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Protection Mission

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A cross between Escort Mission and Hold the Line where you're staying in one place and protect a stationary object or NPC while enemies pour in and attack your charge. Usually, you either have to protect them for a specific period of time, or just kill all the enemies.

It doesn't have to be one object. Sometimes it's an array of objects, and if a certain number are destroyed, you fail. These missions often have an explicit No-Harm Requirement that outlines just how much damage (if any...) the target is allowed to take before mission is deemed a failure. Players will often get a Gameplay Grading depending on how well the target was protected.

Tend to be easier than classic Escort Missions, since you do not have to worry about the idiot escortees blundering into danger. And apparently trying to make you think The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard or A.I. Is a Crapshoot.

See also Tower Defense games, where you're generally tasked to protect a stationary object.


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  • Ace Combat:
    • It's a series tradition to be assigned a mission to shoot down a flight of enemy bombers about to destroy the last allied base, usually in the first mission.
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies: In the mission "Shattered Skies", Mobius One is tasked with defending Riass Space Center while the crew on the ground attempt to launch a spy satellite. You're only up against fighters trying to secure air superiority, until bombers attempt to attack the base halfway through the mission.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War:
      • White Bird (Part I) is similar to the above-mentioned Shattered skies, protecting a launch facility from enemy attack. Though instead of fighters and bombers, the enemy this time is air-dropped tanks and cruise missiles.
      • Chain Reaction tasks the player with protecting a civilian airport from a few squadrons of fighter-bombers... only to discover they were a distraction while Yuktobanian tanks begin attacking the airport by coming out of transport planes on the runway disguised as airliners.
      • Journey Home starts out a simple ceremonial flight with no combat expected... until Yuktobanian planes begin attacking you and the crowded sports stadium the Vice President is speaking at. Fortunately, your planes were armed just in case.
  • Age of Empires II has a few in campaigns. In the El Cid one, one of your goals is actually to defend the body of El Cid because it was propped up on a horse to convince people he was still alive. And yes, a dead body has hit points. Don't ask how. In almost any other scenario though, you're more likely to protect weaker cities or buildings.
  • Baldur's Gate II: one of the class quests for the paladin stronghold involves guarding a civilian from assassination attempts, until her father comes to relieve you from the duty. Thing is, her alleged father comes in abruptly in the mid of the night, without any signs of identification except his claim about what he is, therefore he could be as well a spy in disguise. The player has 50% chances of him being the true father or not, and must decide whether or not delivering the civilian or fighting him. If he's the true father and you kill him, or if he's a spy and you let him take the girl you're guarding, the mission fails. You can use the spell "detect evil", which paladins get in abundance as a special ability, to check if he's evil (spy) or not (real father).
  • Banjo-Tooie had a mission involving protecting a pig from incoming sharks.
  • Battle City series. Player has to protect the bird located in the bottom middle of the field from enemy tanks while staying alive as well.
  • In Battlestar Galactica Online, you can call in mining ships to handle resource-bearing planetoids. The payoff from these is greater than spending an equal amount of time doing normal Asteroid Mining. However, the game spawns mooks to go after the mining ships, as well as creating an indicator on the sector map that may attract enemy players. Of course, you can invert this by going out and hunting enemy mining ships.
  • Bioshock 2 has ADAM gathers, where the player must keep a crowd of splicers away from a Little Sister while she gathers ADAM from a corpse. While the splicers won't kill the sister if they get close, they will interrupt the gathering process.
  • A number of missions in Borderlands 2 are of this type. The last phase of one of Tiny Tina's missions requires protecting a generator from a stream of bandits; a mission in Opportunity requires protecting a hacked drone while it destroys Handsome Jack's statues; one of the Slab King's missions requires protecting generators hoisting Slab flags in hostile territory; a story mission requires protecting a beacon from waves of loaders.
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts has one in the "Clockwork" mission where you need to defend Hesh as he hacks the data center of the Federation base. You get a turret, several mines, claymores and tear gas, along with your teammates to help as the enemies try to flank you.
  • Centipede (1998): One of the most common sub-objectives in a level is to protect buildings in the area from the invading bugs.
  • The first stage of Chaos Heat have an area where you need to cover one of your redshirts for 30 seconds as he tries hacking his way through an electronically-locked door, just as a horde of Giant Spiders pops out of surrounding vents and attacks you from all sides. If the redshirt dies, you'll need to restart the area.
