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"The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself."
Sun Tzu

In video games, it's quite common for a boss to only be vulnerable at a particular time. It's one thing if it's due to the boss needing to catch their breath every so often or the like. But sometimes, it's just because a given attack leaves them open. Maybe it exposes a weak spot while preparing the giant laser, maybe their attacks double as weapons or platforms that the player can use to reach their target, maybe on occasion it decides to just stand there laughing at you with its defenses down, or maybe it will keep charging head on into walls until it dies.

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This is a specific form of Hoist by His Own Petard — the boss only has to avoid one particular action to be literally invincible. Since it involves the boss intentionally leaving themselves open, it also heavily involves carrying the Villain Ball. Finally, Fridge Logic heavily comes into play - it's usually in retrospect that you realize the boss in question is foolish for continuing to perform the attack even after it's been exploited several times. With animal bosses or others too unintelligent to realize their mistake, this can be justified, and to an extent it can make sense with robotic bosses as well, but in that case you have to wonder who designed and programmed them...

There's a variation of this where the boss does stop using a particular move that leaves it open to attack... only to then use a different move that also leaves it open to attack.

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Bosses like this can occur with any of the three types of AI (as described in Artificial Stupidity)

  • A.I. Roulette: The boss will use one of several attacks randomly, but only a fraction of them (often just one) leaves it vulnerable to damage. Since the length you have to survive for is dependent on how often the boss makes the suicidal attacks, the fight is partially a Luck-Based Mission, and can easily make for a Goddamned Boss.
  • Set Pattern: The boss has a fixed cycle of attacks, and at some point renders itself vulnerable.
  • Analytical/Responsive: The boss will make itself vulnerable if given a certain situation. If the boss was run by a smart analytical AI, it would only use the vulnerable attack as a last resort, when no safe attack is possible (possibly not even then, if the boss doesn't care about letting the player live). But usually Artificial Stupidity is applied deliberately to prevent the game from becoming Unwinnable, especially if the boss always has safe attack options available. Alternatively, there may be a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors system where the boss defending itself from one kind of attack leaves it vulnerable to another, forcing the player to work out the right Combo of attacks to defeat it.
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When it comes to video games, Deadly Dodging is nearly a sub-trope, as is Tennis Boss. Sister trope to Attack Its Weak Point. See also Boss-Arena Idiocy. When a boss deliberately sacrifices itself as a tactic or a method of attacking, that's Action Bomb or Taking You with Me instead.


Examples

  • Ace Attorney: Some villains fall under odd variants of this trope.
    • Redd White Disclaimer  would have been a-OK if he wouldn't have attempted to humiliate Phoenix in court.
    • Manfred von Karma would have also gotten away with everything if he hadn't tried to convict Edgeworth for a crime for which the statute of limitations was to expire on that day.
    • Furio Tigre would have gotten away with it all if he would have kept his mouth shut.
    • Quercus Alba makes it very clear that he can leave whenever he pleases, but sticks around anyway because he finds it amusing to fuck with Edgeworth and company. (He does in fact does try to leave a couple of times, only to get distracted by someone interjecting out of nowhere. Four times.)
    • Queen Ga'ran can end the trial whenever she pleases, as demonstrated at the very beginning. Yet despite this, it never occurs to her until after she is exposed as the murderer.
  • Nigel Bloch in Agent Under Fire, both times. If he didn't drop his rocket launcher in the final battle, all he'd have to do is float there with his jetpack until the withdrawing floor beneath you finally collapses and drops Bond into the pit. Earlier, he'd have been invulnerable if he hadn't called in the mooks that helpfully provide you with the rocket launcher when killed, nor would there have been a problem if he had chosen not to stop the fans protecting the air vents above the geothermal power station.
  • A Hat in Time:
    • The Snatcher attempts to subvert this: Bosses in this game turn blue to indicate that they're vulnerable to attack. The Snatcher makes himself impossible to damage for the first phase of the fight by... Not turning blue.
      Snatcher: You're probably waiting for me to turn blue, aren't you? Sorry kiddo, blue doesn't suit me. And I guess that makes me invincible, huh? That's too bad! HA HA HA HA HA HA!
    • Unfortunately for him, it's promptly Double Subverted: One of his attacks leaves a blue potion lying on the ground (from an attack with dozens of them; it simply didn't shatter like the rest) which can promptly be tossed back in his face, dying him blue and making him fully vulnerable for the rest of the fight.
      Snatcher: Did you just color me blue with my own attack? This can't count, right? Surely this doesn't count!?
    • Even after you turn him blue, he’s still unhittable while he's in the center of the arena. If he only used attacks that don’t involve him leaving the center, he wouldn’t have lost.
  • Alien Soldier has the giant moth Bugmax. It frequently uses a move where it drops caterpillars that provide health when destroyed. Your character has a very damaging fiery dash-teleport that can only be used at full health, after which he will need to get more as the attack is Cast from Hit Points. You know where this is getting already.
  • In American McGee's Alice, the Voracious Centipede is invulnerable to attacks, except for an old scar on its underbelly. It is usually hidden, but can be targeted when the Centipede is rearing for a body slam attack.
  • Amorphous+:
    • The Gray, which normally will harden in reaction to your attack. Its main attack, a steely tendril, leaves it unprotected until it is retracted.
    • The Horror, which is essentially the Gray on steroids — basically, a living buzzsaw that your sword bounces off of (leaving you wide open to being shredded). However, at certain points it fires out four flying saw blades, which again render it immobile and vulnerable until they return.
    • The Void Eater is only vulnerable when using its beam attack. Trying to attack it at any other point (or even getting close, for that matter) well result in you getting splattered all over the screen. If you attack a mobile black hole, you deserve exactly what you get.
    • The Razor Queen is only vulnerable to attack after it charges you.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: T.R., the head of the Factio Pugni, fights with two giant weaponized freighter ship crane arms, capable of crushing intruders to death along with conventional weapons like missile pods. After T.R. has done enough attacks, his machine overheats and exposes opened panels, Ann can then use her Tunguska missile launcher, which is the only way she can deal damage to the vulnerable motors that keep the crane arms working.
  • This trope is the reason the "Bottles Revenge" mode (a normally Dummied Out feature where the second player can play as the ghost of Bottles and possess enemies to accost the first player) in Banjo-Tooie is disabled against bosses, as a player controlling a boss character could make it Unwinnable as long as they manage to avoid using anything that would expose the boss's weakness.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Poison Ivy in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Throughout the fight, Batman is standing on a small platform. She occasionally makes strangling vines burst from the ground, but only on 2/3 of the platform at a time. She also spends the fight encased in a batarang-proof transparent dome, but she occasionally opens it to laugh at Batman.
    • Subverted big-time by Mister Freeze in the sequel, who actually learns from the player's tactics as the fight goes on. It's widely considered one of the best boss fights in the series.
    • In Arkham Knight, the eponymous Arkham Knight has serious problems noticing patterns.
      • When Batman fights his tank, he needs to destroy the four coolant reserves located outside the tank, while Knight uses a slow 360 degree check to look around. While Batman will be forced to flee after destroying one, the Knight could just guard the last remaining weak point, but he still keeps on looking around him, allowing Batman to destroy the last one.
      • In the second fight, he chases the Batmobile to tunnels which are filled with explosives, heavily damaging his excavator in progress. This happens four times.
      • And finally, he fails to realize that Batman is attacking from directly below his vantage points; He seems to check there every now and then, but he does control a drone, which he could just position to guard the area below the vantage point.
    • The Riddler runs into a similar problem as Poison Ivy, as he keeps turning off the force-field on his Mini-Mecha to bring in more Mooks.
  • Bayonetta: Though Golem's core can be attacked any time the boss itself is attacking, only a few of its forms allow you to activate Witch Time. This is not usually a problem, except during a timed challenge mission where the boss can only be hurt during Witch Time. During that mission, you are entirely at the mercy of whether it decides to use the two attacks that leave it vulnerable.
  • Titan Din from Beard Blade is a Krakken residing in a lava pool, who spends the whole fight trying to smash you with it's tentacles. But for some reason, each time it misses a swing, it's tentacle remains on the spot (rather than retracting) allowing you to damage it. The tentacles doesn't even attempt to defend themselves after appearing in the foreground.
  • Almost all of the bosses in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg do this. With most of the bosses, all you have to do is dodge everything until they mess up and become vulnerable; sometimes the bosses do the dumbest or clumsiest things to allow them to be harmed.
  • The Alien Robot at the end of the second level of freeware Binary Boy would have been invulnerable if he didn't feel the need to randomly shoot behind him, often hitting his own ship. Needless to say, he shuts down once the ship is destroyed.
  • The first four bosses in Boktai all have attacks or behaviors that can be used against them. Not only do these tend to be the most effective ways to damage them, but it's also your only way of damaging them if you run out of ammo and lack sunlight (which forces you to use the Luna Lens, which takes no energy but inflicts no damage), so they'd be somewhere between "at a massive advantage" and "unbeatable" if they didn't do these things. The Count throws daggers that can be deflected back at him, Muspell can be tricked into rolling to the edge of the platform and then shoved into the lava, Garmr's ice block obstacles can be shoved into him, and Carmilla's attacks can be reflected with the mirrors in the room (which she can destroy, but chooses not to). The only two bosses smart enough to not give you such opportunities are Sabata and Queen Hel.
  • The Metal Queen in Brütal Legend, a giant spider who'll expose her soft underbelly periodically. Possibly justified in that a wild animal would take more than a few hits to be trained into not using that attack.
  • Bug! had three of the bosses fall under this:
    • The giant horned lizard from Reptilia combines this and Boss-Arena Idiocy. It would use an attack that made boulders fall from the sky in an attempt to crush you... which then roll into catapults at the sides of the arena. It would then move into range of the catapults, allowing Bug to launch them at him.
    • The octopus from Quaria throws fish at you, in which case Bug uses a tennis racket to bat them back to his big head.
    • The main villain, Queen Cadavra, tries to squash Bug with her huge girth after every attack phase, landing on the platform Bug was on. This allowed Bug to Goomba Stomp her, which he normally couldn't hit since she attacked from the background. It gets even more tactical suicide later on in her final phase where she repeatedly attempts to use the squashing attack.
  • At least three bosses in Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time are guilty of this: Yosemite Sam's powder kegs, Mugsy's bombs, and Marvin's instant Martian tablets can all be thrown back at them.
  • Six out of eight bosses in Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 are this, providing you with the projectiles needed to defeat them (the others are victims of Boss-Arena Idiocy.) The final boss, a robot made by Fat Cat, takes the cake: he drops bombs on the ground every time he flies into the air, which the player is then supposed to throw at him at the precise moment... or they can just not touch the bomb at all and wait for him to land back on the bomb.
  • The second game in the CT Special Forces series has the Middle Eastern insurgent leader, Arum Baya, who attacks you in an armored vehicle which deflects ALL your shots, and has a Gatling gun on its top capable of hurting you. He's practically invincible, but for some reason, every few seconds during the battle, Arum Baya will deliberately stick half his body out of the armored vehicle to take potshots at you via machine-gun. Doing so allows you to damage him until he ends up crashing the vehicle.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Almost every boss in the franchise is one of these.
    • Crash Bandicoot (1996):
      • Koala Kong throws rocks at you, but he gets so tired that the third one lands in front of you, where you can spin it back. He could instead have waited for one of the TNT crates that intermittently fall from the ceiling to kill you, since you can't do anything except dodge them.
      • N. Brio throws green potions that turn into monsters that you can hurt him by jumping on at you instead of just using the purple potions that explode and can't be blocked or reflected back at him.
      • Cortex shoots at you with green lasers that can be spun back at him when he could simply have continued with the red and blue ones that can't?
    • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back:
      • While in the first game's fight with Ripper Roo, the explosives used to hurt him came from somewhere upstream, here he creates them himself and actually sets them off, getting himself caught in the explosion which in turn leaves him vulnerable for Crash to attack. Somewhat justified by the fact that he's insane and possibly a masochist.
      • Right after that is the Komodo Bros. Had Moe just kept throwing his swords at Crash instead of sending Joe spinning around after him, the latter wouldn't get himself dizzy so Crash can send him bouncing back into Moe.
    • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped:
      • Tiny wouldn't be vulnerable if he kept trying to stomp on Crash or just sent more of his lion Mooks after him instead of using his trident, which naturally gets stuck in the ground so that Crash can attack him.
      • Dingodile destroys the crystals forming a protective barrier around him when he should've just kept shooting fireballs into the air instead.
      • N. Tropy, for whatever reason, has the courtesy to create a trail of platforms leading to him whenever he becomes exhausted. He does the same thing as the True Final Boss of N-Tranced.
      • Cortex decides to lower his energy shield at the same time he blows open a hole in the floor with mines for no apparent reason.
    • In Crash Twinsanity, Cortex not only uses three attacks, only one of which you can deflect, but he actually tells you how to beat him.
      It's sort of like a birthday party, except... The exact opposite. Let's start handing out the presents... *gets on his hoverboard* This is from Tiny. *throws a bomb* This is from Dingodile. *throws another bomb* Ripper Roo, you shouldn't have! *another bomb* Pinstripe, how thoughtful! *and another* Oh dear, two of the same! *throws a final bomb and starts charging his ray gun* Here's one gift you can return! *fires*
    • Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time: N. Gin, N. Brio and Cortex (twice) all make the exact same mistake by sending Mooks that can be spun back at them after you instead of continuing to use their other unblockable attacks. N. Brio also makes the same mistake he made in the first game by using green potions instead of purple ones.
  • Roxie in Crusader of Centy consists of a cartoon heart somehow protected by a person-shaped silhouette of string. It can swing its arms like flails or fire them as Rocket Punches. Its other attack is an anime-style charge up that releases an eight-way energy wave — and also temporarily collapses the string, leaving its heart open to damage. Roxie would be invulnerable if its random programming simply never used that last attack.
  • In Crypt of the NecroDancer Amplified, The Conductor creates five batteries during her second phase. These batteries have wires that electrify your attacks, causing them to zap any enemies adjacent to the one you attacked. Doing this also drains the batteries' power, meaning she would have been invincible if she didn't constantly summon enemies that you could attack.
  • Cursed Treasure - the pirate ship hurls smoke bombs that you can throw back for considerable damage, and the High Priest projects a force field that can only be shattered by the swords of his own templars, then unleashes a squad of said templars to attack you. The Barbarian Queen can also fall into this, when she stops to sing the gems toward her; if she picks a bad location, she will take more than a little damage as all your towers rip into her.
  • Happens a lot in Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. Granted, most of the bosses are little kids who might not be that smart about fighting.
    • Jataro's robot's weak point would never have been exposed if he didn't keep throwing bombs that you can send back at him, and instead kept shooting missiles.
    • Kotoko's fight is in an arena filled with water, with some dry raised areas. If she kept slashing you or she only stabbed the ground above dry land, you'd never have been able to expose her weak point by electrocuting the water.
    • The fight against Genocide Jack justifies this. The boss needs to periodically recharge, which also leaves them open to attack. After the fight, the protagonist realizes the boss could have just killed her much faster, but they gave her a chance.
  • Both bosses of Iron Canopy in Darksiders are of this variety. The Brood Mother has a sucking in air "attack", which doesn't actually do anything but let you feed her a tasty morsel to give you a shot at her vulnerable backside. The boss of the area, Silitha, will occasionally interrupt her Teleport Spam to stand briefly still and taunt you.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Ceaseless Discharge is a giant boss that you fight from a cliff that's at his chest height. He's pretty tough to beat fighting him legitimately, however there's a built-in Easy Level Trick where if you run back to the fog wall immediately after angering him by looting the corpse he's guarding, he'll chase you back there until he runs out of ground to stand on. For some reason, rather than do his ranged fire breath attack from safe ground, he'll try and leap over the huge pit to get at you. This results in him hanging off the side of the cliff, completely helpless. You can then attack the arm he's hanging on with until he lets go and falls to his death instantly. What's worse is that if you die to him, when you come back, he will use his fire breath on you if you just stand by the fog wall after re-entering. You have to run all the way back up to the corpse to sufficiently piss him off again and then run all the way back before he'll try jumping at you.
    • A minor example with Seath the Scaleless. He's completely invincible until his Soul Jar is destroyed. You can destroy it yourself, or trick Seath into accidentally destroying it while trying to attack you. If he ends up destroying it, he stops attacking to curse his own stupidity for a few seconds allowing you to get some good damage in.
  • The penultimate boss of the original Destroy All Humans! has a penchant for attacking Crypto's saucer with AA missiles. Missiles that you can redirect to their source with a simple press of a button, assuming you have the right saucer upgrade installed. The boss never wises up to this tactic and continues to try and Macross Missile Massacre you until it gets blown apart by it own munitions.
  • Basically half of all bosses in Dino City:
    • The first boss, Crasher, drops rock columns to prevent you from reaching him, but then took cover behind those rocks - which can be destroyed, the resulting debris flying to the other side of the screen where Crusher is standing, automatically damaging himself. Rinse and repeat and Crusher's down in less than a minute.
    • The Trampo bird is a Giant Flyer who can drop projectiles while afloat right at the top of the screen, out of reach from your attacks. But his tactics alternates between dropping projectiles and mooks, the latter which can be used as a Goomba Springboard for you to damage him, instead of relying on the former.
    • The Pole Press is an Advancing Wall of Doom with only one weakness, it's upper section, which you couldn't reach by jumping. Logically it should just advance and crush you on the spot, but instead the Pole Press will occasionally release weak, easy-to-dodge spikes from the bottom, which can be conveniently used as an impromptu ramp allowing you to target it's upper.
  • The Donkey Kong Country series has a few examples.
    • Donkey Kong Country:
      • Boss Dumb Drum is an animated iron barrel that hovers above the top border of the screen and spits Mooks relentlessly. Once in a while, it descends to try to squash Donkey and Diddy. The player just has to move out of the way, because it eventually breaks itself doing that. If Drum only released enemies and kept itself afloat, they would be unable to win. (In the Game Boy Advance remake, Drum doesn't damage itself — instead, TNT barrels appear after defeating a wave of enemies, which the Kongs must pick up and throw at the boss.)
      • King K. Rool can only be hurt by jumping on his head. However, you can't jump on his head because his crown is too pointy. So naturally, his main method of attack is to take it off and throw it at you like a boomerang, leaving his head exposed for the duration.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest:
      • The player would be unable to pass beyond the first boss, Krow, if he didn't throw his own eggs at you so you can pick them up to throw back at him.
      • K. Rool shoots spiked cannonballs at the player, but will sometimes shoot out an ordinary cannonball which can be thrown back at him to jam his gun. Nine times. (Ten if you count the True Final Boss).
    • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!:
      • Belcha spits out barrels containing Knik-Knaks (beetle enemies) at the Kongs. Tossing Knik-Knaks into Belcha's mouth causes him to burp so heavily he pushes himself back towards the edge of the platform. If he didn't spit barrels, Belcha would inevitably push the Kongs off their side of the platform.
      • Kaos has blades spinning out from its body that do nothing except provide platforms to reach the weak point — its head.
      • If Barbos didn't send out minions or launch homing missiles at you, you'd have no way to damage her shield.
      • K. Rool gets even dumber than before, as his battle overlaps with Boss-Arena Idiocy: you can only damage him with barrels, which are dropped into the arena from levers which become available as he attacks. Twice in the same game.
    • Donkey Kong 64:
      • Army Dillo would be undefeatable if he didn't reveal his face to laugh at Donkey Kong while letting DK throw TNT barrels at him.
      • When fighting King K. Rool with Tiny Kong, he will repeatedly butt-slam the arena to cause shockwaves. Eventually, his butt gets too sore to keep doing it and he moans in pain for a while, leaving him wide open to attack.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns: Stu, Colonel Pluck and Tiki Tong all share an attack that consists of attempting to stomp Donkey and Diddy. The problem for them is that this move gives the Kongs a chance to attack them in turn.
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: Skowl and Lord Fredrik often attack the Kongs by sending mooks at them. But since the game heavily employs Throw the Mook at Them, the Kongs can grab one of them and then wait until the bosses are close enough to land a hit onto them.
  • In Doom at the end of the first game, where you face two Barons of Hell, there is a bug in the game where there is an attack that will cause a Baron to think the attacker is... himself. If you've already killed the other one, you can just stop and watch as he proceeds to claw himself, and cry out in pain over the attacks, until he dies and you win. It is hilarious when it happens.
  • Dusty Raging Fist has the Krakken, a Background Boss, who sends her Combat Tentacles at you to the front as her main attack. You're only able to damage her tentacles, but after missing each swing, somehow the Krakken will have her limbs remaining on the ship you're on in an unsuccessful attempt to tilt it, leaving her vulnerable to attacks. You spend the whole fight tricking her into sticking her tentacles into the front until you defeat her.
  • In the tower level of Dynamite Headdy, Trouble Bruin can only be hurt when he moves himself toward you (as opposed to his other move, destroying a section of the tower). It's out of the player's control though.
  • Twinblade in Fable has an attack where he stabs the ground, usually when the player is standing right behind him, where he can actually be damaged. He's invulnerable at all other times.
  • Both bosses in World 1 and World 2 of Fancy Pants Adventures suffer from this. The penguin is a Bullfight Boss who will always get his horns/flippers stuck in the wall, allowing you to jump on him. The rabbit, on the other hand, cannot be defeated by jumping on him at all, yet he still jumps high and drops spiders on you, though a snail always drops with them which can be used to beat him. To make matters worse, kicking him after hitting him with a snail shell will make him almost immediately use the same move again (with several more spiders, admittedly).
  • Final Fantasy:
    • All four of the first bosses in Final Fantasies IV-VII are meant to get the player, who may be used to turn-based gameplay, used to the Active Time Battle system, especially the idea that the battle continues, and the boss continues to act, even if you don't, and that sometimes you'll need to wait.
    • The first boss of Final Fantasy VII, Guard Scorpion, has a defensive mode where it counterattacks any attack with severe force, but otherwise takes no action. Now ordinarily, it would make sense not to remain in this mode the entire time. However, the encounter begins shortly after the party sets a bomb to blow up the reactor they're in, and the defensive mode would be far more effective at delaying their escape.
    • With regards to Whelk, the first boss in Final Fantasy VI, staying in its shell for the entire battle doesn't make it invulnerable, it merely takes a lot longer to destroy it. It's even possible to ignore the warning to not attack the shell since its MP is very low and healing the party is easy despite the powerful counterattack. You even get a slightly more useful drop (A MP recovery item as opposed an HP one) if you kill the shell. Later on, you can pull a similar trick with a stronger Palette Swap to get two of the items it drops.
    • As for the Wing Raptor in Final Fantasy V, it's actually completely defeatable in guard mode, but it counterattacks viciously if attacked.
  • The first Fear Effect have a couple of bosses guilty of this:
    • Madam Chen, in her demon form, is surrounded by a fiery force-field which bullets couldn't penetrate, as she summons skinless prostitutes to attack Hana. Skinless prostitutes that upon being killed, will drop paper dolls. Collecting the dolls and dropping them into the forcefield will neutralize it, allowing Hana to damage Madam Chen.
    • Hana's Final Boss, Mr. Lam, also counts; he's completely invulnerable, and can release bolts of electricity at ground level that Hana must avoid. But his battle is also flanked by various imps which, upon being killed, will drop similar paper dolls, which can be burnt in pyres within the boss arena making Lam vulnerable to gunfire.
