"It's called Death Mountain 'cause YOU WILL DIE!"A stage in a video game, particularly platformers, that takes place on a mountain or similarly high, rocky place. Thankfully, the usual problems of low air pressure are generally not found in these stages. Instead, natural hazards include falling rocks, crumbling ledges, rope bridges, and of course, very, very long drops. High wind may be a hazard in some places as well. Enemies may include eagles or other high-flying birds, Bighorn rams, yetis, and whatever nasty things the world may have living in the inevitable caves. Death Mountain is commonly merged with other areas. For example, the Lethal Lava Land version is of course a volcano, while others are snow-covered peaks. It's usually quite late in the Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography. Often also a Monster-Shaped Mountain. Named after the recurring area in The Legend of Zelda series. See Scaling the Summit for instances when actual mountain climbing is depicted.
— Brentalfloss referring to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Video Game Examples
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- An Untitled Story has the Curtain and Highlands, which precede the former. The Curtain has the game's usual jumping puzzles complete with lethal ghosts, while the latter has a constant danger in the form of falling rocks.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The titular Death Mountain in The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link To The Past, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, A Link Between Worlds, and Breath of the Wild. Frequent hazards include falling rocks, pitfalls and steep areas, maze-like layouts, lava, and dangerous enemies like Lynels and Tektites.
- Tal Tal Heights in Link's Awakening.
- Majora's Mask has Snowhead, while Twilight Princess, in addition to Death Mountain, has Snowpeak and the lofty waterfalls leading into Zora's domain.
- Dragon Roost Cavern in The Wind Waker is an example of the classic volcano subtype. When you put the Map of The Wind Waker on top of the Map of Ocarina of Time, several familiar places (like the Deku Tree) are in the same location. Dragon Roost and Death Mountain share their spot on the maps. Interestingly, when Death Mountain appeared in the original game, it was just set up like the rest of the dungeons in the game.
- Skyward Sword has Eldin Volcano. Which is obviously the same old Death Mountain, just a long time in the past.
- The Gerudo Highlands in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a snowy mountain right next to the Gerudo Desert. The extreme cold will hurt Link unless he has cold resistant clothing or consumes an item that grants the same effect. Death Mountain itself also exists and the extreme heat will set Link on fire unless he has protection. Said mountain also has fire monsters and lava lakes everywhere.
- The Minish Cap has Mount Crenel.
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has the Cliffside area of planet Bryyo.
- Alpiner took place entirely on mountain slopes.
- Death Peak in Chrono Trigger is another snowy version. Your first obstacle is even passing through a very windy area without getting sent back to the start.
- Dragon Quest IX has the Heights of Loneliness and a volcano, the Magmaroo.
- Final Fantasy:
- Mt. Hobs and Mt. Ordeals in Final Fantasy IV.
- The Northern Mountain and the Hiryuu Valley in Final Fantasy V.
- Mt. Kolts and Crescent Mountain in Final Fantasy VI.
- Mt. Nibel and Gaea's Cliff in Final Fantasy VII.
- Mt. Gagazet in Final Fantasy X. Even better that it's overflowing with powerful fiends, most of which are the lost spirits of former guardians and summoners. Like the one you're trying to protect.
- Mosphoran Highwastes in Final Fantasy XII. And at the peak, is a battle with an Esper.
- In Pokémon, it is usually home to Fire, Rock, and Fighting-types, and of course Zubats in the caves. It can also be home to Poison-types (if it's a volcano), Ice-types (if it's high enough to be snow-capped) and the Hiker trainer class, and tends to be associated with powerful trainers, Legendary Pokémon, or both.
- Mount Silver in Pokémon Gold and Silver and its Heartgold and Soulsilver remakes. There are no falling rocks, but the wild Pokémon are annoying enough, and then you face Red, the highest leveled trainer in any game to date, when you reach the top.
- Mt. Chimney in the Hoenn games, a towering volcano that dominates the region, something especially noticeable in the Sky. The lake of lava at its summit was home to Groudon in Emerald, and the Pokémon that live on and in the mountain include slugs made of lava and Numel and Torkoal, who are essentially walking volcanoes themselves. The mountain’s presence is heavily felt in northwest Hoenn—three separate Routes wind through Mt. Chimney’s roots, volcanic ash litters Route 113 to the north, and Lavaridge Town, on its slopes, cannot be reached except by flying or cable car, due to unclimbable ledges.
