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->''"Before the network, there was the fleet. Before diplomacy, there were soldiers! Our influence stopped the rachni. But, before that, we held the line. Our influence stopped the krogan. But, before that, we held the line! Our influence will stop Saren. In the battle today, we ''will ''hold the line!"''
-->-- '''[[SupportingLeader Captain Kirrahe]]''', ''VideoGame/{{Mass Effect|1}}''

A Hold the Line mission is a type of TimedMission, where instead of completing a mission in a set time, you have to prevent the enemy completing their objective before the time runs out. This usually means you are defending your base, or a certain character, until reinforcements arrive, or vital repairs are carried out on the base. Sometimes the enemy is an overwhelming force, so actually defeating the enemy, or even surviving much beyond the time limit, would be impossible, without reinforcements or similar. Fortunately for you, victory will usually occur [[InstantWinCondition instantly and automatically as soon as the time runs out]], even if you were moments away from defeat.

This is common in RealTimeStrategy, where success usually required a balance between creating defensive structures and units to protect your objective, and scouting out and eliminating enemy bases to reduce their number. It also crops up in FirstPersonShooter games, most commonly as an objective-based multiplayer gametype, though stopping to defend against waves of enemies (most often by way of using mounted turrets with [[BottomlessMagazines limitless ammo]] but [[{{Overheating}} poor heat management]]) is also a common occurrence.

Sometimes it might be linked to an EscortMission, where you have to escort someone to a location, and then protect them while they, for example, hack into the enemy's computer system.

In multiplayer, this mode of gameplay also exists, usually with the teams switching after the attackers win or the timer runs out. In many cases, there are several lines, and the defining criteria (if neither team manages to break through them all) are usually which team got further or which team got to the same line first. Naturally this can result in tie games. Strategy games of all kinds love this trope -- there are very, very few that do ''not'' have an example of a Hold The Line mission.

When the "objective" is to kill the enemies, you've got yourself a MultiMookMelee.

Fictionally, it is often a form of YouShallNotPass or LastStand, but the goals differ. In the first, the objective is to save the rest of the unit. In the second, the goal is to defeat as many of the enemy as possible before being killed. In this trope, the objective is to stall for time.

TowerDefense has this trope as its central gameplay element. ProtectionMission is this combined with defending a stationary object. Compare TheSiege. It is similar to and yet quite different from HoldingTheFloor; talking for a long period of time without pause instead of fighting. Not to be confused with waiting for someone else on the phone.



[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* ''VideoGame/BraveFencerMusashi'' has the Chapel Battle, where [[DarkActionGirl Gingerelle]] surrounds you with invincible [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Vambees]] that kill you instantly if they grab you. All you can do is hold them off until morning (They're vulnerable to sunlight), which is about 6 minutes in-game time.
* Happens in some levels of ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul Calibur Legends]]'', where your allies hold the line to give you time to kill a dragon, liberate a castle, or just get to their position to help.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' has an optional mission that requires you to protect a barn against a bunch of otherworldly creatures until the sun rises. You cannot use your sword to defeat them, so you have to be skilled with your bow to succeed. A mission that occurs after that requires you to protect milk jars from a pair of muggers while riding on a covered wagon. If you manage to complete both missions, you are rewarded with Romani's Mask.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' has a villanous example, as [[spoiler:Ghirahim]] sends an horde of Bokoblins to try to hold the line against '''you''', as he [[spoiler:finishes casting a spell to suck Zelda's spirit out of her body and give it to his master]].
* The final boss of ''VideoGame/AnUntitledStory'', after defeating his fourth form, becomes invincible, and the only option is to avoid his attacks until the timer runs out.
* In ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'', a mother Thorntail tasks you with keeping any of her eggs from being carried to any of the creatures' entrances/exits within a period of time. You fail if any of them reach an exit, but if the time runs out, all stolen eggs are dropped, the creatures leave, and you get a necessary power. Dropped eggs slide to the center, and are invulnerable to your flailings with the stick.

[[folder:Action Game]]
* The ''VideoGame/BattleCity'' series by Namco is also an early example where player(s) have to defend the base in addition to keeping themselves alive. The destruction of the base results in an instant game over.
* The NES game of ''[[VideoGame/BackToTheFuture1989 Back to the Future]]'' has a sequence in Lou's Cafe where you have to fend off bullies by throwing milkshakes at them.
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Shinobi}}'' had this in the pseudo-3D bonus stages.

[[folder:Beat Em Up]]
* The Konami-Slasher ''OZ Over Zenith'' (known in Europe as ''[[VideoGame/TheSwordOfEtheria Sword of Etheria]]'') has you defending your pillars as the corners of a (fictive) square, which means you have some running around to do. At least one pillar has to be left standing, which is a lot harder than it sounds, since monsters are about ''everywhere''.

[[folder:Fighting Game]]
* There are many such missions in the ''VideoGame/MagicalBattleArena'' [[ExpansionPack Lyrical Pack]]. The first one, which unlocks [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs Hayate]], isn't too bad, since you can take out your enemies. The later ones, however, have you trying to survive against multiple, invincible copies of a character that are permanently in SuperMode and firing {{Limit Break}}s like there's no tomorrow.
* Some of the Event matches in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'' have conditions in this style (for instance, Olimar having to keep his ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}'' alive until they blossom).
* A commonly used tactic against infamous SNKBoss Rugal in ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'' games is to take advantage of his largely reactive AI, getting in a few hits early on, then hanging back and dodging his fireballs until time runs out and you win via having more health.
* A rather special variant is used in ''VideoGame/BlazBlueChronophantasma''. [[spoiler:During his briefing, Jin's orders to Noel are to use her power as the Eye of the Azure to observe the Zero-Type Izayoi so Tsubaki can evoke it herself, after being driven to exhaustion by Makoto prior. Noel is under explicit orders not to fight at this time.]] This fight is special in that [[spoiler:you ''have'' to win by time-out; Tsubaki's health is low enough that any attack from Noel will down her instantly for a game over]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Divekick}}'', this is how time overs are settled due to it's one hit kill battle system. Whoever is closer to the center of the stage when time is called wins the round.

