A Kaizo Trap is a type of video game Hope Spot
: You have just finished a difficult challenge, such as defeating a boss
, completing a level, or even winning the whole game. But the developers have decided to subvert
the Instant-Win Condition
and pull a Kaizo Trap: You'll die during the victory cutscene, and have to do it all again.
More often than not, the player has to find a way to defuse the trap before completing their actual goal. Alternately, sometimes this takes the form of a hidden Press X to Not Die
during a Cutscene
, or Press Start To Game Over
, where you are killed before you can get your bearings. Intentional Schmuck Bait
doesn't count — you must be killed through inaction in a spot where you didn't even think you needed to be holding the controller.
Known in Japan as "Koumei no wana" ("Koumei's trap", "Koumei" being the Alternate Character Reading
for Zhuge "Kongming" Liang, a famous strategist from Romance of the Three Kingdoms
). Commonly found in Platform Hell
titles, as just one more sadistic Screw You
on the part of the designers. The opposite of this trope is Fission Mailed
. Compare with Take a Moment to Catch Your Death
, Yank the Dog's Chain
, and Diabolus Ex Machina
... only for you, the player.
open/close all folders
- In Bomberman 64, Orion, the midboss of Red Mountain, will vanish in a burst of flame when defeated. If you don't get out of the way (or have a heart item), you'll be killed instantly and forced to repeat the battle.
- In Cave Story, the Heavy Press, one of the bosses in the secret final area, will fall through the floor after being defeated. If you're not alert and let it land on you, you'll die instantly (as would happen with the normal-sized version), unless you have Mercy Invincibility from touching a Bute, which lets you drop to the floor below faster.
- Also, after the ghost Pooh Black is defeated, he can still give the player Collision Damage until he completely dissolves.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has a rather infamous one. When you defeat the final boss' last form, before the boss explodes, the arms can still deal damage, even though its host is dead. This often results in death if Link does not have or used up the potion if you're low on health, because contact with the arms deal one full heart with no Mercy Invincibility.
- If you are unlucky enough to still be in contact with the boss while it is giving its Final Speech, then it is literally a race between your hearts and the game's letter-writing.
- The second boss in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages floats in the middle of the room and crashes to the ground upon defeat. This can hurt you, and if you only have one or two hearts left and end the battle standing underneath it, guess what? You have to go through the whole thing all over again!
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, all the Garos and the first Garo Master will talk to Link after he beats them. The other Garo Masters will crouch down in the same pose, prompting the player to walk over to them for the conversation - then whip out a bomb and self-detonate.
- Similarly, the Fire Temple's mini-boss in Ocarina of Time self-destructs when it's defeated.
- An unintentional one in Batman: Arkham City, where during the boss fight with The Joker, you can get run over by a train after you beat up all his cronies and, finally, the boss himself. And it will still give you the proper achievement, even though you died.
- In Uncharted, it's possible to kill everyone necessary to trigger the event flag but get killed by a rogue grenade at the last second. The result is the next cinematic playing for about 4 seconds and the level restarting.
- The bosses in Final Fantasy Adventure can still deal damage during their death animations. If you don't back away as soon as you land the last hit, you can get yourself killed by your already defeated foe.
- Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic had a bomb, whose artificial intelligence would keep losing count and restarting. If you failed to disarm it, then the cutscene at the end would show the ship blowing up, along with that darned parrot, although the game does still finish. It's really up to the player to decide whether or not they won. Blowing up the parrot was well worth it.
- In Space Quest II, getting kissed by the xenomorph will do nothing right away, as far as you can tell. However, fifteen minutes after the kiss, you will die from a xenomorph bursting out of your chest. It is technically possible to just finish the game in that time limit, but you must have passed the acid pit trap at the very least before the kiss (which requires you to complete a puzzle and then backtrack, when you have no reason to do so), and even then you have to be absolutely precise in your timing.
Choose Your Own Adventure
- The Fighting Fantasy book Caverns of the Snow Witch has this: You've killed a yeti, defeated the titular Snow Witch who's also a vampire, and escaped with 2 ex-slaves, who die along the way, due to a Death Curse. If you can't remember what the Healer's sign is at the end? Death.
- In Corruption of Champions, after killing most enemies you can opt to have sex with the defeated foe. When you defeat a harpy, however, one of the options will lead to one of these. You don't die, but you do suffer the same consequences as you would from losing the fight.
Fighting Games & Beat 'Em Ups
- Ur Example for video games: The princess you're trying to rescue at the very end of the Apple II game Karateka will kill you and end the game instantly with no continues if you approach her while in the 'fighting stance'.
- In Soul Calibur 3, Colossus will fall forward after you remove the last of its health. If it lands on you, you die and lose the battle.
- Zaugg, in Barbarian, also falls on you. Sometimes. It seems to have been planned this way, but sometimes he goes straight through you as in a normal end-of-game cutscene elsewhere.
- White, the final boss of the PlayStation version of Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, will lie down and shoot a fireball from his cane when his lifebar is depleted: it needs to be blocked low or jumped over, and getting hit by it is an instant KO while the boss gets up and wins the round regardless.
- After defeating Porky in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of the legs will fall with enough force to hurt you. Similarly, the Porky Bots don't vanish when he's defeated, hence you can get blown up by them after the boss has already been defeated if you're too close to him. Not too dangerous, since you can't get KOd if the boss is defeated, but devastating in Boss Battles when you don't want to take much damage or waste healing items.
- Knocking a foe at an extremely high percentage upwards results in blasting away, and the animation goes on for a while before they actually die. In Sudden Death, there's still plenty of time for a bomb to spawn on top of you and send you flying off the side, killing you instantly, while this is happening, so if you've knocked your foes up, don't let your guard down.
- The Ice Climbers can milk this in rare cases.
