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"Who gives a damn about you? Your new name is 'Mid-Boss'."
Laharl, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, giving his opinion of Vyers The Dark Adonis
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A Mini-Boss, Sub-Boss or Mid Boss is a distinct, generally unique, stronger-than-average monster that you encounter usually halfway to two-thirds through the level/dungeon/etc. It is noteworthy because it's tougher than any ordinary enemy (and isn't encountered under normal conditions like a Giant Mook), yet it still isn't as strong as the actual boss that awaits you at the end. In story terms, the mini-boss is often The Dragon to the level boss.

Some games would have worlds split up into levels, and the level bosses would be mid bosses with the world boss being the "proper" boss.

Recurring antagonists, such as the Goldfish Poop Gang and the Quirky Miniboss Squad, are often mini-bosses.

In the days when Nintendo Hard was the norm, this was especially sadistic. But as games got easier, such enemies were often just a little harder than the regular Mooks, and in some cases would just be Breather Bosses. But it's not always the case. Some lucky ones might even be a Wake-Up Call Boss or That One Boss.

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Fighting games like to use the "New Challenger" screen normally used for when a second player joins when a midboss arrives.

If there is one, the reward for defeating the mini-boss is usually a map of the level, the featured item or weapon of the dungeon (as in the case of The Legend of Zelda games), or a Plot Coupon, such as the Boss Key.

May return as a regular enemy later in the game. Of course, normal bosses may become sub-bosses later as well.

In RPGs and related game genres, mini-bosses are often significantly less evil than the regular bosses, and are usually not directly interested in whatever evil agenda the Big Bad and The Dragon have. They can be Hired Guns, Punch-Clock Villain, or maybe they are Just Following Orders. Since they are less evil than seriously bad guys and are more intelligent and sensible than the random mook, they can defect or even perform a Heel–Face Turn at some point in the plot when they realize they are not on the right side.

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Compare Smash Mook (and some often are), Elite Mooks and Disc-One Final Boss. Mini-Dungeon is a non-boss Sister Trope.

Compare and contrast Boss in Mook Clothing, which is comparable in power to this, but is skipped just as easily as an average mook. Contrast Final Boss, naturally.


Examples:

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    Action 
  • Contra: Being a Run-and-Gun series, the games are usually filled with minibosses, and defeating them will be necessary so the characters can proceed forward (or upward, depending on how the current level's screen is scrolling). Contra: Shattered Soldier, being a Boss Game, has at least three per level, some being tougher than the stage-end boss. This formula was borrowed by other games in this genre, such as Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier and Alien Hominid.
  • Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban has many minibosses, but their presence is somewhat undermined by the fact that the playable characters' Super Mode can defeat most of them with one punch.
  • Dynamite Dux has one of these in every stage. They tend to be pretty strange.
  • God Hand has a large amount; every stage has at least one, and most have two or more.
  • Mega Man games. They started appearing regularly in the third game (not counting Boss in Mook Clothing enemies such as Bigeyes).
    • Mega Man 8 also had a miniboss at the halfway point of half the levels (Sword Man, Clown Man, Aqua Man and Grenade Man).
    • Mega Man 11 is the first Mega Man (Classic) game to feature a Mini Boss for all eight Robot Master levels.
    • Mega Man X series: Usually 4 of the eight stages would have at least one.
    • Inverted in two stages of Mega Man ZX Advent, when the main boss is at the beginning of one level and the midboss of that level is at the end.
    • The Mega Man Zero series has them as a mainstay of each level.
    • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity:
      • Shadow Man is a recurring boss version of this trope. He shows up in Toad Man, Bright Man, and Pharaoh Man Robot Master stages.
      • Whopper and The Trio of Ring Rings in Ring Man's stage
      • Hogale and Enker in Dive Man's stage.
      • Quint and Kabatoncue in Drill Man's stage.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness has those three regular-sized dragons in the mansion level.
  • Streets of Rage 2 and 3 had loads of these, including Jack (a knife-wielding gangbanger), Electra (the lady with the whip), the Fat Boys, and Hakuyo (the Chinese martial artist). They would often reappear in later levels either as Degraded Midbosses or in conjuction with other Mid Bosses.
  • Splatoon has Octostriker, fought in one stage per world (minus the first) in Octo Valley mode. In each of its levels, it will periodically attack the player with a cyclone of ink, making the level more difficult. Only when the player meets the Octostriker in person, the battle will ensue. Also an example of Recurring Boss.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The NES game features Bebop as a miniboss halfway through the first major stage, who goes down fairly easily unlike Rocksteady, whom you have to fight in order to rescue April. The third NES game has a mini boss fight with Slash in the third level, while later on you twice battle a foot soldier riding a giant mouser.

