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Upgraded Boss

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"The tactical weapon known as the Octo Oven has been given an infernal upgrade."
C.Q. Cumber, Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion

The Upgraded Boss is type of Boss Battle that commonly shows up in late-game/secret dungeons in RPGs, and sometimes New Game Plus modes in platformers. It is typically a boss you faced before, but they have a stronger moveset, new attacks, and sometimes a snazzy new color scheme. In RPGs, Upgraded Bosses usually show up as stronger variants of a previous boss.

Oh, and in case you spot a Boss Rush of these types of bosses, expect the True Final Boss to be waiting at the end (if you can make it there).

This trope usually overlaps with Super Boss. Can also overlap with Recurring Boss provided that the boss doesn't completely shift strategies with each fight.

Contrast Degraded Boss and Villain Forgot to Level Grind. Compare One-Winged Angel, Mook Promotion and Took a Level in Badass.


  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Training Boss from the Tutorial Level, The Varanus, returns in The Consortium's underground facility. It's a lot more mobile than before, moves around the fighting arena by traversing through the surrounding water, and fires an Acid Attack.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2:
    • The first fight with Tenjian as the intro boss has him using a counterfeit Glaive to empower himself. He only has a few attacks and simple patterns. Later, you properly fight Tenjian again, this time he's using a Grimoire (better version of the Glaive, with the power of the Muse added) and he's more powerful this time.
    • The True Final Boss is someone you've fought before: Gunvolt and Copen are each other's Mini-Boss in Tenjian's stage, and they (as bosses) only fight with simple patterns. After defeating the Final Boss, they fight each other again, and this time they aren't holding back, pulling out all sorts of dangerous attacks.
    • The game has a series of DLC that lets you play remixed versions of the stages and fight bosses of the first game, but with improved patterns and attacks. There's also a DLC that gives you different stages where you fight stronger versions of the True Final Boss.
  • The Battle Cats has two examples. First, to unlock the True Forms of the Crazed Cats, you must defeat them first, and they serve as upgraded, remixed versions of their original fights. Second, Mecha-Bun is a much stronger, faster version of the original Teacher Bun Bun. While the original was a Wake-Up Call Boss that needed to be beaten if you wanted to get far in Stories of Legend, Mecha-Bun serves as the gatekeeper to the Uncanny Legends.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Many of the later bosses are in fact earlier bosses brought Back from the Dead, with a new appearance and attack pattern. Not all of these bosses play the trope straight however, as some of them are considered to be easier than their living counterparts (such as The Forsaken when compared to its predecessor, The Haunt).
  • Bravely Default: Most if not all of the Asterisk holder bosses will have significantly boosted stats and have obtained new abilities to use against the party when fought again starting from Chapters 5 to 8. The same applies for the ones fought in Bravely Second as well.
  • Diablo III:
    • The rift guardians found in Nephalem Rift mode are souped-up versions of enemies and bosses fought in campaign mode.
    • Certain enemies, known as "Keywardens", drop infernal machines that can be used to access realms where a pair of enhanced bosses from the campaign are waiting:
      • Odeg carries the Infernal Machine of Regret, unlocking a fight against stronger versions of the Skeleton King and Magdha the Witch.
      • Sokahr carries the Infernal Machine of Putridness, unlocking a fight against stronger versions of Rakanoth, Lord of Despair and Ghom, Lord of Gluttony.
      • Xah'rith carries the Infernal Machine of Terror, unlocking a fight against stronger versions of Zoltan Kulle and the Siegebreaker Assault Beast.
      • Nekarat carries the Infernal Machine of Fright, unlocking a fight against a stronger version of Diablo, who will periodically summon the bosses of the other realms to assist him.
  • DemonCrawl has a rematch with Ego in the form of Beyond Ego. You have to use a specific emblem in beyond mode for it to appear, so there is no chance of doing it by accident.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: Vergil is fought three times in a single playthrough; once in Mission 7, once in Mission 13, and once as the Final Boss in Mission 20. At first, he only fights with his katana, Yamato, and uses simple tactics. The second time you fight him, he has acquired the Beowulf gauntlets/greaves and fights you with it, though he sometimes shifts to Yamato again mid-fight; he can also use Devil Trigger. In the final battle, he lost the Beowulf, but gained the Force Edge and uses several attacks similar to yours (Dante's) alongside his new attacks with Yamato, and he will also use Devil Trigger mid-battle. In the harder difficulty modes, he'll also use Spiral Swords to make the fight trickier.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
  • In the 3DS version of Dragon Quest VIII, you can unlock Memories Lane which contains several harder versions of story mode bosses which require different strategies to overcome them. At the end is Estark, returning as the series's resident superboss and requiring you to exploit his weakness to sleep spells to prevent him from crushing your party with his sheer might.
