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Convenient Weakness Placement

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Sometimes, a villain's weakness is conveniently placed near them for no logical reason. For instance, you've tried shooting them. You've tried blowing them up. You've tried hitting them with a frying pan. You've tried everything short of throwing them into a boiling lake of lava, and they still won't die. But unlikely and specific series of events just happens to have landed you in close proximity to exactly what you need—often lava. (Obviously, lava is the panacea against an otherwise invincible villain.)

This is made all the more peculiar by the fact that the villain's lair is often built directly above lava, the one thing that can destroy them. Supervillain Lairs in general tend to be built conveniently near environmental hazards which may sometimes become active when the villain is defeated and spare the hero the need to kill them. This also helps the hero come out of the fight without killing anything. But, obviously, this trope doesn't just apply to lava.

In Video Games, it's very much an illustration of the Rule of Fun and one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality. (No one wants a boss fight to become Unwinnable when you've run out of ammo.)

This is sort of a combination of Benevolent Architecture and Contrived Coincidence.

Several subtropes exist for video games. See Boss-Arena Idiocy, Puzzle Boss, Ring-Out Boss, Bullfight Boss.


Anime & Manga

  • In the Hueco Mundo arc of Bleach, Las Noches has an artificial sun mounted on the ceiling, the only source of sunlight in Hueco Mundo. Like the real sun, it negates Aaroniero Arruruerie's shapeshifting powers. Aaroniero has no idea why his boss decided to do this, but at least he provided a nice, big room with ample shade. The one benefit of that artificial sky is that everything underneath it is absolutely monitored.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Brock's Gym Battle falls under this, because he completely forgot to factor the fact his Gym's fire sprinklers can go off if sparks get too close to them. Water (apparently) makes his Onix weak against Electric-type attacks, which Pikachu exploits to defeat it (though Ash decides to throw the match because he couldn't bring himself to beat him in front of his many, many siblings).
    • When preparing for his rematch against the Psychic-type Gym Leader Sabrina, Ash was advised to catch a Ghost-type Pokémon to fight her Psychic-type Pokémon. Subverted, since he didn't actually catch the Haunter that decided to tag along with him and it didn't even bother to fight (it disappeared twice). Ash was forced to choose Pikachu again, and he ultimately "won" the Gym Battle because Haunter reappeared again, made Sabrina laugh, which caused her Kadabra to laugh as well because of their psychic link. The Psychic-type's disadvantage to Ghost-types ended up being irrelevant.
    • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Ground-type expert Hapu's Grand Trial is especially bad at this, as her stone arena was somehow placed surrounded by water, which Ash actually exploits to win against her Mudsdale using Pikachu the same way he did against Brock. The extremely convenient placement for this battle, alongside the fact the battle was a simple one-on-one, may be attributed with the fact Ash's then-current 4-mon team was horrendously weak against Ground-types (Pikachu, Dusk Lycanroc, and Torracat are all weak to them).


  • Played straight in Uncanny X-Men #112, where Magneto's lair in Antarctica is located inside an active volcano, although it is explained with using the magma as a power source and denying access to unwelcome visitors (Magneto gets inside by creating a magnetic bubble and passing through a pool of lava). Of course in #113 lava flows into the base during the fight, allowing Magneto to escape and splitting the X-Men into two groups, each of which thinks the other died. However, the base was not entirely destroyed and is revisited in later stories.


  • Clash of the Elements: The Inner Guardian of the Nature Castle, whose weakness is the Elemental Stone attached to its chest.

Films — Live-Action

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Over the course of the movie, they throw the T-1000 through a wall, they shoot him in the face with a shotgun, they blow up a huge truck with him in it, they freeze him with liquid nitrogen and break his frozen form to pieces. The latter method seems to have worked, but they just happen to be right next to a steel forgery/construction site with a boiling pool of "lava", which thaws the pieces and allows them to reform. They eventually force him into the lava after shooting a grenade at him with a launcher, and it STILL takes him almost a minute to die.
  • The Wizard of Oz: If water causes the witch to melt, then why does she have a bucket of it in her lair? She probably still needs to fight fires, considering her own Playing with Fire abilities, but she should really have chosen a different location to set Scarecrow on fire.
  • In many vampire films, the castle inhabited by the vampire(s) conforms to the characteristics described in Carpe Jugulum (see Literature, below), which is not surprising given that Terry Pratchett based his vampires to a large extent on Hammer horror movies.


