The distressing scenario in a video game when you're caught in an inescapable DeathTrap and have to watch your LifeMeter gradually be reduced to nothing -- or, if you're a OneHitpointWonder, exhaust your supply of {{One Up}}s one by one as you keep respawning in a very unfortunate position.

This is basically what MercyInvincibility is supposed to prevent. It can even be utilized as a cheap method of taking down enemies by attacking the moment they come out of the stunned status, known as stunlocking.

This is a [[ClassicVideoGameScrewYous Classic Video Game Screw You]] when deliberate, and a GameBreakingBug when accidental.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: General ]]

* Happens in flick screen games where you reappear at the edge of the screen you just entered. If you fell from the screen above, then you'll just keep reappearing at the top edge with no way to save yourself. See ''VideoGame/JetSetWilly''. It is also often called "Jet Set Willy syndrome" for this.
* Many games with autosaves will sometimes trigger a savepoint just as you are about to be killed, resulting you being stuck in an {{unwinnable}} cycle of dying and reloading.
* Generally games with StandardStatusEffects such as “stun” which prevent you from acting can have problems where the condition triggers frequently enough (such as every time the opponent hits) that the character in question is “stunlocked,” unable to do anything until death's release.
** Even without special conditions, merely having a short {{Knockback}} or flinch animation when taking damage that prevents the victim from escaping or fighting back will have a similar effect if chained close enough together.
* Spawn-camping in multiplayer games can result in this. Given that most players need a moment to orientate themselves after spawning, this can be extremely frustrating. Especially in games with automated turrets that other players can build, as they can instantly lock onto targets and kill them before the spawning process is even done. Usually the only way to stop it is to either wait for the round ends, go invincible (if it's possible, and in many games it isn't) and kill them, or call in a moderator or GM to resolve it.
* Games where you're up against a horde of monsters can make this happen to you if, after some time, the monsters congregate around the respawn spot and keep killing you before you can substantially damage them.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Action Adventure ]]

* The original ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'' had a particular area deep inside Norfair where it was possible to fall into lava between two eyeball columns tall enough that you couldn't jump back out.
** The Hive Mecha from ''MetroidPrime'' floods the room with [[GrimyWater poisoned water]] except a small platform in the center, and sends out War Wasps to knock you into it. Since this is the beginning of the game, you have neither a large supply of Energy Tanks nor the Gravity Suit, and thus, if the wasps knock you into the water, it's game over about 80% of the time, unless you somehow find a way to jump out.
** This trope is still heavily in play in the remake, MetroidZeroMission. The Mother Brain fight is just outright unfair at times with unpredictable turret fire and the [[BuffySpeak energy Cheerio... things...]] which are constantly targeting you. You'd be lucky to stay standing in one spot for more than two or three seconds.
* Good luck living if you happen to get caught by the 11th or 14th colossi in ''ShadowOfTheColossus''; they'll ram into you the second you start getting up again, and again, and again... It's even worse than just instant death, because it takes a considerable amount of time until you actually run out of health and die and you can reload the last save.
* In ''{{Oddworld}}: Abe's Exoddus'', you could achieve this thanks to the quick save feature if you happened to quick save right before your inevitable death. Thankfully, the devs foresaw this and added an autosave feature at the start of every screen.
* The SpikesOfDoom are not immediately lethal in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'', but some spike pits are arranged so that you can end up bouncing from one spike to another until reduced to LudicrousGibs. This becomes less of a problem later in the game, as you can simply turn to mist, or pause the game and equip the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Spike Breaker Armor.]]
** The later games don't have this particular problem... but you're still likely to get petrified before landing in spikes, at which point you're pretty much boned. ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin'' actually codes spikes ''specifically'' to ensure that this happens[[note]]normally a character can be broken out of petrification by being hit by their partners attack. But spikes desummon your partner and make them unsummonable for several seconds. And you can't swap characters when petrified, either[[/note]].
* The Redeads in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' are often accompanied by half a dozen [[GoddamnedBats goddamned mini-skeletons]]; the skeletons knock you down, when you get up the Redead paralyzes and hits your with their BFS, then the skeletons hit you again, lather, rinse, repeat.
** They did this in all the games, really, even if it's just a redead. Oh, and then there's swarms of [[AnIcePerson ice keese]], which will flap over, freeze you, and then freeze you again the instant you thaw.
** If you exploit the screen-warp glitch in ''TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'' a little too much before getting Zora's Flippers, you may accidentally fall into a pit. Filled with deep water.
* In ''TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'':
** At Great Bay Temple, it's possible to aggro all of the Bonefish in any given room in such a manner that causes them to repeatedly attack you, draining your health faster than you can get to any safe haven.
** Near the 4th temple, there is a cave that contains a troubled and vengeful spirit. The ghost attacks Link on sight and he hovers over a pool of water. As the ghost plays his deadly music, Link takes damage on every tick. Should you jump into the pool during this time, Link will be unable to climb out because the damage tick knocks Link back into the water and Link's climbing animation is slower than the damage ticks he receives in this event. Link will eventually die and respawn.
*** It's not a guaranteed death; it is possible to get out, but likely with a large amount of damage taken.
* In ''SilentHill3'', there's a room containing nothing but a sink and a mirror on the wall. The door locks behind you and you can only watch as the tendrils of blood on the other side of the mirror seep into that side's sink and leak out of the sink on your side, eventually starting to smother you. Players of the console versions might not realize that the blood slowly sucks out your health because, unlike the PC version, your health is only displayed on the pause screen. Luckily the door unlocks and you can leave as soon as you start taking damage, but the game gives no indication of this, so most players die in this room, unless they're unaware that the door locked in the first place because they never tried to leave before.
** The Slurpers knock you down, rape you, knock you down as you get back up, repeat.
* ''[[VideoGame/TheOregonTrail Oregon Trail II]]'''s river-rafting minigame sometimes respawns you right behind a rock, causing you to repeatedly hit it until you drown.
* In the early ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games, you could find yourself being repeatedly attacked by an enemy while hopelessly trying to reload your weapon.
* In the "Eke Reloaded" pack (and its old precedessor, the Eke Pack) of ''Videogame/{{Clonk}}'', this is what makes stippels dangerous. A single stippel dies after [[OneHitPointWonder one, or maximally three hits]] from any firearm, and its bite deals mere ScratchDamage, but [[ZergRush in masses]], they tend to fling you against a wall with the KnockBack of their bite and stunlock you. If you don't have a [[ReStabilization jetpack]] or something to kill all of them in a single hit, DeathOfAThousandCuts is certain.
* In ''Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury'' if you return to Hercule City after beating the game you can still fight the enemies around the carnival area. There's also a golden tank in front of the tent. Even though any of the characters can destroy it in a few punches, if it pushes one against a wall they constantly take damage and can't move from being stuck in the flinch motion. Seeing how at this point in the game everyone's defense would be so high that the tank only does 1 point of damage on every touch. Plus most of the characters' HP is well over a thousand so watching them die could take a while. The only way to escape is to restart, and God forbid you have a Lazarus crystal...
* The combat in the ''LittleBigAdventure'' games was pretty frustrating because of this, as Twinsen would reel back uncontrollably any time he took damage and could still get hit while doing so, often leading to an endless loop until his health ran out.
* In the Sundown Path level of ''VideoGame/{{Bastion}}'', the tiles in the ground disappear over time. Falling causes you to take a bit of damage, go prone, and land on a nearby piece of ground - which is likely to fall down again before you're able to move.
* Can easily happen in ''EccoTheDolphin'', if you get lost in one of the underwater tunnel areas, or trapped by the hold of the [[CombatTentacles giant tentacle]] in some levels and can't figure out how to get loose from it.
* You can easily get caught one of these in the ''VideoGame/PokemonRumble'' series if you're facing multiple enemy Pokemon with moves that cause a lengthy stagger animation like Rock Slide or moves that induce paralysis or flinching like Dragonbreath and Fake Out. In the former case, there's absolutely nothing you can do escape, while the latter necessitates that you button mash with the right timing to break out of the status effect at a moment that provides enough time for you move away without getting hit and inflicted with the status again.
* In ''PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'', it's possible to get mobbed by enemies, knocked down, and then wailed on repeatedly as you try to get back up.
* The [[DemonicSpiders lawnmower guys]] in ''VideoGame/ToeJamAndEarl'' are ''notorious'' for milking this trope for all it's worth. The game only grants MercyInvincibility after you die, so because they're fast and persistent, once you get hit, you'll just keep getting hit until you die. They'll go away for a second, but as soon as you respawn, they'll be all over you again, ready to land another cheap kill as soon as the after-death invincibility wears off. Unless you've got a present that can let you escape quickly once you respawn, rinse and repeat as you watch your lives slowly dwindle away to nothing.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Beat-Em-Up ]]

