Sub-Trope of Puzzle Boss, and often a Bullfight Boss, the Ring-Out Boss is a type of Boss Battle where the boss himself cannot be just defeated via damage, but has to simply be knocked or thrown back into a dangerous substance or obstacle to cause damage. Very much the Boss Battle type used when the hero fights the Implacable Man or a character with Nigh-Invulnerability.
There are two types of this:
- Type 1 is a boss which cannot be defeated by anything other than knock back, your attacks don't directly hurt said foe most of the time, or don't take them down for good, and you have to try to make it so instead of wearing down a health bar via lots of damage, that the impact from your attacks knocks them back into something dangerous to the boss.
- Type 2 relies more on force, and actually picking up, carrying and throwing/dropping the boss into the deadly substance or obstacle.
A Sub-Trope of Convenient Weakness Placement, and very much a subtrope of Ring Out, as that is the aim in one of these battles—albeit often with a foe who can come back a few times before being killed. Related to Boss Arena Idiocy, as it's only due to the dangerous and (for the enemy) stupid design of their battle arena that they can even be killed at all. Contrast Boss Arena Urgency, in which the boss is trying to ring you out.
May be a Breather Boss due to many, many cases having limited physical damage abilities against the player character, and relying on trying to send the player into the same obstacle they're weak against.
Occasionally a Bullfight Boss who has to be lured to charge into the dangerous substance/location.
Plot-wise, this trope can pave some ways for a Disney Villain Death.
- The Mario series has numerous examples.
- Bowser himself in Super Mario Bros. 3 - though projectile attacks can also be used.
- Iggy and Larry from Super Mario World, which you have to knock into the lava on a giant tilting platform.
- Bowser again in Super Mario 64. All three times you fight him, throwing him out of the ring won't work, but throwing him into the spiked bombs surrounding the arena will.
- Every variation of Bully in the main series can only be killed by pushing them off platforms.
- Subverted with King Bob-Omb in Super Mario 64. His only means of hurting you is tossing you off the arena platform, possibly subjecting you to fall damage. And you can't throw him off the mountain to hurt him. Doing so will just lead to him jumping back up to the top, and chastising you for playing dirty.
- In Super Mario Galaxy, Topmaniac is defeated by jumping on the button on top of its head, deactivating it, and spinning it into the electrical fences surrounding the arena.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii is an inversion. Lemmy tries to ring you out.
- The larger Cataquacks (Plungelos) that walk over the mirrors in Gelato Beach, in Super Mario Sunshine.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
- The Tower Of Yikk. There's a river on both sides of the field. In order to damage its head, Bowser must punch it into the river while avoiding getting punched in himself.
- Peachs' modified Castle. During the battle, there will be black holes on both ends of the battlefield, and getting knocked in will cause Bowser or the Castle to take damage. The Castle is protected by a force field which must be removed by punching it into the black hole. It'll also use one of the few Always Accurate Attacks in the game to knock Bowser in anyway.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team:
- Earthwake has Stone Wall level defences, but is defeated by you hammering it backwards off the edge of the island and into the ocean, which gives you the chance to repeatedly smash its head in, similarly to the aforementioned Tower of Yikk.
- Giant Bowser. For the first part of the battle, the goal is just to knock him into the lava for more damage, but near the end, you actually have to knock him off in a way similar to the Big Bully fights from Super Mario 64, with Luigi spinning with his hammer and trying to ram away Bowser spinning in his shell.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Sonic CD does this kind of boss slightly differently: the boss of Quartz Quadrant is stationary and more or less invulnerable to Sonic's attacks—instead, his platform slowly wears away on the conveyor belt floor.
- The Sandopolis Act 1 boss in Sonic and Knuckles has to be knocked into a pit of quicksand. Or if you jump into the quicksand yourself, the boss will follow you in. The pit kind of stands out in an otherwise featureless arena.
- Amy's storyline in Sonic Adventure ends with a battle against Zero, the robot who has been chasing her throughout. Amy has to knock Zero into the electric fence, causing his Cranium Compartment to open up and expose his mechanical brain, which Amy has to attack to damage him.
