" Just once, I wish the villain's lair didn't have to blow up!"
, once the Big Bad
(and sometimes even The Dragon
) is defeated, his Supervillain Lair
(castle, secret headquarters, cave, etc.) will begin to destroy itself, triggering a Chase Scene
where the heroes are chased out by the threat of falling rocks, timbers, masonry, etc. and whatever else is collapsing down upon them.
This may be due to a Self-Destruct Mechanism
, or due to the lair having No Ontological Inertia
. Alternately, the hero's goal may been to deliberately cause
(read: destroy) the Collapsing Lair, like by setting off a Time Bomb
or pushing the Big Red Button
that is invariably linked to said Self-Destruct Mechanism
. Or perhaps the combination of the Big Bad
's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
and the hero's own Heroic Second Wind
resulted in extensive damage to the lair's supports/foundations/whatever, and it was going to start coming down anyway (when this happens in Video Game
form, we call it a Load-Bearing Boss
). Sometimes the Big Bad
will do this deliberately, in hopes of taking the hero with them
Why is this useful, apart from topping the Final Battle
with an exciting escape scene to safety (after which you can directly cut to the happy end celebrations?) Think about it. The Big Bad
has had a massive base, with several valuable gadgets, and many remaining lesser minions. You definitely do not want to drag out the story by having the hero deal with them one by one too, and much less to put his hands on something that could change the status quo
. Better just blow it all up. And best of all, once you do actually make it out alive, you get the immensely satisfying shot of the hero looking on as the Supervillain Lair goes bye-bye in spectacular fashion
Often occurs after defeating the Monster of the Week
If it truly does
become impossible to escape the Collapsing Lair, expect to see a Load-Bearing Hero
save the day.
Rare in television except as the end of a Story Arc
, because destroying sets is expensive
: you just have to build new ones next week. In animation, however, it's easy. In video games (as already mentioned), this often happens because of a Load-Bearing Boss
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Anime & Manga
- In Naruto, during the spinoff Kakashi Gaiden in which we learn of Kakashi's childhood, Kakko causes the cave Kakashi, Obito and Rin were fighting him in to collapse in a last-ditch effort to defeat them, resulting in Obito's death by giant boulder, which led to Kakashi gaining his left Sharingan eye.
- In the Pocket Monsters (Pokémon) manga, Red and Green set Team Rocket's headquarters on fire. After Red, Green, and Blue defeat Natsume, the building collapses.
- In Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure, Jupiter blows up the Galactic base to prevent their secrets from getting out. But since this happens in volume 5 of an 8 volume series, when next we return to Veilstone, Charon has rebuilt it to be what it was in the Platinum version of the game.
- In the Pokémon anime, Mewtwo blows up the Team Rocket base in the beginning of the first movie. The only known survivors are Giovanni and his signature pokémon (there could be more, but they're never addressed either way).
- Actually, when Mewtwo's flight from the HQ is seen in the show, all that's wrecked is the arena area, and those get trashed on a regular basis.
- Kyurem from the fifteenth movie subverts this. When his lair starts to collapse from the fight he had with Keldeo, he freezes the entire place after the heroes escape so that he could continue to chill in there.
- Mazinger Z: In the Final Battle against Dr. Hell, his base crumbled down and blew up. Justified, since a giant robot was actively trying to demolish it.
- A Baoa Qu at the climax of Mobile Suit Gundam doesn't quite collapse, but there's enough Stuff Blowing Up by the end that the effect is the same.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (season 1), the Time Garden collapses on itself as a result of Precia's failed Explosive Overclocking attempt to open a gate to Alhazred.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Sakyo, Season Two's Big Bad, decides to destroy his stadium after he is defeated. For some reason, even though this is supposed to trap and kill everyone inside (Sakyo wants to die himself), none of the main characters have any trouble escaping.
- Witch Hunter Robin : When the heroes invade The Factory, it turns out it's programmed to crush itself as a last-ditch security mechanism.
- Parodied in Iono the Fanatics. The reason why the sorta antagonist's base did the traditional collapse? The building was raised against Japan's building standard acts (it was, for example, leaning) and that's the reason why nobody else was using it even though it looked brand new. Naturally, the high-level battle between the assassin and Iono's bodyguards at the ground-level proved to be a wee-bit too much for its already unstable structure.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, after Negi's group is scattered across the Magic World, we first see Nodoka escaping from one of these while treasure hunting.
