Sabotaging The Level
Completing missions or objectives in a certain way make future missions easier.
Do We Have This One?? You're about ready to start the next stage in a video game, but you're already beginning to dread it. It's got fire pits, Demonic Spiders and all sorts of nasty surprises waiting for you. Even if you could get stronger, it wouldn't make what's coming that much more bearable. What's a lone hero to do? Lucky for you, it turns out there's a side mission that involves flooding those dangerous fire pits. Plus by completing a certain quest you end up cutting off their supplies, making the most powerful enemy little more than a beefy mook. Congratulations, you just sabotaged the next level! This trope is invoked whenever a player is given an option of making the next level in a game easier by completing other objectives before hand. But rather than making yourself stronger, you're making the stage itself easier by compromising it in some way. Your actions disable traps, weaken the enemies or put you in a better position than before. Compare Golden Path, that trope refers to a path that yields the best results in the entire game. Also, if failing certain objectives will make later levels easier, this overlaps with Do Well, but Not Perfect.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, when exploring the Centra Excavation Site, Laguna is forced to fight five battles on the cliff, but tampering with the middle trap door, blowing the two detonators in the correct order, and pushing the boulder when in the tunnels will each prevent one fight.
- Golden Sun
- Downplayed. The Force Orb is an entirely optional item that makes getting through the Lost Woods easier by showing you the path to take. If the player doesn't take it, a later cutscene where it would be used to knock down a log holding up a giant boulder is replaced with your teammate kicking the log instead. Not taking it even after this prevents you from entering the Bonus Dungeon in the sequel, however.
- During the Colosso Tournament Arc, only Isaac gets to fight. His teammates get to cheer from the stands, and use their Invisible to Normals Psynergy to modify the terrain, making the obstacle course much easier for Isaac.
- In the sequel, the Serpent's Boss Battle requires this. The Serpent is a giant dragon holding a town hostage unless maidens are sacrificed to it. A local boy is emptying barrels of sake in front of the dragon to weaken it, but doesn't know it's weak to light. The player then goes around letting light into the cavern until the Serpent is weak enough to be beaten, though it can be fought at any time (as an example, fighting it with all four beams of light makes it regenerate 30 HP per turn, as opposed to 200. Only the Bonus Boss has that kind of regeneration).
- Some speedrunners use these tactics through exploits of the game. For instance, in RC Master's Mythic speedrun of Halo: Reach, in one level he knocks a bunch of crates into a hallway before initiating the encounter, crates that would ordinarily never be in there. This causes all the incoming enemies to be unable to retreat via said hallway, letting him pick them off with ease.
- If you complete stages in a certain order in Mega Man X, you make other stages easier. You could end up cutting the electricity in one stage, melting the ice in another, etc.
- Mega Man X
- If you completed Storm Eagle's stage, his airship Death Rogumer will fall onto Spark Mandrill's stage, causing Blackout Basement.
- If you completed Launch Octopus' stage, the waters will flood down to Flame Mammoth's stage, dispersing off the lava within.
- Inverted in Mega Man X6: The gimmick of the game is "Nightmare Phenomenon", where completing a stage will cause phenomena in certain other stages; e.g defeating Blizzard Wolfang will cause ice to cover parts of Metal Shark Player's stage, while defeating Commander Yammark will cause robot dragonflies to appear in Blaze Heatnix's stage.
- Mega Man X
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun will have optional missions along with the "main" mission. Completing the optional missions will often sabotage the capabilities of your foe in the "main" mission.
- Dawn of War: Dark Crusade has a "Risk"-Style Map, where conquering a region will give you an extra starting honor guard unit or some other benefit (attacking twice in a turn, starting with an entire base, etc). But since this works for the opponent too, taking a region from one means they'll have one less unit to Zerg Rush you with on starting. Since they get normal units instead of the watered-down honor guard units, it makes a big difference.
- In Warzone 2100 's campaign mode, your base, army, and fortifications are persistent between missions; you can spend extra time and power building up defenses solely in anticipation of the next base mission.
- "Wanderers of Sorceria" (a custom campaign using the Warcraft III engine) has an interesting take on this: Since you play as characters working for different sides, deliberately failing one sidequest can make a future level easier, and vice versa (for example, if you fail to destroy teleporters allowing the enemy to attack your base from behind in one mission, a later mission where you play as that enemy gives you powerful siege weapons that are otherwise unavailable).
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, you can shoot The End with your sniper rifle during the brief time during which he is unprotected after a cutscene. If you do that, in the forest where you are supposed to face him later, you will instead be tracked by a few of Ocelot's minions. If you're careful enough, you can go through the forest without even fighting them, and it's a hell of a lot easier than having a sniping duel with The End. And more generally, you can blow up food and weapon supplies to handicap the enemy in the few later areas (they will be hungry or short on ammunition).
- In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, you can sabotage enemy installations while playing a story mission such as taking out anti-aircraft radars and radar dishes. If you do so, you can do things that would be normally be dangerous such as landing via chopper near the outskirts of enemy installations or halt enemy reinforcement from other enemy outposts in case players would want to replay the mission to get any objectives that they may have missed or improve their mission rank.
- Freedom Fighters will occasionally throw multiple missions at you. Completing some will make the other missions easier, such as providing you with backup, or decreasing the number of enemies you have to fight.
- Dantooine in Knights of the Old Republic II features an incipient war between the Republic-loyal interim government and a mercenary army intent on a coup. Part of the corresponding quest involves preparing or sabotaging the government house's defenses depending on the side you choose. You can also boost or sabotage the morale of the government's troops.
- In the Baldur's Gate series, many boss battles can be made a lot easier if you place a bunch of traps around the boss before they become hostile and attack, triggering all traps at once.
- Ditto Pillars of Eternity, a Spiritual Successor to BG, although its mechanics prevent trap abuse by limiting how many you can place at once.
- Ditto Dragon Age: Origins. Notably defied on one occasion, namely, during the nighttime defense of Redcliffe against the undead: since the game doesn't have a day-night cycle, the battle itself actually takes place in a different game level sharing most of the architecture with the main Redcliffe village level, so any traps you've placed beforehand in the latter naturally won't show up in the former. This trope can also be inverted by a high-enough level rogue by sneaking into the enemy's bulwark and disabling their traps right under their noses, letting the warriors charge right through their defenses and making an upcoming fight a lot easier.
- The Mass Effect series will give the player ways of making their immediate tasks easier. As an example, Shepard needs to save a potential party member who's being held down by several gangs. Before proceeding with the main assault, Shepard could hack a relatively strong robot to turn on its handlers, and also prevent much needed repairs on a gunship they would need to fight eventually. The series as a whole has some of this in a meta sense, as your ability to gather allies to help retake Earth from the Reapers in Mass Effect 3 can be drastically affected by your choices in the previous games.
- An early mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has you assassinating someone on a golf course. If you push all the golf carts into a nearby water hazard before initiating the encounter, your target won't be able to use them to escape.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in the mission "Vertical Bird", where Toreno has CJ steal a Hydra (a fighter jet) off a aircraft carrier, if you destroy two of the jets on the carrier before stealing one of them, then the player will only have to fight one Hydra after the player takes off with one of them.
Non Video Game ExamplesLiterature
- In the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Night Dragon, a number of factors affect the difficulty of the climactic fight, such as having all three of the major Swords of Plot Advancement (and, in the case of the magic armour, having it in its best condition). Most directly, however, there are side-encounters like the Juggernaut or the Pyramidal Cell, the destruction of which explicitly reduces the statistics of the titular dragon.
- Junkyard Dog once won a best two out of three falls match while working as a Heel by attacking his opponent with a chair, earning himself a disqualification for the first fall but making his opponent very weak so that he could easily win the next two.
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