I've noticed that bosses sometimes seem to visibly take damage after you've done enough to force them into the next stage of the fight but before the next stage actually begins. For example, when fighting Ribby and Croaks, their first form ends between attack patterns - they won't stop throwing punches or spitting fireflies prematurely in order to progress to the next stage. As a more pronounced example in World II:

Beppi the Clown only progresses to his second stage after he falls off the tracks trying to ram you with his car. At some point in-between that moment and his previous attempt at ramming you, his first stage health must have run out.

Once you've dealt enough damage to a boss to force it into the next stage but before it actually transitions, does the boss continue to take damage, shortening the time one spends in the next stage? Or does damage only start counting once the boss has transitioned?

(I've noticed that my special meter continues building either way, so it makes sense to continue shooting at bosses regardless. But I don't want to waste special shots on bosses if those will make no difference between stages.)

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    I want to say no, because some bosses take a very long time to transform to the next stage. With the right weapon (charge/spread) or super you would potentially be able to do serious damage or kill them before they can even do anything.... That said, I can't confirm this as MDHR might've accounted for this and just bulked up health between phases or something – Rapitor Oct 2 '17 at 20:38
  • I have a hunch you're right, Rapitor. I think it might be a part of the reason health meters aren't shown during battles - to mask when bosses aren't taking damage, making them feel more fluid. – Kevin Oct 2 '17 at 21:04
  • I'm fairly certain they do still take damage between phases. I've died immediately after a phase transition, and seen that I'm pretty close to hitting the next phase already. I saw a streamer saying the same. That said I have no proof so I'm not posting an answer. – Chris Hayes Oct 3 '17 at 2:19
  • I've edited your question as I'm fairly sure I know exactly what you mean. Using the term "stage" is somewhat misleading as it refers to level (i.e. map, etc.). I assume that "visibly take damage" means that the boss subtly "flashes", as they always do when taking hit. – user598527 Oct 3 '17 at 15:35
  • [Spoilers for one of the early bosses] This is a "transition", right? youtu.be/RgpN9rFb4Pg?t=29s – user598527 Oct 3 '17 at 15:48

Yes, they do. Or at least, some of them do.

I tested out A Ruse of an Ooze: the first transition starts when the boss flips a coin into his mouth, question marks show up around him, he embiggens, and the question marks disappear as he starts attacking. A couple of runs I shot him during the transition (from the coin flip until the question marks disappeared) and a couple of runs I held off.

Immediately dying after the transition, I could tell from the progress bar that I had advanced about a third of the way towards his final form when I shot him during the transition but didn't advance at all when I held off. So for that boss at least, damage during transition was significant.

Update: Having worked through S-ranking all bosses on expert, they all take damage during their transitions in general. Some bosses even require it to sneak under the 2:00 time limit.


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