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Collapsing Lair

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Yeah, I'm skedaddling outta here!

"Just once, I wish the bad guy's lair didn't have to blow up!"
Kim Possible, Kim Possible

Inevitably, once the Big Bad (and sometimes even The Dragon) is defeated, his Supervillain Lair (castle, secret headquarters, cave, tower, etc.) will begin to destroy itself, triggering a Chase Scene where the heroes are chased out by the threat of falling rocks, timbers, masonry, etc. and whatever else is collapsing down upon them.

This may be due to a Self-Destruct Mechanism, or due to the lair having No Ontological Inertia. Alternately, the hero's goal may been to deliberately cause (read: destroy) the Collapsing Lair, like by setting off a Time Bomb or pushing the Big Red Button that is invariably linked to said Self-Destruct Mechanism. Or perhaps the combination of the Big Bad's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and the hero's own Heroic Second Wind resulted in extensive damage to the lair's supports/foundations/reactors/munitions/whatever, and it was going to start coming down anyway (when this happens in Video Game form, we call it a Load-Bearing Boss). Sometimes the Big Bad will do this deliberately, in hopes of taking the hero with them. If this is done after a stealthy entry, this overlaps with Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly.

Why is this useful, apart from topping the Final Battle with an exciting escape scene to safety (after which you can directly cut to the happy end celebrations)? Think about it. The Big Bad has had a massive base, with several valuable gadgets, and many remaining lesser minions. You definitely do not want to drag out the story by having the hero deal with them one by one too, much less to put his hands on something that could change the status quo. Better to just blow it all up. And best of all, once you do actually make it out alive, you get the immensely satisfying shot of the hero looking on as the Supervillain Lair goes bye-bye in spectacular fashion.

Often occurs after defeating the Monster of the Week or after setting a Catastrophic Countdown. See also Race Against the Clock if the hero has a set amount of time to get out before the thing completely caves in.

If it truly does become impossible to escape the Collapsing Lair, expect to see a Load-Bearing Hero save the day.

Rare in television except as the end of a Story Arc, because destroying sets is expensive: you just have to build new ones next week. In animation, however, it's easy. In video games (as already mentioned), this often happens because of a Load-Bearing Boss. Usually a result of Storming the Castle. If the villain's domain is an entire planet, see Earth-Shattering Kaboom.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Halcon research facility falls apart at the end of Appleseed Ex Machina for no apparent reason, other than to fulfill the cliché. In fact, it has no other reason even to exist!
  • Though not exactly belonging to villains as such, Attack on Titan has the underground crystal chamber that lies beneath the Reiss family chapel destroyed after Rod Reiss turns into an enormous Titan. The heroes manage to escape, but the Military Police's Interior Squad were killed in the process, along with Levi's uncle Kenny Ackerman.
  • Digimon Adventure's Dark Masters Arc had of course the Dark Master whom once destroyed had their chunk of the Digital World which they bastardized destroy and reconfigure itself back to it's original form. This caused the DigiDestined to constantly shift from place to place until finally falling into a dark void filled by Apocalymon after defeating the last Dark Master.
  • Fist of the North Star shows an example of a collapsing lair, Cassandra being reduced to a wasteland, as Ken-Oh's forces wired the evil prison to blow up.
  • Parodied in Iono the Fanatics. The reason why the sorta antagonist's base did the traditional collapse? The building was raised against Japan's building standard acts (it was, for example, leaning) and that's the reason why nobody else was using it even though it looked brand new. Naturally, the high-level battle between the assassin and Iono's bodyguards at the ground-level proved to be a wee-bit too much for its already unstable structure.
  • In the end of K: Return of Kings, Iwafune blows up their base after Nagare has died. The Silver Clan escapes rather easily, though, due to Kuroh's colorless powers.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (season 1), the Time Garden collapses on itself as a result of Precia's failed Explosive Overclocking attempt to open a gate to Alhazred.
    • Happens again in StrikerS when Quattro sets Jail's lair to explode (while she's safely tucked away inside the Saint's Cradle). It ultimately doesn't go off (Fate deactivated it to save the innocent people trapped inside).
  • The dungeons in Magi: Labyrinth of Magic collapse after they have been successfully completed.
  • Mazinger Z: In the Final Battle against Dr. Hell, his base crumbled down and blew up. Justified, since a giant robot was actively trying to demolish it.
  • A Baoa Qu at the climax of Mobile Suit Gundam doesn't quite collapse, but there's enough Stuff Blowing Up by the end that the effect is the same.
  • In Naruto, during the spinoff Kakashi Gaiden in which we learn of Kakashi's childhood, Kakko causes the cave Kakashi, Obito and Rin were fighting him in to collapse in a last-ditch effort to defeat them, resulting in Obito's death by giant boulder, which led to Kakashi gaining his left Sharingan eye.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, after Negi's group is scattered across the Magic World, we first see Nodoka escaping from one of these while treasure hunting.
  • One Piece: In Arlong arc, after Luffy recognizes that Arlong's Supervillain Lair has been Nami's jail cell, he tries to destroy the lair, states that it's the best way to help her. Luffy later smashing Arlong through the floors of the lair, causes the lair collapse.
  • At the climax of the Outlanders manga, after the rebellious princess kills her father?the ruling Emperor of the Galaxy? ''the entire imperial planet blows up.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Mewtwo blows up the Team Rocket base in the beginning of the first movie. The only known survivors are Giovanni and his signature pokémon (there could be more, but they're never addressed either way).
    • Actually, when Mewtwo's flight from the HQ is seen in the show, all that's wrecked is the arena area, and those get trashed on a regular basis.
    • Kyurem from the fifteenth movie subverts this. When his lair starts to collapse from the fight he had with Keldeo, he freezes the entire place after the heroes escape so that he could continue to chill in there.
  • In Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure!, Jupiter blows up the Galactic base to prevent their secrets from getting out. But since this happens in Volume 5 of an 8 volume series, when next we return to Veilstone, Charon has rebuilt it to be what it was in the Platinum version of the game.
  • In the Pocket Monsters (Pokemon) manga, Red and Green set Team Rocket's headquarters on fire. After Red, Green, and Blue defeat Natsume, the building collapses.
  • R.O.D the TV has the Dokusensha building and, evidently, all of Hong Kong.
  • The abandoned oil rig that served as the base for the Foreigners of Grief in Polyphonica Crimson S sank into the sea at the climax of the final fight. Notable in that the bad guys, after having been given a series of speeches thoroughly deconstructing their Utopia Justifies the Means mentality, willingly stayed in their base as it collapsed around them.
  • Spriggan. Noah's Ark is frozen in time, and activating the Self-Destruct Mechanism causes the flow of time to continue. As the Ark's mass is too great to sustain its weight in three-dimensional space, it collapses.
  • Witch Hunter Robin : When the heroes invade The Factory, it turns out it's programmed to crush itself as a last-ditch security mechanism.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! gives us Seto Kaiba and his Battle Tower; after the finals, he blows it up! But just a few episodes before that, we have Gozaburo Kaiba, who triggers a meltdown so our heroes can't escape.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Sakyo, Season Two's Big Bad, decides to destroy his stadium after he is defeated. For some reason, even though this is supposed to trap and kill everyone inside (Sakyo wants to die himself), none of the main characters have any trouble escaping.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in All Fall Down: The Order of Despots' Supervillain Lair on the Moon is still intact and fully operational two years later.
  • Blue Mountain in ElfQuest is completely destroyed at the end of the aptly-named "Siege at Blue Mountain" arc, but not before it is almost converted into a spaceship by Big Bad Winnowill.
  • The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones: In #25, the fake El Dorado turns out to a be a trap designed by the Incas to destroy the Spanish invaders. When the one real item of gold is removed, the entire complex collapses.
  • Like in the games, Mega Man's confrontations with Dr. Wily tend to end this way. For example, Dr. Wily set off a self-destruct in his second fortress to try and kill Mega Man while he escaped and the third one fell apart because Wily tore it to bits trying to kill Mega Man with Gamma.
  • In Red Robin Tim causes several League of Assassins lairs to collapse on his way out the door after infiltrating the league. It has the added benefit of trapping the mostly super-powered group of assassins currently chasing him and the civilian he is protecting underground for a while too.
  • In Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorious sets the electrical equipment in his dungeon lab to overload as he is attacked by the Frankenstein Monster and his mate. Holmes and Watson, who have been locked out of the lab, make a mad scramble up the stiars and outside as the corridor starts to explode behind them. They just make it outside and dive for cover as the entire castle explodes and collapse in on itself.
  • Supergirl:
    • In the first self-named book featuring the eponymous heroine, Supergirl and Zatanna face up to a demonic sorcerer called Orgox. Once they defeat his traps and find him, he brings his mountainous lair crashing down.
    • Demon Spawn: Once Supergirl defeats Nightflame and her minions, the Innerverse collapses. Justified, since that world was the psychic manifestation of Supergirl's dark side, so it was destroyed when Kara beat her inner demons.

