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Wake Up Call Boss / Final Fantasy

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Even if you're careful, these Final Fantasy bosses can and will do more than just "knock you all down".


  • Final Fantasy I:
    • The game is a cakewalk for most of the early game: Garland hits hard, but nothing major, Bikke's pirates are jokes that even the black mage can kill with one hit (and if you know about putting them to sleep, well!), and even the tough wizards/piscodemons can be beaten by a properly prepared party. Then you meet Astos, the first magic-using enemy in the game. Guess what the first spell in his cycle is? RUB/Death. Since you don't have a way to guard against it yet, it will probably kill one of your party members immediately, and due to the lack of revival items in the NES version, that means fighting the entire battle with one character dead. Astos also has a defense of 40, which is quite high for this point in the game, so if you've been too reliant on your physical attackers (or just happened to lose your only Black/Red Mage to RUB), you'll struggle to damage him, while he blasts you with FIR2/Fira and LIT2/Thundara.
    • It gets worse in the Earth Cave. If you thought Astos was a piss-weak sorcerer, then you meet the Lich. His first spell is ICE2/Blizzara, which deals devastating damage at this point in the game. Even if you have AICE/BarIce at your disposal, he can still take his turn before your mage and blast you anyway, leaving your party on the verge of death. And unlike Astos, he can't be rendered impotent with a Useless Useful Spell. He's after a rather long and tiring dungeon also, though at least his HP is low enough you could rush him to death and hope for the best.
    • Kary/Marilith is devastating to an unprepared party. In addition to having to make it through the lethal-floor filled Volcano, Marilith doesn't have any elemental weaknesses, and can land upwards of eight hits, enough to seriously injure a heavily armored Warrior and more than enough to kill a squishy mage. Unless you're willing to try a Useless Useful Spell (which is truly useless in the original NES game because it doesn't work), you're in for a very tough battle.
  • Final Fantasy II:
    • After clearing out hordes of Goblins, Hornets and Leg Eaters, you encounter your first obligatory challenge: the Sergeant, a boss at the end of Semitt Falls. He hits hard and receives low physical damage. His fight requires either having high attack stats or at least one Lv. 2 offensive spell at your disposal.
    • The second boss, the Adamantoise, leaves you with even less options by having even higher defense stats than the Sergeant. It's the first enemy in the game that requires using a specific type of magic against it (in this case, Blizzard). While it is possible to lower its defense with an Ancient Sword and kill it using plain attacks, this might take more time. In general, the game is just trying to tell you how important magic is gonna be later on.
    • Then there's the Red Soul. It doesn't have the obscene defense of the Adamantoise, but it doesn't have any easily-exploited elemental weakness—in fact, it absorbs every element. Just like the Adamantoise is a lesson on the importance of magic, the Red Soul will demonstrate how magic alone is not the answer to every battle.
  • The Giant Rat in Final Fantasy III was only beatable by magic due to the party being forced to explore its dungeon with the Mini status effect. This meant a forced loss of physical attack power and defence, meaning an all-Fighter/Monk party would not have even gotten to the rat, due to melee hitting for single points of damage (When enemies at that point have around 75-125 HP) while shrunken down and then getting hit for large amounts of damage for that point in the game, due to the nature of the status effect also doubling damage taken (including magic damage). Not sitting in the back row as a party of mages (and trying to rush down the boss' meager 450HP before he kills anyone) here is madness. And it's even worse in the DS remake because the Giant Rat's HP is doubled.
  • Final Fantasy IV
    • The Mist Dragon in Final Fantasy IV was the first boss battle of the game, and was there for two reasons - one, to teach the player that they can't win the game just by selecting 'attack' all the time, and second, the Active Time Battle system, i.e., that the battle kept moving even if you did nothing. Sure, the games tell you when to attack and when not to, but no tutorial can keep a character's already targeted attack from hitting the boss when he retreats at the worst time. The trend continued in Final Fantasy VII with the Guard Scorpion, but thanks to the party's enhanced Hit Points (they start out with 300 instead of 50 as was typical in Final Fantasy before), they usually survive the boss's retaliation. However, a confusingly-written battle dialogue in the English version looked like it was advising the player to attack while the tail was up (until the second line of it appeared), which is exactly the opposite of what you should do.
