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Alternate World Map
The tendency for modern RPGs to have more than one world map: sometimes this is a Dark World or an Alternate Universe, but sometimes it's another planet, or a different time period, or simply an After the End scenario. A very common way to make Disc One Final Dungeon less obvious (because you can have the entire world visited before you get to it).

Note: This isn't the case when they make minor changes to the map (like in Final Fantasy VII when Diamond Weapon scars the world map) or in cases where there isn't really a world map or the worlds are just extensions of the same multi-world map. This is for if there's a world map and then, surprise, you've got another one.

A supertrope of Dark World. Usually asociated to a Dual-World Gameplay.


Examples:

Action Adventure
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance has the normal castle and the same castle in an alternate dimension. You travel between them using special portals.
  • The Legend of Zelda series:
    • A Link to the Past has the Dark World.
    • Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Ages both involve traveling between two time periods; in Ocarina of Time, you travel to and from seven years in the future (with Link aging or deaging respectively), in Oracle of Ages you travel to and from several centuries in the past (with Link, obviously, not aging).
    • Oracle of Seasons has an underworld and an overworld, and on the overworld features are changed by the passing of the seasons (which Link can accelerate).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has The Sky and The Surface, the latter being in either the past or the present.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has Link traveling between Hyrule and Lorule. Lorule resembles the Dark World from A Link to the Past but it's an entirely different place altogether. It's a counterpart of Hyrule complete with princess, hero and villain. But instead of sealing their version of the Triforce, they destroyed it, only to find that it was the Cosmic Keystone holding their entire world together.

Platform Game

Role-Playing Game
  • Chrono Trigger uses time periods.
  • Chrono Cross has an Alternate Universe.
  • Final Fantasy III has the floating continent and the surface world.
  • Final Fantasy IV has the main world, the underworld, and the Moon.
  • Final Fantasy V has two planets, and a third world map when they combine.
  • Final Fantasy VI had the World Of Balance and World Of Ruin.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 occasionally has several maps of the same locations in the different time periods (e.g. New Bodhum and Academia). Annoyingly, you have to explore 100% of each version of every location for the Paradox Professor sidequest, leading to situations when the Quest Giver refuses to accept the seemingly complete map of the area because you still haven't visited the area's alternate version in a different time period.
  • The 7th Saga has the player character(s) sent to the past.
  • Oracle Of Tao has Earth (a second version of it), and once done exploring that, there's another world called the Void which is presumably based on the original Earth, but is barren and has some different rules, like that nothing can exist for very long outside its towns at night.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend has four different main worlds, several minor ones, as well as the tower which connects them all.
  • Final Fantasy Legend II has twelve different worlds all connected by a celestial-based hub.
  • Final Fantasy Legend III went a bit nuts with this concept. It has three time periods, each with an overworld and an under(water)world. It also has a floating island and a separate dimension, the latter of which had its own underworld.
  • The Star Ocean series: some of the games let you travel between worlds (like in Till the End of Time). The Second Story destroys the planet you're on at the end of Disc 1 during the Disc One Final Dungeon. As a result this might actually be surprising in the PSP remake which is on one disc...
  • Tales of Destiny covers its planet in a shell of impacted earth. However, the only thing thing of interest on said shell are several dungeons.
  • Tales of Eternia has Celestia right after you can visit pretty much every obviously visitable place on Inferia.
  • Tales of Phantasia has time periods.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla.
  • Ultima II had 5 time periods: Pangea, B.C., A.D., Aftermath, and Legends.
  • Shin Megami Tensei uses this often:
  • Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest IV and Dragon Quest V each have an overworld and underworld.
    • Dragon Quest VIII too, although only one area has a Dark World map for it (Empychuu island). So, this is probably averted.
  • Dragon Quest VI has the dream world and real world. The Dread Realm opens up after exploring both of those and aside from the fact that it's reached by air (specifically, by having Pegasus fly there), it's basically the equivalent to the underworld in the rest of the Zenithia trilogy (i.e. IV and V).
  • Every game in the classic Phantasy Star series: Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star IV both have 3 worlds, Phantasy Star II has two (one after the other, in perhaps the straightest example of this trope), and Phantasy Star III has a whopping eight worlds (if you count the underworld), though they're much smaller than the worlds of the other games.
  • One could make an argument for Might and Magic World of Xeen, which has two separate 'worlds' connected mainly by a few scattered portals — the reason being that World of Xeen is the combined version of IV and V, with each game covering one side of Xeen (having both games unlocks the aforementioned connections between the sides, and adds a short questline to provide the real end of the game after you've beaten the main quests of both of the component games).

Wide Open Sandbox
  • Commonplace in the Driver series:
    • The first game took place in Miami, then San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City.
    • The second game started in Chicago, then moved to Havana, Las Vegas, and Rio de Janeiro.
    • The third game started in Miami, then moved to Nice and Istanbul.
    • The fourth game (Parallel Lines) took place in New York City of 1978, then 28 years passed and the game took place in New York of 2006.
  • Minecraft has three distinct maps: The Overworld, where players start; the Nether, a dangerous Lethal Lava Land; and the End, which is essentially the Very Definitely Final Dungeon writ large.

Real Life
  • Bored with Google Maps? Try Google Moon or Google Mars. In a major subversion of this trope, you can't actually go there (as of 2013).

Treasure MapMap TropesCartography Sidequest
All The Worlds Are A StageVideo Game SettingsAmusement Park
Alternate UniverseSettingsAnother Dimension

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