Created By: SNDL on March 8, 2012 Last Edited By: SNDL on March 29, 2012

New Level On A Familiar Setting

A level that revisits (or remixes) the setting and themes of an earlier level

Name Space:
Page Type:
In most Video Games, particularly from the platform, action-adventure and RPG genres, each and every level has its own, unique setting or theme that is different from the other levels. You get the Green Hill Zone, the Shifting Sand Land, the Lethal Lava Land, the Bubbly Clouds, etc.

On rare occasions, a later level may reuse the same setting from an earlier level, even though the enemies and obstacles change or are remixed in some way. There may be a few ways to do this:

  1. The new level may be geographically closer to the earlier level, but it may not have been accessible at first due to a lack of necessary items, because it has to be entered through an alternate route, or simply because the storyline dictates so.
  2. The new level may be related storyline-wise (e.g. a major character or villain may be found on both stages), so it would make sense to give both areas a type of setting in common to favor consistency.
  3. The new level may correspond to another playable character, in the case the earlier level was only explored by another.
  4. Or simply the designers ran out of ideas when they were thinking about the settings.

Not to be confused with Hard Mode Filler, where the later level is actually identical, or extremely similar, to the earlier one, but made more difficult to be consistent with its late appearance in the game. Also, it doesn't count if all levels share the same setting.


  • Happened a few times through the Super Mario Bros. games:
    • World 6 of Super Mario Bros. 2. It remixes the Shifting Sand Land from World 2. World 3 borrows the Green Hill Zone theme of World 1. In both cases, the bosses are the same (Mouser in 1 and 3, Tryclide in 2 and 6)!
    • Levels 9 to 12 in Super Mario 64. Namely, both Dire, Dire Docks and Wet-Dry World are aquatic levels, and in turn borrow that to the much earlier Jolly Roger's Bay, Snowman's Land does this to to Cool, Cool Mountain (Slippy-Slidey Ice World), while Tall Tall Mountain does this to Whomp's Fortress (Death Mountain).
    • In Super Mario Galaxy, we have Dreadnought Galaxy, which revisits the Eternal Engine setting of Space Junk Galaxy and Battlerock Galaxy (and from the latter, it borrows the same boss, Topman).
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, various different settings that appear at first in the first worlds are carried over to the later ones. A Justified Trope, since the levels are much shorter, so this helps to take proper advantage of the themes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Interestingly inverted in Banjo-Kazooie: The level Click Clock Wood, at first a Lost Woods level, is portrayed in a total of four different settings, each one representing a season of the year. Thus, when you reach it in winter, it becomes Slippy-Slidey Ice World. This level aside, Rusty Bucket Bay plays the trope straight, by revisiting the Down the Drain and Eternal Engine traits of Clanker's Cavern (but made noticeable more difficult due to the water being polluted and the obstacles being more hazardous).
  • In Jet Force Gemini, the Eternal Engine setting appears first in S.S. Anubis, and is remixed by S.S. Sekhmet and the Spawnship. It's justified because each of them is visited by a different character (respectively, Juno, Vela and Lupus). Later on, Gem Quarry reuses the Lost Woods setting of Goldwood, but it's shockingly shorter.
  • Hideout Helm in Donkey Kong 64. It's an Eternal Engine like Frantic Factory, but it has a more serious tone and atmosphere (no doubt for it being the final level).
  • Very common in the Mario Kart series. In both the SNES version, it's not strange to find larger and trickier circuits dedicated to Mario or Bowser. In subsequent games, courses from Mario, Peach, Yoshi and Daisy mimick the same generic style of Luigi (!). From Mario Kart DS onwards, the inclusion of retro levels provides a reciprocal example from the older courses to the newer ones.

Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • March 8, 2012
    Errr .... bump?
  • March 8, 2012
    Nostalgia Level? Or do you mean like having two "fire" levels in one game?
  • March 8, 2012
    Nostalgia Levels revolve more around referencing past levels and even games, the setting is not the focus. So yes, it's about setting encores. If there's a second fire level separate from the first, it's this trope (after all, the usual norm is that each level has a setting different from the others).
  • March 8, 2012
    i don't think this is Nostalgia Level, that is when level, posibily on a sequel, is designed as a Call Back to a previous level, the way i see this, is as a level wich may be either (I) an expanded terrain to explore, (I)a close area to a previously visited one(geographically wise, you may need (I)(II)to take another route to reach it, or parting from the old area to the new one), or (II)even the same place, but after an important (II)plot event happened and altered the setting enough to make it look like another level,(I)(III)or the same place but with the avaiable paths limited by your character's abilities to navigate through it as for the IV option it could be simply having multiple levels with the same theming with no further relationship than that

    Examples Type I: See Metroidvania

    • On Sonic And Knuckles, there are some areas that are blocked with special blocks that can only be breaked with knuckles fist(type 3)

    • In the Crash Bandicooth Games have most versions of them, some levels start basically on the same part where you finished a previous one, others are different parts of the same level, and at some point they join the main level(so watch out if you are looking ofr 100% completion, here you may basically need to complete both parts of the level), others become avaiable only after you either unlocked a gem or obtained an ability htat let you reach other parts, and most of them actually have groups of theeming on the levels
  • March 19, 2012
    Bump (seriously? So far none of my YKTTW attempts have succeeded!).

    [up]I don't think the Crash Bandicoot levels that have to be backtracked to fully fit, since you're technically within the same stages. For example, I go back to Air Crash in Cortex Strikes Back when I have the blue gem. So I manage indeed to discover a new part of it, but it's still part of the level since its name is still "Air Crash". A more fitting example would be the Eggipus Rex stage of Warped: It's unlocked when you visit a prehistoric level and then go to its secret area, accessible only when you find the yellow gem later. Both that level and Eggipus Rex are prehistoric levels, with the latter borrowing the setting from the former, so in this case the trope is present.
  • March 24, 2012
    Road Rash has this. There's ONLY 5 levels, but they each get longer and ha-, er, more difficult, as you progress.
  • March 24, 2012
    • The last two levels in the Wii remake of A Boy And His Blob take place in the forest where the game began -- to the point where they're found in World 1.
  • March 25, 2012
  • March 25, 2012
    Non-Video Game Example: The 4th Season of Fringe takes place in an altered timeline but parallels the 1st season (original timeline) in terms of storytelling devices, plot elements, and character development.
  • March 29, 2012
    @Koveras: It might overlap with levels that are related to the earlier stages. But it's not the same for the other cases. For example, in the case of the Fire Sanctuary from Skyward Sword, it has no relation to the Earth Temple, yet it reuses its Lethal Lava Land setting.

    To summarize the trope in a short sentence. This is about a level that reuses a setting already seen in another level. It's not about the one and same level, which IS Nostalgia Level or Remixed Level.

    Man, I really suck at launching tropes. I suppose I'll try with another one. If that fails too, I might practically give up.