- ROD the TV has the Dokusensha building and, evidently, all of Hong Kong.
- At the climax of the Outlanders manga, after the rebellious princess kills her father?the ruling Emperor of the Galaxy? ''the entire imperial planet blows up.
- Digimon Adventure's Dark Masters Arc had of course the Dark Master whom once destroyed had their chunk of the Digital World which they bastardized destroy and reconfigure itself back to it's original form. This caused the DigiDestined to constantly shift from place to place until finally falling into a dark void filled by Apocalymon after defeating the last Dark Master.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! gives us Seto Kaiba and his Battle Tower; after the finals, he blows it up! But just a few episodes before that, we have Gozaburo Kaiba, who triggers a meltdown so our heroes can't escape.
- The Halcon research facility falls apart at the end of Appleseed Ex Machina for no apparent reason, other than to fulfill the cliché. In fact, it has no other reason even to exist!
- The dungeons in Magi - Labyrinth of Magic collapse after they have been successfully completed.
- The abandoned oil rig that served as the base for the Foreigners of Grief in Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S sank into the sea at the climax of the final fight. Notable in that the bad guys, after having been given a series of speeches thoroughly deconstructing their Utopia Justifies the Means mentality, willingly stayed in their base as it collapsed around them.
- Blue Mountain in ElfQuest is completely destroyed at the end of the aptly-named "Siege at Blue Mountain" arc, but not before it is almost converted into a spaceship by Big Bad Winnowill.
- Subverted in All Fall Down: The Order of Despots' Supervillain Lair on the Moon is still intact and fully operational two years later.
- Parodied in Harry Potter and the Evil Summer Vacation, where Harry accidentally ended up at a conference for aspiring criminal masterminds. The (mandatory) final seminar on the last day of the conference was "Secret Lairs, Part 3 - Defenses, Escapes, and Self Destructs". After an agent from SPECTRE gave a talk on why it was important to set up a new lair for every plan and how you should try to take out both the evidence and the good guys as well as your headquarters, they evacuated the conference theater and then blew up the hotel where it was located.
- Jewel Of Darkness: When Midnight is defeated by the Titans at the end of the Jump City arc, Slade rescues her and triggers the base's self-destruct in order to cover their escape.
- The Immortal Game: After Nihilus is destroyed by the Elements of Harmony, her floating citadel falls apart and disintegrates.
- The reconstructed underground Glast Heim begins to collapse in Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune when the Raulus finally defeat the Big Bad. A Chase Scene ensues.
Films — Animation
- The Jungle Book features this occurance when Baloo & Bagheera fight the band of monkeys over Mowgli. Justified because of all the damage the ruined city endures during the squabble, with several pillars being destroyed.
Films — Live-Action
- All the Indiana Jones movies have a large building getting destroyed (Raiders of the Lost Ark has part of the Chachapoyan temple, Temple of Doom has the mine, The Last Crusade has the inside of the Grail Temple, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the entire city of Akator).
- In the horror film Suspiria, after the head witch is stabbed, not only are all the other witches seen rolling around on the floor clutching at invisible neck wounds, but the whole ballet school tears itself apart, with furniture flinging itself through windows, walls cracking, beams falling and unlikely objects, such as statues and door knobs, simply exploding for no good reason. When Susan walks away at the end, the whole place is on fire.
- The destruction of the enemy mothership in Independence Day with a tactical nuclear missile with a 30 second timer.
- A self-activating Self-Destruct Mechanism destroys Sir August de Wynter's island lair at the end of The Avengers (1998).
- At the end of Forbidden Planet, the hero throws a switch that will cause a chain reaction in the Krell furnaces that will destroy the planet Altair-4 in 24 hours.
- Our Man Flint. Derek Flint's sabotage blows up the enemy base on Galaxy island.
- The Allied saboteurs trick the Germans into blowing up their own base (and the title weapons) in The Guns of Navarone.
- Logan's Run (1976): Logan's destruction of the tyrannical central computer causes his city to blow up, freeing its people.
- Phantasm: The Tall Man's mortuary has a gate to his home planet. When Reggie grabs both columns of the gate at the same time, it's destabilized and eventually destroys the whole building.
- At the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, a cobalt bomb in an underground mutant lair is detonated and wipes out not only the lair, but all Earth (This was detonated by Col. Taylor himself— which is ironic, since he cursed mankind for doing the same in the original "Planet of the Apes" (famous "Statue of Liberty ruins" scene).