  • Dragon Quest XI has you fight darker versions of the Spectral Sentinels in Drustan's Labyrinth, some which will fight you in pairs. All of them have to beaten in a certain amount of turns to complete the fights and all of them have a remix of Dragon Quest III's boss theme to set the tone for each fight.
  • Dragon Quest Swords lets you access The Olde Reflectory after beating the final boss once. Aside from King Latem, Valgirt (and by extension his golden Palette Swap Valgirt Nedlog)and Salta (and his stronger version Der Gib), all of the bosses you fight are stronger versions of story mode bosses with new colour schemes and names. Overcoming Edahs Sohpix allows you to unlock Payback Mode and unleash havoc upon the world with the Deathbringer's Sword.
  • Fancy Pants Adventures: The first boss of World 3 is the pirate Captain Rainbowbeard. He reappears in the final level, having dyed his hair and renamed himself Captain Manly Beard, with more powerful attacks and ninjas coming out of his beard for added difficulty.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy X-2: Experiment, a Super Boss. The player can fight it at least once, and, to have a rematch, the player must find a key item called a Repair Manual then gather some parts from the Bikanel Digging Minigame until all its stats cap off at 5, with the Experiment changing form in the process.
    • Normal trials and raids in Final Fantasy XIV are integrated into the story, and accordingly intended to be relatively easy to complete blind with a Pick Up Group. For the more dedicated players, there are the "Extreme" trials and "Savage" raids, which take the same enemies, beef up their damage output, increase the complexity of their mechanics, and demand higher DPS to clear. Accordingly, they also drop better loot.
  • In A Hat in Time, the Death Wish DLC has dedicated missions for fighting the EX versions of the main bosses. They each have a rainbow aura, and move several times faster.
  • Hollow Knight:
    • Some bosses leave behind a corpse, which can be dreamnailed to fight a much harder version of the boss. These dream rematches are entirely optional and reward the player with Essence, which is part of the progression towards the true ending.
    • Two bosses have a rematch in the normal (non-dream) world. Crystal Guardian's second battle can only be reached with double jump, which players are not expected to have when coming across him for the first time. Hornet is one of the earliest bosses in normal progression, but she has a much harder second fight in a late-game area.
    • In the Grimm Troupe DLC, Grimm is fought after hunting down two of the three sets of Grimmkin. Hunting the third set leads to his upgraded form, Nightmare King Grimm, who has much faster attacks, some with harder patterns, and deals double damage. He is the Superboss of the DLC and was the hardest boss in the game before Godmaster was released.
    • The Godmaster DLC climaxes with back-to-back fights against Pure Vessel and Absolute Radiance, upgraded forms of the main game's Final Boss and True Final Boss. Pure Vessel is similar to Nightmare King Grimm in that his attacks are faster and deal double damage; Absolute Radiance has faster attacks that overlap in unpredictable ways, and an additional phase at top of the climb, where the original fight died in a single hit.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: The boss "Herrscher of the Void" is fought in Chapter 8 where she attacks you with Power of the Void and shooting big spikes at you. In chapter 9, she absorbed Mei's Herrscher Core of Thunder and gains lightning powers that she'll use in the next boss fight against her, giving her new and upgraded attacks.
  • IkenFell: Ibn Oxley becomes more formidable each time you face them. During the second encounter, his partner Bax is empowering his attacks, and your rival Gilda has also joined in. When encountered for a third time, Bax's apparent death causes him to lose control of his spirit powers and transform into a ghostly monster. The first three phases of the fight resemble your previous encounters (superpowered Oxley Special and all), but he becomes far more monstrous during the last three.
