Follow TV Tropes


Pivotal Boss

Go To

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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • The great guardian in Eternal Darkness. All three.
  • 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.
  • 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 2. Also Hades in God Of War 3 in the final stage of the fight.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Mega Man X7
    • The Mini-Boss of Tornado Tonion's level, a Giant Enemy Crab.
    • The second phase against Sigma is styled like this, but with ascending platforms instead of a circular arena.
  • Metroid:
    • 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.
  • In Harry the Handsome Executive, Dr. Ubermann spins in place on his swivel chair.
  • The Orochi in Ōkami fights like this.
  • Vol Opt's second form in Phantasy Star Online did this.
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley does this while throwing bombs at the player.
  • Chthon from Quake I.
  • 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 the PlayStation 1 Spider-Man game, who grows to an enormous size for the fight. In the Nintendo 64/Dreamcast Spider-Man adaptions of this game, Mysterio is also this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Ragnaros, C'thun, Kil'jaedan, 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.
  • 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 an Eye Beam 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.
  • Half of the fight with Ra's Al Gul in Batman: Arkham City. The other half is fighting his mooks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All of the boss fights in The Cat in the Hat
  • 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.
  • Ys 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: