You're in the middle of a boss fight. It's taken you hours to grind your way up to a certain experience level, fight the enemies that came before the boss room, and fight the boss villain's five other incarnations
. Now you're at the final incarnation, with only one hit point remaining. Not to worry, you've got just enough health potions. Or so you think.
You whittle down the boss villain's energy, using up every single healing item in your inventory. You use the biggest attack spells you can muster, and the boss finally keels over...
But not before hurling a fireball at you.
Before you can have your victory celebration, the fireball kills you. You die. Game over. And you have to go through all that crap again. From the beginning of the level.
Sometimes you're supposed to die to this attack, and then it's a case of Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
. If it doesn't matter when in the fight you die anyway, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight
Often done by an Action Bomb
. Compare Kaizo Trap
. See also Taking You with Me
. The equivalent for the player characters is the Desperation Attack
Normal Enemy Examples:
- Final Fantasy VIII has some Mooks using an HP to One attack upon death as a plot point. It hits one character in the throat, and he can't speak afterwards.
- In Final Fantasy X, in the Bonus Dungeon and the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, there's a random encounter — not a boss, not even one in mook getup — called the Behemoth King. When killed, he attacks with the Meteor spell, and is very capable of killing the entire party if the player hasn't ground much. General strategy is to sacrifice an Aeon to deal the deathblow and take the punishment, or to try and arrange it so that the deathblow is dealt as a counterattack, as counters cannot themselves be countered again.
- Many, many enemies in Final Fantasy VI have some kind of final attack, but the most notable is the boss of the Cultist's Tower, MagiMaster, who casts Ultima when he dies, which is easily capable of killing your entire party. The trick here is to reduce his MP to zero, which also kills him and prevents him from casing Ultima in his death throws.
- Serious Sam has beheaded bombers who explode upon dying. Also, there are biomechanoids which shoot out the last projectile when falling down.
- League of Legends is a rare player example, having three champions with passives that allow them to deal one last blow post-mortem. Kog'Maw is able to still move around after death, detonating after a delay. Zyra transforms into a plant on death, and can fire a single parting shot before expiring. Karthus can still cast his own spells after dying, but renders him immobile. Usually, this is the perfect time to cast Requiem to massively damage every enemy on the map without fear of retaliation.
- The Mother series has trees that make Smokey the Bear's advice look bad, with how much they tend to blow up. At lower levels, this does enough damage to constitute a potential Total Party Kill — thankfully, the rolling HP system in the second and third games means you can save yourself by saving the tree for last and ending the battle quickly. The first game is not as forgiving in this aspect.
- The fuel robots also explode upon defeat, but are typically not encountered until later in the games, at a point where their explosions make them more Goddamned Bats instead of lethal threats. Thanks to their healing capabilities, their presence in the second and third games exist to punish those who decide to Shoot the Medic First.
- In Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360, there is a giant lava turtle that explodes when you kill it, and unless you are blocking, it will kill you as well.
- Dragon Age's Abominations explode into fireballs upon death.
- Bob-Ombs from the Mario games tend to explode when stomped, although there's usually a means of taking them out that doesn't set them off.
- In Super Mario RPG, the Drill Bits also charge into you and explode, a move simply called "Last shot!"
- Spelunky's fire frogs explode when killed. This can get you into trouble, too - especially if one blows up part of a shop. There are also flying saucers which explode upon getting hit on impact.
- The Spawn monsters from the original Quake are blobs that — that's right! — explode when killed. Combine that with their tendency to be incredibly hard to hit and get all up in your face, and you have a truly goddamned enemy to deal with.
- Some mooks in Quake II will, just before dying, spray one last round of bullets.
- Almost every Japanese soldier in Metal Slug 3 lights a stick of dynamite just before dying and then blows up.
- Doom 2's Pain Elementals release a handful of Lost Souls when they die.
- Too many normal enemies and bosses in World of Warcraft to count. One of the earliest and nastiest were the bat riders in Zul'Gurub, who at low health gave you about 2 seconds warning before exploding for enough damage to kill anyone but a well-equipped (for the time) tank.
- VOLTORB/GRAVELER/KOFFING/WEEZING/CLAYDOL/BOLDORE/DRIFBLIM used SELFDESTRUCT! (or EXPLOSION!)
- Debuting in Diamond and Pearl, Stunky/Skuntank and Drifloon/Drifblim can have the Aftermath ability that damages enemies upon KO. (One's a skunk and the other's a balloon; the idea is probably is that both are filled with volatile gasses and when they lose consciousness...)
- And of course, Struggle, which is used after you run out of PP for moves or are unable to use other moves due to a move like Encore. As of Gen 4, it always causes recoil damage equal to a quarter of the user's HP regardless of how much damage it deals to the target, meaing a 'mon reduced to using it won't be sticking around for much longer.
- Gen V introduced Final Gambit, which does damage equal to the user's HP and faints the user. Like with Self-Destruct and Explosion, items like Focus Band/Sash or the Sturdy ability on the user will not save it from fainting, though they may activate for the target.
- Grunts in Halo 3 go kamikaze with plasma grenades when desperate (eg if their leader is killed).
- Inverted in Fallout 3 with Broken Steel. Nuclear Anomaly, a level 30 perk, causes your character to release a nuclear explosion if you're reduced to 20 HP or less.
- Abominations in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 will explode upon death. Since they usually come grouped with husks, killing them at range can actually be a way of damaging all enemies around them.
