Convenient Weakness Placement
Sometimes, a villain's weakness is conveniently placed near them for no logical reason. For instance, you've tried shooting them. You've tried blowing them up. You've tried hitting them with a frying pan. You've tried everything short of throwing them into a boiling lake of lava, and they still won't die. But wait...an unlikely and specific series of events just happens to have landed you in close proximity to exactly what you need—often lava. (Obviously, lava is the panacea against an otherwise invincible villain
This is made all the more peculiar by the fact that the villain's lair is often built directly above lava, the one thing that can destroy them. Supervillain Lairs
in general tend to be built conveniently near environmental hazards which may sometimes become active when the villain is defeated
and spare the hero the need to kill them. This also helps the hero come out of the fight without killing
anything. But, obviously, this trope doesn't just apply to lava.
In Video Games
, it's very much an illustration of the Rule of Fun
and one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality
. (No one wants a boss fight to become Unwinnable
when you've run out of ammo
This is sort of a combination of Benevolent Architecture
and Contrived Coincidence
exist for video games. See Boss Arena Idiocy
, Puzzle Boss
, Ring Out Boss
, Bullfight Boss
Anime & Manga
- In the Hueco Mundo arc of Bleach, Las Noches has an artificial sun mounted on the ceiling, the only source of sunlight in Hueco Mundo. Like the real sun, it negates Aaroniero Arruruerie's shapeshifting powers. Aaroniero has no idea why his boss decided to do this, but at least he provided a nice, big room with ample shade.
- Played straight in Uncanny X-Men #112, where Magneto's lair in Antarctica is located inside an active volcano, although it is explained with using the magma as a power source and denying access to unwelcome visitors (Magneto gets inside by creating a magnetic bubble and passing through a pool of lava). Of course in #113 lava flows into the base during the fight, allowing Magneto to escape and splitting the X-Men into two groups, each of which thinks the other died. However, the base was not entirely destroyed and is revisited in later stories.
- Clash of the Elements: The Inner Guardian of the Nature Castle, whose weakness is the Elemental Stone attached to its chest.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day They threw the T-1000 through a wall, they shot him in the face with a shotgun, they blew up a huge truck with him in it, they froze him with liquid nitrogen and broke his frozen form to pieces. The latter method seems to have worked, but they just happened to be right next to a steel forgery/construction site with a boiling pool of "lava", which thaws the pieces, which reform. They eventually force him into the lava and it STILL takes him almost a minute to die.
- The Wizard of Oz: If water causes the witch to melt, then why does she have a bucket of it in her lair?
- In many vampire films, the castle inhabited by the vampire(s) conforms to the characteristics described in Carpe Jugulum (see Literature, below), which is not surprising given that Terry Pratchett based his vampires to a large extent on Hammer horror movies.
- This is lampshaded in Carpe Jugulum, when they discuss how proper vampires are supposed to keep their castles filled with picture windows that can be opened dramatically and ornaments that can be bent into holy symbols. The reason being, if you make it easy enough to kill you off temporarily, no-one will bother trying to kill you off permanently.
- In The Beyonders, the only thing that can harm a torivor is one of their own dueling swords. Luckily, a torivor sent out to kill must give its victim a sword, for some reason. (It seems to be an effect of the spell that summoned them to Lirian).
- Resident Evil 5: Wesker has proven himself to be the most nonchalantly epic villain ever. Chris and Sheva have shot him, blown up several missiles right in his face, and injected him with his own poison. After all that, he still manages to survive and mutate into a far more monstrous form. Naturally, the only remaining method left to kill him is forcing him into lava. But the plane they were on, which is unmanned at this point, has coincidentally landed INSIDE a volcano, where Wesker is forced into the lava after yet another battle. Even after that, he still survives for quite a while in the lava, and is only finally taken out by one more pair of ballistic missiles.
- The final boss in Resident Evil 6 for Leon's campaign is in the same vein as the only way to defeat his final form is to trick him into absorbing a lightning rod that just happened to be there and which would cause Mother Nature herself to shock him (it was raining). However Ada's campaign revealed that she was the one that put it there though she still would've had no idea that the final boss would mutate into that and that the lightning rod would be its weakpoint. The other final bosses also had this in small portions. (Jake's being identical to RE5's and Chris' has Piers perform a Heroic Sacrifice to get him to have Elemental Powers that becomes the ultimate creation that would infect the world's weakpoint.
- More than a few Zelda bosses are only harmable by something in their lair. For a nice blatant example, consult Twilight Princess, where Armagohma will fight you inside a ring of statues whose only purpose is to smack the crap out of whatever's in front of them.
- One boss in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks actually destroys the feature you're using to harm him.
- An arguably-justified time that it happens is with the Bomb Flowers in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Great Dodongo's Lair. Bomb Flowers apparently thrive in hot climates, and can be equated to a dangerously-explosive weed, processed versions of which are the Gorons' major export, and the 'normal' bombs you use through the majority of the game.
- Any Bullfight Boss in which you have to make the boss charge into some damaging, natural feature of the arena. (Like a charged Tesla Coil when the boss is only vulnerable to being electrocuted — see Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for this example verbatim.)
- Melchiah from Soul Reaver. The only way to damage him is with three one-shot devices in the room. And the last of the three just happens to be a meat-and-bone-grinding death mechanism in the exact center of the room.