    Fan Works 
  • Becoming a True Invader: During the showdown with Pel, her temple is damaged enough that it ends up completely collapsing.
  • Children of an Elder God has this happen to R'yleh after the Children kill Cthulhu during the Final Battle — without his presence warping things, the normal laws of reality kick back in, causing the city (and its whole island) to collapse under the weight of its Alien Geometries.
  • Empathy:
    • Yokai's lair on Akuma Island ends up totally collapsing due to damage sustained by the fight against him and the Gorg.
    • The Gorg's ship slowly comes apart and ultimately explodes as a result of damage from its climatic fight against the heroes.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters:
    • When his manor is attacked by Phobos' forces, Ludmoore triggers a magical Self-Destruct Mechanism which blows up the building (destroying the whole villa in the process) just after everyone flees.
    • After he stops being a Play-Along Prisoner and breaks out of his cell in Cavigor during the Guardians' attack on the prison, Drago reveals that as a contingency plan he flooded the walls and foundation with his fire magic, causing the whole thing to start to fall apart. This allows him to escape among the chaos.
  • Parodied in Harry Potter and the Evil Summer Vacation, where Harry accidentally attends a conference for aspiring criminal masterminds. The (mandatory) final seminar is "Secret Lairs, Part 3 - Defenses, Escapes, and Self Destructs". After a SPECTRE agent gives a talk on why it's important to set up a new lair for every plan and how you should try to take out the evidence and the good guys as well as your headquarters, they evacuate the conference theater and then blow up the hotel.
  • The Immortal Game: After Nihilus is destroyed by the Elements of Harmony, her floating citadel falls apart and disintegrates.
  • Jewel of Darkness: When Midnight is defeated by the Titans at the end of the Jump City arc, Slade rescues her and triggers the base's self-destruct in order to cover their escape.
  • J-WITCH Series: In "Facades of Evil", after Jackie gets the upper hand against him in the Knights of Vengeance's cave hideout on Meridian, Drago uses his flame breath to trigger some explosives planted on the cave ceiling just in case, causing a cave-in that destroys the cave and covers the Knights' escape.
  • In Moon Fire Riddle Manor starts collapsing after Snape kills Voldemort.
  • The Night Unfurls presents an invoked inversion. In order to defeat Grishom and his rebel forces, the cathedral where they are hiding at is burned down as a tactic of smoking them out, meaning that the lair collapses before the villain's defeat. With the smoke and flames surrounding them, as well as Kyril's company awaiting them, there is no escape for Grishom.
  • The reconstructed underground Glast Heim begins to collapse in Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune when the Raulus finally defeat the Big Bad. A Chase Scene ensues.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin shows Abu incurring this in the Cave of Wonders for touching the treasure.
  • The Black Cauldron ends with the Horned King's castle crumbling after the Cauldron's magic is neutralized by Gurgi's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The Jungle Book (1967) features this occurance when Baloo & Bagheera fight the band of monkeys over Mowgli. Justified because of all the damage the ruined city endures during the squabble, with several pillars being destroyed.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens features Gallaxhar's spaceship blowing up after the Self-Destruct Mechanism is activated.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Super Adventure, Sparky accidentally blows up a bomb made by Wolffy near the control panel in Cha Cha's lair, causing the lair to fall apart and flood. Everyone makes it out of the lair perfectly fine except for Weslie, who seemingly gets trapped in the lair, but even then he later makes it out perfectly fine as well because he landed in Granny Snail's slime and used some growing pills left by Wolffy to grow back to his normal size.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler has One-Eye's elaborate war machine falling apart, with the Thief still inside trying to get the Golden Balls.
  • The Wild ends with Kazar's volcano lair erupting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien franchise:
    • Aliens. After Ripley sets the xenomorph queen on fire, the atmosphere processor starts to collapse due to Explosive Overclocking and finally blows up in a nuclear detonation. However in this case there was plenty of foreshadowing as during their first foray into the processor the Colonial Marines had shot up the cooling systems of what was essentially a huge fusion reactor.
    • Alien³ was the only time Ellen Ripley didn't destroy everything as she left. Ron Perlman's character in Alien: Resurrection says it "must be a chick thing".
  • A self-activating Self-Destruct Mechanism destroys Sir August de Wynter's island lair at the end of The Avengers (1998).
  • At the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, a cobalt bomb in an underground mutant lair is detonated and wipes out not only the lair, but all Earth (This was detonated by Col. Taylor himself— which is ironic, since he cursed mankind for doing the same in the original Planet of the Apes (1968) ("Statue of Liberty ruins" scene).
  • Justified in The Black Hole, which involves a Mile-Long Ship being flown into the eponymous black hole by Mad Scientist Dr Reinhardt. When the ship's forcefield fails, a meteor storm and the intense gravitational pressures destroy the spaceship (though this is a case of the Collapsing Lair killing the villain, rather than the villain's demise triggering the destruction of the lair).
  • Black Widow (2021): During the Final Battle, the Red Room's flying headquarters is sabotaged by destroying its engines, causing the whole facility to start blowing up, falling apart, and falling to the ground.
  • In Conan the Destroyer, an entire tower collapses shortly after the wizard's death with one character giving the hand-waved explanation, "It was all an illusion."
  • The end of Congo results in the convenient destruction of the "evil" gorillas' lair via volcanic eruption... despite the fact that it had been standing for hundreds of years before the protagonists got there. In the book it was caused by incredibly misjudged placement of mining charges by the heroes.
  • At the end of Forbidden Planet, the hero throws a switch that will cause a chain reaction in the Krell furnaces that will destroy the planet Altair-4 in 24 hours.
  • God Told Me To: When Pete finally kills Phillips, the building they're in catches fire and starts collapsing, possibly because of all the energy deployed in the fight.
  • Justified in The Guns of Navarone as destroying the eponymous guns is the entire point for a team of Allied saboteurs. They plant a hidden booby trap where the shell hoist will detonate it, setting off the other shells.
  • The destruction of the enemy mothership in Independence Day with a tactical nuclear missile with a 30 second timer.
  • All the Indiana Jones movies have a large building getting destroyed (Raiders of the Lost Ark has part of the Chachapoyan temple, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has the mine, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has the inside of the Grail Temple, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the entire city of Akator).
  • It: Chapter Two: When Pennywise is killed, Its underground lair, the cistern above it, and the house on Neibolt Street above that all collapse in on themselves.
  • Many James Bond movies end with Bond escaping from the villain's Collapsing Lair.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, the headquarters of Balem's corporation, located on Jupiter, begins to be demolished because the "grav-hull [was] ruptured," and "[t]he gas was reacting to the stockworks", due to Caine's vessel having punctured the barrier around the planet and crashed into several structures. Maybe it was a bad idea to establish a base of operations on a planet so naturally hostile to life and machinery alike.
  • Kaamelott: Premier Volet: The keep of Kaamelott castle counts as this as the final duel between Arthur and Lancelot happens there. The collapsing happens courtesy of the Burgundians finally being able to properly maneuver their Siege Engines.
  • A surreal version at the climax of Labyrinth features gravity taking a holiday. Justified, since It Was All A Dream. Probably.
  • Logan's Run (1976): Logan's destruction of the tyrannical central computer causes his city to blow up, freeing its people.
  • The Lord of the Rings loves this trope. When the remaining members of the Fellowship are escaping from Moria after Gandalf apparently dies fighting the Balrog, they are one step ahead of a narrow bridge over a chasm collapsing behind them; miraculously the stones of the bridge collapse just behind them all the time with none of the fellowship being caught on them. and when Frodo and Sam are escaping from Mount Doom after the destruction of the ring, the collapse of the road behind them never quite catches up with them, nor does the flow of molten lava overtop the place where they seek refuge.
  • ''Mirror Mirror (2012)': The Queen's magic mirror lair collapses after her death.
  • Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears: Phryne and Jack are attempting to return the emerald to the sarcophagus in the crypt. Jonathon Lofthouse is attempting to help them, but then Crippins—who has been revealed as the murderer — arrives and demands the emerald at gunpoint. AS Jonathon drops the emerald into the coffin, he and Crippins get involved in a Gun Struggle. As they do so, an earthquake hits and the crypt and it starts to collapse. Phryne, Jack and Shirin are forced to flee. Phryne tries to go back for the other two, but Jack grabs her arm and pulls her clear as fall and completely seal the crypt once again.
  • The Mummy (1999) ends with a temple collapsing after Benny accidentally activates the "sink into sand" system. The Mummy Returns ends with an oasis and the pyramid it houses vanishing into the desert, but due to Load-Bearing Boss.
  • Deconstructed in National Treasure 2. The ending plays out with a large amount of water flooding the treasure chamber, to set up a "treasure is found and lost forever"-scenario... only to cut to the main character cataloguing the contents of the water-free treasure chamber. It turns out that draining and re-excavating a temple in the middle of nowhere in the 19th or 20th century might be impossible, but in the US, under a major landmark, in the 21st? The cost could be hidden in the rounding errors of the National Park Service's budget, and the room, even without the treasure, would probably pay for itself in increased tourist revenue.
  • Our Man Flint. Derek Flint's sabotage of the machinery in Galaxy's Island Base causes it to blow up and destroy the base, which somehow blows up the island as well. Ironically the base doesn't actually start collapsing until The Dragon tries one last time to kill Flint, breaking some steam pipes which appear to be The Last Straw to cause Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Phantasm: The Tall Man's mortuary has a gate to his home planet. When Reggie grabs both columns of the gate at the same time, it's destabilized and eventually destroys the whole building.
  • In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Inspector Clouseau is accidentally catapulted into Dreyfus' castle and lands on the Disintegrator Ray that is about to destroy England. Knocking it askew causes the machine to catastrophically malfunction, and everyone ( except Dreyfus, who's hit by the beam and thus doomed) flees as, piece by piece, the castle vanishes.
  • In a variant, the house from Poltergeist collapses in on itself, and is apparently sucked into another dimension, at the end. The resident ghosts weren't actually destroyed, but were "defeated" in the sense that the whole family escaped alive, despite everything the evil presence could throw at them.
  • Justified in Red Sonja. The castle of the evil queen Gedren was housing an Artifact of Doom and was already on the verge of collapsing due to the queen recklessly overcharging it. When Sonja throws the artifact into a chasm, the resulting discharge of force brings the entire castle down.
  • At the end of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Brad, Janet and Dr Scott have to leave Frank's castle before it blasts off into space.
  • In Rolli – Amazing Tales, the Trashers' underground lair starts crumbling when the Great Trash gets down his throat a broom, his only known weakness. As the heroes, the High Priest, and the Trashers who've regained their own personalities run for their lives, the Great Trash makes a hammy Villain Song before he's crushed under the rocks.
  • In That Man from Rio, the cave that houses the treasure collapses as soon as the villain locates and tries to leave with the treasure.
  • In the horror film Suspiria (1977), after the head witch is stabbed, not only are all the other witches seen rolling around on the floor clutching at invisible neck wounds, but the whole ballet school tears itself apart, with furniture flinging itself through windows, walls cracking, beams falling and unlikely objects, such as statues and door knobs, simply exploding for no good reason. When Susan walks away at the end, the whole place is on fire.
  • In The World's End, it's the titular pub, taking the entire town with it. Probably a deliberate Taking You with Me ploy by the Network.
  • In Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold, the shot Pecos fires to shoot the dagger out of the chief's hands causes vibrations that trigger a collapse of the entire Tulpani cave system.

