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Skippable Boss

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It's usually not this easy.

Gunther Hermann: Eet ees a simple message I am demonstreting. Ve know vere you are going and vat you intend.
JC Denton: And I know something about you.
Gunther Hermann: You kno you vill be defeeted.
JC Denton: I know your UNATCO killphrase: "Laputan Machine."
Gunther Hermann: I am not a machi—
JC Denton: Sticks and stones...
Deus Ex

Occasionally, games will decide to give you a break and actually feature methods of skipping Boss Battles, most often by talking them out of fighting the player or by finding an alternate path around them.

Of course, skipping the boss may not be the best course of action if you earn a nifty reward by defeating it through normal means, or if there's one for 100% Completion. But, hey, that's the penalty you get for taking the easy way out.

The Skippable Boss is occasionally the alternative to the Hopeless Boss Fight. It most frequently occurs in (but is not limited to) RPGs.

Compare Route Boss, which you only fight on a certain route in the game. If you do the "good" route, you may bypass one or more brutal bosses in the "bad" route. Also compare Boss-Altering Consequence, which may not necessarily let you skip the boss, but may let you cut the battle short by using a One-Hit Kill move on them or otherwise end the battle without killing them depending on the objectives you complete. See also Puzzle Boss and Cutscene Boss.

The inverse is any kind of Optional Boss; the difference is that the Skippable Boss is fought by default; the Optional Boss is skipped by default instead.

Note that a Speed Run, particularly tool-assisted ones, can make bosses skippable unintentionally.

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  • In Axiom Verge, neither the aborted clone nor Xedur Hul have to be fought, and each gives an achievement for not killing them.
  • Axiom Verge 2 doesn't have conventional bosses, instead having large cyborg creatures in arenas that can be bypassed or ignored, but will drop Apocalypse Flasks when defeated. Only two boss fights are mandatory — Amashilama in Indra's body and Amashilama in a Siuna — and both are impossible to lose, since both have a respawn point located in the boss arena, therefore making it so that you never lose any progress in the fight no matter how many times you die.
  • As of the Wounds of Eventide DLC for Blasphemous, Esdras of the Anointed Legion does not need to be fought. If the player finds the Resting Place of the Sister before triggering this fight, Esdras will make a Heel–Face Turn. You still receive the reward for winning the fight, but not the achievement for killing the boss. This is the first step towards the Golden Ending, to boot.
  • Castlevania:
    • If you are willing to beat Castlevania II: Simon's Quest without the most powerful knife in the game, you can simply walk past Death and claim Dracula's eye without fighting him. The same thing could have been done with Carmilla if her dropped item wasn't required to complete the game.
    • In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, there is a fork in Block 3. Should you take the upper path, you'll eventually reach the boss. Selecting the lower path, on the other hand, takes you immediately to Block 4 without a boss battle. Once on the lower path and reaching that path's Block 5, it's also possible to skip Block 5's second boss in the same way. Takes you to a harder level though. The second block is completely optional, making the fight with Grant also optional.
    • In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, many levels have alternate versions. Going to the alternate versions often means fighting one boss instead of another. However, a couple of routes have no bosses at all, most notably Stage 5'. However, you don't get to play Stage 5' until you've beaten Dracula, presumably because the developers wanted you to go to Stage 5 normally the first time around and fight Death. Yes, on replays, Death is skippable. The level itself is so much harder than the other Stage 5. One of the routes in Stage 2' allows you to reach Stage 3' without having to fight the Bone Golem.
    • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Scylla and Granfaloon only guard unnecessary items, Karasuman only blocks a direct path through the Clock Tower to the Castle Keep, any Inverted Castle boss that doesn't guard a piece of Dracula is skippable, and the Saturn-only Skeleton Leader boss doesn't really get you anything either. Also, it's possible to navigate the game's Blackout Basement using only the Power of Mist, making Olrox and the Echo of Bat skippable as well.
    • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon allows you to skip the notorious Twin Zombie Dragons and Death (emphasized by them not showing up in the end Credits Montage), but this requires going through the Underground Waterway without the Cleansing item rewarded for beating Death, an arguably harder feat that requires a firm knowledge of the Waterway's layout and likely much trial and error since until cleansed, it's filled with toxic red water that will rapidly sap your health every time you set foot into it. Many players have done this by accident, not realizing the water was supposed to be cleansed.
    • Lots of bosses in Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance are skippable. Specifically, the following bosses can be skipped: Giant Bat, Golem, Minotaur, Minotaur II, your choice of either Legion (saint) or Giant Merman, and Legion (corpse). And that's not getting into Sequence Breaking...
    • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, fighting Legion is required in order to get the Galamoth soul, which allows Soma to move through an area of stopped time. However, this only allows you to get a hint of how to get the best ending, so if you already know what to do (or have played the game before), Legion isn't necessary.
    • In Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth on the Wii, each stage has an alternate route you can take which skips past the stage's mid-boss. Of course, that alternate route isn't going to be any easier.
  • Cave Story:
    • Early in the game, Recurring Boss Balrog explicitly asks you if you want to fight. If you respond with "no," he says "Oh, okay" and goes about his way. This only works on that one specific occasion; on later encounters he insists on fighting no matter what you do.
    • A late part of the game has two dragons (the Sisters) that you fight if you open a very obvious chest in the middle of the room. Less obviously, you can avoid the chest and continue on.
  • Clash at Demonhead: You can skip right past Pandar, since he doesn't have one of the Medallions that you need to disarm the Doomsday Device.
  • Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix: Hana has two fights that can be skipped: The first requires her and Rain to not kill any of the aqueduct workers in the very beginning of the game, so that at the Eight Immortals challenges, the one worker who she talked to will reveal himself as one of the eight. He will simply wave her through to the next challenge after noting she avoids unnecessary bloodshed. The second is in a Sadistic Choice, where another one of the eight will ask her to choose between her dead parents (the future that never was), or Rain (the future that could be). Choosing Rain will send her on her way, while choosing her parents results in a 2-on-1 fight against the teleporting demons she had been fighting in the gardens, only now they will both be much, much tougher.
  • Hollow Knight:
    • The False Knight, who is normally required to be fought for progression, can be skipped after only one phase of the fight by destroying a breakable wall in his arena. The player will not pick up the City Crest needed to enter the City of Tears, but it is possible to enter that area through other means.
    • Downplayed with the Watcher Knights. It is possible to kill one of them with a chandelier in a hidden area before the battle, but no matter what the player will need to at least fight the other five.
    • Gruz Mother can be skipped entirely by entering the area she guards from the other side, although it's a long detour to get through there.
    • The Mantis Lords canalso be skipped — they guard the earliest entrance to Deepnest, but that area can also be accesed from two other entrances in the Fungal Wastes and a third in the Queen's Gardens. However, beating them does give access to the earliest convenient entrance, and has the secondary bonus of making the mantis enemies non-hostile going forward.
  • Iji features ways to bypass some of the bosses to faciliate a Pacifist Run:
    • If you can maintain a truce with the Tasen when you encounter Krotera, one of his subordinates will shoot him in the back, killing him for you.
    • By careful cracking, you can completely bypass the second battle against Asha the Assassin by destroying a power core guarded by an otherwise impassible barrier that he keeps locked. By this point he has dedicated himself as your arch rival, determined that only he can be the one to defeat you. If you bypass the fight, he becomes so overwhelmed with despair that nobody takes him seriously anymore that he kills himself.
  • Jewel Master have a dragon boss that upon defeat, turns into a far more powerful Dracolich form and continues attacking. Unless you knew how to obtain the Blade Ring, in which case if you do, you can cancel the Dracolich's transformation and end the battle right there.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: An unintentional example is that you can skip the boss of the Skull Woods via a glitch. You won't get its Heart Container, though.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Subverted with four major bosses ("Blights") that are tied to the plot. You can choose to ignore them and head straight to the Final Boss if you wish, but skipping the dungeon bosses will not grant you the magical abilities you would have earned for beating them plus some side quests won't open up until you beat the dungeons. If you get to the final boss without beating any of the major bosses first, they show up and you have to fight them anyway before you can fight the final boss.
      • The Divine Beast Vah Ruta battle can't be initiated until you collect twenty shock arrows. You're supposed to gather the arrows from fighting the nearby Lynel and collecting the loot, but it's also possible to purchase the arrows from certain shops, as well as resort to stealthily collecting the stray shock arrows scattered around the Lynel (though the enemy's senses are honed, so this method is very difficult). However, for first-time players Ruta is likely the first Divine Beast encountered so that early on you probably won't have enough money for the arrows or have explored enough of the map to know what shops sell shock arrows.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Like in Breath of the Wild, neglecting the questlines to solve the regional anomalies will force you to fight the Temples' associated bosses back to back during the endgame. However, you will at least manage to skip the Mini-Boss battles against Yunobo (in his brainwashed form), Moragia and Sludge Like.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Zero Mission has a worm that appears at least twice, but you don't need to kill it to proceed in the game... although you get a very helpful Charge Beam if you do. By Sequence Breaking, it's also possible to get the Super Missiles early, allowing you to skip Imago (which is the "proper" way to obtain Super Missiles) unless you're going for 100% items.
    • Super Metroid:
      • The Spore Spawn can be bypassed via a complex trick with the Morph Ball. To add insult to injury, you can still grab the goodies it guards too.
      • Crocomire is usually fought in order to reach the Grappling Beam upgrade, but if your wall-jumping abilities are good enough, you can do without it and avoid the fight altogether.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: None of the Metroid Hatcher fights in the game are mandatorily fought, though it's recommended to defeat at least the first of them (namely the one from Pirate Homeworld, serving as the planet's second boss) since doing so leads to a shortcut to the then-following objective.
  • Tomb Raider: The T-Rex encounter in the first three games can be ignored entirely (the dinosaur in the 2nd game is optional since it guards a secret), although you will have a much harder time trying to navigate the area as you pick up key items while being attacked. Larson on his second encounter can be ignored by just running past him and grabbing the Scion, which triggers the end of the level, so killing Larson is purely optional. In the Anniversary remake, the T-Rex can no longer be ignored. You can also ignore Natla after you knock her down the first time and focus on escaping, as she won't be able to hit you from the platforms you need to use to escape.

