Created By: billybobfred on November 20, 2011 Last Edited By: chihuahua0 on December 19, 2012
Troped

Final Death Mode

Die once in this difficulty level, and restart from the very beginning.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Harder Than Hard isn't hard enough for some people when Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. Choose Final Death Mode as a difficulty level and that's no longer a problem. When activated, Game Over means just that--your game is over for good. No lives, no continues, nada.

If you want to play again, you have to start from the very beginning. Be grateful it's optional.

Final Death Mode usually (but not always) comes with protection against Save Scumming. If nothing else, there's the fact that it defeats the purpose of the option in the first place.

Sometimes, players play a Self-Imposed Challenge if they only have one life; that's a No Death Run.

Often considered a trait of Nintendo Hard. Sub-Trope of Check Point Starvation. Related to Final Death, which is when non-Player Characters only have one life.


Examples

Driving Game
  • In GRID there is the Pro Mode which turns off the flashback (A Mental Time Travel feature) and the ability of being able to restart single races, essentially requiring you to win every tournament (3 to 5 races) in one shot. Considering that you will often have to start from the back in higher difficulties and the AI will crash you out every now and then makes this nearly Unwinnable.

Platform Game

Roguelike
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal gives out lots of extra lives during level ups at lower difficulty levels, but at its two highest levels (Roguelike and Insane) death is final.

Third-Person Shooter
  • Max Payne 3's "Old School" Mode, which disables Last Man Standing, which allows the player to live if they deliver a fatal shot several seconds after running out of health.

Wide Open Sandbox
  • Minecraft has a Hardcore Mode which freezes the difficulty level of a world to Hard and put evil expressions onto the Life Meter. Once the player dies, the world has to be deleted, or in multiplayer they're banned from the server.
  • Terraria has a difficulty system that increases the penalty for death the higher up you go. In softcore, you drop half your money. In mediumcore, you drop items. In hardcore, you die permanently, meaning if you had any items on you at the time, they're gone for good unless you're playing multiplayer or you had some stuff stashed in a chest.
  • X3: Terran Conflict has a hardcore mode so hardcore, you have to play the single-player game while connected to the internet via your Steam account in order to make sure you don't try to cheat by doing something like "loading a save". There's a reason it's called "Dead-Is-Dead" mode.
  • Escape Velocity Nova has a Strict Play'' option:
    If you check this box, when you're dead, you're dead. No reincarnation allowed.
    In normal play the player are reincarnated on the last planet/station (check point) they landed.

Community Feedback Replies: 101
  • November 20, 2011
    GlennMagusHarvey
    I think Torchlight has such a feature but I'm not sure since I haven't played it.
  • November 20, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    Really hardcore would be a game that the first time you get killed, it erases itself from your harddrive, and hides a command in your operating system that prevents it from being reinstalled.
  • November 20, 2011
    Stratadrake
    "Hardcore" is too volatile a term to use here, I'm worried it will get confused with Harder Than Hard.

    For example, IWBTG's "Impossible" difficulty removes all Save Points (except, due to a tiny glitch, one) from a game where the protagonist is a One Hit Point Wonder with Fake Difficulty and Everything Trying To Kill You.
  • November 20, 2011
    ErikTiber
    Hardcore mode in Fallout New Vegas lets your companions get permanently killed.
  • November 21, 2011
    Lyendith
    The title is a bit misleading. I thought it was about Harder Than Harder Than Hard modes (like, say, Master Ninja in NG Black) but that's not it... why not just Final Death Mode?
  • November 22, 2011
    surgoshan
    Perhaps Death Is Final Mode or something.
  • November 22, 2011
    Micah
    • Tales Of Maj Eyal gives out lots of extra lives as you level up at lower difficulty levels, but at its two highest levels (Roguelike and Insane) death is final.
  • January 14, 2012
    billybobfred
    ^^^ I was going to say "because every example I've found is called 'hardcore' within the work", but then I vaguely remembered a D&D game that called it Ironman mode. (And even if I hadn't remembered it, "every example" is "Diablo and Minecraft".)

    Would Iron Man Mode be a better title?
  • January 14, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ Egad, NO.
  • January 14, 2012
    chihuahua0
    I would go with either Final Death Mode or Death Is Final Mode. Whatever is more clear or concise.

    • Minecraft has a Hardcore Mode which freezes the difficulty level of a world to Hard and put evil expressions onto the Life Meter. Once the player dies, the world has to be deleted.
  • January 14, 2012
    LittleLizard
    Witcher2
  • January 14, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^ Er, more detail please?