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/BrothersInArms'' has quite a number of these.
** ''Road to Hill 30'' has holding positions just outside of Carentan until American Sherman tanks from the 2nd Armored Division can arrive.
** Pretty much the entirety of ''Hell's Highway'' revolves around holding vital towns and areas of the titular highway against counterattacking German forces. It culminates in having to recapture and hold a vital train station from the 2nd SS Panzer Corps late in the game.
* Defending Natalya as she hacks the Control Room computers in ''[[VideoGame/GoldenEye1997 GoldenEye]]''. On higher difficulties, this can be more challenging than the FinalBoss.
* Starting from ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany'', the gamemode Rush involved one side protecting crates full of gold (later on they became M-COMS) while the attackers must take the objectives for themselves, pushing back defenders. With attackers the only ones given a limited amount of respawns, this makes "Hold the Line" the only goal for the defenders.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' does this from time to time, with the player needing to protect Alyx (who is thankfully rather durable) as she completed some task or other. In ''Half-Life 2: Episode One'', the developer's commentary at one point says that they specifically ''didn't'' include this sort of situation, because it just looked "robotic" to have her either just sit there and take the abuse from the Combine or zombies, or stop what she was doing to fight back and then start all over again.
** ...but then they make a similar scenario into the final boss fight for ''Half-Life 2: Episode Two.''
** Indeed, in Episode One, this occurs the other way round, with Alyx defending you.
** More importantly, the entire series is rife with elevators and teleporters that the player has to defend himself while waiting for.
** Any ''[=HL2=]'' player's hatred for the pesky turret guns that [[WeakTurretGun fall over if you look at them wrong]] will be raised to the power of itself after the level in Nova Prospekt, where they are hacked to be on your side and need to be used to keep the baddies at bay. The hacking does not improve their stability.
* The game ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty 4'' includes a mission called "One Shot, One Kill." You and a wounded partner attempt to defend a landing zone next to the famous Ferris wheel near Chernobyl.
** Another example immediately follows in the same game as the player's squad running a small retreat action to hold a landing zone for extraction, hitting the seemingly infinite enemy forces as they fall back. After taking out ''four'' tanks (not bad for a special ops squad of six), they are then told that the LZ has been moved... to the area they've just let the enemy overrun, forcing the squad to go from Hold The Line to Attack The Line, breaking through the enemy's heavy defenses to make it to the LZ. [[TheLancer Gaz]] was pissed. Widely considered the ScrappyLevel, more so than "One Shot".
** In fact, there isn't a game in the ''Call of Duty'' series without at least a couple spots where you have to stop advancing and defend a position. Many of these follow a pattern: Get to the place you're defending, survive the infantry attacks until the enemies deploy armor and/or heavy weapons, then destroy the heavies to win the battle.
*** Or, in the case of levels like [[VideoGame/ModernWarfare Loose Ends]], get the hell out.
** ''Call of Duty 2'', in addition to a level actually ''called'' "Hold The Line", includes "Comrade Sniper", the second half of "The Silo", and "The Battle For Hill 400" (the [[Awesome/VideoGameLevels crowning level of awesome]]).
*** Call of Duty 1, had two shining examples of these, but they were both pretty hard. One was Pegasus Day, holding the bridge you'd taken the night before, using a fixed gun emplacement to rout enemy tanks. The second was the ever frustrating Pavlov's House mission.
*** Before that is Dawnville, where you repel the Nazis from the village, only for them to retake the area a minute later, forcing you to "break through the line", complete with additional Tiger tanks.
** ''2'' had so many of these the ''Franchise/MedalOfHonor'' series is loaded with these kinds of objectives, such as defending the house in MOHAA's "Battle in the Bocage"(which is [[CallBack called back to]] in Brecourt Manor and Pointe du Hoc from ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty 1'' and ''2'', respectively), "The Bridge", which is also a SnipingMission and EscortMission, and the penultimate battle of ''[=MoHAA=]: Spearhead''. In some levels you have to "Break the Line".
** The new ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor'' game has a fairly epic one where you and three other rangers defend a "house" (loosely used, since its more of a shell) that gradually gets more and more destroyed as time goes on until you are pretty much sitting in the open with mooks coming at you from all sides.
** The Demolition and Safeguard gamemodes in the Call of Duty multiplayer heavily run off this trope. In Demolition, the defense must protect two bombsites from destruction, while the offense attempts to destroy them. Much of the game revolves around the defense pinning the offense until one lucky saboteur sneaks through and plants a bomb, at which point it switches for the offense to hold the line until the bomb blows up. In Safeguard, the offense is tasked with escorting a non-combatant to the goal, while the defense uses every trick they have to prevent that from happening.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** The multiplayer has a bunch of these for their objective games, notably CaptureTheFlag, which is what you think it is; Assault, which involves one team trying to bomb the other; Land Grab/Territories, which fits this trope to a tee as it involves holding parts of the map to stop the other team from capturing it; and [[VideoGame/Halo5Guardians Warzone Assault]], where one team has to defend its bases from taken by the other one.
** The single player campaigns have several examples of this too; for example, parts of the second and third missions of ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'', the last part of "Sacred Icon" in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'', defending the Outpost in "Winter Contingency" in ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', waiting for the elevator in "Exodus" in ''Reach'', and defending the Package in the eponymous mission from (again) ''Reach''.
** This is ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'''s Firefight mode in a nutshell. 5 waves of enemies in a round, 3 rounds in a set, infinite sets in a game. Of course, they also activate skulls as you complete rounds and sets. Getting one of the seven Vidmaster achievements (you need all seven to unlock the Recon armor for multiplayer matches in ''Halo 3'') requires a four player team to finish the fourth set on Heroic difficulty (which is easier than the first version, which required getting though the seventh set on Legendary. Good thing it was changed before release). A Firefight game ends in one of two ways: Everybody leaves, or everybody dies (or someone without a 360 hard drive, which is needed to play co-op, joins the game and causes it to abort). Later games' Firefight modes are similar, except you actually ''can'' win.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortressClassic'' has a mode where one team try to defend all their control points in the map while the other team try to capture all of them, with a flag being required to capture it. Most maps gave you the chance to recapture the control points after losing the first time.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' on Payload and Attack/Defend style Control Point maps, this is the [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience RED]] team's only job--in fact, you can earn achievements for accomplishing total shutouts in Gravel and Dustbowl. [[TimedMission BLU]], on the other hand...
** This is the goal in the new gameplay mode "Mann VS Machine" - beating back progressively larger waves of computer-controlled robotic enemies, along with the occasional boss enemy; and a tank that, while having no direct attacks, can absorb a ton of damage and will dish out an instant loss if it can deploy its bomb before you destroy it.
* Each of the finales from the Campaign mode of ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' involves one of these situations, wherein the Survivors must fend of literally ''hundreds'' of Horde and ''dozens'' of Special Zombies until some form of evac arrives.
** Specifically, it's two Hordes and two Tanks, alternately.
** And then Valve added Survival Mode, where ''the rescue vehicle never comes''. Oh, and the Tanks and Horde don't wait for each other. The Tanks also start showing up ''in teams''. It's the longest (final) ten minutes of your life.
* In ''VideoGame/FrontlinesFuelOfWar'', the game ends on one of these. You just seized control of the Russian Ministries of Information and Defense, and now you're in what must be Red Square. You, along with a handful of fellow Western Coalition soldiers, must hold out against a ''massive'' Red Star counter attack.
* The ''VideoGame/BioShock'' franchise is all about this
** ''VideoGame/BioShock2'' requires the player to defend a Little Sister against waves of Splicers until she's done harvesting
** There was at least one mission in the original ''VideoGame/BioShock1'' where you had to defend a location without moving. One example is the lab defense sequence in Arcadia, where you have to fend off a Splicer assault while the Lazarus Vector is prepared for dispersal. Another is defending Little Sisters while they harvest Adam in the penultimate level of the game.
** The final "boss battle" ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' requires you to defend the power core on [[spoiler: Comstock's flagship]] while using the [[spoiler: Booker-controlled Songbird]] to destroy [[spoiler: the entire Vox Populi armada]].
* From the VideoGame/{{Unreal}} series:
** ''VideoGame/UnrealIITheAwakening'' has two missions where the objective is to hold off Skaarj invasions until an evacuation ship comes to your aid or your ship is fully repaired. Another mission requires you to defend a (very annoying) scientist during some time from Liandri assassins.
** The Assault gametype in both ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' and ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament2004'' reenact 'historic' battles while each team trades off attacking and defending sides. The first attacking team can get a serious advantage if performing well in their round, since as defenders they only have to hold the line for the amount of time their victory took.
** ''2004'' (and ''2003''[='=]s [[DownloadableContent Epic Bonus Pack]]) feature the Invasion gametype, which pits you and the rest of the players, grouped as a team, against several monsters from ''VideoGame/{{Unreal|I}}''. You have to survive up to 16 waves if you want to win, though that's easier said than done.
** ''VideoGame/UnrealChampionship2TheLiandriConflict'' features the Nali Slaughter gametype, which pits you against hordes of Nali (several of which can hurt you) in different waves.
** In ''2004'' and ''[[VideoGame/UnrealTournamentIII UT3]]'', holding the line is a good Onslaught tactic for the side that already has the points to win. A team with control of a Leviathan, and a coordinated defense, can simply count frags until the clock runs out.
* At the end of ''VideoGame/SoldierOfFortune'''s fifth mission, you have to hold the line while Hawk disarms the Lightfoot nuke. A LuckBasedMission on the Challenging and Unfair difficulties, about as nasty as the Control mission in ''[[VideoGame/GoldenEye1997 GoldenEye]]''. Sometimes the enemies stop spawning prematurely(you have to kill a set number for the mission to end), making the level {{unwinnable}}.
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'', there is a section where Samus must protect a portion of Skytown from SpacePirates until it's able to drop a bomb on a Leviathan Shield. Interesting in that while Samus is protecting the bomb, the Space Pirates are trying to protect something from ''Samus.''
* The end of the Island Estate mission in ''VideoGame/RainbowSix 3'' (console versions only). Given that you die very quickly(it's Rainbow Six no less) and there's very little cover, there's bound to be [[ThatOneLevel much frustration]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom 3}}'' often did this with swarms of literal DemonicSpiders (Trites and Ticks), such as when waiting for a ladder to drop down.
* In ''VideoGame/StarWarsBattlefront II'', there are missions where defense of a post is necessary: one mission in particular is on Kashyyyk, where the Republic clone army must defend an oil refinery from the Confederate droid army while waiting on Jedi Master Yoda to come with backup.
* The "Bright Lights, Flying City" mission in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' ends with you having to defend a beacon in order to establish a Fast-Travel link to Sanctuary. You're doing this while Handsome Jack does everything he can to stop you, throwing endless Hyperion robots your way. It's one of the hardest missions in the game whether you're playing solo or in a group, the enemies are as relentless as they are numerous.
** One mission has you defending a Hyperion supply drop that landed in Slab bandit territory, with the help of some Slabs. In this case, there's a set number of enemies that Hyperion throws at you, but unlike in the above example (where you can repair the beacon if it's damaged and continue the mission), this mission is over if the supply drop takes just a few hits, and the last, most powerful enemies spawn just a few steps away from being able to hit it.
* The first ''Videogame/VietCong'' has two of these: The first one takes the player an his squad to a radio outpost on a hill, with VC swarming the hill from all sides, and the player has to hold the hill until evacuation arrives. The second one places the player himself within some ruins, and he has to stay alive for a few minutes until evacuation arrives again. Cue a large horde of VC closing in on you ...
* ''VideoGame/{{Destiny}}'' has several of these as part of the story missions and strikes usually culminating in a named elite enemy.
** Some of the public events are like this such as defending a crashed Warsat or preventing Vex from sacrificing themselves to a conflux (the difference being the objective of the first is to hold out and not die while the second is to kill the enemies before they reach their target)
** The Vault Of Glass raid has the initial defence of 3 control points from waves of enemies just to open the front door then several confluxes to defend further into the vault.
* ''{{VideoGame/Verdun}}'' is all about this. Justified, since you're fighting in trenches and the setting is UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xonotic}}'' features a version of [=UT2004=]'s Invasion as one of its gamemodes.
* Happens several times in ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonorVanguard'', most notably the last section of 'Off Target', the bridge section in 'Requiem', the farmhouse section in 'Endgame' and the Final Battle in 'The Crucible'.

[[folder:Hack and Slash]]
* In chapter 4 of ''{{VideoGame/Magicka}}'' you need to defend some TNT while the (extra long) fuse is going down so it will blow open some castle doors... [[CuttingTheKnot or you can just cast a fire spell on the TNT instead.]]

[[folder:Light Gun Games]]
* A number of stages in the ''VideoGame/PointBlank'' series have you keeping enemies away from Dr. Dan and Dr. Don until time runs out; failure results in the stage ending with one life lost.
* Several multi-screen battles in ''[[VideoGame/TimeCrisis Time Crisis 4]]'' has you holding off the enemy for 30 seconds until [[BigDamnHeroes Captain Rush comes to your aid or gets you out of trouble]].

* Much like its RTS predecessor, ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' also features this type of encounter. The time-travel dungeon Black Morass and the magic prison known as the Violet Hold both are Hold The Line missions, while other dungeons have segments that work this way. Not to forget the latest PvP additions, Strand of the Ancients and Lake Wintergrasp. In both cases, one side defends a keep against the other, but the previous one is played in two rounds, swapping the roles much like in the FPS mode it's rather obviously inspired by.
** In a very straight example of the escort mission followed by protecting your charge while he hacks into a computer variant, the Halls of Stone instance has you escort Brann Bronzebeard to the Titan mainframe and defend him from waves of mobs that attack as part of the security system while he tries to break through it.
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' loves this trope both in missions and challenges. Two that immediately spring to mind are the Factions mission "Arborstone" where the player must defend a character who is casting a spell to open a door, and the Prophecies mission "Sanctum Cay", where players must hold off waves of bad guys on a beach as a mage stands on a pier summoning a magical ship so that the party can escape.
* ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' goes in this direction when you fight certain gigantic monsters, namely the huge crab Shen Gaoren, and the even bigger dragon Lao-Shan Lung. Instead of hunting them like you do with other monsters, the creature shows up at one end of a linear area, and past multiple obstacles is a fort on the other end of the map. You have to prevent it from destroying the fort, by either killing it before the timer runs out, or repelling it by dealing enough damage that when the timer hits 0, it flees. If you run out of time before damaging the monster enough, get knocked out three times, or let the fort get destroyed, you lose.
** The Jhen Mohran fight in ''Tri'' is a two-parter. The first involves chasing and causing whatever damage you can to it on your Dragonship, and the second is this trope. Again, if you clock out before hitting the "repel" damage threshold, you expire your faint tally, or the Dragonship is destroyed, you fail. It's possible, however unlikely, that the Dragonship will be wrecked on the first phase; hope your team isn't that sloppy.
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' holds two Shadow Missions (Missions taking place in the dark and foreboding Shadow Realm, a copy of the real world) that invoke this trope. The first is a mission where the party must assist other [=NPCs=] in battling Shadow Monsters while a scout is rescued off camera. If any [=NPCs=] die, the mission fails (but players can heal them, and taking out the Archers that can deal permanent HP damage first increases your chances of success tenfold). The second is called Tailltean Defensive Battle, and requires a party of 3-6 players to split up and defend the city's three gates from wave after wave of monsters for about 16 real world minutes. If too many monsters spawn, or they break the gate controls at any one gate, mission failed.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has a hold the line trial in "The Steps of Faith." A massive dragon is marching down the titular Steps of Faith, with numerous smaller dragons supporting it. The goal of the trial is to stop the dragon from breaking through the lines of defense. This is a unique trial in that it's one of the few (if not the only) ones a fallen character can respawn in without having to be raised by another player, and its one of the few (again, if not the only) ones where you can outright fail the trial if the dragon breaks through the last line of defense.

[[folder:Party Games]]
* A good part of the ''VideoGame/WarioWare'' microgames involve preventing something from happening, as opposed to accomplishing a task yourself. For instance, one microgame simply requires you to prevent pinballs from falling below the gutter.

