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Recurring Boss

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Barry: [Lucia] knew when [the Tyrant] was nearby!
Leon: Barry, they're always nearby. You got lucky when you only had to fight yours TWICE. Did you hear about Jill's? She lost count, Barry. She. Lost. Count.
Opendork's Let's Play of Resident Evil Gaiden

A boss who you have to face several times (usually three) over the course of the game, though not in back-to-back battles.

There's a few ways it can go:

  • The boss flees when defeated, only to come back later (presumably after some Level Grinding).
  • The boss is unbeatable in their first appearance(s), and the players must either flee or survive their attacks; they can only be fought back and defeated in the final showdown.
  • The player(s) actually kill the boss, only for them to be resurrected later on by some means and come back for another go. (This isn't much different from facing distinct bosses, but may help refine the scope of the story.)
  • The nature of the conflict doesn't require a lethal outcome.
  • The boss is actually part of a species or a rank, so multiple versions of them can exist.

For the first two cases, the same tricks and tactics will usually work to defeat the boss each time — though frequently, the player will not be able to execute the required trick in the early appearances (especially if it's a Hopeless Boss Fight). Alternatively, the boss may announce during a later confrontation that he has gained an immunity to whatever beat him last time.


Any version can turn out to be the Final Boss in their most powerful form, depending on how the boss relates to the surrounding plot; alternately, the decisive final battle against this boss may be held back as a Bonus Boss.

In action games, they often take the form of an Implacable Man. He may end up suffering a Rasputinian Death.

Compare Goldfish Poop Gang, a comic-relief antagonist (or group of antagonists) that show up repeatedly and are often Recurring Bosses. Compare Legacy Boss Battle, a boss that recurs throughout multiple installments of a series rather than a single game. Compare Degraded Boss, which is when a boss recurs, but are no longer a boss when they do. Varying Tactics Boss is a Sub-Trope in which the boss character has a completely new strategy every time they show up.



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    Action Adventure 
  • The DomZ Serpent in Beyond Good & Evil. While the method of beating it remains the same each time, its movement pattern changes each time to reflect the mobility of your overworld vehicle. It's also one of the animals you need to photograph, but if you don't nab it in a fight, it isn't lost for good—the skeletal remains of one serpent are found in a cave, and you can photograph them.
  • Balrog in Cave Story. He's mainly a comic relief character, but he is a challenge in battle. Hell, three of the first four boss fights are against Balrog.
  • Tablet of Graffiti Kingdom turns up in the middle of every other stage until he kills his father and becomes the final boss.
  • In inFAMOUS: Second Son, protagonist Delsin Rowe faces DUP boss, Brooke Augustine, four times over the course of the game, not including cut scenes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: All bosses except the final one return at several later points, although only two do so as more than minibosses.
      • Level 4: Manhandla, boss of the third dungeon, returns as a miniboss.
      • Level 5: Three Dodongos show up for a miniboss battle, where a single one served as the final boss of the second dungeon.
      • Level 6: The two-headed dragon boss of the fourth dungeon, Gleeok, shows up as a miniboss sporting a third head.
      • Level 7: The fifth dungeon's boss, Digdogger, returns for a miniboss battle, followed later on by another trio of Dodongos. Later still, another Digdogger appears, and this one splits into three during the battle. Finally, the boss of this level is Aquamentus, the boss of the first dungeon.
      • Level 8: A total of three Manhandlas appear in this dungeon, as do two Gohmas which, due to the Law of Chromatic Superiority, require three times as many hits to defeat as the one that served as the final boss of the sixth dungeon. The final boss is a four-headed Gleeok, which first appeared in two-headed form as the boss of Level 4.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
      • Armos Knight is the Dungeon Boss of the Eastern Palace, and he returns as the first Mini-Boss of Ganon's Tower. In that battle, the arena is a Frictionless Ice floor.
      • The trio of Lanmolas are the bosses of the Desert Palace and the second boss for Ganon's Tower. They are accompanied by a stone statue that shoots lasers at Link.
      • Moldorm is the boss of the Tower of Hera, and the third and last miniboss of Ganon's Tower. The layout of the arena is different, and falling would potentially land Link in some spikes.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening:
      • A Stalfos Mini-Boss in the Catfish's Maw dungeon is the first variety. After you've defeated him once, he seems to become terrified of you and flees. At one point he steals the dungeon treasure from its chest and leaves a note in its place. You have to search out three more rooms like the one he was originally fought in and take him on three more times; the first two end the same way, with him fleeing in terror, before the final fight has him finally decide to fight to the end. Once you beat him the fourth time he drops the dungeon treasure.
      • Several other minibosses, including Hinox, Rover, the Dodongo Snakes and Hydrosoar, are encountered as multiple separate instances in several dungeons in the game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: Vire appears as the Mini-Boss of the sixth dungeon in both games. He flees the first time, but when you import your completed game from one to the other, he dies the second time.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: King Bulblin, an overworld Mini-Boss. You have four encounters with the hulking brute throughout the game. The first two are horseback battles, while the last two are on foot. After he is beaten the final time, he decides that he admires anyone tough enough to defeat him so consistently, and he simply hands you a key and walks off.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has you fighting both Ghirahim and The Imprisoned three times each.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Yuga is fought three times. Once in the Eastern Palace, then a second time in Hyrule Castle, and then a third time at the end of the game.
  • No Straight Roads: DK West is fought in optional encounters three times throughout the game, and takes this to its logical extreme by always initiating the battle in the exact same back alley. He ultimately fits the fourth variety, once Mayday convinces him and Zuke to reconcile.
  • Ōkami: You fight Orochi three times, first time in the present, second time in the past, and the third and final time in the Ark of Yamato. Now technically, Orochi's first and third battles are (chronologically) after Orochi's first defeat (his second battle — in the past). Another example is the Bandit Spider: An optional creature very similar to the Spider Queen (the game's first boss) fought three separate times in hidden grottos where Multi-Mook Melee fights also take place.
  • Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny has Gogandantess "Greatest Swordsman of all the Demons", who hounds the player and challenges him to a dual 3 times before you can finally shut him up.
  • Tomb Raider: Pierre DuPont shows up frequently in the Greece/Rome levels to shoot at Lara. He cannot be killed until his last appearance; before that he can take an infinite number of bullets. Lara, on the other hand, cannot, so you can only run away.
  • The Wonderful 101: Prince Vorkken is fought four times throughout the game. Always taking place on a flying ship.
  • Yakuza: The series has a few of these, though Yakuza Kiwami easily has the best example with Goro Majima, who can easily be fought dozens of times over the course of the game, to the point that the fights are part of their own mechanic (called "Majima Everywhere"). Yakuza 0 has Daisuke Kuze, whom Kiryu crosses paths and fists with five times over the course of the game.

    Action Game 
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Every boss in the original Devil May Cry is of the first variety, fought exactly three times. Most bosses are the first type, except for the final boss, who is the third type (and his fights are one after the other). The Evil Counterpart Nelo Angelo's fights are spaced out evenly along the plot, while the other three bosses each have their three fights in relatively short (though not immediate) succession. In addition, Nightmare has an attack which forces you to fight weaker versions of killed bosses, allowing them to recur more than three times. Devil May Cry 3 also has Vergil and, the Special Edition, Jester, who you fight three times each.
    • Devil May Cry 2 has Phantom reappear at about the same point in both Dante and Lucia's missions as well.
    • A puzzle in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening requires the player to defeat bosses from earlier in the game to advance. The puzzle element is choosing which bosses to fight, and navigating the area's Alien Geometries. No explanation is offered as to how these bosses came to be alive again. Presumably a demon did it.
    • In Devil May Cry 5, you have to fight Big Bad Urizen five times: in the Prologue and Missions 8, 10, 12, and 17. Then he merges with V to become Vergil once again, and Vergil goes at you twice more. Counting all of his separate forms (Nelo Angelo, Vergil, and Urizen), Vergil is the most recurrent boss in the series, with 13 fights.
  • In God Hand almost every boss in the game is fought at least twice. The game also features arena challenges, many of whom involve fighting bosses from the main story. (Including yourself.)
  • Catwoman in LEGO Batman. She appears several times in one level, and each time you more or less only have to hit her once.
  • Ryu's Doppelganger from Ninja Gaiden III for the NES is fought twice. Once at the end of Act V and again in Act VI.
  • In P.N.03, Sonnenblume first appears in a Hopeless Boss Fight at the end of the first mission, then in beatable form at the end of the third. Orchidee, the robo-centipede thing, and Loewenzahn, the doom-buggy, both gain new attacks, Orchidee goes Spider Tank One-Winged Angel after its centipede form is defeated the second time, while Loewenzahn II becomes a robotic phoenix.
  • Octostriker in Splatoon is fought four times in the story mode. The levels where it appears are numbered last in their respective worlds, preceding the boss levels.
  • Montross from Star Wars: Bounty Hunter.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • With the exceptions of Shockwave, Kickback, and Skywarp, every Decepticon faced as a boss in Transformers: Devastation is fought at least twice.