- From Sonic Advance Trilogy: Toy Kingdom's Egg Cube/Jack-In-The-Box from the third game, where you pretty much evade his attacks, then hit, rinse, and repeat for a couple of minutes or so, trying to knock him into the bottomless pit.
- The Crocomire in Super Metroid is this. Also, when it does finally fall into the acid pool, it has such a horrible Family-Unfriendly Death that some players genuinely feel bad for the poor thing.
- The video game version of Terminator 2: Judgment Day for the Game Boy ended with a fight against the T-1000 where, akin to the movie, he was invincible but got knocked back when shot, so the idea was to knock him off the platform into the molten stuff below.
- Inverted in Super Smash Bros..: Bosses are the only fighters you have to beat with something other than a Ring Out. (Bosses that are counterparts to playable characters, such as Giga Bowser and Giant Shadow Bug Diddy Kong, still have to be ringed out, with the exception of Dark Link.)
- The Chocobo Eater in Final Fantasy X is a subversion, as you could ultimately defeat it by depleting its HP if neither side can do enough harm for the Ring Out.
- Once you'd beaten down Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid to the last of his health, it would slowly start restoring. The only way to beat him is to empty his life bar and then kick him off the edge of Metal Gear.
- The Corpser in the first Gears of War was fought on a precipice overlooking a lake of what looked like heated Immulsion. Your weapons could barely penetrate its hide, but they could cause pain. Your goal was to shoot its soft spots and force it to recoil in agony, eventually backing to the point where the precipice could no longer support its weight and collapsed, dropping the creature into the Immulsion.
- Shadow of the Colossus has a variation. Without exception, you kill the colossi by stabbing their glowing weak points. But for Celosia, the eleventh colossus, the only way to expose its weak point is to drive it off a cliff so the fall breaks its armor.
- Prince of Persia:
- In Prince of Persia, the skeleton on level 3 has no life bar, and therefore cannot actually be killed. The only way to defeat it is to knock it down into a pit (twice!).
- The Warrior from Prince of Persia (2008) can be defeated only by being knocked him out of the ring or into a trap every time you fight him.
- The easiest way to beat Ax-Crazy Burner Man from Mega Man & Bass is to push him off the platform into Spikes of Doom using the Ice Wall weapon. Of course, for him, the spikes aren't fatal (though it does take a large chunk off his health bar) and you can beat him without doing this, if you want.
- The final battle with Gargamel, in the first The Smurfs game for the SNES, involved a catapult being used to cause him to fall to his defeat.
- Notably averted with Night Terror in Soulcalibur III where uniquely of all enemies if you knock him off he just flies back in.
- The first boss in Jazz Jackrabbit II who has to be driven back off an edge, as any overzealous mother-in-law who blames the wrong person for her daughter's kidnapping would.
- In the DS version of LEGO Batman, Bane is totally immune to your attacks- the only way to beat him is to make him run into stuff and stun himself so you can drop things on him.
- The Sumo boss in Vexx. The first go around, it's simply a matter of knocking him back a lot, but in his second battle, he becomes a much more dangerous Bullfight Boss whose arena steadily grows smaller as you fight him.
- Chance in the final battle of Syphon Filter 2 is wearing an indestructable armored suit, so you need to shoot him with a shotgun to knock him into a helicopter's spinning blades.
- The final boss in the Bad Ending path of True Crime: New York City has no health bar; instead you have to punch him across a subway car and use a finishing move to knock him out the rear door.
- A lot of boss fights in the Double Dragon series feature a convenient nearby pit (often with a conveyor belt leading into it) that you can knock the boss into if you don't feel like spending several minutes beating down his health bar. Beware, bosses can do the same to you.
- The final battle in the The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King game is like this. Frodo fights Gollum, with the objective being to knock Gollum off the edge into the lava.
- In The Matrix: Path of Neo, in your first fight with Agent Smith, he's invincible (as you are not yet "The One"), so you need to throw him into the path of a speeding subway car to beat him, just as Neo did in the first movie.
- Not exactly a boss, but this is one way to fulfill the Lord British Postulate vis-a-vie the otherwise invincible Sergeant Johnson in Halo 2. In the first level, punch him into the airlock and off the space station into the void of space to kill the guy.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, the final boss is a one-on-one duel with the female Commander, who's wearing a Bubblegum Crisis-style suit of Powered Armor. You can't damage her normally, so to defeat her you need to knock her down a nearby elevator shaft.