- The above "blasting away" animation can actually result in a Luck-Based Mission-style match result at times, depending on whether the animation for falling into the background or slamming against the screen plays. The slam kills you faster. Also applies if someone is on their last legs, trying to stay in the air as long as possible to avoid falling into a pit before their opponent twinkles/crashes.
- Pit's arrows can still be controlled even after he loses and can be used to KO remaining players in rare circumstances.
- Most bosses in the Splatterhouse series will throw you one last cheap shot after you've technically "defeated" them. Some examples:
- The hung corpse in the bore worm room has one last bore worm emerging a few seconds after the music calms down.
- The poltergeist will attempt to drop a chandelier upon you.
- The uterus thing in the Womb Level will explode, splashing you with (deadly) embryonic fluids.
- Also, in the second game, the first boss' stomach explodes and kills you with digestive fluids if you're too close.
- In Chiki Chiki Boys/Mega Twins for arcade and Mega Drive, there is a boss who will drop his pants after he is defeated. If the player character is hit by the pants, the player will lose control and then be forced to exit the stage without collecting the bonus money for clearing the stage.
- If the game wasn't hard enough, Battletoads also has a Kaizo Trap of its own. After you kill the final boss and she falls through the floor, she will come back spinning in the middle of the room for a final cutscene. Get caught in the spinning attack and you're dead. Last life? Game over and you have to start the battle all over again. Oh, last continue too? You're back at the beginning of the game!
- Posthumous double-KOs in Super Cosplay War Ultra are possible for characters with delayed attacks (such as Erus' coin special.)
- Be careful when you beat someone in Battle Arena Toshinden next to the arena's border. If your character falls down while he/she's celebrating the victory, the game will count the match as a draw.
- The final boss of Hotline Miami shoots himself with a revolver instead of being killed by the protagonist. Revolvers, in-game, penetrate multiple targets. Stand in the wrong place, and the boss may just take you with him.
First Person Shooters
- On payload maps in Team Fortress 2, the attacking team's goal is to push a giant bomb-on-a-cart to your enemy's base, where it explodes. If your team succeeds, you can't just go blindly hunting disarmed enemy team members as on many other maps, without keeping well clear of the bomb.
- On the other hand, a lot of players love to deliberately get themselves blown up or hurl themselves into the insta-kill pit that results, whether they win or lose.
- A slightly more evil variety: enemy taunt-kills still can kill you during the post-match time. Even if said enemies lost the round and are thus in "Humiliation" mode, without their weapons.
- There's also the Dead Ringer, an unlockable for the Spy that turns the next hit on the Spy into a fake kill, complete with death icon in the corner of the screen, point scores, Achievements, and everything else that goes with a kill. So while your opponent thinks they've killed you, you're getting away under a cloak...
- In Perfect Dark Zero, after defeating Killian's gunship, it will try to kamikaze into you as a Last Ditch Move, but the real Kaizo trap is his reinforcements, which can still kill you after you beat him.
- In the "Door To Chthon" level of Quake, you reach what appears to be the exit door, but the lights turn on to reveal a Shambler, with the true exit behind it.
- A rare glitch in Gears Of War 2 actually inverts this: During the opening cutscene for the chapter "Digging In", one of the mortar shells that rain down on your squad may actually hit them, instead of missing them as is scripted. So, your entire squad will be downed right at the start of the mission, before you even engage any enemies.
- Doom also did this - in the first game, a secret level was an exact duplicate of the first map in the episode, until you stepped on the exit tile... and had the strongest enemy in the game appear from behind fake walls. The second game pulled a similar trick in the first map of Final Doom, but only had basic enemies in the pit you get lowered into when you try to exit the level. Doom II had a nasty section in the aptly named 'Tricks and Traps'' map - the final corridor to the exit lowers into an inescapable lava pool unless you know to run full pelt along it. The first time you play it, expect to reload.
- Similar to the Wolfenstein 3D example below, the Hell Keep level had a false exit that dumped you into a pit full of enemies. Doom in general features a few occasions where the "exit" door hid an enemy or the switch inside opened the room to reveal an even larger than normal horde.
- In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, after a boss battle with Princess, some sort of several story-tall undead naked mole-rat-looking... thing, she/it will take one last swipe at you as she falls back in her pit. This is especially dickish, considering one of the strategies for fighting her best is to stay close to the pit. Although if you do this, the last hit won't matter much whether it hits you or not.
- In TimeSplitters 2 the heli on the first stage can still vape you before you hit the portal if you both fire missiles at once, or worse, if it fires after you do. You see the explosion of yours, but not the trail of the missile it's covering... until it's too late. (Not to mention Russian guards will still spawn until you actually step into the portal. Thankfully you are ALWAYS invulnerable upon entering/falling through a portal.)
- Portal played with this at the end of Test Chamber 19. As you are being congratulated (rather sadistically), the platform you are standing on moves you to the "last" room, which turns out to be a fire pit. Escaping from this trap gives you the actual story and ending. (Historically, some players have thought the game ended with this trap.note )
- Wolfenstein 3D had a couple of levels with fake elevator doors that hid carnage (E1M10 comes most immediately to mind), and a lot of levels where the elevator itself housed an enemy or several (Oh god E4M8).
- The first boss of the original Descent sometimes decides to fire an instant-death missile barrage right when you kill it. Also, all bosses explode when defeated, potentially taking you with them if you're low on shields. Keep in mind that every boss is a Load-Bearing Boss and the Self-Destruct Mechanism will start upon destroying them, so getting killed immediately afterwards results in your inventory being incinerated in the mine explosion. A few levels also have monster closets that activate after you blow the reactor.
- Some levels cross this with Schmuck Bait; sometimes you'll notice a switch inside the exit tunnel. Shooting it will do one of two things: unlock a nearby secret (which is usually obvious) or open up a Monster Closet right over your head (which is usually NOT obvious). The Kaizo Trap part comes in with how the game stages it; the first few times you encounter this, the former happens, so you're not as likely to suspect the trap before hittiing that switch.