    Driving Game 

    Fighting Game 
  • Several in Soul Calibur III's Chronicles of the Sword mode, all of the first variety. Girardot and Abelia are fought twice near the beginning and the end of the story, whereas characters like Hyle and Chester are fought three times, and Luna is fought four times before joining you as an 11th-Hour Superpower.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Big Sisters from BioShock 2 were originally going to be a single enemy that runs off instead of dying when the fight's over, but playtesters complained that this was unsatisfying. The lack of any material payoff in a game where looting slain enemies is a core part of gameplay — especially considering how many resources it takes to bring her down — probably didn't help either.
  • Dark Forces Saga:
    • Desann, the Big Bad of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, is the second variety. His Dragon, Tavion, returns for the sequel, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, as the new Big Bad, proving to have been of the first variety. She is now much stronger, and when you think she's done for, you find she's got the tendencies of the third variety. And she now has a Dragon of her own, who is the first type.
    • Boba Fett himself appears as a boss in both the original Dark Forces and a late-game Boss-Only Level of Jedi Academy.
  • Anna and Gunther in Deus Ex. Anna's a Recurring Boss if you run away from her first boss fight, battling her for real later on. However, the fight's not really hopeless: You can stand your ground and kill Anna, and you never have to fight her again. There's also an earlier scene in which her usual NPC invulnerability is rescinded, though that's really only a boss fight if you opt to kill her while her guard is down. Note that Anna is a Skippable Boss all three times: You can simply not attack her the first time, you might get captured before the second (though there's no reason to do so intentionally), and you can learn a passcode that kills her instantly before the third. Like Anna, Gunther can be a Recurring Boss. Like Anna's, Gunther's fights are skippable. Unlike Anna, Gunther really is a Hopeless Boss Fight in the first encounter: You either surrender in dialogue or get captured when he kicks the stuffing out of you. You can still use the "kill phrase" trick in the second if you make the right choices in game, though.
  • Half-Life 2's love affair with Striders. Notably, while they're all exactly the same creature/mech, they fit different boss tropes every time due to the very different resources you have at your disposal, and the varied arenas they appear in, with each encounter.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo: Reach, the Field Marshal runs off and sends his Zealot underlings after you the first time you meet him in a cutscene near the end of "Winter Contingency". Later, you shoot at him for a moment after he kills Kat in "New Alexandria", before he escapes again. Only in the last mission are you able to fight and kill him.
    • The Warden Eternal from Halo 5: Guardians has one mind, and a million bodies, so it's no surprise that he comes back. Eventually, the Warden starts throwing multiple instances of himself at the player, and only the help of a friendly character stops him from just teleporting in enough bodies to bury the player under a mountain of robots.
  • Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch has Mega Man?, who you fight three times throughout the story. He serves as a Warm-Up Boss midway through Chapter 1, where his attacks are easily dodged and you have access to two weapons that can make quick work of him. You fight him again in Chapter 3, where things at first seem to be the same, but he turns out to be able to use the weapons found in the arena as well, and the arena is littered with traps. In Chapter 5, you only have the buster, while he has a veritable arsenal on call in addition to a chargeable buster — Flame Sword, Centaur Flash, Yamato Spear, and Pharaoh Shot, plus Wire Adaptor to chase you down. He shows up once again in Chapter 6, only to be unceremoniously killed off by Dr. Wily when he arrives piloting Gamma.
  • The Makron in Quake IV is fought twice. The first time, he's unbeatable and captures you to be Stroggified.
  • Unreal:
    • The Warlord from the original game appears two times — once in a castle (from where he teleports before you get the chance to kill him) and the second time in a mothership. If you do manage to kill the Warlord the first time, nothing changes - he still appears later on. It was also planned to include him in one of the first levels as a teaser, where he flies away before the player could attack him.
    • In the expansion Unreal: Return to Na Pali, the Warlord appears once again, but it is explained that it's a different one.
    • The Titans also typically act as boss encounters, but are different creatures in every one.
  • Heavyweight enemies in Zeno Clash. They're not the only boss, but they seem to be a good 75%.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Bayonetta has Jeanne, whom you'll fight plenty of times. And in the Monster Arena, you'll fight her even MORE often.

    Light Gun Game 
  • House of the Dead: The Magician, the Final Boss of the first game, is brought back as a second-to-final boss in the second one, and then as a Bonus Boss in the fourth one.
  • Time Crisis:
    • The game has Wild Dog, who appears in every numbered installment of the series. Oddly enough, he's the only recurring character.
    • Jakov Kinsky attacks you several times throughout the first act of the second game, then you finally take him down in a proper boss fight at the end of the stage.
    • In the Time Crisis killer Endgame, it has Westermann who only appears three times in the story mode.

  • The Nemesis system in Champions Online means you actually get to CREATE your own recurring Boss, as well as determine his powerset, personality, minions, and the minions' power type. And if you finally defeat him for good, you get to create another!
  • In City of Heroes:
    • One plot arc has you fighting the Envoy of Shadows (a powerful demon) multiple times. Even if you defeat him, he's still around after the mission. It's explained in-game that in order to send him packing for good, you have to learn his true name; after you manage that, his final Climax Boss defeat signals the end of the arc.
    • Over the course of the late game story arcs, you fight Nemesis several times. Curiously, most of the time your contacts act like you've actually killed him (despite the game being Never Say "Die" the rest of the time), but they always leave the bit of doubt that it really was Nemesis you killed. And then there's the possibility that it really is Nemesis EVERY time, but his consciousness is spread out over many different bodies.
    • One story arc also requires that you fight Mary MacComber — and beat her, then the rest of her minions — ten times in a row. Might qualify as a Sequential Boss, too.
  • Bosses in Dragon Nest tend to become Elite Mooks and sometimes even end up as standard Mooks in higher leveled maps without losing any of their original power.
  • Jacoby Drexelhand from the introductory Korthos Island quests from Dungeons & Dragons Online. You first meet him as the NPC who opens the gate for you at Heyton's Rest, is revealed as the collaborator with the Sahuagin and the Devourer Cult in the instance appropriately titled The Collaborator, and after you dispatch him in that quest, he is brought back as an undead wight, who you have to kill again in the finale of Necromancer's Doom.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, this is the modus operandi of the Primals. Primals are drawn into existence by belief, and then 'temper' those around them so that they worship the Primals unthinkingly. Even when they're destroyed temporarily, they keep getting brought back, and oftentimes stronger than ever.
    • From Heavensward, we have Nidhogg, the dragon commanding the Dravanian dragon hoards against Ishgard. The first time he is fought is as a boss during The Aery dungeon. The second time is as a trial after coming Back from the Dead by possessing the dragoon Estinien.
    • Zenos yae Galvus shows up repeatedly over the course of Stormblood. The first two times, he pulls out just what he needs from his Ronco Peel-O-Matic knife rack. The third time, all the chips are down. And then he fuses with Shinryu. He shows up a fourth and final time as an instance boss near the end of the MSQ (albeit with an Ascian controlling his corpse).
    • Gilgamesh, a guest character from Final Fantasy V, is fought twice over the course the 2.X Hildebrand questline: once on a Big Bridge, and again in a Big Keep. He shows up a third time in Kugane Ohashi (another big bridge) in the 4.X Hildebrand questline after discarding his disguise as the mercenary samurai Yojimbo.
    • Diabolos first appears as the boss of The Lost City of Amdapor in A Realm Reborn. He fakes his death there and comes back for the Heavensward expansion's 24-man raids, serving as the final boss of Dun Scaith, where he dies. Then he comes back two expansions later as The Diablo Armament, final boss of the Dalriada dungeon.
  • Every Marvel: Avengers Alliance boss escapes in the end of the fight (either by teleportation, or because one of his goons created a distraction for them to flee). If not, they're later freed from prison by others.
  • Nezikchened in Runescape is this, as you fight him three times throughout the course of one quest. There's also Sigmund as well, who is also fought three times throughout three different quests. Regarding Nezikchened, after that quest, you can do While Guthix Sleeps, part of the larger story arc in the game. At one point, you are tracking down a wizard, and in his miscellaneous diary, he remarks that although the totem poles in the Kharazi Jungle have returned to normal (basically, what you did during the quest with Nezikchened), an ancient demon is still present, hinting that he might be coming back.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • HK-47 and Revan: Imperial players fight both in The Foundry flashpoint. Darth Malgus rebuilds HK-47 and players from both sides fight him in The False Emperor flashpoint. Revan is the final boss of the Temple of Sacrifice operation; he summons HK-47 during the fight, and flees at the end. The Player Character and their allies track him down and finish him off.
    • Kephess is the end boss of the Explosive Conflict operation, then is resurrected as a cyborg by the Dread Masters and appears in the Terror From Beyond operation. Clones of Kephess are summoned during the Darth Brontes fight at the end of the Dread Fortress operation.
    • Valkorion, Arcann, and Vaylin are each fought multiple times over the course of Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne. Vakorion, in his original guise as Sith Emperor Vitiate, was also the final boss of the Jedi Knight story.
    • Darth Malgus was the final boss of The False Emperor flashpoint. After he returns, he's also the final boss of the Republic version of the Operation Meridian flashpoint.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The game has the Lich King himself as this during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Players face him multiple times as they level through Northrend, culminating in the single-player quest "Tirion's Gambit", then the 5-player dungeon Halls of Reflection, and finally the actual raid encounter in Icecrown Citadel.
    • The Blood Prince Council consists of three vampiric Darkfallen players killed in quests or dungeons earlier in the game, reanimated and empowered by the Orb. Two of them have abilities reminiscent of their strategy from the first time (Fireballs and Shadowbolts for Taldaram and Keleseth respectively), but Valanar has bizarrely developed kinetic energy manipulation.
    • Grand Ma'da Ateena in Nazmir serves as this for the Horde. She flees from combat four times before finally dying during the fifth encounter at the end of the zone's storyline.

