So the villain is feeling quite secure in their dungeon/castle/tower/fun house/generic headquarters. The path to their location is filled with a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, each filled with death traps and Elite Mooks that would quickly kill the protagonists, or at least inconvenience them by a lot and let the villain escape if they need to.
... but the heroes just fly up to the top of the tower where they are. Or blast a shortcut to their place (not coincidentally, blasting the villain in the process as well). Or enter an overlooked route. All that dungeon preparation? Wasted. If the villain hasn't been taken out yet, they might complain about how these things were supposed to go.
Makes players of RPGs, Action Adventure, and other such games with dungeons wish they could do something as easy. Occasionally, they can, though it usually isn't intentional. This usually results in Sequence Breaking.
Heroes that find another way to get past a maze may also count. Basically, the Dungeon Bypass is where the hero takes a shortcut instead of whatever the intended path was (possibly exploiting Myopic Architecture in the process). If used in combat, this can be in some contexts a case of Fighting Dirty. This is a Sub Trope of Fake Skill.
Inversion: In many Tower Defence games, it's the enemies who use this on you! Airborne Mooks will fly over your maze of towers, unlike other mooks who will have to traverse it while getting the stuffing blasted out of them on the way.
Compare Take a Third Option (any generic option of going along an unintended route), Cutting the Knot (for making the shortcut), and Easy Level Trick (pulling this stunt on any sort of level in a video game). When an NPC does this with no explanation, it means they Took A Shortcut.
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An advert for jeans saw a man and a woman running through a series of walls, and by extension, rooms. Parodied in the title sequence of early series of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
Anime & Manga
In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, when Quattro learns that the heroine has found out where she is, she tries to console herself on the fact she's in the core of the ship while Nanoha's in the Throne Room, two places separated by many doors, swarms of drones, and a huge maze of corridors. She then notices Nanoha pointing her staff at the floor and powering up for a Blaster 3Divine Buster, and promptly realizes that she is screwed. Made even more impressive by the fact the ENTIRE ship is covered by an anti-magic field... So the beam had to be also powerful enough to resist the anti-magic effect.
In the manga version of Slayers, the villainess had filled a five-story building with mages and warriors capable of matching Lina. Instead of going through them, Lina just flies straight to the top of the tower where the villainess was.
One of the OAVs does this too, with an underground dungeon a demon generates. Lina just blasts downward through all the floors, and comments that it's kinda stupid that the monster is always at the bottom floor of these things.
Hunter × Hunter did this at one point during the Hunter Exam arc. Gon and his companions (plus Tonpa "The Rookie Killer", a Smug Snake who was acting like The Load on purpose) are near the exit of a tower full of traps when they come across a branch. The "easy path" goes straight to the exit, but the door to the easy path will only open if they leave two members of their group behind and chained to the wall. The "hard path" will allow all of them to exit, but will take too long for them to make the deadline for escaping the tower. However, the two exits are next to each other, so after some thought and a lot of effort, they manage to break through the wall separating the easy path and the hard path.
Gon also did this in a later story arc. He and his friend had been manipulated into a mansion by a tough enemy talented in anticipating their movements (and who knew where the doors were). The heroic duo started kicking through the walls...
Both subverted and played straight with the Maze Card in Cardcaptor Sakura; trying to fly over the walls causes them to grow (or turns the maze into an Escher masterpiece), but the Moon Bell knocks down the walls in a straight line.
Occurs in One Piece, during the Enies Lobby arc. The crew has to reach the top of a courthouse tower and Zoro, whose sense of direction rivals Ryoga Hibiki, is having a tough time finding his way. Eventually he realizes he merely needs to go up, and launches his Tatsumaki attack (straight upwards windcutting tornado) and clears a path upwards for himself, inadvertently sending Chopper and Nami up as well. Afterwards, Sanji presumably has the same idea and crashes through the room just after Zoro climbs out.
Earlier, in the Alabasta arc, Sanji invokes this trope by realizing the easiest way to get to the clock tower in this maze of a city is to kick through the walls of every building in his way. This later comes back to bite him in the ass when he overhears townsfolk complaining about the repair work they'll have to do.
In a short story of Suzumiya Haruhi, the SOS Brigade are stuck acting out a typical Medieval RPG in simulated space. Not only do they bypass a lot of dungeons and battles (by threatening an NPC, no less), but the biggest use of this trope is found when they reach the final dungeon, still at level one and probably lacking all the key items and skills they need to beat the last boss. The solution? Mikuru accidentally casts two doomsday level spells at once, completely demolishing the entire castle and the Big Bad with it. And the hostages they were supposed to rescue.
In The Cat Returns, the King's henchmen put up fake walls in a maze to make sure the heroes can't find their way to the end. However, the Baron realizes a wall is fake, and the kicks it down—which, since the henchmen had unknowingly set themselves up like dominoes, causes a chain reaction of falling walls until they form a pathway straight to the exit.
In YuYu Hakusho, Hiei, Kurama and Kuwabara give Yusuke a boost to help him reach a window in Suzaku's tower on top of Maze Castle, enabling him to fight Suzaku while they work their way up to him.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! R, Seto Kaiba does this twice. First, he lands on the roof of the building in his Blue-Eyes Jet rather than Duel his way through the lower floors. As he Duels the first card professor, Mokuba hacks into the security system and unlocks the door, making the Duel for the keycard superfluous. Kaiba announces he simply needed a warm-up before Dueling Yako.
In the Tower of Heaven arc of Fairy Tail, Jellal taunts the heroes on the intercom and challenges them to fight their way up to top floor of the Tower of Heaven, where he will be waiting. Natsu decides to skip that, steps outside, then he and Happy attempt to just fly to the top. Unfortunately, Fukuro intercepts them and knocks them back down, then calls them out for "cheating".
In Medaka Box: Abnormal the Student Council must descend 13 floors of goons to reach their objective. When presented with an elevator to take them down immediately, they decline. However, later in the arch they try to use it, only to be cut off by a group of henchman saying "Only a cheater would attempt to use this route!".
In Superman: Ending Battle, Superman gets trapped inside Bunny: The Living Ship by Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman. Trying to bust out is nearly impossible, because the inside is an ever-shifting dimension. Supes fires his heat vision at the wall and keeps pouring it on. Since metal conducts heat, the heat travels everywhere and the ship overheats and shuts down.
Cyborg: You're already twenty miles deeper into the ship than when you started... Make that forty. I can fold Bunny back in on herself indefinitely, a technorganic Moebius Strip. We're going to be at this for a very, very long time.
One brief gag in a Yamara fantasy-gaming comic had some non-traditional "adventurers" blow up a dungeon with dynamite, then tally their experience points and break out the shovels.
In With Strings Attached, Jeft pits the four and the Hunter against the essentially impregnable Twisted Temple and the death-touch-wieldingBrothers of Doom. The Brothers have left two small windows open to lure stupid invaders into the temple. Unfortunately for them (and Jeft), this is a golden opportunity for Ringo to prove once and for all that no, he is not useless. He telekinetically removes each Brother one by one and drops them in a large box that John made out of ice.
Being a Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic, it was probably inevitable that this would happen in Game Theory. Although surprisingly enough, it's not Nanoha but Quint Nakajima doing the bypass. When one of her opponents puts up magical barriers to try to block her path, she goes through the unmagical walls instead.
When Naegi tries to ensure that Everybody Lives in And Again, one of the biggest roadblocks he runs into by the end is how Monobear only gives them access to the higher levels of Hope's Peak after a murder. The answer? Make their own way up with the entire arsenal of a SHSL Soldier.
Films — Animation
When WALL-E wants to power up, he rolls outside and opens his solar panels. When EVE is in a hurry and wants to power WALL-E up, she blows a hole in the ceiling with her plasma cannon. Note that the door was open and not five feet away.
At the end of WIZARDS, the two titular mages face off for a final battle. After centuries of fighting we're expecting a long, drawn-out climactic fight. Instead, the good guy mage says "Let me show you a little trick mother taught me when you weren't around. Oh, and I'm glad you changed your last name you *&$^%@!" At which point he pulls out an antique handgun and shoots the bad guy. Real short fight.
Lampshaded in The Emperor's New Groove, where Pacha and Kuzko have to cross a jungle and a castle and the secret passages to reach the Secret Lab, to find Yzma and Kronk already there despite earlier falling down a canyon in the rainforest.
Kuzco: No! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?
Yzma: Ah...uh... how did we, Kronk?
Kronk: (pulls down a map of the dotted lines) Well ya got me. By all accounts it doesn't make sense.
In Wreck-It Ralph, once Ralph discovers the golden medal at the top of the tower in Hero's Duty, Ralph bypasses all the traps and Cy-Bugs by climbing the wall to the top.
Films — Live Action
The Xenomorphs pull this one on the heroes in Aliens. After the humans supposedly barricade all the doors and air ducts, the Aliens just climb above the dropped ceiling.
Subverted in Labyrinth. Shortly after Sarah enters the labyrinth, she asks directions from a small sentient caterpillar. "Don't go that way. Never go that way," he tells her, at which she thanks him and heads off in the opposite direction. When she's gone: "If she'd gone that way, she'd'a gone straight to that castle."
Which turns out to be good advice as Sarah probably wouldn't have succeeded without going through The Hero's Journey learning how to defeat the goblin king and assembling her Five-Man Band first.
In Casino Royale, while the mook is going through a building under construction with Le Parkour, James Bond just goes through walls, shoots down an elevated platform for it to fall...
Interestingly, Starfleet Academy (which was released about 10 years before Star Trek) presents both options to the player, when they stumble upon Kirk's original hack when taking the Kobayashi Maru themselves.
Averted in The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship tries to go around Moria via a mountain pass, but Saruman awakens the mountain of Caradhras, causing an avalanche of rocks and snow that blocks their way, causing our heroes to have to backtrack and go through Moria anyway.