  • Some bosses in Fraxy will flip open to expose their weakpoints after some time, then close them again. Some attacks are also tuned to start when this happens, so watch out!
  • Gears of War 3:
    • The Lambent Berserker would be all but invincible if her ribcage didn't open and expose her glowing Imulsion core whenever she charges, which she does a lot.
    • In the downloadable campaign "RAAM's Shadow", General RAAM would be all but invulnerable if he would stop deploying his Kryll shield to attack the humans, instead relying on his blade (which the player can do during the segments where you play as him) or stalling until the Kryllstorm claimed them. In Gears of War (chronologically later), he smartens up and carries a Troika instead, retroactively eliminating that weakness.
  • The only reason you can beat the Final Boss of Ghostrunner is because she keeps stabbing at you with Combat Tentacles while you're standing right beside a generator. You can easily dodge her telegraphed attack and watch her get electrocuted four times without her taking the hint that she should stop this particular form of attack.
  • From the Ghosts 'n Goblins series there's Sardius, the final boss of Super Ghouls 'N' Ghosts. He can only hurt you with a Beam Spam attack from his mouth, and whenever he does so, he also creates magical platforms that Arthur can ride up to reach Sardius' weak spot, his head.
  • God of War II: Subverted in the Zeus battle. First, Zeus is giant and you can't directly attack him. However, he summons sirens that release a deadly shockwave when you kill them, which damages him. The other stage is Zeus shrinking and fighting Kratos straight up. After awhile, Zeus remembers that he's the freakin' king of the gods, and starts bombarding Kratos with an endless stream of lightning. Kratos has to trick him to beat him.
  • Golden Force have a Krakken boss you fought on the seas, where it's vulnerable only in the eye. But conveniently enough, said Krakken will have it's tentacles dangling on the water's surface constantly (rather than keeping them underwater) which allows you to jump on the tentacles, reach it's face, and attack its weak spot.
  • Gradius: Many bosses in the series are only vulnerable when they are about to fire a particular weapon; if they would refrain from using that particular attack, the Vic Viper wouldn't be able to pierce their armour at all. Some specific examples:
    • In Gradius II, the Crystal Core could render itself unbeatable just by wrapping its tentacles around its weak point. But it doesn't.
    • In Gradius Gaiden, Kraken, the Stage 7 boss, could have made itself near-invulnerable if it kept its arms closed and never used its giant rock attack, which exposes the core barriers on its rear.
  • Guild Wars 2: King Toad in the April's Fools' Day dungeon Super Adventure Box is defeated by first smacking the jewel around its neck to loosen shards of gemstone and then dodging its regular attacks until it's preparing to do its devastating tongue lash attack, during which time it will... just sort of stand there with its mouth open... and tossing the gem down its throat, stunning the toad and enabling you to do damage. Rinse and repeat.
  • Gunsmoke (the arcade game, not the TV series) has an odd example: The first boss would be invincible if he would stay crouched down after losing a bar of health. Ditto for the last boss.
  • In Hollow Knight, Elder Baldurs are an enemy type that you are required to kill in the early game. Disregarding equipment upgrades you can't obtain until much later, your sole means of damaging them is the Vengeful Spirit spell, which is therefore an Ability Required to Proceed. However, even a full Soul Vessel won't let you cast it enough times to kill one of them. The way to replenish Soul in mid-combat is by performing melee attacks... which Elder Baldur No Sells. However, it sometimes will spit out a Baldur instead of acid, and those can be conveniently Nailed and converted to more Soul.
  • Played with in Hotline Miami. The second boss is a cleaver-wielding man who kills you instantly if you get close, but mostly keeps his distance. He occasionally lunges at you, which is easy to dodge, and eventually tosses his cleaver at you—it gets stuck in a wall, and he tries to pull it out while you're free to bash his skull open. But in the epilogue you get to relive the battle from the boss's perspective. When the protagonist comes in, you can kill him simply by walking up to him and ending his life with a single cleaver slash, as opposed to engaging in overtly complex and suicidal tactics.
  • Iconoclasts:
    • Kerthunk can at first only be damaged when it throws its metal arm in the center of the screen, when it has another attack that doesn't leave it exposed.
    • The first phase of the battle with Chrome's helicopter has Tolo helpfully throwing grenades at Robin... grenades that she can deflect into the copter's shield. The Attacker piloting the copter wisely scoops him up into the vehicle for phase two, though by this point it's vulnerable to regular stun-gunfire.
  • Iji:
    • Asha can dodge absolutely anything, but thinks that dodging weak weapons is cowardly, even when he's about to die. As such, the basic shotgun is the only thing that will harm him — and, indeed, kill him.
    • Iosa the Invincible is exposed only after you duck one of her attacks (granted, you only need to take advantage of this once) — which she uses, even though she also has attacks that don't leave her exposed.
    • The final boss, in order to charge up his most powerful attack, chucks incredibly powerful blasts at you... which can be reflected. There is also the fact that he bothers fighting at all — if he really wanted Iji dead for sure, he could just leave, as an Alpha Strike is charging and will hit the complex just minutes from then. The worst ending reveals that it's a Secret Test of Character to see if there's any point in sparing humanity — of course, this being the worst ending, you've just failed.
    • In an inversion, other assassins will use a move more frequently if they have successfully damaged you with it, and avoid moves that you hurt them with.
  • Indivisible: In the final fight with Kala, she is invincible, but is draining her hit points with every attack. This is justified, and fitting with the theme of the game, though: at this point, Ajna has learned to control her anger, and so only protects herself. Kala, on the other hand, is absolutely furious, and not thinking clearly.
  • Jak and Daxter:
    • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: The Dark Eco Plant spawns little mooks that, when killed, make it open its leaves so you can stand on them, while presenting you with its weak point.
    • Jak II: Renegade: In his second fight, Baron Praxis throws timed bombs that you can hit back to damage his mech.
    • Jak 3: Wastelander: The Precursor robot has arguably the most suicidal move of them all: it can only be damaged if you shoot explosive mine carts (normally too high to shoot) to drop them on it, so it naturally creates pillars of rock that let you get high enough. To a lesser extent, this is present in both of Erol's fights. In the first one, he sends in explosive drones that you hit to send them back up towards him; in the second one, he uses a laser attack that exposes the weak point on the back of his mech's head.
    • Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier: Dark Skyheed will attempt to charge at you. If he collides with one of the many pillars in the area, he destroys the pillar but takes considerable damage and is stunned momentarily. This isn't necessary to damage him, unlike the other examples, but it does make the fight easier.
  • There is one boss from Just Cause that decides to attack you with a Kill Sat that shoots missiles, while standing on the same narrow rooftop as you. To quote from Zero Punctuation, "Didn't even have to shoot the stupid bastard. Would have practically been assisted suicide."
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts features a variation where the boss is practicing deliberate tactical suicide. In your first boss battle with Jafar, Jafar forces Genie to attack Sora and his party. Genie's attacks are weak (and usually preceded by Genie saying, "I'm sorry, Al!" or "Get out of the way!") and also frequently produce items that heal your party.
    • Kingdom Hearts II: At one point in Timeless River, Pete has the Cornerstone of Light and is riding away in Steamboat Willie. He would have gotten away if he didn't decide to attack Sora with garbage, letting him fling it back to stun Pete and free the Cornerstone.
  • Virtually all bosses and mini-bosses in the Kirby series apply, having at least one attack that creates a star or other object for Kirby to inhale and exhale back at them.
    • The original Kirby's Dream Land has an exception in Kaboola, since Kirby gets a permanent Sweet Potato/Mint Leaf power-up to fight with. The other bosses play this straight, especially since this is before Copy Abilities were introduced.
    • Meta Knight in Kirby's Adventure does not have any projectiles, but instead gives Kirby a permanent Sword ability for their battle. Then again, he considers Kirby a Worthy Opponent.
    • Kirby Super Star has the Reactor Core from "Revenge of Meta Knight", which is invulnerable to everything except its own laser defense system, which will readily shoot at itself if you simply position Kirby in the right spot.
  • The only way note  to hit Sakit's first form in La-Mulana is when he extends his arm to the ground so you can climb on it and attack his face plate. The second form has his face plate break, and a jet of flame burst from the arm otherwise used for climbing.
    • Viy does this when he opens his eye for either of his attacks. It's actually the demons opening his eye, so the trope is zigzagged when he fires the laser as it not only destroys said demons, but also hurts his own tentactles.
  • In The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails, all idol bosses are this. If they don't perform attacks that allow Nayuta to strike at their weakpoints, the fights would be impossible to win.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In A Link to the Past, Agahnim has three attacks but only one can be reflected back at him. If he never used it, he could have succeeded in taking over Hyrule. For extra insult to injury, the Net works just as well as the Master Sword.
    • As Dethl's Agahnim form is a deliberate recreation of the fight from Link to the Past, this also holds true in Link's Awakening.
    • Ocarina of Time has a lot of bosses that do this:
      • King Dodongo could just keep rolling and not spit fire so Link can't throw bombs in its mouth.
      • Volvagia could just fly around and attack Link with fire and falling boulders, instead of going underground and exposing himself a la Whack-a-Mole.
      • Morpha could stay underwater and not make itself an obvious target for the Longshot.
      • Koume and Kotake are a tandem Tennis Boss—each witch's reflected spells can only hurt the other one. If one of them simply left the room, the remaining one would be invincible. Or they could stay on opposite sides of Link when he's reflecting their magic spells.
      • Almost every fight with Ganondorf has him shooting energy balls that he and Link end up smacking back and forth, marking the series' proud tradition of the Tennis Boss.
    • The titular Final Boss from ''Majora's Mask does this a few times. Most notably is the fact that before the fight begins it literally hands the game's ultimate Infinity +1 Sword over to Link completely willingly which makes the battle a complete joke if used. In the fight itself, Majora spams a beam at Link in its Mask phase which Link can deflect with his mirror shield to knock Majora out of the sky in order to leave the mask vulnerable to normal attacks after.
    • Molgera from Wind Waker sticks its tongue out and then just sits there.
    • Gohdan from the same game will also gladly sneeze out bombs and arrows, should you happen to run out of either. In his case, however, it's justified as Gohdan is meant to test Link's skill, not however much ammo he has.
    • Oracle of Seasons:
      • Agahnim can be killed by deflecting his projectiles just like before, but since he's vulnerable to the sword directly this time, it's not the most efficient method.
      • Onox, the final boss, falls into this in his third phase: he's a flying dragon, and his sole weak spot is his forehead that is too far away for Link to hit from the ground with his sword. Similar to Sigma from Mega Man X, he makes the forehead vulnerable by slamming his claws into the ground, when he could use his hard-to-dodge flame attack instead.
    • Phantom Ganon in The Wind Waker can only be stunned by reflecting his blue energy ball back at him. But he has other attacks that Link can't deflect, including homing red energy balls. Alas, by the time he's learned to just stick to the unexploitable attacks (after at least eight times of fighting him), Link already has a weapon capable of one-shotting him.
    • Twilight Princess:
      • It's not the boss' fault, but if Ook didn't conveniently show up to provide Link with Bomblings, Diababa would be unbeatable.
      • If Stallord's head would bother to fly above the arena's highest Spinner tracks, Link would be unable to reach him.
      • If Blizzeta remained in the air during the second phase of her fight, she would remain out of reach of Link's Ball and Chain, and could just crush him with ice blocks.
    • The many-armed sword-slinging robot Koloktos in Skyward Sword can only be damaged by his own swords. He'd be unbeatable if he didn't keep swinging his swords into the floor so violently that he gets stuck, allowing you to rip his arms off, take one of his swords, and beat him up with it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks:
      • Stagnox throws explosive slugs at you, which you must use to damage his armor (since you don't have bombs yet).
