Created By: Kjorteo on October 1, 2008
Nuked

Beef Gate

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A video game trope that's sort of the opposite of a Broken Bridge, but still accomplishes the same effect. The plot has a very clear route in mind for which order you're supposed to visit which locations. However, dropping a Broken Bridge in the areas other than where you're clearly supposed to go may seem too heavy-handed. The solution? You can go wherever you want...but if you try to go anywhere out of order, the game will kill you.

Basically, later areas are guarded by disproportionately (or maybe proportionately by the time you're actually supposed to be there, but definitely not until then) powerful enemies that will beat you down for approaching them too early. As a player, you're supposed to recognize that as a sign that you should just come back later. With any luck, you'll be ready for those challenges by the time the game actually mentions them.

The good news is that if you're somehow miraculously able to pull it off early, via some sort of Revive Kills Zombie application of the Useless Useful Spell, clever strategy, or sheer luck, then you get to learn why there's nothing quite like enjoying amounts of experience and equipment drops that you probably weren't intended to have until fifteen hours later. It can also sometimes be fun to beat them for Sequence Breaking purposes, depending.

Examples:
  • Breath of Fire II: You can theoretically return to Gate almost immediately after getting Spar in your party. You are only actually supposed to return to Gate much much later, and the encounters in that area prove it.
  • Chrono Trigger has the bucket at the End of Time, which you can reach about three or four hours into the game. Using it takes you to the final boss. Odds are you don't actually want to use it until you've made it through the actual plot, unless you're using a New Game+.
  • The original Dragon Warrior only had one Broken Bridge in the entire game, and that was the one leading to the final dungeon.
  • EarthBound Zero: There is a very significant difference between the level at which you can wake the dragon in Magicant and fight it and the level at which you should.
    • Another EarthBound Zero example that's half this and half Broken Bridge: you can try to simply walk through the tunnel from Merryville to the next area without clearing the path for the train. You just really don't want to.
  • Etrian Odyssey is madly in love with this trope. For one thing, it's the entire point of the FOEs. Beyond that, certain special cases that are even mentioned in game (usually in the form of a "you get the feeling that the monsters in this area are much too powerful to fight" message or a quest all about having to get something from its lair while absolutely not drawing its direct attention) include Wyvern in Etrian Odyssey, Scylla in Heroes of Lagaard, and the Stalkers in both games.
  • Fallout had this as a consequence of being fairly non-linear. 60-80% or so of the towns will be hard for a few levels if you don't visit the starter towns first, but they are all about the same level of difficulty to get to in the first place. Thus, most of the game is unlocked as of level eight or nine, except for the very end-game parts.
    • Fallout 2 has a strategy for sneaking into one of the end-game areas and doing the sidequests there by employing talking skills and running away from any actual fight. This can get you very advanced weapons, the second-best armor in the game, and a mountain of XP that would be a fair reward for near-end game characters, but is utterly insane for starting characters. (One quest gives you 20,000 XP. Starting characters can get two or three levels from that.)
  • The original Final Fantasy had the Peninsula of Power, which was originally a programming oversight that included those few tiles on the first continent as part of a much much later area as far as what random encounters lived there.
  • Final Fantasy II seemed to have some sort of unnatural hatred for cohesive world map design, and ended up combining a serious case of this trope with incredibly poor directions. The people in town A say that you should visit town B. Outside of town A lie featureless plains and forests in all directions and nothing preventing you from going anywhere, leaving you to have to take a wild guess which way town B is. If you guess wrong, you will be first-turn annihilated by the very first random encounter in the area surrounding towns X, Y, and Z that you just accidentally approached. This, combined with how poorly-done the game's system for getting stronger was in the first place, made it a bit of a Wall Banger.
    • Not only that, there were definite ways to get significantly out of your league even in places you were supposed to be. At one point, you have to sneak into an occupied town to rescue someone. The way the game handled the occupation is that it looked and acted like a normal town, except that talking to anyone led to their calling you "Rebel Scum!" and triggering an absolutely impossible battle against the very enemy that was used as a Hopeless Boss Fight in the game's introduction.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2's Cinquleur missions. You can take the first one ("The Red King of Cinquleur") as soon as you reach the second town, which should be around level ten if you avoid the plot and do every sidequest you can first, but the actual mission is to take down a level 44 enemy. Should you pull this off, it proves to be the first in a series of missions against all of Cinquleur's colored kings, each 11 levels stronger than the one before. Thus, the second mission in the chain, "The Blue King of Cinquleur", pits you against a level 55 enemy, and so on. If you can pull that off, all you need to know about the final mission in the chain is that it's called "The Five Kings", and that the titular five kings have all been promoted to level 99. Every mission in the chain can be accessed the second you complete the mission before it, meaning that the only thing stopping you from doing the entire chain as of the second town in the game is your ability to not die trying.
