to the DS slot can let you fight 4 of each game's bosses in the same area and defeating them all gives you the same reward.
    • In Mega Man Zero 3, taking a secret detour in the second fortress stage will take you to a teleporter. Go inside, and you'll meet Phantom from the first game, or rather his "ghost" since he died. Defeat him and you'll get the Infinity Plus One Foot Chip.
  • In Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, the boss of Space Zone is Tatanga, who was the final boss of Super Mario Land.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
    • Both Puzzle Plank Galaxy's missions has Mario (or Luigi) fighting the Mandibug bosses for the Power Star: the Mandibug Stack for the normal star, and Bugaboom for the hidden star.
    • Throwback Galaxy is basically a throwback to Super Mario 64's Whomp's Fortress. So who also returned to become the galaxy's boss? Whomp King. And he sure Took a Level in Badass big time.
    • Boss Blitz Galaxy is a World S Boss Rush mission, where all five bosses are ones from the original game not fought anywhere else.
  • Kirby:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • The Black Plague fight in A2XT is an updated version of his original level in the rom-hack Super Mario Infinity, room design and battle mechanics included.
  • Act Raiser 2: You can fight the final boss from the first game by using the password "Xxxx Yyyy Zzzz".
  • Shantae has the Squid Baron, who first appears in Shantae: Risky's Revenge as an important part of the storyline and later appears in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse as a Filler Boss with new tricks up his sleeve and higher difficulty. This gets multiple lampshades throughout the game, as the Squid Baron, aware of his nature as a video game character and why he returned for another game, repeatedly bemoans his reduced role in the plot.
  • The Legendary Starfy: Konk is the first boss in the first four games.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 3: In Sunrise Palace 2, Gunvolt and Kirin will face down against illusions of Viper and Jota from Azure Striker Gunvolt and Tenjian and Zonda from Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 as Dual Boss Mini Bosses. Not only do they use their attacks from their past appearances, for their Limit Breaks they'll work together to do a stronger Combination Attack with them.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Warcraft III has an optional fight against an enormous monster called the Butcher, a boss from the Diablo series.