[[folder:Platform Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MegaManZero 2'' has one of these. Zero must keep enemies off Ciel for 90 seconds so she can defuse a bomb.
* The Quartz Quadrant boss in ''VideoGame/SonicCD'' will automatically defeat itself once enough time has passed from when Sonic enters its chamber (which is about 2 minutes). There's no onscreen countdown timer, however. Rather, the conveyor belt Sonic runs on slowly grinds down the floor beneath Dr. Eggman, and once the floor becomes too thin, Eggman flees and stops the conveyor belt, allowing Sonic to proceed.
** The boss in Carnival Night Act 1 in ''VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles'' ''can'' destroy itself after a set amount of time (again, with no countdown timer). A floating [[BattleTops bladed spinning top]] floats around the battlefield. The boss will open up if hit by the top and then take damage once hit by it again. However, unlike most other cases of holding the line, Sonic can speed up the battle by opening it up himself, though he will still need to make it attack itself.
** The Egg Cauldron in ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'''s Tornado Defense Act 1 will fall out of the sky once the onscreen timer reaches 0, though it does have an HP gauge and can thus be defeated the normal way. The Egg Cauldron in Tornado Defense Act 2 is a TimedMission, however, and will OneHitKill Sonic and Tails if the timer reaches 0.

[[folder:Puzzle Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TetrisTheGrandMaster 2'', fulfilling a series of [[GuideDangIt obscure]] and [[NintendoHard very, VERY difficult]] conditions results in the "M-roll," in which you continue playing the game during the credits, but pieces become invisible on locking down. This lasts for one minute, and failure to survive results in the "M" grade, while surviving it [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awards you the "Grand Master" grade]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Klax}}'' has levels where the goal is to survive through a set number of tiles.

[[folder:Real-Time Strategy]]
* ''[[Creator/BlizzardEntertainment Blizzard]]'' has invoked this trope so many times in the ''Franchise/WarCraft'' and ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' series and grown wiser so many times that most missions of this kind fall into ThatOneLevel in harder difficulties.
** ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III'' has [[strike: four]] five of these missions during the "Reign Of Chaos" campaign missions.
*** The first time against an upset sea witch in the extended version of the tutorial. The Orcs had to hold the line against a horde of Murlocks while their ships were being fixed.
*** The 5th Alliance mission has defending a town for 30 minutes against the Undead until your allies arrive.
*** The last Undead mission has you defending Kel'Thuzad for 30 minutes as he completes a ritual to summon Archimonde and the Burning Legion.
*** The final Night Elf mission pits you and your allies against the Burning Legion for 45 minutes to let Malfurion complete his DeusExMachina.
*** Some fan maps are centered about this trope, often with two teams of players trying to hold out as long as possible while trying to sabotage the other teams efforts (and in some cases, summoning the enemies). One lesser known map of this type goes by the exact name of this trope.
*** The secret mission in ''The Frozen Throne'' involves a Tower Defense mini-game where you hold off up to forty-five waves of increasingly dangerous enemies with increasingly powerful towers; if you succeed, you get a special bonus hero in the next mission.
*** The first Scourge mission in ''The Frozen Throne'' uses an inversion of the trope. You are keeping your opponents from ''escaping'' while you hunt down and destroy their bases of operation. If twenty or more humans escape, you lose.
*** Another inversion is in the second-to-last Night Elf mission in ''The Frozen Throne'', where the Naga try to hold the line for 30 minutes until Illidan's spell is completed, and your task is to break the line and thwart them.
*** And it's even apparent in cutscenes. In the Frozen Throne Night Elf EscortMission, Tyrande attempted to hold the bridge against the Undead forces using her Ultimate, only to have the said bridge collapse (Which was actually intentional).
** ''VideoGame/StarCraftI'' had you defend a Terran base against a Zerg rush as the third mission. Being the third mission, your opponent isn't as well defended as expected, and a good player can wipe them off the map before the time runs out, instead of defending. Some lines removed from the final version suggested that was the intention.
*** The ExpandedUniverse novel ''Speed of Darkness'' justifies the apparent lack of enemies. A group of Confederate Marines fought a LastStand in another area of Mar Sara at the same time that you were fighting the third mission, diverting mass quantities of Zerg away from you.
*** The fourth Zerg mission in the original campaign has you repel Terran forces for 15 minutes until the chrysalis opens. Once Kerrigan comes out, it reverts to a regular mission.
*** Like in the ''Frozen Throne'' example, the third-to-last Zerg mission plays with this. The two Protoss bases are trying to have Dark Templar try to escape through clearly-marked beacons (If one escapes, you lose), and you have to destroy said bases. However, the beacons have to remain guarded, so you need to hold the line against particular units while launching attacks.
*** The second-to-last original Zerg mission fits this trope, holding off a Protoss attack as you harvest from the Khaydarin Crystal Formation. The crystal formation is in the middle of three different Protoss tribes, each fully equipped with Carriers, Reavers and High Templars. You have to hold your base at the formation for ''ten minutes''. That is, [[EasyLevelTrick unless you only send a drone to the crystals AFTER you destroy the Protoss bases, in which it's just waiting until the timer runs out]].
*** The final mission in Brood War's Protoss campaign is a version of this: you have to get your two hero units to a structure, then they go inside it, then you have to defend that structure until the task is complete. Like the Zerg mission above, this is rather easy to bypass by taking out the Zerg bases one at a time before starting the countdown. Doing so however, is a challenge.
** ''VideoGame/StarCraftII'' has several of these missions spanning across its three games.
*** The third mission in ''Wings of Liberty'', "Ground Zero", is a CallBack to the first game's third Terran mission, up to the point the battle happens in the same place. The Zerg bases are similarly lightly defended, and wiping them out nets you an achievement. Unlike the original mission, the Zerg get reinforced, so even if you destroy their base you'll still need to hold out against a final assault.
*** One of the artifact missions in ''Wings of Liberty'' is "The Dig". You have to defend the Drakken Laser Drill until it destroys the gates of a Xel'Naga temple. The drill can actually help you destroy the strongest Protoss units if you desire... but doing so will make the mission last longer.
*** The final mission in the Protoss mini-campaign, "In Utter Darkness", subverts this trope. The objective in this mission is killing as many Zerg [[spoiler:and Hybrid]] units as possible, and defending an archive during the first 15 minutes (Then it becomes invulnerable and grants research points). The subversion comes from the fact the mission always ends with [[FissionMailed your forces being wiped out, but it's a success if you killed as many units as the main objective said]].
*** ''Wings of Liberty'''s campaign mode closes with "All In". You have to defend an artifact for 30 minutes against endless Zerg forces (And [[OneManArmy Kerrigan]] that comes up from time to time). The artifact actually helps in that once in some minutes it can wipe out almost all Zerg units near you, but an achievement needs you to not use it more than once... Attacking the enemy bases is impractical at best (you're better off keeping your forces for defense), and the bases are quickly rebuilt rendering it pointless.
*** ''Heart of the Swarm'' only has one mission that fits this trope, with it being "The Crucible", in which you have to hold out primal zerg forces for 30 minutes until Kerrigan hatches from her chrysalis. In this mission and all subsequent hold the line missions, the enemy has no base to destroy meaning defense really is your only option.
*** The first mission in ''Legacy of the Void'''s prologue campaign plays with this trope. Your Protoss forces have to destroy stasis chambers in which other Protoss are held in by the Moebius Corps, who are holding the line... but Kerrigan's Swarm arrives at full power to raze the entire facility, so your objective is to destroy the stasis chambers before the Moebius Corps cannot hold the line any longer.
*** The first mission in ''Legacy of the Void'' in this trope style is "Last Stand" - protecting the Xel'Naga temple on Shakuras until you destroy three pillars and the Zerg counter reaches 1 billion. Unlike other examples, after the counter reaches said mark, the mission does not end, and it only does so when ''you'' decide to overload the temple - a bonus objective requires you to hold out until 1.5 billion[[note]]Technically, you hold out until your forces can extract the solarite beneath the temple, this is simply marked as 1.5 billion for conveniences sake[[/note]] and an achievement asks you to reach 1.8 billion, which are easier said than done.
*** The final mission in ''Legacy of the Void'''s main campaign, "Salvation", is very similar in concept to "All In" and map style to "In Utter Darkness" from ''Wings of Liberty''. You (And your allies [[ArtificialStupidity and their weak defenses]]) have to defend the Keystone until it's fully charged against Zerg and Protoss forces. Vorazun and Karax even mention the trope in some of their lines.
*** The epilogue campaign has its Terran mission, "Essence of Eternity", as one. You have to [[RunningGag protect Kerrigan]] until she ascends to a Xel'naga in a similar way to "The Dig", except with much stronger attacks, and just like in "Salvation", you have allies that simply cannot set up an effective defense.
* The fifth mission of ''VideoGame/GrimGrimoire'' requires you to stay alive for 20 minutes against Imps and Skullmages while the others escape. Succeeding in this, however, triggers the GroundhogDayLoop portion of the storyline, and you're back to Day One. Also later in the game, you must stay alive for 30 minutes (on two occasions) while summoning the devil, Grimlet.
** Mind you, you ''can'' win these scenarios by destroying all enemy runes, but good lucky pulling that off on the higher difficulty levels.
* Several randomly-selected missions for conquering unoccupied territories in the ''VideoGame/RiseOfNations'' map campaign, as well as the first mission of the Napoleon campaign in the expansion, require defending a base (or several) against the barbarians/Royalist insurgents.
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'' has quite a few.
** In the first mission of the main campaign, you need to defend the Atlantean docks from raiding pirates until the main Atlantian army arrives. At that point, you use the army to kill the last of the attackers.
** In the first half of the sixth mission, you need to protect your base until your villagers [[spoiler: build the Trojan Horse]].
** In the eleventh mission, you need to protect your base until your villagers [[spoiler: excavate the sword of the Guardian]].
** In the final part of the twenty-third mission, you must protect the Dwarven Forge against the giant attacks until time runs out.
** In the thirtieth mission, you need to protect your base against the attacks of [[spoiler:Gargarensis]] until [[spoiler:Odysseus arrives with his enormous army. You need to actually go on the offensive and kill "Gargarensis" in order to complete the mission, but with such a huge army at your disposal, it's just a formality.]].
** In the ninth mission of the expansion, you must delay the [[spoiler: Norse Titan]] until the timer runs out, at which point [[spoiler: the Nidhogg arrives and can be used to kill him]].
** In the twelveth and final mission of the expansion, you must protect at least one of [[spoiler: Gaia's summoning trees]] until the summoning can be complete.
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresIII'' has atleast one mission about this per Act in the campaign.
* ''VideoGame/WorldInConflict'' does this many, many times. About just as often as assaulting enemy positions, in fact. In some cases, it's not on a timer per se, but a secondary objective that remains active until the next primary objective is completed.
** Multiplayer also has several maps with that type of gameplay.
* ''VideoGame/{{Sacrifice}}'':
** Pyro's seventh and ninth missions. In his seventh, you're being attacked by two wizards who both have way bigger armies than you; after five minutes, one of them disappears, and after a further ten (or if you manage to get near her altar) the other one snuffs it in mysterious circumstances. In the ninth, you have to fight off three wizards, one of whom was supposed to be on your side; after ten or so minutes, Acheron explodes because his God dies, making it (at least technically) possible to deal with the other two.
** Charnel's fifth mission has you desperately trying to defend a scythe that's having a demon summoned into it from a pair of righteous wizards. When the ritual is done, you get to use it against your tormentors.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'':
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' featured a mission to protect the Chronosphere for what seemed an ungodly length of time given the siege you were under. If you got lucky or were good at micromanagement, it was actually possible to push the enemy back and even destroy their base. However... because DevelopersForesight, this was not an instant win, and instead caused the game to spawn ''two dozen Mammoth Tanks'' at the edges of the map, presumably as punishment for your insolence. This grim spectre descending on your base would have been devastating... were it not for the fact that they are [[AwesomeButImpractical so [dang] slow]] that the timer ran out before they could get there.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' the Chinese had to defend a nuclear plant from the GLA until reinforcements, in the form of one bulldozer, can arrive.
** And in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'', a GDI campaign mission had you holding off Nod forces until reinforcements (in the form of an MCV) arrived. The catch was that thanks to low power, only a few of your defense buildings could be working at one time.
* A mission of ''[[VideoGame/{{DuneII}} Dune 2000]]'' for House Ordos has you protecting a starport for 30 minutes. It doesn't matter if your base is destroyed in the process (and it ''will'' be unless you [[SaveScumming save scum]] enough to build appropriate defenses), because [[spoiler:once the countdown ends, you will receive a [[TheCavalry continuous stream of reinforcements]] that arrive at the starport every few minutes in relatively large batches. From that point on, the mission is a walk in the park.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'' has defense maps. In one, the player has to protect a MacGuffin from Brainwashed former allies. In the second, they simply have to hold a hill to keep the enemy from crossing the river and disrupting the hero's plans.
* ''VideoGame/MenOfWar'' '''loves''' this trope. Most of its missions have at least one objective that involves holding the line.
* The ''[[VideoGame/TheBattleForMiddleEarth The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth]]'' series is filled with missions of this type. Two classic examples are Helm's Deep and the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Somewhat subverted in that trying to hold your ground on the walls at Helm's Deep like they did in the movies is actually the ''worst possible strategy you can use''. Sallie parties of cavalry can easily wipe out the enemy attack waves before they even make it to the walls and your relatively pathetic infantry.
** ''The Battle for Middle-Earth 2'' and its ExpansionPack, ''The Rise of the Witch-king'', have missions like this also. The vanilla BFME2 has missions of this type in Rivendell, Mithlond (the Grey Havens), and Erebor. In the Rivendell mission, you help Elrond repel a goblin attack force (since this is the first mission of the campaign, this is easier than it sounds). In Mithlond, you begin by pushing the Corsairs ''out'' of the area, only [[HalfwayPlotSwitch for the enemy reinforcements to arrive once you have done so]], and they attack in three waves, each more powerful than the last. Finally, the Erebor mission involves Dain II Ironfoot leading the dwarves of Erebor and the men of Dale against three waves of troops: a horde of orcs, an army of Easterlings and Haradrim, and a final army of trolls.
** ROTWK has only one mission of this type: at Carn Dum. The elves of Rivendell, Mithlond, and Lorien amass an army and launch an all-out attack on the Witch-king's capital. Rogash and Morgomir are coming with reinforcements, but you must survive long enough for them to bring help.
* ''VideoGame/TheyAreBillions'' has a survival campaign were you have to build and defend a SteamPunk colony; ensuring its survival for a certain number of days, with 100 being the default setting, against waves of undead hordes.
* ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation'' loved these missions. Including two naval missions that were literal hold the line missions. As well as the ever popular 'Surrounded and Pounded', near the end of the CORE missions and both final missions.
* In ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander'', the SpiritualSuccessor to ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation'', the last mission of the UEF campaign is an epic one of these, as you have to hold out against IMMENSE incoming hordes long enough to get the superweapon Black Sun up and running. Possibly the most over-the-top part comes when the map expands to the north and a huge Cybran army including no less that ''four [[HumongousMecha Monkeylord]] [[SpiderTank spiderbots]]'' comes stampeding down towards you.
** It should be noted that the Cybran and Aeon final missions have the exact same objective, with the caveat that you have to ''take'' it from the UEF first.
** The ''Forged Alliance'' expansion takes it UpToEleven in the 4th campaign mission, where [[spoiler:Dostya is killed by a betrayer in the Cybran ranks]] and you have to hold off an EVEN MORE IMMENSE Seraphim attack in all directions until you can be recalled. Said Seraphim army contains ''dozens'' of experimental bombers. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfws0oLgaQY Cybran Razors]] is pretty much on loop [[AutobotsRockOut for the entire mission]].
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'': In Winter Assault, the Imperial Guard must prevent the ork Waaagh! from overrunning their base and the Eldar they're protecting until reinforcements arrive. Said reinforcements consists of a [[TankGoodness Baneblade]], eliminating the orks ''very'' quickly.
** Stronghold missions in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm are essentially the player pulling this trope against the computer.
** Inverted in Soulstorm: the Tau stronghold has a reinforcement fleet coming in, guided by three beacons, with each beacon destroyed delaying their arrival further. Unlike most examples, letting the countdown reach zero doesn't make it that much harder.
** This is pretty much [[RedShirtArmy the Imperial Guard's]] main strength:
--> '''General Sturnn''': To each of us falls a task. And all the Emperor requires of us Guardsmen is that we stand the line, and we die fighting. It is what we do best: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKIAMAqGNIY we die standing.]]
* ''VideoGame/IronMarines'' has a good number of them, several of which are {{Protection Mission}}s:
** The end of Mission 1, "First Contact" has you hold a resource point from aliens. It's extremely simple and serves more of a tutorial mission.
** The end of Mission 2, "Distress Call" has you hold a resource point from a neverending stream of aliens until the timer runs up. Thankfully, you have a Drop Turret to help you whittle down the enemies.
** Once you capture the three main bases and generators in Mission 4, "Unto the Breach", you will need to defend all three from alien attack for 2 minutes so that they can power up a cannon and destroy the lot.
** The Special Ops Mission "Uninvited Guests" requires that you prevent the aliens from reaching the teleporter in the center. You need to defend for three waves, and the mission is failed if more than six aliens touch the teleporter in the center.
** The Special Ops Mission "Emergency Frequency" requires that you prevent a massive incoming stream of aliens from destroying your main base at the other side of the map.
** The Special Ops Mission "Darkest Hour" requires that you defend the soldiers in three different areas from alien attack, until each group is able to teleport away. Made more difficult as the only unit you have deployed is your HeroUnit, but easier by the fact that your drop turret's recharge time is greatly increased.
** The Special Ops Mission "In Brightest Day" requires that you defend two power cores near the center of the map from enemies attacking from multiple directions. Fortunately, you have some defences set up as well as troops deployed to assist you.
** Mission 9, "Eye Contact" has you capture and hack an enemy defence system, before having to defend it from unending streams of incoming MechaMooks for 7 minutes.
** Mission 12, "Overclocking" requires that you defend your main base at one end of the zone from MechaMooks arriving from other areas of the zone for 10 minutes. You'll need to defend the consoles around the area too, because if the robots reach them, they'll open up bridges that grant them easier access to your main base. For the first 5 minutes, things are relatively simple, but the next 5 minutes makes things more dicey when the enemies start spawning from an area that's very close to your main base.

