(...five seconds later...)
Warlock: Ha! Ha! Ha! ... I have returned!
Warlock: You thought you defeated me. I'm much stronger than you expected. Now I will destroy you!!
But then, the music suddenly grinds to a halt as the boss suddenly gets back up again and reveals his One-Winged Angel form. Your character stops his dance, realising he now has to fight a much bigger, badder form of the boss he was fighting. This is when a boss pulls a Victory Fakeout.
Subtrope of Hope Spot and Sequential Boss. If the enemy feigns surrender in the process, this trope overlaps with I Surrender, Suckers. Compare Your Princess Is in Another Castle!, Trick Boss and Don't Celebrate Just Yet. If the player character dies during an actual victory scene, it's a Kaizo Trap. Contrast Fission Mailed.
These examples are pretty much all unmarked spoilers. Proceed with caution.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In The Wind Waker, Puppet Ganon pulls this on the player after defeating his first form.
- Happens twice in Twilight Princess, with Stallord and Armogohma (though in the latter's case, you "fight" her Clipped-Wing Angel form instead).
- The fifth boss in Phantom Hourglass, Dongorongo. Possibly foreseeable, as "defeating" him doesn't trigger his Critical Existence Failure.
- In Ōkami, after defeating Yami's fourth form, Amaterasu begins her victory howl, only to get taken out midway through by Yami's fifth and final form.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising has Hades, who tears the fake credits apart after the player defeats Medusa.
- In Batman: Arkham City, the Achievement/Trophy for beating Solomon Grundy pops up after the second phase of the fight... only for him to get back up again for one more phase.
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: After a long, arduous battle with the Guardian Ape, you climb atop his back and deliver a Shinobi Execution fit for a monkey king. You take a breather for a moment as it lies headless in the pond. Wait a minute. Why is it moving? Oh, no. Oh, nooo...
- Gill from Street Fighter III may count, if you're unprepared for his infamous resurrection ability.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Abyss does this twice.
- Then in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Yami does the same thing, except on those occasions your health is restored.
- In Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, the player character is actually taken to the victory ceremony for the King of Fighters tournament after beating Billy Kane. At which point Geese Howard's thugs arrive, kidnap the player character, and haul him up to Geese's office for the final battle.
- Super Smash Bros. exploits this when the player satisfies the conditions necessary to fight Giga Bowser at the end of Adventure Mode in Melee. Bowser does his typical "dying" animation where he falls offstage, and the player character celebrates as always... but then Bowser's statue rises back up and flakes off from Giga Bowser's body underneath, revealing the true final opponent. One of the conditions for additional boss challenges in Classic or Adventure Mode is playing on Normal difficulty or higher, adding an extra layer of surprise.
- In the Borderlands DLC, The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned, you go toe-to-toe with the titular Doctor... then you kill him in less than half a minute, get an achievement, and the credits roll. Then the real boss, "Undead Ned" rips his way through the screen, laughs at the player, and the fight resumes.
- Perfect Dark: You've saved the alien Elvis, saved the President, saved the world from an Earth-Shattering Kaboom by destroying the Lost Superweapon and as the ending cut scene starts, you're off to a meeting between the Maians, the United States President, and the head of the Carrington Institute. The music swells.... and the Skedar forces break through the Institute's walls. Lampshaded by Joanna Dark: "Looks like someone doesn't know when to quit!"
- The Doom level "Halls Of The Damned" has a fake exit, which has an exit sign and door just like a real one, but flipping the switch instead causes some walls to open and monsters to ambush you.
- Upon beating his second phase, Goopy le Grande looks defeated and gets an Instant Gravestone... which is his third and final phase, and attacks by sliding over to you and falling on top of you. More than one new player has died to Goopy after letting their guard down. Players who have previously defeated The Root Pack may see this coming though, as the game makes clear that a fight genuinely ends when "A KNOCKOUT!" is shown, and that doesn't display during Goopy's fake death animation.
- One fight in The Delicious Last Course takes this a step further. After defeating the anteater in the Moonshine Mob level, you're presented with a banner that reads "KNOCKOUT!" — made of flypaper — but a few moments later, the true mob boss, the snail pops out from under the anteater's hat and starts shooting projectiles at you. It's only after beating the snail and getting "A KNOCKOUT!" that the battle is over for real; as a bonus, you can hear the normal announcer clear his throat right before it.
- The page quote comes from Monster in My Pocket, an old NES game by Konami, when you defeat Warlock. The usual stage cleared screen is shown, and then the ending begins to play, but then Warlock suddenly comes back and you then fight him on a giant televison screen. After beating him again, your character simply exclaims "Yeah..." and then the credits roll.
- Downplayed in Donkey Kong Country, where the fake kredits during the final battle is blatantly obvious, such as enemy names in place of developer names, and the fact that the final battle theme continues to play regardless. It still managed to catch thousands of gamers off-guard.
- In Kirby's Epic Yarn, after beating Yin-Yarn, Kirby and Prince Fluff do their usual victory dance, but then the large needles he left behind come to life to knit a larger, mechanical version of Yin-Yarn. Cue epic Humongous Mecha battle.
- Likewise, a similar thing happens in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, after the Disc-One Final Boss Landia is defeated. Magolor seizes the dragon's Master Crown and reveals that he had been plotting a Batman Gambit to rule the universe all along, with Kirby and co. as the Unwitting Pawns.
- For an example with the victory music playing and dying down when the boss arises, there's the battle against yet another Disc-One Final Boss, the Grand Doomer. The boss stage is just a room with the final piece of Magolor's broken ship, until you attempt to get it, and the piece transforms into the boss. Why, did you think you were going to get that mast without even having to fight?
- In Kirby Star Allies, after defeating King Dedede, the credits roll after the usual victory dance... except it's obvious that the game isn't even halfway over, since the actual Big Bad introduced at the start of the game hasn't even been dealt with. Sure enough, the credits suddenly rewind and the Jamba Heart that possessed Dedede suddenly flies away, prompting Kirby and company to give chase.
- Metal Slug 3: Congratulations! You just defeated Morden! Time to log in your high score and watch the ending-Oh, shit! What you thought was Morden was actually a Martian imposter, and they've just abducted your character! Time to team up with the Rebel Army and chase those alien bastards into space!
- Likewise, in the final mission of Metal Slug 6, after supposedly killing the Invader King by blowing up its cocoon, the game's victory music starts playing while some of General Morden's soldiers climb up to your platform and cheer, but after a few seconds, the Invader King's eyes suddenly flash, sending out an energy pulse that rips through and kills all of Morden's soldiers on your platform, with only you dodging the pulse in the nick of time; the victory music cuts out at exactly the same moment. The Invader King then starts moving and attacking you on its own, beginning the game's Final Boss fight.
- The True Final Boss of Sonic Adventure, Perfect Chaos, appears to go down after three hits. However, a moment later, the triumphant main theme is replaced by a dark orchestral piece as he rises from the water with another health bar and powered-up attacks.
- After defeating Bowser in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Mario (and the other players if playing multiplayer) looks up at Princess Peach, only for her to be revealed to be Kamek in disguise, who then casts a spell on Bowser, making him colossal.
- This happens again in New Super Mario Bros. 2 this time thanks to The Koopalings.
- And again in New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, but what makes it different is that unlike the last two games where you had to avoid him when he was supersized, this time you actually fight him while he's supersized.
- At the end of Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bowser first appears to have been flung into space as a result of Mario ground-pounding his own meteorites at him, but just right before he can even get the last Grand Star, Bowser flies back up, eats the Grand Star, and becomes huge again, and as a result Mario had to ground-pound more meteorites at him to finish him off.
- Super Mario 3D Land did this twice: After the first battle against Bowser, Mario runs up to Peach's chamber to find a cardboard cutout of the Princess, and then sees Bowser carrying the captive Peach, who then mocks him and jumps off the tower. This also happens again during the real final battle, where Mario knocks Bowser into a lava pit (after he throws barrels at Mario)... ...and then Bowser jumps back up and starts chasing him.
- Super Mario 3D World has Bowser pull away the "level clear" screen, take all the fairies, and leap away to the real final world. (Like there haven't been enough Mario games that we knew an eighth world was coming.)
- After you defeat the Final Boss of I Wanna Be the Guy, he is flung out the window and The Kid goes to claim his gun (and title of The Guy). The victory fanfare is interrupted with the Final Boss going One-Winged Angel, returning to the arena and starting his second phase.
- In Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2, after beating the Final Boss, he explodes and sinks below the ground as the screen fades to black, but then he comes back again in a much bigger size.
- Used by Mother Brain in Super Metroid after "her" cutscene death.
- Subverted with the fight against Crocomire. When you push it into the lava pit, it gets Stripped to the Bone and sinks into the lava, and then the battle music stops. However, when you head back to the spiked wall, Crocomire's skeleton suddenly cracks open the wall... and promptly collapses.
