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Pivotal Boss

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Occasionally, developers will create a boss fight in which the boss is so massive that there is no way for it to move around. Rule of Cool only helps so much.

They solve this problem by sticking it in the middle of the arena. The player character will have to run about the arena while the enormous boss will pivot to face the character, and occasionally attack. Common attacks for the boss include at least one way for it to reduce the player's running room. A Sub-Trope of Stationary Boss.

Not to be confused with Climax Boss, who's pivotal to the plot.



  • Visser Three, the final and only boss in Animorphs: Shattered Reality.
  • Targitzan, Chilly Willy and Chilli Billy in Banjo-Tooie.
  • Half of the fight with Ra's Al Gul in Batman: Arkham City. The other half is fighting his mooks.
  • The Factory boss in Beyond Good & Evil The way to win is to actually get yourself and your partner on opposite sides of it, and attack it that way.
  • The first boss in Brütal Legend is an example, it's a giant worm that sits in the center of the boss arena and tries to eat you as you race around in your car.
  • All of the boss fights in The Cat in the Hat.
  • In Chantelise, the Electrojelly stays in the center of the room and swings its tentacles out at you while you run around it, and around the room to collect crystals to fuel your magic attacks at it and cut at the tentacles.
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  • The first boss in Conduit 2 is the Leviathan, a gigantic sea serpent who turns to attack the deep-ocean platform you're on.
  • Belial's gigantic One-Winged Angel form in Diablo III.
  • Scientific General Zoster in Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows becomes this using a robotic suit.
  • Squirt from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! is a rare 2D example, as he sits in the middle of the screen and spins vertically as he shoots water to try to knock you (as Ellie) off the screen.
  • The Devil Gundam from Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2. When you begin fighting it, it's just sitting there doing nothing, with an occasional attack from its Combat Tentacles. When you hurt it, it starts doling out massively-damaging short-range attacks that make it a necessity for you to destroy its Combat Tentacles to stun it; thing is, said Combat Tentacles aggressively bash you away when close and fire Eye Beams when far. When it Turns Red, it uproots its Combat Tentacles which promptly burrow into the ground and start to chase you around the battlefield, hiding invincible underneath a Wormsign until they erupt from directly beneath you.
  • Queen Slug-for-a-Butt from Earthworm Jim; Jim rides a platform that rotates around her as he shoots at her.
  • The great guardian in Eternal Darkness. All three.
  • The second encounter of Zephyros from Evo Land is this. Doesn't help that they have many, many, stages.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Air Buster, the second major Boss in the original Final Fantasy VII. The party surrounds it on two fronts (Cloud on one end, Barret and Tifa on the other) and Air Buster will swivel around to choose its target. Naturally, it's best to time it that the characters wait until Air Buster has its back turned on them to deal higher damage.
    • The Spectral Keeper in Final Fantasy X, fought right after finishing the Zanarkand Cloister of Trials. It's recommended to utilize the mechanic unique to this battle where the party can teleport around the magic circles surrounding Spectral Keeper, both to avoid its attacks as well as its Glyph Mine traps.
    • Yiazmat is the biggest enemy in Final Fantasy XII, but unlike the other giant-wyrm bosses (ie. Fafnir, Behemoth King, Hellwyrm) is in an arena barely bigger than him. Playing this trope dead-straight, if you run around to the back of him, he can turn to face you faster than should be physically possible. Hell Wyrm has the misfortune of living inside a massive room inside an underground dungeon filled with small hallways, meaning that he physically cannot leave the room. And you walk all the way down here to kill the poor bastard.
  • The Ganbare Goemon series had a few in its 3D iterations:
    • Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon has one as the first boss encounter, a large robot head that breathed fire and could use lasers from its neck. A later boss, a ghost robot, acts like this, but is capable of lunging at the player occasionally.
    • Goemon's Great Adventure has two: the first is a brainwashing machine attached to Impact's head, which rains down bombs, breaths fire, swings its tail, and even tries to get Impact to punch you! The second is a gigantic mermaid that you damage by cutting ropes to break loose traps that hit its head. It fires spheres and energy rings at you, and can even dive under the arena to electrify the water.
