Created By: benstarwolf on August 1, 2011 Last Edited By: benstarwolf on August 25, 2011

Nigh-inescapable Portal Room

A room with, seemingly, a lot of exits, except that each exit brings the character back to the same room.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs a Better Title. Options: The Comeback Inn, Warpdoor Room, Wrap Around Room, All Roads Lead To Room, All Doors Lead To The Same Room

Needs a Better Description

A character finds themselves in a room, or some other area, with obvious exits. The character goes through one of the exits only to find themselves in the exact same room again. They try another exit, because usually there are more than two, and find themselves in the exact same room once again. They may return through the same door they left through, or the one opposite of it (if it is a circular room), or any other door at random. The character is stuck there and cannot escape unless:
  • They are saved by someone else.
  • They keep going through the doors until they break some sort of code.
  • They solve some other puzzle in the room or pass some sort of test.

Subtrope of Closed Circle

Compare to One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other, Magical Mystery Doors, and Scooby-Dooby Doors.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Bleach: The first filler arc of Bleach had Ichigo, et. al. put through one (the resemblance to a video game was justified since the while thing was a False Crucible training exercise).
Comics Film
  • The Avengers (1998): While drugged, hallucinating and under hypnotic influence, Mrs. Peel finds herself in a pair of rooms inspired by the works of M.C. Escher, with all exit doors leading back to the same rooms. She escapes by jumping through (and breaking) a mirror.
  • The Matrix: In Revolutions, Neo gets stuck in the train station and cannot leave until Trinity and Morpheus force the Merovingian force the Train Man to let Neo leave. Running through the subway tunnel brings him back from the opposite tunnel.
  • In Top Secret!, the protagonist is locked in a cell, climbs out through a vent grille, only to tumble back through another; he then does the same with yet another vent, a cabinet, a floor drain, the toilet, etc.
Literature
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: In A Dance with Dragons, the crew of the Shy Maid go underneath the Bridge of Dream twice despite that they are sailing down a river and did not turn around.
  • Wheel of Time: In the early books, Rand would frequently find himself in the Dream World, in a room full of High Octane Nightmare Fuel. If he tried walking through the one door, he would invariably find himself back in the same room.
  • Andre Norton's The X Factor. While wandering in a deserted city, Diskan Fentress finds himself returning to the same place no matter which direction he goes.
Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons: DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor. An entire inn has been specially enchanted so no one can leave without permission of the owner. Any attempt to leave, whether through a door, window or other exit, will result in the person re-entering through that exit. Its name? The Comeback Inn.
Television
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In the episode "Where Silence Has Lease," when Riker and Worf are on the fake U.S.S. Yamato's bridge, they find that all doors lead back to the bridge.
    • In the episode "The Royale," Riker, Warf et al. are in a mockup of the eponymous hotel from a trashy novel, and the revolving door leads right back into the hotel; they can't leave until they make the novel end.
  • Warehouse 13: One of the Warehouse's artifacts is a complete bed & breakfast, inside which the occupants can't leave (by normal means, anyway) -- each attempt results in them being returned to its main room from a different entry.
  • The X-Files: A Christmas episode. (Episode Title?} In a haunted mansion, Mulder and Scully find themselves in a room where the only door leads into the same room.
Video Games
  • Colossal Cave has a room called Witt's End where all the exits act like this -- you have a very small chance of getting out if you keep trying every direction except west, the one you came from.
  • Grim Fandango: In the game there is a forest clearing with multiple exits around its edge, all of which (except for the one you came in by) lead straight back into the same clearing.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4: The final level
  • The Longest Journey: The staircase hall in Roper Klacks' castle
  • Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete: (and possibly Lunar The Silver Star) Myght's tower, which is constructed to keep out visitors because Myght is a "cranky stinky rude genius."
Western Animation
  • South Park: In the episode "Asspen," the characters couldn't leave the ski lodge until they bought stocks in a timeshare company.

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • August 1, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Sometimes The Maze can feel like this.

