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Sequential Boss

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"You fool! You can't just beat the ultimate form, there's always an ultimate ultimate form waiting! Don't you know anything?"

Multiple large-scale fights in a row. Most common with a boss who morphs in shape (where multiple areas must be disabled to do real damage on the controlling target, see also: One-Winged Angel), although it sometimes happens with separate bosses. The game may or may not be nice enough to replenish your health in between the fights, but a major danger is using important items or techniques too early in the fight. With sequential bosses that are multiple fights against the same creature, occasionally the game will try to trick you into thinking that the first fight was the only one, showing victory animations and so on.

This trope is VERY common with a final boss. The number of stages will often be three.

If you're fighting multiple bosses at the same time, then that's a different story. Needless to say, Crystal Dragon Jesus help you if you have Sequential Dual Bosses, though those are blessedly rare for now...


Compare Boss Rush when fighting more than one past enemy in a sequential order and Boss Bonanza when there is a high amount of new bosses in a row. Compare Turns Red.


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    Action Games 
  • The four horsemen of Apocalypse fits under this trope perfectly.
    • Death begins by summoning hordes of zombies, which Kincaid must defeat while shooting back. Once Death realize zombies aren't going to cut it, he then plunges his scythe into the floor electrifying the surrounding area, which Kincaid must dodge while observing his attack patterns, before fighting Kincaid up close.
    • Plague begins with trapping Kincaid in three platforms, the middle which contains a fire-spewing disco ball which Kincaid must dodge the flames (by jumping between platforms) while shooting Plague. Once Plague's life is down, she ditches the disco ball attack and uses her ranged acid instead, before ultimately deciding to corner Kincaid in one single large platform, where she will pursue him relentlessly.
    • War uneleashes a few easy-to-destroy turrents, before facing Kincaid personally with his Shoulder Cannon, in addition to a BFS if Kincaid gets too close. Once Kincaid wipes out most of War's health, War then enlarges himself to fifty-foot, turning into an Advancing Boss of Doom.
    • Beast is a Damage-Sponge Boss with multiple healthbars Kincaid must deplete. In each of his form he have different abilities; it starts with fireballs (first lifebar), and then a repeated Shockwave Stomp where Beast leaps all over the place with each landing resulting in a shockwave that Kincaid must jump to avoid, before finally fighting Kincaid from up close.
  • Asura's Wrath has several of these.
    • The first one is Wyzen in Chapters 4 and 5. Asura starts fighting Wyzen at normal size, then fights his over 100 meters tall Vajra form, then his planet-sized Gongen form.
    • When fighting Deus, you first go at him with Asura, then Yasha, and then use Asura again.
    • When fighting Gohma Vlitra for the last time, he first sprouts out other Gohma to fight, then you fight one of his Orochi heads, then eventually start fighting all of them, and then its main face, then the true form of Vlitra in the Earth's core.
    • When fighting against Yasha for the final time, Asura and Yasha start off on a massive tower, then flash back to a training fight between the two as you fall down the tower, then fight Yasha in his Unlimited mode.
    • Then there's the final fight with Chakravartin, where you fight his giant intergalactic form, then a smaller version in Naraka, then his Human form, then his Creator form, then a coup de grace QTE battle with him.
  • Parodied in the web game Chibi Knight: after you defeat the last boss, the Demon Beast, he explodes and you have to fight what's left of him, the Demon Eye. However, it does absolutely nothing and you can kick it around as you please before it dies!
  • Lance in Contra: Shattered Soldier. And Mission 6 consists almost entirely of a sequential boss fight against the Relic of Morai's many forms. If you complete the game up to here with an S ranking, you get to fight the disappointingly easy True Final Boss.
  • Green from Gunstar Heroes boasts a grand total of seven forms with the power of his transforming mech, Seven Force. Sure, you only have to face a couple of them on easy, but harder difficulties have you facing the full set, back to back. He comes back later on using all the forms in conjunction with each other, but this one plays out more like a standard boss battle.
  • In the first God of War game, you fight Ares. Then he sucks you into a portal where you find your "family" and must donate your health to them while being attacked by versions of yourself. THEN, you fight Ares again, only without any of your upgraded weapons or magic.
  • The final fight in The Matrix: Path of Neo against the Mega-Smith takes place over three rounds, each stage damaging him more each time.
  • Metal Slug 4 is full of sequential bosses, for some reason. With the exception being The Iron and Sea Satan, the other 4 bosses plays it completely straight:
    • Brave Gurerrier attacks you on a rooftop, where you must firstly destroy it's dorsal section which has cannons and unloads bouncing bombs on you, then the middle part which has missile launchers, and then it's front which tries to eliminate you with a gatling gun.
    • Toschka Dalanue is a Pillbox Tower containing five segments that you must destroy one at a time. Every level have it's own armaments, may it be turrets, sections that unload mooks or fireball launchers. With the top piloted by Allan O'Neil, having a bomb dispenser and a giant cannon borrowed from the Big Shiee from the second game.
    • Big John is a robotic head which firstly unloads a grappling claw from above, and then a cannon that drops purple fireballs, before showing it's true face and sics missiles and poisoned bubbles on you.
    • The Final Boss, Amadeus Mother Computer, is a control center that first unleash two different giant robots (one at a time; the first has gatling cannons and a sawblade while the second can launch AttackDrones), before taking you on directly with it's final form flanked by the base's laser turrets and robot mooks.
  • The final battle with Dr. Tongue in Zombies Ate My Neighbors includes two forms: one against the spider form fought in a previous level, and one where he turns into a giant head.