  • The original Legend of Zelda was completely wide-open, with nothing stopping players from entering any area on the map and fighting enemies which can kill them in one hit. Of course, it is possible to survive if the player is skilled enough.
  • Suikoden 2 had an example of this that was strange enough that it might not have been intentional: near the beginning of the game, when you are still just an orphan with a couple of mercenary friends, you can approach the gate to one of the last areas of the game, Matilda. The gate is locked, and guarded to boot, but for some bizarre reason, you can push it. That is, you push the entire gate back a few feet, allowing you to slip through the sides, into an area significantly over your level. You don't have a chance against any of the enemies, but if you can run far and fast enough, you can make it alive to a small town you weren't supposed to reach for a few dozen hours, and there you can recruit a couple of characters you weren't supposed to meet until then. Said characters start at levels proportionate to the area, meaning you can use them to power-level your other characters to a ludicrous level before you pick up the main quest line again.
  • Similar to the Suikoden 2 example, it is possible for Tales of Symphonia players early on who navigate the higher-level areas successfully to recruit Sheena early.
  • Almost every MMORPG allows sufficiently determined players to enter zones they have absolutely no business being in, with predictable results.
    • City of Heroes actually has level requirements to enter the hazard and trial zones, but nothing to stop level 1 players from entering the higher-level city zones--even Founder's Falls, where even the random purse-snatchers have an average level of 50 or so.
    • World of Warcraft has several.
      • The high level zone of Plaguelands located right next to the undead starting zone. There is a gate that separates the zones and some high level NP Cs guarding it, so most players should probably realize they shouldn't go there, but nothing prevents them from doing so.
      • One of the early zones for Alliance players is similarly connected (via a big intimidating looking gate) to the much-higher leveled Burning Steppes.
      • The infamous "death run", a route that night elf players have to take in order to get to the Alliance capital for the first time. It's called that because most players go there at fairly low level, since night elf capital's practically a ghost town, and the zone they have to go through is filled with mobs roughly twice their level.
  • Many a DM in most tabletop games rely on a combination of this and broken bridges to make sure the players go where the DM wants them to. One site with a tabletop RPG cliche list mentioned "T-Rex on the Plains", where the DM puts a t-rex in an area just to keep the players on rails.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • September 28, 2008
    EponymousKid
    Add that each of The Five Kings is level 99 in the last mission, too. There's also a quest along those lines around that time, as well, "Wanted: Magickal Weapon"
  • September 28, 2008
    Nomic
    World of Warcraft has the high level zone of Plaguelands located right next to the undead starting zone. There is a gate that separates the zones and some high level npcs guarding it, so you probably realice you shouldn't go there. However, nothign prevents you from doign so. One of the early zones for Alliance players is also connected (via a big intimidating looking gate) to the much-higher levelled Burning Steppes. And then there is the infamous "death run", a route that night elf players have to take in order to get to the Alliance capital for the first time. It's called that because most players go there at fairly low level (since night elf capital's practically a ghost town), and the zone they have to go through is filled with mobs roughly twice their level.
  • September 28, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    A trope where they have a pseudo Broken Bridge which could be crossed if you have enough strength? How about calling it a Beef Gate? Its a punny name and the title hints that you need to have a lot of strength or 'beef' to get past it.
  • September 28, 2008
    Recon 5
    I like Beef Gate.

    However, I must disagree with the comparison to Broken Bridge. A Broken Bridge would bar even a character 100 levels higher than necessary from moving on until certain conditions are fixed, while a Beef Gate can be trespassed at any time albeit with a high risk of death.
  • September 28, 2008
    pawsplay
  • September 28, 2008
    FalconPain
    Chrono Trigger has the bucket at the End of Time. Using it takes you to the final boss. Odds are you don't actually want to use it until you've gotten through the actual plot, unless you're using a New Game Plus.
  • September 28, 2008
    PlaceHolderForIdentity
    Fallout 1 and 2. Granted, its really only the end-end game parts that kill you without a chance , and 60%-80% of the towns will be pretty hard for the first three levels if you don't stop at the starter towns, but they are about the same hardness level to get to.

    That means that once you get to about level eight or nine, you can go to most of the game and either be able to fight it out with the random encounters, run away, or have high enough skills to talk your way out or other ways.