    • The second battle with Scarmiglione in the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV can be seen as one of these. While some bosses up to this point may have been somewhat difficult, this is the first boss that introduces you to the fact that major boss characters in this game have whole-party counters which trigger when you try to exploit their weaknesses or use the same tactics from the SNES/GBA versions of the game, and really forces you to start thinking more strategically.
    • In every single version, the battle against Dark Knight definitely counts. Cecil has JUST received the powers of a Paladin, and must now face his worst enemy: Himself. You have no chance to get used to the new abilities, and the only hints you get when you attack are some dialogue saying "A TRUE PALADIN.../...WOULD SHEATHE HIS SWORD". If you don't realize that this means you literally have to stop fighting, the battle can go on until you run out of restoring items and MP and the Dark Knight kills Cecil... What makes it worse is that the actual way to win varies from version to version!
    • Final Fantasy V has Liquid Flame. While it comes quite a bit later than is typical for a Wake-Up Call Boss (about 4-5 hours into the game), it's the first boss where you need to actually prepare, and where just mashing Attack repeatedly is suicide. It's a very brutal lesson that, no, you can't just use Barehanded to win the whole game.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • Ymir (Whelk), just like the Mist Dragon in FF IV, is there to teach about the Active Time Battle system - and that one has to take care when selecting targets.
    • Number 024, fought in the Magitek Research Facility. It's a cakewalk if you know what to do. However, for newer players (to the game or the series) or if you don't pay attention to its Barrier Changes, it's going to be an uphill battle. The fight teaches you why it's important to cast Scan/Libra for bosses' weaknesses.
  • Final Fantasy VII
    • Yet another early boss exists to demonstrate the Active Time Battle system - this time, it's the Guard Scorpion. Thanks to some shoddy translation, the instructions on when to hold off on attacking it can be interpreted backwards. Luckily in this game, the characters have more health and the bosses retaliatory attack does less damage.
    • There's also a wonderful lesson in the form of the Demon Gate. While there are wake up calls much earlier in the game than this, it still is a common, though less so, brick wall for players who haven't grasped some strategy in the game. It's heavily resistant to magic, making players who use a lot of magical attacks unable to hurt it. Also, buff/debuff spells in this battle are almost a necessity, as failing to raise your own party's defense, and slow the boss results in very quick, crippling attacks that crush weaker parties, resulting in many frustrating moments. Coupled with the difficult Red Dragon beforehand, many players found the temple of the ancients to be a very frustrating experience.
  • Final Fantasy VIII:
    • Elvoret is just the third boss in the game, and you have to fight him right after the Biggs and Wedge boss fight, who are more than your average Galbaldia soldiers. He has good health for the time, has spells that tempt one to grind, and an attack called Storm Breath that can wipe out your party in two hits, meaning keeping low health for Limit Breaks is unsafe. The player can easily die if not careful.
    • A Wake Up Call Boss in Mook Clothing in the form of the T-Rexaur. Yes, there's a dinosaurian monster out in the fields outside of Balamb that can easily have your party for lunch. It's designed to teach you that, first, there is a "run" command and it's often a very good choice. Second, later on, Quistis teaches you to use status junctions to bring it down.
  • Final Fantasy IX:
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Sinspawn Gui. It's fitting: since Operation Mi'hen was something of a Wham Episode for the game, the gameplay follows suit with a boss that makes the player realize for the first time how much consideration you must give to the CTB system in your tactics. If you just spam your overdrives, you let Gui get more turns to abuse your team with poison. You have to be careful about who's using their turn for what and against which part of its body.
    • Evrae at Bevelle. If you've been neglecting to grind for the sphere grid up until this point, the wyrm is a huge punch in the gut. Powerful, fast (and can make itself even faster by casting haste on itself) and sometimes it flies out of range meaning some of your mainstream characters like Tidus or Auron may well become useless in the battle. And you have to kill her again, except this time she's an undead zombie. On the other hand, because of the zombie thing, you can take her down with literally no more than two Phoenix Downs. Evrae becomes very manageable if you have at least been doing a little bit of grinding, and then you only need to worry about poison breath.