    Platform Game 
  • Klungo in Banjo-Tooie is fought a total of three times: immediately after leaving the "training" level and entering the hub, a second time roughly halfway through the game, and a third right as the player enters the lair of the Big Bad. As is par for the course in this game, the recurrence is Lampshaded by Banjo and Kazooie.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: The swarm of Wankas (wasps) that persistently steal the Queen Bee's hive are fought twice during the game. It's only necessary to escape from them with the hive in the first case, while dodging the stings from the angry trio that leads the colony. The second time, however, Conker has to exterminate almost all of them before even trying to take the hive back to the Queen Bee (which in turn requires dodging the three leaders' attacks during the escape phase).
  • Bomberman Hero has Nitros, who's fought in the second area of each planet (except for Mazone, where he appears in the final area instead) and the Boss Rush at the end of the game, for a total of five fights.
  • In Catherine, the boss "The Child" counts as this. Players would already notice that it doesn't disappear like the previous bosses and instead falls off the final level of the fourth stage. It reappears again as "Child with a Chainsaw" on the final level of the sixth stage, naturally to Vincent's horror.
  • Deadeye Joe in Contra: Hard Corps, depending on whether the player chooses to pursue him at the end of the first stage or not.
  • Crunch Bandicoot from Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is of the third variety, showing up about five times including the final stage.
  • Arma in Demon's Crest, who Firebrand fights three times, each time dropping a different crest as a reward.
  • Donker Kong:
    • Donkey Kong Country: Two bosses fought early (Very Gnawty and Master Necky) return later, slightly faster and more difficult, but otherwise near exactly the same.
    • Donkey Kong 64: Two of the bosses, Army Dillo and Dogadon, are fought twice each, their rematches giving more powerful and harder battles. Army Dillo is challenged in both fights by Donkey Kong, while Dogadon is challenged by Diddy in the first and by Chunky in the second.
  • Weasleby in Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. He even has two different battle themes.
  • Iconoclasts:
    • Silver Watchman shows up as a boss three times in the Tower, and he gets possessed by the boss of the Dark Cave.
    • Agent Black gets two boss battles near the end of the game, and a One-Winged Angel form for her rematch.
  • Asha returns twice in Iji after you first encounter him; the second time you cross paths he teleports away without attacking you, but the last time he fights to the death. If you were hoping to nuke him again, too bad, he's now fast enough to dodge it despite the enclosed space.
  • In Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, the first boss later reappears as a mook, Stitch and Baron Chairman return as a Dual Boss in Stage 5, and Mr. Roboto, That One Boss, receives an upgraded Palette Swap for the Final Boss battle.
  • Mega Man:
    • Nearly every game throughout the entire franchise, especially the Mega Man (Classic) and Mega Man X series, has players fight the Robot Masters/Mavericks a second time through during the final stages of the game, albeit with access to all of the weapons and other upgrades they collected over the course of the game. Much like before the final stages, players can rematch the bosses in any order they choose.
    • Break Man (who is actually Proto Man) in Mega Man 3.
    • In his first appearance, Ballade had to be fought twice before the game ends. Interestingly, his second phase has been completely dropped in future games, with his battles using the second attack pattern, but his original appearance.
    • Bass in the Classic series. He's your Warm-Up Boss in 7, before you later fight him one-on-one in Dr. Wily's first castle stage, then he merges with Treble in the second stage. Then you fight him again in Wily's castle in Mega Man 8.
    • High Max of Mega Man X6 is invincible in the intro stage and requires two particular attacks in order to defeat him when you meet him again. (Unfortunately, you're also able to encounter him later without having acquired the requisite attacks, leading to a Hopeless Boss Fight that merely ends in a Game Over.)
    • In X5 there's Dynamo, a bounty hunter who is hired to stall the heroes as they try to prevent the Eurasia Colony from falling onto Earth. He teleports out when his health bar runs out, only to reappear a while later until he flees for good. He's also in X6, but only as an optional boss.
    • And of course, there's the infamous Vile, starting off as unbeatable in his first introduction in X1, only to be defeated in the Big Bad's final fortress. He shows up after being resurrected in both X3 and X8, fueled by his hatred of the Hunters and X in particular. His appearance in X8 deserves special mention, as he can be fought up to six times throughout the game. The first four are him randomly replacing the Multi-Mook Melee rooms found in most of the regular stages — after that, he appears as the boss of the Jakob Elevator stage, and then finally as the miniboss of the final level.
    • Bit & Byte come back in X3 if you don't kill them with a specific weapon.
    • The X-Hunters in X2 are fought a second time in the final fortress, two of three in their One-Winged Angel forms.
    • Colonel in X4 is fought twice in X's story path, his first battle being replaced by a cutscene in Zero's.
    • Prometheus and Pandora in Mega Man ZX are each fought individually before showing up together for a Dual Boss fight as the penultimate battle. They then return in Advent to fight another Dual Boss battle as the penultimate fight.
    • Shadow Man is a miniboss version of this trope in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. He first shows up in 3 of the Robot Master Stages. He makes his last supposed appearance in Cossack Castle Stage, riding a kite.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid set the tradition in itself and subsequent games to have Ridley appear as a Climax Boss for the series as a whole. He's made in appearance near the end of almost every game in the franchise, and has even shown up twice in two of them. The only games Ridley doesn't show up in some form are Metroid II: Return of Samus (this is, even then, changed in the remake), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime: Hunters. In the particular case of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, you must fight [Meta] Ridley three times: He harasses you while you're using Morph Ball to navigate between towers the first time, then you fight him while plummeting down a shaft, and finally when attacking the third Leviathan seed, where he's powered up by Phazon and labelled Omega Ridley.
    • Metroid Fusion:
      • The game has the SA-X. Some encounters are avoidable entirely as long as Samus doesn't expose herself, but the later ones always force you to give yourself away to it and then flee. It can be stunned with Ice Missiles, but only briefly. Also in Fusion, the B.O.X. security robot is the first variety. In the initial encounter it's merely gone rogue, and Samus does enough damage to expose its organic components before it flees. It subsequently reappears much later in the game, having been taken over by the X.
      • Nightmare, from the same game, is fought twice. However, there isn't a lot of action between the two battles, so some could say he's more of a Sequential Boss.
    • Metroid Prime Trilogy: The eponymous monster Metroid Prime shows up as a final boss in all three home console games: as itself in the original game, and as Dark Samus afterwards. In Echoes, you fight Dark Samus a total of three times.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters: Slench and Cretaphid are fought four times each, and every rematch increases their power and endurance. The rival Hunters can also challenge Samus more than once if she stands on their way (or viceversa).
    • Metroid: Other M has this flying anomalacris creature called the Rheodigan. Appears out of nowhere, fires seeker missiles at you, and all sorts of attacks. After the fourth fight, he finally dies and gives up the Seeker Missiles. In the end of the Playable Epilogue, you have an enemy rush before the final boss. There are other two Rheodigans, but they die there and then.
  • Tsubai in Panzer Bandit has a Mini-Boss fight with a smaller lifebar midway through Stage 5, which he serves later in a full-fledged Boss Fight. Add to that his third fight as part of the end-game Boss Rush.
  • The Knight in the SNES version of Prince of Persia, initially encountered in Level 16, returns as a blue palette swap with more HP in Level 18.
  • All of the bosses in Prince of Persia (2008) have to be fought six times before they can be defeated for good.
  • The Dhaka in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within; the only option is to escape until the very end, where it serves as the True Final Boss if you've achieved 100% Completion.
  • Ratchet & Clank
    • The Thug Leader in Going Commando is fought three times. The first battle is a helicopter battle, while the second and third are Marathon Bosses.
    • ShellShock from Deadlocked requires you to face him almost five times in the same arena before he finally succumbs to you.
    • Flint Vorselon in A Crack in Time can be fought three times, but only two are mandatory to beat the game. The final battle with him is as a Bonus Boss after defeating the final boss.
  • Kurtz from Run Saber serves as a Mini-Boss in Stages 2, 4, and 5.
  • The 2004 version of Sabre Wulf takes this to the point of exaggeration: you "fight" (or rather, run the hell away from) the titular beast at the end of every level as it chases you back to the start. It instantly kills anything besides you and it in the entire level, and runs much faster than you, but it can't turn around as fast as you can, so you can slow it down by repeatedly jumping over it. Incidentally, even if you trick it into falling down a hole, it'll be back again next level, no worse for wear.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), members of Olaf’s troupe such as the Bald Man and the White-Faced Women keep coming back to fight the children. The Hook-Handed Man acts as Olaf’s second-in-command and assists him in fighting the children, but he’s not an actual boss until the Marvelous Marriage.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Dr. M is fought in a total of six battles, and is both the first and final bosses of the game.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • Gnasty Gnorc is a special case. He doesn't appear more than once in the same game, but he's appeared in multiple games (the first and fifth). Ripto is the same case, except he appeared in the second and fourth games.
    • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night has a great number of Dreadwing minibosses scattered throughout the entire game. One is a main boss, the Assassin, whom you fight twice, once in the first level and once in the last. You also fight Skabb twice during the Sky Pirates arc.
  • The first Strider (Arcade) has Solo, who you fight twice (three times if you can't defeat him the first one). The sequel has Solo reprise it as a Mini-Boss in two stages (his first fight now being sequential), and has Hien become one in the PSX port exclusive Stage 0.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. has you fighting Bowser no less than eight times, with the eighth and final Bowser being the genuine one (all the other Bowsers being mooks of his transformed through his magic).
    • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels: Bowser retains his role as the sole boss character Mario and Luigi face, this time in an increased total of twelve encounters (two real, ten fake).
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: Birdo is fought in almost every level, though with some variations along the way: The pink specimen shoots eggs, the green and gray ones shoot fire, and the red one shoots both kinds of projectiles. Also, two of the major bosses (Mouser and Tryclide) are fought twice each.note  Mouser has to be hit five times with his own bombs in the second fight (as opposed to only three in the first), while Tryclyde remains unchanged.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Boom Boom guards every fortress except the one within the spiral mountain that connects the ground with the sky in World 5, and also guards the military levels in World 8. In the early fights, he jumps higher after being hit, while in the later ones he flies for a limited time before trying to charge at Mario and Luigi.
    • Super Mario World: Reznor serves as the miniboss fought at the end of each Fortress level. They are always fought in the same fashion (spitting fire at Mario and Luigi while riding a wooden carousel), but that's not an issue since there are only four Fortresses wo begin with.
    • Super Mario 64: You fight Bowser three times, and the strategy is the same in all cases with some variations. In the first two fights, it's only necessary to throw him onto one of the explosive mines, and the reward is a key that opens a door leading to a new part of the Castle; in the third fight, Bowser can only be defeated after three explosions, and Mario's victory leads to Peach's liberation and the game's conclusion.
    • Super Mario Sunshine: Bowser Jr., under the Shadow Mario persona, if fought a total of 11 times (not counting his indirect participation in the Mecha-Bowser and Bowser battles). Once per main level, and four times in the Hub Level (in the latter fights, he's always carrying someone or something with him: Peach, Yoshi, Turbo Nozzle and Rocket Nozzle). Other bosses with more than one battle include the Polluted Piranha Plant (five times; it's defeated after three hits in the first three fights, while it takes six in the last two), Petey Piranha (twice) and Glooper Blooper (twice).
    • New Super Mario Bros.: Bowser Jr. is fought in all Tower levels in the original New Super Mario Bros. (as well as alongside Bowser in the final battle), and in all Airship levels in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U; his tactics do change in the majority of cases, keeping things fresh. The Koopalings are fought twice each in Wii (the first time as minibosses in the Towers, and the second as actual bosses in the Castles), Reznor does in all Tower levels in New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Boom Boom does in all Tower levels in U. Bowser himself is only fought more than once in the original New game (and one instance as Dry Bowser).
    • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2: Multiple bosses are fought more than once each, whether by way of a Prankster Comet challenge that remixes an existing mission, or by simply reappearing in a later level. Topmaniac in the first game stands out for appearing in up to four fights by using both methods (it first appears in Battlerock Galaxy and again in Dreadnought Galaxy, the first instances is then repeated by a Daredevil Comet and the second by a Speedy Comet). In both games, Bowser is fought three times, mirroring the case of Super Mario 64.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: Boom Boom, Pom Pom and Bowser are the only bosses in the game, so it's expected for Mario and eventually Luigi to face them numerous times across the sixteen worlds. Also, in order to achieve 100% Completion and unlock the final Brutal Bonus Level, both plumbers have to complete all levels (including the ones with bosses) separately.
    • Super Mario 3D World: Boom Boom and Pom Pom reprise their role as recurring bosses like in 3D Land, but the bigger catalogue of bosses reduces their frequency considerably (prior to the Boss Rush level in the 11th world, Boom Boom is only found in the respective Tank levels of Worlds 2 and 6, while Pom Pom is in the respective Train levels of Worlds 3 and 8). Bowser himself is fought in World 1 and 7, and once again as 8 under his debuting Meowser persona. In the mode Bowser's Fury added to the Switch version, this trope is invoked by Fury Bowser, since he's intended to appear periodically as Mario explore the islands of Lake Lapcat. The other bosses to have additional fights prior to the Boss Rush level are Boss Brolder, Prince Bully and Motley Bossblob (the two Hisstocrats are fought once each separarely, so they don't count).
    • Super Mario Odyssey: The Broodals are fought twice each during the run of the story: Topper in the Cap and Bowser Kingdoms, Hariet in the Sand and Bowser Kingdoms, Rango in the Lake and Snow Kingdoms, Spewart in the Wooded and Luncheon Kingdoms, and Madame Broode in the Cascade and Moon Kingdoms. Bowser, meanwhile, is fought twice: Once in Cloud Kingdom and again for the final battle in the Moon Kingdom. Afterwards, the next time they and all other bosses except Bowser are fought will be in the post-game worlds.
    • In Yoshi's New Island, Kamek appears as the boss of every mid-world fortress, sharply contrasting the first two Yoshi's Island games where he is The Unfought and all mid-world fortresses have each its own mini-boss.
    • Yoshi's Woolly World features two recurring bosses: Big Montgomery the Monty Mole, and Knot-Wing the Koopa Paratroopa. Big Montgomery is fought every odd numbered fortress, Knot-Wing the even.
    • In Wario: Master of Disguise, Count Cannoli is fought a total of three times: Episodes 1, 2 and the start of 9. Carpaccio plays with the trope: He's challenged in a proper fight in Episode 4, then in a Racing Minigame at the end of Episode 9.
  • Big John, the T. rex-looking first boss from Viewtiful Joe 2, comes back at least twice as a Sub-Boss. And wears a Paper-Thin Disguise as "Big Lee", who spends the better part of a minute denying he's really Big John before proving a Bait-and-Switch Boss. You DO get to fight him a second time... except it's shapeshifting robot Miss Bloody Rachel. He finally gets his rematch with you in Red Hot Rumble. Captain Blue does this in the first game.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Homeworld:
    • The Imperial cruiser and carrier in the original game are Type 3 in their early appearances: you encounter a ship of each type in multiple missions, they are the most dangerous opponents every time (the cruiser due sheer firepower, the carrier due its ability to build other ships and because its escape often means automatic loss), and once you've killed them you only need to mop up. In the final mission they are degraded to The Dragon level, though, as the first two cruisers and the first carrier you face lead the enemy attack forces while the second carrier and the second three cruisers are guarding the Big Bad's ship.
    • The Beast's Mothership in Cataclysm is a Type 2: you first encounter it at its weakest, when it's still just your original hangar module that you jettisoned when it got corrupted by the Beast, but you have no idea what happened to it and don't dare to go near and have to run when a large Turanic-Taiidan Imperialist force doesn't listen your warnings and gets corrupted; the second time you meet it it's complete, and you are forced to run again when your newly-acquired Siege Cannon fails to disintegrate it due you having no idea of how it works; it's only at the third encounter that you can finally destroy it with the Siege Cannon, now fully operative thanks to help from its original builders.
  • The Empress Bulblax in Pikmin 2. She's generally the first boss you'll fight at the start of the game; she reappears much later in two other holes. In your second and third encounters with her, she becomes a Flunky Boss capable of summoning the fragile-but-deadly (to your Pikmin, that is) Bulborb Larvae. While her "main" attack (rolling) remains the same, the addition of Mooks makes you change your strategy.
  • One of the optional protoss missions in Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty pits you against Maar, a zerg/protoss hybrid that can't be killed by conventional means. Every time you defeat him he teleports back to his base, regenerates and comes at you again, getting stronger and stronger the longer this cycle continues. The only way to take him down permanently is to destroy the part of his base from where he draws his power.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Pison in The 7th Saga. Combined with Palette Swap, as he becomes Red-Pison (yes, they actually call him this) and Metal-Pison.
  • Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny has Chaos, The Rival with the twin to Felt's sword. And despite being optional, Punis Taro, Jiro, and Kichi in almost every Atelier game are of the third variety.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • In Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, Giacomo and his crew appear several times as bosses, even forcing two difficult fights sequentially (to the annoyance of many gamers). They've even got their own theme music, "Chaotic Dance."
    • Giacomo also appears several times in Origins (complete with a remixed "Chaotic Dance"), though he's rather less threatening and stops showing up near the end of Disc 1.
    • It also features outer dimensional worm creatures which break through where reality is weak, or something along those lines. Also, one of the supporting bad guys turns into a crotch-eyed abomination which gets mirrored in one of the optional sidequests in the desert.
    • In Baten Kaitos Origins, the heroes have to face one boss, the Lord of the Lava Caves, three times in about ten minutes of game. Notable because the (otherwise serious) heroes hang lampshades all over the encounter, complaining bitterly about how difficult the boss is and how annoying the repetitive fights are, and even stomping spitefully on his corpse when he goes down for good.
  • The Breath of Fire series has several examples:
    • Breath of Fire has the Knight and General bosses being fought atleast twice, and then one more time in their One-Winged Angel form. Other bosses who are fought twice are RugaX, Mothra and Cerl.
    • Breath of Fire II has Barubary/Barbaroi and the Goldfly, fought two and three times respectively. Final Boss Deathevans fights you twice, his first fight being just a Zero-Effort Boss.
    • Breath of Fire III has the "Horse Brothers" Balio and Sunder, a Dual Boss: the first battle against them is unwinnable, the second can be won (but can also be lost without getting a Game Over), and it's in the third battle where you finally get rid of them for good. Garr as well, being fought twice (the first of which is also unwinnable).
    • Bosch in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. Including his dragonized form, he is fought at least three times.
  • Bug Fables:
    • Mothiva and Zasp, the rival exploration team that tries to take away Team Snakemouth's fame, are fought twice in the game: first time in the Golden Hills in Chapter 2, and the second time in the Termite Colosseum in Chapter 6, where they are much stronger than before.
    • The Wasp King is also fought twice: first time at the beginning of the Chapter 5 in a Hopeless Boss Fight, and the second time as the Final Boss of the game, with an upgraded form.
    • Cenn and Pisci, the thug duo from the "Explorer Check!" sidequest, are fought twice: first time in the Ant Kingdom, where they immediately run for it, and later they have to be refought in their hideout near the Explorers' Association.
  • The Caligula Effect has Wicked, who's fought three times (once as a Duel Boss, a second time with your whole party, and a third time as part of the endgame Boss Bonanza alongside Mirei). Overdose adds Stork, who's fought four times; three times in his dungeon, and a fourth also as part of the endgame.