    Action Games 
  • The final opponent in Crusader: No Remorse is a difficult opponent, but you don't need to fight her at all. Your objective at that point is not to defeat her, but to get through the door she's guarding. If you run past her, grab the keycard next to her, shut off the alarm, run past her again to unlock the door, and then go through it, you go straight to the ending animation where you escape the exploding station in the last life pod, leaving your opponent behind (The ending itself does not change whether you kill her yourself or leave her to die).
  • Hammerfight gives a skippable boss at the end of the second chapter. However, choosing to fight it commits you, and you need to slay the sophit in order to advance.

    Action RPGs 
  • A number of the bosses in Alpha Protocol are skippable:
    • The Final Boss will be either Yancy Westridge or Henry Leland, depending on what you're trying to do in the final mission (take down Halbech, take down both Alpha Protocol and Halbech, or take down Alpha Protocol on behalf of Halbech). If you fight one, the other will be skipped.
    • Also during the final mission, there is a sequence in which you have to defeat both Alan Parker and Conrad Marburg before they can destroy the evidence of Alpha Protocol's existence that you want to recover. Depending on your actions earlier in the game, there are multiple ways to eliminate Parker or Marburg or both from the fight: if you killed Marburg in Rome, you will fight Parker alone; if you found out that Madison was Parker's daughter and Marburg killed her, he will turn on Marburg and be killed, so you will fight Marburg alone; if you collected enough of Marburg's dossier, you can persuade him to quit, and you will fight Parker alone; if you can persuade Parker that his grand plan has failed, but that he can still get away if he helps you pin the blame on someone else, he will do a Heel–Face Turn and you will fight Marburg alone; if you collected enough of both men's dossiers, you can persuade Marburg to kill Parker, and you will fight Marburg alone; finally, if you manage to persuade both men to quit, you will fight neither, and the sequence instead will involve killing a horde of Mooks within a certain amount of time.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey has several boss fights that can be skipped with the right dialogue options:
    • If you made the right choices during the main story, the final battle against Deimos will be skipped in favor of them reconciling with you.
    • Pythagoras can be persuaded into giving the Staff of Hermes. Otherwise, you will have to fight him for the Staff.
    • If you did exactly what Hermes asked of you and chose the right dialogue options during the first installment of The Fate of Atlantis, he will refuse to fight you during the climax.
  • Dark Souls is absolutely replete with these, excepting the third entry (which only features mandatory bosses and optional bosses).
    • In Dark Souls, a normal blind playthrough will likely have you facing off against both the Taurus Demon and the Capra Demon in the Undead Burg; however, getting the Master Key during character creation allows one to skip both. The Gaping Dragon in the Depths is also skippable this way. Similarly, you'll likely fight the Demon Firesage and Centipede Demon back to back to get into Lost Izalith; however, if you join the Chaos Servant covenant and pay the covenant leader 30 Humanity, you can open a shortcut bypassing both. An unintentional example is Ceaseless Discharge, as having enough stamina, HP, fire resistance, and the Dark Wood Grain Ring will let you just run through the lava pit you normally need to kill him to dry up.
    • Dark Souls II:
      • In II, this is built into the structure of the game: if you've collected a million souls over the course of the game (even if you lost half of them to dying at the wrong time), you can skip the whole thing where you need to kill the four Great Soul holders and can just go on to Drangleic proper. Alternatively, you can use bonfire ascetics to kill one of the Great Soul holders four times.
      • The Pursuer can be bypassed by using a different route to access the Lost Bastille, but this will lock off the Soul of a Giant available in the late game in the area behind him. Conversely, this alternate route will require you to fight the Flexile Sentry, so one or the other will be mandatory.
      • Within the Lost Bastille, on the other hand, the area boss can be skipped by use of both types of illusory wall, as well as a key hidden in the area.
      • The Royal Rat Vanguard, the boss of the Grave of Saints, is found down a hole in Majula. He gates access to the Gutter, but if you buy a longer ladder down that same hole, you can bypass the whole Grave of Saints and go directly there.
  • Deus Ex Universe:
    • Most of Deus Ex's bosses aren't required to be killed and can simply be evaded and ignored, making the game well-suited to a Pacifist Run, which is a fan-favourite Deus Ex playthrough. 2027, a mod for Deus Ex, has Magnus as this, which can be done by evading him, killing him when he is technically not a boss at the time, or making the right choices throughout the game.
    • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes a page from its predecessor, with its one true boss fight avoidable by obtaining and using said boss's killswitch. All other boss-like encounters occur during optional side missions, and can further be avoided through dialogue. Special mention goes to Karl Montag who can only be fought if the player (1) successfully completes the relevant side quest chain, (2) ends up fighting the preceding boss, and (3) fails to talk their way out of combat with him.
  • The open-world design of Elden Ring means that you can finish the game without needing to challenge bosses that you would normally fight.
    • Notably, you only need to defeat two shardbearers to access the Capital City. Since you've got multiple paths of approach to each boss, Godrick, Rennala, Radahn and Rykard are all skippable if you know where to go. Radahn and Rykard are likely more out of the way than Godrick and Rennala however. You will likely want to fight all of the demigods though, as their fight grants useful runes for levelling up, buffs to your character with Rune Arcs and Remembrances that can be cashed in for powerful weapons and spells. Their legacy dungeons or quest lines leading up to them also will give you vital runes.
    • The path to Radahn is gated behind a tough Dual Boss at the end of Redmane Castle. However, if you've initiated Ranni's questline and triggered the Radahn Festival, you can get to him without facing them.
    • Rykard is even more out of the way, since his dungeon is in Mt. Gelmir which has some convoluted access points, and getting to his boss arena either involves a lengthy sidequest or navigating the labyrinthine Volcano Manor.
  • During the final leg of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, you fight a number of Sixth House nobles to weaken Dagoth Urnote . You don't have to fight most of them and, if you do stumble upon them, it is possible to safely talk your way past a few, such as Dagoth Uthol.
  • In Half-Minute Hero, you can avoid fighting the Beautiful Evil Lord by reuniting him with his kidnapped girlfriend Millennia. You can try to defeat him (and you get a special title if you succeed), but you'll have to do a lot of Level Grinding to do so, because he's very powerful when he's angry. Notable in that defeating him won't stop the spell. To him, a world without his beloved Millennia is worthless.
  • Some mini-bosses in Kingdom Hearts can be skipped, such as the shark in Atlantica or several Sabor encounters in Deep Jungle. You can also skip every single boss in the Olympus Colosseum, Atlantica, Monstro, and Halloween Town. The game does take into account what happens if you don't do this.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, you can convince the Final Boss to commit suicide. But regardless of which way you kill him, Sovereign will still assume direct control of his cybernetics after he's dead, so you still have to fight the One-Winged Angel form.
    • Players can convince the Final Boss to do the same in Mass Effect 3, though it's not much of a boss fight.
  • Monster Hunter: Technically, every large monster in the games that isn't part of the objective of an Urgent Quest or a "key quest" (quests that are required to unlock Urgent Quests) doesn't need to be fought to progress the story, and it's possible to reach the ending scenes doing only key and Urgent quests. You'll probably still want to fight monsters from non-key quests, however, for their valuable drops that can go towards useful equipment (and, in the case of 3 Ultimate, slaying or capturing at least one specimen of every large monster save for the G3-tier Superbosses is necessary if you plan to unlock and confront Hallowed Jhen Mohran, which itself is a G3-tier superboss).
  • Remnant: From the Ashes:
    • The Undying King is somewhere between this and Superboss as it's kind of 50-50 whether you have to fight him or not. The game's intended route is for you to make a deal to bring him the heart of the Guardian of Corsus in exchange for the Labyrinth Key you need to continue with your journey, but it's perfectly possible to either refuse to bring him the heart (or say you'll get it then give it to the Iskal Queen instead), or simply to piss him off with your rudeness, leading to a boss fight against him. The fight is one of the harder ones in the base game (although it lets you skip Corsus altogether by taking the Key off his corpse) but if you'd rather not put yourself through it you only need to make the deal and uphold your end of the bargain (both options have their own rewards).
    • Brabus, the leader of the Mud Dogs bandit gang, will let you pass without a fight if you're in possession of the pocket watch his father Mud Tooth gave to you and you agree to give it to him. He'll also give you the Bandit armour set in exchange. Of course unlike the Undying King, who's a fixed story encounter, this only applies if his dungeon (Cutthroat Channel/The Depot) spawns in your mandatory path through Earth anyway rather than being an optional side dungeon or even not spawning at all.
  • In Rune Factory Frontier, it is possible to skip the battle against Iris Noire in the Snow Ruins if your friendship with Iris Blanche is high enough.
  • In Secret of Evermore, it is possible to skip one boss, the Verminator, and continue on with the game... but if you do, you'll eventually be trapped in a room filled with boxes from which there is no escape. Have fun starting the game over!
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines:
    • The Gargoyle is a Side Quest Optional Boss in Hollywood who's been attacking local vampires and needs to be neutralized. It has a Hair-Trigger Temper but can be talked — carefully — into pulling an Enemy Mine with the Anarchs instead.
    • The Southland Slasher can be fought and killed... or he can be convinced away from his path of vigilantism, or simply left to his own devices.
    • Pisha can be fought, but it's actually better for the player not to do so, as she is a quest-giver and gives you some of the most useful items in the game—one of which is the equivalent of a self-refilling health potion.
    • If you side with one of them, you won't have to fight LaCroix or Ming Xiao, who usually make up both halves of the final mission's bosses. However, seeing as they're the Big Bads of the game, you'll be rewarded with a pretty bad Downer Ending no matter which of the two you choose.
  • In the epilogue of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, you engage Letho in conversation where you get the chance to listen to his side of the story. Afterwards, Geralt can decide whether to have a duel to the death or let him go, upon which he promises to never bother you again (at least until the third game, where he shows up in a sidequest).

    Adventure Games 
  • In Enchanted Scepters, of the four elemental demons guarding the titular scepters, only the Fire Demon has to be fought directly, whereas the Earth Demon can be tricked into jumping off a bridge by solving its riddle, the Air Scepter can be obtained without having to fight the Air Demon by praying at the altar in the Temple of Doom, and the Water Demon can be killed in its sleep with the trident obtained from the queen of the underwater city. Likewise, the Black Knight in the underground area can be taken out in one turn by breaking the mirror he materializes from.
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis had a difficult fist-fight against a Nazi that could be avoided by crushing him with a boulder (and a lesser opponent which could be defeated by toppling a stone slab onto him), but in order to get maximum "Indy points", you had to go through the game multiple times, actually fighting the boss at least once. Also, the majority of fights could be skipped outright by using the "Sucker Punch" option, which downed the enemy immediately. You got no Indy Points, though, and the above-named Giant Mook just shrugs it off and laughs.
  • In Superman 64, the final boss, Braniac, will only attack you if you use heat vision on him. You can just walk past him to read the papers on Lex's desk to win the game.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • The NES version of Double Dragon:
    • It's possible to dispatch Abobo quickly by tricking him onto the conveyor belt in his boss room and simply jump-kicking him once to knock him down. Most of the time, he's too slow getting back up to avoid being carried off the belt and into a bottomless pit.
    • At the end of Mission 2, you can avoid fighting Chin by climbing back down the ladders you used to reach him just after he exits the door. A more violent but faster option is to stun him with a kick, then use the shoulder throw to throw him off the roof you're fighting on—no more boss.
  • The second time Tiger Joe shows up in God Hand, you can run right past him and exit the stage without so much as one punch.
  • There are two boss fights that are completely optional in River City Ransom. Benny & Clyde are found on a dead end area, and you can immediately run from them rather than fight. In fact, if you don't defeat them here, they don't subsequently appear in front of the sauna just before River City High. Even if they do reappear in front of the sauna, you can just run past them while they're monologuing and not bother with them (however, as they carry around better cash than the mooks you mow down, and they're just as weak as their first appearance, they're more like a Piñata Enemy at this point). Within River City High itself, there are four floors. The third floor has Tex, leader of the Cowboys gang, who appears after you beat all of the gang members on the floor. Alternately, you can just take the stairs immediately upon entering the floor to go to the fourth floor, where the Dragon Twins await.
  • In the X Men game for Sega Genesis:
    • Mojo. There's a hidden dead-end cave above his room where you can pick up a little health for the fight with him. However, if playing Nightcrawler, you can teleport right through the dead end to the next room and skip him altogether.
    • Also in the first level, if you jump to the top of the trees right before the mid-boss area and use Iceman to make a bridge across to the other trees, you can skip the fight with Juggernaut. If you are at the third level and jump on top of the rocks right before the mid-boss area, then call Iceman to make a bridge across to the other rocks, you can skip the fight with Sabretooth.
    • In the fourth level, there is a huge gap where you have to fight a couple of Sentinels to pass, but if you use Nightcrawler's jump kick or Wolverine's jump punch, you can dive across the gap without fighting the Sentinels. This makes all of these levels considerably easier.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Most of the bosses in DUSK can either be walked past, or otherwise be able to have them die to each other. The only bosses mandatory to fight head-on are the final two, Jakob and Nyarlathotep.
  • Half-Life:
    • In Half-Life: Opposing Force, skilled platforming allows you to skip one boss. Since this is a linear game, it makes no difference story-wise whether or not you actually kill the boss; either way, you get to the next level.
    • Two of the Antlion Guards in Half-Life 2 can be skipped, as the exits to the arenas in which they are fought are only blocked with physics objects (as opposed to the impervious "gates" used in most sections of the game).
    • Black Mesa has a way to skip the final battle against the Gonarch, which you can't avoid in the original Half-Life. If you bring a cyanogen gas canister all the way from the Survey Team camp in the chapter prior, you can either use the gas to instantly kill the Gonarch or utilize an alternate route unlocked by delivering the canister to traverse past the arena where you're meant to fight her.
  • Subverted in High on Life. You can mortally wound one of the bosses (Douglas, while he's masquerading as "Doctor Joopy") before its intended boss battle, while it's completely defenseless; if you do so, it will be dead by the time you reach its arena. The problem is that it'll be replaced by another boss (Douglas' suit, working on autopilot after detecting the death of its owner) that is completely identical gameplay-wise.

  • The Fighting Fantasy series have loads of these:
    • It started all the way with the very first book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, where the player obtains a magic spell from Di Maggio's spellbook right in the second room they can enter, which they can use in the final battle to defeat a dragon, should they still remember the incantation. And the Warlock himself, powerful as he is, can be defeated with a gem called the Cyclops' eye.
    • The Citadel of Chaos has the citadels' most powerful monster, a six-headed Hydra, which is a Hopeless Boss Fight... unless players have the Golden Fleece. Having that at their disposal they can avoid the Hydra. There's also a powerful Clawbeast right before confronting Balthus Dire, which the players can put down in two pages using a Weakness Spell.
    • The Doom Dog leader, The Animal, from Freeway Fighter. A powerful brawler who's Made of Iron, who takes forever to defeat even if the player have a high Skill stat... but alternatively, they can choose to battle The Animal's mooks in a shootout, and then fight him from up close, which leads to a short struggle before the player's partner, Amber, pulls a Wrench Whack and knock The Animal out cold two pages later.
    • Scorpion Swamp, probably the worst offender of the lot; their meeting with Grimslade will invoke the wizard summoning an insanely powerful demon with 16 Skill. But the demon battle can be avoided with the same outcome by bribing Grimslade with the right items.
    • Caverns of the Snow Witch: Right before battling the Snow Witch, players must fight and defeat her pet, a white rat that can transform into a powerful White Dragon... or alternatively, having taken a detour before entering the Witch's chamber, collect a vial of Minotaur horn powder (the players have a possibility of missing said vial because they're only allowed to pick three items earlier) to sprinkle on the rat, breaking its transformation and preventing the White Dragon from being summoned. Later in the same book, towards the end, the player must cross a cavern guarded by a powerful Banshee (another monster with maximum stats), but if players have a Dragon Egg potion they can avoid the Banshee immediately.
    • The Pit Fiend from Deathtrap Dungeon guards a chamber that players must pass, but the fight itself can be avoided if the players simply throw a Monkey Bone Charm into the Fiend's mouth. It's a one-use-item only, however.
    • The Gargantis, an immensely powerful monster from Crypt of the Sorcerer which the players must slay, can be defeated if the players collected a Rod of Paralysis. Doing so is harder than it sounds, because they need a Skull Ring (which involves attacking the Keeper of Bones, losing 3 points of LUCK in the process) and then fighting a werewolf and a wood demon, both of them powerful enemies, and then get fried by an unavoidable stray lightning bolt in the Haunted Graveyard. It's Worth It, though.
    • Battleblade Warrior has the Lizard Man Champion, a four-armed lizard man warrior who can be avoided entirely by having the players take an alternate route.
    • Daggers of Darkness has enemies that can be pacified by gems and flowers, most notably the powerful wizard Zizzadek, which isn't a compulsory battle that the player can circumvent across.
    • Captain Bloodaxe, the Final Boss of Demons of the Deep, can actually be taken down without a fight... if the player summons a sawfish or have collected more than enough black pearls. The former option leads to a subpar ending where the player collects minimal gold from the sawfish destroying Bloodaxe's ship, while the latter is a far better ending since the player immediately conjures a literal army of skeletons which captures Bloodaxe's ship alive, allowing the player to take over and claim all the loot and gold on board for himself.
    • Sword of the Samurai has the unavoidable Arena of Battle where the players face the Dai-Oni and his followers, a Boss Bonanza of three powerful enemies. But the players can summon allies of their own — by calling for the fight allies, they can defeat at least two before the final confrontation, with the best outcome being destroying all three followers of the Dai-Oni, and still having a ki-rin to drain the Dai-Oni's magic.
    • Lady Lotmora from The Keep of the Lich-Lord can be defeated if players find her coffin before facing her, while the Final Boss, Lord Mortis, can be taken down without a fight by finding his throne room and ambushing him.
    • The final enemy of Beneath Nightmare Castle, Xakhaz the Necromancer, and one of the strongest villains in the entire franchise, can actually be destroyed without a hitch if players collects a glass orb of green gas right in the first few pages, and holds on to it all the way until the final encounter. If they still have the green gas, they can destroy Xakhaz rightaway, Holy Hand Grenade-style.
    • Legend of the Shadow Warriors has the dreaded Kandali monster bred by the Dark Elves, who is asleep when it first appears and can be defeated if players chain his legs together.
    • Knights of Doom, as unforgivingly difficult as it is, thankfully allows players to collect Rust Powder early in the adventure, which can help them defeat an otherwise almost-invincible Iron Golem halfway into the story. It's an almost impossible (if not tediously long) fight for players who didn't have the powder, or foolishly wasted it on lower-ranked enemies.
    • Vault of the Vampire has the champion of Count Heydrich, the skeleton Lord Major Thassalos, who is a difficult fight for players without the Shatter spell. But if they do have it, then Thassalos would be killed in two pages without a fight.
    • Return to Firetop Mountain has the Chaos Beast Lord, the most powerful enemy of Firetop Mountain, who can be bribed by a black sword, whereupon he will let players pass without any questions.
    • In the direct sequel to the above, Legend of Zagor, players assuming the role of Sallazar can use the Teleport Spell to pull a Dungeon Bypass and avoid some of the stronger opponents, although it's not advised because they risk missing necessary items and weapons to help them in the final battle against Zagor. If they do wish to fight, they can purchase a magic Genie in a Bottle to destroy certain enemies instantly (it's a one-use item), cast a Death Spell (again, only available to Sallazar) or just otherwise avoid certain rooms on a second playthrough. And out of the four major guardians of Castle Argent, the last one — the Black Knight — is a compulsory boss only for Braxus the Warrior, whereas players assuming the role of Anvar, Stubble, or Sallazar can simply ignore entering the Knight's chamber.
    • Island of the Undead has the Master of Water, the only Wizard players can avoid without fighting, which is entirely optional.
    • Similarly, Howl of the Werewolf has Countess Isolde, who is another optional encounter; it's possible to defeat Count Varcolac without meeting Countess Isolde even once.
    • Eye of the Dragon has, what else, a fearsome Black Dragon who breathes poison... but turns out asleep when the player enters its chamber. It can be avoided with a simple LUCK test.
    • The two main villains of Night of the Necromancer can both be avoided. Namely, Count Unthank can be taken down with the right items (or at the very least, fought with his stats decreased) while the all-powerful Night King, the Greater-Scope Villain, can be wiped out if the player stole Count Unthank's Codex Mortis to summon a Zerg Rush of vengeful spirits to overwhelm the Witch King.
    • The final boss of Stormslayer, Balthazar Sturm, is a Sequential Boss who transforms from one elemental form to another to attack the player, but players can summon elementals of their own to fight on their behalf.
  • In the spin-off book series, Sorcery!, the first book ends with an unavoidable battle against a powerful Manticore... unless players took the role of wizards. They can simply cast a blocking spell and flee, preventing the Manticore from chasing after them.