- Half-Life 2: Episode 2 features an example during the fight against the Attack Choppers. Their weaknesses aren't NEAR them...they're IN them. The bombs they drop can be shot back at them via the Gravity Gun!
- In the Pokémon games the Pokemon needed to counter the gym in any given town are usually found outside. the most egregious examples of this are in Black/White where the first two gyms have people standing outside who specifically tell you where to go to get the Pokemon you need to use.
- Metroid examples:
- Super Metroid: The Crocomire fight. It's invincible and hitting it with missiles only pushes it back — toward a lava pit which kills it (eventually). Draygon's room can also be used against him, but this is an Easter Egg for clever players; the old-fashioned way works just fine on him.
- The Metroid Prime Trilogy games do this all the time. For instance, Flaahgra in Metroid Prime can only be made vulnerable via misaligning the mirrors around it, but it's clear why they're nearby – it needs them to live. This doesn't, however, explain why it also happens to live near a bunch of explosive bomb slots. The Spider Guardian's rooms in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes have death lasers which, being blind, it can't even avoid running into. Berserker Lords in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption have Phazite armor that's immune to everything except their own missiles, which they fire slowly so you can bounce them back. Even the final bosses of the first two Prime games give you what you need to beat them (Phazon, both times).
- The NES version of A Boyand His Blob. The evil king can't be harmed by anything except vitamins. Guess what he has a jar full of, sitting precariously on a ledge right above him?
- Portal 2 lampshades this, momentarily averts it, and then plays this completely straight. Wheatley says this to Chell at the start of the Final Battle: "Four-part plan is this: One, no portal surfaces. Two, start the neurotoxin immediately. Three, bomb-proof shields for me, leading directly into number four: bombs. For throwing at you." Or, everything you used to take out GLaDOS in the first game. It looks for a moment like this will be averted... and then the player notices the giant tube of conversion gel flowing through the space, which is not bomb-proof. However Wheatley is an idiot.
- Then of course there's the great big button you have to hit to finish the fight, sitting there, plain as day. Just like the fight with GLaDOS earlier. Just have to mosey on over and push it, right? PART FIVE, BOOBY TRAP THE STALEMATE BUTTON! Probably was about the smartest thing Wheatley did in the entire game; not his fault it wasn't instant-death.
- The entire Portal series runs on this. Even when you're outside the courses, even when the AI in charge is actively trying to kill you, there are enough portalable surfaces and goo leaks to get through.
- In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, the unbreakable red ball conveniently present in the Boss Room is the only thing Chip and Dale can use to damage bosses.
- In Demon's Souls, the area where the Storm King is fought is also the resting place of the Storm Ruler, a sword with a Razor Wind power that only works in that area which is perfect for chopping up the overgrown flying fish.
- In The Godfather 2, it's always a good idea to take the fight to enemy Made Men. Their hangouts usually contain what is needed to achieve their kill condition. For example, an early one will only be Killed Off for Real if he takes a dunking. So where do you find him? Next to a river. Defied for a certain Mangano, though: he has a fatal allergy to Car Fu. Where does he hide? In a small area surrounded by car-proof concrete barriers, with only a difficult ramp jump allowing cars in, the bastard!
- In Super Mario Bros. 2, the main villain Wart is described as having an intense hatred for vegetables. Thus, vegetables are the only things that can damage him in the final battle. Cue there being a vegetable-making machine right in the room with him. Justified as the machine is a dream-granting engine he stole to usurp control of Subcon, it's either responding to the characters' dreams of winning, or actively rebelling.
- The battles against Bowser in Super Mario 64 take place in an arena surrounded with bombs. Bombs you must throw Bowser into to damage him.
- Justified Trope in Metal Gear Solid. Otacon, who designed the titular Metal Gears (Metal Gear?!?), is an Otaku who believes that his beloved creations should have a flaw they have to overcome, and added an extra bit of vulnerability.
- At one point during Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf, you meet a monster who's afraid of light. He lives in a castle which just so happens to have giant spotlights activated through Hamster-Wheel Power.
- And from the same level, bees that have hives right next to Sam the Sheepdog.
- While the zombie pirates in Alone in the Dark 2 are not actually immortal, "killing" them will just send them back to the place where they signed their immortality pact (namely their pirate ship). And once on board they can only be Killed Off for Real by weapons forged during the time of the pact (signed in 1725). It's a good thing they keep their 200-year-old swords and flintlock pistols (and cannons) in pristine state for you to kill them with once you are on board.
- Haunting Ground: One of the antagonists, Daniella, is driven to madness by her own reflection, due to being 'incomplete' as she puts it. Conveniently, there are several giant mirrors throughout her part of the castle, and nowhere else. Even in the room where you are forced to face her.
- Semi-justified in Mortal Kombat: Deception, in which Onaga's arena is surrounded by the Kamidogu because they empower him. However, they are also within reach of your character, who can break them to weaken the boss.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Soul Cairn is a Spirit World plane of Oblivion created by the Ideal Masters, a group of formerly mortal sorcerers who, through an unknown means, ascended into Oblivion as beings of pure energy. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, and, within the Soul Cairn, are known to take the form of giant soul gems which can drain the souls of any mortals who come too close. Soul Husks, a plant found throughout the Soul Cairn, can be ingested to protect a mortal's soul from absorption by the Ideal Masters in their soul gem forms.