  • January 14, 2012
    spudwalt
    • Terraria has a difficulty system that increases the penalty for death the higher up you go. In softcore, you drop half your money. In mediumcore, you drop items. In hardcore, you die permanently, meaning if you had any items on you at the time, they're gone for good unless you're playing multiplayer or you had some stuff stashed in a chest.
  • January 14, 2012
    nman
    • X3: Terran Conflict has a hardcore mode so hardcore, you have to play the single-player game while connected to the internet via your Steam account in order to make sure you don't try to cheat by doing something like "loading a save". There's a reason it's called "Dead-Is-Dead" mode.
  • January 14, 2012
    LittleLizard
    • In The Witcher 2, the Insane difficulty lives up to it's name. You can play and save normally. But if you die... Well. Let's say that your saves are completely useless. Oh, did I mention this game can be 50+ hours long?
  • January 14, 2012
    LittleLizard
    Is this distinct enough from Final Death to be its own thing?

    I think that, to split the tropes more easily, Final Death should be for NPC / Party members (And probably needs a new title for that) and this for the PC.
  • January 15, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^ Yes. There's enough of a difference for this to be different from Final Death.

    By the way, billybobfred, are you still there? I think I went a little overboard, so if you want to be the one to launch this in the end, you can.
  • January 15, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    How is this different from Check Point Starvation?
  • January 15, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^ Apparently, I think Hardcore Mode is a subtrope of Check Point Starvation. Check Point Starvation applies to an entire game, while Hardcore Mode is when it's only a difficulty level.

    Therefore, some of the examples on that page (like the I Wanna Be The Guy example) will be transferred here.
  • January 15, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    I don't think that's splittable though. Especially since Check Point Starvation has only been around for about 5 months. It's generally not a good idea to split a trope this early in its life.
  • January 15, 2012
    LittleLizard
    This is completely different from Check Point Starvation. This refers that when you die, you die and that's it. Doesn't matter if there are a lot of checkpoints or not. Check Point Starvation is... well... Exactly What It Says On The Tin

    And the I Wanna Be The Guy example shouldn't be here because the hole game is hardcore. The hardcore mode is actually Check Point Starvation in that example.

    You should add to the description that this can be a Self Imposed Challenge for almost any game (more in FPS & RPG). If it is self imposed, then it's a No Death Run
  • January 15, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    "This refers that when you die, you die and that's it. Doesn't matter if there are a lot of checkpoints or not."

    That makes absolutely no sense. If one hit sends you back to the beginning, there are no checkpoints. Having checkpoints is the polar opposite of having to start over. So no, it isn't any different.
  • January 15, 2012
    chihuahua0
    From Check Point Starvation:

    "In the most extreme cases, the player may be required to beat the entire game with one life, though going that far with this trope is mostly unheard of. One-life marathon games are almost exclusive to the 8-bit era, and even then it was pretty uncommon."

    I think Hardcore Mode is the extreme case of Check Point Starvation.
  • January 15, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^So what you're saying is that this is Check Point Starvation, But More.
  • January 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • January 15, 2012
    LittleLizard
    "That makes absolutely no sense. If one hit sends you back to the beginning, there are no checkpoints. Having checkpoints is the polar opposite of having to start over. So no, it isn't any different. "

    My problem (Or yours, or us both) is the definition of checkpoint. Yes, you're completely right if the definition is a place to respawn that's not the beginning. My view on checkpoint is "Somewhere when you can stop, leave and continue on, ie: Save Point." For me, Checkpoint Starvation is, basically Marathon Level/Boss/Game in which you CANT stop.

    EDIT: Bladder Of Steel is for me Checkpoint Starvation. My mistake.
  • January 15, 2012
    NESBoy
    Never mind, Ultimate Ghosts N Goblins doesn't have an example the trope requires.
  • January 16, 2012
    chihuahua0
    BUMP.
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    For a game to have this trope, the Harcore Mode has to be OPTIONAL, right?
  • January 16, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^ Correct. That's one main distinction between this and Checkpoint Starvation.
  • January 16, 2012
    peccantis
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^^But like I said, that's not worth splitting.
  • January 16, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^ Yes it is. Checkpoint Starvation can apply to an entire game and there can be checkpoints/savepoints. Hardcore Mode is when it's a difficulty level and there are no checkpoints/savepoints.
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^There is no restriction on Check Point Starvation saying it can only apply to an entire game.
  • January 16, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^ But if there are enough examples, it can be considered a Sub Trope. And many of the examples in Check Point Starvation either apply to the entire game, or to certain levels. Think of Hardcore Mode as a specific variant.

    Besides, we have a page for Difficulty Levels.
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    Hardcore Mode is Check Point Starvation taken Up To Eleven, optional, either as a Difficulty Level or a Self Imposed Challenge. Yes, it's a sub-trope of Checkpoint starvation. But IMO, there is enough difference & examples to deserve it's own page.

  • January 16, 2012
    chihuahua0
    Driving Game:
    • In GRID there is the Pro Mode which turns off the flashback (A Mental Time Travel feature) and the ability of being able to restart single races, essentially requiring you to win every tournament (3 to 5 races) in one shot. Considering that you will often have to start from the back in higher difficulties and the AI will crash you out every now and then makes this nearly Unwinnable.
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    Taking something Up To Eleven does not warrant a split. Besides, you're forgetting what I said earlier - Check Point Starvation is itself a very new trope and still needs to grow. To split the examples would severly hinder its growth.
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    ^^ Chihuahua0 said a bit earlier that being optional is one of the main differences between this and Check Point Starvation. I think it's a the main difference. Having to suffer Check Point Starvation because it's mandatory is very different from doing it because you want. Also i've just read that Check Point Starvation is only 5 months old. Is that a very young trope?
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    Alterantively, we can still work in this & Check Point Starvation, adding examples of both and wait a bit more till actually publishing Hardcore Mode.
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^^Not all of Check Point Starvation's examples are mandatory. For example, the Pit Of 100 Trials from Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, which is a Bonus Dungeon.

    5 months is not a very long time, and it doesn't exactly have a ton of wicks and inbounds either.
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    ^^ That Paper Mario example shouln't be as That One Level? Also, it's mandatory because if you want to do the level, then you're going to go through the Check Point Starvation. Hardcore Mode is a gameplay option, not a level/game characteristic.
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    That One Level and Check Point Starvation can overlap. In fact, they overlap quite often (although That One Level is YMMV, and Check Point Starvation is not).
  • January 16, 2012
    chihuahua0
    That One Level is narrower in scale than Check Point Starvation.
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    We're on the same spot again. That One Level is a level. Check Point Starvation is mandatory for a given level/chapter/game and Hardcore Mode is optional. IMO, what shall be done is: Check Point Starvation: Main Trope. If it's optional, then it's Hardcore Mode. If it's a Self Imposed Challenge, then it's a No Death Run. If pauses are limited or unavailable, Bladder Of Steel. All of those related to but separated from Check Point Starvation.
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    I brought this discussion to the YKTTW workstation thread.
  • January 16, 2012
    LittleLizard
    Keep in mind it doesn't have to be a difficulty level but can be an option completely separated from difficulty (Diablo II & GRID are the best examples).
  • January 16, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^What do you mean? Give me some context.
  • January 17, 2012
    LittleLizard
    ^^In GRID, there are 5 difficulties: Easy, Medium, Expert, Professional & Extreme. The PRO-mode which is this games Hardcore Mode can be played in any difficulty, thus making it a gameplay option not a difficulty level. In Diablo II there are three, Normal, Nightmare & Hell. You can play a hardcore character in all of those separately. Another example (from the No Death Run trope page) for this is X 3 Terran Conflict in which you've got an option (Regardless of difficulty) in which you've got one life for the entire game.
  • January 18, 2012
    billybobfred
    Yeah, the Hardcore modes in Diablo II and Minecraft aren't technically difficulties. D2's is an option during character creation, and MC's is presented as a gameplay mode alongside Survival and Creative, though technically it's a flag in the world save and mods can give you Hardcore Creative. (Why you would want permadeath in a mode where you can't die in the first place is left as an exercise for the reader.)
  • January 21, 2012
    chihuahua0
    BUMP.

    I'll fix the description soon.
  • January 23, 2012
    chihuahua0
    BUMP.
  • January 24, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    You don't have to say "bump," you can bump a YKTTW by simply editing it (you don't actually have to make any changes, just open it for editing, then save).
  • January 24, 2012
    Prfnoff
    In Escape Velocity, the "New Pilot" dialog box offered a Strict Play option, which explained: "If you check this box, when you're dead, you're dead. No reincarnation allowed."
  • January 24, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • January 24, 2012
    Prfnoff
    "No Checkpoint Levels" wouldn't work for this trope; it's more like an alternate title for Checkpoint Starvation. It's not even clear to me what this trope has to do with Check Points; a game with this option might allow saving anywhere in normal mode.
  • January 24, 2012
    NativeJovian
    I'm pretty sure the difference between this and Checkpoint Starvation is that in this you can save (ie so you can put the game down for a while and come back to it later), but if you die, it deletes your save file (or otherwise renders it unplayable), while Checkpoint Starvation prevents you from saving at all.

    Correct?

    For a title, I like Final Death Difficulty Level or Final Death Game Mode.
  • January 24, 2012
    LittleLizard
    ^ Sort of, yes, but with the additional condition that it must be optional, whether for a level or more commonly, the entire game.

  • January 24, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    @Native Jovian: Check Point Starvation is not that narrow. It does not have to apply to the whole game, and it's not exclusively about Save Points, which is why it's called Check Point Starvation and not Save Point Starvation. A Marathon Level with no Check Points is an example of Check Point Starvation. Applying it to the whole game is just an extreme case of it.
  • January 25, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    I'd like to point out that Halo 3 is not a platforming game.
  • February 23, 2012
    32_Footsteps
    I've got an alternate name, which comes from an example - VVVVVV has No Death Mode, where you have to clear the game without saves or dying (not an example of Bladder Of Steel; in regular mode at regular speed, it's easily beaten with 100% completion in under an hour once you know what you're doing, and pausing is still active).
  • February 23, 2012
    Blork
    ^I don't like "No Death Mode", that sounds to me like a mode where it is impossible to die.

    There's a variant in strategy games where you are limited to one frequently updated autosave, which means you can't replay a battle if you don't like the result and if you lose altogether there is no option but to start again. Examples include "Mortal Mode" in Syndicate , and the highest difficulty of Total War: Shogun 2.
  • February 23, 2012
    bwburke94
    Seriously, are you trying to shoehorn a Minecraft trope namer or what? Final Death Mode or One Life No Continues are good other options for this trope's name.
  • February 23, 2012
    bwburke94
    One Life No Continues isn't as good as Final Death Mode for a name, because it may be misused applying to the game as a whole instead of a difficulty mode, but at least it doesn't have the problem a vague name like Hardcore Mode (which could easily refer to any Harder Than Hard difficulty level) has.
  • February 23, 2012
    Kayube
    'VVVVVV has a no death mode. So far, nobody's managed to win legitimately.
  • March 7, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    Bump. At this point, my suggestion is to, instead of splitting it off entirely, make it an Internal Subtrope of Check Point Starvation. I will bring this up again in the YKTTW workstation thread, but I'm not exactly getting a ton of feedback there.
  • March 8, 2012
    MarqFJA
    Internal Subtrope sounds good to me.
  • March 8, 2012
    peccantis
    Neo Quest I and II both have "In Sa Ne" mode where dying means you have to start over from the very beginning.
  • March 13, 2012
    Prfnoff
    I still don't like the idea of lumping this with Check Point Starvation; Check Point Starvation applies to level designs that include few Check Points, whereas this is an optional gameplay mode in games that may not involve Check Points at all. I'm repeating myself a bit, but so is one rather aggressive lumper here.

    If we're going to launch this as a trope, though, we might as well settle on a name. Since so many have taken exception to suggested names, perhaps "least worst" should be a principle on choosing a name.
  • March 13, 2012
    OneMore
    Is Diablo II the Trope Namer?
  • March 14, 2012
    billybobfred
    ^No, because that would require the trope to be officially named, which it isn't until it's launched. And anyway, I used Hardcore Mode as the title because I had seen it enough that I thought it was a standardized term, so we can't really claim a Trope Namer on this even if it still has the name after launch anyway.

    btw, This is not a subtrope, internal or otherwise, of Checkpoint Starvation. Sister trope, yes. But the overlap is not complete.
  • March 21, 2012
    Westrim
    PN03 has the Papillon suit which makes any hit to the player an instant kill (since, in contrast to the other suits which cover everything except the head, it leaves significant areas exposed). A different suit can be chosen for each mission, but since there is a bonus for playing through using only the Papillon it is effectively its own mode.
  • March 22, 2012
    Laukku
  • April 5, 2012
    Prfnoff
    ^^Instant kills are not this trope.
  • April 6, 2012
    OneMore
    I think this goes to Wide Open Sandbox.
    • Space Rangers II has a similar concept in "Iron Will" start option, which forbids you from saving the game, although auto-saving still works.
  • August 25, 2012
    MyTimingIsOff
    Wow, it's been a while since I've seen this YKTTW.

    Anyway, Check Point Starvation has now had time to grow, and is doing fairly well now. That was really all I wanted. I retract all of my desire to lump this with CTS.

    As for the name, I like Final Death Mode.
  • August 26, 2012
    troacctid
    Final Death is already a trope and it is a separate thing.
  • August 26, 2012
    Arivne

  • August 26, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^ Final Death is an event; a Video Game character is killed in a way that you, the player, can't bring them back (either due to rules of the game or specifics of context). This is an extension of that, where it's an unlockable/optional game mode that you can turn on or off.

    In that sense, I'm thinking it might fit as an Internal Subtrope of Final Death.
  • August 30, 2012
    peccantis
  • August 30, 2012
    Xtifr
    • Most Roguelike games, like Rogue, Net Hack, Angband, etc., have this as the only option. Saving the game also exits the game, and starting from a save file deletes the file. On many systems, the save files aren't even writable by normal users, so you need administrator privileges to cheat by copying/backing-up the save file.
  • August 30, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ The proposed definition is specifically when this is a user selectable option. So that's not an example.
  • August 31, 2012
    henke37
    So which trope is it when a game goes so far as to attempt to block the user from starting a new game? Such games do exist.
  • August 31, 2012
    ShadowHog
    So is this trope when the game offers an optional mode merely where Game Overs are permanent, or an optional mode where a single death spells Game Over and you don't get any extra lives? Because unless we already have the former, the latter seems kinda narrow. The trope description - "No lives, no continues, no checkpoints, nada" - sounds like the latter.

    As for why I care: fangame Sonic Robo Blast 2 has "Ultimate Mode", wherein the game offers no continues, and to make matters more challenging, removes the very-commonplace rings that'd otherwise protect you from damage, meaning you die in a single hit. However, you start with 3 lives and can still pick them up from 1-Up boxes, so if we went with the latter of the two above interpretations, it wouldn't count, when honestly, it sounds like it should. Is there another trope that would cover that situation?
  • August 31, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^ It may be partially/broadly addressed under Save Game Limits, which is about rules a game may impose on its save system.
  • October 1, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Platformer example:
  • October 1, 2012
    billybobfred
    Not a "mode" so much as "the entire gimmick of the game". It does have to be an option.
  • October 2, 2012
    Folamh3
    Certain of the Metal Gear games feature difficulty modes like "Extreme" (no saves, the player must start from the beginning if killed) or "European Extreme" (no saves, the player must start from the beginning if spotted by an enemy).
  • October 2, 2012
    DracMonster
    Irrevocable Player Death Option? (Or "Mode" or "Difficulty")

    One Life To Play?
  • October 2, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Is this limited to a difficulty setting, or just an aspect of a game?

    If the latter, we could include Festers Quest.

    If the former, then the name should indicate that it's a difficulty setting.
  • October 3, 2012
    Koveras
    Path Of Exile, being directly inspired by Diablo II, has this option as one of possible mods for game servers.
  • October 8, 2012
    m8e
    • Escape Velocity Nova have a Strict Play option.
      If you check this box, when you're dead, you're dead. No reincarnation allowed.

    In normal play the player are reincarnated on the last planet/station(=check point) they landed.

    Strict Play might work as a title.

    I think you have to remove the "no checkpoints" as there are games that have checkpoints, it just that you can't use them when you died in this mode. (You can still use checkpoint to continue to play the game later, or restart to from that point if you get stuck instead of dead etc)
  • October 9, 2012
    DracMonster
    Strict Play sounds more like Fake Difficulty.
  • November 28, 2012
    chihuahua0
  • November 28, 2012
    StarSword
    ^^^ Actually that option is available in all three Escape Velocity games. And for the OP, linking to the X-Universe series (for the X3: Terran Conflict example) requires VideoGame/{{X}}, not just Main/{{X}}. (Main/{{X}} points at a disambiguation page.)
  • November 28, 2012
    StarSword
    Also, add a vote for Final Death Mode as the title.
  • November 29, 2012
    Skoinks
    Max Payne 3 had some harder than ridiculously hard mode (I can't remember the name though) which put you at the beginning of the game every time you died.
  • December 1, 2012
    chihuahua0
    I'll put my vote behind Final Death Mode too.
  • December 18, 2012
    chihuahua0
    All right, Final Death Mode it is. (From Hardcore Mode, for future reference.)

    Since this has spent too much time in the system, we need to figure out whatever it's launchworthy. Anyone willing to make a second assessment?

    Well, besides the Zero Context Example of Diablo II and Max Payne 3, we're on decent ground.

    EDIT: Max Payne context added, and Diablo II example removed (both examples legitimacy were determined by Google). Any other objections?
  • December 19, 2012
    chihuahua0
    If there are no other objections, I'll be launching this soon.
  • December 19, 2012
    TuefelHundenIV
    Only one objection. No mention of 'Iron Man Mode' or reference to 'Iron Manning' which are common terms used in games and in gaming communities in general to refer to this option and voluntary practice.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=sfa7soh4tr5qko1o0vyw88j5&trope=FinalDeathMode