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Load-Bearing Boss

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"That Witch has laid a train of magic spells so that whenever she was killed, at that same moment her whole kingdom would fall to pieces. She's the sort that wouldn't so much mind dying herself if she knew that the chap who killed her was going to be burned, or buried, or drowned five minutes later."
Puddleglum, The Silver Chair

A boss-type monster whose destruction causes the location to self-destruct (see Collapsing Lair). Usually results in a scene after the final battle wherein the player must make a hasty escape before the clock runs out.

Commonly happens with Final Bosses in RPGs and Metroidvanias.

Always seems a bit too contrived, though Terry Pratchett suggested in his first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic that this phenomenon was due to entropy (having been frightened away by the horrifying boss) making up for lost time. Or perhaps the lair simply has No Ontological Inertia.

Can be justified by some form of Dead Man's Switch or, in more fantasy/magical settings, by a literal bit of A Wizard Did It, in that the power of the Big Bad is what originally put, and is currently holding, the place together, making his defeat somewhat like shutting off an electromagnet. Double points if the base is normally impossible given regular physics, such as being so tall that it would collapse under its own weight; no boss to make up for structural weaknesses causes expected results when regular physics are allowed to do their normal thing again. Not related to Load-Bearing Hero, except inasmuch as he'll have to hold up the resulting Collapsing Lair for his friends to escape.

Particularly large-scale examples may be a type of Cosmic Keystone. A Fisher King is linked to the health of his kingdom, so logically, offing him might trigger this trope on a kingdom-wide scale. Reactor Boss is a justified subtrope. See also No Ontological Inertia. Compare Defeat Equals Explosion and Barrier Maiden. When a boss takes some final action to cause this sort of situation, its Taking You with Me.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Sanctuary has hell beginning to collapse when Lucifer's body is killed. Justified, it's established that hell was an unliveable place and Lucifer routed his body with the ground, so his body is practically the one thing holding hell together.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: The Pocket Dimensions Une creates rapidly disintegrate when she loses consciousness, presumably killing anyone trapped inside them.
  • In the Black★Rock Shooter OVA, Dead Master's palace collapses when she is defeated.
  • Bleach: After Chad and Uryu defeat Demora and Iceringer, the room they are in collapses, having been designed to do so if they were defeated.
  • In Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally, after Nunnally rejects opening Heaven's Door in favor of "tomorrow", resulting in her parents being erased from existence like they were in the original series, the cave in Kamine Island collapses.
  • Played with in Dai-Guard, when the team find a dormant Heterodyne and wonder whether they should leave it be or destroy it before it wakes up. They eventually go with the former, which is good because while it was dormant it kept growing underground until its structure was holding up the entire Kyoto area and the only safe way to dispose of it was to wait until it eventually sank into the Earth's crust.
  • In Digimon Adventure, whenever one of the Dark Masters was destroyed, the portion of Spiral Mountain that they ruled over would reconfigure back into the Digital World. Justified as it was their power that created the mountain.
  • Discussed in the first Digimon Tamers movie. No one believes Mephismon is dead because its pocket dimension isn't collapsing, and sure enough, it comes back as Gulfmon.
  • In Gankutsuou, the Count's headquarters begins collapsing seconds after he dies for no readily apparent reason.
  • In GaoGaiGar FINAL, when the heroes use the Goldion Crusher to kill Pisa Sol, the whole UNIVERSE falls apart. Thankfully they were in an alternate universe, but still!
  • As the Big Bad in the Rock Opera Interstella5555 dies his Disney Villain Death, the underground ritual chamber and his castle start to collapse, thus requiring Stella and her bandmates to run for their lives.
  • The ailing Princess in the Kokuboro arc of Kekkaishi created the castle and alternate dimension that shares the name of that storyline; the castle gradually decays and eventually collapses as her health deteriorates, to the point where the whole dimension completely collapses when she ultimately expires.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Jail Scagletti's Elaborate Underground Base begins to collapse after Fate kicks his ass with Sonic Form. Defied not long after, as Fate and Shari use the control-panel-piano-thing to cancel the collapse.
  • In Mini Moni The Movie: Okashi na Daibōken!, after Nakajalinu eats the cake all her spells wear off, causing the cake castle to start collapsing.
  • In One Piece, Luffy's final kick against Arlong destroys Arlong Park, the building that they're in. In a filler arc, after Luffy defeats Don Atchino, his Atsu Atsu Fruit powers melt the Atchino family's iceberg base. In the Arlong case, this is because Luffy's final attack was to kick Arlong through the building; it wasn't so much that the building was destroyed because the boss died, as it was because the boss was smashed through all five floors of it.
  • Outlanders is a particularly egregious example, where the death of the Santrov Emperor causes the Organic Technology of the entire planet to collapse and die.
  • Defeating King in Rave Master causes the tower that the hero and his dad were fighting on to crumble. Their race to the bottom leads to a perfect Dropped a Bridge on Him moment. Except instead of a bridge what dropped was a...
  • Subverted in Rurouni Kenshin, where shortly after the death of Big Bad Makoto Shishio, his lair begins to shake and collapse in on itself. It turns out that this is actually because Shishio's most loyal henchman, Hoji, lost his mind upon seeing his boss die and began to smash the building's support structures in an attempt to kill himself and everyone in it. Not only do all the good guys escape, Hoji survives as well, and he's furious that he missed his chance to die dramatically alongside his lord.
  • In Sailor Moon, the destruction of the Kisenean Blossom leaves the senshi stranded on an asteroid on a collision course with the earth.
  • Very popular in Saint Seiya. All of the OVA villains pull this one after being defeated, concluding with Seiya & Co. running for their lives.
    • Athena herself is one in the anime version of the Hades chapter: when she kills herself to attack Hades in his own domain, the Saints all but states that the main part of the Sanctuary is about to collapse now that Athena's cosmo doesn't sustain it anymore, and that is still standing only because it was the only one built by men (meaning that Athena's cosmo was simply protecting it from the ravages of time instead of enabling its very existence).
  • In s-CRY-ed, defeating Kyoji Mujo caused the warped base to fall apart. Justified since it was being sustained with Kyoji's Alter Power, with him dead, there was nothing supporting it.
  • In SD Gundam Force, the death of Sazabi causes the Horn of War to collapse.
  • In the film version of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Do You Remember Love?, Golg Bodolzer himself is wired into his ship's computer. When the hero shoots him down, the rest of the ship quickly follows. Though in a bit of a variation, what actually seems to happen is Bodolzer's death causes a malfunction in the ship's Fold System, causing random pieces of it to get teleported who-knows-where. Explosions happen as a result of this, and the ship is thoroughly wrecked, but its outer structure is still largely intact afterward.
  • In the first Tenchi Muyo! OVA, Tenchi bisects Kagato in their climactic battle. Somehow this causes Kagato's gargantuan spaceship that they were fighting inside of to also be sliced in half.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: When Simon defeats Lordgenome in Episode 15, all the Gunmen being piloted by his mooks deactivate. More to the point, so does the mountain-sized Humongous Mecha they were fighting on top of, causing it to rapidly collapse under its own weight. Pops up again when the Anti-Spiral are finally defeated. Not only does it destroy the enemy's galaxy-sized mecha, it also destroys their home planet and the very dimension they inhabited.
  • Hakumen no Mono from Ushio and Tora fits this trope perfectly. If Ushio's mom lets up the barrier and allows the yōkai of Japan to kill him, all the islands of Japan will sink with him.
  • Vampire Hunter D. In the 1985 film, when Count Magnus Lee is killed his castle self-destructs. Something similar happens in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Vampire castles apparently have No Ontological Inertia.
  • Subverted in the Wizardry OVA, where although Werdna's death causes much trembling throughout the dungeon, the heroes are able to wait it out and then walk out.
  • Atem/Yami Yugi plays this role in the last episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!; after he is defeated in the Ceremonial Duel, the temple they're in begins to collapse.

    Comic Books 
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: Dark Opal's fortress collapses on him when he's mortally wounded, though it had been weakened during the battle.
  • Justified in one issue of Forgotten Realms. When the party defeats Gornak the ogre mage, he loses concentration on his summoning spell, and the earth elemental he summoned promptly disappears—taking a big chunk of the floor with it. This compromises the structural integrity of his tower, leading to its collapse.
  • Invoked in Gold Digger: Julia defeats a warlord who enslaved his own people to fuel his power by tangling him up in chains around the pillars holding up his throne room, then knocking them out in a way to leave him as the "keystone" holding the whole thing together. If he tries to move to attack or free himself, tens of thousands of tons of stone come tumbling down on his head. The only way to get free would be to beg his subjects to free him. The rival Julia came to rescue notes that said warlord is likely to let himself starve to death first.
  • Nnewts: The death of the Chillingwrath in Book 3 causes the entire Lizzark army to turn back into Nnewts, and the Snake Lord to be Brought Down to Normal.
  • Red Sonja easily defeats the evil wizard Kalas-ra, but he pulls his cavern fortress down around him as she sprints for the exit.
    Sonja: I'll say this about wizards. They are very poor losers.

    Fan Works 
  • The Immortal Game: After Nihilus is destroyed by the Elements of Harmony, her floating fortress disintegrates.
  • Jewel of Darkness: After Midnight is defeated in her lair at the end of the Jump City Arc, Slade spirits her to safety, activating the base's self-destruct to cover their escape. Lampshaded by Beast Boy:
    "And there's the post big fight self destruct."
  • Life in Manehattan: The Final Battle between the Manehattan Six and Nightmare Moon occurs in a Pocket Dimension facsimile of Manehattan created by the latter; when she's defeated, it starts to fall apart. Fortunately, Luna is able to carry them all to safety.
  • The Zelda Classic Quest Lost Isle: By defeating the Big Bad Morlach, he tells you in his last words, that his powers alone were all the time holding back the volcano from a devastating eruption, which would blow up the whole island into oblivion. Since his powers are fading away by your efforts, you have no choice but to escape.
  • Queen of All Oni: After the Oni Elders suffer being Deader than Dead, the abandoned ancient Shadowkhan city in the Shadow Realm — which had long been sustained by their power alone — collapses into dust.
  • Through a Diamond Sky: Clu hangs a lampshade on this when killing The Baron causes his hideout to go to cascade failure. But justified because of the base's shoddy construction and The Baron soaking up way too much power, destabilizing it further.
    "Explain to me," Clu grumbled. "Why we take out the boss and this place decides to go into cascade failure?"
  • Children of an Elder God: When the Pilots kill Cthulhu, this causes the normal laws of three-dimensional reality to reassert themselves on Ry'leh. As such, the entire island disintegrates under the unsustainable nature of its Alien Geometries.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Frog Princess: Koshchei's castle collapses as soon as he is killed.
  • In The Last Unicorn, after the defeat of the Red Bull, King Haggard's Castle crumbles, throwing him into the sea.
  • At the end of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, defeating PAL not only ends the robot revolution, but causes all her servant robots to shut down and releases all the imprisoned humans.
  • At the end of The Pebble and the Penguin, Drake hurls a boulder at Hubie as a last-minute attempt to kill him, but he throws said boulder in the wrong direction, and as a result the boulder rolls back and crushes Drake to death before finally destroying enough pillars holding up his island causing it to crumble into the sea.
  • In the Aardman short film Stage Fright, after the villain kicks the bucket (literally and figuratively), the theatre starts collapsing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens in Big Trouble in Little China when the evil wizard Lo Pan is killed by a knife to the forehead by hero Jack Burton.
  • Carrie (1976) Has a very odd and completely unintentional example: after Carrie kills Margaret her house suddenly starts collapsing. This is because Carrie was originally going to make meteors rain down and destroy the house. However, the meteor-dropping device malfunctioned and they couldn't afford to re-shoot, so instead the house seems to just collapse for no reason after she dies.
  • In Conan the Destroyer, when the wizard guarding the key is killed his entire crystal palace crumbles into the lake.
  • The Dark Crystal: Subverted. Once the shard is rejoined with the Dark Crystal, the Skeksis Castle appears to fall apart inside and out in great chunks of stone and mortar. Actually the stone and mortar is merely a thousand years of accumulated filth, grime and the Skeksis' own interior fittings, which is disintegrated by the power of the now-pure crystal, leaving a pristine castle of pure cut diamond as it originally was. Fortunately, the zombified Podlings were restored too.
  • In Dredd, Ma-Ma has an emitter that will send a signal when her heart stops beating, activating a detonator connected to enough explosives to destroy half the block she is in. Dredd just disables her limbs and throws her out a window, so the detonator would be too far away to detect her death. He doses her with her own time-slowing drug for good measure so she can savor the fall.
  • After detective Nicholas finally kills Bernard Phillips in God Told Me To, the building they were in catches fire and starts collapsing, possibly because of all the energy deployed in the fight.
  • If Looks Could Kill; Zigesfeld being crushed under a falling cage while standing on a gold vat causes Steranko's mansion to begin blowing up from the inside out from the resulting explosion. Who knew liquid gold was so volatile?
  • Justified in Inception: killing the dreamer makes their dream world spectacularly collapse.
  • When Dr. Merrick is killed in The Island (2005), the holographic projectors are destroyed. This allows the inhabitants of the underground facility/prison to escape into the real world. Though this is actually due to Lincoln's actions before he killed Merrick.
  • It: Chapter Two: When Pennywise is killed, not only does It's underground lair collapse, but so does the cistern and the house on Neibolt Street, both of which It had used as extensions of the lair.
  • Averted in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. Scaramanga's base/lair/thing begins to explode as soon as Bond kills Scaramanga, but this is due to the unrelated actions of a less-than-intelligent Bond Girl.
  • In Killer Klowns from Outer Space, when the giant monster klown dies, its death explosion wipes out the klowns' ship.
  • Krull, though this is also a case of No Ontological Inertia. Also, the pieces fall up — apparently the villain was so evil, the planet won't have any of it.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: The destruction of the One Ring and Sauron causes an earthquake that also destroys his evil army while leaving the heroes intact. This was invented for the film, since the book describes several hours of the orcs fleeing and infighting before being defeated.
  • In Rolli – Amazing Tales, the underground lair of the Trashers starts collapsing when their deity, the Great Trash, accidentally swallows a broom.
  • For some reason, throwing Sabbala in the volcano causes it to erupt in The People That Time Forgot.
  • In Spawn (1997), Jason Winn sets himself up as the ultimate load-bearing boss: He attaches a heart-rate sensor to himself, which will set off dozens of virus-bombs all over the world in the event of his death to deter assassinations (though how a would-be killer is supposed to know this ahead of time is anyone's guess). Spawn uses his nifty magic powers to just pull the sensor out of his body before turning him over to the cops.
  • Twice-Told Tales: In "The House of Seven Gables", the eponymous house starts to collapse as the ghost of Matthew Moll strangles Gerald Pyncheon. As Gerald, the last Pyncheon, dies, the house collapses completely, thereby completing Matthew's vengeance and ending the curse.
  • Yor: The Hunter from the Future, an old B-movie starring Reb Brown, has a cave inexplicably collapse after the strongest warrior of the tribe living there is defeated.

  • In House of Hell (also by Fighting Fantasy), when you defeat the Final Boss, the eponymous House catches fire, and you get the satisfaction of seeing it burn to the ground.
  • Lone Wolf:
    • Start with Book 7, Castle Death, and the destruction — in a volcanic eruption — of the title fortress of Kazan-Oud after the defeat of its evil Lord, Zahda. Though to be specific, it is the shattering of the Doomstone which induces this, since its magic was keeping the volcano at bay, and not just Zahda's death.
    • Averted in Book 12. If Helgedad is destroyed shortly after the defeat of Big Bad Gnaag, it's because Lone Wolf has brought a freaking magical bomb with him, causing a chain reaction that wipe out the whole evil capital city.
    • Played straight in Book 17, The Deathlord of Ixia, with the destruction of Big Bad Ixiataaga resulting in the collapse of the whole city of Xaagon as time is catching up with it.
  • In Night Dragon, the title dragon's mountain lair collapses after the hero kills it (twice).

