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Proactive Boss

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Some videogame bosses are content to wait at the very end of a dungeon for the heroes to challenge them. Not these.

Proactive Bosses will use every dirty trick they know to slow down, harass, or even outright kill the player off well before the real battle officially starts; they will personally break bridges or set off traps until they're left with no choice but to fight.

Compare "Get Back Here!" Boss (this only happens during the battle) and Final Boss Preview when this is done over the course of an entire game (as opposed to a single dungeon). If a boss actually battles you several times in a row, it can be a Recurring Bossnote , Sequential Bossnote , or Cowardly Bossnote , depending on the context.


Video Game Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Bully: Before fighting Gary, Jimmy Hopkins is forced to give chase up to the roof of Bullworth Academy. All the while, Gary throws bricks at him when crossing thin scaffolding, and tries to tip carts filled with cinderblocks on top of him when he climbs up ladders.
  • God of War II: The game begins with the Colossus of Rhodes coming to life and attacking Kratos. The Colossus chases him throughout the level, becoming an obstacle or a hazard at points when Kratos is navigating the level or fighting other enemies. The level ends with Kratos and the Colossus finally squaring off, where Kratos defeats it.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
    • The City in the Sky is guarded by a giant wyvern Argorok, who at one point smashes through a stone bridge leading further inside (fortunately, there are alternate methods of crossing involving hookshots and helicopter plants). The actual battle takes place on the highest rooftop of the city.
    • While the Skull Kid periodically sends puppet fighters after you, he also inverts the trope by opening up other sections of the dungeon when he goes through them.

    Party Games 
  • Mario Party DS: Each of the bosses does double duty as a board hazard for the board that leads up to them, doing something to harass the players when they land on certain Event Spaces.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War II: The second level of Retribution's campaign sees a Baneblade superheavy tank chasing your forces, blasting through cover and obstacles until you escape to the next area. It's finally defeated as a Cutscene Boss after you kill all the targeting cogitators (in the heaviest-defended area) controlling nearby turrets, causing them to fire on the tank ad taking it out.
  • Pikmin 2: The main gimmick of the cave Submerged Castle is that, in every floor, the Waterwraith will eventually arrive and begin chasing the Captains and the Pikmin, and during the first four floors it's invincible because the only type of Pikmin that can weaken it (Purple) doesn't appear until the fifth floor, where the monster can finally be challenged in a boss battle.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls II: The Duke's Dear Freja will appear in New Game Plus at the cliff just outside the cave leading to the church containing the Prowling Magus. Unlike the Pursuer, she'll abandon the fight and flee after a short time, and you'll get to face her again in her proper boss arena.
    • Dark Souls III: In the second DLC, The Ringed City, Darkeater Midir will impede your progress during your trek through the mountainside after the swamp section, flying above you and spewing large trails of fire. Once you approach the Church of Filianore, he'll set himself up at a nearby cliff and keep spewing fire to block you; you can either pass by him or make him fall off the cliff with enough damage and a riposte. The latter option is required to unlock his proper Bonus Boss fight, which takes place in a hidden area.
  • Golden Sun:
    • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: A rare case in that it's not done to the player: Agatio and Karst trigger a trap that causes the previous game's PCs Garet and Mia to fall down a hole, leaving only Isaac and Ivan to fight. They're defeated by the time you reach them (no matter how high you leveled them up previously), and the true boss fight begins.
    • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: On entering the Phantasmal Bog, the first thing you'll notice is the giant purple-aura'ed salamander glaring at you from the water. The second is when it tries to drown you by crushing the part of the stepping stone you're standing on. The entire point of the dungeon is to get to a different area in the same room where there's enough space to fight it on land.
  • Undertale:
    • Downplayed with Papyrus, who certainly wants to be this by confronting the player with traps and puzzles; however, the puzzles are all hilariously easy and he doesn't actually try to harm you until his boss fight.
    • Throughout Waterfall, you'll encounter Undyne a few times before her boss fight at the end of that area. The first time has you hiding from her, the second and third times have you running away from her while she attacks you with spears, and the fourth time has her about to start the fight early before getting interrupted by Monster Kid. At one point she even breaks a bridge, leaving you temporarily unable to backtrack until you find a helpful bird.
    • Subverted with Mettaton, who appears to try to kill you during his shows while you're travelling through Hotland, only for his failed attempts to turn out to be staged as a way for Alphys to "save" you from him both to make her feel good and as a way to convince you to stay underground. His boss fight is him deciding he's had enough of playing along.

  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 11: Three pile driver robots called the "Impact Brothers" charge you throughout Impact Man's stage. Once you reach the end of the stage, the Impact Brothers combine into Impact Man. This is the first time a Robot Master doesn't even wait until the Boss Room to screw with the Blue Bomber.
    • Mega Man X:
      • Mega Man X4: Jet Stingray attacks you halfway through his stage.
      • Mega Man X6 has Illumina, who attacks you throughout Infinity Mijinion's stage.
      • Mega Man X8: Gigavolt Man-o-war's level is a big chase against him, with you on your Ride Chaser and him flying around the city area, occasionally leaving bomb traps or exploiting tight turns to slow you down. Shoot him enough with your Ride Chaser and he'll go down to a platform, initiating the proper boss battle.
  • Mighty No. 9: Most of the enemy Mighty Numbers will mess with Beck through the entirety of their stages in some way or another, though Beck is unable to actually attack them until he corners them at the end. Of particular notes are Countershade, a Cold Sniper who takes shots at Beck every several seconds in his stage; and Aviator, who watches Beck like a TV news reporter and interferes with him whenever things look too safe for Beck.
  • Rayman: Mr. Sax, Mr. Stone, and Mr. Dark all attack you early into their respective areas.
  • Sonic Forces: Infinite just shows up whenever he feels like it, regardless of if it's time for a boss battle or not. Capital City, the 16th stage in the game, sees a lot of him popping up to warp spacetime, then disappearing again to cause trouble later.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Traditionally, Bowser spits fireballs at you from afar in the levels you encounter him in before the actual fight.

    Tower Defense 


Other Examples:

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Count Strahd von Zarovich from the classic I6 Ravenloft module was one of the first (if not the first) such bosses in D&D, showing up in different corners of his eponymous castle to manipulate the heroes (if not to try killing them outright). The module was highly praised at the time for its intelligent and proactive villain, as most D&D modules until then (1983) had been little more than straightforward Dungeon Crawls where all encounters were either nailed to their rooms or completely random.
  • Pathfinder: In the adventure path Rasputin Must Die, the titular mad monk uses Astral Projection magic to harass the heroes as they attempt to gain access to his extraplanar sanctum.


Films — Animated