The dark horse will bring glory to the jailor and his men
It's always much more sporting when there's families in the pit
And the madness of the crowd is in an epileptic fit
In The Coliseum
In The Coliseum
In The Coliseum tonight."
Arena, often in the first or second big city visitable, where the party can fight slightly more advanced monsters at their leisure. To make the fights more challenging sometimes certain parameters are added to the battle requirements (beat opponent in X seconds, cannot use special commands, etc.). The game usually forces the player to try their hand at it once. In theory, many games allow you to play as many battles as you want, although some are extremely difficult until much later in the game... unless you have a Disc-One Nuke.
As such an area could be prone to Level Grinding, some games do not give experience in the Monster Arena, although you might still earn items, an Evolving Attack, or a Limit Break this way. It also regularily houses a game's Bonus Boss. Of course, some games include it specifically as a place to level grind.
Sometimes this is taken in a completely different direction - the monster arena is actually an "arena for monsters"; in other words, your party doesn't fight in there - instead, a group of monsters allied to you does the fighting. Whether or not you have direct control over them varies with the game.
- Several Castlevania games feature this in addition to Boss Rush:
- Castlevania: Circle of the Moon has the Battle Arena, where you are to fight a LOT of enemies (most of them are beefed up versions of existing enemies) without MP. You can leave prematurely if it's too hard for you, but you only get the reward if you complete the entire thing successfully. Oh, and there's a Good Bad Bug to circumvent the no-MP thing...
- Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has the Nest of Evil, which is a slightly watered-down version of CotM's Battle Arena. Still not an easy feat though as there are boss fights for every sixth room, but at least you are allowed to go back to Save Point after each boss fight.
- The Large Cavern in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Do not enter without Volaticus and a large stock of Super Potions.
- Castlevania: Curse of Darkness feature two of these, with the second one being accessible only after you complete the first one.
- Steambot Chronicles has arenas in each of the major cities where players can throw down with other trotmobile riders, or bet on the outcome of fights, for prizes.
- There was an arena in most towns in Bomberman Tournament for fighting your Pokémon rip-offs against random opponents.
- In Castle Crashers, if you enter the arenas in single player mode, you fight against waves of enemies, in which you can unlock by completing the arena.
- Appears in God Hand, which has the "Fighting Arena", containing optional difficult fights for a one-time reward, with more fights unlocking as you proceed in the story.
- Guardian Heroes has one of these accessible early on in the game, with incredibly strong foes within.
- Bayonetta has the Lost Chapter, except that you'll be seeing the Recurring Boss Jeanne being constantly thrown in as mini-boss (for the record, you probably will fight said mini-boss almost 10 times during the entire run).
- From Devil May Cry 2 onwards, a feature known as "Bloody Palace" is included where one can choose to go up different levels of difficulty, facing hordes of common demons with bosses at regular intervals.
- Path of Exile:
- The "Coward's Trial" unique map plays like this, where you need to kill waves of continuously spawning enemies in a small arena for a duration over four "stages".
- Maven's Invitations are a combination of this and a Boss Rush, during which you have to fight multiple bosses at the same time in a large circular arena, all while the Maven empowers the bosses.
- The Wonderful 101 has Operation 101. It's an arena with endless waves of enemies coming at you. It takes about an hour to finish. During the ordeal, you end up fighting Laambo thrice, Walltha twice (at one point with Laambo), and for the final portion, Vorkenn again!
- The Colosseum in Final Fantasy XI is one of the second type of arena; you create pet monsters to fight it out in a process involving soul-draining cameras.
- World of Warcraft has the Argent Coliseum, a Player Versus Environment dungeon set up like an arena tournament. It houses both a 5-man and a raid instance.
- There are also several quest chains in which a party faces a sequence of strong monsters in an arena, as well as an arena segment in Blackrock Depths that pits you against one of several possible bosses.
- Mists of Pandaria introduced the Brawler's Guild, a secret arena in your faction's capital city that you can enter only if you have the appropriate item. The Guild allows you to challenge bosses that range from extremely simple to sadistically tough, getting progressively more difficult, and unlike most of the content in the game, you're completely on your own against them.
- Each world in Donkey Kong 64 has a large pad with K. Rool's face in it that warps the currently-controlled Kong into a small, circular battle arena with an unlimited number of enemies. The objective is to survive the gauntlet during a limited time, and the prize is a Crown (of which four are needed to clear the game).
- There are a number of Monster Arenas in the Kirby series of games, notably the Boss Rush from Kirby Super Star.
- The Ratchet & Clank series is full of these. Starting from the second game, we have:
- The Gladiator Games and Megacorp Games in Going Commando,
- Annihilation Nation in Up Your Arsenal,
- The entire fricking game in Deadlocked,
- The Imperial Fight Festival in Tools of Destruction,
- Ratchet's segments in Secret Agent Clank,
- The Argorian Battleplex in A Crack in Time,
- and the Destructapalooza in Into the Nexus.
- Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier have them. Kinda. They are in fact bar brawls in a pirate pub.
- In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, a battle arena makes up one half of the Subscription Stadium. (The other half is a racing minigame). In the arena, you can bet items, then send in one party member to fight individually against groups of monsters, with the goal of winning even better items. Several unique weapons and armor types can only be obtained this way. Also, if you visit the arena at night, you get to compete in a Tournament Arc instead.
- The Chrono Trigger remake for the DS has a special Monster Arena where you train a monster by sending it off into the eras you have reached. 8 minutes of game-play time later, it returns with its abilities enhanced or changed. At any time you can battle your monster against various Tiers - the harder the Tier, the better in game item you are given if you win.
- Chrono Cross also has the "arena for monsters" version. It also has the 'normal' version at the Bend of Time
- The Dragon Quest series features literal Monster Arenas; that is, ones where only monsters fight. In the early games, you just bet tokens on which monster you think will win a battle. Dragon Quest VIII re-introduces the ability to recruit monsters, so you can have a team of your own monsters fight through tournaments against teams lead by other characters, even unlocking the ability to summon your monster team for a few turns in any battle.
- Dungeon Siege II has an arena hidden below Aman'lu inn.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The Imperial Arena starts out as Gladiator Games where the player character can join a faction, then switches to pitting you against monsters once you become Grand Champion. Justified since no humanoid combatants can compete with you, so the Arena matron wants to capitalize on your fearsome reputation.
- The Arena from Fable and The Crucible from Fable II. Both of which are part of the main plot. Fable II also has The Colosseum, an optional quest where the player has to kill as many progressively harder monsters as they can within a time limit.
- Fallout: New Vegas has The Thorn, where the player can fight monsters of the wasteland or bet on fights. The player can also get a quest where they collect monster eggs for the chance to sleep with the owner of the arena as well as a unique weapon.
- Final Fantasy VI lets you gamble items in the Dragon's Neck Coliseum. This involves having one of your characters fighting a monster while acting randomly. Have fun.
- Battle Square from Final Fantasy VII makes you fight alone without healing between battles.
- Final Fantasy IX has a monster arena in Treno, housed in the local weapon shop. A series of four Elite Mook monsters can be fought here at various points in the game.
- The aptly named Monster Arena in Final Fantasy X. In addition to fighting monsters you've captured, you can also have the owner of the Arena create Bonus Bosses based on area or species, as well as Original Creation bosses that make the storyline endbosses look like utter pansies.
- Likewise, the Updated Re-release and No Export for You versions of Final Fantasy X-2 have Fiend Arena, where the girls or monsters you can have now in party can compete in various tournaments and unlock more monsters to play with, various accessories and of course Bonus Bosses.
- Though separate from the main game, both Golden Sun games feature a Battle Mode, accessed from the starting menu and found in the same room as the Sound Test, where players can pit three members of their party against those of a linked player or, more commonly, engage in sequential battle against random selections of every monster that save file had encountered during the game. Including bosses. You could stop between any battle, however only your longest streak of wins is recorded.
- The Imperial Arena in Jade Empire, it also has the Bonus Boss at the end.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- The Olympus Colosseum was entirely composed of this in Kingdom Hearts. It wasn't until Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories that it became a full-fledged world. Kingdom Hearts II adds the Hades Colosseum.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep also has the Mirage Arena, which is available from early in the game (it also has the obligatory Olympus visit, but all the tournaments are at Mirage).
- The Last Story has a Colosseum where the party can challenge numerous enemies, accessible from Lazulis City. As the game progresses, up to three tournaments can be unlocked, and the third one includes a difficult Bonus Boss (hence why it can only be accessed during the Playable Epilogue).