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening set the tradition in itself and subsequent games in the series to have at least one miniboss per dungeon, often rewarding Link with the dungeon's flagship item upon victory. In comparison, the games before it only have regular bosses refought in Degraded Boss form in later dungeons. Link's Awakening itself also has a dungeon (Catfish's Maw) that shares the record for having the most mini-boss battles, with four in total (all of them against Master Stalfos); the other record holders are Thieves' Hideout in Ocarina of Timenote  and Fire Sanctuary in Skyward Swordnote 
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask uses a twofold formula: Each of the four temples have two minibosses, with the first guarding an arrow weapon and the second guarding the Boss Keys. Some sources and walkthroughs consider the second Eyegore in Stone Tower Temple a miniboss, but since it doesn't use the game's usual Battle Theme Music for minibosses, it's only a Boss in Mook Clothing enemy (same for the fiery Wizzrobe fought at an earlier point, as it's a Degraded Boss there).
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker employs this trope jointly with Degraded Boss. The majority of creatures fought for the first time as minibosses in the dungeons will eventually return as strong, yet regular enemies: Bokoblin (Forsaken Fortress), Moblin (Dragon Roost Cavern), Mothula (Forbidden Woods), Darknut (Tower of the Gods), Stalfos (Earth Temple), high-tier Wizzrobe (Wind Temple), and Mighty Darknut (the overworld area Hyrule Catle). The only exceptions are Phantom Ganon (Forsaken Fortress again), Big Octo and Cyclos (both in the Great Sea), as the former two are always fought in miniboss fashion, and the latter one is fought only once to begin with).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess gives many minibosses their own battle themes, a trend that was briefly seen in The Wind Waker (with dungeon minibosses playing one theme and the sea minibosses playing another) but is further developed here. Some minibosses do still adhere to one standard miniboss music, and two of them (Darknut and Aeralfos) are degraded to regular (yet still powerful) enemies later.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass features an odd approach, as its few mini-bosses (Jolene, a bigger-than-usual Eye Plant, a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere near Goron Island and a group of Phantoms in the Temple of the Ocean King) are all fought in the overworld except the latter one; the normal dungeons avert this trope, opting instead for regular enemy ambushes in certain rooms.
  • In Luigi's Mansion, some of the Portrait Ghosts that aren't area-ending bosses will put up a fight as Luigi tries to capture them; namely Melody Pianissima, Mr. Luggs, Nana, Henry and Orville, Sir Weston and Vincent Van Gore. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has the Poltergeists (each fought in a different level, and each of which requires a different strategy to be defeated) and the Three Sisters (fought together in one battle). Lastly, Luigi's Mansion 3 has Polterkitty, fought twice over the course of the game.
  • Metroid games often have mini-bosses, though their characteristics depend on each game:
    • Metroid 1: The instruction manual referred to the two bosses required to enter the final area (Kraid and Ridley) as "mini-bosses", which leaves Mother Brain as the only true boss in the game. In the remake Metroid: Zero Mission, all bosses other than final ones and those you need to kill to open a way to the final boss are considered minibosses; this means Kraid and Ridley are nominally upgraded to main bosses in this case.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus only has one regular boss (Arachnus), numerous mini-bosses (Metroid evolutions of increasing strength) and a final boss (Metroid Queen); the remake Metroid: Samus Returns adds two main bosses (Diggernaut and Proteus Ridley) to the mix.
    • Super Metroid has a total of ten bosses: Five main and five mini. The first four main ones (Kraid, Draygon, Phantoon, Ridley) guard the gateway to the Final Boss (Mother Brain) and play two major battle themes. The minibosses are less powerful, and use a less tense battle music.
    • In Metroid Prime Trilogy, bosses and mini-bosses are sorted by the rewards and outcomes upon beating them. In the original Metroid Prime, minibosses and actual bosses are easily distinquished: mini-bosses don't have a health bar and tend to become recurring enemies later on. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, both main bosses and mini-bosses have a healthbar, but the Energy Controller guardians are often considered to be main bosses and the item guardians mini-bosses (although in this case some of the most annoying fights are item guardians). Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has several mini-bosses, including corrupted hunters, that you fight about halfway through the zones and planets (the actual bosses are the Leviathan Guardians).
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters has the six antagonistic hunters (fought at various midpoints of the areas) and the Fire and Arctic Spawns. The main bosses are the Octoliths' protectors (Slench and Cretaphid) and Gorea.
  • La-Mulana has a great variety of minibosses scattered throughout the ruins. The Dimensional Corridor is packed with them, with 11 different minibosses to defeat before the area's Boss Battle.
  • Ōkami, being an action-adventure game that follows the footsteps of Zelda, has its own miniboss cast, though almost all of them are fought in the overworld instead of the dungeons. In order of appearance, they are Waka, the Satomi Canine Warriors, the Tube Foxes, Evil Rao, Oki, and Nagi. A Bandit Spider, almost a replica of the first boss, can also be fought three times (one in each of the Devil Gate grottos that house the very difficult Multi-Mook Melee matches). Lastly, judging from the tense music and the fact that they have to be hit more than once before giving up, the three big fish creatures that are captured at different points (Whopper, Cutlass Sword and Marlin) are minibosses as well.