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* A battle late in ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' has you defending inventor Kang the Mad from enemies while he rigs a bridge with explosives.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights: Hordes of the Underdark'' features two hold the line scenes played back to back as the invading army attacks on multiple fronts (though not at the same time), requiring you to move about the battlefield.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' was especially fond of this, and in cases got pretty ridiculous. Especially when you first take control of Sora and have to fight a group of Nobodies, Sure, there are a lot of them and you're back to level 1, but you could ''so'' take them.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' had a minigame where you were supposed to send soldiers out to protect the phoenix egg... But it's much easier to just let them invade and fight them yourself.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}: The Lost Chapters'' has a side-quest wherein the player must protect an NPC while she recites a complicated spell.
** ''VideoGame/FableII'' has you defending Hannah aka Hammer from zombies as she fills a jug.
* There's a variation of Hold The Line missions in which you have an ally preparing some strong attack, and you have to fend off the boss until it's fully charged. You usually have to do this several times. There are some examples in the ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'' series (Queen Hel, Vampire Ringo); another example is Ganondorf in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker''.
* One of the final missions in ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' pits [[FurAgainstFang you against a Werewolf]]. Since a Werewolf is effectively invulnerable and kills you with two or three blows, your only hope is to evade it for full four minutes until the tram that brought you there returns. Unless, of course, you looked up [[spoiler:the way to kill it by crushing it with observatory doors]] [[GuideDangIt in a walkthrough, you cheater]].
** An earlier sidequest pitted you against a [[ZombieApocalypse whole cemetery of zombies]], whom you had to keep away from the gates for five minutes, until the real caretaker returned. The problem was that there are ''two'' gates on the opposite sides of the graveyard, an you have to defend them both against exponentially growing hordes of zombies...
*** Which is much more difficult and frustrating than it sounds.
*** Or, you could just play a female non-Nosferatu character and bone the caretaker, for the exact same rewards, or, for characters of either sex, you can bring him a prostitute.
* The final chapter of Gustave's storyline in ''VideoGame/SaGaFrontier2'' is a hold-the-line tactical battle, in contrast to the previous tactical battles. It could be won outright (in fact, the game has defeating the enemies as one victory condition), but this required a great deal of luck and would make holding the line impossible if unsuccessful.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** Despite ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' being the current page quote for the trope, the mission [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXLVFnl3WcE that speech]] occurs during is a quasi-aversion; it's an ordinary mission for you, though it's implied that the [=NPCs=] offscreen are going through one on your behalf. However, there is a DLC mission, where you take on a simulation, of a mission by one of your commanders, which involves you waiting for 4 minutes fighting off wave after wave of enemies.
** In the War Hero background, Shepard does this and [[OneManArmy single-handedly]] fends off the entire Skyllian Blitz.
** There's also a mission on the minor planet Nepmos where your squad has to hold off several waves of BrainwashedAndCrazy [[spoiler:rachni]] in conjunction with a fireteam of Alliance Marines. You can do it either on foot or in the Mako.
** The sequel has multiple missions of this type. The most memorable is probably the defense of Archangel, where you fend off an entire army of mercenaries trying to kill the local VigilanteMan.
** The ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' DownloadableContent "Arrival" has this as a sort of OptionalBoss: Holding the line against five large waves of [[ArtificialBrilliance exceptionally intelligent attackers]] and one MiniBoss. If you die, the mission continues to the next area. But if you succeed, you'll get an achievement, not to mention [[TheDreaded the attacker's fearful cries]] of [[OneManArmy how unstoppable you are]], and [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu another opportunity to flip off Cthulhu]].
** [[DeadlyDoctor Mordin]] (who used to work with Kirrahe) uses this as an infrequent CatchPhrase. If you let him [[spoiler:get killed, it's even his last words]]. Of course when you first mention Kirrahe to Mordin, the good doctor mentions how he did find the speeches somewhat stirring ... if [[LargeHam excessive]]. It's mentioned that "hold the line" is one of Kirrahe's favorite things to spout out.
** Parodied in the "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC, which includes dossiers on all the crew. Mordin's has a mission summary where he works with Kirrahe. Kirrahe repeatedly "reiterates the importance of holding the line," despite the fact that there is no line, and if there was it wouldn't need to be held.
** In the demo and full game of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' the first time is on Earth. Which pits you against a mob of mutated husks while you wait for the Normandy to pick you up. Somewhat subverted in that the Normandy will arrive the moment you run out of ammunition instead of having to hold out for a set time.
*** Double subverted by the fact that you can abuse a particular build (Soldier class, no weapons, spam concussive shot) to hold out nearly indefinitely. The Normandy still comes to pick you up anyway.
** The second time occurs on the salarian homeworld Sur'Kesh. [[spoiler:Your goal here is to guard the female krogan against several Cerberus enemy soldiers.]]
** The last ever HoldTheLine mission of the trilogy is a particularly difficult mission, that has you holding firm against waves of [[TheBrute Brutes]], [[BossInMooksClothing Banshees]], assorted Reaper husk forces and a [[HumongousMecha Reaper destroyer]] targeting you with its [[WaveMotionGun Thannix cannon]], while EDI upgrades a pair of missiles to strike a killing blow on that destroyer.
** All multiplayer missions end with one of these as you wait for extraction from the area. It's easy to get overwhelmed though, so the best strategy is to play most of the wave normally and then run for the extraction zone at the last possible moment.
* Several times in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'' you will come across bosses that are immune to everything you throw at them, have defense so high that your attacks do almost no damage, and said bosses' attacks are nearly OneHitKill . You may think of it as a HopelessBossFight, but then you're staring at the GameOver screen. Turns out, you have to last X amount of time (usually 60 seconds) and the battle ends, and the story progresses.
* This is done 4 times consecutively in the third ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'' game, in which you have to defend valuable equipment from several waves of Omega-Xis clones. A slight UnexpectedGameplayChange ensues, since you fight them off on the field (read: in real-time) as opposed to the traditional Starforce method of turn-based battling things to death. You can fight each one individually using the traditional method if you have far too much time on your hands, since killing each one individually takes much longer than wiping them out on the field, and eventually becomes both overwhelming and generally a waste of time.
* The final battles of every ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' game start the boss off as being nigh invulnerable, and you simply have to hit it enough times and/or survive for enough turns before the game tosses you your EleventhHourSuperpower. [[spoiler:''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' actually does this ''twice''.]]
* The [[PlayerCharacter Champion of Cyrodiil]] takes part in one of these about two-thirds of the way through the main plot of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion''. You and the army you've gathered have to stop multiple waves of [[OurDemonsAreDifferent daedra]] while the Mythic Dawn open a Great Oblivion Gate, [[spoiler:which you have to enter and steal the sigil stone from]].
* Town and castle sieges in VideoGame/MountAndBlade, if defending. You and your company join the garrison (about 150-250 men) on the walls as the attacking army (usually at least seven hundred-strong with at least six lords leading it) spawn outside in several waves and attempt to kill everyone inside. With a combination of careful positioning and shooting the attackers while they're climbing the ladders, you can kill all six attack waves. If you do, you win, and then you have to deal with the problem of being in command of a severely depleted garrison that is now impossible to escape from.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}: Mothership Zeta'' has one in the Hangar when you attempt to deactivate a force field and set off an alarm, and another on the Bridge at the end of the quest line. The main game also has you hold the line against Super Mutant attacks during Stealing Independence and after Big Trouble in Big Town. ''Point Lookout'' has the defense of the Calvert Mansion from the [[DemonicSpiders Tribals]], who not only attack in large numbers, but are MadeOfIron and [[ArmorPiercingAttack bypass damage resistance]] with their weapons. The same DLC has a sidequest that consists entirely of fighting off countless hordes of Feral Ghouls in a cave arena.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' has one in Boone's companion quest where you defend Bitter Springs from about three or four waves of Legionaries and their attack dogs.
*** ''Lonesome Road'' has this with the Marked Men in Ulysses' Temple at the end of the quest.
** The extremely popular "Someguy Series" of mods for ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' have this more or less as their SignatureStyle; the [[WordOfGod author himself]] has said that he's incapable of writing a mod without at least one. Given how [[MomentOfAwesome ludicrously awesome]] they tend to be, no-one's complaining.
*** The cancelled mod ''[[DevelopmentHell The Siege of Firebase Zulu]]'', by the same author, was intended to be a gigantic one of these, but sadly, work on it was [[CreatorBreakdown cancelled]] in late 2013.
** VideGame/Fallout4 has you doing this with the [[WeHelpTheHelpless Minutemen]] a lot! Two instances are awesome - one has you holding your castle against waves of synths teleporting in, the other has you holding against a [[HellishCopter Vertibird]] air assault by troops wearing PowerArmor, a mere minute after you downed their airship headquarters with an artillery bombardment. The other HoldTheLine missions are [[ScrappyMechanic repeating radiant quests in which you must personally defend a random settlement from attack. Even if you have set up strong defenses for that settlement, these missions will fail, with loss of life and expensive property damage unless you are physically present while the last attacker goes down]]. Also, during the climactic Institute quest, "Airship Down", you have to fend of the Brotherhood of Steel's EliteMooks and commanding officers, including Elder Maxson and possibly Paladin Danse, while the synths reprogram Liberty Prime to turn against the Brotherhood and destroy the Prydwen, [[ColonyDrop sending it crashing down on their ground base]].
* VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim, if you side with the Imperials, the Battle for Whiterun has you holding the line against countless Stormcloaks. You can fall back through the city, but ultimately your goal is to protect the Jarl. And winning it treats you to Jarl Balgruuf giving you one of the coolest victory speeches in the entire game. [[FromACertainPointOfView If you're more sympathetic to the Imperial cause, that is.]]

[[folder:Shoot 'Em Up]]
* ''VideoGame/MissileCommand'' could be considered an early example (1980), since you can never actually destroy any of the unseen enemies launching the enemy missiles at you.
** Many classic, endless arcade games were like this; whatever enemy force you're up against [[KobayashiMario never ends]], so all you can do is hold it off as long as possible and aim for a high score.
* The UrExample is probably ''VideoGame/SpaceInvaders'' where the game is instantly over if the aliens reach the bottom of the screen.
* In the final stage of the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' game ''Perfect Cherry Blossom'', you have to survive the true spirit of [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Yuyuko]], who is indestructible. This is repeated when you fight [[CombinationAttack Kaguya and Eirin]], or just Kaguya, in ''Imperishable Night''. If you faced Kaguya, then once you reach this stage, you've already won.
** Many [[BonusBoss extra stage bosses]] have similar attacks as either their penultimate or finishing spell cards.
** There are a lot of these; the fandom likes to call them Survival Cards. EX-bosses and final bosses tend to have them the most often, although Stage 4 bosses Aya (Mountain of Faith) and Murasa (Undefined Fantastic Object) have one each to compensate for the fact that they have a fixed spell lineup rather than a variable one, which was customary until then.
** What tops the cake, however, is that [[SelfImposedChallenge the whole game can be played like this.]] Each and every spellcard, and every nonspell pattern has a timer. Once the timer runs out, that portion of the boss's lifebar is defeated, regardless of how much damage they've taken. You can very well defeat a boss without firing a single shot. (however, some bosses intentionally ratchet up the difficulty of the pattern an insane amount on the final few seconds, mostly on patterns that is supposed to gradually get harder as the boss's HP is depleted, to prevent a cheesy win)
* The final bosses of ''VideoGame/RadiantSilvergun'' and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/{{Ikaruga}}'' disable your weapons and force you to survive their attacks for 60 seconds.
* Similarly, the final boss of ''VideoGame/RType Delta'' is immune to your weapons; the only way to beat it is survive until your Dose (effectively a SmartBomb) meter slowly fills to max. The resulting blast is the only way to kill the boss.
** ''VideoGame/RType FINAL'' has a tangentially-related gimmick for [[MultipleEndings one of the final bosses]]; the only thing that can kill it is a fully-charged WaveMotionGun shot, but it's broken and requires about 45 seconds of dodging the boss' DesperationAttack to sufficiently charge.
* Many ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}}'' games have penultimate bosses that are huge, walk around slowly, and in most cases fall under this; they cannot be harmed by your weapons, only waited out until they self-destruct. This is highly averted in some home releases such as ''V'' where you must shoot them.
** And the infamous [[ThatOneLevel Cube Rush]] in ''Gradius III Arcade'''s Crystal stage. The first game also did this with waves of a certain type of {{Mook}} before each fight with the Big Core.
* ''Videogame/GunsOfIcarus'': Each mission has a distance countdown marking how much farther you have to travel to reach your destination; you have to survive and protect your cargo until the ''Icarus'' makes it to the finish line. There is a twist--enemies will attack your engines, which makes the counter slow down and, if they reach critical condition, stop completely, so you've got to keep them repaired. The final stage, "Into the Breach", averts it by counting ''up'' instead of down for a [[EndlessGame survival mode]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Hellsinker}}'' has several bosses that must be defeated by time-out:
** In Segment 5, if you unlock Perpetual Calendar's true form, it will only be destroyed once time runs out. You can, however, "kill" it repeatedly for Terra boosts, unless you've already run out of Terra.
** Rex Cavalier in Segment 7 plays this trope straight at first, and then [[TimeLimitBoss inverts it]] when the first timer runs out.
** Lost Property 771, the TrueFinalBoss, can only be defeated via time-out.
** [[spoiler:The Unnamed 771]], the [[BonusBoss boss of the "The Way of All Flesh" extra stage]], also cannot be defeated prematurely, as the entire stage is set to the music.
* ''[[VideoGamee/{{Contra}} Neo Contra]]'''s final stage, [[TrueFinalBoss in which accessible on better ranks]], has you fighting Master Contra in his true final form, a huge head. You can attack him using lock-on weapons, or simply dodge/evade all his attacks, [[TakeAThirdOption or wiping the bullets out]] (if you have [[KatanasAreJustBetter Katana]] or [[KillItWithFire Fire Whip]], depending on weapon sets), until he decays and burns up in the atmosphere.

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* Several missions throughout the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' series are {{escort mission}}s of your home carrier, buying time for it to make it to the next jump point.
** Many space sims have this; ''VideoGame/FreeSpace'' had a few [[ScrappyLevel notorious]] missions where you were defending a ship or convoy, while wave after wave of Shivan fighters slammed into them, sometimes literally. You often wondered [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard just how vast some of those fighters' missile bays are, and how many of the "rare and elite" forces are actually in reserve...]]
** The ''VideoGame/RogueSquadron'' series also has many, such as defending a crashed Rebel ship from TIE bombers and ground forces.
* One of the few mission types in ''[[VideoGame/{{HAWX}} Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X]]'', so expect to see it several times. Can either take the form of keeping waves of enemy air, ground or naval forces away from an important stationary object, or an EscortMission where you babysit a big plane (a bomber, an AWACS, or [[spoiler: Air Force One]]).
* Used several times during the course of the ''VideoGame/MechWarrior'' series of games. One ''Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries'' mission had an incredibly short briefing that invoked this trope by name.
--> '''Mission Control:''' Hold the line at Nav Alpha.\\
* Nav Alpha lights up on the map. It is surrounded [[OhCrap by a dozen enemy contact signatures]].
* Some of the scenarios in ''VideoGame/{{Wolf}}'' require you to keep your mate or cubs alive for a certain number of days.

[[folder:Stealth-Based Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' has a few of these. One of them involved distracting a Gekko (a small mecha) until the [=MkII=] opens a door. The second one involves [[spoiler: stopping a mass of suicide Gekkos from exploding until Raiden defeats Vamp.]]
** One boss in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' cannot be hit at all; all you can do is dodge attacks until you get an important codec call.
* A portion of a level in ''VideoGame/BloodStone'' has 007 waiting for Tanner to hack into the refinery database as armed guards swarm the room.
* The second Yemen level in ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter: The Omega Strain'' combines this trope with a [[SnipingMission Sniping]] EscortMission. In the later half, EliteMooks that can kill you in one hit start spawning.

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* Both Pyramid Head battles in ''VideoGame/SilentHill2''. Either shoot him/them until he leaves/commits suicide, or dodge him and wait it out.
%%* This is the entire point of ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys''.
* Every single ''Franchise/FiveNightsAtFreddys'' has the protagonist have to survive against increasingly aggressive homicidal robots out to get them from 12 AM to 6 AM for at least five days. They are never able to fight back, and are only given a few varying measures to temporarily keep them at bay like doors that can be closed for short periods, a flashlight that can be shone to confuse them, or a mask to fool them.

[[folder:Third-Person Shooters]]
* During the fight against Verdugo in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', the player can either fight and kill Verdugo or survive for four minutes until the elevator arrives.
** In addition, two sequences earlier in the game (the village and the cabin by the bridge) involved holding a house against zombie-like Ganados coming in every entrance. The former also includes [[BossInMookClothing Dr. Salvador]] in the mix.
* As well as ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5''. The penultimate chapter's boss is against [[spoiler:Wesker and Jill]]. The only way to get through is to survive for 7 minutes, or shoot [[spoiler:Wesker]] enough that [[TheBattleDidntCount he decides to leave.]] On the other hand, shooting [[spoiler:Jill]] too much results in a NonstandardGameOver.
** The [[EarlyGameHell First Chapter]] does this to you as well. You're stuck in an area being [[ZergRush swarmed]] by Majini and chased by an [[WakeUpCallBoss executioner]] wielding [[AnAxeToGrind a gigantic axe]]. You don't actually have to shoot a single enemy or the boss, but each kill shortens how long you have to hold out, and the boss drops a special treasure if killed.
* ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'' has those, in the form of Defense alerts/Infestation invasions, Survival alerts/Infestation invasions, Excavation Alerts, Excavation, Defense, Mobile Defense and Survival. Each of these missions have a twist.
** Defense alerts make you protect a defenseless artifact for a certain number of waves (between 10 and 20). A wave is defeated when all the enemies in it are dead. Infestation invasions are similar, except that the enemy are a Zerg {{Expy}}.
** Survival Alerts have you kill enemies to loot Life Support modules from them to extend the time you can survive, each enemy killed having a chance to drop life support, and each life support module giving you roughly 7 seconds of time. You start with 150 seconds, and can never go above that. Regularly, big life support capsules are delivered by your MissionControl, giving you 45 seconds of survival once activated. You must last 10, 15, or 20 minutes. The twist is, reaching the benchmark is not the InstantWinCondition like in most games: you must reach extraction for it to count as a win (if playing in a group, at least 1 person must reach extraction alive to give completion rewards to all the group).
** Excavation alerts have you go to locations where extractors are extracting a resource called Cryotic. They start with 50 seconds worth of power, and need 100 seconds to finish their jobs. Each second they stay active (up until 100) gives you 1 cryotic. You can give them power cells (looted from enemies) give them 20 extra seconds. When you have extracted 500 cryotics... You don't get an InstantWinCondition, you have to reach the extraction point. The enemies will attack the extractors though, so you have to defend them.
** Regular Defense have you protecting a defenseless artifact. There are 3 pools of rewards (A, B and C). killing 5 waves gives you a random reward from pool A, and you have a choice as whether to extract (and keep the rewards) or keep fighting (risking the rewards you already had for more). After wave 10, you gain another reward from pool A, and you get to choose wether to extract or stay. 15 waves, one reward from pool B and another choice of staying vs extracting. 20 waves, a reward from pool C, and another choice between extraction and battle. Then the cycle repeats: 25 waves, and a third A reward.
** Mobile Defense mission have you carry a datamass to hack terminals. Hacking each terminal takes anywhere between 1 and 3 minutes, but the enemy would rather destroy the terminals than let you get away with the data, so you have to protect them.
** Regular excavation follow an AABC cycle of rewards similar to defense, only you have to protect extractors for 100 seconds of activation to get rewards, and they still start at 50 seconds and thus need at least 3 power cells to get you rewards.
** And lastly, regular Survival have you survive as long as you can like survival alerts, only they have an AABC cycle of rewards for every 5 minutes you manage to survive.

[[folder:Tower Defense]]
* This is the point of the entire genre of "tower defense" games: a series of enemies are attempting to get from point A to point B along a [[SpaceFillingPath ridiculously torturous path]], and it's your job to kill them all before they get to point B.

[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
* There are several of these in ''VideoGame/FireEmblem''. The fourth mission of ''Blazing Sword'', for example, has you protecting an injured woman from bandits in a crumbling building.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemRadiantDawn'' had a literal hold the line chapter, in which there was a thin blue line that that your Lord could not cross (your Lord receives a long-range magic spell to make up for this) and no enemies could be allowed to cross - this became rather annoying when enemies that could fly appeared - since you would never have enough people to cover every block of the line, you would often fail the chapter when one of the hawks decided to attack one of the people holding the line, causing a Game Over instantly, when the hawk in question had 1HP left.
** This type of mission is added in an update in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemHeroes''. To prevent the mission from ending early, one unit possesses a seal that nullifies damage inflicted on them, and reinforcements appear. The mode is seen proper in the release of Chapter 10, during the formal introduction of Tellian heroes.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' has a few missions where the enemy needs to be kept away from a certain area. Which is easier than it sounds because the AI doesn't seem to know that and will simply fight as usual. Just make sure the AI doesn't walk in there because of facing advantages... Not all of them are timed, mind you. Some of them require you to both defend a specific area AND defeat all the enemies.
** ''VideoGame/JeanneDArc'' has several of these missions, such as defending the gates of Orleans or keeping alive with no room for error.
* A popular online maptype in ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth'' is the "Survival" game, in which players cooperate against waves of themed enemies.
* In Scenario 4 of ''VideoGame/{{Langrisser}}'', the hero and his guardians are ambushed in the night by a pack of slimes, who are extremely strong against conventional attacks from your soldiers. His goal is to survive long enough for the slimes to get bored and retreat. On the fifth turn, reinforcements arrive bearing weapons that can kill most of the slimes easily.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' titles occasionally have missions where the player must prevent enemies from crossing a line or entering a base. Said base may or may not have its own completely useless garrison. One example is a ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgment'' mission with the player defending a city while it's being evacuated.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Rebuild}}'' series has the survivors do this every night (roughly) against the hordes of zombies surrounding them. Several of the endings have massive hordes show up every night until the objective is completed.
* All battles in ''VideoGame/PokemonConquest'' require the attacking side to complete the objective within a set turn limit, otherwise they lose. For the ones ''being'' attacked, playing defensively to wait out the timer can be an effective strategy.

[[folder:Turn-Based Tactics]]
* The entirety of ''VideoGame/XCOMUFODefense'' is a Hold The Line mission. Every alien ship and base the player destroys only serves to hinder the aliens' progress until the player has the knowledge and technology to attack the alien home base. No matter how many weapons the player builds and no matter how many aliens he successfully destroys, the Earth will slowly but surely fall into alien hands unless the final mission is carried out.
** This is mostly true for most of the games in the ''{{VideoGame/XCOM}}'' series and even lots of those inspired by it. In ''VideoGame/XCOMTerrorFromTheDeep'' this unsurprisingly is pretty much the same as in [[VideoGame/XCOMUFODefense the original]]. In ''[[VideoGame/XCOMApocalypse Apocalypse]]'', you actually take the fight to the enemy after a while (however, mostly you'll be holding the line at home while you carry out covops-style missions in the alien dimension. And the only way to actually win is to destroy the one last buildings the aliens have - and you can't skip buildings). In ''X-COM: Interceptor'' you are delaying the [[spoiler:construction of a planet destroyer weapon designed to eliminate Earth (which is out of reach for the player)]]. In ''VideoGame/UFOExtraterrestrials'', you are holding the line to prevent the alien mothership [[spoiler:which is parked near Earth (the game itself is set on a far away colony of Esperanza) from refuelling after being attacked by Earths LaResistance]]. Again, in the end you go and kick their ass. Most of the time though, you are fighting against better equipped and numerous aliens which are out of your reach.
** ''Videogame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' has two variants of this misison type in the ''Enemy Within'' expansion. The first is a standard covert operative extraction where you have to protect transmitter and encoder from the EXALT organization. You basically end up fighting a running battle as EXALT troops swarm the objective area and try to hack the encoder and destroy the transmitter. The second mission is a one-off Base Defense mission where an XCOM squad, supplemented by [[RedShirt Base Defense troops]], must fight off half a dozen waves of increasingly angrier and more powerful aliens as they try to overwhelm XCOM's headquarters.

[[folder:Visual Novel]]
* In case 4 of ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyJusticeForAll'' [[spoiler: Maya Fay is kidnapped by an assassin to force Phoenix to defend Matt Engarde, the guy who hired him. On the second day of the trial, you must delay a guilty verdict as long as possible to give the police enough time to find Maya]]. In an odd turn of events, you can defend the line [[NonstandardGameOver too well]] by [[spoiler: throwing enough doubt on Adrian Andrews that the judge decides Matt couldn't have done it]].

[[folder:Wide Open Sandbox]]
* This shows up in ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' via a mission where you have to protect a doctor locked in a reinforced room from mindless hunter drones for four minutes. This mission is particularly annoying because you are stripped of roughly 75% of your combat options and are [[GunsAreUseless forced to use guns to fight effectively]], some of which damage the structure the doctor is holed up in due to splash damage.
** And in another mission where you have to defend a stationary vehicle while it pumps anti-virus gas underground to flush out the BigBad.
** Black Watch's whole [[BadassCreed "We are Black Watch, we are the last line of defense. We will burn our own to hold the Red Line, it is the last line to ever hold"]] deal.

!!Non-video game examples:
[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': Happens often, usually to give the civilians time to evacuate.
* At several points in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' the Z-fighters' strategy was basically "Hold out until Goku gets back." After meeting the Saiyans, everyone else realizes they have little chance of actually damaging the threats and basically decides to simply keep them occupied away from civilians while trying not to die themselves as long as possible.
* ''Webcomic/OnePunchMan'''s Saitama gives us a quote that just nails what being a hero is all about. "If the heroes run, then who will stay and fight?"
** This comes up in the Sea King arc. After Genos goes down, the only Hero left is the powerless C-Class Mumen Rider. Against a creature that's beaten A-Class heroes easily, Rider ''knows'' he's totally outclassed. Nonetheless, he stands between the Sea King and the civilians because there's nobody else to. He still manages to last long enough for Saitama to arrive.
* This is part of Team Taiyou's strategy in ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds''; to protect one of their weakest monsters from their opponent for a whole twenty turns, in order to fulfill the ridiculous summoning conditions for their god-like ace card. And they succeed in doing so, by using an AllYourPowersCombined monster effect to form a StoneWall.

[[folder:Collectible Card Game]]
* A ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' card goes by [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=79144 this very name]]. It gives blocking creatures +7/+7 (to their ATK/DEF) until end of turn. To put it in perspective, a similar card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=130552 "Righteousness"]] is the same rarity but only works on ''one'' creature. Hold The Line works for two or ''two dozen'' creatures.
* Franchise/YuGiOh players who use cards such as Exodia and Final Countdown need to stay alive long enough complete its requirements. Exodia requires the player to collect all 5 Exodia cards, and Final Countdown requires the player to last at least 20 turns to win the duel. Players who use them would usually wall themselves with monsters with high ATK or DEF till they can complete all the requirements.
* The ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'' set ''Seige: Heart of Darkness'' is based around this mechanic, as up to three players with normal decks try to defend a city from the PurposelyOverpowered Dark Naga "Challenge Deck." After twelve turns, the Dark Naga player automatically loses. While it is technically possible to defeat the Dark Naga deck by attacking it, the best the opposing players can usually do is to hold it off and take actions that reduce the turn limit.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}'' story ''Comicbook/TheSupergirlFromKrypton'', the Amazon army tries hold Darkseid’s army back as long as possible.
-->'''Franchise/WonderWoman:''' Then we draw a line in the sand and hold them there!
* In the ''ComicBook/TexWiller'' "Rangers of Patagonia" special, once the Argentinian Army has fully mobilized and is about to overrun Patagonia Tex and a group of Patagonian Indians decide to stand behind at a mountain pass to hold the Argentinians one week, so the rest of the Indians (and Kit) will have the time to cross the frontier with Chile and get away. Not only they succeed, but at the end of the week Mendoza, commander of the Argentinian expeditionary force, upon learning of what Tex and the others had stood behind for allowed almost every survivor to just leave, keeping behind only the Indian chief Sayelque because he needed someone to sign the formal surrender.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'', when [[spoiler:the army was invading [[HomeBase NERV]],]] Shinji ordered [[spoiler:his [[SpaceMarine Rubric Marines]]]] to hold the tunnels while he [[spoiler:rescued Misato.]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheGodSquad'' it is revealed that this is how Discord was defeated. Tydal, Celestia and Luna's adopted father, holds Discord off long enough for the two to get the elements and turn him to stone, at the cost of his own life (he got better).
** History repeats itself in the ''Tydal vs. Tirek arc''. Discord, as his magic is stole, sending a psychic plea to his family and only Tydal answers. Even though he knows that Tirek is too strong for him Tydal tells Twilight and her friends to make for the Tree of Harmony, telling them he'll hold the line. The act costs him his life but saves Equestria once more.
--->Tydal (to Sunset as he forces her to leave him to face his death alone): When you are an old mare, with grandfoals of your own, and they ask you who taught you your spells... tell them "He who held the line". And... let that be enough.
* ''FanFic/TheRavensPlan'': In the old timeline, before [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong the ritual was enacted]], Jorah apparently died defending Moat Cailin from the Night King's forces so that everyone else could evacuate south of the Neck.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/SeventyOne'' the soldiers have to hold back an angry mob while the police [[PoliceBrutality search houses for guns.]]
* At the climax of ''Film/TearsOfTheSun'', a Navy [=SEAL=] team make a last stand against a far larger enemy force in a desperate attempt to buy time for a group of refugees to reach safety, the team leader [[Creator/BruceWillis Lt. A.K. Waters]] even invoking the trope by name.
* In ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'', Wolverine says this trope almost word-for-word as he commands the X-Men to stand their ground and protect Leech, the source of the cure at Alcatraz.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'': When it becomes clear that Team Iron Man is too powerful to take down, [[spoiler:Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Giant-Man choose to stay behind and hold them off long enough for Cap and Bucky to escape in the Quinjet]].
* ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'': The Wakandan Army shouts before going into battle "yibambe" which roughly translates to "Hold Fast"
* ''Film/PowerRangers2017''. Despite their constant attacks, Goldar proves too much for the Rangers as they try to hold it off from reaching the Zeo Crystal. When all options are exhausted, Jason drops this trope word for word as their zords line up and unleash everything they have to keep Goldar and Rita back.
* Subverted in ''Film/April9th''. The Danish bicycle platoon trying to hold back the advancing Germans are unaware that their country has already surrendered.

* The entire trilogy by John G. Hemry of Stark's War can be described as this.
* The short-story prequel to Jack Campbell/John G. Hemry's The Lost Fleet has the main character John "Black Jack" Geary in a situation of this nature as he has his ship and two others defending a merchant convoy.
** It actually manages to have three separate hold the line moments in one battle. First the military ships hold the line so the civilians can escape, then Geary's ship holds the line so the other military ships can escape, finally Geary starts controlling his ship single-handedly so the rest of the crew can [[AbandonShip evacuate]].
* Generally the tactic for fighting the Demons (both the UrbanFantasy corrupted-humans type and the HighFantasy ancient evil type) in the Literature/{{Shannara}} series and related works by Terry Brooks. Unlike other forces, the Demons tend to be unkillable save by magic, which is usually in short supply on the side of good, so the goal is more to obstruct them from their goal until some magical defense can be put in place. Indeed, this is the goal of the military in two books in the series.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'': Foxface's strategy.
* Creator/DavidGemmell's first novel, ''Literature/{{Legend}}'', is one big case of holding the line, as an undermanned and undertrained garrison attempts to hold a pass against an invading horde that massively outnumbers them, in the hope of slowing the horde down long enough for reinforcements to arrive. [[spoiler:They don't, but they do delay the horde just barely long enough for internal strife to force the horde to turn around and go home.]] A prequel, ''Literature/TheFirstChroniclesOfDrussTheLegend'' also features a hold the line action in its last act, with a FantasyCounterpartCulture version of the Spartans holding the line at Thermopylae.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the final battle of the Earth-Minbari war is ''The Battle of the Line'', a massing of Humanity's remaining ships in an attempt to hold off the Minbari for as long as possible to evacuate as much of Earth's population as can be. At the end of the battle the Minbari surrendered to the badly beaten Earth forces. Only the Grey Council (and a ''very'' few others) ever knew why, until TheReveal early in season 2. It turned out there was more to the story, but ''no one'', not even the Grey Council, knew about that part until midway through season 3.
* Several of the games on ''Series/MinuteToWinIt'' require the player to keep up an activity for the full 60 seconds, rather than finishing the stunt within the time.
* The primary objective in the original Japanese version of ''Series/RunForMoneyTousouchuu'' is to simply avoid getting tagged by a Hunter until time runs out. The second the clock hits 00:00, everybody left standing wins the jackpot.
* There's a new show in the UK called ''Cleverdicks'' (yes, that's really the name of the show). The final money round requires the contestant to answer questions quickly enough to prevent the stack of questions from reaching the top of the game board (questions fall in from the top every few seconds, and you can have 8 questions queued up and still be in the game) for two full minutes. Oh, by the way, you can only ever answer the question that's currently at the bottom of the stack. Good thing you can [[{{Lifelines}} drop two questions off the bottom]] along the way.
* The battles at the end of seasons [[SeriesFauxnale 5]] and [[SeriesFinale 7]] of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' have elements of this, as they have to hold back forces that only have a certain time window to achieve their tasks. Buffy even says the trope name to Faith as she hands over the leadership after being [[spoiler: almost]] mortally wounded.
* Caroline has to protect Mrs Lockwood from the tomb vampire ghosts until Bonnie can send all the ghosts back in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries''
* The FinalBattle in ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' involves [[spoiler: John Reese holding off as many Samaritan's men as he can before the virus can upload and destroy Samaritan once and for all.]]
* John Basilone's stand outside of Henderson Field on Guadacanal features in ''Series/ThePacific''. For about 3 days, wielding a machine gun at the hip Basilone held off the advancing Japanese troops. This actually happened in real life and earned him a Medal of Honor.

* Music/{{Toto}}: "Love isn't always on time. Woah, woah, woah."
* Music/TheBeatles, "Revolution 9": "Hold that line! Block that kick!"
* Many nationalistic songs and anthems emphasise this: [[UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica Bok van Blerk]]'s ''Afrikaanerhart'' anthem about the Boer War is packed with imprecations to the Boer people to draw a line in the sand, stand fast, mark your man, and if you can't hold them, let them know they've been in a fight.
-->Hou jou lyn en staan jou man,\\
Dis hier waar ons hul kan keer!\\
Staan vas, Staan vas, Suid-Afrika!
* Music/{{Sabaton}}'s album ''The Last Stand'' is all about this and {{last stand}}s (obviously), with songs about the Spartans at Thermopylae, the Lost Battalion, the Swiss Guard in 1527, Rorke's Drift and the Samurai at Shiroyama.