- MARDEK 2 has the optional (and somewhat hard to enter) Trilobyte Arena, which ends with the Quirky Miniboss Squad making a return. The third chapter has another one, along with shorter ones for each one of your party members.
- Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC lets Shepard test his/her mettle at the Armax Aresnal Arena, where s/he can fight alongside holographic companions (including those from previous games like Miranda and Wrex) against waves of various enemies, including themselves, for prizes.
- Some monsters in the Monster Hunter games and expansions are fought in a special Arena battlefield. There's also an underwater version to fight aquatic monsters in Tri and 3 Ultimate, a small version in Portable 3rd for Mini-Boss monsters, and a botanic version in 4 and 4 Ultimate for monsters that take advantage of the tree nets.
- Features prominently in Mount & Blade. Every city has one, and it is a place to get experience and money. Every enemy, there, however, is human.
- The Roguelike game Omega has a gladiatoral arena where gladiators can battle various opponents.
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer has golem arena (arena for monsters type), which you construct golem to fight using various parts you collected from places in the game. The final battle gives you the option of betting for the proprietors soul
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has the Glitz Pit, a wrestling ring. Its the main setting of Chapter 3.
- Pokémon. There's the Battle Towers in Crystal, Ruby and Sapphire, and Diamond and Pearl, the Battle Frontiers in Emerald, Platinum, and HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Battle Subway in Black and White, the Battle Maison in X and Y, and of course the Colosseums in Colosseum and Gale of Darkness. Out of these, only the Colosseums reward experience, though other rewards are given in the other facilities.
- In Rune Factory 2, in the second generation, you can build a Dojo. As you defeat monsters, you are given harder groups of monsters to fight, plus a reward for beating the last group. This provides a safe place to train, as defeat puts you in the clinic, rather than killing you (which normally happens outside of town). Unfortunately, you cannot get item drops from the monsters in the Dojo.
- It's the norm for each Tales Series game to have one of these, and it's generally where you'll encounter the cameo characters from previous Tales games.
- Solomon's trials in Shadow Hearts: Covenant and Lovecraft's pit fights in Shadow Hearts: From the New World offer some of the best items in the games as prizes.
- Star Ocean: The Last Hope has an arena with solo and party matches. It uses a ranking system where you can choose your opponent and after defeating enough opponents, you'll advance in rank and be able to challenge stronger foes. The solo arena is notable for the fact that each member of your party is ranked separately, meaning that if you plan on getting their battle trophies for becoming the arena champ, you'll inevitably have to have them fight each another at some point.
- The Colosseum from Tales of Symphonia had individual challenges (where you took on the enemies with one character) and party matches (with only three members). Most characters' best weapons and armour were earned in the Colosseum, though there they all still each get an Infinity +1 Sword from the Bonus Boss.
- Arenas appear in Wild ARMs and its remake, Alter Code F, as well as in Wild ARMs 3 and Wild ARMs 4.
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon has the Sotenbori Battle Arena, a late-game arena that is ideal for grinding experience.
- At the start of Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, your party is comprised of gladiator slaves, periodically forced to fight in a colosseum. You're soon given a way to escape, but the game allows you to grind in the colosseum as long as you want for gold and xp, first. Of course, it soon encourages you to get on with the story, by releasing overpowered monsters because, since most gladiators don't survive that long, you're clearly awesome enough to handle them.
- Fire Emblem:
- Colosseums throughout the series apparently only open their doors when there is a skirmish going on outside, as there is no way to use them between battles. While these colosseums did not exist in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, it is revealed in that game that King Ashnard determined the ranks of his army based on who could survive a fight against a feral Laguz, making it a better example of a Monster Arena.
- Fire Emblem Fates has arenas that can be constructed in the player's personal castle. Unlike previous entries, the arena can't be used to grind for experience; but units that participate won't die if they are beaten. Instead, players can gamble resources such as food and minerals: more consecutive victories reward the player with more resources.
- Front Mission had arena sections which could be visited in between missions. The setup was rather simple—pick an opponent, place your bets (with odds updating as you won or lost matches) and bring one of your own wanzers straight to the fight. There was no major strategy in terms of positioning—it was just a straight up slugfest, last man standing wins.
- The entire premise of Gladius.