  • Solt and Peppor in Chrono Cross are the first type. Your first several fights with them serve primarily to teach you about the combat system as they make horrible tactical mistakes. Eventually, you fight them in a sidequest and they're actually almost difficult.
  • The Asylum Demon, Stray Demon, and Demon Firesage in Dark Souls are practically identical, though the Stray Demon and Demon Firesage add powerful fire attacks to their repertoire. And Kirk, Knight of the Thorns, is the only NPC to invade you more than once.
  • Dark Souls II has the Pursuer, whom you fight as a boss early in the game and returns to fight you again in multiple locations throughout Drangleic. NG+ kicks things up a notch by having you fight two Pursuers at once in Drangleic Castle.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II, the Godwoken encounter the Kraken three times. In the prologue, it's an unstoppable Cutscene Boss who shipwrecks them. In the final Act, it's a "Get Back Here!" Boss who flees when substantially wounded in the final act. Finally, it breaches The Very Definitely Final Dungeon from the Void to deliver a Wolfpack Boss to the final fight.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III: You fight Baramos once at the end of the Disc-One Final Dungeon, before fighting his soul and bones each separately as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon draws to a close.
    • Rhapthorne from Dragon Quest VIII. Counting the different people he possesses, you fight Dhoulmagus, then an upgraded form of Dhoulmagus, then Jessica after she's been possessed, then Sir Leopold. And though Marcello resists Rhapthorne, he's still using Rhapthorne's staff against you, so he counts. Then you finally go fight the man himself in tiny baby mode, and then battle two different stages of him in the final boss battle. All told, that's having to beat him eight times before he finally goes down.
  • Bradley in Dubloon. The first time you see him, he's a Hopeless Boss Fight, but on subsequent encounters, he escapes before you can kill him, and then he moves up a rank. Or at least he's supposed to.
  • In EarthBound, Master Belch returns to fight Ness and his friends once again under the new name of Master Barf. This is Lampshaded better in the Japanese original, where his new name translates as "Return of Belch."
  • Final Fantasy is quite fond of these:
    • Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy V, whom you fight a grand total of FIVE times, though usually as a gag battle. Each appearance involves humorous dialogue, followed by Gilgamesh making some sort of excuse for leaving and at one point leaving his sidekick to "deal with" your party. During the fourth battle, he whips out the piddly Excalipur, which he'd mistaken for Excalibur, causing Exdeath to send him to the Void. Later, in the void, he recognizes your characters during the fifth encounter and even sacrifices himself to save your party from a later boss.
    • In Final Fantasy, you must fight the four fiends again in the final dungeon.
    • In Final Fantasy II, there is a second fight against Count Borghen. When he said See You in Hell, he meant it. And you fight him again in the Soul of Rebirth mode, this time in Heaven.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, there's Kefka, who started as a joke battle in Sabin's scenario, then a boss battle in Narshe, another short scripted battle at the Cave of the Sealed Gate, yet another (easy) boss fight where you get to play as General Leo, and finally the final boss as a god.
      • Ultros is fought four times in the same game - once in Lete River, once in the Opera House, once in the Cave on Crescent Island, and once in the air.
      • VI also has Deathgaze, which will flee whenever it receives damage, forcing the party to hunt it down in the airship again and repeat fighting it until it's finally defeated for good. Though optional, it's required to beat if the player wants to get the Bahamut summon.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, there's both The Turks, who you are forced to fight once, but there are three optional boss fights with them. The Ultima Weapon is also fought several times, but is a Bonus Boss.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, there's Biggs and Wedge (who are fought twice), Fujin and Rajin(also twice), Edea(twice) and Seifer(four times)
    • Beatrix in Final Fantasy IX is of the second variety. Black Waltz no. 3 is also fought twice.
    • Seymour from Final Fantasy X is of the third variety. FFX also features the second variety in an optional boss fight (for the second optional summon), although the fight mechanics are completely different.
    • In Final Fantasy XII Judge Gabranth and Doctor Cid are both fought twice.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, the Proudclad (piloted by Rosch) is fought twice and Barthandelus is fought three times.
    • The new reigning king of this trope in Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy XIII-2's Big Bad, Caius. If one counts Paradox Endings and his transformations as well as the battles with him as his normal self, he is fought no less than eleven times. Add the times he's fought in the Requiem of the Goddess DLC, it's thirteen times.
  • In the Golden Sun series:
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts has Darkside, who is fought three times: during the tutorial, after you complete Destiny Islands, and just before the final boss fight against Ansem.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Axel and Larxene are both fought two times. Vexen is fought three times (twice in Sora's story and once in Riku's). However, the king of this trope is Riku Replica, who, over the course of Sora's and Riku's story, is fought a total of six times.
    • Multiple examples in Kingdom Hearts II:
      • Axel is fought twice by Roxas, first in the Struggle arena and later in the Old Mansion.
      • Hades. When you first meet him, he is impervious to your attacks and you're forced to flee while he hurls fireballs at you. Becomes beatable later, being fought and defeated in the second visit to the Colosseum, then again at the end of two of the Colosseum cups.
      • Pete is fought twice in II, first in the Underworld with the aid of Hercules, and three major fights in Timeless River. (Plus one fight in the optional Hades Paradox Cup.)
      • Demyx has two boss fights, one in Olympus Coliseum (which is really just destroying the Forms he summons) and again in Hollow Bastion.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep:
      • Vanitas is probably a quarter of the bosses in the game. In Aqua and Ven's paths he's fought 3 times each, including both of their final boss fights. Terra only fights him once, but as a Dual Boss with Xenahort.
      • Braig is fought twice, once each in Terra's and Aqua's campaigns.
    • Kingdom Hearts III:
      • Vanitas does this again, being the only member of the Seekers of Darkness to be fought before the confrontation at Keyblade Graveyard. In addition to the fight there, he is also encountered in the Land of Departure, where you control Aqua.
      • The Demon Tower is fought two separate times, both while you are playing as Riku.
      • The Demon Tide is first fought in Twilight Town, though it gets cut short early. You get to fight it for real in the Keyblade Graveyard.
    • Hades is a recurring boss throughout the entire series; one of the few villains who continuously pesters Sora (and the Keyblade users for that matter) besides Maleficent and Pete. But if bosses who are fought multiple times in the series count as a Recurring Boss, we'd be here all day just reading the examples.
  • Knights of the Old Republic's Darth Sion is fought once as a Hopeless Boss Fight before you have to defeat him numerous times before he finally dies.
  • Terracor, Muruk and Nebirous are fought more than once in The Last Story. Other bosses, such as Berith and the swordman brothers who serve Zangurak, are fought a second time in Chapter 40 as part of the game's Boss Rush finale.
  • When you play Lufia series, expect to fight Gades at least twice. In the first time, you can't beat him (not without doing way too much grinding anyway.) The second time is when you fight and beat him thinking he's final boss, there's also likely the third time where he's resurrected and fight you in the final dungeon as a part of a Boss Rush.
  • Played With in the Game Gear version of Madou Monogatari II. In it, you face Schezo several times...however, each new encounter ends up easier than the previous one due to him getting increasingly tired.
  • Mario & Luigi series:
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
      • Popple is fought four times, though only once by himself, the rest are Dual Bosses.
      • Bowser is fought four times as well: once as a Warm-Up Boss, twice as "Rookie" alongside Popple, and once when possessed by Cackletta.
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
      • Midbus fulfills this role, being fought three times total.
      • This is also how many times you fight Bowser, which is strange when you consider that he's one of the playable characters. One of those times is as a Bonus Boss, however, and said Bonus Boss is a clone of Bowser, not the real deal.
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team:
      • Antasma is fought three times. The first time is in Luigi's dream as a tutorial boss, the second time is when he does a Fusion Dance with Bowser in Dream's Deep, and the third time is at the end of the game as the second-to-last boss.
      • Bowser is also fought three times. The first fight is the aforementioned battle in Dream's Deep, the second fight is a giant battle near the end of the game, and the third fight is the final boss of the game.
      • Kamek is, again, fought three times. Though unlike the other recurring bosses, all of his fights occur in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Saren in Mass Effect. You fight him once on Virmire, but he escapes. Then you fight him again on the Citadel. Depending on if you convince him to commit suicide or not, you may not have to fight him the first time, but you'll definitely have to do the second fight when Sovereign burns out the organic parts of his body and animates his cybernetics.
  • Harbinger in Mass Effect 2 blurs the line between this and Elite Mook due to his near-constant use of Villain Override. Any battle against his mooks that drags on long enough will have him "assuming direct control" of at least one of them to personally make you his bitch.
  • Both Bola and Claymore from Mega Man Legends 2; you have to face each boss pirate twice throughout the game.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: every game after 2 had Bass as a penultimate boss or as a secret final boss. In 2, you would have to fight him before you fight Gospel, and later, you fight his real version in the secret area, which you cannot "jack out of" until you get back to the point where you entered it. In 3, you fight him before Alpha, as well as in yet another secret area where you actually help fund his recovery in a bug frag trade machine. In 4 he appears in Undernet 5 after beating the game about 3 times and disturbing his "statue". In 5, he is in yet another secret area called the Nebula Area after completing a Liberation Mission in area 6 and getting a time between 25-40 seconds busting the Navis in that area. In 6, he appears in the Undernet (where he is in a stone monument) and then a harder form in the Graveyard area, then a supercharged version in the Underground area, in which he sports a Gregar or Falzar attack depending on your version. Also, in every single game, you also end up having to fight some, if not all of the storyline bosses again later in the game.
  • Fassad/Yokuba in Mother 3. He crosses paths with you about four times, though you only fight him twice.
  • Nearly every single boss in Odin Sphere (with the exception of three bosses who are only fought in the endgame) are fought more than once throughout the game. Belial is the reigning champion of this, being fought by every single character in the game (though one of them is as part of a Duel Boss fight with one of the Three Wise Men.)
  • Paper Mario series:
    • Original Paper Mario:
      • Bowser is fought twice in the game, once at the very beginning as a Hopeless Boss Fight and the second time at the very end of the game where he is much more powerful than before.
      • Jr. Troopa appears a grand total of six times. He's actually a fairly ingenious foe, adjusting his weaknesses with each encounter, but Mario and his companions don't take him seriously at all, and he's often the butt of jokes. In the final dungeon, he actually prevents the Koopa Bros. from recurring in order to get in another shot at you.
      • Downplayed with the "Invincible" Tubba Blubba. He can be fought multiple times, but only one of them is actually necessary, and any other attempts at fighting him are Hopeless Boss Fights where you can do nothing but run. The required fight doesn't occur until you find and defeat the real chapter boss, his heart, after which Tubba himself is a Zero-Effort Boss.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
      • Lord Crump is the first battle in the game, and he is fought thrice later, twice in a Humongous Mecha. The second Humongous Mecha is an upgraded model of the first one, making that a Recurring Boss as well.
      • After the initial battle with Doopliss at the Creepy Steeple, you end up in a fight with him twice just outside Twilight Town, but these are Hopeless Boss Fights in which neither side can inflict any damage on each other, and the only thing you can do is run away both times. Later, you confront him using his real name, after which you fight him once again, exactly where you fought him the first time, followed by one last fight with him in the final chapter.
      • Bowser is fought twice: once during the middle of Chapter Three, and again right before the final boss fight which winds up unintentionally giving enough time for the Shadow Queen to possess Peach.
    • In Super Paper Mario, all of Count Bleck's minions are fought at least twice except for Nastasia, who is The Unfought. O'Chunks is fought the most with four fights.
  • Eve, the Big Bad in Parasite Eve, is fought a grand total of four times with each fight giving her a different appearance and new powers. Each defeat Eve suffers only has her trying to convince the main character to join her side (since Eve and the protagonist share similar powers) and then flees when the offer is refused. In her final encounter, she actually dies, though the True Final Boss appears shortly afterwards and has to be fought multiple times as well to put it down for good.
  • One of the bosses on Ellen's path in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is a recurring vision of her "stalker". He attacks several times, becoming more and more damaged and bandaged up each time.
  • Jin and Takaya, of Persona 3, after the fight against them before fighting the Hanged Man, proceed to jump off a bridge. They come back.
  • The Rival in near-every Pokémon game, including the leader of The Syndicate in each of the Pokémon games and a few protege trainers. N in Pokémon Black and White is unique in that his party is assembled primarily from Mons that can be found in the nearby areas, and completely different every time.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, Daleth is fought four times. He is first fought as the first huge plot boss of the game in which he kills Beth, but his later appearances are simple miniboss fights. After a fifth attempt at trying to ruin Aleph's life, he ends up dropping out of the plot. There's also another example — one fought less, but more plot important: Zayin, at least on Neutral or Chaos. The first, required fight with him is as the boss of the Factory Prison. His second fight, exclusive to Neutral and Chaos, is against his One Winged Angel form Satan, this game's leader of the Law faction who is fought as the penultimate boss of the game before YHVH.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the Spectre comes back over and over, convinced you want to steal his Magatsuhi when you're just trying to pass through the Amala Network. Even at the end, when he invokes Make My Monster Grow by absorbing several other Spectres, he would still have gotten away had his paranoia not gotten the best of him.
  • Skies of Arcadia
    • Ramirez is not only a recurring boss, he is the final boss, with two One-Winged Angel forms. That said, the two times you can fight him before the final encounter are optional Hopeless Boss Fights, one you should skip and one you should engage if you want the best Swashbuckler Rating.
    • The Big Bad, Galcian, technically only has one true boss fight, but you can battle him the first time you visit Valua. However, you shouldn't, you will not win, and unlike the Ramirez battles, losing to Galcian is a Game Over.
    • Piastol, a Bonus Boss exclusive to the Legends re-release, can be fought four times throughout the game.
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars:
    • Belome is fought twice, first by Mario alone in the Kero Sewers and then by the whole party at Land's End, gaining several more spells in the latter encounter.
    • Croco is also fought twice, in the Bandit Way and the Coal Mines, after stealing things from you. He simply opts to run away the third time you find him, and eventually decides that fighting you isn't worth the effort and turns into an NPC shopkeeper near the end of the game.
  • Tales Series: It's a tradition of the series to have at least one recurring boss in each game.
    • Tales of Phantasia has you fight Dhaos a total of three times (Five if you count his additional forms in the final battle).
    • Tales of Destiny 2 has you fight Barbatos Goetia three times in the story, and two more times as a Bonus Boss.
    • Tales of Symphonia:
      • Yggdrasil encompasses all of these elements. He's unbeatable in his first appearance, leaves during his second, and transforms during his final appearance. He can be beatable in his second fight, but you have to be max lvl and do it really fast.
      • You must also fight Kratos thrice and Botta twice, who either don't care if they win or lose or just plain won't stay defeated. You can also face past versions of Kratos, Yuan, and a young form of Yggdrasil again in the PS3 version of the game in a bonus dungeon.
      • Pronyma and Sheena. The Sword Dancer is faced three times, but he's an Optional Boss.
      • The sequel has Alice and Decus, each of whom are fought first individually, then later act as one of the penultimate bosses as a Dual Boss.
    • Tales of Rebirth: The Four Stars appear in many variations through the game, but Saleh and Tohma are the ones you will be seeing most often. They are both faced three times: at the climax of act 1, you fight them together. They then attack you individually during Act 2 in order to foil the hero's plans. The final confrontation comes before the final dungeon, where they are joined by Militsa and Waldu for an epic 4 against 4 boss fight. If you haven't had enough of them, the bonus dungeon lets you fight the Four Stars all over again...only this time there's 8 of them in the fight!
    • Tales of the Abyss: The Oracle Knights will be hounding you most of the way:
    • Tales of Innocence started the trend of making a Talkative Loon assassin-like character with little motivation other than seeing things burn the Recurring Boss. Hasta and his inane ramblings have to be dealt with three times: once in the Garam volcano (which is an exhausting dungeon), then in the Northern Battlefield, and finally on the way to the final boss. In case you weren't already sick of him, Innocence R added at least one extra fight against him before recruiting Hermana. And in the he wishes to be reborn just to fight some more.
    • Tales of Vesperia features Zagi, who uses the first and third forms. You fight Zagi a total of five times throughout the game. (Six if you include the "Sidequest dungeon".) And no matter how many times he's tossed off a boat or had his arm blown up, he just does not back down. Lampshaded by Estelle and Judith, who, by the final time he's encountered, tell him "Stop bothering us!" and "...Don't you ever die?"
    • Tales of Graces features Richard/Lambda. You fight him in his normal (albeit possessed) human form twice, One-Winged Angel humanoid form twice, a vision of Lambda as he first appeared once, and his true Lambda Angelus form as the final boss.
    • Tales of Hearts: Incarose is fought on two occasions in the DS version, and three in the Vita version. The first fight comes after she has made herself into a giant Hate Sink and released Creed. The second fight, exclusive to the Vita version, pits Chalcedony solo against two of her bodies. Her last appearance is at the top of Beanstalk, where she is sufficiently powered up by fusing with the Seraph brothers to compensate for the loss of her bodies.
    • Tales of Xillia:
      • The Chimeriad are all fought in three battles each, save for Jiao, who only shows up for two battles. All four of them appear together in the arena as an optional battle, as well.
      • Their boss Gaius also fights you three times; the first as a very powerful Climax Boss that you don't actually have to defeat (though you get some nice experience and loot for doing so), then as the penultimate boss, and one half of the Final Boss pair. The other half of that pair, Muzet, you fight twice in Jude's path and an additional time in Milla's.
    • In Tales of Xillia 2, Ridaeux can be fought as many as three times, (The first encounter being optional, but most people will pick it over the alternative for obvious reasons). Chronos is also fought on three occasions, and upgrades his tactics significantly with each encounter.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky has two examples, both of which are the first variant.
    • Rutger is fought three times over the course of the story. A version of him from another timeline can also be fought as a Bonus Boss in the expert arena.
    • Darius is fought twice over the course of the story, and can be fought once more in a final showdown as a Bonus Boss.
  • The Wild ARMs games use this constantly.
    • The fourth game is the only one that avoided this trope, by giving the main antagonists so many members you only need to fight each of them once.
    • Wild ARMs 3 is the worst contender, as practically every significant boss is fought at least three times. Janus, his two flunkies, the prophets, and the Schroedinger family are all fought multiple times through the game. Notable in that the prophets are at first fought one by one, but are also fought together, and in empowered forms, while the Schroedingers only add new attacks and Maya changes up her routine.
  • In Xenoblade, you fight Metal Face/ Mumkhar a total of five times throughout the story.
  • Xenogears:
    • Ramsus, swearing to defeat the hero, is fought on foot, in a submarine type mecha, in his Ace Custom mech, in his Ace Custom mech transformed into an Omnigear, and finally in the Omnigear of the Big Bad (Ramsus is not the Final Boss, he simply no longer needed it and Ramsus can use any Omnigear due to his genes).
    • With Ramsus for all but his last two fights is his assitant Miang, who is also fought twice on her own (one time she's in disguise so the party doesn't know its her).
    • Ramsus also has a subordinate Dominia, and her squad of 3 other soldiers. You fight Dominia in a ship, in a submarine mech, in her own mech, in her own mech alongside her squad, her entire squad on foot, and finally in one giant mech piloted by all 4 of them. All these bosses are either with Ramsus himself or on his orders.