* In Creator/WilliamsElectronics' quasi-{{Pinball}} ShootEmUp ''Pinball/{{Hyperball}}'', the player must defend his Hypercannon base from attacking alien lightning bolts.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', [[TheStoic The Crimson Fists]] Chapter Master Pedro Kantor has the "Chapter Tactics" special rule. This means that, in addition to his forces exchanging the "And They Shall Know No Fear" special rule for the "Stubborn" special rule, all Sternguard Veterans (Elites) gain the "Hold The Line" special rule, allowing them to hold objectives like other Troops.
** It's also the calling card and rallying cry of the Imperial Guard, particularly Cadian regiments. Paired with the army receiving the [[OvershadowedByAwesome Overshadowed By]] [[ElitesAreMoreGlamorous Adeptus Astartes]] treatment in fluff, this has led to the sardonic fan joke: "The Imperial Guard. It's a thankless job, but if you're willing to stand your ground and give it your all... you just might be able to buy enough time for the Space Marines to take all the credit."
** Probably one of the most awesome actually comes from the Tau, [[CombatPragmatist who are usually against this tactic]]. A world in the Farsight Enclaves is being nommed by the Tyranids, but a hidden base on the world is full of Earth Caste scientists working on a way to beat the hive. Farsight starts the evacuation but the swarm discover the lab. What results is a truly epic LastStand where eight fully decked-out battlesuits (six Crisis, one Broadside and one Riptide) containing Farsight and his bodyguards holding off an entire swarm of Tyranids on their own to buy time for the scientists to escape with the secret weapon, which soon reveals itself: it's a biotoxin which causes the entire hive to rot and drop dead.
* The victory condition in ''Infernal Contraption'' is to be the last one with cards remaining in your Parts Pile.
* This is essentially the mission of the French and the British in Avalon Hill's [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Third Reich]] for the first few years: hold out until the Soviet Union and the United States enter the war. In most cases, of course, France will fall; the question is when. The longer the French hold out, the better shape the Allies will be in later on.
* Another Avalon Hill game, ''TabletopGame/AdvancedSquadLeader'', has Victory Conditions that look like this in most missions: Player A needs to take X buildings or get Y squads across the board or something like that in Z game turns, player B wins by stalling.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The Crown Game in ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' consists of getting on the throne, wearing the crown, and then defending it from all the other trios. It is set in five rounds of ten minutes with new contestants being able to enter each new round and the crown holder being the only ones who entered who are allowed to proceed to the next round, where they had to defend the crown. This lead to such moments as [[MagnificentBastard Koon's]] glorious trolling, [[MysteriousWoman Hwa Ryun's]] CurbStompBattle against everyone, the (re)introduction of several characters and a glimpse of the main character's potential.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* At least three such fights have been described in ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
** In Arc 8 (Extermination), after [[spoiler:Clockblocker freezes Leviathan]], Armsmaster explains that Plan A (winning the fight on their own) is no longer feasible, and all they can do now is hang back and try to minimize the damage until [[spoiler:Scion arrives]].
** In [[http://parahumans.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/plague-12-7/ Plague 12.7]], Skitter's plan to [[spoiler:tie up Mannequin with spider silk]] relies on doing this.
** In [[http://parahumans.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/crushed-24-5/ Crushed 24.5]], Exalt orders the surviving capes to make a stand at [[spoiler:the temple]] to gain enough time to [[spoiler:evacuate the wounded]].
* Several battles so far in ''Literature/TheSolsticeWar''. Ayvarta is on the defensive, and the communist soldiers are repeatedly shown to be, on the whole, too poorly trained to carry out an offensive, forcing the whole country to stall until better trained and equipped armies can be raised. Delaying until evacuation is a common goal.
* Omega Zell does the MultiMookMelee variation in ''Film/NoobLaQueteLegendaire''. He's supposed to demonstrate his abilities to a NonPlayerCharacter, so the latter stops the fight after he has fought for long enough without getting killed.
* In ''Literature/VoidDomain'', the climax of book three ends up with two separate HoldTheLine events at the same time, perpetrated by two separate organizations, splitting the protagonists' attentions between the locations.
* In ''Literature/AMorePersonalUnion'', the French do this at Orleans during the Great War, knowing that if they fail to stop the Spanish advance, Paris will fall soon after. [[spoiler: They last long enough for [[BigDamnHeroes English reinforcements to arrive]].]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'': In "Hereafter", Batman uses his martial-arts skill to hold his own against the much stronger and tougher Kalibak. When Kalibak sneeringly asks if he thinks he can beat him, Batman replies that he's just trying to stall him. Kalibak asks what he's stalling for... just as Superman lands right behind him.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The Greeks at Thermopylae and Artemesium attempted this tactic during the Second Greco-Persian War. The fleet at Artemeisum managed to hold their line. [[LastStand The Spartans at Thermopylae...they had other objectives.]] Thermopylae was never intended to be more than a suicide delaying action (at least for the final remaining force) to buy enough time to organize the naval action at Artemeisum.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stamford_Bridge The Viking at Stamford Bridge]]. A lone Viking berserker, who's badassery is credited for ''creating'' the HornyVikings trope, held the bridge against the advancing Saxon line determined to buy his brethren time to reorganize. And that he did: ''For close to an hour this one guy tore through the English like tissue paper, completely unfazed by the injuries he was taking''. He was finally brought down by a Saxon who floated down the river in a barrel and stabbed him through the bridge with a spear [[GroinAttack in a fairly undignified manner]].
* During the First Crusade, in a rare moment of genuine heroism by the Crusaders who had otherwise been rather distinctly ''unheroic'' for much of that fiasco; there came the Battle of Dorylaeum, where the Crusders under the command of Bohemond of Taranto held a shield wall formation that protected numerous noncombatants for nearly ''seven hours'' against the Turkish onslaught led by Kilij Arslan I, in full armor under the burning Middle Eastern sun in a marshy riverbank. The Crusaders then managed to win the battle after reinforcements arrived allowing the defense to rally.
* Wellington held the line against Napoleon at Waterloo until Blucher could arrive with the other half of the Allied army. Had Grouchy marched to the sound of the guns, he might have brought enough troops to break that line.
** To gain enough time to reach Waterloo without interference, Blucher left behind his III Corps, under command of general von Thielmann (with none else than Clausewitz as his chief of staff). Grouchy eventually managed to force the Prussian III Corps out of the way... ''The day after Waterloo'', just in time for Blucher's triumphant army to arrive and [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere cause Grouchy's retreat to not be wiped out]].
* The "Thin Red Line" at the Battle of Balaclava, 1854. The [[BadassArmy 93rd]] [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Highlander]] [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishEmpire Regiment]] in a two-man deep firing line successfully routed a Russian cavalry charge, saving the vulnerable British camp in the process. Something of a subversion, in that it only worked because the Russian commander saw the tiny defense force, concluded they were bait for an ambush, and ordered the withdrawal before his charge connected.
* The Mexican victory at Puebla on UsefulNotes/CincoDeMayo during France's invasion in the 1860s delayed the French advance on Mexico City for over a year. This gave Mexican President [[BadassNative Benito]] [[MagnificentBastard Juarez]] time to organize a GovernmentInExile and LaResistance before fleeing, it also prevented the French from linking up with the Confederates in the UsefulNotes/AmericanCivilWar and gave the Union time to turn the tables on the Confederates.
* At the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, the 20th Maine, which held the far left end of the Union line on the second day of battle, was nearly overwhelmed by Confederate forces attempting to flank the formation and break through to the Union rear area. Colonel Joushua Lawrence Chamberlin, the 20th's commanding officer, ordered his men to increase their spacing to extend his position, "refuse the line" (draw back at a right angle to the existing formation), and hold position. After enduring multiple waves of oncoming Confederate soldiers, and with nearly the entire unit either dead, injured, or out of ammunition, Chamberlin ordered his men to meet the final assault with a bayonet charge. The tactic caught the Confederate forces off guard, and broke their momentum, saving the Union flank.
** A less celebrated but even more notable example was on the Union right, where Union troops held on to Culp's Hill[[note]]This is the hill Trimble is venting about to Lee in ''Film/{{Gettysburg}}''[[/note]] with their fingernails against one after another attempt by the Confederates to dislodge them. ''For three days.'' With the most significant action finding a heavily outnumbered brigade of the Union XII Corps facing three brigades of Allegheny Johnson's division of Ewell's corps during the night of the second day.
* The Battle of Rorke's Drift was an example - although only the Zulu commander knew this at the time. Having been ordered to join up with the main Zulu army there was only so long he could spend trying to wipe out the British garrison.
* [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Second Battle of Ypres]]. After the Germans used gas for the first time the French colonial units in position broke and ran leaving a 7 kilometer wide hole in the line. Before the Germans could take advantage, the Canadian First Division (responsible for defending a front a few hundred meters wide) along with some scattered French troops spread out to plug the breach, holding the line for a critical 48 hours in hastily thrown up defenses until reinforcements could be brought up. One in three of the Canadians were wounded or killed.
** In fact, this is what WWI was in general, especially the Western Front -- two sides, dug in, holding the line against each other. With the addition of machine guns and chemical weapons like chlorine and mustard gas, the end result was an unendingly bloody meat grinder. (And yet UsefulNotes/WorldWarII surpassed it on so many levels as to defy imagining.)
* Comes up a lot in British military history, actually. The early years of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII effectively had the entire country doing this.
-->''"We will stand and fight here. [[BadassBoast If we can't stay here alive, then let us stay here]]'' [[BadassBoast dead]]''."''[[note]]A quote from Field Marshal Montgomery's speech upon taking command of the 8th Army[[/note]]
** Particularly at the evacuation from Dunkirk. Recognizing that their situation was untenable, but to ensure that the British could live to fight another day, the French forces covered the evacuations until the BEF were safely off the continent. Once they were, the French were evacuated as well, forming the core of what would become the Free French forces.
* The early months of the Korean War (June and July 1950) went excellently for North Korea, taking over most of the southern part of the peninsula and pushing the UN force (mostly South Korean, US, and some Commonwealth troops) into a 140-mile defensive perimeter around the last major port outside the control of the Korean People's Army - Busan [[UsefulNotes/WhyMaoChangedHisName (then Romanized as Pusan)]]. For about six weeks the KPA continued to try to break through the Pusan Perimeter to capture the city; the US-led force pushed to hold them off while ground forces from Japan could be ferried over to build up their troop strength. Eventually, the KPA were forced to retreat due to hampered supply lines needing to come all the way from the north, especially after the UN launched a successful amphibious landing behind their lines at Incheon on September 15.
* Non-military example: defensive stops in American football by a team holding a lead of 4 to 8 points (a deficit that could be overcome with a touchdown but not a field goal) near the end of the game. If they can just prevent the offense from gaining the first-down line (or for more drama, the goal line if the offense gets that close) until four downs or the clock runs out...
* The battle for Castle Itter, in what is the only battle of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII where the Wehrmacht and the US Army were fighting on the same side. When a castle in Austria was taken by the combination of Josef Gangl's German and John C. Lee's American forces, the SS were intent on reclaiming it, forcing the two (in addition to the prisoners) to make every attempt to fight off the SS until backup arrived.
* The Italian front of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI in a nutshell:
** As Italy joined the war, the Austro-Hungarian militia on the border territory had to do everything in their power to hold off the Italians until the arrival of reinforcements from the Eastern Front. Due Italian troubles, they succeeded;
** After the first few weeks, both sides engaged in this: Austria-Hungary, having the advantages of the high ground on the mountainous border, battle-hardened troops fighting mostly unexperienced soldiers and initially superior equipment, was to hold the line until they had a chance for an offensive against Brescia (where most of Italy's weapons and munitions were made) and Venice, while Italian commander-in-chief Luigi Cadorna, having entered the war with an underequipped force due [[ObstructiveBureaucrat incompetence from the bureaucrats]] and most of his predecessors and before having the time to even ''start'' to mobilize the army (why he didn't launch an offensive on Trento and then Vienna while most of the Austro-Hungarian army was out of position), planned since the start to use the static nature of trench warfare to sap the enemy strength while the Italian industry produced the necessary weapons, the Italian army mobilized, and, hopefully, the Russian army broke through. Had it not been for [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober unexpected events]] allowing the Austro-Hungarian army and German reinforcements to throw all their strength on the Italian Front, Cadorna's strategy would have succeeded.
** In 1916 Austria-Hungary launched the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Asiago Punitive Expedition]] against Asiago, planning to break through and attack Brescia, resulting in the Italian First Army and the newly-formed Fifth Army having to hold the line waiting for the Russians taking advantage of the enemy moving troops from their front to Italy to launch their attack-and then the Austro-Hungarians had to hold the line on both fronts, as the Russians and the Italians coordinated their offensives.
** After the Austro-Hungarian victory at Caporetto, the Italian Fourth Army was ordered to hold the line at the Grappa Massif and other troops to perform a delaying action on the Piave river to both protect Venice and Brescia and give time to French and British reinforcements to deploy on the Mincio river. Much to everyone's surprise, the Fourth Army not only held the line, but inflicted the enemy such a beating that the line stabilized on the Piave.
** In summer 1918 the Austro-Hungarians launched their final offensive on the Piave river, with the Italian troops successfully holding the line until the Austro-Hungarians exhausted their supplies.
** As the above happened, the Entente forces in the Adriatic sea, later reinforced by the Italian navy, had established the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otranto_Barrage Otranto Barrage]] to keep the Austro-Hungarian fleet from breaking into the Mediterranean and threaten their operations there, and had to take the brunt of multiple assaults.
** At the same time, the Italian garrisons on the Lybian coast had to hold against the Central Powers-supported Senussi rebellion that had overran the rest of the recently-conquered Lybia until reinforced and relieved-in 1923, as even after the end of the war Italy had more pressing issues to send troops in Africa.
* During WWII 22,800 US paratroopers of the 101st Paratroopers had to hold the line against over 54,000 German Troops with little to no air support for 7 days during the Siege of Bastogne[[note]]this qualifies as a hold the line instead of A siege as the US troops only had to wait for allied air power and other US troops to arrive before the germans could take the vital crossroads at bastogne to use for their tanks and reconquer western Europe[[/note]].
* During the Battle of Albuera, part of [[UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars the Peninsular War]], the [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment]] managed to hold long enough that they broke the French advance, who then retreated as British reinforcements arrived. The fighting was so fierce that they lost 422 of their 570 rankers, and 20 of their 30 officers. Early on, their commander, [[ColonelBadass Colonel William Inglis]], was wounded by French grapeshot, but refused to be carried away from the battle and stayed with the Regimental Colours. When the fighting was at its fiercest, he [[StiffUpperLip calmly]] proclaimed "Die hard, 57th, die hard!"[[note]]Which is the origin of the phrase "Diehard"[[/note]], resulting in the regiment being nicknamed "[[TheRedBaron The Die Hards]]".