      • Fraaz would be invincible if he stuck to either fire or ice, but instead he alternates, allowing you to damage him by boomeranging his previous breath attack into him. Oddly, he is smart enough to smash the fire/ice torches in the room after a couple of rounds.
      • Even though Phytops spends the entire pre-fight climbing sequence with its head underwater, it also spends most of the fight itself with its head out of the water, leaving its weak point exposed.
      • Cragma has a recurring tendency to rain down volcanic boulders on you if you attack its weak point, which it exposes every so often by lifting itself out of the lava to store up an attack. The boulders can then be smashed apart into platforms and used to reach the minecarts you use to pelt the boss with arrows.
      • Skeldritch must be disassembled by catapulting his own boulders back at him. He also has a laser-beam attack; if he only used that, Link would be unable to harm him.
      • To hit Byrne, you have to dodge his grapple-arm and have Zelda yank him to the ground with it. His other attacks don't make him vulnerable, but he keeps using the grappler anyway.
    • The Knucklemaster in A Link Between Worlds is only vulnerable when you avoid its punching attack, causing it to smash into the wall and reveal its weak point. If it would stick to the attacks where it slams the floor, it would be impossible to kill.
    • Every officer and boss in Hyrule Warriors. Less so in fights with officers where you can also just beat them in a straight up fight, with the Tactical Suicide weakpoint smashes only serving to speed the process up. The bosses play it completely straight, being vulnerable to an item but only before or after certain attacks in their arsenal. Notably, the bosses are hated for the fact that unlike other examples of this trope, they can go for long periods of time before using said attacks. Where other examples of this trope note that a boss would be unbeatable if they didn't commit Tactical Suicide, that's a very real possibility in this game.
      • King Dodongo must be fed bombs to expose the weakpoint, but only when it's charging up his mega fire ball attack.
      • Gohma must be shot in the eye, but unlike other Gohmas in the Zelda series, this one closes his eye before the arrow reaches it. So you have to wait until it starts firing lasers, causing its eye to turn blue and bug out.
      • Manhandla's stalks must be cut off with the boomerang, but only once it's shot seeds out of its mouths.
      • Argorok sticks his tail out and it starts glowing blue whenever he shoots fire or gusts of wind, leaving you free to hookshot him out of the sky. Unlike the others this happens often enough it's hard to notice that he's an example of this, but he does have a few attacks that don't leave his tail vulnerable.
      • Ganon has attacks from all the previous bosses. The very same attacks that made weakpoints vulnerable on said bosses. In his second phase he should be vulnerable all the time. And yet, he's only vulnerable to the arrows after he tries to rush you down, which is only one of his attacks.
    • Hyrule Warriors Legends doesn't have much smarter bosses; the Helmaroc King must be smashed with the hammer after it pecks into the ground just like the game he came from. And of course, Phantom Ganon; his first phase has you deflecting magic like so many bosses before him, even himself, and thus you have to deflect it with your sword like usual. The second phase averts this, forcing you to go behind him to attack instead.
    • Averted in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with Thunderblight Ganon. The boss will perpetually spam its magnetic lightning attack, until the player figures out to levitate its magnetized beams back at it. After getting hit once by its own lightning, Thunderblight will cease to use the attack.
      • It's also averted with Hinoxes. Their one eye is a weak point, and hitting them in the eye stuns them. However, once they reach half health, they will start covering their eye with a hand if you aim an arrow there, making it harder to exploit the weakness.
      • Played straight, however, with Moldugas. The easiest way to defeat them is climb onto a platform, attract them with a remote bomb, and detonate the bomb when they get close. This leaves them incapacitated for a while, allowing you to whale on them until they regain consciousness. You then repeat the process until they die, as they never seem to learn to avoid the remote bombs. Possibly justified in that they appear to just be wild animals without much intelligence.
  • Library of Ruina has an interesting case with the Fragment of the Universe boss, where the "tactical suicide" is actually a viable strategy if you don't counter it properly. The boss has two attacks: the weaker Penetrate, and the stronger Echoes from the Beyond. The "tactical suicidal" part comes from the fact that being hit by the former gives you the "Enlightenment" card, which makes you completely immune to the latter as long as you have it in your hand... but also makes it so that the former inflicts much more Stagger damage if it connects. You can play "Enlightenment" against Penetrate to neutralize it, but that removes your immunity against Echoes.
  • Warg Rider Captain in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers can only be damaged when his Warg rises on hind legs to taunt you. Given that he’s smart enough to speak Common Tongue (the arrival of his flunkies is signalled by him saying "Finally! Kill this one!"), one would think he would’ve learned not to do that after the first time.
  • In Maldita Castilla, Crazy Quixote is invulnerable except when he jumps through the burning ceiling and temporarily catches on fire. His attack pattern is a fixed cycle, but if he left out that one move, he'd be unstoppable.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the Reaper on Rannoch could just ignore your presence, since none of your weapons can harm it, or if it absolutely had to kill you, it could just walk over and squish you like a bug. Instead, for no perceptible reason, this ancient and highly intelligent machine tries to kill you with its beam weapon, exposing its only vulnerable part and allowing you to direct the quarian fleet into precision-striking it from orbit.
  • MediEvil 2:
    • The Tyrannosaurus Wrecks has an attack where he simply stands perfectly still and summons two baby dinosaurs to attack you. He also makes the weakpoint behind his head incredibly obvious, giving Dan the cue to run up his tail, along his spine, and attack it.
    • The Count suffers from both this and Boss-Arena Idiocy; he starts the fight using attacks that can be reflected back at him with mirrors, before switching to full-on Boss-Arena Idiocy (you have to use the mirrors to burn him with sunlight).
    • The Ripper will sometimes stop attacking Dan in order to attack Kiya instead. This is the only time Dan can damage him.
    • When fighting Palethorn's Cruiser, the only time it can be damaged is when it flies past firing missiles, allowing Dan to get behind it and Attack Its Weak Point. If Palethorn only used his machinegun attack (which lets him stay at one end of the arena), he'd be unbeatable.
  • Mega Man:
    • Several bosses in Mega Man Legends are guilty of this - and most of them are piloted by, guess who, the Bonnes. Teisel's Marlwolf hurls powerful homing blasts, but every so often he'll turn away and open up a small hatch where the armor is thinner. His Servbots use it to lob hovering explosives; judging by Teisel's repeated howls of CLOSE THE HATCH!!, it just doesn't occur to them not to.
    • In Mega Man X, Wolf Sigma, the final boss (Sigma fused with a canine armor), keeps slamming his hands onto the ground. They can be used as platforms. If only he didn't bring them up to head level while X was standing on them, he wouldn't be asking for a Rolling Shield to the face!
    • In Mega Man X5, if you take too long fighting Maverick Zero, he'll pull out his most notorious move: Genmu Zero, a slash that covers the whole screen, kills you on impact, and will be repeated endlessly until it connects. There's no obvious reason he bothers using anything else.
    • In the final fight of Mega Man Zero, Dr. Weil can only be hit when his core is exposed to attack. If he waited the two minutes without attacking, he'd be able to destroy Area Zero without Zero messing up his plans. Then again, he is a vengeful, hateful psychopath and touching down on Area Zero would destroy him too, so he's probably getting what little satisfaction he can get in seeing Zero die before him before he gets turned into a giant crater. Also, the final boss of the first game, Copy X. He destroys the majority of the floor with a set of spiked pillars that remain there for you to wall-jump off when he uses Seraph Armor. Without them, Zero wouldn't be able to hit him and Copy X could just laser-spam him to death. And sure, he has a few tricks like being able to fire restraining rings that can and will cause a cheap kill into a Bottomless Pit, and his Desperation Attack if fought at A Rank or higher has him command those pillars to strike the small floor area, but he's just making things needlessly complicated for himself.
    • Gate, one of the last bosses of Mega Man X6, is normally completely invincible to your attacks, but to attack you he throws energy balls that can have one of several different effects. When you destroy these, their pieces scatter in six directions, and they can hit Gate to damage him. At low enough health, he will eventually start using a purple slash that can temporarily destroy the platforms you have to stand on, but he won't stop throwing energy balls. Granted, even the scattered pieces can still hurt and kill you if the timing's messed up, but like Copy-X Gate is making this much more difficult than it needs to be.
  • The very first boss of The Messenger (2018), the Leaf Monster, is invincible while its leaves are still on its body. Its one and only attack is to take them off and throw them at you, leav-ing it vulnerable. If it ever gave up on doing that and decided to just try punching you or something, you'd have no chance against it. Then, as if it wasn't stupid enough already, after you do some damage to it, it decides to move up to the top of the screen and rain leaves down on you from above. If it just stayed up there where you can't reach it, again you'd have no chance to win, but it always comes back down eventually.
  • Metal Slug 3 has the final boss Rootmars. For an alien mastermind with a brain as big as a tank, it doesn't think to just toss away the Slug it's holding in its claw, even as you climb into it and blast away at its exposed brain. This makes the battle that much easier.
  • Metroid:
    • If Kraid would keep his mouth shut, he would be invulnerable. Justified in that he must be deliberately provoked into doing this by shooting him in the eyes, making him roar in pain. (In the first game he doesn't have a specific weak point and Samus can shoot him anywhere.)
    • Specific to Super Metroid:
      • If Phantoon would stay phased out and shooting at Samus instead of periodically materializing in the middle of the arena, he'd be untouchable. Though Phantoon may not be able to stay phased permanently –- it may be like how whales have to surface every so often to breathe; they'd never get harpooned if they just stayed deep underwater, but it isn't possible.
      • Spore Spawn would be invincible if it never opened to reveal its vulnerable insides. Justified in that this creature probably isn’t sentient.
      • If Crocomire never opened his mouth to roar, he would be untouchable. But he could also possibly qualify as a "dumb animal" driven solely by instinct.
    • If the eponymous boss in Metroid Prime didn't squirt out pools of pure Phazon, Samus wouldn’t be able to use the only weapon that works against it. Justified in that scanning it reveals that it's not exactly a decision: the boss has to expel it as a waste product.
    • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime is back as the final boss, Dark Samus, and is still only vulnerable to Phazon — which it shoots regularly at Samus, who can absorb and weaponize it for herself. Apparently it didn't learn from its mistakes. Justified again as scanning Dark Samus reveals that it's dangerous unstable from absorbing too much Phazon, and has to expel it to survive.
    • Mogenar from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption can only be damaged by using the Hyper Beam to destroy the sockets on his body... which means you have to blow up the red orbs inside the sockets first... of a boss whose tactical stupidity is resorting to the charge attack that lets you shoot the orb on its back.
  • All of the monsters in Monster Hunter series can be struck at any time, but some of them do things that aren't terribly bright and leave them especially open for abuse.
    • Monster Hunter Freedom Unite 2: The Nargacuga has a tail slam that, while powerful, will lodge its tail spikes in the ground for a good amount of time, leaving it far more vulnerable then its other attacks do.
    • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri):
      • The Agnaktor will commonly dig into the ground to attack you. The drawback is that its hard magma armor melts once it's done, making it prone to breaking. The Glacial Agnaktor has the opposite problem: its ice melts due to prolonged exposure to the elements, so it digs to restore the makeshift armor.
      • Ceadeus and Goldbeard Ceadeus both have this problem regarding the Dragonator, a super powerful weapon situated in only one point of the arena, meaning you have to time activating it perfectly for whenever it's in range. Or you would if it didn't drop everything it was doing, swim to the opposite side and then swim all the way to the side with the Dragonator and wait there for a while for the Dragonator to attack it directly in the face.