  • In NetHack, once you Either kill the Wizard of Yendor or perform the Invocation Ritual, the Wizard of Yendor will, even if you kill him, every number of turns, be able to resurrect, and is guaranteed to reappear on the Plane of Earth.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Battle Garegga has Nose Lavagghin (Stage 1 boss) and Mad Ball (Stage 2 boss) appear again in Stage 5. And then the endboss of Stage 5, Black Heart, makes a second appearance in Stage 7. And in the Spiritual Successor, Armed Police Batrider, Black Heart not only appears in its original form, but also a second time within that game in its MKII form!
  • In DonPachi, the first boss, called Suzaku, appears consecutively in DoDonPachi, DaiOuJou, DaiFukkatsu and SaiDaiOuJou. Suzaku, a large gunship with twin cannons that hover alongside it, always appears in Stage 1 of all the DonPachi games since DoDonPachi. Suzaku is introduced as the Stage 1 boss of DoDonPachi. Then it returns as the Stage 1 boss of DaiOuJou which a much grittier and colorless design that fits the game's much darker nature (compared to DDP). Then it comes back again as the Stage 1 mid-boss of DaiFukkatsu with its original design. And then it makes its latest appearance as Stage 1 boss of SaiDaiOuJou, with a much more futuristic, streamlined design and a red paint job (which fits with the meaning of Suzaku's name, "Vermilion Bird.").
  • Big Core in Gradius. It's the boss of Stages 1-4 in the original, and comes back every now and then in subsequent installments for Boss Rushes. By Gradius V, it's become nothing more than a medium-sized regular enemy. There's also Tetran from Salamander.
  • In Legendary Wings, save the Final Boss, all other bosses are simply just variations on one another, with later ones having more cannons.
  • All but one of the R-Type games has included Dobkeratops as a boss. Gomander and its invincible Outslays make frequent appearances as well, as does Gaines, the human-shaped robot with a BFG who seems to exist to get killed halfway through the first stage. There's also the Giant Battleship.
  • In 19XX: The War Against Destiny, you encounter and battle a black stealth fighter in nearly every stage, culminating in him launching nukes at your hometown and docking into a larger stealth bomber.
  • Several bosses in Touhou come back with different bullet patterns, either in the same game or in later games, but the prize for most recurring boss goes to Rin Kaenbyou, who shows up in Subterranean Animism as the stage 4 midboss (twice!), stage 5 midboss, stage 5 boss, and stage 6 midboss. Another recurring boss is Nue Houjuu, who is the Stage 4 midboss, Stage 6 midboss, and Bonus Boss of Unidentified Fantastical Object, and the Extra Stage midboss in Ten Desires.
  • In Star Fox, Phantron and the Great Commander, the Route 1 and Route 3 bosses of Venom respectively, are both fought twice, first in orbit, then in One-Winged Angel form on the planet's surface.