- The Mummy 1999 ends with a temple collapsing after Benny accidentally activates the "sink into sand" system. The Mummy Returns ends with an oasis and the pyramid it houses vanishing into the desert, but due to Load-Bearing Boss.
- Let us not forget in Conan the Destroyer, an entire tower collapses shortly after the wizard's death with one character giving the hand-waved explanation, "It was all an illusion."
- Many James Bond movies end with Bond escaping from the villain's Collapsing Lair.
- Alien franchise:
- In Aliens, after Ripley sets the xenomorph queen on fire, the atmosphere processor starts to collapse due to Explosive Overclocking and finally blows up in a nuclear detonation.
- Alien³ was the only time Ellen Ripley didn't destroy everything as she left. Ron Perlman's character in Alien: Resurrection says it "must be a chick thing".
- The end of Congo results in the convenient destruction of the "evil" gorillas' lair via volcanic eruption... despite the fact that it had been standing for hundreds of years before the protagonists got there.
- In a variant, the house from Poltergeist collapses in on itself, and is apparently sucked into another dimension, at the end. The resident ghosts weren't actually destroyed, but were "defeated" in the sense that the whole family escaped alive, despite everything the evil presence could throw at them.
- In Mirror, Mirror, the Queen's magic mirror lair collapses after her death.
- Taken to extremes in The Lord of the Rings in which not only the Dark Tower and Black gate but a huge portion of Mordor in general just caves in, taking much of Sauron's army with it. note
- In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Inspector Clouseau is accidentally catapulted into Dreyfus' castle and lands on the Disintegrator Ray that is about to destroy England. Knocking it askew causes the machine to catastrophically malfunction, and everyone ( except Dreyfus, who's hit by the beam and thus doomed) flees as, piece by piece, the castle vanishes.
- Barad-dûr (The Dark Tower) in The Lord of the Rings was over two thousand feet tall (some sources suggest over 4000!) and was held up by Sauron's disregard of structural physics. Naturally, with the destruction of The One Ring and Sauron's demise, the tower came toppling down, as well as the Black Gate, which had been built with the same power.
- In C. S. Lewis's The Silver Chair, the witch has spells to collapse her realm once she is dead. This is in some ways a good thing, as the collapse allows her captive minions to return to Bism, which is even farther underground than the caverns. The protagonists figure that she purposely wove these spells into the cavern so that nobody could kill her without likely meeting their own demise soon afterward.
- Older Than Radio: The collapse of the titular house at the climax of Poe's 1839 story "The Fall of the House of Usher".
- King Haggard's castle collapses dramatically at the end of The Last Unicorn. Given that the book was a loving spoof of fantasy tropes itself, this is not surprising.
- The collapse was supposed to be triggered by the thunderous shock of thousands of unicorns recently freed from the King and running past the foundations of the castle all at once.
- In Captain Underpants, the spaceship self-destructs.
- In the Conan story "The Tower of the Elephant," when Yag-kosha takes his revenge upon the sorcerer Yara by way of Conan, the titular tower, which Yag-kosha built for him in a single night, shatters into a million pieces after Conan escapes.
- In Stephen King's It this happens on a rather large scale. When It dies, so does the magic that's apparently held up a lot of Derry's structure. It appears as if It was part of the town's very foundation. The weather goes crazy, the river turns into a flood and much of the city collapses into the ground.
- Not exactly; the storm and flood start when the Loser's Club begins to battle with IT, and the destruction peaks at IT's death... but trails off rapidly. It seems that the act of actually defying IT was enough to unbalance things on a big scale.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel First & Only, when the Inquisitor Heldane's pawn is killed, the psychic shock kills Heldane as well, and his unleashed psychic energies tore apart the spaceship he was on. Good thing for the Ghosts and their allies that Heldane used the pawn at a distance.
- In Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, the shock of the Storm King's destruction causes Green Angel Tower to collapse with the protagonists inside, naturally prompting an escape scene. Some make it out, some don't. The story makes it somewhat ambiguous whether this is a case of No Ontological Inertia or the aftereffects of the spell that summoned him, but it's striking that Green Angel Tower was the sole remaining Sithi structure in the Hayholt and the exact place where Ineluki killed himself 500 years prior, becoming the Storm King. To be fair, the series' Functional Magic is explicitly stated to work on the principle of No Ontological Inertia.
- This trope turns nasty in Guard Against Dishonor, from Simon R. Green's Hawk And Fisher series. As per tradition, the pocket dimension in which a deadly new drug is being prepared fails when the sorcerer that created it is killed by the Watch; untraditionally, this has worse consequences than just a dramatic race for the exit, as the pocket's collapse takes a crowded city tenement down with it, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. This was deliberately planned by the drug lord who'd had the pocket dimension created, to discredit the Watch and make it easier to escape with the drugs in the midst of a disaster.
- Happens quite frequently to The Lonely Winds, usually as a result of Marc doing something stupid. Lampshaded by Nails in The Absolution: "...why does every single fight we get into end with something on fire?"
- Parodied in Feet of Clay, when freelance exterminator Wee Mad Arthur explains why he charges so much more for disposal of wasp nests. Being a gnome only a few inches tall, he plants squibs inside the nests and then has to fight his way to the exit before they blow.
- There are three of these in the Chronicles of Prydain.
- In Christopher Stasheff's Her Majesty's Wizard, after the main character recited a Shakespeare passage about the banishing of illusions, the castle of the lust witch Sayeesa faded into thin air, leaving only an empty crater and a number of no-longer-enthralled young men and women.
- The otherwise invincible Energized Protodermis Entity is defeated by collapsing its chamber into a chasm in BIONICLE Adventures #6: Maze of Shadows.
- In Nightworld this is explained as being due to the Big Bad using his magic to counteract the laws of physics. When he dies, nature reasserts itself and the underground cavern starts to collapse due to the weight of the ground above.
- In the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sunnydale itself is a Collapsing Lair.
- And so is the Wolfram & Hart office building in the final episode of Angel.
- As well as the following home bases: The school library (Buffy season 3), Angel's office (Angel S1), the magic shop (Buffy S6). And for the villains: the factory (Buffy S2), the Initiative (Buffy S4), and the original Wolfram & Hart building (Angel S4).
- In the Pilot of the original Battlestar Galactica, the planet explodes as the human fleet is fleeing, thus destroying the Cylon basestar which was very close to the surface. The reason? They set fire to a fuel deposit.
- In and episode of Mission: Impossible, third-party killer Ventlos rearranges a fuel mix to destroy the enemy bunker.
- The hall of the Mountaing King and the cave trolls in Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt. The musical piece In the Hall of the Mountain King describes the diabolical dance of the trolls and the collapse of the halls.
- Portal. After you throw all four of GLaDOS' core piece into the incinerator, the room you're in blows up, and you end up outside the Center.
- Tomb Raider 1, 2, and Anniversary, explicitly.
- In Legend, Amanda gets trapped under the rubble with the shadow monster, and the entire tomb collapses in on itself. You then proceed to return and attempt to drain it.
- In Tomb Raider 4, Lara apparently falls to her death during the collapse of the Temple of Horus.
- In "Shounen Kininden Tsumuji" after defeating the Big Bad and the Demon King the Demon Castle begins to destroy itself.
- One of the three endings of Deus Ex involves the player blowing up an Elaborate Underground Base. The final cutscene is unclear on whether or not he makes it out alive.
- Metroid games often contain segments (especially at the end) where the player must guide Samus out of one of these before a timer runs out.
- Whenever Dracula is defeated, Castlevania will collapse, leaving only ruins. The protagonist, especially if he is a Belmont, will usually watch this from a cliff.
- This case is, however, justified: Castlevania is a creature of Chaos (that's why it looks different in every game), held together by Dracula's power.
- Lampshade hung in Swordcraft Story 2, where an NPC is trying to make the protagonist get something she lost without being obvious. So she tells her that the sword the protagonist is trying to get will cause the cave to collapse without the object. Another character on the scene remarks, "Ah, the load-bearing treasure!"
- Can't forget The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, after defeating Ganondorf the first time. Made cooler by the fact that you get to fight Ganon on the wreckage. Made slightly more annoying by the Iron Knuckles and ReDead that like to paralyze you while the timer ticks down.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 - It's even Lampshaded in the first add on pack.
- Might and Magic IV ends with this, although the party does get out safely.
- In the fifth and final epsiode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, after finally defeating Trogdor, his lair starts to collapse and Homestar Runner literally says that Trogdor "must've been a load bearing dragon".