* The SmashingHallwayTrapsOfDoom at the beginning of ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'''s (arcade) final mission kill you in two hits, and also [[KnockBack knock you backwards]]. Thus, you get hit once, knocked into the path of another moving block, lose a life, get hit again, repeat until GameOver (and you're probably on your last life by this time anyway). The same thing can happen with the [[SpikesOfDoom gargoyle spears]].
* The biggest danger in ''DynastyWarriors'' games and their derivatives. An enemy officer on his own is usually no more than an annoyance, even if he has soldiers with him. A small group of officers, however, can lock you into an almost permanent juggle. Combine this with fire elemental weapons (which drain your health so long as you are in the air), and you can see your health go down surprisingly quickly, all while being able to do nothing.
* Completely possible in ''VideoGame/CastleCrashers'', as seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF4d4o-FUlI here.]]
* An especially annoying example occurs in the MasterSystem port of ''[[PortingDisaster Streets of Rage 2]]'', [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard where the enemies will frequently hit you the instant you get back up and will continually do this until you lose a life]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Driving Games ]]

* In ''{{Driver}}'', getting spun out leaves you a sitting duck to be rammed to death by the other cops chasing you. This rears its ugly head on the first game's final mission, [[ScrappyLevel The President's Run]], where your wanted meter starts at max, so the cops drive at maximum speed, while you're stuck with a slow limousine. On [[SlippySlideyIceWorld slippery icy roads]] [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard that don't affect the cops' handling]].
* In ''TwistedMetal 2'', each enemy vehicle AI used only a few specific weapons but used them [[MacrossMissileMassacre all the time]]. Two of them (Mr. Slam and Mr. Grimm) included the freeze missile in their rotation at a rate of fire well beyond what a player can achieve. If either one hits you with a freeze missile and you don't have enough initial speed and inertia to coast out of the danger zone while frozen, you'll find yourself trapped in place getting frozen over and over and over with no way to escape while having your life very slowly chipped away by machine gun fire.
** In ''TwistedMetal III'', the first boss's (Darkside) special is a flamethrower/freeze missile combo which he likes to spam and has seemingly infinite ammo. If you get unlucky, being hit by it is a guaranteed life-lose.
** ''TwistedMetal Black'' was the king of this. Prepared to be stuck and beaten to death at any given moment. They synchronize attacks with yours to screw them up. Use Minion's special? They'll freeze you with ''ComputersAreFast reflexes''. Use Mr. Grimm's? They'll hit you with a rico and tilt you or with a power missile and stun you. It never ends either.
** Sweet Tooth as the FinalBoss in ''TM 4'' has a homing attack that follows you through walls, paralyzes you, and pummels you to death.
** Outright stunlocks are rare in ''{{Vigilante8}}'' and its sequel, but Molo's choking exhaust can stall an enemy and deal enough damage to wreck them if you have enough special weapon ammo, though this is very hard to pull off because he's a lumbering bus and the exhaust is at the back. Also, there is an infinite loop on one of the ''Second Offense'' maps where cars that fall into a water hazard respawn right in front of the water where you can repeatedly blow them in again with Convoy's horn blast weapon.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fighting Games ]]