- Belcha, the first boss of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, is a large barrel which must be pushed into a lower portion of the floor at the end of his room. You don't have the leverage or strength to do so, and thus you must feed him beetles that occasionally fall from the ceiling - Belcha's belches steadily push him backwards whenever he eats one. Curiously the pit contains no hazards of its own and is no deeper than Belcha is tall. Considering Belcha's lack of mobility, however, the poor chap will never escape his comitragically small ditch.
- Squirt from the same game is an inversion; he tries to ring you out. You kill him directly with damage, but he cannot damage you; instead, he tries to knock you off the ledge you're on by spewing streams of water at you.
- The first boss in Spyro: Year of the Dragon is Buzz, who you must defeat by knocking him into the lava surrounding the arena. Your attacks have no damaging effect at all- all they do is knock him backwards. Knocking him into the lava makes the way clear for Sheila the Kangaroo to push him deeper into the lava.
- The fight against Papes in The Legendary Starfy features this. Papes uses a big shield, so Starfy has to spin at him until he drops out of the pool of water in the middle of the room and hits a spiked wall. Doing this fight two-player allows one character to spin from the front and the other from the back, so it is theoretically possible to beat him without the ring out.
- In Chapter 7 of StarTropics, which takes place aboard an alien spaceship, one of the bosses you face is a robotic alien called the Ostroid who can't be damaged directly. To kill him, you have to use your attacks to push him back far enough to trip a switch in the floor. This makes part of the floor disappear. Once that's done, you have to keep using your attacks to push the Ostroid back until he falls off the floor and into the void.
- The giant spider of Alundra 2 doesn't perish upon the depletion of HP like the other bosses, but by being forced over the edge of the elevator it fights you on.
- About giant spider bosses, Phantom from Devil May Cry will fight you three times. If you defeat him the third time as usual, he will break a skylight and fall over a statue that impales him. But one of his attacks, a big jump, can be avoided at the last second while YOU are over the skylight. Do it a few times and Phantom will break it so voilà, instant death without breaking a sweat.
- In King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, the only way to defeat the skeleton with the chainmail in the Dimension of Death is to knock him back until he falls off of the tower you're fighting on.
- The "Larries' Lament" boss in Super Meat Boy. Being that it's Meat Boy, you can't even knock them back without dying. You need to stand near some giant sawblades (probably dying a few times in the process) and then move so the Larries will jump into the saws without killing you in the process.
- In Killer Instinct 2/Gold, the only way to defeat Gargos is a Knock Off. (A.K.A. Ring Out) He just comes back with more health, and you don't get healed at all if you beat him using regular HP destruction.
- In the first Boktai, you fight Muspell, who is very much a Bullfight Boss. While you can just attack him normally, dodging his charges to have him roll into the nearby lava will make the fight end a lot faster.
- A variant in Dawn of War II: Retribution, one campaign scenario has an Ork Battlewagon that can't be killed effectively by any method other than the recommended tactic of leading it into explosives.
- Cyclops in Dark Messiah can only be killed in a realistic amount of time by stunning them with the scenery (or a siege weapon in their first appearance), then taking out their eye. They can be taken out by mundane means, but it will take forever, and only mage spaming lighting spells has a real chance of doing it without cheating.
- The Legend of Zelda
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:
- Scervo, the robot pirate miniboss of the Sandship, who is fought on a narrow gangplank and must be gradually pushed back by your sword attacks until he falls off of it. Dreadfuse in the Sky Keep is fought and defeated the same way.
- The first phase of the final battle with Ghirahim. He creates an aerial arena for you and he to fight on, and as can be imagined, you need to knock him to the ground and spear him through the chest with your Finishing move.
- An inversion occurs in A Link Between Worlds: the boss of the House of Gales is incapable of damaging you except by knocking you off of the platform you're standing on.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:
- The final boss in The Incredible Hulk for the Super NES combines this with Zero-Effort Boss. The Leader (one of Hulk's main foes, having been made superintelligent by a lab explosion) stands before a deep shaft. Whale on him all you like with straight punches, he offers no resistance and just laughs at you. Uppercut him, and he's lofted in a graceful arc, straight down the shaft to his doom.
