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  • Of the three antagonistic witches in Banjo-Tooie, only Gruntilda is fought during the final battle, since her two sisters (Mingella and Blobbelda) are dispatched by herself during the Tower of Tragedy minigame after they fail to outscore Banjo and Kazooie during the quiz rounds.
  • Seconds before Henry would have needed to fight, "Alice" gets killed in Bendy and the Ink Machine.
  • In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Celia Fortner is the Big Bad of the game and attempts to bring forth a new Dracula. She's never fought, instead being killed in a cutscene by either Soma Cruz or Dmitrii Blinov.
  • The Final Fantasy series does this a lot.
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    • Emperor Gestahl in Final Fantasy VI and Queen Brahne in Final Fantasy IX are both the primary antagonists throughout half of their respective games, and get killed by the real villain without ever fighting the player. Queen Brahne is in such obviously bad health she'd probably be worse at fighting than you were at be beginning of the game. Gestahl, on the other hand, was a stupendously powerful wizard, as shown in his fight with the one who kills him, and knows spells you don't have at that point in the game, so he, at least, would have been a Worthy Opponent.
    • In Final Fantasy VII:
      • The Sapphire Weapon is killed by the Junon Cannon before the party can get to it.
      • Also, Tseng, leader of the Turks, never actually battles the party, it's always some combination of Rude, Reno, and Elena (who can also become The Unfought if you decide not to fight the last Turk encounter).
      • Diamond Weapon in the original Japanese version, but a fight against him was added when it was released internationally (and retroactively added to the Japanese re-releases).
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    • Happened again in Final Fantasy XIII with Jihl, who was even featured in the trailer, but ended up appearing in a stupefying total of 4 scenes (if even that many), during the last of which she was blasted in the back by the REAL boss as she confronted the heroes. They are now fightable in DLC for XIII-2, however.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, during chapter one, a couple people are set up as disc one final bosses, but are never directly fought. Among these are Gustav (Who set up the Marquis's kidnapping, which Wiegraf detested) and Gragoroth, the Corpse Brigade member who kidnapped Tetanote .
    • Final Fantasy IX also subverts this trope with the Four Fiends. At first, when the characters split into four groups to take them on, only one (Lich) is actually fought by the player, the other battles taking place offscreen. However, in the final dungeon they're revived and all four are indeed faced in battle.
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    • In the Chains of Promathia expansion for Final Fantasy XI, Nag'molada is an enemy working at cross-purposes to the player for most of the storyline, working indirectly by means such as spreading lies about the player, stealing credit for your accomplishments and sending powerful boss monsters against you. At the very end, however, he commits suicide by allowing himself to be absorbed by Promathia the Twilight God. Not only does this cheat us out of a boss fight, but it also unleashes an apocalyptic evil god upon the world. Not cool at all, Naggy. Even in a follow-up quest where his spirit is attempting to cross over into our world along with that of some other malefactors, an NPC ally fights him instead off-camera while we rematch with a couple of old bosses.
    • Inverted along with an inverted Bait-and-Switch Boss in Final Fantasy X. Yu Yevon is the creator of Sin and the cause of Spira's "cycle of death" for a thousand years. But it's the Yevon Maester Seymour who is the party's personal Big Bad and your obligatory battle with Yu Yevon is a fight you can't lose.
  • Kamek never directly fights the player in the first two Yoshi's Island games (SNES and DS), only showing up occasionally as an Invincible Minor Minion. You do get to fight him in later games, including the third game (Yoshi's New Island).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • In Sonic Adventure, Chaos first transforms into Chaos 1 with a Chaos Emerald, but is never fought directly since he vanished with Eggman.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 marks the first time that Sonic doesn't directly fight Eggman. This is justified since this game is mainly focused on the heroes fighting their gameplay counterparts (Tails vs Eggman, Knuckles vs Rouge, and Sonic vs Shadow).
    • In Sonic Heroes, the player pursues Dr. Eggman to the flagship of his airborne fleet, only to find out it was actually Metal Sonic impersonating him after having gone rogue and launched an operation against the protagonists himself. Also, for the team battles, only 3 of the 4 teams had fought each other, meaning that Team Rose doesn't fight Team Dark, and Team Sonic doesn't fight Team Chaotix.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic and Shadow both fight Silver, but never each other as they were in a Rivals Team Up situation. To make this even more of a shocker to some, Shadow actually saves Sonic from a potentially fatal blow from Silver.
    • In Sonic Rivals 2, just almost all of the characters have fought two members in each of the 4 teams (Sonic and Tails, Knuckles and Rouge, Shadow and Metal Sonic, and Silver and Espio). The battles that didn't occur were Sonic vs. Rouge, Tails vs. Knuckles, Sonic vs. Metal Sonic, Tails vs. Shadow, Knuckles vs. Espio, and Shadow vs. Espio.
    • In Sonic Forces, you don't get to fight Chaos and Shadow. Chaos is taken out by Classic Sonic, and Shadow is taken out by the real Shadow.
  • Isoc in Mega Man X 6 never fights you, instead being found dead and seeming to set up a plot element for the sequels, which never materialized.
  • Mega Man Zero 3 ends with the fight with The Dragon, Omega. The game's Big Bad, Weil, is not fought until the sequel.
  • In the first Mega Man Star Force, this happens to Geo after he doesn't bother to fight back against a Jammer. When he knocks him down, Harp Note promptly comes in, saves him from the Jammer and his "EM Humans", but lets Geo kick the Jammer's ass himself. Later on, it happens to Cepheus, the FM-King. Despite the fact that his power is great enough to merge the Wave and normal worlds together, you instead fight his superweapon Andromeda, after which he surrenders himself to Geo and Mega's mercy, only to proceed to become friends with them.
  • Uncharted
    • In Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, you never fight Roman or Raja. Especially noticeable since they're two out of three named villains in the game, and the third one is the only boss fight in the entire game.
    • Happens again in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves; Flynn is already dying when you confront him the last time, which is more noticeable since Uncharted 2 actually does have multiple boss battles.
    • Once again happens in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. This time, the Big Bad, Katherine Marlowe becomes this. Justified due to being a Non-Action Big Bad. From the same game, Rameses also becomes this.
  • Parodied in No More Heroes, where Letz Shake, the 5th-ranked assassin, is killed right before the boss fight would start, causing Travis to complain about being cheated out of a fight. Happens again with the 1st ranked assassin.
  • Zigzagged in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Travis never actually fights any of the 22nd through 11th ranked assassins... since they're killed by Dr. Letz Shake, settling a proper battle against him. Then later on, Henry kills the 6th and 5th ranked assassins for Travis as payback for Travis saving his life. He even lampshades this trope in an answering-machine message, telling Travis (and the player) not to complain about missing out on those boss fights, and offering polaroids "so you can imagine what it might have been like".