- Also in the Hoenn games, Mt. Pyre, hollowed out to make a cemetery, combines this trope with Big Boo's Haunt. At the top, you can find the Red and Blue Orbs which awaken Groudon and Kyogre.
- Mount Coronet in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Platinum. You have to slog through several dungeons (bring plenty of Repel), battle Team Galatic mooks, and then encounter the version's legendary at the top, at Spear Pillar. And if you're playing Platinum, you go right from there into the Distortion World.
- In the same games, Stark Mountain is that way too. It's full of falling ash, lava pits, and high level wild Pokemon (especially the Koffing and Weezing that like to explode in your face). There's a big cavernous maze inside, and Heatran waits at the end.
- Pokémon Sun and Moon have the snow-capped Mount Lanakila, the highest mountain in Alola. Traditionally the place where the island trial was completed by challenging all four island kahunas, it is now home to Alola's new Pokemon League and Elite Four. It is also home to unique Ice-type variants of Vulpix and Sandshrew which developed their new typing to adapt to its cold environment, and Crabrawler will evolve into the Yeti-like Crabominable when leveled up here.
- In terms of the spinoff games there is the Volcano in Pokémon Snap, home to an egg which hatches into Moltres.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Hoohoo Mountain in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga which also mixes it with a Temple of Doom.
- Thwomp Volcano in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is an actual mountain, a dormant volcano at that, but the cliffs of Yoshi's Island play this straight.
- Mt. Pajamaja in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team which is also a snowy mountain at the top.
- Mount Brrr in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam which doubles as Slippy-Slidey Ice World with Bubbly Clouds on the summit.
- Mount Lineland in Chapter 1-2 of Super Paper Mario as well as Mt Crag in the first two parts of Chapter 5.
- Whammino Mountain in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
- Eldam Mountains(also a Slippy-Slidey Ice World) in Ys III, Ice Mountain and Fire Mountain in both versions of Ys IV, and Grana-Vallis Mountain in Ys VI.
- Monster Hunter has Heaven's Mount, which debutes in the fourth generation. It is home to several Flying Wyverns like Rathian, Rathalos, Tigrex and Seregios. Close to this location are the Sanctuary and the Speartip Crag, Boss Only Levels where Elder Dragons are fought.
First Person Shooter
- In Unreal Tournament, both the DM-Morpheus and DM-Plungemap maps are set at the top of skyscrapers so high that gravity is low. For some reason, no one wears oxygen masks or cold-weather suits.
- DM-Peak from UT99 is a tiny wooden monestary wound around the top of a rocky spire with rickety bridges over long drops. The new, planetside CTF-Face(ing Worlds) in UT3 might also count.
- The Nature Park in Water Warfare. It has damaging geysers (with delicious tempting items on top nine times out of ten), and its boss is even a cave girl.
Hack And Slash
- The Stonefang Tunnels in Demon's Souls.
- "Tempest's Spine" is a raid in Dungeons & Dragons Online where you enter the base of a very, very tall mountain (surrounded by fire elementals and lava), work your way past many traps, respawning mobs, an underwater cavern and ambushes to the summit to meet an insane giant that controls the weather. One wrong strike from him and you will be flung off the summit. Without a "feather-falling" item, you'll get a quick and fatal understanding of the height of that mountain. But having a feather-falling item on if knocked off means that you're sailing far away from the mountain's base and to enemies that are unlikely to be nice to you as you try to regroup with your party.
- Guild Wars:
- The Shiverpeak Mountains. They're the icy variant, as one might guess from the name, though even the lady Elementalists, whose preferred attire is a bra, miniskirt, and a lot of lace, have no trouble with the cold.
- The Ring of Fire Archipelago, which consists of multiple volcanoes whose lava no one notices. At least not when compared to the roaming monsters that are each equal to a boss fight even for a max level group.
- Kingdom of Loathing: The Big Mountains, especially Mt. McLargeHuge, where you can fight things like ninja snowmen and seven-foot-tall dwarf miners. Its peak, where you can only go if you have very high cold resistance, is full of yetis instead.
- The first action stage in world 4 of ActRaiser contains elements of this and Lethal Lava Land.
- Donkey Kong Country:
- Gorilla Glacier is the classic icy version. As is K3 from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!.