- In Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, there's the boss of Carrot Castle, the Mega Titan. Basically a flying suit of armor with four rocket-propelled fists, the only way to damage it is by knocking the main body into the electrified walls of the arena you're in.
- In the Batman Arcade Game, every battle against Jack Napier/The Joker involves knocking him backward until he falls into toxic waste, drops into a pit, or plummets off Gotham Cathedral.
- The GR-666 boss in Broforce has a lifebar much like other bosses, but bringing it down won't kill the boss — he'll get back up with a fully refilled bar again. The only way to kill him is to send him over the edge of the map to his doom.
- This is the way to defeat Rhino in pretty much every Spider-Man game where he shows up as a boss. You have to wait until he charges at you and jump out of the way so he crashes into something that harms him.
- Inverted in Wario Land II and Wario Land 3, where the bosses try to throw you out of the arena while you fight them normally.
- The Octo Samurai in the Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion is a Type -1. You fight him in the Baller, which is immune to damage, and have to explode on him with enough force to expose and destroy his weakpoint tentacle three times; instead of splatting you conventionally, his attacks inflict large amounts of knockback intended to launch you off the edge of the map.
- The first-person Light Gun Game Alien 3: The Gun has one at the end of the penultimate level - you must unload a steady stream of bullets right at an unstoppable Alien with a false health meter that can't be depleted, pushing it into a molten furnace pit behind it. It's even immune to your Smart Bomb.
- The Legend of Zelda
- The Dodongo boss from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons can only be damaged if you Feed It a Bomb, then pick it up and throw it into the spikes in the center of the room while it's bloated.
- Partial example: Defeating Jahalla in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker requires throwing the boss into spiked columns lining the arena before finishing off the poes that make up its body.
- Dangoro from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. After Link hits him a few times with the sword, Dangoro will try to crush him with the curl attack; Link has to intercept him by grabbing him like he would grab a goat, and throw it to the lava. It is necessary to do this three times.
- The Minotaur/Bull boss from the original Wario Land.
- Red Brief J in Wario World involves you tricking him into dashing to the edge of the platform and ground pounding it to throw him off balance.
- All of the Bowser fights in Super Mario 64 are type 2 that resemble type 1 fights. You have to avoid throwing Bowser off the cliff (as he will just jump right back into the arena), but rather throw him into the bombs surrounding said cliff.
- Every single enemy in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver if you're unarmed. You can only stun them, then proceed to throw them into fire/water/spikes/sunlight.
- The Sentinel in Iji, which you have to
use as a soccer ballkick into electrified force fields. Though as it happens, it is possible to kill it with normal methods; it's just really hard.
- In The Lion King game, the only way to defeat Scar is to physically throw him off the top of Pride Rock. He'll actively fight you until you beat him down hard enough, but he'll just stand there panting and occasionally hit you until you throw him clear off the rock.
- Crow in Def Jam: Fight For New York is best killed by slamming him into a window until it breaks, sending him out it.
- The World of Warcraft achievement "Ring Out!" is another inversion. If any of the players leave the rectangular stonework in the middle of Daakara's arena, they fail the achievement.
- In the remake of Resident Evil you can defeat Lisa either by shooting her repeatedly to knock her into the abyss, or push the four stones to open her mother's coffin and cause her to jump off.
- It is possible to defeat the final boss of Bomberman 64 this way, as he can be stunned by bomb explosions. While he is stunned, Bomberman can simply pick him up and throw him off of the platform.
- A non-video game example occurs early in The Order of the Stick, in which the Order, at that time probably around level 9, encounters Xykon, an epic-level lich with a bunch of minions. Roy wins the battle by bodily picking up the lich and throwing him into a nearby MacGuffin. In the battle for Azure City, Roy and Xykon get a rematch, and we see what would have happened in a straight-up fight.
- The final boss of Zombie Army Trilogy is none other than an undead Adolf Hitler empowered by the corpses of three of European history's most evil people. The player has to pick up and throw each of those corpses into the Hellmouth, then throw Hitler himself after them.