  • In Magician Lord, the villain Az Atorse (or is it Gal Ageise, the game is never clear on the difference between the wizard and the evil god) is never actually fought. The seventh boss is said to be his avatar, but after the creature is defeated and disappears, he shows up apparently unharmed by its destruction. In fact you never even see him die, though he does say "I'm Destined just to die".
  • Arpeggio from Sly 2: Band of Thieves falls victim to the "killed by real villain" category, surprisingly late in the game.
  • In Breath of Fire IV, Yuna, the dark mage/geneticist in charge of the Carronade (a hex cannon fueled by torture victims) and responsible for the creation of monstrous synthetic gods, flees at the only opportunity your characters have to fight him, protesting that he is "a scholar and a pacifist." He survives through the end of the game. He was intended to have been fought by the player or at least given some form of comeuppance for what he did. Capcom was forced to rush the game at the end due to the fact that they were actually risking bankruptcy at the time. However, he still gets away in the manga.
  • The Tales Series:
  • General Scales in Star Fox Adventures. You confront him, and press A to start a cutscene in which Andross tells him to give you the Krazoa Spirit. He does, and promptly collapses. A case where the villain was the Big Bad. Word of God later revealed both boss fights were originally planned...then ownership of Rare shifted to Microsoft, forcing them to rush development of the game and focus on only one. Unused audio also implies Falco would help Fox take down Scales.
  • At least three in Super Smash Bros. Brawl:
    • Ganondorf is presented as a major villain in The Subspace Emissary, but the closest you ever come to fighting him is a cutscene where the heroes attack the Halberd with their various spaceships, after which Ganondorf is double-crossed by Tabuu. A little weird, as this is a game where Ganondorf is a fully playable character.
    • Despite being a straight boss in Classic Mode, Master Hand was presented as the Big Bad of The Subspace Emissary until it's revealed that he's the literal puppet of Tabuu, who disposes of Master Hand before the players get there.
    • There's also the Ancient Minister, who was hyped as the subgame's main villain in previews and promotional material. He heel-faced and was revealed to be R.O.B. just before the heroes busted into what would've been his boss chamber.
  • Alex from Golden Sun. He's more of The Chessmaster type. And as of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, he's STILL unfought.
  • An infamous example is Ephidel from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Set up to be a Climax Boss, he instead suffers death by exploding dragon. Breaking open the game's code reveals that he only has generic "citizen" stats and an inventory filled with items he can't use (while several other non-combat NPCs have proper stats and inventories).
  • The Last Promise, a hack of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, has the sorcerer Lahar, who is set up to be an endgame boss after he kills Siegfried. However, just before the final part of the final chapter, he reanimates Siegfried, and intends to have him fight the party. He does, but he still has enough free will to kill Lahar first. Thus, Siegfried himself is the final boss.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Glen is one of the six top generals of Grado. He is set up for the possibility of either becoming a Defector from Decadence like Duessel or succumbing to Honor Before Reason like Selena, but before he can commit to a decision, Valter murders him. This is only seen on Eirika's route; his fate is only acknowledged on Ephraim's route if you visit a random house in Chapter 15. In addition, the aforementioned Selena and the Disc-One Final Boss Vigarde, both set up to be major antagonists, are only fought on Ephraim's route; Eirika gets to skip them both.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has an army example in the Bengion Central Army. It plays a big role in the story and is frequently mentioned in dialogue, but you never fight any units from this faction. Justified as they have such a reputation as a Badass Army (and are led by General Zelgius) that a large portion of Part 3 centers around staying the hell away from them.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, there's a good chance you won't get to fight Ruger, the boss of Paralogue 9: Wings of Justice, who tricks a group of mercenaries into believing that he is Chrom, the hero of Ylisse. As soon as he recruits all of the available neutral units (or you get close enough to his position to stop his charade), he will immediately turn tail and run to the closest edge of the map, never to be seen again unless you're fast enough to catch him.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has two notable examples from Nohr, Nyx and Elise. On the Birthright route, where players have sided against the Nohrian army, neither of them are fought, making them two of only a few playable characters to never be fought on any route. Nyx only ever gets involved in the war thanks to the Avatar's interactions with them, so she has no reason to ally herself with the Nohrian army. Elise is an even more noteworthy example: she is the only royal sibling from either faction to not have a whole chapter dedicated to fighting her note .
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade has Fudo-Myou and Amitabha. For the first, you only get to tear up a statue of him, and when the real one shows up he immediately overpowers Jinkuro in a cutscene. For the second, Kisuke targets him at the end of the game, but gives up the idea once he realizes just what he's up against.
  • Baten Kaitos: Geldoblame has yet to be fought in human form, unlike pretty much every other human villain in the series. And Melodia isn't fought at all.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Zexion was never battled in the original Game Boy Advance version of Chain of Memories; he's finished off in a cutscene. Averted in the PlayStation 2 remake and its Updated Re-release in 1.5 HD Final ReMIX, where he has a normal boss fight when Riku encounters him at Destiny Islands.
    • The hyped-up duel between Roxas and Sora only happened in a cutscene in the original Kingdom Hearts II, but was added in the Final Mix.
    • Quite a few of the recurring Disney villains sit out having a battle in some games. Maleficent is part of the Big-Bad Ensemble for the first half of Kingdom Hearts II, but is never fought; she is also never fought in Dream Drop Distance and only appears in one scene. Similarly, Pete sits out of Birth By Sleep and despite his role in the Neverland storyline, Hook is never fought in Days.
    • You don't get to fight the Wicked Queen in Birth By Sleep either. She's on her way to poison Snow White as Ventus is leaving, and by the time Aqua arrives in the world, she had already been chased off by the Dwarves as in the movie. Aqua instead randomly fights the Magic Mirror, who even admits it has no business working for the Queen anymore. It's understandable, though, since the Queen has no fighting skills to speak of. Same can be said of Lady Tremaine, though you do fight Lucifer (and no, he doesn't have any special powers, he's just a regular cat with you being mouse-sized).
    • Frollo dies either before or after a Dream Eater boss, depending on whether you're playing as Sora or Riku. Either way, he remains unfought.
    • There's also Clu in The Grid. Of course, given the way he is programmed in the film, it's possible that neither Sora or Riku could even scratch him.
  • From Paper Mario:
    • In the first game, the "battle" against Kammy Koopa is simply a scripted battle with Peach; there is no way you can lose. She gets a proper battle in the sequel.
    • Nastasia from Super Paper Mario is the only member of the main group of villains who isn't fought, though she was also the only one who had no real combat abilities.
  • Halo:
    • The Prophet of Truth and the Gravemind in Halo 3. Justified in that it wouldn't fit with the tone of the game (the Prophet of Regret boss battle from Halo 2 was universally loathed, and the Gravemind is a (possibly city-sized) Eldritch Abomination).
    • 343 Guilty Spark in Halo: Combat Evolved (though you do fight him in Halo 3) and the Prophet of Mercy in the second game.
