Disconnected Side Area
In video games, normally one expects all playable parts of a level to be reachable from one single point. It might not be a point you can get to without unlocking a whole bunch of things and even backtracking
from later in the game, but it still ought to be there.
But sometimes, you just can't get there from here (or here from there). You've found a side area that is ostensibly part of the level, perhaps even can be seen from other parts of the level, and in fact playable (not just for show), but you have to go around (often a long way around) to get between. The more infuriating of these are located behind an Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence
. On the other hand, you may find an area early on in the game that gives you a sneak preview
of a much later level. Or there may be a Door to Before
that leads back to the main area.
Common in Metroidvania
style games and some RPG
- Dynasty Warriors is rife with this, seemingly as an artifact of having all the maps being square-ish in shape. Often a thin row of fences or small river is all that stands between you and an objective, but getting there requires going halfway around the map.
- Sister series Samurai Warriors actually takes advantage of this with its "ninja paths". The small handful of ninja characters can use their double jump to reach certain areas too high for most characters, allowing them to take significant shortcuts.
- These are rather common throughout the Mega Man Battle Network series, particularly in the recurring Undernet area.
- Rygar for the NES has an impenetrable wall at the beginning, beyond which you can see a much later part of the game.
- In Space Quest II, you can see the second floor walkway from the moment you enter Vohaul's asteroid fortress, but there's no elevator button for that floor. You'll be taking a long side path to it, solving many puzzles along the way.
- The eastern part of the map in King's Quest I is cut off by an uncrossable river, so the only way there is being picked up by the Condor. To get back, you must go through a one-way underground passage and shrink yourself with an Alice in Wonderland style Magic Mushroom. Woe betide you if you go underground without the mushroom. Also, the cave containing the Magic Mirror is sealed with a boulder, so you have to enter the back way through the well. If you defeat the dragon with a bucket of water, he moves the boulder for you.
- Riven has a number of these. First of all, there's the section of Jungle Island with the Fire Marble Dome and the Wahrk Gallows switch that can initially only be accessed by the gondola on the back side of Plateau Island, until you open the Door to Before through the Wahrk Totem. Then there's the latter half of the Golden Dome on the first island, which must be accessed by the bridge from Crater Island. Finally, the fifth island that is isolated from the other four must be warped to through the Fire Marble Dome Portal Network, the hub of which is Gehn's Age.
- In The 7th Guest, the art gallery has no physical connection to any of the other mansion rooms. Entry is through a portal in the floor of the main hall. In the sequel, it is entered through a passageway in the grandfather clock. There's also the secret playroom reached through a miniature door in the doll room.
- The Legend of Zelda
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- The Swamp of Evil, which has to be visited to complete the game due to the fact that it is the home of the Misery Mire dungeon, is walled off from the rest of the Dark World map, and can only be reached via a warp tile in the Light World on a cliff that you need the Warp Whistle to get to, and said cliff happens to be a case of this trope to the Desert of Mystery in the Light World.
- The Skull Woods dungeon consists of three disconnected areas only accessible from different above-ground entrances in the Skeleton Forest portion of the Dark World's overworld.
- More examples are the second half of the Desert Palace (which happens to be located in the above-mentioned Desert of Mystery), accessed by a separate entrance on the cliff above the main palace, and two of the Heart Pieces on Death Mountain, which are reached by using the Magic Mirror at certain points in its Dark World counterpart, which itself is disconnected from the rest of the map.
- Used again in Ocarina of Time
- The Shadow Temple, which can only be accessed with the ocarina warp song because it's located on a ledge which cannot be climbed up.
- The Bottom of the Well seems to be this to the Shadow Temple itself.
- And the Spirit Temple, the first half of which you must enter as Child Link to obtain the item to access the Adult Link half of the dungeon.
- And again in Oracle of Seasons... three times. Part of Hero's Cave can only be accessed from an alternate entrance, and then the Snake's Remains level has one area walled off from the rest, which has to be accessed by exiting the dungeon through a separate entrance and re-entering through yet another one. Finally, the Tower of Spring is walled off from the rest of the Temple of Seasons and must be accessed through an underground passage.
- In Twilight Princess, the Gerudo Desert cannot be reached on foot like every other land-based area and must instead be traversed to with a giant canon at Lake Hylia. The only way to get out of the area is to warp out.
- The Great Fairy Grotto on Mother and Child Isles in The Wind Waker is only reachable by playing the Ballad of Gales after you learn it from Cyclos.
- Lorule in A Link Between Worlds has many of these in contrast to Hyrule, which only has one. Only two dungeons out of seven share a section of the world map with each other, with those two being located in the section containing Lorule's counterparts to Hyrule Castle, Link's house, and Kakariko Village. The only way to access the different sections before inspecting the weather vanes there is to take one of the portals from Hyrule.
