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Always Close

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You're lucky no one got hurt!
Master Chief: How much time was left?
Cortana: You don't wanna know.
Halo 2

The video game answer to the Magic Countdown.

In timed gameplay sequences with a timer ticking down on-screen, the game will invariably act as if the player accomplished their goal just in the nick of time — even if they did so with plenty of time to spare.

For example, let's say you have just defeated the Load-Bearing Boss, and you now have ten minutes to escape from the building before it explodes. You, however, make it out with a good three minutes to spare. The second you leave, there's a cutscene of the building exploding, which is nonsensical because, well, according to the timer, it shouldn't have exploded for another three minutes.

Obviously, this is done because the developers want to show the building explode for dramatic effect, yet there isn't really any reason for your guys to stick around as the timer counts down. Furthermore, creating an alternate cutscene in which the building doesn't explode would require additional time and money, and might not be perceived by the developers as the most efficient use of resources if a large number of players aren't going to see it. Hence, Story Overwrite.

When this happens after a non-timed mission, it's a Take Your Time.

Not related at all to Alec Baldwin telling you that you should Always Be Closing! For the more general concept of the heroes winning by the slimmest of any margin, see Near-Villain Victory.


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  • Devil May Cry 4 has a mission where Dante has to escape from a building that is about to self destruct, and no matter how much time is left on the countdown, the cutscene that follows always shows it crumbling within a few seconds of Dante walking out of it, which may justify it as he is taking his time once he finds the exit.
    • Later in the game, at the end of mission 20, after defeating Sanctus for the second time, the gigantic Savior statue ceases functioning when it was right about to land a punch to Dante, who was outside battling it. The video shows a shortcut of Dante holding the giant fist with his Rebellion (which would have very likely hurt a lot, if not outright killing him, but let's be honest, it's Dante), and then pulling it to the ground, which causes the entire inert statue to move with it.
  • Subverted in Freedom Force. Apparently, disarming a nuclear bomb isn't very fast.
    • In one level, the player must get Minuteman to an atomic bomb to disarm it. However, whether the player arrives 5 seconds or two minutes before it's set to detonate, the cutscene will show him disarming it with only seconds to spare.
  • The "Mike Lips (sic) Last Lunch" mission in Grand Theft Auto III.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, when Link and Zelda escape Ganon's Castle, it always collapses the moment they leave no matter how much time was left on the clock. Also, in the race against the Running Man, he will always beat Link by one second.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, when getting the Sun's Mask back from Sakon, even if the mask was very far away from the end of the convayer belt, as soon as Link and Kafei close the belt, the mask will always be right before the end.
  • Averted in Metal Gear Solid, in that the expected bombing raid never actually occurs even if you stay still and wait for the timer to run out. The timer's only there to add tension.
    • One of the special features in the special edition of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty retconned this. Nastasha Romanenko's book, "In the Darkness of Shadow Moses" is unlocked by reading the reviews of it. Once you get to the actual book, it's explained that Richard Ames, who had been sitting with Nastasha the whole time and was the one who convinced forced her to help out in the first place, aborted the bombing run because "they" (the Patriots) didn't like it. He then proceeds to arrange Jim Houseman's death, explaining that the cover story will be that Houseman had gone insane and ordered the airstrike as a last desperate effort, then committed suicide. And he tells him this. Kind of makes it hard to feel any sympathy for him when he dies in the game. Of course, since the after credits conversation in the last game revealed that George Sears, the President, aka Solidus, the Big Bad of MGS 2, was behind the Shadow Moses Incident in the first place, there needed to be an explanation as to why the bombing raid was called off, since the first game said he did it. Of course, it was Campbell who relayed this information to the player.