    • Jul 'Mdama in Halo 4 and Spartan Ops, despite him being the leader of the Covenant forces you're fighting.
  • Skies of Arcadia:
  • Edna from Wild ARMs XF dies before you get a chance to kill her for all the terrible things she's done.
  • In The World Ends with You, it seems like the Composer is going to be the final boss. However, the player has no input when he challenges Neku to one final game after Kitaniji is finally defeated. Also, Sho Minamimoto returns with a badass newfound power and the game builds it up as if he's gonna be the next boss, but then you find him crushed by his own trash heap.
  • You never get the chance to fight Varil in the final round of the tournament in Summon Night: Swordcraft Story.
  • In Fallout 3, President John Henry Eden is never actually fought in the game ...which has partially to do with the fact that he turns out to be a giant supercomputer. You can speech-challenge him, though, and lead him to self-destruct if your speech skills are good enough.
  • F.E.A.R.: Project Origin promises an incredible psychic battle between protagonist Michael Becket and Big Bad Alma. It doesn't happen. Instead, you get a somewhat anticlimactic Battle in the Center of the Mind with your Evil Counterpart, while Alma rapes your comatose body.
  • Alone in the Dark (2008) builds up to a climactic showdown between Edward Carnby and Lucifer... and just when it looks like the two are about to throw down, the game ends with a Gainax Ending.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2013) Karai shows up in the penultimate level and sends mooks out to fight the Turtles. Just when it seems like you're going to fight her at the end of the level...she leaves, and is never seen in the game again.
  • In Tron 2.0, you never actually get a chance to fight apparent Big Bad Supervirus and self-proclaimed Master User Thorne. Instead he gets killed out of left field by the ICP Kernel about 3/4ths of the way through the game.
  • In Suikoden:
  • Out of the many antagonists in the Xenosaga series, only two are never given boss battles.
    • Sellers' case, at least, could be justified by the fact that he's just a scientist in a hoverchair who is incapable of combat. The other example? Wilhelm, the Big Bad who played some role in almost every malevolent action in the series. After being built up as The Antichrist, and therefore fully capable of taking on the heroes, he was instead taken out by his right-hand man. However, Sellers is the only antagonist whose fate was left unknown; if a sequel is ever made, it's possible that he may return for a proper battle.
    • Also, the White Testament is the only Testament who isn't fought. Though really, he wasn't looking for a fight, and the developers may have figured that a fourth battle with Albedo would have been redundant.
    • In addition, out of all of the enemy E.S. that appeared throughout the series, the only E.S. the player never gets to fight (the modified version of Simeon notwithstanding) is Judah, the red E.S. belonging to the Red Testament. However, considering that official sources list one of its abilities as being able to strike its targets through hyperspace, this may have inadvertently ended up being a blessing in disguise.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, the Panther King has a barely lawyer-friendly Xenomorph burst out of his chest shortly after he meets Conker for the first time, killing him and leaving the Xenomorph as the final boss. Though, in the Live and Reloaded multiplayer map Doon, the Panther King DOES serve as the map final objective, you have to shoot his heart.
  • Subverted in Jade Empire: Death's Hand is killed by Sagacious Zu in a cutscene. However, you're not as close to the end of the game as it seems, and he gets better.
  • Most of the top-level antagonists in Xenogears escape the direct wrath of your giant robot violence. The Gazel Ministry is wiped out by Krelian, and Krelian himself gets off scot-free, having achieved pretty much exactly what he wanted.
  • Dynamite Headdy has an unfought boss, but you don't even know anything about her or what she looks like beforehand... a world just ends without a boss (and a justification, which was the only storyline text that got carried over to the US version).
  • In Resident Evil:
    • Your team leader, Albert Wesker, is revealed to be the villain behind the game's events, but he's killed by the Tyrant he releases without you fighting him. Then in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, he returns, with superpowers no less, and you again don't get to fight him, instead watching him beat up the playable characters in cutscenes. This tradition of Wesker being built up as a behind-the-scenes, cutscene-only Big Bad responsible for almost all of the trials faced by Resident Evil's heroes continues throughout the following games, such as 0, 4, and The Umbrella Chronicles, before finally being averted in Resident Evil 5, when you finally face off with Wesker and kill him.
    • His colleague, William Birkin, also has this when never being confronted in human form in 0 and 2. Instead, he is confronted after becoming a monster due to injecting the G-Virus into himself.
    • Their boss, Ozwell E. Spencer, is not confronted by the protagonists. In fact, they never even encounter him. Alive, anyways.
  • After a fantastic boss fight with the Demon King, Fortinbras, in Onimusha: Warlords, there's a short movie sequence featuring the Big Bad, Lord Nobunaga, walking ominously down some steps towards your character, Samanosuke. Then the screen fades to black and there's an epilogue. There's still a few Onimusha players scratching their heads and wondering how Samanosuke got out of that one.
  • The main antagonists of Silent Hill are rarely fought at all.
  • In The Dark Spire, you fight what appears to be the main boss and kill him. Then you learn there's much more to it, but the real boss is only fought in a cutscene. And you have to do a lot of stuff to unlock this ending, which makes it a real let-down.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The original MSX version of Metal Gear, the first game in the series, sees you destroy the titular Metal Gear by avoiding two laser cameras moving behind it and planting C4 on its feet. The NES version has this boss edited out: instead, you destroy a super computer, and never even see Metal Gear in the game at all.
    • Decoy Octopus is the only member of the FOXHOUND terrorist squad who doesn't have a boss encounter in Metal Gear Solid. Instead, you meet him in the first 30 minutes of gameplay, disguised as the DARPA Chief Donald Anderson... and even though you don't actually fight him, you still kill him by passing the FOXDIE virus to him.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:
      • Even though Ocelot is a major villain, he is far too busy with his Gambit Roulette to fight you. You still get to battle him in the other games in the series, though.
      • Dead Cell in the same game is a zigzagged example. The full Dead Cell unit actually has six members, but two of the members and their boss fights had to be scrapped due to time. In-universe, the story writes it off as these two members being killed during the "liquidation of Dead Cell" that happened before the events of the game. Dead Cell member Chinaman still technically appears in the game, albeit very briefly in a flashback as a dead body that Vamp cradles in his arms. His boss fight arena also appears as the one that Vamp uses instead, as Vamp's original arena was supposed to be somewhere in Arsenal Gear. The other scrapped boss fight/Dead Cell member is Old Boy. Old Boy isn't even mentioned in the game, but his boss fight concept is used instead for "The End" in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and his status as a mentor of Big Boss is made into the character of "The Boss". All living Dead Cell members in the game are in fact fought, however.
    • Hot Coldman is all but confirmed early on in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker to be the main villain, but you don't get to fight him. He's killed by Zadornov, another major villain, in a cutscene. You don't get to fight Zadornov either, as he's also killed in a cutscene.