    Simulation Game 
  • Ace Combat loves this. Most commonly the first and maybe encounter with a boss/squadron is hopeless, but then later on you can damage them enough to send them running away, before typically finishing them once and for all near the end of the game. In order:
    • Ace Combat 2 and its 3DS remake have the Z.O.E. planes. The original is noteworthy in that you do actually shoot them down every time, they just come back with a better plane; Legacy makes the first two flee upon taking enough damage, but then the last three are shot down normally.
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies has Yellow Squadron. Untouchable the first time you see them, you can only hit them once to send them running away the next time, then the third time has you finally shoot one of them down to complete the mission. By the final stretch of the game they're showing up in every mission, and there's little note made of it except when they make a final stand in defense of their capital.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has Grabacr Squadron. Nearly-untouchable the first time, then each half of the squadron ends up shot down twice each, once on their own, then coming back all at once for the finale.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation has Strigon Squadron. Notably, these guys don't have the kind of Plot Armor or sheer numbers the above two get at any point - you can shoot them down every time they show up, they'll just keep coming back.
    • Ace Combat: Joint Assault has Varcolac Squadron. They don't show up as often as the others, but they still come back every time you shoot them down.
  • The Final Boss of Descent II returns with a vengeance in the Vertigo Series Expansion Pack.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Metal Gear:
    • Liquid Snake in the original Metal Gear Solid and Sons of Liberty serves as a mix of the second and third varieties. He is defeated in a Hind D, Metal Gear REX, a fistfight, and a Jeep chase before finally succumbing to FOXDIE. In Sons of Liberty, he is reincarnated as Revolver Ocelot's new arm.
    • In addition to Liquid, the player must fight against Sniper Wolf and Vulcan Raven twice in the original MGS. A more subtle example is Revolver Ocelot - he flees after the fight and later returns to torture Snake.
    • Ocelot is fought in 1, 3, and 4. Oddly enough, despite his importance in 2, you never get the chance to fight him.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 also has Vamp, who comes back from a cutscene death, his Harrier being shot down, an actual boss fight, and a sniper duel in that order. And in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, his boss battle requires you to use a special syringe to finish him, or else he'll keep coming back to life.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has the eponymous Peace Walker mech, which is fought a total of three times in the game, although the third encounter is a Zero-Effort Boss.
  • Tenchu has Onikage, who started in the first game, being fought a total of 3 times in Stages 6, 9 and 10. He returns in 2 and Wrath of Heaven, serving as a boss twice in each one. Tenchu 2 also has Genbu of the Four Lords of the Burning Dawn, which Ayame fights twice.

