Follow TV Tropes


True Final Boss

Go To

A hidden Boss Battle in a Video Game that shows up after (or instead of) the game's usual Final Boss battle, but only if certain conditions have been met. In terms of the narrative, they could be the regular Final Boss gone One-Winged Angel, The Man Behind the Man, a Greater-Scope Villain, The Dragon (having arrived late to the party), some side character nobody thought was important until right this moment, or (if the game is a fan of Mind Screw) a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. Or maybe the regular Final Boss is The Dragon or a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, and the Big Bad proper is the True Final Boss. Regardless of their identity, this is undoubtedly THE strongest, baddest opponent you can battle in the game (aside from maybe the Super Boss).


Exactly how to unlock the True Final Boss varies: It may be as simple as playing the game on a higher (or the highest) Difficulty Level, or it may involve achievements like a Speed Run, No-Damage Run, 100% Completion, or some obscure Gotta Catch Them All Side Quest, or the boss may appear at the very end of an unlockable Boss Rush mode after the main story. In some cases you may not even be able to fight them on your first attempt at the game, being reserved for New Game+ runs (typically when this happens it's because you're able to use knowledge or abilities that weren't an option during the original run but now are possible because of the differences in your character from the last time you were in this position; alternatively it could just be that something new was permitted from the original playthrough). Not every game will Foreshadow that this foe even exists in the first place or how to find them — Guide Dang It! — and sometimes even an official strategy guide will intentionally avoid spoiling them in advance. (But for that, there's always the Internet…)


If a game has Multiple Endings, expect the game's Golden Ending to be hidden behind them, especially if anything less yields only a Bittersweet Ending (at best) and/or provides little or no real thematic closure to the game's narrative (though if you're particularly unlucky, such a boss can also exist on your way to the darkest outcome). Outside of that, don't expect any tangible rewards for beating them, though.

Expect an Oh, Crap! moment when a player unlocks them for their first time — bonus points if it happens while showing off their mad gameplay skills (or a Self-Imposed Challenge) to their nearby friends.

Contrast Post-Final Boss, which is an easier, post-climax fight that lets you cool down after the real climactic struggle.

A subtrope of Route Boss, wherein the "route" is unlocked after completing all other story content.


Compare and contrast Superboss, which is an extra-hard secret unlockable boss that has no relevance to the game plot (or at least not to the immediate struggle) and only gives a Bragging Rights Reward for beating it. A True Final Boss is sometimes this since they're not always required outside of 100% completion.

Not to be confused with a normal Final Boss after a Disc-One Final Boss. If a True Final Boss exists and does not replace the Final Boss when its conditions are met (and there is not a substantial chunk of the game between them), the regular Final Boss is effectively downgraded to being the Pre-Final Boss.

Naturally, the below examples are all spoilers, and will be unmarked. Read at your own risk!


    open/close all folders 

  • Armored Core: Last Raven features several multiple endings, but there is one extra mission taking place after the "true ending" where the player becomes the last remaining Raven alive. The mission is given to you by an unknown client and proposes for you to fight one last Pulverizer designed specifically to fight against you in the Intercine. The Pulverizer in question is a palette-swapped, souped-up version of the one fought in that ending, and your reward for beating it is what is arguably the best head part in the game.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, after getting unmasked by the Scarecrow, Bruce Wayne decides to go into retirement. But before he can do this, he must first capture all his rogues and imprison them at the GCPD. As a result, the Scarecrow, the game's Big Bad, isn't the last rogue Batman defeats. Instead, it's the Riddler, who's challenged Batman to yet another riddle and trophy hunt. This was optional in the previous games, but not in Knight. You have to do it to get the real ending, and you can't do the whole thing and fight Riddler until Scarecrow's captured. Everyone else including DLC bosses and all other side missions can be handled before the confrontation with Scarecrow.
  • In Bomberman 64, a player who has gotten every Gold Card and "flawlessly" defeats Altair will get to see Sirius reveal himself as one of these, vaporize Altair with a Wave-Motion Gun, and dare you to come after him. The bonus sixth world, Rainbow Palace, then opens up with another 4 stages to play, and two forms of Sirius await you in the final stage.
  • Bomberman 64: The Second Attack! required you to collect the optional Light and Dark bombs to fight the Angel of Light and Shadow. You must also complete all the stages before proceeding to Warship Noah and fight a possessed Lilith halfway through the level rather than watch the goddess take control over her. Do this right, and Mihaele forces Big Bad Sthertoth into a remerger with her after you beat the latter's first two forms at the end of Warship Noah (the possessed Rukifellth in a standard B64-2 boss fight, and then Sthertoth himself in a different type of battle), and the True Final Boss battle against the Angel will commence, leading to the Golden Ending when you beat it. If you don't do this right, no merger takes place, and you get another, stronger Sthertoth form that leads to a Downer Ending where almost everyone dies when you beat him.
  • Contra:
    • Shattered Soldier has two true final boss fights. The first, if you complete the first five missions with an A ranking, is a Sequential Boss fight with the "Relic of Moirai", then if you manage to achieve and maintain an S ranking through there, you get to fight his Very Definitely Final Form.
    • Neo also has two true final boss fights. Like Shattered Soldier, should you complete the first five missions with an A or S rank, the first one is a Sequential Boss battle with Master Contra. Beat him with an A or S rank, you'll fight him in his Very Definitely Final Form while falling through the Earth's atmosphere.
    • The Giant Space Flea from Nowhere final boss of ReBirth won't be fought unless you set the game's difficulty to Normal or above. It will appear after you complete Stage 5 on the above difficulties.
    • In The Alien Wars, you won't fight Red Falcon's true final form unless you play on Hard mode.
    • You also won't be able to fight Black Viper in 4 unless you play on Normal or Hard.
  • Clearing every Grudge Match in Custom Robo Arena (which in turn requires beating the game and reaching 100% Completion) unlocks two more fights; a rematch against Eddy, and after that, a fight against Liv.
  • In the NES version of Double Dragon II, the final stage (which is simply the final boss battle) is only accessible on Supreme Master mode, the hardest difficulty setting. The Warrior mode ends the game on the penultimate stage (after the battle against the doppelgangers), while Practice only lasts the first three stages. This doesn't apply to the Famicom version, in which the entire game could be played on any of the three settings.
  • Collecting all 65 of the weapons in Drakengard unlocks a 5th secret ending in which you fight the Queen of the Grotesqueries. Though it's a rather unconventional battle, more akin to a Rhythm Game than to a real boss, it is widely considered the hardest challenge in the game by far. To wit — after the first thirty seconds, there is no room for error. You'd have to be a robot to beat this in less than fifty tries.
  • Drakengard 3 also has this, picking up the slack from its predecessor. Have fun facing all the Intoner sisters in their true Grotesquerie Queen forms! This somehow manages to be worse than the original, due to frustrating camera angles and deceptive rhythm changes.
  • Ganbare Goemon 3 lets you fight the recurring Kabuki if you collect all the health power-ups.
  • This is a recurring trope in the Gundam Vs Series.
    • In Gundam Vs. Zeta Gundam, if you reach a high enough ranking (RADM or higher), you'll go into an EX Stage. Depending on the route, you'll go up against high-tier mobile suits only who generally outnumber you, and in one particular has one of the openings from ZZ playing as the background music.
    • In the SEED-based games, getting a SEED ranking at the end of Arcade Mode nets you an extra solo battle against either Kira Yamato or Athrun Zala with all of their Gundams, their strongest ones equipped with METEOR.
    • In Gundam Vs. Gundam NEXT, clearing all of the EX Stages in an arcade playthrough (which requires enough points and generally not losing a battle) will unlock the NEXT FINAL stage where you go up against Kira yet again in a really suped up Strike Freedom with three separate phases (one as his normal self with a stupidly overpowered charged shot, the other being him in his METEOR, and the last being the same as before but with infinite SEED factor).
    • Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost has an "Extra Final Scene" after fighting Sthesia Acht where you fight against a seemingly revived ex- (referred to as ex-(DC)) in the Extreme Gundam Mystic Phase from Full Boost.
  • If you beat one game in the two The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, you can transfer your save file to the other via code or wire, you get to see an expanded narrative, including Princess Zelda coming to Holodrum or Labrynna. Near the end, witches Koume and Koutake, The Man Behind the Man to the two Oracle villains Onox and Veran, kidnap Zelda as a sacrifice to revive Ganon. You're then taken to a small dungeon that leads to the final battles against first the witches, then their Fusion Dance Twinrova, and finally Ganon.
  • In the fanmade The Legend of Zelda game Time To Triumph, after completing another set of dungeons after completing three separate trading quests and beating the regular Final Boss, you discover the game's Greater-Scope Villain: the bestiary guy who pays you for killing different types of enemies throughout the game!
  • In NieR, the true final boss for Endings C and D is Kainé, who is unlocked in your third playthrough.
  • If you get the Tsubaki Mark III in No More Heroes, you get to fight "Mister Sir Henry Motherfucker", Travis' long-lost Irish brother. No gimmicks, no interventions, just two young men in a deserted car park, with Laser Blades and a score to settle.
  • Pokémon Rumble Blast has two. Beat the 5 EX levels for Battle Royale and Team Battle, and the EX 6 levels open up, where you respectively fight Mewtwo in EX Battle Royale 6 and Arceus in EX Team Battle 6.
  • The Samurai from Savant: Ascent, after being added in the void update. There's no secret to actually getting to fight him, you just have to beat the previous level. Of course, given the sheer difficulty of both him and the level before him, it might as well be required to get the Philosopher's Stone to fight him.
  • When you play the SNES version of Sparkster on Hard, instead of the Final Boss dying before he launches the missile, he dies right after he hits the button. Guess what the True Final Boss is this time? And it really is deserving of That One Boss, as even the mecha battle against Axel Gear seems easy compared to this boss. When playing a higher difficulty in the Genesis version, you fight a 2nd form of Gedol. If you get all 7 hidden swords throughout the game, it becomes much easier, as his attacks in both forms will not do as much damage, and it also slightly influences the ending.
  • In Ultionus: A Tale of Petty Revenge, finding Serena's Robot Buddy Balzac in the first five levels grants access to a sixth level where she escapes from the Space Prince's planet, culminating in a spaceship-vs.-Humongous Mecha battle at the end. If you missed Balzac in even one of the levels, the game ends after you defeat the fifth boss, with Serena barely escaping capture from the Prince's remaining forces.
  • In Ys Origin, completing the main story as either Yunica or Hugo unlocks a third character. Play it again with that character, and you get an extra boss fight at the end. With this game being a prequel, this latter path appears to be the canon one.

