Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Hopeless Boss Fight

Go To

Basic Trope: The player is defeated by a boss he can't possibly hope to beat — but the loss is plot relevant, and doesn't result in a Game Over.

  • Straight: Hiro, Jack, Marcy and Claudia cross paths with Lady Rubliss, one of Emperor Evulz' elite commanders. Naturally, they are nowhere near her level of strength yet, and she promptly trounces all of them, but chooses to spare their lives.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • The thrashing by Lady Rubliss is what motivates the party to begin their adventure in the first place.
    • Lady Rubliss is planning to imprison the party instead of killing them.
    • Lady Rubliss is about to finish off the party, but Emperor Evulz calls her back to the palace before she can do so.
    • Had it been any other elite commander the party would have been wiped out and the story ended, but Lady Rubliss has her own reasons for keeping Hiro's group alive. She uses the butt-whupping to send two messages: that they need to become much stronger, and that she is not to be trifled with. It may also possibly hint at a way to defeat her other than through force of arms.
    • There was a protection that prevent the boss from killing you, but despite that you could still get hit pretty good.
  • Inverted: Foregone Victory
  • Subverted:
    • The heroes can defeat Lady Rubliss if they've been Level Grinding a bit.
    • The heroes can't win, but they have to at least put some effort into the fight in order to advance the plot, for instance, dropping Lady Rubliss to a certain percentage of her health.
    • The event presents itself as a hopeless boss fight, but when the heroes lose it's a real game over. The player has to reload and find an obscure method to avoid the fight.
    • The fight seems hopeless at first, but the heroes gain a power-up during a mid-battle cutscene that makes it possible for them to defeat her.
    • Lance and Dennis jump in to help, with Dennis's new Mon using Lady Rubliss's weakness.
    • The boss fight seems hopeless, and defeat continues the plot instead of giving a Game Over. But winning it is not just possible, it's necessary for the Golden Ending.
    • While Lady Rubliss will leave you alive if she defeats you doing enough damage to reduce her HP to zero results in her suffering Clothing Damage and angrily knocking out your party anyway before heading off to get dressed. Her discarded clothing once repaired is end-game quality mage armor.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied:
    • Lady Rubliss is obviously Cherry Tapping.
    • Rubliss's heath bar is an infinity symbol, and her defense stats is just a raised middle finger.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Hiro's team sneaks into one of the Emperor's strongholds and run into Lady Rubliss; despite his friends' warnings, Hiro challenges her. Surprisingly, the fight doesn't go too badly... in fact, she goes down rather quickly. It's only after defeating her that they realize their mistake — this isn't Rubliss at all! It's her sister! The real Lady Rubliss arrives and attacks; while the fight looks hopeless, as Lady Rubliss is much more powerful and righteously pissed off over the whole ambushing her sister in their own home thing, she's not invincible. Either way, the plot kicks in afterwards, allowing Hiro and friends to escape while Lady Rubliss vows revenge...
    • Rubliss can't be killed- however, the party still needs to Hold the Line long enough for the companions to escape and acquire the macguffin.
  • Averted: Lady Rubliss needs to be defeated, just like any other boss.
  • Enforced: Running into Lady Rubliss at this point allows players to get a taste of her personality and establishes her importance, and hopefully will spur players onward seeking the inevitable rematch.
  • Lampshaded: "You might as well give up; you can't even touch me."
  • Invoked: Princess Alice has Hiro promise to throw the battle so Lady Rubliss will merely have him humiliated as he's not ready to take it on and she doesn't want her brother to die.
  • Exploited: Charlie knowing that there is no hope inverts So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear and gives you all of his equipment when he goes to Hold the Line.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed: "What are we gonna do? She's invincible!"
  • Conversed: "I've used every attack and item at my disposal. At this point, I don't think I'm supposed to win."
  • Deconstructed: While Lady Rubliss chooses to let the heroes live, she also seriously injures Claudia, forcing her to leave the party to focus on recovery, meaning the party have no healing for a while. Hiro and Marcy also have to recover from their injuries, and Marcy is more than a little peeved at Hiro for ignoring her warnings and nearly getting them all killed.
  • Reconstructed: Hiro points out that while they might not have won, they can't just let evil have its way without at least opposing it. Beyond Honour Before Reason, Hiro also notes that their sacrifice may have weakened Lady Rubliss or slowed her down at a crucial point, preventing more deaths. Hiro also notes that the team now knows what to expect from the enemy; if The Dark Chick was like that, what will the Big Bad be like? And Hiro directs the teams training and recruitment towards the new threat using this intelligence, proving that sometimes being completely thrashed can be the best thing to happen to an arrogant group of heroes.
  • Played For Laughs: Hiro after slaying countless demons and human minions is defeated by a single elderly traffic cop who turns out to be an extremely feeble old man. Cool, it's an Old Master who can help them on their quest!... no, it really is just a weak old man who got lucky.
  • Played For Drama: Lady Rubliss finds a nonstandard ending to the battle, separating Hiro from his hometown and thrusting him into the role of hero.

Back to Hopeless Boss Fight.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: