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Defeat Equals Explosion

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We lose more monsters that way.

"If I become an evil genius, I'll keep in mind not to replace my blood with nitroglycerin, hydrogen or any other flammable thing, I don't wanna die exploding like the bosses of Ninja Gaiden."
Payasoplas, on Ninja Gaiden

Sometimes an enemy being defeated... explodes. Not metaphorically like in the Villainous Breakdown sense, but in a literal, physical explosion.

In the case of robots, this could be justified, as the defeat could cause them to short circuit and the spark to ignite their fuel, but it is not limited to robots. It happens with characters who are not specifically stated to be robots, and in some cases are implied to be organic in some way or another. One would expect that this trope would be combined with Action Bomb more often to weaponize their imminent demise, but the two tropes rarely seem to go hand-in-hand (although not completely absent either). This might be because forcing the heroes to relocate the enemy someplace safer where environment and bystanders wouldn't be harmed would get old fast if it applied to all enemy deaths, thus killing the tension and drama at climax of combat.

Having every enemy explode upon death was more common in the 3rd and 4th generation of console gaming, when it was mainly done to avoid drawing death animations. This is also an effect of being already dead.

This trope arguably saw its inclusion in popular culture via Tokusatsu programs of the '60s and '70s, especially those of the Ultra Series, where this is a particularly common way for a defeated Kaiju to meet their end.

See also Dead Man's Switch, Explosive Overclocking, Post-Defeat Explosion Chain, Load-Bearing Boss, and No Body Left Behind. Can be a reason there's Not Enough to Bury. Contrast Why Am I Ticking? for when a character is turned into a bomb (which may or may not result in their defeat). Subtrope of Made of Explodium. Not to be confused with Out with a Bang, which involves dying in a more... pleasurable way. Can overlap with Technicolor Death.


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  • Commercials for Raid pesticides had cartoon roaches explode (cartoon star-and-smoke explosions in the old ones, CG smoke wisps in the new) after being sprayed, usually after screaming "RAAAAIIID?!"

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    Comic Books 
  • Atomic Robo: The Biomega Kaiju explode spectacularly when killed. In fact, this is actually the only way to know their dead; if they "die" but don't explode Power Rangers-style, they're not actually dead, just powering down to heal. This becomes a plot point later on when Majestic-12 try to take over protecting the world after forcing Tesladyne to shut down; due to their egotism, incompetence, and lack of knowledge about the supernatural, Majestic-12 assume the Biomegas to be dead whenever they stop moving after taking sufficient damage and just leave the bodies to rot. The Biomegas proceed to heal and reactivate, turning a string of easily-contained individual Kaiju attacks into a single massively destructive mass Kaiju attack.
  • Kingdom Come:
    "Oh my God! The Parasite has split Captain Atom open! He's split him ope—"
  • Nextwave:
    "They explode? My life has taken on new meaning."

    Fan Works 
  • This seems to be the case whenever a diary owner in Mirai Nikki The Abridged Series dies.
  • Happened to Evil Digimon in Peter Chimaera 's Digimon trilogy.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Loneliness explodes when she's defeated. Twice. The second blast destroying what's left of her. Possibly justified, since Trixie defeated her in her own mind, and is known to have a flair for the dramatic.
  • The Power of the Equinox: While saving Scootaloo from the Will-o'-the-Wisp, Zecora throws at the fae salt and wrought iron shavings, causing it to explode in colorful flames.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, after Iago knocks his lamp into a lava pit and it melts away to nothing, Jafar goes through an intense death scene which ends with him combusting.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Red Death is shot in the mouth by a plasma blast from Toothless, which ignites its own rather massive reserves of flammables. Combined with an uncontrolled descent face-first into the ground, physics turns it into a very big boom.
  • Near the end of The Incredibles, the Omnidroid v.10 falls over after its defeat. It then spontaneously explodes into powder (the actual fireball is barely bigger than the robot itself).
  • This is how the antagonist in Monster House is destroyed. If you tried killing it any other way, the house would just reconstruct itself.
  • In the Jetlag Productions version of The Nutcracker after the Nutcracker stabs the seven headed Mouse King he staggers and holds his wound for a few seconds before he explodes, leaving nothing left but his seven crowns.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman: The Movie, the Penguin rigs all his deadly sea beasts to do this by feeding them explosives.
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, when Thunder finds Lo Pan dead, he is so enraged that his body swells up and he explodes. Sadly, a bit of a Special Effect Failure at the same time.
  • The giant octopus in Bride of the Monster. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew did not fail to notice the humor.
    Servo: That was one unstable octopus!
  • In the Wes Craven film Cursed, when the werewolf who infected all the other major characters dies, he inexplicably explodes in a burst of greenish energy.
  • Double Team: In perhaps one of the most awesome endings to an action film: The Bad Guy (played by Mickey Rourke) is left standing on an armed mine, with a Tiger, in the middle of a Colosseum. Just as the Tiger is about to claw him, he steps off, where the whole place explodes. Completing the total madness, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, and the actor who played Belloq outrun the ensuing fireball, hiding behind a Coke machine, while carrying a baby!
  • Some of the Godzilla films have the enemy monster explode after the titular monster kills them. The early films don't do this, however. Most of the monsters don't so much "explode when they die" so much as "get hit with a breath blast so ferocious it rips them into flaming debris"... except Megaguirus. She gets set aflame with an atomic blast, falls out of the sky... and then her entire body explodes when it hits the ground.
  • In Green Lantern, Parallax explodes repeatedly when Hal Jordan literally punches him into the Sun.
  • In Logan's Run, when the city-controlling computer crashes due to a Logic Bomb, it starts exploding and ends up destroying the entire city.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Sauron explodes with the force of a tactical nuke after Isildur cuts the ring from his hand in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, flooring basically everyone across the battlefield with the shockwave. And again in The Return of the King when the Ring is destroyed, only much bigger since it ends up taking out his giant ominous tower of Barad-dûr and starts the very collapse of Mordor itself.
  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie: When Johnny Cage manages to vanquish Scorpion, the latter's head explodes, quickly followed by the rest of his body.
  • The leech mutant explodes shortly after its defeat in The Return of Swamp Thing.
  • Saviour of the Soul II: The Clown King explodes into a Ludicrous Gibs after being impaled through the midsection.
  • In the climax of Stardust, Lamia explodes from a blinding flash of starlight.
  • Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi: Emperor Palpatine apparently explodes on impact after being thrown down a reactor shaft at the climax of the film. Probably had to do with him incontinently spraying lightning near complex machinery. Doesn't stop him from re-appearing in The Rise of Skywalker, but then again, the body we see him in at that time is that of a clone.

  • Fighting Fantasy: The deity in Space Assassin inexplicably blows up after its defeat. The problem is, the explosion doesn't happen immediately, and is delayed; you are given a chance to search his body, and if you choose that option, the body will suddenly go KABOOM right next to you taking away a large chunk of your life meter.
  • Lone Wolf: In Castle Death, among the numerous weird creatures of Kazan-Oud, there is a hideous brain-like floating sphere that tries to paralyze Lone Wolf psychically. Inflicting any wound to it, whether with an arrow or through cutting its attack tendril, results in a powerful, fiery explosion.

  • In The Black Magician Trilogy, magicians usually die that way: all energy left in their body seeks to leave it at once, destroying the body at minimum and up to a city block. Black magicians avert this in their killings, as they usually drain their victims dry.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in Danger 5, when a female Nazi agent is thrown out of an airplane and explodes for no apparent reason.
  • Being the sister series to Super Sentai, it's no surprise that Kamen Rider makes heavy use of this trope.
    • This is explained in early seasons as the Monster of the Week and Mooks being equipped with self-destruction mechanisms, to prevent leaving any evidence behind. However, little to no explanation is given for later productions. In their early days, SHOCKER's creations as well as their victims ended up dissolving instead of exploding. Possibly for budget reasons.
    • Inverted in Kamen Rider BLACK, where the monsters implode instead. Eventually Black gets an upgraded kick that plays it straight.
    • This was brutally applied in Kamen Rider Kuuga wherein the title Rider's Rider Kick is enough to nuke a portion of the city when he does it unto a Grongi, necessitating luring the monster into an evacuated area before finishing him off. And theoretically, Ultimate Form Kuuga's Rider Kick could destroy the world as we know it.
    • In an earlier episode of Kuuga, Godai and Ichijou are genuinely surprised when that week's Grongi does not explode.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva subverts this trope as the monsters are a race of vampires made from stained glass, called the Fangire. When they are defeated, they shatter into pieces instead of violently exploding.
    • Kamen Rider 555 also subverts it. Monsters when they die instead break down into dust while burning blue flames.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze has it as a minor plot point, where the monsters' explosions would do massive damage, which forced Fourze to drag them into outer space before hitting them with his Finishing Move. His Super Mode made this exponentially easier, since it can generate wormholes leading to low Earth orbit.
  • Message from Space: Galactic Wars has all major enemies explode. One even tries to destroy a MacGuffin with his death explosion.
  • Having the Monster of the Week eat the Finishing Move and go out with a fireball as the theme song plays is part and parcel of Metal Heroes.
  • In Power Rangers, sometimes the background explodes just because awesomeness is Volatile. especially. And sometimes, the Rangers will turn and pose after the Finishing Move so the explosion behind them will look like one of these sequences.
    • At least once, doing that didn't pay off: once in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, they blast, then turn and pose... and the monster wasn't dead, and blasted the Rangers in the back. Also, despite this trope, every series will have the heroes think a monster is dead without seeing the customary kaboom at least once. This counts as Genre Blindness bordering on Too Dumb to Live.
    • Sometimes, even if the monster does go boom, there's no guarantee that it's finished yet. The Hatchasaurus from the first series was one example. The Cardiotron inside it was able to reassemble the pieces of it even after it was blown to bits, and the Rangers couldn't destroy it until they destroyed that first.
    • Lampshaded by both Doubletone and Rhinosnorus in the Power Rangers Samurai episode "Party Monsters". Rhinosnorus even comments on how humiliating it was to be defeated by the rangers, especially Kevin, when they (he, of course) were literally doing backflips on him while opening fire on him.
  • A suicide variation in the Spectreman series finale. Dr. Gori, defeated and cornered, jumps off a cliff and explodes mid-air.
  • As one of the main pillars of the Tokusatsu genre, this was frequently seen in Super Sentai.
    • The original series, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, justifies this in that their finishing move, the football Gorenger Storm (later Gorenger Hurricane), is essentially an elaborate bomb.
    • In Kagaku Sentai Dynaman, the explosions are their finishing moves, making it the Trope Codifier!
    • Actually justified by Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, where the bodies of the criminals are incinerated upon death to prevent cloning or reanimation of their corpse.
    • Some Super Sentai series, like Goseiger and Zyuohger, subvert this; the monster apparently explodes, but likely isn't completely destroyed, since an intact corpse is left behind to revive into a giant.
    • Gekisou Sentai Carranger has a pretty ridiculous example where a monster is fatally wounded in a car wreck, gets out of the car and then dramatically falls over and explodes. Given Carranger's nature this was likely Self-Parody.
  • The Ultra Series regularly features this trope. Explosions vary from having the monster explode into hundreds of burning pieces, to simply falling over backwards and then detonating. A notable exception happens in the first episode of Ultraman Mebius, where the Dinozaur doesn't explode upon death, with the second episode showing the city having to dispose of the giant carcass.
  • One of the ways Our Vampires Are Different in Ultraviolet is that they don't just harmlessly crumble into dust when you put a pointy wooden thing through their heart: they explode, violently. Weaponized when a character trapped in an Abandoned Warehouse with several vampires whose coffins are about to open, opens one early and kills the vampire inside, so the explosion in the confined coffin will blow open the door.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The core gimmick of Beyblade: Burst is causing your opponent's Beyblade to fly apart when beaten.
  • A good number of red creatures deal damage to other creatures or players when they die in Magic: The Gathering, implied to be from a last-ditch self destruct.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dragonlance: Both aurak and bozak draconians explode when they die.
    • Also the case with the Fiend Folio's dark stalkers and dark creepers, Mystara's huptzeens, and others.
    • Killing a balor for good in the Abyss results in a quite dangerous explosion. In later editions, this happens if you kill one anywhere.
    • The fires that burn within some conflagration oozes are especially unstable, and cause the creatures to go up in fiery explosions when they're killed.
    • When a chillfire destroyer — an elemental consisting of a raging inferno contained within a thin shell of ice — is brought down to zero health, it remains immobile for a round and then violently explodes.
    • Death undoes the magic that binds the implanted weapons to a bladerager troll's flesh, causing its body to explode in a burst of jagged shrapnel.
    • Energons, strange creatures made of energy, also cause an explosion of their type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic, positive or negative energy) when killed. If a xag-ya and xeg-yi (made of positive and negative energy respectively) touch each other, it causes a more powerful explosion.
    • Minions are a type of One-Hit-Point Wonder enemy that typically come in large packs as meat-shields or choke-point holders, or because a Killer DM realizes the party has only single-target attackers. The typical, reasonable reaction is to run up, smash them and move on. Occasionally (especially if "ash", "flame" or "plague" is somewhere in the name) they create a burst-attack when defeated, damaging the melee fighter that killed them, and any other buddies that are close... as well as other minions, that sometimes leads to insane chain reactions.
    • And of course, there's the gas spore. A variety of floating fungus full of unstable gas that explodes if it receives so much as a scratch. It doesn't help that, unless looking closely, the gas spore can be easily confused with a beholder — the kind of monster you pretty much attack on sight.
    • From the Spelljammer book Lost Ships, Tinkerers are comical-looking spherical creatures with 6 eyes and 4 arms. They move around by expulsing gas, and if hit with a piercing weapon for too much damage, can explode violently from the gas they contain.
    • The 3rd edition Planar Handbook includes the 5th-level death throes spell, which makes the caster explodes violently if he or she is killed. It ranks fairly high in the Useless Useful Spell category, since it destroys the body and thus makes resurrection more difficult. Although it can become a Game-Breaker if used intelligently, for example combined with the magic jar spell....
    • From the Miniature Handbook, the righteous aura paladin spell converts its caster into explosive energy when he's killed, although the explosion only hurts Evil creatures and undead, and heals Good creatures.
    • The Complete Scoundrel has the spell fatal flame, which causes a small fire explosion on a creature's death. It's much less powerful than death throes or righteous aura, but at least it can be cast directly on enemies.
    • Dungeon Master's Guide II includes in its magic items the Elixir of Reckoning, which fills the imbiber with dangerous energy. If killed within an hour of drinking the elixir, it causes a severe explosion. Commonly used by suicide troopers of evil warlords.
  • Villains & Vigilantes adventure Devil's Domain. When the Player Characters kill any of the Devil's demons, the demons explode in a cloud of noxious brown smoke.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Many units in the game have a chance of exploding after being destroyed, with some factions having the option to force the unit to explode so as to deal maximum damage to the enemy. In the current 9th edition, this entails inflicting mortal wounds on any nearby units - friend or foe - when the unit is slain. Units that can explode include most vehicles, but also some infantry units such as the Eversor Assassin (due to their biologically altered bodies making their blood acidic and combustible on death).