    Fighting Game 
  • Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium announces one as follows: "W-W-Wait a sec! A new opponent has interrupted the tournament!". Depending on your score, you'll either face M. Bison or Geese Howard.
  • In the third Fatal Fury game, Yamazaki will step in to challenge you twice, once midway and once at the end of the arcade ladder. The first battle is a one-round fight and he's not too strong but in the second bout, the gloves come off and you take him to the full length of the match. Succeed and you move onto the Jin brothers, Chonshu and (provided you do well enough against Chonshu) Chonrei.
  • The King of Fighters will sometimes have a character challenge you from nowhere, interrupting the normal flow. These characters usually fight alone (unlike the usual team battle), but usually have increased defense to balance it. In the console version of KOF XI, your actions up to that point determined the midboss, and if you beat them, you unlocked them.
  • Mortal Kombat, traditionally, includes a particularly challenging sub-boss right before the final boss in arcade mode. Those who fill the role include:
    • Goro fills this role in Mortal Kombat and the home versions of Mortal Kombat 4, then split the role of second-to-last opponent in Mortal Kombat 9.
    • Kintaro takes over in Mortal Kombat II, then became the other possible penultimate opponent in 9.
    • Motaro takes the role to new levels of SNK Boss frustration in Mortal Kombat 3 and its updates.
    • In the arcade version of 4, it was Quan Chi. It made sense from a storyline perspective, but he was a selectable character from the very start already.
    • Moloch is next to take the role in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
    • Mortal Kombat: Deception changes things up a bit by having the tag team of Noob Saibot and Smoke. In the PS2 and Xbox versions, you had to unlock them, but on the Gamecube and PSP, they were available right away.
    • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon picks randomly from seven different Mighty Glacier characters on the PS2 and Xbox. On the Wii, two normal fighters, Khameleon, who was only available on the Wii, and Scorpion, who's just there because he's the Ensemble Dark Horse, get added into the selection.
    • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has Darkseid or Shao Kahn as your penultimate opponent. If you fight only opponents from either Mortal Kombat or DC, then you will fight their representative Mighty Glacier, but if you fight opponents from both sides, the game picks at random.
    • In addition to Goro and Kintaro, Shang Tsung is always your eighth opponent. The twist is that he can access some AI-only moves.
  • Playstation All Stars Battle Royale pits the player's chosen character against their designated rival in the penultimate battle of Story Mode (for example, Jak and Daxter versus Ratchet and Clank, Nathan Drake versus Sly Cooper, and so on; this also applies the other way around). The fight is preceded by a special cutscene where the characters converse, but the dialogue always ends in a fight. It is necessary to defeat the rival in a 3-life duel to win. The next (and last) fight is against the mode's main boss, Polygon Man.
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3 had you fight a character relevant to your own character's story halfway through the game; this has shown up in other Fighting Games and are often referred to as "story battles". This returns in Street Fighter IV, happening just before the final battle in each character's story mode.
  • In Super Smash Bros., minibosses are fought in the single-player modes:
    • In Super Smash Bros. 64 on 1P Game, the Fighting Polygon Team is found right before Master Hand.
    • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, there's the Fighting Wire Frame team as well as the Metal Bros. (Metal Mario and Metal Luigi) in Adventure Mode. Cassic Mode has just a fight against the metal version of any character.
    • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, minibosses are very plentiful in the Subspace Emissary, and include dark versions of Diddy, Peach, Zelda and (during The Great Maze) all remaining characters that appeared up to that point. Strangely, Brawl is also the first game in the series whose Classic Mode averts this trope (the second is Ultimate), since the designated Quirky Miniboss Squad (the Fighting Alloys) are only fought in the Multi Mook Brawl modes.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U: In the 3DS instalment, the Fighting Mii Team, while optional, are always on one of the penultimate paths before the final battle with Master Hand. In the Wii U instalment, the Fighting Mii Team is always fought right before Master Hand.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: While no miniboss is present in Classic Mode, they're plentiful in Adventure Mode (World of Light). Namely, they're the main playable characters who are now under the influence of Galeem; defeating them allows you to recruit them (defeating them while playing Spirit roles doesn't count, as the rewards you get in those fights are the Spirits themselves only; thus, they're standard Smash fights with Spirit-based gimmicks).
  • Tekken does this in an interesting way. In arcade mode (from T5:DR onward), opponents are essentially ghost replay data, that the game has programmed in to act like CPU opponents, complete with an increasing rank system as you go along, that determines how sophisticated the ghost data is (in terms of combo execution, blocking, reversals etc). However, when you get to central storyline sub-bosses (like Tekken 6's Jin, or Tekken Tag 2's Jun, and to a lesser extent T5:DR's Devil Jin) you'll notice their rank will shoot up regardless of what yours is at the time, making them far more skilled in previous mentioned mechanics, which can really take you by surprise if you're not ready for it. Their single attacks aren't powerful, but it's the way the A.I strings the attacks together that chips off your health. They are of course only sub bosses to the cheap boss bastards that come afterwards (Tekken 5:DR's Jinpachi, Tekken 6's Azazel, Tekken Tag 2's Unknown) who rely on the typical SNK Boss overpowered, durable, limited moveset tactic, that ignores the ghost data system.