* This is generally known in fighting games as "infinite combos." They are often difficult to do, much less win with from 100% vitality, so they are generally considered either {{Game Breaking Bug}}s or {{Good Bad Bug}}s depending on the player's skill, but they are a common motivation for {{Updated Rerelease}}s in either case. Particularly bad loops are often banned in tournament play. Some games feature ComboBreaker mechanics to give players a way out of these.
* ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'': Until it was nerfed, Sol Badguy's infamous Dust Loop was a textbook example of this. Now the ability belongs to Eddie's [[MemeticMutation corner screw potential]].
** Worse still, the Dust Loop made a triumphant return in ''Accent Core Plus'', but this time not for Sol. Instead, EX Order-Sol (more or less ''[=GG1=]''!Sol with added stats from ''#Reload'') received it. The cycle of '''[[{{Kiai}} TEYAH!]]''' lives on.
** Harder to utilize without proper execution but just as deadly was Slayer's Bite Loop with his command throw, an intricate sequence using forward dash cancelling to continuously bite and stun the opponent, then following up with a few choice attacks to dizzy them, ensuring an [[OneHitKill Instant Kill]] to end the round. It was nerfed in ''#Reload'' (Slayer could only get off 6 or 7 bites as opposed to the required amount, which was usually 10+), but remains a viable tactic due to the large amounts of Tension it nets him, plus its [[LifeDrain health regen properties]].
** ''GG''[='s=] SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' sees the baton passed to Carl and his infinite Clap Loop (in ''[[VideoGame/BlazBlueCalamityTrigger Calamity Trigger]]'', at least).
* [[SNKBoss Jinpachi]] in ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 5'', [[LuckBasedMission if luck isn't on your side]]. Stun, fireball, stun, fireball, :dies:, :throws controller:.
* ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter 2'' has the Pai Loop, so called because a close-range high-kick from Pai, if repeated, is uncounterable by anyone except Akira (and even that requires frame-perfect timing). The good thing about this is that CPU opponents rarely if ever accomplish this loop, but a cheap player...
* ''SuperSmashBros'' has a few infinite combos at the pro level, such as the Ice Climbers' "chain grab". In the original game's Hyrule stage, the "[[FanNickname Rapetent]]" allows many characters to pull off infinite combos.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: First Person Shooters ]]

* In ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'', if you've been pinned by a hunter or smoker and nobody's available to save you, there's little to do except watch your health drain. On lower difficulties, it can take a decent while to actually get killed in this situation.
** Being hit by a Tank's attack stuns your character for a moment, making them unable to move or use a weapon. This can get incredibly annoying as you are struggling to get away or trying to reload and get stuck in a cycle of being hit, reloading, being hit, having to start the reload over, repeat. Did you get cornered? You might as well shoot yourself to save you the trouble if you could.
** And the sequel, of course, brings us the Spitter - so woe betide any foursome that gets charged in a narrow hallway while a Spitter's nearby.
* It's even worse if you never run out of lives - in some games, like ''{{Halo}}'''s co-op, you can spawn into a pit infinitely. Fortunately, in the ''Halo'' example, it's only an unbreakable cycle if your partner's a jerk - as soon as they move, you'll spawn in a different spot.
** Unfortunately it ''is'' an unbreakable cycle in single player. There are spots where a checkpoint can register while you're in the process of falling off a cliff. All you can do is restart the level, so that's a good two hours of work down the toilet if you're playing Legendary.
*** However, dying enough times at a checkpoint in later games will throw you back a checkpoint. Not particularly a bad thing, but some of the game's checkpoints are widely spread out, making getting back to that particular section a little more difficult. This also happens regardless of if you're falling down a pit or not.
** In later games, since charged plasma shots temporarily paralyze vehicles, enemies or other players can repeatedly do this while {{cherry tapping}} you to death with plasma pistol or rifle shots, as well as leaving you a sitting duck for {{one hit kill}} attacks such as those from Hunters or Wraiths.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'', there are many inescapable pits of poison or lava. If you fall in, you can either wait until it dissipates all your health, or just reload your last saved game.
** Though some of those pit have a way out hidden inside, or even some bonus items as a reward for taking the plunge (good thing that falling didn't actually do any harm). Both ''VideoGame/{{Hexen}}'' and ''{{Strife}}'' included falling damage to avert having to endure a slow death via damaging floorspace.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'', some enemies such as Pinky Demons and Shotgun Z-Secs can stun-lock you, especially if you're trying to reload.
* In some levels of ''{{Descent}}'' on Insane difficulty, DemonicSpiders such as Red Hulks and Class 2 Missile Platforms can pin you in the starting area and blow you away every time you respawn, similar to multiplayer spawn-camping, or prevent you from reclaiming your lost weapons.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'' and ''PerfectDark'', you are stunned and [[{{Knockback}} knocked back when hit]]. If being shot by a large group of enemies, they can stunlock you to death, especially on 00 Agent.
* ''Jedi Knight: [[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Dark Forces 2]]'' often had this when stuck under a descending elevator.
* ''GliderPRO'' wasn't too smart about respawning gliders in safe spots. Respawning locations were either fixed or where the glider happened to enter the room. If the latter happened to be inside the floor, you would lose all your lives; this was a GameBreakingBug on one house released on the Glider PRO CD.
* ''CallOfDuty 2'' had a segment where you had to defend a town from a large group of German mortar teams. Your play area was confined to the small tower you have to snipe from. If you aren't able to take out the enemies fast enough, the game can sometimes autosave just before a mortar shell lands directly on top of your head.
* Get flashbanged in a ''ModernWarfare'' game on Veteran, and watch helplessly as the enemy takes you out execution-style when you regain your vision. As in other ''CallOfDuty'' games, an autosave can be triggered in an imminent death situation or otherwise bad position.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Gamebooks ]]