    • Monster Hunter Portable 3rd:
      • The Duramboros occasionally does a huge spinning leap into the air and comes smashing down (which hurts about as much as you'd expect from having a 18 foot tall dinosaur land on you), but it takes several seconds to get up, leaving you free to attack its tail, which is a weak point and usually too high in the air to get a clear shot at otherwise.
      • Zinogre has to go through a lengthy charging animation when it gets depowered, calling in Fulgurbugs to restore its electrified state. This leaves Hunters a significant opening to wail on its head, which may interrupt its charging for a time, or, as of Iceborne, smack it in the face a few times with the Clutch Claw and drive it into a wall with a Flinch Shot. It also does a back-first body slam move, which, while extremely damaging, causes it to get stuck in the ground for some time.
    • Monster Hunter 4: Zamtrios, who in response to having its ice armor broken, will inflate itself like a balloon and start trying to sluggishly bounce and roll on you with its bloated body, which is far slower then its standard mode of attack. Its whole body becomes a weak spot during this time, plus it'll occasionally break through the ice and get stuck if it bounces around too much, leaving it even more open for abuse then usual. This is less of a problem for Tigerstripe Zamtrios, who can inflate and deflate at will, and is very aggressive while inflated.
    • Monster Hunter Generations: The Astalos can shoot a devastating thunder beam with its paralytic, shear-like tail. However, it slams its tail on the ground to do this, leaving it open to be wailed on. Said tail is also its second biggest weak point and can be severed.
    • Monster Hunter: World Iceborne:
      • Safi'jiiva has a special Fantastic Nuke attack called the "Sapphire Star of the Emperor", which can only be avoided by hiding behind rocks in the arena a la Fatalis. The rocks are indestructible the first time it does this, but they get destroyed by the attack on subsequent times. Fortunately, it occasionally blasts a laser beam at the roof of the arena, sending flaming boulders down which can be used to avoid the attack when it happens again, combining this trope with Boss-Arena Idiocy.
      • While it is highly destructive (even more so once it's in Hellfire Mode), theIceborne incarnation of Fatalis would be a lot harder if it didn't use its "cone breath" attack, since it leaves a significant opening to pummel its head.
    • Monster Hunter: Rise: Narwa the Thunder Serpent is a floating, lightning-powered dragon whose magnetic field causes massive amounts of Chunky Updraft whenever it uses any of its stronger attacks. Not only does this keep providing players with cover and platforms to dodge said strong attacks and attack its weak points more easily, the battle takes place in an ancient fortress and the updraft often unearthes fully functional siege weapons, up to and including a Dragonator. If it didn't use any of those moves and stuck to the more basic ones, it could probably defeat any hunter simply through sheer attrition thanks to its utterly massive health pool.
  • Early on in Nicktoons Unite!, you meet ghost prison guards who are intangible except when attacking. There's also similar fighters later on, but Danny gets the ability to turn intangible himself and is therefore able to hurt intangible opponents.
  • NieR's Defense System Gepetto, robotic guardian of the Junkyard, has the following attacks: fire a continuous laser stream from each fingertip, fire homing missiles, slam its floating hands on the arena, spawn endless robot drones with lightning and magic bullet attacks, a gigantic mouth laser, and... spawn bombs. Not armed bombs, just bombs. Which just sit there until you grab one and toss it. And it spawns them immediately before opening its mouth to charge up for the giant laser. Even Grimoire Weiss cracks wise at "such an obvious weak point."
  • If Fire Cracker (an armored truck) from Night Striker didn't open up its rear to unleash a barrage of homing missiles, the Inter Gray would never be able to hurt it by shooting its unarmored insides.
  • The Ninja Gaiden remakes usually make you work for your attack opportunities, but one notable example in the first game — Marbus — fights by flooding the area with some mooks and then taking potshots at you. While you can, if you're lucky, knock him out of the air on your own, he also tries to swoop down at you, invariably giving you a chance to beat the stuffing out of him.
  • Noitu Love lives and breathes this trope, with nearly every boss in the game opening themselves to attack or have a explicitly labeled weak point. Actually, all of the games made by the author revel in this trope. As seen in this review of all his games.
  • In No More Heroes and to a certain extent the sequels, if you think about it. All of the bosses in the first game are actually completely invincible or extremely evasive most of the time. There are usually only small windows of opportunity where the boss is actually vulnerable to your attacks; learning when these windows appear and exploiting them is almost the only way to win the game. In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and No More Heroes III, you can attack whenever for most bosses, but attacking at the wrong time can cause you to get hit.
  • Ōkami:
    • Orochi is only vulnerable after you get his various heads drunk and you can only truly damage him after knocking out all eight of his heads. To get him drunk, you draw the sake below him into his mouth when he roars, and he roars after you thwart his attacks. He cannot learn to avoid this strategy all three times he is fought. Nearly all the other bosses in Okami fit this trope as well. At least mythology establishes that Orochi is an alcoholic, justifying his inability to stop drinking sake.
    • Also, Ninetails. In the first part of the battle, drawing lightning to her sword when she lifts it up for a charged attack is the only way to make her vulnerable.
    • When doing a ranged attack, Blight throws all his swords at you, including the one that the Blight entity is actually within, and it's very visually distinct from the rest because it is glowing blue. If Blight stuck to just melee and dash attacks, it wouldn't be fine - Amaterasu has Blight's Kryptonite Factor, namely time-slow - but it'd certainly reduce the number of opportunities to power-slash the sword out of the sky and wail on it.
    • Armoured Dokuro from Ōkamiden, an enemy which isn't technically a boss but functions very much like one, is supposed to be this. Its main vulnerability is that upon spitting a fire, ice or lightning ball at you, you can power slash it back into the big skeleton's face and knock it unconscious for a short time, letting you shred its normally concealed health gem. The downside is that it randomly selects attacks, so it can take an agonisingly long time to get around to spitting the actual fireball - and the first one goes to removing its helmet. The end result is usually the player shouting at the DS to demand it commit tactical suicide sometime today.
  • Phoenotopia has several:
    • The Great Sand Drake is impervious to attacks from the outside (when not stunned), and can only be harmed/stunned by feeding it a bomb when it tries to bite you.
    • Both of the golem bosses charge at you after a while, ramming into the wall and becoming temporarily disabled and open to attack. Before they turn back on, you can push them over a trapdoor with repeated hits, and then open the trapdoor to drop them into a pit. (The second one makes this harder by covering the floor with bombs as it charges, though.)
    • The Kobold boss protects itself with a force field most of the time, but has to open it up to charge its death ball attack. It can be stunned, dropping the force field entirely, by throwing a javelin into its chest while it's doing so. Granted, its other attacks are easy to dodge, whereas this one is unavoidable and about twice as powerful as the rest.
  • Phoenotopia : Awakening:
    • The Wrecker robot Thomas sics on you and its Degraded Boss variant in the Scorched Lands can only be harmed by batting its electric stun grenade back at it.
    • The Century Toad has a hard shell around its head and is nearly always facing towards you. Attacking its softer body is technically possible, but it's a crapshoot. So the main method of causing damage to it is feeding it bombs when it tries to eat you.
  • Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen: Sometimes the Champion Blue's Blastoise would use Rain Dance...even when the opponent right at the field is an electric type pokemon that knows Thunder, a superpowerful electric type attack with low accuracy that becomes maximum whenever Rain Dance is activated.
  • Portal justifies/lampshades this trope. The boss fight starts once you destroy GLaDOS's morality core, which prevents her from trying to kill you with neurotoxin. GLaDOS notes that a side effect of the destruction is that she can't turn her self-defense rocket turret off anymore. The turret, of course, is necessary to beat her, by redirecting the rockets through portals.
  • Portal 2 defies and double subverts the trope while also justifying it and hanging lampshades:
    • When you confront GLaDOS again, she's taken care to keep you from using the same tactics to beat her as in the first game. However, unbeknownst to her, you've already sabotaged her defenses, and the mainframe helpfully provides a third option to the ensuing stalemate.
    • At the start of the final battle, Wheatley informs you that he has analyzed the first game's climax and set up an arena with no portal surfaces, and thus no way to fight him while the neurotoxin kills you. However, he took the extra step of equipping himself with bombs (and reconfigurable shields so you can't hit him with the bombs), but forgot about the tube of Conversion Gel running through the room. One broken tube later, and you gain the means with which to defeat him. What's more, after you hit him with a bomb for the first time, he tries to stop using them but discovers that the mechanism for doing so has been damaged. But that’s not to say he made that much of a mistake, as he did make sure to rig more bombs to the Stalemate Button in the event that he lost.
  • Psychonauts:
    • The Brain Tank and Kochamara bosses have the most blatant cases of this. The former's only weak spot is its underside, which it reveals for a looong time when rearing up for a charge attack, and the latter has an attack that drains its shield into a weak beam-thing that you can reflect back or dodge while blasting him.
    • If the Butcher never did a single vertical slash his arm would never get stuck in the ground, giving a way to reach his head. If Raz's imagined version of his dad didn't throw spiked flaming bowling pins at you during the second fight you'd have no way to damage the Butcher in the second battle.
  • Psychonauts 2:
    • The Lady Luctopus has to be stunned by throwing the bombs she spits out into one of her suction cups. This is likely invoked, as gambling addictions (which is what she is) cause self-destructive behavior.
    • The Gluttonous Goats vomit up the ingredients needed to cook the dish that defeats them.
    • While the Truheltia Memonstria can be damaged via normal Psi-blasts, the best way to take out chunks of their health is to toss the exploding bulbs and bottle missiles back at them.
  • Punch-Out!!:
    • King Hippo. If he never opened his mouth, he'd literally be unbeatable. This doesn't apply in the Wii version, though, since hooking his stomach when he jabs provides Stars for Star Punches, which don't discriminate.
    • Everybody would have a better chance against Little Mac if they didn't have tells, stop to taunt, etc. Of course, they do recognize this in time for Title Defense mode, shoring up some of their vulnerable spots (and sometimes opening up whole new cans of this).
  • Mr. P from Raging Justice is a powerful boss when it comes to direct combat, and can even execute a Spin Attack where he moves in circles all over the area. The downside, however, is that after each spin Mr. P will become momentarily disorientated and stop to pant, exposing himself to a punch to the face. You beat him down until Mr. P regains his bearing, at which point he will... repeat his spinning move, each time, deliberately making himself vulnerable to attacks until you defeat him. He's also a Recurring Boss fought twice in-game, and he will repeat this attack both times for no reason.
  • If the Snagglebeast had figured out that it was too heavy to cross the bridge in Ratchet & Clank, it would have successfully finished off the duo.
  • The original Rayman game has Mr. Sax, who is defeated by having Rayman punch his musical notes back towards him, and Skops, who launches a homing projectile that hones in on Rayman's fists; time your punches just right, and they'll fly into him instead.
  • Ditto in R-Type.
  • The final boss in Secret of Mana attacks by turning into a fireball and diving into the party, during which he is invincible. But he also helpfully floats in front of the platform the party is standing on in between these attacks, only occasionally casting a spell, leaving the player free to slash him with the Mana Sword. Justified in that the boss isn't trying to kill you, he's there to destroy the Mana Fortress. You're just getting in the way when he gets close to try to destroy it.
  • RWBY: Grimm Eclipse:
    • Both Ursa Minor and Ursa Major perform a variation of this. Their strongest attack is their ground slam, which sends out rocks in a circle around them and can deplete nearly all of your Aura if it connects. After performing this attack, Ursas get stunned, leaving themselves open for a combo or two. Now, exploiting this isn't necessary to defeat them, as you can still shoot and beat them up the old-fashioned way. That, however, will take much longer, since in a normal state, Ursas only receive 1/4 of your attacks' damage, plus guard automatically.