    Action-Adventure Games 
  • Aquaria's final boss, The Creator, fits this trope to a T. First, he appears as a 'perfect' humanoid figure sitting on a throne. Then, his face falls off and he grows tentacles and chases you. Then, he turns into a monster, flees, and you have to track him down by listening to the background music. Then, he becomes a 'lite' version of the first form, which you defeat by singing in the correct sequence. When you win there, he falls on his side and it looks like you've won, but then you're warped to the final battlefield and have to face him as he truly is: a god.
  • Subverted and parodied in the first BloodRayne game. The final boss of Act 2 is a 10-foot tall Nazi cyborg. After you drain his health bar to zero and he collapses, he stands back up again, raises his arms high into the air, and screams "You can't defeat me THAT easily!"... then promptly falls over dead. Rayne even makes a snarky comment about this.
  • Bunny Must Die:
    • Final Boss Chelsea has a whopping seven distinct stages.
    • Septentrion Pleiades has five stages, but this fight happens back to back with possessed Bunny, who also has three stages and is directly followed by yet another three-stage boss (whose second stage is fortunately unbeatable). The game even gives you an award if you manage to finish all those fights without ever running out of HP.
  • Castlevania series:
    • Nearly every Castlevania game ends with a two-stage Dracula battle. Typically, the first half is against Dracula in a humanoid form, and the second is a hulking, demonic form called "True Dracula". Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse went even further, with a two-stage Grim Reaper battle and a three-stage Dracula battle; both versions of Stage 7 end with the Mummies, Cyclops, and Gargoyle being released from coffins in succession by the Evil Flame.
    • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, due to its flashback prologue, the game begins with the two-stage Dracula battle from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.
    • Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, which gives you the same two forms as in Rondo of Blood, but then gives you the TRUE FORM (and despair!) for a THIRD Dracula fight.
    • Another strange example is in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, where Dracula does have two forms, but instead of the second form being a demon thing, the second form renders the first form in 3-D.
    • Aria of Sorrow had a two-stage fight with Graham for the normal ending. Beating him with the three souls that best represent Dracula's powers (Giant Bat, Succubus, and Flame Demon) equipped let you progress further in the game to fight Chaos so you don't turn into Dracula (losing to him causes exactly that to happen) in another two-stage battle.
    • Grimoire of Souls has another example with two different bosses: the first time you manage to defeat Legion, you are subsequently ambushed by Soma Cruz and have to fend him off as well. In subsequent fights, the second boss is not fought.
  • Cave Story:
    • At the end of the game, you fight Misery, then fight The Doctor, who is himself a two-part boss fight, then fight the real final boss, who's backed up with two flunkies. There's no saving or recovery in between, but if you know how, it's possible to get partially healed right before the last one.
    • The Bonus Level of Hell is even worse: You fight the Heavy Press, which can do a lot of damage if you mess up, and instantly kill you in its death throes, then get some decidedly-less-than-generous Suspicious Videogame Generosity before going on to the secret final boss, which has four stages, each one of which can kill you in under six hits with a Boss Arena Recovery that's more likely to cause more damage than it is to heal you, and all of this is at the end of the longest and hardest level in the game without a save point.
  • The Family Guy Video Game! has the Giant Chicken as the final boss, naturally. The battle takes place in seven different areas, with the chicken gaining additional abilities between most of the scenery changes.
  • The Legend of Spyro:
    • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning:
      • After his health bar is depleted for the first time, the Ice King ditches his sword and shield for a glaive and becomes more aggressive. After it's depleted again, he takes back the sword, starts calling upon more varied attacks, and keeps his magic barrier up much more often.
      • After her health bar is depleted twice, Cynder stops circling overhead and switches to hovering in place while launching fireballs at Spyro.
    • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night:
      • Skabb, Scratch and Sniff fought in three stages. First, Skabb limits himself to launching his retractable hook hand at Spyro. After his health bar is depleted, it refills and they start shooting cannonballs and missiles. After it's depleted again, they flee altogether and have to be tracked down across the pirate fleet, at which point they're fought one final time and start using magical attacks and calling other Skavengers to assist them.
      • In the first phase of his battle, Gaul battles by trying to impale Spyro with flying leaps, occasionally teleporting across the boss arena and firing off a flaming projectile after rematerializing. After his health bar is depleted for the first time and he and Spyro fall through the arena's floor, he loses his scimitars and starts alternating between a Spin Attack and firing Eye Beams.
    • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon:
      • The golem is fought in three phases. In the first one, Spyro and Cynder are inside a building while it tries to swat at them with its good arm. The player must strike at its hand enough to stun it and cause it lean against the building, allowing Spyro and Cynder to attack its head. After this is done twice and its lower jaw destroyed, it climbs to the top of the building at starts to fight with powerful blows and punches from its good and artificial arms alike, which release spherical shockwaves. Spyro and Cynder must again strike at its hands until it's stunned, then climb up its arm and crack open its skull to expose the dark crystal within. The third plays out largely like the second, except that it now also shoots fireballs from the hole in its head. This time, after climbing back up to its head, Spyro and Cynder destroy the crystal and finally bring an end to the monster.
      • In his battle's first phase, Malefor simply hovers in place and shoots fireballs at Spyro and Cynder. After his health is depleted, an Action Command sequence ensues to dodge his counterattacks and he enters a second phase where he acts much the same as before, but also uses new aether- and ice-based projectiles. Depleting his health again leads to a second action command sequence and the third and final phase, where he surrounds himself with a shield impervious to everything but Spyro and Cynder's Fury breath.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: The Shadow Nightmares, the Final Boss, has six sequential forms (although the last two forms can be one-shotted with the right weapons).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Several:
      • Barinade has four phases, starting the battle attached to the ceiling, then surrounded by some of its Bari, then moving around with the rest of its Bari, and finally moving more quickly while firing electricity.
      • Phantom Ganon is first fought as he rides his stallion through the room's paintings, then as he floats around the room by himself.
      • Twinrova begins as a Dual Boss, before the two witches fuse into a single entity for the second phase.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The final battle with Majora in the moon features three forms, named "Majora's Mask," "Majora's Incarnation," and "Majora's Wrath".
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages: When battling Veran, you have to fight Veran-possessing-Ambi, Veran's "True Form (and despair!)", and her final battle (in which she shapeshifts between three forms), one after the other, without healing. If it's a linked game, you then go on to face Twinrova and Ganon, thus mixing this trope with Boss Bonanza.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has two:
      • The first boss, Gohma. In the first phase, Link has to make the rocky ceiling fall over her to gradually break her exoskeleton. After three falls, the second phase begins and Link is ready to properly inflict damage to the boss.
      • Puppet Ganon takes exactly three forms: The actual puppet, then a spider, and finally a Moldorm-like caterpillar.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: Vaati does not like to die. His first form is a humanoid boss version of Patra, and his second form is a giant eye. He appears to die after this, bringing down the castle with him, but just Link is almost to safety, a third form appears that looks like another giant eye, this time with arms. Woe be to you if you used up all of your potions and fairies already. And even then, he's not dead yet.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • The game does this for every boss except the second, in some cases even tricking you (and Link) into thinking the battle is over. In the majority of cases, the first phase is about merely weakening th boss's defenses with the item you found in the dungeon, while in the second phase you use that item in conjunction with the sword to incapacitate the boss and deal actual damage.
      • Played for laughs with Armogohma, whose second form is merely its eyeball on a tiny spider body, which runs away from you and dies very easily (all while a sillier version of the first phase's boss music plays).
      • Zant himself is a Final-Exam Boss with minor variations (namely, that he mimicks the behavior of some bosses and minibosses, and that he warps Link into a previous location at the start of a new phase).
      • Ganondorf's battle consists of a fight with Puppet Zelda, then Beast Ganon, then Ganondorf on a horse, and finally Ganondorf himself in a Sword Fight. And all of this takes place in direct succession of one-another.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: With the exception of Scaldera and the Imprisoned, every boss has two phases. The miniboss Stalmaster has two as well (it only uses two arms in the first, and all four of them in the second).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Blight Ganons all have two phases, with the second phase seeing them adding new attacks to their strategies and in one instance altering the Boss Room. The Final Boss uses two layers of this: not only is the initial Calamity Ganon fight split into two phases much like the Blight Ganons, it also precedes the Dark Beast Ganon fight. Also, if you go after Calamity Ganon before defeating all the Blight Ganons, you'll need to fight each one you haven't faced yet before getting to the Calamity. So, if you don't fight any of them, that's four boss fights in a row before the Final Boss.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Prime: The final boss has two phases: the first phase has you attack it with whichever Beam it's currently weak to, with increasing shifts to different weaknesses, and the second phase requires you to switch visors to locate the phasing Prime and blast it with the Phazon Beam.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: All Temple Guardians are of this type. Amorbis has three phases (one where you figth one large worm, one where you fight two and one where you fight three), Chykka has two phases (one as a larva and one as an adult), Quadraxis has three (one in its complete form, one when the main body is disabled and only the head module is attacking, and one when only the module itself remains), and Emperor Ing has three as well (one when it's just an enlarged Inglet, one when it's a chrysalis, and one when it's a grown adult). Dark Samus, in her Final Boss rematch, has two phases as well (one where she fights like she has done in the previous fights, and another where she relies on a Phazon field to periodically shoot Phazon renmants to Samus, who has to throw them back at her).
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Gandrayda has four phases (one when she transforms into enemies, one when she transforms interchangeably into Rundas and Ghor, one when she transforms into Samus, and one when she attacks while using Hypermode). Omega Ridley has three phases, having a different weak point in each (its mouth, its chest's carapace, and the chest itself). Lastly, in the final area, you fight Aurora 313 right after putting down Dark Samus, and has two forms: complete and floating severed head.
    • Metroid: Samus Returns: Diggernaut, Metroid Queen and Proteus Ridley have three phases each. In all cases, the fought boss adds new attacks and becomes harder to hit upon each phase.
    • Super Metroid: Mother Brain has three different phases. First you fight her like in the first game, as just the brain protected by turrets and zeebetite barriers. After you beat her and examine the body, she rises out of the floor on a robotic body. After dealing enough damage to her, she'll use an extremely powerful attack to reduce you to low health, after which the Metroid hatchling shows up to save the day. But then she comes back to life again, albeit this time she's a Zero-Effort Boss thanks to the Hyper Beam. And then you have to escape the planet before it blows up.
    • Metroid Fusion has the SA-X when you finally get to fight it. First there's the regular Varia Suit-sized version you've been avoiding the entire time. Hit that with your charged up Wave Beam, and you get a giant monstrosity that can't shoot you but can somehow jump anywhere in the room incredibly fast... Fortunately it stands still for a second every now and then and Screw Attack does work too (although it's a double-edged sword since it also hurts yourself...)
  • Ōkami has this with the Climax Bosses as well as the Final Boss:
    • Orochi has two: In the first, the seal that protects him has to be broken once the serpent heads have been incapacitated. In the second, with the seal broken, Amaterasu can now slay the heads one by one.
    • Ninetails has two: One in which it behaves as an Asteroids Monster and you have to slay the foxes that represent the tails, and another in which one tail remains and the boss is now attacking Amaterasu in a faster-paced duel.
    • The Final Boss example is Yami the Lord of Darkness, whom you fight five times, all the while regaining your Celestial Brush techniques, which Yami zapped out of Amaterasu at the start of the fight. It has to be mentioned though, that Yami's first four forms aren't that different, being a different variety of ball each time. When you face him in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, he does the same thing, but with only three forms.
  • All of the Wii One Piece games have at least one of those.
    • Unlimited Adventure has two.
      • You fight against Rob Lucci twice in a row (once in human form and once in leopard form).
      • At the end of the game, you fight the Evil Guardian, who upon defeat transforms into the Evil Master Beast.
    • Unlimited Cruise:
      • Episode 1 has a fight against the cowardly Spandam and a bunch of Marine flunkies, followed immediately by a fight against Aokiji.
      • Episode 2 has one of these for its final fight. After defeating Yami's first form (a large golemlike creature), he transforms into a much nastier creature composed of tree roots and darkness.
  • In Sundered, the final bosses for the Resist and Embrace paths each have two forms. In the former case, the player defeats Nyarlathotep, only for the Shining Trapezohedron to fuse with it and revive it for round two. In the latter case, the player’s doppelganger goes One-Winged Angel and turns into Humanity.
  • The Yakuza series always ends with these, usually a string of people on the Big Bad Ensemble.

    Card Games 
  • Hearthstone: Several bosses in the singleplayer content, usually those at the end of various adventure wings, will have you fight a different enemy with their own health and armor pool once you beat the first one. Sometimes the opponent's deck changes to match. Other bosses will switch hero powers once you reach a certain threshold, taking the fight in a completely different direction.
    • Depleting Kel'Thuzad's armor causes him to forcibly end the player's turn, summon a pair of minions, and replace his original hero power (which freezes and damages the player's hero) with a new one that lets him steal the player's minions. If you take too long to break his armor and are somehow not dead, Kel'Thuzad will go into the next phase anyway.
    • Defeating Majordomo Executus causes Ragnaros to replace him.
    • Depleting Nefarian's armor when fighting him at the end of Blackrock Mountain causes him to have Onyxia replace him while he harasses you with fireballs from above. Beat Onyxia and he comes back down to fight you proper.
    • When engaging Malchezaar at the end of One Night in Karazhan, the player takes the wrong portal and faces Nazra Wildaxe first. After her defeat, Moroes finds the right portal and you fight Malchezaar proper.
    • Depleting Professor Putricide's armor for the first time causes him to change his Hero Power and get a new portrait and another set of armor. Depleting this second amount of armor lets him take his final phase. His deck doesn't change the whole time.
    • The fight with the Lich King at the end of Icecrown Citadel starts relatively normally, barring an unfair spell that may rig the fight against you. Once the Lich King hits turn 7, he equips Frostmourne, turns immune, and replaces his board with Trapped Souls, and you have to defeat every one of them to proceed (however, he will not play cards in this phase). Once the souls are liberated, the final phase commences, where his Hero Power does increasing amounts of damage to your hero. Unlike other examples before, it is entirely possible to rush him down and beat him before turn 7, skipping the latter phases of the fightnote .
    • When facing off against George and Karl in the Dungeon Run, you have to fight through two opponents, each with their own health pool and Hero Power, who can also tag out mid-battle.
    • The Plague Lords in the Tombs of Terror all start with a massive 300 health and three separate phases with different decks and hero powers. Each time they lose 100 health, they will progress to the next phase, and their remaining health is kept between attempts.
  • Several of the villains in Sentinels of the Multiverse flip in a predictable 1-2 sequence, often (although not exclusively) when their first side's health runs out. That said, many other ones will flip multiple times in a game depending on various in-game triggers.
    • Both versions of Baron Blade initiate phase two of their evil plan when they run out of health. The first has a timed mission where you need to punch through his defences and stop him from pulling the Moon into the Earth, and if you can pull it off, he switches to his battlesuit and starts trying to punch you to death. The second is more direct: he keeps setting off big explosions until you defeat his first form, then fishes out his death ray.
    • Gloomweaver's Skinwalker variant flips to its Rotting God form when damaged sufficiently. In the second mode, Gloomweaver keeps damaging himself, but regains health for every target he destroys.
    • Spite has a first side that's basically enduring his buildup and coming to the rescue of his victims until he gets all his drugs out, at which point he flips and emits waves of damage again and again until either he dies or the heroes do. (It is possible to defeat him in his first form, but because he heals whenever he deals damage, it's fairly difficult.) His second form can change as the game goes on, if you get enough victims into the Safe House, but it doesn't have to...except on Challenge difficulty, which goes straight into the Skinwalker Gloomweaver fight for a potential four stages.
    • The Chairman starts out as just a fight against the Organisation and the Operative, but if you can take out enough Underbosses, he shifts to the side with an actual health bar and can be defeated.
    • Miss Information is invulnerable to damage and spams minor annoyances at you until you accumulate enough Clues, at which point she becomes vulnerable, if difficult.
    • The Dreamer starts out with her minions being the only problem, but flips if you can clean out those minions and starts lashing out with her powers directly. Because killing the Dreamer is a Non Standard Game Over because she's a literal child who means no harm but has powers that are running amok, the second phase is defeated by killing enough minions.
    • Infinitor's Heroic variant, if he runs out of health on his first side, forms a giant monster out of his powers and needs to be fought directly.
    • OblivAeon has the most phases of any villain on standard difficulty. His first form, which has 10,000 HP and an obscene number of damage buffs, goes away when the countdown runs out or you beat the condition on his Shield. His second form, which charges his environment-destroying death beam if the heroes aren't directly confronting him, has a more manageable (although still higher than any villain save Akash'Bhuta) 180 HP. His third, which is a brutal beatdown of constant card plays, has 120. Then, if Rainek Kel'Voss is in play, he pulls a Dragon Ascendant and adds a fourth stage as you try to beat him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction for the GBA is littered with sequential battles, made worse in that the only way to replenish your health is to go back to the save point, which will reset many of the sequential encounters. The final battle against Sol Chevalsky and Reshef is especially cruel, as you have to batter your way past a combined 60,000 life points versus only 8,000 of your own, plus both opponents' decks have numerous ways to kill you in only a couple turns.
    • The final boss of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Spirit Caller must be fought three times, with him using a different deck for each. You can leave to do other things between each fight though.
    • The Guardians of the third and fifth Duel World in Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship 2008 require the player to beat them in three and five consecutive Duels respectively, with their Life Points carrying over between Duels and no chance to save or edit their Deck in between. They do warn the player about this and give them ample time to prepare.
    • The penultimate boss of Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship 2009: Stardust Accelerator is a brutal sequence of duels against four clones of you. Their Decks, especially the third and fourth opponents, are particularly brutal, and you cannot restore your LP, save, or change Decks in between.
    • The final boss of Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship 2010: Reverse of Arcadia combines this trope with Final-Exam Boss as the player has to beat him in a race, a Tag Duel, a Turbo Duel, and finally a standard Duel. Fortunately the player can save and change their Decks in between.
    • The entire final chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship 2011: Over the Nexus uses the WRGP rules which combine this trope with Boss Bonanza. The player has to fight through multiple opponents in a row with their LP carried over in between and no chance to change Decks. Fortunately, the board state, hand, and Graveyard are preserved between fights to permit the player to utterly steamroll the opposition if they set up a big lead. The problem, however, starts with surmounting the opponent's board state.

