Created By: SonicLover on September 24, 2011 Last Edited By: SonicLover on November 14, 2012

Step One: Escape

An Adventure Game protagonist\'s very first task is to find a way out of the room they\'re in.

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Do We Have This One?? Seen It a Million Times. Needs a Better Name. Needs a Better Description. Rolling Updates.

When you first gain control of an Adventure Game protagonist, they've got a task to do. Many times that task is to get out of the room they're in. The difficulty of this task can vary; sometimes it's as simple as opening a forgotten window, while other times it requires several minutes of fussing with items. Sometimes this task can serve as a Justified Tutorial to the mechanics of the game.

Note that for it to qualify as an example of this trope, the task of getting out of that particular room must be the first task of the game, but not the entire game (there's a whole genre for games about escaping rooms). Also, being confined to a single room but not having the task of escaping is not this trope.

Depending on why and how the protagonist is trapped in the first place, can overlap with In Medias Res and/or You Wake Up in a Room.

Examples

  • Flight of the Amazon Queen begins with Joe's rival locking him in a hotel room. He has to get out by moving some sheets aside to reveal a laundry chute and sliding down.
  • Every Riddle School game. (Except for RS4, but that was a special case.)
  • Adventure-game-slash-platformer Inquisitive Dave starts with the titular protagonist locked in a two-screen prison cell.
  • Escape from Rungistan, an old Apple II game. You started off in a prison cell and had to escape from it before continuing with the game.
  • Played with in the Adam Cadre game Lock & Key: You start in a prison cell, and can't continue until you've figured out how to escape. When you do, it turns out you're a security expert who's been hired to test the prison's security, and the rest of the game is about making it properly escape-proof.
  • Alice is Dead: You start Part One at the bottom of a deep pit, which you need to escape from to progress. Part Two begins with you in a locked room that you need to escape from. (Part Three, for variety, is about having to break into various locked places.)
  • The first puzzle of Thy Dungeonman 2 is to escape from a prison cell. The solution is to open the cell door.
    • Thy Dungeonman 3 begins similarly, although the method of escape is a bit more complicated this time.
  • All three episodes of Hector: Badge of Carnage start like this with Hector trapped or locked in and having to escape to start the main plot. He has to escape out of a prison cell, a partially collapsed building and finally from a Death Trap septic tank.
  • The second SPY Fox game begins with the titular hero cornered by Mooks in a ski lodge.
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • September 24, 2011
    Stratadrake
    This is in contrast to games where you're in a relatively large area (spanning several screens) that you can explore at leisure and generally find multiple puzzles to be tackled in any order.

    • Space Quest 2: Your first puzzle is to get Roger Wilco inside the space station he works as a janitor at. It's not so much an actual puzzle (especially not the life-or-death item puzzles Sierra games are so well-known for) as much as how long it takes to figure out taht the zero-gravity environment means you can walk on walls to reach the hatch on the ceiling.
  • September 25, 2011
    Arivne
    • Escape from Rungistan, an old Apple II game. You started off in a prison cell and had to escape from it before continuing with the game.
  • September 25, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    I'm not too sure about the title. It sounds too much like a Locked In A Freezer In Medias Res opening, and something not particularly video game specific.
  • September 25, 2011
    Octagon8
    Notch's dungeoncrawler "Prelude of the Chambered".
  • September 25, 2011
    surgoshan
    There was an old adventure game where you're a spy and you start out on a train and your first task is to hide the fact that you just killed someone in there. Related, as you, practically speaking, can't leave the room until you've succeeded.
  • September 25, 2011
    Acebrock
    In The Elder Scrolls IV, your first job is to escape from prison, though, in this case you have permission from the king.
  • September 25, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Done several times (due to perspective shifting between characters) in Still Life 2
  • September 25, 2011
    NetMonster
    Mysteries Of Time And Space is an online puzzle/adventure/escape-the-room game that starts like this.
  • September 25, 2011
    Chariset
    Curse Of Monkey Island begins with Guybrush stuck on LeChuck's ship. There are useful things you can do there, but the game proper doesn't start until you've escaped.
  • September 25, 2011
    TairaMai
    Wolfenstien 3D beings with an escape from a jail cell.
  • September 25, 2011
    PaulA
    • Played with in the Adam Cadre game Lock & Key: You start in a prison cell, and can't continue until you've figured out how to escape. When you do, it turns out you're a security expert who's been hired to test the prison's security, and the rest of the game is about making it properly escape-proof.
    • Alice Is Dead: You start Part One at the bottom of a deep pit, which you need to escape from to progress. Part Two begins with you in a locked room that you need to escape from. (Part Three, for variety, is about having to break into various locked places.)
  • September 26, 2011
    Koveras
    Don't forget to link Step Three Profit. ;)
  • September 26, 2011
    SonicLover
    ^ That's exactly what the working title was intended to reference.
  • September 26, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Uhm, this looks good, but IMO the laconic is a bit misleading. "Leave" the room sounds like "the first thing you have to do is open the door and go out. You'll find your first item there." I think "evade" or "escape" could sound clearer.
  • September 26, 2011
    SonicLover
    ^ To be fair, sometimes it IS that easy, but I get your point.
  • September 26, 2011
    azmod
    All three episodes of Hector Badge Of Carnage start like this with Hectore trapped or locked in and having to escape to start the main plot. He has to escape out of a prison cell, a partially collapsed building and finally from a Death Trap septic tank.
  • September 27, 2011
    Bisected8
    • The first Broken Sword averts this. However the second sees George tied to a chair and trapped in a room with the door on fire and a poisonous spider approaching him after the opening cutscene. In the third game Nico isn't trapped anywhere, however George is stuck in a plane hanging over a cliff.
  • September 27, 2011
    henke37
    • Escape From Monkey Island begins with Guybrush stuck chained to a mast
    • Gilbert Goodmate begins with you stuck in your house on top of a cliff
    • Tales Of Monkey Island opens with a game where you have to get off an island
    • Ceville begins with being stuck in the throneroom while some less than loyal guards think about capturing you. After a brief adventure you get thrown into a real jail to escape from.
    • Back To The Future The Game ends with an episode where you have to begin by escaping from a "reeducation center"
    • Prince Of Persia begins with you stuck in the dungeon without your sword
    • Out Of Order begins with you stuck in your bedroom. And then you need to figure out how to get out of the apartment building.
  • September 27, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ The original Prince Of Persia doesn't count; the entire game is about navigating dungeons and finding your way out.
  • September 29, 2011
    shockvaluecola
    Don't at least half of all tutorial dungeons count as this?
  • September 30, 2011
    FalconPain
    The first puzzle of Thy Dungeonman 2 is to escape from a prison cell. The solution is to open the cell door.
  • September 30, 2011
    BlackMageJ
    Surgoshan- I believe you may be thinking of The Last Express