  • In The Adversary Cycle: Nightworld this is explained as being due to the Big Bad using his magic to counteract the laws of physics. When he dies, nature reasserts itself and the underground cavern starts to collapse due to the weight of the ground above.
  • At the end of The Barbarian and the Sorceress, Rom and Kira are forced to flee an ancient temple to an Eldritch Abomination as it collapses around them.
  • The otherwise invincible Energized Protodermis Entity is defeated by collapsing its chamber into a chasm in BIONICLE Adventures #6: Maze of Shadows.
  • In Captain Underpants, the spaceship self-destructs.
  • There are three of these in The Chronicles of Prydain.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian story "The Tower of the Elephant," when Yag-kosha takes his revenge upon the sorcerer Yara by way of Conan, the titular tower, which Yag-kosha built for him in a single night, shatters into a million pieces after Conan escapes.
  • Discworld:
    • In The Colour of Magic, the Temple of Shub-Niggurath collapses after the eponymous Eldritch Abomination is banished. It's suggested that as long as Shub-Niggurath was around, entropy itself was afraid to go near the place, but once Shub-Niggurath was gone it got stuck in and started making up for lost time.
    • Parodied in Feet of Clay, when freelance exterminator Wee Mad Arthur explains why he charges so much more for disposal of wasp nests. Being a gnome only a few inches tall, he plants squibs inside the nests and then has to fight his way to the exit before they blow.
  • The deleted original ending of Dracula featured Castle Dracula being destroyed by an uncanny earthquake and volcano-like cataclysm after the destruction of the eponymous vampire.
  • In Dragon Bones, Castle Hurog has been owned by good and bad people over the time, but was built using evil magic, and is held together by magic.. When the evil is undone, the building, likewise, collapses.
  • Older Than Radio: The collapse of the titular house at the climax of Poe's 1839 story "The Fall of the House of Usher".
  • Forest Kingdom: In the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' Book 5 (Guard Against Dishonor), this trope turns nasty. As per tradition, the pocket dimension in which a deadly new drug is being prepared fails when the sorcerer that created it is killed by the Watch; untraditionally, this has worse consequences than just a dramatic race for the exit, as the pocket's collapse takes a crowded city tenement down with it, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. This was deliberately planned by the drug lord who'd had the pocket dimension created, to discredit the Watch and make it easier to escape with the drugs in the midst of a disaster.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel First & Only, when the Inquisitor Heldane's pawn is killed, the psychic shock kills Heldane as well, and his unleashed psychic energies tore apart the Base on Wheels he was on. Good thing for the Ghosts and their allies that Heldane used the pawn at a distance.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Teroenza's treasure room suffers a great deal of damage in the first book, and the damage to the support pillars results in them and the ceiling collapsing (killing Zavval the Hutt in the process from everything landing on him). Unusually for the trope, the room gets rebuilt between books.
  • In Christopher Stasheff's Her Majesty's Wizard, after the main character recited a Shakespeare passage about the banishing of illusions, the castle of the lust witch Sayeesa faded into thin air, leaving only an empty crater and a number of no-longer-enthralled young men and women.
  • In Stephen King's It this happens on a rather large scale. When It dies, so does the magic that's apparently held up a lot of Derry's structure. It appears as if It was part of the town's very foundation. The weather goes crazy, the river turns into a flood and much of the city collapses into the ground.
    • Not exactly; the storm and flood start when the Loser's Club begins to battle with IT, and the destruction peaks at IT's death... but trails off rapidly. It seems that the act of actually defying IT was enough to unbalance things on a big scale.
  • King Haggard's castle collapses dramatically at the end of The Last Unicorn. Given that the book was a loving spoof of fantasy tropes itself, this is not surprising.
    • The collapse was supposed to be triggered by the thunderous shock of thousands of unicorns recently freed from the King and running past the foundations of the castle all at once.
  • Happens quite frequently to The Lonely Winds, usually as a result of Marc doing something stupid. Lampshaded by Nails in The Absolution: "...why does every single fight we get into end with something on fire?"
  • Barad-dûr (The Dark Tower) in The Lord of the Rings was over two thousand feet tall (some sources suggest over 4000!) and was held up by Sauron's disregard of structural physics. Naturally, with the destruction of The One Ring and Sauron's demise, the tower came toppling down, as well as the Black Gate, which had been built with the same power.
  • The exorcism at the end of Medusa's Web ends with the creepy old house catching fire and burning to the ground. By that point, the surviving members of the family that lived there are frankly glad to see it go. Foreshadowed by ghost of the former owner having a penchant for quoting lines from "The Fall of the House of Usher".
  • In Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, the shock of the Storm King's destruction causes Green Angel Tower to collapse with the protagonists inside, naturally prompting an escape scene. Some make it out, some don't. The story makes it somewhat ambiguous whether this is a case of No Ontological Inertia or the aftereffects of the spell that summoned him, but it's striking that Green Angel Tower was the sole remaining Sithi structure in the Hayholt and the exact place where Ineluki killed himself 500 years prior, becoming the Storm King. To be fair, the series' Functional Magic is explicitly stated to work on the principle of No Ontological Inertia.
  • One of the possible results of destroying a Dungeon Core in An Outcast in Another World. Standard practice is to take the Core outside of its Dungeon before shattering it; otherwise, you risk dying after the hard part of finding the Core was already accomplished.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Silver Chair, the witch has spells to collapse her realm once she is dead. This is in some ways a good thing, as the collapse allows her captive minions to return to Bism, which is even farther underground than the caverns. The protagonists figure that she purposely wove these spells into the cavern so that nobody could kill her without likely meeting their own demise soon afterward.
  • Solomon Kane: In "The Moon of Skulls", the lost city of Negari is destroyed by an earthquake just after Kane kills the quuen, and Kane is forced to flee through the collapsing city.
  • Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves: After Han sabotages the No Warping Zone device, the controls for which are hanging from the underside of the Hollow World Seymarti's crust, the force fields holding the crust up from the core begin fluctuating and failing. Han, Leia, and Scarlet have to escape back up through the crust to the surface, then climb up the pyramid housing the entrance to the lair to where there's enough room for the Falcon to pick them up, before the entire world breaks apart and falls into the core. Chewie doesn't get the Falcon there in time, and Luke has to carry them on the outside of his X-wing as the ground crumbles away under them, until Chewie can reach them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Pilot of the original Battlestar Galactica, the planet explodes as the human fleet is fleeing, thus destroying the Cylon basestar which was very close to the surface. The reason? They set fire to a fuel deposit.
  • Buffyverse:
  • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: After Ultimate Org Senki's destruction, as well as the complete anhilation of the Org Heart and following the earlier sealing of the Matrix to prevent more Orgs from being created, the whole evil base starts to collapse and buries the last two remaining evil Orgs, TsueTsue and Yabaiba, underneath the rubble.
  • MacGyver (1985): At the end of "Legend of the Holy Rose", the Temple of the Holy Rose collapses, burying all of Ambrose's miraculous artifacts (although Mac and the Girl of the Week are outside at the time and so do not have to flee through the collapsing temple). Mac speculates that Ambrose had intended this to occur all along. For the episode "Kill Zone", the collapsing lair is an underground Phoenix Foundation lab where the affably evil doctor Sandra Millhouse is conducting experiments with deadly rapid-aging organism. After her dog has contaminated the lab, Mac Gyver and Pete have minutes to get the elevator topside before the imminent self-destruction.
  • In an episode of Mission: Impossible, The Bunker, Part 2, third-party killer Ventlos rearranges a fuel mix to destroy the enemy bunker giving the IMF seven minutes to get out before the fuel overheats.
  • Power Rangers Wild Force: After the Rangers destroy the three pillars of light that held it together, the Nexus starts collapsing, forcing Jindrax and Toxica to save Princess Shayla and haul her out of the base quickly, but Master Org stays behind and collapses into dust as he transforms into his final form.
  • Supergirl (2015): In the Season 3 episode "Trinity", Kara and the DEO take on the Worldkillers in their Fortress of Sanctuary. After Purity and Pestilence are killed and Reign flees, the Fortress collapses, dissolving into sand.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: This was done to a meth lab in Season 9's "Unsafe Speed" after Sydney and Gage, who were posing as outlaw bikers to infiltrate it, have their cover blown by a mule who witnessed them arrest a drug dealer earlier in the episode. The leader of the bikers gets his meth lab ready to blow sky-high and leaves Sydney to die in there while he and his gang escape, but Walker and Gage arrive in time to save her. Gage had to free Sydney after she was cuffed to the leg of a table by the lead biker using her own handcuffs while Walker dukes it out with the leader himself. At the same time Gage frees Sydney, Walker had just given the lead biker the finishing blow, but they weren't about to let him die in the explosion.