    And in Fallout 2 there is a stratagy for replays which goes to one of the end-level places and doing the missions there with just talking skills and running away from any fight. By the time you're done with it just by talking and knowing the easy ways to do things, you'll have advanced weapons, the 2ed best armor in the game, and a mountain of XP that is a fair reward for near-end game characters, but is utterly insane for starter characters. (One quest gives 20K XP. You can get two or three levels from that)
  • September 29, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Went and added the examples received so far, along with doing some general proofreading-type edits.

    Also, this is Kjorteo, and I really wish YKTTW wouldn't randomly sign me out so often.
  • September 29, 2008
    LordTNK
    There was a site for tabletop RPG cliches, and one was called "T-Rex on the Plains", where someone put a t-rex in an area to keep the players in rails.
  • September 29, 2008
    Kjorteo
    Thank you; added that as well. Editing this is getting tricky because the markup seems to disappear about halfway into the article, so I'd basically have to rewrite the entire second half from scratch every time I wanted to tweak something if I hadn't learned from the last time it did that and made a copy of the entire article's markup just before clicking Submit, so I can just copy/paste to restore it if I need to edit it again...anyway. Added. Thanks. :D (This may or may not be Kjorteo again depending on whether I'm signed in now--YKTTW seems to be very inconsistent with that today.)
  • September 30, 2008
    BlackDragon
    You don't need to update the OP every time a new example is added down here, y'know... might make it easier on whoever's going to launch it, but if you plan to do that yourself, you're really just making it harder on yourself.

    Anyway, Suikoden 2 had this - and I'm still not sure if it was intentional or not. Basically, right near the beginning of the game, when you're still just an orphan with a couple of friends in the mercenary-biz, you can approach the gate to one of the last areas of the game - Matilda. The gate is locked, of course, and guarded to boot, but for some bizarre reason, you can PUSH it. As in, you push the entire gate back a few feet, allowing you to slip through the sides, into an area waaaaaay over your level. You don't have a chance, basically.

    ...HOWEVER, if you run far enough, and fast enough, you can make it alive to a small town you weren't supposed to reach for another coupla' dozen hours, and there you can recruit a couple of characters you weren't supposed to meet anytime yet. Who've got starting-levels in proportion to the area. Which means you can use them to power-level your other characters to a ludicrous level before you pick up the main questline again.

    Is it a glitch? Or a 'hole' deliberately left for the observant - or obsessed? Beats me...
  • September 30, 2008
    Mouser
    Another Earthbound Zero example that's half a Broken Bridge: you can walk through the tunnel from Merrysville to the next town without clearing the way for a train to pass first. You just really really don't want to.
  • September 30, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    In Spore, you can swim into any area of water in Creature Stage, but if you go too far a huge sea-monster eats you. It's kind of a Beef Gate....
  • September 30, 2008
    The_Adversary
  • September 30, 2008
    GloatingSwine
    Final Fantasy II lets you do this. You can walk anywhere on the world map as soon as you start the game. Despite the fact that most things too far away from the starter town can reduce you to a fine red paste fairly quickly, it's a popular Sequence Breaking trick to do so.
  • September 30, 2008
    Khitty Hawk
    Railroading? Or is this just a specific type of Railroading?
  • September 30, 2008
    Khitty Hawk
    Sorry, double post.
  • September 30, 2008
    Alkthash
    I forgot the exact point in Tales Of Symphonia, but fairly early in the game players are able to wander off course and recruit Sheena early.
  • September 30, 2008
    Bisected8
    The original Legend Of Zelda. You could go to pretty much any area on the map and fight enemies which can easily kill you in one hit. Of course its entirly possible to survive anyway if your skilled enough.
  • September 30, 2008
    GloatingSwine
    @Khitty Hawk: It's kinda railroading, but the kind where it lets you play on the tracks.
  • October 1, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    (The inconsistencies are still here so I have no idea whether I'm signed in right now, so this is Kjorteo again)

    Editing the entry to add in suggested examples is half to save me a little work later if/when the article launches, and half to move it back to the top while still providing some sort of contribution and not just making it a blatant YKTTW Bump.

    Anyway, it's coming along now and there are plentiful examples (thanks, guys!) so I'm thinking of launching this soon, unless there are any objections?
  • October 2, 2008
    MasterKnight
    Bump.
  • October 2, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Well, no one objected and it even got a bump from someone who isn't me, so I think I'm just going to go ahead and launch it now. Thanks for the help putting this together, everyone. :D
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gbmyhhawsnsn6hj3vfavs4ja&trope=BeefGate