    Dating Sim 
  • In Mitsumete Knight, you get to fight the leader of the enemy army, Wolfgario the Ravager, in his unmasked version if you have killed all the Generals who have appeared before him during the game. He's not more powerful than his masked version, but still follows this trope well, as his defeated animation in battle is different: instead of just dropping his sword and standing, contracted in pain, he now holds out his arm towards the sky, gets shocked by a thunderbolt, and falls on the ground.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Baten Kaitos Origins typically ends with a slightly anticlimactic (but still stupidly hard) battle against Verus. If you defeated a certain optional boss, though, Wiseman shows up possessing Verus's corpse and reveals himself to be The Man Behind the Man. The true final battle that ensues is much more climactic and satisfying.
  • Bloodborne has two in a row. The normal Final Boss is Mergo's Wet Nurse, and if you'd like to end it there, you can (achieving the Yharnam Sunrise ending). But if you refuse the opportunity, you get to fight Gherman, the First Hunter. And if you don't have three specific items (some of which can be missed completely, so you may not have the opportunity to collect them in your playthrough), it'll end there with the Honoring Wishes ending. If you do have and use the plot-important items, then you will instead get the third and final boss in the sequence, the Moon Presence. Defeating that will unlock the final ending, Childhood's Beginning.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has a secret ending if you complete all the sidequests after finishing the main game. Along the way, you eventually have to face the Legion Singularity, a villain from the backstory who gets revived for one final showdown.
  • In Breath of Fire I, Tyr/Myrna's One-Winged Angel form is one of these, only occurring if you use Agni/Infinity in the second fight.
  • The Android-based Chaos Rings II by Square Enix does this. After defeating Necron, the credits roll and you unlock the ability to replay past chapters taking different routes, but it also turns out there's more story if you keep going on the route you've already taken. Play through that and you'll learn who the real villain has been the whole time and get another credit roll. Players can sense it coming, both from the story and from the fact the main character doesn't unlock his 3rd and final ultimate attack prior to defeating Necron.
  • Chrono Trigger DS has the Dream Devourer, which has ties to the final boss of Chrono Cross, the Time Devourer. It is unlocked after you clear all three of the Dimensional Vortexes that appear after you defeat the regular Final Boss.
  • Dark Souls 2 gets one with the Scholar of the First Sin update in the titular character, who will attack you after the regular final boss if you've done a different optional boss fight. Beating him allows you to unlock another ending where you refuse the Throne of Want.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories has a rare example of this (rare for the series anyway, which tends much more towards Bonus Bosses) if you go for the Worst Ending. Upon defeating Zenon, you end up fighting Rozalin/the real Overlord Zenon, who is at level 2000. (Compare with the traditional Final Boss who's at level 90.) And unlike the other storyline fights with enemies at this level, you're supposed to win this one. Granted, it'll take a lot of grinding of a sort just to unlock this fight, but it can still catch you off guard. Luckily, there's a way to back out of qualifying for this ending. Which is a good thing, as your reward for victory is some Nightmare Fuel.
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten puts you up against against a different, much higher-leveled final boss if you clear the second-to-last stage using only the main character at level 500 or higher. You fight the messengers of God. Unfortunately, your reward is a Downer Ending.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Goku Gekitouden plays out the well-known Namek arc. If you did too much Level Grinding, the game ends with Goku's Spirit Bomb killing Friezanote . Only if you reach the end below a certain level do you reach the final battle where Goku turns Super Saiyan to fight Frieza. Strangely, completing the game will unlock Super Saiyan Goku as a playable character in the game's tournament mode either way, even if you never saw him in story mode.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Legend of the Super Saiyajin for the Famicom, Goku can only turn Super Saiyajin if one of his Earthling friendsnote  is killed by Frieza's final form. If this happens, and Vegeta is still around, Vegeta will turn Super Saiyajin as well and attack Goku after Frieza is defeated.
  • Dragon's Dogma has two forms of this; an optional final boss that's an undead form of the game's initial final boss, which is so overpowered that it requires the combined efforts of every other player with an internet connection to beat it. You also fight the Seneschal (which is basically God) at the end of what's referred to as the 'post-game' to get the true ending.
  • Final Fantasy has some final bosses get souped-up versions of themselves after meeting certain requirements.
  • Game Master Plus: If the player does the bare minimum to get through the story, Eloire is the last mandatory boss before the credits. If the player collects all the Blue Crystals, they get an extended endgame with the Traveller being the last boss before the credits roll.
  • Recruiting all three goddesses in the original Hyperdimension Neptunia will significantly increase Arfoire's stats.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has three scenarios for the three main characters, and each scenario has its own Final Boss. The true final boss, though, is fought in the Final Episode (accessed by collecting all off the Xehanort reports throughout the three scenarios) as Aqua, fighting desperately against the crazed Big Bad Xehanort possessing her friend Terra's body. Final Mix takes it a step further with the Secret Episode. This takes place during Aqua's time in the Realm of Darkness, where she fights off many Heartless (such as Shadows, Neoshadows, and Darkballs) until she faces a new boss Heartless called the Dark Hide.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails:
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV has Ishmelga, the overall Big Bad of the entire Erebonia arc and the source of the curse that has been plaguing the series. However, the players don't get to fight his "Great One" form until the game has been beaten once by fighting the normal Final Boss, Giliath Osborne and Ishmelga's Divine Knight form, and see the credits (the game railroads players to that ending first). Mercifully for the players, if they didn't do the sidequest to meet up with the spirit of the Nameless One before entering the final dungeon, the game lets players just go back to the entrance of the final dungeon and just take the quest at the portal. If the players have done the sidequest, however, they can skip fighting Osborne again and just go straight on, fighting the True Final Boss.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki has Van, the protagonist himself, become the True Final Boss in the form of his Devil identity: "The Wandering Devil King" Vagrants-Zion, one of the five strongest Devils residing within Gehenna. This is after the Final Boss fight where Van recovers his stolen Diabolic Core from a Devil-powered Gerard Dantes and takes it back inside him while in Grendel Sin form, an "unshackled" form that gives its wearer cosmic awareness of Zemuria's truths and lies. Players will need to fight this Devil King with the remaining members of the Solutions Office in two phases: first while Van is locked inside it, and second when you regain control of Van as the Devil King becomes unstable after losing its human vessel. Unlike Cold Steel IV, this doesn't require a side quest to complete as this fight is somewhat immediately after the Final Boss.
  • In the New Game+ of Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, an actual boss fight against Erim becomes the True Final Boss, complete with a new 11th-Hour Superpower from the Dual Blade.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis. The Final Boss is your main character fighting against his friends trying to snap him out of making a Heroic Sacrifice. The only way to fight the True Final Boss is to increase one character's Relationship Values with the main character to maximum, releasing him from the hold of his powers. The latter (italicized to avoid confusion) given "physical form" is the True Final Boss.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network games have SP versions of the final boss replace the normal ones after conditions are met, generally requiring that beating the True Final Boss is the only thing left needed to achieve 100% Completion.
  • The sequel series Mega Man Star Force switched things up:
    • The True Final Boss of Star Force 2 comes after the SP version of the final boss. It's a fiendishly difficult super-version of The Rival.
    • Star Force 3 gets weird with this. As normal, getting every star lets you fight the super form of the final boss. However, inputting secret passwords lets you fight your Rival's new super form, and the super forms of the Super Boss, the Super Boss of the last game, and one of the new bosses. After all of that, you can fight the final boss's super SUPER a random encounter. Not only that, but if you go through a long gauntlet of Wi-Fi matches (which is hard with all of the DCers), you can fight yet another secret boss and earn a secret star.
  • NieR: Automata has perhaps the most bizarre final boss in gaming, as your final opponent to get Ending E is the end credits themselves. The final boss battle is essentially the player-base Raging Against The Author until they provide a happier ending to the game.
  • In Octopath Traveler, if you complete all 8 characters' stories and complete two specific series of sidequests, you'll unlock a new area that ties the characters' stories together and ends with the true final battle against Galdera, the 13th god of Orsterra that had been sealed away by the other 12.
  • Pokémon:
    • Starting with the Generation III remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue, most games give the Elite Four and Champion stronger teams for you to face upon rematch; some games unlock this immediately, while others require you to complete a post-game storyline before their teams get upgraded.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, when you first challenge the League at the end of the game, you don't fight Champion Alder, instead facing off against Team Plasma's leaders N and then Ghetsis (though N is technically the unofficial Champion due to defeating Alder). You face Alder in the post-game, after fighting through a stronger Unova Elite Four.
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, there's Team Rainbow Rocket's Giovanni, both the leader of an alternate timeline where Team Rocket fulfilled its goals and is the commander of other successful Big Bads from previous generations. To even reach him, you need to go through almost every villain in the series up to that point, all of whom are packing Legendary Pokémon and one of whom who also has access to Mega Evolution. Giovanni himself is the most formidable of them all: his Pokémon are high-levelled and cover their weaknesses effectively, but the real problem is the fact that he has a Mega Mewtwo, which has one of the highest base stat totals in the entire series. Beating him is extremely hard, but feels very good.
    • Pokémon Legends: Arceus has the titular Physical God as the object of the very last mission in the game. Encountering it requires the player to collect every single Pokémon (barring Mythicals) and complete all other Missions, which entails completing both the main storyline and the postgame story. Only then does Arceus allow you to challenge it at the Temple of Sinnoh, before putting you through what is unambiguously the most ruthless fight in the game.
    • Pokémon Colosseum: After Snagging 47 of the 48 Shadow Pokémon, a series of events will lead to the final battle in the game. An odd example, though: while Fein is no pushover, he’s no Evice, either, just an Elite Mook who happens to have the last Shadow Pokémon.
  • Recruiting all sixteen playable characters in The Reconstruction won't cause you to fight a completely different Final Boss, but it will make the Final Boss go One-Winged Angel and lead to a harder fight. This is required to get the Golden Ending.
  • In Record of Agarest War, after spending how many hours in the game, you'd think Summerill is the final boss. If you unlocked the True Ending route (itself a Guide Dang It!), you get to fight five sealed dark gods/goddesses who are level 300 and the True Final Boss who is at level 350, when your level at this point is at most level 100. Taken Up to Eleven in the prequel Record of Agarest War Zero, where the true end (still a Guide Dang It!) nets you close to 20 additional boss fights (each progressively harder than the last) before facing the True Final Boss if you played on hard.
  • Romancing SaGa: Minstrel's Song: If you manage to acquire all ten Fatestones (something that requires quite a bit of planning and cannot be accomplished until you have cleared the game at least twice), you can offer them all up to the final boss, vastly increasing his powers. The jump in strength for each stone beyond the fifth gets larger and larger, and the jump to the tenth is what makes 10FS Saruin a True Final Boss.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has you confronting the Big Good of this game, Lucifer. You have to complete the optional (and extremely hard) Labyrinth of Amala dungeon to fight him. Even crazier, his entire justification for the fight is to prepare you for a war against the Greater-Scope Villain of the series: YHVH.
    • Megami Tensei II for the Famicom had, if you did everything right, YHVH Himself, in one of his only three appearances in the main series (the other two being Shin Megami Tensei II and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse).
    • Overclocked, Devil Survivor's Updated Re-release, adds three new final bosses for the new 8th Days: Okuninushi, Japan's creator god in Amane's, Metatron, the Voice of God in Naoya's, and a souped-up Belberith in Yuzu's.
    • Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker adds a new story arc with a new final boss, Canopus.
    • Strange Journey Redux adds Shekinah, the fused and true form of the Three Wise Men, who can only be fought in the New Law, New Neutral, and New Chaos endings, which assumes you've completed the very long Womb Of Grief dungeon.
    • Persona 4:
      • The base game does this twice. At first, it looks like the final boss is Kunino-Sagiri, a.k.a. Taro Namatame. If you don't toss him into the TV, eventually you discover that the true villain is resident bumbling detective Tohru Adachi and a random godly entity called Ameno-Sagiri. But if you go to the Junes food court after saying your goodbyes, it turns out the true mastermind behind everything is Izanami, who disguised herself as a gas station attendant you met at the beginning of the game. And yeah, you fight her at the end of the true final dungeon.
      • In Golden, there's another case where it's played with should the criteria for the True Ending be complete. You have to fight Marie/Kusumi-no-Okami (Which is one of the Co-Dragons of Izanami alongside the aforementioned Sagiri) before having to fight Izanami herself, which is largely unchanged.
    • In Persona 5 Royal, if you max out the Councillor Arcana Confidant with Takuto Maruki, Maruki himself will become the final boss as a Villain of Another Story. The Phantom Thieves have to stop him from altering reality in humanity's favor, knowing the distortions that he will bring forth with his newly-earned position as the Will of the People in place of Yaldabaoth.
  • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, doing a seemingly totally random Private Action will release the "limiter" on the final boss, jacking up his stats and making him nigh-impossible to beat without ridiculous level grinding in the bonus dungeon.
  • Super Robot Wars
    • The games that feature "skill points" — optional challenges in each level — often have a harder final boss as a "reward" for completing most or all of them. Examples include Septuagint in Original Generation, Stern Regisseur in Original Generation 2, and the unholy powerful Neo Granzon in Alpha Gaiden.
    • In Impact, you fight Char Aznable in his Sazabi if you get 50 skill points out of 99.
    • Alpha 3 gives you Nashim Gan Eden, the Final Boss of Alpha 2, as a friendly reinforcement. Note that the Alpha 3 reinforcement is full-powered. No Redemption Demotion degradation. Under the player's full control. She has more HP than anyone so far has bothered to try to find out, and is essentially unkillable.
    • Super Robot Wars W gives you the "true" ending on a second playthrough, including Critic piloting the true final boss, guarded by four copies of the previous final boss, and Applicant in the Val Arm showing up to help you.
    • Super Robot Wars Z 2 has a variation — if you reach the final boss with enough Points to be on Hard Mode, you are given the option to fight him at level 99 instead of his standard level 70.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars has the Devil Gundam piloted by Ghostelo in the La Vie En Rose as the true final boss if you beat the Earth and Space Routes and combine the data from both routes.
  • Sword of Paladin: If the player obtains all twelve Satan Gems and masters all the Paladin skills, they can give the gems to Zechs and beat the Final Boss again. This unlocks a postgame duel with Zechs, who now surpasses Nade's Master Paladin form.
  • Tales of Vesperia does a variation of this. Duke normally has two forms; however, if you happen to have collected all of the Fell Arms in the game, he will resonate with them (for some reason), becoming the Radiant Winged One.
  • In Tales of Graces, defeating Lambda concludes the game. However, ƒ added an extra campaign called "Lineage And Legacies" which acts as an epilogue to the game. Sure enough, it even ends with a new final boss.
  • Tokyo Xanadu: The game has two of them, with one being introduced in its definitive edition, eX+.
    • The Nine-Failed Fox, in the Epilogue's True Ending, achieved if Kou's skill stars add up to at least 8. It is an almighty, god-like being that wants to keep Shiori as its servant, but Rem convinces it to restore her life and let her return to her friends and family if the protagonists can prove their strength in a fight.
    • The Greater-Scope Villain, Twilight Apostle, ends up as the real True Final Boss. Added in the After Story chapter of the eX+ release, it returns as a separate entity from the Princess of Doom made up of him fusing with Shiori, created when the Nine-Tailed Fox brought Shiori back to life. He kidnaps the main characters into an alternate version of their city, and they have to fight him to finish him once and for all.
  • Uncommon Time does this, though it's just a souped-up form of the regular Final Boss. After clearing the two Bonus Dungeons, the Distortion will have been allowed to grow for enough time to manifest directly, giving it a different appearance and more powerful attacks — including Arietta's, Altair's, and Chantal's Limit Breaks from Grand Pause.
  • Weird and Unfortunate Things Are Happening: In the Endgame+ mode, if you get rid of all the Agares pots in Makyo, turn back, and fight Xelanyel the Matriarch again, the Inner Evocations possessing her will all gain an increase in their stats to fight the leveled-up heroes; then in the final phase, instead of fighting an unstable Xelanyel like in the first ending, the Firstborn will possess Xelanyel and become an even stronger opponent.

    Fighting Game 
  • The flash game Amorphous+ sometimes surprises you with a Razor Queen instead of the annoying-as-fuck regular Queen. The game's normal "boss", the Queen, is nimble, has the ability to spawn other Queens (via a hostile takeover of another blob), carries two unbreakable claws to your one sword, is smart enough to avoid your swings, and can be beaten samurai style. The Razor Queen, on the other hand, is a colossal scorpion-looking thing with four huge claws that has an annoying penchant of turning you into Ludicrous Gibs. Beating her does unlock the Infinity +1 Sword (one of her claws), though there's not a lot you probably still need it for by this point.
  • ARMS has three different final bosses based on your chosen difficulty level. After playing through nine stages fighting or competing against normal combatants, you enter the tenth battle against Max Brass. If you play Level 4 (the "medium" difficulty) or Level 5, a skull-shaped robot mask named Hedlok hijacks Max Brass and challenges you with six ARMS, grabs more powerful than most of the cast, and a Limit Break that eats through half of a character's life bar if it connects. Even then, that's not where it ends. To get the real True Final Boss, you have to play on one of the hardest two difficulties, where the final match is against Hedlok once more, but controlling its creator, Dr. Coyle, after she knocks Max Brass out of his arena and fuses with Hedlok after being defeated in a last ditch effort to destroy the player.
  • Under ordinary circumstances, Battle Arena Toshinden ends with a generic "you win" message following the defeat of Gaia. But if the player makes it all the way past Gaia on Hard difficulty or above without losing a match, the battle with Gaia is followed by a battle with Sho, followed by a character-specific ending after Sho is defeated.
  • The "Master Program" in Battle Circuit. You have to finish the game in one credit or get a high enough score.
  • BlazBlue:
    • If you clear Arcade Mode in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger with 10 or more Distortion Finishes and no rounds lost, you get the displeasure of fighting Unlimited Ragna, who has triple health and permanent Blood Kain.
    • In the console versions of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, beating Hazama with the right amount of Astral Finishes and without losing a round rewards you with a fight against Mu-12. Unlimited Mu-12, that is. If you're using Mu in CS2 though, you fight Unlimited Ragna instead. If you're playing as Relius Clover in the Extend edition, you get to fight Unlimited Ragna as well. Hazama doesn't get a TFB.
  • Bloody Roar 3: Xion is usually the end boss of Arcade Mode, unless the player happens upon Uranus. The player must meet all of the following criteria to face her: clear Arcade Mode with no continues, no rounds lost (including against Xion), and a total score of 750,000 or higher. Oh, and if Uranus beats you, you have to start all over from the beginning.
  • In The Bouncer, you fight Dauragon three times. The first time, he ties a hand behind his back and still hits pretty hard. The second time is the final boss fight, and he's pretty tough. The third time, as the True Final Boss, he decides he doesn't need to hold back at all, and will easily pummel you with moves you haven't seen before. There is even a fourth version of him where he is even more powerful, but you won't see this version until you have beaten the game three times.
  • In the first Bushido Blade, to get the true final boss, you had to not get hit at all. There was a way to skip most of the opponents by running to a certain area of the map, take your opponent's legs out so they can't follow you, and jump down a well, which makes you fight only one more opponent before going onto the bosses. You still have to avoid getting hit to get the "real" ending for each character.
  • Capcom vs. SNK 2. Upon the final match, certain requirements need to be met in order to fight the true final match, including score, getting the mid-boss before the final match (Bison or Geese), and accomplishing various ways to finish a match with a super combo. See StrategyWiki for full details. If you don't get the requirements, the game stops after the last team match. If you got enough, you fight either Akuma or Rugal chosen at random. Meeting the best requirements gives you Shin Akuma or God/Ultimate Rugal chosen at random.
  • Digimon Battle Spirit has a partial example: Fulfilling certain conditions would cause Impmon to replace the Digimon you were supposed to fight beforehand, which acts as an SNK Boss (complete with power-nerfing as an unlockable). However, he doesn't entirely fit the trope because he's a midboss, not a final boss. The trope was more properly done in the Japan-only expanded version. If you get to Milleniumon and beat him without losing once, it'll transform into ZeedMilleniumon.
  • After you get more and more information about what's going on in Duel Savior Destiny, the last route finally has you go up against God on his own turf, since he's responsible for everything (even if he didn't do anything directly). Otherwise, he'd just set events in motion again and try to destroy all of creation.
  • Fatal Fury
    • In Special, if the player defeats every opponent in only two rounds without ever losing, there will be an additional match against Ryo Sakazaki from Art of Fighting after defeating Wolfgang Krauser.
    • Likewise, Art of Fighting 2 has a younger Geese Howard as a secret final boss under the same conditions.
    • In Fatal Fury 3, the player can only face the Jin Brothers if he has a high enough score after beating Yamazaki. If he makes it to Chonshu, then Chonrei appears if you had a grade of B or higher after beating Chonshu. Otherwise, the game gives the player a Bad Ending, in which Chonshu telepathically taunts the player, saying that he's not interested in someone who had to struggle so hard against Yamazaki and that he'll gladly meet up with them again in the future once they improve themselves.
    • In Real Bout Special, if the player has a score of over 750,000 after beating Wolfgang Krauser, Geese Howard appears to challenge his character in a special "Nightmare" battle. If the player loses to him, it's a Game Over with no continues.
    • In Real Bout 2, get a high enough rank and/or beat Geese and Krauser without losing a round, and the player will fight Alfred, the protagonist of Dominated Mind. Many consider him to be an Anti-Climax Boss, since his appearance is just a tie-in to a PS1 port of Real Bout Special that never left Japan.
    • In Mark of the Wolves, Kain R. Heinlein only appears if the player has a high enough grade after beating Grant.
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, once you finish the 013 story mode and defeat Chaos, you unlock Confessions of the Creator, which reveals a side of the game's story previously only hinted at, and leads up to Feral Chaos. Defeating him unlocks the game's true ending as well as the ability to play as him.
  • If you beat I-no in Guilty Gear XX Slash or Accent Core without continuing, and getting at least 10 Overdrive finishes, she creates a portal and transports you to the past, where you fight Order Sol, an alternate version of Sol Badguy that wears Ky's jacket and doesn't use his trademark Fireseal sword. The character is available from the start, but the CPU Order-Sol is faster, stronger, and regenerates his exclusive charge meter. Not only that, he has an exclusive super move called Flame Distortion which is basically his normal Dragon Install on steroids. It regenerates his health faster than I-no, increases his power and speed even further, and gives him an unlimited super meter and charge meter. And it lasts for double the time of a normal Dragon Install (15 seconds). Oh, and you can't continue against him — don't lose or it'll be an instant and real Game Over!
  • Shadow Jago (a Superpowered Evil Side of token hero Jago) in the 2013 Killer Instinct game appears only after you've earned all three of a character's endings and then beat the game with them on at least Medium and without losing, finishing the sixth match with an Ultra Combo.
  • The King of Fighters loves this one, too.
    • Beating Krizalid with a high enough score in '99 let you fight Iori or Kyo, and in 2002 Unlimited Match, beating Krizalid, Clone Zero, Original Zero, or Igniz lets you fight Omega Rugal if you meet certain conditions. You only get one chance to beat him, and that is literally almost impossible unless you absolutely know what you're doing. Omega Rugal's stats are artificially increased to the point where one normal attack on them does roughly 1/3 of its normal damage. Basically, teamwork is key. Lose one set and it's Game Over. Win and you unlock them for regular play.
    • A variant of this existed in 97; when playing as the Hero team, if Kyo was the one that finished Orochi off, you'd go to a bonus battle with Iori.
    • In 2003, depending on how you defeat Kusanagi, you fight either Adelheid or Mukai.
    • And finally, XIII. If you get to the final team battle without enough points, the bad ending plays where it's hinted Saiki rewinds time and tries his initial Orochi resurrection plan again. Getting there with the right amount takes you to the final fights with Saiki and Dark Ash.
  • In Chapter 7 of Rival Schools, the player must finish off either Raizo or his brainwashed partner with a team-up combination attack in order for the true mastermind behind the events of the game, Hyo Imawano, to reveal himself.
  • SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos has two true final bosses: A goddess version of Athena from the old Athena arcade game, and Red Arremer from Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Failing to meet them would give you a generic, text-only ending stating your character was never seen again. And you only get one shot at these final bosses. If you lose, then your character gets transformed into something which varies depending on whether you fight Athena or Red Arremer before giving you the generic, text-only ending.
  • Soul Series:
    • If you play Tales of Souls in Soulcalibur III normally, the final boss will be Abyss, but if you find the path to Olcadan and defeat him without ever continuing instead, you'll get the dreaded Night Terror as your final oppoent.
    • In Soulcalibur III: Arcade Edition, which final enemy you face in Standard Mode depends on how long it takes for you to reach the final stage. If you go very fast, it will be Night Terror. Below that, it will be Abyss. If you take too long, the character will be the highest-ranking character from Legend Mode.
  • Both games of the Star Gladiator series use this particular trope very well. In Star Gladiator, the player must beat the game within a specific amount of time in Arcade Mode so that they can go on to fight the true final boss of the game, or else they'll get a false ending when they defeat Bilstein. In Plasma Sword, whether or not you get enough Battle Ability points from within Arcade Mode determines your character's ending. If they don't have the specific amount of Battle Ability points needed when you get to Stage 8, they get an abridged (false) ending, while defeating the eighth opponent and having the specific amount of Battle Ability points grants an extra special battle against each character's True Final Boss, which yields the extended, true conclusion of that person's storyline.
  • Street Fighter
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Melee and Brawl have Crazy Hand in Classic Mode, who will appear alongside Master Hand only if the difficulty level is set high enough and certain other conditions are met. Melee's Adventure mode has similar conditions for fighting Giga Bowser. Beating him earns you a trophy and the sight of Bowser's Adventure Mode trophy actually falling into the abyss, then exploding into a million tiny fragments.
    • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, landing enough hits on Master Hand or Crazy Hand on Intensity 5.1 or higher will cause Crazy Hand to disappear, while Master Hand spasms and twists, clearly in pain as he transforms into the Master Core, a mass of shadow with six forms: Master Giant (a humanoid being), Master Beast (a scorpion-like being), Master Edges (an array of swords), Master Shadow (a Mirror Boss), Master Fortress (a Womb Level), and ultimately a defenseless orb. The number of forms that it uses varies depending on the difficulty (or in the case of Master Fortress, whether or not you're playing the Wii U version).
    • In the World of Light mode of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, killing Galeem or Dharkon at the end of the game will lead to a bad ending where the other Big Bad consumes the world in their respective element. The Golden Ending can only be achieved by fighting both of them together after a Rise to the Challenge level and a Boss Rush.
  • Teleroboxer features 7 different opponents to fight, with Mamoru with his Tukikage being the last one. However, the ending flat out tells you that you are not the champion. This can be changed...assuming you have 7 wins and 0 losses. Should this requirement be met, you get treated to one final battle with an actual cat named Milky, who pilots the Bamsham. And if you score the victory against Milky, you get both the belt and the permission to see the credits.
  • Touhou Project has two of these in its first Fighting Game side story Immaterial And Missing Power. With only two exceptions, each character's story mode lets you fight Yukari if you beat the previous five stages without continuing, and then lets you fight Suika if you don't continue against Yukari. (If you don't fight Yukari, you get a bad ending, and if you beat Yukari but don't fight Suika, you get another bad ending). Naturally, the two characters without True Final Bosses are...Yukari and Suika.
  • In the PS2 version of Virtual-ON, if you beat all 8 mechs in under 15-25 seconds, you will fight the original version of Fei-Yen. This version of Fei-Yen is always in Hyper Mode, but with no downsides and increased stats.
  • Zero Divide: The default final opponent in any arcade ladder in the first and third (The Final Conflict) installments would be Zulu. However, completing an arcade ladder on normal or higher difficulty without continues will trigger another fight after the very entity that organizes the tourney, that being XTAL.