    Fighting Games 
  • Eternal Champions: The Eternal Champion faces you with an amazing five forms in total.
    • Playing the Sega CD Challenge From the Dark Side on the hardest setting? Prepare yourself for nine each from him and Dark Eternal Champion.
  • The King of Fighters '97 has five of these, or even six if some conditions are met. The first one is either Orochi Iori if you don't have Iori Yagami in your team, or Orochi Leona if you do. He or she will be followed by the empowered forms of the New Face Team: first you defeat Orochi Chris, then Orochi Shermie, and Orochi Yashiro at last. Not satisfied? Once they're defeated, it's time to fight Orochi himself. And if you fight as the Japan Team and defeat Orochi with Kyo Kusanagi, this will unlock one last match where Kyo fights Iori Yagami (as in, normal Iori without the Riot of the Blood)
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
    • Final boss Onslaught of the first game is just plain insane.
      The first form is as tall as the screen, will teleport away whenever you try to hit him (especially if you try using a super-combo), and all his attacks are as powerful as super-combos. If you manage to beat the first form, he becomes even bigger, with his body floating at the background. You can't hit the body, you must aim for the small head, which usually requires super-jumps. Also, your health was not replenished after the first form.
    • The sequel game has the demon Abyss, who had three forms to defeat, each with different attack styles and weaknesses.
  • Naruto:
    • Ridiculously done in Naruto: Path of the Ninja. You fight the Sound Ninja trio four times in a row, first with Sakura and Lee, then just Sakura, then Sakura and Shikamaru, and finally Sakura and Sasuke. They finally run off after that, or else they probably would've brought in every other character to fight with Sakura.
    • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has these for ALL their boss fights. In order:
      • Kakashi vs Naruto and Sakura: A battle in the training field in standard play, followed up by a lake area where he shoots Water Dragons. If you avoid them or have Sakura knock him off his high point, he shoots fireballs and guns you down with Lightning Blades.
      • Deidara vs Gaara: A battle on top of the Kazekage's Mansion, dodging his explosive birds and spiders, waiting for opportunities to knock him off his bird and open a gourd of sandy whoopass. When you take a healthy chunk of his HP, an aerial chase ensues, where you have to again avoid his fire and pelt him with Sand Shuriken.
      • Orochimaru vs Naruto: Again, fairly normal until Naruto goes Four-Tailed Fox on Snaky. Beam Spam ensues.
  • Ranma One Half Hard Battle: The first of the final bosses is Pantyhose Taro in his human form. After you beat him, you then fight him again, this time in his Cursed with Awesome form.
  • The Simpsons Arcade Game has two:
    • The first is a giant bowling ball late in the game that has four different forms, each one with a different type of attack.
    • The second is the game's final level at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, which has you fight first Smithers, and then Mr. Burns in a giant robot, who additionally has five different forms.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has Master Core, an amorphous mass of black matter that emerges from Master Hand at higher difficulty levels. The number of forms you fight through also depends on the difficulty, including in order; Master Giant, a large humanoid form; Master Beast, a quadruped dragon/scorpion hybrid; Master Edges, five swords attacking at once; and Master Shadow, a Mirror Match. And finally a Zero-Effort Boss of the core itself. For the Wii U version, Master Core has one final form that can only be fought at the highest difficulty levels: Master Fortress, an Eldritch Location Colossus Climb.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has Dracula, who has two phases. The iconic humanoid vampire form in the first (only his head can receive damage), and then his beastly form in the second.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game ends with you fighting General Traag, Krang, and Shredder, all in a row — though the latter two fights are fought in a final boss room that is actually considered a new stage on the NES version.
  • Cue Ball/Parcs in Undercover Cops. First, you fight his human disguise along with a few Mooks. After half of his lifebar is gone, his skin gets damaged and you fight his robotic form as he attempts to throw you in a trash compactor.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: The story mode has a few:
    • Arizona vs. Cuddles the Cobra:
      • First, it spits a rain of venom at you from the background. After surviving long enough, reaching the right side of the screen ends this phase.
      • Second, a wolf Predator appears, which you must defeat while still avoiding the venom rain.
      • Third, it alternates between spitting venom, attacking with its tail, and trying to bite you. When it bites, you must attack its head.
      • Fourth, you finally get to fight it head-on. In this phase, its only attack is to jump and then dive down on you.
      • Finally, you fight against it with its full moveset.
    • Arizona vs. Velvet:
      • First, you fight her in a normal 1 vs 1 match.
      • Second, you have to fight her again, except there's permanent wind pushing you away from her.
      • Finally, she creates an ice tornado around herself while still blowing you away. You have to reach her while dodging a barrage of projectile attacks.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The final boss in the main story of Borderlands The PreSequel is one of these: it starts out as a roughly human sized and shaped opponent who isn't very intimidating by that point in the game, aside from its ability to completely replenish its shields instantly up to two times. Then it assumes its One-Winged Angel form, which must be killed no less than three separate times and comes back with a different elemental type each time. On a related note: Crystal Dragon Jesus help you if you've specialized in only one type of elemental damage, and the boss matches it.
  • The standalone mod/emulator Scoredoom invokes this in the face when it comes to the boss fights. Whereas before in vanilla Doom the player would have to take down a heavily armed and incredibly tough monster at the end of the episode, Scoredoom has the corpse give a handful of ammo and health refills before respawning it as another, usually harder form. As the forms are usually (although not always) unconnected, this could be a one-level Boss Game, the but the fact that the last level of the last (original) episode consists of around ten of the boss monsters back to back makes it obvious why the ammo, health, and power of some of the guns were increased to compensate.
  • Heretic's final boss uses the same idea: D'Sparil starts out riding a fire-breathing serpent, then after you kill the mount he falls off and starts teleporting around, summoning monsters, and shooting stuff.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: The final battle makes you fight the Count, and then Lord Malachi immediately after.
  • Quake II's final boss has two forms: the Makron riding some sort of monstrous cyborg mount, and then the Makron alone (with several weapons he wasn't using when mounted).
  • Particularly annoying in Red Faction 2. The final boss is your Super Soldier commander piloting a Mini-Mecha. The mecha has an insane amount of health but its weapons are only of average power. After you blow it up, the boss jumps out to fight you on foot. The annoying part is that he fights with a one-hit-kill railgun, so if he manages to shoot you just once, you die and have to restart the level and fight the mech suit all over again (including sitting through the unskippable pre-boss cutscene).
  • The first boss of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a sequential battle where the titular character has to blow up two Hummers, one after the other, before meeting the Longhunter in combat. All of the boss fights in the sequel, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, are sequential in that Turok will have to deal with random monsters before blowing up a specific part of the boss's body; the target on the body will shift as the boss fight proceeds.

    Light Gun Games 
  • Most Final Boss battles from the Time Crisis franchise plays this trope entirely straight.
    • Ernesto Diaz in 2 starts off assaulting you with a rocket launcher, then kidnaps your ally Christy to use as a Human Shield while he takes potshots at you with a pistol. If you damage Ernesto enough, he will throw Christy aside off a ledge, and as you save her from falling, Ernesto then hops on his Kill Sat and sics it on you. You will need to get past the satellite's defenses and finally put Ernesto down for good.
    • Giorgio Zott in 3. He starts by Dual Wielding a sword and his gun on you, and you need to damage him enough before he decides to unleash three Tesla Tanks to back him up. After defeating the tanks, Zott changes his weapon to dual rocket launchers, where the subsequent gunfight is finally to the death.
    • Robert Baxter from 5 attacks you with his katana, and then his guns, and throws mooks at you before unveiling his Transforming Mecha that you must defeat. If you defeat said mecha, you finally squares off against him in a Quick Time Event that if performed correctly, ends with him getting shot off a ledge to his Disney Villain Death.