Played for Laughs in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Little John stands on a bridge and demands Robin fight him to pass. Achoo points out that the river beneath "ain't exactly the Mississippi". Or even a river, for that matter; "stream" would be generous.
The town borders in In Time are guarded by massive road barricades that you need to pay a toll booth to get lowered. Later in the film, Will and Sylvia plow their car through the toll booth itself to get through.
In Terminator 2, at one point Sarah is trapped by a SWAT team in a clean room. John, watching on cameras, declares there's no other way out of that room. So the Terminator knocks down a wall and pulls her to safety.
In Red, when Frank infiltrates the CIA headquarters, he comes across a secure door with an electronic lock that is impossible to hack. He gets through by kicking a hole in the wall and manually unlocking the door from the other side.
This is actually the only way to beat the maze in the seventh Lone Wolf book, Castle Death. One monster shorts out the overhead force field with its death throes, enabling you to climb up its corpse to the maintenance gantries. Trying to fight your way through the maze leads to certain death.
Conversely, if you possess the proper skill, you can cheat in a different way — namely, when asked to pick one of two archways to pass through, you ignore them both and break through the weak spot in the wall between them, escaping the maze. Still, there is no "fair" way to beat the maze — all paths within the maze lead to those two arches, and both of those arches autokill the player if he chooses one.
Some Choose Your Own Adventure-style books have hidden endings that are not linked to any of the storylines— the only way you'll ever find them is by flipping through the book to see all the endings without following the storylines.
In Ankh-Morpork, which is primarily built on Ankh-Morpork, a man with a pickaxe and good sense of direction can walk from one end of the city to the other by knocking down walls - presuming he can breathe mud. In Night Watch, Vimes expects a tactic just like this ... so he boards up the basements around the barricade ahead of time.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry takes a shortcut through a maze by blasting through the hedge in order to rescue Cedric. Yet it takes a spell and quite some fighting with the branches just to open a small hole.
In Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling, some outside force suddenly causes electricity to stop working all over the Earth. In Oregon, the main (human) villain begins establishing a brutal fiefdom, and orders the construction of a well-defended fort blocking an important pass. Fortunately for the heroes, hang-gliders still work just fine, and they land a strike-force on the fort's roof and breach the defenses from the rear.
From Loophole Abuse: In one of the Dinotopia spin-off novels, the protagonists find themselves in a Lost City inhabited by Troodon samurai (just go with it). The Troodon challenge the humans to different contests to win citizenship, one of which is a race through an obstacle course. The human, Andrew, wins by bypassing the course and just running down the strip of land between his course and his opponent's, because there isn't a rule against it. This becomes very popular, and although the rules are immediately changed, "Pulling an Andrew" begins to occur in other activities around the city as well.
In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel The Caves Of Ice, Cain and the fireteam he's deployed with come across a tunnel with recognizable signs of being carved by an ancient civilization ( specifically, the Necrons). Cain immediately orders the tunnel to be sealed off with explosives. When he returns to the spot some time later, however, he finds that a hapless ambull has tunneled around the rubble.
Earlier in the same book, an ambull came out of the tunnel wall to attack Cain who was "safely" in the middle of the party. This, of course, gave him an (unwanted) opportunity to show off what a badass he is with his chainsword.
In The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings, the heroes attempt to use captured minions to lead them through the deathtrap maze, only to realize that the minions didn't know the way either. Finally, they realize that there was no way through the maze, but there were secret access points to get to the roof of it and go straight across.
Not so much "secret access points" as a simple attempt to leave the maze through the ceiling (by removing enough bricks of the vaulted ceiling). They were aiming for the outside, but they were happy when they found the maintenance corridor.
Well those "Secret access points" did exist, the heroes just decided to take a short-cut, to get to the short-cut.
The protagonist of The Ion War was sent, as a test, into a maze — inside a furnace, with a five-minute timer on the device protecting him from the heat. He discovered that the walls weren't anchored, and toppled them like dominoes. He still wound up having to do an Indy Hat Roll to get to safety before the protection deactivated.
The Wheel of Time has Travelling and Skimming, which should be enough to bypass most dungeons, but Rand's secret of dealing with people who know that they're more clever than he is would have made Nanoha proud, in a horrified sort of way.
In one of the Star WarsExpanded Universe novels, Han Solo remarks that he "never saw a maze that couldn't be greatly simplified with a good blaster".
This was probably inspired by Leia's way of getting herself and her rescuers out of a very tight situation in A New Hope. Granted, it landed them in a garbage masher, but it still counts for something.
As Bolos grow bigger and heavier (in their later versions rivaling the size and mass of World War One battleships), the concepts of 'obstacle' or 'barrier' become less meaningful — they blow everything in their way up, iron it flat through the sheer weight of their passage, or both.
In When The Devil Dances and Hell's Faire, the "Screaming Meemie" units accompanying the 7000 ton "Bun Bun", tend to take full advantage of the passage of the SheVa smashing everything in its path flat. The resultant path is still impassable for wheeled vehicles, but for the tanks* the MetalStorm turrets replace the regular turrets on M-1 Abrams tanks, whose hulls are left unchanged save for the turret interface traveling through the impressions that each section of SheVa tread leaves isn't a problem.
In Codex Alera the Vord bypass an impenetrable Canim fortification by tunneling underneath it to attack them from behind. It took the Canim completely off guard because the Vord had enough reserves to continuously attack the front while tunneling behind.
In Esther Friesner's Elf Defense, our heroes are stuck in a magical semi-sentient hedgemaze, which has just separated the college professor being pursued by a dragon from the elven prince who actually knows how to fight a dragon. No problem: the Welsh au pair calmly picks up a sword and proceeds to chop her way through the first hedge in the way. The maze, not being stupid, immediately opens a clear path for her.
In The Mysterious Benedict Society, the final test which the main characters are put through in order to qualify for the mission is a maze of identical rooms. Reynie identifies a pattern of arrows (there are several different arrows in each room, each pointing different directions), while Sticky blunders through at random, memorizes the route instantly, and completes it perfectly when he tries again, but Kate simply opens up a heating duct and crawls straight through.
In Robert Asprin's Phule's Company series, the Omega Mob tends towards solutions like this. The key example comes in the first book, where Phule's troops (a gang of misfits that were already considered too irregular for the Space Legion, which is already an irregular military force) are going up against one of the finest military units in the galaxy in a series of competitions. The second event is the challenge course, which is to be run "under combat conditions" with full military gear. The regular Army unit runs the course perfectly, setting a spectacular time as they do so. Phule's company literally destroys the course, blowing down walls, cutting away barbed wire, and in general using their full military gear to wreck everything that gets in their way, and get away with it through Loophole Abuse and because the rival commander was too damned impressed to push the point - and because he admitted that if he had to get his troops across a real battlefield with such obstacles in the way, he probably would have done the same thing.
Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker Vasher uses Nightblood to demolish walls in the royal palace in order to reach his target Denth. It's not a straight example because it's not a dungeon but the effect is the same.
In The Big One there's a nested example of a Dungeon Bypass within a Dungeon Bypass. Faced with a situation where German occupation forces occupy most of Europe and it will require a massive effort over a period of years (with horrifying American and Russian Army casualties) to drive them back, the U.S. elects to destroy Germany directly by means of a nuclear attack aimed at its war production industry. (This is Truth in Television in that the plan used in the novel was actually that formulated by the U.S.A.A.F in 1941) Within that Dungeon Bypass is a second one; the Germans had built a comprehensive air defense system that wa scapable of inflicting severe casualties on any air force that tried to fly through said defense. The U.S. used the B-36 bomber whose high-flying capabilities allowed it to simply fly over the defenses (again, Truth in Television since the B-36 could fly 5,000 feet higher than even the best-performing German fighters and well over the threat of anti-aircraft guns and the missiles that existed at that time).
In the Ravirn books, Clotho at one point seeks to keep Ravirn and Cerice imprisoned in her maze by making it imitate a quantum computer, thus causing all the gateways to be simultaneously open and closed, and thus impassible. Ravirn, however, is a minor chaos power, and more than capable of simply forcing the superposed gates into the 'open' state where it's convenient for him.
Live Action TV
Bones did this once. A real dead body was found in one of those Halloween haybale mazes, so Booth kicks the bales down and cuts a straight path to and from the parking lot. Apparently, he was the only one to even consider this, as everyone else appears rather shocked.
The premier episode of Burn Notice has a drug dealer feeling secure behind his armoured, reinforced door. Narrator Michael Lampshades the trope when he shoots through the ordinary thin wall beside the door, wounding the dealer, then busting in through another wall where he'd previously removed the exterior sheeting so it was only the drywall he had to break to enter.
In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, the Gokaiger have to climb all the way to the top of the Big Bad's tower to rescue Gavan, but once he's free they simply blow a hole in each of the successive floors to get them back to the ground level. Then, adding injury to insult, they pull out their BFG and fire it upwards, taking out a large section of the castle and killing all the bad guys they bypassed.
From the Red Dwarf episode Rimmerworld comes this exchange:
Lister: Why don't we scrape away this mortar here. Slide one of these bricks out. Then using rope weaved from strands of this hessien, rig up a kind of pulley system. So then when a guard comes in, stands on a tripwire, gets laid out. Then we put Rimmer in the guards uniform. He leads us out. We steal some swords. And fight our way back to the bug.
Kryten: Or we could use the teleporter.
Again from Duct Soup. The crew crawl through the ventilation shafts of Starbug after the ship apparently goes offline. Kryten made sure the doors were functional but didn't explain this until they got back.
Bra'tac: The shield generators are far below, there — in the very bowels of the ship. We must climb down several decks, through the length of the ship. Then, taking our weapons, we must— O'Neill:(shrugs and tosses grenades down the shaft; the generators explode; he looks back at Bra'tac) Grenades.
In a later episode, Sam, Jonas Quinn and Jackson are trying to find the Eye of Ra, and have spent most of the episode puzzling out how to find the compartment it's in. When they do find the compartment, there's another set of locks... but they're running out of time, so Sam just blasts through it with her P90.