- Electro armour enemies in the remake of Syndicate release an AOE electric attack when killed. One achievement requires you to use it to kill at least three other enemies. Reactive armours explode when killed, with another achievement requiring you to use it to kill at least one other enemy.
- It's a staple of Final Fantasy games that there will be at least one boss that casts Ultima (usually the strongest spell in the game) as it dies. In Final Fantasy IX, it's actually a minor plot point.
- Final Fantasy V has a few bosses that do this - most notable is the Purobolos, a Puzzle Boss where each of the six enemies cast a full-party revive spell upon defeat.
- And humorously subverted by the Minotaur in Fork Tower: it tries to cast Holy upon defeat, but since it's a physical-based boss, it doesn't have enough MP. Its counterpart Omniscient can and will cast Flare on death, though.
- In Final Fantasy VII, the "Final Attack" Materia gives the PCs this ability, activating whichever Materia is grouped with it. Leveling up the Materia lets it be used more than once per battle. And yes, this works with anything that revives the now-dead character, Phoenix being obviously the best choice.
- The Orc King in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles will run to the center of the arena and start glowing brighter and brighter when he gets low on health, which is your queue to finish him off as quickly as possible or take shelter in the very corners of the room, lest you get wiped out by the massive burst of energy he eventually unleashes.
- Many boss and miniboss monsters in the Diablo series have AoE elemental explosions that occur on death, which can be very nasty for Hard Core players.
- Diablo 2 has the random monster attributes Fire Enchanted and Cold Enchanted not only giving their wielders elemental damage of the respective type but upon death they pull off this trope: Fire Enchanted monsters cast Corpse Explosion on their own corpse while Cold Enchanted monsters fire off a Frost Nova. For low-level characters, the latter is VERY nasty as cold damage slows and such monsters rarely go solo.
- Player characters can acquire this via certain pieces of equipment, such as the unique Rainbow Facet jewels.
- In Punch-Out!! for the Wii, Aran Ryan has one of these. In the first round of Career Mode, every time you knock him down, he takes a swing at you which doesn't hit. However, in Title Defense mode, he has a boxing glove on a rope that he uses like a flail. When you knock him down, he brings out the glove on a rope and tries to whack you one more time before falling down. Of course, it's not really capable of turning the tables, because he can't knock you down with it, and if you time a Star Punch right you'll instantly knock him out.
- Pretty much every boss in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood throws out one last attack before they drop.
- Happens in Razing Storm when you defeat the Spider Tank boss via a Kill Sat. It drops to the ground (you're on a high platform connecting two skyscrapers) and fires out a TON of missiles in a bid to destroy the platform you and your squad are on, before exploding to bits. If you don't destroy enough of the missiles in time, you get a Nonstandard Game Over Downer Ending where your platform is destroyed and your entire squad falls to their death.
- Splatterhouse bosses like this. In the first game, the Boreworm fight sees you fighting a small army of boreworms - and once the boss music stops, the last one leaps out of a corpse on your right. The poltergeist boss, once defeated, ends the fight by dropping the chandelier.
- Played straight to the hilt with White, the final boss of the Playstation port of Real Bout Fatal Fury Special. At the end of the second round won against him, he shoots one last fireball out of his cane. Failure to dodge or low-block this fireball causes an instant KO, whereupon White gets up and wins the round.
- In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the Dark Star will create a black hole once its HP is depleted, prompting you to mash the A and B buttons to keep the bros. from being sucked into it (which will deal a most likely fatal amount of damage).
- The Egg Genesis boss in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) tries to crash into you after its health is depleted. It isn't a One-Hit KO however, rendering it somewhat ineffective if you have rings.
- By the time you've damaged the Egg Viper in Sonic Adventure beyond repair, Sonic is left on up to four suspended platforms above a large abyss. But in the words of Tikal, "Watch out! He's up to something!" The Egg Viper's last move is to home in on you and destroy one of the platforms. Jump out of the way, quick! Unless, of course, there's only one platform left, in which case there's nothing you can do.
- The Egg Wyvern in the already mentioned 2006 game is very much a homage of the Egg Viper, complete with it's own last ditch move. The Wyvern flies at the last platform Sonic is standing on, but all you need to do is just jump and hit it as it comes by and you've won, thankfully.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4's Final Boss does this. He attempts to smash you with its fist, but shakes the ground as a result. If you don't land the final hit on him fast enough, he'll break the floor open and lead you into a Bottomless Pit, costing you a life.
- The final bosses of Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure do it as well. The Egg King tries to crush the platform Sonic or Blaze is on by ramming into it three times. After the third time, you must jump onto its weak point before falling to your doom. The Ghost Titan fires two One-Hit Kill laser beams to the edges of Sonic/Blaze's platform and slowly aims them at the center of the stage as the robot collapses, and you must jump into its weak point when it becomes low enough to hit. Neither of these attacks are at all difficult to avoid, and they're probably just there to add tension.
- Crocomire will attempt to attack you as a skeleton in Super Metroid, but instead collapses and opens the way to new rooms.
- Done very, very annoyingly with the Mecha Drago in Mother 3. It's a Wake-Up Call Boss to begin with, but many, many people found defeat based solely on his "tumbling forward" attack, which happens right after you defeat him. To make matters worse, in past games, if a character fainted during the defeat animation, they would stay alive with 1 HP. Not in Mother 3.
- Runescape has Nex, which uses retribution prayer upon defeat, damaging everyone nearby. There are a few other bosses too.
- 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.