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Rezo Frolov
Rezo Frolov

We Held The Line


The condition of the parchment Declaration of Independence is a sign of the place it has held in the hearts of many Americans. Years of public display have faded and worn this treasured document. Today it is maintained under the most exacting archival conditions possible.




We Held The Line


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  • Action Adventure ANNO: Mutationem: In the final area, Ann must defend Sigrid from C's attack forces as she channels enough power into her ability to weaken C and expel his other self from his body with a physical form so that it can be destroyed.

  • Brave Fencer Musashi has the Chapel Battle, where Gingerelle surrounds you with invincible Vambees that kill you instantly if they grab you. All you can do is hold them off until morning (They're vulnerable to sunlight), which is about 6 minutes in-game time.

  • "Operation: Enduring Victory" was this in the backstory of Horizon Zero Dawn. Literally everyone who could hold a gun was armed and sent to fight the Faro Plague so that Project Zero Dawn could be completed. The machines breached the final defensive lines mere hours after Zero Dawn had been completed.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has an optional mission that requires you to protect a barn against a bunch of otherworldly creatures until the sun rises. You cannot use your sword to defeat them, so you have to be skilled with your bow to succeed. A mission that occurs after that requires you to protect milk jars from a pair of muggers while riding on a covered wagon. If you manage to complete both missions, you are rewarded with Romani's Mask.

  • Skyward Sword has a villanous example, as Ghirahim sends an horde of Bokoblins to try to hold the line against you, as he finishes casting a spell to suck Zelda's spirit out of her body and give it to his master.

  • Breath of the Wild allows the player to come across the Akkala Citadel, where the last of Hyrule's knights and soldiers gathered for a last stand against the Guardians after the deaths of the King and the Champions. Sadly, they were quickly overrun and slaughtered. 100 years later, the area is overrun with Plight and has flying Guardians patrolling the base of the tower.

  • Happens in some levels of Soulcalibur Legends, where your allies hold the line to give you time to kill a dragon, liberate a castle, or just get to their position to help.

  • In Star Fox Adventures, a mother Thorntail tasks you with keeping any of her eggs from being carried to any of the creatures' entrances/exits within a period of time. You fail if any of them reach an exit, but if the time runs out, all stolen eggs are dropped, the creatures leave, and you get a necessary power. Dropped eggs slide to the center, and are invulnerable to your flailings with the stick.

  • The final boss of An Untitled Story, after defeating his fourth form, becomes invincible, and the only option is to avoid his attacks until the timer runs out.



  • MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV At the end of the post-A Realm Reborn storyline, a massive dragon is marching down the bridge to Ishgard, known as the Steps of Faith, with numerous smaller dragons supporting it. The player's goal is to stop the dragon from breaking through the lines of defense. Though currently a solo instanced battle, it was formerly an 8-man Trial, and was unique trial in that it's one of the few (if not the only) ones a fallen character can respawn in without having to be raised by another player, and its one of the few (again, if not the only) ones where you can outright fail the Trial if the dragon breaks through the last line of defense.

  • At the end of the post-Stormblood storyline, you enter a "Roleplaying" solo instance where you control Hien, facing off with Elidibus in the body of Zenos yae Galvus. Hien and his allies all know that either of these individuals alone has proven impossible for anyone but the Warrior of Light to defeat, and so his job is to make sure that the enemy is still here for you to fight.

  • Guild Wars loves this trope both in missions and challenges. Two that immediately spring to mind are the Factions mission "Arborstone" where the player must defend a character who is casting a spell to open a door, and the Prophecies mission "Sanctum Cay", where players must hold off waves of bad guys on a beach as a mage stands on a pier summoning a magical ship so that the party can escape.

  • Mabinogi holds two Shadow Missions (Missions taking place in the dark and foreboding Shadow Realm, a copy of the real world) that invoke this trope. The first is a mission where the party must assist other NPCs in battling Shadow Monsters while a scout is rescued off camera. If any NPCs die, the mission fails (but players can heal them, and taking out the Archers that can deal permanent HP damage first increases your chances of success tenfold). The second is called Tailltean Defensive Battle, and requires a party of 3-6 players to split up and defend the city's three gates from wave after wave of monsters for about 16 real world minutes. If too many monsters spawn, or they break the gate controls at any one gate, mission failed.

  • Phantasy Star Online 2 has a series of "Base Defense" emergency missions which task players with protecting a series of towers from increasingly powerful and aggressive Darker hoards. To better protect the base, players can collect Photon crystals to repair damage to the towers, erect barriers that can freeze nearby Darkers in place for a few moments, or summon a BFG-toting Mini-Mecha.

  • Much like its RTS predecessor, World of Warcraft also features this type of encounter. The time-travel dungeon Black Morass and the magic prison known as the Violet Hold both are Hold The Line missions, while other dungeons have segments that work this way. Not to forget the latest PvP additions, Strand of the Ancients and Lake Wintergrasp. In both cases, one side defends a keep against the other, but the previous one is played in two rounds, swapping the roles much like in the FPS mode it's rather obviously inspired by. In a very straight example of the escort mission followed by protecting your charge while he hacks into a computer variant, the Halls of Stone instance has you escort Brann Bronzebeard to the Titan mainframe and defend him from waves of mobs that attack as part of the security system while he tries to break through it.



  • Platform Games Geezer in I Wanna Kill the Kamilia 2 starts a countdown after you reach his second phase, forcing you to dodge increasingly harder attacks while he constantly tells you to die.

  • Mega Man Zero 2 has one of these. Zero must keep enemies off Ciel for 90 seconds so she can defuse a bomb.

  • Rabi-Ribi has this with any boss with the Endurance buff, which renders the boss immune to all damage, but their health slowly drains away, turning the boss into an endurance match where you dodge wave after wave of Bullet Hell patterns until the boss' health runs out. Two bosses have it: Seana during her rematch (which is basically surviving until the end of her performance) and Irisu during her final phase, where she heals herself to full and then goes all out out of desperation until she passes out.

  • In Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, on Planet Savali, Ratchet protects Kit from Nefarious' attack squad while she is deactivating the force field that has the monks trapped.

  • Sly Cooper: Each game has Hold The Line missions. The first game has Sly defending Murray from enemies as he runs to gather the key. In the second game, Sly and Murray protect Bentley as he hacks various terminals. During the third game, The Panda King takes on opponents as Murray brings the van back to the safe house.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Quartz Quadrant boss in Sonic CD will automatically defeat itself once enough time has passed from when Sonic enters its chamber (which is about 2 minutes). There's no onscreen countdown timer, however. Rather, the conveyor belt Sonic runs on slowly grinds down the floor beneath Dr. Eggman, and once the floor becomes too thin, Eggman flees and stops the conveyor belt, allowing Sonic to proceed.

  • The boss in Carnival Night Act 1 in Sonic 3 & Knuckles can destroy itself after a set amount of time (again, with no countdown timer). A floating bladed spinning top floats around the battlefield. The boss will open up if hit by the top and then take damage once hit by it again. However, unlike most other cases of holding the line, Sonic can speed up the battle by opening it up himself, though he will still need to make it attack itself.

  • The Egg Cauldron in Sonic Unleashed's Tornado Defense Act 1 will fall out of the sky once the onscreen timer reaches 0, though it does have an HP gauge and can thus be defeated the normal way. The Egg Cauldron in Tornado Defense Act 2 is a Timed Mission, however, and will One-Hit Kill Sonic and Tails if the timer reaches 0.



  • Real-Time Strategy Age of Empires III has at least one mission about this per Act in the campaign.

  • Age of Mythology has quite a few. In the first mission of the main campaign, you need to defend the Atlantean docks from raiding pirates until the main Atlantian army arrives. At that point, you use the army to kill the last of the attackers.

  • In the first half of the sixth mission, you need to protect your base until your villagers build the Trojan Horse.

  • In the eleventh mission, you need to protect your base until your villagers excavate the sword of the Guardian.

  • In the final part of the twenty-third mission, you must protect the Dwarven Forge against the giant attacks until time runs out.

  • In the thirtieth mission, you need to protect your base against the attacks of Gargarensis until Odysseus arrives with his enormous army. You need to actually go on the offensive and kill "Gargarensis" in order to complete the mission, but with such a huge army at your disposal, it's just a formality..

  • In the ninth mission of the expansion, you must delay the Norse Titan until the timer runs out, at which point the Nidhogg arrives and can be used to kill him.

  • In the twelfth and final mission of the expansion, you must protect at least one of Gaia's summoning trees until the summoning can be complete.

  • AI War: Fleet Command: Going for the Spire Transceiver victory condition in this game and the sequel. Once you begin, a transmission to let the scattered Spire fleets regroup into a coherent fighting force in your area of the galaxy is initiated... one the AI is perfectly aware of. And it reacts appropriately by sending an utterly cataclysmic fleet pouring out of every nearby Warp Gate in order to crush you as fast as possible before they can arrive. Thus, before you begin, you must fortify every route, and the whole path to your homeworld, so that you can hold these tens and hundreds of thousands of ships at bay (with some giant Extragalactic War ships thrown in for flavor). This is naturally not easy; even at low Response Intensity the attack is bigger than anything you usually face in normal gameplay, and at high Intensity you can easily get 50+ thousand Strength pouring out into individual planets, with more trailing behind. You will lose multiple planets to this onslaught, and will very likely need to fend them off at the gates of your Homeworld. But if you hold out, the Imperial Spire will arrive with an even bigger fleet full of some of the strongest vessels in the game, and start stomping on everything the AI has at last.

  • Blizzard has invoked this trope so many times in the Warcraft and StarCraft series and grown wiser so many times that most missions of this kind fall into That One Level in harder difficulties. Warcraft III has four five of these missions during the "Reign Of Chaos" campaign missions. The first time against an upset sea witch in the extended version of the tutorial. The Orcs had to hold the line against a horde of Murlocks while their ships were being fixed.

  • The 5th Alliance mission has defending a town for 30 minutes against the Undead until your allies arrive.

  • The last Undead mission has you defending Kel'Thuzad for 30 minutes as he completes a ritual to summon Archimonde and the Burning Legion.

  • The final Night Elf mission pits you and your allies against the Burning Legion for 45 minutes to let Malfurion complete his Deus ex Machina.

  • Some fan maps are centered about this trope, often with two teams of players trying to hold out as long as possible while trying to sabotage the other teams efforts (and in some cases, summoning the enemies). One lesser known map of this type goes by the exact name of this trope.

  • The secret mission in The Frozen Throne involves a Tower Defense mini-game where you hold off up to forty-five waves of increasingly dangerous enemies with increasingly powerful towers; if you succeed, you get a special bonus hero in the next mission.

  • The first Scourge mission in The Frozen Throne uses an inversion of the trope. You are keeping your opponents from escaping while you hunt down and destroy their bases of operation. If twenty or more humans escape, you lose.

  • Another inversion is in the second-to-last Night Elf mission in The Frozen Throne, where the Naga try to hold the line for 30 minutes until Illidan's spell is completed, and your task is to break the line and thwart them.

  • And it's even apparent in cutscenes. In the Frozen Throne Night Elf Escort Mission, Tyrande attempted to hold the bridge against the Undead forces using her Ultimate, only to have the said bridge collapse (Which was actually intentional).

  • StarCraft had you defend a Terran base against a Zerg rush as the third mission. Being the third mission, your opponent isn't as well defended as expected, and a good player can wipe them off the map before the time runs out, instead of defending. Some lines removed from the final version suggested that was the intention. The Expanded Universe novel Speed of Darkness justifies the apparent lack of enemies. A group of Confederate Marines fought a Last Stand in another area of Mar Sara at the same time that you were fighting the third mission, diverting mass quantities of Zerg away from you.

  • The fourth Zerg mission in the original campaign has you repel Terran forces for 15 minutes until the chrysalis opens. Once Kerrigan comes out, it reverts to a regular mission.

  • Like in the Frozen Throne example, the third-to-last Zerg mission plays with this. The two Protoss bases are trying to have Dark Templar try to escape through clearly-marked beacons (If one escapes, you lose), and you have to destroy said bases. However, the beacons have to remain guarded, so you need to hold the line against particular units while launching attacks.

  • The second-to-last original Zerg mission fits this trope, holding off a Protoss attack as you harvest from the Khaydarin Crystal Formation. The crystal formation is in the middle of three different Protoss tribes, each fully equipped with Carriers, Reavers and High Templars. You have to hold your base at the formation for ten minutes. That is, unless you only send a drone to the crystals AFTER you destroy the Protoss bases, in which it's just waiting until the timer runs out.

  • The final mission in Brood War's Protoss campaign is a version of this: you have to get your two hero units to a structure, then they go inside it, then you have to defend that structure until the task is complete. Like the Zerg mission above, this is rather easy to bypass by taking out the Zerg bases one at a time before starting the countdown. Doing so however, is a challenge.

  • StarCraft II has several of these missions spanning across its three games. In general, this kind of mission has been polished to the point that, in most cases, the enemy bases are either out of bounds (ensuring you will have to stay on the defensive no matter how well you do) or destroying them is gives you an Instant-Win Condition or an achievement. The third mission in Wings of Liberty, "Ground Zero", is a Call-Back to the first game's third Terran mission, up to the point the battle happens in the same place. The Zerg bases are similarly lightly defended, and wiping them out nets you an achievement. Unlike the original mission, the Zerg get reinforced, so even if you destroy their base you'll still need to hold out against a final assault.

  • One of the artifact missions in Wings of Liberty is "The Dig". You have to defend the Drakken Laser Drill until it destroys the gates of a Xel'Naga temple. The drill can actually help you destroy the strongest Protoss units if you desire... but doing so will make the mission last longer. After all, if the drill is destroying enemy units it isn't breaching the temple gates. You can also go on the offensive and completely destroy the Protoss force (using the drill helps) which actually automatically wins the mission. Presumably, the in-universe explanation is that with the threat over, the Raiders could use the drill open the temple at their leisure. Waiting for the mission to end with nothing to do however would be very boring, so the missions then just ends.

  • The final mission in the Protoss mini-campaign, "In Utter Darkness", subverts this trope. The objective in this mission is killing as many Zerg and Hybrid units as possible, and defending an archive during the first 15 minutes (Then it becomes invulnerable and grants research points). The subversion comes from the fact the mission always ends with your forces being wiped out, but it's a success if you killed as many units as the main objective said.

  • Wings of Liberty's campaign mode closes with "All In". You have to defend an artifact for 30 minutes against endless Zerg forces (And Kerrigan that comes up from time to time). The artifact actually helps in that once in some minutes it can wipe out almost all Zerg units near you, but an achievement needs you to not use it more than once. Attacking the enemy bases is impractical at best (you're better off keeping your forces for defense), and even if you wipe the bases out, you get neither an achievement nor instant win.

  • Heart of the Swarm only has one mission that fits this trope, with it being "The Crucible", in which you have to hold out primal zerg forces for 30 minutes until Kerrigan hatches from her chrysalis. In this mission and all subsequent hold the line missions, the enemy has no base to destroy meaning defense really is your only option.

  • The first mission in Legacy of the Void's prologue campaign plays with this trope. Your Protoss forces have to destroy stasis chambers in which other Protoss are held in by the Moebius Corps, who are holding the line... but Kerrigan's Swarm arrives at full power to raze the entire facility, so your objective is to destroy the stasis chambers before the Moebius Corps cannot hold the line any longer.

  • The first mission in Legacy of the Void in this trope style is "Last Stand" - protecting the Xel'Naga temple on Shakuras until you destroy three pillars and the Zerg counter reaches 1 billion. Unlike other examples, after the counter reaches said mark, the mission does not end, and it only does so when you decide to overload the temple - a bonus objective requires you to hold out until 1.5 billionnote Technically, you hold out until your forces can extract the solarite beneath the temple, this is simply marked as 1.5 billion for convenience's sake and three achievements ask you to reach 1.8, 2.2 and 2.3 billion respectively, which are easier said than done.

The final mission in Legacy of the Void's m


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