Oh, shut up and help me remodel the Boss page!
Bosses (ボス, Bosu?) are a classification of enemy or battle in gaming terminology. In the Final Fantasy series, bosses are usually identified by the traits of not being encountered by normal means (relevant to random encounter-based games) and featuring unique enemies not fought earlier in the game.
Boss enemies are often identified in games' bestiaries or guides; enemies identified as bosses are usually fought only, first, or primarily in a boss battle. In addition to being encountered in specific scenarios, boss enemies typically have higher stats, stronger and unique abilities, more immunities, and more complex AI; many have a unique death sequence when defeated. Typically the game's boss theme plays during the battle; some bosses have a different theme, including one unique to them.
Though dialogue often occurs in boss battles, they follow no strict structure, though they often have more variety than regular battles and require employing certain strategies to beat. Battles in phases or battles with optional targets are common structures. Common immunities held by by bosses are often managed by a flag, commonly known as the boss flag or the Heavy flag. This flag often protects against instant death attacks, and belong to boss enemies, special enemies, and often other enemies designed to be difficult.
Bosses battles typically have some relevance to the story or otherwise be an obstacle. Some storyline boss battles are meant to be lost to progress. Other boss battles are part of sidequests. Superbosses are optional bosses made to be exceptionally difficult, and require high stats and/or specific strategies to defeat.
Boss battles are inescapable. This can result in the inescapable battles glitch in an area where a boss is battled.
Regular bosses are fought to the battle music of "Fight On!", but some recurring bosses have their own boss themes, like the pieces of Jenova fought to the "Jenova" theme. Some boss battles are mainly cinematic rather than an intended challenge, like the last boss battle of Part I that uses "Aerith's Theme", and the battle fought after the final boss.
Boss battles yield both AP and EXP.
Most bosses have multiple stages triggered by reaching hit point thresholds, with a short cutscene showing the change. This usually resets stagger progress. Most bosses have separate body parts that can be targeted to exploit a weakness or cripple it.
Boss battles cannot be escaped from, with one exception: X-ATM092. The first time X-ATM092 is battled the party must flee, and afterward it begins to chase the party under time limit. Every subsequent encounter can be avoided by correctly evading the spider mech, but if the player engages the boss again, they can now destroy it if they keep attacking it even if they are prompted to flee. If the player destroys the X-ATM092 they get plenty of AP and a good item as well as a bonus the SeeD exam score, but if they escape/evade the boss all the way to the Dollet beach, they get a scene where Quistis Trepe destroys the boss with a mounted machine gun.
Most enemies have their level determined by the party's average level. Their level determines which attacks they use and what magic they have for drawing. Bosses sometimes have rare magic to draw that is not obtained from normal enemies. Bosses usually have level caps, so if the party level grinds they can exceed the boss's level. Some bosses have Guardian Forces to draw. If missed, they cannot be reclaimed until the final dungeon whose bosses carry GFs the party missed earlier.
Bosses yield AP but no EXP, making no-level-up runs possible. Bosses cannot be carded with the Card command, but GF bosses often drop their Triple Triad card. Regular bosses usually don't drop their card, but regular enemies have a small chance of being carded to a boss card.
There are no boss battles for the battles played as Laguna, although some battles are set up in a way that resembles boss battles, in that they are inescapable, even if the enemies fought are the same that are fought in random encounters. The only exception is Diablos, as the player can use the Magic Lamp to battle it even as Laguna.
The randomly appearing GF Odin never appears against a boss, with one exception, the final confrontation against Seifer. If the party has acquired Odin before this battle, Odin is replaced by Gilgamesh that can appear during boss battles.
The original PlayStation and PC versions were released on multiple discs. The aim may have been to end each disc with a boss battle against a sorceress, as there are hints Adel was once planned as the end boss for disc 3. According to the Debug Menu, the FMV of Adel and Rinoa was going to be on disc 3, but her boss fight and FMV were moved to disc 4, likely due to lack of space on disc 3.
Bosses usually don't drop anything special, but have good items that can be stolen from them. Bosses can have up to four items for steal, and the best items are the hardest to obtain as the steal success chance can be very low. Often the best steal items from bosses are equipment that are not available from shops for some time yet, giving the player incentive to steal them to get the equipment early, as equipment teaches abilities.
Usually bosses appear on the field and the entry into battle is a story scene. However, in Memoria the battles against the shrine guardians of Terra appear as if by random encounter, although they are actually fixed encounters triggered when the party steps on a specific spot on the field. This is to mimic the way the Four Fiends were battled in the original Final Fantasy. In Crystal World the shrine guardians appear as regular encounters in crystalline forms. Even if similar to their boss encounters, the crystalline versions can be eaten by Quina, something that does not work against regular bosses.
Bosses never drop rare cards.
The Earth Guardian is the only one of the four shrine guardians to be fought as a boss, while the other three are killed off-screen. Data hacking shows that there are many gaps in the numerical sequence of battle formations and monster IDs, showing that many battle formations and monsters were deleted prior to the final version. In addition to many more, three missing monster IDs appear around the "Earth Guardian", making one suspect that in the original version the player was to fight all four of the shrine guardians instead of only one. Design artwork for these other three guardians is known, as well as deleted locations, which would probably have been where they were fought.
The original PlayStation version came in multiple discs, but later digital versions no longer have this distinction.
Bosses use the regular boss music apart from the battles against Seymour Guado's field forms that have unique themes, and the final battles. Boss battles are inescapable and yield normal sphere levels. Bosses can be defeated with an Overkill to double their item drops and AP gains.
Some bosses have two forms, regular and Oversoul. Some of the Oversoul versions are considered easier than the normal version.
There is an optional boss that always escapes that can only be defeated until later, the Angra Mainyu that stalks excavators during the excavation minigame at Bikanel. The player can still steal money and items from it every time it is encountered, making it a good way to gil farm to pay back O'aka XXIII's debt.
- Ochu (Floor 20)
- Nashorn (Floor 40)
- Wild Wolf x4 (Floor 40)
- Stalwart (Floor 40)
- Ultima Weapon (Floor 60)
- Quattour (Floor 80)
Bosses yield LP, but no EXP. The surviving party members perform victory poses for boss battles. Espers must be fought as bosses to add them to the License Board and most of them are optional. In addition to regular bosses, the hunt system features many challenging battles with unique enemies. Many bosses, including hunts such as Gilgamesh, Shadowseer, and Yiazmat, feature a red HP bar on the top of the screen.
Boss battles tend to be restricted to a small area, as opposed to the usually open areas, which stops the player from escaping, and also allows the boss to use impressive special moves that engulf the whole area and are thus impossible to avoid. The two optional wyrm superbosses, Hell Wyrm and Yiazmat, can be escaped from during battle, but will slowly regain their health during the player's absence.
Some boss battles are "DPS races" where the battle has an invisible 20 minute timer, after which the boss will cast Doom in the player, whose status cannot be healed by any means. In most boss battles the player aims to Stagger the boss, and many bosses have unique stagger behavior compared to regular enemies. Eidolon boss battles are unique in that the aim is not to deplete their health, but to fill their Gestalt Mode gauge by building chain, healing, applying buffs and debuffs and guarding against their attacks, depending on the paradigm roles available.
Some boss battles can be re-fought with the Paradox Scope Fragment Skill active to trigger paradox ending. These battles are usually the ones the player could not win earlier as part of the regular storyline. Caius is the most recurring boss. Proto fal'Cie Adam must be fought at least twice to get all of its Bestiary entries. The player can close Time Gates from the Historia Crux with seals and re-open them to replay the areas and thus fight the area's bosses again.
Regular enemies sometimes crystallize to become Paradigm Pack allies. Twilight Odin is a unique boss in that it becomes a Paradigm Pack monster after its defeat, and is one-of-a-kind. DLC bosses also have a chance to join the Paradigm Pack.
Bosses are fought at the end of most main quests, and defeating them completes the quest. All besides the Wildlands's main quest boss have stronger versions of them that replace the originals when fought on a later day. There is an optional boss that roams the Giant's Sandbox area of the Dead Dunes, which is even stronger if fought inside a Chaos infusion. Many enemies that are fought as mini-bosses are fought as regular enemies as well.
Bosses are most frequently encountered in instanced duties alongside a party of 4 to 24 players. Dungeons and 24-player raids typically have 3 to 4 bosses inside, while trials and 8-player raids are typically against a single boss. Bosses can also be encountered in FATEs in the open world, or in instanced battles exclusive to a single player, typically in Main Scenario or class/job quests. A Hunt system appears with open-world bosses of varying difficulty.
There are comparatively few mandatory bosses in the main storyline, but there are several optional sidequest bosses and an expansive Hunt system with many boss-like enemies. Some bosses reappear as hunts or regular enemies later. Many boss battles are cinematic, or otherwise have scripted sequences, such as requiring the player to summon to finish. Some bosses have unique boss themes, such as the Chapter 13 end boss.
The Windows and Royal Editions add a new dungeon to the end of the game and add new bosses and replace the Behemoth King with Cerberus. Character-swapping is disabled in most boss battles, and summoning is often only possible in scripted events.
At the end of a mission the player is often pitted against a boss, whose defeat wins the mission. The boss battle against Nimbus is losable and the player will still succeed in the mission, and the same is true for the battle against Shinryu Celestia. In New Game Plus the player can play the new Code Crimson missions and properly battle the superboss Nox Suzaku.
Only a small number of enemies qualify as bosses. Only nine of these use the regular boss music.
In the Maxima version, bosses could be encountered in the Coliseum in consecutive battles.