Created By: VPhantom on March 19, 2013 Last Edited By: intastiel on May 2, 2017
Troped

Kill Enemies To Open

A seal that is opened by killing the enemies around it.

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Trope
A trope often seen in Video Games, these doors, treasure chests, barriers, and all sorts of locks won't open until someone kills the enemies surrounding them, as though the seal's integrity were somehow linked to the enemies' lives.

Usually the character has to kill every single enemy in the room/level in order to defuse the lock, but sometimes it might require just a percentage of them, or the elimination of a specific type of enemy like an Elite Mook of some sort.

Teleporting Keycard Squads have a tendency to invoke it when they appear, in order to force the player to fight them. Also quite common in Boss Battles, as way to prevent the players from escaping or "unfairly" exploiting the environment to their advantage. Beat 'em Up games often raise Invisible Walls that can only be bypassed this way. May induce Fake Longevity if abused or poorly implemented, as in games that hide enemies to force the player to backtrack.

This is sometimes justified: enemies might harass you when you attempt to open the lock; they might be a Strength Equals Worthiness test, so if you're strong enough to beat them, you're worthy to proceed; they might have keys you need to open the lock; or they might be actively maintaining the lock and defeating them disables it.

Compare and contrast the Gate Guardian, an enemy who personally prevents you from progressing, although these tropes can overlap.

Unrelated to Beef Gate, where the only thing stopping you from proceeding is the threat of imminent death on the other side. Compare and contrast No Ontological Inertia and Load-Bearing Boss, where defeating the enemy brings down much more than just a lock.

A Sub-Trope to Cruelty Is the Only Option and Plot Lock. Related to Plot-Sensitive Latch and Gotta Kill Them All.


Examples:

Action-Adventure
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness has a few doors that will only open if you've defeated all enemies in the room. Unfortunately, one of these is in a room where the only enemies are Blood Skeletons which resurrect a few seconds after being defeated. How do you defeat them? Bring one of your Innocent Devils who has the ability to permanently kill Blood Skeletons. For your trouble, you get an item that increases your Max HP.
  • In Chantelise, barriers prevent you from moving onto the next level unless you have cleared it at least once.
  • Most of the games in the The Legend of Zelda saga make use of this trope. Usually, the locks activate after you find an important treasure, or just before you get said treasure.
  • The Metroid series uses these a lot, usually in the multiple pirate bases you'll have to raid. Also an egregious case of Fridge Logic, because unlocking the door for someone who has just murdered your security team seems like a genuinely awful idea! The science Team has vapor for brains, indeed...
  • Star Fox Adventures has its own share of Life Force Doors. They look like red vortexes with a skull in the middle and little "spirits" orbiting around it. That last detail actually has a purpose, as the number of "spirits" indicates how many enemies you need to kill to open it.

Beat 'em Up
  • In Project Altered Beast, some parts of the levels are locked unless you beat the specific enemies called aptly "Gate Keepers". They're just variants of the common mooks, but with a Battle Aura and more resilience; they also don't respawn unlike regular mooks.

Eastern RPG
  • In the Paper Mario games: The Thousand Year Door and Super Paper Mario have the "Pit of 100 Trials", where Mario and his companions face off 100 rooms with enemies (either in an RPG turn-based battle of the former or a Platform Game kill enemy battle for the latter), which must all be beaten before a pipe to the next lower level appears.

First-Person Shooter
  • In the Doom games:
    • Doom II's level "Dead Simple" starts the player inside a cloister with four mancubi, each one on a raised platform. Once all four mancubi fall, the outer walls lower to reveal a fleet of arachnotrons in the outer perimeter.
    • DOOM has a lot of areas under lockdown due to the demonic presence, and that need to be cleared of demons in order to advance.

Hack and Slash
  • Whenever a battle starts in the God of War games, every possible escape route is covered with a wall of flames. The flames vanish after all enemies are slain.
  • Doors in the Devil May Cry series sometimes become locked with magical barriers, requiring you to kill all the demons in the room before proceeding.

MMORPG
  • EverQuest had a variation on this. The insanely powerful but mostly insane prismatic dragon known as Kerafyrm was put to sleep by Veeshan, the God of Dragons for his crimes against dragonkind. The catch was that four dragons had to spend the rest of eternity as warders to ensure that the spell keeping him asleep was never broken. Players had to kill all four warders in order to wake him up... but the first few guilds in the game to do so quickly found out that waking him up was a bad thing. Kerafyrm would rampage out of the tomb, go over to the city of Skyshrine and go on a rampage there, and then go on a rampage in the Temple of Veeshan before finally leaving for good. This happened once and ONLY once per server. The Warders, who contained exceptionally powerful loot, were dead for good.
  • Justified in EVE Online as enemy ships carrying jammers for the acceleration gates which separate mission pockets. Kill the enemy ships and the jamming stops so you can proceed.
  • Elsword: This is pretty much inherent in the game system: You can't get to the next area in any dungeon unless you killed all the mobs in the current area first.
  • In World of Warcraft, The Burning Legion is very fond of soul-powered portals. To use them, you either need to kill something with a powerful enough soul (multiple not quite as powerful souls work too) in the vicinity of the portal, or bring souls with you for it to burn through. Most player characters and friendly NPCs opt to Pay Evil unto Evil and kill demons in the portal's presence, subjecting the demons to a very well deserved case of Hoist by Their Own Petard.

Platform Game

Real-Time Strategy
  • Dawn of War II: Retribution: When trapped on Typhon in the Deranged Chaos Champion's arena, the barriers around the arena will only fall once you kill the Champion, and he only emerges after you kill a sufficient number of orks, chaos forces and tyranids that continuously pour into the arena.

Roguelike
  • The Binding of Isaac makes ubiquitous use of it, as every room containing enemies will automatically shut itself down until you kill them all. However, the game also features a twist to it, as it's possible to force your way out of a room containing enemies by blasting the door with a bomb. (Either yours or fired by an enemy). Of course, this tactic must be used sparingly because bombs are a precious commodity most of time, and doing so doesn't take care of the enemies inside the room, so if you walk back into it, you'll either have to deal with the enemies, or use another bomb to escape once again. Also, this tactic doesn't work in boss' (nor mini-boss') battles, because their doors are blast-proof... Just like every single door in the game's Brutal Bonus Level.

Third-Person Shooter
  • Jet Force Gemini features obstacles called Life Force Doors which can only be opened by killing enemies.

Western RPG
  • A staple in the Mass Effect series, where you usually required to clear out each room before you are allowed to proceed.
  • In Fable I, the Witchwood connection in the Cullis Gate Portal Network is a Broken Bridge that requires the Hero to destroy a wave of undead nearby, reactivating the Gate with their Life Energy.

Other
  • Rock Solid Arcade's Web Games Robokill and Robokill 2. When you enter a new room there are no exits. You must kill every opponent in the room before the exit(s) will open.
  • Practically every first-visited room in Luigi's Mansion requires Luigi to suck up all the ghosts in it (not counting hidden Boos) in order to get rid of the supernatural vine barrier thing that protects every door.