    Massively Multiplayer Online RPG 
  • City of Heroes does this once with Snaptooth, a particularly nasty member of the Red Caps who only appears during the special holiday missions. In the Valentine's event, he first appears in the mission as a Lieutenant class Red Cap and is not very tough. Upon nearly being defeated, he pulls the trick that they sometimes pull and drives into the ground, only to pop back out larger and tougher as a Boss class. Then when he is nearly defeated again, he pulls the stunt for a second time and pops back out being even bigger and now an Elite Boss.
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • The Naughty Sorceress. Your character even exclaims at the last form, as a Lampshade Hanging: "Dang it!" you shout. "How many times do I have to kill you? This battle has taken over a half an hour and there's no save point!"
    • Also parodied in the battle against Ed the Undying, a mummy who has to be defeated seven times in a row and, as the name suggests, doesn't actually die, he's just too damaged to keep fighting. Ironically, each time you fight him, he has less HP than the previous time, to a ridiculously low amount in the last form. Shown as just his skull loosely attached to his arm.
  • Maplestory uses this trope quite a bit.
    • The Yakuza Boss of Showa Town in MapleStory. When you first enter the Treasure Room, he appears as Bodyguard A, a tough guy who uses Physical attacks. When defeated, he turns into Bodyguard B, who has a BFG and mana drain abilities. When he's beaten, he assumes his true form, a hulking, demonic bald guy in a kimono; while he's not as physically tough as A and B, he uses a variety of powerful magical attacks and debuffs.
    • Lotus is the final boss of the Black Heaven storyline. You must fight Lotus 3 times in a row to defeat him. He has psychic powers and is cybernetically enhanced. The first phase involves disconnecting Lotus from the Black Heaven by destroying the core, which sends robot mooks after you and shoots rotating lasers. Lotus starts fighting you in person in the second phase. In this phase, he can shoot energy balls that bounce around the map and summon large robot mooks to drop on your head, among other things. The third phase is mostly like the second phase, although Lotus is much more powerful. Also, he starts flying backwards into the backround to attack you from where you can't hit him.
    • Lucid has 2 phases. In the first phase, you must knock Lucid backwards, each time by depleting a health bar. In the second phase, you must hit Lucid as much as you can as she flies across the map.
  • RuneScape has a few of these:
    • The Dream Mentor quest boss has 4 forms which represent different aspects of Cyrisus' fear of combat.
    • The Recipe for Disaster quest has 6 sequential bosses at the end, although you can leave between battles.
    • The Kalphite Queen, a high-level raid boss, has 2 forms, an armored beetle that is immune to ranged and magic attacks, and a flying wasp that is (mostly) immune to melee attacks.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The longest sequence is the Dark Portal dungeon, a retelling of a historical keypoint. The enemies come from portals, each of which is linked to a mini boss, with each sixth being linked to a real boss. The players have little time to rest between portals, although they are given a generous breather after each major boss, the ability to summon a guard to distract the enemies, and finally the quest target can take some beating if necessary. But since the portals open in a preset interval, you do need to keep up.
    • The Violet Hold instance in the expansion pack is almost exactly the same, except that the two first major bosses are random (the final boss is always the same).
    • Another variation is an event where a single player takes control over a demon to destroy the protective barrier around a demon portal. The catch here is that for the first two bosses, control is transferred after their defeat, forcing the player to adapt a new playstyle each. The third demon then fights 3 bosses in a row, while the other two have to deal with waves of mooks first.
    • Kael'thas Sunstrider, final boss of Tempest Keep in the Burning Crusade expansion, with no less than five distinct phases. First, you fight his four bodyguards one after another, then he animates a number of weapons to fight you, then he revives the bodyguards all at once. Only after their second demise do you actually get to fight him, and he himself goes into a Phlebotinum Overload phase when reduced to half health.
    • The Black Knight is perhaps the most straightforward example of the One-Winged Angel variant: He has to be killed three times, going from an undead to a skeleton to a ghost. Note that this battle is also after what could be considered a sequential battle comprised of three random bosses, which in tu- Oh, screw it. The entire instance is one damn sequence from beginning to end.
    • The final showdown with Deathwing in the finale of the Cataclysm expansion takes place over two separate encounters, each with multiple phases with different mechanics and loot.
  • Many bosses in Wynncraft have multi-phase fights, but the Matryoshka Idol stands out from the rest for having ten phases.

    Platform Games 
  • Bagular in Bomberman Hero has three forms with no breaks in between (besides a cutscene after beating the first form and another after the second). Also, your score will keep ticking down throughout each of the forms.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: In each game except (ironically, considering the name) Grunty's Revenge, Gruntilda challenges the bear and bird in a multi-phase showdown. In Banjo-Tooie, Lord Woo Fak Fak and Weldar have two phases each as well (the former opens his eyes during the second phase, and the latter electrifies the floor after the end of his first). Other apparent examples, like Targitzan, Old King Coal and Mingy Jongo, actually invoke Didn't Need Those Anyway! instead; their tactics remain the same otherwise.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day:
    • Haybot is fought in two phases: When he's covered in a pile of haystack, and when his robotic body is exposed.
    • In the rematch against the wasp army, Conker has to shoot the incoming wasps during the first phase, and then escape with the stolen beehive while dodging the last three wasps' stings in the second.
    • The Experiment is fought in three phases: He and the Little Girl shoot a downpour of bullets in the first, fire a continuous energy laser in the second, and shoot missiles in the third.
  • Donkey Kong Country
    • The final boss of the first Donkey Kong Country is King K. Rool. After you defeat him, fake credits roll by. After the credits, the boss gets up for a second go.
    • The final boss of Donkey Kong 64 is a five-round boxing match with K. Rool, with each round featuring a different playable character.
  • Kevin and ACE, both of the bosses in Gamer 2, have to be defeated twice during their respective fights.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy:
    • The Guy has two forms with six increasingly overpowered methods of attack. The game actually tries to trick you into thinking you've won halfway through, right before it gets insane.
    • The Koopa Clown Car fight earlier in the game pits you against Bowser, Wart, and Wily in sequence.
  • The Jungle Book has the Witch Doctor, a boss that consists of 3 monkeys standing on top of each other, and carrying a large wooden shield. First, you have to fight him while they are working together, walking from left to right and throwing projectiles at you. When that is done, they split up (with each monkey taking a part of the shield with him) and Mowgli has to defeat them each separately.
  • Kirby games will have anything from two-to-four boss battles in a row for the Final Confrontation.
    • Kirby Super Star:
    • Kirby's Dream Land 3:
      • The fourth boss, Ado, summons the Ice Dragon, Sweet Stuff, Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, and Kracko, right before Ado charges. Ado only takes a slide or exhale to beat, but some of the Kirby's Dream Land 2 bosses are rather tough.
      • The last boss, DeDeDe, is identical to the last boss of the previous game, except he doesn't Turn Red, but after you put his life to zero, he starts flying and has really scary attacks. If you had all the Heart-Stars when you beat him, you unlock the True Final Boss. Once you enter, you fight Dark Matter, the last boss of the previous game. After you finally defeat him, the screen flashes and the True True Final Boss appears out of nowhere. He splits parts of himself open to shoot blood at you, and he could do it from the background, causing the blood to hit the screen. After you take all his HP down, his Iris rips out in incredibly gory manner and you have to fight him again, and this time he's bleeding and chases you. And this is a KIRBY game.
    • The final battles of Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. There are four different forms (including the fight with Dark Meta Knight), but the second of those must be defeated four times over.
    • The Final Boss of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Miracle Matter, plays with this. Like the final bosses of Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, it has seven forms. Instead of going one after one, it alternates between each form. Defeating each form destroys Miracle Matter. So far, however, the final battles of Amazing Mirror and Miracle Matter are tied for the most forms in the series, despite being done differently.
    • The final boss of Kirby's Return to Dream Land has three parts to it. First a Shmup battle with the Lor Starcutter, who uses techniques Kabula, Dark Matter, and Zero used with its own moves. Then, Magolor is fought, who takes his lead mainly from Marx. After that, he goes into a second form that looks like Dark Mind and can use Super Abilities at will. Also, in Extra Mode, the Metal General becomes one of these, summoning Dedede's Humongous Mecha HR-D3 after he's defeated and piloting it. HR-D3 itself has two forms.
    • In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, the final battles consist of a two-part battle with a mind-controlled King Dedede, Queen Sectonia, then after a brief interlude, a two-part battle with the queen's One-Winged Angel form. The game's equivalent to extra mode, Dededetour!, skips Masked Dedede for fairly obvious reasons, but instead has Queen Sectonia DX followed by Shadow Dedede and then Dark Meta Knight. The True Arena gives Sectonia's final form, now dubbed Soul of Sectonia, an additional phase.
    • Kirby: Planet Robobot:
      • The second boss, Holo Defense API, is a clear callback to Ado and like her recreates four previous bosses: Kracko, a pair of Doomers, the Ice Dragon (again) and Coily Rattler.
      • The game ends with fights against Mecha Knight+, President Haltmann, then three forms of Star Dream. In Meta Knightmare Returns, there's President Haltmann 2.0, Dark Matter Clone, Sectonia Clone, and finally Galacta Knight. In the True Arena the Dark Matter and Sectonia clones are fought back-to-back with no rest in between and Star Dream Soul OS, like Soul of Sectonia, now has a fourth form.
    • Kirby Star Allies:
      • King Dedede's boss fight will have him start off normally, but once roughly half of his health is gone, he will become incredibly muscular and changes his entire strategy. Kracko also starts off normally, before dividing himself in two, larger Krackos known as Twin Kracko.
      • The endgame has a rematch against Zan Partizanne, a two-phase fight with Hyness, and a four-phase fight with Void Termina. Unlike Queen Sectonia and Star Dream, Void Termina has four forms even in the normal game (and there is no rest between any of them), and while he does not have an extra form in the Ultimate Choice, its highest difficulty, Soul Melter, has an overall more difficult variation of his fight, as he has more attacks, stronger versions of preexisting attacks, and an even harder version of his final form, which is renamed Void Soul.
  • La-Mulana raises the roof with a five-stage Final Boss battle, with no saves or health recharges.
  • Present in all of the LittleBigPlanet games:
    • LittleBigPlanet 1 The Boss 
    • LittleBigPlanet 2 The Boss 
  • The second Make a Good Mega Man Level Contest features several:
    • Haunt Man starts his battle by possessing a knight statue. Once that's destroyed, he then goes into a wizard statue... and once that's destroyed, all that's left is Haunt Man himself, a Zero-Effort Boss whose sole attack is easily avoided.
    • Seven Force (yes, like the Gunstar Heroes mech) has seven forms and as many health bars, though they each take slightly more damage than the average boss.
    • Wily Machine SWORD has two health bars. The first health bar is like a regular Wily fight, but the second is effectively four forms, each taking a quarter of the health bar, as it recycles the gimmick from "Identity Crisis" and forces Mega Man to transform each time a quarter of its health is taken off.
    • Absolute Zero has four forms with one health bar each. The first two are difficult and flashy, as befits the True Final Boss. The third form turns out to be a Clipped-Wing Angel that can only do 1 point of damage with its attacks, and the final form can't do anything to hurt you.
  • Essentially every Mega Man game has had this type of final boss.
    • Dr. Wily (switched ships)
    • Sigma (switched bodies)
    • Copy-X, Elpizo, Omega, and Dr. Weil (activated their One-Winged Angel; while Omega takes it one step further by emerging from the wrecked remains of his transformed Powered Armor for Round 3).
    • Mega Man ZX takes the cake in that Serpent has two forms, but his second form has three phases where he loses old attacks, gains new ones, and switches up where his weak spot is with each one of his three life bars knocked off.
    • There's also Morph Moth from Mega Man X2, who starts out as a chrysalis, then becomes a moth after half his health is gone.
    • Mega Man V's final boss. First you fight the four forms of the Wily Machine (each of the arms individually, the Wily Machine proper, and then the Wily Capsule), and then you fight Sunstar. He only has one health bar, but he has three forms to whittle down (and no weaknesses, either). That's two bosses with seven phases between them.
  • All three Ninja Gaiden games for the NES had multi-form bosses in the final battle, usually consisting of three separate phases.
  • The final boss of Rainbow Islands is a giant bubble dragon that turns into a skeleton after defeat. The skeleton's bones crumble and the remaining skull is a giant Skel-Monsta which you have to defeat.
  • The final bosses in the first three Rayman games were sequential.
    • Rayman: Mr. Dark assaults you for a bit, then disappears and sics three mash-ups of the previous bosses on you.
    • Rayman 2: The Great Escape: You fight Golgroth on the Crow's Nest, then both of you fall into a lava-filled chamber for Round 2.
    • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc: The battle against Reflux gets a bit ridiculous. First, you fight his normal form, then he transforms into a giant, warty monster. After that, he grows some wings and you have to work your way up to his level and shoot missiles at him. Then, you have a dogfight with him and, finally, use the same plane to kill a ton of Hoodlums before they regenerate his health.
  • Rockman 4 Minus ∞:
    • After you knock Pharaoh Man down to a low amount of HP in his stage, he goes berserk, destroying his arena in the process. He then receives power from the pyramid to heal himself, activates the pyramid's curse, and fights you again.
    • After beating Joe Ni-Nin Va All, he blows up and turns into 2 Sniper Joes.
    • After beating Snatchman, he steals 4 of your weapons to become a more complete Mirror Boss.
  • Shovel Knight. Tinker Knight at first appears to just be a poor coward who runs around and throws wrenches. His second phase? A GIANT TANK THAT SHOOTS BOMBS AND MISSILES
  • Several times in the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
    • Sonic 2 ended with a fight against Silver Sonic, and then Robotnik's Humongous Mecha. With no rings for either fight.
    • In Sonic 3, Launch Base Zone ends with three fights against Robotnik, in three different vehicles, with nothing but a cutscene between them.
      Oddly, when the this level is played as part of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, you only fight two of these bosses. Sonic and Tails skip the third, while Knuckles skips the first.
    • In Sonic and Knuckles, Death Egg Zone ends with a fight against a Puzzle Boss, then a two-stage fight against the Great Eggman Robo, and finally a chase sequence where you have to destroy Robotnik's escape pod. (Sonic can also fight a True Final Boss immediately after this if he gathers the Chaos Emeralds over the course of the game, but it's counted as a separate level.) Meanwhile, Knuckles' game ends in Sky Sanctuary Zone, fighting Mecha Sonic and then Super Mecha Sonic.
    • In Sonic Triple Trouble, the game's final level, Atomic Destroyer Zone Act 3, has five separate boss phases: first Metal Sonic, then after a short platforming segment and a checkpoint, four machines piloted by Eggman — a spring pod machine, a flamethrower machine, an electric machine, and then a laser trap room with the boss pod circling through pipes on both sides of the room.
    • Sonic Adventure does it weird: once you've depleted the final boss's life meter... it comes back with another life meter. It's a bit tougher, but otherwise nothing's changed except the music.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, the player must fight the Biolizard directly before the FinalHazard. However, the two battles are not particularly connected other than being sequential, and how well you do on the Biolizard has no bearing on the difficulty of the FinalHazard. Similarly, you face the Egg Golem with Sonic immediately after battling King Boom Boo with Knuckles.
    • Sonic Heroes plays it straight with Metal Madness/Metal Overlord, a four-stage boss.
    • Sonic Unleashed does it again with the Egg Dragoon and Dark Gaia (the latter being a three-stage fight).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The final battle against Bowser in Super Mario World is divided into three phases. In the first, Bowser simply throws Mechakoopas at Mario; in the second, he starts dropping enormous lead balls before throwing the Mechakoopas; in the third, Bowser gets furious and continuously tries to squash Mario or Luigi with the Clown Car, only occasionally throwing Mechakoopas. In all cases, Mario or Luigi has to throw back the Mechakoopas.
    • Wario is the final boss of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and challenges Mario in three phases: He uses his brute force in the first, uses the Bunny powerup to hover and try to squash Mario from the top in the second, and uses the Fire Flower powerup to throw fireballs at him in the third.
    • The final boss battle against Bowser at the end of Super Mario Galaxy, which starts off with Bowser turning into a rock (which later inspired the rock power-up from the sequel) and charging at you, and Mario/Luigi actually had to spin his face to defeat him, then Bowser curls up into his shell and starts charging at you again, but this time, because of the spikes on his shell, Mario/Luigi actually had to slap rubber plants onto Bowser to knock him out, and finally Bowser starts chasing you, and as a result you have to lure him into a puddle of lava to make his tail catch fire, then spin him to take him down completely!
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, the final battle has two parts, with the first being a harder version of the first two Bowser duels.
    • The final Bowser battle in Super Mario 3D Land, where Mario and Bowser start chasing each other through the hallways of the castle. During the fight, Bowser mostly resorts to shooting fire out of his mouth, and then for some reason he starts throwing barrels at Mario. The remainder of the battle has Bowser shooting plasma jets at Mario, before finally being thrown into a pit of lava and being hit on the head by a boulder mid-air.
    • Wario Land The Shake Dimension's Final Boss (The Shake King) has multiple stages in the battle, with two or three stages in the first battle, each adding a few more attacks, then straight after the real final battle with the deadly energy beam and lightning attacks found normally against One-Winged Angel type final bosses.
  • Every boss in the NES game Wacky Races has two phases; they enter their second phase after they're down to exactly half HP, from there they use new, more aggressive attack patterns.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Freeware game Karoshi also had a five-stage final boss... or rather, five final boss stages.
  • The sequel, Karoshi 2, has four different final boss segments in the game, the first of which has you against the final boss eight times in a row, each in a different way. Talk about an extended ending!
  • Zuma's Revenge. First, you have to extinguish some torches while not dying. Then, you have to fight his chef. Then, you get Fake Credits dumped on you, which then happens to have the REAL final boss drop onto it. Then, when you've got him halfway down, he's replaced by an evil bat thing. And then, just to rub salt in your wounds, you go through a Mirror Battle. Thankfully, if you've beaten the levels before this sequence, this probably will be a piece of cake.

