Created By: Trueman001 on April 4, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 24, 2013
Troped

Dead End Room (better name?)

Once you enter, you can't leave. Time to reset.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
You're playing a maze-type game, and you notice an exit you haven't used before. You go through it, and... hey, where are this room's exits?

Usually a subtrope of Unwinnable by Design (although can also be Unwinnable by Mistake or even Unwinnable by Insanity), a <$LAUNCH_NAME> is used as a fiendish trap by the game's designers. <$LAUNCH_NAME>s come in two varieties:

  • No Exit: the room simply has no exits, or if it has, they only lead back into the same room or into a closed cycle of rooms which connect only to each other, not to the main maze.
  • All Lethal: to hammer home the point, everything in the room hurts or kills you when touched, so your game will soon be over anyway even if you don't reset.

Note that a room is only All Lethal if everything kills you -- if it's only some (or even most) things, as in Entrance To Hades, the room is No Exit.

Another distinction is that No Exit rooms may have some kind of friendly label to let you know you're screwed, such as "DIE MORTAL"; All Lethal rooms of course need no label.

[$if launch_name == "Kill Room"]
Not to be confused with Kill Screen, which is where a glitch (usually the level number wrapping round to 0) causes the game to become unplayable.
[$elseif launch_name == "Literally Dead End"]
Not to be confused with Blind Alley, which is where your pursuers can't see you even if they should be able to.
[$endif]

Related to Death Course and Empty Room Until The Trap.

Examples

No Exit
  • Jet Set Willy has one of the oldest examples -- "Entrance To Hades". This is a room where you just keep falling down, respawning at the top and falling again until you run out of lives. It is No Exit rather than All Lethal because, if entered by a non-standard route, one can stand atop the "DIE MORTAL" letters without them killing one.
    • Jet Set Willy II on the ZX Spectrum also adds "Water Supply". Up is out of reach, and down leads only through "well" (three times) to "Dinking Vater?", which is a dead end, and which in any case will kill you if you haven't got the fall from any height cheat.
  • Wriggler on the Spectrum has one in the Hell section.
  • Dirty Harry on the NES has such a room, according to the Unwinnable by Design page.
  • Driller; driving into any of the triangular spaces of the map causes this.
  • Eye of the Beholder II had two No Exit examples.
    • In Temple Level 2, placing three gems in a niche opens a secret passage. If you go through it and into a room, the passage closes behind you and you're trapped forever.
    • In a room on Silver Tower Level 2, if you kill a dying Darkmoon cleric the door out of the room closes and traps the party inside permanently. Reload your last saved game.
  • Colossal Cave has Witt's End, which appears to be No Exit, and traps you if you try to go back west the way you came (or in almost any other direction). Instead you have to keep trying to go north. More insidiously, there's an apparently worthless item (a magazine) you have to drop inside the room (not where you deposit your treasures) to get that Last Lousy Point. Possibly the very first Guide Dang It.
  • In Portal 2, while Chell and Weatley are running away from GLaDOS, the latter opens a room near your escape route and creates a bridge to it while inviting you to go in. As soon as you enter it, you're trapped and deadly neurotoxin kills you.
  • Planescape: Torment has an an area where you get stuck in a room where the only way out involves dying. Luckily the player character is immortal and will come back to life shortly after being killed.
  • Hexen version 1 has an accidental one; the Axe Room in Hub 4's "The Gibbet" has a door which cannot be opened from the inside, so once inside the only way out is to kill the second Heresiarch which eventually appears, and then either run to the door (which was briefly reopened by the Heresiarch's death) so as to explore the hub with the help of the wings you just gained, or go through the portal to the next hub (which of course you will need to do in the end). Unfortunately the action script for the ending, which teleports four Green Chaos Serpents into the room and then checks their number every five seconds or so, only proceeds if there are exactly three left, so if you manage to kill two or more of them between checks, you're trapped forever. This was corrected in version 1.1, which checks if there are less than four left.
  • In Doom II MAP12, "The Factory"; the door to the exit room is a yellow-key door outside and a red-key door inside, but there is no red key in the level, so unless one is playing in deathmatch mode or cheating, once inside the only way out is through the exit.
  • In the PC shareware game MasterSpy there are several; for example, in "The Underground Railway" are numerous ways to go through a train or turnstile to a sector where none of the ticket machines correspond to any train or turnstile out, so if you take a ticket you trap yourself.