- In Metroid: Other M, defeating Nightmare will cause him to crash around and then finally crash to the ground in defeat. However, when you have to traverse his boss room in the other direction after discovering Sector Zero, he'll rise from the floor and fight you again. The fact that his body doesn't vanish after the first fight should be a big clue. Of course, even though he "dies" here, he is still alive in the canonically later Metroid Fusion.
- Dr. Wily in Mega Man 3, Sigma in Mega Man X game, and Elpizo in Mega Man Zero 2 are particularly clear-cut examples.
- Then there's Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. You beat the Wily Capsule as usual, but then the floor explodes from under you, revealing the real final level.
- And Mega Pony, where you beat the Discord Machine and reach the credits... only for the real Discord to interrupt it, revealing the final, glitched level.
- The Bonus Boss Yoku Man in Mega Man Unlimited, fitting given the nature of his stage, pretends to explode and die multiple times throughout the battle with him, even cutting out the background music, before reforming and continuing the fight. Savvy players will note that his life bar isn't empty yet, though.
- Used before the final boss of Skylanders: SuperChargers, where after Kaos activates the Dark Rift Engine and The Darkness is seemingly defeated, Flynn flies away from the explosion as the credits roll and an Award-Bait Song plays, only for a rift to open and begin sucking the credits in before The Darkness reemerges for another round.
- True Final Boss Irisu from Rabi-Ribi pulls this. Once she's on her last sliver of health, she goes into a Villainous Breakdown, simply jumping around the arena and flailing ineffectually with her net, making her seem easy to finish off. Then she heals herself back to full, renders herself invulnerable to all damage and begins her final phase.
- Rogue Legacy 2: The boss of the Stygian Study, the sorcerer Enoch, disappears and leaves a chest behind upon being defeated like all the other bosses up to that point (players may notice that the usual "Estuary Defeated" text does not appear, though). Open the chest, and surprise! Enoch is actually a mimic that you need to defeat to finish the fight — the "sorcerer" you just fought was a puppet body he controls.
- In Zuma's Revenge, one shot on Zhaka Mu's Chef will drop him. Then the real one interrupts the fake end credits, and he's much harder to beat.
- Destroy the Godmodder: They had the godmodder down to 1 hp, everyone was rushing in to kill him... In comes the Anti-Chuck Norris turret, now upgraded into a tank.
- In Super Mario RPG, after enduring a two-phase Boss Battle against the volcano boss, the Axem Rangers show up and swipe the sixth Star Piece out of your hands right in the middle of claiming it.
- In Paper Mario 64, after knocking out Lava Piranha, you get your Star Points and the victory theme starts, but then it gets cut off when the ground shakes and the Lava Pirahna gets back up for another round, and this time it is on fire. There is a slight clue in that the Star Points you're 'rewarded' with don't get added to your total.
- Cortez the Pirate Ghost returns from his defeat sequence twice in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, in a stage that's something of a successor to Lava Piranha's world in the first game.
- Used three times in a row in a minor battle in Paper Mario: Color Splash after you squeeze the Washing Machine on Vortex Island. The nearby Shy Guy fights you, and after beating him, the victory jingle starts up... and then gets cut off by a Shy Guy 5-Stack coming through the door. After you beat them, the victory jingle starts up again... and then gets cut off again when a Koopa Troopa shows up. After you beat him, the victory jingle starts up again... and then gets cut off when a Shady Sledge Bro barges in. Only after you defeat him does the battle finally end.
- In Xenosaga Episode II, winning the first fight against the Patriarch actually goes to the post-battle XP screen, which then breaks with a Fight Woosh to send you into the battle against the next form.
- Similarly, in Final Fantasy VII, after defeating Bizzaro Sephiroth, the screen fades to black and it appears the post-battle XP screen is going to appear, but instead the game is loading the One-Winged Angel battle.
- In Trials of Mana, one of the three potential final bosses, Archdemon, appears to explode and die in a large explosion after defeating him, like the other bosses, only for him to reappear in his next form.
- Mega Man X: Command Mission actually has one in the form of the fourth boss, Dr. Psyche. After depleting his health (and probably wasting precious Reboots, Backups, and various curing items in the process) he collapses similarly to when you would defeat one of the other bosses, only to get back up and pop his head off, attaching it to his true form, Mad Nautilus. Thankfully you only have to fight Mad Nautilus during the rematch at Far East HQ in the final chapter.
- In Dragon Quest II, you kill Hargon before he can complete his summoning ritual... Only for the ritual to still work anyway, leaving you to fight the actual final boss, Malroth.