  • All 15 members of the Blacklist in Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) are raced in Rival Challenges featuring multiple races in a row. The first 10 racers have 2 races, the following 4 have 3 races, and the Final Boss has 5.
  • In Test Drive Overdrive, Vasily races the player throughout a long series of city races, followed by Donald in a same yet reverse order. This is the climax of the storyline that overlaps with Duel Boss.
  • The last couple installations of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series actually feature multi-stage bosses in a racing game. Though most of the races you participate in are simple one-on-one matches, some may have you taking on multiple opponents: you may be competing against a leader of a racing crew and, once you have him halfway beat, suddenly find yourself confronted with a ''second'', equally high-powered member of the racing crew which will help give your original opponent an increased advantage. Since beating opponents requires you to drain their "battle meter" by gaining a large enough lead (or finishing the race in a first place in Drift titles), throwing in a second rival with a fresh battle meter midway through a race can complicate things significantly.

  • The Binding of Isaac has quite a few. There's handful among the normal bosses (The Four Horsemen, The Haunt, Brownie, ect), but the majority are the various "final" bosses.
    • Satan was the original sequential boss, as well as the original True Final Boss of the game. His first phase is a fight against The Fallen, after which he would reveal himself. After his first form is defeated, he flies up and grows giant offscreen, trying to stomp you while you have to attack his legs.
    • Isaac, added in Wrath of the Lamb, is one as well. His first phase has him crying on the floor. At about 75% health, he stands up and gains a new attack pattern. At 50%, he grows wings and the ability to teleport, as well as another new attack set.
    • ??? is the boss that follows Isaac, and has the same three phases as him, albeit with different attacks.
    • Mega Satan from Rebirth is probably the largest example. After his first form is defeated, he sends waves of bosses to fight you. After clearing each wave (of which there are three seperate waves), you repeat the first phase again before finishing with his hyper-powered One-Winged Angel mode. If you count each boss wave as a separate phase, he has seven phases in total.
    • Hush, the Bonus Boss from Afterbirth also counts. His first phase is a palette-swapped ???, but defeating that reveals his true form, which has five phases in which each of them he gains new attacks.
    • As of Afterbirth+, Ultra Greed is this in Greedier Mode. When his first form is destroyed, the gold statue he normally leaves behind comes alive and fights you.
    • In Repentance, the Disc-One Final Boss, Mother starts with a fight against her peering over the top of the screen. Once she's down to about 50%, her head flies off and you need to fight it.
    • The True Final Boss is a Boss Rush against six of these. First you take on Dogma, who starts attached to the television. Once you break it, he turns into an Angelic Abomination. After defeating Dogma, you fight the Four Ultra Horsemen one at a time, who are all dual-stage bosses like their basic versions (except for Death, who has only one stage. Finally, the True Final Boss of the game as a whole, The Beast, is a lighter example, changing its attack pattern in its second phase, and then opting for a final charge towards you once it's nearly dead.
  • In Crying Suns, the final boss fight pits you against several battleships in a row.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Baten Kaitos combines this with the Dual Boss to have you fight the three generals all at the same time — and then again immediately afterwards with no time to heal/save.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, nearly all of the late-game bosses have multiple phases – usually two or three, but sometimes as many as four.
    • The Piece of Legion is an Asteroids Monster that splits in half each time you defeat it, gradually turning from a singular enemy into a Wolf Pack Boss.
    • The Scrapped Avatars also start the battle as a unit, before desyncing and fighting you as five separate foes.
    • Wolfram ALPHA has to be fought piece-by-piece – first his legs, then his arms, and finally his head and shoulder-mounted turrets.
    • When you finally fight Arianna, she morphs through four different forms as the First Internet code corrupts her into a monster. In the third stage, she briefly regains control, just long enough to heal you before unleashing her final transformation.
    • The final boss, STORM, has to be chased and fought three times as it tries to escape, with each phase separated by a minigame. (First an Unexpected Shmup Level, and then a vertical platforming challenge).
  • The Chrono series:
    • In Chrono Trigger, Masa and Mune are fought as individual entities at first, only to fuse into one big monster in the latter half of the fight.
    • Slash, one of Magus's top henchmen, first attacks unarmed, but when defeated, eqips his sword, which makes the second portion of the battle significantly harder.
      Slash: (at the beginning of the second stage) Now, let's get to business.
    • Magus himself starts off the battle in his infamous Barrier Change mode, only to later discard it and just begin constantly casting Dark Matter, his most powerful spell.
    • Near the end of the game you fight Queen Zeal. At first you should take her out in her plain human form, then get the Mammoth Machine out of the way, and then deal with Zeal's One-Winged Angel form. And then, of course, there's Lavos, the Final Boss consisting of four different stages: a Boss Rush, a plain Lavos shell fight, then two fights with its Outer and Inner Cores respectively.
    • Chrono Cross features the Dragon God/Fused Dragons, who has seven different forms (though they all look the same): one form for each Elemental Color in the game, except White, which gets two forms.
  • Dark Souls has Ornstein and Smough, who start out as a Dual Boss. When you kill one of them, the other one absorbs their power to bring themselves back to full health and gain some of their fallen partner's abilities. Smough's hammer becomes charged with lightning and his butt-stomp, which used to be your best chance to run in and get some damage on him, now creates a highly damaging lightning shockwave with a surprisingly large radius. Ornstein becomes giant, gains a lightning butt-stomp of his own (with a smaller radius), and can now use a grab attack that is guaranteed to be a One-Hit Kill to anyone who doesn't have tons of health or lightning resistance.
  • Dark Souls III has a couple. The first being the Abyss Watchers, who are fought as a Wolf Pack Boss (no pun intended) during the first phase where the player has to kill them all while they fight amongst themselves. Then after that a cutscene plays where a single Watcher absorbs the blood of his brothers, wreathing his sword in flame and becoming more of a proper boss. Later on is the King of Storms, a massive drake with a knight riding on top of it. After the drake is killed the knight steps off of it, absorbs it to gain lightning powers and reveals his true title, the Nameless King, and proves that he is far stronger than when was riding on his dragon mount. Then there is the Final Boss The Soul of Cinder who uses a variety of different movesets during his first phase, such as that of a knight, a pyromancer, a sorcerer, and others. Then when he first seems defeated he stands back up three familiar notes play, and he becomes an improved version of the Final Boss of the first game, Gwyn, Lord of Cinder.
  • The final boss of Digital Devil Saga 2 has five different forms, each aligned with a different element.
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten spoofs this with Death King Hugo. After defeating him, Valvatorez warns the party that they shouldn't bother to celebrate, because there's at least two One-Winged Angel transformations coming up. It's then subverted, as Hugo admits to having lost the strength to do the requisite transformations long ago.
  • .hack has Corbenik, who may well take the cake for most bizarre forms ever: he starts out as a giant seed, then he turns into a leaf, and when that doesn't work he becomes a Giant Eye of Doom.
  • The Dragon Quest series is even more fond of this than the Final Fantasy series; three of the first four Big Bads were sequential boss fights.
    • In the original Dragon Quest I game for the NES, when you first fight the Dragonlord, he has a humanoid appearance. When you beat him, he morphs into his much tougher true dragon form.
    • In the final boss level of Dragon Quest III (or Dragon Warrior III in the states), first the party must fight Barabombus, with heavy defense but weak attack, then Baragonus, with high attack and no defense, then the party must face Zoma, the Final Boss (though you can fight several heretofore unreferenced bosses when you beat the game once.)
    • Dragon Quest IV is the most iconic example of this entire trope, with the final fight against Necrosaro, a seven-part boss battle where he starts by looking like prior boss Estark, only for the player to hack off his arms one by one, followed by his head, after which he simply grows a new face on his stomach, and regrows all his limbs...including his head. Needless to say, nearly every change to his body corresponds to changes in his tactics.
  • Enchanted Arms makes its Final Boss (the Infinity Devil Golem) go through at least three forms. It also has a Healing Factor.
  • The Final Fantasy series seems fond of these, having them for practically every Final Boss starting with Final Fantasy IV.
    • Final Fantasy IV later on barely has any bosses fought on their own or just once. Two of the Fiends have you fight their minions right before them, as does Golbez when you first fight him for real. The Fiend Boss Rush, as well.
    • Archeoavis from Final Fantasy V is an interesting example. It appears as if he only has two forms - his only noticeable form change happens towards the end when he dies and comes back to life. However, if you keep careful watch of his health with Scan or use a particular instant death spell that surprisingly works on him, you'll realize that he actually has four forms. The other two forms are easy to miss because they all use the exact same sprite, and when one form is killed, there is no visual indication that it has died (except for the aforementioned last form).
    • Kefka of Final Fantasy VI has four forms, the first three having Cognizant Limbs.
    • Ultimecia, the Final Boss from Final Fantasy VIII, starts relatively normal and quickly moves into sheer insanity. The distinct stages of the battle: 1) Fights our heroes in human form after mixing up what party members Squall fights alongside, 2) Summons her badass Guardian Force to duke it out with you, 3) orders said Guardian Force to show you his true power, gaining new abilities and Awesome Music, 4) merges with said Guardian Force, 5) continues to attack you after having her new body chopped down to nearly-human size, 6) appears to die, only to reappear in One-Winged Angel form, and finally 7) the One-Winged Angel form with an ultimate attack (though not terribly ultimate, really). Even by the standards of Square Enix, the fight sets a new level for sheer spectacle, not matched again until Kingdom Hearts II.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • Seymour Guado's first fight against the party is one of these. First he starts as a Flunky Boss (said flunkies have the annoying habit of tossing Hi-Potions when anyone on their side is hurt) who will constantly cast powerful — for that point — elemental magic on your party, then he'll whip out Anima once the flunkies are dead and he's at 50% HP, and once she's dead, he'll start using the -ga level spells, which are a guaranteed One-Hit Kill on anyone who isn't Lulu or using Nul-Spells. After this, he'll finally go down.
      • Lady Yunalesca (not the Final Boss, but arguably the game's toughest Climax Boss) comes in three forms. First, she will pull out some very low-level attacks, cast drain spells on your party members, and counter all attacks with Blind (physical), Silence (magical), or Sleep (special — e.g. Steal or Overdrives). Her second form becomes a little more monstrous, then alternates between spamming Zombie and Cure magic. Afterwards, she transforms into her monstrous third form, and opens by casting Mega-Death, killing all but the Zombie-afflicted party members, then she will cycle through healing magic, zombie attacks, an attack that afflicts the party with a cocktail of ailments (including confusion!), drain, osmose, and occasionally, Mega-Death again. And, overall, she has 132,000 HP. Have fun, kids.
      • The party launches a full-scale assault on Sin's outer shell, weakening it by destroying the three power cores on its arms and back. All three fights are played in a row, with no chance to heal and with your positive status effects (i.e. Haste) not carrying over.
      • After the final Point of No Return, you face Braska's Final Aeon, all of Yuna's Aeons, and Yu Yevon in a row. The former is a large threat, but the latter 6 (9 if you got the optional Aeons) fights are a Foregone Victory due to permanent Auto-Life status.
  • Uncle Rupee in Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland has a normal form, a green powered up form, an orange powered up form, a red powered up form, and finally a giant rupee head form.
  • At the end of the first Golden Sun, you must first fight Saturos and Menardi and then, after a short (by Golden Sun standards) cut scene, fight the two of them combined into a two-headed dragon. The inability to heal or replenish PP in between battles is the main reason the second battle is difficult at all, with the actual boss being weaker than the ones that proceed it.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Considering it's a Square Enix series, you kinda have to see it coming.
    • The final battle against Ansem in the first game has seven stages (all but the first three involving a thunder-spamming phallic face monster), or ten if you include the fights with the Heartless to get your comrades back. And you can't save between the fights. To wit: first you fight Ansem with your entire party. Then he summons Darkside, who Sora fights alone, and then he fights Sora (still alone) in the same form as before with a couple of new attacks. Then he goes One-Winged Angel, and everything from there is a Battleship Raid against a monstrous living spaceship with a super-sized Ansem growing out of it.
    • Marluxia has two in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and is given a third in the remake. Marluxia is notably the only member of Organization XIII besides Xemnas himself to have multiple stages, which is, of course, because he's the final boss of his game.
    • Xemnas from Kingdom Hearts II. Right after the first stage of the fight (where you duel him while he's Dual Wielding Laser Blades), you have time to save and go elsewhere afterward, but it's completely back-to-back from then on. First there's the rush to Xemnas's floating fortress thing, then the two turbines, then the core, then Armored King Xemnas, wielding the weapons of the Org. XIII members that appear in this game, then an attack on Xemnas' dragon-shaped Humongous Mecha in rail-shooter style, then another round with Armored King Xemnas (dropping many of his attacks for kickass skyscraper-destroying sequences), then finally one final fight with Xemnas himself, in Twilight form.
    • The fight with Xion in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has four stages. First, a winged armor in Wonderland. Second, a giant form in Halloween Town. Third, a four-armed version with four swords in Agrabah. And finally a titanic armor in the skies of Twilight Town.
    • Each episode of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep finishes with a sequential boss of some sort. Terra first fights Master Xehanort and Vanitas together, then Master Xehanort alone, then Xehanort possessing Terra's body for the final battle. Ventus fights Vanitas, then fights him again, only unmasked and wielding the X-Blade. Aqua fights Braig followed by Ventus-Vanitas. Finally, the True Final Boss of the game as a whole has two forms - Terra-Xehanort, and Terra-Xehanort with the Guardian. Aside from final bosses, there's also Zack in Terra's story, who after his first battle removes his helmet and becomes That One Boss for another round.
    • Kingdom Hearts coded's final boss is the only one in the series that isn't a Sequential Boss, but Sora's Heartless easily makes up for this with five forms: a Darkside, a dark version of Sora, several dark versions of Sora, several more dark versions of Sora, and finally, a Shadow that's a Zero-Effort Boss.
    • Riku faces a trio of boss fights at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, first going up against the Anti Black Coat Nightmare, followed by Ansem and his One-Winged Angel form.
    • While he doesn't go through any major transformations like his Heartless and his Nobody, Master Xehanort also pulls this trick in the final battle of Kingdom Hearts III. First, a fight against twelve Replica Xehanorts (which thankfully share their HP) all across the city of Scala Ad Caelum. Then Xehanort merges with the replicas to form Armored Xehanort, who is first fought in Scala Ad Caelum folded into a cage, then in the sea below the town, and then an aerial battle in what remains of the town. His armor broken, all that remains is a battle against Master Xehanort, armed with the X-Blade and Kingdom Hearts itself.
  • Knights of the Old Republic,
    • Rulan Prolik - if you accept Hulas' assassination contracts - takes no less than three separate forms: first, he impersonates your companion Jolee Bindo to battle you sword to sword; once you've knocked his health down far enough, he'll become a terentatek to try and crush you with raw muscle; finally, he'll flee and pretend to be a tach, forcing you to butcher your way through an entire troop of the monkey-like creatures to kill him.
    • Played with in the final battle with Darth Malak. After storming his personal space station (which is huge), you fight through the expected mooks, and a boss battle with Bastilla just before finally facing Darth Malak himself. He has a few tricks up his sleeves, though — namely a group of 8 pods containing captive Jedi. Whenever you get close to killing him, he will go drain one of them, and come back with full health and force power, giving him eight lives with which to fight you with. This would be VERY aggravating... if you couldn't use them too.
  • The Last Story: Dagran, whose evil side is revealed after you defeat Zangurak, has three phases in the Final Boss battle, and in each his size and threat level increase considerably.
  • The Legend of Dragoon went a little crazy with its Sequential Boss. Minor bosses like Urobolus and Doel have a few forms. Melbu Frahma goes through six generations, four of which fight back hard, and still needs a cutscene to actually die.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:
    • The final battle has three phases. Round 1 sees the team face-off against a Panzer Soldat, and the last two phases has has Rean board the Ashen Knight to square off against S & C.
    • In the second game, on top of facing members of Zephyr and Ouroboros, you'll be going against a brutal final boss, before heading into the game's 2nd intermission. 1) Rean and team will face Crow and Vita. 2) Rean challenges Crow to a Divine Knight battle. 3) Rean and team will be split into groups A & B squaring off with a helpless Cedric in his Vermillion Apocalypse mech. 4) Crow and Rean join forces to take care of the Vermillion Apocalypse in their Divine Knights.
    • In Cold Steel III, the dragon boss under Heimdallr has at least two forms: Old Class VII and New Class VII combine to form three groups. The first gets the dragon down to 70% health, the second to 40%, and the third gets it down to zero. This isn't enough to finish it, so you then fight against it in mechs. Now it's dead. Then a human enemy shows up, and you fight him too.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has this in the 2nd game. The fighters will have to face Weissmann in his fallen angel form twice, with the 2nd bout involving a tail attaching itself to him.