  • In Interstitial: Actual Play, the island where the final battle takes place (which is also The Island from Lost) begins to self-destruct the more the party fights off the Organization's forces in the Castle that Never Was.

  • The hall of the Mountain King and the cave trolls in Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt. "In the Hall of the Mountain King", the most famous piece from Edvard Grieg's incidental music to the play, depicts the diabolical dance of the trolls and the collapse of the halls.
  • At the end of Tanz Der Vampire this happens to the castle of Count Krolock - for no goddamn reason as we aren't even shown if he died or not. Which is, given the fridge logic of the play, not even likely.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In the first Alone in the Dark (1992), Pregzt's cavern starts collapsing after you Kill It with Fire.
  • In Alpha Protocol, the Grand Finale takes place as the Alpha Protocol base is being "sanitized" in preparation for the agency closing its doors and opening up shop somewhere else under a new name. This process has less to do with paper shredders and more to do with time bombs. As you proceed through each section of the base, the bombs in the previous sections go off, cutting you off from going back the way you came.
  • Occurs in the Templar Archives after Altaïr kills Armand Bouchart in Assassins Creed Bloodlines.
  • Inverted in Baldur's Gate II in that you start in the Big Bad secret dungeon, which collapses (at least the only tunnel leading to the surface) as you leave it at the end of chapter 1.
  • In Bastion, every level does this after you grab whatever MacGuffin is there, with the exception of the proving grounds — which you can return to until you've earned all the rewards they offer — and Who Knows Where, which you can return to however many times you like (although it's accessed through the Bastion).
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: The rooms where you fight Bane and Poison Ivy. In Bane's case this is justified as he damaged the supports during his fight with you. Ivy is at least a handwave because the giant plant she used came up through the floor.
  • Bionic Commando: "This base will explode in 60 sec", after killing Master D.
  • The Nui-Jaga scorpion nest containing the infected Comet balls in the Mata Nui On-Line Game. Toa Pohatu and the player only escape thanks to the Mask of Speed.
  • In Brain Dead 13, this is the result of Lance's pressing the Big Red "Flush" Button that can cause the castle to self-destruct after the final confrontation with Dr. Neurosis.
  • Whenever Dracula is defeated, Castlevania will collapse, leaving only ruins. The protagonist, especially if he is a Belmont, will usually watch this from a cliff.
    • This case is, however, justified: Castlevania is a creature of Chaos (that's why it looks different in every game), held together by Dracula's power.
  • An early example could be found in the Atari 8-bit game Caverns of Mars from 1981. After reaching a reactor in the cavern, the player sets it off and must escape before it explodes.
  • In the bad ending to Contra: Shattered Soldier, a Kill Sat destroys Galuga Archipelago after you complete Mission 5, taking the heroes with it.
  • Case 36 of Criminal Case: World Edition takes place in a Skull Island Expy where SOMBRA Mad Scientist Marshall Metcalf has a base inside an active volcano. Wanna guess what happens to it after the case is solved?
  • Descent: Every level was ended with blowing everything up and having to fly back to the emergency exit for a dramatic just-in-time escape.
  • One of the three endings of Deus Ex involves the player blowing up an Elaborate Underground Base. The final cutscene is unclear on whether or not he makes it out alive.
  • The island in the original Devil May Cry begins to fall apart when Mundus does.
  • In the 102% ending of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Crocodile Isle sinks into the ocean as Donkey Kong, Diddy, and Dixie watch from a hill. As this happens, Kaptain K. Rool flees away on a raft to plot his next evil plan, laughing wickedly as he does so.note 
  • The second-to-last level of Duke Nukem Forever is a two-parter that involves destroying the Hoover Dam in order to cut power to an alien wormhole. In the second half, you must escape its collapsing interior while waters rise and debris crashes down around you.
  • The Elder Scrolls Oblivion: The Shivering Isles expansion requires you to escape one of these, while boulders fall as if the DM is mad at you.
  • Fallout: Fallout had two cases of bases with nuclear self destruct devices (perhaps the megalomaniacal bad guys wanted to make sure their plans would fail if they happened to die?). Fallout 2 had at least one, sabotaging the computer that keeps the nuclear reactor from exploding. Fallout 3 has a base that can be convinced to blow itself up, and in a DLC a mobile base that controls a Kill Sat that can command the kill sat to target the base itself.
    • The player can also do this to Vault 101 and force its evacuation as the Evil solution to "Trouble on the Homefront".
    • In Point Lookout, the Calvert Mansion explodes at the end of "Thought Control", courtesy of the Self-Destruct Mechanism activated by Desmond.
    • One of the mandatory objectives in the Legion and House questlines from Fallout: New Vegas (and an optional one in the NCR and Yes Man branches) is to self-destruct the Brotherhood of Steel's bunker. You can also blow up the Powder Gangers' vault.
  • In Faria, after you defeat the boss of a tower (invariably on the highest floor) and use the convenient exit located one screen up from it, the tower inexplicably crumbles to ruins.
  • The Final Fantasy games are no stranger to this trope. Sometimes, it's justified or Hand Waved, sometimes it's not.
    • Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy XII have airship bases that get blown to pieces.
    • Final Fantasy IV has the Tower of Zot and the Giant of Babil both collapse upon having their bosses get defeated. The giant is justified in collapsing, since the boss was its CPU core, and destroying it caused the Giant to stop functioning. The Tower of Zot just sort of falls over.
    • Final Fantasy V has the Fire Shrine. You have ten minutes to get out before it explodes, or it's Game Over.
    • Final Fantasy VI has the Floating Continent and Kefka's Tower. Both times, it was because the source of the world's magic was disrupted; the Continent falls because the statues were moved, and the Tower falls because Kefka, who had absorbed the statues' power, was killed.
    • Final Fantasy VII has the core of the Planet collapse after Sephiroth is defeated for the final time. No explanation, it just does.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has the Praetorium, which explodes after taking massive damage during the fight against Ultima Weapon in the Main Story Quest "The Ultimate Weapon". After defeating the Ascian Lahabrea, you rescue his former host Thancred and escape the dungeon on a stolen Garlean Magitek walker, narrowly escaping the encroaching fireball.
  • At the end of Flashback, you blow up the Morphs' homeworld with a nuclear charge set in the planet's core, and have to escape on a timer.
  • For the King: The tower Harazuel collapses when the heroes defeat the final boss within and end the flow of Chaos energy into the world. The collapse kills the heroes in the endgame cutscene, leaving the Queen to honour them with a Memorial Statue.
  • One chapter in Gears of War 3 requires you to overload a massive generator in order to shut down a man-made maelstrom. As one might expect, this ends with you fleeing before it explodes, as the whole facility falls apart around you.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, you have to raid enemy compounds and sometimes their businesses, leave a Time Bomb at a specific spot and leave. If you succeed in escaping the place before the bomb goes, you get to see flames on the (temporarily) out-of-commission building.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One involves going into the Citadel to slow the timer on the meltdown of its dark energy reactor (conveniently sped up by the Combine) then getting the hell out of dodge before it goes critical and takes all of City 17 along with it.
  • Halo:
    • At the end of Halo 3, the activation of the unfinished replacement ring causes it to shake itself apart, and you have to drive across the crumbling superstructure.
    • Early in Halo 4, you have to drive through a collapsing section of Requiem.
  • Holy Umbrella subverts a couple of aspects of this trope: the Emperor Dondera is undefeated and on the loose when his castle is set to explode, and you don't have a chance of fleeing before time runs out (yet somehow things turn out all right).
  • A variation in Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, where destroying a sector's HQ building will instantly destroy all other buildings in the sector too. This can be exploited by using Zerg Rush tactics. Played completely straight with the central HQ building in each faction's "home" sector, where taking it out will destroy everything and grant the other team an instant victory. The aforementioned Zerg Rush tactics are less effective here, as the central HQ has a large amount of health (and, in the Martians' case, shoots back!)
  • Kingdom of Loathing: When you defeat one of the Naughty Sorceress's familiars, immediately prior to the boss fight, the game informs you that "You move further into the tower, while huge chunks of stone fall from the walls for no good reason."
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: The ending cinematic shows the Trayus Core starting to collapse and fall into a bottomless chasm (presumably leading to the planet core) before you're rescued just in time by your ship.
  • Revenge of Meta Knight ends with the Halberd breaking down and Kirby fleeing on a Wheelie, while Meta Knight attempt to slow him down and keep him from escaping.
  • Kirby Star Allies has Zan Partizanne rupture the Jambastion's core after her defeat, forcing Kirby and his friends to escape before the place falls down on them. Emphasis on friends, as the Friend Circle, Friend Bridge and Friend Star require a full team in order to use, making a solo escape impossible. Unlike most other examples on this page, there's no time limit.
  • This happens at the end of La-Mulana. In the original version, Lemeza simply escapes via cutscene. In the remake, the player has 5 minutes to escape or they'll have defeated the final boss for nothing.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, after Ganondorf is defeated the first time, he makes his castle collapse with his last breath, intending to bury Link and Zelda alive in the wreckage, and the duo has three minutes to escape before they are killednote . Made cooler by the fact that you get to fight Ganon on the wreckage after escaping the castle. Made slightly more annoying by the two Stalfos that revive if you take too long to kill the second one after defeating the first one, and the ReDead that like to paralyze you, especially since you're unable to use the Ocarina to play the Sun's Song, while the timer ticks down.
  • Happens 3 times in Lost Odyssey.
    • The first dungeon to come crashing down is the Experimental Staff. After Gongora wipes the floor with your party and leaves them for dead, he (or perhaps some of his men) activate the Experimental Staff's self-destruct system. As soon as the party manages to get back on their feet, the destruction begins, and you have 12 minutes to escape. There are numerous small tremors and a large amount of debris falling around you as you make your way out.
    • Next to fall is Grand Staff, which is flying in the air at this point. After the "boss fight" with Possessed Jansen, Gongora learns a valuable lesson: Pay attention to where you're going when flying an aerial structure. While he was occupied with the party, Grand Staff smashes into the side of the Tower of Mirrors. This doesn't dent his plans too much though, as he acquires the power he needed and once again leaves the party for dead, escaping through a portal just as the entire structure starts to fall apart. After the party pulls themselves together, you are once again tasked with a timed escape, this time you've got 8 minutes to get out. Unlike during the Experimental Staff escape, there are no large chunks of debris falling while making your way out. There are still tremors, however.
    • The final thing to go bye-bye is none other than the Tower of Mirrors itself, though this one doesn't so much collapse as it does get sucked into itself. After defeating the final boss, the post-battle events result in the gate to the immortals' world malfunctioning, eventually growing into a massive portal that sucks the entire tower into it. Escape is automatic as the party flees by airship, just barely making it out as the tower fragments into pieces, and then both the tower's remains and the gate vanish in an explosion.
  • Neo Bowser Castle collapses when the final boss is defeated in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 has a sequence very early in the game where the player's squad of four heroes must escape Castle Doom as it implodes, occasionally dropping large chunks of its innards onto the player's heroes as they go.
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has you demolish Fort Schmerzen in the final level by detonating a gas main, and run for the exit while it's being rocked by explosions.
  • Mega Man (Classic): This happens to Skull Castle very often at the end of games in the original series.
    • In the Game Boy Mega Man IV, the area after the second battle with Ballade has you escaping from the Wily Tank as it blows away behind you.
  • Metroid games often contain segments (especially at the end) where the player must guide Samus out of one of these before a timer runs out.
  • Might and Magic IV ends with this, although the party does get out safely.
  • At the end of Modern Warfare's first mission, "Crew Expendable", the Estonian freighter gets bombed by Russian MIG's and starts taking on water, forcing the player to run through the collapsing and sinking ship to the extraction chopper.
  • Midway through Modern Warfare 2's seventeenth mission, "Just Like Old Times", Shepherd sets his hideout Site Hotel Bravo to be detonated through Directive 1-1-6 Bravo.
  • In the Roguelike game NetHack, if there's an unrecoverable bug in the game, the dungeon collapses, and you lose the game, having "panicked"
  • Twice in Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide. First, during the Interlude, the party is led into a trap and have a Netherese ruin come crashing down on them, and your mentor Drogan gives his life to save you and your companion. Then, in the finale, the ancient city of Undrentide once again falls from the sky once Heurodis is defeated, with the player forced to flee into a portal to the Plane of Shadows.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, the base campaign ends with the King of Shadows bringing the dungeon down around your ears in his death throes. Before the expansion, this was implied to have been a literal case of Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, with the ending slides dealing with everyone but the party, who it seems never escaped the Vale of Merdelain. Mask of the Betrayer takes steps to soften this, starting on the reveal that the Knight-Captain at least was teleported away.
  • Onirism: After beating the boss of Emily's Brewery and unlocking a new path, you find it ends with a destructible piece of machinery. Breaking it is the only way out and sets off an escape sequence where all machinery breaks as you pass near it, while you strive to outrun the Exact Time to Failure five-minute timer.
  • This happens to all of the major dungeons in Ori and the Blind Forest after their Element is restored. The Ginso Tree floods with water, the Forlorn Ruins crumble due to Gumo removing the Light Vessel, and Mount Horu erupts.
  • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, you have to set off a group of large Bob-ombs in order to destroy a large tank of black paint in the bomb factory within Black Bowser Castle. This results in black paint flooding the lower levels of the castle and damaging its structural integrity. Once you lay the smackdown on Black Bowser and rescue Peach, the upper levels of the castle start to fall apart, and you have to run to the entrance as debris crashes down around you.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners plays with this: Pharoah Khufu appears to be a Load-Bearing Boss, forcing the survivors to flee for their lives. However, Ayuto eventually realizes that Kyosuke accidentally Invoked this trope: having inherited Khufu's incredible psychic powers, he caused the ruins to start collapsing because he believed they would, simply because he'd seen that trope in so many horror movies.
  • In Persona 4 Golden, the Hollow Forest is unique in this regard; any previous dungeon you can revisit at your leisure, but this place was created solely to disappear from memory and reality and take its creator with it. Success and failure have the same result; you just get to actually see it if you succeed.
  • Persona 5 has this as a basis. The Palaces are manifestations of the desires of truly twisted individuals like mafia bosses, Corrupt Corporate Executives, mass murderers, etc. The Phantom Thieves change their targets' hearts by stealing a person's Treasure, the root of their desires, the basis upon which the Palace grew. And without that basis, everything else self-destructs; there's nary a mission's end wherein the Thieves aren't running for their lives as everything falls to pieces around them.
  • Downplayed in Persona 5 Strikers. Like in the previous game, the bad guys have entire pocket dimensions to themselves. But the only part that collapses after the defeat is the birdcage at the core of the world where they dwell.
  • Pizza Tower: After finally defeating Pizzahead and knocking down the Pillar John in the final level, the tower starts to collapse. The rest of the level consists of making a mad dash for the tower entrance through the Hub Level with your friends (and the other bosses) in tow.
    • The more localised 'Pizza Time' happens at the end of every level except WAR after knocking out its Pillar John, prompting a mad dash back to the entrance.
  • In P.N.03's ninth mission, after destroying Orchidee 2.0 and finding the Vanessa clone, a 5-minute self-destruct timer starts, the lights start flashing on and off, and new enemies have spawned along the escape route.
  • Pokémon:
  • In Pony Island, once the player deletes all three core files and initiates the system dump, the game begins to collapse. As the game gets deleted, the player and fellow imprisoned souls run to escape the confines of the rapidly-deleting game and be able to move on to the afterlife, while Lucifer does his best to claim as many souls as possible. Throughout the escape, corrupted files get hurled into the player and escapees' direction, requiring the player to destroy them with pony lasers to ensure they won't kill the souls.
  • Portal. After you throw all four of GLaDOS' core piece into the incinerator, the room you're in blows up, and you end up outside the Center.
    • See Load-Bearing Boss.
    • In the last two chapters of Portal 2 the Aperture Science facility becomes this, not because of your actions but because Wheatley, who was programmed to make bad decisions, has decided not to perform any of the maintenance functions needed to keep the place from falling apart.
  • Every endgame location in every Resident Evil ever made. Sometimes this even happens twice, as in Code Veronica. It's mostly justified since said locales typically contain laboratories crawling with viral abominations and are armed with fail-safe self-destruct mechanisms. On the fourth title to erase her evidence, Ada blows Saddler's island fortress to kingdom come with explosives set to a three minute timer and even gives Leon jet-ski keys so he and Ashley can escape.
  • This happens to Riven when you re-open the Star Fissure.
  • In Shounen Kininden Tsumuji, after defeating the Big Bad and the Demon King the Demon Castle begins to destroy itself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • In the fan game Sonic Chrono Adventure, the Sky Empire starts to get overrun by Eggman's own magnetic mass, prompting Sonic and Rodolia to escape. Subverted because after the final battle in the city, the magnetic mass disappears, but Sky Empire miraculously floats for the next hundred years. It's also double subverted because the damages from the huge takeover prevent anyone from inhabiting in there.
  • The first three Space Quest games do this. In the first, the Deltaur is destroyed by the activation of the Star Generator. In the second, Vohaul sets his space station on a decaying orbit just before he dies. In the third, destroying the Stealth Field Generator on Ortega triggers a series of volcanic eruptions.
  • In Spider-Man (2000), Spidey plugs up the vents that's spewing the chemicals allowing people to bond to symbiotes, then defeats Dr. Octopus and Carnage. When Monster Ock shows up, the base starts falling apart due to the build up and Spidey must escape from the base while making sure Monster Ock doesn't try to kill him.
  • In the remake of Spy Hunter, the enemy base explodes after you EMP the Doomsday Device at the end.
  • In Streets of Rage 3, when Dr. X's Robot Y boss is defeated (whether in time for the Golden Ending or not), the last thing Dr. X does before dying is set off a Self-Destruct Mechanism in his base, determined to take Axel, Blaze, Skate, and Zan with him. Adam rescues them before the base explodes.
  • In the fifth and final episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, after finally defeating Trogdor, his lair starts to collapse and Homestar Runner literally says that Trogdor "must've been a load bearing dragon".
  • Suikoden likes this trope. In the mainline games, after beating the Final Boss, the dungeon starts to collapse because of the final battle, forcing the hero and his companions to abandon the place to save themselves.
  • Lampshade hung in Swordcraft Story 2, where an NPC is trying to make the protagonist get something she lost without being obvious. So she tells her that the sword the protagonist is trying to get will cause the cave to collapse without the object. Another character on the scene remarks, "Ah, the load-bearing treasure!"
  • Tomb Raider I, II, and Anniversary, explicitly.
    • In Legend, Amanda gets trapped under the rubble with the shadow monster, and the entire tomb collapses in on itself. You then proceed to return and attempt to drain it.
    • In The Last Revelation, Lara apparently falls to her death during the collapse of the Temple of Horus.
  • Unreal: After killing the final boss, although not so much collapsing as exploding while you run for the escape rocket.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: The Vampire Hunter Grunfeld Bach, after being beaten by the player character, waits to greet you on your way out with a detonator. You have to race the countdown to the exit, choosing whether to rescue a kidnapping victim on the way out.
  • Vermintide II: Justified in the final level. The heroes sabotage the giant portal being used to invade the Empire, kill the Final Boss before he can fix it, and flee the Elaborate Underground Base as the portal's destabilizing magic brings it all down. Fortunately, the exit elevator still works.
  • Happens several times in Wolfenstein (2009). The massive underground base in the caverns beneath the farm explodes after retrieving a crystal being used for research deep within — though it's kinda-sorta justified: the destruction is implied to be caused by the creatures you freed by getting the crystal rather than by the simple act of taking it. Later, the entire Cannery explodes after defeating a certain load-bearing boss (though this was a result of destroying several critical pieces of machinery, rather than the boss's death). It also happens at the end of the game, after defeating the last boss.
  • Word Realms discusses but ultimately averts this.
    The Player: I was sort of expecting the Castle to fall down. (Beat) Probably better get the hell out of here, regardless.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Parodied in the Strong Bad Email "the paper". Strong Bad is on a sinking "Far Side" Island in a flashback, and says "How is this island sinking? I didn't even kill any end bosses!"
  • SMG4 Movie: Western Spaghetti: Once Meggy and Tari manage to break free of Wren's simulation, he goes utterly batshit and attempts to force them back in by bringing the stimulation into the real world, which causes the machinery to malfunction since it can't handle the process. This in turn causes the building they're all in to begin falling apart from the tremors of the exploding machine. Everyone manages to flee from the lair, except for Wren.