- Razor Ridge, also from DKC3, is a more traditional example.
- Rocky-Valley in the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong.
- The sixth world of Donkey Kong Country Returns is a Prehistoria variant.
- The upper half of Autumn Heights in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, with crumbling areas and many cliffs that can only be travelled upon with the help of vine-made ziplines and air ballons.
- Sector 7 in Jumper Two is a combination of this and Slippy-Slidey Ice World. It has dangers in form of usual Spikes of Doom as well as regularly blowing winds and slippy surfaces.
- Ori and the Blind Forest has Sorrow Pass, combined with Gusty Glade; and Mount Horu, combined with Lethal Lava Land.
- The Blue Mountains in Rayman, the Precipice and the Iron Mountains in Rayman 2: The Great Escape, the Summit beyond the Clouds in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, and the Mystical Pique in Rayman Origins.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- The Hill Top Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, as well as Red Mountain in Sonic Adventure. Of course, both of these combine this with Lethal Lava Land.
- Sky High Zone in the 8-bit version of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 combines this with Bubbly Clouds.
- Rail Canyon and Bullet Station in Sonic Heroes as well as Sky Rail in Sonic Adventure 2 combine this with lots of rail grinding.
- Landslide Limbo in SegaSonic the Hedgehog
- Sky Canyon in Sonic Advance 2.
- And Mountain Zone in Sonic Jump
- Spike's Peak in its entirety.
- The setting of Summit.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Super Mario World has Chocolate Island. Its prominent feature is having hot mud that can kill Mario and Luigi like lava does in other levels.
- Tall, Tall Mountain in Super Mario 64. Also contains Cool, Cool Mountain as the snowy variant.
- World 6 in New Super Mario Bros. 1, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U (Rock-Candy Mines). World 5 in New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a Hailfire Peaks version that is mountain-themed in the first half and Bubbly Clouds in the second.
- Part of Freezeflame Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy.
- World 5-1 in Super Mario 3D Land.
- A few of the World 6 levels in Yoshi's Woolly World.
- The Mountain Temple, the third stage in Magical Pop'n with some Lethal Lava Land elements.
- Panel de Pon and Tetris Attack have their respective final battles set in a mountain cavern, which PdP actually calls Death Mountain.
- The island of The Witness has a relatively tall mountain overlooking its southeast coast. It's also The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, as the whole game involves activating at least 7 beacons in order to unlock the mountain's summit.
- Worlds 4 and 6 in Something Else take place on the mountain mentioned in the intro. In World 4, Luigi has to deal with Yoshis, Killer Bills, a very dark cave, and an underground mine. Luigi has to stop the invasion of the mountain village by Von Toad II and his frog cronies. In World 6, Luigi has two ways to approach the last castle. On one path, Luigi has to deal with exploding bullet birds and slippery ice blocks. On the other path, Luigi has to deal with slippery ice physics and plenty of platforming perils.
- Muncher Mountain, the third level in Super Mario World: Piranha Island, takes place on a very rocky mountainside. The first half is covered in thorns and hungry Munchers, so Mario has to take a Rocket Pipe Barrel to navigate it. If the pipe barrel touches anything dangerous, the barrel blows up and kills Mario, no matter what status he's in.
- Rock Range and Metal Mountains in HarmoKnight. These two worlds always contain flying, squealing seals that always glide in your face, and rolling meteorites.
Shoot Em Up
Stealth Based Game
- The Krasnogorje mountain in Metal Gear Solid 3. It's high up enough that the air is lighter, and as such Snake's stamina drops faster in this area.
- The former at Paris is even closer. Your train actually goes through broken trestles, falls through a bridge that has been washed out, a flooded cave, and an earthquake.
- Fallout: New Vegas:
- Zion Canyon from Honest Hearts. On a smaller scale, the main game has Black Mountain and Mt. Charleston/Jacobstown, both of which are irradiated Super Mutant strongholds.
