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Scripted Battle

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A battle in a video game, often an RPG, that follows a script, either for a segment or for the entire thing, instead of acting like a regular battle. Often serves as an aversion of Gameplay and Story Segregation. If a battle is scripted in its entirety, it will often be either Hopeless Boss Fight or Foregone Victory, but the reverse is less likely: a battle whose outcome is predetermined may not care how you arrive at that outcome. A Hopeless Boss Fight that immediately kills you on the first turn simply because the boss is so powerful can be an example, depending on how important the manner in which that's done is. A normal boss battle that scripts you to lose in the end is also Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.

Subtrope of Scripted Event. Compare Cutscene Boss.

For a Professional Wrestling example, see Kayfabe.


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    Video Game Examples 
  • The battle with Nyx at the end of Persona 3 is scripted to portray the protagonist charging up his Combined Energy Attack and Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Persona 4 has three examples:
    • The first battle in the game is like this, with the 'mysterious figure' being impossible to hit after using "Bewildering Fog". The fight predictably ends after a few turns.
    • Shadow Rise will become invincible and taunt you for a few turns when you take off half her HP bar. Then she blasts you into oblivion. It's possible to deplete her HP if you're overpowered enough (and get a bonus reaction in the original release), but it still won't change the outcome.
    • The final boss, Izanami-no-Okami, once her HP reaches 0, starts using a guaranteed instant-kill attack. Each of your party members in turn will knock you out of the way with their Diving Save ability and take the attack themselves, until you're the only one left. Then you get hit, a cutscene ensues in which you charge up your Combined Energy Attack, and you come back. Izanami gets several turns in a row to hit you with deadly attacks, which you shrug off, and when your turn comes, your only choice is to use the skill Myriad Truths and defeat her.
  • Persona 5 uses scripted battles a few times.
    • When trying to exit the first Palace after doing some digging around for proof that Kamoshida has been regularly abusing his students, the party is surrounded by three enemies; even on a New Game Plus they can't be beaten, and will automatically knock the party down after a few turns. It's meant to get your new party member to awaken to their rebellion spirit, thus becoming playable (and they have the enemy's weakness, to boot).
    • One of the Mementos targets is a guy who cheats at a video game and believes himself to be invincible. As a result, you can't actually hit him: he cheats and dodges all attacks, forcing you to retreat, find and start the Tower Confidant, and return with a never-miss special attack that knocks down the cheater and lets you unleash an All-Out Attack, killing him instantly.
    • The final act of the game includes a battle with Caroline and Justine, where you are clearly and completely outmatched. Except that Joker refuses to give up, staying at one hit point, and the battle ends when the Wardens realize something is wrong.
    • The Final Boss battle against Yaldabaoth is a pretty typical boss battle, until you reduce his HP to zero. The game then goes into a scripted sequence that gives you only one option: shooting a god in the head with a bullet made of the seven deadly sins and fired from a gun the size of a skyscraper!
    • The Updated Re Release Persona 5 Royal adds a couple more: the one in the prologue alongside Kasumi, later replayed when the story catches up with the present (Kasumi automatically initiates an All-Out Attack that wipes out the enemy party) and the third and fourth phases of the final boss Maruki and Adam Kadmon, which both end after a few turns.
  • Digital Devil Saga has one between you and Heat, where he pummels you in a ploy to get back Sera. Fortunately, he'll only beat you up so much, before the next cutscene happens.
  • Many games have scripted tutorial battles.
    • Disgaea plays with this: Etna scripts the tutorial battle to make you lose.
      Etna: That was an example of something not to do.
      • Rozalin and Mao both do the same thing. Notable for the latter as he winds up doing himself in.
    • La Pucelle had something similar, as Culotte attempts to explain combat basics, only to end up getting in over his head, taking a critical hit that one-shots him (even if you hack him to be Level 9999).
    Alouette: That was an example.... of what not to do.
  • The third form of Kingdom of Loathing's Naughty Sorceress can take one of two paths depending on whether or not you have a certain item, and will either be a Hopeless Boss Fight or a Foregone Victory by the time you make it there. Either way, the battle consists of one entirely scripted attack (barring years' worth of Sequence Breaking).