All Lethal

Non-video-game examples

Film
  • The titular cube of the Cube series is a gigantic series of these. Some are booby-trapped, while others are safe, with almost no way of knowing until it's too late. Escape is made all the more difficult due to the fact that the rooms move. Cube Zero implies that even if you escape, the monitors kill you, or worse lobotamize you and throw you back into the Cube.

Literature
  • In the Discworld novel A Hat Full Of Sky, young witch Tiffany Aching leads the misunderstood but inadvertently lethal creature, the Hiver, through the door of Death, which it craves, only to discover the Door is one-way only. She has to do some seriously lateral thinking to get round this and return to the living world.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Gravity", Tuvok and Paris go through a Negative Space Wedgie and end up on a planet in a pocket of space that can be entered but not exited, due to gravimetric and time distortions. Some aliens outside this pocket want to destroy this Negative Space Wedgie leading into it, as it has already stranded many of their ships, but the crew of Voyager do manage to find the Reverse Polarity needed to rescue Tuvok and Paris before the aliens can close the pocket for good (which would have collapsed the space inside it).

Music
  • A man encounters a No Exit example when he tries to stay at the title establishment in The Eagles' "Hotel California".
    "You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave."
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • The Four Winds Bar, in the Blue Öyster Cult's hauntingly evocative ballad Astronomy.

Real Life
  • At London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, the entrance to the Underground station appears to have been designed on the principle that anyone with a good enough head for heights to fly, is also capable of walking across a translucent glass floor with a clearly-visible 50-foot drop beneath.[[note]]This of course ignores the possibility that the person isn't there to fly, but to transfer to or from one of the many long-distance bus routes that serve the airport.[[/note]] For those who find walking across such a floor psychologically impossible, the escalator down to the Underground is an example of this trope; it does not lead directly to the station, but to a mezzanine floor from which there is no way back up, and where the only way down is to cross one of those glass floors (or to be rescued by a kind employee opening the emergency staircase to allow the person down that way). Since the terminal opened, at least two people have been caught this way.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • April 4, 2013
    Trueman001
    Type A examples:
    • Jet Set Willy has one of the oldest examples -- "Entrance To Hades".
      • Jet Set Willy II on the ZX Spectrum also adds "Water Supply". Up is out of reach, and down leads only through "well" (three times) to "Dinking Vater?", which is a dead end, and which in any case will kill you if you haven't got the fall from any height cheat.
    • Wriggler on the Spectrum has one in the Hell section.

    Type B examples:

  • April 5, 2013
    Trueman001
    Type A examples:
    • Dirty Harry on the NES has such a room, according to the Unwinnable By Design page.
    • Driller; driving into any of the triangular spaces of the map causes this.

  • April 5, 2013
    MrRuano
    --Disregard. It seems the link I wanted has been redlinked.--
  • April 6, 2013
    Arivne
    Changed Type A and Type B to actual names because Type Labels Are Not Examples.

    • Eye Of The Beholder II had two No Exit examples.
      • In Temple Level 2, placing three gems in a niche opens a secret passage. If you go through it and into a room, the passage closes behind you and you're trapped forever.
      • In a room on Silver Tower Level 2, if you kill a dying Darkmoon cleric the door out of the room closes and traps the party inside permanently. Reload your last saved game.
  • April 6, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    A non-game version of this:

