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Instant Lose Condition

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Last-second recovery of a failed objective is impossible.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Bauglir100 on Jan 21st 2019 at 10:21:03 PM
Last Edited By:
Bauglir100 on Feb 15th 2019 at 9:19:58 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A type of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Say a gate you're supposed to be protecting is destroyed, but there is only one very weak Mook left that could possibly go through the gate. Or the enemy has reached his destination after a long chase and you have a sniper rifle pointed at his head. Think you could just kill them, right? Wrong!

The game pulls the plug on your mission as soon as you screw up, and there's no way to make up for it except for starting all over from the beginning.

Compare We Cannot Go On Without You and You Can't Thwart Stage One. Contrast Instant-Win Condition, where the player irrevocably wins instead of the enemy.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Hack And Slash 
  • The video game adaptations of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Return Of The King both have a level where you are put in charge of protecting a wall and keeping the amount of enemies on the wall as low as possible. If the meter representing the number of enemies present gets too high, then you have to watch your character succumb to Cutscene Incompetence and get cut down by enemy Orcs.

    Role Playing Game 
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, the Demyx boss fights have a special gimmick where you must beat all of the water clones within the time limit or it's game over, even if there's only one left when you hit the time limit.
  • One mission in The Lord of the Rings: War in the North has your party protecting the gates of Nordinbad from an onslaught of Orcs and Olog-hai. If the gate is destroyed, then you fail the mission without any chance to pick off the remaining enemies before they can actually pass through the gate.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Shadows of the Empire has a level where you have to stop a swoop gang from reaching Luke Skywalker's hideout and killing him. You have to wreck every single swoop to succeed, or Luke dies, even if you reach Luke's hideout before they do.

    Unsorted 
  • The original Rogue Squadron has a mission called "Liberation of Gerrard V", where you have to escort Gold Squadron's Y-Wings as they disable escaping starships. If you earn Gold Medals in all of the bonus missions, you get to fly your own Y-Wing and use its ion cannon to disable the starships faster. But if Gold Squadron's Y-Wings are all shot down, you aren't given a chance to finish their work anyway with your own Y-Wing.

Feedback: 19 replies

Jan 22nd 2019 at 1:49:11 AM

According to Averted Trope, only Omnipresent Tropes or aversion-only tropes should have averted examples, like the Morrowind example above.

Unless this trope is determined to be one of those two types, the Morrowind example should be deleted.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 1:50:33 AM

The Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire video game has a level where you have to stop a swoop gang from reaching Luke Skywalker's hideout and killing him. You have to wreck every single swoop to succeed, or Luke dies, even if you reach Luke's hideout before they do.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 10:17:32 AM

Except in this case, it would be Instant Lose Condition.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 10:32:56 AM

Okay. Let's make it a sub-trope, then.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 2:09:07 PM

^ I don't think that automatically makes it a subtrope. The relation is indirect in this case: Instant Win Condition by default refers to the player, not the enemy.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 2:48:41 PM

It should only count as Instant Win Condition if both sides play by the same rules, like a game of chess. But the examples I listed on the article don't.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 4:06:28 PM

I'm gonna watch this draft and see where it goes while I make up my mind on whether or not to hat this.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 10:14:19 PM

If this is worth keeping distinct from Instant Win Condition, I think this trope needs a better name. No "Game Over" Inertia sounds to me like the opposite of your suggested trope (that it, it makes me think of games where it's unrealistically easy to get a last-second come-from-behind victory).

Instant Lose Condition would be clearer, and would make the relationship to Instant Win Condition more obvious.

Jan 23rd 2019 at 3:30:17 AM

In Kingdom Hearts II, the Demyx boss fights have a special gimmick where you must beat all of the water clones within the time limit or it's game over, even if there's only one left when you hit the time limit.

Jan 23rd 2019 at 10:05:47 AM

I like Instant Lose Condition, it's clearer.

Feb 11th 2019 at 7:59:15 PM

A possible page quote, from Zero Punctuation.

[About his hostage units on Escort Mission disappearing after the timer runs out] "We lost contact!" went the character... BULL. FUCKING. SHIT. All possible threats were dead! We didn't lose contact - I was looking at them - They were RIGHT. FUCKING. THERE! They were so close we could communicate by waggling our eyebrows at each other! What the fuck happened when the stupid arbitrary time limit ran out!? Did their Battle Royale collars explode!? Did they lose honor and disembowel themselves? WHAT?!

Feb 15th 2019 at 9:19:58 AM

^ I like that page quote!

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