- Left 4 Dead and especially the sequel has this depending on how sadistic the AI Director is feeling. See the safe room? Think you are safe? Say hi to the Tank or Witch waiting inside for you. This is specifically designed into The Church's crescendo event. Thankfully now It Was His Sled that the church guy turns into an Infected (and only a normal Special Infected).
- It's a common misconception that the church guy turns into a Tank or a Witch. The guy has a 50% chance of turning into a Boomer, a 25% chance of becoming a Smoker, and 25% chance of becoming a Hunter
Hack and Slashers
- After defeating the Armadillo in Ninja Gaiden II, the camera zooms in so you can get a nice view of the thing dying... in an explosion big enough to kill you no matter where you are in the arena. The only way to survive is to abandon logic and block the explosion using that slender katana of yours (or whichever weapon you've been using).
- Can also been seen in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword. The final boss fight consists of stunning the boss over and over so you can hit him while he's down. When he has just a sliver of health, attacking him will stun him as it usually does... but approach this time, and he'll unleash an incredibly quick instant-kill attack which he's never used before.
- In the first NES game, after defeating the Final Boss's first phase, its head flies off at you, and there's no way to avoid taking a hit.
- EA's Lord of the Rings: Return of the King has a level where you fight the King of the Dead. You'll think you've won when the King swears to aid you... and then the tunnels begin to collapse around you.
- In Night Trap, it's possible to get a Game Over during the intro simply by doing nothing, with no clue that it's going to happen. This was actually quite common with a lot of Sega CD FMV games back then.
- After beating the final boss of Brain Dead 13, there is one last action sequence while everything is blowing up before the final cutscene. Not only can the player die during this sequence, but no attempt is made to hide the cruelty: the player dies by a piano inexplicably falling on their head.
- Dragon's Lair 2 has two Kaizo Traps; one in Level 6 and one in the last level.
- The first game, if set to Hard, also has a Kaizo Trap. As soon as Dirk kills the Bat King, if you think it's over, then the bats have a chance of making you lose a life.
- In World of Warcraft, after she's defeated, Vanessa VanCleef will activate one last set of explosives. In the original version, you had to swing off the boat like you did at 50% and 25% of her health, but in the current version, you have to run away from her.
- In Ether Saga Odyssey, normally killing the main boss in a dungeon will despawn everything, including traps, and you win. However, in 12 room dungeons, traps will spawn at an even faster rate. Healers that have never entered a 12 room dungeon will be caught off guard by this, and will likely die.
- In Video Game/Elsword Boss of the second dungeon in Hamel Village may sometimes do a Last Ditch Move in the form of an ice beam. If player is caught by it, it may drain their remaining health resulting in character death. Even max level players can sometimes die from the attack.
- Named for the infamous Kaizo Mario World, a Super Mario World romhack, which is known for being extremely difficult, and for taking advantage of the fact that Mario can die during the victory strut after beating the stage, requiring the player to find out how to defuse the trap before walking through the end of the level.
- See here for a Let's Play of one of the levels. It's both messed up and hilarious.
- Kaizo actually subverts the trap in world 1-3, to surprise those who have heard of the trap before playing the hack.
- Inverted in this hack, much to the amusement of the commentator. Even more amazingly, his decision to "humor" the creator of the hack led to him discovering the trick!
- There's an insane twist on the Kaizo Trap in the hack shown in this video, where you have to defuse the trap, then hope the blocks switch back to coins just before a certain point before you fall to your death.
- There are plenty of other Super Mario World hacks that make use of Kaizo Traps, along with other creative uses of the engine, and unbelievably impressive 16-bit music to boot. Cool or Cruel (MAKJANG QUALITY) has a particularly cruel trap towards the end of level five. The correct solution? Use a mushroom to glitch through the floor shortly prior to that, which counts as a secret exit instead of death by bottomless pit.
- In the original Super Mario World, after you defeated Big Boo, you had to land on solid ground before the victory would register. Some hacks use this to make the fight much harder by only giving the player 3 blocks, or just one throwable object that doesn't break (such as a key). This not only forces them to score a hit with every block while flying with the cape, but they also have to run into either wall in a way that would allow them to wall jump after the last hit, since there won't be any solid ground left, but the wall jump glitch works by making the game register as Mario being on solid ground for a split-second.
- One of the levels in a Kaizo-style hack of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest uses such a trap to return you to the start of the level, when it looks like you've made it.
- There are several Kaizo Traps in Rob Omb's Quest, an old Super Mario World hack starring a Bob-Omb. One level focuses on putting a bunch of goal spheres everywhere so that they're basically instant death. Another level, Castle Moat, has you go through an entire level and forces you to be small at the end. If you don't bring in a Spring Board from the beginning of the level (So it can turn you big so you don't fall into the lava), you fall in the pit of lava.
- The secret level "Old Aquaria" in The Second Reality Project 2 contains one of these as part of the level's puzzle.
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a glitch where you can die during the credits!
- The hidden ending suddenly becomes a lot funnier with this glitch in mind, as this video demonstrates.
- Also, Timed Missions in Super Mario Galaxy 2 stop the timer whenever a cutscene occurs in which the star appears (for example, upon collecting the 100th Purple Coin or defeating the boss). However, bosses often reel from the final hit for a second or so before the actual cutscene starts, so if you defeat a boss at the last second, that moment of "Phew, just barely made it!" can quickly turn into "Aw, crap!" Still, it's preferable to the first Super Mario Galaxy, where timers continued ticking until the moment you touched the star.