  • Final Fantasy does this quite a lot.
    • Final Fantasy IV
      • The fight with the king and queen of Elban proceeds normally until "the king and queen break free of their spells" and you have a long conversation in combat mode.
      • Several battles with Golbez in Final Fantasy IV are entirely scripted. The first battle is between Golbez and Tellah, and the player never gains control. The second fight against Golbez is with a full party, but only starts proper after a few scripted turns. Also, the battle against Cecil's inner darkness isn't technically scripted, but the only way to advance is to sit there and do nothing.
      • The battle with The Man Behind the Man Zemus is scripted, and an automatic win, but it just summons the Final Boss. Also, during the Final Boss fight, the only way to actually start the battle is to have Cecil use an item on him.
    • The trend continues with The After Years. There are several boss battles that are scripted. Including The Creator, who continues to follow you throughout the escape of the final dungeon, but wriggles away after a few turns of punching himself.
    • Final Fantasy V uses this to good effect in the first fight against Exdeath: no matter what happens, Galuf cannot be killed. This results in his death for fighting well beyond the limits of survival.
    • Final Fantasy VI:
      • The fight with Vargas in the beginning of the game is a one-on-one battle. The only commands available to Sabin are Attack and Blitz, and you don't know how to use Blitz until a conversation when the battle's almost over, after which you defeat Vargas by using Raging Fist.
      • The third battle with Ultros in Final Fantasy VI is a normal boss fight until Relm shows up, and then, after a conversation, you win the battle by having Relm use her Sketch ability to paint a picture of the boss.
      • The first random encounters you come across in the World of Ruin have Sap and very low HP, so they tend to immediately die off on their own; this illustrates the bleak state of the new world.
      • When you find Terra in the ruined version of Molbiz during the World of Ruin story, Humbaba appears and she fights it alone to protect the children. Due her losing her fighting spirit, she's not strong enough to kill the creature and she is defeated in the battle. The monster flees after the other party members step in and fights in Terra's place.
    • Cloud's last battle with Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII is lots of staring, multiple camera cuts, and one Omnislash. If you really want, you can just sit there, but the developers thought of that, so Sephiroth will attack but Cloud will counter, ending the battle anyways.
    • If you have Odin when you fight Seifer for the last time in Final Fantasy VIII, he'll appear at the beginning of the battle and Seifer will kill him. Halfway through the battle, Gilgamesh will show up, grab Odin's sword, and defeat Seifer for you.
      • Also in this game, the Final Battle with Ultimecia. When her HP drops to 0, she will not immediately die, and will continue to fight. Each attack that hits her from this point on, no matter how much damage or what status effects it inflicts, will only cause her to speak a few lines from her parting monologue. Once the player has attacked all the lines out of her, she finally dies.note 
    • Beatrix and Kuja in Final Fantasy IX defeats your party instantly with a powerful attack once you drop their HP to zero or after a certain amount of time has passed and it is completely unavoidable. On top of this, they are still standing, despite everything you threw at them. The only exception is the final battle against Kuja at the end of disc 3 since his lifespan is nearly at its end and he does collapse later on after the Final Boss. This is to emphasize just how powerful these characters are, no matter how much Level Grinding the player had done previously.
      • Similarly, the fight against the Masked Man in the very beginning advances the plot whether you win the battle or not since the fight was just a surprise training for the party.
    • At one point in Final Fantasy X Tidus faces a powerful enemy alone, until two other characters show up mid-battle and speak to him.
      • Once you beat Braska's final aeon, you proceed to fight every single Aeon you had acquired throughout the game, then Yu Yevon himself. In these final battles, every character in your party is bestowed with permanent Auto-Life status, making it impossible to lose. The very last boss even damages himself more than you probably will.
      • The first random encounter after a new party member joins will always be scripted for the purpose of teaching the player how to use the new member's unique skills.
    • Subverted in Final Fantasy Tactics: Many plot-important battles include conversations between characters, such as Ramza debating the ethics of killing Delita's sister with Argath while the two of them are actively trying to kill each other. The subversion is that there's zero requirement to actually listen to the conversation: if you're good enough to take down your target before they finish talking, you are essentially telling the target Shut Up, Hannibal!. And this actually fits with Ramza's belief system: he recognizes evil when he sees it, and generally isn't interested in debating the finer points of what makes someone evil.
  • During the final battle of Paper Mario, at one point, the game cuts away to a secondary fight of Peach and Twink vs. Kammy. You control it like a normal battle, but each character has only one action, so there's only one path the battle can take.
    • In Super Paper Mario, in the final battle with Count Bleck, he's impervious to your attacks at first. After you hit him a few times, a cutscene occurs where Bowser, Peach, and Luigi return, and the Count becomes vulnerable. A similar stunt is done with Super Dimentio afterward, with Tippi coming back in this case.
  • Metroid:
    • The Super Metroid at the end of Super Metroid is unkillable and will usually capture you almost immediately, draining you to 1 energy before recognizing Samus and stopping. It is a storyline reminder of the creature's earlier encounter with Samus, and also serves to prime you for a way out of the following unwinnable battle with Mother Brain.
    • The battle with Mother Brain also has a scripted segment, involving the Super Metroid's Heroic Sacrifice and Samus's Mama Bear reaction with her new Hyper Beam.
      • However, if you haven't found enough Energy Tanks or skipped out most of the items via Sequence Breaking, it IS possible to actually lose the fight you're supposed to survive in.
    • Similarly, in Metroid Fusion, the final boss is an Omega Metroid. You cannot harm it at all, and you must take a hit that automatically puts you with one health unit left. The Core-X arrives, becomes an SA-X, and fires Ice Beams at the Omega Metroid in an attempt to kill its natural enemy. After taking a few hits, the Omega Metroid reduces the SA-X into a Core-X again, giving Samus the opportunity to absorb it and regain all her health and the Ice Beam.
  • Fire Emblem does this from time to time, such as ensuring that certain attacks hit or miss during Blazing Sword's tutorial segment, or forcing a critical hit so that someone is killed or injured in spectacular fashion. Some people usually hack the game to see what happens if there is no critical hit, or to break the script only to find that the game freezes.
  • Every final boss in the Mother series. The first game had you sing to win, the second game had you pray, and the third game simply had you do nothing (well, except for guarding and healing yourself) until the battle ended.
    • EarthBound has a segment where Poo meditates before heading to meet the rest of the party. This takes place in a "battle" where the enemy systematically takes Poo's limbs and senses. You emerge completely fine, with a rather nice level up, despite being reduced to 0 HP during the sequence, which normally would invoke a Game Over.
  • In The Force Unleashed the end of every boss battle (as well as fights against Imperial Walkers) is scripted out with Quicktime Events. The main reason is so that you can be even more badass than usual; seriously, jumping onto a walker's head, stabbing through the windshield with a lightsaber, zapping the bejeezus out of it, then taking a flying leap away and crushing the whole thing into a tiny ball?
  • The final boss in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is this, with only Shrowser (the boss) getting to attack, Mario and Luigi having to dodge and each dodged attack hurting Shrowser/ghost Princess Shroob.
  • The original Persona had segments where your friends would get their Personas for the first time. They look like standard battles on the surface, but they're deliberately designed so that your party members get away without a scratch. Everyone also gets a free level-up in the process, regardless of how many EXP you would get from fighting the enemy party in an actual battle.
  • Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Warriors Orochi are rife with scripted events that can be either triggered or prevented depending on the circumstance.
  • Baldur's Gate: The first time you encounter Sarevok, Gorion covers for your retreat by engaging him and his minions. In an interesting variation of the trope, only half of the battle is scripted. No matter how effective Gorion's attacks are or how ineffective Saverok's attack are, the former will always be killed by the latter (even if Saverok is in between attacks)note . Whether or not Gorion manages to kill any of Saverok's minions is not scripted so their deaths are variablenote .
    • Later in the game, there's another such battle with Sarevok. While you're in the city of Baldur's Gate, you encounter him and his minions at a palace party event (or something... it's been a while), and no matter how well you fight, you can't kill him. He can kill you, however, so you can either lose or die, but not win. The battle isn't scripted in the sense that anything specific happens during the fight, but at the end, the script is that Sarevok and pals walk away.
    • Specifically, Sarevok is scripted to attack the PC for 15 seconds, while the other members of his band slaughter as many guests as possible. It is possible to lose the game 2 ways here. If either the PC dies, or if the lord the PC is supposed to protect dies.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, the final boss has a scripted Rhythm Game section after the first, standard battle. While all the bosses allow you to play a Rhythm Game in order to deal extra damage, the final boss makes it mandatory and you can't beat the game without going through it
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia: The "first" battle is Neptune receiving all of the Limit Breaks of the three goddesses.
    • This gets played again in Hyperdimension Neptunia V where Neptune still gets hit with all the Limit Break attacks of the other three goddesses. Only to find out that the entire sequence was the four goddesses playing a video game.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, a scene plays out where Isaac and Ivan fight against Agatio Karst in the Jupiter Lighthouse. You get to watch a battle scene take place where Ivan is already down and Agatio downs Isaac with powerful Psynergy. Even though the scene takes place on a battle screen, you don't get to control Isaac or Ivan but you do get to fight the antagonists a few minutes later with your own party.
    • And when you do get to fight the pair, the beginning of the fight is scripted. The battle starts with just Felix and Piers in your party and after two turns have passed, Jenna is shown walking in and then joining in on the fight. After another two turns, Sheba shows up and joins in as well. The script here ends and the battle proceeds as normal.
  • The final level of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is this entirely (and there are various other examples in the game before that.) It doesn't matter how many missiles you cram up the final boss' PAK-FA fighter plane, the game forces you to play out the scripted dialogue for the mission. Any form of Script Breaking the level results in you failing it because it'll give the proper conditions for the boss to win. In fact, you have to keep fighting him just because that's the only way to advance the script.
  • Harbinger at the end of Mass Effect 3.
  • The Super Robot Wars series regularly uses these to reenact scenes from anime or otherwise advance the plot. It's very common for a unit to be crippled at the beginning of a stage, leaving it with just a fraction of its HP and unable to move.
  • The Handsome Men in Killer7. The fight takes place as a series of one-on-one duels between the members, and the Handsome Men only attack when you do, meaning that the same characters win every time (and the final match between Garcian and Handsome Pink is interrupted by a cutscene.)
  • Pok√©mon Trading Card Game starts you off with a tutorial match where each player's deck is stacked, and gives you step-by-step instructions on what to do to win. Interestingly, this "duel" can be repeated indefinitely, rewarding the player with one booster pack containing only energy cards for each win.
  • In Super Lesbian Animal RPG, the first enemy you end up fighting is the Behemoth Boar, which has stats that would normally result in a certain loss. After a few turns, Claire joins the battle, hits it with fire magic, and the boar promptly flees. Later in the game, it can be fought by Melody, in an actual non-scripted battle.
  • In Deltarune, Susie gets extremely angry with Lancer due to him betraying her as ordered by his father (though he really did not want to do so since he became friends with Susie). She responds by starting a battle against him and attacks him every turn without input from the player. Lancer does fight back, but he eventually starts steer his attacks away from Susie on purpose, which makes losing against him impossible. Susie cannot be controlled other than having her soul avoid Lancer's first few attacks. After several turns, Susie unleashes her final blow and purposely missed knowing she couldn't bring herself to kill a friend. From there, Susie's Character Development kicks in.
  • Undertale has a few of these, assuming you don't play violently.
    • The very first battle of the game (against Flowey) ends (or at least is supposed to end) with Flowey's attack reducing your HP to 1, at which point he surrounds your SOUL with a ring of bullets that closes in, only for Toriel to rush in and knock him flying at the last minute. If you dodge his bullets instead, he accuses you of already knowing what's going on and then does the ring of bullets as usual.
    • Next, you fight a Dummy in another scripted tutorial battle, which ends after one turn, no matter what you do.