    Live-Action TV

    In the Star Trek Voyager episode "Gravity", Tuvok and Paris go through a Negative Space Wedgie and end up on a planet in a pocket of space that can be entered but not exited, due to gravimetric and time distortions. Some aliens outside this pocket want to destroy this Negative Space Wedgie leading into it, as it has already stranded many of their ships, but the crew of Voyager do manage to find the Reverse Polarity needed to rescue Tuvok and Paris before the aliens can close the pocket for good (which would have collapsed the space inside it).
  • April 6, 2013
    DracMonster
    • Colossal Cave has Witt's End, which appears to be a dead end, and traps you if you try to go back west the way you came. Instead you have to keep trying to go north. More insidiously, there's an apparently worthless item (a magazine) you have to drop inside the room (not where you deposit your treasures) to get that Last Lousy Point. Possibly the very first Guide Dang It.
  • April 6, 2013
    Korodzik
    To clarify one example above--"Entrance to Hades" in Jet Set Willy is a room where you just keep falling down, respawning at the top and falling again until you run out of lives.
  • April 7, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Shall we discuss titles?
  • April 8, 2013
    DunDun
    Cockroach Hotel? Or a variation thereof? That is literally the first thing I thought of when I saw "Once you enter, you can't leave."
  • April 22, 2013
    Trueman001
    This trope could certainly do with a new name to distinguish it from Kill Screen.

    The second type also needs a short and snappy name, as the one above is too unwieldy. All Lethal perhaps?

  • April 22, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ That seems likely for misuse and confusion with Everything Trying To Kill You. I much prefer Cockroach Hotel mentioned above.
  • April 23, 2013
    Trueman001
    ^The suggested name for the second type (aka "Type B" as I originally named it) is even more similar to Everything Trying To Kill You; another reason why a better name for this type is needed.

  • April 23, 2013
    Lyendith
    • In Portal 2, while Chell and Weatley are running away from G La DOS, the latter opens a room near your escape route and creates a bridge to it while invinting you to go in. As soon as you enter it, you're trapped and deadly neurotoxin kills you.

  • April 24, 2013
    rcmerod52
    Does the Minus World in Super Mario Bros. count?
  • April 24, 2013
    Trueman001
    For the trope as a whole, how about Literally Dead End?
  • April 24, 2013
    Lyendith
    Not bad.
  • April 25, 2013
    Trueman001
    Just updated the YKTTW to incorporate all examples so far.
  • April 25, 2013
    DunDun
    Second type sounds like Poison Room -- everything you touch hurts you (by increments that don't insta-kill you).

    Edit: Also, the "not to be confused with" tropes need context.
  • April 25, 2013
    Trueman001
    I would have thought that the "not to be confused with"s were self-explanatory; the first is because the working title of this trope (Kill Room) is uncomfortably close to Kill Screen despite being not at all the same kind of thing (one reason why a new name was requested) and the second is because the idea of this trope (a room you can enter but not leave) instantly suggests Blind Alley to me at least -- and would do so even more strongly if the launch title is Literally Dead End.

    Also, I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to include the one Music example I can think of -- Hotel California. Is it a strong enough example?

  • April 25, 2013
    DunDun
    ^The whole "Not Self Explanatory" thing is about linking to another page in the description with the assumption that "everybody knows this." What about the name alone "Blind Alley" says "a room you can enter but not leave"... or whatever the hell Blind Alley is. It's bad form to assume people already know the other trope; assume this trope is the first trope someone sees.

    There is a reason "Self Explanatory" redirects to "Not Self Explanatory."
  • May 5, 2013
    Trueman001
    Title? Is it to be "Literally Dead End" or what?
  • May 5, 2013
    Nomic
    Planescape Torment has an an area where you get stuck in a room where the only way out involves dying. Luckily the player character is immortal and will come back to life shortly after being killed.
  • May 5, 2013
    Trueman001
    (No Exit)

    Hexen version 1 has an accidental one; the Axe Room in Hub 4's "The Gibbet" has a door which cannot be opened from the inside, so once inside the only way out is to kill the second Heresiarch which eventually appears, and then either run to the door (which was briefly reopened by the Heresiarch's death) so as to explore the hub with the help of the wings you just gained, or go through the portal to the next hub (which of course you will need to do in the end). Unfortunately the action script for the ending, which teleports four Green Chaos Serpents into the room and then checks their number every five seconds or so, only proceeds if there are exactly three left, so if you manage to kill two or more of them between checks, you're trapped forever. This was corrected in version 1.1, which checks if there are less than four left.
  • May 6, 2013
    Stratadrake
    There's no need to split the description by type; the second one is better served by simply being a footnote of the first.
  • May 6, 2013
    arbiter099
    The titular cube of the Cube series is a gigantic series of these. Some are booby-trapped, while others are safe, with almost no way of knowing until it's too late. Escape is made all the more difficult due to the fact that the rooms move. Cube Zero implies that even if you escape, the monitors kill you, or worse lobotamize you and throw you back into the Cube.
  • May 8, 2013
    randomeyes
    Done deliberately in Doom II MAP12, "The Factory"; the door to the exit room is a yellow-key door outside and a red-key door inside, but there is no red key in the level, so unless one is playing in deathmatch mode or cheating, once inside the only way out is through the exit.

