In traditional Castlevania-styled video games, a mini-boss or sub-boss is a lesser Boss enemy who serves to mark the halfway point or other checkpoint within a given Stage. Examples of mini-bosses in the Castlevania series include Cerberus (from Stage 1: The Ruins of Castlevania, in Castlevania: Bloodlines), the Wyvern (from Stage 1: The Village in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood) and Medusa (from Stage 4: Top Floor, in Castlevania Legends). On occasion, a stage may have multiple mini-bosses in separate encounters, such as the Water Wizard, the Heavy Armor and the Axe Armor from Stage 2: The Sinking Sanctuary in Castlevania: Bloodlines. Mini-bosses can sometimes be found in video games aside from the Castlevania series, including those from the Splatterhouse series and the Streets of Rage series.
Mini-Bosses are still considered to be Bosses -- albeit a specific subcategory of Bosses -- just as Final Bosses have a similar distinction on the opposite end of the Boss spectrum: Defeated Mini-Bosses mark the completion of a portion of a Stage, defeated Bosses or Stage Bosses mark the completion of an entire Stage, and defeated Final Bosses mark the completion of an entire game.
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