    Hack and Slash 

  • The final mission of the Faultline arcs in City of Heroes has three villains fighting over who gets to take the MacGuffin from you. You can ignore them, rescue their hostage, and give it to her to destroy.
  • The Final Boss fight of Act I of the Imperial Agent storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic can be bypassed completely if you keep reasoning with him until he realizes that he has basically already lost. In this case, he just walks away and is never seen or heard from again.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Though it is not exactly required to kill most bosses in the game, if you do run dungeons, there exist bosses that will have to be killed in order to unlock another boss encounter, or simply you have to kill that boss because they're in the way. Other bosses are commonly skipped because they are out of the way or are simply notorious for annoying strategies. Almost an entire wiki can be filled with these, but some of the most notorious examples include:
    • There is also the ogre section of Dire Maul, where skipping bosses is actually encouraged. Every boss, barring the last, can be ignored, trapped, or distracted so that you never have to face them. When you do defeat the final boss, all the bosses you skipped offer you tribute, which is usually better than what you would have gotten by killing them.

    Platforming Games 
  • In the Banjo-Kazooie games, all bosses except Gruntilda can be skipped as long as the player has enough Jiggies to open all levels so the ones guarded by the bosses aren't required. The exceptions are Klungo and Old King Coal in Banjo-Tooie, the former because he always gets in the way of the main characters as they advance through new areas of the game, and the latter since he not only guards a Jiggy but also Chuffy the Train (who provides internal access to Grunty Industries, and there the characters have to learn an ability that is vital to access the last level).
  • The Post-Final Boss confrontation with Groeder in Bionic Commando Rearmed can be skipped entirely by simply leaving the arena via the platforms on the top left. It is very much recommended to do this, since Groeder is a pretty fast opponent and you are on an extremely tight time limit before the flying fortress you're in crashes into the ocean.
  • The first boss in Bunny Must Die is skippable, as it's possible using very well-timed parries to get into the second boss's room first, and thence the rest of the game. However, the first boss takes her position as the FIRST boss very seriously, and she has new dialogue and a much harder fight if you tell her that you've beaten another boss beforehand.
  • Crash Bandicoot (1996): Collecting all gems prior to reaching The Great Hall unlocks a new path that allows Crash to escape with Tawna and completely skip the last fight with Cortex.
  • In a peculiar example, Earthworm Jim does this with Psy-Crow. Provided you beat him in any "Andy Asteroids" level, you won't have to fight him. If you fail to beat him in the race, however, you'll have to fight him, and he gets harder every time you lose a race.
  • Kero Blaster:
    • The start of White Laboratories features a fake bottomless pit at the very start, and falling into it triggers a fight with a jetpack-wearing, rock-tossing mole. If you manage to jump across the pit the first time, the mole can be avoided. There's little reason to not fight it, since it's weak, it drops a money bag when it dies, and its room features one of the secret areas in Omake Mode.
    • In Omake Mode, the bosses and mini-bosses of Hinterland Fort, OXOX Hotel, and White Laboratories can be skipped by taking the alternate routes through secret areas. You still have to fight a Shield Plant in Hinterland Fort's secret (the difference is that it's invisible) and White Laboratories features an alternate boss fight with a glitched version of Kurono's second phase.
    • In Pink Hour, this applies to the boss at the end of the game. You can bypass it by just jumping over it.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby Super Star:
      • "The Great Cave Offensive" has several examples: In "Sub-Tree", you can instantly kill Bonkers by destroying the bridge it's supposed to land on before it appears; you have to be quick as, if you try destroying it after the miniboss appears, it will just jump safely onto solid ground. Secondly, the Old Tower is not a mandatory area, and as such Chameleo Arm is not a mandatory boss; however, that is not the case when Chameleo Arm needs to be fought in Milky Way Wishes. Lastly, it's also possible to skip quite a few minibosses in the game due to a bug in the system where flying high enough (usually assisted by the Jet ability) can let you completely go over the usual area that would trigger the fight (If the fight is indoors, though, you have no choice but to fight).
    • In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, some of the mid-bosses or bosses in Dededetour! can be skipped altogether upon finding the proper Warp Holes in question.
    • Kirby: Planet Robobot:
      • It's possible to earn the Crash ability before the Invader Armor boss in stage 2 of Patched Plains. Fire the Super Nova attack at the start of the battle to instantly one-shot it.
      • Much like the Mr. Frosty examples from Super Star and Triple Deluxe, the King Doo battle in Patched Plains stage 4 and the second Security Force battle in Access Ark stage 1 can be effectively skipped by entering battle with the Invincible Candy still in effect.
      • Successfully navigating the Remocodroid in stage 2 of the Access Ark to the end and pressing the background switch quickly will drop the Security Force mid-boss down a bottomless pit before it can even get the chance to attack.
    • It's possible to skip fighting Pon & Con altogether in Kirby Star Allies by taking a certain path in Magolor's Guest Star ???? route at the start of Level 3.
    • Kirby and the Forgotten Land:
      • Although unintended by the developers, it's possible to skip the battle with Wild Bonkers in the Abandoned Beach stage by swimming at the edge of the battle arena in just the right way.
      • Fleurina does not need to be fought in The Wastes Where Life Began and her battle can be skipped entirely if the player chooses to do so (the fight must be done to satisfy the mission objective to defeat her with Ring-Mouth Kirby, however).
  • Mega Man:
    • In Super Adventure Rockman, Mega Man can refuse to fight Quick Man to warn him about Wily's actions. If he is fought instead, Mega Man will receive his Quick Boomerang after his health is lowered enough.
    • Mega Man X
      • Mega Man X2: After defeating two of the maverick bosses, the X-Hunters will challenge you to battle for Zero's parts. If you ignore the challenge and skip the X-Hunter fights, you'll fight a Brainwashed and Crazy Zero just before the Final Boss. Inversely, if you accept the challenge and defeat all 3 X-Hunters, you'll skip the fight against Zero and proceed straight to the real Final Boss battle.
      • It is possible to skip various bosses in Mega Man X5. Either launch the Enigma laser or shuttle early, or let Eurasia fall to Earth.
      • Mega Man X6 lets you skip upwards of seven of the bosses. All you actually need to do is defeat Nightmare Zero and High Max and you can skip straight to Gate's laboratory, but defeating High Max requires at least one boss's weapon to make him vulnerable to the X-Buster. Gate will also invite you to his lab if you farm 5000 Nightmare Souls. But if you don't have a Maverick weapon, or the Shadow Armor and a specific set of parts, the lab stages are Unintentionally Unwinnable.
    • Mega Man Zero features a variation, where (roughly) half of the selectable missions in the game will be skipped if the player fails the first mission to protect the La Résistance base. This is so that, in failing the mission, the player cannot reap rewards from the Bosses in the missions that were skipped.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, there's a glitch where you can skip all of Ice Cap Zone with Sonic & Tails right at the first ice block you see. Just have Tails place Sonic on the block and do a spindash. This will allow you to skip the midboss of the level.
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood has the party approached by a Swatbot with memory issues. Telling it that it's programmed to fight makes it fight you, while telling it that it's served its purpose causes it to self-destruct. Later on, when you first encounter Shadow, if you tell him you don't want to fight him, you won't. Shadow will say something, and then it skips straight to the dialogue that happens after the fight.
  • Every boss in Spyro The Dragon, except Gnasty Gnorc. This is because bosses make up their own levels and just serve to collect more stuff. All they leave are gems. If you have enough gems/dragons/eggs/etc. to pass to the next hub, you can skip any remaining levels.
  • In Strider, one can jump over the room for the first boss and bypass him entirely. One can also ignore the flying mercenary Solo in Stage 2 and continue ahead, though he'll eventually come back later to pester you. While this can also be done in the final stage, the fact you get to the Boss Rush right after means you have to deal with him and the bosses in question, so it's better to take care of him first.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. set the tradition in itself and subsequent 2D Mario games, as well as two of the 3D games, to allow the player to skip boss battles if you find a way to Warp Zone to a later world (said way will depend on the game you're playing). The remaining 3D games allow this via Fractional Winning Condition, as most of them guard only one of many Plot Coupon items, and you can make your way to the end by gathering others of the same kind by achieving different objectives. The only games to avert this trope with all of their bosses are Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
    • Super Mario World gives you the option to skip Lemmy's castle level (and thus Lemmy himself) by reaching the following world (Twin Bridges) through an alternate route. You can also avoid fighting Reznor in Chocolate Island by unlocking and playing a secret level that takes you directly to that world's castle (Wendy's). Lastly, if you manage to unlock the secret exit from the last non-castle level of Valley of Bowser, you'll be able to jump straight to Bowser's Castle (specifically the Front Door entrance) while skipping Larry and his castle.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: in one of the Special World airships, a boss battle with Boom Boom can (and must, if you want to get all the Star Medals) be skipped by taking another route. Two other boss battles (against Bowser in World 1 and against Pom Pom in World 4) can be skipped by finding a secret red pipe in the worlds' corresponding second level, though again this is counterproductive for the purpose of 100% Completion.
    • New Super Mario Bros. U: Larry and Wendy are the respective bosses of Sparkling Waters and Frosted Glacier; since those two worlds are accessed via a road fork in the overworld map (which eventually converges in Soda Jungle), you can skip one of them (and its boss) by completing the other. Since there's no Warp Zone in this game, you have to use secret levels to unlock shortcuts between worlds in order to skip the other bosses prior to Ludwig and onward (Ludwig himself, fought in Meringue Clouds, must be fought no matter what).
    • Super Mario 3D World: Bowser and his Cool Car can be skipped by finding a hidden Warp Pipe in 1-2 that takes you straight to World 2. World 4's boss, Boss Brolder, can also be bypassed this way, with a Warp Pipe hidden in 4-2 that leads to World 5.
    • Super Mario Maker: Bowser and Bowser Jr. are both programmed the same as other enemies, so by default they can be avoided if the level gives the player the option. Designers who intend to make them unskippable can resort to some workarounds, like making them guard a Key that opens an important door, putting them in a Clown Car so the player has to beat them to reach an exit that is otherwise inaccessible, or blocking the path to force them to break the obstructing floor or wall with their attacks. Or, of course, doing what the original game did and putting them on the drawbridge at the end of a castle, so that reaching the goal is defeating them. Super Mario Maker 2 adds Boom Boom, Pom Pom, Meowser, and (with a post-release update) the seven Koopalings, who can be skipped as well if the level gives the player that chance.
    • Luigi's Mansion: The original game allows one to skip five of the Portrait Ghosts, as their major rewards are highly-valuable diamonds but not room keys (one of them, Sue Pea, is in fact a full-fledged Optional Boss due to how out-of-the-way in the game's progress she is). The trope is averted in the game's sequels, as all bosses and mini-bosses in them are required.
    • Super Mario RPG: You can skip Dodo twice (First time you get a nice item, second just run into him with a Super Star). Also, if you get past Booster in a mini-game, you can get a nice accessory.
    • Paper Mario 64: Way into Chapter 2, you're stopped by a large vulture named Buzzar. She doesn't necessarily work for Bowser, she just has a wanted poster from him, so she doesn't quite have an idea of who Mario is. Naturally, she asks who you are, since your face and the one on the poster are identical. Answer Mario or Peach to fight her, or answer Luigi to pass by with no troubles.
  • Wonder Boy in Monster Land: The Sphinx boss in the pyramid will let you pass without a fight if you answer correctly his really zany questions (no, the answer is not "the Man").
  • X-Men (1993): All the Mini-Boss battles (Juggernaut in the Savage Land, and both Sabertooth and Juggernat in Excalibur's Lighthouse) can be skipped if you know how. The Juggernaut fight in the Lighthouse can be bypassed by using Nightcrawler's teleportation ability, the other two fights require using Iceman's Ice Platform assist at the right place to get past them.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade: You could beat the Eldar stronghold by invading a fortified location that can only be reached through well-guarded chokepoints and spawns fully-reinforced knockback-spamming vehicles and squads far beyond the normal cap in addition to the giant Avatar of Khaine that gives morale immunity to its allies... or you could simply capture the three huge Webway portals that are the Eldar's sole link to their Craftworld and only send out a squad or two at a time to retake. Also, the Tau stronghold in Soulstorm is defeated by destroying a specific building. You could fight your way through the Tau's secondary and main bases as they continuously fire plasma and railguns at you, or you could just send jump troops/artillery to the base of the cliff where the building is located, bypassing the whole defensive network.
  • Pikmin:
    • Pikmin (2001): The first Armored Cannon Beetle can be skipped by just taking the ship part it's guarding, but it requires an effective distraction so the Pikmin taking the part aren't attacked.
    • Pikmin 2:
      • There are several Burrowing Snagrets through the Snagret Hole that can be skipped even for 100% Completion as long as they're not internally guarding anything important; the one in Valley of Repose and the one found alongside the (mandatory) Pileated Snagret in Hole of Heroes can be skipped as well.
      • The Titan Dweevil is the only boss that needs to be killed to get the "rescue Louie" ending in the game; the player can repay the debt by getting the treasures in the regular floors of the caves and skip to the geyser of the boss floor to leave, and then go straight to Dream Den while avoiding the other caves in its area. Neither of the two treasures that unlock new areas are guarded by a boss: one is the game's first and only boss-less cave, and the other is in the overworld. Skipping all bosses is not possible for the best ending, since every one of them drops a treasure and all 201 treasures are needed to obtain it.
    • Pikmin 3 makes all six of its main bosses mandatorynote , but has optional minibosses such as the Bug-Eyed Crawmad, series-veteran Burrowing Snagret, and the Shaggy Long Legs. Some of them require going out of the way of the main boss's path to find them, and none of them drop anything other than fruit. However, in order to achieve the game's best ending, collecting all the fruit (including the samples guarded by all bosses and minibosses) will be necessary.
  • The fight against WhiteNight in Lobotomy Corporation can be defeated extremely easily if you know what to do: Simply have the 12th apostle pray to One Sin, and WhiteNight will take repeated Pale damage of 666 until dead. Doing so does immediately end the fight with the least amount of bloodshed, but you cannot get the Paradise Lost weapon without killing it conventionally, and the weapon is easily one of the absolute best to obtain. The fight is completely optional, but you are required to trigger it at least once in order to obtain 100% and complete the game properly. Since the boss disables pausing the game or exiting to the menu after triggering it, you have to choose how you want to handle it.

  • Played for drama in Hades. The Final Boss can be skipped, but only once, and only during a particular run at the very end of the story. When Hades has decided that he'll just let Zagreus go in spite of all of the warnings, Hades will keep his back turned and let Zag walk out the door, without a boss fight. It's right after this that Zagreus finds Persephone ready to come back to the Underworld, so it all works out in the end.
  • Nethack, of all games, has a bunch of these:
    • When you confront various major demons in their lairs, a good fraction of them will offer to not fight you if you bribe them. As this amount is a fraction of how much you're visibly carrying, it's possible to skip a fight for the price of a rusty dagger.
    • In addition, as a chaotic character, sacrificing your original species summons a peaceful Yeenoghu or Juiblex, some of the toughest enemies in the game. More specifically, it summons those demons out of their lairs and to your present location, and makes them peaceful to you. Since they'll no longer be in their lair when you inevitably have to go through them, you've skipped the boss by taming it.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • The final boss in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura can be persuaded that his plan is unsound and will then allow the player to kill him without resistance.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In Baldur's Gate II, the red dragon Firkraag gives you the option of fighting one of his minions instead of himself. Depending on when you take the Side Quest in which he appears, this may be a good idea, as he is one of the most powerful opponents in the game. (You can return for him later.)
    • The Ascension mod for Throne of Bhaal allows you to skip the boss fight with Balthazar if you're a good-aligned character and are able to convince him to join forces with you against the game's Big Bad. If you're an evil-aligned character, you instead get the option to recruit Irenicus and Bodhi when said Big Bad summons them for a rematch against you.
    • The whole trilogy gives the player plenty of opportunities to play a Guile Hero and talk their way out of potential fights, though most of these fights are parts of side quests. You still have to fight many of the plot-important fights.
    • It's actually possible to talk your way out of a fight with Marl (who hates adventurers because his son went out adventuring and got himself killed), get him calmed down and drink together to the memory of his son — and then turn on him and kill him anyway, for the extra XP. Due to a programming oversight in the original game (fixed in the expansion), you don't suffer any consequences to your reputation for this.
    • In Baldur's Gate III, the final boss can be this. Right before facing the Netherbrain, Gale asks the player to let him perform a Heroic Sacrifice, climbing the brain stem and detonating the Fantastic Nuke in his chest out of range of the party or any innocents. The player can accept or refuse this offer.
  • The three Machina Arma wielders from Baten Kaitos Origins can be skipped the second time around. Beating them but sparing their lives afterward results in three extra scenes at the end of the game.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has one in its final main storyline dungeon. Along the path leading to the final boss’ lair, there’s a Save Statue sitting all by itself at the center of a large, suspiciously arena-like platform. Attempting to use the statue instead triggers a fight with a tough-as-nails “security system” called the Overtaken Dragon. If you’re savvy to the trap, or get your ass kicked by the dragon a few too many times, then you’re free to walk right past the statue and skip the battle entirely. There’s no reward for fighting it, either – it’s just there to wear you down before the main event.
  • Breath of Fire:
    • Breath of Fire II: There's a Guard Mini-Boss that can be avoided if given the right answer to his question.
    • Breath of Fire III: Out of the 12 bosses in the Boss Rush at the end of the game, only 2 must be confronted if one knows the correct path through the labyrinth housing them.
  • Chrono Trigger features two skippable bosses. In one, you fight Magus in North Cape after the fall of Zeal... and you can skip this by convincing him to join forces instead. The second is Lavos. When you arrive in 1999 AD via Epoch, you can crash it into Lavos and skip his first form. However, doing so eliminates your ability to return to the End of Time for saving and healing; on the plus side, whether or not you crash the Epoch changes the ending. And a subverted skippable boss earlier as well:
    Nizbel: You wanna see Azala? She's right through here.
    (You walk past Nizbel, mentally thanking him for the directions.)
    Nizbel: Hey! I meant you gotta go through me! Whaddaya think I was standing here looking all vicious for?
  • In Chrono Cross, it is possible to get the Black Dragon's relic without fighting him: just bring along a party of non-humans. Unfortunately, doing so means he'll never leave the area, and the player will never obtain a rare item required to forge Prism equipment (the best in the game).
  • Deltarune: The miniboss battle against Tasque Manager can be skipped if you answer her questions about the paintings in her room correctly. (Technically, the battle still starts, but Tasque Manager begins with a full Mercy gauge and can be spared immediately, ending the fight before she or her minions can do anything.) However, most players will probably not succeed the quiz unless they specifically take the time to take notes on all the paintings before interacting with the Tasque Manager.
  • Devil Summoner has a case in the late-game dungeons Toa TV Station and the Radio Tower. Speedy, Julia and Mikiya are the bosses of Toa TV and servants of the Orgone Ghost, the boss of the Radio Tower. Due to the layout of the dungeons, it's entirely possible to just ignore the three of them and make a beeline for the Orgone Ghost, but taking the time to fight them makes the Ghost easier to defeat.
  • In Digimon World Dawn/Dusk, you can either fight GranDracmon for his hacking services after tracking the Kowloon Co. to their lair or you can pay him 100,000 bits up front to skip the battle and obtain the unique Kowloon Blade.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins:
      • There's an incident which is a hybrid of this and Hopeless Boss Fight — the fight is not impossible, just really really hard, and you can bypass it altogether by surrendering (or not bothering to fight back). If you win, the story continues; if you lose or surrender, you get sent to jail and have to either break out or get two of your companions to break you out. Later, assuming you skipped the original fight, you encounter the same person again, and can talk her out of fighting you if your persuasion skills are high enough.
      • During the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest, you can completely avoid fighting Kolgrim by agreeing to help him.
      • If your Warden is a mage and you choose to go into the Fade yourself to save Connor, you can avoid fighting the Desire Demon at the end by agreeing to converse with it instead. You can then make a deal with it, take a bribe, or intimidate it into leaving.
      • In the Brecilian Forest, the Grand Oak and the Mad Hermit will each try to get you to kill the other to settle their dispute over the Grand Oak's acorn. You could kill one of them... or you could just trade the Hermit one of the items you picked up from various sidequests earlier in the level for the acorn. Or if you have a party member with a good pickpocket skill you can stea the acorn from the hole its stashed in.
      • The Tevinter mage Caladrius will offer to leave quietly (and even provide you with a key piece of evidence for the Landsmeet)... as long as you let him keep the elves he's abducted to turn into slaves.
      • In the Deep Roads, Caridin and Branka are both skippable - but whichever one you skip, you will be forced to fight the other.
      • Players can elect to speak to Flemeth and let her give them her grimoire instead of fighting her as a dragon.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, the Architect will propose an Enemy Mine with you against the Mother, which you can agree to. Doing so, however, will anger some companions into attacking you unless you have enough Persuasion to talk them down.
    • The end of Dragon Age II's second act will most likely end with Hawke battling the Arishok, either in a one-on-one duel or full-party brawl. Or you can just betray your party member Isabela and give her up to the Arishok as punishment for stealing from him. Problem solved.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has a number of skippable storyline bosses. Fighting Grand Duchess Florianne can be avoided by having enough sway with the Orlesian court to publicly expose the assassination plot against Empress Celene. Calpernia will walk away if you prove to her that Corypheus plans to sacrifice her. The Guardian of Mythal only has to be fought if Morrigan's Dark Ritual has not been performed in Origins and the Inquisitor had drunk from the Well of Sorrows. In the Trespasser DLC, the fight against Ataashi can be bypassed by setting it free instead.
  • There's an incredibly easy way to skip one particular boss in EarthBound (1994). Want to know? Simple. You can skip fighting Everdred by not walking up to him.
  • The open-world nature of Elden Ring allows for some freedom of movement and a player with a good eye can find alternate routes around the world that bypass bosses that obstruct the expected route. Most notably, the main bosses of Limgrave, Margit and Godrick, can be skipped if you discover a path that goes around Stormveil Castle, letting the player access Liurnia behind it and allowing them to improve their gear before coming back to them.
  • Etrian Odyssey: Not counting the F.O.E. (which act more like skippable Boss in Mook Clothing enemies anyway), there are certain major boss monsters that can be skipped, and it's strongly recommended to do so until your party's cap is high enough to stand a chance against them: The Wyvern in the first game, the Salamander in the second, the mutually-exclusive bosses (with their availability dependant on which faction you start supporting after a major event in the story) in the third, and the Primordiphant in the fifth (later challenged in Superboss form during the Playable Epilogue). The third game also has the sea mini- and main bosses, while the fourth and sixth games have plenty in their Mini-Dungeon strata, but all of them are tied to optional sidequests anyway.
  • Fake Happy End: On later New Game Plus runs, the player can choose to get Karin to come clean about the truth behind the tower early so the party can reconcile early. This means Red can't use this information to turn the party against Karin, so she gives up on antagonizing the party and doesn't bother challenging them to a boss fight.
  • Fallout:
    • The Master in Fallout can either be killed normally in a fight (a very difficult fight) or be blown up by a bomb hidden in his lair that can be activated by the player. The Vault Dweller can, in fact, show him evidence that his plan to create a new society of Super Mutants is doomed to fail as Super Mutants are sterile due to the FEV "fixing" their gametes. Said ending is rather mournful as he shows his hidden humanity and kills himself to stop his plan.
    • President Dick Richardson of Fallout 2 can be killed by shooting him (which causes his secret service to come and try to kick your ass)... or by making his death look like an "a freak heart attack" with 8 super stimpaks. His main muscle Frank Horrigan however...
    • In Fallout 3, the player can convince Colonel Autumn into walking away via a speech check in the final mission. This can also be done with General Jingwei in the Operation Anchorage DLC, whereby passing a speech check he'll kill himself.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Legate Lanius, the final boss for most of the endings, can be convinced to issue a retreat by convincing him several different ways that even if he were to win the Legion would not be able to sustain itself for long (either via lack of manpower to hold all of their territories or having no supply routes, eventually starving) after that and would eventually lose via attrition. Also, if you're fighting for the Legion, Mr. House or Independence, you can also convince General Oliver and his Elite Mooks to stand down either by convincing him he's lost or in the latter two threatening him with your robot army/other allies.
      • In the final expansion pack Lonesome Road, a particularly clever player can out-philosophize Ulysses with his own logic and convince him to stand down. This also applies to every DLC. You can simply walk out on Father Elijah in Dead Money so he'll get himself locked in the vault after you check it first, convince the Think Tank to work for you instead, along with deciding not to pick a fight with Mobius, in Old World Blues, and either convince Salt-Upon-Wounds to flee (if you're evacuating), let Joshua unceremoniously execute him, or convince Joshua to let him run off (if you're attacking the White Legs) in Honest Hearts. It's easier to list the bosses you can not skip (which would be, not counting sidequest bosses and mook rushes, just the Giant Roboscorpion from Old World Blues which doesn't need to be fought with ammo as well).
    • Fallout 4:
      • Two bosses can be bypassed by giving chems to Mama Murphy before fighting them: she'll instruct you to say "remember the quarry and Lilly June on the rocks" to Skinny Malone, which somehow convinces him to give you ten seconds to leave before he attacks (not pursuing you if you get out of the arena by then), and when hunting for a Courser chip, she'll tell you the Trigger Phrase to shut the Courser down without a fight..
      • In the Nuka-World DLC, while he isn't the final boss you can talk down Oswald the Outrageous through passing a hard speech check or by finding a holotape left by his girlfriend Rachel, at which point he agrees to leave with his ghouls.
  • Fighting Fantasy:
    • The series as a whole generally offers ways to avoid fighting enemies and risking death if the player knows what he is doing. Given that the final boss is ridiculously hard, this is usually the only way to win these things.
    • In the first book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, when you finally meet the title warlock, you can
    1. fight him straight off (which is not easy),
    2. cleverly reduce him to roughly half power (which is a relatively easy fight), or
    3. depending on choices made earlier on in the adventure, kill him instantly without risk.
      You get the same ending whichever way you use.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • While the fight itself is unavoidable, two of the bosses (Calcobrena, Dr. Lugae) have stronger forms that you can skip if you kill the enemies in the first stage in the right order. Although in the second case, this means the remaining enemy will probably go kamikaze on one of your characters, knocking him out right before you get into another, much more troubling boss fight. Also, their entries in the Bestiary will be lost for good since the second phase of their battle counts as a separate battle.
      • The Demon Wall is intended to be mandatory, but in the SNES and PlayStation versions it's possible to get the Dark Crystal early, allowing players to skip the Sealed Cave and thus spare the Demon Wall.
      • The Brachioraidos in the GBA remake not only can be skipped, it's advised. And for good reason.
    • The fourth fight with Gilgamesh in Final Fantasy V is skippable if you don't take a certain chest; however, skipping it will make the Excalipoor and Genji Equipment lost permanently, as well as making a certain boss fight much later on play differently. Also, in the waterfall dungeon late in the game, Leviathan is unsealed at the end. You don't actually have to fight him, you can just continue the main quest and come back later to fight him for his summon.
    • The final confrontation with the Turks in Final Fantasy VII, if you ran the Wutai subquest, can be skipped simply by refusing to fight. However, if you have a Steal materia handy, there's enough loot between the three of them to make it worth the effort anyway. You can also skip the Gongaga and Sunken Plane Turk encounters by simply choosing not to go there. By the time the plot forces you to go to Gongaga, they will be gone, and you don't ever need to go to the Plane at all, and even then once Shinra folds at the end of Disc 2, the Turks won't be there anymore.
    • Final Fantasy VIII's last dungeon strips your party of most of your abilities as soon as you go in, and there are numerous bosses scattered about the place that must be killed to get them back. Or not — if you know what you're doing, you can eliminate the only two mandatory bosses that stand in the way of the Big Bad, and fight her with the bare minimum commands needed to win.
    • Several bosses in Final Fantasy X can be bribed rather than defeated by conventional means. Evrae Altana in the Via Purifico can either be fought the long and relatively difficult way, which involves fighting your way across a series of rooms, or killed near-instantly by two Phoenix Downs. In fact, skipping the "proper" fight allows you to grab a few chests with equipment that would've been lost forever otherwise.
    • In Final Fantasy XII:
      • Although you encounter both Demon Wall bosses in the story, only the second is mandatory for you to proceed. The first one can be skipped by simply going to the next room. On the flipside, it is also much harder to beat, and the time limit you are given to beat it is also shorter.
      • The Elder Wyrm boss fight, which some people tend to find harder than most of the game's boss fights because of its favour of status-effecting attacks, can be skipped by taking another route to the next area. There are some pretty tough enemies that you have to run past, but it gets you away from the boss.
  • Golden Sun: The Suhalla desert contains several immobile tornadoes that send you back to the north entrance unless you throw water at them, in which case you fight the giant frilled lizard causing the tornado. While only three of these are needed to get through the desert, the last portion has a giant tornado that actually chases you. By running like hell without slowing at any point, it's possible to exit the desert without fighting it. If you backtrack, however, you can't escape it, and must either fight it or be sent back to the northern entrance.
  • In the Game Boy Color version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Transfiguration Class quest entails tracking down a purple rabbit and returning it to the classroom. Trying to capture the rabbit from the front will trigger a Mini-Boss fight, which can be skipped by grabbing it from behind or from the side instead. Either way, the rabbit ends up in your inventory for you to return to Professor McGonagall.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the endless stream of droids that stands between you and Darth Malak is meant to be dealt with by using computer spikes to shut down each of the generators, but walking past them and breaking down the door also works.
  • Live A Live:
    • Amakusa Shiro can be skipped should the player fight Gennai before attempting to free the prisoner from his cell. In fact, skipping him is required to complete the chapter's Pacifist Run, as fighting him triggers the prisoner to join Oboromaru, preventing him from saving Oboromaru later in the chapter and forcing a fight in which Oboromaru must kill.
    • In the SNES original version of the game, it's possible to skip the fight against Miyamoto Musashi by going through the door rather than interacting with him to trigger the fight. This is no longer possible in the remake, however, where the door is locked until Musashi is defeated.
  • This trope is bait-and-switched in Magi-Nation. Warrada will make Tony Jones an offer in the Orothean Shadow geyser - he agrees to leave forever and she won't fight him. However, it turns out that was the Disc-One Final Dungeon... you have one more to beat after that. If you took up her offer, she will jump you and call you out on going back on your word. At this point however she's more or less a distraction.
  • Neverwinter Nights:
    • In the second expansion, Hordes of the Underdark, if you're incredibly rich, you can make a donation to learn the final boss's true name. With this in hand, you can order him to give up — or even become your subordinate as you take over his plans.
    • In the Githyanki Base in Neverwinter Nights 2, it's possible to bluff Zaxis into believing that he failed his mission, instantly "killing" him. Until later in the game, when you won't get to fight him anyway.
  • The final confrontation with the ultimate boss of Planescape: Torment can be resolved without violence in about four different ways. And each of those ways have a couple of different ways of going about it. Indeed, not fighting the boss gives you a somewhat better ending than if you killed it.
    Indeed, of all the antagonists in the game there are only three which can't be skipped through dialogue or wit: The night hag Ravel Puzzlewell, the fallen angel Trias, and a zombie which happens to hold the key to escape the first place you visit.
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire: It was obscured at first due to a bug meaning the boss fight happened anyway, but once it was fixed (and clarified that it was a fix and not a new bug), the last true combat boss turned into this. The Guardian of Ukaizo is a mighty construct, with intriguing dialogue on what Ukaizo was when encountered for a second time... and if you, very likely hours earlier in the game, freed the dragon Scyorielaphas, they sweep in during the first encounter — which is done through text, not through the combat system — and keep the Guardian busy, stopping the second encounter.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue:
      • You can avoid the second Rival battle by not exploring Route 22 the first time you pass through Viridian City. In Yellow, this will have an effect on his final line-up.
      • Downplayed with Misty, Lt. Surge, Eirika, Koga, and Sabrina. You can put off all of their Gym battles for a bit if you want to do things out of order, but eventually you will have to wheel back and take them out in order to unlock important HM moves and the Viridian City Gym.
    • The original Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire has a couple of subversions. The remakes avert it outright by adding NPC Roadblocks that prevent you from proceeding until you defeat the gym leaders in question.
      • Brawly can be bypassed temporarily since his Gym rewards the ability to use Flash, which is very helpful but not strictly necessary. However, Norman won't battle you until you've circled back and picked him off.
      • Winona's gym battle is technically skippable since there's nothing preventing the player from simply ignoring her gym and walking to Route 120, but as all eight gym badges are needed to battle the Elite Four, the game cannot be completed until the player returns and battles her. The eighth gym leader actually has dialogue for if you beat him having skipped Winona, reminding you that you need to wheel back and take care of her before challenging the Elite Four.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • The fight with Samael in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne can be skipped by choosing not to stop Hikawa's ritual at the Diet Building. Doing so doesn't even lock you into his route, either.
    • Unless you're going for the Chaos path, in which case it's good for your alignment, you can get through Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey without killing Ryan. Also, going through the Chaos Path lets you skip the Final Boss altogether. All three paths (Law, Neutral and Chaos) also let you skip a boss which you fight in the other two (respectively Zelenin, Gore and Jimenez).
    • In Persona, there are two boss battles that can be entirely avoided by choosing the right choices. One is a giant teddy bear and the other is a demon that's really Maki's mother. If you make the wrong choice and start fighting Monster Teddy Bear, then you're on the bad ending route, and if you're fighting Hariti (Maki's mother), then you've lost two of your Ultimate Personae.
  • Suikoden III has quite a bit of boss battles, usually in the form of fighting human characters. Your character has an option to pick what to say, and that will determine your fight (which may actually be a BAD idea, as some of them are rather difficult unless you level grind).
  • In the end-game of Tyranny the Player Character, the Fatebinder, is in open rebellion against Kyros, the Evil Overlord they so far has served and therefore must face all of Kyros's generals, the Archons, in turn. But if the player has made and makes the right choices, it is actually possible to convince most of the Archons to step down peacefully and serve the Fatebinder rather than Kyros.
  • Undertale:
    • Papyrus is a Wake-Up Call Boss with tough attack patterns, but he will never actually kill you because he's nice to a fault. He always stops the battle when you fall to 1HP and puts you in a Cardboard Prison you can easily leave. If you get defeated by him three times, any further attempts will ask if you still want to fight, and saying "No" makes him give you a free pass.
    • Muffet can be instantly spared by eating a Spider Donut or drinking a Spider Cider while battling her, which will trigger the early delivery of a memo letting her know you purchased it from the first bake sale. Otherwise, you have to wait quite a while for the memo to arrive. You can also shell out 9999G to buy something from Muffet herself a few rooms before encountering her in the spider's nest, which skips the battle with her entirely (unless you're on the Genocide Route).
    • All of the dog enemies can be instantly spared by keeping the Stick in your inventory and using it to play fetch with them. Endogeny also has the option of using a Hush Puppy, which essentially casts Mute on dog magic.