    Role Playing Game 
  • The Trope Namer is Dragon Quest IX. In it, you can fight every single Big Bad (and some Dragons) from all the previous games as some of the Superbosses. However they use the same grotto system as the other Superboss, but with a few differences. Such as only one floor, and the fact that you can level up the bosses by giving up the EXP rewards. Beating them usually gives you some cosplay gear related to their original games or some Orbs.
  • In the Etrian Odyssey series, there's the Dragon, Drake and Wyrm (later known as the Storm Emperor, Blizzard King and Great Dragon respectively). They're mighty dragons corresponding to Fire, Ice, Lightning and have been in every mainline game and their remakes except for Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth. Defeating them is the objective of postgame quests and are key to raising the level cap by 10 each (except in the first two games).
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 features two bosses from the previous four games in the Data Bunker simulations:
    • The Epic Battle Fantasy 1 simulations feature the game's first two bosses, King Slime and the Beholder.
    • The Epic Battle Fantasy 2 simulations feature its third and fourth bosses, Giga Golem and the Sandworm.
    • The Epic Battle Fantasy 3 simulations feature Vegetable Forest's boss, Jack, and the Kitten Kingdom Ruins' boss, the Protector.
    • Finally, the Epic Battle Fantasy 4 simulations have Lankyroot Jungle's boss, Rafflesia, and the Waste Disposal Plant's boss, the Praetorian.
  • Illusion of Gaia features a boss battle with the first boss of SoulBlazer in the bonus dungeon, assuming you can collect all fifty Red Jewels to access it.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • If a Disney world is recycled in a subsequent installment, then it is expected that their villain will be too, since there is only so much room for its plot to expand and the games usually don't dabble in supplementary materials (say, TV series), if there is any. Out of the Disney villains who appear in the first game, the only one who does not make a return in a sequel is Clayton, and that is because Disney lost the license to Tarzan. Special mention goes to Hades, who is fought in nearly every game since his world also appears in nearly every game.
    • Sephiroth appears as a Superboss in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. The first one as one of the coliseum matches with no context except for one Final Mix exclusive cutscene, the latter game has him cameo during the 1000 Heartless War where he asks where Cloud is, vanishes, and then taunts Cloud a little bit later.
    • Axel, the only Organization XIII member who survives the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, returns as the prologue boss in Kingdom Hearts II. The Final Mix update adds the Absent Silhouette Superbosses, where you fight against the deceased members from CoM.
    • Xemnas and Young Xehanort invert the trope; they first appeared as Superbosses in Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, respectively, albeit with their identity hidden from the characters (and the audience).
    • Kingdom Hearts III:
      • The Keyblade War sequence consists of a string of Legacy Boss Battles, including Ansem Seeker of Darkness, seven members of the original Organization XIII (Larxene, Luxord, Marluxia, Saix, Xigbar, Xemnas, and Xion), Riku Replica, Vanitas, Master Xehanort, Terra-Xehanort, and Young Xehanort.
      • The Recurring Boss fights of the Demon Tower and Demon Tide, who were previously fought in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-.
      • The Schwarzgeist from Einhänder appears as a Superboss for the Gummi Ship, as that game's dev team was recruited to make the Gummi portions of the game.
  • Pokémon has a few examples:
    • Cynthia, Sinnoh's champion, appears as a Superboss in Pokémon Black and White.
    • Later, in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, you can face every Gym Leader and Champion from preceding games. Most of them are fought in the World Tournament, but some of the retired Gym leaders from Black And White, and N are fought in different areas, and only one Gym Leader is excluded (Koga, as he left to join the second Kanto Elite Four, and his daughter Janine took over as Gym Leader and is present instead).
    • Mewtwo appears in a cave that is off-limits until after the end of Pokémon X and Y.
    • To enter the Battle Tree in the postgame of Pokémon Sun and Moon, you have to do battle with either Red or Blue from the first generation. Within the Battle Tree, they, along with various other cameos you've encountered in the game like Colress or Grimsley, can appear as opponents at various streak milestones.
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has a new storyline where the player has to face the bosses of the villain teams from preceding games.
  • Metal Max 4's Downloadable Content Bosses are these. Including Noah and Ted Broiler.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC has a Superboss fight against the ghost of Karstaag, a Frost Giant slain by the Player Character during Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion.
  • In later versions of Final Fantasy starting with the Game Boy Advance version, there are bonus dungeons featuring four bosses each from Final Fantasy III, IV, V, and VI. There are no bosses from Final Fantasy II because that game is usually bundled with I.
  • Lashiec, the penultimate boss of Phantasy Star I, returns in Phantasy Star IV, complete with his Air Castle dungeon.
  • Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus features a boss battle against Mother Brain, a tribute to the end boss of Phantasy Star II. The battle's theme is even a hard-hitting techno remix of the final boss theme from PhSII.
  • The Gal Gryphon from Phantasy Star Online is brought back as a limited event boss in its sequel, Phantasy Star Online 2. Its moves, arena, and music are completely intact, and its strength is amped up to handle 12 players at once.
  • The Final Dungeon of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years has bosses from I to VI, with only a couple of them being optional. This was dropped in the later 3D remake, however.