- In Hidden Duality, there's a small part of Ganon's Tower that can only be reached by bombing open a secret part of the outside wall and going in an alternate way. It contains one of the 25 keys needed to climb the tower.
- Cave Story's Labyrinth camp area has a room with a treasure chest in it. The only way to get there is to go through the hidden passage outside blocked with a breakable block.
- Some levels of Blaster Master have one-way passages by way of respawning block floors that you can't destroy from above, forcing you to take a different route back.
- Tomb Raider, especially the third game, has many of these.
- Descent has many secret rooms that are visible behind a grate from the main level, but are only accessible via well-hidden doors halfway across the map.
- Quake II has several of these. The second half of Installation is only accessible via Door to Before from the Comm Center, and the Drilling Area has an isolated area only found through a secret door in the Borehole. Same for Quake IV, which sometimes uses the "later level preview" type.
- In Halo 2's Delta Halo, you can see the buildings from the next level, Regret, fairly early on, but unless you find a hard-to-reach shortcut, you'll be going the long way around. Similarly, at the beginning of Uprising, you can see the area where The Great Journey takes place, but the only way down is through a long Space-Filling Path, and there are no shortcuts this time. High Charity consists mainly of previously inaccessable side areas of the previous level, Gravemind, which were also visible in earlier cutscenes. Earlier, the Banshee combat sequence at the end of The Arbiter gives you previews of the outdoor parts of The Oracle, the next level.
- In the 1998 FPS Si N, the "preview" of later levels is played in a very interesting fashion. In certain levels, exploring long enough will yield access to rooms that can be seen (but not accessed) in later levels. In addition, most of these disconnected side areas have a feature that you can use (whether it's pulling a switch or disabling an object) that will benefit the player when they reach the later level. For instance, climbing through the ventilation system in the SinTEK Office level will net you access to a control panel located just above the building's main vents; destroying this panel makes the section where you have to climb down through spinning fans in an underground laboratory much easier.
- Medal of Honor
- In Medal of Honor: Allied Assault's Level 4-2 (Diverting the Enemy), the end area is visible through a window earlier in the level, and you can preemptively snipe some of the enemies from here. Halfway through level 3-4, you can see the church that marks your objective location behind a barbed wire barricade, but to get to it, you must go through a large graveyard covered by multiple machine guns. As for the objective itself, three of the Nebelwerfers are separated from the first by barbed wire and a minefield, and to reach them, you must run through their line of fire and negotiate an enemy-filled trench.
- The second to last level of Medal of Honor: Frontline has one of the "next level preview" type at the end. No, you can't climb over the barrier.
- One of the secret teleporters in Pathways into Darkness's "Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage" level warps you to an inescapable deathtrap room in a much later level. After completing "Who Else Wants Some?", you warp back to a previously inaccessable room behind a Door to Before on "I'd Rather Be Surfing".
- In Turok 2's Death Marshes, the first ammo storage facility is on a ledge right above the starting point, but is only reachable by a hidden side path much later in the level. One of the prison cages can be previewed on the far side of an insurmountable quicksand pit. The other levels have many examples of this too.
- In Sensory Overload, the thirteenth floor of the main building has neither elevator nor stair access, and is only enterable via air vent passageways from the fourteenth floor. In turn, it contains an express elevator to the hidden sub-basement.
- The FEAR series is full of rooms that can be seen through windows or grates, but are not accessible until much later, sometimes through secret passages.
- High Overseer Campbell's Secret Chamber is visible from a drainage culvert just off the courtyard of the Overseer's Office building, and the game even displays the Title In there, but the only entrance is through a Bookcase Passage in the basement.
- In "Return to the Tower", Burrows' rooftop safe room is on the same sub-map as the courtyard, and you can detect a Rune there with the Heart, but there is no direct way to reach it from the main exterior, instead you have to take a stairway from the piano room inside.
- The dev team's commentary of Portal 2 states that their game almost completely averted this, that is everything is exactly where it should be with reference to everything else, save for one single room: the room Wheatley moves into your path during your escape where you're ambushed by faulty turrets. That one room has you actually warped elsewhere when you enter it via portal.
- La-Mulana, among other disconnected side areas, has a side area of the Chamber of Extinction leading to a side area of the Surface leading to a side area of the Inferno Cavern.
- The Metroid Prime Trilogy is pretty bad about this a lot of times. A notable example is in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, where there's a portal and blue door right off the central room of Agon Wastes, which nags you as something you missed every time you look at the map. But it's sealed off by an impenetrable gate both in the light and the dark world. It turns out that this particular section of the map is only attainable much later when you have the proper gear, and takes a veeery long roundabout path to get to. Most players even get there via an elevator directly from Torvus Bog followed by a one-way dark world portal.