- The Grand Master Galaxy has one of these, right after you complete the cloud section, you come to a flip to switch block section, Guess what you still probably have? You will be trying to use clouds and fall because you swap the blocks. Damn You, Muscle Memory
- And while we are on Mario... In a romhack of Super Mario 64, called Kaizo Mario 64, the Kaizo Trap is inverted. You don't die in the ending cutscene, but during the level opening, unless you pushed the red cap switch.
- At the end of the final level of Super Mario Bros. 3, because of the huge hole Bowser made in the floor after being defeated, it's actually possible to fall in it and die. This was fixed in the GBA remake, however.
- In Mario Forever, in the secret goomba party level (a level where it's literally raining goombas), after finishing the level, a goomba can fall on you during the victory animation and kill you.
- Mario Adventure has you fighting a Boom-Boom at the end of almost every level. Some have several Boom-Booms, and it's a bad idea to pick up the mushroom they drop while there is still a Boom-Boom left, because you're vulnerable but motionless while the victory music plays. If you're not powered up and/or the surviving Boom-Booms aren't of the flying variety, you'll probably get killed.
- At the end of the credits of I Wanna Be the Guy, a slowly-falling Delicious Fruit descends upon The Kid. If you don't move him out of the way, GAME OVER - PRESS 'R' TO TRY AGAIN.
- I Wanna Be The Fangame had a secret Eversion-themed area in the middle of the Super Mario Bros section. When you reach the end and un-evert, one last Devil Hand pops out of the water pit, potentially splattering the Kid and giving the player the finger.
- Fake credits roll in the middle of the final boss battle of Donkey Kong Country.
- Despite not generally being too difficult, Sonic the Hedgehog has this a few times.
- In Sonic Adventure, Sonic's final boss enemy, the Egg Viper, once defeated, will fly around, on fire, for a while, and then crash into the stage, and instantly kill you by bringing you with it into a bottomless pit. Not only is this probably unsuspected for first time players, but if you spend too long defeating it earlier, it can actually destroy enough of the stage beforehand that there's no way to avoid dying later. However, Tikal will warn the player of the final attack before it happens.
- Some levels in the 16-bit Sonic games feature boss fights over bottomless pits, where the player can fall in and die, even after landing the final hit on the level boss. This includes Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Angel Island Zone Act 2 in Sonic 3, and the final boss of Death Egg Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- The Sonic & Knuckles final boss will actually kill you with your final hit if you attack from the rear and bounce back just as the screen stops scrolling forward.
- Not just deathpits, either - were you a bit too hasty leaving the scene of the Metropolis Zone boss? It might just come back to bite ya!
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: In the battle against the final Egg Mech, he makes a last ditch effort to crush you. You have to score one last hit after he lands, or the floor will collapse, sending you to your doom.
- Very nearly happens in Sonic Adventure 2 at Metal Harbor. Possibly on purpose by the designers. You're going so fast that when Sonic goes into the Goal Ring, he'll nearly fall off the edge; luckily, the screen fades to white for the results screen before this can happen.
- Happens twice in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). The Egg Genesis will try to crash into you and the Egg Wyvern will try to take you down with it. A glitch can actually let you be killed by the Egg Genesis but still complete the boss.
- In the first Mega Man game, you have to collect items that the bosses drop, and projectiles don't disappear after defeat. That means that you can die right after defeating a boss and have to try again if you don't avoid that one last projectile. Which was problematic considering you couldn't move.
- In Mega Man 2, in the third Wily's fortress level. You're coming from the top with a ladder, have to wait for a platform to come (and said platform is far and slow), and floating enemies are approching you faster. Chances are that you'll want to switch to the Leaf Shield so the enemy dies while you wait for the platform. Guess what? Switching weapons makes you fall from ladders. If you're not prepared and don't press up right after you close the menu, you die. And it's the first time in the game (very close to the end) that you meet a configuration like this, so you CAN'T be prepared.
- Mega Man & Bass does it too. While you are safe from projectiles after defeating a boss, a cage boss has a trap in store for you. After you defeat it, the platform you had to be on to damage him will fall into the acid. If you fall in, you instantly die, despite it only doing some damage in the middle of the actual battle.
- Speaking of Kaizo Traps, this YouTube user decided to take advantage of a Mega Man 3 mechanic, where if you're not in the middle of a room when you defeat a boss, you fall right into a pit. You can find it here.
- In Mega Man 10, one of the fortress bosses combines the Yellow Devil with that boss from Mega Man 2 who comes out from the floor and walls. Part of what made the 2 boss easy was, while he came from the floor, the floor remained there. THIS boss creates Bottomless Pits when it flies out. And after you kill it, all the purple blocks in the room disappear. If you're not standing on a pink block and you don't have Beat, you'll die after you kill it. Made more annoying if you've beaten the game on Easy and are trying it on Normal. On Easy, the blocks leave behind platforms you can walk on, like in 2. Considering it can be That One Boss if you don't know the pattern, and on Easy just spamming weapons wins most of the time, chances are it'll crush you even more.
- Once you win the second Boss Battle with Phantom in Mega Man Zero, he self-destructs to take you with him. Hope you weren't standing close. (Or had spare health, it's not an instant kill.)
- Your Traintop Battle with Panther Flauclaws in the second game has you both leaping between trains to dodge attacks. Hope you weren't in the air between trains when you defeat him, as a glitch causes you to fall straight down when you do. (That is an instant kill).
- Also in the second game, you have to fight Herculious and Kuwagust Anchortus together. Once you deplete both their lifebars, don't get confident, because they'll try to catch you in one last pincer attack before exploding.
- Better land on a platform after slicing Pegasolta Eclair in half. He still mocks you if you die, despite being completely in two. At least you can control your descent, and can actually keep him floating in air in his death position by repeatedly wall jumping.
- Ganbare Goemon 4 has tanuki statues serving as the goal. If you break one, your character goes on his victory animation, but you lose control on it. This can be problematic considering you have long-range projectile weapons, and as this is the hardest SFC entry, with many enemies littering the screen, it is entirely possible to hit the statue with projectiles (which can be reflected by the walls) and fall to get killed during your victory motion by the bottom edge of the screen, treated by the game as a Bottomless Pit, as scrolling camera is no longer working! Oh, and due to a glitch, if you die this way, you instantly lose all your lives regardless of how many you had initially! Good times indeed.
- Death from Castlevania tends to be one of these for the simple reason that, while most bosses' projectiles disappear when they bite the dust, Death's mini-sickles don't. It is possible to actually die from contact with one of them, so don't forget to take the Death Ring off...
- Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow has no mini-scythes during phase two of the Death fight, but instead you have to dodge the gigantic double-bladed scythe that goes flying upon Death's defeat.
- In the sequel, Dawn of Sorrow, certain attacks would continue even after you successfully sealed a boss. Death's skulls were by far the biggest offender, as trying to dodge a giant flying skull immediately after drawing a complex pattern on the touchscreen is easier said than done. There's a reason the Magic Seal is the Scrappy Mechanic of Dawn.
- In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, many bosses will get a final shot at you after their life bar is depleted; though this can't actually kill you (the exception being Shaft at the end of Stage 6, though this was fixed in the remake), they can reduce the level's "vitality bonus" to one and deny you the extra life you'd normally get for killing them without taking damage.
- In Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, after defeating Beelzebub, there is usually one last swarm of flies coming to kill you.
- In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Death's other attacks continue when he dies if they are in use, not just the scythes. If you have the red skull swirl or the giant scythe attack at you, you better hope you don't have the aforementioned Death Ring equipped. Here it is in action.
- In Super Castlevania IV, if you defeat Dracula with only a few seconds left on the timer, you will die before his extremely long death animation finishes and you have to fight him again.
- At the end of Level 1 in Syobon Action, if you jump onto the flagpole normally, a bomb falls on you and kills you during the end sequence. You have to jump over the flagpole, then onto it from the other side. Level 2 also has a moving fake flagpole that kills you if you touch it (except on the top). Level 3 has a throwing guy at the end which throws you off the stage, or even if you try to wait for him to walk off the cliff, he throws a goal away instead. In Level 4, the boss is a weird chicken guy, and you're supposed to skip it by using a throwing guy. Even more in the version with 4 more stages, including, but not restricted to a sinking floor after flag pole.
- La-Mulana: In the WiiWare remake, two of the bosses do this. During Baphomet's death animation, massive pillars of flame will erupt from the ground, covering most of the screen, and you'll very likely get hit and possibly die if you don't hide out on the very edge of the boss room. Palenque, during his death animation, will leap out of the cockpit of his ancient war machine and explode, killing you instantly if you don't attack him with your main weapon before he detonates himself.
- In Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts, the deliberately awful mini-game "Hero Klungo Saves Teh World" has an attempted Kaizo Trap at the end of the last non-boss stage, where Klungo falls into a pit right after you pass the finish line. It's "attempted" because you still get credit for completing the level, but since the whole mini-game is a parody of 8-bit Platform Hell, it was probably meant as a subtle Shout-Out to the original.
- The fourth boss in Super Meat Boy qualifies if you try to dodge the boss's hands by bouncing off the really low placed walls (with special timing, of course). Do this long enough without dying, and the scene slowly fades to white, indicating that you beat the boss. If you're still floating above the lava during this sequence, however, you won't be able to hop back onto the platform, and then you'll fall to your death and possibly ragequit.
- However, the player can simply avert the trope by pausing the game right as the boss begins to move. The boss will complete his attack animation and Meat Boy won't be killed. The boss will then proceed to idle until the game is unpaused. The entire battle can be won in this way, actually, making this a huge game breaker, simply due to the fact that you don't have to do anything other than pause at the proper moments to win.
- In The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout, there is one part where you can get killed by a football thrown by Taz after you defeat him if Taz throws one before he is defeated.
- In earlier versions of Eversion, the Bonus Stage had one final hand just before the goal that would pop up if the current world was X-5 or higher. Later versions changed this so that the hand unexpectedly appeared close to the end even in bright and happy World X-1, but popped out too fast to actually kill the PC. Still quite a shocker for first-time players, however.
- In World 1-2 of the Makjang Science map-pack of mari0, there's a Kaizo Trap in the form of a trampoline/firebar trap◊. Mario strolls over to the elevator after using the flagpole and then a hidden trampoline launches him at a firebar.
- In World 1-4 of the Makjang Science map-pack, Mario easily beats Bowser with his usual method. However, Mario walks towards the Toad, not realizing that there's a laser in the way.◊
- Hawkmouth, the end of level gates, in Super Mario Bros. 2 normally lets you move on to the next level by picking up the crystal ball and jumping into its mouth. The final one in the game comes to life instead and attacks you, but hitting it a few times will force it to open its mouth.
- There are Marble Blast Gold custom-made levels where the finish pad is placed inside an "out of bounds" trigger. As a result, hitting it too slowly causes the game to reset just as you hit the finish.
- Indie game Toki Tori ran a crossover promotion with Portal 2 by providing a GLaDos-themed level pack. The penultimate one of these requires you to collect the last egg by dropping into it over a spike pit. The player can be forgiven for not knowing you can die during the victory animation, as all other "close call" last eggs were next to enemies (who give up and leave upon your win) rather than spikes.
Real Time Strategy
- Red Alert 2 continued to check lose conditions after the win condition was met, even though the controls locked up and a banner covering half the screen saying Mission Complete popped up along with cheering sounds. Since the normal lose condition was losing all your units or the destruction of your entire base, the developers probably just didn't test the possibility, since the enemy would have to complete their mission in about 7 seconds after you finished yours. The problem was that there were Allied missions with a special agent who must not die, and while she was strong, she couldn't take on tanks. The cheering continues, but the lose banner suddenly appears over the win banner and the mission restarts...
- The penultimate Soviet mission of RA1 combines this trope with blatant Rail Roading — your objective is stated to be "capture the chronosphere", but if you do so, the mission fails. The actual win condition is to destroy everything else except the chronosphere, after which you are treated to a cutscene of the device exploding anyway.
- And Red Alert 3 continues the tradition in the Allied campaign with "A Monument to Madness". After completing the mission objective, a major target (that must remain alive up until this point) Chronoshifts from wherever it is to an airstrip on the southern end of the map between the two allied bases, where the target changes to a transport helicopter. If you didn't get that the enemy turrets were there for a reason and didn't station units there, well...
- As mentioned in Credits Gag, the Tetris: The Grand Master arcade games continue the game with invisible pieces during the credits. In the second game in the series, losing it doesn't matter unless you already have the second-highest rank (in which case surviving it will give the highest rank). In the third, just surviving it isn't enough; you have to play so well during the credits that the highest rank has only been attained by three people.
- A bonus move during the end of Space Channel 5 is thrown into the end of the credits, often catching players off guard.
- Along with that, anytime you face off against Purge. He'll usually have some trick up his sleeve.
- The entire Bemani family of rhythm games love to put notes after the perceived ends of some of the more challenging songs.
- Since the introduction of the Freeze Arrow in DDRMAX, many Dance Dance Revolution songs end with a Freeze Arrow, often on a jump on left and right. So In The Groove has some harder songs that end on a similar looking hold jump, only to have a set of mines at the very end right after the hold ends. This was the cause of the infamous "800$ BOOM" (and in turn the "800$ <name of mistake>" Memetic Mutation), when a player in the finals of a tournament was leading and let his guard down at the last hold, only to hit the mines to ruin his perfect score and lose the match because of it, netting him the 2nd place $200 prize instead of the 1st place $1000.
- Another case, most likely unintentional, occurs in RED ZONE in DDR SuperNOVA. First of all, the song is 1:48 long when most songs in previous DDR installments are around 1:30. Secondly, the song has what could be mistaken for an outro at 1:29, and the Expert step chart has a left+right Freeze Arrow at that point. In Konami's official US national tournament in 2009, the regional qualifier tournament in Texas saw a player who was leading at that point, hit the Freeze Arrow and thought the song was over, then missed about 4 steps afterwards to lose the match.
- Less difficult songs only have one last jump at very high speed after you think that the song is over.
- Custom stepchart maker Family Farce bred his own Kaizo trap in the Tsu...mush series from Hopscotch Mix. Both Tsutsugamush and Tsupseudogamush end with three notes in quick succession, usually charted as a left/right, up/down, left/right. For the third in the series, Tsuhsuixamush, the last jump is replaced with a massive stream of mines, which, through a glitch involving negative BPM, appear instantly and instead of the last jump. If you know it's there, it's trivial to avoid, but if not, have fun trying again!
- Tohoku Evolved has one of the nastier ones. The song ends on a freeze jump at 340bpm. 5 seconds later, a random corner jump flies up at 1020bpm!
- PARANOiA Revolution has a freeze jump that supposedly concludes the song at 1:40, about the length of a regular DDR song, and the background fades out to the album art (usually a sign that the song is over). The announcer goes "I'm so impressed I could cry. Thank you very much for your best dance!" THEN the background fades back in and the song delivers 2 more bars of notes.
- The reference is extended in Expert difficulty: the stepchart is made of fragments of boss song stepcharts, and the real ending uses part of Valkyrie dimension's expert chart - another song known for an unexpected and difficult ending.
- Multiple songs in pop'n music feature the "Ninja Hero Ending", named after the first song to do so; after the end, an extra group of notes drops in at blistering speed. Normally, these notes won't fail you unless you were near the cutoff point to begin with, but a few (Sonatina Tronica EX from Fantasia comes to mind), they are long and complex enough to make you flatline.
- The "Abbey Road Medley" from The Beatles: Rock Band. After going through over 16 minutes of a collection of songs, "The End" is the official final song of the medley. Guitar and Vocal players will be WTF-faced after a surprise final song suddenly barges in as they celebrate completing the longest Guitar Hero/Rock Band song in history. Not only that, but the 27 second song has proven to be more challenging than the rest. Those who made it past "The End" on low health and had not mastered "Her Majesty" will fail out and will want to swear at Sir James there.
- However, the drummers and bassists get to sit back and enjoy everyone else's pain.
- Mind, those Genre Savvy enough will avoid the trap: "Her Majesty" is a hidden track on the album, placed after "The End".
- And players of the Wii version wonder what all the fuss is about, as they got this content in the form of five separate songs instead of one big one. "Her Majesty" is one of the five all by itself, and as such has its own loading screen.
- In standard Rock Band, the DLC song "Under My Wheels (Live)" seems to end, has Alice Cooper say "Thank you Birmingham!"... and THEN the ending to the song plays. Hopefully you haven't relaxed, especially considering how tough the song is.
- That's not the only song that has a piece after you think you've played the ending chord. A large number of the higher-end songs have a small solo after the seemingly final chord that can kill you if you, for example, had grabbed something to eat/drink after hitting the note.
- Not to mention that quite a few Guitar Hero/Rock Band songs have "Cap Notes", where a sustain at the end of the song has a note immediately afterwards, usually on the same fret as the sustain. This can be especially grating if you are going for an FC run and completely forget that there is an extra note after the final sustain of the song.
- Sometimes used in the Rhythm Heaven series. In Rhythm Heaven for the DS, this happens in the very first game. The screen blacks out and the song seemingly ends, only to keep on going, leaving you with only a tiny peephole to see what you're doing. But Remix 10 from Rhythm Heaven Fever takes the cake. Like in the other games in the series, the song is a compilation of all the minigames you've played before, and it ends in a familiar way with the same minigame you started with. After finishing, the music stops and it seems like it's the end, but then it starts up again for an extra bit. Then, the music dies down naturally, your character starts leaving, and the screen fades out... only to start back up AGAIN for one more round.
- The Mecha-Drago from MOTHER 3 is a tough fight already. But just to add insult to injury, it explodes on death, causing your health to rapidly tick down during the post-battle summation sequence, and, if you don't mash the A button fast enough, actually die and have to do it all over again.
- There are actually several enemies that do that in the Mother series, like the Territorial Oaks and Nuclear Reactor Robots.
- Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete: You defeat the Magic Emperor Ghaleon. You go to walk up the steps to your girlfriend aka the goddess Althena, currently gone evil thanks to Ghaleon. You forget to play your ocarina before getting up there. ZAP. Particularly annoying since, in an earlier dream sequence, you had to keep advancing towards Luna while she throws lightning bolts at you to complete it, and many players assumed the same principle applied.
- In the original Saturn version, it was possible to make this unwinnable if you had transferred the ocarina into someone else's inventory (since Alex is all alone when he goes up there). This was fixed in the PS1 version where it's impossible to take it out of Alex's inventory.
- Not completely fixed. You could transfer the ocarina to Nall in the demo version. Then transfer that save to the full game. Oops!
- This "trap" is derived from the actual "original" release of the game on the Sega CD/Mega Drive, though Alex played a harp rather than an ocarina. The player does get a bit of a warning by way of non-lethal (but still HP damaging) zaps, but failure to play the harp before reaching Luna always results in a final fatal strike.
- Thankfully, Harmony spares you — all the lightning ever does is knock you down.
- It spares you in two different ways, since the inventory is now Bag of Sharing style.
- The cutscene of the dragon boss dying at the end of the first area in Phantasy Star Online notably has you retain control over your characters. This is because it can (and likely will if it's your first clear) fall on them during its death throes, possibly killing them. In fact, the Ultimate-difficulty version of this is the most powerful attack in the game.
- At a point in Final Fantasy XII, the player slogs through a long dungeon and a difficult battle in a chamber, only to get to the other side and find a save point waiting. But then you approach the save point and SURPRISE! It's a monster!
- At least the game warns you, though, considering that the save points in question are green, in contrast to the normal save points that are blue or orange.
- A potential one in the Stilshrine of Miram. After fighting the Esper, Mateus, you get the Plot Coupon you were there for, and start heading for a Way Stone, to get out of the Stilshrine. But the nearest Stone leads to a location near the entrance... and it's flanked by a couple of Reapers. Normally, they're just a challenge, but after fighting an Esper, there is the possibility of not saving, healing, etc, which has been known to take players off guard. Having said that, this is a fairly tame example of a Kaizo trap, compared to many other examples on this page.
- The same happens in Chrono Trigger in the 2300 A.D. sewers, where the "Ding!" of the save point catches the attention of some merman enemies. If you didn't go through here on your first trip through the future, however, you'll likely be at a high enough level that it's not all that deadly.
- Monster Hunter had this, though it doesn't involve starting over. If you capture a medium or large-sized monster, like a Wyvern, it can do damage to you if it falls on you. If you have low enough health to get knocked out by this, you will lose 1/3 of your Reward, even though the quest completes itself about 5 seconds later. This can also happen if you've killed only 1 out of 2 or more Wyverns in one quest, thus not giving you a Quest Complete.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has an example with the Dark Star's Taking You with Me attack. You see, once you beat him, the battle doesn't just end, he turns into a black hole and tries to suck in the player characters, forcing you to hammer A or B to get Mario and Luigi off screen. Fail to do so and you probably will die from the huge damage this final attack does (unless you're at a really high level or have defense-aiding items).
- Final Fantasy VI had the Magic Master, who casts Ultima when his HP reaches 0. This will likely kill everyone in your party, but there's a few ways around it: cast Reraise on at least one person, deplete Magic Master's MP with Rasp or Osmose, summon Quetzalli and kill him while at least one person is still in the air, or just hit the HP cap and keep everyone fully healed.
- If you have the wrong party in endgame Oracle of Tao, even if you win, the final boss, during a plot event, does a final blast where he tries to kill off everyone in the universe. You get a bad ending even if someone survives, just for not qualifying for a better ending, but if everyone dies... the ending is very depressing.
- In Half Minute Hero, certain stages contain these. For instance, one stage involves a situation where criminals have taken over a town by cutting off the current with a boulder, meaning the town can't fish and food prices are astronomical. What you are supposed to do is fight the Load-Bearing Boss in the boulder cave, destroying the boulder and releasing the current, allowing you an abundance of free healing items while you grind to the boss's level; but you can completely avoid him, grind your level a little bit and fight the pitifully weak boss. If you choose this option, the fisherman taking you to the next stage loses control of his boat in the currents and a short Non-Standard Game Over cutscene plays showing the Hero living on a desert island for the rest of his life.
Run And Gun
- After a fairly easy boss fight, the fourth stage boss of Gunstar Heroes throws a magical gem (the MacGuffin you've been searching for) to you. Savvy players will wonder: 'Doesn't this sequence usually happen in a cutscene? Why do I still have control of my character?' Less savvy players will be blown the hell up. Beating on or shooting the boss's grovelling form a bit more (or a lot more) induces him to cough up the real gem.
Shoot 'Em Ups
- In many Shoot Em Ups, after you beat certain bosses, such as Gradius II's first boss and Raidens second boss, their exploding wreckage remains on the screen for you to crash into. Also, with Raidens third boss, the screen keeps scrolling and enemies continue to spawn and attack after you defeat it.