  • Most famously used in the Kirby series. Use of this dates back to the original Kirby's Dream Land for the Gameboy, but it didn't become a mainstay for the series until Kirby Super Star Ultra for the Nintendo DS.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails: Recurring throughout the series is a Boss Bonanza that occurs in the Final Dungeon where the main party battles each of the major antagonists they've fought previously, now having new moves and more dangerous Limit Breaks that could severely damage the team.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
    • The final dungeon of the game features reprises of the four Light World bosses, each with an upgraded arena or moveset to increase the difficulty. However, even with this boost in difficulty, Link's endgame equipment means that these fights still wind up being much easier.
      • The Armos Knights from Eastern Palace return on a slippery ice floor, making it tougher to line up bow shots.
      • The Lanmolas from the Desert Palace are accompanied by a Medusa (a statue that spits fireballs), meaning Link has one more obstacle to keep track of.
      • Moldorm, from the Tower of Hera, appears in a small, narrow arena that makes it even easier for Link to fall down and have to restart the fight, and worse, he may potentially land on spikes on the floor below.
      • Agahnim, from Hyrule Castle, is the only repeat boss whose moveset changes. Now, he creates two shadowy clones of himself; only the real Agahnim can be harmed, but all three fire magic bolts that can damage Link. However, for a skilled player, that also means three times the opportunity to reflect them and damage Aga.
    • The Game Boy Advance remake's new Bonus Dungeon, the Palace of the Four Sword, has upgraded versions of the first four Dark World bosses:
      • The Helmasaur King replaces its mask after taking damage.
      • Arrghus' Arrgi are replaced with Baris.
      • Mothula splits into three copies of itself.
      • Blind's detached heads must be batted back onto his body before the fight can continue.
  • Magical Starsign:
    • The Securitron is a rather early example — it shows up as a Warm-Up Boss on Erd soon after you crash, and a slightly tougher version of it with stronger attacks shows up later as the final obstacle before you can leave the planet.
    • Upgraded versions of the Securitron, the Holy Sapling, the Cybersaurus, and Shadra appear as Superbosses in the Glissini Caves.
    • Using certain figurines on Master Macadameus can summon these into the battle. Upgraded versions of the elite Space Police bosses, Master Kale sans his Gummy Giant, Pooka, Dab Hasnel, and Equillikrew can all be fought in this way.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man (Classic)
      • Guts Man is one of the most memorable bosses in the first Mega Man game, but only because Wily keeps using his design as a template. Guts Tank, one of the fortress bosses in Mega Man 2 is, as its name implies, a giant tank modeled after Guts Man, while in Mega Man 7 Wily steals a Guts Man replica from a museum, which he then remodels into another fortress boss, Guts Man G, this time replacing one of his hands with a giant clamp and giving him treads.
      • Also from 7 is Bass. He is fought twice as a non-remarkable Mini-Boss, first in the introductory level then in the first fortress level. In the second fortress level, however, he now turns into "Super Bass", where he combines with his robot wolf Treble in a form directly mirroring Mega Man's own Super Adapter upgrade. In Mega Man 8, Bass then powers himself up with Evil Energy (the Macguffin of the game) and this version of Super Bass comes with new attacks.
    • Mega Man X
      • After defeating a few Maverick bosses in Mega Man X2, the X-Hunters can be fought in secret rooms in the eight main levels. They don't die in these encounters, and are still the fortress bosses. Violen is the only one who had minimal difference in strategies between his two battles, while Serges now rides a giant machine, and Agile turns into a flying saucer-like vehicle.
      • In Mega Man X3, X can face Vile as an optional encounter, where he pilots a Kangaroo Ride Armor. If you don't destroy him in this encounter, he can be rematched at the fortress levels, now riding a bulkier Goliath Armor.
    • It's tradition for the Mega Man Battle Network and Star Force games that, once you beat a storyline boss, you can rematch it somewhere in the overworld (usually as Pre Existing Encounters in unassuming spots), faster and with upgraded stats. Beating that form would upgrade the boss again, and this time it's a Boss in Mook Clothing because it's now part of the Random Encounters.
    • Mega Man Zero
      • Downplayed with the Golems. In Mega Man Zero, a single Golem is the Warmup Boss, a Stone Wall that Zero only managed to kill with the Z-Saber. Mega Man Zero 2 features elemental variants of the Golem, which have more attacks apiece, but in the process gets an elemental weakness.
      • The Guardians are regular (but Co-Dragons) bosses in the first game, but in the second, three of them get One-Winged Angel forms. The fourth died before he can showcase his own One-Winged Angel, but he does show up in Mega Man Zero 3 as an optional boss, faster and with more attack variety.