- The 2D Metroid titles have this sometimes too. Super Metroid has a few areas partially visible before you can fully access them.
- In Monster Tale, the last area has warps to disconnected side areas in each of the other four areas.
- The NES version of Strider, being a Metroidvania-type game, has a number of these, including some only accessible from other levels (e.g., a tube in Australia warps you to a previously inaccessable part of Africa).
- Variation in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, also a Metroidvania. One of the "maps" you can acquire reveals all the rooms in the Wizardry Lab. Most of the rooms are accessible the first time through, or are clear Doors to Before. But, wait... what's this one section marked out below everything else? Of course, you don't get to that part until much later, if you do at all.
- In BioShock's Neptune's Bounty stage, the immediate path from the Upper Wharf to the Fighting Mcdonagh's/Jet Postal area is sealed with a locked gate(which later becomes a Door to Before), so you have to go upstairs, in a circle, and through the Wharfmaster's Office before jumping down on the other side.
- Ori And The Blind Forest:
- One secret area is situated in the Moon Grotto portion of the map, as indicated by the music change, but is not connected to the rest of that region. Instead, you have to take a side passage from Hollow Grove after you have learned the Stomp. In the Updated Re-release, yet another area needed for 100% exploration in Moon Grotto is only accessible through the new Bonus Dungeon area.
- After clearing the Ginso Tree, you land in the eastern half of Thornfelt Swamp, which is isolated from the first half and could not be accessed beforehand, due to barriers that can only be broken from the inside with the aforementioned Stomp power, which is learned from an Ancestral Tree in this area.
- The Misty Woods has a side area you need to reach for the Good Eye achievement, and you can only get there if either you have earned the Triple Jump, or you return after completing the Forlorn Ruins and use the wind currents to Glide to it.
- Runescape had a small island only a couple squares from the beach of Catherby. To get there, you have to travel across some mountains and then through a long and difficult underground dungeon.
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King added a new subzone to the level 50-55 zone of Un'Goro Crater, high in the cliffs and unreachable by foot. You only get to access it at the intended level 77, more than twenty levels later after questing through all of Outland and most of Northrend, after activating a teleport there from another continent. (Of course, with Cataclysm, you can just fly there on a flying mount at level 60.)
- Cataclysm also added a new subzone to the low-level Alliance zone of Redridge Mountains: the Redridge Highway, which is high in the mountains, inaccessible from the rest of the zone, and instead serving to connect the much higher-level zones of Burning Steppes and Swamp of Sorrows.
- Pitfall II for the Atari 2600 is perhaps the earliest and most profound example of this trope. The game ends when Pitfall Harry rescues Quickclaw, but he can be seen by the player on the very first screen. If you go underground and try to backtrack to rescue him, a very aggressive rat pushes you back. The only way to reach him is to take an extremely circuitous and difficult route.
- Banjo-Tooie likes to put Jiggies in these side areas, though other items are hidden here as well. The game isn't consistent about which Jiggies count for which levels: one of the Jiggies counting for Hailfire Peaks has to be reached from Terrydactyland, while another is in a side area of Grunty Industries. Yet another Hailfire Peaks Jiggy is in an ice cave that doesn't connect to anywhere else on the Icy Side.
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: Most levels were perfectly linear, but there were all sorts of level segments that were blatantly impossible to get to from their respective levels. You had to find secret elevators from other levels and eventually the secret sixth hub room in order to get to them, rendering 100% Completion for those levels (breaking all the boxes) impossible until very late in the game.
- Super Mario Bros.
- The Donut Secret 2 and Chocolate Secret levels in Super Mario World are located on the Valley of Bowser map. They are not connected to any of the other levels there, and have to be reached by warp pipe.
- Super Mario 64 has a partial example in Wet-Dry World. The "town" section is isolated from the rest of the level, uses a separate set of water controls, and can only be easily accessed if you enter the level in a specific way - otherwise, you need to make a relatively difficult cannon shot. Also, though Eyerock is nominally in the same area as the rest of the pyramid, it is sealed off from the rest of the pyramid and has a separate hidden entrance that is used to access it.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles
- The second acts of Angel Island, Marble Garden, Lava Reef, etc. have disconnected alternate paths only accessible by Knuckles through otherwise unbreakable walls in the first acts. Ditto for Sonic 2.
- Similarly, Knuckles' low jumping height is used to bar him from places only Sonic and\or Tails should go. Ledges prevent him from just climbing up.
- If different characters have the same level in Sonic Adventure, they will frequently cover completely different parts of what is nominally the same place. For example, Tails and Knuckles both go to Speed Highway, but their game areas are completely different (and sealed off from one another).
- Sonic usually will visit a given level in its entirety, though there are occasionally areas that are off-limits to him and designed for someone else (like Twinkle Park's mirror rooms.) Amy takes over Sonic's role in doing this on the level Hot Shelter, the only one in the game Sonic doesn't visit. She runs through the entire level, while Big goes through the first few rooms and Gamma most of the rest.
- Big the Cat can see Sonic's path in Emerald Coast (and Sonic can see parts of Big's fishing area), but Big can't go up the slopes and get to Sonic's part of the level, and a gust of wind prevents Sonic from falling down to Big's area.
- In Red Mountain, Sonic can see tall pieces of rock in the distance (and they're not just for decoration), as well as some floating item boxes and a few items on ledges, but only Knuckles can access these things.
- Tails can see parts of Windy Vally that can only be accessed by using Light Dash - a move that only Sonic can use (and he can only use that move once he has the Light Speed Shoes, which you find on the way to the level that Sonic goes to after this).
- Knuckles can see the doors to the slot/pinball and card/pinball games in Casinopolis, but only Sonic can go inside those doors. Similarly, every character can see the switch for opening the door to the Hot Shelter, but only Amy, Big and Gamma are ever allowed to go inside.
- Rayman 2 includes a few level segments that aren't even accessible from the same level: about 20% of the second level in the game is only accessible through a level that doesn't appear until past the halfway-point.
- In Vexx:
- One Wraithheart in the Summit of the Sages is hidden away in a strange, floating net connected to a pipe. The only way to get it is to literally go Down the Drain in a different level, Tempest Peak Manor, which drops you there.
- In the second level, one of the hearts is hidden in the "Sand Castle," which only appears in the level as a literal sandcastle that's too tiny to do anything with. You have to go halfway through the Toy Castle in the first level, hit a hidden switch, and THEN you'll end up in the Sand Castle, which is just a Palette Swapped Toy Castle after all.
- The Color Computer Platform Game Downland had a lot of these.
- VVVVVV has a few of the "sneak previews of a later level" variety:
- In Space Station 1 (the very first level), there's a series of rooms where you can only reach the top half of each room, even though you can see the bottom halves. Later, the Space Station 2 level goes through the bottom halves of those rooms, many of which have harder versions of obstacles from their respective top halves.
- One of the computer terminals you come across throughout the game mentions a sealed-away secret laboratory, which gets marked on your world map. Another room in the overworld (along the path to the Warp Zone level's entrance) has a side path which leads to a little alcove on the side of the Secret Lab, which lets you see one room of the lab but doesn't actually let you in. But if you get 100% Completion by collecting all 20 Shiny Trinkets, the trinkets combine to form a warp which grants access the Secret Lab, which contains some of the postgame content.
- Bug!! has several of these, mostly because the game is a 3D-ish platformer. In order to get to many of them, you have to do a Leap of Faith (usually into the foreground)- and if you're lucky, you'll land in the secret area.
- Stage 2-3 in Purple has a chamber with a switch to Bonus Stage right above a room with a Check Point. The only way to reach the switch is somewhere in another stage.
- The ZX Spectrum classic Starquake has a walled-off area with a sign pointing to it saying "AMIGA", the passcode for the teleporter that's the only way into the area.
- Similarly, Hamte Damte, a not-particularly-subtle Starquake homage/ripoff, has a blockoff with no clues as to how to get to it - mapping the game will show a mystery 3x3 hole. No clues for the teleporter password this time, although looking at some of the other teleporters will make "SMASH" an educated (and correct) guess. There's also a single walled off room accessible only by the cyclic suction teleporters.
- Milon's Secret Castle has a room within the first room that taunts you with a large stash of money. The room is only accessible once you reach the third floor of the castle.
- In Repton 2, a few levels are split into distinct sections, each reached via a separate transporter on the Hub Level. Some of the additional scenarios in the PC remake have even more complex geography: for instance, in "Caverns", Level 18 contains an enclosed room that can only be accessed from Level 4.
- In Think Quick!, the Dragon's Den is where you get taken when time runs out, essentially a Game Over by Controllable Helplessness. However, the endgame has you Just Visiting this otherwise fatal room through the small passageway at the top left of the screen, on your way to the final puzzle with the remote-controlled knight.
- In F-Zero, in addition to having two different music themes, White Land is unique in that its second track is not connected to the first track.
- In Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, unlike the other maps, the two Alpine circuit tracks, "Fall Winds" and "Alpine Trail", never overlap or intersect each other, although an otherwise unused road connects them for "Autumn Crossing", the point-to-point variation.
- In Mario Kart 7, you can see the first bridge of Wuhu Loop (the first track of the Flower Cup) from the starting line of Maka Wuhu (the final track in the Star Cup), but you can't access the bridge and the rest of Wuhu Loop's track due to barriers blocking the way.
- The Avernum series does this a lot, at least in part 4 and 5. There are rooms you can see fairly early in the game, but you can't actually get there until you've moved all the way around.
- Final Fantasy
- Final Fantasy XII
- In the Paramina Rift, there's a frozen lake, which at one point has a huge gap in the ice; you can see the other side, but you have to go around to get to it.
- There's a few in the Dalmasca Westersand, too; one of them is used to hide one of the keys to a Bonus Boss.
- And some places in the Garamscythe Waterway can't be reached because there's some inch-deep water separating two platforms which are, at best, a foot away from each other. It is sufficient to say that this occurs frequently.
- There's also the section of the Ogir-Yensa Sandsea (or the Nam-Yensa Sandsea further to the west, near Raithwall's Tomb) that can only be reached via a specific path in the Zertinan Caverns. There's a very fun Mark Hunt that takes place in that area, but it can be a huge pain to figure out how to get there (lampshaded by the hint they give you to the location of the Mark as being isolated and hard to find).
- Final Fantasy X-2 takes advantage of this phenomenon by giving Yuna the ability to jump, allowing her to surmount certain waist-high fences to explore new parts of areas from the first game.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 plays with this trope a bit: many maps contain contain areas that are inaccessible by any means... in the current time period. Which usually means that you will discover a time gate leading to the same location at a different time, whether past or future, when whatever blocks the player's access is not there.
- In the first Kingdom Hearts game, in Hollow Bastion, you must go through an underground part of the castle and flip a bunch of switches to maneuver a bunch of different in-room gates to reach the switch that opens the castle's main doors. In the room of many gates and switches, there are two corners that are gated off with switches behind the gates. There is no way to open those gates and reach the switches. Those particular switches are not needed to beat the game, luckily.
- Pokémon Red and Blue
- In this game (and, naturally, FireRed and LeafGreen), once you get to Route 2 you may notice an inaccessible area on the other side of the line of trees. This area is first accessible only as an extension of the Diglett Cave dungeon until you obtain the Cut HM and get the corresponding badge.
- Also, at the bottom of Pallet Town is a small lake that leads off the bottom of the screen. If you remember to come back after getting Surf (and the corresponding badge), the lake opens up into the ocean, leading to a small patch of grass (the only place where you can catch a Tangela) and Cinnabar Island (the second-to-last gym battle).
- There's several of these, especially in the early games. West of Viridian City is the path to the Pokémon League, but until you reach the end of the game it's just one of these.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver
- You can surf east of the starter town to cross the Kanto border, but without Waterfall you can go no further.
- There's a tree blocking the way for easy access to Goldenrod City from Violet City. The solution to make the tree go away? It's in Goldenrod City, through which you have to take a long detour through caves and a forest.
- Also, the Silver Cave is visible on the Town Map from the very beginning of the game, but without any discernible paths leading to it. It becomes reachable at the very end of the Playable Epilogue, and requires the player to travel through a second region in order to reach it.
- Finally, while standing at the top right of Cherrygrove City (the first town past the start point) one can see a pond and a small shore past the trees. It's entirely inaccessible and has spawned theories about what rare pokemon are available there.
- Etrian Odyssey loves this trope, with large disconnected hidden paths back and forth through the levels.
- The upside-down ice city of Glacia in Skies of Arcadia has a small section just off to the side from the entrance that can't be reached when you first visit. Shortly after completing the dungeon, your Cool Airship gets an upgrade that lets you fly under the continent and enter the city from below.
- The initially visible stairways in Dragon Quest I's Charlock Castle lead to dead-ends. To find the real entrance, you must Search behind the throne.
- The passage that leads to the Core of Ys in Ys II is walled off from the rest of the Canals, and can only be warped into by using the Gold Pendant at the warp statues. The later parts of the Solomon Palace are also disconnected and must be reached either by the Canals or teleportation. Earlier, the final priest's shrine in the Divine Area is rendered inaccessable by a mine cave-in, and can only be reached by ringing the Evil Bell in the basement of Jira's house to open a secret passage. In the first game, to pass the "Devil's Wind Corridor", you have to break a pillar on the other side of the outer gallery, which must be reached via a separate stairway.
- Common in the Fallout games, with many immediate passages between areas blocked by insurmountable rubble, collapsed ceilings or floors, lethal radiation, or permanently locked doors:
- In Fallout 3, Meresti Metro Station has neither connection to the rest of the Metro nor direct surface access; the only way in is through the Trainyard Service Tunnels or a sewer manhole in Northwest Seneca.
- A side area of Dupont Circle, which you first enter from the back door of Galaxy News Radio, is disconnected from the main cell; access is either through a collapsed car tunnel or Metro Junction.
- The bow of Rivet City is broken off from the rest of the ship, forcing you to swim or take a hike to a Very Hard-locked door.
- The switch to open the National Guard Depot Armory requires a long round trip through the Training Wing and Offices, unless you shortcut with fancy jumping.
- Fort Constantine's Bomb Storage has a basement area that is not immediately accessible from the main building if you picked your way in, because the key is locked in there with its deceased owner Tara, so you have to obtain the three "You Gotta Shoot 'Em In the Head" keys and enter from the CO Quarters and Launch Control Bunker.
- Vault 106 has a door from the Science Labs to an isolated side room of the Living Quarters that contains little of value.
- The basement of Tenpenny Tower has three areas that are partitioned off from each other; the storeroom with the containment door that keeps out the Feral Ghouls, the generator room that contains the switch to said door (requires a key from Gustavo or Dashwood), and the room behind the door accessed from Warrington Metro.
- The upper levels of the Statesman Hotel are initially inaccessible from the ground floor, with the only entry being an improvised bridge from the nearby Our Lady Hope Hospital. After you rescue Reilly's Rangers and fix the express elevator, said elevator serves as a Door to Before back to ground level.
- The White House ruins are in the same exterior cell as Pennsylvania Avenue, but are blocked off from surface access by barricades and rubble. Access is through a sewer tunnel that also connects to the Presidential Metro in Broken Steel.
- One room of the children's wing of Arlington Library is only accessible from the media archives, with a one-way Hole to Before leading back to the rest of the wing.
- The Museum of Technology has a semi-disconnected secret room(the normal entry door is blocked) found by jumping to a narrow ledge in the rocket exhibit.
- The Armory area of the Citadel(not the quartermaster's vending booth) is inaccessable unless you call a Kill Sat strike on it at the end of Broken Steel and enter a door revealed by the resulting crater. Herein lies the unique Callahan's Magnum revolver. A one-way Door to Before leads back to ground level.
- Fallout: New Vegas continues with this trope:
- One office in the REPCONN launch facility that is accessible from the Labs but not the rest of the main building.
- The maintenance level of Vault 21 is only reachable from Benny's secret express elevator in the Tops Casino (and was not intended to be accessed by the player anyway).
- The Vault 34 Security Station is in the same cell as the Armory, but there is no direct access between the two.
- The HEPA filter room in Vault 22 is barricaded off from the main Oxygen Recycling floor and accessed through a locked cave on the Food Production level, which is also the only way to access the Pest Control floor prior to repairing the elevator, as the main stairway is blocked.
- In Vault 11, the hallway to the Atrium is caved in, thus the only way around is through the flooded Reactor level.
- Dead Money has several out-of reach rooms in the Villa cells only reachable through doors from other cells, and other semi-isolated areas whose only exit is through a Door to Before to an earlier cell. In the casino itself, the Cantina Madrid kitchen is initially sealed off from the main restaurant due to the gas leak triggered by Dog, so you have to retrieve the key from the restaurant lobby and go back and unlock the emergency door from the casino office area. After dealing with Dog, a Door to Before is unlocked with the Maintenance Pass Key.
- In Old World Blues, the X-8 Institutional Test facility, whose second half is itself a disconnected side area of the first and has a window overlooking the Residential testing area, also has an alternate exit leading to a hidden side area of the Nightstalker kennels.
- Cottonwood Crater is one of the few overworld locations that cannot be directly walked to; Fire Root Cavern is the only way to access it.
- Caesar's Fort is completely isolated from the rest of the overworld, and the only entrance is via raft from Cottonwood Cove after you obtain the Mark of Caesar. The Lonesome Road DLC has Dry Wells, a Bonus Dungeon unlocked after redirecting the nukes towards Legion territory, also only accessible by boat from the Cove.
- Fallout 4:
- The Institute has several of its rooms contained in one map. This can cause quest markers to mislead you into thinking that your target is somewhere in the same room, but you actually need to go back to the main hub and enter another room.
- In Fort Hagen, Kellogg's Supervillain Lair is visible from the entry hall behind a fence, but you have to take a long roundabout path to reach him, only after killing him can you unlock the security doors as a Door to Before.
- Marowski's chem lab in the Four Leaf Fishpacking plant is isolated from the main plant save for a one-way Door to Before, and to enter, you have to solve the laser tripwire puzzle as directed in Trish's Note.