* At least one ''Literature/FightingFantasy'' book (specifically ''Creature of Havoc'') did this, bouncing you around the same references in an endless cycle. One instance was against an unending army where you had to fight the next soldier the minute you killed the previous one, whilst another featured an immortal enemy who returned to life every time you won, meaning you either ran out of STAMINA from the infinite number of battles or eventually figured out what was going on.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: MOBA Games ]]

* ''DefenseOfTheAncients'' has the Cranium Basher, an item with a chance to stun the target on every melee attack. Get enough attack speed and the unfortunate enemy player is unable to do anything. Changes were made to prevent endless stunlock, but you can still achieve ''near''-endless stunlock instead and when you throw in a few allies with some of the many X second stun spells in the game it's pretty much gg for the enemy.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: [=MMORP Gs= ]]
]
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', it's possible for your party to get trapped in a wipe/resurrect cycle at a resurrection shrine, getting closer to the [[ContinuingIsPainful death penalty]] cap each time. The only ways to escape are to whittle your opponents down between wipes until you beat them or map travel back to an outpost. However, this can be exploited, because the enemies gain XP slowly and will eventually level, so when you finally beat them you'll gain more XP.
* ''VideoGame/PerfectWorld'' has this… sort of. There is a certain status effect called "Stun", which keeps you from moving or attacking for a few seconds. Axe-using Blademasters have three stunning moves, and some people have figured out how to chain them in a certain way that keeps their enemies from moving forever. If you happen to be in [=PvP=] mode, well, I hope you brought a ressurection scroll, a good cleric, or, if you're a [[MightyGlacier Barbarian]], some popcorn, cause this'll take a while.
* Same thing happens in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' with [[GlassCannon rogues]]. If a rogue gets the first hit on someone, it's pretty much over. There are a couple of ways to break a stun, but all they have to do is reapply it [[{{Unwinnable}} again and again and again and again]]…
** Certain stuns (as well as crowd control) have [[DiminishingReturnsForBalance diminishing returns]], so that after four instances of a similar ability (each application being reduced by 25% in duration) you are immune within 1 minute of the first application. However, if you don't wear [[StoneWall plate]] by then you're pretty much [[OhCrap screwed anyway...]]
** The troll city instance Zul'Gurub, at level 60 a challenge requiring 20 level-capped players, now easily soloed by any class with a healing spell for a chance to obtain a mount unavailable through any other means to one's faction (the nightsaber for horde and raptor for alliance) has a room full of [[{{Mooks}} trolls and tigers]] right before the tiger boss trio. The trolls there have a whirlwind type ability that can be applied from a distance that lasts for about 5 seconds, applies a stun to the player lasting about 2 seconds that is reapplied about every 1.5 seconds. And this is frequently used in succession by several different trolls while the player is being wailed on by a number of tiger cubs. Even the mightiest characters with [[InfinityPlusOneSword best-in-slot gear]] can see their health whittled away from tens of thousands to near death before being able to fight back.
** The Essence of Desire phase of the Reliquary of Souls in Black Temple can keep a solo character permanently stunned.
* This could happen in ''EveOnline'' (until they fixed it) with the status effect 'Fear'. What Fear would do is cause the player's ship to run away. Combine this with enemies that would chase you would result in a long slow helpless death as you watch said enemies shot you with zero retaliation possible.
* in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline'', casting Deband (raises the defense of yourself and allies), and/or Jellen (lowers enemy attack) could sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help on higher difficulties where enemies both move and attack very fast. A strong enough attack would knock your character to the ground and give them some brief MercyInvincibility upon getting back up, while the weaker attacks did neither. If you were buffed and surrounded by debuffed enemies on one of the higher difficulties, then they could juggle you back and forth, attacking too fast for you to break free, and not doing enough damage per hit to knock you down.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Platform Games ]]