    Sandbox Games 
  • Terraria:
    • King Slime, Queen Bee, Queen Slime, The Empress of Light and Duke Fishron do not need to be fought for any reason related to the main plot. They hold no items that you require to progress, and summoning them has no effect on the world.
    • Eye of Cthulhu can be skipped if it refuses to spawn naturally, as its drops can just as easily be obtained from the Eater of Worlds/Brain of Cthulhu. However, once conditions are met, the Eye spawns reliably enough that this is easier said than done.
    • Skeletron, guardian of the Dungeon, used to be this. Though the Dungeon has some nice equipment and you do have to beat Skeletron to get to it, it doesn't relate to game progression in any way. The 1.2 update added several pieces of endgame content to the Dungeon and its mobs, and currently Skeletron must be defeated if you want to reach the True Final Boss.
    • In an example of Sequence Breaking, you can avoid fighting the Eater of Worlds/Brain of Cthulhu entirely — both uniquely hold items required to make pickaxes that can mine stronger ores than gold/platinum — if you manage to fish up the Reaver Shark, a pickaxe which can mine any pre-Hardmode ore. You just need to survive the Underworld long enough to dig up enough Hellstone for some Molten armor with at-best Platinum gear. 1.4 removed this sequence break by nerfing the Reaver Shark's Pickaxe power: It's now only on par with a Platinum Pickaxe (And thus you must get the Nightmare/Deathbringer Pickaxe to mine Hellstone).