  • Shadow of the Colossus:
    • Almost every boss features this. If the second one didn't try to stomp you, you couldn't shoot its feet. If the bird didn't dive bomb you, you couldn't climb onto it, etc.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons Game, where the Simpsons discover they're in a video game and use this knowledge to their advantage. Unfortunately, Genre Savvy comes back to bite them in one battle against aliens, when Bart points out that the UFO fires four times and exposes its weak point. The aliens immediately start to wonder why they do that, and resolve not to do so anymore, making them completely invulnerable as they rampage through Springfield. The Simpsons get annoyed enough that they go confront God about it.
  • The final boss in Skyblazer. If he didn't try to punch you with his massive arm that you can use as a platform, you'd run out of magic far before he'd take enough damage to die.
  • Something series
    • If Von Frog II didn't spawn his toad minions when you fought him in Something, fighting him when his saucer rises higher into the air would be impossible.
    • If Monkey Kong didn't toss barrels at Luigi during the phase where Munchers are a prominent obstacle, he would be impossible to beat.
    • Von Frog II's machine in Something Else shoots stompable ball projectiles at Luigi. Like the toads the saucer spawns in Something, Luigi can use them to reach the cockpit of the machine. If the projectiles weren't there, Von Toad II would be harder to beat.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Many of Robotnik/Eggman's machines are like this, especially in the later games, where he has attacks that can hurt Sonic without going into harm's way, but he does so anyway. He has an IQ of 300.
    • The final boss of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a huge mecha with a small hit area, and a claw that completely covers it. If Robotnik simply walked instead of flying into the air (he is extremely vulnerable upon landing, where he leans forward), he would be much harder to hit, but not outright invincible. note 
      • The Oil Ocean boss has no reason to surface during the fight because Eggman's craft doesn't have any weapons directly attached to it. He attacks by launching a snake-like weapon with a sharp point on the end and a laser cannon that emerges from the oil. Yet he does, and gets smacked.
      • The Metropolis Zone boss is another downplayed example. He can be hit while the orbs are still spinning erratically — which can make the normally tedious fight much quicker — but this is not an ideal strategy unless you have plenty of rings (good luck with that, by the way), because you will most likely get hit a lot, potentially turning it into a Rush Boss rather than a tedious one.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles has a ton of these.
      • The only way to damage the mid-boss of Carnival Night Zone is to let its floating spiked disc do all the work (you just have to expose its core by jumping at the main body). However, this is not your greatest worry in this fight - the spiked disc is constantly destroying what little precious ground you have to stand on. If you time your hits wrong, the disc will rob you of your platforms before it destroys itself.
      • Likewise, the battle with Eggman in Carnival Night Zone comes down to being able to jump on him when he floats down to pick up the grounding orb he uses to generate a magnetic field (if he had a way to raise it back up to his ship without descending then he would be unstoppable). Once again, however, time proves to be your greatest adversary. The second act of Carnival Night is a Marathon Level, and if you used up too much of your allotted 10 minutes just getting to the boss, you will lose a life. And this particular contraption of Eggman's gives Sonic some of the shortest, least frequent windows of opportunity to attack. Perhaps the good doctor had the right idea after all...
      • The Flying Battery miniboss can only attack you with its oversized spiked flails. It doesn't try to think up a better way to deal with blue hedgehogs on its head other than bashing its own head in. Even assuming that it's not mechanically capable of low lateral swipes over the top of its head, it would still be able to win by doing nothing, thus keeping Sonic busy long enough for Robotnik to finish carrying out his evil plan.
      • The last boss in Flying Battery will hang below the girder Sonic is standing on and slowly sidle side to side, igniting its flamethrower whenever Sonic is standing above it. The only time you can damage it is when he arbitrarily swings his machine above the girder for no reason other than to get hit.
      • In the Lava Reef Zone boss fight, Eggman will continue to shoot spike balls while inclining the surface such that they roll into his own ship.
      • The "Death Ball" boss in Death Egg act 2 can only be damaged by making it hit itself with the little weird spiked things it drops occasionally. Worse, there's only two ways to actually do that, and they both rely on a Gravity Screw device Eggman installed in the arena for no apparent reason.
      • The first phase of the True Final Boss can only be won by tricking it into hitting itself with its own heat-seeking missiles.
      • Silver Sonic/Metal Sonic/Mecha Sonic, the final boss if you're playing as Knuckles, suffers from this during the second phase. During this phase, he steps on the Master Emerald to regain his strength and turn Super, where he is invincible and has two attacks: He can charge at Knuckles on the ground, or launch energy orbs at him...which disables his super mode and forces him to get back on the Master Emerald to regain his power, during which he is vulnerable. If he kept attacking Knuckles by charging at him instead of launching energy orbs (which is actually easier to avoid than the charge attack), he would remain Super forever and be impossible to kill. This trope gets taken even further when he only has two hits left; he only uses an attack that causes eight rings to shoot out from all around him, and also disables his Super mode after he uses it. (Though it might be because he is so banged up at that point that even the Master Emerald's healing factor is wearing off on him.)
    • Sonic Adventure
      • The Egg Viper. During the first part of the fight, Eggman regularly uses a charged laser attack that requires him to hold still with the cockpit wide open for several seconds; most players will never even see him get to the actual attack. He later switches to a slightly more direct attack that involves shooting a very platform-like projectile that Sonic can easily ride straight back for the hit.
      • Also, E-101 MKII. He simply bats away all your shots or strafes out of the way, but completely exposes himself every time he attempts to impale you. If he never charged, he'd be invincible.
      • The Egg Hornet. If all Eggman ever did was shoot those little missiles at you, and never stuck himself in the ground trying to hit you with his ship, Sonic would wear out and eventually get hit.
      • Chaos isn't immune: in his 2 form, he bounces around as a giant ball in one attack, and covers most of the floor for a couple of seconds in another. Why would he ever need to do that stretch-punch thing? Well... because if he didn't, he couldn't stop moving afterwards, giving Knuckles a chance to punch his brain.
      • And his 4 form is worse; the only time he's vulnerable isn't even associated with an attack. If he'd stop just surfacing and sitting there, Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles would eventually lose.
      • Chaos 6 has this problem as well. If Eggman had stayed out of the fight and wasn't flying around dropping bombs, Chaos would have been impossible to beat (so really in this case it's a matter of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain since Chaos was doing just fine before Eggman thought he should also be involved).
    • The Egg Dealer from Shadow the Hedgehog is one of the most exemplary examples of this trope. It's a slot machine mech that Shadow can control by hitting its reels, causing it to attack itself with missiles, bombs, or even grant Shadow invincibility with Shadow Fever. The last one really makes you wonder why Eggman even programmed that in.
    • Iblis from Sonic 2006. Silver has to kill it by reflecting its thrown rocks back at it, preferably before it manages to close the distance, slam the platform three times and drop you to your death. Unfortunately, his A.I. Roulette makes it possible to reflect every rock he threw, and still die at the end because he spent so much time throwing shockwaves that you couldn't do anything with. This actually happened to Pokecapn in the infamous Let's Play of the game.
    • In Knuckles Chaotix, what stage the player goes to next is determined by a roulette-like device with an image of each of the five stages on it. As each stage is complete, the images are replaced with 1, 2, 3, X, and 4; once all five stages are completed, the roulette is used to fight Metal Sonic. Whatever number the roulette lands on during the fight determines the attack, but landing on the X causes damage to Metal Sonic. To Metal Sonic's credit, when there's only one number and the X left, X causes the attack and the number defeats him, in case the player is able to time the roulette at that point.
    • Sonic Rush:
      • While the Ghost Titan from Sonic Rush Adventure is already one of the most frustrating bosses in all of Sonic history, he would literally be literally invincible if he'd just stop shooting and only punched.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4
      • The final boss of Episode I at E.G.G. Station is a throwback to the final boss of Sonic 2 with a twist: after taking a certain amount of damage, the electrics in Eggman's robot start to short out and he becomes untouchable directly. The only way to expose him is to fling his detachable spiked arms back to him with a homing attack as they float down after being fired (after which Eggman's entire machine will stall and give you a chance to dole out some damage proper).
    • The True Final Boss of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island can only be hit when he enters the platform Sonic is standing on, which he does on every phase (hitting him is how you move between phases). This includes one phase where the boss ship is not even present at the platform until Sonic has to hit him.
    • In Sonic Forces, when he first fights Sonic, Infinite is fond of generating hordes of fragile duplicates of himself who just stand there floating in the air, with the real Infinite in the back. By Homing Attacking a row of duplicates, Sonic can bounce far enough to reach the real Infinite. Infinite otherwise spends his entire battle floating some distance in the air, attacking in ways that don't allow Sonic to reach him. Justified in that this technique is for intimidation, not to gain an edge, and Infinite has a crippling inferiority complex about being seen as weak. As a result, he spends some time in every fight putting on displays of power to his opponents, no matter how many times it backfires on him.
    • Heavy Gunner from Sonic Mania fires three rockets at a time during its fight. You have to avoid the red missiles but the blue ones can be bounced back to Heavy Gunner and take out his Eggrobo entourage (before eventually destroying his helicopter, ending the fight). The blue rockets are his only weakness yet he keeps firing them.
  • Two of the Bonus Bosses in the Flash RPG Sonny do this. Omen has a move that makes both his next attack and yours much more deadly; if you already have a shield in place, you can hit him for massive damage while absorbing his attack. Dr. Herregods is even more egregious; he has one million hit points, and once you've knocked off a thousand or so he will heal himself for two million hit points. Too bad you have a move that reverses damage and healing.
  • Spider: The Video Game ends with you facing a Brain Monster who can only be killed by charging and then triggering a set of switches around it. The solution? Trick the monster to fire it's Eye Beams at you, while taking cover behind those switches. The beams will empower the device, and then you wait for it to attempt using it's Tail Slap before pulling a Deadly Dodging so it's tail hits the switch while aiming for you. Hitting the switch each time damages the monster, rinse and repeat having the boss using it's attacks on itself and it goes down in no time.
  • The final boss of the first Splatoon, DJ Octavio, can only be damaged by shooting his fists or missiles back at him. Naturally, he never considers forgoing those attacks and sticking with the weapons in his arsenal that can't be used against him.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • Spyro the Dragon is full of this. In the first game, Doctor Shemp would have lived if he didn't expose his back when he attacked, and Metalhead combines this with Boss-Arena Idiocy; he could have easily stayed in the first area after you destroyed his power poles and would have been invincible. In the second game, to defeat Crush, you need to attack him, then let him bring the ceiling down on himself. It's somewhat subverted, as the rocks can hurt you also. Halfway subverted when he uses that against you, chasing you for a bit before smashing the ground. In the third game, ALL THE BOSSES are like this. The first four deserve special mention, as your ally helps you to hurt the boss. Of course the boss doesn't pay attention to the powerful kangaroo, the flying penguin, the yeti or the laser-gun armed monkey. The true final battle gives you a UFO, while the boss is just waiting for you to get on it. Mind you, the entire area is filled with purple acid, save for a small platform.
    • Metalhead may be somewhat justified in leaving the first area; since those poles are power poles, he may require them to operate at a combat-capable level (or at all, since destroying all the poles in the level causes him to promptly topple over dead).
    • And fair's fair to Dr. Shemp, unlike most examples of this trope, he does learn from his mistakes, and each subsequent exposure of his back is shorter harder to bait from him. If he'd had one or two more hit points, it's possible he may have subverted the trope and become invincible. Of course, he doesn't.
    • The battle with Ineptune in A Hero's Tail is a prime example of this. Ineptune's only weakness is being rammed by Spyro after she either looks down after missing a shot at him, or laughs after hitting him. Neither of these tactics serve any benefit to her.