  • May 8, 2013
    arbiter099
  • May 9, 2013
    Arivne
  • May 9, 2013
    AgProv
    Music. Hotel California, certainly. Well troped there. Also Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel. And also consider the Four Winds Bar, in the Blue Oyster Cult's hauntingly evocative ballad Astronomy.

    Literature: In the Discworld novel A Hat Full Of Sky, young witch Tiffany Aching leads the misunderstood but inadvertently lethal creature, the Hiver, through the door of Death, which it craves, only to discover the Door is one-way only. She has to do some seriously lateral thinking to get round this and return to the living world.
  • May 9, 2013
    Trueman001
    The examples are shapiing up well, to my mind -- time to launch soon?
  • May 10, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    There's no need for the "to clarify" statement for Jet Set Willy to be a separate bullet. It can just be something like this:

    Jet Set Willy has one of the oldest examples -- "Entrance To Hades". It's a room where you just keep falling down, respawning at the top and falling again until you run out of lives.
  • May 10, 2013
    DunDun
    In response to ^^:
    • Get more hats.
    • The music examples are Zero Context Examples.
    • What the Hel is "Entrance to Hades" got to do with this? It's as though you meant to pothole that but forgot.
    • Everything Trying To Kill You needs to be contrasted. "Contrast the "All Lethal" room with Everything Trying To Kill You, which is when literally everything in the entire work is trying to kill the character."
    • The "related to" tropes are Not Self Explanatory. How are they related to this? Assume this is the first article someone sees, and remember that forcing people to go to another page to get answers is poor form.
  • May 21, 2013
    BlackMageJ
    Not sure if this really counts, but...

    • In the original Sonic The Hedgehog, the manual claims that Robotnik has littered the levels with traps from which Sonic can't possibly escape, requiring you to reset the game. In reality, there are no such traps, but the line was there to cover for the known issue of Sonic occasionally going so fast he could outrun the camera, graphics, and physics processing, resulting in him getting trapped in a wall.
  • May 21, 2013
    arromdee
    Alternate Reality back in the 8-bit era had several one square buildings in the city map with secret entrances and no exits. It later turned out this was a mistake by the designers and was not made a kill room intentionally.
  • June 23, 2013
    Trueman001
    -bump-
  • June 23, 2013
    Randomwaffle23
    The example from Portal2 should be under All Lethal, as the neurotoxin kills you soon after you enter.
  • June 23, 2013
    Koveras
    If this is a purely video game trope, the title should reflect this. For example, instead of "room", it may be Dead End Level.
  • June 24, 2013
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • Subverted in several Star Trek examples, where the protagonists manage to escape by the end of the episode.
      • Star Trek The Next Generation
        • "The Royale". An away team finds a revolving door on a deserted planet. When they go through, they find themselves trapped in what appears to be an old-style hotel/casino called the Royale. They discover that it is was created by unknown aliens based on an old novel. They can't leave until they figure out how to use the book's plot to discover an exit.
        • "Where Silence Has Lease". The Enterprise ends up trapped inside a black void. Despite all their efforts the crew can find no way to escape. Weird things start to happen to them, and they discover that they're being toyed with by an extremely powerful being called Nagilum.
      • (Star Trek Voyager example)
  • June 24, 2013
    abloke
    Live Action TV
    • Used occasionally on the game show Knightmare. If a player took a wrong turn, they could be trapped in a room with no viable exits, and forced to wait until their life force ran out.
      • A variation was a room which appeared to be escapable, but contained a huge bomb which exploded before the player could humanly reach an exit. Would that count as "All Lethal"?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=udtxpvtfgqo0e26fuao0wh71&trope=DeadEndRoom