Abandoned Laboratory

The experiment For Science! has gone horribly wrong, the Eldritch Abomination has escaped its perfectly safe Containment Field and is now picking us off one by one. Needless to say, it went From Bad to Worse.note 

The Abandoned Laboratory is a common setting in Speculative Fiction. But when you place it into a video game, it becomes quite the tour of science gone horribly wrong.

Usually a task set out after finding rumors about a Mad Scientist. You decide to head to the Abandoned Laboratory, where you are greeted by hostile security units who do not want you to enter the deeper parts of the lab. They are often however no match for whatever lies below, whether it be discarded Super Soldier projects, sentient robots who plan to exterminate all life, or horrible masses of biological life which smell dinner. Often they are an evolutionary sort, starting out with rejected lifeforms and ending up as deadly beings which have exceeded the creator's ambitions and can more than easily kill the hero in a heartbeat. Card Keys are a common staple of these wretched labs. Often, logs will lie about, speaking of first pride and then terror of their author's scientific pursuits.

Along the way, as you travel across the lab, you will go from a relatively sanitary environment to one where it feels disgusting just stepping on the ground. Vats full of the specimens lie dormant or are deceased due to being failures (however, if they are less than human, expect them to break free to start munching on something), bits of Techno Wreckage lie about as you realize you are near the scientist or his ultimate creation, which will grant the following...

  1. A Girl in a Box or a Sealed Good in a Can, both of which obviously join you.
  2. The place becomes a Collapsing Lair, forcing you to get the hell out of Dodge.
  3. You recover a biological MacGuffin.
  4. A massive organic blob awakens, planning to turn you to genetic material.
  5. Motive Rant (You better get comfortable).

See also Mad Scientist, For Science!. Also overlaps with Abandoned Hospital in some cases, with the hospital residents being used as test subjects.



Action Game
  • Pinky and the Brain: The Master Plan appears to consist entirely of this, level-wise.
  • Shinobi III featured the third stage: "Body Weapon", where Joe battles robots, guards, and unleashed bioweapons. It culminates in a fight against a giant in a room full of Meat Moss.

Adventure Game / Visual Novel

Beat 'em Up
  • The Splatterhouse series often takes place in such a level. Mainly because the mansion is/was used by Dr. West as a lab, and now is filled with monsters and demons.

First-Person Shooter
  • The Ur-First-Person Shooter The Colony is set in an abandoned scientific outpost.
  • Killing Floor with the Biotic Labs and the Bedlam map bunker.
  • Half-Life's Black Mesa Research Facility.
  • F.E.A.R. loves this trope. There's the Armacham Labs and Origin Facility in the first game, the Perseus Compound in Perseus Mandate, and several others in Project Origin.
  • Halo:
    • The Forerunners' Flood research labs are the most common type found in the series.
    • In the second level of Halo 5: Guardians, Blue Team investigates a lost ONI research station. As it turns out, the Covenant squatters aren't the ones who killed the original occupants; instead, audio logs reveal that they accidentally killed themselves when a bioweapon test went horribly wrong.
  • The X-labs in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. They are far and wide the scariest places in the series.

Platform Game

  • The Pinball of the Dead has the "Movement" table, which is set in a desolate laboratory filled with rusty implements.

Puzzle Game
  • The Aperture Science labs in Portal probably fit this trope.
    • At first in Portal 1, this is somewhat misleading, as GLaDOS is still maintaining the test area (where the player spends the majority of his/her time in) where everything is as white and shiny as an iPod, everything that's supposed to move moves, and it seems to be all good, until the player finally reaches the last chamber where GLaDOS tries to kill you and you make your way through the unmaintained area, you finally get a sense of how long this place has been abandoned. Even more so in Portal 2 where, GLaDOS is dead, and the whole place is overrun by plants. But the area underground the more modern labs takes the cake. By the look of things, it was used in the 1950s and abandoned much later. Not to mention that the announcer in the stasis chambers says that you've been in stasis for nine nine nine nine nine nine nine.... days. Which means you've been asleep for quite a while.

Role-Playing Game
  • Pokémon Red and Blue and their remakes have the Pokemon Mansion, where the experiments to clone Mew to create Mewtwo took place (before it had Gone Horribly Right), and which is now filled with assorted Fire and Poison-types and the scientists' logs of their experiments.
    • Pokémon Colosseum has the Shadow Pokemon Lab, which has only recently been cleared out when you arrive.
    • The Shadow Pokemon Lab returns in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, though it's considerably less abandoned this time around, having been reclaimed by its former owners during the five years since Colosseum.
    • Pokémon Black and White has the nearly-abandoned lab where Genesect was created. It's not a dungeon per se, but you will be able to battle the lone scientist still there for two of Genesect's Drives (the other two are in the other version) if you bring it with you to the lab.
  • The BioSytems lab in Phantasy Star II. Birth Valley in Phantasy Star IV is hinted to be the same location. In both games it's the birthplace of the cute Cat Girl in your party.
  • Project Purity in Fallout 3 when you first come upon it.
    • Hell, just about any of the "scientific" Vaults will be like this, as well as various abandoned shelters and named buildings.
    • In Fallout 4, a sealed section of Vault 81 was used for virus experiments on Mole Rats, overseen by the Miss Nanny robot Curie, and they continued breeding in there after it was abandoned. In the quest "Hole in the Wall", a kid named Austin discovers the lab and gets infected, so you have to venture into the lair yourself to obtain the cure from Curie, who then becomes a companion.
    • In the fangame midquel Mother: Cognitive Dissonance, there is one that is used to craft Starmen who are actually Martians.
    • Pictured above is the chimera lab from MOTHER 3, it's only mildly creepy at first...then the ultimate chimera gets loose.
  • The Ocean Lab in Deus Ex, where an act of sabotage has released plenty of genetic experiments and thrown the electronic security systems out of whack. The staff is dead to a man.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has Woohoo Hooniversity, a half school, half laboratory area which has been attacked by Cackletta and Fawful. Enemies include students mutated into mad doctors and viruses.
  • During Mass Effect 2's Jack's loyalty mission, you go to one to blow it up, so she can forget her past.
  • Most of Parasite Eve 2 takes place there.
  • The Geneforge series has quite a number of these, as experiments Gone Horribly Wrong or Gone Horribly Right are major drivers of the plot.
  • The Secret World has a couple of these as dungeons. Both are examples of Soviet Superscience with a magical flavor, and both involve projects that were officially abandoned, but with research in fact continuing until closer to the present day.
  • The True Lab from Undertale, is not technically abandoned ( Alphys still goes there from time to time) but is still worn down, dark and dirty and has been left unused for a long time, and is full of creepy-looking machines, logs about Alphys' experiments with Determination, and the Amalgamates, the terrifying (but largely harmless) results of those experiments.
  • The Underground Research Lab underneath Emil's Mansion in NieR

Simulation Game
  • The first Trauma Center game and its remake have the protagonists visit an abandoned Delphi research lab. They comment on how creepy it is, but it was long since picked clean and they're in and out within the space of a cutscene.

Survival Horror
  • The Resident Evil series is utterly in love with this: almost every game has at least one. The Underground Laboratory, first explored in Resident Evil 2, appears in three games and possibly Resident Evil 0 as wellnote .

Rail Shooter
  • House of the Dead uses this in most of the games in the series, notably the 2nd and 3rd games.