    • Warehouse 13: One of the Warehouse's artifacts is a complete bed & breakfast, inside which the occupants can't leave (by normal means, anyway) -- each attempt results in them being returned to its main room from a different entry.
  • August 1, 2011
    KhazemiElmirAmarna
    In the original Legend of Zelda the farthest western egde of the map has an area like this. All but one of the exits return you to the same spot, and the way you came brings you back.
  • August 1, 2011
    hevendor717
    Related to whatever that return-to-the-beginning thing is in Ocarina Of Time's Lost Woods.
  • August 1, 2011
    Micah
  • August 2, 2011
    Arivne
    In some cases the character can find himself Going In Circles. The following examples below are from that page.

    Film
    • The Avengers (1998). While drugged, hallucinating and under hypnotic influence, Mrs. Peel finds herself in a pair of rooms inspired by the works of M.C. Escher, with all exit doors leading back to the same rooms. She escapes by jumping through (and breaking) a mirror.

    Live Action TV
    • Star Trek The Next Generation episode "Where Silence Has Lease". When Riker and Worf are on the fake U.S.S. Yamato's bridge, they find that all doors lead back to the bridge.
    • A Christmas episode of The X Files. In a haunted mansion, Mulder and Scully find themselves in a room where the only door leads into the same room.
  • August 2, 2011
    Fearmonger
    Majoras Mask and Oracle Of Seasons also had Lost Woods. In Seasons, there were two solutions to the puzzle. One solution led to a dungeon, the other to the Noble Sword, replacing the wooden sword you'll have been using up to now.
  • August 2, 2011
    PaulA
    • Grim Fandango has a forest clearing with multiple exits around its edge, all of which (except for the one you came in by) lead straight back into the same clearing.
  • August 2, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Most videogame examples are already covered by The Maze, due to the tendency of all rooms to look alike, making it difficult (if not impossible) to tell where you are inside it.
  • August 2, 2011
    GlaciusTS
    ^^ I suppose The Maze could be considered a related trope or subtrope of this.

    Btw, I wouldn't include "Inescapable" in the title, as most cases do allow some form of escape by clever means.
  • August 2, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Yeah, if it truly was inescapable, then games would become Unwinnable at that point.
  • August 2, 2011
    Generality
    In the early Wheel Of Time books, Rand would frequently find himself in the Dream World, in a room full of High Octane Nightmare Fuel. If he tried walking through the one door, he would invariably find himself back in the same room.
  • August 2, 2011
    benstarwolf
    Wouldn't Seemingly Inescapable Portal Room be too long of a title, though? It would be amazing to find the Ur Example of this trope and name it after that.
  • August 2, 2011
    Sequitur
    What about something like Infinitely Looping Room for a title?
  • August 2, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Wraparound Room? In many cases when they try leave one way they come back in from the opposite side.
  • August 2, 2011
    Hadashi
    There's a room like this at the end of Simon The Sorcerer Two, though you can just walk streight across it and out.
  • August 3, 2011
    AFP
  • August 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    also in ST:TNG "The Royale" Riker, Warf et al. are in a mockup of the eponymous hotel from a trashy novel, and the revolving door leads right back into the hotel; they can't leave until they make the novel end.
  • August 3, 2011
    Stratadrake
    "Mobius" doesn't work.

    ^ I don't think that would necessarily count, because it's a revolving door; if you can't leave through it then of course you're going to loop around back to the inside. If it was an ordinary-looking door where you step out of it only to find yourself back in the same room (usually by a second doorway), that's the trope.

  • August 3, 2011
    Koveras
    The staircase hall in Roper Klacks' castle in The Longest Journey is this.
  • August 3, 2011
    Bisected8
    The first filler arc of Bleach had Ichigo et al put through one (the resemblance to a video game was justified since the while thing was a False Crucible training exercise).
  • August 3, 2011
    madelinemary
    Lunar Silver Star Story Complete (and possibly Lunar The Silver Star)has Myght's tower, so constructed to keep out visitors as Myght is a "cranky stinky rude genius."
  • August 3, 2011
    ChocolateChip
    A South Park episode had this at a ski lodge. They couldn't leave until they bought stocks in a timeshare company.
  • August 3, 2011
    ChocolateChip
    Also the last level of Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4.
  • August 3, 2011
    lukebn
    I like Mobius Room.
  • August 4, 2011
    h0m3r
    The Escher steps room in Labyrinth possibly fits this trope
  • August 4, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Basic Dungeons And Dragons adventure DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor. An entire inn has been specially enchanted so no one can leave without permission of the owner. Any attempt to leave, whether through a door, window or other exit, will result in the person re-entering through that exit. Its name? The Comeback Inn.
  • August 4, 2011
    benstarwolf
    Went through and added your examples, if I missed one its probably because it wasn't explained well enough. Also, if you guys know the trick to get out of your examples of the Nigh-inescapable Portal Room, please add them. I want to have all the bases covered on how to get out of the room. Some of these examples are really well done. As far as the name is concerned, Mobius Room doesn't really work because there is no Mobius (look it up on the other Wiki) unless it is invisible. And Wraparound Room? Isn't a wraparound something else? I changed the name because you are right there is always a way to escape. Again, please tell me how. Going on vacation, so I'll check back in on this trope in week and a half. P.s. There are three examples brought over from Lost and Found that need better explanations: Doctor Who: In the episodes "Space/Time" and "Castrovalva", a movie called "Dead End", and a Batman Arkham Asylum mission
  • August 4, 2011
    Stratadrake
    BTW, don't pothole If You Know What I Mean, that trope's decay is Over Nine Thousand already, let's not make it eleven.

    Mobius doesn't work at all because the only widespread knowledge of the term comes from "mobius strip", a surface that paradoxically has only one side and one edge, which is completely unrelated to this trope.
  • August 5, 2011
    DorianMode
    In Top Secret, the protagonist is locked in a cell, climbs out through a vent grille, only to tumble back through another; he then does the same with yet another vent, a cabinet, a floor drain, the toilet, etc.
  • August 5, 2011
    mewflora31
    Pokemon Leaf Green also had one, (I don't know where exactly, but it was somewhere on an island, in a cave).
  • August 5, 2011
    ChocolateChip
    Getting out in Lego Harry Potter requires you to go through the "exits" in a particular order. Incidentally, this trope is only one of several puzzles in that level, which the example should probably clarify.

    The South Park episode is season 6 episode 2, "Asspen"
  • August 6, 2011
    OmarKarindu
    • One of the recurring weapons of the Marvel Comics villain the Wizard is a "D-Warper," which turns ever door in a room into the entrance to that same room, effectively trapping a person there forever.
  • August 6, 2011
    LobsterMagnus
    All Roads Lead To Room, in allusion to the saying?
  • August 12, 2011
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Andre Norton's The X Factor. While wandering in a deserted city, Diskan Fentress finds himself returning to the same place no matter which direction he goes.
  • August 12, 2011
    Turismo
    Paper Mario has it too. if you don't follow the series of lanterns correctly in bowsers castle

  • August 12, 2011
    DracMonster
    • Colossal Cave has a room called Witt's End where all the exits act like this -- you have a very small chance of getting out if you keep trying every direction except west, the one you came from.
  • August 13, 2011
    benstarwolf
    What's missing? Are the ways to escape accurate or do I need more?
  • August 13, 2011
    Stratadrake
    BTW, just about all the suggested videogame examples so far belong under The Maze -- it needs to be listed as the videogame-specific subtrope.
  • August 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the classic video game Snake if your snake goes off one side of the screen it reappears on the other side.
  • August 14, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ No, that's Wrap Around.
  • August 14, 2011
    benstarwolf
    This is not a video game specific trope. The Nigh-Inescapable Portal Room may be a part of The Maze but it is not a maze in itself. I am not familiar with most of the examples, so please tell me if they are actually The Maze. I think any of the Lost Woods from Zelda are probably The Maze unless there is a specific area within them that is the N.I.P.R.
  • August 19, 2011
    benstarwolf
    bump
  • August 19, 2011
    Chabal2
    Reed Richards builds one in a Fantastic Four story, trapping himself and Dr Doom inside it for eternity (having previously insulted and aggravated his teammates so they wouln't join him. Obviously, they rescue both in the end.

  • August 19, 2011
    Koncur
    • The Endless Stairs in Super Mario 64 are a one-way example. When you run up them, they seem to go on forever, but if you pay attention, you're actually being teleported back a few stairs each time you reach a certain point. You can, however, leave the stairs at any time by giving up and going back down.

    • A Guide Dang It puzzle in the school level of American McGee's Alice combined this with a teleporter puzzle. It was impossible to tell when you were looping back into the same room, and when you were being teleported to another, completely identical room.

    Also, didn't this happen in one of the Cube movies?
  • August 25, 2011
    benstarwolf
    bump
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