  • Tales of Vesperia has previous Tales Series bosses fightable. Phantasia's Dhaos, Eternia's Shizel, Destiny's Barbatos, and Symphonia's Kratos are all opponents in the coliseum's 200-Man Melee.
  • In the Bonus Dungeon of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, you can fight the dark versions or Alvero, Yula, and Crowley, bosses from Atelier Iris 3.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has two optional fights against the Star Magician and the Dullahan, two of the strongest Superboss}es of the previous game, now even stronger.
  • The Updated Re-release of Bravely Default features optional bosses from Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light that are distributed via StreetPass.
  • Ozzie, Slash, and Flea, a group of recurring bosses from Chrono Trigger, can be found and fought in the Bend of Time on the sequel Chrono Cross. Since they're only found during a New Game Plus, they're harder than in the original game.
  • Dark Souls II has this in the form of The Old Dragonslayer, AKA Dragonslayer Ornstein and the Belfry Gargoyles (only this time you fight six of them, not two).
  • Dark Souls III, ups the ante with several bosses that are references to or copied whole-cloth from Dark Souls. Up to and including the Final Boss, a composite of 4 Previous Player Character Cameos (in phase 1) and Gwyn (in phase 2).
  • Dark Chronicle has the bonus dungeon Zelmite Mine, with the Big Bad, the Dark Genie, from the first game as the boss at the end.
  • Persona:
  • Both the Digital Devil Saga games does this with it's Superbosses. The first game features the Demi-fiend and the second game features the return of the Four Archangels, Seth, and Satan.
  • Final Fantasy IX has battles against the Four Fiends from the original Final Fantasy, though only one (Lich, though identified as "Earth Guardian" during the boss battle) is fought as a boss - the rest are Cutscene Boss battles and later fought as Degraded Boss encounters in Memoria (though Marilith's name is mistranslated as Maliris).
  • Final Fantasy XII: Some of the optional monster hunts pit you up against revamped boss characters from previous games, such as perennial favorite Gilgamesh or slimy lech Ultros/Orthros (here redesigned as a flan rather than an octopus).
  • A few DLC bosses in the Coliseum in Final Fantasy XIII-2 are these, including PuPu, Ultros and Typhon, Omega and Gilgamesh.
    • In the main game, all the optional bosses that can be fought in Archylte Steppe are either exactly the same as or functionally identical to Cie'th Stone mission bosses from Final Fantasy XIII - Ochu, Gigantuar, Immortal and Long Gui are taken from the previous game (though Long Gui is severely downgraded in terms of difficulty), while Yomi fights exactly the same way as Superboss Vercingetorix from the previous game.
  • Plenty of bosses in the Wild ARMs series appear in multiple games. Sometimes, they're important to the storyline, sometimes they're not. For the biggest example, you have the Superboss Ragu O Ragla, whom appears in all 5 installments.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, a lot of navis have played this role, being bosses in multiple games. Sometimes they're optional, sometimes they're not. The most notable examples are Gutsman, Protoman, and Bass.
  • Megaman Star Force, being made by the same people and a sequel to Battle Network, of course has some bosses who recur through the series.
  • Last Scenario and Exit Fate, being made by the same person, have an enemy called "Pestilence" that appears in both games.
  • The final boss of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, the Guardian Dragon, makes a comeback in Panzer Dragoon Saga as an earlier boss, as it was found and brought back by the Empire in an injured state but no less deadly.
  • Octopath Traveler II has a full-blown boss fight against Galdera, the True Final Boss from the first game.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 features a number of unique enemies who reappear from previous games, such as Immovable Gonzalez, who appeared in both the previous two installments. The expansion, Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed also includes a handful of these, notably; Dark Murakmor, a bird-like monster that perches on Colony 9's anti air battery 3 returns as Tenebrous Muramasa (Tenebrous being a synonym for Dark). Avalance Abassy, the first game's highest level Superboss returns as Fogdweller Abassy, where it reprises it's role, though only level 100, oppsed to Avalanche's level 120.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Dark Force isn't fought in-story until Attack of Darkforce, which this game is the prequel to, but he can be fought here as an optional Super Boss in the Boss Rush mode.
  • The original forms of Mandler is fought several times throughout the Terra Cresta series, including Sol Cresta. In both Terra Cresta II and Sol Cresta, it now has a One-Winged Angel form for the final battle.
  • Some bosses in Touhou Project show up in more than one game: Cirno (Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and Perfect Cherry Blossom), Yuyuko (Perfect Cherry Blossom and Ten Desires) and Sanae (Mountain of Faith and Subterranean Animism).

    Third-Person Shooter 

    Turn-Based Strategy 

    Rail Shooter 
  • If you take the alternate path on Corneria in Star Fox 64note , the boss fight is the Attack Carrier from the original Star Fox. Defeating it will take you to Sector Y instead of the Asteroid Field stage.

    Light Gun Game 
  • The Magician, the Final Boss of The House Of The Dead reappears as the penultimate (unique) boss of The House Of The Dead 2, in a form only slightly weaker than his incarnation in the previous game. He also appears as the final boss in The House of the Dead 4 Special.

    Survival Horror 

    Visual Novel 
  • Most Ace Attorney games start out with a case facing off against Winston Payne, nicknamed "Rookie Killer" due to his apparent record of defeating rookie attorneys. Despite this nickname, Payne's cases are by far the easiest in their respective games. Even when not facing off against Winston himself, his brother Gaspen Payne or their ancestor Taketsuchi Auchi take his place.