  • The Adversary Cycle: In Nightworld this is explained as being due to the Big Bad using 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.
  • The Big Bad of Against a Dark Background claims to have a Dead Man's Switch to take a good chunk of civilization with him.
  • In Apotheosis, there is a peculiar example in which the boss is on the same side as the protagonists. The AI calling itself Tjaele Mosasa has been manipulating society for centuries to keep Bakunin a Stateless planet, and thus one that will tolerate Mosasa's existence. As soon as he's gone, the Proudhon Spaceport Development Corporation starts taking over, and the old society of Bakunin collapses.
  • The man in the throne room from Black Trip is the avatar of the last remnant of the soul who is dreaming the whole parallel world. When he decides to let go of life, so crumbles the entire world.
  • In Barry Hughart's "novel of an ancient China that never was," Bridge of Birds, the Duke of Chin's castle crumbles into dust after the Duke does.
  • In The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (one of The Chronicles of Narnia), the death of the Lady of the Green Kirtle causes not just her fortress, but her entire underground kingdom to be destroyed. The protagonists speculate that she had used sorcery to ensure this would happen as a means of posthumously avenging herself on her killer.
  • In another classic children's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, we see this trope played out in the fiery collapse of the castle of Arawn, Lord of the Dead, in the land of Annuvin, when he is killed by the sword Dyrnwyn.
  • In Chronicles of the Emerged World this is what happened when the Tyrant is vanquished.
  • Codex Alera has a subversion in Book 4, Captain's Fury: One of the villains has managed to tie the ongoing calmness of a volcano in his homeland to his own survival via magic. Rather than waiting for the volcano to go boom upon the villain's eventual defeat, his rival Gaius Sextus actually uses this to defeat the villain in the first place by blowing the volcano up on top of the still-living villain, burying him and his entire capital city in volcanic ash a la Pompeii.
    • The villain had been inspired to do this by Lady Placida's more benevolent use of it in the previous book; she had used her powers to suppress destructive furies in her homeland that would be unleashed upon her death unless the proper steps were taken, forcing her husband into neutrality after the villain kidnapped her. She'd had no intention of using it as a weapon, and was merely trying to help her people.
  • This turns out to have been the Shadow Lord's plan in Deltora Quest. After his death, the Four Sisters would slowly poison the whole land. And if the heroes managed to find and destroy them, their deaths would in turn release an all-consuming flood of grey ooze to cover the entire country and kill everything.
  • Discworld:
    • As noted above, in The Colour of Magic when Bel-Shamharoth, an Eldritch Abomination, retreats from his temple, this causes the released inertia from formerly-stopped time to erode it away to nothing in seconds, creating a Justified Trope version of No Ontological Inertia.
    • Justified again in Sourcery, where Coin created the huge miles-high tower (which has become the new home for wizards), by using raw magic. Once he starts dueling with his father and they start pulling magic from the tower, well...
    • Used again in Hogfather with the Ice Castle.
  • Dracula was apparently originally going to include a scene where Dracula's castle collapsed upon his defeat (though it would not have been a threat to anyone, since the climactic battle takes place outside of the castle).
  • Dragons in Our Midst: In The Candlestone, upon the dragonform Devin's defeat, his death throes cause Dr. Connor's underground lab to collapse. Fortunately, everyone else escaped.
  • Another early example is Edgar Allan Poe's classic Gothic tale "The Fall of the House of Usher", first published in 1839, in which the eponymous house breaks in two and collapses when Roderick and Madeline die. Their deaths don't actually cause the house to collapse. However, since the house was a metaphor for the family, it seems justified.
  • Subverted in The Heroes of Olympus: At the end of The Last Olympian, Mount Othrys collapses and the cast presumes it's due to Kronos' defeat... actually, while Percy and co were defending Olympus, the children of the Roman gods were assaulting Mount Othrys.
  • King Haggard and Haggard's castle in The Last Unicorn, both in the novel by Peter S. Beagle and the animated movie.
  • In The Locked Tomb the Emperor powers Dominicus, aka the Sun, meaning that if he dies the entire solar system goes with him.
  • The destruction of the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings causes both the death of Sauron and his Dark Tower to collapse. It's explicitly noted earlier that the Ring's power was holding the thing up. It also causes the collapse of the Black Gate and the Teeth of Mordor (the guard towers by the gate).
    • Further confirmed by the fact that after the first killing of Sauron (which wasn't accompanied by the destruction of the Ring) the allies had had to demolish his fortress manually rather than magically; the continued existence of the Ring meant that they couldn't destroy the foundations.
  • Lux: Wingflare is one in the most literal sense, as her telekinesis is what's holding the titular city two miles in the air. If she dies, Lux will fall from the sky with a force comparable to a dinosaur-killer asteroid. As such, a key part of the Reckoner's plan for taking her down is the use of a motivator fabrial to soft-land Lux once she's no longer holding it up.
  • Probably the earliest example (from 1470), Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D Arthur features a fight between Balin and King Pellam. Balin's sword breaks, so he steals an ornate spear that happens to be lying around.
    And when Balin saw that spear, he gat it in his hand and turned him to King Pellam, and smote him passingly sore with that spear, that King Pellam fell down in a swoon, and therewith the castle roof and walls brake and fell to the earth, and Balin fell down so that he might not stir foot nor hand. And so the most part of the castle, that was fallen down through that dolorous stroke, lay upon Pellam and Balin three days.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, in the final Sugar and Spice Fairy book, the return of all seven charms makes Jack Frost's Candy Castle collapse and melt away.
  • The Scholomance: As revealed in the third book, the ritual to create a wizarding enclave requires creating a maw-mouth to channel the vast amounts of power needed to sustain the enclave. If the maw-mouth is ever destroyed, the enclave it is linked to collapses.
  • Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash has a rare example of one without a Collapsing Lair. Raven, a big mutant Aleut has a hydrogen bomb he carries around with on a motorcycle sidecar. It's hooked up to an implant that sends the detonation signal if his heart stops. (This, combined with his incredible fighting skills and use of undetectable glass knives, leads the main character to label him "The Baddest Motherfucker in the world".)
  • In the Solomon Kane story The Moon of Skulls, the hidden city of Negari is destroyed by an earthquake just after its queen Nekari is killed.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire had this setup at one point. It was the reason Jaime killed Aerys: he found out about Aerys's plan to use wildfire to burn everything in King's Landing, including his family and all the innocent people, and decided that it could not be allowed to happen.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Aftermath: Empire's End reveals that Emperor Palpatine, intending to be this, ordered Gallius Rax to implement a contingency plan in the event of his death, during which Rax would take control of the Empire and lure it and the Empire's enemies to the planet of Jakku, where he would detonate the core and wipe out both, leaving the galaxy to rot. Rax was then to establish a new Empire in the Unknown Regions. Rax is killed before he can accomplish this, but he does pass on the second part of the plan to Admiral Rae Sloane, who uses it to establish the First Order in the Unknown Regions.
  • Wearing the Cape: Princess Ozma is (according to herself, at least) a rare heroic example. The magic of Oz is tied to the fairy blood of the royal line, so Mombi couldn't kill her without destroying Oz in the process. So he had to settle for wiping her memories and sending her to Earth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Criminal Minds: "Fisher King" (Part 2) The unsub blows himself up, forcing the team to first locate the hostage inside and escape while the house is burning.
  • Doctor Who:
  • MacGyver: Erich von Leer in "Legend of the Holy Rose, Part 2". When von Leer is killed, he stumbles backwards into the entrance of the Temple of the Holy Rose, which proceeds to collapse on top of him, burying the temple. (Properly the collapse is the result of a secondary explosion caused by the Frickin' Laser Beams that kill von Leer, and Mac speculates that the original designer of the temple intended for his work to be buried.)
  • Justified in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Extreme Measures", when Sloan dies, and it is feared that the resulting collapse of his mind-scape (which Bashir and O'Brien were exploring) would have been fatal to anyone still inside.
  • A frequent sight in Super Sentai and Power Rangers — take out the Big Bad, their base will inevitably explode or crumble, with the heroes typically escaping in the nick of time. Doesn't always apply, though — Rita and Zedd had to flee their moon palace in a hurry when the Machine Empire came a calling, and outside of looking like it had started to sink into the ground, it didn't actually explode or anything. In 1984's Choudenshi Bioman, once Doctor Man is killed, his castle doesn't explode either — it simply becomes smothered by the Arctic ice, serving as a sort of gravesite.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Inverted in Beast: The Primordial: a Beast's power stems from his or her connection to an Eldritch Location, her Lair. As a result, if you can somehow destroy the Lair first, you will severely hurt or even kill the Beasts connected to it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the Judges Guild adventure Dark Tower, the title building collapses after the lich Pnessutt is killed.
    • In the 3.5 Edition supplement Elder Evils, the Hulks of Zoretha cause the entire mountain in which their temple is located to collapse when they are defeated.
    • In the 1st Edition module Season 1 Tomb of Horrors, this happens when you kill the demilich Acererak. Except not really. You actually killed a fake and he has an illusion set up to make you think the dungeon is collapsing as a result and you get a fake map to another dungeon. If you go back after the collapse, you'll discover the ruse. The guy is kind of a prick.
    • Module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. If the PCs manage to kill Lolth (the title demon queen of spiders) on her home plane in the Chaotic Evil Abyss, the spider ship that they're in starts to distort and disintegrate as it returns to the Chaos from which it was made. The PCs are rewarded by their patron deities by taken to safety on the Prime Material Plane.
    • Dungeon magazine
      • Issue #31, adventure "Bane of the Shadowborn". After the PCs destroy the sword form of the spirit Ebonbane, its domain (Shadowborn Manor) breaks apart and disintegrates, leaving the PCs floating in the Ethereal Plane.
      • Issue #64 adventure "Bzallin's Blacksphere" When the Final Boss lich Bzallin is destroyed, the magical power that holds his Cube together starts to dissipate. 7-16 minutes later, the Cube implodes and kills every living thing still inside, including the Player Characters if they haven't escaped in time.
  • In Exalted, the Primodials have multiple souls organized into different Power Levels. The most important one is called the Fetich Soul, and killing it causes the Primordial to implode and come back wrong, with a new theme and powers.
    • Pegasus magazine issue #7, adventure "The Pyramid of Suberus". In Area 27, the Player Characters will face a Boss Battle with the Death King. When they kill him, a chain of explosions will reduce the entire pyramid to rubble in five minutes. If the PCs aren't out of the pyramid by then, they'll be worm food.
  • In Genius: The Transgression, when a Genius dies, all of his Wonders become Orphans and either develop rudimentary intelligence and go on a rampage or simply break spectacularly. Since more powerful Geniuses often have dozens or even hundreds of Wonders, the results of such a Genius getting killed will be... messy.

  • BIONICLE put a unique twist on this by having the Big Bad be the Matoran Universe itself for the Grand Finale. This meant that if the villain died, the universe would fall apart and become uninhabitable. But there was another twist, namely that this process took about three days to happen. Everyone escaped within seconds, thanks to the writer taking artistic license with scale.