* Various ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' games
** [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog The first game]] killed you instantly if you hit spikes while otherwise under the effects of MercyInvincibility.
** There's a ridiculously deep spiked pit in Act 2 of Mystic Cave Zone in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2''. You can't jump out of it, even in [[SuperMode Super Sonic form]], and you'll wish they had just made it bottomless if you happen to be [[http://www.mgcomics.com/NFR/index.php?ep=1157340896 playing as Super Sonic with a large surplus of rings]].
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' does this embarrassingly often during the BossFight against Silver. It's perfectly possible for him to grab you with his telekinesis, throw you across the stage and take all your rings, [[GameBreakingBug then grab you again before you can react for an instant kill.]] Even worse, you can get stuck against a wall this way and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MWEHwvcnyM#t=03m35s can't escape.]]
** Various enemies in ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'' can do this, as if the glitchy controls weren't frustrating enough; Hammer Mechs for example can swing their hammer in circles and if you happen to get stuck in the ground and your MercyInvincibility runs out, you'll be out of rings and the next hit kills you.
* ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' had a few spiked pits too deep to even DoubleJump out of, most notably the Confusion Gate's 'Sacrificial Pit' and the Twin Labyrinth's passage pits. You could still use the Grail to teleport out.
* It's possible to end up in such positions in ''VideoGame/IWannaBeTheGuy'', such as falling into a deep pit in the process of shooting a save point, so that death is inevitable by the time the bullet hits it and saves the game.
** The evil save point at the end of the game turns evil again when you restore, so if you saved so that respawn in the middle of it, you're screwed.
** The fangame ''{{Pickory}}'' lets you undo saves for precisely this reason.
* In ''[[VideoGame/MontyMole Impossamole]]'', Monty's MercyInvincibility doesn't protect him from being [[KnockBack knocked back]] by SpikesOfDoom, so you can end up being bounced back and forth in certain areas.
* ''ThingOnASpring'' just loves to throw inescapable [[DeathTrap DeathTraps]] at you, filled with floating enemies and/or electric beams that slowly drain your oil energy-meter. In the worst case though, the trap is just an empty hole, where you have to watch the oil-meter depleting by itself at a painfully slow pace. But if the trap has a low-hanging ceiling, you're at your own mercy to drain the oil yourself, by rapidly jumping and [[DrivenToSuicide ramming your head against the walls]], chipping the oil away bit by bit!
* Because of the way extra lives work in ''BlinxTheTimeSweeper'', it's quite easy to land yourself in one of these. When you lose a Retry, the game rewinds everything, including you, by a few seconds. Of course, if you were already stuck during those seconds, [[UnWinnable you have no choice but to restart the level.]]
* ''NinjaGaiden'' (NES): Owing to the lack of MercyInvincibility, in levels overloaded with GoddamnedBats, such as the first game's [[ThatOneLevel Stage 6-2]], they can [[KnockBack juggle you]] until you run out of HP or fall into a BottomlessPit.
* Yetis, Chieftains, and unarmed shopkeepers in ''{{Spelunky}}'' attack by throwing the player. Occasionally, they will toss the player against a wall only to rebound back into the enemy who then tosses the player into the wall again only for the player to rebound back into the enemy... you see where this is going. To add insult to injury, they'll continue doing this [[BeatingADeadPlayer even after the player has died]], only stopping once the character has been gibbed or the player exits to menu.
* In ''VideoGame/AlteredBeast'' there is no MercyInvincibility. This is especially bad on the third level, which has [[BottomlessPit Bottomless Pits]] and you often spawn right next to one, on top of an enemy. Rinse, repeat.
* In ''VideoGame/AtlantisNoNazo'', if you take the wrong door in one stage, you wind up in the 42nd Zone, "Black Hole!" It's basically a giant BottomlessPit which you fall into as many times as you have lives remaining.
* In ''{{VideoGame/Iji}}'', the most powerful weapons (specifically, the [[SmartBomb Nuke]], [[WaveMotionGun Velocithor]], and [[OneHitKill Phantom Hammer]]) bypass your MercyInvincibility, specifically to prevent you from deliberately taking damage from a weaker attack to avoid them. The Nuke and Phantom Hammer are single-shot weapons, but the Velocithor is a continuous beam, so if you get caught in it, your continually-restarting knockdown animation prevents you from doing anything beyond pausing the game. [[GoodNewsBadNews The good news]] is that the Velocithor is only used by two people besides yourself, and one of those is [[BonusBoss hidden]]. [[GoodNewsBadNews The bad news]] is that, on the harder modes, the beam can last longer than even a completely full health bar.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Role Playing Games ]]