    Hack and Slash 
  • In Bayonetta, many first encounters with enemies that are stronger than the average angel count. By the end of the game, however, they become regular enemies and even some of the previous bosses become minibosses as well. The game suggests that they're different from the original bosses by giving them a different color scheme and an English name while the original versions had Latin ones.
  • Bujingai has several with demonic "Overlords" of Tears, Sin, Despair, and Pain.
  • Devil May Cry:
  • Diablo has unique monsters which often play this role.
  • MadWorld has several different ones for different areas; Big Bull Crocker, Yee Fung, Tengu, Death Blade, Big Long Driller, and the Cyber Slashers in order of appearance. They have surprisingly high health, a variety of attacks, and the ability to get into Power Struggles with Jack. Naturally, you tangle with nearly all of them in the stage leading up to the final boss (Death Blade and the Cyber Slashers, for whatever reason, weren't in on that action). In that stage, the Quirky Mini-Boss Rush turns Yee Fung into a Mook Master, has Tengu flanked by dozens of ninjas, and finally has two Bulls and a Driller.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has five, and they are fought through the optional revenge missions. They are the ones who kill Bishop (Travis's friend) after the start of the game.
  • Vindictus has so very many. Sometimes you even get Dual Minibosses.

    Party Game 
  • Mario Party 9 and 10 both have a signature miniboss per board in Story Mode, which is fought in the halfway point. In party mode, players can choose which one to fight regardless of the board they're playing. Notably, one of the minibosses, Bowser Jr., can also be fought in up to 10 different minigames, one of which is triggered by player choice when he or she lands upon the Bowser Jr. space.