- Half-Life 2: Episode 1 is sorta this. In a nutshell it involves going into the citadel to slow the timer(conveniently sped up by the combine) then getting the hell out of dodge before it does, making all of C-17 the Collapsing Lair.
- In the Roguelike game NetHack, if there's an unrecoverable bug in the game, the dungeon collapses, and you lose the game, having "panicked"
- Fallout: Fallout 1 had two cases of bases with nuclear self destruct devices (perhaps the megalomaniacal bad guys wanted to make sure their plans would fail if they happened to die?). Fallout 2 had at least one, sabotaging the computer that keeps the nuclear reactor from exploding. Fallout 3 has a base that can be convinced to blow itself up, and in a DLC a mobile base that controls a Kill Sat that can command the kill sat to target the base itself.
- The player can also do this to Vault 101 and force its evacuation as the Evil solution to "Trouble on the Homefront".
- In Point Lookout, the Calvert Mansion explodes at the end of "Thought Control", courtesy of the Self-Destruct Mechanism activated by Desmond.
- One of the mandatory objectives in the Legion and House questlines from Fallout: New Vegas (and an optional one in the NCR and Yes Man branches) is to self-destruct the Brotherhood of Steel's bunker. You can also blow up the Powder Gangers' vault.
- At the end of Dead Money, the Sierra Madre's vault starts exploding after Elijah's death. As if that weren't enough, it also triggers a countdown timer on the player's Explosive Leash.
- Descent: Every level was ended with blowing everything up and having to fly back to the emergency exit for a dramatic just-in-time escape.
- Every endgame location in every Resident Evil ever made. Sometimes this even happens twice, as in Code Veronica. It's mostly justified since said locales typically contain laboratories crawling with viral abominations and are armed with fail-safe self-destruct mechanisms. As of Resident Evil 5 we've stopped seeing them.
- Revenge of Meta Knight ends with the Halberd breaking down and Kirby fleeing on a Wheelie, while Meta Knight attempt to slow him down and keep him from escaping.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: Bloodlines had one near the end of the game, in the form of Vampire Hunter Grunfend Bach, who, after being beaten by the player, waits to greet you on your way out with a detonator.
- The island in the original Devil May Cry begins to fall apart when Mundus does.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 has a sequence very early in the game where the player's squad of four heroes must escape Castle Doom as it implodes, occasionally dropping large chunks of its innards onto the player's heroes as they go.
- The Elder Scrolls Oblivion: The Shivering Isles expansion requires you to escape one of these, while boulders fall as if the DM is mad at you.
- Mega Man: This happens to Skull Castle very often at the end of games in the original series.
- In The Godfather: The Game, you have to raid enemy compounds and sometimes their businesses, leave a Time Bomb at a specific spot and leave. If you succeed in escaping the place before the bomb goes, you get to see flames on the (temporarily) out-of-commission building.
- Happens several times in Wolfenstein 2009. The massive underground base in the caverns beneath the farm explodes after retrieving a crystal being used for research deep within. Later, the entire Cannery explodes after defeating a certain load-bearing boss (though this was a result of destroying several critical pieces of machinery, rather than the boss's death). It also happens at the end of the game, after defeating the last boss.
- Occurs in the Templar Archives after Altaïr kills Armand Bouchart in Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines.
- Unreal: After killing the final boss, although not so much collapsing as exploding while you run for the escape rocket.
- An early example could be found in the Atari 8-bit game Caverns of Mars from 1981. After reaching a reactor in the cavern, the player sets it off and must escape before it explodes.
- Clive's fortress collapses after you screw up the generator in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future.
- Bionic Commando: "This base will explod in 60 sec", after killing Master D.
- The Final Fantasy games are no stranger to this trope.
- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has you demolish Fort Schmerzen in the final level by detonating a gas main, and run for the exit while it's being rocked by explosions.
- At the end of Halo 3, the activation of the unfinished replacement ring causes it to shake itself apart, and you have to drive across the crumbling superstructure.
- In Alpha Protocol, the Grand Finale takes place as the Alpha Protocol base is being "sanitized" in preparation for the agency closing its doors and opening up shop somewhere else under a new name. This process has less to do with paper shredders and more to do with time bombs. As you proceed through each section of the base, the bombs in the previous sections go off, cutting you off from going back the way you came.
- In Bastion, every level does this after you grab whatever MacGuffin is there, with the exception of the proving grounds- which you can return to until you've earned all the rewards they offer- and Who Knows Where, which you can return to however many times you like (although it's accessed through the Bastion).