  • This is lampshaded in Carpe Jugulum, when they discuss how proper vampires are supposed to keep their castles filled with picture windows that can be opened dramatically and ornaments that can be bent into holy symbols. The reason being, if you make it easy enough to kill you off temporarily, no-one will bother trying to kill you off permanently. The specific vampire whose castle it is also made sure to put up an anatomical chart explaining where exactly the heart is on a human, although that was less for weakness purposes as such and more because the vampire ending up looking like Swiss cheese is just embarrassing for everyone.
  • In The Beyonders, the only thing that can harm a torivor is one of their own dueling swords. Luckily, a torivor sent out to kill must give its victim a sword, for some reason. (It seems to be an effect of the spell that summoned them to Lirian).
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West makes Dorothy her slave, and immediately sets the girl to cleaning the floors — leaving Dorothy within reach of the Witch's weakness. Then again, Dorothy couldn't very well clean them herself.

Video Games

  • Resident Evil 5: Wesker has proven himself to be the most nonchalantly epic villain ever. Chris and Sheva have shot him, blown up several missiles right in his face, and injected him with his own poison. After all that, he still manages to survive and mutate into a far more monstrous form. Naturally, the only remaining method left to kill him is forcing him into lava. But the plane they were on, which is unmanned at this point, has coincidentally landed INSIDE a volcano, where Wesker is forced into the lava after yet another battle. Even after that, he still survives for quite a while in the lava, and is only finally taken out by one more pair of ballistic missiles.
  • The final boss in Resident Evil 6 for Leon's campaign is in the same vein as the only way to defeat his final form is to trick him into absorbing a lightning rod that just happened to be there and which would cause Mother Nature herself to shock him (it was raining). However Ada's campaign revealed that she was the one that put it there though she still would've had no idea that the final boss would mutate into that and that the lightning rod would be its weakpoint. The other final bosses also had this in small portions. (Jake's being identical to RE5's and Chris' has Piers perform a Heroic Sacrifice to get him to have Elemental Powers that becomes the ultimate creation that would infect the world's weakpoint.
  • The penultimate boss in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's "Dawnguard" DLC is fought at the top of a high balcony, and the battle starts with him right up against the railing. Considering this is Skyrim...well, you do the math.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • More than a few bosses are only harmable by something in their lair. For a nice blatant example, consult The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where Armagohma will fight you inside a ring of statues whose only purpose is to smack the crap out of whatever's in front of them.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Justified with the Bomb Flowers in Dodongo's Cavern. Bomb Flowers apparently thrive in hot climates, and can be equated to a dangerously-explosive weed, processed versions of which are the Gorons' major export, and the 'normal' bombs you use through the majority of the game. So it makes sense that lots of such Flowers are present in the battlefield where King Dodongo is faced.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: One boss actually destroys the feature you're using to harm him (the torches you're using to imbue your Boomerang with fire or ice).
  • Any Bullfight Boss in which you have to make the boss charge into some damaging, natural feature of the arena. (Like a charged Tesla Coil when the boss is only vulnerable to being electrocuted — see Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for this example verbatim.)
  • Melchiah from Soul Reaver. The only way to damage him is with three one-shot devices in the room. And the last of the three just happens to be a meat-and-bone-grinding death mechanism in the exact center of the room.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 2 features an example during the fight against the Attack Choppers. Their weaknesses aren't NEAR them...they're IN them. The bombs they drop can be shot back at them via the Gravity Gun!
  • In the Pokémon games the Pokemon needed to counter the gym in any given town are usually found outside.
    • Diglett can be found in the cave right next to Lt. Surge's town in the Kanto games, and Ground is super-effective against Electric (as well as immune to Electric moves).
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver:
      • Geodude can be found in Dark Cave, which is right next to Violet City. Its Gym Leader, Falkner uses Flying-Types, which are weak to Rock moves. There's also a trade in that very town where you can give up a Bellsprout for an Onix. The remakes additionally put an extra patch of grass on the next route over, allowing players to catch a Mareep earlier.
      • Whitney is infamously a bit of a Wake-Up Call Boss... unless you do a trade in town, swapping one of the fairly common Drowzee or Abra for a Machop named Muscle. Said Machop is basically designed to completely manhandle Whitney's Miltank; it resists Miltank's main attack in Rollout, it's Fighting-type so it gets super-effective damage, it starts with Low Kick, which does more damage if the enemy is heavy (like Miltank)note , and on top of all that, it's female, meaning Attract won't work.
    • In the Hoenn games, there are a total of five Water- or Grass-Types on the routes leading up to Roxanne's gym (though some of them are version exclusive). In the original Ruby and Sapphire, there's even a kid on Route 104 who will give you the Bullet Seed TM for free.
    • Pokémon Black and White seems to have a particular fondness for this.
      • The Striaton Gym will switch its ace (one of the elemental monkeys) to reflect the starter you picked, always boasting an advantageous type. Right outside of town is a guy who will hand you an elemental monkey that, conversely, always has an advantage over whatever the Striaton leader is using. It blurs the line between this and a Forced Tutorial on type management.
      • Right outside the town of Lenora, the Normal-type gym leader, is a patch of grass containing Timburr, Sawk, and Throh (though one of the latter two will be easier to find depending on version). All three are Fighting-types, and can muscle their way through her team quite handily.
      • Elesia actually subverts this. Getting to her Electric Gym requires passing right through a desert lousy with the Ground-type Sandile. However, two out of three of her team are Emolga, which are Electric/Flying and therefore immune to Ground—it does shut down her strongest attack, but it's hardly the free win you'd expect.
      • Reaching Clay requires you to go through a cold storage facility, right outside of which is a patch of grass filled with the Ice-type Vanillite. Guess what type is super-effective against Ground? Like Elesia, though, he does throw the player for a loop with the Ground/Steel Excadrill.
      • Skyla is a Flying-type leader, and her entire team is therefore weak to Electric moves, with her ace, Swanna, having a 4x weakness. Getting to Skyla requires you to pass through Chargestone Cave. Three guesses what kind of Pokémon show up there.
    • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the part-Steel-Type Magnemite can be found just at the complex just north of Virbank City, which can No-Sell the Poison-type attacks favored by its local Gym Leader, Roxie. That said however, watch out in Challenge Mode as she's got a Grimer with Mud-Slap.
    • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the open-world nature of the game means there is nothing stopping you from heading north of Levincia before fighting the Gym, which takes you to an area crawling with Silicobra, Diglett, and Cufant (the former two are Ground-type, the latter comes with the Ground-type attack Bulldoze), and then coming back to fight Iono's Electric Pokémon with them. Alternatively, Toedscool can be found near the city to the south where you likely came from. Downplayed however, as Iono's first Pokémon is Wattrel who is immune to Ground-type moves (being Electric/Flying), Bellibolt knows Water Gun and her Tera Electric-Type Mismagius keeps her Levitate ability which renders her immune to Ground-type moves.
  • Dr. Wily from Mega Man has a nasty habit of collecting or building weaknesses into his Robot Masters. In some cases it can't be helped whenever he uses other people's Robot Masters, such as in Mega Man 10 where 2 of the Robot Masters involved happened to be water-based and fire-based (Pump Man and Solar Man) or in some cases, the weaknesses are not that glaring, but the most egregious case is Mega Man 2, where not only does he create a water-based and fire-based Robot Master (Bubble Man and Heat Man), but a wood-based Robot Master (Wood Man) to crumple to said fire-based Robot Master, as well as creating a Robot Master who can stop time (Flash Man)... ...alongside a Fragile Speedster Robot Master (Quick Man) whose main strength is conveniently nullified by stopping time.
  • Metroid examples:
    • Super Metroid: The Crocomire fight. It's invincible and hitting it with missiles only pushes it back — toward a lava pit which kills it (eventually). Draygon's room can also be used against him, but this is an Easter Egg for clever players; the old-fashioned way works just fine on him.
    • The Metroid Prime Trilogy games do this all the time. For instance, Flaahgra in Metroid Prime can only be made vulnerable via misaligning the mirrors around it, but it's clear why they're nearby – it needs them to live. This doesn't, however, explain why it also happens to live near a bunch of explosive bomb slots. The Spider Guardian's rooms in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes have death lasers which, being blind, it can't even avoid running into. Berserker Lords in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption have Phazite armor that's immune to everything except their own missiles, which they fire slowly so you can bounce them back. Even the final bosses of the first two Prime games give you what you need to beat them (Phazon, both times).
  • The NES version of A Boy and His Blob. The evil king can't be harmed by anything except vitamins. Guess what he has a jar full of, sitting precariously on a ledge right above him?
  • Portal 2 lampshades this, momentarily averts it, and then plays this completely straight. Wheatley says this to Chell at the start of the Final Battle: "Four-part plan is this: One, no portal surfaces. Two, start the neurotoxin immediately. Three, bomb-proof shields for me, leading directly into number four: bombs. For throwing at you." Or, everything you used to take out GLaDOS in the first game. It looks for a moment like this will be averted... and then the player notices the giant tube of conversion gel flowing through the space, which is not bomb-proof. However Wheatley is an idiot.
    • Then of course there's the great big button you have to hit to finish the fight, sitting there, plain as day. Just like the fight with GLaDOS earlier. Just have to mosey on over and push it, right? PART FIVE, BOOBY TRAP THE STALEMATE BUTTON! Probably was about the smartest thing Wheatley did in the entire game; not his fault it wasn't instant-death.