In Greek Mythology, Theseus tied his string to the end of the maze, dropped it, and it rolled down, where he just followed it until it eventually led to the minotaur. While not technically a bypass, he did circumvent the whole dead ends thing that a maze is supposed to have.
In some parts of Sweden, fishermen used to believe that every village was infested with little invisible gnomes, whose main desire was to get out on the sea. To do this, the gnomes would follow the villagers around. If a fisherman didn't get rid of the gnomes before going out in his boat, it would mean terrible bad luck. So how did they get rid of the gnomes? Easy: Dungeon Bypass! Every fishing village would have a labyrinth (mostly a simple spiral) built from rocks as big as a head or so. Before going out, the fisherman would walk all the way to the middle of the spiral, the gnomes presumably trailing him. When he reached the middle, he would simply run across the stones, down to his boat, and cast off. The gnomes, too small to jump over the stones, would have to take the long way out of the spiral, and would be too late to sneak on the boat. Though one wonders why no gnome ever got the idea of waiting by the boats...
Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible, rather than attempt to get through the heavily defended and fortified walls of the city of Jericho, Joshua and the Israelites paraded around the city for days before blowing their trumpets. This caused the walls to crumble completely. With the divine help of God.
A notorious Dungeons & Dragons tactic is the "scry and die", in which the player characters use divination spells to locate the Big Bad, then cast a teleport spell to ambush him wherever he happens to be, bypassing any and all elaborately prepared defenses he has set up. Of course, one Mind Blank spell and it takes a caster with deity-level power to scry the subject.
Of course, by the time you can easily afford Mind Blank or cast it yourself, you're not too far below epic level either. It's a game balance problem — if defenses against magical ambushes are too easy to implement, you eventually lose the ability to spring those plot-convenient ambushes on your players... At least, that's the earlier-edition attitude. Fourth edition concerns itself more with creating adventures specifically for the party and rather less with trying to build a world that has to make sense whether or not they're actually there to notice.
3.5 later released Anticipate Teleport as a 3rd level spell with a 24 hour duration to alleviate this problem. They also introduced the 6th level Greater Anticipate Teleport which actually makes the "scry and fry" tactic backfire by warning the target and delaying the teleporter's arrival for three rounds to give the target time to prepare.
Many RPGs have so many ways of doing this that it may be futile to try to list them all. There appear to be two main reasons for this: first, many games include countless different spells whose implications are often poorly thought out (though some of this is intentional: there's actually a D&D spell called "passwall", which creates a temporary hole in a wall of your choice). The second reason is many games try to write rules for every conceivable situation, including tunneling through a wall with a battle axe.
In fact, in Dungeons & Dragons Edition 3.5, all materials stronger than paper are allotted a hardness score, which dramatically reduces damage dealt to them. Weapons made out of Adamantine, however, ignore the hardness of objects unless they're built from materials equal in strength or stronger than Adamantine. Within the rules, and excepting another object made of adamantine, there are no such materials. This makes tunneling through a stone wall with an Adamantine Battleaxe almost pathetically easy.
Obdurium appears in some supplemental materials and has a hardness of 30, which is really just obscene.
However, in fourth edition D&D, items and walls no longer have a hardness rating, which means that a weak but determined character can punch through them.
It is quite easy for PCs to end up rewarded for this: most strong doors are made up of an expensive material, so simply using "disable device" or other methods to take it off its hinges winds up quite profitable.
So much that the remake of Tomb of Horrors has replaced all of its Adamantine Doors with "Spell-Hardened Steel as Hard as Adamant, but loses its magic if you dismantled them."
In Tomb of Horrors At least one group of adventurers has made it through without a single casualty by having a team of dwarves dig around the traps and obstacles with non-magical mining equipment over the course of several weeks. The writers planned for ethereal travel, melding into stone, magical defenses, teleportation, etc. but never expected an ordinary pickaxe and a group of patient, careful adventurers.
Warhammer 40000 has several game mechanics that allow you to put your forces behind your opponent's lines, such as infiltrating, outflanking, and deep striking. The Apocalypse and Planetstrike supplements also provide special strategic assets and stratagems that can also help your forces bypass defensive lines. Also, if you happen to have fast skimmer transports, you can literally just fly over enemy lines.
Exalted: Solars with the correct Charm can bypass locked doors by walking through them, and more veteran ones can remove the walls by punching people through them. Meanwhile, those with dematerialization effects can just stroll through walls, and experienced Infernals can just load up Pellegrina's Fury and erode away everything in their path. Of course, the point of Exalted isn't about whether the heroes can make it through the dungeon, it's about whether they should, and how they intend to solve the long-term problems that led to the dungeon attack in the first place.
In the Deadlands adventure Fortress o' Fear, the players are sent to locate a portal to the Hunting Grounds within Devil's Tower. If they enter near the base of Devil's Tower, it's a long and arduous journey through labyrinthine rooms and dangerous monsters. However, they have the option of hiring an Ornithopter pilot in City o' Gloom who will offer to fly them right on top of the tower, which is much closer to their destination and a lot less hazardous. Oddly enough, the adventure seems to push the players in this direction, essentially encouraging them to bypass the detailed dungeon they'd created.
There are also the Dungeon Bypass opportunities within levels. For example, there's a level where you go up against a fleet of battleships... but you can bypass all the weapons and enemies by swimming under the ships. In what is apparently lava, no less.
In other levels in the game, there's a massive wall between the start and finish line, with the majority of the level in a cave underneath it. Which means anyone with the P Wing can just fly straight up, right over the wall and down to the finish block.
Same with the Feather, Flying Yoshi, or Lakitu's Cloud (again) in Super Mario World, on levels with no ceiling.
Another SMW example: once you gain access to the Star Road, you can skip the rest of the game straight to Bowser's Castle by keyhole-clearing each of its levels. Especially glaring if you get there through the Donut Secret House.
To clarify: by using the Star Road at the first opportunity (via Donut Secret House), it's possible to beat the game by completing as few as 12 levels. Playing the game straight through requires beating about 40, and 100% Completion is 96.
In the Rightside Down Galaxy, halfway through, you can backflip above the maze and walk around the top. Exploring the area nets you 4 1-Ups and the ability to re-enter right on top of the Star.
Flipsville is basically the land of the Dungeon Bypass. You can pretty much skip every single section by in order, going around or over the walls, under the level by walking on the base of it in the second one, going over the roof and spiked wall in the next area and then just jumping a wooden fence in the final part before the boss. There's also the first Bowser Jr level, the Fiery Flotilla, where you can skip most of the level by jumping on the castle walls and just long jumping to Gobblegut's boss arena.
Mario has nothing on Kirby. In Kirby's Dream Land you can literally float over whole levels. In pretty much every single level. Subsequent games put more of a limit on his flying ability.
Admittedly, most levels in Kirby games have low ceilings and many of the enemies can fly, shoot, or otherwise hit Kirby while he's in mid-air, so this isn't really so much of a Game Breaker as it might sound. They took away his floating powers in Kirby's Epic Yarn, though.
Pretty much any Sonic game (with the exception of SA 2) in which Tails or Cream (who both have the ability to fly) is playable; also Knuckles to a lesser extent (he can't fly but he can glide and climb walls).
Sonic 3 (and some of the Sonic Advance series) took this into account though, providing alternate routes only reachable by using those abilities.
Oil Ocean Zone's namesake from Sonic 2 is a huge factor in bypassing the level, as Sonic neither sinks nor dies in the ocean as long as he jumps out in time. One can run under the entire level until they hit a wall, jump on top, continue the level like normal, then drop back into the ocean and repeat.
Sonic himself can do this in open levels and a spindash, jumping over half a level with ease. Especially if he is Super Sonic (or, in the 3D games, Metal Sonic in the multiplayer of Adventure 2: Battle)
Sonic Unleashed itself has gained a bit of a following for people who know level layouts and special tricks, allowing speedruns of certain levels. The Air Boost in this game alone can turn a platforming segment/puzzle into a two-second solution of "Just jump and boost over it," among a ton of other small tricks to speed up levels. Specifically, a couple levels in particular with the description of "Complete X Laps!" can be sequence broke by turning around at specific points, tricking the game into thinking you've reached a certain lap early.
In Knuckles Chaotix you can play as Charmy, who can fly for as long as you want without ever needing to land, so you can basically go straight through the levels without doing anything.
In Nethack, a game which very much prides itself on its flexibility, you can begin the game with a pickaxe or acquire one very early on. A pickaxe can break down every wall, including the ones that separate one level from another. By diligent digging, you can literally bypass the entire dungeon, stopping only to bushwhack a few mandatory bosses before ascending to ultimate victory. This means playing with a very underlevelled character, but is quite exciting. The technique is known as digging for victory.
in T-O-M-E which is a nethack variant, you can get a spell that can remove walls in all unblocked directions at once (with any class) as a result of a lost sword quest. Or make walls in all unblocked directions for when you want to wall in every annoying critter (breeders and stuff that summons greater dragons recursively come to mind) that saw you as a result of the first spell, and then pickaxe yourself a path around them. It's quite random to get either spell, but you usually get a few super powerful spells along the way.
Some of which are tremendously useful in desintegrating every item that isn't strongly magic with ego magic or artifact, saving you a hell of a lot of manual sorting.
Since there are quite a few things you'd want to store for later, the rod of home coming (cast in a town inside a dungeon where there ISN'T normally a home to claim) qualifies as a shortcut of epic proportions saving several hideously long walks back and forth for alchemists for instance. So you can store those greater dragon corpses without having to carry 'em 68 or so floors up while your speed drops to 5% of what it used to be...
And if you really want to kill all your enemies in one go and be unequalled in the world until the end of times, wear the one ring. Traps of ring swapping will help you make that choice sometimes...
And also has the nickname "Die for Victory" as the tactic generally kills characters very quickly. The benefit is largely that you'll go through so many characters that eventually you'll get lucky and end up with a somewhat stable setup.
"Every wall" is a bit of an exaggeration; there are a few special levels where the walls and/or floors are undiggable.
Many Roguelikes share this property; ADOM also allowed you to modify the map on most levels. In fact, digging was the only way to reach the Elemental Temples.
The old Ragnarok RPG had potions of phasing, which allowed you to walk through walls (except in the shop level) and even between planes, letting you skip the tedious process of looking for portals. If you walked off the map, however, you'd fall to Niflheim and take a lot of damage, usually dying.
The RTS game Dungeon Keeper 2 has a campaign level that has racing against the clock while your mission is the destroy the enemy Dungeon Heart where the Macguffin is stored in the far North, having to go through another enemy camp in the middle to get there and having overwhelming numbers against you with few resources while you're stuck in the far South. The obvious solution hinted by the mission briefing is to find the bypass. This can be done by building a bridge on the west side over the water and then tunneling past both bases straight to the enemy's Dungeon Heart. Another level gives you the choice of a frontal assault to be able to assassinate the enemy leader or to tunnel east and attack him in his own headquarters bypassing all his defenses.
A justified aversion in Mass Effect 2. On Illium, at the start of the mission to find the Assassin (whose target is in the penthouse of a skyscraper), Shepard notes 'Why don't we just fly up to the top?' His/Her informant, however, comments 'They have a lot of mercs carrying rocket launchers, just waiting for you to try..'.
In the Disgaea series, units with flight like the Mothman and Masked Hero can move through enemy units, and disregard the height of terrain, making them extremely useful for any map where you need to get a certain point to complete it, as both of those things will frequently pose problems for normal units.
In Final Fantasy VII one can bypass much of the Shinra Building and its guards by simply taking the stairs as opposed to fighting your way floor by floor. This is, however, incredibly boring, time consuming, and you have to put up with your characters complaining the entire way. There are a few bits of nice loot on the stairs, however.
Though taking the stairs lets you see one of the most hilarious lines in the game. "Stop acting like a retard and CLIMB!" This from Tifa, no less...
Fallout 2 allowed the player to bypass several levels of security in the Sierra Army Base if he had a high enough Lockpick skill to get to the personal elevator of the general who would have been in command of the base. A character could also bypass forcefields with the Repair skill.
Or one could simply, in case of this particular location, get a hold of combat armor, wear it, and sneak inside by abusing combat mode. Only the general can tell you apart from his recruits, and any other trooper treats Player Character like a recruit and directs you to the armory. Either way, one of the best ways to have fun in the Fallout series was trying to finding creative ways to bypass everything.
Fallout New Vegas has a vault that contains a maze to reach the bottom for a mission. Or you can just repair the elevator at the entrance and go straight to the bottom floor.
Repair, Science, Speech, Barter, Lockpick and Disguises allow you to do this a lot over the course of the game. The difficulty of Dead Money is largely dependent on if you actually leveled your skills fully or used every possible drug, magazine, and equipment bonus to pass skill checks and put the bare minimum skill points in as a result.
In the DLC Old World Blues, a mission requires you to test out a stealth suit by reaching a safe without being detected. You could carefully avoid and disable robots, turrets, lasers, and land mines. Or you could destroy all the obstacles before the test even begins. Even better, a player with a force-field disabling weapon can use the observation level to drop directly into the final room of the test.
A lucky player could just run straight through the first mission of Deus Ex to the "boss"; once that happened, the UNATCO troops would come up behind him and kill all the bad guys.
A player that knows what he's doing can force open the UNATCO door with a gas grenade, bypassing the mission entirely.
There are many examples of bypassing danger by taking a stealthy route to the target, particularly in Castle Clinton, where the player can use the keypad near the vending machine, go through the vents, and then find the Ambrosia while only encountering one or two guards.
Another one occurs after Denton sends the signal from the roof of the UNATCO occupied NSF base, which causes every single soldier inside to turn hostile. You can either fight your way down... or put a bunch of mods in Leg Strength (which lowers fall damage) and jump off the roof.
A variation appears in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Upon teleporting to a city under siege, you're told that no one has been able to enter or exit using teleportation magic. The player, of course, can come and go as he pleases, though he can't target a location more specific than the point he left the city. This is probably due to this ability being linked to the fact that the main character is a proto-god at that point.
It is also possible to go past most of the Undercity plot by simply bribing the guards at the entrance (exit) and most other dungeons can be severely shortened through use of the transformation-teleport bug.
It is possible to do this in the Golem Dungeon in Neverwinter Nights, as there is a door right at the entrance that leads straight to the final room of the dungeon. It takes a lot of lockpicking skill to open it, however.
Possible in many World of Warcraft dungeons if you use an all-stealth group. Having all druids is most effective, as they can occupy any slot in a group (tank, healer, DPS). Though Blizzard got a bit crafty recently and allowed some of the enemies to detect stealth.
Rogues (and anyone with the Engineering or Blacksmithing professions) can pick the locks of some doors that ordinarily require keys found on bosses in that dungeon. Others can't be picked, however, and there's no way to tell except by trying.
Some dungeons however are designed in a way that lets player skip some bosses. The Botanica being the most notable since you can skip every boss, but given the ease of most of them, its pretty pointless to do so. They are the ones that give the nice loot, after all. In addition, crafty players have found ways to bypass several normal enemies with various tricks, although the usefulness of some are debatable.
And one of these, the infamous wall-walking featurebug, was almost entirely patched out of the game after a number of rather blatant exploits.
Indeed, the Deadmines fall under this trope — but only so far: when the players reach the big evil's ship, rather than wading through hordes of henchmen, they can simply hang a left and move right on to the miniboss via the edges of the cavern and a conveniently-placed slope.
There's another anti-stealth technique used by some encounters, in which a boss will summon all the monsters you haven't yet defeated in the nearby area to assist it, with hilariousconsequences.
Made even funnier when you have a group with enough gear/levels/skill to simply mow these extra enemies down as they arrive and still beat the boss.
Many dungeons have some bosses that are optional in this sense, that they are in an alcove or side room and you can clearly go on to later bosses without even disturbing them. A smaller number of dungeons, though, have small, nonintuitive, easy-to-miss, often one-way paths that let players circumvent content. This often requires jumping off a ledge, such as in Blackrock Depths, lower Blackrock Spire and the Slave Pens. Sometimes, like in the Slave Pens, if you don't jump at exactly the right angle it's possible to miss the ledge you're aiming for and make a lethal drop or simply fall below your goal and have to run back the long way.
Levels 60 to 77 were originally designed for players who didn't yet have flying mounts, but later allowed the use of flying mounts anyway. This meant quests that involve killing a specific NPC, normally requiring you to fight through a large number to mooks in the way, could simply be flown over.
While on the topic of Warcraft, the third episode of the expansion's Nightelf campaign involved finding the current "evildoer" inside a complicated (but still pretty linear dungeon) then escaping before the timer runs out, using the main character's blink ability, which allows her to teleport short distances and even go through walls, as long as the destination was previously revealed. during the escape only, a hidden room is revealed, right next to the entry hall. The player can blink into the room, then through the wall, skipping almost half the dungeon.
An interesting example happened in the past, when one of the players (called Angwe) set camp in a narrow passage (that had to be passed through to reach an important location) and killed every character he could. Other players had to be very creative to pass this place.
In Dawn of War Dark Crusade, during the Space Marine stronghold mission an early optional objective allows you to direct orbital bombardments from the Litany of Fury by co-opting the Blood Ravens' communications. The Imperial Guard stronghold has a scanner that gives you line of sight to one point anywhere on the map temporarily. Orbital bombardment can one-shot an enemy stronghold building.
The mission is even easier for Tau, whose commander has both long ranged weapons, jet pack and stealth. He can jump over the SM defences and blast the stronghold while remaining hidden from retaliation.
Eldar are extremely good in this in general, since their vehicles can skim across long distances and over obstacles, and their builder units can teleport across half the map and then build Webway portals that you can teleport your whole infantry army (and your whole base if you feel like it) through.
Can be done on any mission in City of Heroes that does not require every foe on the map to be defeated as long as the players have Stealth or at least one has Stealth and the ability to teleport their teammates to their location. Stealth can be taken by any character by level 6, and the Stalker archetype has it as a required power at level 1. However, some enemies later in the game have + perception powers that allow them to see through stealth as well as some maps featuring obstacles that will suppress stealth if the player gets too close to them.
The most impressive example of this is the final mission of the Katie Hannon task force. Players are expected to beat their way through hordes of Red Caps, find a captured witch, and get her out through wave after wave of ambushes. This happens on an outdoor map, though, and the witch is capable of flying. As a result, it's become standard practice to fly to the witch, blow away her captors, and fly her out.
The old trial in the Hollows beats it. There are two stages: fighting your way through the tunnels to the door to the cave, then facing a single massive room full of monsters between you and the eight triggers that have to be pressed simultaneously. You have 90 minutes to complete it. If someone on the team has a stealth power and Recall (teleporting someone to your position), they can get to the door and quickly teleport everyone there. Once everyone goes through the door, then do the same thing for each of the triggers (teleporting one teammate to each). Click the triggers, trial over in a few minutes, and quite likely zero enemies having to be fought.
There's also an Enhancement (a sort of power upgrade) which can be slotted to Sprint, an ability earned at level 1 - and which gives the character a sort of partial invisibility as long as Sprint is active. It stacks with Stealth, the level 6 Concealment skill, for a single power slot used... and then you can get Recall Friend, to pull other members of your team towards the single objective.
On the Oranbega maps, some portals are bugged so they send you to a random portal rather than the partner portal on the other side of the wall. If you get lucky, it's possible to be sent from a portal just inside the map entrance to one just outside the room with the mission objective(s).
Besides the usual Sequence Breaking of the Metroid series, the Space Jump (allows for infinite jumping, and destroys anything you touch if the Screw Attack is equipped) and the "Shinespark" technique in Super Metroid and later 2D games (run until you get "charged", and then thrust in a chosen direction, jumping extremely high and possibly breaking some walls) are perfect translations of dungeon bypass.
Metroid: Zero Mission on the GBA let you use a morph-ball shinespark to acquire super missiles early, bypassing a few minibosses. It was a tricky technique, and probably more time-consuming than just killing the boss. Worryingly, the skipped bosses register as dead if you come back later, down to scenery-alterations caused by their death throes. If you didn't kill it, then what did...
In the original X-COM, most walls can be shot through with a powerful enough weapon. Eventually, units can be outfitted with flying armour and weapons powerful enough to punch through the hull of a U.F.O - making it possible to simply blast your way into the bridge.
A favorite tactic for the Final Dungeon: The expected route is to fight your way through the alien base and destroy the central computer. A team of skilled psychics, on the other hand, can complete the mission in the first turn without even leaving the starting area, by simply mind-controlling the aliens to do it instead.
In the "Vacillia Battleships" stage in Zone Of The Enders: the 2nd Runner, you're normally supposed to fight your way to each ship's Wave Motion Gun and take that out, which leaves its weak point in the back vulnerable to a shot from your own Wave Motion Gun. What they don't tell you, is that your Wave Motion Gun is actually powerful enough to take down those ships outright through sheer damage. If they get close enough, you can cripple one ship, wait until another gets close, then fire your cannon and just sweep the beam down it's length, then finish the first ship off.
In the first Halo game, you can pull this if you're VERY lucky. In the level "Assault on the Control Room," in the last quarter of the level, you encounter a group of Covenant Grunts, Jackals, and Elites. One of the Elites is piloting a Banshee, a flying vehicle. However, until they see you, they aren't doing anything in particular. One well-aimed shot with a plasma pistol, and you can take out the pilot of the banshee, and wreck havoc on all Covenant forces between you and the final room.
It doesn't necessarily take luck. If you hang on to your sniper rifle, you can kill him every time before he hops in. You can even kill the pilot of the second banshee further down the bridge. You could also use a rocket launcher to flip the banshee over so he can't get in it.
even before that, on the first bridge you cross, you can hug the cliff all the way down to the bottom. the rest of the enemies will not spawn so you skip about 95% of all the fighting in the level.
Actually, with a lot of practice and luck, you can get a Banshee just after you reach the first tank. A well-placed rocket launcher to the bottom of the platform high up on the chasm wall will knock off the Banshee sitting above it. You can jump in and fly your way through the rest of the level! Works because the vehicle spawns with the level, but the pilot doesn't spawn until you've walked farther into the next area. You can actually fly back and find a very lonely, very angry elite waiting where his ride should be.
"The Silent Cartographer" has the semi-famous "Squally's Jump." When you go back to the door you unlocked there's a ledge that triggers a cutscene showing off the near-bottomless pit. To the right, you can see the side of the complex you would be fighting through, and on the bottom floor, you can see an Overcharge. It's possible with good aim (or the fact that the game autosaves there) to land on it and take no damage. It also lets you sneak up on and kill two Elites guarding the way you were supposed to come from.
The downside is, all those enemies you skipped by jumping? They stay there, and are joined by the enemies that spawn in after reaching the titular Silent Cartographer. Hope you're ready for a fight.
There's another spot where a door is meant to close before you can get to it. The intention is that you are entering on foot - with a warthog, you won't be slowed down by the enemies between you and the door, and with good timing and driving skills, you can wedge the warthog in the doorway, forcing the door to stay open. If you're also lucky, it's far enough through for you to hop out on the other side, bypassing having to fight your way to and through the back door.
There are in fact many more examples which can be found throughout the game, like hugging the wall down a huge valley, allowing you to take a ride in the Pelican dropship, straight to the Scorpion tank in the 5th level.
In Portal, several levels have a "normal" solution which is also the hardest / most labor-intensive solution (notably level 14). Finding the shortcuts is usually necessary for solving the challenge levels.
In the commentary, the designers admit that there were a few bypasses that play testers stumbled upon, allowing them to skip portions of the puzzles. Many times, they decided to leave it in because the shortcut was less intuitive and a bit more challenging to use. Still, knowing how to do this could save some time.
This is usually the best (and sometimes only) way to get A ranks on missions in Valkyria Chronicles. At max level with all of her potentials unlocked and their chance of awakening boosted with a special order, Game Breaker Alicia can quite literally run across the entire map, shrug off or dodge anything the enemy can throw at her, and capture the enemy's base camp in the space of a single turn without having to fire a single shot.
Some games with randomly generated dungeons, such as Persona 3 and Baroque, will occasionally end up generating a floor's exit right next to its entrance. You can't bypass the entire dungeon this way, but you pretty much end up bypassing that floor. One speedrunner takes advantage of this feature to finish Diablo in a matter of minutes, by reloading every time the next floor wasn't laid out this way.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon has the Pure Seed item, which teleports you to the stairs down instantly. Awesome, but Impractical in that, while not very expensive, you'd have to bring one for each of the up to 50-70 floors of the dungeon, can only find them as random drops or in the randomly restocked shops, and they would take up a lot of space in your bag...
Speaking of which, in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, with enough IQ grinding, Palkia can learn the IQ skill Absolute Mover, which lets you traverse any terrain type and break through walls. Combined with other skills such as Stairs Sensor, and you can easily skip quite a few rooms within a floor.
Fallout 3 also has the lockpick bug/feature. If you max out lockpicking COMPLETELY, you can lockpick through the exit of the dungeons. Thus, literally bypassing everything.
Several dungeons, such as the National Archives, the Antagonizer's Lair, and Olney Powerworks, have a hidden back door that you can use to skip all the monsters and traps and go straight to the boss/Macguffin item/mission objective.
Likewise, in the National Guard Depot, you can squeeze your way through a debris pile blocking a stairway to the third floor, then jump down to the Armory switch on the second floor, bypassing the Training Wing and Offices.
The Metro service tunnel leading to the Family's hideout also has a hidden back entrance from Northwest Seneca Station, which is the way most players first discover during the Blood Ties quest. The main tunnel entrance is from the Meresti Trainyard, which is a fair distance away.
You can either take the hard route to Vault 87 through Murder Pass, or if you rescued Penny from Paradise Falls, ask Joseph to turn on the computer terminal for you to hack and open the back door.
Avernum sets these up intentionally in the first three games. Learn the Priest spell "Move Mountains" and look for cracked walls, and you can sometimes get around the baddies (or at least find sealed-off rooms.) Sadly, as of the fourth this is no longer possible.
Late in Iji, you have to destroy a generator protected by heavy doors, which you're supposed to open by finding the appropriate switches. But if you maximize you Tasen Weaponry, Komato Weaponry and Cracking skills (that's where the Nanofield Reboot ability comes in handy), you can hack together a gun that can shoot through the heavy doors, completely eluding the dungeon and its boss. This is mandatory for a Pacifist Run.
So in order to beat the Pacifist Run, you have to build the biggest gun you can?
In Grand Theft Auto III at the start of the game if you are careful you can turn around and jump the "broken" bridge, bypassing the entire first island.
You can also get to the third island earlier than intended by running a boat ashore near the pipeline that functions as a border in the water, and pushing the boat past it on land.
There's another way to get to the third island early. On the second island, there's a hospital with a big dark blue window high up in the air. A player could, with careful use of cheats, get up there and find the window wasn't solid. If the player drove a car through the window, they would fall and land inside a tunnel that led into the third island, bypassing the blocked tunnel entrance.
"Two-Faced Tanner" involves over-taking and killing an undercover cop. As soon as you attack his car, you get the cops on your case, coming at you with just about everything they have. You can't disable his vehicle beforehand. What you can do is get ahead of him, jump out of your car, and then destroy his car with an M-16. It takes about half a magazine, and when he dies the cops automatically desist.
The next GTA game, Vice City, is full of things like this. Instead of chasing cars all willy-nilly through the streets, it's possible, with proper preparation, to blow up enemy cars and win easily.
Or shoot their tires with a sniper rifle to make them helpless. Quite useful on the mission where you have to beat someone in a car race to hire him as your driver.
This is not so effective in racing missions in general, as the races tend to start immediately if you harm any of the other cars. However, some missions where you need to kill someone seem to be set to intentionally reward a player who thinks ahead and disables potential getaway cars first.
The street races in GTA Vice City can be made much easier by simply killing all of your opponents in the opening seconds with a tank cannon shell.
One mission has you perform a hit at a golf club. Your weapons are confiscated if you use the main entrance. It's infinitely easier to park a car by a wall and jump the fence, going in fully armed.
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. The factory filled with Russian weapon smugglers. Half of it can be bypassed by driving a tall vehicle to the back wall, clamber onto the car roof and jump the fence.
Grand Theft Auto IV has one in the mission Pest Control, where you have to kill Ray Boccino. Before the mission starts, you can see his car sitting outside the building the mission starts at, so you can simply slap a car bomb on it and set it off when he gets in. You still have to clean up his guards, but you skip the entire pursuit section of the mission.
In Pokemon Red And Blue, you can, after acquiring the usage of Surf and Fly, bypass the extremely annoying Seafoam Islands dungeon by surfing south from Pallet Town, landing in Cinnabar Island. It means skipping Articuno, but it's easy to pick it up later.
In Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, your boss, Barlow, repeatedly deals with the age-old RPG problem of impassible locked doors by kicking them down. Over and over. Less awesome, it does not get.
After you get Cut in Pokemon Diamond And Pearl and Platinum, you can easily bypass repeat visits to Eterna Forest without waiting to get Fly.
In The Godfather: The Game, the main goal is to run a protection racket for the Don. Scaring shopkeepers tends to bring in enemy soldiers. However, doing all the respect-earning tasks first, like finding Plot Devices and assassination missions can gain sufficient respect that most shopkeepers don't summon bodyguards. And -that- gains respect as well, allowing much of the game to be bypassed with no shooting whatsoever.
In other words, playing like a real mafia man.
In the The Lost World: Jurassic Park arcade light gun game, successfully completing objectives at certain points (saving a triceratops, inputting a passcode to lock a door, etc.) enables the player to bypass some parts of levels.
Left 4 Dead is usually linear and when hordes arrive, most players hole up in small rooms or something similar, especially in the finales. However, the infected will sometimes make their own shortcuts by smashing down walls, catching the survivors off guard.
In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Link must return periodically to the Temple of the Ocean King, a multi-segmented dungeon that is FAR too long for its own good. Fortunately, they give you the ability to skip many many floors after certain points in the game. They did not go far enough though. Even in the end game getting to the bottom is very annoying.
A beautiful and brutal example from The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess that utterly makes up for the Soup Cans puzzle- in the Temple of Time, you gain the Dominion Rod and thereby gain control of a monolithic, mobile, hammer-wielding statue, which you have to return to the first room. The hammer-wielding statue can break past all of the fiddly little gates and things that you had to work your way past on the way up. And kill all enemies in one hit. You do not know what fun is until you see an entire puzzle-room destroyed 'neath the mighty tread of the Hammer Golem!
In Ocarina of Time, the game only checks if you got the Plot Coupons from the last two dungeons, instead of the last five as it should. Normally, the game prevents access to the Shadow Temple until you complete both the Fire and Water temples by putting the entrance up high and only giving you the warp song after you complete them. And, normally, you cannot complete the Spirit Temple until you learn how to go back in time, which you can't do until you complete the Forest Temple. But Good Bad Bugs exist to get into the Shadow Temple and complete the Spirit Temple without having to fully complete the other three, making at least half-dungeon bypasses possible. Additionally, the Kakariko Well is not technically required, though it takes a lot of memorization to get through certain areas without the Lens of Truth it provides.
There has been found a glitch that lets you go from the first temple to the scenario near the end, where you are escaping a collapsing ganon's castle. As kid link you escort zelda through the building, and fight ganon himself in his final incarnation. you can beat the game like this.
Several Descent levels have this, e.g. Descent II's eighth level has a huge shortcut that allows you to go straight to the red key and the boss, bypassing about half the level. Level 2 also has a shortcut to the red key, which also allows you to go through the rest of the level backwards.
In Crash Bandicoot 1996, the second-to-last 'proper' level (not including bosses and a Breather Level) is long and difficult. If you acquired a gem from another similar level, you can take a shortcut, grab many 1-ups and finish the level in fifteen seconds.
Red Faction has entire levels with destroyable walls, making it necessary to punch through them in order to bypass locked doors and the like. There are even achievements for bypassing levels with the least number of explosives.
In Turok 2's first stage, you get the keys to both the second and third levels. Playing the levels in the order 1-3-5-2-4-6 is initially more difficult, but allows you to get the heavier weapons earlier.
Ultima I had spells which allowed you to instantly travel one floor up or one floor down inside a dungeon. Using these, you could skip all the dungeons entirely by simply spellcasting your way down to the appropriate level, killing whatever quest monster you were sent there for, then spellcasting your way back to the surface. Later games kept the spells, but subverted the trope by making your objectives in the dungeons more complex.
In Ultima IV, each dungeon presents two objectives: a magic stone somewhere inside, and the altar rooms, which hold Plot Coupons and connect to multiple dungeons. However, a secret passage in Lord British's Castle will allow you to skip straight to the bottom level of Dungeon Hythloth, whereby all three altar rooms can be accessed. The stones still take some doing, but since the altar rooms connect the bottom floors of all seven dungeons, and the stones tend to be on the lower floors...
One Video Game Achievement in Jett Rocket tasks you to complete an Atoll level in under 20 seconds. As you might expect, doing this without glitching is impossible unless you pull a Dungeon Bypass in the Gimmick Level. Don't worry; no one will call you out on it.
Planescape: Torment differs from many RPGs in that instead of having to assemble the whole party in the transition zone in order to move to the next location, you just need bring one character there. If you have an experienced thief with well developed stealth ability in your party, you can bypass most of the heavily infested locations. Of course, sometimes the exit is behind a locked door but guess what? The experienced thief can steal the key!
In Asherons Call every door that can be unlocked (including ones that require a unique key) can be unlocked from one side by simply using it. Due to the way physics works in game it's possible for two players to work together to glitch through a door.
In Age of Wonders Lizardfolk's innate swimming ability give them a powerful advantage on some maps, which is why they didn't appear in the sequels. Particularly since there was a water spell that flooded the map, giving them even more water to have an advantage with.
Subverted in the mission which requires you to go through an underground tunnel under some mountains. If you try to go over the mountains instead, you'll run into a very aggressive red dragon. Also, even if you somehow managed to defeat the dragon, it actually takes longer then going the normal way because mountains give you a movement penalty.
In Little Busters, one of the routes in Ecstasy feature a dungeon. You have to pass through it three times during the story, but you only have to navigate through it twice, because on your third pass you are given a heavy machine gun which is used to simply blast a hole on the ground on every floor as a shortcut to the next one.
The Ratchet & Clank series have had a couple of these, thanks to many platforms that the player should probably never reach still being made solid.
In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, the final level of the game has a very large wall surrounding the entire first half of the level. Getting on top of it allows the player to essentially run around it until they reach the back of the level, jumping into a teleporter to let them skip to the second half of the level. (Using this, and an alternate dungeon bypass on Grelbin, one is capable of skipping the Hypnomatic fetch quest, which includes large chunks of Smolg and even completely skipping Allgon City, Damosel.)
Ratchet And Clank Future Tools Of Destruction is perhaps the most egregious example in the series, with a couple tricks taking advantage of physics with a well-known Game-Breaking Bug. The first of which is the Hyper Strike (when Ratchet slams his wrench down in midair), which gives you added height and length to your jump. A few areas in the game can be sequence broke by making a hyper strike in the right place, just barely getting over a wall or gap.
The most well-known, however, is the Razor-Claws glitch. (A weapon that, while cool, did not make it into A Crack In Time, for obvious reasons.) The weapon allows one to climb walls, which can turn platform heavy levels into a case of "Climb a wall, walk/glide over the level, land at the end/in the boss' area" followed by "Fly to next level. Rinse and repeat."
The Elder Scrolls Arena, included the spell "Passwall". It allowed players to permanently destroy dungeon walls, letting them bypass tough enemies and other obstacles. They didn't include it in Daggerfall, but enterprising players can make use of the wonky level geometry to move through the walls into a black space known as The Void, allowing you to run along on top of the dungeon paths. Be aware, though, that while it's relatively easy to pass into the Void, it's rather more complex to get back out of it. These "features" live on in later Bethesda games, with the "tcl" (toggle clipping) console command.
Though if you are going to use cheats you may as well mention one of Daggerfall's cheat-commands: jumping to a dungeon's quest locationsnote That is, the points in a dungeon where the game tells the code 'you can place the thing(s) the quest is about here', one after one. Combine with the Recall spell, and most dungeons becomes a breeze... well, so long as you aren't unlucky enough to arrive inside a monster or in a location that pops you into the Void, anyway.
 has the Levitation spell, which allows you to bypass through many dungeons by simply floating over most of the area.
Kingdom of Loathinglets you do this for That One Puzzle in the Nemesis Quest after you fail the puzzle enough times. You can restart the platform hopping puzzle by swimming back to shore... then, your character soon realizes that you can just swim to the goal that way. Through lava. You don't get the best rewards (really good spleen consumable and an accessory that gives HP/MP and sells for a lot) if you do this though.
Because of the New Game Plus nature of the game, you can do aspects of the quest without entering the zones if you are in Softcore and pull the items. Before it was revamped, even the level 8 quest could be done without spending a single turn, as it was two Fetch Quests (for mundane items) and one test of elemental resistance.
The Chronosphere from Command & Conquer: Red Alert allows the Allies to teleport their troops all around the battlefield, bypassing the enemy defences. In a commendable aversion of Gameplay and Story Segregation, they use it story-wise as well in the final mission of Red Alert 2, when they teleport their army from Cuba to Moscow to end the war in one decisive strike.
The Jet Pack item from Billy Hatcher And The Giant Egg allows you to float indefinitely, but only at the initial height you start floating from. Naturally, this means that if you can jump off from a high enough point, you can go over just about anything and go to pretty much anywhere in a level. At least one level in Blizzard Castle seems to encourage this to get around a particularly vicious slide.
The 6th Terran mission in Starcraft has you rescuing a downed ship in the center of the map, surrounded by a ring of mountains. The game expects you, with your base in the east, to circle around clockwise to the west, taking you through the enemy bases on the way before you ascend the mountains around the ship and fight your way down to it. But if you put some units along the cliffs to the west and get sight up there with an air unit or a comsat sweep, they can kill a couple of anti-air turrets to create a safe landing zone for you to ferry them up there and fight a much shorter, much easier way to the ship. Alternatively, the downed ship has two worker units, some mechs and two bunkers defending it—destroying one of the bunkers gives you room to build a barracks, and you can fight your way out from the inside.
The 7th mission can be completed in about thirty seconds by simply casting "Defense Matrix" on the SCV with the Psi Emitter and sending him directly to the beacon in the enemy's base. The right route there results in very few defenders in your way, and with the Defense Matrix they can't kill the SCV in time before he gets to the beacon.
A Protoss mission expects you to wait until another general arrives with enough reinforcements to destroy the heavily guarded enemy base. Though it is very difficult, you can potentially destroy the base on your own without him before he arrives.
The 7th Protoss mission is a terrible pain, pitching you against three strategically positioned enemy bases, but you only have to destroy a single building to win. Instead of building up your base and taking out theirs as is expected, you can simply utilize the Dark Templar's invisibility and go kill the objective in about five minutes, as long as you take the right way in that lets you bypass most of their defenses.
In the expansion pack, a mission has you escorting a leader unit to a beacon in the middle of the enemy base. If you take along an escort unit or two to clear the anti-air turrets on the way, you can use a Shuttle to fly her to the beacon, bypassing the enemy base entirely.