    Platformer 
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, you can tell an opponent is a miniboss if it's just a group of special enemies, and note that they still lurk on their own in entire levels, like the main bosses. In Banjo-Tooie, every single level is guarded by a full-fledged boss, while Klungo serves as the resident miniboss fought during key moments of the game. In Nuts and Bolts, there are almost no bosses or minibosses due to the different gameplay concepts.
  • Castlevania has them in some of the linear games.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, the first two mini-bosses (a pitchfork and a wild bull) are traditionally found at a mid point of their residing levels, but the rest (such as groups of fiery imps or cavemen, for example) are fought right before the actual bosses.
  • In Donkey Kong 64, several of them consists of groups of regular enemies, though there's also a giant spider and a big evil toy.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Adventure set the tradition in itself and subsequent games to have a bunch of recurring minibosses, though one of them (Poppy Bros Sr.) debuted in the very first game. In the games with a Boss Rush mode, they appear again in groups to make up for the lack of power compared to a normal boss. Some of them provide hard-to-come-by abilities such as Cook.
    • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards didn't have unique mini-bosses, but it did have larger versions of common enemies serving as the mini-bosses of the levels, and one of these would eventually be fleshed out into a proper mini-boss in the later games.
    • The series as a whole also has Kracko Jr., which is an easier version of Kracko, a boss (and is usually fought in the same level), and also debuted in the first game. On occassion, however, Kracko Jr was part of a Sequential Boss fight with Kracko.
  • Purple features demons acting as mini-bosses you can encounter randomly while stepping on blank nodes on the stage select screen. Sometimes two, as well. In World 6, they appear as tough enemies instead.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles features two levels (Acts) per thematic area (Zone). In earlier games, there would only be a boss at the end of the Zone, but in S3&K, there is also a sub-boss at the end of each first Act. They are distinct from other bosses, in that they are autonomous, not controlled by Eggman/EggRobo. An interesting thing about the Sonic 3 mini-bosses is that if the game is locked on to Sonic & Knuckles, they use the mini-boss music from S&K instead of Sonic 3's mini-boss music. A Good Bad Bug reveals that the S&K mini-boss music is actually on the Sonic 3 cartridge.
    • Sonic Adventure has some of the character fights. You only do them during story mode, and they are pretty easy; there's also the E-100 robots from the same game. In subsequent games, namely Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, the Sonic Rush Series, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic and the Black Knight, they are classed as normal bosses, and some of them can be a lot harder to defeat.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the final level has a trio of firefly badniks named Hotaru.
    • Sonic Colors has a handful, like Big Chaser and the giant eyeball in Asteroid Coaster.
  • Super Mario Bros. examples:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2 set the tradition in itself and subsequent 2D Mario games to have a miniboss that is frequently fought over the course of the adventure, so they also qualify as Recurring Bosses. Birdo fits the role here, appearing in almost every level and in up to three variations: The pink version (who shoots one egg at a time), the green and gray versions (who shoot two-to-three fireballs at once), and the red version (who alternates between both types of projectiles). The eggs can be thrown back at them, but since the fireballs obviously can't you have to throw Mushroom Blocks instead. The game has an aditional miniboss appearing in the final level, right before the battle against the Final Boss Wart: The previously-harmless Mask Gate, who has to be hit three times with Mushroom Blocks as it tries to attack you so its mouth opens and you can enter.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 limits the appearance of minibosses to Fortresses, which is carried over in future 2D games, and for this game in particular the Fortresses are guarded by Boom-Boom. He appears in up to two versions: One in which he jumps higher and runs faster when it's hit, and one in which he flies after receiving the first hit. In the last world, Dark Land, Boom Boom also serves as the last opponent in the Naval, Airship and second Tank courses, as those would usually be guarded by the Koopalings (the game's main bosses) but by that point they've all been defeated already.
    • Super Mario World features Reznor, a team of four prehistoric-themed rhinoceri who ride a wooden, spinning wheel. They cannot be stomped on, so Mario and Luigi have instead to hit their platforms from below (as if they were hitting normal blocks) to defeat them; it's necessary to hop onto one of the wheel's platforms as soon as possible and continue hitting the rhinoceri from there, because the bridge over the lava will start shattering shortly after the battle begins. The game also has a second miniboss in the form of Big Boo, who guards a secret exit in Donut Secret House (itself a secret level in Donut Plains) and has to be defeated by throwing blue blocks at him.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and its first sequel (Yoshi's Island DS) distinguish themselves from the mainline Mario platformers in that every world has its own miniboss, instead of the game having just one appearing every time it can. Yoshi's New Island has Kamek appear in all mid-world fortresses, while Yoshi's Woolly World has two: Big Montgomery for the odd-numbered worlds, and Knot-Wing the Koopa for the even-numbered ones.
    • New Super Mario Bros.: The series has usually one miniboss per game, guarding the Tower levels, but variations have also occured. Bowser Jr. fits the role in the original New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS, Reznor does in New Super Mario Bros. 2, Boom Boom does in New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U (he's replaced by Sumo Bro in one case, and by Kamek in another), and the Koopalings themselves in New Super Mario Bros. Wii are fought in this fashion in the Tower levels (facing them a second time in the Castles, with a tougher battlefield and/or improved attacks, counts as proper boss battles; as a final side note, Kamek is fought this way in the Tower level of World 8).
    • Super Mario 64 has the King Mook enemies that don't have a background boss theme or even a pre-battle dialogue (Big Boo, the Big Bullies, Mr. I, etc.), while the ones with boss music and dialogue (Big Bob-Omb, Bowser, Eyerok, etc.) are obviously bosses.
    • Super Mario Sunshine has Bowser Jr. in his Shadow Mario persona, fought in the seventh episode of every world; since the worlds' main bosses are always found and faced in prior episodes, this results in an inversion of the trope (especially as the event flag that unlocks the final stage lies in defeating Shadow Mario, not the main bosses). Other minibosses present in the game include the Polluted Piranha Plant (fought five times across Bianco Hills and Delfino Plaza), the Plungelos (in Gelato Beach) and Phantamanta (in Sirena Beach).
    • Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel both have lots of minibosses, which are the bosses of the galaxies that precede the Grand Star stages (where the actual bosses reside).
    • In Super Mario 3D World, minibosses aren't seen until World 6, which introduces Prince Bully. The subsequent worlds have Degraded Bosses who will act as enemy blockades, as will Queen Hisstocrat (the female version of Hisstocrat) near the end of the game.
    • Super Mario Odyssey has the Broodals, which are fought halfway through the Kingdoms' corresponding story arcs, in a fashion similar to the minibosses from the 2D games. In the penultimate level, they realize they're individually no match for Mario, so they join forces as they pilot the Robobrood to face him in a full-fledged boss battle.
    • Wario World: Though most Wario Land games (including the original) avert this trope by having only main bosses, this specific game has two minibosses per world, each located at the end of one of the two associated levels; once both are defeated, the world's boss can be challenged.
    • The ROM hack Mario Adventure has a Boom-Boom (sometimes more than one) at the end of almost every level.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin:
    • In Pikmin 2, the Burrowing Snagrets are degraded to this in the Snagret Hole, since the main boss there is the more powerful and dangerous Pileated Snagret. This also occurs to Emperor Bulblax in The Cavern of Chaos (in fact, you now fight three smaller specimens in the same floor), whose main boss is Segmented Crawbster.
    • Pikmin 3 has the Shaggy Long Legs, Burrowing Snagret and the Bug-Eyed Crawmad, fought at different points in the game.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Anvil of Dawn has Messengers, who function as field commanders for the Big Bad. You fight about seven throughout the game. There's also a tougher, recolored Wither Priest guarding the key to the Castellan's hall.