  • The Command & Conquer: Red Alert franchise have more than one level where the player is tasked with defending instead of attacking. Notably, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has the mission in the Ural Mountains where they must defend a Soviet laboratory from a seemingly-endless horde of Allied invaders teleporting into the area thanks to the Allies recently developing the Chronosphere. The mission ends after fending off around fifteen waves of Allied units and destroying all invading forces.
  • The mausoleum levels in Cuphead are this. None of the Mooks can directly hurt you, but if they reach the urn in the center of the screen where the Legendary Chalice is imprisoned, it's an instant Game Over.
  • Several times in Conduit 2, protagonist Michael Ford must protect the Free Drudge during the campaign.
  • Demon Hunter: The Return of the Wings: An early mission in Infenro requires Gun to defend Dayl from waves of level 1 Varians until he finishes analyzing the firewall.
  • Upon your second visit to China in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jensen and Malik are shot down by Belltower mercenaries and while Jensen managed to jump out, Malik stayed behind and they continue to shoot at her downed VTOL. If you can kill them and their robot quickly enough you earn the "Good Soul" achievement and save Malik's life, but if you abandon her or take too long the VTOL explodes, killing her.
  • Devil May Cry 4:
    • Secret Mission 6 requires you to kill all Chimera Seeds without letting any of them take over the lone Scarecrow.
    • In the playable credits, Nero has to protect Kyrie from a horde of Scarecrows within a given time in order to unlock the bonus ending cutscene.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: When you escape The Alcatraz at the end of Act I, Dallis's forces intercept your ship, forcing you to keep your Aloof Ally Malady alive while she casts a spell for an Extradimensional Emergency Exit. You can win the fight outright and force Dallis to retreat, but you only get a Combat Compliment out of it before the scene proceeds as usual.
  • Fable II has quite a few of these, one where you have to protect Garth whilst he activates a gate.
  • The Fairy Bloom series: Across both games, the player will be doing this:
    • Fairy Bloom: Defending a plant in the center of the area from attackers.
    • Fairy Bloom Freesia: Vortexes of forest life energy must be defended in some levels. The first being in level 5.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has you fend off a Legion raid at Bitter Springs during Boone's companion quest, "I Forgot to Remember to Forget".
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI has a few parts like this. Once near the start of the game where you have to protect an unconscious Terra from Imperial troops, and again with a similar mechanic later on when you protect a frozen Esper from more Imperial troops.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, events called "FATEs" spawn at random times, and one type involves a selection of objects appearing out of nowhere that must be defended from hordes of attackers. While not too bad for tank characters, who can peel the monsters off the targets with their standard tanking abilities, there's a reason these specific FATEs are ignored even by players specifically grinding the other types of FATE. As with the obnoxious Escort Mission FATEs, there is a much less annoying leve version; protection leves are located in areas with no other monsters and generate only 1-2 enemies at a time, making them among the easiest available.
  • Final Legacy has the last remaining warship (or submarine, as the game is ambiguous on that point) defending a set of cities from missiles, while actively seeking out the missile launchers.
  • Numerous examples from Fire Emblem. Most frequently, it's an incapacitated "Ally" NPC, or some other figure such as Royals who aren't as talented as yours at fighting. While many missions are "Seize the throne", there are a few where it's inverted which would also fit this trope. Some of them are also Luck Based Missions, since if you are unlucky, the character you are supposed to protect can get killed before you even have a chance to reach them — most infamously, "Battle Before Dawn" in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.
  • Protecting the American and Mexican presidents in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.
  • God of War:
    • The penultimate battle in God of War, where Kratos (you) has to protect the memory of his wife and child against hordes of evil versions of himself. It Makes Sense in Context, really!
    • In God of War II, you have to protect a translator from a bunch of enemies so you can have him read some writing. Naturally, Kratos kills him immediately after.
    • Averted in God of War III, twice. First there's the Possidon princess. You don't have to protect her; she just sits there while you fight enemies. Of course Kratos kills her soon after that. The next comes late in the game with Pandora. You think you have to protect her from enemies but she does a good job of evading them while kill them. Meaning she never gets hurt by enemies, ever. However there are times where she falls into death traps you have to get her out of before she's killed though.
  • Occurs in GoldenEye (Wii) when you must protect Natalya from enemy gunfire while she tries to stop the Goldeneye satellite.
  • Half-Life:
    • Near the end of Half-Life, Gordon has to protect a scientist from the invading Xen forces as he preps a teleporter to transport him into Xen.
    • During the Uprising segment of Half-Life 2, Alyx is occupied with deactivating Combine generators in order to weaken their influence in City 17. Gordon is tasked with protecting her from Overwatch soldiers as she works on one such generator.
    • In the climax of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Gordon joins the effort to protect White Forest from being attacked by Striders. If even one of them gets a good shot at the satellite rocket scheduled for launch at the base, it's game over.
  • inFAMOUS has a particularly harrowing mission involving protecting a medical crate. If you've started down the Evil path, the waves of baddies can be subdued with a little mass damage... but if you have Good Cole's abilities... well, be ready to restart the mission a couple times until you manage to take out the gunner trucks and rocket launchers before they make your crate go kablooey.
  • The "Invasion Mode" in Island Wars is this. You need to protect your palm trees on the island from getting destroyed by enemy attack, and the game is over if your trees are all destroyed or when you beat the final boss after 50 waves.
  • At the climax of Jade Empire, Silk Fox and Dawn Star (you control one) are defending a bridge while Kang the Mad sets up explosives.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Mass Effect games have several:
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • Archangel's recruitment mission involves protecting him from three mercenary groups he has managed to piss off big time. He's not immobile and he fights back against attackers, but without your help, he's toast.
      • There's a short sidequest where you find a badly injured sole survivor of a quarian ship crash and protect her from attacking varren until your shuttle shows up to pull you out of there. If she dies, you lose.
      • There's also the sidequest you get fairly early on, which involves landing on a planet to retrieve twenty boxes of valuable cargo. Trouble is, once you arrive, a bunch of YMIR Mechs move in and start destroying said cargo. The relative success of the mission is determined by how many boxes you manage to keep from being destroyed.
      • Variation in the Overlord DLC: the final boss consists of shooting little holographic spheres sliding toward the VI core. If you don't kill them fast enough, then the rogue VI will upload itself to the Normandy, resulting in a Non Standard Game Over. Basically this has you protecting your own ship from a hacking attempt.
      • At one point in DLC mission "Arrival", you have to keep batarians from killing Amanda as she hacks into a console.
    • In Mass Effect 3, during the Tuchanka: Bomb mission, the final battle involves you preventing Cerberus forces from attacking Victus as he disarms the bomb.
  • The second of the mid-game missions in Mega Man Zero 2 contains a segment toward the end where Zero must protect Ciel as she disarms a bomb, which takes 90 seconds. The enemies coming after you two are quite weak, but there are a lot of them.
  • Metal Warriors: The fourth mission revolves around Stone protecting his fleet's spaceship from the incoming enemies that aim to destroy it. The background Shows Damage, so defeating each enemy ASAP is important (and when none remains, the mission is cleared).
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has a mission on Elysia during which you have to kill all the Space Pirates and their ships before they destroy the Spire Pod, which is carrying the bomb that you need to destroy the shield protecting the Leviathan Seed. You're standing on the Spire while it's being attacked, so the life of Samus is at risk too.
  • The classic arcade game Missile Command. "Defend Your Cities!" A few other games for the Atari 2600, Imagic's Atlantis and U.S. Games' M.A.D., are also based around the same premise.
  • In both of the Modern Warfare games, there is a mission where the player has to defend a stationary objective. In the first one, the player's Marine squad has to protect a M1 Abrams tank that has been disabled. If the enemy get close enough, they'll use satchel charges to blow it up. In the second game, the player's squad has to defend a portable hard drive as it downloads the contents of a terrorist leader's computers while dozens of mercenaries rappel in by helicopter to try and destroy it.
  • A boss fight in Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream is based around freeing Treant, a Wise Tree character, from a parasitic monster that is causing it to grow bombs instead of fruit. Treant serves up bombs for the heroine to knock into the boss, but the bombs can hurt Treant as well.
  • Pops up a few times in the tactical strategy Odium. Four times you have to kill the enemies before they kill a stationary NPC (who, of course, just stands there while enemies attack him). Once you have to protect some security monitors (why do the mindless monsters have an apparent temporary grudge against them is unexplained.)
  • Onmyoji: Kingyo-hime's skin dungeon where she takes over as your onmyōji. Letting her fall in battle makes you lose instantly whether your other shikigami have fallen or not, effectively turning the battles into protecting her.
  • Point Blank (1994):
    • The series in general has the "Protect Dr. Dan and Dr. Don from the _____" stages, where you must shoot enemies to prevent them from knocking out the mascot you're protecting until the timer reaches 0.
    • Point Blank 2 has "Defend Earth from UFOs", where you must hold off an Alien Invasion by shooting the UFOs; the larger ones split into four smaller UFOs when shot. If a single UFO goes below the screen, it's stage failed for both players.
  • Chapter 26 of Project X Zone 2 has you defending the Dragonturtle from enemy attacks on four sides. You have to deal with Pyron and Lord Raptor, Skeith and Azure Kite, and Nelo Angelo and waves of enemies surrounding them. If any of the enemies or bosses touches the Dragonturtle, it's an instant Game Over.
    • At one point, you protect a room blocked by a reinforced glass barrier while an ally works there, and later a deployed toxin pump designed to flush out underground infected.
    • Interesting variant would be the collection of biomatter outside of a hive that the military shows up to destroy. As long as you collect quickly enough, you may not even have to touch the military due the pair of hunters defending the hive against both them and you.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] has one where you will need to defend a downed helicopter with a plot-important person inside. In this case, considering you intend to consume him anyway, it makes little sense that you can't just pluck him out and get it over with instead of defending him first.
  • Almost every level in Raw Data involves you protecting one or more data cores from waves of robots. If the player character dies, they respawn and lose points. Only the loss of a core results in a game-over.
  • Resident Evil 5:
    • There's one of the BSAA members, Josh, inputing a code in order to turn on the power for the elevator for him, Chris and Sheva to escape on. You also have to do it again. He even remarks how much of a pain it is for you.
    • The second half of the Water Room in Resident Evil 4, where you must protect Ashley from respawning Zealots with sniper cover while she hits a pair of switches to raise a bridge.
  • A (rather frustratingly difficult, at least compared to the rest of the game) battle towards the end of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love has the party of PCs protecting various vital parts of an airship they're on.
  • Sierra Ops: If the player investigates the Distress Signal coming from Rhines, you will have to defend the UTV's dry-docked flagship Beerkelium from a squadron of enemy ships.
  • In Solatorobo, during Red's Journey to the Center of the Mind, the software begins by creating a warmup for him from his memories. He winds up defending Elh from a bunch of bugs, seeing as that's what he considered the most laughably easy thing to come up with. A later simulation reuses the "don't let the bugs near Elh" objective, but that one was a Rescue Romance situation specifically set up by Merveille.
  • Protecting Hawk while he disarms a nuclear bomb in Soldier of Fortune.
  • A recurring challenge in Spiderman Shattered Dimensions is keeping NPCs alive while they open the next stage for you (after which, presumably, they escape). In the 2099 world, this is often a Two-Keyed Lock, so you need to defend both NPCs simultaneously.
  • Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion has two. There's Mission D08/J03 (Girl Power Station), where the player must protect an orb in the center of the stage from waves of Octolings for 90 seconds using their choice of bomb type and weapon, and Phase 6 of the escape sequence, where you must guide an energy core through a room filled with all sorts of enemies. The latter, while a bit annoying, has a few checkpoints to make that task a bit easier. The former is widely considered That One Level however, due to how much damage the AI opponents can do if you fail to take out each wave in time.
  • Starcraft:
    • In the original, a few of the Zerg missions require you to protect a mysterious Chrysalis. Eventually it hatches, revealing infested Kerrigan, who the Zerg had stolen in the penultimate mission of the Terran campaign. Only some of the missions technically count, as in the first few, it's small enough to be carried around by a Drone.
    • In the sequel, you have to protect a laser drill while the Protoss send waves of troops against you. Fortunately, you get Siege Tanks in this mission, and you can aim the drill manually, making short work of any enemy unit that's not in the Fog of War.
    • Ariel Hanson's missions involve you protecting a fleet of refugees from a variety of threats as they seek out a new home world. These threats range from infested zombie-like Terrans to full-on Zerg assaults to a purification squad helmed by Executor Selendis.
    • The final mission has you protect the Xel'naga artifact as it prepares to expunge the Zerg influence from Char and de-infest Kerrigan. Naturally, she wants to wipe it out, and she will throw the kitchen sink at you to make certain you don't get to fire it off.
  • The entire point of Sector Z in Star Fox 64 is that the Great Fox just stops in the middle of nowhere while the enemy fires 6 large missiles in 1-2-3 sequences at it. Thankfully, you have plenty of time to destroy each missile, and they always come from the same direction. This mission is also paid homage to in Level 8 of Star Fox Assault, when you have to protect the Orbital Gate from a lot more missiles coming from all different directions.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds has Monument victories, which involve building a huge and expensive structure and then guarding it for a while. The second mission in the final Wookiee campaign involves rebuilding the Government Tree, which uses the Wookiee Monument building, and then defending it from waves of Imperial troops, not helped by the Empire being a Tech Level higher than you. Expect to lose a lot of Anti-Air Troopers.
  • Several levels in Star Wars: Republic Commando become an impromptu protection mission when progressing forward requires you or your squadmate to hack a console in a room constantly attacked by hostiles, as your squad member cannot fight back when he's hacking.
  • Total Annihilation features one in the Arm campaign, defending a large mine from attacking naval forces. It can rapidly become That One Level.
  • Transformers: Devastation has several sections where you must protect Wheeljack while he makes field repairs to something. His health regenerates when he's not taking damage, but on higher difficulty levels he's still fragile enough for it to be That One Level.
  • A particularly frustrating mission of Tribes: Vengeance is centered around Victoria protecting Daniel from onrushing Blood Eagles while he extracts the data from an enemy computer. The main problem is that the location is very poorly suited for prolonged defense, your resources are painfully limited, and there is no backup whatsoever (except a few automatic turrets).
  • TRON 2.0 has several, mostly in terms of guarding the AI Ma3a who is carrying the algorithms needed to run the digitizing laser (Jet's ticket back to analog). One of them is sniping rival security Programs from a tower, another is fending off Thorne and his horde of virus-inflected Programs in a Bar Brawl.
  • Warcraft III: In the final mission, the object to be protected is the World Tree. Except you're not just protecting it — you're protecting it while it gets rigged into a gigantic magical bomb meant for an archdemon. The mission is also fairly unique in that you get two allies with bases in front of the enemy's advance than you must try to aid to further protect the objective.
  • Warframe features a few mission types revolving around protecting objects:
    • "Defense" missions revolve around protecting an immobile unit, usually a cryopod, from waves of increasingly fiercer enemies. Every 5 waves you get an opportunity to extract and reap your rewards, but you can choose to continue fighting to get better rewards. In sorties, the unit you must protect is instead an operative who wanders randomly, but can be equipped with your secondary firearm and can be revived endlessly as long as their bleed-out timer doesn't run out.
    • "Mobile defense" missions involve carrying Lotus' datamass to three terminals, then protecting these terminals from enemies seeking to destroy it. The archwing variant of this mission has no datamass to carry; the Tenno must simply get from one satellite to another.
    • "Excavation" missions sees Tenno running around the map to locate the excavation points, then both protecting the excavators and keeping them powered by power cells dropped from enemies. They can extract once at least one excavator finishes its job.
    • The "pursuit" archwing mission ends with the players having to protect a hacked Grineer courier ship from being destroyed by Grineer forces, with some help from the courier itself.
    • During each round of a "disruption" mission, the Tenno must loot keys from enemies to hack into conduits, then stop at least one demolyst from destroying them. When activated, these conduits grant either a positive effect which will remain for the duration of the round if the conduit is safe, or a negative effect which will remain for the duration of the round if the conduit gets destroyed.
    • Orb Vallis is occasionally plagued by thermia fractures, which players can seal with coolant cannisters, a task made harder by Corpus goons dogpiling on any cannister the player will put on a fracture.
  • Some of the missions in Wings of Glory involve defending allied observation balloons from German fighter planes. The observation balloons have no defenses, can't move, and they explode after one or two hits. You also sometimes have to defend various military targets from enemy bombers, including your own Aerodrome.
  • In WolfQuest, one of the missions is to protect your pups from the hungry coyotes and bears. It gets more difficult when you must move them to the summer hunting grounds and an eagle decides they look tasty.
  • World of Warcraft has several of these. One where you have to protect a crystal from several waves of enemies, and another where you have to protect the Hourglass of Eternity, with some help from your future self. Later, you get to do it again, this time as the future self, helping your past self.
  • The “Redemption” mission in X-Wing. Protect the Corvette Korolev from a bunch of TIE Bombers as it transfers wounded troops to the medical frigate Redemption. Oh, and they are launched by an Imperial frigate that pops in and out of hyperspace from different (generally opposite) sides of the engagement area. And escorted by flights of TIE Fighters. And any one of the bombers, if it gets close enough, carries enough torpedoes to kill the corvette. It’s infamous enough to show up as a much dreaded training simulation in the X-Wing novels, where the pilots refer to it as the “Requiem” scenario.
  • The Majima Construction minigame added in Yakuza Kiwami 2 plays out like this. You have control over up to 8 Hero Units that must defend a stationary construction material or equipment from waves of thugs.
  • Zombie Horde 2. Every once in a while you have to protect a box from zombie attacks.

  • The videogame-style comic Alastere has the main characters fight off a bunch of storm elementals, preventing them from attacking the engines of the airship they are on.