    • The two battles with Red are the embodiment of this trope. In the first battle, Red repeatedly conjures up exploding boxes which almost never hurt Spyro and are the ONLY way to hurt Red. In the second battle, he turns into Mecha Red, a robot version of himself, and decides that the best place to fight Spyro is in a room FULL of weaponry that he designed, all of which is capable of hurting him, and his former captive is outside in the control room making this weaponry available to Spyro CONSTANTLY.
  • Star Fox 64:
    • Some bosses will attack you with weapons that can be destroyed and converted into collectible bombs, even if bombs are the boss's only weakness, and without a constant supply you would quickly be left helpless. One boss attacks by constantly shooting floating barrels. It's almost impossible to be hit by these barrels, but they can be shot to yield health-pickups.
    • There's also the boss of Sector Y. He's quick and maneuverable, and since he's one of the few bosses that can be hurt without attacking a weak point, those are its greatest strengths. And every so often he flies to a platform in the middle of the arena and just stands there shooting at you, making him an easy target. Said boss, the Shogun, will begin to heal if left alone long enough on his ship.
  • Sundered: The boss Hysteria is a giant Spider Tank whose weak points are too high for Eshe to reach. He would be impossible to defeat if not for the fact that one of his attacks (in which he smashes the ground with a giant hammer) will launch Eshe high enough into the air to attack any of his weak points if it misses her. The same attack also throws debris into the air, creating temporary floating platforms for Eshe to climb.
  • Super Mario Bros. has quite a lot of these. Bowser in particular tends to be a big offender:
    • Super Mario Bros.: Bowser mostly commits Boss-Arena Idiocy, placing an axe at the end of his bridge even after seven fakes fell to their doom. But for this trope, his habit of making big slow jumps in the air can be incredibly helpful to the player, especially in later worlds.
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: It was bad enough that Wart keeps a machine in his room that constantly provides his Weaksauce Weakness (vegetables, because he is allergic to them), but he also opens his mouth to shoot deadly bubbles at the protagonist, allowing them to effectively force-feed him to death.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3:
      • The Koopalings would be invincible if they simply resorted to jumping around after getting hit instead of coming out of their shells.
      • Bowser will keep ground pounding at Mario, even if it means his death.
    • Super Mario World: If Bowser stopped throwing Mechakoopas after Mario, there'd be no way to defeat him.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: Prince Froggy's fight begins with him swallowing Yoshi whole. Froggy will also eat Shy Guys which Yoshi can turn into eggs and throw at his uvula.
    • Super Mario 64: If Bowser didn't have bombs surrounding his battle arena, there would be no way to defeat him.
    • In New Super Mario Bros., it's played straight in about half of his fights against Bowser Jr. In most of the later fights, he becomes aware of the fact that he's vulnerable when not inside his shell, so he retreats into it whenever it seems like Mario might jump on him. (You can tell when he's doing this when his bandanna is over his mouth.) Unfortunately, he throws Koopa shells at you after every time he does this, which you can throw back at him to flip him over helplessly. Not the best compensation for a new tactic.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy: If Bowser just restricted himself to breathing fire and spinning around in his shell, you'd have no way to defeat him. Thankfully for the player, he'll also jump at you, even if you're standing on a thin layer of glass which is right above a lava pool... which is the only thing that can damage him.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii: If Bowser just restricted himself to smashing the foundations of his castle and not breathing fire, blowing out passages, he would have killed you.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2:
      • If Bowser would just refrain from Megaton Punching the planet and launching those meteors into the sky, you'd have no way to defeat him.
      • If Megahammer never fired Bullet Bills at you to be licked up by Yoshi and shot back at its weak points, it'd be untouchable in spite of the Boss-Arena Idiocy inherent in having both Yoshi eggs and Sling Stars sitting around.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. U, during the fight with him in The Mighty Cannonship, Bowser Jr. would be completely invincible if he didn't feel the need to fire homing Torpedo Teds at you that can be easily redirected into him.
    • A couple of bosses in Super Mario 3D World play this straight:
      • Again, Bowser uses this trope when he throws soccer bombs that can be kicked back onto the car he's riding. If he'd just kept on spitting fire at Mario and his friends, he'd be invincible.
      • Pom Pom uses doppelgangers to aid her in her fight. You have to hit the real deal in order to damage her. The trope comes in when she decides to stand out from her doppelgangers for no apparent reason by having a different colored Fuuma Shuriken than the clones, as well as a few other differences.
      • Both Hisstocrat and Queen Hisstocrat feel a need to have their servants hold plates over their heads for no reason other than to make it easier to stomp them.
      • Boss Brolder would be invincible if it wasn't for the fact that he's hurt by having a Brolder (which he summoned to help him) thrown at him.
      • Meowser somehow felt the need to go onto POW blocks at certain points of his fight. Said POW blocks are the only thing that can hurt him.
    • The Bowser's Fury extra game for the 3D World rerelease on the Switch brings us Fury Bowser. While he is smart enough to block Giga Cat Mario's paw swipes and will fling him away after enough tries, many of his other attacks give Mario an opportunity to harm him; he can rain down wooden spikes that Mario can pick up and hurl into his face (or simply hold and inflict Collision Damage unto Bowser), fire off the aforementioned soccer bombs, and even try to Ground Pound Mario with the spiky side of his shell, exposing his underside for a Ground Pound or a cat dive. Even That One Attack, where Bowser spins like a wheel towards Mario, can be sidestepped and countered. Of course, the main justification is that Bowser is so unbelievably angry that he can't make a proper strategy, which gains even more support when, at the game's end, he is freed from the main cause of his fury, and proceeds to not only steal the Giga Bells, but also fire off tons of projectiles to keep Mario from trying to reclaim them. Of course, he occasionally stops to laugh instead of staying on the move, which gives Mario the opportunity he needs.
    • In Super Mario Odyssey, in both fights with Bowser, if he didn't throw his hat, there would be no way for Mario to use it to defeat him. Also, in the game, many bosses would use certain tactics that did more harm to themselves than actually helping them.
      • Hariet would be unbeatable if she didnt throw bombs towards Mario. It's even worse for her when she threw large bombs that would get stuck to the ground, leaving an open room for Mario to counterattack.
      • Rango would be invincible if he didn't throw his hat.
      • If Madame Broode had just let go of her chain chomp once Mario had captured it, he would have no way to wind it up and launch it back to her, and she could continue fighting.
      • If Knucklotec didn't summon icicles and feel the need to punch Mario, there would be no way for Mario to capture his hands and use them back onto him.
      • Though the player could actually trigger this, Cookatiel really dug its grave by spewing lava into the pot, since Mario (as a lava bubble) could climb up the lava spew.
      • The Ruined Dragon would be basically unbeatable if it didn't slam its head on the ground every time.
      • Somehow, the Broodals decided that spawning Pokeys into the arena would help them during the fight with their Humongous Mecha Robobrood. It didn't work.
    • Mario Party 3: During the Final Boss battle, the Millenium Star attempts to attack the player with star-shaped projectiles. This itself isn't a problem, but because the boss lowers its position shortly afterwards, the player can quickly grab one of the projectiles and throw it back at him.
    • Mario Party 5: Bowser in his giant form. He can breath fire out, and throw orbs that release shockwaves, yet keeps using orbs that leave behind rocks that can be thrown back at him after he uses his fire breath.
    • Mario Party DS: Piranha Plant, where you catch the projectiles he spits at you and throw them back at him. Why is this tactical suicide? On the board itself, he simply breathes fire at you, which cannot be turned against him.
    • The Post-Final Boss of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is a very special example. Shrowser fires some fireballs and counters others in an absolutely horrible way. He ends up attacking his new power source: the ghost of the Elder Princess Shroob. This is necessary for a winnable encounter, as this particular boss won't give you the opportunity to attack or use items; the only way to win is to dodge and counter.
    • Super Mario World: Many Game Mod boss battles either work off an A.I. Roulette or follow a set pattern, with the ones in games like Brutal Mario, Scarlet Devil Mario and Super Mario LD being set pattern types and the ones in certain other hacks being the AI roulette types.
  • In Super Meat Boy, many bosses do this. For example, the boss of Chapter 1: The Forest, Lil' Slugger, will chase you through a sea of sawblades, and ultimately commit suicide in a sawblade trap. Little Horn in Chapter 4: Hell will smash his head into the small platform you stand on. If you dodge it, Little Horn gets a bump on his head and is damaged. Two more times and he's dead. And, as a reference to Super Mario Bros., in the final boss fight with Dr. Fetus, you get to press a button and watch the floor collapse under him as he falls to his death(?).
  • Taz: Wanted: In the third area boss fight, Yosemite Sam attacks Taz by tossing dynamite throughout the warehouse, Taz can lure Sam into tossing dynamite towards the explosives near him to damage him.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, the stage four boss is Shredder himself manning a Spider Tank. The turtles can't hurt the mecha directly; they have to throw Foot soldiers at it. If Shredder stopped sending his mooks in, he would have all the time in the world to simply pick the turtles off with his guns. To be fair, at least the exact type of mooks you have to use as ammo changes with the difficulty level: easy has the normal variety, normal has the ones that throw shurikens and hard has the variety that block most of your attacks and can only thrown reliably by hitting them with a running tackle first, which can be tricky to connect with.
  • In Terranigma, the final boss' second form uses only ranged attacks, including a screen-filling beam which can take a non-blocking player down in less time than it takes to read this sentence. If the player hangs around the bottom of the screen, though, Dark Gaea responds by getting close enough for Ark to slash. That may be intentional, though: the boss does, at the beginning of said combat, explicitly say that it's taking a physical form to make the fight fairer.
  • The Final Boss of Terraria has several eyes on his body that must be taken out to progress the fight, but can only be damaged while open. The one on his forehead stays closed almost all of the time, and only opens in order to fire his Phantasmal Deathray; if he never used the Deathray, you wouldn't have a way to beat him.
  • Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy have ALL of them, despite being notorious Space Pirates.
    • Sly, the first boss, controls a mech which dispenses slow-moving, bouncing mines at Roddy and Cathy, which can be grabbed and flung back at him. It somehow never occurs to him to simply ram his mech forward and run over the players, relying entirely on this attack which makes him a lot easier to defeat. He makes the same mistaske during the Boss Rush rematch.
    • Big Guy attacks Roddy and Cathy with his hovering battleship, where he will fight by dropping bombs from his external carriage. Said carriage have three compartments behind which can be hit, resulting in a massive explosion that damages Big Guy.
    • Burns, who pilots a giant robot, alternates between using the robot's hydraulic pump to flatten Roddy and Cathy, or pound the ground causing rocks to fall from above. Those rocks however stays onscreen and can be picked up and flung on Burns for damage.
    • Misty, who averts this trope in her initial battle, somehow follows it when you fight her a second time (in the above-mentioned Boss Rush). Instead of her original mech she now pilots a robot similar to Sly's, and some of her snowball projectiles contains mines which can be picked up and flung at her.
    • The first phase of Captain Klapton the Final Boss, where his dragon mecha extends it's neck to breath fire on Roddy and Cathy. Said robot's exposed neck contains removable parts which can be yanked off and then thrown back on it to cause damage. What's even better is that the dragon will constantly regenerate new segments to be pulled off and flung.
  • In Treasure Adventure Game, several bosses suffer from this. However one robot subverts it: once you've attacked it twice when it exposes its weak spot, it changes its programming to not expose it any more.
  • It would be easier to list An Untitled Story bosses that don't stop in their tracks and practically yell "HIT ME! HIT ME!". There are two.
  • Undertale has a variation with Undyne's boss fight, where the action she does is important to not killing her. Specifically, you have to keep fleeing from her in order to spare her, and if she didn't turn your SOUL from green back to red (as the green SOUL mode prevents you from fleeing), then you would have no choice but to kill her.
    • There's also certain segments during the fight against Photoshop Flowey where he uses attacks from one of the six SOULS, giving you the chance to call out to that SOUL for help, which turns them against him and helps you win.
