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Tangent128: The Wikipedia article by the same name is apparently fated for deletion; copying it here until examples can be merged. When will they learn There Is no Such Thing as Notability?


A load bearing boss is a term referring to the phenomenon in video games (typically, but not exclusively, RPGs) in which the defeat of a powerful opponent directly results in the destruction of the area in which the battle took place.

This type of complete destruction can be used to provide closure to a conflict. The area destroyed can be seen as a symbol of the influence of the opponent, and its destruction, a physical manifestation of his defeat. By destroying the home or base of the boss, the action reaches a quick and climactic conclusion which simplifies the aftermath of the battle. Load bearing bosses can provide a means of resolving any lingering issues posed by the conflict in a simple (but often cliché) manner.

The area-destruction is sometimes played out in FMV as a climactic closure to the struggle, frequently as an end sequence. In other games, such as the Metroid series, the escape from a collapsing environment is played out, often on a time limit. While not as challenging as the battle itself, it serves as a structural dénouement prior to the end sequence.

The origin of the term is architectural. In architecture, a load bearing component of a structure is one that distributes and/or supports the weight of other parts of the structure. Implicitly, such a component is integral to the long-term stability of the construction; vital pylons can even represent immediately-critical threats to the integrity of the structure. A load-bearing boss, therefore, is a tongue-in-cheek manner of describing the end boss as a critical girder or weld as an explanation of why the boss's death results in the destruction of his domain.

[edit] List of Load Bearing Bosses
  • Killing the Undead Core in the game Cave Story causes the floating island the game takes place on to crash into the earth.
  • Destroying Dracula in the Castlevania series results in the destruction of Dracula's Castle.
  • Oogie Boogie's defeat leads to his manor being destroyed in Kingdom Hearts.
  • The ending bosses of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II cause enough damage to leave nothing but a void in place of the world.
  • Almost every Metroid game has at least one load-bearing boss.
    • Defeating the Parasite Queen in Metroid Prime causes the entire frigate to collapse, though its position in the reactor gives a greater explanation than the others.
  • Defeating Ganondorf causes his castle to collapse in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Defeating Vaati causes the castle to start collapsing in The Legend of Zelda : The Minish Cap.
  • Master Archfiend Zoma in Dragon Warrior III.
  • Necrosaro in Dragon Warrior IV.
  • "Dorothy" from Resident Evil Outbreak File #2.
  • "Morpheus" from Return to Zork. His citadel gets destroyed after you win a match of the game of Survivor with him.
  • Defeating Lord Osmund Saddler in Resident Evil 4 will (indirectly) cause a detonation sequence to be activated which destroys the entire island that serves as the setting for the last chapter.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, defeating Kefka in his final form results in the collapse of his tower as the protagonists escape.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, defeating the Ultima Weapon in Mideel leads to Mideel being destroyed in an after battle cut scene.
  • As Andross is defeated in the Star Fox series the place in which the fight begins to explode forcing the player to escape.
  • Defeating Bowletta in Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga will cause Bowser's castle to start collapsing, since Prince Peasley activated a time bomb in the castle, meaning that you must escape within a set amount of time.
  • The defeat of Dr. Wily from the original Megaman series often causes his fortress to collapse, sometimes by him setting off a self destruct sequence.
  • Similarly, defeating Sigma in the Megaman X series often causes the destruction of his base.
  • Defeating Vile in Megaman X 3 forces him to self destruct his factory.
  • Defeating Myria in Breath of Fire III causes her space station to collapse.
  • Mario from I'm O.K..
  • Neo X from Streets of Rage 3.
  • The final enemy from Barbarian.
  • The master from Fallout triggers a bomb on a countdown timer that will destroy his base.
  • Upon the defeat of Bio-Haz in Great Greed his castle collapses and the heroes escape in a balloon. Shortly after beating another boss from earlier in the game, Sarg, his hideout collapses as well.
  • Defeating the Golden Diva in Wario Land 4 causes the golden pyramid to sink into the ground as Wario escapes with the treasure.
  • Defeating Mundus in Devil May Cry causes the collapse of the entirety of Millet Island for some reason.
  • Defeating Dr. Robotnik at the end of most of the Sonic the Hedgehog Sega Genesis games.
    • An excellent example of this can be found during final battles in either Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or Sonic & Knuckles, where upon the defeat of Dr. Robotnik will result in the destruction of the Death Egg.
  • In Chrono Trigger, defeat of Magus (the first time) and Lavos Core creates a time warp which consumes the surrounding environment.
    • Also, defeat of Queen Zeal destroys The Black Omen.

Fly: Question. Does it count if the boss justifies the building falling down with some kind of self-destruct button? (Also, I don't think Volgin and The Boss count, so I'm striking them off.)

Sci Vo: Yes, even if a justification is provided for using the trope, it's still an example.

The Boss and Volgin have crept back in, despite being total nonsense. How does it fit this trope when their deaths actually avert the collapse of the lair?
((Poopskin)): Question: does Maniac Mansion count? shortly before you go to get the purple meteor and finish the game, Dr. Fred activates the mansion's self destruct, giving you 3 minutes to toast the meteor.
Zef: Re: Chrono Trigger. I always thought that the Black Omen (and Zeal) was disintegrated by Lavos when Zeal tried to extract far more power than the spacefaring urchin would put up with. The Boss Rush occurs even if you face him via the bucket, so it can't be used as something that happens after "fusing" with the Black Omen.
Trisar: Could a special mention go out for load-bearing mooks from Resident Evil 4, namely the three zealots in the fiery chamber that you enter after playing as Ashley? They appear in those dragon-looking fire spewing towers, and shooting them off collapses the towers. Just curious.