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    Video Games 
  • All the enemies in the ActRaiser series.
  • Makes sense for tanks and airplanes in Advance Wars. But foot soldiers? Not so much.
  • Android Hunter A: All the robot enemies explode when defeated, flinging body parts around.
  • Defeated enemies in Axiom Verge explode into both energy and particles.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt, the only enemies that don't explode upon defeat are the zombies and Asimov. While foot soldiers explode, their bodies remain intact (minus their damaged armor, firearms, and helmets). Boss death explosion effects are suitably flashier and have different visuals depending on the game. Even in ASG 3, where Kirin doesn't actually kill bosses, their defeat animations still include bright explosions with the ATEMS knights' being preceded with Pre-Explosion Glow.
  • Defeated enemies in Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden randomly choose between exploding, splitting in half, or fading away.
  • Arm Champs: In II, all versions of Specks will explode upon being defeated.
  • In Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril, both enemies and Timmy explode upon death.
  • All the enemies in Beyond Good & Evil. Exploding on death must be a quirk of the DomZ's physiology.
  • Every enemy you defeat in Bio Lab Wars explodes in a bunch of orange clouds.
  • Enemies in Blaster Master enemies meet the same fate.
  • Bomberman:
  • In Borderlands 2 the DLC playable character Krieg has an ability that makes EVERY enemy you kill explode EVERY time with whatever element with which you just killed them.
  • In some of the Castlevania games, enemies explode upon death or leave a small flame.
  • Claws of Furry: There's one enemy type that, when defeated, swells up and pops. When it does, three rat Mooks take its place, the implication being that they were inside him.
  • Enemy ships in the Combat Instinct trilogy. In 2, this happens if you shoot a grenadier's belt, speeder bike's wheel, or rocket launcher's scope.
  • Sword in Conquest of the Crystal Palace makes enemies go boom!
  • The Rescue Robot you play as in Constant C will always explode at death.
  • The one-hit enemies from Contra series get knocked back shortly before exploding.
  • Everything in Copy Kitty explodes with gusto, including the protagonist, though in Boki's case it's more that her data is being recompiled. Bosses, in particular, detonate in massive technicolor light shows with appropriately loud kabooms. Spectrum Yoggval explodes 6 times in increasingly flashy and loud bangs before it dies its final death in a burst of rainbow-colored flames with a boom that'll rattle your speakers.
  • This happens to all the non-human bosses in Crossing Souls, even if they are ghosts like Sarducci or Cursed Librarian.
  • In Crossout, vehicles will always, ALWAYS explode in a giant fireball when destroyed. No exceptions.
  • Enemies in Cuphead explode with white smoke.
  • Sword in Cyber Shadow makes enemies go boom.
  • Many augmented soldiers in Deus Ex are programmed to violently explode upon death and can easily wound or kill the attacker if they are too close (no doubt this was intended as a feature). Some even have a spoken password that will immediately trigger the explosion, thus causing defeat instead of resulting from it.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Aside from Glyphid Exploders and Bulk Detonators, the Volatile Guts modifier makes every enemy (except the smallest ones) explode on death.
    • Defeating the Caretaker in Industrial Sabotage missions causes it to topple over and then explode after a few seconds. The explosion deals no damage, but has a strong knockback effect that can cause players to fall to their death.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Player Characters who take the "Unstable" talent explode upon death, dealing Area of Effect damage equal to half their maximum Hit Points.
  • In Dungeonmans, boss enemies go out in a Post-Defeat Explosion Chain before showering the player with loot.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam has every defeated mobile suit explode. This is also a handy way of determining if you just caused a Plotline Death. It's usually possible to tell if an Ace Pilot hasn't been Killed Off for Real if their mobile suit doesn't explode when they were defeated.
  • Eternity: The Last Unicorn, for the most baffling of reasons, have a zombie enemy (the ones in tin helmets) exploding when killed, while most other mooks simply fall and dies. Said enemy will emit a suspicious red glow around it when slain, blinking for several seconds, and you'll need to make a run for it or be hurt by the blast.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series:
  • The final bosses of the first three Epic Battle Fantasy games all undergo increasingly lengthy explosion sequences when defeated. The final boss of the second game makes sense, being a tank, however the first one is a battered zombie and the third is some deity Eldritch Abomination.
  • Exorcist Fairy have most of the bosses exploding harmlessly upon defeat, including the animated statue head (despite being made of stone), the insect-like Grub Mother, among others.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Everything explodes upon defeat, either in a dramatic fireball or as an explosion of green viscera, usually based on how organic the enemy is. Extra satisfying when the screen is filled with minor foes who primarily exist to give the player full seconds of full screen explosions. The only exceptions are ghosts who whirl away and Valkyries or former Valkyries like Walhalla or Waldiora, who instead vanish into light or petals, or Rem who merely falls and weeps. The bosses make sure to give several layers of explosions before the final boom of their defeat.
  • Fable: The Summoners — powerful Animated Armor with Shock and Awe abilities — fall to their knees when defeated, then explode in a wave of lightning. On top of the hefty damage, it can reset the Hero's combat multiplier, denying them most of the XP for the win.
  • Fox N Forests: Enemies tend to explode when defeated. And it isn't the usual cloud of red/black/dark grey, either. Different enemy types have their own unique explosion animations.
  • Garfield's Fun Fest: Played with: enemies defeated by Garfield disappear in a puff of smoke. That even includes mail carriers.
  • The Lambent in Gears of War will explode when they are killed, due to their exposure to the Emulsion.
  • Germination: The Plumes blow up when you jump on them.
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins: Enemies explode without any given explanation.
  • The Girl and the Robot: A Justified case, since the enemies are robots. Deal them enough damage, and they explode. Try not to be near them when they do, though, as you'll be damaged by the blast.
  • God of War: The giant lava minotaurs and Ares explode when defeated.
  • Granblue Fantasy: This happens to some notable raid bosses, such as Bahamut and the Arcarum (which is different from the death animation of common enemies that fade to red when defeated).
  • Gremlins 2: Every enemy does a Post-Defeat Explosion Chain upon death.
  • Grim Dawn: The Burning Dead and the Harbingers explode upon death.
  • Guardian of Paradise: Every creature you kill explodes.
  • Gunstar Heroes: The enemies, whatever they might be, explode.
  • Half-Life: Any Gargantuas you encounter (the big, hulking aliens that shoot fire at Gordon) will die with a chain of explosions whenever killed.
  • A Hat in Time: Defeated enemies explode into white puffs. This gets played with during the final battle: seeing that the Hat Kid can fight the Mustache Girl to the standstill at most, all of the planet's inhabitants that were judged as bad guys by Mustache Girl punch each other so that they would explode and provide Hat Kid with additional power to triumph before she'd take back her stolen Time Pieces to turn back time and prevent this from happening.
  • Defeated enemies in Have a Nice Death (2022) explode.
  • In Heat Signature, guards may come rigged with deadman switches and explosives, causing them to explode if they take lethal damage from almost any source. They won't explode if killed via the pause menu execution function, but this requires knocking them out first.
  • In _iCEY._, both enemies and bosses that have taken enough damage can be finished off through detonating their cores. Doing so also restores your health and shield.
  • Iconoclasts: Practically all the mechanical bosses explode upon defeat, and there are a lot of them. The only exception is Isi's Inti machine — only the Controller that made it attack you in the first place blows up, while the machine remains, though it is heavily battered by the battle.
  • This is justified in Iji by a self destruct mechanism to prevent either of the two alien sides from picking up the other sides tech and reverse engineering it.
  • Some boss enemies from Jazz Jackrabbit go boom when killed.
  • Admiral Galak Fyyar in Jedi Outcast explodes upon his death. Justified by him wearing a suit of Powered Armor.
  • Justice League Heroes: The Flash has any robotic goons explode upon defeat.
  • In Jotun, all of the fire giants explode at death. Interestingly, the explosions of the "regular" giants will damage Thora, whereas that of their boss will not.
  • In Kero Blaster, the final boss explodes once it's finally destroyed. Deconstructed, as it results in the protagonist getting caught in the blast and spending the epilogue in the hospital wearing a body cast. Oddly enough however, the other employees of C&F Inc., who were inside said boss at the time of the explosion, emerge with no serious injuries. As for normal enemies, only the Negativus Legatia are exempt from this.
  • All the player characters in Killer Queen are One Hit Point Wonders who explode when they are killed. Queens get a particularly loud explosion noise when they die, and the entire screen shakes.
  • The enemies in the Kirby series tend to explode with puffs of smoke and little stars and sparkles.
  • In La-Mulana, enemies go down in such a fashion.
  • League of Legends wouldn't be the same if the loser's Nexus didn't blow up. This is even done in the Dominion game mode where players can't even directly attack the enemy Nexus.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: After the bosses are slain (except for the first boss, Armos Knights), their bodies subsequently explodes like fireworks. Ganon's explosion after defeat also has exactly same explosion as other bosses.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: All monsters explode into ominous (yet harmless) purple smoke. Except for the giant Armos Statues, who explode like bombs and does damage when you are too close to the explosion. The Helmarok King had a particularly dramatic one.
    • Other Zelda games have similar effects: defeated monsters in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess tend to turn black and explode (Twilit monsters explode and leave Tron Line particles) while monsters in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword explode and leave a skull-shaped puff of smoke.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask both have Armos and Dodongos, enemies that explode upon defeat. Twinmold meets a similarly volatile end, blowing up segment by segment. Majora's Mask also features the mysterious ninja-like Garo clan, whose exploding is a deliberate act, as their way is to not leave a corpse upon dying. Most of the other enemies in the N64 games dissolve into flames instead.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Monsters burst into clouds of Malice when killed. Chuchus in particular explode more violently, releasing a dangerous elemental burst in the case of the fiery, icy and electric variants, while the dungeon bosses explode into geysers of Alien Blood. Calamity Ganon inverts this by imploding instead.
  • In Lord Monarch castles disappear when its owner, king, is defeated. In the Sega version, explosion effects are added.
  • In Lyle in Cube Sector all enemies go out in explosive ways. Psychovyle's death explosion actually propels Lyle out of the pit the two fell in after the final boss fight.
  • In Mass Effect 2, this applies to the various mechs you face. LOKI Mechs only explode if finished with a headshot, FENRIS Mechs and YMIR Mechs explode upon defeat regardless of where the kill shot was. If you finish the YMIR with a headshot however, the explosion is significantly bigger including a mushroom cloud. Unlike many other examples here, these explosions can hurt you; and the mushroom cloud one can kill you.
  • MechWarrior has just about everything explode when defeated. The trick is telling the difference between a particularly large missile explosion and a death explosion. This is also how you can tell if you've destroyed an enemy 'Mech via Over Heating — you will be rewarded with a nuclear explosion, complete with a mushroom cloud.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Just about every enemy explodes upon defeat; partly justified in that they're robots, but an explosion happens regardless of whether or not the type of weapon used would logically cause an explosion or not. (For instance, Storm Tornado in Mega Man X). The only enemies that don't explode are Proto Man, who simply stops and teleports out of the arena (though arguably he really isn't an enemy), and Dr. Wily (the machine he's piloting does though) because he falls out and surrenders. Heck even Mega Man himself explodes into a billion energy orbs when his bar thingy with about 28 other bars...runs out. Robot Masters explode into the same orbs, which Mega Man picks up to obtain a new weapon.
    • Every Maverick boss you fight in Mega Man X (1 through 8) stops the game and undergoes a lengthy explosion process, with small explosions covering the defeated boss and the screen gradually whiting out, leaving no trace of the enemy, except in one instance in X4. In the first three, the explosions start off slow, but in 4 onwards, they are very rapid. In X8, the chain of smaller explosions ends with a screen-filling one.
    • Bosses in Mega Man Zero start exploding and Zero beams out before they're even finished.
    • Almost everything in the Mega Man Battle Network series explodes upon defeat, even the viruses that appear to be completely organic in nature. Only navis controlled by the player are exempt from this, but they'll explode just like everything else when they're fought as enemies.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The Cobras in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater all die by going boom... except The Boss. In this case, it's explained that the Cobras were equipped with microbombs that would explode when they died, in order to prevent the enemy studying their corpses.
    • The bosses in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as well. In Grey Fox's case it is possibly justified as he and Snake fight to the death in the middle of a room filled with mines. This is then retconned in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where his intact body is outfitted with a cyborg exoskeleton.
    • Red Blaster from the same game is also justified as he fights with grenades.
    • Justified in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Upon defeat, enemy cyborgs have their memories wiped and their bodies explode. Doktor explains that this is so that the manufacturers of their cyborg bodies can keep their company secrets... secret.
  • Mechanical enemies in Metal Slug explode upon defeat.
  • Metaloid Origin: The enemies being mechanical in origin, they tend to explode when beaten.
  • Metroid: Most bosses in the series will explode. This is somewhat problematic for recurring bosses such as Ridley, who has managed to come back from complete annihilation several times throughout the series.
  • The Bomb enemies in Miitopia naturally go out that way, and they damage nearby enemies by doing so. The Final Boss and the Dark Sun both explode spectacularly after being defeated, although in the former's case, its essence lingers on afterwards.
  • All the Mecha-Mooks in Mindustry explode when destroyed, leaving only an oily splat behind.
  • Surprisingly averted in Mini Robot Wars. Every single good guy and bad guy is a robot, but the only ones that explode are Action Bombs, and the Final Boss. The rest just fall down or break apart on death.
  • Enemies in Mole Mania die in a very corner-y explosion.
  • The weapon in Moon Crystal makes every enemy explode into 4 waves when hit enough. Even bats and all kinds of monsters.
  • Averted by most of the monsters in Monster Hunter (PC), but somehow played straight with The Count, who is the Final Boss of the game and a much more powerful version of the already dangerous vampire mooks. After being staked six times, the Count goes down in a series of explosions while letting out a Big "NO!", in contrast to regular vampire minions who gets Reduced to Dust by one stake.
  • The Mortal Kombat franchise has made it customary from the second game onwards to make sure the resident Big Bad and Final Boss explodes into pieces every time they are defeated. The exception is Deadly Alliance where the titular duo simply fall like regular enemies and don't have any special defeat animations, and 11, where Kronika is instead sliced to pieces and sucked into her own Hourglass.
  • In the Mother series, all tree enemies, Atomic Power Robots, and the Smilin' and Uncontrollable Spheres explode when you kill them. If you are at a low level when fighting them, their dying explosion will kill you as well. This can be mitigated by exiting the battle menu early, which stops the rolling health meter from ticking down too far.
  • Every enemy explodes in Mushihime Sama series too despite most of them being insect-based.
  • Implied with Robot Lupe in Neopets. Before... aaaand after. Disheartening, isn't it?
  • In the NES Ninja Gaiden games, ordinary enemies explode into 4 fiery waves expanding diagonally outwards. In the next-generation games, organic enemies just die but robots will dramatically fall over and explode (and unlike most examples, this can hurt you}.
  • Melting of Nuclear Throne has this trope as his active ability; he can detonate enemy corpses in an explosion of blood, but doing this does not hurt him (and that's probably for the best). The boss Big Dog also explodes upon death; unlike the blood explosions, this can and probably will kill you.
  • In Oniken, mechanical enemies explode upon defeat, but human enemies can instead be bifurcated, beheaded, or gibbed.
  • Zig-zagged in Overwatch - mech-based heroes like D.Va and Wrecking Ball play this trope straight, while fully robotic heroes like Zenyatta and Orisa completely avert it (even in situations where it would be completely justified, like having several rockets pumped into them in rapid succession). Bastion is more of a subversion: he doesn't explode per se, but he does fall apart.
  • When the members of the Legion of Stationary in Paper Mario: The Origami King are defeated, they explode after several glowing cracks form on their bodies.
  • In the first Plants vs. Zombies game, the Zomboni and Catapult Zombie (zamboni and wood catapult) explode after being destroyed... even if it's just from being pelted by non-fire or non-explosive plants (or even getting their tires popped).
  • Dynamaxed Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield explode when their HP hits zero. In trainer battles, they get shrunken back to normal size and return to their Poké Balls, while Dynamaxed wild Pokémon can instead be caught.
  • Any player in Quake III: Team Arena and Quake Live who dies while carrying the Kamikaze holdable powerup. When dying, (and if they're not gibbed) they will produce a huge explosion that shakes the arena.
  • Quake Champions: Doom Edition has Lucienne's "Immolation" passive ability, where, if she's fragged, explodes.
  • In Randal's Monday, this is Sally's ultimate fate.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures averts this with foot soldiers, but mechanical enemies and most bosses blow up upon defeat.
  • When Pamela deals the fatal blow to Iris in RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel, she goes out with an explosion. Several enemies and bosses, especially fortress bosses, in the Rosenkreuzstilette series tend to suffer this fate upon defeat. Averted with the RKS members in story mode, since the protagonists aren't trying to seriously hurt their friends, the game immediately cuts to dialogue portraits when their health is depleted so they can talk things out.
  • In Run Saber, almost every enemy seems to explode upon death.
  • In Shadowverse, if you concede, or your leader's HP drops to 0 or less, they will explode.
  • Shantae: Most of the bosses die in this manner, even recurring ones like the Squid Baron. This gets a Lampshade Hanging in Risky's Revenge when said Squid Baron appears later in the game.
  • Shining Force III had enemies explode when killed.
  • In the Shinobi series, all enemies explode when they die.
  • The eponymous player character in Silver Surfer (1990) blows up upon death, which will happen a lot.
  • All the bad guys in Skyblazer.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The robot enemies when destroyed tend to do a small "Pop", releasing the animal inside unharmed. On the rare occasions they aren't, they tend to die sans explosions.
    • Bosses tend to go down in a flurry of explosions. The Genesis games tend to combine this trope with Load-Bearing Boss when it comes to final bosses, which more often than not means Defeat Equals Everything Exploding.
  • Splatoon:
    • Series-wide: Splatted Inklings and Octolings explode, leaving their clothes and an opposing-team-colored ink stain behind. The same also goes for enemies and bosses, who explode in massive gushes of ink that would look quite different in red.
    • Splatoon 2: While all of the Boss Salmonids of the Salmon Run mode explode into ink upon death like Inklings and Octolings, the Steelhead stands out from the rest in that its death-blast can take out other Salmonids.
  • Enemies from Skull & Crossbones - including Pirate mooks, Ninja, animated skeletons and whatnot - all explodes in a puff of smoke, for some inexplicable reason, despite having no reason to do so.
  • In the Flash Beat 'em Up Sprite Smash, exploding is one of various enemy death animations.
  • There can be no Star Fox game without explosions. This is particularly true of Star Fox 64.
  • Literally everything you'll face in Steredenn will explode at death.
  • Streets of Rage Remake has a cheat you can unlock that causes all non-endboss enemies to explode shortly after dying. The explosion has the same effect as an exploding barrel or grenade, and as such can cause a chain reaction of deaths, including yours if you're not careful.
  • Sword in Strider series makes them go boom!
  • In Sundered most of the Valkyrie enemies are robots or cyborgs, and so they explode into fireballs upon being defeated. Eschaton enemies will instead burst into wormlike wisps of smoke. Hence, none will leave corpses behind.
  • Everything you can pick up (including enemies) in Superman 64 explodes. Even boxes.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Bombshell Koopas in Super Mario Land, when you stomp on them.
    • Bob-ombs starting in Super Mario Bros. 2 explode after a short time if left to their own devices, or much sooner if they are stepped on or thrown.
    • Bosses typically explode into purple smoke when you drain their health fully or at least sufficiently in the Super Mario Galaxy games. Mechanical bosses like the Megaleg, the Digga-leg, and Bowser Jr.'s personal Airship and Boomsday Machine are justified cases, except their explosions are more incendiary than smoky.
    • This happens to most of the bosses in the Mario & Luigi series, usually in a flurry of stars (or in the case of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, multiple pink, pulsating circles along with the stars) even if they are alive in the cutscene that follows. Major antagonists will often have a darker-colored version of this explosion, while the final boss tends to have a different, more extravagant explosion. If they happen to be alive, more often than not they'll stay in the overworld for a brief moment only to explode again.
    • Lampshaded in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where Popple comments on how Wiggler just exploded during the battle, before performing a Face–Heel Turn. This happens to be one of the cases where both of them are still alive after the battle.
      Popple: Say, what gives? Vanished! Poof!
    • Enemies in Paper Mario: Sticker Star collapse and explode when you return to the field.
    • The Legion of Stationery in Paper Mario: The Origami King die exploding.
  • In Super Robot Wars, even non-mecha enemies explode when defeated.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Fighters who are knocked out of bounds in the series explode in a sparkly manner. Master Hand, on the other hand, gives off fiery explosions after defeat.
    • All of the bosses in the Subspace Emissary mode of Brawl explode in the same manner as Master Hand, even the clearly non-mechanical ones like Rayquaza and Ridley. The standard enemies normally just poof out of existence in a mundane manner, but if sent flying off-screen after being defeated, they'll give off the same glorious explosion the fighters do.
    • Starting with the 3DS and Wii U iteration of the series, fighters also explode in a bright flash of color when defeated by means other than being Ring'd Out, including running out of HP in Stamina matches, certain items such as Death's Scythe, and certain attacks such as Bayonetta's Final Smash and the Dragon Quest Hero's Whack and Thwack spells.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: Most bosses, upon defeat, will explode into piles and piles of cash and loot. Including the Sumo mercenary, a Badass Normal human, for some inexplicable reason. (Seeing a massive hellhound or a dragon explode upon death? That's normal. Seeing a fat, regular human who is unarmed, inexplicably blowing up into massive fireballs? Hilarious!)
  • Team Fortress 2:
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hyperstone Heist for Genesis, not only did the robotic Foot Soldiers explode, but all of the organic bosses, bar Shredder himself, such as Rocksteady and Leatherhead use the explosion defeat animation.
  • Enemies in Tearaway typically explode into confetti and paper scraps. The player-messengers will also explode when slain.
  • Typical opponents in Teleroboxer will explode multiple times.
  • In the main Touhou games (and its spinoffs, including fighting games post-Hopeless Masquerade), the bosses explode upon defeat, yet they appear in cutscenes afterwards (with some minor Clothing Damage). Maybe those are special effects only.
  • Triggore: Any enemy you defeat swells up and explodes into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • In Underhero, the defeated enemies blow up in the cloud of purplish smoke. The cloud even makes out a skull as it begins to fade! Since the player character is a mook themselves, the same thing also happens to them when they reach 0 HP.
  • Unreal Tournament: The carrier of the Vengeance Relic in matches with the Relic mutator will explode violently upon dying.
  • Vermintide II: The Final Boss' sorcery goes out of control when his Hit Points get low, and when you finish him off, he floats into the air and explodes in a burst of energy, splattering your screen.
  • Warcraft: Uses this for almost all in-organic units including buildings such as farms or devices like catapults. Occasionally this happens to organic units as well!
    • In the first Warcraft, Ogres inexplicably exploded into a bloody mess when destroyed, preventing their skeletons from being raised.
    • In Warcraft II, while ogres now left corpses, the newly introduced dragon units combust in a fiery explosion when killed, possibly a result of their fire breath. Their alliance counterpart, Gryphons, explode when killed as well, this time into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • Daddy Slime, Gorgon Eye, and Grim Reaper bosses explode upon defeat in Wizorb.
  • Boss monsters in the World of Mana series, are covered in small explosions until the screen turns bright at which point it's assumed they've completely obliterated.
  • In Worms, worms with fully depleted life bars take turns whipping out Plunger Detonators and going out with a One-Liner and a bang, leaving grave markers behind. The explosion can hurt nearby worms.
  • X-COM:
    • Most robotic enemies in XCOM: Enemy Unknown explode when killed. Drones' and Seekers' detonations are purely aesthetic, but Cyberdiscs and Sectopods (the latter with the Enemy Within Expansion Pack) deal considerable damage when they go kaboom. Your own MEC Troopers' suits will explode when they're killed, but not when critically injured.
    • In XCOM 2, Sectopods explode on death, as do Gatekeepers (the stand-in for the old Cyberdiscs). ADVENT MEC robots and Andromedon shells make an explosion sound when killed, but don't actually detonate. In a non-robotic example ADVENT Purifiers have a 50% chance for their flamethrower tanks to explode.
  • In the arcade Beat 'em Up Zero Team, punching and kicking Mooks into submission somehow causes them to explode violently into chunks of flaming debris.


    Web Original 
  • The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids: In the story The Trial of a Dark Lord, Lord Nefarious unexpectedly explodes when he is hit by a Cupid Arrow (which normally result in Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, not any physical damage). Characters eventually realize that this was a Yin-Yang Bomb-type of reaction due to Nefarious's magic being rooted in hatred.
  • Weaponized by the Doomsday Mages. A DM had an idea for a set of recurring villains, mages who were marked by a distinctive rune branded into the palm of their hand that marked their possession of the "doomsday spell", a nuclear-scale magical blast that would be triggered the instant they died. They would be the ultimate emissaries of evil, free to be absolute dicks to anyone they interacted with, secure in the knowledge that nobody could risk killing them. Needless to say, things went spectacularly Off the Rails when the DM first tried using them. The Horde of evil orcs was invading the nation of good to which all the players belonged, and had conquered a good chunk of the eastern provinces. They were besieging a major city, with the players in it, and sent one of these doomsday mages (with whom they had an alliance) to negotiate a surrender. What the DM hadn't expected was for the players to jump the doomsday mage, beat him into unconsciousness, and then use healing magic to stabilize him before he could die and set off the doomsday spell. They then used a flying mount one of the players had to fly the unconscious mage out over the orcish siege lines and drop him from 5,000 feet. The blast from his death gutted the orcish army, and the tide of the war instantly changed, the human forces driving back the orcs while the doomsday mages were hunted to be captured and used as bombs.
  • In "Ayla and the Mad Scientist" in the Whateley Universe, Team Kimba goes through some 'Dark Phoenix' holographic simulations, a couple of which use Tennyo as the Dark Phoenix character. Phase uses his powers to stop her, and Tennyo explodes. Since she has anti-matter in her blood when she exerts herself, this doesn't work out well. In the simulation, it destroys the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.

    Web Videos 
  • In "Frozen Flame" by Mahu, the colonial army's drones fit this trope. Used as flying scouts at first, they slowly become the explosive vanguard of the colonial forces. Like kamikazes, they charge into the ranks of the enemy, exploding upon death with enough force to slay a dew dozen foes. Once the last drone has achieved its purpose, the army of Prince Arius or Mr. storm follow, ready to finish the weakened foe.

    Western Animation 
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines: Once Blaze manages to get past Crusher's cheating device of the day, it explodes back into the junk that was used to create it.
  • In Code Lyoko, all of XANA's digital monsters explode when killed, preceded by a short Epileptic Flashing Lights moment. The explosions never seem to damage the heroes, however, even when they're still close to the monster they've just defeated.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • In episode "The Rowdyruff Boys", after the girls kiss the titular boys, they hate it so much, it causes them to glow and explode into their ingredients. They were, however, later brought back by HIM, who made them immune to this, so it doesn't happen again.
    • Also, several of the monsters the girls fought have exploded after the being beaten by them.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In grand Voltron tradition, Robeasts typically explode when defeated. As do enemy ships.

    Real Life 
  • Often the result of aerial combat. Airplanes being the Fragile Speedster machines, when hit to critical components, tend to explode easily. Explode, though, in this case usually means catch fire. Although a large enough hit in the right place can have a plane in several little pieces. The former happens less in modern air combat due to the weapons involved, and although explosions are more common because missiles, explosions that consume the whole plane are not, thanks to modern design.
  • In naval combat, getting a hit in the gunpowder magazine. HMS Hood, HMS Invincible, HMS Queen Mary, HMS Indefatigable, SMS Pommern, etc. Battleships and heavy cruisers also had a nasty tendency to explode when they capsized, caused by the ship's shell magazines breaking loose while it was rolling over. One of the best-known examples would be the sinking of Yamato, creating a mushroom cloud four miles high.
  • For tanks, armored personnel carriers, or other armored fighting vehicles, even a modest hit to the ammunition stores is highly likely to result in a catastrophic explosion. Some modern tanks have special blowout compartments that are isolated from the rest of the interior and make it possible for the crew to survive (and even in cases where the tank doesn't it isn't a sure thing), but the tank itself is still going to be heavily damaged if not completely unsalvageable.

Alternative Title(s): Defeat Means Explosion


Mondo's Last Stand

Despite growing to gigantic size to fight the Rangers personally, King Mondo ends up being defeated by the Super Zeo Megazord Sabers, making him the first villain in the ''Power Rangers'' franchise to actually be destroyed.

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