    • Skull Face in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the main antagonist, with Snake and Miller wanting to kill him, having held a deep desire for vengeance against him for 9 years. However, in the end, Skull Face is badly wounded and rendered helpless collaterally by Metal Gear Sahelanthropus (influenced by Eli at the time), and later begged Venom Snake for a mercy kill. Huey ends up killing him instead. Not to mention after all the build-up to a showdown, the Big Bad was killed off halfway through the game, leaving both the characters and the players a "lasting phantom pain" (according to an interview with director Hideo Kojima, it was intentional, to point out that Vengeance Feels Empty). Also worth mentioning is that there was actually supposed to be an episode 51 titled "Kingdom of the Flies" whereby Snake gets a final showdown with Eli who is last seen piloting Sahelanthropus to escape from Mother Base in a jungle environment. However due to time constraints Konami did not include it in the final game.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Uka Uka is introduced as the man behind the man, an extremely powerful mask that was sealed away for thousands of years. You never really fight him; all he does is act as an obstacle during the final boss battle. This isn't so bad (a mask is kind of hard to make into a full boss), but it gets really annoying in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex where there was a perfect opportunity to fight him. In that game, every boss is Crunch absorbing the powers of an elemental mask. There are four elemental masks, five bosses, you'd expect the final boss to be the recurring boss using Uka Uka's power, right? Nope. Instead, he just uses the other four masks at once, and Uka Uka does absolutely nothing during the fight except pull Cortex back to safety after you attack him. It took until Crash Twinsanity for a proper battle with Uka Uka, but by that time, he's no longer the main villain.
  • Pokémon:
    • Giovanni, despite being hyped up as returning throughout all of Pokémon Gold and Silver, never even appears. They fixed that in the remakes, but it required a Mystery Gift Celebi which is now impossible to obtain since the event ended long ago (unless you happen to have a friend that never bothered to transfer it to later games). However, Giovanni can be fought again in Pokémon Black and White 2 as a Bonus Boss in the Pokémon World Tournament. In addition, Charon is never fought in Platinum despite temporarily taking over as Big Bad once Cyrus is beaten.
    • Happens with Mythical Pokemon that are somewhat relevant to the plot occasionally. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, when passing through Ilex Forest you see a shrine dedicated to the forest's guardian, Celebi. The GS Ball is required to summon and battle it, but it was never distributed outside of Japan. And in the remakes, it's merely handed to you through Mystery Gift. In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl you learn about the Original One, Arceus, who created the world, Lake Guardians, and Creation Trio. The Azure Flute was required to enter the Hall of Origin and battle it, but it was never distributed because Junichi Masuda thought it would be too confusing for players to use. In Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, legendary Pokemon from past generations start appearing all over Hoenn out of rings created by the Mischief Pokemon, Hoopa. Unlike the others, Hoopa is never acknowledged in-game or even battled, but is simply handed to the player through Mystery Gift.
    • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness, the leader of Team Skull, Skuntank, is never fought, while his flunkies Zubat and Koffing are fought at the end of the first dungeon. After trying to backstab Wigglytuff and suffering the off-screen beatdown that followed, Team Skull is just forgotten, aside from one dungeon.
    • Many fans were disappointed when they found out that during the post-game storyline of Pokémon Black and White, when you're given the task of hunting down the six sages of Team Plasma, you don't get the opportunity to engage them in battle. This is especially notable because, near the end of the normal storyline, they all try to gang up on you, 6 on 1, before the Gym Leaders come in to take them off your hands, but they never decide to get revenge on you. Instead, they all (but one) turn themselves in willingly. This also applies to the Shadow Triad — those teleporting ninjas who guide you throughout the game. However in the sequel, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, some of this is remedied, as two of the Sages, Rood and Zinzolin, are fightable, as are the Shadow Triad.
  • The final boss of Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen is never fought. As soon as you enter the final room where he waits for you, the ending plays. You get a climactic cutscene of a Sealed Good in a Can fighting him for you and defeating him with a Heroic Sacrifice. The battle itself was climactic, but the challenge was not. You never even get to see an in-game character model of the Big Bad. And if you didn't unseal the Sealed Good, then the Big Bad simply waves his hand and your party dies.
  • In the original Rayman, you never actually get to fight Mr. Dark. First he tortures you with some fire magic, then you fight his three mutantsnote , then... the game just ends. You do get to fight him in the incredibly obscure GBC Rayman game, though.
  • The Magician from Rayman Origins doesn't even get something even resembling a boss fight.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, Noa is notable as the one of the only playable primal beasts you meet in the main story that you don't get to fight against, either in a regular fight or as a Bonus Boss.
  • Gunstar Heroes. You never get to fight the evil emperor, because he gets nuked by the crystals he was trying to collect, which then open the Sealed Evil in a Can for the real boss fight.
  • Arnold Leach from Clive Barker's Jericho, while a Big Bad, is never fought (contrary to what some players may tell you). It is possible to shoot at him during a later level, but it has no effect on him.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, General Kheck, the leader of the Alpha Sections, is never actually fought. While you do brush shoulders with him once or twice, your only actual combat encounter with him is actually with his ship. You fight his Tripod Terror from your ship, and it crashes and lands... but when you go inside, he's already dying, and all you get is an Almost Dead Guy speech.
  • Dr. Loboto in Psychonauts. While he's presented as the primary antagonist for most of the game, you neither get to enter his mind nor confront him directly as a boss. Instead, he gets a lowly Disney Villain Death. Presumably for the same reason other heroes do: Raz beating up on mental baddies is OK, but real people? No. Also, The Milkman, who after being awakened simply ignores Raz and eventually burns down the asylum, completing his programming, then leaves Boyd's mind forever.
  • In Shadow Complex, Lucius spends the entire climax standing in his observation tower while the player fights the final boss. He gets shot in the head in a cutscene.
  • In Devil May Cry 4, you never get to fight Credo in human form, despite his Informed Ability of being a master swordsman. He activates Devil Trigger before throwing down with Nero. Another example is Trish in the original game: When she's revealed to be working for Mundus, only Nightmare is fought, not her.
  • In Iron Tager's Story path of BlazBlue, he runs into Ragna after beating Hakumen, but they trade only words instead of blows.
  • In Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Yang is the only member of Team RWBY who is never encountered and fought in the story mode. Additionally in Episode RWBY, she goes off in the beginning with Blake and then the story follows Ruby, and Yang only comes back at the end to take care of the wounded Ragna while Ruby and Weiss deal with the System.
  • This scenario plays out at the end of the Resistance campaign in Operation Flashpoint. Having been defeated, the enemy Big Bad, Soviet Colonel Guba, gets off scot-free and flees in a helicopter, but not before cornering and blowing up the protagonist. And that's the "good" ending! (If the player fails to destroy the bombers, every population center gets bombed into oblivion instead.)
  • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Vladimir Makarov is originally set up as the Big Bad. Then Magnificent Bastard General Shepherd steals the limelight. The closest you get is firing on him in No Russian, which fails the mission. It is implied, however, that with his enemies closing in on him, he won't last long. In fact, he only shows up in a grand total of two missions in the game. And only one of those in person. The other you just hear his voice.