  • Blaster Master:
    • Blaster Master Zero: If you kill every mutant and get every power-up (including life upgrades) and area map in the game, a cutscene after the regular Final Boss introduces you to the game's Infinity +1 Sword and whisks you away to the true final level, ending with the ultimate fight against Sophia III possessed by the Mutant Core.
    • Blaster Master Zero II: If you have received all three Interplanetary All-Purpose Markers from the MA pilots, once again you go to the true final level after the regular Final Boss, this time playing as a different character who evenually gets their own sword. The ultimate fight this time is against Drolevo, the ultimate influencer of the mutants.
    • Blaster Master Zero III: The true final level is accessible after the final boss if you explored super-dimensional space long enough. This time, you're controlling a familiar sword as you explore super-dimensional space on earth, fighting remixed Boss versions of the MA pilot battles from the second game as well as Leibniz's rebuilt GARUDA. The ultimate battle of the title trilogy takes place between SOPHIA-J1 and the original Metal Attacker, with the twist being that you get to choose which side you're fighting as.
  • Castlevania:
    • Many games in the series have bosses that lead to an abrupt ending if you don't meet a specific requirement, such as equipping the right item to see through an illusion (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), or reaching an otherwise unreachable boss (Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow), etc. In almost all of these scenarios, Dracula, the Big Bad of the series, is the True Final Boss.
    • Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles: Dracula has a secret third form that appears only if you rescue Annette (which means you have to save Iris and Terra. Saving Maria is not a requirement). After you beat the 2nd form again, he reverts to his original form but now with six demon wings. He then proceeds to fire bats, fireballs, meteors, turn into a wolf, and use his own version of Richter's Hydro Storm. It's a lot harder than it sounds.
  • Cave Story: If you do all the contrived stuff in the alternate route, you'll get Ballos after you defeat the Undead Core. It's only made worse by the fact that you can only save immediately after Undead Core and then have to make your way through a Brutal Bonus Level and yet another nontrivial new boss, the Heavy Press (who can come out of nowhere and still kill you even during his death animation!) before even reaching the True Final Boss. Then, when you reach him, you find out you get very limited HP/missile/weapon recovery, no new save point, and four difficult fights in a row against his various forms.
  • Hollow Knight:
    • In order to face the True Final Boss and get the best ending, you need to acquire the Void Heart in a late-game sidequest and use the Dream Nail on the final boss when prompted. Getting the Void Heart and not using the Dream Nail actually gets you an even worse ending than the default.
    • Completing the Godmaster DLC culminates in one final challenge: The Pantheon of Hallownest, a massive Boss Rush against every single boss in the game, including both the original and upgraded versions of certain bosses, culminating in a fight with Absolute Radiance, the true form of the True Final Boss of the core game. Beating her unlocks a brand new ending.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Zero Mission: If you undergo 100% Completion, the final boss will have roughly three times as much health as it normally does, and its attacks deal double damage.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters: The player must shoot all six panels in Gorea's arena with the corresponding weapon in order to fight its second form and get the good ending.
    • Metroid: Other M: The post-game features a fight against Phantoon from Super Metroid, who is far more powerful and scarier than before. Unlike many examples of this trope, you can only fight it in the game's Normal difficulty: the boss is only unlocked through 100% completion, and Hard Mode is an enforced Minimalist Run.
  • Rabi-Ribi: The final boss, Irisu, or "Alice", only shows up post-game in a locked area — although hints to her true nature are revealed throughout.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Failing to find all of the Dark Magic will make the game end after the first phase of the Final Boss fight, leading to a Bad Ending. Collecting all twenty Dark Magic will unlock the True Form of the Pirate Master where he grows to Kaiju size after stripping Shantae of her pirate equipment, which leads to the True Ending.

  • Final Fantasy XIV, starting with Stormblood, tends to give the final boss of each raid tier a special final form that can only be fought in Savage and Ultimate encounters. Unlike most examples of this trope, these boss fights are non-canon and instead based on embellished retellings of the Normal mode encounters.
    • In Deltascape, Exdeath is overtaken by the Void, turning him into Neo Exdeath.
    • In Sigmascape, Kefka transforms into his God of Magic form.
    • In Alphascape, Omega concludes that a humanoid form is insufficient, assimilating Omega-M and F into a multi-armed form resembling the Omega Weapon.
    • The Unending Coil of Bahamut features Phoenix saving you in the final encounter instead of being tempered by Bahamut. He then flies into an uncontrollable rage and must be defeated within a three-minute enrage timer.
    • The Weapon's Refrain omits Gaius, making it seem like Lahabrea was controlling the Ultima Weapon. It proceeds to absorb the three Awoken primals (Garuda, Ifrit, and Titan) and glowing blue as a result.
    • The Epic of Alexander omits the entire Goblin Illuminati save Shanoa. Alexander Prime fuses with Brute Justice and Cruise Chaser to form Perfect Alexander.
    • In Eden's Gate, Titan discards his armor and fuses with the mountain ranges in the background, becoming Titan Maximum.
    • In Eden's Verse, Shiva summons a recreation of Hraesvelgr, which grants her abilities normally used by dragons throughout the game.
    • The final boss of Eden's Promise goes one step further and becomes a What If? story. This time, Mitron successfully reawakens Gaia's memories of her past life after their fused form (Eden's Promise) is defeated, causing her to take up the mantle of Oracle of Darkness and fight the raid as herself.
    • In Asphodelos, Hesperos transforms into a four-winged shirtless demon.
    • Unlike the first three Ultimate raids, Dragonsong's Reprise takes it much further and is a What If? of the Heavensward storyline. While the first three phases against Sers Zephirin, Grinnaux, and Charibert, King Thordan, and Nidhogg play out normally, the intermission after Nidhogg returns you to the point where Haurchefant dies in the main storyline, requiring the party to save him from the attack that killed him. Without the motivation to seek vengeance against Thordan and the Heavens' Ward, Thordan reaches Azys Lla without any resistance, loots it, and subjugates the Dravanian Horde with Allagan technology, culminating in a battle against both Hraesvelgr and Nidhogg, who are then absorbed by Thordan to become Dragon-king Thordan.
  • Kingdom of Loathing
    • The final boss is normally the Naughty Sorceress, who has three forms. However, on some of the special challenge paths, her third form is interrupted by another enemy, such as the Guy Made Of Bees in "Bees Hate You", the Avatar of Sneaky Pete in "Avatar of Boris", and Rene C. Corman in "Zombie Master".
    • She is replaced entirely by the Avatar of Boris in "Avatar of Jarlsberg".
    • One fights one of two Elder Gods in the Bonus Dungeon "The Sea" depending on if you get to the Temple of the Underwater City through the Colosseum or the Library. If you collect each class's drop (so 12 fights) and then combine them, wear those, and enter the Temple immediately, instead you fight Dad Sea Monkee; or at least whatever he's channeling.
  • World of Warcraft
    • The Ulduar raid has an extra boss called Algalon the Observer that can only be fought after beating several other bosses in hard mode. Reportedly, he is far more difficult than Yogg-Saron (the normal final boss) and to make matters worse, will despawn if not beaten within an hour of the first try and won't come back until the instance resets.
    • As a boss, Yogg-Saron without any keepers was far harder before the recent onslaught of nerfs. Lore-wise, Algalon could wipe out Yogg-Saron and call it a day, but doesn't want to as it could destroy the world.
    • Another example happens in the Trial of the Crusader raid, where an NPC starts congratulating the players on completing the Trial....and is rudely interrupted.
    • In Cataclysm, Vanessa VanCleef from the Deadmines (Heroic mode only). One reason she's notable is that normally, Heroic mode fights are exclusive to raids.
    • If you do Bastion of Twilight on normal mode, the final boss is Cho'gall, who was a fairly tough but doable boss. Beat his much more difficult encounter in heroic mode? The raid's not over, now you have to face the heroic-exclusive fight of Sinestra, a much more demanding fight.
    • In the Firelands, Ragnaros gains a fourth phase on Heroic, healing to half health and using entirely new mechanics.
    • Mists of Pandaria gives you the opportunity to fight a creation of the Titans named Ra-Den, but only after you defeat the Thunder King Lei Shen in heroic mode
    • In Warlords of Draenor, after defeating Imperator Mar'gok in Highmaul on Mythic, the raid faces an alternate version of Cho'gall.