* Due to certain bugs in the first two ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games, it was possible to have a save game stuck in an area full of previously non-hostile people, who will now all be hostile and in combat from the beginning of each load. A sure kill for non-combat or squishy players.
** In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' and occasionally ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', your character can spaz out in VATS and be unable to fire back while the enemy hacks away at you. Also, certain enemies can knock the player down; if they are attacking in a group, this can result in fatal stunlock. Third, as with many other games, the game can autosave right before or when the player recieves a killing blow, leading to a looping death reload.
** The [[GolfClubbing golf clubs]] in ''New Vegas'' can turn a fight into a Cycle of Hurting for whoever's against them because of the "Fore!" special ability. Its damage is only average, but always knocks the target down, probably to represent the inherently debilitating effects of [[GroinAttack taking a 9-iron shot between the legs]]. Anyone hit by it stays down for longer than it takes to wind up another swing, so by the time the victim finally gets up, you are ready to use "Fore!" again. This can turn one-on-one melee fights against human enemies into a post-apocalyptic rendition of "[[Film/{{Idiocracy}} Ow My Balls]]!" Unfortunately, this can go both ways, with the player getting knocked down by constant "Fore!" hits regardless of armor. This is best exemplified by the terrifyingly fast and tough KingMook Driver Nephi, who employs a custom driver club and can tank waves of rifle rounds and buckshot to get up close enough to start the cycle.
* This is the way ''VideoGame/SecretOfMana'' works. Getting hit stuns anything that isn't a boss for exactly as the attacker has to wait to attack again. This mostly gets used ''against'' the enemies, but having this happen to your characters is still the most common form of death in the game.
* The original ''{{VideoGame/Diablo}}'' has this in spades. Getting hit with enough damage will stun you (or an enemy) and you can get stunned ''repeatedly'' which leads to a stunlock. Avoiding stunlock is pretty much the basis of all warrior's strategies, and is important to ALL chars. If you do get stunlocked, all you can do is mash healing potions hoping for a chain of misses. Meanwhile, your equipment was taking damage along with you, could break completely in just a few seconds once the durability alarm appears, and once broken would vanish forever. But then this is the game where clicking the wrong shrine takes away mana permanently and some monsters cause permanent life damage, so it's fair.
** On the bright side, this makes even the boss fight against Diablo a cinch. To elaborate: monsters can get stunned by spells they are not resistant to, usually dooming them because the cast speed of any character that wants to cast spells exceeds the hit recovery speed of the monster, but past the midgame just about everything is indeed resistant (or immune) to everything. Well, except Diablo himself, who for some reason is the only non-undead in the whole game that can be hit by the lowly Holy Bolt spell. And Holy Bolt deals pure damage that cannot be resisted...
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', there's a certain enemy that can turtle into a state that renders it invulnerable to weapons and damages anyone who touches it.
** If this is the Yeti in the [[BonusDungeon lower floors of the Moria Gallery]] and his ice spike barrier, Cless has a tech that involves dropping straight down onto his opponent and following it up with a Sword Rain tech. Try this against the Yeti when he pulls up the ice barrier, and Cless will instead get stuck in a lightning fast CycleOfHurting that will kill him ''almost instantly''.
* In TheLastStory this is mostly averted since all party members, including the protagonist, can die up to 4 times in a single battle with no repercussions...then you meet the Forest Spider, which can hit you with a web you have to button-mash your way out of, and if you're not fast enough, not lined up right to retaliate, or are hit by the boss's flunkies, it gives the boss the time to remove one of your party member from the remainder of the battle. It can do this until you're left with your protagonist alone, by which time you can be permanently locked in the Paralysis status for the rest of your five lives.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' the Ogre has an attack that grabs and holds a character, and beats it to death while you watch the LifeMeter slowly decrease when you can only be bailed out by one of your party members doing something to make it let go. Sometimes it uses this technique twice in a row on the same character. They can also spam their headbutt attack, which does a lot of damage and knocks you down.
** Many enemies have such incapacitating moves from ordinary wolves to High Dragons. The best you can do is to try to stun them, while spamming Heal with your mage. There is also an Ogre-like demon in the Fade-level that will do two different stunning actions in a row, potentially putting you to a situation where you stand up only to be knocked down again repeatedly. Normal Ogres thankfully can't do this.
** Perhaps the single most irritating instance of this trope in the game stems from the spell “Crushing Prison.” This spell immobilizes the target and does significant spirit damage while allowing the caster's allies free hits throughout the spell's duration. The game has no end of enemies who just love to stack this with the aforementioned mortality spell and other effects to make absolutely certain that you lose members quickly.
** Blood Wound is the worst, though - a [[DemonicSpiders blood]] [[BloodMagic mage]] spell that incapacitates and wears down the HP of your ENTIRE PARTY at once. Always, always [[ShootTheMedicFirst shoot the mage first]].
* Attack a Floating Eye in ''NetHack'' without making [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything certain preparations]], and watch your character get nibbled to PermaDeath by [[CherryTapping a gecko or something equally nonthreatening]].
** And then of course there's being mobbed in the open by lightning-fast ants and bees.
* The Dreamcast adaptation of ''RecordOfLodossWar'' notoriously has this; [[http://www.flyingomelette.com Flying Omelette]] calls it "''Record of Lodoss War'' Syndrome".
* In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', it's possible to be caught in a never ending cycle of being shot with an arrow, stumbling, and then being shot again, followed by stumbling. Its is painfully annoying.
** In its predecessor, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', you can be knocked down by unarmed attacks and as soon as you get up, get knocked back down. Over and over again. Plus, [[CherryTapping unarmed attacks do very little damage]], meaning it takes forever to die.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', the Shout FUS RO DAH results in the target being BlownAcrossTheRoom. Normally the player is the one using it, and is restricted from using it as a SpamAttack by its {{Cooldown}} period. However, get three or four high-level Draugr alternating it at you (especially if you're stuck in a corner), and you may never be able to stand up again.
*** There are a couple ways players can pull this trope on their enemies as well. A Dragonborn with the right high-level Destruction perks can zap their helpless, stunlocked foes to death with chain lightning Palpatine-style, while a melee-oriented character equipped with a shield and mace can endlessly pound away on a foe by alternating power and shield bash attacks, both of which cause flinching.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', you can fight a monster known as the Malboro (there's also a tougher variant in the hidden Omega Ruins). His Bad Breath move hits the entire party with a wide variety of status ailments, including Darkness (can't hit physically), Berserk (you can't control the character and he must attack, deals extra damage), Poison (character loses 1/4 max HP every turn) and Confuse (character attacks self and party members at random). Needless to say, if these stack, you're forced to watch your entire party flail uselessly trying to kill themselves - then succeeding due to the poison. The one in Omega Ruins ''always'' gets "Ambushed!", which gives it the first turn unless someone on your side has the First Strike ability - and a 90% chance of using Bad Breath.
** Bad breath got taken to eleven in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' with Lunasaur. On turn one, you are stuck there, praying for one of your characters to eventually hit someone (which they won't, because they're blinded) until eventually the AI decides that it has humiliated your party enough and starts one-hit-killing your party. Oh, and guess what it's guarding? Two Ribbons, which make you immune to status effects... Thankfully, the DS version of the game isn't quite this cruel, as your Paladin is immune to these effects.
** Malboros are also very nasty customers in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', even moreso than in FFX. They almost always get the first turn, and they ''always'' lead with Bad Breath. Unless the player has taken the time to ensure that at least one person in the party is immune to both Confuse and Berserk, they're entirely likely to lose control of the whole party and be left unable to keep the characters from either killing one another or succumbing to Poison or Petrification.
* In the first generation of Franchise/{{Pokemon}} games, the move Wrap immobilized the target for 2-5 turns, while doing pitiful damage. Tentacool, a Pokemon that is [[GoddamnedBats essentially the water equivilent of Zubat]], can and will spam this. Wrap was nerfed in the later games so that it only does damage and prevents switching.
** There are also certain move/ability combinations in the metagame that can virtually prevent the action. The ability Serene Grace, which doubles the likelihood of a move's secondary effects, can be combined with the moves Body Slam (which has a 30% chance to cause paralysis, a status effect that prevents a pokemon from moving 25% of the time and also greatly reduces its speed), and Iron Head (which has a 30% chance to make a pokemon fail to take an action). That makes for a greatly slowed enemy with a vanishingly small chance of being able to move while you wear it down by spamming Iron Head. It also tends to cause Rage Quits when used successfully.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3D'', the abundance of enemies with moves that can stun, freeze, or otherwise keep you from acting can lead to this occasionally. It's most common with the Skelterwilds, thanks to them being able to freeze and stun you on top of having an annoying bite and shake attack that keeps you from doing anything until it ends and leaves you in position for more abuse afterward.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'' series, this is the main purpose of the glaahk creation. Getting hit by two glaahks in one round will inflict so many levels of stun that it will leave the victim completely unable to act the next round, which is useful for locking down bosses but a pain to receive. Ghostly enemies also frequently inflict a lot of stun and often inflict the "slowed" effect.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'', prior to a slight retool (that also introduced a TutorialLevel) frustrated players once they got to Flotsam, as the Endregas had a '''very''' nasty habit of knocking you over mid-swing, then charging again as soon as you got back up... on [[NintendoHard normal difficulty, at that]]!
* ''Corruption of Champions'' has satyrs on the Plains. One of their attacks is a headbutt - which stuns you, since they have horns. You can't do anything on the next turn but recover (you can't even run). ''Nothing'' stops the satyr from headbutting again. Most fights with satyrs either end with you taking them out in two turns or you getting raped... [[HGame and that's not a euphemism]].
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Gothic}} Gothic 3]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/{{Risen}} Risen 2]]'' (both of the same developer) in the original incarnation made fairly easy enemies (boars and giant crabs respectively) into killers that could take you down even late in the game. If you didn't dodge the first attack, you were turned into mincemeat because the cringing animation of being hit was longer than the time it took the enemy to start the next attack. Thankfully later patches fixed this problem.
* Like in the ''DungeonsAndDragons'' example above, area-effect spells in ''BaldursGate'' can very easily be used to create situations like these, especially with the Cloudkill spell, which knocks targets unconscious while continuously dealing damage (and every time they regain consciousness, they have to make another roll to avoid getting knocked out again) and lasts a ''very'' long time. Prep some ranged attacks to speed things along, and many enemies that are knocked out by it are as good as dead (though even if they aren't, casting Web or Entangle in the same area can help hold them in place.)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Simulation ]]