  • In Mass Effect 2, you fight Harbinger on multiple occasions as he possesses Collectors. However, you never fight his actual body, which resembles a cross between a Collector and a Husk Praetorian. This is because the Collector General is not his true body either. He's actually a Reaper, and the Collector General is just another shell he discards when it's no longer convenient.
  • Mass Effect 3. You spend the entire game building up a fleet to battle the Reaper forces led by Harbinger at Earth and you don't even fight him. He doesn't even have any lines! He only appears at the Conduit-like beam that leads to the Citadel and blasts Hammer as they bolt for the beam.
  • In the first and second House of the Dead games, the final bosses are artificial monsters created by the Mad Scientist of the episode. The maestri themselves are not up to a fight, either having been slain by their "masterpiece" immediately after its commission or doing themselves in after it's destroyed. Although, in Curien's case, you will get to fight him at the end of the third game, after being resurrected and transformed into the artificial life-form "Wheel of Fate".
  • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL's dragon, Papa Ceasar, manages to get away from the protagonists throughout the game. To make it worse, he gets killed by the Big Bad.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Captain Qwark's involvement in the plot is inverse to the way he is fought.
    • In the first, he's The Dragon, yet only fought ship to ship.
    • In the second of the games he is the main villain, but not fought at all.
    • You finally fight him head to head in the third, yet he's barely a comic relief villain.
  • The eponymous Hisoutensoku of the expansion to the second Touhou Project fighter Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is never encountered or fought by the three interested in its shadow. Instead, Cirno fights Alice and a giant Shanghai doll, Sanae fights Suwako who was responsible for the event, and Meiling hallucinates about a big freaking catfish.
  • God of War III has several: Hera is killed easily in a cinema, Helios is weakened to the point where all you need is a mini-game to kill him, Hephaestus and Gaia are technically killed completely by Kratos, but in mini-games instead of full battles.
  • Terranigma features a Mad Scientist called Beruga who is set up as the Big Bad for quite a while. But when you track him down and are about to fight him, he just ends up killing himself by accident.
  • Thanks to its rushed development cycle, Turel is the only one of Kain's vampire lieutenants that Raziel does not fight in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver — in fact, the entire third act of the game was unceremoniously Dummied Out to set up a sequel. Fortunately, future games in the series got a chance to rectify this: Raziel fights and defeats Turel's human form in Soul Reaver 2, as well as his vampire form in Defiance, where Turel has travelled back in time and is worshipped as a pagan god in the underground catacombs of Avernus Cathedral.
  • Fable II's Reaver will shoot Lucien if you allow him to talk too long.
  • Officer Tenpenny in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the meanest, most manipulative son of a bitch in the game, but you never get to actually fight him. After a city-wide car chase, he ends up losing control of his truck and driving right off a bridge through a concrete barrier, just in front of CJ's home. CJ is convinced by Sweet not to drive a bullet in the man's head "just to make sure", and lets Tenpenny die of his own internal injuries.
  • Ray Bulgarin seems to be the perfect Big Bad for Niko in Grand Theft Auto IV, being a bigger threat and having a greater personal connection to him than Dimitri Rascalov, but he simply disappears after letting loose a group of goons on Niko and Packie in an attempt to retrieve his stolen diamonds. His fate is revealed in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, where he does serve as the Big Bad and Final Boss.
  • Meibisi in Rise of the Kasai is never fought in his human form; despite being invincible because he removed his heart and put it in a crystal, and having been a part of the same organization as the heroes, which would have involved being a highly trained warrior in his own right, he goes straight into One-Winged Angel mode during his boss fight, becoming the mindless avatar of his god, Kri.
  • MB, aka Melissa Bergman in Metroid: Other M. Justified in that a straight fight between her and Samus would've been over in seconds, given how easily a bunch of random GF Troopers were able to kill her.
  • Earthworm Jim 2's first boss fight ends almost as soon as it begins, when Jim eats the boss.
  • In the Arcade Game Hard Head 2, you never fight the cyclops monster that steals your girlfriend. After killing the Final Boss, the monster just returns the girl to you and leaves.
  • The arcade version of The Combatribes has the three main characters chasing after a generic looking man-in-suit crime boss throughout the final two stages. When the player finally confronts the boss at the end, he gets murdered by his own female bodyguard, who confronts the player as the final boss instead.
  • In The Punisher (Capcom), Bruno Costa (the Mafia gang boss responsible for the death of Frank Castle's family) sends out various cronies to take care of Frank Castle and Nick Fury as he makes his getaway. When the player finally confronts him in the end of the second stage, Costa gets killed by an android sent out by the Kingpin to eliminate him.
  • Hiruko, the fortune teller in the NES version of Double Dragon III, is never fought after she betrays the heroes. This is not the case in the arcade version, where she has a brief battle with the player before fighting the final boss.
  • In Grandia III, Grau is never fought. One of Xorn's roots turns him into glass and shatters him.
  • Ōkamiden. Daidarabotchi. Big. Threatening. Never even moves, let alone fights.
  • In Odin Sphere, you never fight Big Bad King Valentine. You just deal with the mess he creates.
  • The Dark Queen appears but remains unfought in the Game Boy and arcade Battletoads games, both of which have Robo-Manus as the Final Boss. Also, though Silas Volkmire is the namesake of a stage in the original NES game, the only time players get to confront him directly is at the end of Battlemaniacs (and it's little more than a Quick Time Event).
  • Papa Muerte in Total Overdose is a legendary and feared underworld figure who all of Tommy's investigations have pointed to, and eventually Muerte is connected to killing Ram and Tommy's father. He's behind every mobster Ram fights, works for, or works for and then fights. A Big Bad appears out of nowhere in the last two chapters, but all that's seen of Papa Muerte is the back of his head in some distant narrative shot.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei II, Gabriel isn't fought on any route, even on Chaos, most likely due to being the only thoroughly sympathetic Law aligned character. Furthermore, Seth isn't fought on any route except after he fuses to become Satan. It takes a spinoff to avert this trope for these two particular incarnations - Gabriel is fought alongside her partners due to a feeling of loyalty, and Seth is fought on the path to Satan.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Mastema becomes this if you're on the Neutral ending. Normally, alignment-specific characters in this franchise are fought if you oppose them; not so with this guy, even though he's angry with you for not choosing to side with the forces of Law. On the Chaos Path, Mem Aleph, the Big Bad, is your ally and thus not the Final Boss as per usual.
    • Digital Devil Saga also has Cuvier, who is set up as the second game's Big Bad, get unceremoniously killed off by Angel during the game's Wham Episode.
  • Alice: Madness Returns has the first boss, a steam-powered Humongous Mecha piloted by the Dormouse and March Hare. Just after the pre-battle cutscene is over, Mad Hatter unceremoniously whacks it out of existence with a giant teapot.