  • Dark Souls has quite a few of these, most prominently are the Black Knights. Mini-bosses in Dark Souls are much tougher than normal enemies and don't respawn, but don't have their health bar constantly on-screen or trap you in a Boss Arena as you're fighting them. Some of them turn up as regular enemies later.
  • Dark Souls II has several powerful enemies that don't respawn, such as the Heide Knights, the Giant Basilisk in the Shaded Ruins, and the Guardian Dragons in the Dragon Aerie. The tutorial zone Things Betwixt is also home to several non-respawning Ogres which are way too powerful for a brand new character to handle.
  • Dark Souls III is home to numerous mid-tier enemies who don't respawn. For example, the entrances to the Cathedral of the Deep and Farron Keep are protected by pairs of non-respawning opponents to serve as something of a Beef Gate: a pair wielding a greatclub and a curved sword for the Keep, and a fast-moving swordsman and a berserker with an axe for the Cathedral.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, this is spoofed with Recurring Boss Vyers, known to himself as "The Dark Adonis", gets stuck with the nickname "Mid-Boss". This is the characters calling him a minor obstacle, not an actual description of his effects on the game or story. (He's actually the final boss of three of the four chapters in which he is fought.)
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: The final area in the main quest and each of the main quests of the expansions features one of these.
    • About halfway through Dagoth Ur's Red Mountain citadel, you'll face Dagoth Gilvoth, one of Dagoth Ur's Ash Vampire minions. (The six other Ash Vampires in the game are each the boss of their own stronghold.)
    • In Tribunal, near the end of Sotha Sil's Clockwork City, you'll have to battle the Imperfect, a giant fabricant which hits hard and comes with lightning attacks.
    • In Bloodmoon, you'll face several of these as your fellow competitors inside Hircine's glacial hunting grounds.
  • Etrian Odyssey: Minibosses are relatively rare in the series (note that the F.O.E. are Boss in Mook Clothing opponents, as they simply lurk in the strata and it's almost never mandatory to defeat them), but they exist.
    • In the first game, it is necessary to defeat the Queen Ant in the second floor of the Azure Rainforest in order to progress in that stratum (the actual boss is Corotrangul, found in the fifth floor). This is repeated in the fifth stratum (Lost Shinjuku), where the player's party has to defeat Ren and Tlachga before they can proceed further (the main boss is Etreant, the monster form of Visil who is revealed to be the game's Big Bad). Lastly, during the postgame, to reach the chamber of the Yggdrasil Core (the game's True Final Boss) in Claret Hollows, it is necessary to defeat three dragons that are duplicated versions of the three Elemental Dragons, and given the role to protect the Core. Luckily, they're all weaker than the originals and, in the remake Millenium Girl, it is not necessary to fight them as they have been relocated.
    • Heroes of Lagaard has Artelinde ahd Wihelm, fought in a Dual Boss fight in the last floor of Frozen Grounds, shortly after they reveal their darker side (though things get better after the battle); shortly afterwards, in that same floor, you fight the proper boss of the stratum (Scylla). The game also has the Juggernaut, a strong guardian located in Heavenly Keep and one of the most powerful creations of the dungeon's main boss (the Overlord, who is also the game's Final Boss).
    • In Legends of the Titan, there's the first Bloodbear found in Lush Woodlands, eventually-recruitable characters like Kibegami and Logre, Prince Baldur, and sidequest-related opponents like Baboon King and Sand Leviathan; all of them use the theme "Unrest - The End of Raging Winds" (a remixed version of the ocean battle theme in The Drowned City).
    • In Beyond the Myth, the presence of minibosses is limited to sidequests and stratum events, and most of them are just souped-up versions of enemies or F.O.E.; examples include Luring Phantom, Hurt Crustacean and Angry Mole Lord.
    • In Nexus, the last two returning strata to appear in the game (both located in the Isle of Bluffs) have one each: Salamander (originally from Heroes of Lagaard) in the Golden Lair, and Basilisk (of Fafnir Knight fame) in the Sandy Barrens. The Queen Ant from the first game, as well as the Juggernaut from the second and Chameleon King from the fourth, return as well (they now guard respectively three mini-dungeons).
  • The Final Fantasy games have some.
    • The Sealed Cave from Final Fantasy IV is in large part that way due to the Trapdoor minibosses. Yes, plural - almost every door is a Trapdoor.
    • The four elemental worlds in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest would have two lesser dungeon bosses before the final crystal guardians.
  • The Kingdom Hearts games have each a few. The Shadow Sora miniboss fight in the Neverland level from the first game is infamous for being much, MUCH harder than the final boss for the level (Captain Hook).
  • The Legend of Dragoon is a rare instance of the sub bosses are often as powerful, if not more than the normal bosses. The two bosses you fight in the volcano during Disc 1 come to mind: Virage and the Flame Bird. The Virage is fought part-way through the level, and serves to prove why they were so feared in ages past. Then you fight the Flame Bird (which most people had forgotten about, after the trauma of the Virage battle), and it turns out to have twice as much HP, but only half the fight.
  • The Monster Hunter games have a few groups of large monsters that serve this role: Ursid Fanged Beasts (Arzuros, Lagombi and Volvidon) Theropod Bird Wyverns (Velocidrome, Gendrome, Iodrome, Giadrome, Great Jaggi, Great Wroggi, Great Baggi and Great Maccao), and certain Neopterons (Vespoid Queen, male Seltas and its Desert subspecies) and Fanged Wyverns (Great Jagras, Great Girros). There's also King Shakalaka, a Lynian, who was introduced in Freedom Unite. These monsters have a lower HP than others, are considered to have a threat level of only three stars (the lowest for a large monster), and have a soft-paced battle theme that differs from those of the main areas where they're found; and since they're the lowest-ranked large monsters there's always a Background Music Override upon the appearance of another monster. In the multi-monster quests with two or three monsters, one of these miniboss beasts will appear first and, upon hunt or capture, will be followed by a larger monster.
  • Mother 3. Plenty of them if we consider the chapter bosses as the only true bosses. The Reconstructed Caribou fought in Chapter 1 is perhaps the most famous example as it serves as an Establishing Series Moment for the game as far as the enemies the characters will be encountering is concerned.
  • In Panzer Dragoon Saga enemies have a coloured symbol next to their name which tells the player what type of enemy it is (Mutant, Pure Blood, Black Fleet, Imperial Fleet) and what strength the opponent is for this point in the game. A yellow coloured symbol tells the player that this boss is only a mini boss. Mini bosses tend to lean more towards being simple puzzle bosses as opposed to red-symboled main bosses which tend to be strong and punish mistakes.
  • Paper Mario: The series has plenty of minibosses. They are usually either a giant version of a normally encountered enemy or a group of foes flanked by a spell-casting support unit.
  • In Persona 4, several dungeons have Mini-Boss shadows around half-way through them, which also double as a case of Boss in Mook Clothing.
  • In Persona 5, each Palace has two or more mini-bosses, with different elemental affinities than their regular counterparts and with a red and/or golden overworld model. The encounters after a new party member awakens their Persona count as mini-bosses as well, though they are significantly less difficult and all have a weakness to the new member's element. Royal adds a further mini-boss guarding the last Will Seed for every Palace.
  • The Pokémon series has The Rival play this role. While the first two generations (Johto and Kanto) as well as the fourth (Sinnoh) have only one each, the others have two or more rivals (in the case of Hoenn and Kalos, one of them will be the playable character you didn't choose). In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, there are Regice, Regirock and Registeel to Regigigas.
  • Undertale has one for each of the first four stages - Napstablook for the Ruins, Greater Dog for Snowdin, Mad Dummy for Waterfall, and Muffet for Hotland. All of them but the Greater Dog have their own versions of the same theme. Muffet, however, borders on being a regular boss (albeit a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere) due to being able to (a) change your heart color - something generally reserved for major bosses, and (b) absolutely destroy you.
  • Wild ARMs: Beginning in Wild ARMs 3, the series began having mini-bosses literally pop out of nowhere - the party will be shown walking around an empty corridor, one person says "Something's coming!" (or words to that effect), and boom, you're fighting a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.

