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No Final Boss for You

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"You may have sought the power of creation, but no matter how strong your conviction, a demon can never acquire a Reason. Whether or not you were aware of that, you purged the world of those who sympathized with the other philosophies of creation. Your body is brimming with strength, yet your soul is empty. I see before me the incarnation of bane itself. ...Now, there is no reason for this world to exist. I shall have to wait for the next opportunity. You are responsible for the death of this world. I cannot forgive such a transgression! Begone, demon! May you be cursed eternally! False seeker of power, you are evil incarnate!"

For one reason or another, you felt like replaying this game you like. You have just beaten That One Boss and now you're almost at the end of the game. OK, you did things differently this time around, like not waiting for your buddy Superfly, and you caused Atlantis to sink (you were pretty sure there wasn't anything important or powerful in there). But now you're about to face the final boss and beat the game agai- what trial? GUILTY? CREDITS?!

That's right, No Final Boss for You. It's when a game with a final boss denies you that final boss because you did something different. Sometimes, it's something bad — in which case being denied that closure is a Nonstandard Game Over. Other times, your "crime" is playing the game with training wheels on. But whatever the reason, you don't get to fight a final boss, hence the name.

If the game is way lenient enough, the final boss will instead be a Cutscene Boss.

Contrast with True Final Boss, which is a special final boss fight that occurs if you've done everything right.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Game 
  • The Good Cop endgame of True Crime: New York City has only a Cutscene Boss who's The Mole/Big Bad, in a subway chase that ends with him dying in a cutscene. In contrast, the Bad Cop endgame has a final punchout against your Jerkass boss Captain Navarro.
  • Astro Boy: Omega Factor stops you from seeing the last level (and thus the final battle) on the first playthrough ("Birth"), because Death Mask judges all robots on Earth as guilty and obliterates the lot of them — including Astro. Only by playing through "Rebirth", the second playthrough, can you complete the game.
  • The Bubble Bobble series:
  • If you play Mega Man X8 in Easy Mode, the game abruply skips to the credits after the fight with Sigma, with a teaser of the true final boss Lumine after the credits roll.
  • Playing as Almond in Noitu Love 2 locks you out of either Final Boss fights with Tango and Waltz, instead stopping after the boss of stage 5.
  • Some endings in Star Fox Command can lead to this, though the game does always end with a boss fight. The True Final Boss, Emperor Anglar's True Form, is only fought in four out of nine possible endings — making the original path's ending a Final Boss Preview.
  • In Vanguard Bandits, if your party's morale is low enough on the Kingdom Branch, you'll be sent to the Bad Ending and won't fight the normal final boss. This is because, without Bastion's friends having the will to back him up, Faulkner blasts him with Zulwarn's brainwashing wave, turning Bastion against his allies. The final battle becomes you cutting down your former allies.
  • If you used any continues in Xeno Crisis, the game ends on the room right before the final boss. The "elixirs" (Continues) were created by the Big Bad and it's full of nanomachines that lets him shut down the soldiers' nervous system on command.

    Action RPG 

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Streets of Rage 3 allows you to complete only the first five of its seven levels on Easy difficulty. Once you beat the boss of Level 5, it taunts you that you have not discovered the location of its hostage (the chief of police), and Dr. Zan admits to the rest of the group that they need to do better. This only applies to the North American version; the Japanese version will let you complete the entire game regardless of difficulty level.
  • In the Game Boy Advance version of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) game, you wouldn't able to access the final stages that take place in Foot Headquarters building and the Turtles' final battle with Shredder in the game if you play Easy Mode.

    Fighting Games 
  • In Tales of Souls, Soulcalibur III's Story Mode, if you lose a match, even once, the game will end when you beat Zasalamel/Abyss. If you don't lose (and know to make some specific decisions during the game), you will also face Olcadan and Night Terror (although if you lose to Olcadan you won't face Night Terror). This is of note because Namco has never done this before in one of their Fighting Games. Olcadan is hard to beat, but Night Terror is Nintendo Hard.
  • In Tech Romancer, there are very few routes in the branching storylines that don't result in a final confrontation between the characters and Big Bad Goldibus, but they do exist. Some substitute a rival character instead of Goldibus, some don't have the second half of the boss fight.
  • Played with in Godzilla Unleashed: Part of the plot involves strange, powerful crystals forming on Earth. At the conclusion of the story mode, SpaceGodzilla uses their power to manifest on Earth and assert himself the Final Boss. If, however, your monster spent all the previous levels corrupting itself by absorbing power from the crystals, you don't get to fight SpaceGodzilla. Instead, you essentially become the final boss as every other faction in the game teams up to take your mutated ass down, leading to a whole different game ending should you win.
  • In order to fight Akuma or Rugal, or their Shin/God incarnations in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium, you need fulfill certain conditions (i.e. getting a certain score and amount of Dramatic KOs, and encountering and beating one of the mid-bosses). Fail to do so, and your run will end after the tournament's final.
  • In the SNES version of Killer Instinct, you can only fight Eyedol if your difficulty level is set to 3+ stars. Playing with only one or two stars will end the game once you defeat Fulgore.
  • Bushido Blade: You have to meet multiple requirements to reach the end of the game. To reach the "first" final boss, you must defeat each opponent without breaking the rules of Bushido (don't attack the opponent while they are giving their opening speech, don't use any dirty tactics like throwing dirt in their face, don't attack while they are down, etc). If you break Bushido, you get a non-ending halfway through that basically tells you to try again but do it properly. If you defeat every opponent while following Bushido, you receive the normal ending for your character. To get the best ending, on top of following Bushido, you have to do some specific actions you might not even have realized were possible. First, instead of fighting your first opponent, you have to run away. Each arena has an exit you can run through, so you have to run through each arena while being chased by your opponent until you reach one arena with an open manhole that you have to jump into. After doing this, you must defeat every single opponent without getting hit once by anything. If you do all of this up to the normal final boss and win, you'll face one final opponent, which leads to the best ending.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Trauma Mode ending from Painkiller skips the game's final chapter (including the final boss) entirely, and instead gives you a genuinely happy ending where Daniel gets let into Heaven to reunite with his wife.
  • Gal*Gun: Double Peace locks you out of a final boss battle if you don't have a good enough relationship with your chosen love interest by the end of the second-to-last stage.

    Platform Games 
  • The video game based on Disney's Hercules, when played on easy mode, stops at Mt. Olympus, with setting free Zeus and a message to play on a higher setting in order to see the rest of it, with Herc's last run through the underworld and a final boss fight against Hades before the actual ending.
  • Oddworld does this sometimes. Both Munch Oddysee and Oddworld Soulstorm end early if you have bad Quarma, ie. you didn't save enough of whatever you're supposed to be saving.
  • In Pinobee, being too mean before you reach the final levels can get you an ending where Pinobee gives up in the middle of his quest and goes back home.
  • Downplayed with Sonic Frontiers. Right after you fight the Supreme Titan, you are taken directly to the Final Boss. If you're on Easy or Normal Difficulty, the game will skip directly to the Press X to Not Die Events. If you're playing on Hard Mode, however, you're allowed to fight the Final Boss though you can skip to the QTEs by switching Difficulties while fighting the Final Boss.
  • Playing on the Children difficulty in Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! omits several sections of the game, including the Final Boss.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Playing the Easy and Normal modes in Tetris Attack, on the VS. Story Mode: Easy takes Yoshi through 10 stages, from Lakitu to Naval Pirahna, but is followed by a premature happy wave from Yoshi and "CONGRATULATIONS" screen. Normal allows Yoshi to make it to Stage 11, and play against Kamek, but ends prematurely with a handy secret game tip. The only way to reach Bowser, witness the true ending and see the rainbow credits scene is to play the Hard Mode.