  • In Borderlands, Commandant Steele and the Crimson Lance are the main antagonists for most of the game; however, upon reaching the Vault, you don't get to fight Steele because she is impaled by an Eldritch Abomination named The Destroyer, that is, quite in fact, a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. However, she returns in Claptrap's Robot Revolution, having been rebuilt as "Steele-Trap" and as an actual boss.
  • In Borderlands 2:
    • When you go to rescue Roland from the Bloodshots, who are planning to ransom him off to the Hyperion Corporation, you're probably expecting to fight their leader Flanksteak. The game seems to really try to sell you on this guy being a big deal, so you're probably even looking forward to facing him. Instead, Hyperion decides to storm the Bloodshots' base with an army of Mecha-Mooks and capture Roland themselves, and Flanksteak, comically oblivious that the mayhem going on in his own base is not just the fault of the Vault Hunters, gets killed when he tries to offer an attacking Hyperion Loader twenty bucks for Roland.
    • In the first DLC expansion, Captain Scarlett and her Pirate's Booty, you get a downplayed example. While you do technically fight the titular Captain Scarlett, she's actually only marginally involved in the fight; the real enemy is her pet rakk hive. After the battle, she runs away and is never seen or heard from again, managing to use some sort of teleportation device to escape.
    • In the second DLC expansion, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage, Flyboy is set up as one of the competitors before Piston kills him so he can fight you.
    • In the third DLC, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, Professor Nakayama dies when he finally decides to confront you, only to trip and fall down some stairs.
  • Skint in The Reconstruction. You come extremely close to battling him (there's even a Fight Woosh!), but Dehl calls off the battle and solves things diplomatically. The next time you see him, he's Half the Man He Used to Be and requests a Mercy Kill in an Alas, Poor Villain scene.
  • In Transformers: War for Cybertron, Optimus Prime is never fought during the Decepticon Campaign (the major boss fight is against Omega Supreme) and Megatron is never fought directly during the Autobot Campaign (the end boss fight being against Trypticon). Averted in the sequel, where you can choose to play as Megatron or Optimus for the final battle and get to defeat the other in a duel.
  • Most of the people responsible for what happens in New York in [PROTOTYPE]. Peter Randall and Colonel Ian Taggart, the general of Blackwatch and leader of the Military, are killed in a cutscene by Alex, and McMullen, head of Gentex and company that developed the virus, kills himself when Alex confronts him. Justified since any normal human other than Captain Cross would have been a Zero-Effort Boss to Alex Mercer.
  • Homefront has Colonel Jeong, the only enemy that isn't an anonymous masked clone. He arrests you in the opening sequence and is narrowly avoided later on in the game, but after his second appearance, he is never mentioned again.
  • The sorceress in Orcs Must Die! is never confronted directly, although there is some verbal sparring.
  • Many villains in the Batman Arkham Series never get a proper boss fight, either being taken out in a cutscene (Harley, Scarecrow, Hugo Strange), are defeated with a single stealth attack or thrown Batarang (Zsasz, Riddler, Deadshot), or both (Croc). This is particularly egregious with Hugo Strange, since he's a main antagonist and the in-game description of him includes the bulletpoint "Trained to physical perfection." That sounds like a fight! Nope.
  • Runescape has a few, which include, but are not limited to:
    • Lucien, percieved for several years to be the game's Big Bad until a new quest was released in which he is killed easily by an even more powerful enemy.
    • You don't really fight Iban as such, rather, players must simply run into his room and throw a Voodoo Doll of him into the Well of Voyage, killing him. He is trying to blast you with magic during this procedure, but the room is very small and it's quite possible to succeed without him hitting you once.
    • You don't get to fight Mother Mallum, as you are being controlled. Instead, a team of player controlled NPC's drops a pillar on her. This one caused much uproar in the community.
  • In Bastion, there is Zulf. Made somewhat humorous by the fact that immediately after you figure out there won't be such a fight, Rucks starts talking about how The Kid must be having a final showdown right about now.
  • Dragon Age II has Sister Petrice, who is killed by a Qunari archer in front of you — though she admits early on to being a non-action person, so this is perhaps unsurprising.
  • Viridi from Kid Icarus: Uprising. She sends her forces at Pit like the other gods, insults and tries to put him down like the other gods, and is a clear antagonist, but though a combination of an army of Giant Space Fleas from Nowhere and losing the war against another god, she and Pit eventually become allies. Even in the chapter that puts Pit up against hypothetical enemies, like Magnus, she doesn't get a boss fight. Quite strange for a character with such huge importance in the story. The most likely explanation is that she looks like a little kid, but that doesn't prevent Pit from at least threatening to attack her.
  • Lan Di, the antagonist of the Shenmue series, is never fought by the player even once. Despite the series finally, finally getting a third installment, creator Yu Suzuki has hinted that Ryo may eventually abandon his quest for revenge after all, so it remains to be seen whether he'll ever face Lan Di.note 
  • Motaro, in Mortal Kombat 9, is unceremoniously killed by Raiden just off-screen early in the third part.
  • Danek Emperor Jeal in Vay. Though you do eventually come face-to-face with him once most of the Orbs are collected, his second-in-command, Prince Sadoul, kills him right in front of the party's eyes.
  • The varsity squad in the Mario Tennis Game Boy Color game. You get to play against Mark when he's in a Doubles match, and Emily in a Singles. But never Kevin.
  • You never get to fight Elise in Shining the Holy Ark, despite the fact she bathes in the blood of children to retain her beauty. You only get to fight her sister and the half-vandal Panzer. Perhaps it because was she was a powerful Vandal and to retain the fear of vandals for the sequel Shining Force III. You never get to fight Galm, either.
  • In Shining Force III, you never get to fight a great number of bosses, at least outside Japan. Due to the fact the game was split into three different games and only the first one was globally released, there are great scores of bad guys, monsters, and machines that are introduced and never seen by the main characters, let alone fought.
  • In Tactics Ogre:
    • Heirophant Balbatos, the silent antagonist for the first part of the game, is never fought by the player. In the Chaotic route, he is captured by the Walister Resistance and more liberal Galgastani and executed off-screen. (However, you can view it with the Warren Report.) In the lawful route, he simply commits suicide before he gets to you.
    • Of the dark knights, Volaq and Balxephon are never fought in the original versions of the game. In fact, battle data for Volaq and Balxephon didn't even exist in the original versions! This was changed in the PSP version where Balxephon is one part of a Dual Boss in Chapter three, and where Volaq is an optional boss fight in chapter four.
  • The third Max Payne has Serrano. You get close to him, but never have a proper gunfight. The last you see of him is in a building about to collapse.
    • This also applies to Neves, the leader of the Crachá Preto mercenaries, who is shot by another character just before he can kill the protagonist. His second-in-command is taken out with a handful of quick time actions.