  • 9 out of the 11 bosses in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy are like this, although most of them except the Genie are stuck in the back of the arena rather than the center.
  • Clotho in God of War II. Also Hades in God of War III in the final stage of the fight.
  • In Harry the Handsome Executive, Dr. Ubermann spins in place on his swivel chair.
  • A Hat in Time has the Snatcher, who spends most of his boss battle in the center of the arena attacking Hat Kid by throwing exploding potions, summoning pillars of flame, and spinning his minions around the limited space. This changes in the second portion of the battle, when the Snatcher will periodically leave the center to attack more directly, leaving himself open to counterattack in turn.
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Robot is an inversion - you run around on a relatively small platform and it moves around you.
  • Despite being much smaller than most examples, the Angel Smile from Killer7 is pivotal.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Ursula's giant form in the first game has her constantly turning to face the player; she also unleashes a circle of damaging Thunder magic from time to time.
    • Maleficent's dragon form in Kingdom Hearts and Re:Chain of Memories. You typically stay in one general area to attack her head while avoiding whatever attacks she throws at you, but she will force you to move when she uses her fire breath to cover the portion of the ground where you're standing.
    • Chernabog is stuck in his mountain but also turns to face the player in the first game, and unleashes periodic fire attacks that surround him.
    • The MCP fight in Kingdom Hearts II is odd about this: There are two bosses, Sark and the MCP, and the one that you can kill permanently is pivotal.
  • Klonoa has many of these, due to the games' 2½D gameplay:
    • Subverted with Rongo Lango. He actually fights you on the ring-shaped arena, while Joka stays in the middle, just jumping furiously, not attacking you.
    • Evil Pamela and Evil Seadoph usually stay within their ring, but you can only attack them when Pamela jumps across the ring.
    • Played straight with Joka, who runs around inside the ring in his normal form, but can also assume a giant One-Winged Angel form. In this form, he stays still aside from rotating to follow Klonoa and attack him with his bladelike arms.
    • Ghadius is a weird example. He is technically fought inside a ring-shaped arena, but in this case, the ring is vertical.
    • Played straight with Nahatomb's first and third phases in Door to Phantomile. Nahatomb is too big to fit on a normal boss arena, so you instead fight on a ring around him. For the second phase, Klonoa gets sucked inside Nahatomb and fights a smaller spirit inside Nahatomb as a Background Boss.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Jumbo Champloon in Little King's Story.
  • Magic Carpet 2 had such an ending boss. You only saw him from the waist up, in the center of his mountain fortress. Due to the game mechanics, immobility meant he was unable to finish you off unless you happened to build your castle close to where he appeared.
  • The final fight against Smith in The Matrix: Path of Neo is this. He can only turn to follow you when he's not throwing things or grabbing at you.
  • Mega Man X7
    • The Mini-Boss of Tornado Tonion's level, a Giant Enemy Crab.
    • Soldier Stonekong is fought in a circular arena, however, he spends a few attacks hanging on the tree in the center.
    • The second phase against Sigma is styled like this, but with ascending platforms instead of a circular arena.
  • A partial example in Mega Man X8 with the Yellow Brontes, the giant Mechaniloid Mini-Boss of Earthrock Trilobyte's level. The second time you fight it is in a warehouse, and you are on an elevated platform surrounding the Brontes in a right angle shape, manipulating a crane using the controls on either end of the pathway to destroy it.
  • Metroid:
    • In Metroid, Ridley's movement is limited to jumping in place and turning around if you get behind him.
    • Parasite Queen and Flaahgra in Metroid Prime both fight Samus this way. The former is encased within a large incubating capsule, and the latter is a plant harvested in the Sunchamber area of Chozo Ruins.
    • Amorbis in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes can upgrade into one, and Emperor Ing stays on the center of its battlefield during the first two phases.
    • Except for one attack, Nightmare in Metroid: Other M does this. The first time you face him.
  • Ninja Gaiden's resident giant tentacle monster is one of these. You fight it several times throughout the game.
  • Ōkami: Orochi stays at all times in the center of his battlefield, within the crater where he was sealed 100 years before the events of the game. All of his heads have long necks, though, so he doesn't need to move away from his position anyway to harass Amaterasu.