  • Final Fantasy XII has both Ba'Gamnan and Judge Ghis early on. Ba'Gamnan is a Flunky Boss who you are supposed to run away from. If you choose to fight him for whatever reason, be prepared to take a heavy beating from him and his flunkies. Judge Ghis comes a little while after this. Don't let his low HP total fool you. He possesses some devastating attacks for this point in the game, such as Aero, which can hit your party for over 100 damage. At this point in the game, you probably have somewhere between 300-400 HP unless you level grinded. And one of your party members most likely has inadequate equipment for this point in the game, which means she dies faster.
    • Though both are an absolute joke if you unlocked even 1 Quickening for each character, which is not difficult to do unless you ignored their existence and wasted your LP picking up spells and armor you can't even find in shops yet. 1 good Quickening Chain will 1-shot both. The Elder Wyrm is a much bigger wakeup call and often That One Boss, being one of the first times a good Quickening Chain can't 1-shot a story boss.
    • Judge Ghis becomes also considerably easier if player unlocked HP bonuses and other permanent boosts and passives on dedicated part of License Board. Though that means he is there as test of how well you were able to exploit your License Board.
  • Final Fantasy XIII:
    • Aster Protoflorian exists to make sure that the player gets the new battle system, Essentially every single facet of it is necessary in this fight. Don't bother or know how to take advantage of elemental weaknesses? You die. Don't optimize class roles to boost chain bonuses? You die. Don't know how to switch classes on the fly for sticky situations? You die. Don't believe that buffs are necessary? You die. This boss is so unforgiving while enforcing the nuances of XIII's battle system that to some players it approaches That One Boss territory.
    • Odin is the choke point of a lot of people playing Final Fantasy XIII, as the Vile Peaks dungeon is where the game requires you to think your way through battles rather than pound the X button. Specifically, you have to figure out that Odin is going to attack Hope, and only Hope. And Hope is not good at taking attacks. If you Libra Odin, you'll find that he "Yields to those who amass chain bonuses" and "Yields to those who heal the wounded." By the second one, you'd think simply switching to Medic and keeping Hope alive would do it. The problem is this is a Time-Limit Boss, and if you focus only on healing, you'll run out of time. You need to focus on both healing and attacking simultaneously. Plus, a big part of the battle is figuring out how to balance your Paradigm Shifts between Commando/Ravager and Ravager/Ravager to take advantage of both the slowed Chain Gauge drain a Commando provides and the boosted chain bonus of two Ravagers.
    • Earlier than that, though, is the warmech in Lake Bresha. He is there to teach you how to Paradigm Shift (FFXIII's main combat wrinkle, basically shifting character roles on the fly to cope with that situation). He teaches you Paradigm Shifting by killing you dead if you do it wrong. He's not nearly as brutal about it as Aster Protoflorian above, though.
    • When you arrive to chapter 12, ground up from all the sidequesting in chapter 11, it looks like all the enemies you encounter are cakewalk — for a while. And then, without any advance warning, you are pitted against Adamanchelid, one of the monstrosities you did so well to avoid on Gran Pulse, who kills your party with four stomps. Until you learn to spam Daze on it like no tomorrow, you just die, again and again. The real kicker? The monstrosities you were avoiding on Gran Pulse were Adamantoises; Adamanchelids are their kids. And if you don't realize that and you figure that an Adamanchelid's 4550 CP makes for some good level grinding, you're going to run smack-frickin'-dab into one of the real ones, which will kill your party in one stomp and cannot be simply Daze-spammed to death.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2:
    • Bresha Ruins, 5 AF has Atlas, who exists to tell us that there is more than one way to go about things. If you go straight for the fight off the start, you throw yourself into a Bonus Boss that will wreck you under one limb like an Adamantoise. So you use some RPG common sense and follow the very clearly spelled-out bit of questing that takes off 80% of his HP. Except that he's still going to curbstomp you if you think the monster recruitment system is pointless. Serah and Noel cannot fend him off on their own without an obscene amount of Level Grinding, and an underlevelled Paradigm Pack is only going to make things harder.