  • Contra
    • In Contra Hard Corps, one of the four main story paths ends with an outbreak of alien organic matter, providing a distraction for the main antagonist, Colonel Bahamut, to escape to fight another day.
    • Chief Salamander in Contra Rebirth. Justified for plot twisting reasons.
    • And in Contra Shattered Soldier, the Triumvirate.
  • Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3 with the most badass mercs Jackal and Vaas. You get taken down by Cutscene Incompetence whenever you meet Jackal for one. Same thing for Vaas (apparently the Far Cry devs really love this trope), and when you finally take him down, it happens in a trippy drug/dream sequence that you aren't even sure is really happening.
  • BioForge: Dr. Mastaba got away scot free.
  • In Mighty Bomb Jack, you don't get to fight Beelzebut in any of the Multiple Endings.
  • Colonel Capricciola, Bubbles, and Gingerelle from Brave Fencer Musashi, despite all three being warriors. Bubbles and Gingerelle vanish about halfway through with no explanation, and Capricciola is actually Jon and is secretly helping you. It's possible that Cappricciola was to be fought at one time, as his action figure has attacks and voice-overs that aren't used elsewhere in the game. Either that, or that was done to hide the big twist later.
  • BioShock:
    • In BioShock, you never really fight Andrew Ryan. He basically commits suicide using your mental conditioning to bash his brain in a cutscene.
    • In BioShock 2, the player doesn't get to fight Sofia Lamb, but her fate can be determined by the choices they made. She will either drown or be left to live as Cruel Mercy.
    • Many of the named antagonists are not directly fought by the player in BioShock Infinite. Daisy Fitzroy kills Jeremiah Fink, Elizabeth kills Fitzroy, Booker DeWitt does kill the main antagonist but in a non-controllable scene, and Songbird ends up assisting the player in the final battle before being sent to die at the bottom of the ocean. Cornelius Slate is played up as a boss battle, but once you have killed his men and confront him, he's too exhausted to fight and he turns into a Cutscene Boss instead. Lady Comstock is the only named character that is actually confronted in a player-controlled battle and, as if to make up for the long list of unfought, has to be defeated three times in three equally difficult fights.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, John Marston spends almost the entire game hunting down Dutch Van der Linde, the leader of his old gang. But when the two men finally come face to face, Dutch commits suicide in a cutscene.
  • The real Dr. Hell is not fought in Super Robot Wars BX. Instead, the Great General of Darkness kills him when he's summoned by Kiba using the Gravity Reactor to open the gate.
  • Super Robot Wars UX: Master Vespasianus, Emperor Annex Zaboom, and Shot Weapon.
    • Vespanius is not fought because Augustus killed him.
    • Emperor Annex Zaboom is not fought because he was betrayed by Hazard, who commanded Vajra to suicide bomb themselves at his and Sharom's battleships.
    • Shot Weapon is not fought because he attempted take to Alto with a suicide bombing.
  • Shot Weapon isn't fought in Super Robot Wars X and is dealt with in a cutscene by Silky Mau.
  • Secret of Mana: Emperor Vandole is the main antagonist, but he never engages the party in battle, always leaving that to his lieutenants and minions. Then he's killed off by Thanatos and it's revealed that two of the other lieutenants, Fanha and Sheex, were in on Thanatos' plan the whole time.
  • Triad Stone spends much of its story building up King Barroll as the villain who stole the three magic stones for himself to tyrannize the island by releasing evil monsters and disasters, and Gian repeatedly urges Ashe to go stop him. Yet in the end, Barroll is never fought or even seen during the game. The ending narration says the stones were taken back from Barroll's followers, but not how the king himself was dealt with. Instead the final battle is against Barroll's Sealed Evil in a Can predecessor, Faless the Dark King.
  • In Die Hard: Vendetta, Hans Gruber's son Piet is introduced at the very beginning. He is established as the main villain almost immediately, and is constantly taunting John throughout the game. Piet is killed in the next-to-last level's ending cutscene by John's daughter Lucy, leaving action star turned terrorist Jack Frontier as the final boss.
  • Shere Khan plays this straight in both the NES and Genesis versions of the Talespin video game. He appears in both games, but only through cutscenes. He can be fought in the less well-known TurboGrafx-16 game.
  • In Dragon Quest IV, the main villain that only the Hero is able to defeat is Estark, who is about to awaken from a long slumber since his defeat in the distant past. In a surprising subversion, you get to him before he has a chance to wake up, and kill him in his sleep. Psaro, one of his minions, ends up being the final villain.
  • Despite his name being in the title, Gargamel doesn't actually appear anywhere in Smurf: Rescue In Gargamel's Castle.
  • In Sunsoft's Superman'' Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis, Mr. Mxyzptlk launches attacks on Superman in several stages, and Superman never gets a chance to retaliate.
  • Delekhan, who is built up as the Big Bad for most of Betrayal at Krondor, ends up getting killed via cutscene after the game is technically over (he ends up just being The Dragon in the end anyway, and you do fight the actual Big Bad.)
  • Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana has Mull, a smirkish swordsman who is set up to be a final boss. He's quickly killed by an ancient god he's been trying to summon, so you ends up fighting it instead.
  • Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall features two major examples. The dragon Feuerschwinge looks like she's going to be the main antagonist for most of the game. Near the end, it turns out that her body and soul have been split from one another, and both are in the possession of the real Big Bad Adrian Vauclair. After ending her first rampage, Vauclair became convinced that the only way to prevent humanity from being enslaved by dragons was to wipe out the latter(given the power and ambition of dragons in the Shadowrun setting, it's not 100% clear he's wrong), using Feuerschwinge's body as a vector for an anti-dragon pathogen. Of course, by this point Vauclair is an old man with cancer, and he was never a mage or other superhuman even in the prime of his life. His security chief/dragon (the other kind), Audran, and a horde of Elite Mooks serve as the actual final boss, after which Vauclair kills himself. The trope is inverted if you convince Vauclair to abort his plan - Audran kills him and takes over, making him the literal final boss.
  • There are several witches such as Dulce, Teresa, Lavi & Ryubence in The Witch and The Hundred Knight that never gets to fight hundred knight, despite the game hyping that they will eventually have a showdown with Metallia. Even Lucchini was fought only by Metallia, which occured off screen, but never with hundred knight in both "true" and "bad" ending.
  • In Akatsuki Blitzkampf, Mycale is a playable character who doubles as a major in-story antagonist... but up until the Ausf. Achse Updated Re Release fit here through and through.
  • In Live A Live, there is no way to fight the Behemoth. Letting it catch up with you just causes an instant Game Over.
  • In Devil Survivor, if the player heads onto Atsuro's or Yuzu's route, Jezebel will not be fought.
  • In Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker's Triangulum Arc, the Big Bad Canopus is not fought, if the player follows Miyako's route.
  • In World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor the promotional materials and plot positioned Grom Hellscream as the antagonist of the expansion. Instead his position was usurped by Gul'dan and Grom ended up working alongside the Horde and Alliance againt the Burning Legion. And Gul'dan wasn't fought in this expansion either, instead going off to start the plot of the next one.