  • September 30, 2011
    Prfnoff
    This might be a subtrope of You Wake Up In A Room. Tutorial-like dungeons generally fit under Noob Cave.

  • November 12, 2012
    Prfnoff
    YKTTW Bump. This seems very close to You All Meet In A Cell, but not a supertrope or subtrope of it.
  • November 12, 2012
    atheist723
    In DC Universe Online, all players start on the Brainiac Harvester Ship.
  • November 12, 2012
    Irrisia
    Well, Ruby Quest starts with the eponymous protagonist stuck in a locker, and your first puzzle is to escape that, then your next puzzle is to get out of the room that locker is in.

    the white chamber I think you have to answer 3 questions to get out of the first room, but it's been a very long time since I played the game so if anyone can confirm?
  • November 12, 2012
    NimmerStill
    If this is limited to cases where it's literally that particular room that's causing the trouble (as opposed to a whole building), and if it's limited to cases where it's a puzzle (and not just fighting your way out), then this should be renamed, as many games would fit the latter bill but not the former, such as Final Fantasy Adventure and Demons Crest.
  • November 12, 2012
    StarSword
    Compare You All Meet In A Cell. Not related to Step Three Profit.

    Role Playing Games
  • November 12, 2012
    Ryusui
  • November 13, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    The second Johnny Rocketfingers game begins with Johnny having to escape his apartment to get away from some bad guys that want to kill him.
  • November 13, 2012
    DRCEQ
  • November 13, 2012
    CobraPrime
    Quest For Glory IV start this way, you awaken in a cave and need to escape. The methods available to escape the first room vary depending on class.
  • November 13, 2012
    polocatfan
    Can't this be expanded to points where it's not the begining but you are trapped in a room?
  • November 13, 2012
    CobraPrime
    I think this would dilute the trope. There's a frightnening number of examples of games who start this way, which makes it more interesting than merely "At some point you need to escape"

    • Wizardry IV starts with Werdna waking up in a sealed room in his dungeon. And you need to escape. It was notable because the puzzle was so Nintendo Hard (Wizardry IV being arguably one of the hardest PC games of all time) that the solution to this first puzzle came packaged in the box. The player needs to summon clerics, go in random encounter until the clerics cast light (You can't make them cast anything, they decide what to do randomly) which then lets the player see the door and cross it.
  • November 13, 2012
    polocatfan
    Well there are... *reads again* "there's a whole genre for games about escaping rooms" then why is this trope needed?
  • November 13, 2012
    CobraPrime
    Coz some games arent "Escaping from a room" genre of games, but happen to start with the need to escape a room? The same reason we have Racing Minigame when we have Racing Game. Or Stealth Based Mission when we have Stealth Based Game.
  • November 13, 2012
    polocatfan
    • reads a third time* oh I misunderstood. I thought it meant there was a trope for escaping rooms at any point. Seriously I think this should be expanded for that.
  • November 14, 2012
    Arivne
    Do we have a page for Video Games where the entire game is escaping from a room (AKA Escape the room games)?

    If we don't, we need it. If we do, it should be referenced in this trope.

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3w4j8l10y3c4l02hbt5g6edx