    Shoot 'Em Up 
  • The Darius series has Sub Bosses as tradition.
    • Particularly notable are the Sub Bosses of Darius Gaiden; each sub-boss has a spherical orb, usually on the top of it; if you destroy just that part, you can collect the orb, causing the sub-boss to pull a Heel–Face Turn and fight for you! Though, it slowly explodes over time and eventually dies. For those who play this game for score, clearing the game nets a huge bonus for each sub-boss captured.
    • In G-Darius, your ship has the ability to capture all regular enemies enemies and make them fight for you, including Mini-Bosses, although the difference this time around is that you need to first shoot off the gold-colored shielding with normal shots before they can be captured. Once captured, they stick around until they take too much hits from the other enemies, and each one has a special attack they used against you, useable by inputting a set of joystick motions, much like in Fighting Games. And yes, like in the previous game, keeping them alive until to the end of the stage is worth a large score bonus, although they can be utilized to cause a long-lasting Smart Bomb explosion or a stronger-than-normal Wave-Motion Gun blast.
  • Dogyuun has at least one per level. The first one also counts as a Fake Ultimate Mook, as you face it right after the first wave of enemies!
  • Einhänder has a mini-boss signaling the halfway point for most of the levels. In the first level for example, while you storm through the capital city of the Earth Empire, the police unleash a new weapon to stop you called the Greif. After you destroy it, the police eventually decide the only thing they can do is back off and escort you like a low speed chase right up to the Drache, the first level's boss.
  • In Raiden and Raiden 2, many levels have pairs of minibosses. For instance, in Raiden stage 6 there's the two big bombers that come up behind you, and in Raiden 2 stage 2 there's the two amphibious tanks.
  • Star Fox, Star Fox 64, and Star Fox: Assault sometimes have a stronger enemy appear about halfway through the level, although you don't have to defeat them to progress. A straight example would be the Venom Guardians' second fights (the first fights are full fledged bosses) in the original: Phantron, the Galactic Riders, and the Great Commander, but which you fight depends on which route you pick. In Star Fox 64, either the last Star Wolf fight or the Golemech on either Venom Route qualify as this. Command also has some minibosses guarding motherships in the harder levels. The aforementioned Star Wolf collectively act as a full-fledged boss fight in Fortuna/Fichina as well.
  • Touhou
    • The series is very fond of midbosses. With the exception of the occasional final stage, every stage has one. Sometimes more, though this is rare. The thing is, every boss has to have a unique character design and profile, so dedicated midbosses are rare. Which means that it's usually the same character as the stage's actual boss, even if this makes no sense from a story perspective. Other times you get stage bosses midbossing for other characters (sometimes between games!), though this is usually explained.
    • Phantasmagoria of Flower View has a recurring midboss. Phantasmagoria of Flower View is a versus shooter, and as such doesn't have stages. Said character, Lily White, is also a midboss in all other games where she appears, outside endings. Two other unique (but not officially named) fairies, commonly known as Daiyousei and Koushi/Rengeteki are also recurring fairy midbosses, the former appearing in the Windows games, while the latter showed up in the PC-98 series.
    • In many games there's one fairy somewhere who looks like every other fairy, has no name, but is very tough and powerful by fairy standards.