  • Stay Tooned! features a spoof of Mortal Kombat in one of the rooms. The moment you enter said room, Killtron is introduced in a cutscene and he takes the role of the announcer. However, after defeating all your opponents in the Kartoon Kombat game, Killtron just... tells you he's not a fighter, but a dancer, does the sombrero dance and blows himself up.
  • At the end of Super Robotnik Land, it is revealed that Zelda is the game's true Big Bad, and she put KINGMAN under a hypnotic spell, which Robotnik was able to free him from. While Robotnik never fights Zelda in the game, KINGMAN does punish her.
  • In Undertale:
    • The player never fights Alphys in any route, and as such she is the only major monster in the game who cannot be directly killed. She is implied to have died in one of the less happy endings, possibly having been Driven to Suicide by several others' deaths at the player's hands.
    • There is also the Fallen Child, whom you never even really meet until the end of the No Mercy/Genocide path, at which point they've already won. The latter being one of The Unfought is a very Justified Trope since they are an embodiment of everything destructive and terrible you've done in a video game. As an incarnation of the player's own actions during the Genocide route, the only way to "fight" them is by fighting the urge to Level Grind, i.e., not doing a No Mercy/Genocide run.
  • Many antagonists in killer7 in the lategame, most notably Kun Lan himself, excepting a battle with an angel projection early on in the game. Others include Trevor Pearlharbor and Handsome Pink, and of the other antagonists, several end up being a Cutscene Boss (Handsome Black, Benjamin Keane) or Zero-Effort Boss (The rest of the Handsome Men, Emir Parkreiner, Kenjiro Matsuoka, the Last Shot Smile) anyway. It's like the game adamantly refusing to give you a proper climactic boss battle.
  • Phillipe Loren in Saints Row: The Third. Early in the game, The Boss meets Loren when he attempts to broker a deal between the Saints and the Syndicate, with the Saints giving about 66% of their earnings. Whe you take out the Syndicate at the end of Act 1, Phillipe is indirectly killed by the Boss, crushed by a giant metal ball before the Boss could confront him. This is changed in Johnny Gat's loyalty mission in Saints Row IV, where he is an actual boss fight in the simulation the game takes place in.
  • Samuel Hayden from DOOM (2016). He even lampshades this:
    Samuel Hayden: I am not the villain in this story. I do what I do because there is no choice.
  • In the obscure PS1 game 40 Winks, the antagonist, Nitekap, is never fought. Instead, the final boss is his minion Threadbear piloting a robotic bear
  • None of the Asterix videogames have Caesar as a fightable enemy which is perfectly faithful to the comic where he is a physically frail but shrewd Non-Action Big Bad. Asterix and the Great Rescue merits a mention because it is one of those where Julius appears overlooking the Colosseum fight and giving orders from afar.
  • Yzma is not fought in the Game Boy version of The Emperor's New Groove despite being shown as capable fighter for her age. This does not hold for the PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC game which make her a Final Boss.
  • The Antz never gives you the chance to give General Mandible his due for all the crimes he committed. He only appears after the final stage, in a cutscene that states he got beaten for good and has Z's foot on his head.
  • Rick never fights Dr. West in the Splatterhouse remake, instead beating him senseless with West's torn-off arm in a cutscene. Instead, Rick fights the leader of the Corruption as the climatic fight.
  • In Shining Force Gaiden II (a.k.a. Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya), Hindel is the only one of King Warderer's generals that isn't encountered as a boss, as he is the protagonist's older brother, and Warderer sacrifices Hindel to resurrect Iom as punishment for his treachery.
  • Medjed in Persona 5 is set up to be a major threat to the Phantom Thieves. The real goal of that arc is actually to get the help of Futaba, who deals with them off screen.
  • In Speedy Gonzales Los Gatos Bandidos, Speedy fights the other members of Los Gatos Bandidos, but he never fights Sylvester, their leader, at all in the game. When you beat the game, a cutscene is shown wherein Sylvester runs away, and Speedy chases after him.
  • While most Tiny Toon Adventures video games have a final battle against Montana Max, not only is Monty not the final boss of Buster Busts Loose (that honor goes to Duck Vader), there's no boss fight with him at all in that game.
  • In Iconoclasts, General Chrome never gets an official boss battle, instead being killed by Elro's serum in City One's Bastion near the end of the game. You technically face him early on in Shard Wastelands, but he doesn't fight you himself; he's riding on an attack helicopter piloted by a generic One Concern soldier, and he reads from scriptures instead of paying attention to the battle.
  • Road Redemption has the Phantom Leader, who, unlike the leaders of the earlier two gangs, isn't directly fought. Instead, the boss fought in Phantom territory is the unaffiliated Big Bad.
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows includes Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin into its plot. He's a notable member of Spider-Man's rogues gallery, more than capable of holding his own in a fight against a street-level hero. However, halfway through the game you're forced to team up with him, so Fisk stops being a secondary antagonist and starts giving you quests instead. Needless to say, you never fight him.
    • Moon Knight is an interesting case. In the actual game, he's merely another quest-giver and one of the characters you can summon to help you in fights. However, unlike other allies (both heroes and villains), there's never a stage in the game where you have to fight Moon Knight or even where he's heavily involed. During the credits you can see concept art of Moon Knight getting possessed by a symbiote akin to some of your other allies, hinting that originally he was supposed to have a bigger role in the plot and probably a proper boss fight.
  • Kirby:
    • Galactic Nova in Kirby Super Star's "Milky Way Wishes". While Kirby does attack its heart with his Starship, it survives that and only gets destroyed when Marx is sent hurtling into it after beating him. Kirby: Planet Robobot makes up for it by including a Nova-lookalike as the final form of the final boss.
    • Kirby: Triple Deluxe never lets you fight Taranza, since at the climax of the game, he pulls a Heel–Face Turn to help Kirby fight the real villain, Queen Sectonia (whom he initially worked for). Instead, he's fought in the spinoff game Team Kirby Clash Deluxe.
  • Father and Cree Lincoln play important parts in the story of Codename: Kids Next Door: Operation: V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E., but neither of them get their own boss fights.
  • Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem has boss fights against all of the criminals the gang face except for Mindi Stiles and Dr. Selena Drake. Instead, the bosses fought in their respective levels are the Giant Dust Devil and the Fire Ghost that Drake summons in a final attempt to defeat Mystery, Inc.
  • The Nintendo DS version of Power Rangers: Super Legends has three villains involved in the story who are never fought as bosses.
    • Moltor serves as the main villain of the Operation Overdrive level and Emperor Grumm does the same in the SPD level, but neither of them directly fight the player. Instead, both their final confrontations consist of standing on a platform high above the player while sending enemies to attack the player.
    • Rita Repulsa appears in the cutscenes of the level based on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but never encounters the player during actual gameplay.

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