  • Lost Odyssey The final fight has three phases. First the Luminous Magic Beast. Followed by Gongora's normal form. Once the team takes down this phase, Jansen and the rest will shield Kaim and Sarah from the light mirror at the risk of their own life.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis features a combination of Flunky Boss and Sequential Boss. Frequently in the Sidequests, some Bosses are fought this way, where the player has to fight through a sequence of normal enemies before the Boss. For an example in the storyline, there's the very first Boss who is fought in the same way.
  • Mario & Luigi:
  • Mega Man Battle Network series:
    • Anytime enemy navis decided to gang up on the player, they have each battle after the last one is killed. While HP isn't restored, used chips are returned to the player's folder (which is done anyways after every fight). Disappointingly, the series never has two navis fought at the same time.
    • The Final Boss of Battle Network 3. Bass with 1000 HP, a shield that can only be taken off with an attack that does at least 100 damage in one go and restores itself fairly quickly, and some extremely devastating attacks; immediately followed by Alpha, also having 2000 hp, a regenerating barrier that absorbs damage before allowing Alpha's actual HP to be depleted, and some equally devastating attacks. The only thing between the two of them is a single cutscene, no healing, no saving, right back into the action.
  • Monster Hunter. Sequential bosses are rare in the series (at most, you usually only have a regular large monster that attacks in a measured manner, then more quickly as it gets angry, and then sparingly as it gets tired), but they exist:
    • Lao-Shan Lung, Shen Gaoren, Ceadeus, Jhen Mohran and Dah'ren Mohran all have an initial phase where they merely walk or swim around the corresponding threatened areas while attacking occasionally, and then a final phase where they attack you more actively. Failure to protect the area they're intending to destroy leads to a Non-Standard Game Over, but you can drive them away if you manage to inflict enough damage to them before time runs out. This also applies to Ashen Lao-Shan Lung and Hallowed Jhen Mohran, but not Goldbeard Ceadeus (it has only one phase, but it's a Marathon Boss that cannot be repeled).
    • Amatsu, Dalamadur, Gogmazios, Nakarkos and Ahtal-Ka all have two or more phases, changing their attack patterns as the respective fights evolve, and confront the hunter in one secluded area instead of multiple segmented areas. None of them can be repeled either (save for the first encounter against Nakarkos), so you must slay them before time runs out or you will fail.
  • In the Mother series:
    • EarthBound:
      • The second boss, Franky. After admitting defeat, he immediately sends in his creation, Frankystein Mark II, to finish you off.
      • The last Sanctuary Guardian, Carbon Dog, transforms into Diamond Dog after taking enough damage.
      • The final fight has three forms, the first against Giygas and Porky together, but Giygas has a permanent Shield-PSI Shield Beta combo up, being the only enemy in the game with one up, forcing you to attack Porky. After beating him, he attempts to scare the party to death by deactivating the shield and letting Giygas attack. The next two forms are just against Giygas, but with different attack methods.
    • In Mother 3, the last three bosses all play with this. The Porky Bots use three different attack formations to defeat the party. The first is an all out assault, and then the second have them come one at a time while summoning weak enemies. The third formation is a Cutscene Boss. The Final Boss, Porky Minch himself. has one regular form, then a second form that ends immediately after two turns. The Post-Final Boss, the Masked Man, now revealed to be Claus, starts regaining his memories later on in the fight, lowering his stats.
  • The final book of Odin Sphere, Armageddon, is a series of five boss fights. Good thing there's five playable characters, huh?
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, you fight Grodus directly before Bowser, with no chance to heal. Fortunately, leveling up in between restores your health entirely and there is a third boss right after (with two stages), but at least you get the chance to heal and save (or even go back out and do some sidequests) before you tackle that one.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: Yoyogi Park has two bosses back to back; Sakahagi sics Girimekhala on you, and then takes you on himself after it fails to finish you off. You get no chance to heal in between the two, but fortunately, Sakahagi isn't as hard as Girimekhala, and can easily be taken down in two turns.
    • Nocturne also has Ahriman and Baal Avatar in the final dungeon, the former of which disables certain moves before shifting into a normal battle and the latter of which summons two minions to heal and support her. Interestingly, the second one's second form can be completely skipped if one does enough damage in the first form, as the second form starts with Baal Avatar being fully healed by one of the minions. Subverted with Noah and Final Boss Kagutsuchi - while they have impressive form changes and gain quite a bit of HP (Kagutsuchi in particular has more HP than anyone else except the True Final Boss), they barely change between forms.
    • The final boss of Persona 3 has a whopping fourteen forms (not counting the human form the main characters knew him as earlier in the game). While the first thirteen forms are relatively easy to defeat (differing mainly in their elemental weaknesses), the final form is quite difficult and can take at least half an hour to defeat for those who aren't using some sort of Game-Breaker.
    • The fight against Masayohsi Shido in Persona 5 is the longest fight in the game, having a total of 5 phases with each having a lot of HP, though his first 3 phases is just fighting The Beast of Human Sacrifice, which later transforms into a bird, which transforms into a pyramid.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Elite Four and Champion battles at the end of every game.
    • Pokémon Black and White tops the other games with a sequence of Elite Four, the legendary dragon of your version, then the final two bosses, N and Ghetsis. You don't go near the League Champion until you face the Elite Four a second time. You do get to heal at times though.
    • At least those let you save in between battles; Pokémon Ranger doesn't even give you that. Made even worse by the fact that Entei, the Final Boss, is so hard that it would still be nearly impossible to beat even if your health hadn't been drained by Raikou and Suicune.
    • And those Legendary Beasts are at the end of the game. Shadows of Almia has that bloody Drapion, before you get Steel-type Poke Assists, and he is preceded by two Rhyhorn and then three Stunky.
    • In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, first there's Pokémon Wielder Volo and his full party bordering Level 70. Immediately after, you fight Altered Forme Giratina at Level 70. Once you take its health down to zero, it goes One-Winged Angel and now you have to start over with Origin Forme Giratina. No between-battle healing or Master Ball to save you this time.
  • Rogue Galaxy's final boss has a lot of forms. Mother has two forms, then the Demon Battleship has EIGHT separate battles, one-on-one duels between every member of your party and one part of the final boss. If you screw up even ONCE, you have to do the whole damn thing all over again. ARGH.
  • In the original SNES release of Romancing SaGa, you have to fight the final boss's minions one by one and then fight all three at once — all in the same place before confronting the final boss. In the PS2 remake, you only have to fight one battle near the final boss's chamber — unless you defeated them all individually in the final dungeon to get their treasures. Furthermore, the final boss is sequential in the remake only.
  • SaGa Frontier has several of these, most notably Lute's final boss: a giant mech that slowly falls apart as you fight it. Others include Blue's fight with Satan (who continually switches between two different forms) and T260's battle with Genocide Heart. The sub-boss fights in Red's story where the party goes to an alternate dimension may also count.
  • Skies of Arcadia's three final bosses are like this, with a variation — the first and third forms are fought on foot, while the middle form is a ship battle.
  • Super Mario RPG:
    • You fight Smithy at the end, then a stronger version of Smithy.
    • There is also the Czar Dragon, who changes from a typical fire dragon to a skeletal dragon after you beat on him enough.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Graces has two of them: In the penultimate dungeon, you have to fight Lambda Richard and then Emeraude. Lambda Richard is That One Boss, but Emeraude is surprisingly easy, despite her constant teleporting around. Then in the final dungeon you first fight Lambda Richard (again) and finally Lambda Angelus.
    • Tales of Symphonia:
      • The game contains a rather infamous string of three sequential bosses at the climax of its fake ending (in actuality only about a third of the way through the game.) First up is Remiel, who tries to eliminate the party after sealing Colette's soul. He's reasonably challenging, but no harder than an average boss up until that point. Once you deal with him, Kratos reappears just in time to announce that he's been stringing you along the whole time and that he intends to deliver Colette to his superiors. While not set up as a Hopeless Boss Fight, he would be extremely difficult to overcome with a fresh party, let alone one that's just finished a previous boss fight. Then, just to add insult to injury, whether or not the party manages to defeat him, his boss shows up and utterly destroys the party in a true Hopeless Boss Fight. Naturally, there's no way to save or heal in between any of these encounters.
      • Done properly at the next fake ending with a Dual Boss (Pronyma and the two Idun) followed by a fight with the Big Bad, Yggdrassil, which doesn't actually lead to any closure, as he leaves when you knock off a quarter of his max HP. And again in the real finale, with two forms of Mithos.
      • This trick is also pulled at the Wind Seal where the party must fight a boss in order for Colette to release the seal. This battle, while not very hard, can be draining on your items. As the party is exiting the dungeon, Sheena attacks the party for a second, more difficult fight that is made harder due to the fact that you likely used many healing items earlier. Of course, this sequence would not be mentioned on this page if there was a save point present between the two points, so have fun fighting the first boss again if you lose to Sheena.
  • The final boss of any route in Undertale plays with this quite a bit:
    • The neutral route's battle against Photoshop Flowey has the player alternating between trying (and most likely failing) to avoid everything Flowey has at his immediate disposal and reaching out to the six Human SOULs. After the SOULs begin to help you, it's a matter of avoiding Flowey's desperate attempts to kill you while slowly whittling him down.
    • The True Pacifist final boss, the newly-ressurected and newly-superpowered Asriel, starts with avoiding all his newfound capabilities until he reveals the Ultimate God of Hyperdeath form. Interestingly enough, he only uses one attack in this second form, but you'll find it balances out when you have to SAVE your friends from his grasp. And despite all of that, the battle's easier than it sounds since you automatically revive every time you die.
    • The No Mercy final boss, Sans, is one of the greatest challenges in Undertale. His battle is divided into two stages. The first one offers 13 attacks (unless you waste your turns) that are pretty linear but sure to overwhelm unprepared players. After this, Sans offers to Spare you, but this is merely a trick to pull off a one-hit kill. Choose to Fight him some more, and enter a second stage where the attacks become more varied and difficult, and if you die you have to start all over again. The text in the battle menu even says: "The REAL battle finally begins."
  • Unlimited Saga: in addition to the antagonist of the Scenario, you also have to fight Chaos immediately afterward (4 forms), though you do recover some HP and LP. This isn't even covering Mythe's Scenario, where you have to fight a Sequential Boss and then another powerful boss before even fighting Chaos.
  • The final boss of Wild ARMs 3 takes this Serial Escalation. Its final boss has a whopping eleven forms... making this a literal case of taking it Up to Eleven.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The final boss is four different fights in a row. First you fight the Vita, piloted by Luxaar. Then Luxaar transforms the Vita into a more powerful form. Then a lengthy cutscene ensues, after which you fight a swarm of grotesque chimeras. After another cutscene, the chimeras merge with Luxaar and Lao to form the actual final boss.
  • Xenogears has tons of these sequences. By far the worst is the battle with Ramsus and Miang's gears on Disc 2. The first boss has the ability to reduce all your gears to 1 HP instantly, forcing you to waste fuel healing, and is followed by one of the HARDEST bosses in the game, with no chance to recover.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Abmneshi The Prophecy downplays this trope; bosses have many lifebars, but they don't change at all between forms, they just have different attacks. The final boss, Kelbris, and second True Final Boss, Drowned, have sixteen lifebars.
  • Every boss in Cuphead is a sequential boss, to the point where it was given its own page.
  • All the bosses in Dragon Blaze 2000 comes in at least two forms, including the first, where after defeating them once, they'll come back again, either in a Mighty Glacier form far bigger than before, or as a slightly smaller but faster Fragile Speedster incarnation. The last boss notably needs to be defeated four times.
  • Gradius:
    • III (Arcade) has Wyvern, a three-headed fiery dragon with a vulnerable blue core in its first phase. After sustaining enough damage, Wyvern transforms into a serpentine Amphisbaena-like dragon called Vulture Dragon that spews explosive fireballs from each end while wrapping around the Vic Viper.
    • The Final Boss of Nemesis II: Return of the Hero battles the Player Character at its hangar in its first phase before fleeing the base and fires projectiles from its rear.
    • In Galaxies, the first mid-boss of Stage 8 fights you three times, getting repairs and upgrades for its second and third forms.
    • Gradius V has Keeper's Core, a Gun Wall that makes artificial gravity wells that pull players off from the center as well as having three plasma ball-spraying turrets. Its second form launches the wall cannons that fire laser barricades to block the players from passing.
  • Every boss in Gundemonium Recollection has at least two forms, but the final boss has an amazing eleven. The eleventh is fortunately the True Final Boss and is only triggered under certain conditions, but you do have to deal with the rest on every playthrough, either by defeating them or managing to stay alive until the timer empties.
  • The final boss of Gungrave: Overdose has two phases. In the first phase, the boss is protected by a barrier, which your character must break through by destroying the three generators that flank the room. With the barrier gone, the boss moves to the second phase by creating some sort of bizarre space and decides to get dangerous by using time-based attacks against your character.
  • Unlike the rest of the bosses in Hotline Miami, the final boss battle consists of three (technically four) opponents who are each taken down fairly quickly. First, you must fight off two panthers at the same time using only a trophy as a melee weapon. Then, you must fight a ninja-esque bodyguard and take her out by throwing the trophy and performing an execution on her. Finally, you must fight the boss of The Mafiya himself, who sits at his desk and fires dual-wielded submachine guns at you.
  • The final boss of Ikaruga has four phases, and the last disables your weapons and forces you to survive for a minute just by dodging.
  • The Final Boss of In the Hunt is a giant warhead rocket. The first segment spawns weak submarines, the second fires out lots of INDESTRUCTIBLE mines that block shots (in a game where most enemy projectiles in the game are destructible, this is bad news), the third shoots out massive rockets, and the fourth does the mine storm AGAIN. Finally, you get to the main warhead that spams missiles. If you had used any continues before this, you will get the good ending; otherwise, the bomb blows up along with your submarine.
  • Radiant Silvergun has tons of them. One boss is where all its parts are sequential, some bosses themselves are sequential, and near the end of the game, you'll fight several bosses (some being sequential themselves) in a row without stages being in between them.
  • Raiden is pretty fond of these. Every boss has multiple stages of combat based on difficulty. You transition between sequences by blasting the crap out of it and causing things to explode. After exploding, what's left of the boss transforms and resumes combat. This can happen up to ten times in later games like Raiden IV.
  • RefleX has ZODIAC Virgo, who has 5 phases. First phase is the introduction, before spreading its wings, destroying Human Virgo and initiating the next phase. After that it becomes a Hopeless Boss Fight as it lays the beam smackdown on the Phoenix, killing the pilot. But then the Phoenix, true to name, springs back to life and returns the curbstomping tenfold, with you chasing Virgo as it flees, but fails as you destroy its thrusters forcing it to stand its ground. The final phase is you going to town on this mechanical menace, effortlessly blocking its screen-filling lasers and a crapton of projectiles before finally destroying it.
  • Rigid Force Alpha has a three phase Final Boss fight; first against the CORE Sentinel, then two rounds against the CORE Plasmoid previously encountered in Stage 2.
  • Sin and Punishment 2 hads the Stage 2 boss, Armon Ritter, morphing through several rather strange-looking forms as you fought over the ocean. His final form is...a dolphin.
  • The Dragon of Sol Divide, who battles you in a dragon mausoleum. He fights you as a normal, human-sized enemy at first, and after you beat him he then reveals his One-Winged Angel form as a Draconic Humanoid, with a new health bar. Defeat him once more, and he pulls out his trump card by absorbing the bones of dragons around him, turning into a gigantic dragon behemoth (how big? For the entire fight you'll see only his head). Defeat him once more and you'll... face the True Final Boss. Yeah, the last encounter can take up maybe a quarter of the overall gameplay.
  • Both Strikers 1945 games (a.k.a just 1945 I & II) had sequential bosses ending each level. In the early levels they usually had two stages (first a regular battleship, tank, airplane and such, which then transforms to a Humongous Mecha), later bosses usually have 3 or 4 stages (transforming from a mech to two smaller mechs and so on).
  • Touhou bosses always have multiple life bars, one for each bullet pattern they shoot.
    • Early bosses usually have at most 4, whereas final bosses have many: Kaguya Houraisan from the eighth game, for example, has 10 life bars on every difficulty, plus five optional Last Spells after that. In the most extreme cases, bosses can have up to 22 life bars (these are exclusively reserved for the Extra Stages, though).
    • In Lotus Land Story, you fight Gengetsu/Gengetu immediately after you defeat the first bonus boss, Mugetsu.
  • Based on how well you're doing, Triggerheart Exelica bosses can go from one phase to up to five phases. The better equipped you are (more lives, bombs, point items, and score), the harder it gets.
  • Trigonometry Wars has several examples, both of the different-lifebars-have-different-attacks kind and the more interesting kind.
    • Trigonometry Wars 4 has its final boss, Idryo's Heart, who is fought first in a green mecha, which literally Turns Red for the second phase, before finally fighting you alone.
    • In Trigonometry Wars 3 Redux: The Revengeoning, Apollyon's Eye is fought immediately after Apollyon the Destroyer. And then in the second loop, this gets taken through the roof, as you then must fight Idryo the Creator, who herself has two forms.