    • On most difficulties Revolver Ocelot will plant a timebomb in your inventory after the torture scene. The timer changes depending on the difficulty, with easier ones giving multiple minutes and harder ones giving a full one at best, but the bomb explodes about three seconds after you throw it away no matter what. A second timebomb you can accidentally find while searching a sewer system for Metal Gear's startup key later in the game works the same, though it's less obvious because that one's timer starts at about ten seconds.
    • The C3 explosives in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Even with the player forced to waste about half of that 20-minute timer on mandatory cutscenes preceding a boss fight, it's still possible for multiple minutes to be left on them after escaping the hangar. They'll blow up a couple seconds after you've gotten out of the hangar all the same.
  • The final escape from every Metroid game. In the later games, this goes for the opening sequence as well.
    • Averted in Metroid Prime's ending sequence, as it skips to the end of Samus' escape, not allowing you control of her after you beat the final boss.
    • Present on the highest difficulty of Zero Mission, as it's nigh impossible to get out with more than fifteen seconds left.
    • It's possibly justified in Metroid Fusion, where you could say that your ship's computer refuses to re-dock until it sees the final boss out of the way, as it is a sentient computer that is also being piloted by highly intelligent creatures.
  • There's a sequence in Ōkami where you're being dragged down a flooded river on a log and have to connect it to vines using the flowers on the shore. (It Makes Sense in Context) It's timed, but no matter how much time you have left, you hit the Inevitable Waterfall just after you connect the last vine.
    • Ditto escape from inside the Water Dragon.
  • The final mission of [PROTOTYPE] has you fighting a big scary monster, while a bomb threatens to blow up all of New York. Even if you kill the monster with 1 second left on the bomb's clock, the cut scene still shows the main character being able to helicopter the bomb out to sea in time to save everyone. The cutscene starts with about 1 minute on the timer.
  • In the Playstation/N64 Spider-Man, Spider-Man must throw an activated bomb into a safe in order to render the explosion harmless. Once he does so, the bomb immediately explodes, regardless of the amount of time remaining.
  • Justified in the only timed game of Kirby Super Star, "Revenge of Meta-Knight" - the final escape sequence gives you a mere 40 seconds to traverse an obstacle course and get off the Big Bad's ship before it crashes into the ocean, in a game where the timer usually starts in the high four-digit range. You're cutting it close before the level even starts.
  • During the Deadshot side mission in Batman: Arkham City, Batman has to cross half the city to save Deadshot's next victim. No matter how much time is left on the clock when you get there, the cinematic is always of Batman making a Diving Save a fraction of a second before Deadshot pulls the trigger.
    • After saving the medical team at the church, Batman leaves to the bell-tower to investigate the sniper gun that almost shot Catwoman back at the courthouse, only to find out that the Joker deliberately set up a room full of bombs that are timed to explode. Whether Batman immediately jumps or stands still to hear the Joker taunting him (and foreshadowing the endgame), he always ends up flying out a second or two before the bell-tower explodes.