    Real-Time Strategy 

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Shin Megami Tensei series:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, you don't fight the disco ball in the sky, Kagutsuchi, in the demon ending. Why? Because demons are not allowed to create their own world, and the Demi-Fiend is demonic enough to fall under this rule.
    • In Devil Survivor, if you choose Yuzu's route, in which you escape the lockdown, you won't fight Babel, the final boss in other routes. Instead, you fight Amane and Izuna, who guard the lockdown as final bosses (said battle isn't that much easier, since angels on the field absorb your mana, and you don't have access to some powerful endgame demons from the other routes). Also, Day 7 isn't one big Boss Rush like on other routes, since it contains only two battles (including the final battle) on Yuzu's route. The ending isn't exactly happy though.
    • While you are still given a final boss, the Chaos route of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey doesn't allow you to face the super-tough final boss of the other two routes, Mem Aleph, because on this route you decided to ally with her. Instead, you're given a match with Zelenin in her exclusive-to-this-route Pillar Zelenin form.
      • Averted in Redux, where finishing the Womb of Grief storyline gives you the option to go for the Chaos+ Ending where you also fight Mem Aleph.
    • In Persona 3, if you kill Ryoji, the game will skip ahead to graduation day in March, with the rest of the cast going about their lives, oblivious to the world's impending destruction.
    • In Persona 4, if you fail to identify the true killer, the game will also skip ahead to the protagonist's departure in March, with the ending questioning whether you made the right decision.
    • In Persona 5, picking the wrong dialogue options after Sae's interrogation leads to a bad ending where the protagonist is killed. Also, choosing to ally with Yaldabaoth after his identity is revealed ends the game with the world not much better than before while the Phantom Thieves run rampant with enforcing changes of heart.
      • Persona 5 Royal: During the Third Semester you can accept Maruki's offer to keep living in his artificial reality, getting as a result a Bittersweet Ending without having to fight him as the final boss. Taking up the offer on the first opportunity (out of two) will also make you skip the majority of the Third Semester Palace and the boss fight against Sumire and Cendrillon.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you can choose to eschew the traditional Law, Neutral, and Chaos routes in favor of a fourth ending: the "Nothingness" ending. Defeating the sole boss of this route, if you can even call it one, results in an ending in which you destroy the entire universe. It's the only route in which you don't fight Merkabah or Lucifer.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, it's the Law and Chaos paths that lead to this trope. On Law, Lucifer becomes the Final Boss and immediately afterwards you get an ending similar to IV's Law ending, with Tokyo being sucked into a black hole and Mikado being ushered into an era of peace, though with the caveat that Flynn is still at large. On Chaos, with Merkabah already dead, you get an ending similar to IV's Chaos ending, in which Lucifer crowns you the new king of Tokyo and Mikado in a society where Might Makes Right and both cities run ablaze with eternal individual warfare, though he also tasks you with eventually defeating Flynn to complete the picture. Either way, you don't get to enter the Cosmic Egg, you don't get to kill the Divine Powers for real, and you don't get to fight the real Final Boss, YHVH.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei V, opting to destroy the Throne of God deprives you of the final battle against Lucifer, and you go straight to the ending and credits.
  • Should you make it to the end of Romancing Walker without a high enough relationship with anyone in your Battle Harem, you have no choice but to retreat and wait as the Final Boss destroys the universe. You can also trigger the same Nonstandard Game Over if you do have a high enough relationship with any of your partners, but decide to leave the Astral Plane anyway.
  • Kinder forces the player into obtaining the False End note , should at least one party member have died before the events in the apartments are completed. The only way to make it to the final boss is to manage to keep them alive, leading to the True End.
  • Dragon Quest VI: If you beat the superboss Nokturnus in less than 20 turns, he's so impressed by your strength that he goes and curb-stomps the Final Boss for you. You almost feel sorry for the poor bastard watching his every attack fail. While being strong enough to do this means beating the boss is relatively easy, the ending doesn't play out any differently if you beat Mortamor in 10 or 50 turns. Zigzagged, however, as you need to beat Mortamor proper in order to reach the postgame dungeon.
  • If you don't travel to the past and defeat Wiseman in a sidequest in Baten Kaitos Origins, then you won't get to fight Verus-Wiseman at the end of the game.
  • Lost Dimension features a mechanic in which the player has to try to figure out the traitors in their party and have one erased on each floor of the Big Bad's pillar. Reach the final floor without having correctly guessed any of the traitors and the final boss will simply have one of the traitors stab the main character, Sho.

  • In Tony Hawk's Underground, you reach the end of the game, and Eric Sparrow turns up and taunts the player character with the tape of their achievements from earlier in the game, which only Eric & the main character were witness to, before challenging the player to follow Eric's run across the entirety of the New Jersey level, whilst Eric is throwing things at them. Play through the game a second time, and as Eric pulls out the tape and starts taunting the main character, they just punch him out and take the tape. Different from other versions of the trope, this one plays out as a better ending than the original, because you manage to give Eric his just desserts without giving in to his goading. Also a subversion because it actually requires the proverbial final boss to be "fought" once before.

    Survival Horror 
  • In the New Game Plus of Haunting Ground, you can get a key that will let you get an early ending if you use it on the front gates. The ending is actually worth it to watch because you get to see the Big Bad get his comeuppance (and an old crippled man falling downstairs).
  • In Resident Evil, if you don't keep your partners alive to get the good ending, you'll miss out on the final Tyrant fight.

    Shoot 'Em Up 
  • The MSX version of Salamander denied the final stage and good ending to players who didn't put Gradius 2 in the second slot and pick up a crystal in one of the previous stages.
  • Touhou has a couple of these.
    • Play on Easy in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and you are flat-out refused stage 6 and the battle with the final boss.
    • On Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, you will not be able to fight the "true" culprit of the game's incidents if you so much as choose either Remilia or Patchouli. You'll still get an ending, but you'll ultimately not resolve the incident. You also cannot fight the culprit in the culprit's story mode, but, well...
    • In the fan game Azure Reflections, you can only face the final boss if you defeat all of the previous bosses without using continues or letting the time run out during any of their spell cards. If you fail either of these conditions, the game ends after the battle against Sakuya (or Satori), followed by hint screens that tell that player what to do to see the final stage.
  • In Hellsinker, there are several ways that you can get snubbed on fighting a final boss. The first and most obvious is if you used a continue. Others include failing Rex Cavalier's final attack or failing to bring the penultimate boss's Satisfaction gauge to at least 1 or above.
  • The seventh and final stage of Giga Wing, including the Final Bosses, requires a no-continue run up to the end of Stage 6. If you use a continue before then, you get locked into a Heroic Sacrifice Bittersweet Ending.
  • Crimzon Clover's Final Boss, Crimson Heart, requires a no-continue clear up to the final stage's second boss, Gorgoneion. Failing to meet this condition results in a screen encouraging you to do so next time and a Game Over. You also get the same result if you do make it to Crimson Heart but use a continue during its fight; if you don't, the real final battle begins.
  • Razing Storm's final stage and Final Boss require you to successfully complete the final segment of Stage 3, which has you defending the bridge you're standing on from a last-ditch Macross Missile Massacre by the giant mecha spider you've been fighting. If the bridge is destroyed, the game ends immediately, with no opportunity to continue. While Stage 4 is presented as a "bonus stage", the fact that you don't qualify for the high score table if you don't access and complete it makes the Stage 4 boss fall under this trope.
  • Raiden Fighters Jet:
    • Reaching Simulation Level 35 or 50 results in an ending after the stage ends that basically tells the player that they didn't qualify. Both of those levels have several possible requirements to unlock them, but the most common way of getting to them is through using continues.
    • Dying in Real Battle Phase 1 results in a bad ending when you complete the next stage, which tells you that you arrived too late to destroy the stolen nuclear bomber and ends with the sound of a city being nuked to pieces.
  • Stage F-C of R-Type Final has no Final Boss at the end, unlike the other two paths. Instead, you have to go through a Marathon Level with a single life and no continues.

    Visual Novel 
  • At the end of certain Power Pro-kun Pocket games, you might not fight the final boss for either bad or good reasons.
    • Fighting Gonda in 2 or Kameda and the Gundar Robo in 3 are events that might happen depending of your choices. The latter one, for example, can be forgiven and skipped by finishing the story with positive karma. Losing those fights triggers a bad ending with several penalties on your custom character.
    • You will fight the Pocket Heroes in 7 and Fukiko and Haibara in 8 if you pursue those games' true endings. Failing to encounter those battles might result in a neutral ending with no penalties for your custom character.
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, if the player goes through the route leading to the true ending, but hasn't seen the Safe Ending yet, the game will end on a cliffhanger before the player can go through Door 9 and solve the final puzzles.

    Western RPG  
  • In the Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark Expansion Pack, you can engineer this yourself: by obtaining a couple of very valuable pieces of information, you can end the Final Boss during the pre-battle banter.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has two final bosses: Ming Xiao and the Sheriff. Siding with the Kuei-jin or LaCroix, respectively, in the end freed you from fighting one of them. Too bad that their endings give you either a bad case of dead or an eternity spent on the ocean floor. In the good endings, you have to defeat both bosses.
  • There's actually two contenders for the final boss of Fallout (The Master and the Lieutenant) depending on whether you tackle the Cathedral or the Military Base last, but encounters with either of them can be skipped by sneaking in and blowing up the buildings they're in.
  • In Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters, there's an option to have the computer automatically fight battles for you, thus skipping them. If you have this activated when you engage in the final battle against the Sa-Matra, it will skip the battle and go straight to the ending cutscene.
  • If you play Undertale's normal path more than once in a row without seeing either of the other endings, the expected final boss will be skipped because Flowey knows when you warp reality and travel back in time, that he already lost in one timeline (and what you'd do immediately afterward), and that the other human souls can and will overpower his final boss form and whoop the tar out of him. Seeing one of the other endings allows a "True Reset", which wipes Flowey's memories; the neutral ending does not grant this option. There's still a final boss... it's just what would normally be the penultimate boss.
  • If you play Five Nights at Freddy's World on Normal difficultly, you won’t get to fight Scott. Instead, the final boss will give you a message and tell you to play on the hardest difficulty.

  • In Homestuck, the game Sburb has a number of variations depending on what the players do and don't do as they play. Every player gets a kernelsprite, a glowing orb that acts as a guide for the player and takes a different form depending on what they put in it. However, a rule the players don't know before playing is that at least one player must put something in their kernelsprite before they enter the game proper, because if they don't, their session's game will become unwinnable as the final boss fight cannot occur. One session's players failed to prototype their sprites, and their game would have come to nothing had they not been bailed out by another group.