- In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, this happens with giant Bowser. You hit with Finishing Bros, Mario and Luigi do their usual victory pose... only to look behind them and see Bowser getting back up. Cue Kamek and some magikoopas turning him One-Winged Angel with their magic, which makes him EVEN BIGGER and forces you to use a second, more powerful Finishing Attack to defeat him for good.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga had a seemingly easy final boss fight with Bowletta. After enough HP is drained, she yells "NO! Cursed Mario Bros.! Not again..." while the Bros. do their victory dance. Then a Bob-Omb comes up while she holds her defeat pose, reveals she was faking it, and inhales them. Cue the true final boss fight with only 1 HP left.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV has the battle with King Kenji. As his HP comes close to zero, Kenji's battle sprite suddenly vanishes and he cries out "I lost..." The game then asks you if you want to pick up the remote...don't do it. Players will notice that the battle interface and theme are still present, and that Kenji hasn't gone through the standard boss explosion animation yet. Players who pick up the remote anyway are treated to getting sucker-punched with an attack that deals Physical damage and inflicts the infectious, strength-reducing Sick status, while choosing not to fall for the trap results in Kenji getting frustrated at your savviness, reducing his Defense.
- In Yo-Kai Watch, when you defeat McKraken in the Yo-Kai World, it seems that your journey is all over... Until the player and co. notices that McKraken is getting power from Uptown, and that they'll have to fight Slimamander again, not to mention they'll have to fight mooks from the Yo-Kai World as well to seal the power McKraken is obtaining from Uptown. When you seal them all? He is actually also obtaining power from Mt. Wildwood as well, and you have to fight him in a new, much harder form.
- Played With in .hack//G.U.'s second volume. After defeating Tri-Edge and an ending cutscene, the end credits roll to the same theme as the first volume. Immediately afterward the player is given back control for one last event revealing Ovan's not dead, and the actual credits with the new end theme for Volume 2 plays. There is, however, no more combat between defeating Tri-Edge and the end of the game.
- Dark Souls III
- In the first DLC, it has this as a series first for the series' first three phase boss. After killing Father Ariandel and Friede, the boss' Leitmotif stops (and on your first playthrough of the fight, you get a Titanite Slab), and you'd expect Heir of Fire Destroyed to pop up as with every other non-Lord of Cinder boss. Then Father Ariandel starts talking, Friede gets back up surrounded by abyssal black flames, and finally the boss music slams back on for the final phase: Blackflame Friede.
- In the second DLC, the fight with The Demon in Pain and The Demon Below seemingly ends after the second one is killed since the health bars vanish...but the second one defeated doesn't vanish with the other and instead gets back up with a restored health bar, an upgraded moveset, and the second phase starts: The Demon Prince.
- The final stage of the main quest in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind leads to the confrontation with Dagoth Ur. After Nerevarine bests him in single combat, he disappears and mocks the hero for believing they could actually kill a god. Of course, if the player paid attention to the main plotline, they already knew their goal was not to kill Dagoth Ur, but to destroy his source of power. You then proceed to the next room to do exactly that, while avoiding revived Dagoth Ur's attacks.
- In the third Mega Man Star Force game, when the Crimson Dragon is defeated the first time, it doesn't blow up, and instead goes berserk and floors Geo. Geo gets a pep talk and gets back up again, but instead of blowing the boss up with The Power of Friendship like the previous games would likely do, a second battle against the Crimson Dragon is initiated. Unlike other examples of this trope, this battle has elements of a Post-Final Boss, as the only way to end it is with the game-specific Limit Break that you're guaranteed to get in 3 turns.
- In Star Fox 64:
- Pictured above is the boss battle in Sector X, you succeed in defeating the boss and taking its health down (though the fact that its health meter suddenly shot down to zero when it hit half-full should be a hint that something's up), complete with Slippy saying, "Yippee! You did it!" as usual, but then... Fox says, "Huh? What?!" just as the boss suddenly comes back to life and says "The view is clear" while giving a Finger Wag to Fox. The boss theme becomes more remixed as the boss tries its hardest to kill you, but should you take too long during the second phase of the battle, Slippy will end up pulling a Leeroy Jenkins moment that will send him to Titania, forcing you to fly to that planet the minute you defeat the boss.
- Also happens in Meteo if you battle the Meteo Crusher. After defeating his first two forms, he'll say he is no match for you and admit defeat. Falco, if he wasn't taken out in Corneria, will see through this ploy immediately, and the shield gauge still appearing half full is another dead give-away. His third form isn't much more difficult than the others, and he'll go down with relative ease, anyway, leading to a legitimate victory.