  • Amazing Princess Sarah lampshades this trope after you beat the regular Final Boss by telling you that "You are not strong enough for the Greater Lilith." Beating the game unlocks one of six New Game+ modes that make the game harder, and after you beat all six, Lilith will assume her One-Winged Angel form and eat the regular final boss before challenging you herself.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt Series
  • The Crash Bandicoot games usually avert this, at the worst making you fight the Final Boss two times, once without 100% Completion and once with it. The second GBA game plays it straight, though, where you need 100% completion to fight N. Tropy. This also applies to the first GBA game. Get all the collectibles and fight Cortex again, and you’ll get an Advancing Boss of Doom sequence with Megamix.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3 both have a second boss fight with K. Rool after unlocking and completing all of the Lost World levels (which requires collecting everything in the game).
  • Earthworm Kim, Earthworm Jim's Jungian anima, who you only face if you collect all the Soup Cans in Earthworm Jim 3D.
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins
    • The series always required you to play through the whole game twice (in one sitting) to get the right weapon to kill the Final Boss, but Ultimate Ghosts 'n' Goblins spiced things up by requiring you to find "magic rings", often hidden in impossible-to-reach places, to open the doors leading to Astaroth first and Hades later (the latter one requiring ALL of the 33 rings).
    • The spinoff series Gargoyle's Quest had two of these in the third game, Demon's Crest for SNES. If you collected every crest and item, the final boss, Phalanx, would reveal a new form far more challenging than the previous ones. If you beat this and sat through the credits, you got a password unlocking an even harder final boss, Dark Demon, who could be defeated for a different ending.
  • In Iji, after you have beaten the game once, you can use a switch to make the final boss much harder. This is literally done by activating the "make the boss harder" console accessible via teleport right before him. And the game even warns you.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards keep their True Final Bosses hidden until you achieve 100% Completion.
    • In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, not finishing the game with 100% Completion gets you the game's bad ending: With the fairy queen secretly smiling a pretty creepy Slasher Smile into the camera from behind Ribbon's back, revealing that she's still being possessed by Dark Matter. Once you do have all the Crystal Shards, the Crystal shoots a big beam of light at the fairy queen, driving Dark Matter out of her body. Dark Matter retreats to the center of the galaxy, and you chase after it and infiltrate it. After you get through the absurdly easy platforming bit, Dedede launches you into the air, and you fall through a void until Ribbon catches you. The Crystal turns into a gun, and a grotesque-looking cherub thing drops its disguise to reveal itself to be a resurrected Zero, hell-bent upon kicking your ass. You also cannot retreat from this battle. If you pause, your only options become the usual continue, and "TOUGH IT OUT!"
    • Kirby Super Star:
      • The game requires you to complete each of its main modes before revealing another mode in which you must Run the Gauntlet, defeating every enemy in the game in a random sequence, keeping accumulated damage in between.
      • In Ultra, after defeating three bonus bossesnote , the True Arena is unlocked. It's a powered up version of the Arena where you will face all the bosses exclusive to Ultra in a random order, with the three mentioned bosses at the end in a fixed order. Once Galacta Knight is beaten, you'll see an epic cutscene showing Marx still alive floating in space and merging with the debris of Galactic Nova. He transforms into Marx Soul, a souped-up resurrected Marx, and you will fight him.
    • In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, completing Extra Mode allows for a fight with Magolor Soul, a souped-up version of Magolor's second form from the main game. Galacta Knight, despite being exclusive to the True Arena, is not an example, as Magolor EX and Magolor Soul are fought after him.
    • Similarly, in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, completing the main game unlocks a postgame mode where you play as King Dedede and fight powered up versions of previous bosses, ending with a fight with Dark Meta Knight from Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. Beating both this boss and the Arena unlocks the True Arena and, upon beating Dark Meta Knight, the actual True Final Boss: Soul of Sectonia. However, if you're only expecting a powered up version of the original boss fight, you're in for a surprise after the first phase.
    • In Kirby: Planet Robobot, the format is similar to Triple Deluxe. The extra mode, this time with Meta Knight, has a gauntlet of new bosses consisting of Dark Matter Blade from Dream Land 2, Sectonia from Triple Deluxe, and Galacta Knight. At the end of the True Arena, the True Final Boss is revealed to be Star Dream Soul OS. It also gets an extra form, which is reminiscent of the previous Soul bosses as well as Heart of NOVA/Galactic Nova Nucleus.
    • In Kirby Star Allies, completing the main story grants you access to the Ultimate Choice, which is its equivalent to The Arena and the True Arena. Clearing it on either difficulty levels 6 or 7 will grant you access to the highest dificulty, Soul Melter, featuring Void Soul replacing Void Termina's fourth phase, which was originally the game's True Final Boss. However, an update added a new mode called Heroes in Another Dimension. Clearing that mode and beating Soul Melter in The Ultimate Choice will unlock the secret difficulty, Soul Melter EX. Reaching the end of Soul Melter EX will bring you face to face with Void Termina, the True Destroyer of Worlds, with its fourth phase being Void, replacing Void Soul, becoming the game's True True Final Boss.
    • After completing the main story of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, you gain access to the Isolated Isles: Forgo Dreams, a post-game world that goes through remixed versions of each previous world. Upon completing the Isolated Isles and defeating Morpho Knight, you can challenge the Ultimate Cup Z, at the end of which you fight Chaos Elfilis. They even gain an additional form that has many callbacks to the previous Soul bosses.
  • Examples from the Mega Man X series...
    • Mega Man Xtreme 2 has separate scenarios for X and Zero; they team up in the latter stages, but they still split up to fight a different villain as a Final Boss. After beating one character's scenario, players get the option to play the second character's scenario, but now armed with the weapons of the bosses from the previous mode. Beat the second scenario, and Extreme Mode gets unlocked. This final mode not only combines the two scenarios into one narrative (and X and Zero are both available from the start), but now also has the traditional Boss Rush followed by Sigma at the end.
    • In a form of Easy-Mode Mockery, Mega Man X8 features Sigma as the Final Boss. The True Final Boss, Lumine, can only be fought on Normal and Hard modes.
    • In X Legacy Collection, the normal final bosses of X Challenge are either Iris and Double for Volume 1, or Dynamo and Gate for Volume 2. If you clear the game on Hard Mode, on the other hand, then trying to advance beyond the final stage results screen causes static to appear, followed by the Boss Warning Siren kicking in. After an introduction cutscene, you'll be taken to the secret Stage 9-4, which pits you against Ultimate Armor X and Awakened Zero, with whatever weapons you've cleared the regular Stage 9 with (if you selected any, that is).
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 has Dry Bowser as the True Final Boss, as World-Star is unlocked by collecting all the star coins.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within had a final fight with the Empress of Time if you just made it that far. If you collected all of the nine health upgrades scattered about, you get the Water Sword and it leads to an Alternate Ending that is much more satisfying, fighting the previously unkillable Dahaka. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones confirms this to be the canonical ending.
  • The true final boss in the True Mechanical Arena in Rockman 4 Minus ∞ is Omega using the sprite of the Cockroach Twins.
  • Every 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game since Sonic 3 & Knuckles has had an extra boss battle if you get all of the Emeralds. The main games usually open up a similar final boss battle by beating all of the branching storylines.
    • Played with in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, wherein beating the boss of Scrambled Egg Zone (Mecha Sonic/Silver Sonic) with all the Emeralds collected allowed the player to move on to the true final level, Crystal Egg Zone (which has the same amount of Acts as the others), fight the real final boss, Robotnik/Eggman himself, and properly save Tails (if you don't have all the Emeralds before beating Scrambled Egg Zone Act 3, the game concludes prematurely and in a grim Downer Ending upon completing this stage).
    • In Sonic Blast, collecting all five of the game's Chaos Emeralds in Act 2 of each level by finding a giant ring and completing a bonus stage will grant Sonic or Knuckles access to the real final boss, an Eggman mech shaped like a cracked egg with two spikes on the top and spikes covering both parts of the shell, after defeating Silver Castle Zone's boss. In this stage, you get 99 rings, and you're going to need every single one of them, because you're guaranteed to get hit many times fighting it.
    • Inverted in Sonic the Fighters. Reaching Round 2 of the penultimate boss fight without losing a single round will let you turn into Super Sonic, becoming invincible.
    • In Sonic Adventure, clearing the six campaigns for each character opens a "Super Sonic" campaign, which consists mainly of traveling to key areas in the Mystic Ruins hubs and watching cutscenes before the final confrontation with Perfect Chaos.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 only had two storylines to beat to open up the Last Story (compared to the six in Sonic Adventure, four in Sonic Heroes, and ten in Shadow the Hedgehog), but made up for it by having a Marathon Level (five parts, each using a different character) and a difficult boss fight without the use of Super Mode before the obligatory Super Mode final fight.
    • Sonic Heroes made you beat all four storylines and collect all seven Emeralds before you could face the final boss: Metal Sonic.
    • Sonic Advance 2 required you to both beat the game as all four characters and collect all Emeralds as Sonic (logical, but not intuitive, leading to many false understandings of what actually was required) before you could face the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that kidnaps Vanilla for some reason. This is made worse by how you reach the Special Stages in this game (although the stages themselves are usually easy).
    • Shadow the Hedgehog has ten endings that must be seen before the final stage opens up, some of which are pretty tough to reach unless you come through a certain penultimate stage.
    • And the trend continued with Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), where you must complete the three different storylines, each of which had their own different final bosses, to unlock the last episode where the three hedgehog heroes (after the worst level in the game) take on the ultimate final boss.
    • Despite the Wii version lacking a True Final Boss, the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors has you collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds in Special Stages that are similar to those of Sonic Rush when you collect 50 rings in a normal stage in each world. After all 7 of the emeralds are collected, you get to fight the Nega-Mother Wisp as Super Sonic.
    • Collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds in Sonic Mania will unlock the Egg Reverie battle, in which you fight both Eggman and the Heavy King as Super Sonic.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: In order to fight The Sorceress for the second time, the player must collect every remaining gem and egg. Doing so opens the Super Bonus Round, where Spyro must collect a boatload of gems in that level before engaging her in a flying saucer dogfight. Clearing this ordeal will reward him the final egg and cue the 100% ending cutscene.
  • In Street Fighter X Mega Man, if you defeat 4 of the 8 World Warriors at full health, Akuma will interrupt your battle with Bison and challenge you.
  • In Super Mario 3D Land, after defeating Dry Bowser in Special World 8, Bowser will kidnap Peach a second time, requiring the player to fight him in regular World 8 once again. A much tougher final challenge lies tucked even further away into the post-game than this fight.
  • To reach Wonder Boy's eighth area and its true final boss, you have to collect all of the dolls hidden in each level, which can be nigh-impossible without a game guide.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Beating the entire story mode of Dr. Mario 64 in one sitting without continuing would pit you against Vampire Wario if you were Mario or Metal Mario if you were Wario. (Once you actually reached this point, you could continue and retry the match as many times as you liked.) Beating them unlocked the code for S-Hard difficulty.
  • Kirby's Super Star Stacker has Gryll, a Star-Stacking champion who only shows up if one manages to complete the rest of the game without using any continues.
  • LocoRoco 2: defeating the boss doesn't finish the game. After you clean up all of the dirt, an unlikely villain will pop up and result in a gameplay change.
  • If you take the right path in Meteos, you face off against True Meteo, which is really just three Meteos.
  • In Petal Crash, if you defeat Rosalia (the normal final boss) in Story Mode on Medium or higher difficulty without using a continue, Lilibri will challenge you to a rematch where she has much faster reaction times than normal. Doing this as Lilibri changes the final opponent to a sped-up Daize instead of Hyper Lilibri.
  • In Pokémon Puzzle League, beating the game on any difficulty higher than Hard reveals that Gary wasn't the Puzzle Master. Rather, Mewtwo decided to use his psychic powers to be very good at this game. And if it's not enough that he's extremely difficult to beat, you only get one shot to do so; if you lose to him, you won't be able to rematch him unless you beat Gary again.
  • Pony Island has the Hopeless Soul, which can only be accessed if you've collected every single ticket in the game; it in itself already a difficult feat to accomplish (see Guide Dang It!).
  • Puyo Puyo
    • In most versions of Tsu, racking up 180,000 points before reaching the final stage, without using any continues, replaces Satan with Masked Satan as the final boss. (The game challenges you to try this if you beat the game normally.) A special ending occurs if you can beat him, but frustratingly not in the Mega Drive version.
    • Tsu also has a secret reverse example of this if you really go out of your way to suck. If you can manage to beat every opponent on the first floor without scoring enough points to advance to floor 2, you're pit against Masked Satan...and then get thrown out of the tower for sucking so hard, if you somehow still haven't managed to get enough points to go to the next floor. Video here.
    • In Fever's HaraHara course, after defeating the second-to-last opponent, if you have entered Fever less than 4 or more than 12 times, or used an amount of Continues that is a multiple of 7 (0 included), instead of fighting Popoi, you will fight Carbuncle. Defeating him will unlock the character for Free Battle mode.
    • Also, in SUN, if you play the Hard mode, if you defeat every single stage without losing, Satan included, Carbuncle will battle you.
    • Tee is the final opponent in Puyo Puyo Tetris Tetris's DLC chapters, making him an example of this trope. Interestingly, he's also the regular Final Boss.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Many of Konami's BEMANI games have historically contained "Extra Stage" systems, which lets the player play another song if they achieve certain goals during their session (most commonly getting a certain minimum rank on each song played). Often, there are songs exclusive to this mode (usually an Optional Boss). Usually, these Extra Stages force you to play under modifiers that make the song even harder; for instance, Extra Stages in DanceDanceRevolution force you to play with the x1.5 speed and Reverse mods, as well as a life meter that doesn't replenish (later versions swap this out for a "battery" lifebar). And in some of these games, this same requirement can be used to reach what is called the One More Extra Stage, or OMES for short; in DDR, this is a fairly easier song in which you fail instantly if you get one Good, Bad, Miss, or a hold that is not held, and in beatmania IIDX, this is traditionally an even harder song. Usually, different songs are cycled from these tiers into standard gameplay over the life of the version (typically a year or so), and thus the True Final Boss may first appear as the final unique OMES song.
    • Some IIDX games (and later DDR, as influenced by it) have had special events that activate themed Optional Boss areas only accessible on Extra Stage, often requiring players to meet rather specific goals elsewhere in order to access the songs within. In these cases, the True Final Boss can be found within them as a special One More Extra Stage (sometimes requiring all the other songs to have been cleared once as a prerequisite. DDR X2 required players to unlock its six bonus bosses via in-game goals to unlock its True Final Boss, and then reset the player's progress and required them to go through the entire cycle to play it again)
    • DDR 2014 deserves special mention for its Encore Extra Stage song, Over the "Period". Not only do you need to go through a lengthy unlock process to even have the chance to play it (which must be repeated for every attempt), getting anything lower than a Perfect is an instant game over, it's one of the hardest songs in the game, with its Challenge chart one of four to be rated 19/20. Look for yourself It took two months for it to be cleared on Beginner.
  • In the second Patapon game, defeating Dettankarmen three times makes him drop the Grey Rainbow, which is used to unlock Zuttankarmen, who doubles as the Super Boss. That, and he makes both Dettankarmen and Ganodias look like slaying a Kacheek in comparison.
  • DJMAX Technika's Technical courses have you select three songs, do those songs, then face a boss song (that is not revealed until you get to it). However, clearing the first two stages with at least 95% of your hits being rated "MAX" will bring up an alternate fourth song. For example, the Customizer course's normal final boss is "Son of Sun," and the TFB is "Sin."

