Created By: BananaPie on November 5, 2011 Last Edited By: Jicragg on January 18, 2013

Magic Water Drainage

Water levels rise and fall with ease, usually just with the touch of a button.

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Page Type:
Trope
In several video games the player can make the water in a level rise or fall unrealistically quickly, just by pressing a button or standing on a pressure plate. However this is more often than not used purposefully to save time for the player, instead of watching the water disappear at a tedious rate. This not only happens in video games and can also occur in children's cartoons for a comedic effect, such as one character draining a swimming pool or lake extremely quickly.

Examples

  • Banjo-Kazooie has flooded sections outside of the world levels which must be raised or lowered to reach further parts of the game. The water level is changed in this instance by switches.
  • Super Mario 64 in Wet-Dry World the water level can be changed by pressing the switches, necessary to attain all stars.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has a very good and frustrating example of this in the Water Temple where the water level changes when a certain ocarina song is played in front of specific places to further explore the temple.
    • In Twilight Princess, the Lakebed Temple does this, though drainage systems are required to be activated for it to work.
    • And in Oracle of Ages, Jabu-Jabu's Belly has a room with three floor switches that controls the water level.
  • In a variant, there's a chamber in Myst III: Exile which can be filled or emptied of lava in a matter of seconds. When drained, no residue of magma or even of heat is left behind.
  • In one of the levels of Mystery Of Time And Space you have to activate locks in "Flood Control" to get a boat onto the river. The water level apparently shifts instantaneously.
  • The RPG StoneKeep had levels with this mechanic.
  • The Glaciated Cavern in Tales of Phantasia has water pools deep enough for characters to submerge in if they would. Pressing a switch causes these pools to dry up in mere seconds, while checking two chambers after dropping water level reveals an even larger pool.
  • In the Ghana level in Tomb Raider Legend the player must make the water level rise to turn a wheel discovered earlier in the level, once a gate has been opened by unlocking the two arms of a statue and pulling its center, the water immediately fills up and starts the wheel moving.
  • Sonic Adventure 2's Aquatic Mine stage has switches that instantly raise or lower the water level.
  • In the third Hector: Badge of Carnage game, Hector is trapped in a septic tank Death Trap. If he stops running on a treadmill, the tank will fill up with sewage. If he starts running again, the sewage will drain away. You have to stop and resume running multiple times to get out of the trap and each time the tank fills up to chest height almost immediately and then drains just as fast.
  • Golden Sun does this a lot. Even in the Sand Is Water levels, where stopping the flow from one pipe allows the sand to be drained a lot faster than when there were four pipes flowing.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • November 5, 2011
    SharleeD
    In a variant, there's a chamber in Myst III: Exile which can be filled or emptied of lava in a matter of seconds. When drained, no residue of magma or even of heat is left behind.
  • November 5, 2011
    Rytex
    Happens in the water temple in Twilight Princess. When the boss is defeated it crashes into the wall and alll the water in the room drains through the crack impossibly fast... even the water that is below the crack.
  • November 5, 2011
    DaibhidC
    In one of the levels of Mystery Of Time And Space you have to activate locks in "Flood Control" to get a boat onto the river. The water level apparently shifts instantaneously.
  • November 5, 2011
    Stratadrake
    As videogame mechanics go this is an Acceptable Break From Reality, because you wouldn't want the player to be waiting for however long it takes to realistically change the water level; besides, trying to work out how the water level changes based on addition/removal of water volume is really, really complicated math.
  • November 5, 2011
    Exxolon
    StoneKeep had levels with this mechanic.
  • November 5, 2011
    Maxaxle
    [[Nightfire]] played this semi-realistically with the water-filled space-training-facility level entry airlock, though it's worth noting that the airlock itself is kept dry whereas the area behind it is full of water. It takes...what, 15 seconds?...to fill a cylindrical space about 8 feet long by 7 feet tall. That's...about 308 cubic feet. Good thing Bond's wearing a space suit by that point.

    Please excuse the broken Nightfire link, as I cannot get it to work.
  • November 5, 2011
    Stratadrake
    When the article name is a single word you need to surround it in {{curly braces}} because it doesn't have any CamelCase for the parser to detect.
  • November 6, 2011
    Diask
    • The Glaciated Cavern in Tales Of Phantasia has water pools deep enough for characters to submerge in if they would. Pressing a switch causes these pools to dry up in mere seconds, while checking two chambers after dropping water level reveals an even larger pool.
  • November 6, 2011
    hpaws24
    • Ratchet and Clank uses this. You can suck up all the water in a huge pool into the Hydrodisplacer, in seconds.
  • November 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    I'm sure I've seen cartoons (Looney Tunes? Tom And Jerry?) where someone pulls a drainplug from the bottom of the ocean and the ocean drains out very quickly.
  • November 11, 2011
    troacctid
    ^ That's probably a different trope, though.

    • Sonic Adventure 2's Aquatic Mine stage has switches that instantly raise or lower the water level.
  • November 17, 2011
    Chabal2
    Golden Sun does this a lot. Even in the Sand Is Water levels, where stopping the flow from one pipe allows the sand to be drained a lot faster than when there were four pipes flowing.
  • November 17, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Calling JAFAAC on your page image. In fact, I'll just propose non-picturable so we can avoid all the trouble.
  • November 17, 2011
    nielas
    • In the third Hector Badge Of Carnage game, Hector is trapped in a septic tank Death Trap. If he stops running on a treadmill, the tank will fill up with sewage. If he starts running again, the sewage will drain away. You have to stop and resume running multiple times to get out of the trap and each time the tank fills up to chest height almost immediately and then drains just as fast.
  • November 17, 2011
    elwoz
    If someone can get a screencap of a Ratchet and Clank Hydrodisplacer animation, that might be clear enough to work as a page image. We're talking draining an entire swimming pool into a handgun here.
  • December 3, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • December 27, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Needs A Better Description too.

    Realistic water physics are one of the most difficult things for computers to model, so a common shortcut is that water is simply a defined volume of space inside which characters are subject to water physics instead of terrestrial physics. As a result, the water volume can be moved, increased or decreased arbitrarily (e.g. water level raised or lowered) without regard for what would realistically be required to displace the same volume of water in Real Life. But as game mechanics go, it's an Acceptable Break From Reality anyway.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump - still looking for that better title and description. Although maybe it would be enough to take Stratadrake's para up there and paste it in.
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