    Video Games 
  • In Alundra 2, you have 3 minutes to escape the flying fortress after defeating the final boss.
    • There's also the killer shark earlier in the game. After defeating it, the sunken ship begins to collapse, likely due to its final desperate attempt to kill you which resulted in it slamming into the ceiling and exploding.
    • In Alundra, the Lake Shrine sinks after defeating the final boss.
  • Played straight in Ape Escape 2. As soon as Specter is captured, his Moon Base explodes for no apparent reason. Since you can clean up the few remaining monkeys there and have a proper rematch with Specter, this is completely pointless.
  • In Axelay, once you defeat the Final Boss' several forms, its final form flees and the entire area explodes, but you must fend off the boss one last time while fleeing the explosion.
  • Axiom Verge 2 features an inversion: Amashilama is trying to stop you from arming a bomb that will destroy both them and a portal to A'ansur.
  • At the end of Baldur's Gate II: The Throne of Bhaal the plane you're fighting on collapses shortly after the battle as the power that was sustaining it and that the Final Boss was channeling departs after their defeat. Unusually, you're at no risk having already left, but the boss, who wasn't quite dead, is crushed by it.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: Played with. When Batman defeats the last of Scarecrow's forces at ACE Chemicals, the entire facility is primed to blow — by Scarecrow himself, injured but undefeated, who locks Batman in the central chamber and abandons him to die. Batman is even forced to try and contain the blast by mixing neutralizing agents into the core, so that the entire city won't be blanketed with fear gas in the explosion. Further subverted in that Scarecrow, in preparing his master plan, fully expected Batman to find a means of escape and survival, otherwise Crane would not be able to expose his identity first.
  • The final level in both Battle Zone 1998 games ends with a load-bearing boss. In Battlezone 1998, after Grizzly One destroys the Fury starship which is channeling power from the core of the planet, the planet begins to break up underneath him and Furies descend by the dozens onto him as he flees back to the Recycler before the planet explodes. In Battlezone II's ISDF mission arc, destroying the Reactor Boss causes the artificial planet's underground tunnels to begin to collapse — with John Cooke still in them — leading to a harrowing Timed Mission in the maze-like tunnels as Cooke tries to reach the Dropship before it leaves him behind.
  • Bionic Commando: "This base will explod in 60 seconds. Evacuate right away."
  • Bloodborne has an odd example with the boss Rom, the Vacuous Spider, as the "load" she holds up isn't just her boss arena (which vanishes and dumps you in Yahar'gul after she dies), but reality itself. Once Rom dies, the Blood Moon is free to rise and Yharnam goes to hell in a handbasket, with new endgame-strength enemiess roaming the streets, and you'll have to defeat the final boss in order to clear up the chaos somewhat.
  • Happens with the final boss of almost every game in the Bomberman franchise, and sometimes the regular bosses as well.
  • In Brain Dead 13, Dr. Nero Neurosis is defeated (along with Fritz) by Lance's push of the big red "flush" button, thereby causing the castle to self-destruct, after which Lance can escape from it (and from the collapsing piano).
  • The Relic Keeper from Brave Fencer Musashi is both a literal example as well as an inversion: the ceiling collapses when he activates to engage you at the start of the battle. He's too busy holding it up to face you directly, forcing him to send fire monsters after you instead.
  • The final dungeon in Bravely Default collapses in both the true and false ending, after defeating their respective final boss.
  • In the Xbox exclusive Breakdown, Site Zero starts collapsing after you destroy Nexus. It's not necessarily a "boss" per se, (Though earlier, you do fight its "avatar", Solus), but it is still a sentient being you must kick and punch into oblivion, so it fits for this trope. It's also probably justified, as Nexus was stated earlier to be Site Zero's control center.
  • Defeating Myria in Breath of Fire III causes her space station to collapse. Occurs several times in Breath of Fire I, and is played for tragedy once when Cerl combines High-Heel–Face Turn with You Shall Not Pass!, buying time for Ryu and the others to escape her fortress by fighting her former allies. Its disappearance confirms her death, and takes out another sympathetic character in the process.
  • Justified in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, where defeating Hydra will make the psychic barrier she has raised around Y'ha'neth'lei vanish, allowing the navy submarine to torpedo the place, unaware that there's someone inside aiding their efforts.
  • Dracula, in the Castlevania series, is a classic, and possibly the most famous example. When defeated, Castlevania, his lair, will almost always crumble, usually ending with the hero(es)/heroine(s) standing on a nearby cliff watching the castle fall. Possibly justified, as the two are mystically connected — doing it in reverse (sealing off the castle and then killing Dracula) is how Dracula was Killed Off for Real.
  • In Cave Story, beating the Final Boss will cause this, but beating the True Final Boss will stop it. The reason for this gets explained in-game: Ballos (the True Final Boss), whose powers are beyond his own ability to control, is actively tearing down the island. The Core (the Final Boss) is meant to seal him off and keep that from happening, so breaking the Core starts the fall. Killing the True Final Boss makes him stop tearing the island down, so it stops falling.
  • In Chrono Trigger: The defeat of Magus and Lavos Core creates a time warp which consumes the surrounding environment. Also, the defeat of Queen Zeal destroys The Black Omen. Justified in the cases of Magus and Queen Zeal — Magus is attempting to summon Lavos to his castle to kill it himself, but the heroes interrupted him and Lavos basically yawned at them. When Queen Zeal is defeated, she calls upon Lavos, who disintegrates the Black Omen as he pulls you into his pocket dimension.
  • In Chrono Cross, defeating Miguel causes the time distortion in the Dead Sea to explode spectacularly.
  • In City of Heroes, this is revisited in the "Hess Trial", which references a lot of classic tropes. The final mission of a series takes place inside an active volcano, on dinky walkways suspended above a sea of lava, in which a Humongous Mecha stands ready for launch. The final boss, a cybernetically-enhanced army officer (and the only one capable of piloting the Megamech) causes the base to inexplicably self-destruct upon his defeat, prompting the involved heroes to flee with mere seconds to spare. This is actually also very dangerous for groups that haven't done the mission yet, due to the way the game engine displays those type of messages. They jump onto the screen then fade out one at a time, and finishing the mission triggers a series of them: "Mission Completed!" "Badge Earned!" "Level Up!" "1:00 to escape!" "Enhancement Found!" Leading to memorable "Wait, what was that last one?" moments before a mad dash to the exit.
  • The Final Boss in Cobra Mission activates a series of bombs as he dies. His Evil Laugh echoes through the cut-scene as the heroes escape.
  • Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course has a single example in Chef Saltbaker's fight leading to completely destroying his residence and workplace, the bakery. Since the fight involved him growing to utterly ridiculous sizes and visibly damaging the place in the process, before being beaten to pieces and collapsing to do even further damage in the process, it's only natural. He at least gets to rebuild it post-reformation.
  • DanMachi: Memoria Freese: The death of Tiones Walpurgis (a.k.a. the Spirit of the Dream) causes the collapse of her dream world.
  • In Dark Devotion, defeating the Executioner causes the room he was in to collapse, dumping you into the caverns below.
  • In Darksiders Straga is a load bearing boss. His death causes the Destroyer's Tower to fall. Except for its top. This was even lampshaded by Azrael. The top of the tower still floating is stated to have only been due to its close proximity to the Destroyer himself.
  • All of the end-of-level bosses in Descent 1 and 2 — usually hostile reactors attempting to defend themselves by shooting energy balls, but sometimes there's a more traditional King Mook. Upon defeat, the countdown timer starts, a female Computer Voice announces the activation of the self destruction sequence, sirens start blaring, and the level is constantly rocked by tremors while the lighting blinks. The player must escape via the designated emergency exit within the designated time. If the player is successful in reaching the exit, a Cutscene shows your ship Outrunning The Fireball no matter how much time there is left on the timer. If the player fails to make it in time, the screen will Fade to White. (It's even possible to combine the two and successfully exit during the fade.)
  • Defeating Mundus in Devil May Cry causes the collapse of the entirety of Mallet Island.
  • Defeating MTHR in Dino Crisis 3 causes the Ozymandius's self destruct sequence to activate. Justified, as the ship was designed to self-destruct should the MTHR System fail.
  • Happens nearly every time to King K. Rool in the Donkey Kong Country series, where Gangplank Galleon often sinks after he's defeated, and in the later games, as does the entirety of Crocodile Isle (in a way very much similar to Atlantis).
  • In Doom II, killing the final boss (on level 30) causes zillions of massive explosions to erupt all over Hell from the boss's death throes. In the words of the game, "Hell is a wreck."
  • Lampshaded in Double Dragon Neon when the space station explodes and crashes after you beat Mecha Biker. "I didn't know it was a load-bearing robot!"
  • Master Archfiend Zoma in Dragon Quest III, and Necrosaro in Dragon Quest IV. Zoma's case is a little odd, since later, in Dragon Quest I, Castle Charlock is still standing. Even if a new castle was constructed on the site, how would Dragon Lord have known the original layout given that he was a hatchling when it originally fell?
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, the Black Citadel starts collapsing after you defeat Rhapthorne. Interestingly, this is both foreshadowed and justified by a stone tablet found earlier in the dungeon, stating that the citadel cannot exist without it's master, and will "turn it's very substance against the pilgrims from the world of light" should he be defeated. In other words... No Ontological Inertia.
  • In Dubloon, defeating Final Boss causes the island it was on to sink, and the player has to escape in time.
  • In DuckTales Remastered, defeating Dracula Duck causes Mt. Vesuvius to erupt.
  • The rather tongue-in-cheek Dungeons of Kong has a load-bearing boss known only as the "Ancient Evil".
  • In Earth Bound, defeating the Mani Mani Statue ends Moonside and Monotoli's popularity. Averted later with the Starman DX; while the Stonhenge Base isn't destroyed, all the enemies vanish, along with the Sword of Kings, Poo's infamous Infinity +1 Sword. The instance with Moonside is repeated with Magicant, where defeating Ness's Nightmare, embodied as the Mani Mani Statue, causes Ness to wake up and Magicant to fade. Mother 3 had Mr. Genetor as a load bearing boss, as his defeat causes the Thunder Tower to shut down and closes the area off forever. The final boss plays with this. You beat him, nothing happens. Then you go and cause an apocalypse yourself immediately afterwards... sorta. It's more like world rejuvenation.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, Big Bad Physical God Dagoth Ur plays with it. He is a god, and you cannot actually kill him, because he'll just immediately resurrect again. However, when you sever his ties to the Heart of Lorkhan, he will die and, due to the bindings on the Heart being removed, the room you are in will collapse into the lava below. Crosses over with Empathic Environment, as his death will also cause the raging blight storm around Red Mountain to cease for the first time in centuries.
    • Played straight in Oblivion; when you kill Big Bad Mankar Camoran, his other-dimensional "Paradise" dies with him. But then, he did create it after all.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: Defeat the final boss and cue the stage crumbling around you. Granted, the final confrontation takes place in some broad underground caverns and the game explains that the fight destabilized them. Given the powerful attacks coming off the player and boss, with the occasional collapsing rocks, that tracks.
  • Fallout
    • The Master from Fallout triggers a bomb on a countdown timer that will destroy his base. You could also trigger the bomb yourself and run away cackling like a little sadistic schoolgirl as an alternative to dealing with the Master.
    • If President Eden is convinced to shut himself down in Fallout 3, he will trigger Raven Rock's self-destruct.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money, defeating Elijah causes the Vault to be rocked by explosions, as well as starting a timer on your bomb collar, possibly justified if you did so by trapping him in the Vault; he still has his Pipboy, so he's probably trying to trigger everything that might kill you. In the Old World Blues add-on, if Gabe is killed during the Residential Cyberdog Guard Test, you have ten seconds to leave the testing area before his atomic core detonates and incinerates everything in a 10-meter radius.
  • Often occurs around the middle of the game in the Final Fantasy series:
    • In Final Fantasy VI, defeating Kefka in his final form results in the collapse of his tower as the protagonists escape. Although, to be fair, the tower was made of magically combined junk and trash isn't known for its ability to hold together in a safe form all by itself. And killing Kefka causes all magic to cease to exist, thus removing the force binding the tower together. Tragically, Shadow chooses to stay behind and (presumably) dies in the collapse, vowing to start all over again.
    • Final Fantasy IX has an unusual twist on this trope; the Evil Forest that your airship crashes into after the introduction turns to stone after defeating its core. In a subversion, one of the Tantalus bandits doesn't make it out in time. That was Blank. He got better.