* In ''[[Videogame/MechWarrior MechWarrior 4]]'' and ''Mechwarrior 3'', high caliber ballistics and large missile salvos (and sometimes even lasers) can knock smaller [[HumongousMecha BattleMechs]] off their feet, causing them to collapse onto the ground and lay almost totally helpless (sometimes they will fall in a way that allows them to fire back) for a few seconds on the ground as they start to rise back up onto their feet. Often times as soon as the mech is back onto its feet, another salvo from the high-powered weapons will knock it back onto the ground.
** In ''MechWarrior Online'', mechs won't fall over from damage, but in early versions of the beta, running ''into'' a mech would basically tackle it to the ground. The [[LightningBruiser Dragon]] is a very fast, well armored, well armed heavy mech that, in one patch, had effectively ''[[TheJuggernaut infinite mass]]'', allowing it to go plowing through enemy battle lines, smashing everything in its way to the ground without missing a step... then turn around, and repeat it again as the enemies are starting to get back on their feet, and again, and again, slowly wearing down the enemy's armor while they are totally helpless. The ramming/tackling mechanic [[GameBreaker broke the gameplay (and netcode) so thoroughly]] that it was ''removed entirely''.
** Weapons that generate heat on whatever they hit are often prime causes of the Cycle of Hurting. In the ''Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries'' free release, Inferno Rockets have a huge splash area that does almost no damage [[OverHeating but creates huge amounts of heat on whatever is in the blast area]]. Combine this with the fact that they have an almost instant refire rate, and you get a weapon that can keep an enemy shut down for minutes at a time - either until the guy with the infernos gets bored or runs out of ammo. In ''Living Legends'', the "[[FanNickname Flamasser]]" variant of the Harasser hovercraft came loaded with 6 [[FireBreathingWeapon flamers]], on a chassis that is [[FragileSpeedster extremely nimble, small, and cheap]]. A duo of Flamassers could keep an enemy shut down indefinitely, though said enemy would usually ''melt to death'' after a couple seconds under both Flamasser's flames. However, the Flamasser was balanced out by the asset being as dangerous to enemies as it was to itself - a top-heavy, unstable firing platform with very little armor and weapons that generate so much heat that it often shuts itself down right as it shuts down an enemy.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Survival Horror ]]

* In ''VideoGame/AloneInTheDark1992'', enemy attacks can cause your character to flinch. In [[Videogame/AloneInTheDark2 the second game]], being overwhelmed by enemies or even one enemy with a Tommy gun can stun-lock Carnby until he is dead.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* In multiple editions of ''DungeonsAndDragons'', it is possible for spellcasters to do this with the right combination of area control spells. A Third Edition example would be combining [[CombatTentacles Evard's Black Tentacles]] with Stinking Cloud. The tentacles root you in place until you take a standard action to free yourself, and the cloud smells so bad you have to spend your standard action fighting back nausea.
** Not to mention the infinite tripping strategy, which involved tripping an enemy on your turn, then on their turn, when they stood up, taking an attack of opportunity to trip them again, leaving them lying on the ground unable to take many actions (they could still perform many actions from the ground but for a melee character being prone is not a good thing, and if the tripper had reach and you didn't they could put themselves outside of your range and continually trip you).
*** This technically doesn't work; you can't trip someone who's standing from prone, because he's still prone when your attack triggers. However, you can disarm them, trip them when they pick up the weapon, and then disarm them again when they stand up.
** In 4th edition, this is the main reason solo monsters suck compared to a group of enemies. They get surrounded, tagged with a bunch of different effects, and aren't able to spread their actions out like a group of monsters can, greatly reducing their effectiveness. Later monster books have given solos various counters to this; for example, dragons get an extra action each round on a different initiative count, plus the ability to quickly shrug off stun and daze effects.
* Anyone who plays ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' who has dealt with anyone with Neo-Spacian Grand Mole knows that either you disable the little bugger or you'll watch your Life Points whittle away.
** Several combos that don't rely on dealing 8000 damage to your opponent in one turn ends up resorting to this. The most infamous of which is the Yata-Garasu + Chaos Emperor Dragon combo. Basically Chaos Emperor can wipe the field and your opponent's hand of anything useful, while combined with another card allows you to get Yata-Garasu onto the field. Yata's effect forbids your opponent from drawing in the next turn. Since your opponent has no cards, all he can do is watch his life points drains away (and very slowly at that, since Yata only has 200 attack points, which is pitifully low) or bow and surrender. It surprised no one when both ended up banned.
* Many deck designs in ''MagicTheGathering'', often called "prison" or "lockdown" decks, rely on setting up a situation where the opponent can't do anything. They tend to be fairly frustrating to duel against.
* {{GURPS}} has this as a basic tenet of any combat. Being injured causes shock, which makes it difficult to defend against subsequent attacks. Since GURPS lies squarely in the Simulation corner of [[PlayerArchetypes GNS theory]], this is perfectly intentional.
* {{Battletech}} at least in the latest iteration, Mechwarrior 4th or "A Time of War", has characters and [=NPCs=] inflicted with a Stunned status, which not only makes them more vulnerable to further attacks later in the turn (turns are not completed simultaneously but individual actions are resolved in sequence) but also requires up to half of their turn to dispel, and no actions whatsoever can be taken before ridding the status. Fortunately, a character can only be Stunned or not-Stunned, true Stunlock isn't possible.
** Can also happen in the tactical board game. For one, [=MechWarriors=] can take damage somewhat independently from their machines, with a rising chance of knockout after each successive hit -- and a 'Mech with an unconscious pilot is helpless and an easy target, which among other things increases the chances of the pilot taking ''more'' hits (or being flat-out killed if an attack takes out the 'Mech's head) before he or she can come to again... -- The other main example is falling, since a 'Mech needs to pass a die roll to successfully get up again (with penalties for things like leg damage, of course) and failure results in it just falling down again and taking more damage in the process. It's not necessarily common, but a 'Mech ''can'' potentially dash itself (or its pilot) to death that way.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Third Person Shooters ]]