Non-Video Game Examples
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, the rangers encounter a large stone door that blocks them from reaching the "great power" stashed in the monolith on the planet Phaedon. On the door are four life-sized carvings of warriors that come to life to fight the rangers. It's only after the stone warriors have been dissolved, disintegrated, or crushed in combat that the door finally opens.
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • March 19, 2013
    dvorak
    Metroid uses these a lot, usually in the requisite pirate base. Fridge Logic, because opening the door for someone who's just murdered your security team never works out good.
  • March 19, 2013
    DRCEQ
    • Ever Quest had a variation on this. The insanely powerful but mostly insane prismatic dragon known as Kerafyrm was put to sleep by Veeshan, the God of Dragons for his crimes against dragonkind. The catch was that four dragons had to spend the rest of eternity as warders to ensure that the spell keeping him asleep was never broken. Players had to kill all four warders in order to wake him up... but the first few guilds in the game to do so quickly found out that waking him up was a bad thing. Kerafyrm would rampage out of the tomb, go over to the city of Skyshrine and go on a rampage there, and then go on a rampage in the Temple of Veeshan before finally leaving for good. This happened once and ONLY once per server. The Warders, who contained exceptionally powerful loot, were dead for good.
  • May 8, 2016
    Arivne
    • Rock Solid Arcade's Web Games Robokill and Robokill II. When you enter a new room there are no exits. You must kill every robot in the room before the exit(s) will open.
  • March 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Hack And Slash
    • Whenever a battle starts in the God Of War games, every possible escape route is covered with a wall of flames. The flames vanish after all enemies are slain.
  • March 20, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    The Devil May Cry games also feature these.
  • March 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Zero Context Example. At least describe the doors or something.
  • March 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Also a subtrope of Plot Lock and related to Plot Sensitive Latch.

    • A staple in the Mass Effect series, where you usually required to clear out each room before you are allowed to proceed.
  • March 20, 2013
    Astaroth
    • Doors in the Devil May Cry series will sometimes become locked with magical barriers, requiring you to kill all the demons in the room before proceeding.
  • March 20, 2013
    GoldenDarkness
    You know, the title made be think of actual plots involving people/creatures needing to be killed in order to break a magical seal. Would that be a different trope or not?
  • March 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ That would probably be closer to No Ontological Inertia.
  • March 21, 2013
    StarSword
    Also a subtrope of Powered By A Forsaken Child.
  • March 21, 2013
    VPhantom
    @StarSword: Not really, because it's rare for the game to explicitly state that it IS the enemies' life-force the thing keeping the doors closed; most of time, it's just a convention established for the sake of gameplay, with no real plot-justification behind it.
  • March 21, 2013
    StarSword
    Seems I misunderstood the trope, then.

    Monster-Powered Lock?
  • March 23, 2015
    DAN004
    • El Sword: This is pretty much inherent in the game system: You can't get to the next area in any dungeon unless you killed all the mobs in the current area first.
  • March 24, 2015
    Arutema
    • Justified in Eve Online as enemy ships carrying jammers for the acceleration gates which separate mission pockets. Kill the enemy ships and the jamming stops so you can proceed.
  • March 24, 2015
    DAN004
    Who's managing this?
  • March 24, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    First Person Shooter
    • The level "Dead Simple" from id Software's Doom II starts the player inside a cloister with four mancubi, each one on a raised platform. Once all four mancubi fall, the outer walls lower to reveal a fleet of arachnotrons in the outer perimeter.
  • March 24, 2015
    ZuTheSkunk
    • In the second and third Spyro The Dragon games, on each level you need to defeat a certain number of enemies before special pedestals with powerups become active.
  • May 7, 2016
    Chabal2
    Dawn Of War II: Retribution: When trapped on Typhon in the Deranged Chaos Champion's arena, the barriers around the arena will only fall once you kill the Champion, and he only emerges after you kill a sufficient number of orks, chaos forces and tyranids that continuously pour into the arena.
  • May 8, 2016
    acrobox
    Do we really not have this already?
  • May 8, 2016
    acrobox
    It's Inescapable Ambush isn't it.
  • May 8, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ this trope doesn't always involve an ambush.
  • May 9, 2016
    BKelly95
    Action Adventure
    • There's a few doors in Castlevania Curse Of Darkness that will only open if you've defeated all enemies in the room. Unfortunately, one of these is in a room where the only enemies are Blood Skeletons which resurrect a few seconds after being defeated. How do you defeat them? Bring one of your Innocent Devils who has the ability to permanently kill Blood Skeletons. For your trouble, you get an item that increases your Max HP.
  • May 9, 2016
    rmctagg09
    • Star Fox Adventures has Life-Force Doors, which won't open unless Fox or Krystal defeat all the enemies in the room, signified by spirits that orbit on the barrier.
  • May 16, 2016
    Dravencour
    Doom 2016 has a lot of areas under lockdown due to the demonic presence, and that need to be cleared of demons in order to advance.
  • May 16, 2016
    acrobox
    I feel like this needs a better name

    Like Mook Locked Seal or

    Defeat All Enemies

    Defeat All Enemies Room / Puzzle.