    Simulation Games 
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War. Solo Wing Pixy's Morgan starts the fight off firing its laser. When it gets damaged enough, it drops the Frickin' Laser Beams and switches to the Multi-Purpose Burst Missile. For the third stage, it drops the MPBM too, but starts using an ECM system that forces you to attack it from the front in order to damage it.
  • Trauma Center:
    • Various late-game levels in the series have you operate on several patients in succession, each infected with a different type of the super-pathogen featured in the plot. Some of the more difficult levels choose to have a single patient infected with two types of pathogen at once.
    • The Challenge missions in New Blood would have you operate on multiple patients in a row, with the vitals from the last carrying over to the next. Sort of justified in that it's supposed to be a VR simulation, not real operations.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid, the player must fight Liquid Snake both in and on top of Metal Gear REX sequentially.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden must fight a number of Metal Gear RAYs (the number depends on the difficulty selected); after a long (and confusing) cutscene, the player must fight Solidus Snake. Without skipping anything, the whole thing probably takes upwards of a half hour.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Volgin is a very persistent opponent. First, you fight him hand to hand. Then he jumps in the Shagohod and chases you as you escape in a motorcycle. Then you blow up a bridge to sink the Shagohod into a river. Then it rises out of the river, and you strafe it in the motorcycle. Then you run around on foot, as in previous (or rather future) fights with Metal Gear.