    • In the first battle against a proper enemy (a Froggit), after a single turn Toriel will enter and scare the enemy away.
    • The fight against Mad Dummy. You can't hurt it (FIGHT does nothing) and you can't Spare it either, so all you can do is survive its attacks until Napstablook shows up to drive it away.
    • In the first "real" battle against Mettaton, the only thing you can do is press the yellow button on your phone's ACT menu, which turns your SOUL yellow and makes it able to shoot bullets. You then shoot Mettaton, which causes him to leave. This is the only way to win the battle, since neither FIGHT nor MERCY work in this case. It later turns out it was a "scripted" battle in the literal sense, as in Mettaton was actually following a script - Alphys made him pretend to be an enemy so she could save you from him in order to make you like her more.
    • The final battle of the Neutral route, Photoshop Flowey, ends with a scripted event where Flowey does the same "ring of bullets" trick, only for the player to be restored to full health instead. Flowey tries to reload his save state (which he's been doing the entire battle), but it fails. Then the SOULs that Flowey absorbed break free of his control and combine together to destroy him.
    • The True Final Boss, the final battle of the True Pacifist route, Asriel, the Ultimate God of Hyperdeath, has a few scripted moments. After a normal battle (though one in which you can't die, since having your HP reduced to zero simply gives the message "But it refused" and resumes the battle from before the attack which killed you), Asriel uses a very difficult to avoid attack that reduces your HP to 1, after which you become unable to do anything (the only option available is "Struggle", which has no effect). After dodging a few more attacks, something else happens and your ACT option becomes SAVE, in glowing rainbow letters. You use the new option to save all the Lost Souls that Asriel/Flowey absorbed before the fight (i.e. the friends you made along your journey), then finally SAVE Asriel himself. Asriel then blasts you with an unavoidable attack that ends up reducing your HP to a tiny fraction (representing the player character's sheer Determination and willingness to cling to life no matter what), then you finally Spare him and the battle ends.
    • In a way, the final boss of the Genocide route is one of these. You can't hurt Sans, since he dodges your attacks (and he is the only enemy in the game who can do that), but the battle doesn't progress unless you attack him. Every time you attack (and miss), he says a few more lines of dialogue, so the battle essentially plays out like an interactive cutscene as you both dodge each other's attacks (or, more accurately, as he dodges your attacks and you attempt to dodge his). Eventually he traps you by making it his turn forever, meaning you can't do anything. You have to wait until he falls asleep, then push the battle box over to the FIGHT command and select it to finally kill him.
      • The battle after that is literally one of these, since you have no control - the player character automatically beats Flowey to a pulp with no input needed or even possible at all.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has a scripted boss fight. The only characters in your party are Dart and Lloyd, the latter of whom immediately attacks the Final Boss, Melbu Frahma, and is swatted down in a single hit after launching an impressive barrage of attacks.
    • Earlier on, you fight Lloyd in a scripted Duel Boss, where he dodges all of your attacks and the battle ends automatically after a certain time.
  • Lost Odyssey has the battle against mind-controlled Jansen - attacking him hurts you, so all you can do is defend and heal and wait the battle out.
  • A Way Out Has this in the end of the game where you fight against the other player, despite the presence of health bar for each character, ultimately the outcome of the fight and ending is decided at the last button mashing to reach a single gun.
    • However, the preceding battle, in which Leo and Vincent try to kill each other and there's a clear victor after each "phase", will determine who wins the button mashing battle: the lower a character's health, the harder it is to get to the gun. Essentially, if one character has more health than the other, the healthier character will get the gun first unless they are trying to lose.
  • In Miitopia, a scripted battle plays out with the Princess's true love attempting to fight a powerful monster who has stolen said Princess's face. The young man attempt of an attack does no damage while the monster counters with a powerful punch that instantly defeats him. Your party immediately intervenes and are able to beat the monster themselves.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Destroy the Godmodder: The entire fight against the ACNTT in the end of the first game, and in fact a lot of other story events, as it would be pretty hard to continue the game if the players somehow game overed, considering it takes days to get through small events.

Alternative Title(s): Scripted Battles