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • In the arcade version of Gradius III and Gradius ReBirth, there are secret levels you can enter that will allow you to skip the current stage's boss.
  • Every boss (except for the last one) in Hero Core can be skipped. In fact, you can enter the final battle at any point in the game. The fight is a lot tougher without all of the gear and level ups you get for fighting the other bosses, though.
  • Star Fox 64 has several bosses that can be skipped:
    • If you go the easy route, any Star Wolf Members you didn't defeat on Fortuna show up again on Bolse. In both cases, you can ignore them (although that means you'll have to let the timer run out on Fortuna). Subverted, however, if you avoid both of those stages, as they'll reappear in the much deadlier Wolfen IIs when you arrive on the advanced Venom route.
    • If you enter one of the Warp Zones, you'll skip the respective level's boss.
    • The boss on Macbeth (a train with a mecha-kite) can be skipped by redirecting it into a fuel depot. You'll even get close to 5 times more points than the boss gives you. However, the last switches used for this don't appear until the boss fight begins, so you can't completely skip it.
  • Turrican II has a sort of flying saucer on stage 1-2 which you have to go out of your way to fight. However, if you do, you are rewarded with 4 extra lives when you kill him.

    Simulation Games 
  • Several times in the MechWarrior 4 trilogy, you can prevent a powerful miniboss-type opponent from powering up to attack you by simply blowing up the pilot barracks next to it (most notably, you can do this to a Star of Clan heavy 'Mechs in 4 Mercenaries, a very difficult fight otherwise). This often comes with the benefit of giving you additional salvage since, hey, there's no pilots left to stop you from taking their 'Mechs.
  • In Monster Rancher 2, you only need to beat 1 of the 2 possible enemies in the "Legends Cup" in order to "beat" the game, allowing one to avoid the difficult Most and go for the slightly-easier Poritoka.
  • In Disney Magical World, you only have to defeat 1 of the 3 Superbosses to get the sticker for clearing a bonus episode that counts towards 100% Completion. However, you might miss up on some things from the bonus episodes you didn't do, such as items that are exclusive to that episode.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear:
    • The original Metal Gear for the MSX features a boss battle with a tank. While you'll probably take a bit of damage, it's possible to just walk around the tank and go to the next area without destroying it. Additionally, there was a glitch in the NES version that allowed you to skip having to blow up the computer by simply turning immediately right when you entered the room (you would glitch into the final boss room). Handy if you never bothered rescuing the scientist (you can only blow up the computer with plastic explosives IF the scientist told you).
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
      • During the fight with The Sorrow, the player can simply lay down so Snake's head is under the water and wait until he "drowns". This will skip straight to the end of the scene where the player can use the revival pill and wake up. However, the player won't receive his Spirit camo if this method is used. Alternately, the fight can be shortened dramatically by laying down and then simply swimming the whole way through, which is significantly faster than wading through the water and avoids the Sorrow's own attacks.
      • There are a number of ways to skip The End, the first being that you can snipe him before you even get to his boss fight. Failing that, saving once you do get to him and then turning the game off for a week (Or simply changing the system clock) will cause him to die of old age.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: During the mission to rescue Miller from the Soviets in Afghanistan, moving towards the extraction point Ocelot sets up will trigger an encounter with the Skulls, Elite Mooks that are hard to sneak by, hard to outrun, and very hard to kill so early in the game. If you change the extraction point to another location, however, you can avoid the encounter with them entirely.
  • Tenchu:
    • In the 4th mission in Fatal Shadows, there's an alternative path to the boss that lets Rin Stealth Kill him in a cutscene, effectively saving the player a rather troublesome boss fight.
    • Tenchu Z expands on that and allows the player to choose whether they want to fight the bosses of discreetly kill them.
    • In Shinobi Hyakusen, given its a compilation of stages created by the game's Level Editor, one can kill the bosses as if they were simple mooks as long as the player has not been spotted. In missions other than "Kill the Boss" and "Kill them All", one can get to the objective and finish the stage without even meeting the boss.