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, this occurs twice:
    • Once when the fiend of fire, Kary, is defeated, Red Mage yells that they have to get out because the main villian's base explodes. Black Mage laughs it off, then the volcano explodes. He then says he's "brave enough to chalk that up to coincidence."
    • Then, right after Muffin is defeated, Black Mage and Fighter remove the air orb, causing the floating castle to collapse. A possible third time occurs in the final boss fight when Black Mage shoots his super-evil at Sarda. Technically they weren't inside for it and the main villian's defeat wasn't until later but the place still collapsed.
  • The golden temple in Blue Moon Blossom where the bunny and dino found the rabbit spirit starts to collapse as soon as the spirit is released from the crystal it'd been sealed in.
  • Lord Milligan from Casey and Andy has set up a device to register his heartbeat and, if it's absent, will trigger explosives in his base. Quantum Crook takes Lord Milligan hostage in one instance to get the heroes to back off, knowing that Milligan is a Card-Carrying Villain and would have invoked this trope.
  • In Dragon Mango, they make it out only because of the hippogryff.
  • A rare protagonist (sorta?) example comes from Erfworld. After the Coalition forces overwhelm Gobwin Knob and nearly destroy the city, Parson Gotti orders everyone into the caverns, then has their remaining casters link up to use their various magic powers to awaken the dormant volcano beneath the mountain. The resulting explosive eruption wipes out not only the city (which gets fixed soon after), but the entirety of the Coalition forces.
  • The Order of the Stick: The Dungeon of Dorukan collapses after the Order of the Stick defeats Xykon and Elan activates the self-destruct rune.
  • Happens in Panthera when Oosterhuis destroys the load-bearing columns of the underground facility when he loses his alias and his support, leaving Panthera and several FBI agents in the collapsing room.
  • At the end of the "Dangerous Days" arc in Sluggy Freelance, the building Hereti Corp set the building they had used for the Aylee project to self-destruct. This is apparently standard Hereti Corp procedure for anything they might lose, even bagels.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: A heroic and downplayed case happens with Pastor Anne's church after she passes onto the afterlife. In the present case, the protagonists happen to be in room that gets less affected than the rest of the building, which enables them to stay inside until it's safe for them to leave.