  • In Unworthy, Gaston, Heir of Ambition has an attack where he jumps to the platform off-screen and begins shooting ice arrows straight down. During that time, he's completely invulnerable, and you can only wait until the attack ends. It makes sense he has to recover, but unclear why he has to come back down to the ground to do so. Even if he activates this attack while near death, he chooses to extend it by firing two such arrows at once for the final volley, and then come down, rather then simply staying back up. Presumably, he's literally too ambitious to consider such a cowardly move.
    • It's equally unclear why for his normal attacks, he always stops a short while before reaching the edge of the arena, giving you just enough space to roll behind him, and get a couple of hits in while he's shooting in the wrong direction.
    • Amandil, Father of Darkness fights you in an arena divides in half by a beam that cannot be crossed, except through using a Spirit Bow. Nevertheless, he occasionally teleports in right next to you to attack with a staff, even though he has several ranged attacks and is far safer at range. He even does it when you are blinded by a previous attack, and so basically incapable of either shooting at him, or dodging his shots well, yet still able to dish out damage in close quarters.
  • Warframe:
    • Councillor Vay Hek, the boss of Earth, is invulnerable until he raises his faceplate to scream propaganda at you.
    • Sargas Ruk, the final boss of Saturn, is completely invulnerable until he begins to launch his deadliest attacks, after which various parts of his armor open up (presumably to vent heat), leaving him wide-open to attack.
    • The Ropalolyst is only vulnerable to attack after being stunned and forced to fight on the ground, which requires ramming it into super charged energy pillars in its arena....except the pillars (well conduits) don't charge on their own. They only get overcharged when the Ropalolyst shoots at them with a giant death ray. There's also elements of Boss-Arena Idiocy, as it can only be fought in an area with the precise set of equipment needed to defeat it. Unlike the above two bosses, though, there is a justification for both of these tropes - the arena is implied to be below Alad V's command center, so the Ropalolyst is there to ensure that he follows through on his debts.
  • Wario Land bosses tend to spend a lot of time invulnerable, so when you get an opening, it's usually this trope at work. Some bosses, including the final bosses of the first and fourth games, even give you throwable objects without which they would be unbeatable.
  • Wario Land: Shake It! has examples in all of its bosses, save for Chortlebot, who falls under a different category entirely:
    • Rollnratl would be invincible if he didn't slam his head into the ground in his first phase, throw only the red missiles which explode on contact, as opposed to missiles which could be stood on and stuck in the ground in his second phase, and summon two satellites which could also be stood on in his third form.
    • Hot Roderick would be invincible if he didn't throw wrenches and tires at Wario, which he can punch back at his engine, making it go kaput and disabling the flame keeping Wario from punching his engine.
    • Bloomsday combines this with Boss-Arena Idiocy; if he didn't summon Bandineros with his sucking attack, Wario wouldn't have anything to throw at him to stun him and eventually knock him into the lake surrounding his arena.
    • Large Fry is a triple offender: he couldn't be hurt if he: A. didn't slam the ground and summon bags of enemies, which could be thrown into his mouth, B.spit out a bomb, when this happens enough times, and C. just not eat everything that comes too close to his gob.
    • The Shake King would be invincible if he didn't do the charging attack that allows Wario to stomp on him, causing to trip and get stuck in the wall due to his helmet, get rammed so that he falls out and get thrown into the ceiling for incredibly high damage. For extra points, he continues this even after he revives for the second phase!
  • The Wonderful 101: With shields that are too thick to break through and you only controlling one Platinum Robo, the Final Boss Jergingha might've been completely invincible... if one of his attacks didn't involve shooting out other robots that your team can hijack and use to form the giant Unite Morphs needed to break through the shields.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Both C'thun and Yogg-Saron, the game's resident Eldritch Abominations, employ attacks that swallow or consume players, but also place them in a location where they can inflict damage on the normally invulnerable boss. In the latter case, you have to use the portals yourself.
    • Icehowl in the Crusader's Coliseum is a Bullfight Boss who literally charges into walls and stuns himself. Justified, as yetis aren't all that smart.
      • Crush of the Brawler's Guild has a similar strategy to Icehowl.
    • Hakkar the Blood God drains the life from the raiders, healing himself to nearly maximum health. However, all over the arena there are winged serpents that leave a cloud of poison when they die. If the players poison themselves, Hakkar drains the poison from their blood.
    • Baron Ashbury in Shadowfang Keep will occasionally start healing everyone, friend and foe, in the nearby area. To convince the players to let him channel it, he'll hit the entire party with an HP To One spell, necessitating a balancing act between staying alive and keeping him from undoing too much damage. If he had not healed himself, the players would have been in big trouble. Of course, there's an achievement for defeating him without letting him heal.
    • Millie Watt in the Brawler's Guild has the ability to put void zones on the ground, and one type incapacitates you unless you're damaged. By running into the void zones before the latter is used, you can free yourself.
    • A somewhat downplayed example is Ahoo'ru, who protects himself with an impenetrable barriernote . The barrier can be removed by tricking the Avenging Angels into charging him. However, not only do you have to reduce the angels to half health before they charge, but you also have to navigate the shifting lights to reach the orbs that spawn them.
    • On the fourth phase of the fight with Garrosh Hellscream, which is only available on Mythic, you have to trick the fleet into firing an Unstable Iron Star at you, and then use it to interrupt his Unleash Rage attack.
    • Asaad in the Vortex Pinnacle periodically unleashes a powerful lightning storm that would normally almost certainly kill everyone on the platform. However, before doing so, for some unexplained reason he creates what's basically a Faraday cage where players can run and hide to avoid lightning damage.
    • Talixae Flamewreath, the second boss of the Court of Stars has a council of three demons with her and for each one nearby she and the demons have their health and damage doubled. At the start, she has raid boss level health and can easily crush even a tank. But each time the players take out a fel enforcer, she sends one of her demons away to investigate.
  • XenoGears: The first form of Deus consecutively heals itself and delivers a counterattack when striked. If it isn't attacked, it uses a move to cut all HP, including its own, by half, repeating until all its health has been minimized enough to be finished in a few blows.
  • Yooka-Laylee, in true form to its inspiration have all its bosses be this trope:
    • The Great Rampo would be invincible if he just kept doing the fire breath attack and didn't show his teeth once you got to the top.
    • Brrreeze Blok wouldn't melt as fast if he just stopped moving, keeping him from going over the torches you light behind him, making him melt in addition from you being able to breathe fire due to the Scorchberries in the room.
    • Trev the Tenteyecle would be invincible if he didn't open the eyes on his tentacle when he smashes it onto the floor, as well as opening the hatch to his main eye when this happens.
    • I.N.E.P.T would be impossible to beat if he didn't rush at you in his first phase, allowing Kartos to get a good shot at him, smash into his own mines in his second phase, and used regular missiles as opposed to homing ones.
    • Planette couldn't be hurt if she just floated above the duo and shot at them.
    • Capital B. would be invincible if there weren't two Frostberry plants as well as a bunch of Corplet crates, allowing you to get a good shot at the now-flying boss, and in his third phase where he does a Shockwave Stomp using his cane, which eventually gets stuck and allows you a good shot at him. To his credit, at least the former was Dr. Quack's fault, and he at least didn't fall into the Grimy Water he flooded part of the room with in the latter.
  • Ys: The Oath in Felghana. If Chester didn't use That One Attack on you, you'd never kill him, as he is invincible until he uses that dash stab attack of his. He's got plenty of other attacks to murder you outright (especially the 2nd time you fight him...), he clearly doesn't need that Dash Stab, complete with the "HIT ME NOW" sound effect that also telegraphs he's about to do that move.
    • Similarly, Ernst in Ys VI will usually hit you first when you get close, but takes a moment to recover from his dash attack.
  • Most of the bosses in Bugsnax, since it's not like you have actual weapons, but special points to Mothza Supreme, which not only fights you near a ziggurat with a platform on it that lets you throw stuff at it, but rains down the explosive creatures for you to throw at it, calls up whirlwinds that conveniently knock them out and put out the fires they naturally have so you can pick them up safely, and only ever hovers right above the giant pizza cutters that damage it.

Non-video game examples

  • Discussed here in Captain SNES: The Game Masta. According to Magus, the Villain's First Rule is "Always have a weakness, or fate will make one for you." In other words, villains have to deliberately leave holes in their defenses that they can manage, or else the heroes will blindside them with something that can break through their defenses anyways.
  • One of Cracked's 31 Life Lessons You Can Only Learn From Video Games is an illustration involving Punch-Out!!: "it may take a few tries, but life gets easier once you figure out the patterns."
  • The Omnidroid machines in The Incredibles can only be hurt by their own claws. That said, the new model is smart enough to not attack itself voluntarily.
  • Magic: The Gathering features a number of cards like this. Lich, Final Fortune (and its many reprints under different names), Nefarious Lich, Phage the Untouchable, Immortal Coil, and the Pact cycle will all kill you under the proper conditions. The trick is to win before those conditions are met or have very strong counters. On a broader level, this is actually part of the color black's traditional color strategies. A large number of strong black cards demand costs in addition to mana in order to activate or (more in line with the trope specifically) repeatedly harms the player for having them out. This has waned over the years, mostly due to numerous ways to benefit from harming oneself or sacrificing creatures that have been introduced to the game.
  • Parodied in Sluggy Freelance where, when fighting a giant monster, Torg ignores the creature's giant eyeball altogether, instead focusing on the fact that, "It lifts its belly every minute or two! Go for the soft, occasionally revealed, underbelly!"
  • The Star Wars Customizable Card Game features this for the second Death Star. A card called That Thing's Operational lets you move your Death Star and blast capital ships with it, but it also means that, when not around Endor or if the shield's not up, your Death Star is vulnerable. The light side player doesn't even have to play another card!
  • Apollo Creed in the second Rocky movie. By the final round, both he and Rocky are exhausted, and Apollo has won every round except one. All he had to do was fight defensively and he would have won by decision. Instead, he goes for a knockout victory, a strategy that ultimately costs him the match and his championship.
  • One of Ric Flair's signature spots is going up to the top rope then being hurled off. He did this all the time, despite the fact it doesn't lead to anything except getting thrown off by anyone he squares off with.
  • In the fourth book of the Young Wizards series, the heroes are fighting the demon Balor, who is invincible unless he opens his eye to use his Eye Beam attack. The problem is that he doesn't need to use that attack to win, so it looks like the world is doomed... until the Spoony Bard taunts Balor into using his Eye Beam, at which point the hero throws the Spear of Fire into Balor's eye and kills him.
  • Invoked in Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai. In the final battle against Demon King Vearn, he showcases his "Tenchimatou" stance - a technique which allows him use two devastating attacks plus an Attack Reflector at the same time, at the cost of requiring him to stand perfectly still to charge energy (meaning it can only be used as a Counter-Attack). Popp realises that Vearn is so Strong and Skilled that he could defeat the heroes instantly just by walking up and punching them, but that the strain of using Tenchimatou creates a brief moment afterwards where he freezes and becomes vulnerable to attack. So Popp taunts Vearn by claiming that his so-called "ultimate technique" has a hole in it, knowing that Vearn's Pride will ensure he fights exclusively with Tenchimatou just to prove him wrong.
  • In the first story of Vow of Nudity, Haara finds herself badly wounded, unarmed, and fighting a bronze wyrmling sorcerer who's vastly stronger than her. She defeats it by standing near a load-bearing wall and taunting it into firing a Breath Weapon at her, shattering the wall and letting a deluge of swamp water drown it.

 
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Stapler

If Stapler manages to staple Mario, he'll be unable to attack. However, Stapler will then use Untag Wag, which does a lot of damage but frees Mario.

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Main / TacticalSuicideBoss

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