- 1943 for the NES has every ship boss at the end of a level. On defeat, their control tower will explode into harmful wreckage. This trope can apply to the the Final Boss; you're probably out of fuel (one more hit will down you), and you're relieved that you managed to beat it — just remember to stay far from the thing or shoot the damn wreckage as it comes.
- Musha on the Genesis can kill you after the apparent end of the game, though you get a lot of points at that moment and will probably end up with an extra life, so even if you don't notice it, you probably won't lose the game.
- In the Touhou series, very few of the games wipe the bullets as soon as a boss is defeated. Before Mountain of Faith, the player was given invulnerability during bosses' defeat explosions.note However, the game engine was rewritten for Mountain of Faith and the invulnerability was left out, so the trope is in full force from MoF onwards. This makes it possible to get hit by a bullet and die after the final boss has just been defeated.
- It's even worse during the final boss battle in Subterranean Animism, because the last card of the final boss sucks you in while forcing you to avoid bullets shot by her and coming from behind you. When she's exploding, the effect still lingers, but your player character moves in slow-motion so you have to carefully adjust your position one last time or use a bomb. Otherwise...
- In Perfect Cherry Blossom, the Berserk Merlin Game-Breaking Bug, which desynchronizes her from the other two bosses during the last spellcard, will also cause her to kill you during the ending conversation and stage results, when the player can't move.
- In Star Fox 64, the boss of Zoness can still hurt you as it goes down. Getting hit by its final laser will only do a little damage, so unless you're on the verge of death, it's no big deal. Getting hit with debris from the spiked ball cannon flying off, on the other hand, will wreck your wings in Expert mode — just like every other hazard.
- In Gradius IV, after you defeat the already That One Boss boss of the Cell Stage, it turns into the Zelos Force from Salamander and fires an omnidirectional beam spam before exploding.
- After the first loops of Gradius games, almost every enemy will fire bullets after the player shoots them down, including bosses. The frequency and density of these bullets increase with each loop.
- After defeating the final boss in Salamander, the player must pilot the Vic Viper to safety past a series of quickly closing gates that leave you only just enough room to fly through. If you are not at the top of the screen for the third to last one, it will close completely before you can react.
- After defeat, Guardian's Knight in Thunder Force V would fire a HUGE ASS Wave Motion Gun right before he explodes into pieces. If you didn't stay at the top or bottom of the screen, there goes your life (and your equipped weapon, and all your CRAWs).
- The second boss of Super Spy Hunter charges towards you after you defeat it and will instantly kill you if it makes contact.
- In the flash game Ultimate Crab Battle, killing the boss while leaving one of his laser-shooting Elite Mooks alive results in an Unwinnable game, because they keep shooting you during his final speech, and you don't have invincibility during it. And getting killed and continuing will not save you from this fate, either.
- The entire point of the spikes in Tempest; if you touch them during the between-level space warp, you die.
- When defeating the Mini-Boss Salamander in Einhander, keep away from it. It may be flailing around like a drowning man, but those long arms can hit you and kill you if you stay too near!
- In Punch-Out!! for the Wii, Aran Ryan literally throws (well... swings) one last punch (well... boxing glove on a rope) every time he's knocked down during Title Defense. Fortunately, the cheap hit can't knock you down, and thus you can't lose directly from getting hit by it. In fact, throw a Star Punch as he begins the swing and he'll get knocked into the ropes for an instant KO.
- It's not the first time he's done it: in the SNES version, he'd fake falling down every time he was hit with a KO punch, then turn, try to grab you, and launch a flurry of punches.
- In Metal Gear Solid, once the Ninja's life gets to zero, the boss music stops, but he's not quite defeated yet, and can still kill you with his force field.
- Assassin's Creed II has a variation of this during the Emilio Barbarigo assassination. Basically Emilio has a boat on its way to take him out of the city, and you have to infiltrate his home and kill him before he escapes. Naturally, the easiest method would be to board the boat and wait for it to take you to him, right? PROBLEM: The moment the boat docks, the game already counts it as a Mission Failed, so even if you assassinate him before he touches the boat, the game will still tell you "Emilio has escaped" and desynchronize you, although you're still treated to the post-assassination speech.
- In the first Splinter Cell game, the end of one of the late-game missions tasks you with protecting several hostages, possibly with the help of hacked turrets. After you kill a group of mercenaries, their boss and a few of his friends come down to finish the job. Your objective is to kill him; it ideally doesn't matter whether his mercenaries die or not. However, if you don't, you can die during the transition to the mission complete screen.
- In Resident Evil 4, the Gigantes will fall forward after the final blow. If Leon's close enough when this happens, then you have to do a Quick Time Event to dodge, or else You Are Dead. Also, after a player defeats the first boss, Del Lago, and has perhaps laid the controller down to enjoy the hard earned cutscene, there is a one-button action prompt that will result in instant death if missed.
- There's also another point where you fight two of them at once. You can lure them over a trap door that is right over molten metal. However if Leon is near the trap door after you sunk a Gigantes in, it'll grab Leon and drag him into the pit.
- A few other bosses in the series, such as the scorpion in Resident Evil 0, can kill you in their death throes if you're low on health.
- Ao Oni: After triggering the never-ending chase scene (present in all versions of the game) near the end, don't be fooled; the Oni will continue to follow you once you get out of the house — keep running.
Third Person Shooters
- Transformers: War for Cybertron. So you've just blasted Trypticon within an inch of his life, and he's hanging to the edge of a large hole he made in his anger. All he does is chuckle and slam his claw down to grab you, then fake falling to his death.
- But at least you get an achievement for getting hit by that.
- Due to how the engine of Gears of War renders cutscenes, it's possible to die without getting to touch the controller. For example: if an opening cutscene features randomly-fired mortar shots, and one of them lands close enough to one of the players, they could instantly die when the cutscene finishes and the action begins.