* Could happen in many of the early ''Franchise/TombRaider'' games where saving in the wrong spot could get Lara killed at every reload, forcing you start the level all over again.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warhawk}}'', an incompetent, {{Jerkass}}, or [[{{Griefer}} worse]] teammate can drive a 4x4 out-of-bounds with you as a passenger, at which point you start taking damage. If you jump off and try to walk back in-bounds you almost certainly won't make it in time.
* Being inescapably crushed by a car in the 3D ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games drains your health to zero in about five seconds in order to keep the player from being [[GameBreakingBug indefinitely stuck]].
* This could happen in the early ''SyphonFilter'' games if you triggered a checkpoint in a bad situation (eg impending OneHitKill).
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', getting hit by biotic powers knocks Shepard down. If you're in a room full of biotics, [[YouGetKnockedDownYouGetBackUpAgain you'll get knocked down, get up, get knocked down again, get up, get knocked down again]], and repeat ad infinitum until your squadmates either free you or you die.
* Possible in the third ''VideoGame/MaxPayne''. If you get sent into Last Man Standing in a bad position with multiple enemies covering Max, you could kill one guy and exit LMS only to have the others send you back. Repeat until death.
* ''StarWarsBattlefrontII'': Getting hit by a lightsabre causes knockback, so if you're not killed outright you tend to be open to a followup swing.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Turn Based Strategy ]]

* In ''JaggedAlliance 2'', Mustard Gas grenades work like this. If your character is not wearing a gas mask, and walks into a Mustard Gas cloud (or, more commonly, a Mustard Gas grenade is lobbed at him), the character will likely suffer a lot of damage and pass out. At this point, the character cannot be moved (he's passed out) and his inventory cannot be accessed, so he cannot be told to wear his gas mask if he has one at all. Each turn, the gas will drain a large amount of health and breath points from the character, making sure that he cannot escape. To make matters worse, it is even impossible to move the body out of the cloud by having another mercenary drag or lift it, so the afflicted mercenary just lies there in the cloud, completely helpless, until death. If you're fortunate though, the gas may dissipate before the character actually dies.
* ''7.62 High Calibre'' has the adrenaline mechanic, where situations that increase your adrenaline (seeing a target, seeing ''lots'' of targets, being shot at, being ''shot'', etc.) make actions take less time to perform, but also makes your shots more likely to miss. If your adrenaline is maxed, you'll rarely hit an opponent more than ten feet away. On top of all this, anything that results in "shock" (see the previous list and subtract "being shot at" ''only'') makes your character freeze for a few seconds if they're in the middle of performing an action. Since those few seconds can make a big difference between getting shot and shooting first, generally speaking if you get hit with shock, your adrenaline will shoot up, which, if you're lucky enough to get a shot off, means you'll miss, and if you then get shot, well, that character is dead. It's just a matter of time, really.
** To try and avoid this, mercenaries can carry syrettes of morphine and inject themselves to forcefully lower their adrenaline levels.
* ''VideoGame/StarControl 2''. If you get stuck in Hyperspace between several hostile ships (especially common in Ur-Quan space), you'll end up fighting one, [[HyperspeedEscape wasting fuel on escaping]]/losing your [[CallAHitPointASmeerp crew]], then immediately encountering another one, and then another, and another...

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Wide Open Sandbox ]]

* In ''{{Minecraft}}'':
* Falling into the Void at the bottom of the map is a one-way trip to a place of the game where items and entities cannot exist, and the player takes damage continuously.
** A glitch in the potion that allowed you to walk in lava made it so that you would still build up falling damage while swimming in it, meaning that a player that was in it for more than a couple seconds would either burn up once the potion's effect was gone, or die instantly as soon as he touched a flat surface.
** Being surrounded on all sides by Bedrock at least two blocks tall, with no blocks to use as steps, leaves no other choice but to spend all your energy until you starve to death.
** Being stuck on a tiny deserted island with no access to wood or food usually means either a quick death in ten minutes from the enemies that spawn during the night, a significantly slower death from starvation, or taking your chances by swimming across the open ocean where, if you don't find land that can actually support you, you run the risk of drowning or (again) starving.
** Expect this if you Aggro a Zombie Pigman, also recent updates now allow for Zombies to call for backup if they are injured.
** This is very likely to happen if you're being attacked by a Skeleton while in a large body of water without a ranged attack of any sort. Their arrows prevents you from approaching it since you can't swim the distance of their arrow's {{knockback}} between attacks.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Other Games ]]

* This is what happens in ''{{Soulcaster}}'' if you get surrounded by enemies and you have no {{Smart Bomb}}s left.
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