    Strategy RPG 
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • The final chapter of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade has you fighting the Morphs of various bosses that were fought earlier in the story plus the previously unfought Brendan, in a specific order, before fighting Nergal.
    • Present in each route of Fire Emblem Fates:
      • Birthright ends with a final battle against Garon. First, players fight him as an axe-wielding man. Afterwards, he transforms into a dragon.
      • In Conquest, the final battle starts with Garon, albiet appearing as a monster with melting flesh as a result of the Hoshidan throne revealing his true nature. After he is bested, the player has to fight Takumi, whose corpse was reanimated by the Greater-Scope Villain.
      • Revelation has Chapters 16 and 17 pit you against Hans and Iago respectively with no opportunity to save or restock.
      • Revelation ends with a final battle against the Greater-Scope Villain, Anankos, who first appears as a giant stone mask before taking on the form of an Eldritch Abomination dragon.
  • Super Robot Wars loves this, sometimes having both kinds at the same time.
    • One level of Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2 has you fighting Axel Almar, Sikalog, Aguija (Sikalog and Aguika fight together), and finally Wendolo.
    • Level 29 from Super Robot Wars Judgment is probably one of the longest stages in the game. It starts off pretty simple, just a couple sets of Mazinger Z and Full Metal Panic! mooks. Then an FMP boss shows up with a batch of reinforcements on the second enemy turn. Then on your third turn, Gauron shows up with a set of Elite Mooks from Mazinger, and four Behemoths (One of which was a stage boss five levels ago.). Take out Gauron, and Zeorymer's Rose C'est La Vie of the Moon comes along as well. Defeat him, and the level rounds off with you fighting Baron Ashura.
    • The final level of Super Robot Wars Destiny; You first have to defeat Ignus and his units, then Aquila and the reinforcements he brings. Then, in the second half of the mission, you have to defeat both Contagio and Umbra, who regain their HP when they are below 1/3 of their HP, and then you have to fight the machines of the 5 enemy generals all at once in addition to the final boss. By the way, you have to fight the final boss twice; he gains reinforcements after he is defeated the first time.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Medusa is this in Kid Icarus: Uprising. She fights you normally, then gets chained in place, and her head comes off and flies around, attacking you. Then, in chapter 25, Hades fights you in the Underworld, then several times in hyperspace or something using his "Battle Ensemble," then he fights you AGAIN on the surface, and then you have one last minigame-ish thing before you beat the game.
  • The boss fight at Gall Spaceport in the Shadows of the Empire game. After Boba Fett's health is depleted, he falls into the docking bay — and Fett's ship, Slave I, immediately rises and starts firing at the player.
  • Splatoon
    • The final boss of the first game's Hero Mode has five stages, each of which has him adding a new weapon to his arsenal while stepping up the platforming challenge.
    • The final boss of Splatoon 2 has four stages; all four has him getting new attacks, but the last also grants the player character an 11th-Hour Superpower.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Greatwyrms and ancient dragon turtles are classified as mythic monsters in 5th edition, which means they have a second phase baked into them. When they hit 0 hit points for the first time in an encounter, they immediately recover most of their health, recharge their breath weapons, replenish their uses of legendary resistance, and gain extra legendary action options.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sequential Boss Fight


Mr. Gimmick

Beating the first form of Stage 5's boss causes it to unleash its second form at you, complete with music change.

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Example of:

Main / SequentialBoss

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