  • In Ancient Domains of Mystery, the goal of the game is to close the Chaos Gate and keep it from reopening. If you have completed a number of obscure and difficult tasks, you may instead enter the Chaos Gate and kill Andor Drakon, the Supreme Chaos God.
  • The Binding of Isaac. There are a lot of contenders for this title, thanks to multiple updates to the game.
    • For your first playthrough, Mom is the final boss. However, after that, you unlock the Womb, which is two more floors with Mom's Heart. After killing Mom's Heart eleven times, it gets replaced with It Lives!, a harder variation of Mom's Heart, the True Final Boss.
    • The Halloween Update added a new final level, Sheol that is normally unlocked after defeating It Lives, although there are a few ways to reach it earlier. At the end of the level, you fight Satan (Completely True Final Boss).
    • The Expansion Pack, Wrath of the Lamb, adds an alternate path after It Lives, called the Cathedral, with an Alternate Completely True Final Boss. It's Isaac. And then after killing that boss five times, you can go to yet another level, The Chest after that one, where the Most Definitely True Final Boss lies: ???, which is Isaac's corpse.
    • Then there's the remake, Rebirth, which has three True Final Bosses. The first is the aforementioned ???. The second is fought as ???'s counterpart, after fighting Satan instead, in the Dark Room, where you fight The Lamb. However, beating either of them unlocks the option to fight one last boss: Mega Satan.
    • Afterbirth+, on the other hand, adds yet another final boss accessed by killing Hush: Delirium, which manages to top all of the above by transforming into almost every other boss in the game, final bosses included. It also added a True Final Boss to Greed Mode in the form of Ultra Greedier, a surprise second phase of the Ultra Greed fight.
    • The massive fan mod Antibirth, after collecting all three Knife Pieces, and using them to open a special door which appears after the Mom fight on the alternate route, will lead to a fight against a stronger Mom's Heart. Killing it opens up the Corpse, with a creature known as The Witness awaiting you at the end. In Repentance, you have to beat Hush 3 times to access the alternate route (as opposed to beating it once to access Void), and Witness—-now renamed Mother—- is the final boss of the route. After defeating her once, by starting another one and solving another puzzle, you get access to Dogma and The Beast, the FINAL boss of Isaac as a whole.
  • In Dead Cells, there's one door right behind the final boss's arena that's locked behind 5 Boss Stem Cells, the only door in the game that needs that many. If you manage to complete that feat, it takes you to Astrolab, and then a boss fight with the Collector, who's been mysteriously absent in this difficulty setting.
  • In DRL, nuking the Spider Mastermind while under the effects of an Invulnerability Sphere (or a Lava Element, which simulates the effects of one) will reveal the secret stairs to the final level, wherein resides the Ultimate Evil. It's John Carmack, and he has a rocket launcher and summons a variety of monsters. Defeating the Ultimate Evil is the only way to get a Full Win in this game.
  • Enter the Gungeon features The Lich, the undead form of the very first Gungeoneer, in Bullet Hell after defeating the boss of each Gungeoneer's past.
  • Nuclear Throne provides one in the form of the I.D.P.D. Captain, with the boss's area only being accessible by looping the game and interacting with a very specific object (namely, the I.D.P.D. van that unloads a group of enemies). Unlike the Final Boss, which will only end your run if you don't meet the circumstances required to loop, beating this boss will always end your run and boot up the credits, stating that "the struggle is over".
  • Spelunky
    • The game offers a whole new set of levels to be explored if you complete a convoluted and tough sequence of actions, which include finding a hidden store in a jungle, dying and being resurrected, accessing a more bountiful secret area, and killing the final boss in a very specific area. Completing the secret levels allows you to face the real final boss, who upon defeat will grant you a slightly different ending cutscene and more reward money.
    • Likewise in the sequel, but this time you have two ways to complete the second and third steps. Whatever route you decide to take, it gives you a mount with infinite flight, allowing you to fly above the final boss's arena and access the final secret area and boss.