- In the remake of Spy Hunter, the enemy base explodes after you EMP the Doomsday Device at the end.
- In the first Alone In The Dark 1992, Pregzt's cavern starts collapsing after you Kill It with Fire.
- This happens to Riven when you re-open the Star Fissure.
- In P.N.03's ninth mission, after destroying Orchidee 2.0 and finding the Vanessa clone, a 5-minute self-destruct timer starts, the lights start flashing on and off, and new enemies have spawned along the escape route.
- In Brain Dead 13, this is the result of Lance's pressing the Big Red "Flush" Button that can cause the castle to self-destruct after the final confrontation with Dr. Neurosis.
- At the end of Modern Warfare's first mission, "Crew Expendable", the Estonian freighter gets bombed by Russian MIG's and starts taking on water, forcing the player to run through the collapsing and sinking ship to the extraction chopper.
- At the end of Flashback, you blow up the Morphs' homeworld with a nuclear charge set in the planet's core, and have to escape on a timer.
- In the bad ending to Contra: Shattered Soldier, a Kill Sat destroys Galuga Archipelago after you complete Mission 5, taking the heroes with it.
- Neo Bowser Castle collapses when the final boss is defeated in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
- A variation in Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds, where destroying a sector's HQ building will instantly destroy all other buildings in the sector too. This can be exploited by using Zerg Rush tactics. Played completely straight with the central HQ building in each faction's "home" sector, where taking it out will destroy everything and grant the other team an instant victory. The aforementioned Zerg Rush tactics are less effective here, as the central HQ has a large amount of health (and, in the Martians' case, shoots back!)
- The first three Space Quest games do this. In the first, the Deltaur is destroyed by the activation of the Star Generator. In the second, Vohaul sets his space station on a decaying orbit just before he dies. In the third, destroying the Stealth Field Generator on Ortega triggers a series of volcanic eruptions.
- The Nui-Jaga scorpion nest containing the infected Comet balls in the Mata Nui On-Line Game. Toa Pohatu and the player only escape thanks to the Mask of Speed.
- The second from last level of Duke Nukem Forever is a two-parter that involves destroying Hoover Dam in order to cut power to an alien wormhole. In the second half, you must escape its collapsing interior while waters rise and debris crashes down around you.
- In the fan game Sonic Chrono Adventure, the Sky Empire starts to get overrun by Eggman's own magnetic mass, prompting Sonic and Rodolia to escape. Subverted because after the final battle in the city, the magnetic mass disappears, but Sky Empire miraculously floats for the next hundred years. It's also double subverted because the damages from the huge takeover prevent anyone from inhabiting in there.
- Happens 3 times in Lost Odyssey.
- The first dungeon to come crashing down is the Experimental Staff. After Gongora wipes the floor with your party and leaves them for dead, he (or perhaps some of his men) activate the Experimental Staff's self-destruct system. As soon as the party manages to get back on their feet, the destruction begins, and you have 12 minutes to escape. There are numerous small tremors and a large amount of debris falling around you as you make your way out.
- Next to fall is Grand Staff, which is flying in the air at this point. After the "boss fight" with Possessed Jansen, Gongora learns a valuable lesson: Pay attention to where you're going when flying an aerial structure. While he was occupied with the party, Grand Staff smashes into the side of the Tower of Mirrors. This doesn't dent his plans too much though, as he acquires the power he needed and once again leaves the party for dead, escaping through a portal just as the entire structure starts to fall apart. After the party pulls themselves together, you are once again tasked with a timed escape, this time you've got 8 minutes to get out. Unlike during the Experimental Staff escape, there are no large chunks of debris falling while making your way out. There are still tremors, however.
- The final thing to go bye bye is none other than the Tower of Mirrors itself, though this one doesn't so much collapse as it does get sucked into itself. After defeating the final boss, the post-battle events result in the gate to the immortals' world malfunctioning, eventually growing into a massive portal that sucks the entire tower into it. Escape is automatic as the party flees by airship, just barely making it out as the tower fragments into pieces, and then both the tower's remains and the gate vanish in an explosion.
- At the end of Tanzder Vampire this happens to the castle of Count Krolock - for no goddamn reason as we aren't even shown if he died or not. Which is, given the fridge logic of the play, not even likely.