    Simulation 
  • The Ace Combat games usually have this in the form of either one-time-appearance enemies (such as post-mission update enemies) or the antagonist ace squadrons, such as Yellow Squadron and Strigon Team; the former becomes a Degraded Boss by 04's final mission though.
  • In Wing Commander, named Kilrathi aces such as Bhurak "Starkiller" nar Caxki and Bakhtosh "Baron Redclaw" nar Kiranka in the first game, or Kur Human-Killer in the second, qualify as minibosses.

    Survival Horror 
  • Dead Space
    • The Brute Necromorph, which moves fast, hits hard, and blocks Isaac's path forward periodically until it's dealt with. It rarely spawns, and when it does, it usually mirrors a boss encounter.
    • The first encounter with the Infector Necromorph is similar to a boss fight. It is encountered at the end of Chapter 3, it's in a large room, and, unlike in following games, a normal Infector generates Enhanced Slashers, which you hadn't seen yet and will take quite a bit of work to take down.
  • Resident Evil 4 has a few (with Dr. Salvador doubling as a Mascot Mook) and are often fought in order to get an important item, or gain access to an area.


    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Lots. There are many entities summoned at one point or another called bosses, but since everything that is going on has the godmodder in the background, mini-boss is a better term.

 
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The only two fought are in The Milkman Conspiracy in this way.

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