    Shoot 'Em Up 
  • Bullet Hell shooters take the cake for this, featuring seemingly impossible bosses such as Hibachi the mecha-bee from the DonPachi series as shown below. And to even reach them, you have to usually play these games with no continues.
  • Battle Traverse has one that shows up to interrupt the end credits if the conditions for it are met. As your character rides on their chopper back home, the boss Village Northward shows up behind them and your character steps back out to fight them.
  • Blue Revolver has one at the end of Parallel difficulty, requiring a no-continue clear of the mode to unlock. It consists of Dee and whichever of the two protagonists you didn't select teaming up on you. The name of its final attack is a reference to a variation of the trope name: TLB-999 "Blue Revolver", with "TLB" meaning "True Last Boss".
  • Border Down has the duplicates of your fighter which can be fought in 6-C/6-D.
  • Cardinal Sins: Judgement Silversword Recycle Edition has the Mirror of Cardinal Sins, which requires the player to complete all seven stages with no F ranks. The Mirror also sports multiple forms, gaining more the better you performed in the preceding stages; there are four forms in all.
  • Cho Ren Sha 68k has this monster show up after beating the regular final boss on the second loop, and has several phases that must be defeated.
  • DonPachi
  • Darius has the huge Space Whale battleship Great Thing (sometimes called G.T.), which in several games — Darius Gaiden, G-Darius, Dariusburst, and Dariusburst Another Chronicle, in particular — is reached only by taking the hardest possible path in any game it appears in. Dariusburst and Another Chronicle in particular have it guard the Golden Ending. Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX ups the ante with G.T-V., found in Zone Z, the lowest and hardest final stage of the EX stage tree; it is basically Great Thing but Palette Swapped to purple and significantly harder.
  • Deathsmiles: The first game added one (Bloody Jitterbug) in Mega Black Label, which requires you to access the final stage on rank 999 and not take damage up to Tyrranosatan. If that sounds a bit too easy, that's because the requirement for accessing Hades Castle at rank 999 includes beating both bonus rank 999. And the bonus stages have to be taken in a specific order, too, otherwise the rank will be back down to standard rank. 1.1 arranged on the 360 version made it easier to reach him by making it only a 1cc requirement (no more ragequitting over getting hit, no more Rank 999, and no more forcing your way through The Gorge). Unfortunately, beating him this way does not unlock an achievement, as the relevant achievement specifically requires standard MBL.
  • ESP Ra.De. has only a standard Final Boss, Ms. Garra, who you always fight at the end. In the 2019 Updated Re Release ESP Ra.De. Psi, the Arcade Plus and Super Easy modes feature an additional boss after her, Alice Master. Reaching her with certain conditions met results in a much harder variant of Alice Master with new attacks and a shield that blocks your Guard Barrier.
  • In Every Extend, Heavy mode has a different (replacement, not subsequent) final boss if you collect 7 Quicken powerups, have at least 4 lives, and either below 100k or above 800k points. This is doable but not particularly easynote , although you can also summon him by having 8 Quickens (the cap) regardless of other conditions.
  • In Fraxy, it is possible to make a boss throw out a new form if the rank is 100!
  • Giga Wing normally ends after Stage 6 with a Bittersweet Ending in which your character self-destructs to destroy the Big Bad. Completing the first six stages without continuing before then, however, takes you to the true final boss and secures you the Golden Ending (your character returns home alive after destroying the Big Bad)!
  • HELLSINKER has three tiers of Final Bosses, determined by the "Satisfaction Level" of the penultimate boss when time runs out; shooting it will raise the Satisfaction Level, while dying, bombing, or not hitting it for long periods of time decreases the Satisfaction Level. If you make it to the third-level final boss, you then must fill up its inverted Life Meter, also by shooting the boss, within the time limit then wait for time to run out; doing so grants you access to the True Final Boss, who can only be defeated by time out, but gives out loads of Spirits as you shoot it.
  • Ketsui has Evaccaneer DOOM, which is only encountered if the player reaches the Special Round (by completing the first round of stages with no deaths, no bombs fired, and 120 million points or more) and makes it to the end, and which fires a veritable maelstrom of bullets like other CAVE TFBs, although compared to them the bullet patterns are more technical than just "overwhelm the player through sheer bullet count". The spinoff Ketsui Death Label has a "DOOM" mode where the player can fight it right out of the gate, and every time it's destroyed, it comes back more powerful, up to four times.
  • Len'en's second game, Earthen Miraculous Sword, features a true final boss in the form of the titular sword, Tasouken, unlocked after completing the final stage with at least three petals on the Cloud Flower Gauge. Tasouken has only one spellcard, "A Single Glimmer", but it's a real doozy, requiring the player to flash-bomb repeatedly in the penultimate pattern of the spellcard.
  • Mushihime Sama Futari one-upped the genre with two consecutive true final bosses which really do have to be seen to be believed. It's also called the hardest video game boss ever, with good reason. There's even a video on YouTube by that name. Also, Black Label's God Mode features an alternate form of the Final Boss, regarded by many players to be easier.
  • Hentai shooter Sentimental Shooting takes this one step further: Finish a stage (any stage) without using your time freeze and without losing a life, and a bonus boss would appear to blow you to smithereens. Level boss stages are the only exception to this rule.
  • My Little Pegasus: Kizuna DoPonyPachi has two. Normally, the game ends after defeating Angra Mainyu. If you're on the second loop, you then fight Enuma. On Ura loop, however, you fight a third boss, Caliburn, in addition to Enuma.
  • Raiden:
  • Ray Crisis: If you manage to get to and beat the normal Final Boss, Dis-Human, without continuing, you reach the true final boss, Infinity.
  • The Light Gun Game Razing Storm has this of sorts — the third stage has you defeat the terrorist leader, and if you managed to survive the last-ditch Macross Missile Massacre of the Spider Tank, you're treated to the true final stage, a bonus stage of sorts. Where you finally face against a Cool Airship that comes out of nowhere.
  • In Rez, each of the first four areas has a Mega, Giga, and Tera version of the boss, depending on how well you did throughout the stage. The sudden shift in difficulty is a bit of a surprise the first time.
  • Andross's Brain in Star Fox 64 (you have to access Venom through the Area 6 course rather than the Bolse course, which leads to an All-Range Mode dogfight against a suped-up Star Wolf team prior to Andross's palace) and the Anglar Emperor in Star Fox Command.
  • Starhall Redthel is very fond of these:
    • The final boss gets longer and longer on higher difficulties; it has one phase on Original mode, two on Hell mode, and three on Chaosside mode.
    • The thing the game actually calls the True Final Boss is this monster, which appears at the end if you have 14 or more lives and are playing on Hell mode or above.
  • In Silent Scope 3, if you beat the last level without continuing, Falcon finds that Robert, his commander is the terrorist leader. This leads to one last One Bullet Left scenario, in which Falcon must kill him with one bullet in a sniper showdown; if Falcon misses this bullet, he wins the sniper showdown, but if Falcon succeeds in making a headshot, he is killed instantly. Falcon then watches over the distance, as the word "Fin" appears.
  • In the Master System version of Space Harrier, finishing the final stage (a Boss Rush) without dying once results in Haya-Oh, a completely new boss consisting of two incredible fast fire dragons, appearing at the end of it. This also applies to the 3D Classics version.
  • Touhou Project has a few examples. In most cases, a level is not playable until certain conditions are met:
    • The second game, The Story of Eastern Wonderland, had a proper True Final Boss with Mima's second form (really third, but you don't fight the first one), which you can only see if you don't continue until then. Interestingly, you can continue at that form, but you get the bad ending.
    • In the fourth game, Lotus Land Story, the last stage and its Final Boss can only be reached if you play on a difficulty higher than easy, and you haven't continued until then. Otherwise, you receive the bad ending. The last stage also prevents you from continuing, period; there's no bad ending, it's just game over.
    • Similarly, the sixth game, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, prevents the last stage from being played on Easy difficulty and sends you to the bad ending. If you play on Normal or higher, you can still reach the last stage even if you continue (and can continue on the last stage), but you still get the bad ending.
    • Finally for the shooting games, the eighth game, Imperishable Night, has an alternate final stage, with an alternate final boss, that you can only get to after beating the game once with the specific choice of characters. Continuing on the playthrough that unlocks the alternative final stage is fine, but continuing too much gets a Non-Standard Game Over ending. The true final stage itself can't be reached if you continue, and gives you the bad ending if you die on it.
    • It should be mentioned that the unlockable Extra Stages with their Extra Bosses are technically not this trope gameplay-wise, as unlike other examples, the Extra Stage is really selected from the title screen. Storyline-wise, it is debatable and depends on which game is being played.
    • In Hidden Star in Four Seasons, though, the heroines fail to defeat Okina due to her final attack being too lopsided in her favor (she strips you of your options, release ability and Power, and uses it to create a difficult multi-stage attack) and end up running away. Thus, they regroup and learn to harness a new power before invading Ushirodo-no-Kuni again and challenging Okina to a rematch, which is the Extra Stage of this game. This makes it a first for the series, where the Extra Stage is actually truly "Stage 7" and a continuation of the story, and the only game where the Super Boss is also the True Final Boss.note 
  • In Tyrian, this actually happens twice in a row; first, you fight a giant brain, after which everything is said to be over, BUT THEN! note , the former Big Bad Vykromod appears as a giant nose. If you beat him, the game again states that everything is over, but if you found a certain secret earlier in the game, you now have to fight a minigame-like boss on the planet Soh Jin, which, if you win, is revealed to be a creation of Zinglon himself, who you then fight in an offscreen battle. In Episode V, it's revealed that Zinglon was behind Microsol and Vykromod in the first place.
  • ZeroRanger has one for each mode:
    • In the default Green Orange mode (later called Normal Mode), after defeating Despair, Erasure shows up to inform you that the forces of GREEN ORANGE destroyed all life on the planet Daikon anyway and you're going to die in a few minutes due to your ship's systems, including life support, being critically damaged. Erasure then gives you an out in the form of what is essentially time travel back to when GREEN ORANGE was first created, but warns you that you have only one chance to do so, and gives you the choice whether or not to try it. Refuse and the game ends. Accept and you're put in one last stage against the Lotus Jewel, the original form of GREEN ORANGE, where you must approach and make contact with it for several seconds, then repeat the process several more times as it gains more powerful forms. Fail, and your saved progress is wiped out. Succeed, and the Lotus Jewel is destroyed, creating a new timeline where it, and by extension, GREEN ORANGE, does not exist.
    • In White Vanilla mode (later called Light Mode), clearing the game without continues gives the player the option to challenge the EX stage (or automatically begins it, if the "no GREEN ORANGE" timeline is enabled), which consists of a fight against Erasure as it summons Erasure/Endless Fighters to supplement its attacks. You have 2 minutes to defeat it. If your health runs out, you are forbidden from continuing, but the game is still counted as a clear.

    Stealth Game 
  • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the true final boss will trigger upon completion of Metal Gear ZEKE and finishing all main ops. How difficult the boss fight is depends on how well you obtain the parts for ZEKE.