- At the end of the "Dangerous Days" arc in Sluggy Freelance, the building Hereti Corp set the building they had used for the Aylee project to self-destruct. This is apparently standard Hereti Corp procedure for anything they might lose, even bagels.
- Minions at Work: Well, I see here your last place of employment self-destructed
- A rare protagonist (sorta?) example comes from Erfworld. After the Coalition forces overwhelm Gobwin Knob and nearly destroy the city, Parson Gotti orders everyone into the caverns, then has their remaining casters link up to use their various magic powers to awaken the dormant volcano beneath the mountain. The resulting explosive eruption wipes out not only the city (which gets fixed soon after), but the entirety of the Coalition forces.
- The Order of the Stick: The Dungeon of Dorukan collapses after the Order of the Stick defeats Xykon and Elan activates the self-destruct rune.
- In 8-Bit Theater, this occurs twice:
- Once when the fiend of fire, Kary, is defeated, Red Mage yells that they have to get out because the main villian's base explodes. Black Mage laughs it off, then the volcano explodes. He then says he's "brave enough to chalk that up to coincidence."
- Then, right after Muffin is defeated, Black Mage and Fighter remove the air orb, causing the floating castle to collapse. A possible third time occurs in the final boss fight when Black Mage shoots his super-evil at Sarda. Technically they weren't inside for it and the main villian's defeat wasn't until later but the place still collapsed.
- Happens in Panthera when Oosterhuis destroys the load-bearing columns of the underground facility when he loses his alias and his support, leaving Panthera and several FBI agents in the collapsing room.
- In Dragon Mango, they make it out only because of the hippogryff.
- Lord Milligan from Casey And Andey has set up a device to register his heartbeat and, if it's absent, will trigger explosives in his base.
- In Sailor Nothing, the entire Yami-Gaia collapses after the Dark Queen dies.
- Evil Overlord Rule No. 107 : Even though I don't really care because I plan on living forever, I will hire engineers who are able to build me a fortress sturdy enough that, if I am slain, it won't tumble to the ground for no good structural reason.
- Standard for Phineas and Ferb's B Story involving Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus.
- Kim Possible, in episode "Downhill", gave us the title quote.
- And in other episodes, such as the time that Dr. Drakken his his lair inside the world's biggest wheel of cheese. And then built a raygun capable of melting said giant cheese. Hilarity Ensues.
- Clerks: The Animated Series parodied this when Dante and Randal escape from an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-style mine, and Randal stops to pull a lever on the wall marked "do not pull". The entire mountain then begins to collapse.
- In an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man showcasing the Sinister Six, Spidey must visit Doc Ock's underwater lair to thwart his plan of world domination. After successfully doing so, Doc hits the self-destruct button, causing a tense moment as Spider-Man must free himself from a large chunk of metal, save Gwen, and get out of the lair all before it blows up.
- Happens a couple of times in Teen Titans:
- In "Apprentice II", Slade triggers his lair's self-destruct so that the Titans will be too busy saving themselves to prevent his Villain Exit Stage Left. It works.
- In "Aftershock II", Terra turns on Slade and unleashes so much power she loses control of it, triggering a volcano beneath the lair. The lair is destroyed and Slade is killed; Terra performs a Heroic Sacrifice to shut the volcano down and keep the damage from spreading further.
- In "Deception", Cyborg turns new Big Bad Brother Blood's superweapon against him. Blood uses his telekinetic power to keep from being killed, but the unleashed energies cause the lair to begin caving in.
- In "Wavelength", Brother Blood's new secret weapon is overloaded, destroying his base in the process.
- In "Titans Together", the Brain tries to set off a bomb to destroy the Titans as he flees his base, but they teleport it away and capture him.
- Watership Down, the TV series, inverts this as a positive version for the heroes, after Hazel manages to get the other males to do their bit digging their new burrow with the doe, Blackberry. At one point, all the gang is working on one area when the ceiling partially collapses. However, no one is hurt and the rabbits find that the accident cleared away much of the material to create a very nice great hall for their burrow.
- Dark Heart's lair in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, after he makes a Heel-Face Turn.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: The Citadel of Bone, with a twist — it can pull itself back together afterwards.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King", Fugate's clock tower begins collapsing at the end of the episode.
- In The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol , Grouchy deals with a collapsing bookshelf in Gargamel's lair when Azrael chases after him.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Daring Don't", the removal of the Rings of Destiny from the altar causes the collapse of Ahuizotl's temple.