    • Played straight with Barbariccia and the Tower of Zot in Final Fantasy IV. Apparently, the tower was being held up in the sky by the Fiend of Wind's power, though it's not explained where the tower (or its remains) landed.
      • And again with the Giant of Bab-Il and the CPU.
    • Perfectly justified in Final Fantasy X: Yu Yevon is the summoner whose constant dream causes Sin to even exist; therefore, defeating him ends the dream and makes Sin dissolve into pyreflies.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, the Undying rips chunks of Sky Fortress Bahamut to create his own body, and smashes the hell out of the fortress while trying to annihilate the party. The accumulated damage and stress cause the glossair rings to stop working — thus sending the whole thing crashing down towards Rabanastre — shortly after the Final Boss's defeat.
    • Final Fantasy XIII gives us another justified example. Orphan, the fal'cie fought at the end of the game who is of a Big Bad Duumvirate with Barthandelus, is actually the power source of all Cocoon. When the protagonists kill it, the power system of Cocoon fails and it begins sinking towards Pulse.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has this with its final boss battle. Word of God says that at the very least, Ramza and Alma survived, but the ending was ambiguous enough that it could easily have gone either way.
  • Fire Emblem has an area collapse in Path of Radiance when the Black Knight is beaten because his soldiers bring it down out of spite.
  • When Hailey kills ACE in Gamer 2, the virtual reality world around her starts disintegrating, and it ultimately leads to the entire game being deleted.
  • When The Sleeper is killed at the end of Gothic, his underground lair collapses around him — unfortunately, The Hero is still inside. (This does set him up nicely for a With This Herring moment in the sequel.)
  • In Gradius: Life Force, after you destroy the heart of the Living Planet, the planet begins to self-destruct (or explode, hard to tell on 8 bit games). Cue the high speed escape through closing gates that has surely resulted in many a broken controller lodged in many a TV screen. The rest of the Gradius series does this too, with the escape being a short cutscene... unless you're playing the arcade version of Gradius III, in which case you get a high speed chase through the hardest fucking section of the game.
  • In one early mission in Grandia the party must enter a mine and beat the Orc King there. Once you do the entire mine collapses for no apparent reason.
  • A variation: after the final battle in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (which is against a former ally who betrayed you, rather than against the Big Bad), the Big Bad shows up and then runs away again, stopping only to set some explosives that will destroy the building, giving you just enough time to escape. The mechanics of the mission fit this trope (you fight the Boss, then have to escape before the building is destroyed), but the explanation is different (in that there actually is an explanation).
  • In Great Greed, upon the defeat of Bio-Haz, his castle collapses and the heroes escape in a balloon. Shortly afterwards recurring boss Sarg is defeated, and his hideout collapses as well.
  • Half-Life
    • The Final Boss of the first game, the Nihilanth, is a spectacular example. Not only does its death cause the collapse of the chamber in which the player fights it, but it rips open an entire dimension, causing the Earth to be subsequently ravaged by portal storms and allowing the Combine to transport enough of their military to conquer the planet in seven hours. Excellent work there, Gordon.
    • Half-Life 2. After you disable Dr. Breen's teleporter, it explodes in a reality ripping manner. However, it does this almost immediately afterward, leaving no time for escape. The only reason you survive is because of the G-Man's timely intervention.
  • The final boss of Headhunter: Redemption, a computer chip heavily protected by several defense mechanisms that must be bypassed before being destroyed. Justified in that it controls all functions of the facility, and is essentially a Reactor Boss.
    • Candy Floss earlier in the game may also be one. Some tremors occur shortly after his death, though it is not made clear if this is the area self-destructing, or if something else is occurring. There are a few more tremors in another cutscene shortly after though, as Jack and MW3M leave the area, so it's probably safe to assume the place was coming down.
  • In Heretic, the Dome of D'Sparil magically shatters after the player defeats D'Sparil, and upon escaping the player is told he's escaped "mere moments" before its destruction. Though that's purely fluff. You can wait a couple dozen hours looking at the villain's corpse before stepping in the exit teleporter, and nothing will happen in the game. An actual in-game effect is that all remaining monsters on the level are instantly killed. But this doesn't reach too far because then you've got two more episodes (in the extended edition) fighting more of his monsters, eager to avenge their fallen master.
  • In ICO, the moment the final boss is killed, her entire castle, and the thousand-foot-high outcropping of rock it stands on, immediately crumbles into the sea for no discernable reason during an extended cutscene.
    • The novelization suggests that the Castle in the Mist is suspended in time by her magic, making this a case of No Ontological Inertia.
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: If Indy convinces Big Bad Dr. Ubermann to try to ascend to godhood in the finale, he will turn into an unstable energy being, explode, and activate the volcano beneath Atlantis, causing the city to self-destruct. The same thing happens to Indy or Sophia in the bad endings instead of Ubermann.
  • In In the Hunt, the headquarters of the Evil Organization explode once you defeat the Final Boss. Depending on whether you used up any continues before you fought its final phase, you either escape or get destroyed along with it.
  • Jade Empire subverts this at least twice.
    • You bring down Mother's lair on top of her (while apparently unkillable conventionally, this must not apply to being crushed to death) by attacking the load-bearing pillars in her chamber.
    • Similarly, the Lotus Assassin fortress mostly seems to collapse because of the rogue golems (and to some extent, Death's Hand) damaging the structural supports, rather than your defeat of Mistress Jia.
    • You fight the Emperor and the real Big Bad in a floating castle powered by magic. You'd think it would fall out of the sky afterwards, right? It doesn't.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Several chapters' levels start to fall apart upon defeat of the boss. This includes Chapters 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. It's even Lampshaded by Hades at the end of Chapter 14.
    Hades: This place is going to the dogs without Phosphora around!
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • The Nightmare Before Christmas's Oogie Boogie's defeat leads to his manor being destroyed. To be fair, Oogie had somehow merged with his manor.
    • The Cave of Wonders also collapses after Jafar is defeated the second time, but when the player returns, the cave is back to normal.
  • Kirby:
    • In the Revenge Of Meta Knight subgame of Kirby Super Star, every time Kirby defeats a boss, a part of the Halberd explodes. These are sort of understandable, most of the bosses are machines that are parts of the Halberd itself. Except for one. When you defeat Mr. Frosty on one of the wings, the area explodes for seemingly no reason. And Kirby just stands there in the explosion, totally unfazed.
    • In Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards killing Zero will cause the areas the two are fighting in to break apart and eventually dissipate. This is justified as the Hyper Zone (in 3) and Dark Star (in 64) are comprised of large masses of Dark Matter which was heavily implied to spawn from Zero's body. Without Zero to act as a core for it, the Dark Matter becomes unstable and dissipates. The Dream Land 3 example takes things a step further as the Hyper Zone's background animations become faster and more erratic as Zero takes more damage.
    • In Kirby Star Allies, Zan Partizanne ruptures 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 of a Collapsing Lair, there's no time limit.
  • The final boss of Kolibri is hiding out in an abandoned Maya ziggurat. Sure enough, when Kolibri destroys the boss, the ziggurat collapses.
  • In La-Mulana, defeating Mother causes the ruins of La-Mulana to collapse, which makes sense, since the ruins are the body of Mother, and the five-tier boss that you took down is her soul. Lemeza's escape happens in a cutscene in the original version, but in the remake you have to play it out on a timer. La-Mulana 2 deconstructs this trope, with Lemeza on the run from Interpol as a result of the temple's destruction. Sure, he saved humanity from being destroyed and replaced by Mother, but who's going to believe that? 2 also plays it perfectly straight, as defeating the similarly quadruple-staged 9th Child causes the ruins of Eg-Lana to collapse, but there's actually no time limit.
  • Legacy of Kain: Happens to the Sarafan when they sort-of-kill Janos Audron. Lampshaded with "The fiend intends to bury us alive!".
  • The final boss of The Legend of Dragoon is a spectacular example of both this and Defeat Equals Explosion The explosions of his defeat set off a chain reaction that destroys the entire moon. The load bearing portion of this trope can be justified however, since he had actually fused together with the core of the moon itself. The cause of his explosion however is not entirely clear, but it was most likely the vast amount of magical energies in his body going out of control upon his death.
  • Happens at the end of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter, to the floating city Liber Ark after defeating the final boss. Justified, since defeating the final boss results in the removal of the Aureole, the artifact that powered the city and kept it airborne in the first place.
  • Legend of Legaia is in love with this trope. Near the beginning, defeating the Golem boss causes the cave you are in to collapse. The cave was already unstable beforehand though; the battle just shook things up a bit too much. Later on, Zeto's Dungeon collapses after defeating the titular boss. This is a bit of a strange case as the dungeon is not actually shown to collapse, but if you return to it on the world map, you'll find it "crumbled" and cannot enter it. Subverted later on in Zora's Castle, when Songi shows up after you defeat Zora, and destroys the mist generator which keeps the castle afloat. The inevitable happens afterwards. Happens yet again with the Rogue boss; Rogue's Tower begins to break apart as soon as it dies. Yet another example is Cort in Jette's Fortress. After being defeated, the Mist Generator self destructs and the fortress begins to crumble shortly after. He actually explicitly states "The mist generator and I are one. If I die, the mist generator dies...". He actually gets to be a load bearing boss TWICE, when he re-appears as the final boss. When Cort fell and "died", he was actually consumed by Juggernaught, and proceeded to merge with him. Later, Juggernaught assimilates itself with Rim Elm, the starting village, turning into the final dungeon, and a Womb Level to boot. After travelling Juggernaught's guts, you face Cort one last time at the heart...which he is actually contained in. He destroys it when he bursts out to fight you. Guess what happens to Juggernaught's body after the battle?
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf destroys the castle "with his last breath", perhaps out of spite, triggering a timed escape from the fortress. This also provides the location for the final battle against Ganon, on the ruins of the former castle.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: Defeating Vaati during his second phase causes Hyrule Castle to start collapsing. Link, Zelda and Ezlo attempt to flee to the Elemental Sanctuary, but Vaati then ambushes there and enters his One-Winged Angel form, leading to the definitive part of the Final Boss battle.
  • Subverted in Live A Live. When you kill the Big Bad and the ominous mountain castle starts shaking, you better run before it collapses, right? Turns out, it's really Streibough faking the whole collapse to fake his death and ruin Oersted later.
  • In The Longing Ribbon, the mansion in which the game takes place begins to collapse once the final boss is killed, and you have just over a minute to escape.
  • The five remaining Soulless Gods of Lusternia. As a side-effect of devouring whole sections of the universe, they've become lynchpins for what remains of it. Consequently, they're sealed (and, often, re-sealed) to ensure they don't go around trying to finish the job.
  • Magi-Nation, though somewhat justified as the Big Bad's presence and power are what cause the place to exist in the first place.
  • Major Stryker: For no readily apparent reason, destroying the mothership (Which, at best, look to be the size of an aircraft carrier) at the end of each episode also destroys the planet the episode is set in. The Lava Planet has a significant fraction of the surface explode into a volcano, the Ice Planet cracks and shatters, while the Desert Planet simply explodes.
  • Defeating the final boss of a particular level of Mass Effect 2 causes the level (a derelict starship) to crash into a brown dwarf. This is justified in-game since finishing the boss fight requires the player destroy the primary component of the ship's propulsion system, which had been keeping the ship from falling into the brown dwarf in the first place.
    • Endgame spoilers: when you defeat the human-Reaper larva, it knocks the platforms you're standing on down as it falls. While Shepard survives the fall, their squadmates will only survive if they're loyal.
      • Subverted in the Collector Base itself, where Shepard destroys it by sabotaging the reactor, creating an explosion that either destroys the base completely, or just destroys all life-forms in the base.
  • Happens at the end of Super Meat Boy. Dr. Fetus pulls a Taking You with Me and activates the self-destruct system for his castle after plummeting to his doom, forcing the player to flee back to the start of the level in order to escape.
  • Not a typical video game "boss" per se, but in the final normal level of MediEvil 2, Daniel must invade a giant cathedral possessed and haunted by demons, save 12 angels and use them to kill the head demon of the cathedral... doing so causes Dan to get no more than a minute to escape the cathedral, which is now absolutely annihilating itself, smashing to bits, and causing an explosion big enough to level that part of London.
    • At the end of the first game, Zarok uses the last of his power to destroy his castle lair, along with his entire domain, in an attempt to take Daniel with him.
  • Mega Man
  • In Metal Gear, destroying the TX-55 (or the Super Computer in the NES version) triggers the base's self-destruct mechanism, and you have to fight Big Boss while the clock is ticking.
  • Played in various ways (mostly straight) in Metal Slug 3. In the last level, a particularly large Mook Walker can only be fired upon from underneath; defeating it means you then have to avoid being crushed as its legs give out and its upper portion falls to the ground. One of the minibosses, a humongous, bolt-firing brain, brings down the house with its defeat. The rest of the level is spent escaping from the mothership as it collapses (harmlessly) around you. Then you fight the brain again, liberated, as it tries to Mind Rape you and your tank. In Metal Slug 4, after you defeat Amadeus, you must escape his exploding base before you get engulfed in the explosion.
  • Metroid is sometimes kind enough to have an explanation for the timer, initially using it for final bosses but lately just as often with the Warmup Boss instead.
    • In Metroid Fusion, there are two subversions, both in that the boss has to be defeated before the timer runs out.
      • First, the engines overheat due to the X Parasites shutting down the BSL station's boiler's cooling unit. You have five minutes to journey from Sector 5 to deep into Sector 3 to shut them down, and defeat a Beam Core-X inside.
      • Second, at the end of the game, you alter the orbit of the B.S.L Station so that it crashes into SR388, while at the same time setting it to self-destruct, in an effort to kill all the X Parasites inhabiting both the station and the planet. As you escape, you fight an Omega Metroid, likely with about half your time gone.
    • The GBA remake of Metroid, Metroid: Zero Mission, contains two. One is the classic Mother Brain, and the other is Mecha-Ridley, who sets the version-exclusive Space Pirate Mothership to self-destruct after being defeated.
    • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, there's two final bosses, one that's load bearing and one that you fight during the escape. Although if you want to be technical, it's actually Samus's actions after the boss is already dead that set off the planetary collapse.
    • Metroid Prime:
      • After you kill the Parasite Queen, she falls into the Frigate Orpheon's reactor core, causing it to go critical and forcing Samus to evacuate the ship.
      • And when you kill the eponymous Metroid Prime, the Impact Crater crumbles in on itself, the effects reaching to the Artifact Temple. Unlike the earlier examples however, Samus escapes on her own and you don't see anything but the explosions above ground.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters includes an escape timer after every boss except the final. If you don't make it out on time, a wave of energy takes up the screen and you die. Unlike explosions revisited in other games, it does no damage to the surrounding area. It was just made to break your Power Suit, apparently.
    • Super Metroid slaps you with a timed explosion right at the start of the game, immediately after futilely facing the Warmup Boss Ridley, who killed the ship's crew and stole the baby Metroid. Then at the end of the game, something causes a catastrophic explosion that takes out the whole of planet Zebes after killing Mother Brain; it's not clear if it's Mother Brain herself or if Samus set a bomb.
    • Strangely enough, in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus herself gets a load bearing Hypermode when she lands on Phaaze. She has to not only find and kill Dark Samus, but also Aurora Unit 313 before time runs out and she becomes wholly corrupted. It turns out AU 313 was connected to the planet's core, which is why Phaaze goes boom after it's killed.
    • Metroid Dread: The post-Raven Beak escape sequence provides perhaps the most unapologetic use of the trope in series history. The fans have a few guesses about why the planet ZDR explodes after the final boss fight, but there's no ingame indication of what exactly caused the explosion.
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie Edition for SNES, defeating Ivan Ooze causes his base's self-destruct system to activate, and the player has 99.99 seconds to escape.
  • In M.U.S.H.A., after defeating the Final Boss, this message pops up: "You've destroyed their main base! Escape before it blows!" Escape is automatic, but not without showing some damage.
  • The last boss of Neverwinter Nights 2 is holed inside an ancient ruin, which his destruction inevitably causes to collapse. Unusually, the game doesn't leave the player a chance to escape, but just cuts to the credits.
    • The expansion lampshades this, providing the above quote.
    • Ironically Jerro himself is guilty of this. He mentions after you defeat him that if he dies his Haven will collapse and everyone within will die.
    • There's a bit of an inversion in the original Neverwinter Nights expansion pack Shadow of Undrentide. The final Big Bad is being protected by the same magical artifact that is holding the floating city of Undrentide in the air. The only way to kill her is to first destroy the artifact, which causes Undrentide to start falling. You fight and kill her on top of the city while it's in freefall.
  • The NES Ninja Gaiden games always finished with a shot of Ryu watching the Big Bad's fortress crumble into ruins while standing atop a distant hilltop. In the Xbox remake, defeating General Dynamo causes the airship to go down in flames Hindenburg-style.
  • In No One Lives Forever, one of the encounters towards the end of the game, while not much of a boss fight, has a strong element of this. The vanquished foe has previously ingested a liquid, timed explosive, forcing Cate Archer to conduct a swift evacuation of the area in which the battle takes place.
  • After defeating the titular villain, Nemesis, in Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis, his lair begins to self-destruct, catching on fire, and crumbling into rubble. A fitting and perhaps honorable coincidence is that while you are escaping his lair's self-destruction, "The Sunken Cathedral"by Claude DeBussy plays in the background (though it was played before confronting Nemesis), given that his lair is on an island.
  • OFF: Whenever the Batter kills one of the three Guardians ruling over each Zone, the respective Zone will turn empty, bleak, and lifeless save for the Demonic Spiders that will appear. And this is the "hero's" main goal.
  • Inverted at the end of Parasite Eve, where YOU blow up the final area in order to kill the last boss.
  • In PAYDAY 2, after killing the Dentist in the secret underground chamber of the White House, the chamber begins to collapse. The player have 2 minutes and 28 seconds to place the Mayan golds in the specified slots to unlock the true ending.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners: Defeating Pharoah Khufu causes the underground ruins to start caving in, forcing Ayuto and any other survivors to run for their lives. However, it turns out that the Pharoah passed control of the pyramid's powers to Kyosuke, who unwittingly triggered the place falling apart because he assumed that would happen.
  • In Persona 3, defeating Nyx and sealing her away causes Tartarus to get pulled up into her physical manifestation, the Moon, returning Gekkoukan High to its form of an ordinary school campus.
  • In Persona 4: Golden, this trope is invoked and lampshaded at the end of the new bonus dungeon.
    (Ominous shaking)
    Yosuke: Don't tell me! Is this like in the movies where once the bad guy's defeated, his evil fortress self-destructs!?
  • Justified in Persona 5; Palaces are created from the distorted worldview of the people the Phantom Thieves target. Defeat the target, steal their Treasure (source of corruption), and the whole place comes crashing down. Which is a bit of a problem for the protagonists.
    • The Big Bad Shido exploits this by stopping his heart temporarily, thus beginning the process early. It nearly works, but the Thieves manage to barely escape in time.
  • This happens in Phantasy Star IV fairly often: killing Zio destroys his fort, killing Lashiec destroys the Air Castle, and killing Dark Force Number 2 destroys the Garuberk Tower (though that last one may be justified, in that the Garuberk Tower is actually part of Dark Force's physical body.)
  • Masterfully subverted in Phantasy Star III, where it's actually you that causes the final dungeon to blow up after beating the boss.
  • In P.N.03, destroying Orchidee II triggers a Self-Destruct Mechanism with a 5-minute timer. And yes, you have to fight respawned enemies while escaping.
  • In Portal, defeating the Final Boss causes the mainframe room to tear itself apart, catapulting you to the surface. This was given a The End... Or Is It? twist in a later update to set up the sequel. In Portal 2, the Final Boss is an inversion. You have to defeat him to stop him from blowing up the facility due to negligence, partly because he's too busy trying to kill you to bother fixing the reactor.
  • All four of The Corrupted in Prince of Persia (2008) explode spectacularly when killed. Whether or not this causes the subsequent Collapsing Lair escape scene is unclear.
  • The Punisher (Capcom) ends with the King building collapsing in a cutscene after the Kingpin is defeated.
  • Demonic and Flameye in Purple, once killed, destroy their fortresses, forcing the player to reach the question mark orb in time.
  • In Quake II, after the Makron is defeated, the space station where it is staged blows up as soon as Bitterman escapes in one of the escape pods.
  • Ratchet & Clank
    • When you defeat Lord Vorselon for the 3rd time in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time his ship automatically activates "Sore loser protocol" and explodes after three minutes.
    • It's also worth noting that this is a rare example of a load-bearing Optional Boss.
    • Potentially subverted in the first game, where after defeating Drek, his Deplanetizer is flipped upside down, allowing the heroes to destroy his planet. Doing so causes a rain of flaming rocks, however, requiring Ratchet & Clank to get out of there.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Nefarious' own weapon trigger its self-destruct after defeat.
  • Every single Resident Evil game fits this trope. Whether the deadline starts before the boss fight or afterward, you can be sure the mansion/base/castle/ship/island will explode in the following cutscene.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and both Resident Evil: Outbreak games take this trope to the logical extreme. The city is NUKED after the final boss fight.
    • Resident Evil 4:
      • During your final battle with Krauser, he activates his time bombs, which only gives you three minutes to beat him and escape.
      • The final battle ends in you escaping on a jet ski while the entire island explodes as a result of Ada Wong activating the self-destruct mechanism. Lampshaded when Leon matter-of-factly tells his charge that they have to get off the island before it explodes (he's been there before), and she answers "It's going to what?"
  • In Resistance 3, the final challenge of the game is literally destroying the power rods and, in turn, the supports to the Chimeran Tower in New York, so... you kind of get what you expect there.
  • In Ristar, the bad guy's fortress starts to explode as soon as the final blow is struck. However, the Big Bad seems to escape.
  • Rogue Galaxy has the Demon Battleship, which falls into a volcano and explodes after being defeated, resulting in a chain reaction that turns the whole region into a sea of lava within minutes. The party just barely escapes in time.
  • Once Bork (he's a Big Ork) is defeated in RuneScape rocks will start falling from the roof of his cave, squishing the player dead if they don't collect their loot and teleport out fast.
  • Shovel Knight appears to play this straight, as the Tower of Fate collapses after the Enchantress is defeated. The Plague of Shadows DLC subverts this, however: Plague Knight found a more interesting and explosive use for his ultimate potion.
  • The Nowhere dimension in Silent Hill collapses after you defeat the Incubus.
  • After Dr. M is defeated for the final time in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, the Cooper Vault starts collapsing, with him apparently getting crushed to death by collapsing ceiling and his fortress also exploding.
  • Defeating Dr. Robotnik at the end of most of the Sonic the Hedgehog Sega Genesis games.
    • Subverted in Sonic 3's Marble Garden Zone where the ground is destroyed by the boss BEFORE you fight him.
    • In Sonic & Knuckles, Flying Battery Zone has 3 bosses (most other zones have only 2), the second of which is more like an interactive cutscene than a boss. After said boss, the battleship starts to collapse and you have to get out. Justified in that it had fired lasers at a major support.
    • In Sonic Triple Trouble, once the player character destroys the caterpillar boss in Meta Junglira Zone Act 3, they must then dodge the robot's falling body parts for the rest of the fight.
  • In Space Quest II, Vohaul's asteroid base goes into a decaying orbit after his death. In III, destroying the Stealth Field Generator on Ortega sets off a series of catastrophic volcanic eruptions that will kill Roger if he fails to escape in time.
  • Gameplay-wise, Doc-Ock and Carnage from Spider-Man (2000) count as this. However, the underwater facility's destruction is not due to their defeat, but rather a pressure build-up which resulted from you sabotaging the facility's fog-producing surface vents. It had just hit critical point upon their defeat. Cue final escape level filled with explosions and a nigh-unstoppable Ock-Carnage fusion on your tail.
  • As Andross is defeated in the Star Fox series, the area in which the fight takes place explodes, forcing the player to escape. In Star Fox 64, this comes complete with Andross yelling, "If I'm going down I'm Taking You with Me!" At this point, James McCloud shows up and you have to follow him through a maze to get out again — make a wrong turn and you'll get caught in the explosion.
  • Stargate for the Genesis/Mega Drive and SNES has Ra's pyramid explode after his defeat because O'Neil activated the nuclear bomb the team brought with them to explode and teleported out just before detonation.
  • The final mission of Star Wars Starfighter has you chasing the final boss through the interior of a Droid Control Ship. When you finally take him down, the DCS starts to blow up for no explained reason. Though it was probably due to accumulated damage to the ship over the course of the mission, the way it occurs fits with this trope.
  • Suikoden:
    • Subverted weirdly in Suikoden II: After defeating the final boss, the Beast Rune Incarnation, L'Renouille begins to rumble violently. Your hero is semi-literally dragged out of the throne room by one of his generals to keep from rushing into search for his "childhood friend" Jowy. Even Shiro, the feral wolfdog, will help convince the hero that he must flee. Once the non-Timed Mission cutscene ends of everyone escaping... nothing happens to the castle and it still stands. However, the rumbling could conceivably have just been from the Beast Rune's unearthly death roar.
    • The final boss of Suikoden, Golden Hydra, which was Emperor Barbarosa transformed with the power of the Dragon King Sword. After the post-final-battle cutscene, Emperor Barbarosa leaps from the top of the castle and after a blinding flash of light and the sound of an explosion, the castle begins to collapse and the player must escape. Why the castle collapses is not clear; Perhaps the explosion was what destabilized it (even though the explosion was on the outside of the castle, not inside), or perhaps the final boss's life was tied to the castle itself, much like Dracula and his castle in the Castlevania series.
    • Happens yet again in Suikoden IV, to Fort El-Eal. When the final boss is defeated, its body begins to erupt in a series of explosions that start to bring the fort down. As the party escapes by boat, the entire fortress blows up in a tremendous explosion that would have wiped them out, were it not for The Hero's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Summon Night 2 plays with the trope: A 'professional treasure-hunter' muses that he's encountered many a load-bearing boss in his time, but there turns out to be no such thing.
  • Happens quite a lot in the Super Mario Bros. series (Bowser's Galaxy Reactor being a notable example).
    • From a gameplay perspective, it also happens toward the end of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, after Cackletta's ghost is defeated. Storywise, another character had rigged Bowser's Castle with a Time Bomb. When you successfully flee on the back of a pterodactyl-like ally, the castle explodes in the sky.
    • Super Mario Galaxy has probably one of the most absurdly dramatic examples: Defeating Bowser defeats the current universe.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii actually inverts this in the end, as a magically-enlarged (and quite angry) Bowser chases after Mario, ultimately resulting in him literally destroying the load-bearing pillars of his castle, causing it to collapse on him. Embarrassing!
    • After defeating Belome for the first time in Super Mario RPG, it is revealed that he was standing on a dead man's switch keeping a nearby floodgate closed. Mario tries to hold the switch down himself, but he isn't heavy enough to do it. A tidal wave soon floods the level and sweeps Mario off to the next area.
    • After the Final Boss in the first Paper Mario, the castle begins to explode because the battle was so intense. Bowser's castle explodes right then and there in the sky while Peach's Castle with Mario and others are saved by the Star Spirits.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has a load bearing ally. You fight the boss in his fortress and nothing happens, but once you see the Almost Dead Guy (actually a computer) kick the bucket, the place starts falling apart around you.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, defeating the final boss causes the final dungeon to collapse around him. Probably justified; Neo Bowser Castle was created from a wish that Bowser made upon the Dream Stone. Therefore, the castle is most likely tied to the power of the stone itself, and it's destruction upon Dreamy Bowser's defeat caused the castle to perish along with it.
  • In Syphon Filter 2, if you kill Morgan before all the bombs in the Expo Center are disarmed, the building blows up via Dead Man's Switch.
  • In Tales of Destiny, Kronos attempts to take the entire world with him after being defeated in the final battle, by collapsing the Aethersphere (a large layer of rock that had formed around the planet's atmosphere) and thus destroying everything on the surface. This catastrophic event was stopped, thanks to the sacrifice of Dymlos and the other living blades, who plunged themselves into the Eye of Atamoni, the Aethersphere's core. The party escapes as the Eye of Atamoni is destroyed, and the Aethersphere is blown to smithereens, apparently with no further damage to the planet.
  • In Tales of Phantasia, huge amounts of energy unleashed during the battle with Dhaos in the Present causes the mausoleum where he was sealed to collapse.
  • In Tales of Symphonia defeating the boss Winged Dragon causes its flying nest to fall apart and drop into the ocean. The Mad Scientist responsible for sending you there knew about this, and used it as a trap that uses Colette's Life Energy to create an Ominous Light that threatened to keep everyone on the Collapsing Lair.
    • On a lesser note, the first two times you take down a Desian Grand Cardinal, Raine activates their Lair's self-destruct system, destroying them.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games from the '80s and '90s, the Technodrome, Krang's Spaship, whatever the final base is, it's guaranteed to explode upon knocking the Shredder unconscious. There is absolutely no ingame explanation for this — though a Kill Switch of some sort is the most "logical".
  • Tekken 6: In Scenario Campaign, after defeating Azazel, you have to fight your way through mooks as the temple collapses.
  • Tenchu: Defeating the dark lord at the end of the game causes his evil lair to begin collapsing. This supposedly kills Rikimaru, until we learn in a later game that he escaped through a time portal into a futuristic world of technology. No, really.
  • The last dungeon in Threads of Fate collapses after you defeat the final boss.
  • Averted in Tomb Raider and Anniversary, where it's actually destroying the scion (load-bearing artifact?) that makes Atlantis collapse, and the fight with Natla is done while it is collapsing (Anniversary seems to be far less explicit about this for some reason). Played straight in Tomb Raider II, where killing the Big Bad and getting the Dagger somehow makes a big portion of the Great Wall explode in the ending. Played straight again in The Last Revelation, as the great pyramid suddenly starts falling apart after Horus/Set is sealed, although in this case it's an important part of the ending.
  • TRON 2.0 inverts the trope. Jet's first encounter with a Seeker (a powerful attack program) is in an archaic mainframe computer. The Seeker can't run on the old machine and periodically stalls out. Jet needs to defeat it to keep the old mainframe from collapsing.
  • Killorn Keep in Ultima Underworld II can be crashed by killing the two brain creatures in a hidden room underneath. The world isn't actually destroyed until you leave it and re-enter. All the keep's residents die, which renders the game Unwinnable if you do it too soon.
  • Romeo Guilderstern in Vagrant Story. Since he had stolen the key to Lèa Monde's power, and subsequently became its focus, his defeat ripped the Dark loose from the city's foundation. When Ashley inherited the Bloody Sin, he became the bearer of the Dark, and the ravage of time and decay that had been kept at bay for centuries suddenly swept into the ancient city.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, after defeating Bach, you have few moments to talk with the guy he and his vampire hunters kidnapped. After that it turns out Bach is Not Quite Dead and he mined the place...
  • Vandal Hearts 2; possibly justified in that the final boss had done extensive damage to the building in transforming to his One-Winged Angel form.
  • The Dual Final Bosses of Vanquish are armed with tactical nukes that activate after Sam defeats them, destroying the space colony.
  • Wario Land
    • Syrup Castle in 1 and 2 explodes after Captain Syrup is defeated, the first time being explained by a gigantic bomb being placed in the throne room, the second actually sending the boss flying into the horizon.
    • Defeating the Golden Diva in Wario Land 4 causes the golden pyramid to sink into the ground as Wario escapes with the treasure.
    • There's also Rollanratl in The Shake Dimension, who's a literal example. He's actually holding up the boss arena ceiling, and once defeated the roof pretty much falls and crushes him.
  • In Wild ARMs and its remake, Alter Code F, the Ghost Ship sinks after defeating Captain Geist. In the original, nothing happens right away, and it only sinks once you leave the dungeon. However, in the remake, the dungeon begins to collapse as soon as you defeat Geist, and you're given an overly-generous 15 minutes to abandon ship.
    • In Wild ARMs 2, the Heimdal Gazzo seemingly begins to fall after you defeat Vinsfeld. However, it is later revealed that the ship is in fact not falling, but being raised into space by its engineers, where it will be torn to pieces by the vacuum of space.
    • Wild ARMs 3 has a few.
      • After defeating Maya and her crew for the third time, she hands over the second of two highly powerful energy crystals which were being mined from the excavation site. However, she fails to mention in time that the two are made of opposing properties and cannot come into contact with eachother, or else it will result in a massive explosion... the destabilizing crystals are thrown down as everyone flees the site.
      • A somewhat bizarre example, after defeating Melody in The Unclean Mark, the place starts shaking for no apparent reason as she flees deeper inside the ruin. This continues for the entire rest of the dungeon, and some chunks of ceiling fall before fighting the next boss. After the post battle dialogue, the screen fades with everything still shaking and you are automatically taken out of it. Strangely, not a single character makes note of this at any point in time, and the ruin itself is largely undamaged and can be returned to.
      • Beatrice plays it straight after her first defeat. She decides to blow up the Nightmare Castle, with you inside it, to generate enough energy for the creation of her new world.
    • In Wild ARMs 4, the final dungeon collapses after the final boss is defeated. Justified, as the final boss itself had actually grown massive root-like structures throughout the entire dungeon, and one of the characters mentions that now that it is dying off, "the structural integrity of this place is about to drop dramatically!". Prior to this, the dungeon was shown to be increasingly unstable anyway. Though it is never specified, it is likely the roots damaged key support structures over time, and that they had essentially become "replacement structures" once they began to die off, there was nothing stopping the whole place from coming down.
  • After killing the dragon in the prologue to Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, the screen starts flashing and shaking and blocks fall from the ceiling, providing a convenient way upwards.
  • Wonder-Jergingha in The Wonderful 101. Once he's destroyed, the massive fortress begins to break apart... Once you escape, however, Wonder-Red realizes that what they escaped wasn't the GEATH-Waksay breaking apart, nor was Jergingha destroyed; upon his defeat, he decided to transform into his final form, and they were just escaping before he changed form with the Wonderful Ones still inside.
  • World of Warcraft has a bit of an opposite of this in Kologarn, 5th boss in the Ulduar raid instance. When you defeat him (being a giant with only his upper body in sight), he becomes the bridge to the next area.
    • Wording from a Titan computer in Northrend implies that the Old Gods are this for the entire planet. The reason the Titans sealed them away instead of killing them was because they were tied too much to Azeroth. Ultimately averted upon N'Zoth's defeat, as he was the last Old God that was alive, and Azeroth continues to exist even after his death.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: The last level takes place on a giant enemy ship that is somehow controlled by the Uber Etherial (the final boss). When the player kills it a cutscene triggers and the ship begins to collapse into a black hole. All but one soldier run away and escape the ship before the one soldier (the Volunteer) stays behind and takes the ship into space to blow it up before it collapses.
  • Inverted in Xena: Warrior Princess with the final boss fight, where you must lure the boss into destroying several support pillars to collapse the battle arena on top of it... and you too, if you don't run to safety fast enough.
  • Subverted weirdly with the final boss of Xenosaga: Episode I. The last boss is the reactor core of the colossal space station Proto Merkabah, which has been merged together with a massive monster. When you defeat it, naturally you'd think the whole place would start falling apart right? Wrong, the station actually sets itself on a collision course with Second Miltia, likely a back-up plan put in place by Albedo incase you did manage to destroy the reactor and shut down the station's weapon systems. It doesn't start falling apart until KOS-MOS activates a sort of self-destruct mechanism that causes the entire station to split into hundreds of parts (kinda like a giant lego) which burn up in the atmosphere.
  • In X-Men 2: Clone Wars for the Genesis, defeating Master Mold in the Sentinel Factory level causes the whole place to blow up. Justified, given that you're explicitly there to destroy the factory and defeating Master Mold overloads the reactor. In an interesting Chekhov's Gun moment, you might notice an emergency exit shortly before fighting the boss. This is the only way you can actually leave the place before goes sky-high.
  • In Ys
  • After you defeat Bandit Keith in Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, the stage you were fighting on crumbles apart.


    Web Original 
  • Dreamscape: Right after the Overlord of Evil is sealed away in the flashback in "Over and Under", a pillar of light shoots up from the seal and destroys his base.
  • Invoked in the famous Evil Overlord List, where it is pointed out that, even though the Evil Overlord should intend to live forever, buildings should always be reinforced, just in case.
  • Homestar Runner
    • Referenced in Strong Bad Email #173, "the paper". Strong Bad is seen on a sinking island, and says to himself "How is this island sinking? I didn't even kill any end bosses!"
    • Parodied in Thy Dungeonman where, if you try enough times, you can actually "get ye flask", only to be told that it was a load-bearing flask and picking it up caused the dungeon to collapse on you.
    • This is referenced again in the final episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. After finally defeating Ultimate Trogdor, the dungeon begins to collapse. Homestar comments that he "must've been a load-bearing dragon."
  • In the Forum Community/MMORPG Gaia Online, one NPC builds an enormous tower that inexplicably collapses after he is shot from miles away by a Black Cloak Sniper. Like most of the Gaia Online storyline, this didn't make much sense, but looked really cool.
  • Played with in the Whateley Universe. It's well known that Karedonia (a small island in the Caribbean enlarged by deliberate volcanic eruption) has a very unstable volcano under it, and the only thing that keeps it from blowing up is the beating heart of King Wilkins (also known as the supervillain Gizmatic).

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Eusocial animals such as ants, bees, termites, etc. require a queen for their colony to function, especially in cases where the queen is the only fertile member of the colony. In analogy, the colony is like one giant organism with all of its members being like its cells and the queens of the hive can be seen as either its heart or brain. As soon as the queen dies, the colony will follow soon after in most cases as no queens means no new workers.


Video Example(s):


Scion of Ethiron

After the Scion of Ethiron is defeated, players have 2 minutes to escape through the Light Hook Klaris placed, otherwise they will wipe to space-time distortion.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoadBearingBoss

Media sources: