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It was down to the final wire. You beat the giant towering lizard. Fought someone one on one? He's done. You even almost died against your own shadow. So now what do you do? Your health is near empty, your HP/MP is on the verge of rolling down to zero, and you'll have to resort to using a knife or some other melee attack since you have very few bullets left. Typically, most boss fights will leave you barely surviving or having few resources left and it can seem like suicide to move on since you don't know what lies ahead.

But wait, what's this? There's a ton of health power ups lying around where the boss used to be! Sweet! There's even ammo! This is the After Boss Recovery. When you beat a boss, the enemy either leaves behind a ton of health/ammo refills for you to recover after the fight, leaves behind a new item or ability that also restores you, or you get treated to a recovery in the next room or next cut scene. Or you just suddenly have full HP/MP after the fight. The recoveries may be a full restore or recover just enough to keep playing without worrying about dying.

Compare when the game gives you helpful items before the fight, or when it gives you helpful items during the fight. If there's a Save Point after the boss, then this can overlap with Healing Checkpoint. When this happens after every fight, see After Combat Recovery.


  • Several of the Metroid games do this when you beat a boss or mini boss. Though this is done a bit more realistically: enemies drop energy and ammo, stronger enemies drop more energy and ammo, bosses drop lots of energy and ammo while not necessarily fully healing. Rather, it's more of a way to help you not die on your way back to the save point. Metroid: Zero Mission continues to use After Boss Recovery even though half of the major bosses have Chozo statues in the rooms behind them that provide armor upgrades with full energy/ammo recharge, but this is mostly for players going for no-item runs.
    • Right after fighting the Omega Pirate in Metroid Prime you can find an Energy Tank, which not only restores you to full health, but increases your maximum amount of HP.
    • The energy controllers, accessed after beating each of the major bosses in Prime 2, restore your health fully. Even after the first recovery lot.
    • Subverted in Prime 1 with Thardus (only on Normal or harder mode though). The damage you take versus the damage you recover is significant. If you aren't careful in the next area, you can easily have to have a rematch with the bastard.
    • Averted in Other M. This is due to there being no health and missile pickups whatsoever, because of a technique called Concentration where you can restore health and missiles. Restoring health is only at critical damage though. Sometimes you're automatically healed anyway though.
  • Almost all of the Zelda games let you not only fully recover from a major boss fight, but also permanently increase your health meter, by obtaining Heart Containers.
  • In Quest 64 after you beat a boss, you gain 20 more HP, and are healed fully. Your MP doesn't recover, though.
  • The Paper Mario series restored Mario's HP and FP at the end of a chapter, usually.
    • Likewise, Super Mario RPG revives and fully heals all party members after a major boss battle.
    • And the Mario and Luigi series fully heals the Bros after any boss.
  • In the Castlevania series, a red orb is also the most usual form of After Boss Recovery. If there's no orb, a Save Room will be close by.
    • The bosses of the very first Castlevania 1986 dropped red orbs which refilled HP. (Even the Final Boss did this, which perplexed the The Angry Video Game Nerd.)
    • Nearly every boss in Symphony of the Night drops a Life Max Up which restores you to full HP.
    • In Castlevania Aria of Sorrow, any boss you defeat leaves behind a special powerup that restores all your HP and MP.
    • Lament of Innocence does this too; every major boss leaves a different-colored orb behind when defeated, which restores all your HP. The same thing happens with optional bosses, which is a little weird considering that they drop weapons, not orbs.
    • Bosses in Curse of Darkness leave behind glowing circles on the floor. Stand in them and your health and Hearts are fully restored, after which the circle fades.
    • Subverted in Circle of the Moon - unlike other Castlevania games, you don't get a thing to help you get back to the save point intact. Pain and death tends to follow, and with some bosses actually killing the thing is only half the battle - the save point is a good distance and a gauntlet away, and recovery items are incredibly rare in the first place. Ow.
    • Rondo of Blood bosses leave either a red or blue orb behind; the color determines what stage you go to next.
    • Harmony of Dissonance includes the orbs, and the developers must have noticed how players would try and catch them in every pose possible in the previous games, because if you catch an orb by jumping and attacking, or dive-kicking into it, a little message like "Good!" or "Great!" will appear. The fangame Castlevania Fighter expands on this by giving you HP, MP and attack power bonuses if you catch the orbs by jumping, jumping and attacking, or doing a special move.
  • Final Fantasy I for NES. While you aren't healed, per se, after fighting a Fiend, a few more steps teleports you completely out of the dungeon back to the world, where the party can rest via tent (provided one is in inventory), or in the case of the third Fiend, appear right back in town, and the Inn is right there.
  • Final Fantasy III instantly heals your party and restores dead party members when you defeat a boss, which is real nice, considering there are no Tents, Phoenix Downs are a rare commodity, and towns may or may not have the stuff to revive party members.
    • But only in the DS version. If you're playing the NES version, the only way to recover magic points in the final dungeon is with an elixir.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Ring of Fates also uses this. Doesn't matter how close to dead you are, those white flashes and strange choking noises the DS throws at you when you kill the big bosses heal you right up to 100%. Epilepsy the wonder-cure. Who knew?
  • Final Fantasy IV does this with Rubicante, who heals you right after a boss battle. Since you have to fight him right away, it's only fair.
  • In Bioshock, after you defeat a boss you can find lots of ammo, first aid and EVE nearby.
  • In the original Metal Gear Solid, every time you beat a boss, Snake smokes a cigarette and recovers about half of his now-higher health. Unusual, considering that in actual gameplay, smoking slowly drains your heath instead. The Twin Snakes has the life bar maxed out at the beginning, and it unceremoniously fully recovers at the end of every boss fight.
  • Right after you defeat the helicopter in Half-Life 2, there's a little bit of uncontested walking followed by a lightly defended room full of more ammo than you can even carry and lots of medical supplies too. . . despite the fact that you fought the helicopter with your airboat's machinegun, which does not require any ammo. On top of that, the next chapter involves absolutely no combat (and few items). The chapter after that, on the other hand...
    • Strangely, fast-forwarding to that chapter with the handy Select Chapter function leaves you with very little ammo.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is another example. In this case, it actually makes sense in the context of the game; Raziel regains health by devouring the souls of his enemies, and the more powerful an enemy is, the more "filling" its soul is.
    • Scurge: Hive applies a similar mechanic, with the life forces of minor foes providing a bit of healing and experience, while bosses full-heal you and purge you of disease.
  • Happens twice in Saga Frontier Before and After the Fight with Metal Black 3, however after the battle is interesting because when Metal Black 3 explodes, your characters are instantaneously rejuvenated by the mist that scatters from the explosion
  • Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne introduced Runes pretty much for that reason, pick up items that restored mana or health or a variety of other beneficial effects (although they were scattered around the maps with no bases aswell, to speed up the action rather than forcing the player to return to a mana/health fountain after a hard fig
    • World of Warcraft on the other hand doesn't have anything like that, but some actions available out of combat help speeding up recovery; eating and drinking aswell as casting resurrection spells on teammates. Careful though, some debuffs from the boss may still affect people, such as the "Mortal Wound" debuff which damages over time until the affected target is fully healed simply because the healer made that very mistake. Another boss summons a large number of weak enemies when he dies, which may catch people by surprise.
      • However, you're immediately restored to full health and, if you're a caster, mana upon leveling up, which can sometimes be this trope.
      • In the battle against the Lich King, bringing him to 10% results in him killing you all, but then Frostmourne is destroyed and the entire raid is resurrected, free to kill him without him being able to fight back
  • Shoot Em Ups with life meters do this a lot. Some, like 1943, only partially restore your life, while others, such as U.N. Squadron and 1941: Counter Attack, fully restore your life; in fact, in the latter, several stages extend your life meter by one unit upon completion.
  • In the freeware Metroidvania game An Untitled Story, all bosses but the final one drop hearts that fully heal you after you kill them, along with a bunch of the game's currency. This is evened out by the fact that killing bosses, along with finding Save Points, is the only way to fully heal yourself in the game.
  • Soul Blazer gives you a full recovery after the boss is dead, since you have to make your way back to the mostly convenient nearby teleportation square and it'd be nice if you weren't killed by Scratch Damage on your way out.
    • Its sequel Illusion of Gaia also does this, with your HP magically filling back up to maximum; it even adds in any powerup "jewels" that you failed to gain in the course of the level (each level contains about 6-10 jewels, some HP, some +attack, some +defence). However you get no After Boss Recovery when you play all the bosses again in the final Boss Rush.
    • Averted in Soulblazer's second sequel, Terranigma when you do not get any recovery at all. It is entirely possible to beat a boss with 1HP left, then continue through the next town to the next level and immediately die.
  • The battle with the Thug Leader on Endako in Ratchet and Clank Going Commando. There's plenty of ammo crates around for resupply if Ratchet dies in the attempt, since there's no weapons vendor around.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, after you've defeated three of Millenium's elders who were archangels in disguise the fourth one will run in and announce that there is one more foe to fight. He'll then heal the entire party before you fight the final boss... GOD. Although it's not the real God. He's saved for the Final Boss battle.
  • Secret of Mana does this with every boss battle. This is great in most situations when you can't teleport to the nearest town or there are multiple bosses in one area, but after obtaining your method of transportation, this becomes somewhat moot.
  • The Witcher; Geralt's midgame climactic battle is followed up by treatment, and thorough physical inspection, from a sorceress in lingerie.
  • All the bosses in EVO Search for Eden turn into meat that's worth a lot of health recovery and evo points when killed (even the ones where you'll lose all those evo points right afterwards).
  • God of War II does a subtler version of this during its Taste of Power opening act. The act is structured as several smaller tutorials with a miniboss at the end of each one, and after every fight the game silently refills your health and magic metres, with zero fanfare. This is not carried over to the rest of the game.
  • In Cave Story, the very first boss , Balrog, drops weapon powerups after you defeat him. And then defeating the normal Final Boss (the Doctor) automatically refills your health.
  • Used fairly often in Kingdom Hearts. Noticeable in the first game, when fighting a Behemoth in The End of the World, after it dies, it leaves a mountain of HP orbs, MP bubbles, and usually some really rare items.
  • Fallout 3 does this with Super Mutant Behemoths, while killing one usually uses more resources than it replenishes, they'll almost always have ammo and stimpacks on their corpses.
  • In Earthbound, every time you defeat a Sanctuary Guardian and approach one of your sanctuaries, your party will automatically be healed of any damage and fallen comrades will be fully revived. Fortunately, you con come back to it at any time later in the game to get healed again.
  • Many of the tougher gangs in Scarface the World Is Yours have a mini-boss; usually someone armed with explosives. Zapping him restores much health.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, N heals your Pokémon immediately after you capture your game's legendary Pokémon and before you fight Ghetsis.
    • Also happens after every game's final boss, the League Champion. Your Pokemon are apparently healed during the entry into the hall of fame, because when you wake up back home, everyone is healthy.
  • Rhapsody a Musical Adventure had the statue of the prince, which healed all your HP and MP before you fought the final boss. Parodied with the statues of Marjoly in the same area, which heals no health and magic, and makes a point of specifying it.