    Web Original 
  • Evil Overlord Rule No. 107 : Even though I don't really care because I plan on living forever, I will hire engineers who are able to build me a fortress sturdy enough that, if I am slain, it won't tumble to the ground for no good structural reason.
  • In Sailor Nothing, the entire Yami-Gaia collapses after the Dark Queen dies.

    Western Animation 
  • Used all the time in Batman: The Animated Series. As an episode nears its end, you just know that the whole place Batman is currently at is about to explode, collapse or get destroyed in some contrived way.
    • Batman Beyond is even worse and moves this into outright trope abuse territory. It's almost assured that the final setpiece will explode into flames somehow. Trying to make a drinking out of this trope WILL kill you.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Obake goes down with his lair during the Season 1 finale, which is falling apart due to the massive shockwave caused by Big Hero 6's plan to stop his plan. Baymax offers to save him. He declines.
  • Dark Heart's lair in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, after he makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series parodied this when Dante and Randal escape from an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-style mine, and Randal stops to pull a lever on the wall marked "do not pull". The entire mountain then begins to collapse.
  • Happens in the Danger Mouse episode "All Fall Down," and indirectly attributed to Colonel K. Mac the Fork and Dudley Poyson built an earth shattering device which they activate. The building they're in collapses only as Colonel K had spilled some tea on the device's blueprint thus altering its primary function.
  • Cobra Commander's mansion in the final episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades.
  • Kim Possible, in episode "Downhill", gave us the title quote.
    • And in other episodes, such as the time that Dr. Drakken his his lair inside the world's biggest wheel of cheese. And then built a raygun capable of melting said giant cheese. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Daring Don't", the removal of the Rings of Destiny from the altar causes the collapse of Ahuizotl's temple.
  • In the Season 5 Finale of Miraculous Ladybug, Monarch's lair (and part of the Agreste's Mansion) is absolutely trashed during the final fight between Bugnoire and Monarch.
  • Standard for Phineas and Ferb's B story involving Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus.
  • In The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol , Grouchy deals with a collapsing bookshelf in Gargamel's lair when Azrael chases after him.
  • Happens in an episode of South Park, to the Vatican, no less — after Father Maxi blows his top at the complete idiocy and uncaringness of the Vatican officials and others who not only molest children, but also worship a "queen spider", he tears the ancient "Holy Document of Vatican Law" (which he'd spent part of the episode tracking down) in two; somehow, this causes St. Peter's Basilica to collapse, killing much of the Pedophile Priests in the room.
  • In an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man showcasing the Sinister Six, Spidey must visit Doc Ock's underwater lair to thwart his plan of world domination. After successfully doing so, Doc hits the self-destruct button, causing a tense moment as Spider-Man must free himself from a large chunk of metal, save Gwen, and get out of the lair all before it blows up.
  • Star Wars Rebels, "Steps Into Shadow": Ezra's plan takes advantage of just how easy is is to make the Empire's Reklam Station fall, but he underestimated his opponents and gets tapped and nearly killed himself by the failing station and loses the Phantom.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In the episode "Identity Crisis", Lex Luthor uses a Self-Destruct Mechanism at the end of the episode to cause his lab to collaspe, destroying any evidence of his illegal Kryptonian cloning experiments.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: The Citadel of Bone, with a twist — it can pull itself back together afterwards.
  • Happens a couple of times in Teen Titans (2003):
    • In "Apprentice II", Slade triggers his lair's self-destruct so that the Titans will be too busy saving themselves to prevent his Villain: Exit, Stage Left. It works.
    • In "Aftershock II", Terra turns on Slade and unleashes so much power she loses control of it, triggering a volcano beneath the lair. The lair is destroyed and Slade is killed; Terra performs a Heroic Sacrifice to shut the volcano down and keep the damage from spreading further.
    • In "Deception", Cyborg turns new Big Bad Brother Blood's superweapon against him. Blood uses his telekinetic power to keep from being killed, but the unleashed energies cause the lair to begin caving in.
    • In "Wavelength", Brother Blood's new secret weapon is overloaded, destroying his base in the process.
    • In "Titans Together", the Brain tries to set off a bomb to destroy the Titans as he flees his base, but they teleport it away and capture him.
  • Watership Down, the TV series, inverts this as a positive version for the heroes, after Hazel manages to get the other males to do their bit digging their new burrow with the doe, Blackberry. At one point, all the gang is working on one area when the ceiling partially collapses. However, no one is hurt and the rabbits find that the accident cleared away much of the material to create a very nice great hall for their burrow.


Video Example(s):


Running from the rats

Amicia, Hugo, and Sophia run from the rats that just got loose, collapsing everything behind them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / RunOrDie

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