  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor:
    • Averted in one puzzle, where an improvised bomb does not explode when placed in a locker; it actually waits until the end of the countdown. (You do get inexplicably transported to the site of the explosion if within sight of it, though.)
    • Played straight in a cutscene that says Antharia Jack has 3 hours before he gets Totemized; whether you destroy the dam five minutes or five hours after the cutscene, it still has the Totemizer shutting down seconds before Jack steps in.
  • In AI: The Somnium Files, Agent Date can Psync with people to find information, but he has to leave within six minutes to avoid negative consequences like getting trapped in the Psync subject's mind. Sometimes you can finish in less than half the time, only to get pulled out before a crucial reveal in the following cutscene because "there's no time left". At one point, Date even experiences the effects of going over by a few seconds.

  • The Metroid level in the Adventure mode of Super Smash Bros. Melee, although it's difficult to make it with more than a few seconds left anyway. Note that they never show you actually escaping the planet, just it exploding, then panning over to Pop Star for the next stage. Also, the game actually gives you a bonus for waiting until the last second.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • In the game Descent, clearing each level required you to shoot the mine reactor and trigger an explosive meltdown. Once the reactor was shot, you'd have only a minute to reach the exit before it went critical. No matter how much time remained on the clock, once you hit the exit you were immediately treated to an Outrun the Fireball cinematic as if you escaped at the last possible second.
    • Descent also has it in reverse: a quirk of the game mechanics let you escape up to two seconds after the timer has run out, as the screen is Fading To White. You're already inside the fireball, but the movie still shows you as getting out ahead of it.
  • In GoldenEye, the player as Bond has a set amount of time to race from one end of a park to the other to rescue Natalya from a Time Bomb. No matter how much time remains on the countdown, as soon as you reach her, a proximity fuse on the bomb activates giving you only 5 seconds to get to cover before it blows.
    • Played with in The World is Not Enough. There's a time bomb in the second level. Finish defusing it with the timer reading "007", and you gain access to a secret area.
  • Halo:
    • Lampshaded in Halo 2. You can Take Your Time in the first level, but when you stop the bomb, Master Chief asks Cortana how long was left. Her reply: "You don't want to know." For those curious, it was about seven seconds.
    • Happens again in Halo 2, when at the end, Tartarus activates Installation 05. The player must "quickly" defeat Tartarus so that the Index can be removed to cancel the firing sequence. No matter how much time it takes, or how many friendly mooks die, when the Index is removed, the Halo is shown on the verge of firing but apparently fails due to lack of charging time.
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved, the timed escape after you explosively overclock the Pillar of Autumn's reactors in the final level. No matter how fast you get to your escape craft, you're treated to a cutscene in which Master Chief escapes in the nick of time, helpfully pointed out by Cortana, who yells "We're cutting it close...!" as MC leaps aboard the vessel and fires up the engines. However, as the whole level is one giant enforced Speed Run, you usually are cutting it close, more so on harder difficulties, so this may be a partial aversion.
    • Also played straight at the end of Halo 3, in something of a Call-Back to the above sequence. Instead of a timer, the level collapses behind you, and Cortana updates you at certain points with how close the new Halo ring is to firing. It always finishes charging up right as you get to the last ramp.
  • In the Modern Warfare series, no matter where you are operating in the world, the chopper to get you will only have enough fuel to wait for about 30 seconds before ditching you.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 averts this in the "Loose Ends" mission, where the choppers don't arrive until after the cutscene at the end is playing. Not that it helps.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has a variant with a sandstorm, where you're given a timer on how close it is to reaching you and completely denying air extraction, only for your helicopter to get shot down before it can pick you up, at which point the sandstorm immediately engulfs the area anyway.
  • In Time Crisis 4, the Big Bad sends out squadrons of unmanned stealth bombers to destroy several major American cities. In the final battle, you are warned that "if you don't stop him, the entire country will go down in flames." You can kill the final boss as fast as possible or take your sweet time, even losing lives from running out of time, but the following cutscene always shows your characters stopping the attack right before the bombers' weapons reach their targets.
  • Subverted in TimeSplitters Future Perfect, a supervillain has tied Harry Tippers' love interest to some train tracks, after getting to the front of the train it appears that the train stopped just in front of her but the camera zooms out showing a good distance between the two, prompting him to proclaim "Ha ha, not even close".
  • Kyle Katarn has to get off of the big ship in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II before it blows, but the gravity is on the fritz. Every time he reaches a certain checkpoint, Jan's voice in his communicator encourages him to hurry his little heiney up, but it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get him there.
    • Kyle himself tells you to hurry up when an Imperial ship you're on is being attacked in Jedi Academy, and again once he's set its self-destruct, but you're otherwise not forced to rush for either occasion.
  • Subverted in Pathways into Darkness, if you get out of the dungeon just before the bomb goes off, you get an ending where you don't clear the explosion.
  • In Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes, in the mission "Secret War" the Commander demands that you give him the detonator for the remote bombs, and instructs you to leave the facility, as the remote bombs will be out of range when the detonator is a safe distance from the (in this case) nuclear explosion that will follow. Therefore, Someone Has to Die, and that someone is the commander. You get in the back of the truck that you took to the facility, and the explosion follows you as you leave and as a result, you barely make it out.

    Light Gun Game 
  • Befitting its title, Time Crisis consistently plays this trope straight, especially if it's against the Final Boss.
    • In 3, no matter how quickly you defeat Giorgio Zott, the following cutscene will have you being barely on time to stop the tactical missiles from launching.
    • Similarly in 4, the final battle against Gregory Barrows. No matter how quickly you defeat this game, the cutscene will have you diving towards the terror-bite missiles' control panel and activate it's self-destruction, mere seconds before it detonates in New York.
  • The fourth stage of Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James have Jess fighting his way past a locomotive filled with enemy outlaws in an attempt to stop it from squishing his girlfriend, Zee, who is Chained to a Railway. No matter how much time is left in the timer, at the end of the level the train will grind to a halt inches away from hitting Zee.

  • The 1983 Atari Arcade Game Major Havoc is possibly the Ur-Example. It starts as a Shoot 'Em Up where the titular Major Havoc must defeat the ships defending space stations, then in a side-scrolling platform stage, sabotage the station's reactor and escape before it explodes. No matter how much time is left, the station will always explode as Major Havoc's ship blasts off.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day, and its mostly-remake Conker: Live and Reloaded, have you escaping from the Tediz base at the end of "It's War." It doesn't take long, assuming you can get past the lasers, but the end cutscene has Conker running for his life.
  • A particularly silly variation on this happens in Sonic Adventure 2. In one stage Sonic has to race up a walkway to grab a rocket before it fires. Not only is there a visible countdown timer on the screen, but a voice is actually counting down until launch. If you get to the handle at the right time, you end up with the countdown going something like, "10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4- (Sonic grabs handle) Fire!"
    • There are two handgrips on the rocket. Good luck reaching the higher one with more then half a second remaining on the clock. The timer sequence more or less sounds right if you manage to get there before it leaves without you.
    • In the same game, when Doctor Robotnik sets a timer to blow up Prison Island, your characters will always escape at the last second.

  • Inverted in Portal, though without a visible timer. You're told that you had destroyed the Weighted Companion Cube in a record short time, no matter how long you delay and dawdle around in the level, as it's implied that other test subjects took much longer to come to grips with the fact that they had to euthanize their faithful Companion Cube.
  • Played straight in Portal 2 after you make it out of the old laboratories.
  • Comic aversion in Starship Titanic. Should you activate the Mega Scuttler bomb (voiced by John Cleese), it will start to count down from one thousand. If you interfere with it during the countdown, it will complain, lose its place, and start again at one thousand. Should you let it complete its countdown it will slow down, prevaricate, complain that it doesn't really want to explode, then restart the countdown at one thousand. Should you complete the game without deactivating it, it gives you an alternate ending sequence where it finally decides to blow up the ship shortly after you get back to earth.
  • In Ghost Trick, you can rewind time to four minutes before a person's death, and then try to avert their fate. If you solve the situation well before the event that killed them occurs, the game will just fast-forward to that event so you can see how they didn't die from it this time.
    • This is particulary noticeable when you avert the death in chapter 2. During the mission, you know that at the end of the 4 minutes, an assassin will come into the room and kill the character. The solution is to lure the character into a hiding place. However, regardless of how long you have left on the clock, the assassin will always enter the room as soon as you get the character into the hiding place.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • World in Conflict pulls this one several times. Sometimes is just the officier you had to help being grumpy, but there is a by-the-book example later on: Clearing Liberty Island from Sovjets before an airstrike hits them and the statue of liberty. There is even an alternate cutscene if you fail
  • Supreme Commander has a mission where the goal is to survive enemy attack for thirty minutes while they work to teleport you out of the mission zone. At the end of the thirty minutes, you are nuked several times no matter what you do. In the end, you always gate out with a cloud of radioactive dust behind you.
    • This is a stock RTS Trope really. Either they really pump up the pressure in the last few seconds (but not soon enough for it to actually beat you before the timer runs out) or do something similar. Particularly egregious if you've bottled up the enemy in their bases and have everything well under control, many Hold the Line mission endings are scripted to just assume you were nearly overwhelmed or were about to be.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, one quest late in the game, "The Defense of Bruma", has you going through a HUGE Oblivion Gate — on a timer — to close it before a giant siege engine can make its way out and destroy the town of Bruma. No matter how quickly you close the gate, you'll always see the siege engine fall apart just as it gets out of the gate when you are whisked back to Tamriel. However, your speed determines how many of your allies survive staying behind to Hold the Line, so speediness minimizes the danger of The Chosen One getting killed and forcing you to reload the mission.
  • Justified in Final Fantasy VI. In one scene the player character has to enter a derelict house and rescue a child before a timer expires. Another character is holding up the structure of the building; the timer is how long his strength will hold out. When he sees you emerge, child in tow, there's no more reason for him to exert himself. So he jumps away, collapsing the building right then regardless of how long is left on the timer.
    • But mostly followed when the Floating Island is ready to come crashing down. However, WAITING until the last second will award the player with the survival of Shadow, who was previously executing a You Shall Not Pass! on the Big Bad Kefka. If you wait till the last second, he breaks off the fight and escapes. If you don't, he gets to the ship in time to see you fly off, and is Killed Off for Real.
  • The escape from a mako reactor in the opening gameplay segment of Final Fantasy VII. Because the given time limit is extremely generous, this is perhaps the most well-known example.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy XV. Late in the game, Noctis needs to get the Regalia through a gate within a time limit. The cinematic as you breach the threshhold is unchanged based on the amount of time left, but it's not the gate closing right behind the bumper; the car is getting shot at during the chase scene, and one shot lands clean on the old girl right as she gets through.
