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Boss themes do not play in every boss battle of a game. Final bosses have had their dedicated theme since Final Fantasy III, and normally, special themes accompany series of bosses fought in sequence before the final battle. Certain bosses may have their respective battle motif: Gilgamesh, a recurring boss in Final Fantasy V, is faced with his leitmotif, "Clash on the Big Bridge", playing in four out of five encounters; and Jenova another recurring boss, but from Final Fantasy VII, is fought while her eponymous theme plays, and "Jenova Absolute" plays solely during the last battle against her.
Some groups of antagonists share a single theme: Golbez and his Archfiends, from Final Fantasy IV are fought to the sound of "Battle With the Four Fiends". Finally, some bosses are fought while an ongoing background theme plays, such as in the initial sequence of Final Fantasy VII, and in Chapter 12 of Final Fantasy XIII where "Opening - Bombing Mission" and "Eden under Siege" play continuously, respectively.
For more specific information regarding boss themes not explored on this page, see List of battle themes.
Originally, there was no distinction between the boss battle theme and the main battle theme, but in later remakes three normal boss themes and a final boss theme were created for the game. The first, "Inside the Boss Battle", plays during minor boss battles such as Garland or the Vampire.
In the original Famicom version, both "Battle Theme 1" and "Battle Theme 2" played during boss battles, with the former also playing during random encounters and the latter playing at the final battle.
However, in the remakes, like in Final Fantasy, a remastered soundtrack included two new remixed battle tracks by Tsuyoshi Sekito. "Battle Scene B" is a remix of "Battle Theme 2" plays during easier boss fights, while "Battle Scene A", a remix of "battle theme 1", plays during more difficult ones.
"Battle 2" plays during all normal boss fights. This is the only game in the main series to have one single theme that plays during every boss fight, with the clear exception of the final boss.
"Battle 2" is the boss battle music that plays for normal boss battles (it begins with the intro to a traditional normal battle theme). Additionally, "Battle With the Four Fiends" plays during fights with the Archfiends, Golbez, and some bosses in the final dungeon.
The same boss theme from Final Fantasy IV is used.
The boss themes from the original Final Fantasy IV return. However, a new battle theme called "The Dispossessed Eidolons ~Minudes~" plays during all battles with Maenads and Eidolons at the end of each episode.
"Battle 2" plays during most boss battles, with exception of the battles against Gilgamesh and Exdeath. The theme also appears in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call.
"Battle 2" is the normal boss battle theme.
"Enemy Assault" plays during almost every boss battle, but it is replaced with "Challenge" in some instances, particularly in the endgame.
"YRP Battle 2" is used during most boss battles with exception of the Leblanc Syndicate, aeons, and optional bosses.
The original game and its expansions have boss themes that play during boss battles and other battlefield events. "Tough Battle" plays in the original games' boss battles/battlefields (including most add-on expansion bosses). "Tough Battle #2" plays during Rise of the Zilart boss battles/battlefields.
"Turmoil" plays during Chains of Promathia boss battles/battlefields, as well as during Limbus. "Hellriders" plays during Treasures of Aht Urhgan boss battles/battlefields, as well as during Einherjar. Wings of the Goddess has three different themes that play during various boss battles/battlefields: "Kindred Cry," "Under a Clouded Moon," and "Run Maggot, Run!".
"Boss Battle" plays during fights with the normal bosses, with a shortened version played during minor boss fights. The Zodiac Age remaster version introduces "Fury of the Entities" and "The Guardians," which replace the original boss themes in certain fights.
"The Showdown" is the boss theme of regular boss battles.
The Final Fantasy XIV/Legacy contains three regular boss themes, each one dependent upon the region in which the bosses are fought. However, all are unnamed and can only be found on betas for the game.
In addition, each of the Primals have their own unique boss themes, with "Fallen Angel" playing for the battle against Garuda, "Primal Judgement" playing for the battle against Ifrit, "Under the Weight" playing for the battle against Titan and both "Seven Jesters" and "Good King Moggle Mog XII" playing for the battle against Good King Moggle Mog.
"Imperium" serves as the boss theme for the battle against the Lunar Transmitter and the machine-like monsters defending it.
A Realm Reborn has three boss themes: "A Fine Death," "Nemesis," and "Torn From the Heavens," all of which vary depending on the difficulty of the boss.
"Steel Reason" plays when fighting Gaius's Tribunes, while Gaius himself is fought to the song "Bite Of The Black Wolf".
The generic boss theme for Heavensward bosses is "Ominous Prognisticks", composed by Masayoshi Soken.
While the game has multiple boss themes, "Omnis Lacrima" is by far the most common. In the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo, it plays when fighting Deadeye. In the game proper, it plays when fighting most monster bosses, such as the aforementioned Deadeye, Grootslang or Griffon.
Other boss themes include:
- "Invidia", the boss theme that plays in the boss battles against the Niflheim Empire.
- "Apocalypsis Noctis", which plays against Titan. "Apocalypsis Aquarius" is the version of the theme that plays against Leviathan.
- "Ravus Aeterna" plays in the battle against Ravus.
- "Hellfire", which plays against Ifrit.
- "Magna Insomnia", the final boss theme.
"The Pervert", also translated as "Helldance", plays during battles with the Lucavi. "Decisive Battle" and "Under the Stars" are also used in single major battles: the battle against the Corpse Brigade's troops at the Merchant City of Dorter and the battle against Isilud Tengille, respectively.
"The Road We Both Aim For" plays during battles that involve Totema.
"War: Howl of the Dreadnought" is the main boss theme for most of the powerful bosses.
"Monster Dance ~Rondo~" is the boss theme.
One of this game's boss themes is titled "One-On-One Battle!".
"Boss Theme 1" is used for most bosses, but "Boss Theme 2" is used in fights in bosses near the end of the game.
The boss theme is "Fierce Battle", which plays during battle with the Four Fiends, Machine, Ashura and also during tense, pre-battle sequences against these same bosses, transitioning without cut into the battle itself. Lesser bosses are all simply variations of minor enemies and so are fought against the standard battle theme.
The boss theme is "Gods of Another Dimension", which plays against all major Purelander bosses.
The boss theme is "Battle 2", and plays during every boss battle except the battle with Dark King.
"A Strong Enemy" is the normal battle theme for most bosses, and plays during the first part of the battle with Chaos. "The Demon King's Servants" play against stronger bosses, and also plays during the second round of the Chaos battle.
There are two themes for most boss battles: "He of the Name" plays during battles against asterisk holders and the Adventurer, while "Fighting to the End" plays during most event battles and boss battles against monsters.
"Battle of Tribulations" is the main boss theme. It plays during battles with the asterisk holders of the Glanz Empire and most other exclusive bosses.
"Against the Threat", known in Japan as "Face the Threat", is the normal boss theme. Its opening sounds similar to "Force Your Way" from Final Fantasy VIII.
For event bosses, many of the past series' boss themes are reused, and played in their original version. In a similar vein, story bosses which reference past games (such as the Guardian battle that mirrors the fight against same enemy in Final Fantasy VI) play a soundtrack from its respective game – in this case, "Protect the Espers!".