    Survival Horror 
  • Fatal Frame II usually ends with a fight against "Rope Man" (a.k.a. the Kusabi). However, on Nightmare difficulty on the PS2 of Fatal difficulty on the Xbox, you fight Sae Kurosawa after him, and get a different, somewhat happier ending. The Wii Remake allows the player to fight Sae at any difficulty, as long as several conditions are met.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 has Nightmare, an animatronic that only appears in the last two hours of the bonus night Night 7 to replace Nightmare Fredbear.
  • In Illbleed, there was a hidden final boss that could only be accessed in a New Game+, by purposefully not saving your kidnapped friends. Stranger still, every time you let one of them die, Eriko (the protagonist) loses her clothing, until she is eventually completely naked save for a tiny thong-like panty scrap and a couple of band-aids over her nipples. Reach the final arena like this, and instead of introducing the final boss, the announcer will start drooling over you and come down there himself. And believe it or not, it gets even stranger from there...
  • The true enemy and ending in Parasite Eve can only be accessed by beating the game once, which unlocks the Chrysler Building. Reach the top floor and Aya will confront the Original Eve, possessing the "body" of Aya's deceased sister, Maya.
  • Resident Evil:
    • The original Resident Evil required you to make sure your player character's partner survived the game through several procedure choices you make through the game in order to get a rematch against the Tyrant on the helipad where you're supposed to be picked up.
    • Resident Evil 2 features two in the B Scenario. The A scenario's final boss is Birkin's lion-like six-legged form. In the B Scenario, you have to fight a heavily mutated T-103 Tyrant, who's much faster than before, hits harder, and can only be defeated by the timely intervention of rocket-based explosives. Then, you reach the end of the story, only to find out that the A Scenario ended prematurely, and you have to fight Birkin one more time, plus he's mutated even further into a horrific Eldritch Abomination-esque blob, which is fortunately much easier than his previous forms. Only then will you see the real ending to the game.
    • Resident Evil: Outbreak has a final boss fight. Your characters run, to escape only to be confronted by the boss you just defeated, again. You have the option of blowing him up with whatever weapons you have on hand or injecting him with the cure for the T-virus, which makes him explode.
    • Outbreak File #2 had this one boss follow you throughout the last leg of the finale scenario. Then, if you have to take the long way around to complete the scenario, the game fakes you out by making it seem like you have to fight him again, even if you killed him earlier. But another BOW assimilates him into its body and the True Final Boss fight begins!

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • True Crime: Streets of LA had, based on player performance, story forks that led to worst to successively better endings and another Big Bad. Fortunately, each of these forks were well-written self-contained stories, and had their own unique features that made it worth it to explore each one, and doing so made the True Final Boss appear for the 100% Completion ending. It turns out to be the same boss as in the worst ending, but on steroids and crack.
  • WinBack plays with this by having you fight the true final boss, Dan, before the bad ending final boss, Cecile, making the latter a Post-Final Boss.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce has the true final boss locked behind Hero Score, the game's 100% Completion tracker.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • In Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, if the player collects all of the Starshards as well as the other 4 spheres, Marth finds out that his quest to defeat Hardin was just a distraction so Gharnef could revive Medeus.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, defeating Big Bad King Zephiel with all the gaiden chapters completed and all legendary weapons intact unlocks a few extra chapters, pitting you against The Remnant and culminating in the real final boss fight with Zephiel's literal Dragon, still under orders to carry out his ultimate plan.
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has something of an anticlimactic final boss on Easy and Normal mode, but he springs a cruel surprise on Hard mode: not only does he start moving (with a massive movement range of 10 spaces), after you "beat" him, he immediately invokes a dark god and resurrects with wildly increased stats and fully-replenished (and jacked-up) HP. And it's still your turn, meaning any units that attacked him are unable to act until your next turn! Adding to that, only six characters can actually inflict damage on him before he resurrects, of whom you can only have three at once. (Eagle-eyed players might suspect something is amiss going into the final chapter, as there are less enemies on the map than in Normal mode.)

    Vehicular Combat 
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War plays with this. If you've beaten the game enough to unlock the SP Mission "The Gauntlet" on the highest difficulty, played that mission on said highest difficulty setting, and defeated Espada Squadron in less than 1 minute during the mission, then the game's penultimate boss Wizard Squadron appears. Do you have to fight them, too? Nope, instead a single F-22 Raptor appears from behind them and utterly slaughters Wizard Squadron in all of about 5 seconds. Then that F-22's pilot sets his sights on you. Good luck with Mobius 1, Cipher.
  • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception has a similar situation with Operation X, which is basically a fictional aircraft battle royale. At the end, if one aircraft remains, another ADF-01 FALKEN named "Z.O.E" will arrive, followed by an XFA-27 labeled "Scarface 1" (A.K.A. Phoenix). Both of them will only appear on higher difficulties, with the latter being the hardest enemy in the game.
  • Ace Combat: Joint Assault has the mission "Ace of Aces", where the objective is to go up against protagonists and major pilots from previous games with increasing difficulty (In specific order: Storigon, Gryphus 1, Galm 1, Wardog, Zipang, Yellow 13, Mobius 1, Dision and Z.O.E). At the end of this hellish gauntlet is a lone Typhoon named Phoenix, who serves as the hardest enemy in the game, adapting Milosz Sulejmani's bullshit flight patterns coupled with extreme aggression. Considering Phoenix is fought long after the aforementioned Mobius 1, yeah. Good luck, Antares.
  • Air Force Delta Strike features NAVIGATOR on the final mission for 3rd Element. The only way to get to this boss is by using 3rd Element pilots for almost all of the space-based part of the game.
  • In Aerofighters Assault, you could only fight the actual final boss by clearing every mission, which includes the bonus ones, the game usually ending at "To be continued" after fighting Lar deep in the Antarctic. There are three in total, but the player will only usually get to play one in a normal playthrough. Getting to the other two requires both speed and a lot of points (which you'll usually net enough of by taking out the enemy jets). Once you get through this, you'll unlock the Space level with a final showdown against the series original final boss Pandora. While she has multiple forms, they're not based on damage levels like most bosses, but based on how much time has passed, starting as a UFO, then a flying weapon and at last her original form as a metallic golden skull with a dangling spinal cord. Luckily, you can just kill her before she even transforms by using FS-X's super attack.
  • In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, while not technically a boss, there is a bonus extension to one level if and only if you meet the requirements for a silver medal or higher. Earn a bronze medal and the level is finished and you win. Earn a silver or better and you play a short mission in a TIE Bomber and gain an opportunity to unlock said Bomber for use in other missions.

    Western RPG 
  • Creepy Castle:
    • The game has the Final Boss be Possessor (who turns into Possessor Demon in the second part of Scenario 2). After beating the two storylines, you can continue into the Depths...or, if you are aiming for every "The Story" achievement, you can go straight to Ant Queen's story. Clearing that (which is required to do so, as well as clearing Creepy Castle, Ghostly Mystery and Lost) leads you to The Final Fist, where Ant Queen fights one true last enemy of the storyline: Possessor Apollyon. There is a save point before this so that you can retry the fight if you were to lose against him.
    • Free Depths also contains the true final boss of the entire game, Dopplebugger. To even get to him, one must get 20 out of 25 of the secret eggs, which is a Guide Dang It!, as a certain number of them are in each scenario. Then, one must get all of the required Stone Keys and all of the Sun Keys (and get all collectible items) and go through the Boss Rush in the Free Depths to get the lasso required to reach the ledge at the starting point of the Free Depths. Beating him (which is not an easy feat, considering that there are no healing items in the entirety of the Depths and Free Depths modes) nets the player the "Champion" achievement, as well as another egg and, when that is collected, a victory screen with Dopplebugger on it congratulating the player for beating Dopplebugger.
  • Dark Souls 2 offers one in the Scholar of the First Sin edition if certain conditions are met: The player has to talk to Aldia, the Scholar of the First Sin on all the occasions he shows up and kill King Vendrick, then Aldia will appear as a boss in the Throne of Want after Nashandra is defeated.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's World has one that can only be fought in Hard Mode and it's a fictional version of Scott Cawthon himself. Update 2 features another one in Chica's Magic Rainbow, with her literally squishing the intended final boss about a minute into the final battle. Unusually, beating either of them don't result in happy endings: beating the former results in him complaining that the game ended because the player killed the puppetmaster, and beating the latter results in a cutscene that turns out to be a teaser for Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location.
  • Infinity Blade has the God Kings. After you've played through the castle your first 15 or so times, you can buy the Infinity +1 Sword. This actually opens the doors to the four new immortal kings. The first three are really no problem, but the third is a Level 300 (the level cap in the game is 100 for players) robot mech with a man inside it. But you do get a sweet cinematic if you can best this insane challenge.
  • NeoQuest, one of two online Neopets RPGs, features this, with an extra boss added for each difficulty. There are three levels to choose from: Normal, Hard, and InSaNe. On Normal, you'll only fight the standard Final Boss, Jahbal. On Hard, it's Jahbal, immediately followed by Mastermind. The ultimate battle consists of Jahbal, then Mastermind, then Xantan Reborn, a strengthened version of the first boss you fought, Xantan. You get no break between the three, and losing to Mastermind (or anyone, if you're playing on InSaNe) completely erases your save data. Have fun with that.
  • Undertale: the game's alternate routes have different and much harder encounters replace the last two bosses of the most commonly first run "neutral route".
    • Pacifist Route, requiring you to have completed Neutral first, reset the game and then make extra sure to never kill anybody and befriend everybody available. Asriel/Flowey assumes his true form to fight you, and you actually save the Neutral route's penultimate boss from him during the fight.
    • Genocide Route, requiring you to meticulously hunt down and kill every single living thing in every area of the game. Sans interjects before the usual final bosses to try and stop you from destroying the world. The Neutral Route's last bosses still actually face you if you get past him, but you kill them in one hit in a cutscene.
    • Inverted in the Neutral Route itself on your second playthrough and beyond. The Final Boss Flowey's time warping powers allow him to know exactly how your fight is going to go down (you kick his ass), so he hightails it after you beat the penultimate boss Asgore.
  • Legend of Grimrock II: Defeating the Lindworm makes the credits roll, but to truly complete the game you need to go back and defeat the elusive Island Master. Doing so will liberate the island of his control, preventing future explorers from being trapped by him again.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • Breakout clone Dark Ball 2 pulls this out in the most unexpected way. After beating Khross's second form, if you have the five secret kharma chips, you get the Truth power up, which by this point seems to be there just to let you finish him off and avoid a bad ending. Then the ball reveals it was using you all along and was just interested in reaching this level of power, challenging you to a fight to decide who will become a god.
  • F-Zero GX has a final chapter unlocked after beating Deathborn, in which Captain Falcon, already a Memetic Badass, challenges The Creators, 3 mysterious entities that were responsible for both Deathborn and creating Earth.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy. In the original version, Gauntlet Legends, Skorne's true form could only be fought after hunting down all 12 runestones AND running through a level beforehand. After this fight in the remake, Garm absorbs Skorne's power, transforming into a large statue, taking control of Skorne's forces, and sealing himself within a citadel that can only be reached by finding the 13th runestone in the Battlefield.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage has Bunta Fujiwara, which gives you a free battle only if you have defeated all opponents in one loop of The Legend of Streets mode. He is extremely fast, so you have a hard time to block him from passing. However, the credits will roll even if you lose.
  • A driving/animal-catching game called Jambo! Safari had the goal was to catch (and presumably tag, not actually poach) wild animals on the African savannah. The last level was an all-or-nothing attempt to capture a saber-toothed tiger...unless you managed to get there in a single credit, in which case your final target was a white lion. The game's Attract Mode seemed to imply that if you somehow attained an even more perfect run, you'd have to catch a Moa.
  • Mario Kart DS: In mission mode, the original final boss is Chief Chilly at the end of the sixth mission set, but if you get at least one star on all mission modes before it, you can unlock the more difficult seventh set. Pass all the missions in that set and you can face the actual last mission boss, Wiggler.
  • Played with in NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams: fulfilling the criteria for the best ending adds a final showdown with The Dragon immediately before the actual Final Boss, which is unchanged.

Alternative Title(s): Perfect Run Final Boss