  • Averted in Mass Effect, which has several timed missions but never an escape cinematic for them. There's only one mission where you DO cut it close (Therum), and that sequence has no timer; the entire escape occurs in cutscene.
    • One of the few examples of you actually having a realistic time limit occurs on Ilos. You have 20ish seconds to get a considerable distance before a portal closes. While artificially intelligent mega-walkers are shooting at you.
    • Played straight with the final boss of the sequel, though.
    • Also played straight in the Arrival DLC, where even if you complete the mission with over an hour and a half left on the clock, you escape the Project with less than 30 seconds to spare before it hits the Mass Relay. However, the countdown doesn't count how much time there is until the Relay is hit, it counts down to when the Reapers will arrive at the Relay. Also it averts this by allowing you to wait the two hours to get a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • The Neverwinter Nights Game Mod "A Harper's Tale" has a sequence in which you plant a bomb in some mines to cause a cave-in and cut off drow access to the nearby mining town. The fuse is short enough that you have just enough time to run for the exit, and if you dally at all you are blown up in a horrible fashion.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, an escape from a room with a descending spiked ceiling has your partner commenting on how close it was even if you had half a minute or more left.
  • Persona 3 does this with the first storyline boss. No matter how much time you have to spare when you beat the boss, the Shadows speed up the monorail's collision course to create a No Time to Think situation.
  • In Wild ARMs 5, shortly after your fight with the Professor for the Mirror of De Soto, the detonators that Greg set within the cave will begin to go off, thus causing massive cave-ins all over, but there's no time limit, so you could actually stay there as long as you needed to.
    • In Wild ARMs 3, there is a sequence where you must exit a cave full of dragon fossils in 10 minutes before the cave explodes, but a boss will stop you just before the exit. The moment you defeat this boss and leave the cave, regardless of time remaining, the detonators will explode and cause a massive cave in, preventing you from entering that dungeon ever again.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines:
    • Played straight when you set a timed bomb in a warehouse: if it hasn't detonated already, it goes off as soon as you approach the exit point for that part of the map, so as to provide a suitably dramatic backdrop for a cutscene in which an itinerant Mr. Exposition introduces himself.
    • Inverted in the Griffith Park level. You're trapped in the park with a very angry werewolf and a forest fire. You have a choice between running around for four minutes until the next car arrives to escape on, and tricking the werewolf into getting crushed in a large set of doors. If you kill the werewolf, the car shows up immediately afterwards, no matter how much time was left on the clock when you did it.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, no matter how much time the player has to spare when they make it to the beach at the end of the field exam, the FMV shows Squall just barely making it onto the ship with the X-ATM092 right at his heels. (Unless, that is, the player manages to destroy the X-ATM092 beforehand, in which case the FMV is skipped altogether.)
    • The spider part is justified, since the thing is chasing you and is right on your heels the whole time.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, the Zaghnol deployed at the beginning of the hunting festival is the one you have to kill for a vital score boost, but won't show up unless you reach the right place with about 5 minutes left on the clock.
  • In Persona 2, no matter how much time you have left after escaping the music hall, you'll get a cutscene of it exploding right after you leave.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: Regardless of how long you take to escape the tower in Neo Bowser Castle, the bit you end up on will always collapse just after Mario, Luigi and the other characters get there. Regardless of how Take Your Time is in full effect inside the actual tower and there's not even a count down timer.

  • In the operation "An Explosive Patient" in both versions of the original Trauma Center (even though the operation itself is otherwise different depending on version), in which you attempt to defuse a bomb, as soon as you've completed all the other steps you'll trigger a failsafe and suddenly be given a small handful of seconds to do one last thing. It's the only level in both games where Time Remaining doesn't affect your rank.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Splinter Cell
    • The fourth mission of the first game starts with Fisher infiltrating the CIA headquarters. His intended entryway is a stopped ventilation fan, which starts up again either about two minutes after the mission starts, or when Fisher gets past it, whichever comes first.
    • In the finale of Pandora Tomorrow, Fisher has to disarm a smallpox bomb in an airport before the time runs out. Afterwards he asks how much time was left on the bomb. The response?
    You don't wanna know.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: In the first proper mission, the player's job is to rescue Kaz Miller, who's being held and tortured by the Russians. Ocelot - himself a former Soviet and interrogation expert - estimates Kaz has three days to live, after months of captivity. Good thing Snake got back on the job when he did, huh? If the player takes more than three in-game days to reach Kaz, he turns out to be dead and the mission fails.

    Survival Horror 
  • Averted in Resident Evil 4. The tower full of C4 that you just escaped from blows up as soon as you open the gate to the next area, no matter how much time is left - but the timer is set so short (three minutes) that whenever the player triggers the Cut Scene, it's only about five seconds ahead of time anyway. You hear the explosion from the next area.
    • Interesting inversion in the second (or third?) Resident Evil game. No matter how long it took you to beat a certain boss who attacked you while you were waiting for the freight elevator, the elevator always arrived right after you beat him.
    • Similarly in the second game, the cable car you are riding will arrive at its destination precisely the moment after you defeat the monster riding on top. Ditto for the cargo elevator sequence.
    • Averted in Resident Evil: Outbreak. When Nikolai sets the bombs in the University to explode, the players can easily escape with minutes to spare. Then they have to sit around in the next area waiting for the timer to run out so they can reach the next area. The same is true of the lift in Birkin's lab.
    • In Resident Evil's remake, Jill is pulled from the Descending Ceiling room within inches of becoming a Jill Sandwich.
    • In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, after Chris fights the last boss, he makes a narrow escape from the self-destruct. In the updated re-release, the countdown is the same but the game adds a cutscene fight with Wesker into the middle. Chris still narrowly escapes the self-destruct.
    • Averted with the time bomb in the third game, which gives you only six seconds to escape the hospital.
  • After you defeated one of the bosses in The Thing (2002) (the video game sequel to the film), there's a bomb countdown and you need to run back to the elevator. The thing is, even if you arrived at the elevator with 30 seconds left, the bomb will explode, killing your teammate in the process.
  • Played oddly in Silent Hill 2. When Pyramid Head chases James and Maria down a hallway, James has to run into an elevator to escape. Because Pyramid Head moves rather slowly, James himself is not in any real danger, but Maria moves much slower, and if Pyramid Head kills her, it's game over. In order to avoid this, you have to bolt down the hallway, completely leaving Maria in the dust. When you get to the elevator, a cutscene is triggered that shows Maria running at full speed towards the elevator, with the doors closing just as she approaches, looking like she'll just barely make it through. She actually doesn't, and is killed by Pyramid Head.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Max Payne provides a classical example. Firstly, no matter how much time you take to get to the conveniently unprotected PC in the bottommost laboratory of the Deep Six bunker after its self-destruction sequence is initiated, the final countdown will only begin after Max takes the elevator up from it. Secondly, it is possible to get out of the facility while the countdown is still in the double digits, and you can actually hear the pleasant female voice on the intercoms saying "Twenty-three... twenty-two... twenty-one..." as Max already outruns the fireball.

    Rhythm Game 
  • The iDOLM@STER 2 - How the guests appear for special Quintet performances. After the third time this happen the Producer should know better by then, instead of having his idols almost freak out every single time.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
Fan Works


  • In Galaxy Quest, this was the case with the self-destruct sequence of the Show Within a Show, which apparently had to be stopped at least a few times. As a result, the recreation of the ship features a self-destruct that, no matter when it is stopped, will continue to count down to 1 second left before stopping.
  • In Men in Black 3, Agent J is put into a giant spinning neuralizer and about to be mind-wiped by Agent K, who doesn't believe his cover story. As the machine starts counting down from 15 seconds, Agent J finally manages to convince him and Agent K stops the countdown... at one second left.
  • Parodied in Spaceballs: The Self-Destruct Mechanism is activated, and a computer voice counts down to the failure. When she skips a number, President Skroob angrily demands to know what happened to said number. The reply is a chipper: "Just kidding!"


  • In The Andromeda Strain the facility's "Wildfire Protocol" is deactivated 34 seconds before the nuke it was built on top of detonates. When the protagonist comments afterward that he had plenty of time he's told that actually the floor he was on was set to have all the air sucked out 30 seconds before detonation.