- Armored Core For Answer. In the level "Defeat White Glint", if you defeat him while playing the level in Normal Mode, he simply sinks into the sea along with his NEXT. But in Hard Mode, upon defeating him once, his mech reactivates and he dusts himself off for round 2.
- Battle Garegga's Final Boss, Glow Squid, appears to be defeated, complete with the background music fading out..but in the midst of its Post-Defeat Explosion Chain, the cockpit detaches itself from the fuselage and starts to chaotically bounce all over the screen while spewing projectiles everyone in a last-ditch attempt to stop you, while the music starts back up. It repeats this same feat when fought as a Bonus Boss in Armed Police Batrider.
- While not the final boss, Chicken Invaders has the first boss of Chicken Invaders 4. After you beat the small military boss chicken (who appeared in Chicken Invaders 2) after the first stage, the victory music plays, but comes to a screeching halt when a chicken's roar is heard. After this, the boss music plays and then Super-Chick appears.
Hero (after the military chicken): Heh! Easy as chicken pie! (music then flattens and halts)Hero (when Super-Chick appears afterward): Gulp!
- Crimzon Clover's Final Boss, Crimson Heart, appears to go down after you've depleted its lifebar, going down in a chain reaction of explosions as the music stops...but if you haven't used any continues yet, it then restores itself, reveals another lifebar, starts up the second phase of its boss theme, and continues its assault. If you have used a continue during its fight, it blows up for real at this point but you get a message saying you didn't really clear the game.
- Dariusburst and its re-releases has Dark Helios, another variation of Dark Flame and Dark Flare. Once you beat him, the boss blows up and the screen goes white... but the music is still going. Cue the golden dragon mech from Syvalion (a spin-off set in the same universe as Darius) coming out of his shell to fight you.
- When Armor Tac is defeated, its spike ball "limbs" explode and it drops off the screen... only for the screen to start scrolling and Armor Tac to reappear with new attacks.
- The serene-looking Nightmare (in its "Genesis" form) starts going down in a massive explosion once its health is depleted. Then a giant set of teeth appears and bites down on it, causing it to gain an appearance more fitting of its name (the "Oblivion" form) and starting the second phase of the fight. On hard mode, it gains a second fakeout, after which you fight both of its forms at once (though only the Oblivion form takes any damage).
- On hard mode, Reactor gains a more devious fakeout. Nothing seems to be off after you defeat it, but when you go to exit the level, you find you've instead entered Reactor's core, which needs to be destroyed before you can move on.
- ZeroRanger does this with two bosses in the second loop:
- In Stage 2-1, you fight the same bomber boss as in the first loop, except there's a conspicuous skull face on its fuselage. When you defeat the boss, you get the usual end-of-stage Score Screen...and then the Boss Warning Siren appears again, the seemingly-defeated boss charges back up the screen, and blows its wings off to reveal its One-Winged Angel form: a floating cobra mecha that rapid-fires bombs at you.
- A similar incident happens in Stage 2-2. The boss has a different-looking skull face embedded in its "core". When you defeat the boss, the warning sequence plays out again, the boss's face shoots back up, the lights go out, and when they come back on, the face is now attached to a massive skeletal mecha who is only seen from the bust up, and which chases you up the shaft.
- Sega version of Lord Monarch: After defeating the Big Bad and saving the kingdom from his spell of destruction, it turns out the whole of Alfred's adventure was a challenge, set up by a king and his companions. The credits roll, but are ripped by Gessyu. Finding out about the set-up, he kidnaps Rubia and flees to his kingdom. Now it's up to Alfred to take the princess back.
- Canterlot Siege 3 ends with the Power Ponies as the Final Boss, but if you play on Normal or Hard difficulty, the "Congratulations! You've won the game!" is then followed up with "I think?" alongside the True Final Boss music playing. The words start to crumble down and then Derpy appears afterward as the "last wave".
- Happens twice in Nekomew's Potty Trouble, both in the two final levels of the game.
- The penultimate level has Nekomew finally reaching the potty... but then a monster pops out as it tries to drag him down the toilet through a quick-time event. Once he escapes, the level cuts back to the last quarter, and then the level finishes proper.
- The final level sees Nekomew finally reaching the toilet with no casualties after facing many monsters on his way. The results screen not showing up is a sign that there is more to the level; as the house suddenly catches on fire with the bladder meter changing into blood as Nekomew tries to make his way back to his parents before the evil former mom shows up.