- Back when it was actually a mountain, what is now known as Big Empty used to be this. Despite their good intentions for the progress of humanity, the facilities inside the mountain had created many, many dangerous weapons, creatures and machines. Some examples include the giant Roboscorpions, the incredibly venomous and totally sterile Cazadores and Nightstalkers, the Cloud that corrodes everything it touches including those who inhale it, and weather machines capable of producing skin-tearing sandstorms. Not only that, but many of the test subjects were in fact Chinese prisoners from the war times who were forced to live in the mountain's concentration camps. Fast forward to where the game takes place, not only have the creations begun escaping the labs, but the remaining head scientists that had lost their sanity long ago are dangerously close to discovering how to leave the mountain and taking their experiments to society.
- The natural habitat of the Fire Dragon in Gothic II. No actual lava, as the volcano seems to be dormant, but plenty of long drops and an assortment of fire-related nasties to battle - although the latter can be avoided by transforming into a bug and just crawling past them. They ignore anything that small. It's possible to make it all the way up to the crater and the dragon itself without a single fight.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The Red Mountain in Morrowind is a variation: the main dangers, instead of being very long drops, are the creatures infected with blight and corprus emanating from the crater. The Dagoth Ur Facility also has Lethal Lava Land elements. It is supposed to be much wider than it is tall. The entire island of Vvardenfell is, in fact, Red Mountain with its outer slopes.
- Skyrim sends you up the Throat of the World, the highest mountain in all of Tamriel. It is quite a bit easier to die from very long drops than what was the case with Red Mountain, which is rather encouraging, considering Red Mountain is supposed to be the other contender for highest mountain on the continent.
- Child of Light has the Cliffs of Erin, which require the assistance of the living mountain Magna to reach, because Gameplay and Story Segregation prevents Aurora from simply flying there.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Dwarf Fortress:
- Mountains are one of the biomes generated in worldgen, marked by high elevation, jagged terrain and impassable cliffs. You cannot start a fortress there, and you cannot cross mountain tiles in adventurer mode unless you can fly. Besides regular mountain wildlife such as mountain goats and yaks, mountains are also home to yetis, good and evil gnomes, giant eagles and rocs.
- There are also volcanoes, which are essentially freestanding mountains with a large tube full of lava reaching from the lava lake at their top to the magma sea at the bottom of the map. One the one hand, they provide easy access to otherwise difficult-to-obtain magma and obsidian. On the other, they allow various types of fire elementals to make their way from the magma sea to your fortress.
Non Video Game Examples
- Discworld: The Ramtops are a high mountain range extending from the edge of the Disc all the way to its Hub. They’re extremely high, steep and craggy, and while flat land is plentiful most of it is also vertical. What kingdoms there are are built on ledges and cliffs along the edges, with the plot-important kingdom of Lancre clinging to one of the largest such ledges. The higher crags are home to trolls, dwarves live under most mountains, and the peaks near the Hub, full of reclusive monasteries and yetis, (essentially trolls with asbestos wool for fur) rise even higher than the rest, eventually reaching the icy spire of Cori Celesti, home to the gods, at the very center of the Disc.
They rose tier on tier, speckled with snow, trailing endless pennants of ice crystals high overhead. No one skied in the high Ramtops, at least for more than a few feet and a disappearing scream. No one ran up them wearing dirndls and singing. They were not nice mountains. They were the kind of mountains where winters went for their summer holidays.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: The Mountains of the Moon are a high, harsh mountain range that surrounds the Vale of Arryn and makes it impossible to invade, with the only path through, the High Road, being often no better than a stony track and completely impassable in the winter. Rockslides are common, and the peaks are infested with barbarians and vicious shadowcats. The Eyrie, the castle of House Arryn, is perched high on the Giant’s Lance, the highest peak in the mountains, and can only be reached by a long, difficult climb up a steep, narrow goat trail. This makes the Eyrie completely impregnable to attack — unless you can fly.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The map at the beginning features a range of peaks named the Death Mountains in the far north. More generally, the mountains that have to be crossed in most quests in Fantasyland tend to feature impossibly high, sharp peaks and steep cliffs that don’t seem to have ever been eroded, leading Jones to conclude Fantasyland has never gone through an ice age. This is where you’ll find dwarves, who have likely hollowed out a few of said peaks for their Fastnesses, as well as cliff-dwelling clans that live alongside telepathic eagles and hawks.
- The Night At Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky.
- The mountain Monkey in "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" on Demon Days by Gorillaz.
- Billy the Mountain in "Billy The Mountain" from Just Another Band from L.A. and "The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary" from Studio Tan (1978) and Läther (1993), both by Frank Zappa.