    • XIII-2 also has a Wake-Up Call Sidequest in Yaschas Massif 10 AF. The sidequests to this point have been very simple things that a decently-levelled party can handle without trouble, and then a researcher who asks you to find a Behemoth Fang. So there's this nice little dark spot with searchlights that ward off big things, let's just stumble around in the shadows. XIII had behemoths as mandatory encounters in the first area, it's not like the first ones in this game are going to be overpowered. Feral Behemoths will eat you whole and save the moogle for dessert. Come back later.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a few:
    • Ifrit, the first Primal fight, seems like a relatively straight-forward boss encounter, with little difference to other dungeon bosses fought thus far. Every now and then your party will need to dodge a few ground AoE attacks, but nothing more serious than that. Then, when his health reaches 50%, something called the Infernal Nail will pop in the middle of the arena. Fail to destroy it in time or flat out ignore it since it doesn't do anything? Congratulations, your team just earned itself a Total Party Kill. Ifrit is the first battle where players encounter phase transition attacks, and the associated mechanics, that will one-shot a group if not observed by the entire party.
    • Following the main quest of the game, you'll have to go through a lengthy string of Fetch Quests, dungeons and whatnot until you can face Titan, the second Primal. Consider everything before was your school year and Titan is your final exam, testing you on everything such as AoE dodging, item level and such; rather simple if you know how to play, merciless if not. He has an AoE attack that can shove you out of his arena (instakill) and another arena-wide that can either kill you or shove you out of the arena unless you get in a specific spot. Later during the fight, he'll trap some people in rocks (which makes them unable to do anything) until someone breaks the rocks and Turns Red. And all of that is if you can start the fight, as several player will flat out leave the boss arena if your gear isn't up to snuff.
    • Garuda, the 3rd major boss in the storyline, is there to make sure you learned your lesson against Titan and mess you up eleven ways to Friday if not. She has one attack that will target one player no matter how far away they are and it hits hard enough to take off at least a quarter of their HP. The boss' other attacks don't hurt too much, but for every interval of HP she loses (about a quarter), she will fly up, move somewhere else, and unleash a powerful attack that can either kill your party instantly or bring you down to critical health unless you hide behind some rocks. Don't assume the rocks will always save you because Garuda will also summon at least six monsters to destroy the rocks and if the rocks are heavily damaged, then they can't provide proper cover. If you somehow get past that, Garuda then unleashes a super move that covers almost the entire battlefield and that will instantly kill you if you get hit.
    • Naturally in MMOs, losing a battle against a boss means they will recover all of their HP. When learning a new fight, or even tackling a fight one hasn't experienced all the phases or mechanics of yet, the time constraints are often crippling if one can't elevate their level of play.
    • The game has a number of different fights throughout the main story and the class/job quests that could qualify as this for varying reasons. Copperbell Mines could be seen as a Wake Up-Call Dungeon, as its Slime mid-boss is one of the first to require a specific trick and some coordination between party members to defeat. An early Gladiator quest requires that you've learned to dodge special attacks, or it's unlikely you'll survive.
    • The Fifth Turn of the First Binding Coil of Bahamut features Twintania, who serves as a wake-up for dedicated raid groups. While the majority of First Coil can be cleared with pick-up groups through the Duty Finder, the Twintania fight can and will turn into a complete and utter failure for any uncoordinated party that attempts to clear it. The premise of the battle builds on what players have otherwise encountered (and learned, albeit in doses) throughout the game: situational awareness, comprehension of one's selected class, and the importance of teamwork. Notably, Twintania remains the only Binding Coil fight to confer a PS4 Trophy upon completion.
      • It can also be said that the fight against Nael deus Darnus in the Fourth Turn of the Second Binding Coil of Bahamut serves as a wake-up to any who grew complacent farming First Coil, or subsequent EX Primal fights such as Leviathan, Ramuh, or Shiva. Even with the release of Heavensward and the capacity to tackle the fight at level 60, many groups still fail to clear the battle.