    Survival Horror 
  • Clock Tower (1995): After a certain point, Bobby has a chance of randomly appearing in every room, and he can be quite hard to get away from again.
  • Carlito in Dead Rising in so much as, if you want the "best" ending, you have to fight him three times.
  • The Blind Demon in Fatal Frame is scripted to be fought 7 times in total.
  • Resident Evil: Each game has one, usually a Tyrant BOW.
    • In Resident Evil, The Tyrant pulls a Back from the Dead version, appearing as both the penultimate boss and final boss - unless you burn his body after the first time.
    • In Resident Evil 2, William Birkin (aka "G") transforms from a simple overdeveloped humanoid in his first encounter to a hulking, deformed monster in his fifth and last form. Mr X is also encountered several times, but you're only forced to fight him once, though you can drop him in other encounters for ammo.
    • The titular Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is one of the most persistent ones. You usually have the option of fighting or running from him, and unlike other recurring bosses of the series, if you run away he's more than capable of chasing, and he's not limited to a single room, in fact he can chase Jill for quite a distance before she loses him. If you opt to defeat him when it's not strictly necessary, you can acquire a lot of good items (including two rapid-firing custom pistol and shotgun). You only have to actually fight him three times: in the middle of the game, near the end of the game as the penultimate boss, and as the Final Boss.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has another Tyrant pulling a Back from the Dead (fought twice) and Alexia (also fought twice).
    • Resident Evil 4 has two odd examples. Saddler is fought twice, but in different scenarios (he's the final boss for both Leon and Ada). Krauser is also fought twice: once in a QTE sequence and then several times in succession in chapter 5-2. He then proves to be Not Quite Dead in Separate Ways.
    • Resident Evil 5 has Wesker, who is fought four separate times.
    • Resident Evil 6 features the Spiritual Successor to the Nemesis with Ustanak. You fight him in a warehouse, from the back of a helicopter, with a drilling machine in a mine, in the streets of China, in a lava pit, again with nothing more than your fists in the lava pit, and he still comes back for one final desparate attempt to kill you before being put down for good.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations has Rachael Foley, who shows up a total of four times, although you only need to put her down the first time to get a Plot Coupon in the form of a key. As a possible homage to Nemesis, defeating her in subsequent encounters can yield powerful weapon upgrades.
    • In Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Jack Baker serves as an Implacable Man who pursues Ethan during the early sections of the game. You fight him twice, the second being an epic chainsaw battle that seemingly kills him. Nope! Jack returns later in the game for a final battle as a monstrous mold creature which Ethan finally puts down. His wife, Marguerite, is also fought twice.
  • Silent Hill 2's most famous monster, Pyramid Head, must be fought several times. The first time, he will leave after a predetermined time limit runs out (shooting him makes the clock run down faster). The second time, you must escape him by running down a very long hallway, and you can slow him with bullets but not kill him. The third time you see him, you just have to run around him in a giant maze. And, as the ultimate slap-in-the-face, in your final battle with him (and this time, he brings a friend), the fight ends with him killing himself.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Mizar in Jet Force Gemini is fought twice: In a short, simple confrontation with Lupus at the middle of the game's story; and in a much longer, more difficult rematch with Juno in the finale.
  • In Vanquish, the KNRB-0 Argus is fought two more times after its first appearance in Act 1-3; as a Dual Boss in Act 2-3, and once again as a solo boss in Act 4-2. The Final Boss is a Dual Boss version of the Bogey from Act 1-8.
  • Warframe has a few:
    • The most obvious example is Captain Vor, a Grineer commander with an interest in Orokin technology and the one who woke you up in the first place. He shows up as the game's first boss on Mercury, then later forms a tag-team with Lieutenant Lech Kril on Phobos. After getting killed, his Janus Key brought him back to life as Corrupted Vor, who will eventually appear in any Tower IV mission in the Void. Lech Kril also shows up as his own fight on Ceres.
    • Councillor Vay Hek is a high-ranking Grineer politician who's been involved with most of the Grineer-based events. He serves as the boss of Earth, but he's also the main antagonist of the first raid, the Law of Retribution (and its Nightmare Mode version).
    • There's also Alad V, the former head of Grineer Relations for the Corpus. He serves as the boss of Jupiter along with Zanuka, a dog-like robot that he crafted from the Warframes he captured. Thanks to his experimentation with the Infested during the Breeding Grounds and Mutalist Incursions events, he began to succumb to the virus himself. As Mutalist Alad V, he can be fought on Eris with a special key.

    Tower Defense 

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Unknown Rival Mid-Boss from the first Disgaea is fought a total of five times. Though he's treated like a Goldfish Poop Gang in-story, he's actually a legitimate threat every time.
  • Disgaea 2 has Axel, the Dark Hero. He is not, as his name may imply, a vicious murdering bastard, but a former rock star. Mid-Boss also makes an amusing optional cameo.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics:
    • The first time you fight Wiegraf, he runs away; the second time, you mortally wound him and he makes a Deal with the Devil to keep on living; the third time, he's been completely taken over by the demon, and the first part of the battle is a Duel Boss in which you have to defeat his human form before he drops his disguise.
    • Also, Gaffgarion is fought three times; the first time, he turns on you in the beginning of the battle, the second is a normal fight, and the third time is a pseudo-Duel Boss (you have can still use allies in the fight, but they're trapped in another area until you use a switch to open a gate). In War of the Lions, Argath (Algus in the PS1 version) appears a second time late in the third chapter. Most of the Temple Knights, Elmdor, Celia, and Lede are all also fought twice.
    • Celia and Lede are fought three times. Well, if you count their first apperance (Castle Rooftop) a 'fight'.
  • Llednar Twem from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is of the second variety.
  • Klesta from Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is of the first variety.
    • Illua, who is fought a total of three times.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Gharnef in Shadow Dragon is present on the map midway through the game, and you must simply survive him because it is a Hopeless Boss Fight without Starlight. The second time, you can fight him for real after picking out the real Gharnef amongst his doppelgangers.
    • Genealogy of the Holy War has Ishtar, who is considered That One by the fanbase and is fought THREE TIMES. On every occasion, she carries Mjolnir and poses a very real threat of a One-Hit Kill if she lands an attack (which, with Mjolnir's +20 skl, she will). Oh, and she also has Adept, meaning the Random Number God can screw you by giving Ishtar another attack when surviving two Mjolnirs to the face is PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.
    • Thracia 776 has a few:
      • Galzus plays almost an identical role as the Black Knight: mysterious, frighteningly deadly One-Man Army whose occasional appearance forces your party to run in the opposite direction. He's not invincible, but for the better part of the game he's close enough to count. Mercifully he can be recruited near the very end without having to deal with him directly.
      • Saias turns up a couple times during the game, but as less of a boss and more of an incredible nuisance - thanks to having 10 authority stars, his mere presence pumps up the entire enemy force into Demonic Spiders until you do something to make him leave. He also is recruitable late-game, but by then he has lost the overpowered buff.
    • Several high-ranking enemies, such as Riev and Lyon, appear in a handful of chapters of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, calling monsters and leading armies from the rear, while a particularly strong monster or general leads individual troops. They will defend themselves if attacked, and if defeated, will decide that they don't feel like dying early in the plot and leave, most of the time only giving heaps of experience.
    • The Black Knight from Path of Radiance appears on the map a total of three times throughout the game, but you don't possess the means to damage him until the third. The first two, he must be avoided, as he can easily kill anyone who steps into his attack range. In the sequel, Radiant Dawn, he appears as an enemy twice, and can be killed both times, though doing so the first time is both dangerous and pointless, since there is no reward for defeating him and you will be unable to recruit another character later in the game if you do.
    • Validar in Awakening, under very unusual circumstances — the first time in the Spoiler Opening, his proper debut in Chapter 6, the rematch in chapter 23 where the Spoiler Opening took place, and then again in that chapter where he finally takes the kid's gloves off.
    • In Fates, almost all of the playable characters you turn against are this. The absolute king of this trope, however, is Takumi in Conquest — you have to put the son of a bitch down on five separate occasions, to the point where during the final fight with him and the final battle in Conquest overall, even his own sane spirit just wants him to give up and die already. Xander is also technically fought five times in Birthright, but is nowhere near as prominent of a threat as Takumi is for various reasons.note  Co-Dragons Iago and Hans are also fought twice each in Birthright, and Dark Chick Arete is fought three times in Revelation.
    • In Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Slayde is promoted from a random one-off boss to this. He is fought three times in the game proper and once in DLC. Canon Foreigners Fernand and Berkut are also fought on three separate occasions.
    • Many examples in Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • Hubert takes the cake here, as on Azure Moon you can fight him a whopping 7 TIMES. Yes you saw that right. Oh, and whenever you fight him after the timeskip, prepare for Villain: Exit, Stage Left when beating him on amy encounter except his last.
      • The Death Knight appears as a miniboss in no fewer than six chapters. The first four times he appears, he's an obstacle that exists to advertise the power of the Flame Emperor, until midway through the game, when he could be realistically defeated without exploiting a Disc-One Nuke. Post-timeskip, he's fought once more on Azure Moon and twice more on Silver Snow and Verdant Wind, and you can even go another round with him if you recruit both Caspar and Mercedes and play their shared paralogue.
      • Kostas, the bandit leader hired to attack the lords in the prologue, returns two chapters later with a chip on his shoulder, desperate to exact his revenge.
      • On the Crimson Flower route, Rhea is fought three times, including as the Final Boss.
      • On all routes other than Crimson Flower, Randolph and Ladislava are first fought as minor midbosses before coming back for a rematch a couple of chapters later.
      • Every playable character other then Byleth, Marianne, Alois, Shamir, Anna, and the Ashen Wolves is fought in at least one battle in Part I, and then fought in a legitimate fight to the death in Part II if you didn't poach them on at least one route. Edelgard and Hubert deserve special mention, as one of them is tied with the Death Knight for most appearances as an enemy in one game depending on whether or not you count paralogues.
      • Acheron (all routes) and Pallardó (Azure Moon and Verdant Wind) can be fought in Part I paralogues if Lorenz and Anna, respectively, are in your party, and are fought again in Part II.
  • Almost every boss apart from the final bosses in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation, though you can shoot them down before they retreat if you reduce their hit points to just above the point where they'd retreat, then use a really powerful attack.
  • Jason Beck, in every game in the Super Robot Wars Z series so far. He's basically the Yazan Gable of Z, which might as well be a Casting Gag.
  • Several bosses in Tactics Ogre, depending on which path you go through.
    • Let us Cling Together:
      • On the Chaotic path, Oz, but this fight with him is a bit out of the way. In the neutral path, he doesn't escape.
      • You fight Ganb throughout the entire game, with an optional way to recruit him in Chapter 4, along with several of his monsters.
      • Martym in a sidequest. He dies for real around the final boss.
    • The Knight of Lodis: You see Nichart several times throughout the story and you know you'll have to fight him... but then you finally do, while he taunts you with a nice spear during the fight. Except that when you beat him... he doesn't drop it, and he runs off with it. You do face him for real later on, but by the time he drops it, you might have had something better by then.
  • Tears to Tiara 2: The Ax-Crazy Izebel and her subordinate Laelius. Izebel is impossible to kill in a straight up fight on the first encounter on the hardest difficulty, being 7 to 10 levels higher than the player's party on top with her super high stats. Although you can kill her through a trick of the map. They both get gradually easier. But no matter how many times you beat them the story always pretend you just ran away until you face them the final time.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • Selvaria. The first two times you encounter her, she's invincible on account of her Valkyria powers. The third time, aptly named "Selvaria's Last Stand", she decides to fight you as a mortal woman. That doesn't make her any easier.
    • Radi Jaeger if fought twice, first as an optional Warmup Boss, and much later as the penultimate boss.
    • The aptly named enemy ace Ty the Immortal, who comes back for three different missions even though he can be "killed" in each one.
  • XCOM 2:
    • The three Alien Rulers introduced in the Alien Hunters DLC have a chance to crash any mission after you encounter the first Ruler. No encounter with them is a Hopeless Boss Fight, and you can in fact get an Achievement for killing one in your first encounter with it, but otherwise they'll scrap with your troops for a few rounds, then summon a portal and leave the battlefield. The good news is, any damage you do them will carry over to your next encounter.
    • The Chosen in the War of the Chosen expansion are also persistent threats, since they possess Resurrective Immortality that lets them come back even if you kill them - and thanks to their Adaptive Ability, you may find in your next encounter that they Came Back Strong. It takes a chain of Covert Actions to locate each Chosen's headquarters, find a way in, and launch a mission to put them down for good, but It Only Works Once, and if you fail that assault, you'll be dealing with that particular Chosen for the rest of the campaign.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Inasmuch as a game like Endless Ocean has bosses, the second game features a few different head-to-head encounters with the maneating king of the great white sharks, Thanatos.
  • Invoked by the Nemesis System in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War: defeated Uruk captains can survive to fight Talion again, sporting scars, bandages, and other blemishes from previous encounters with you. The only way to make sure they don't come back is to behead them (and that only works in Mordor; decapitated Uruks in War can still come back!).


Video Example(s):


Mr. Pigeon

Mr. Pigeon has become a sizable nuisance since his debut.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / RecurringBoss

Media sources:

Main / RecurringBoss