      • The Rainbow Devil is a fortress boss in both Zero 1 and 2. In the latter, his Detachment Combat attacks are now explosive, his Ex Skill, a Megaton Punch, is now a regular attack and replaced with a new one, where it temporarily becomes invincible.
      • Also from Zero 3 is Omega. He is the intro boss, and only has simple attacks. Then, he absorbs the Dark Elf into himself, giving him more power; you'll fight him again as the Final Boss, and the first phase is similar to the fight in the intro stage. However, after that, he goes One-Winged Angel on you, and the fight is no longer the same.
      • In the first Boss Battle against Craft in Mega Man Zero 4, his Ex Skill is a Wave-Motion Gun that sweeps the arena. Just like the Rainbow Devil, in the second fight this becomes one of Craft's regular attacks, replaced by a new one: he flies to the air at the center of the field and fires his Wave-Motion Gun straight down, while also deploying a Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Metroid: Other M: The second battle against Nightmare has it use two new attacks, a Breath Weapon and firing a black hole that attracts all projectile weapons to it for a short period of time. Though it's not that much tougher as the battle happens just after Samus obtains the Gravity Suit.
  • Monster Hunter Generations introduces Deviant Monsters, which are monsters that have fought and survived many battles to become much stronger versions of themselves. Deviant Monsters carry new and more powerful attacks, the idea often being to take the monster's signature feature and exaggerate it to a threatening degree. As examples:
    • Arzuros is an easy Warm-Up Boss; other than being a giant bear the only real threat it might pose is grabbing the player in a hold. Redhelm Arzuros, the first Deviant that the player will face, establishes just what kind of level the Deviants are on with a roar that actually stuns the player, a hide that requires very sharp weapons to penetrate, a five-swipe combo attack that's hard to evade, and souped-up single-swipe claw attacks that are strong enough to knock debris out of the ground or, if the player doesn't dodge the attack, push them back with a gust of wind.
    • Rathian is already a formidable foe, being a textbook wyvern-type monster with breath attacks and a poisonous tail swipe attack. Dreadqueen Rathian makes much better use of her tail to introduce deadlier, harder-to-dodge tail swipes, and comes with a poison so strong that it chews through your health in seconds and cannot be negated with poison immunity; it can only be reduced to second-tier poison.
  • NEO: The World Ends with You has upgraded forms of the Reaper bosses to face off against in Another Day, with a souped-up version of Leo Cantus Armo serving as the ultimate Super Boss.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver: You can challenge Gym Leaders you have beaten to a rematch at the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City after obtaining their phone numbers and calling them on certain days of the week, all of them packing six Pokémon each with powerful moves and stats.
    • In Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, after becoming Champion and getting the National Dex, you can rematch Barry, the Gym Leaders, the Elite Four, and Cynthia in a greatly upgraded fashion. The Gym Leaders and Rivals all have a full team of 6 Pokémon with optimal IVs and maxed out EVs, useful egg moves, beneficial Hidden Abilities, and items normally seen in competitive such as the Choice items, Life Orbs, and Focus Sashes.
  • Punch-Out!! does this in every game except the SNES title:
    • In the original arcade games, including the spin-off Arm Wrestling, beating the Final Boss doesn't end the game, but rather has you fight all the opponents again in a slightly different order. They are all much faster more powerful in these rematches and eventually will start one-shotting you.
    • In the NES game, Piston Honda, Bald Bull, and Don Flamenco all return as opponents in the World Circuit. Their fighting styles have all been upgraded to cover much of their weaknesses, and Bald Bull has trained so that only a Star Punch or a counter to his Bull Charge can knock him down.
    • The Wii game has Title Defense variants for all the boxers you've faced on the way to world champion. These rematches often involve gimmicks or attacks not present in your first fights with them (such as Glass Joe having protective headgear, Von Kaiser adding a One-Hit Kill move to his attack pattern, and Bald Bull only getting knocked down if he gets hit by a Star Punch), some can use fake-out attacks to throw off your dodging, and they all dodge your star punches if you don't stun them first.
  • Space Invaders Infinity Gene: Whenever a boss from the campaign appears in an unlockable Secret Level, there's a great likelihood that it will have more health, more aggressive attack patterns and/or appear alongside other enemies that weren't originally there. Stage X-29 is a particularly good example, being a much harder version of Stage 3-5, a Boss Rush featuring every major boss from sections 2 and 3 up to that point.