In the third-to-last mission in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty you are supposed to plough through a sprawling Zerg base in order to get to another downed ship. If you have the Deep Striking ability, you can send some Ghosts directly to the ship and nuke the three target structures. Lacking that, pack some heavy ordnance into the transports and fly them along the map edges, bypassing the base and facing only minimal resistance.
Also from Starcraft 2, one of Zeratul's missions has you destroying three targets inside of a very well defended Protoss base. Building up the necessary forces to destroy the defenses is time consuming, difficult and requires a lot of skill. Simply creating seven or eight Dark Templar to bypass the minimal detection is quick and relatively easy.
This was the main reason the Teleportation Plasmid was removed from the original BioShock game, as using it in the right situations could have skipped major plots in the game
In Ragnarok Online the teleport skill and flywings would make bypassing dungeons possible if you got lucky enough. One dungeon in particular made this NECESSARY to access as it was in the middle of a lake on an island. Some quests, such as the fox quest in Amatsu which is necessary to access the dungeon are nearly impossible without getting around the hordes of hydras guarding the shrine. Seeing as how this dungeon was the best way to gain levels for a new acolyte becoming a priest it made poor acolytes spend half an afternoon trying to get lucky enough with their teleport skill to bypass the hydras.
In the PC version of Far Cry, in the second level, a lifeboat is hanging from the top of a beached carrier. A lucky shot from the lower deck of the carrier can break the chains, dropping the lifeboat into the water and skipping the section on top of the carrier altogether.
Acknowledged in zOMG!, which has guards stationed at the west and north entrances of Barton Town to try and prevent low-level players from leaving town in those directions (into Zen Gardens and Bassken Lake areas respectively). This doesn't work as well as you'd think, because the early-game areas don't have monsters that automatically attack players, so a surprising number of newbs ignore the quest chains, walk through the low-level areas without fighting anything and gaining experience, and then wonder why all the enemies in the higher-level areas suddenly aggro and oneshot them.
RuneScape's Stronghold of Safety adds a teleport spot to every level you've cleared, which will allow you to skip from the beginning of that level to the end. Going up a ladder/rope/vine/tentacle/chain of bones also bypasses the dungeon and takes you out of the Stronghold completely.
In the first level of Unit 3 in Quake II, you can skip the Laser Hallway jumping puzzle by detouring through the moat and an underground passage that drops you out at the exit. Don't forget the secrets on the main path, though.
In Resident Evil 4, if you fight off the Ganados in the village before entering the house containing the shotgun, Dr. Salvador won't spawn here. Don't go into the path leading to the next area, since he guards the door there. Also, fighting the second El Gigante is optional, although you have to fight a camp of Ganados and the "Chainsaw Chicks" if you take the alternate path.
In Rainbow Six: Raven Shield's ninth mission, a Stealth-Based Mission, leaving one operative in the Extraction Zone will automatically trigger the "mission complete" flag after the other operative completes the objectives, saving you the trip back.
In the Crusader games, virtually any door that you need a keycard or combination to open can be blasted open with explosives. This will, however, set off the alarm.
Minecraft includes strongholds and dungeons among it's procedurally-generated terrain, and since any player is going to be equipped with a pickaxe one might think the walls of the dungeon would present no obstacle at all. But, to make the player think twice about breaking down a wall, the stone-brick block that comprises the dungeon walls are randomly populated with identical-looking blocks containing Silverfish, a vicious swarming enemy that can cut even an armored player down in numbers, and that tends to make more of itself when attacked.
In the first Crackdown game, a DLC pack came with a large number of Street Race missions. These would generally be quite tough, since everyone involved - you included - would be driving the exact same car. There was also a LOT of them. Players tired of trying to beat the near-perfect AI in every race soon found alternate solutions - while the street-races took away all of your main weapons (preventing you from just bringing a rocket-launcher to the party), you were still left with your default handgun, and a single shot to the gas-tank cap would instantly detonate a car. So once the race has started, you just park your car in some nice, out-of-the-way place, and start lifting any large, heavy objects you can find to build a barricade across the track. When the AI cars finish the first lap and get tangled up in your barrier, you shoot out as many as you can. If any get through, well, you now have several wrecked cars you can use to improve your barricade for the next lap. With all other racers destroyed, you just need to open a hole in the barricade, and then hot-lap your way to victory.
The normal way to play Castlevania: Harmony of Despair multiplayer is to go off in different directions and open doors that would otherwise take forever to each with one player. Or you can dive kick off another player's head (or Yorick's if you're Soma) and skip tricky sections that way. Or you can glitch the physics engine to pass through walls and skip even more sections of the map.
In Might and Magic IV, the game's world has six magic mirrors that can teleport you to each other; all you need to do is speak their name or location and step into them. But one of them, the Sixth Mirror, has no name — and is portable, so nobody knows its location. Much of the game is spent searching for it, only to discover that it's been claimed by the Big Bad, Lord Xeen. Cue epic rush through his massive castle to reach him and stop him from using it for his nefarious plans... or, if you're smart, cue walking to one of the other five mirrors and typing "Lord Xeen", which teleports you to him instantly. You can even do this right at the start of the game before you should know it'll work, although that's likely to get your lowly level one party murdered by Lord Xeen.
Duv in Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes attempts this (using slave labour to dig a hole into the Dungeon Crawl) in order to gain an Artifact of Doom which will restore her lost power. However, she only manages to bypass the hundred-foot-high gates, rather than the whole dungeon.
Why did she have to do it? The keys to the gate are INSIDE the dungeon, since the group of adventurers that previously used it...died midway.
Tempts Fate is fond of this trope. Being who he is Tempts uses it even when the normal route is safer, because he doesn't like it safe.
Invokedunsuccessfully much later in the comic. Upon arrival at the Temple of Fiends, Black Mage suggests that the Light Warriors land their airship at the top of the temple, crushing a few floors in the process and "killing their way" downwards, as he put it. Red Mage disagrees, mainly because the airship's autopilot (designed by omnipotent Jerkass elder Mage Sarda) had been pre-programmed to land them at the entrance and their previous attempts to manually control the airships given them were uniformly disastrous.
Bob and George has this happen with the Wily Castle in almost every game retelling. Some of the Robot Master stages, too.
Subverted in Knights of the Old Coding. In this strip, the map of the levels the heroes have to go through is explained, but an alternative is suggested:
CG: Why don't we simply cut across the gentle and harmless plains between the Forest of Peril and Makil's stupid stronghold? Link: Yeah? Kuros: Because he'll be expecting that!
But as the heroes find out during the confrontation with Malkil here, not only had newcomer Simon used the above tactic to quickly catch up to them, Malkil confesses that he "never would have expected that!"
Andrew's "order" ability in Gunnerkrigg Court ends up doing this, even without him consciously attempting it during the quest simulations. It causes the MacGuffin to spontaneously appear at Andrew's feet before the plot of the simulation can even begin, much to his frustration and Parley's annoyance.
Earlier, Terezi gave John the code for a rocket pack so that he can skip building his house up past the second gate and zoom all the way to the seventh gate to sneak into the palace of the supposedly slumbering Denizen of his Land. It didn't end well, but Terezi didn't expect it to.
In Kevin & Kell, Danielle, a Defector from Decadence who left Rabbit's Revenge, thinks she's safe in the Dewclaw house basement because Kell, a skilled predator, lives there and Rabbit's Revenge wouldn't risk facing her to reach her. Two members then tunnel into her room.
Discussed and then averted In Our Little Adventure when Julie's group tackle the dungeon where the first Magicant Piece is believed to be. This aversion is because they want the treasure they think they'll find in the remaining towers.
"POWERLEVELING: When you just don't have the time to dick around."
The RinkWorks game Maze Maker generates a random printable maze. The same website allows visitors to submit altered screenshots from the site as "RinkWorks Graffiti" (see here). Needless to say, it's quite popular to use this in Maze Maker graffiti.
More specifically, one of the early "Graffiti" images was a maze with an extra wall drawn in, rendering the maze impossible to complete in the normal sense. A significant number of later Graffiti images are Graffitis of the original altered Graffiti maze.
In JourneyQuest Perf and Nara accomplish this on the Temple of All Dooms, by accident!
Faced with a deathtrap maze of The Riddler's design and time running out, Batman commandeers one of the maze's flying robots (the Hand of Fate) to bring him to the Riddler's would-be victim in Batman The Animated Series. Needless to say, The Riddler calls him out for "grand scale cheating."
Another episode had Batman clear Mad Hatter's maze made of giant cards by climbing up and running along the top.
The opening scene of the Ed Edd N Eddy episode "They Call Him Mister Ed" had Edd setting up a massive cardboard maze and placing Chunky Puffs (Ed's favorite cereal) at the exit. It was supposed to be an experiment of sorts, with Ed being the guinea pig (Edd even timed it), but Ed, simple-minded oaf that he is, simply runs through all the walls in a straight line to get to the cereal. Edd even complains "That isn't how you go "through" a maze!"
In a The Fairly Oddparents episode, when Timmy and his friends Chester and A.J. were in a reformatory, and when they were doing the obstacle course, Chester says that they don't have enough time to climb the wall. A.J. had a good, but risky idea. Crossing to the other side of the wall by simply walking around. Timmy and Chester did the same.
In an episode of the 1967 version of Fantastic Four, Diablo learns the hard way that a panic room is no match for The Thing:
Diablo: He'll never get me now! This door is made of titanium! And with my timelock... (Thing busts through the wall)
Subverted in an episode of Futurama; Leela's having a Training Montage, in an army base. Zap comments she could've just run around all the obstacles.
Done by Wildwing in an episode of The Mighty Ducks when the Ducks find themselves trapped an an alternate universe based on fantasy tropes. Faced with a huge stone maze, Wildwing simply uses his grenade launcher to blast their way though.