    Survival Horror 
  • Henry can avoid and hide from the Projectionist in Bendy and the Ink Machine rather than kill him in Chapter 3. However, by doing so, the player will miss out on an achievement.
  • Cry of Fear gives the player the option to outright skip the Carcass boss battle and Simon will simply escape from it. Choosing to do this will end with the player recieving one of the bad endings, however.
  • In The Evil Within, during the rematches with Laura and the Keeper, there's nothing stopping you from avoiding them until the exit to their arenas open, then getting out of dodge. You'll miss out on a pair of achievements and some Keys, but that's about it.
  • The Tank in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 will always be encountered if it spawns in the map and there's no way to get by it without alerting it. While you should gun it down before it kills everyone, a coordinated team can run past it and keep running to the safe room while avoiding the common and special infected. This trick can't be done in finales since Tanks must be killed in order to progress in the rescue phase and there's nowhere to run to anyway.
  • The Resident Evil series has a long standing tradition of skipping boss fights:
    • For the original Resident Evil, there's four examples:
      • While both scenarios you can optionally weaken it with chemicals, Jill can skip the actual fight against Plant 42 (provided you used the V-Jolt), Barry will automatically kill it with a flamethrower. In Chris' scenario, it must be fought normally.
      • In both scenarios, you can skip the first fight with Yawn by running around him really fast and grabbing the emblem. It's not too hard, but getting bitten by him results in the player getting poisoned, requiring them to detour and grab a serum. He'll still be there until he shows up for his second encounter.
      • The mother Neptune can be fought. Or you can just push a generator into the water and flip a switch, electrocuting it.
      • The last Tyrant fight can be skipped entirely if you get your support character killed earlier, although doing so results in a Bad Ending.
    • Resident Evil 2:
      • Every encounter but the last with Mr. X can be run away from.
      • The alligator can be fought twice, once in each character's scenario, or you can simply reenact the ending to Jaws and blow its head off, killing it permanently.
      • In either of Leon's scenarios, he and Ada will be attacked by Birkin on the tram ride to the warehouse. You can fight him off, or just let Ada deal with him.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis:
      • Many of the encounters with the titular creature can be run from, and since you start off so poorly armed, you need to. He only really has to be fought in front of the church, in the Dead Factory dump room, and in the final encounter.
      • The Gravedigger, the only other boss fight in the game, can actually be skipped in both fights. The first, if you're quick enough in lowering the ladders, you can just simply leave. The second is trickier, because the game can sometimes not feel like doing it, but if you're lucky, a lamp post will get dislodged near a pool of water, and if you shoot it at the right time, you can fry the beast without ever truly fighting it.
    • In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, with the exception of the Tyrant encounters, Hopeless Boss Steve and Final Boss Alexia, every other Boss Battle is skippable:
      • The Gulp Worm can be skipped not once but twice; the first time by Claire, the second time by Chris. However, doing so the second time results in a couple of items being permanently lost (assuming Claire gave Rodrigo the hemostat earlier; otherwise there's no point in fighting it).
      • Chris can fight the adult Albinoid from a safe distance and afterwards fetch the Eagle Plate unharmed... or he can just jump in, absorb some damage from the electrified pool, and leave with the Plate without even fighting the Albinoid.
      • Same goes with the large Black Widow custodying Alexander's Pierce, except you can fetch the item in question without even getting hit once, so there's even less of a reason to stay and fight the spider in the first place.
    • Resident Evil 4:
      • In Chapter 2-3, the player has to choose between two paths, one of which features the second El Gigante encounter and need never be entered, but if you do, it's possible to simply knock down the two chained doors, grab the gate key and outrun El Gigante to the exit with planning and a little luck. The other path has a small army of Ganados including chainsaw wielding mini-bosses (good thing the player can get position at the higher ground), however, so you're not getting a free pass. If you're going for all the treasures and 100% Completion, you must explore both paths.
      • Ramon Salazar's right hand creature, Verdugo, stalks you in a corridor while you wait for the elevator to conclude Chapter 4-1. Once it arrives you can just get on and forget about him — which is nice, because he's really hard to kill. And, unlike most of these, if you go back, he's still there waiting for you, only now you're cornered, and are very unlikely to stop being so before you die.
      • The remake allows you to skip the mini-boss encounter with the first Chainsaw Man in the opening chapter in the New Game Plus. The encounter has a scripted ending, once you kill enough of the infected villagers, via the church bell ringing; if you bring the sniper rifle with you in the New Game Plus, you can shoot the bell to instantly trigger the scripted ending.
  • In The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Sweet Home (1989), you will encounter Doppelgangers of your party as mini-bosses. Each is fought individually, however, and two of the five are located in pathways you don't need to take to get to the Final Boss.

    Tactical RPGs 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Generally speaking, the only bosses you have to fight in order to progress the story are those of chapters where the goals are either Routnote  or, more obviously, Defeat Bossnote . Seizenote  chapters very often require you to fight their bosses as well, as said bosses often sit unmoving on the target tile and killing them is almost always the only way to get them off of it.
    • Path of Radiance: you can choose to fight the Raven King Naesala and struggle against the third-deadliest enemy in the whole game, or talk to him using one of your hawks and then Reyson to convince him and his troops to leave the battlefield.
    • Radiant Dawn:
      • If Rafiel is placed in range of Oliver, he will recruit himself onto the player army.
      • Levail is fought in a "Defeat Boss" map... However, the boss in question is the Black Knight. Since he doesn't move, it's easy to avoid fighting him.
    • Shadow Dragon:
      • You can recruit two separate bosses by talking to them with the right people. Tiki can be recruited by Bantu, while General Lorenz can be recruited by either Marth or Caeda. Both cases are even considered canon, since the two are still around in the sequels.
      • Gharnef and, in later versions of the game, Camus, are possible to skip entirely, despite being framed in a pretty boss-like fashion, as they aren't located on a seize point. In Camus's case, this is because he's an Anti-Villain and sparing him is a form of Video Game Caring Potential, whereas Gharnef is impossible to beat without the Plot Coupon Starlight, which can be skipped completely, meaning this avoids an Unwinnable by Design situation. One-off boss Khozen can also be avoided, as he's meant as more of a roving enemy threat than a true boss. In all three cases, they drop fairly valuable items, which is the reason to fight them at all.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • The game has this on several occasions, although sometimes they are optional boss fights and you're clearly not supposed to be able to beat them at that point.
      • In Chapter 12 of Conquest, Ryoma is the boss. However, since it's an escape map, it's possible to avoid
      • In the "Sakura" chapter of Conquest, the objective is to seize the throne, which requires defeating Yukimura. Sakura, who's standing near the middle of the map, as well as her retainers Subaki and Hana, can be skipped.
    • This often happens in Fire Emblem: Three Houses depending on your route.
      • The bosses in question? They're people you had every chance to recruit in the first part but didn't (unless it's Lorenz and/or Ashe depending on the route) so now they are against you. And no, this isn't like Radiant Dawn...this is like Fates. So you don't knock them out. You kill them. They don't retreat. They die. Meaning you have every reason to avoid killing them. It's actually possible to finish some of these battles (keyword: some) without actually killing these characters at all but it's not easy.
      • The Death Knight is a recurring example, since the earlier in the game you face him, the harder he is to defeat. In Chapter 4, he sits at the center of the map, and you are advised to go around him; he will not pursue you except on Maddening, in which he goes after any unit that wanders into his movement range. In Chapter 6, the objective is to either defeat the Death Knight or all other units on the map. In Chapter 8, the Death Knight arrives as a reinforcement, but isn't too hard to avoid. However, in subsequent appearances (save for Caspar and Mercedes' Paralogue, in which defeating the Death Knight with Caspar earns you his weapon), the Death Knight must be defeated.
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, close friends Sigurd and Eldigan eventually find themselves on opposing sides of a grey versus grey struggle, and when Eldigan can no longer resist the pressure from his king to fight Sigurd, he too rides out to do battle with him. Talking to him with Sigurd doesn't help, as Eldigan has too many reasons to be genuinely angry with Sigurd by now, but talking to him with his sister Lachesis does, and he will leave the battlefield to beg mercy from his king one last time. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • A variant in Spec Ops: The Line near the end of the penultimate chapter, Walker has a hallucination of Lugo coming to kill him which serves as a Climax Boss, as he has more health than any other enemy in the game and is brandishing an enormous gun. If Walker gets killed, rather than the game showing the normal death screen, the game simply "rewinds" back to immediately before the encounter and Walker only has to fight a normal Heavy Trooper instead.

  • Cuphead has several downplayed examples. First, you don't have to defeat any of the minibosses from the run-and-gun stages; each has a few ways of boosting yourself past them (which allows for a Pacifist Run). Second, later patches allow you to skip phases on a few bosses, which will result in the next phase being a bit harder. The Onion stage of The Root Pack, for example, can be skipped by not attacking the onion, and thus not causing him to cry damaging tears.
  • In Arkham Horror, it's never necessary to defeat the Ancient One in battle to win the scenario. In the case of Azathoth, this is also the only way to win as Azathoth immediately destroys the world upon awakening instead of affording the Investigators a Last Battle.


Video Example(s):


Gale Uses the Netherese Orb

Before the boss battle against the Netherbrain, Gale may opt to use his Netherese Orb to blow himself up along with the Netherbrain to save Baldur's Gate. Doing this will cause the boss battle to be avoided altogether.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HeroicSacrifice

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