- The Castle's armory is sealed with a blast door that cannot be opened from the outside, so you have to take an underground route after using the Workshop to clear a pile of rubble.
- Vault 81 has a secret Abandoned Laboratory wing whose entrance is concealed by a fake wall panel in the reactor room, with an Elevator To Before leading back to the main Vault entrance behind a locked-from-the-inside door.
- The second area of Kendall Hospital, where the main Raider stronghold is, does not have a pedestrian connection to the first part, so the sole path of access is an elevator to the top floor, then it's all downstairs from there to the basement, where a locked security gate leads to a side exit.
- At the National Guard training facility, the only immediate passage to the Barracks is an enclosed outdoor breezeway from the Offices building. As with most of the above examples, a Door to Before leads you back outside.
- Milton General Hospital is a clusterfuck of these. When you go down to the basement, the room where Sinjin resides at the end of the Silver Shroud quest is apparently on the same floor that the first elevator drops you at, but to reach him, you have to go up a couple flights of stairs, then take another elevator to the second floor, which you couldn't reach from the first floor, then drop down a hole and take a third elevator.
- Xenoblade has this in spades. The areas are humongous, with fully visible side-areas which you only get to visit later in the game.
- Technically, because of the way the game is set up, every part of an area is accessible once you clear the plot events required to get there in the first place. The main blockade tends to be overleveled enemies - say, aggressive level 70-ish monsters in a level 20-ish second area. Still a straight example, as some bluffs, overlooks, and other ideal locations for a photo op require some much legwork and exploration the game awards a "hidden landmark" bonus.
- In Lunar: The Silver Star, the Black Dragon Cave is divided into two parts explicitly stated to be sealed off from each other.
- This trope occurs throughout the Resident Evil series in spades. Some areas don't even appear on the map until later.
- The only way to get to the library area in Resident Evil is to take the elevator from the basement, unless you get the passcode from Barry as Jill. This bypass is in fact required to get the best ending in that scenario. In the remake, the main library door is jammed, so the only entry is through the balcony, which requires the Helmet Key from the guest house. In both versions, the fountain where you enter the Laboratory is in a disconnected area of the Courtyard, although accessed by different routes in each version,. Ditto the Heliport.
- The Sewage Disposal area in Resident Evil 2 is only accessible through air ducts, as the doorway in is shuttered. Also, Leon and Claire follow mutually exclusive paths from the police station to the sewers, and the other character's path can be seen on the map and even accessed via Door to Before in the B scenario, though not the A scenario.
- In Silent Hill 2, the east wing of the Hotel's first floor and most of the basement are only accessible via a service elevator that requires you to leave all your belongings behind, at least until you unlock the Door to Before.
- Occurs frequently with buildings under construction.
- For the longest time, Disney's California Adventure (due to construction on a new Cars-themed area) had required you to walk through the Flik's Bug Land area to reach the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. There was no other way to reach the tower, but construction has now progressed enough that you can reach it through the Hollywood Studios land on the other side.
- Many buildings have areas that can only be accessed by the public via certain elevators, as the doors to said area from the rest of the floor are locked from inside. Such as the second floor area behind the Child Life playroom in Seattle's Children's Hospital.
- One of the University of Washington's buildings has a library only accessible by elevator, no stairs. If you're stuck up there in a power outage, god help you.
- Point Roberts, WA is connected by land to Canada, but not the rest of the state mainland, and thus can only be traveled to either by driving into British Columbia and back, or by private boat. Other "exclaves" of the US include Hyder, AK, which is only drivable to by a road from Stewart, BC, and Estcourt Station, ME, which is only publicly accessible through Quebec.
- Likewise, near the Dutch/Belgian border there are a few small areas that are considered Belgian but are completely cut of from the rest of Belgium by Dutch territory.
- West Berlin was separated from West Germany by a significant portion of East Germany. At one point in the Cold War Russia cut off all ground routes between the two, forcing NATO to airlift food into West Berlin.
- While they are in the process of being smoothed out now, for a long time, the Indo-Bangladesh Enclaves were a high-octane political version of this trope, and affecting the people who live in them adversely. Dahala Khagrabari takes the cake, being a piece of land owned by India, which is surrounded by a Bangladesh village, which in turn is surrounded by an Indian village, and that is surrounded by Bangladesh land.
- The west wing of Los Angeles's Hotel Alexandria has no stairs or elevators of its own, so when the wing was sealed off from the main building after a rent dispute in 1938, the floors above ground level were rendered inaccessible, and no one has been inside since then, except for the first and top floors, which can be entered via the rooftops.