    • The entire Portal series runs on this. Even when you're outside the courses, even when the AI in charge is actively trying to kill you, there are enough portalable surfaces and goo leaks to get through.
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the unbreakable red ball conveniently present in the Boss Room is the only thing Chip and Dale can use to damage bosses.
  • In Demon's Souls, the area where the Storm King is fought is also the resting place of the Storm Ruler, a sword with a Razor Wind power that only works in that area which is perfect for chopping up the overgrown flying fish.
    • Likewise, Yhorm the Giant in Dark Souls III is a Mighty Glacier that would take forever to grind down if not for the conveniently placed Storm Ruler in his boss arena. Its Razor Wind literally only does damage to him and can kill him in less than ten hits. Of course, he placed it there on purpose back when he was sane for the express purpose of killing him when he revived as a Lord of Cinder. He gave a second one to Siegward for the same reason, and if you complete his sidequest, Siegward will help you during the fight with his own Storm Ruler, turning it into a Curb-Stomp Battle. There are also firebombs located near the first very fire-vulnerable Pus of Man you face.
    • Dark Souls and Dark Souls II both have summons right next to bosses they can trounce with almost ridiculous ease. I has Black Iron Tarkus, a ridiculously beefy Black Knight, who is a case of Gameplay and Story Integration: in his own world, he bested the Iron Golem single-handed and chose to leave a White Soapstone Sign to allow others to call upon his aid, and indeed he can basically shove it off the side of its boss arena if his AI is having a good day (and bear in mind that the Iron Golem is fifteen feet tall and made entirely of metal). II, much less famously, has the boss fight with Mytha the Baneful Queen, who is vulnerable to pyromancy; Jester Thomas, a powerful pyromancer, has his summon sign about ten feet from her boss door, meaning that the fight often requires little more than holding her off him for a few minutes while he fries her to a crisp.
  • In The Godfather 2, it's always a good idea to take the fight to enemy Made Men. Their hangouts usually contain what is needed to achieve their kill condition. For example, an early one will only be Killed Off for Real if he takes a dunking. So where do you find him? Next to a river. Defied for a certain Mangano, though: he has a fatal allergy to Car Fu. Where does he hide? In a small area surrounded by car-proof concrete barriers, with only a difficult ramp jump allowing cars in, the bastard!
  • In Super Mario Bros. 2, the main villain Wart is described as having an intense hatred for vegetables. Thus, vegetables are the only things that can damage him in the final battle. Cue there being a vegetable-making machine right in the room with him. Justified as the machine is a dream-granting engine he stole to usurp control of Subcon, it's either responding to the characters' dreams of winning, or actively rebelling.
  • The battles against Bowser in Super Mario 64 take place in an arena surrounded with bombs. Bombs you must throw Bowser into to damage him.
  • Justified Trope in Metal Gear Solid. Otacon, who designed the titular Metal Gears (Metal Gear?!?), is an Otaku who believes that his beloved creations should have a flaw they have to overcome, and added an extra bit of vulnerability.
  • At one point during Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf, you meet a monster who's afraid of light. He lives in a castle which just so happens to have giant spotlights activated through Hamster-Wheel Power.
    • And from the same level, bees that have hives right next to Sam the Sheepdog.
  • While the zombie pirates in Alone in the Dark 2 are not actually immortal, "killing" them will just send them back to the place where they signed their immortality pact (namely their pirate ship). And once on board they can only be Killed Off for Real by weapons forged during the time of the pact (signed in 1725). It's a good thing they keep their 200-year-old swords and flintlock pistols (and cannons) in pristine state for you to kill them with once you are on board.
  • Haunting Ground: One of the antagonists, Daniella, is driven to madness by her own reflection, due to being 'incomplete' as she puts it. Conveniently, there are several giant mirrors throughout her part of the castle, and nowhere else. Even in the room where you are forced to face her.
  • Semi-justified in Mortal Kombat: Deception, in which Onaga's arena is surrounded by the Kamidogu because they empower him. However, they are also within reach of your character, who can break them to weaken the boss.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Soul Cairn is a Spirit World plane of Oblivion created by the Ideal Masters, a group of formerly mortal sorcerers who, through an unknown means, ascended into Oblivion as beings of pure energy. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, and, within the Soul Cairn, are known to take the form of giant soul gems which can drain the souls of any mortals who come too close. Soul Husks, a plant found throughout the Soul Cairn, can be ingested to protect a mortal's soul from absorption by the Ideal Masters in their soul gem forms.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, this is lampshaded in the Playable Epilogue of the Save Shaundi ending. The Saints film a cheesy B-movie called Gangstas in Space where they fight Killbane on Mars.
    Killbane: You can't win! This suit is impervious to everything, save for the conveniently placed lava crystals.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, the Queen of Smiles is weak to Holy damage. Immediately before her boss arena are three Blessed Pages which apply Holy damage to your weapon.