  • Final Fantasy XV has Aranea Highwind in Chapter 6. While the game's first few bosses are relatively easy if you've stocked up on healing items, Aranea will make quick work of your supplies as her attacks come fast and hard. Mastering dodging and warping is key to survival, especially the latter as it can initiate an Air Jousting sequence that deals good damage to her if done correctly.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
    • The fourth scripted battle, the Dorter Slums, is a Wake Up-Call Battle. This is the first battle where your enemy has a specialized setup, with a knight, two black mages (which, if you're unlucky, will take advantage of the rain and use Bolt), and 3 archers, one of them at the highest point of the stage (though oddly enough, one of them is unarmed). This battle tends to be a wall for many new players, and seems like it's telling you that future battles won't be messing around, either.
    • There's also Wiegraf, early in Chapter 1 at Fovoham Windflats. Granted, you did get to see his Holy Sword attacks demonstrated by Agrias in the prologue, but he's the first encounter you have with an enemy who can use abilities that the main character cannot learn, no matter what. It's softened only by the fact that the battle ends when he's taken down to about 20% health or so. Wiegraf has, for all intents and purposes, the Divine Knight's moveset, and boasts two of the set's most sinister ranged techniques, Judgment Blade and Northswain's Strike (Stasis Sword and Crush Punch in the original). Not only do both of these abilities do massive damage, but they also have a slight chance of inflicting Stop (which essentially turns your character into an inanimate dummy that can't do anything) and instant KO. And, of course, this being the computer, those extra statuses will trigger nearly every other time. (And, yes, Wiegraf has a support staff.) The situation isn't helped by the fact that Wiegraf's probably about 5-6 tiles away at the start of the battle - practically spitting distance for a strategy RPG. If you're extremely unlucky, two of your 4 characters (excluding guest Delita, who is - perhaps understandably - extremely reckless in this battle and tends to die in the first turn or two) will be dead before anyone lays a finger on Wiegraf. The battle also serves as a Chekhov's Gun in this respect, since he becomes That One Boss later in the game by being incredibly tough, one on one, and a Sequential Boss to boot.
    • There's an earlier Wake Up Call Battle, though it's more for the naive or the reckless: Algus (Argath in the remake)'s rescue. If you choose to save him, he becomes almost suicidally reckless, and if he falls, it's game over. The best option here is to callously disregard Argath's situation and choose to kill all the enemies, at which point he becomes almost ridiculously cautious, running from battles as much as possible, but making you a jerkass in the process. (Though the game actually gives your characters a partially-permanent stat bonus if you do — which makes more sense when you realize that Argath is an even bigger Jerk Ass.)
    • Another good example is Cúchulainn, the first Lucavi boss. He's by no means the hardest of the Lucavi, but by the time you fight the harder ones, you'll at least have something of a handle on the way that Lucavi break the rules.
  • The Flowsand Lord in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is a pain in the ass to fight and is fought fairly early on in the game where players are most likely not going to have access to the better jobs or equipment. During the fight, the boss can use an attack that hits the whole party no matter where they are standing, which will wreck units quickly if you don't keep up in healing them. Then it has another attack where if someone is standing too close, it will suck them in and absorb their HP. On top of this, its antlion minions will keep spawning no matter how many you kill. Players will have to quickly learn to pay attention the winning conditions so the battles end faster and to abuse elemental weaknesses monsters have.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy Duodecim manages to have two in a row in story mode:
    • After a relatively easy mid-boss fight, the boss of Chapter 1 is Kain, a specialist in air combat who extensively uses the Chase mechanic, something that first-time players haven't even been told about, and enough HP to require landing several HP attacks, unlike the Manikins you've been fighting up until now.
    • And again in Chapter 2, with the boss fight against Kefka. The player is just getting the hang of dodging anything when they're suddenly pitted against the game's master of Confusion Fu, who has enough different moves equipped to keep you guessing. Victory is a hard-earned trail-and-error process until you learn how to dodge his unusual attacks.
  • The first few boss fights in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light although fairly challenging, are nothing rage-quit worthy. That is until you battle Arbaroc. Arbaroc is the first boss to possess the slightly unfair ability of having multiple turns in a row and if you're not prepared, can very very easily curbstomp your team with his hard-hitting elemental spells and bucket-loads of status effects. This is the point in the game where you learn just how important it is to organise the right gear for the boss fight.

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