  • Vol Opt's second form in Phantasy Star Online did this.
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley does this while throwing bombs at the player.
  • Psychonauts 2: The fight with the Truheltia Memonstria has the boss in the center of a whirlpool while Raz circles around them on the Psi Portal boat.
  • Chthon from Quake I.
  • Crushto in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction sits in the middle of the arena and tries to shoot you, as well as use his breath to push you off of the platform.
  • The second and third phases of the battle against the Final Boss, Reflux (who grows gigantic after sticking the Leptys scepter on his back), in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc.
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero:
    • Wilbur is a rare example coming from a 2D side-scrolling platformer.
    • The Tinkerbrain late in the same game follows the same pattern. You have to exploit this by forcing it to turn too far in one direction to expose its weak points.
  • Sepulcher in Silent Hill: Homecoming works this way.
  • A few of Eggman's robots in the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games do this.
    • The Egg Golem from Sonic Adventure 2 was the first example in a 3D Sonic title.
    • The Ghost Kraken from Sonic Rush Adventure is in one place, and constantly turns to face you. There's more though.
  • Mysterio in Spider-Man (2000), who grows to an enormous size for the fight.
  • Splatoon has the Dreaded Octonozzle, a rusty can-shaped machine that launches balls of ink from the center of the arena, where it is surrounded by a moat of Octarian ink. After you destroy the tentacle suckers holding it up, it falls down stunned and exposes its weak point, a large tentacle on top, for you to jump on and attack.
  • The first fight against Red in Spyro: A Hero's Tail. He can both expand and decrease the size of the arena by using either ice magic (to expand it) or fire magic (to melt the ice).
  • Super Mario Bros. has various examples, including:
    • Bouldergeist, King Kaliente, Tarantox and Undergrunt Gunner in Super Mario Galaxy. In the case of Tarantox, the surrounding area where Mario can move is not horizontal, but vertical (the gameplay is still the same due to the bending gravity, though).
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Megahammer and Squizzard in the main game and King Kaliente and Bouldergeist in the Boss Rush. The Boomsday Machine is a subversion; it starts out like this, but becomes mobile when it Turns Red.
    • Bowser in Super Mario Sunshine stays in his hot tub while breathing fire towards Mario. Meanwhile, Bowser Jr. does move around as he operates a floating vehicle that shoots Bullet Bills.
    • During regular battles in Paper Mario: The Origami King, Paper Mario is in the center of a circular arena, and will be surrounded by enemies on all sides. Bosses, however, take Paper Mario's position in the arena, and the player must navigate Paper Mario around it, trying to find the means to attack the Boss.
  • One level of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Xbox game did this with the final boss of the segment. You were running around on catwalks throwing Exploding Barrels at it as it swiped at you with its arms.
  • In Threads of Fate, this is played with in the first form of the final boss. Although the boss is human sized, they levitate around the middle of a ring shaped platform while a minion on the platform harasses you, with the camera following the player from the outside, making the fight functionally this trope.
  • The second-to-last boss of Viewtiful Joe 2, spending most of the fight on the sun while you run across an asteroid field surrounding him.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Ragnaros, C'thun, Kil'jaeden and Yogg-Saron all work this way. Kologarn, Sinestra, and Kromog all use Kil'jaeden's model as a base.
    • Ragnaros' revamp subverts this: mostly he sits in a volcano just like his old incarnation. But in heroic mode, if you sufficiently piss him off, he gets up and starts walking around. And murders the shit out of everybody.
    • Outside of raid bosses there are several dungeon bosses that also match this trope.
  • Ys
    • The eponymous Weather-Control Machine Final Boss of Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim.
    • Origin has "Gelaldy, The Murderous Construct" the giant boss that is fought in the middle of a lava arena surrounded by a circular plataform, which the playable character stands. Only the upper half of the giant is exposed and he will either attack with his Giant Hands of Doom or try to destroy the plataform, causing you to drop on the lava.
    • VIII Lacrimosa has "Magamandra, Demon Tree of the Hidden Jungle". It stays in the center of the arena and attacks you with its branches, roots and fruits.