  • In Spider-Man: Miles Morales, After Miles defeats Rhino at the start of the game, he returns donning armor provided to him by Roxxon which enables him to resist Miles's Venom attacks and see Miles when he's invisible.
  • Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion features rematches with "sanitized" versions of all the bosses from the main campaign, which can be found within the Deepsea Metro. These variants all share a neon-green color scheme, and feature several new and more aggressive attacks. Some of these rematches even change the nature of the fight completely — for example, the Octo Samurai goes from a relatively straightforward Damage-Sponge Boss to an inverted Ring-Out Boss whose attacks can knock players out of the arena.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In the original NES Super Mario Bros., the Actually a Doombot Bowsers start throwing streams of hammers at Mario in World 6, and the real Bowser in World 8 keeps up the trend.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has two stronger variants of Hooktail, the first chapter boss. First is Gloomtail, Hooktail's elder brother, who sports a dark purple color scheme and a toxic Breath Weapon. The other is Bonetail, a Super Boss who lives at the bottom of the Pit of 100 Trials. It is completely skeletal, as the name suggests, has the highest hit-point count in the game at a whopping 200, and its Breath Weapon can randomly inflict one of almost every negative status effect in the game.
    • The first Super Mario Galaxy game has a rematch with King Kaliente. Unlike other examples, King Kaliente's attack pattern remains more-or-less the same, but the arena where you fight him is much more dangerous. It comprises platforms sinking into lava the longer you stand on them, has lava bubbles chasing you around, and the King has a darker color scheme to boot.
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Dream Team and Paper Jam feature extra modes where the player can fight against stronger versions of all the bosses in the game (plus a Super Boss at the end). In the former two games, these souped up versions of the bosses have different colors than the originals and are marked as "X" versions of them.
    • Super Mario Odyssey: You can fight all of the bosses again in the Mushroom Kingdom by jumping into paintings. In addition, you can fight the Broodals one more time on the Dark Side of the moon in a Boss Rush. In all cases, the bosses have harder to dodge attacks or even change some mechanics of the fight completely. A harder version of Bowser can also be fought as a reward for collecting all of the Power Moons.
    • The remake of Super Mario RPG allows the players to challenge some previously defeated bosses to a rematch. After beating the game once, a new postgame questline will open up where multiple new wishes have been made. These allow you to rematch Belome, Punchinello, Booster, Bundt, Johnny, Jinx and Culex, all of whom are much more powerful than they were before. Beating them will earn Mario the Sage Stick, Wonder Chomp and Stella 023 weapons for Mallow, Bowser and Geno respectively, the Enduring Brooch and Teamwork Band accessories, and the Extra-Shiny Stone needed to rematch Culex in the first place. Beating Culex again just leaves Mario and co. with physical proof that they've beaten the single hardest boss in the game, and he can be refought as many times as the player wants.
  • Terraria:
    • The Mechanical Bosses are essentially stronger versions of The Eye of Cthulhu, the Eater of Worlds, and Skeletron with new abilities. Additionally, the Queen Slime in Hardmode is one for the King Slime.
    • A mod for the game, Terraria Calamity, has its own sets of upgraded bosses. The Old Duke is a stronger variation of the base game's Duke Fishron, the Plaguebringer Goliath is one for Queen Bee, and the Exo Mechs are much more powerful upgrades of the Mech Bosses, making them a double-example of the trope. The game also has an early boss known as the Desert Scourge, and a Hardmode variant fought in a different biome known as the Aquatic Scourge.
  • Touhou Project:
  • Undertale:
    • On a Genocide Route, Undyne becomes Undyne the Undying when she refuses to die from your attack due to her determination. She gains new attack patterns, more health, and a higher attack stat.
    • Subverted on a Genocide Route with Mettaton. While he transforms into a new form, the player will always kill him in one hit and he will never attack, even if you skip your turn by ACTing.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Phobos, who is fought twice, all as Optional Bosses, with the second time turning the fight into a Wolfpack Boss battle by summoning two clones when at half health.
  • The Yo-kai Watch games feature the Infinite Inferno, a postgame area that features a Boss Rush against bosses that are all recolored and powered up versions of the main story ones.