    Beat Em All
  • May 16, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ ain't the current one clear enough?
  • May 18, 2016
    acrobox
    it's clear but it ain't smooth
  • July 27, 2016
    DAN004
    Bump
  • October 16, 2016
    Drope
    Will anyone launch this? Current name is fine.
  • November 3, 2016
    WildKatGirl
    There's another YKTTW called 'Life Force Door' which is also about this trope.
  • November 3, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    This one has seniority, initiated on Tuesday 19 March 2013, whereas the other one was initiated on Monday 10 October 2016.
  • November 4, 2016
    BKelly95
    Why wasn't my Castlevania example added?
  • November 4, 2016
    Prime32
    Dunno if the title should have "Mook" in it, since this can easily apply to bosses and mini-bosses. Maybe "Dead Man's Door", as a reference to a dead man's switch?
  • November 6, 2016
    JD2K
    A staple of Paper Mario's first two [1] is the "Pit of 100 Trails" where Mario and his companions face off 100 rooms with enemies (either in an RPG turn-based battle of the former or a Platform Game kill enemy battle for the latter) which must all be beaten before a pipe to the next lower level appears.
  • November 6, 2016
    JD2K
    ^ the [1] was meant to have the word "sequels". Forgot to add it in.
  • November 6, 2016
    Drope
    ^^^ The trope is not exclusively about doors either.
  • April 22, 2017
    Getta
    • Project Altered Beast: Some parts of the levels are locked unless you beat the specific enemies called aptly "Gate Keepers". They're just variants of the common mooks, but with a Battle Aura and more resilience; they also don't respawn unlike regular mooks.
  • April 22, 2017
    acrobox
  • April 22, 2017
    Malady
    Chantelise: Barriers prevent you from moving onto the next level unless you have cleared it at least once.
  • April 23, 2017
    intastiel
    • In Fable I:
      • Invoked by the undead Nostro: since his Ghostly Goal is to fall in battle, he and his companions refuse to open an ancient passageway for the Hero of Oakvale until he defeats their spirits in combat.
      • The Witchwood connection in the Cullis Gate Portal Network is a Broken Bridge that requires the Hero to destroy a wave of undead nearby, reactivating the Gate with their Life Energy.
  • April 23, 2017
    Getta
    ^^^ Um, my example don't require killing all mooks...
  • April 23, 2017
    intastiel
    The YKTTW hasn't been edited since 17 Oct 2016, so I've marked it Up For Grabs. Also provisionally renamed it from "Kill Mooks To Open" to "Kill Enemies To Open", since the examples don't seem to be Mook-specific; did some minor proofreading and copy-editing in the description; added comparisons to Beef Gate and Load Bearing Boss; and added people's examples.
  • April 23, 2017
    sheika
  • April 23, 2017
    PsiPaula4
    I wouldn't call this trope a "staple" of the Paper Mario games when it only shows up in 2/5 games. Of course, Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door and Super Paper Mario qualify for this trope with the Pit of 100 Trials, but I would not call it a "staple" of Paper Mario.
  • April 23, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ Ok, changed the wording.
    This is looking fairly concrete — maybe ready to move to launch? For indexes, how about Videogame Tropes, This Index Is In The Way, and Test And Trial Tropes?
  • April 23, 2017
    acrobox
    • This is also a staple of the Beat Em Up formula where you can only advance so far in the level before being blocked out by invisible walls (or the screen stops scrolling in older games) until you defeat a set of enemies.

    • In effect this is also what a Trainer battle amounts to in the Pokemon series. Unlike wild mons you can run from or use Repels to keep them from appearing, once you lock eyes with another trainer you have to defeat their entire party to move on. "There's no running from a trainer battle."
  • April 23, 2017
    acrobox
    -duplicate post-
  • April 27, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ Thanks! Regarding the trainer battles, would they be blocking access to specific areas or features until they're beaten? (I'm looking at how to keep this concept distinct from the extant Gate Guardian trope.)
  • April 27, 2017
    Theharbo
    Is this an example of the trope?

    In the World Of Warcraft universe, The Burning Legion is very fond of using soul-powered portals. If you need to access one of these transporters, you either need to kill something with a powerful enough soul (multiple not quite as powerful souls work too) in the vicinity of the portal, or bring souls with you for it to burn through. Since the latter is morally questionable most player characters and friendly NPC's opt to kill demons in the portal's presence, subjecting the demons to a very well deserved case of Hoist By Their Own Petard.
  • April 27, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ Yes, sounds like an interesting overlap with Powered By A Forsaken Child, going by those scenarios.
  • April 28, 2017
    Getta
    Hmm... guess that the "killing specific enemies" examples (such as mine) could be in Gate Guardian instead.
  • April 28, 2017
    Leporidae
    Is this trope limited to video games, or would examples from films count as well?

    In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie, the rangers encounter a large stone door that blocks them from reaching the "great power" stashed in the monolith on the planet Phaedon. On the door are four life-sized carvings of warriors that come to life to fight the rangers. It's only after the stone warriors have been dissolved, disintegrated, or crushed in combat that the door finally opens.
  • April 28, 2017
    raeslewolhn
    The opening of Avengers: Age of Ultron (Live action, 2015). First scene: only after defeating all the Hydra muscle outside the castle does Iron Man break the shield and achieve entrance to the castle and the secret room with Loki's scepter.
  • April 28, 2017
    Getta
    ^^ It may count
  • April 29, 2017
    intastiel
    Added the observation on Beat Em Up games and the comparison to Gate Guardian in the trope description; added World Of Warcraft and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie examples.
    Pokemon trainer battles seem to be closer to Gate Guardian than this trope, though there might be examples that fit in both? I don't think the Avengers Age Of Ultron example applies to this: the shield went down after Tony Stark hit a generator with a missile, after all.
    So, how do people feel about launching this?
  • April 29, 2017
    tyrekecorrea
    Why did you add a preemptive launch date?
  • April 29, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ The YKTTW is four years old with a solid concept, plenty of hats, no bombs, and a good range of examples. It looks more than ready to roll out, but it seemed best to leave a few days for any final comments.
  • April 29, 2017
    tyrekecorrea
    Uh huh'. Maybe we should just launch it now.
  • April 29, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ Could do, certainly. I did make some adjustments to the description when I took over the draft, so I thought I'd wait for a last round of review.
  • April 29, 2017
    Dravencour
    This trope is a staple of Spectacle Fighters.
  • April 29, 2017
    Getta
    "the bane of every Pacifist Run, and a moderate annoyance for some Speed Runners."

    This part of the description doesn't seem necessary and sounds like complaining.

    And again, I dunno about the "killing specific enemies" examples, as Gate Guardian could cover it?
  • April 29, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ Yeah, I might drop that or de-emphasize it in the description. And in my understanding, the distinction between this and the Gate Guardian is in the nature of the obstacle. If the guardian itself is keeping you from going forward, it wouldn't count for this; if there's some barrier to progression that vanishes when the guardian is defeated, then it would work with both tropes.
  • April 30, 2017
    Omeganian
  • May 2, 2017
    CptFantabulous
    Bayonetta runs on these, every area you enter will lock off the exits with a barrier. Sometimes they are explicitly tied to a single enemy but more often than not Bayonetta will simply blow a kiss and blow it open. It is never explained why she cannot just do that straight away.
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