Check Point Starvation YKTTW Discussion

Check Point Starvation
Having to play through a long level or mission, or the entire game, without Check Points.
(permanent link) added: 2011-08-18 17:00:24 sponsor: FastEddie edited by: Insignificant (last reply: 2011-10-17 15:45:30)

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"You go back... to the beginning? No... continues? No... extra lives? What is this? You die one time, you go back to the beginning of the game? That is the greatest offense to the world of gaming!"

When a game has a singificant lack of Check Points.

In the most extreme cases, the trope can apply to the game itself. If you die, you don't have to replay the level, you have to replay the whole game. However, going that far with this trope is mostly unheard of in recent games, it usually only applies to the 8-bit era, and even then it's still uncommon.

Note: This is not a trope for Complaining About Games That Don't Have Enough Check Points. This trope only applies when the game requires you to go through a long segment of the game (or the entire game) without Check Points.

A subtrope of Fake Difficulty. Not to be confused with Save Game Limits, when the game imposes limits on when and where you can save the game, though these two sometimes overlap.


Action Adventure
  • Cave Story's Sacred Grounds. Not only is the level Nintendo Hard, but the player is required to do it all in one go, including its two bosses, one of which has three forms.
  • Metroid Prime subjects players to this upon first entering the Phazon Mines. There's a save station, near the entrance. Better use it, 'cuz it's the last one you'll see for a long time. Getting to the next one requires you to run a gauntlet of shadow troops, mega turrets, wave and ice troopers, and two mini boss battles against an elite pirate and a cloaked drone.
    • The drone battle is especially cruel, as it takes place right when the player is likely to be low on health and, to add insult to injury, it ambushes you right outside the next save station, which is blocked by debris. The only way to clear away the rubble, is with a power bomb: earned by beating the drone then navigating an electric mini maze.
    • In all, it'll take you about half an hour or more of nonstop fighting and puzzle solving to get from that first save station to the next one. And if you die, at any point along the way, you get to do it all over again.
  • The page quote refers to Milon's Secret Castle, which is actually a subversion of this. It appears, at first, that dying once sends you back to the beginning of the game. However, you actually can continue: with a code. As The Angry Video Game Nerd pointed out, if you don't know the code, you're screwed.

Action Game
  • Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 has a few passages where you have to go through several long and tough fights without the possibility to save in-between. Most notably the last parts of chapter 13 (including the very grueling stairway fight), 14 (the graveyard fights), and the first half of chapter 16 (this straight corridor just never ends...). The latter two get Bonus Points for having an appearance of Recurring Bosses out of nowhere without the usual auto-save. These passages are stressing in Normal but get really sadistic in Master Ninja.
  • A lot of games based off of Terminator 2 require the player to beat the whole game with one life.

First-Person Shooter
  • This was one of the criticisms leveled at Monolith when they whipped up Tron 2.0. The game only autosaved at the start of a level, no matter how large said level was. Worse, you could not save during the lightcycle matches at all.

Platform Game
  • Adventure Island II and III have no checkpoints within stages, in contrast to four for each level in Adventure Island I. At least the stages are shorter.
  • Captain Comic had no checkpoints or save points.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3 has a cheat to remove all the Check Points in the levels.
  • I Wanna Be The Guy's "Impossible" mode is based around this. It requires you to beat the entire game without save points.
  • In the HD versions of Sonic Unleashed, one mission in the game involves getting to the end of Eggmanland, a Nintendo Hard stage that indeed is comparable to those of the old 8-bit games--without any usable checkpoints and with a time limit. It is also by far the longest stage in the game, considering the time limit is 45 minutes.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 is unique from the rest of the 2D Mario platformers in that it's the only one to not have any Check Points in the levels. This isn't normally a problem since most of the levels are short anyway, but this can cause frustration in the game's harder, longer levels.
  • Some missions in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are rather long with no checkpoints in them at all, most notably the Daredevil missions, whose primary objective is to finish the stage as a One-Hit-Point Wonder. The two most infamous ones are for "The Sinking Lava Spire" in the first game, which requires the player to traverse the longest mission in That One Level; and "The Perfect Run" in the second, taking place in by far the hardest stage in a game with a massive Sequel Difficulty Spike.
  • A lot of Super Mario World ROM hacks suffer from this due to having Marathon Levels, since by default, Mario World levels can only have one Check Point.

Puzzle Game
  • The Impossible Quiz is the king of this trope. There are over 100 questions, and if you run out of lives, you have to go all the way back to question 1. The game contains a lot of Trial-and-Error Gameplay, so you are certain to run out of lives several times before you reach the end, provided your patience even lasts long enough to get that far. On top of that, some of the questions have timer bombs, which instantly give you a Game Over regardless of your amount of lives, plus the infamous last question where you have to use all of your skips. Put all of that together and you have one truly sadistic game.
    • The sequel goes out of its way to mock the player for even wanting Check Points.

Role-Playing Game

Third-Person Shooter
  • This trope is deliberately invoked in the "Hardcore Mode" of Dead Space 2. Specifically, it only allows you to save 'three times in the whole game, and there are no checkpoints.

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