After using his mask to find the fastest way through the maze, minimizing the amount of walls they had to blow up.
Subverted in an episode of Popeye; Popeye and Bluto are charting a course. Bluto wants to go around all the perilous obstacles, but Popeye scoffingly draws a straight line through them.
In Reboot Captain Capacitor asks Matrix how they are going to get over the wall to the prison. Matrix simply shoots it and they just walk in through the hole.
The Simpsons: In "Treehouse of Horror V"'s spoof of The Shining, Bart escaping a hedge maze by chainsawing through the walls.
Bart: Hey, I found a shortcut through your maze.
Another episode subverted this when Homer tries this trick and finds an electric fence inside the corn maze. Apparently "Corn Mazes" are Serious Business.
Barely in the scope of this trope, but in another episode Mr. Burns and Smithers use their security clearance to advance through thick steel doors and other obstacles that can only be opened through retinal scanners and the like, only to see a stray dog at the destination who entered through the back door. The back SCREEN DOOR.
And in another episode, when Marge was doing the tests to join to the Springfield Police Force, in one of them, she tried to climb a wall, but she has problems with it. Chief Wiggum notices that all the women had the same problem, that they don't use the door to cross the wall.
In Superman: Doomsday, when Lex Luthor's clone of Superman turns on him, Luthor retreats to an armored panic room that is lit by red lights (Superman needs yellow sunlight to retain his powers) and holds a pair of kryptonite encrusted gauntlets. Luthor attempts to lure the clone Superman in, but he merely locks the door, rips the entire panic room out of the building, and casually drops it to the ground a hundred stories below.
Subverted in Teen Titans. Faced with a maze inside Raven's mind, Cyborg and Beast Boy try the usual tricks — blasting the walls and flying over them — but are thwarted and forced to go through.
The Tick, after trying to fairly complete a death maze, makes a clever mythical allusion to the Gordian knot, and starts busting down walls.
In the second episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Omi, the enthusiastic combat monk, sets a record for the obstacle course, leaping through and beating down the obstacles to reach the target. But next to go is Clay, the stalwart Earth monk, who notices that the course is arranged in a circle. When the clock starts, he beats Omi's time by turning and walking all of ten feet from the starting line to the target.
Averted in the second season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. When Rainbow Dash tries to simply fly over the royal labyrinth to find the stolen Elements of Harmony, Discord makes her wings disappear to stop her. And then it turns out that the Elements were never in the labyrinth to begin with, meaning the mane six could have just bypassed the entire thing.
In a Halloween episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse the gang finds a barrier of giant candy corn blocking their way and use a rope to pull themselves over it, except for Goofy who just eats through it.
The Israeli army has developed tactics for urban warfare that probably count as an example of this trope. Instead of going through booby-trapped streets and narrow alleys in which troops may be exposed to sniper fire, Israeli soldiers literally walk through walls, using explosives to create passageways through houses and other buildings.
This sounds not dissimilar to an event on the Green Line in Nicosia (the divided capital of Cyprus). Reputedly, the local Turkish contingent were suspected of discreetly expanding a blockhouse so it extended into the UN secure zone. The local UN commander responded by going on patrol one morning... driving a bulldozer.
In actuality that tactic (often called mouse-holing) predates both of the previous examples. According to The Other Wiki this was used as early as the Battle of Stalingrad. Another related ancient military tactic is undermining, digging a tunnel beneath an enemy stronghold to either knock it down or blow it up.
Notably this happened during the Siege of Petersburg during the American Civil War. Union troops dug a mineshaft underneath the Confederate lines and set off a sizable stash of explosives. Death From Below, pretty much. The resulting fight was dubbed the Battle of the Crater.
The Battle of the Crater was supposed to have been a Dungeon Bypass, and it would have worked if General Burnside had been allowed to stick with his original plan: big explosion, specially-trained troops from the United States Colored Troops go around the crater (as opposed to into it), bypass the remaining defenses, and open the road to Petersburg. And then Meade stepped in, replaced the well-trained USCT regiments with others that had no idea what would happen, denied Burnside the use of an electrical detonator so that his engineers had to use an umpty-thousand-foot-long rope as fuse, and...yeah. Oh, and Meade managed to deflect all of the blame onto Burnside, too.
Taken to an extreme in the 2009 Israel/Gaza conflict. According to the accounts of some Israeli soldiers, Hamas gunmen and suicide bombers attempted to lure them into houses most likely rigged with booby traps. Instead of taking the bait, Israeli soldiers simply just knocked down the houses with bulldozers.
Also, American troops in Iraq often face insurgents who, when charged, run and hide inside a building they hope to defend, at which point the Americans promptly call in an airstrike. The situation's so common it's earned its own unofficial acronym. (AWR, for Allah's Waiting Room.)
In World War I, the Germans executed the Schlieffen Plan: the indirect invasion of France via Belgium, and nearly reached Paris. Some French generals had proposed to do the same thing in case of a war with Germany, but the French never adopted it.
The popular version of the Battle of France is that the Germans executed a massive Dungeon Bypass by invading through Belgium to avoid the Maginot Line. If that's your preconception, then the actual history subverts this: the French built the Maginot Line precisely because they wanted the Germans to go through Belgium. But the French expected this would be the northern Belgian plains, so they sent their best forces there, while the Germans executed the true Dungeon Bypass of the campaign by going through southern Belgium. See the Useful Notes entry on the Maginot Line.
Another WW 2 example: When the Allies were pushing into Germany near the end of the war, the depleted German army were trying to drag it out into city fighting in each town along the way, and were trying to coerce the populace to fight to the last man. Upon taking fire from the town, the Allied troops backed off to a safe distance and called in artillery strikes to reduce the entire town to rubble. When they reached the next town in line, they were usually greeted by the Mayor waving a white flag and the few remaining German troops having either fled the area or been haphazardly captured by the civilians as a sort of bribe for the Allied army.
Averted by the Market-Garden operation. It would've been a bypass if it had succeeded, as it would allow going around the Zygfrid line. However, the operation failed. Out of 41000 airborne troops deployed, 17000 died. Oh, and the Nazis punished the Dutch who supported this operation, letting thousands of them starve to death the following winter.
Happened (again) on a larger scale (much, MUCH MUCH larger scale) during WWII when the Americans dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki rather than fight their way across Japan.
The entirety of the Allied island-hopping strategy: why dig Japanese garrisons out of every little island they've taken when you can cut them off from reinforcement, bomb anything they could use to attack you directly to rubble, and simply move on to the next island. (Stranded Japanese soldiers continued to camp in their outposts for years, sometimes decades, afterward, since they received no new orders and couldn't trust radio broadcasts saying the war was over — if their radios even still worked.)
Of course, when they needed to clear out an island for whatever reason (Iwo Jima, for example), the result was a dungeon adventure akin to the Tomb of Horrors.
In the city of Telmissus in Asia Minor, an ox-cart was said to be tied either to a post or its own shaft with a fiendishly complicated knot by the cart's owner, a man named Gordias; the knot itself became known as the Gordian Knot. It was said that whoever could untie the knot would conquer the world. Alexander the Great managed to untie it by cutting it in two with his sword. (This is the legendary version usually told; the real version is not so simple. In a sense, the story as told is something of a Dungeon Bypass for the story as it actually happened.)
Police SWAT teams discovered that getting past a door with many locks on it was a problem, so they just use a shotgun to blast out the hinges.
The Berlin Airlift. The Soviet Union decided to control Berlin by cutting off all supplies coming into the city from the West by road and train. Instead of trying to recapture a corridor of land between West Germany and West Berlin, allied nations decided to just fly over.
When the Mongols decided to conquer China, they faced the Great Wall, a series of fortifications designed specificially to keep them out. Rather than fighting their way through it or riding around it, they took advantage of the Song Dynasty's unstable political climate, made a few allies within China, and bribed their way in.
A similar tactic got the Crusaders, and later the Turks, into Constantinople. It's a heavily walled city, but if the emperor needs an army and you happen to have a horde of barbarian mercenaries for hire...
While the Siege of Kazan in 1552 was your typical siege involving thousands of troops (with the Russians outnumbering the defending Tatars) and hundreds of cannons, the city was only taken when the attackers secretly dug a tunnel under a defensive wall and planted charges, blowing a huge hole in it. Later, Ivan the Terrible, who commanded the Russian forces, decided to safeguard Moscow from the same tactics by ordering basements to be built under each defense tower with copper plates mounted on walls. During sieges, people with good hearing would be sent into these rooms to listen for sounds of digging that would be amplified by the plates.
One of the factors that contributed to the Fall of Constantinople (thus the Trope Namer for Istanbul Not Constantinople) was the failure of the naval blockade by the Christian defenders of the city. Not because Sultan Mehmed II broke through the blockade with his famed BFGs, but because the Sultan transported his fleet overland: he ordered the construction of a road of greased logs across Galata on the north side of the Golden Horn, and rolled his ships across.
The above example is also one of the reason the infamous Vikings were such feared raiders and capable traders. Their light, flat and yet sea-capable boats, could be lifted out of the water and transported over short distances on land with relative ease, essentialy allowing them to go from shoreline into rivers or from river to river, saving time or bypassing defences. One of the most famous examples was using rivers in todays Schleswig Holstein in germany. By moving short distances over land between rivers they could go from the eastern sea to the norther sea and vis versa, bypassing most the entire coasts of Schleswig Holstein and Denmark saving weeks or months of travel along dangerous coasts.
A typical tactic of siege warfare is to dig a tunnel under the wall of the besieged fortress / city and then collapse or blow it up to destroy the wall under it, or to just dig a tunnel inside and open the main gate by surprise.
The "blow it up tunnel" was adapted to trench warfare twice:
in World War I the British army reused the tactic at the Battle of Messines, where they detonated nineteen such mines under the German trenches. Between the much greater quantity of more powerful explosive used, a numerical superiority of almost two-to-one, accurate artillery and tank support and the troops charging in right after the explosions, the attack was successful.