- The United States has many irregularities that are worth noting in land borders, in particular when it comes to water bodies.
- Carter Lake, Iowa. It's technically in Iowa, but it's on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River, making it a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. This happened because of a flood in 1877, which redirected the course of the river 1.25 mi (2 km) to the southeast. The remnants of the old river course, called Saratoga Bend, became an oxbow lake, Carter Lake, for which the town is named today.
- Several small areas of western Kentucky lie north of the Ohio River on what is otherwise the Indiana side, including one area south of Evansville, Indiana that accommodates the Ellis Park Race Track.
- Several portions of Nebraska lie east of the Missouri River, mainly due to flooding and changes in the river's path:
- Desoto National Wildlife Refuge near Blair, which borders Iowa. A portion of Iowa is also on the Nebraska side in the same area.
- McKissick Island near Peru, Nebraska, which borders Missouri.
- A section of land that borders Iowa, Sloan.
- Onawa Materials Yard Wildlife Area and Middle Decatur Bend State Wildlife Management Area near Onawa, Iowa.
- The above-water portion of Liberty Island is part of New York State, but being located in New York Bay, is entirely surrounded by the waters of New Jersey. Ellis Island is also in the waters of New Jersey, but the naturally formed part of the island belongs to New York, while the artificial infill portion surrounding it belongs to New Jersey. The original land area of Ellis Island is a true exclave of New York State.
- Rosecrans Memorial Airport, though lying within the city limits of St. Joseph, Missouri, is inaccessible by land from Missouri due to a change in the course of the Missouri River following the Great Flood of 1951. It is accessible only by crossing the river, then turning north through Elwood, Kansas.
- Delaware has two exclaves of land on the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay northwest of Fort Mott State Park and Killcohook National Wildlife Refuge: Finns Point and Artificial Island, Delaware near the Salem Nuclear Power Plant in Salem County, New Jersey. At that point, the border runs along New Jersey's mean low-tide mark. Thus when the spoils from the navigational dredging of the bay were dumped alongside Fort Mott and the Salem plant excavations nearby, both sites became part of New Castle County, Delaware.
- The 1812 New Madrid earthquake caused Reverie, Tennessee to end up on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River.
- Kaskaskia, Illinois is only accessible by traveling through Missouri. Grand Tower Island, Missouri is only accessible from Illinois.
- The Northwest Angle of Minnesota is the only place in the United States outside Alaska that is north of the 49th parallel, which forms the border with Canada from the Angle west to Washington State. This resulted from a map-maker's error. Benjamin Franklin and British representatives established the initial U.S. and Canadian borders in the Treaty of Paris in 1783 from the Mitchell Map of colonial American geographer John Mitchell, which misrepresented the source of the Mississippi River. The Treaty of Paris, concluded between the United States and Great Britain at the end of the American Revolutionary War, stated that the boundary between U.S. territory and the British possessions to the north would run "through the Lake of the Woods to the northwestern-most point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi..." The parties did not suspect that the source of the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca (then unknown to European explorers), was south of that point. The entire Mississippi River was too far south to be intersected by a line running west from the Lake of the Woods. The parties had used the Mitchell Map during the treaty negotiations; that map showed the Mississippi extending far to the north. In the Anglo-American Convention of 1818, the error was corrected by having the boundary continue due south from the northwest point of the lake to the 49th parallel and then westward along it. The Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842 reaffirmed this border. When a survey team led by David Thompson finally located the northwestern-most point of the lake and surveyed this north–south line, it was found to intersect other bays of the lake and therefore to form the boundary of a section of U.S. territory to its east, now known as the Northwest Angle.
- The end result is this: by land, the Northwest Angle can only be reached by driving Minnesota State Highway 313 Northbound (Warroad, Minnesota to Sprague, Manitoba) across the border into Manitoba, connecting to Provincial Road 12 in Manitoba at the border, then to Provincial Road 308 Manitoba, to Provincial Road 525, then finally crossing back into the United States in the Northwest Angle south of rural Angle Inlet, Minnesota (Angle Inlet Township). The distance from Warroad or Roseau to the Angle proper is approximately 63 miles through Minnesota and Manitoba back to the Angle's U.S. border. It is approximately 10 miles from the actual border (intersection of Manitoba #525 and NWA Road Dawson) to the rural developments of the Northwest Angle. The border crossing is unstaffed. Travelers using the single gravel road in and out of the Angle are expected to use a telephone at Jim's Corner, Youngs Bay Marina, or Carlsons Landing to contact Canadian or U.S. Customs and make their declarations.
- The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a pair of counties in Virginia that sit on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, separated from the rest of Virginia, and only connected to the rest of the state via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.