[[quoteright:379:[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/la-stairs_7308.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:379:Link, in search for another shiny new gadget.]]

->''"You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike."''
-->-- ''[[VideoGame/ColossalCave Colossal Cave Adventure]]''

Dungeon Crawling is the act of exploring a dungeon (or other dangerous area) while looking for treasure or [[PlotCoupon some other]] [[MacGuffin important object]]. The characters must [[EverythingTryingToKillYou battle enemies (usually monsters)]] and use their [[VideoGameItemsAndInventory skills and equipment]] to negotiate obstacles (usually [[BoobyTrap traps]]). Usually, but not always, there is a BossBattle at some point, and a MacGuffin or PlotCoupon at the end.

This is basically what many {{Role Playing Game}}s (especially video game ones) are all about -- at least historically -- but it is actually one of TheOldestOnesInTheBook, since even myths feature it (a trip into the underworld is part of TheHerosJourney, after all). However, it was the ''Cliffhanger'' film serials of the early 20th century [[TropeCodifier that defined the trope]], and the ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' movies that made it popular again later.

The term comes from early {{RPG}}s, such as ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', that often had the player characters exploring some wizard's dungeon. "Dungeon crawl" is analogous to "pub crawl," a continual stroll from dungeon to dungeon to dungeon.

Note that in RealLife a "dungeon" was a type of prison, often in the lower parts of a castle, but the games expanded it to mean "any ruins or subterranean area." In fact, the term is used today for ''any'' dangerous area in an RPG, even open-air ones, as long as the same fight-your-way-across logic applies to it. This is usually to distinguish it from the two other kinds of locale in such games, [[ThrivingGhostTown towns]] (generally defined as anywhere that has [[TalkToEveryone peaceful NPCs]] or [[AdamSmithHatesYourGuts businesses]] like [[SortingAlgorithmOfWeaponEffectiveness stores]], [[TraumaInn hotels]] and [[YouAllMeetInAnInn bars]]) and [[OverworldNotToScale the overworld]] (which, in most cases, is exclusively for getting between towns and dungeons, with the only real obstacles being {{Random Encounter}}s.)

Apparently the whole dungeon shtick originated from a skirmish wargame played by Gygax, Arneson and others that involved breaking into a castle through the cellars -- this turned out to be so much fun that tunnel fighting became a regular theme (the "dragon" element, and extended dungeon adventures, came slightly later, after the "break-in" premise became stale). Stir in [[Creator/JRRTolkien Professor Tolkien]]'s Moria scenario for a little fantasy and the rest, as they say, is [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons history]].

Dungeon Crawlers are also a subgenre of [=RPG=]s in which the story, setting, and town areas (usually one at most) are downplayed in favor of massive dungeons requiring level grinding, trap-avoidance, and endurance. {{Roguelikes}} are a subgenre of dungeon crawler, further distinguished by [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels procedural level generation]] and highly unforgiving game mechanics.

Not to be confused with the game ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'', though it is a good example of this trope.

Compare AdventurerArchaeologist.

* BonusDungeon
* DiscOneFinalDungeon
* DungeonTown
* TheMaze
* NoobCave
* TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon

'''Note:''' Several other video game settings, such as TempleOfDoom, aren't necessarily dungeon-specific -- they could also refer to themed PlatformGame levels, or to places of relative safety.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The first OVA of ''Anime/LittleWitchAcademia'' has Akko, her friends Sucy and Lotte, and resident AlphaBitch Diana going into a dungeon as a test at their local WizardingSchool Luna Nova. The students have to traverse a series of dungeons while collecting rare treasures and dealing with monsters, they even fight a dragon.
-->'''Sucy''': [[LampshadeHanging It's like a crappy dungeon-crawler RPG]].
* The main point of ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic''. People seek to conquer the dangerous dungeons that have started appearing all over the world for fame, glory, and power.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** Nodoka is doing this after she gets separated from everyone else during [[spoiler: the gateport incident]], and choosing her share of treasure like a professional [[MinMaxing MinMaxer]].
** The Baka Rangers' excursion to Library Island (and everything the Library Expedition Club did) definitely counts too. Nodoka even references it as the source of her [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v23/c205/19.html trap-spotting skills]].
* This is the entire premise of ''LightNovel/IsItWrongToTryToPickUpGirlsInADungeon'' Orario is built on top of a multiple-level dungeon, and its ''entire existence'' depends on this trope--the {{plunder}} from the dungeon monsters is an energy source in the universe, and while a lot of Adventurers do this for sheer heroism, there're also a lot that do it just for living. The story follows the personal growth of an Adventurer who initially does this... [[HaremSeeker to seek a harem]].
* ''Anime/TheTowerOfDruaga'' is an anime based off the [[VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga [=NES=] game of the same name]]. Therefore it lives and breaths the trope to the T. Adventures challenge the titular tower in search of treasure and glory. Should anyone ever manage to reach the top and face Druaga it would be a feat not accomplished since the king (the character from the game).

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/PrinceValiant'' ran a story where the local dwarves, the [[Myth/CelticMythology Tuatha]], kidnap Aleta into their subterranean realm. Val and a group of companions have to pursue them into the dark tunnels, fighting weird monsters and finally discovering the [[UndergroundCity vast underground city of the dwarves]]. The whole thing was very clearly meant as an affectionate homage to TabletopGames and this trope.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Done in ''FanFic/TheDresdenFillies'' when Harry and the mane six enter [[spoiler: Trixie's]] castle to rescue Spike.
* The four get to go on one of these (and manage to avoid another) in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World''. They comment on the illogic of the setting; [[ActualPacifist they kill nothing]]; and they're thoroughly bored with the experience by the time they've looted everything. And they're not real happy when their hours of tedious trudging results in only around 9,000 Swords worth of treasure, when they were hoping for five or six times that amount. They avoid a second dungeon crawl when they arrive at Boidan Mine just after another group of adventurers has already sacked the place but hasn't left yet.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Anime/TheFumaConspiracy'', the second half of the movie is dedicated to Lupin & the gang exploring an ancient cave to find the treasure. {{Durable Deathtrap}}s abound.

* One early fantasy depiction of Dungeon Crawling was the Fellowship's passage through the goblin-infested Mines of Moria in ''[[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings The Fellowship of the Ring]]''. No treasures or rewards, unless one counts the goal of getting through them to the other end, but the Balrog even provides a final boss of sorts.
* The Creator/LordDunsany story ''The Hoard of the Gibbelins'' is one of the earliest examples and is close to an UrExample of the genre.
* Common in ''Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser'' stories such as ''The Jewels in the Forest'' and ''Thieves House''
* There are some scenes reminiscent of this trope in ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'', although they omit the "and take the monster's stuff" step once the monster (Lucy) has been tracked to her underground crypt and dispatched. Later vampire novels have added other elements of this trope, like death-traps (''Salem's Lot'') and guardians to protect the sleeping undead.
* ''Literature/TheIronTeeth'' web serial’s dungeons are formed by crystals, and contain valuable treasures. Monsters such as slimes also dwell within them. One of them is near Herad's base. She was eager to find and explore it, but fortunately she couldn't find the entrance.
* Seems to be given a knowing nod in the ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' story "The Desecrator", in which desecrator is the Dragaeran term for archaeologist, but the job has the typical fantasy cast of raiding ancient structures for treasure and having to fend off magical barriers.
* In the ''Literature/{{Alcatraz}}'' series, librarians are all either evil cultists or vengeful undead, therefore every time the heroes infiltrate a library, it turns into dungeon crawling with monsters, traps and other dangers.
* As its title suggests, the majority of the plot of ''[[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth]]'' is DungeonCrawling through the mythical Labyrinth, which actively rearranges its layout and, as a bonus, is borderline-alive and trying to make sure visitors never come out.
* ''Literature/TheWanderingInn'':As expected for an RPG-Mechanics Verse. A dungeon discovered beneath Liscor kicks off a major part of the plot.
* In ''Literature/{{Below}}'', a huge underground network of abandoned cities lures in adventurers seeking gold and glory. The book follows a quest for a late wizard's famous treasure, complicated by [[CooperationGambit internal strife]] and the little matter of the [[TreasureMap map]] being fake.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'' gave us the MadeForTVMovie ''Hercules in the Underworld'', which was inspired by the story of Hercules' twelfth labour (see Mythology below).
* In the ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "Awakening" has Angel and his friends travel to hidden subterranean caverns to find a mythical sword, the only thing that can kill the [[NighInvulnerability Nigh Invulnerable]] Beast, who had [[TheNightThatNeverEnds blocked out the sun]]. [[spoiler:They find the sword, kill the Beast and bring daylight back -- unfortunately, it's AllJustADream to give Angel a moment of perfect happiness and make him lose his soul]].
* The trek through the Cave of the Winds in ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'', "Journey to Oasis".

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* A number of Ancient Greek heroes (Orpheus, [[Creator/{{Homer}} Odysseus]], Heracles) go into the Underworld, where they face challenges like from monsters (such as Cerberus), obstacles (such as the River Styx), and gods. Perseus, who doesn't go into the literal Underworld, might be the straightest Ancient Greek version of this trope in the sense of "go underground, kill monsters, take their stuff."
* The myth of Theseus descending into [[TheMaze the Labyrinth]] to kill the Minotaur to whom Athenian hostages were regularly sacrificed is perhaps one of the oldest known examples of this trope.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' is the TropeCodifier. "Killing evil and stealing its stuff" is the game's unofficial motto, after all. Wizards Of The Coast even released a book for 4th Edition which was blatantly titled "Dungeon Delve". It is literally a book containing 30 dungeons, complete with maps and descriptions of each area, as well as stat-blocks for the monsters and items found in each area, making it really easy for Dungeon Masters to prepare a dungeon crawl, since all the work is done in advance.
* The equally venerable ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' features DungeonCrawling in the form of exploring derelict spaceships, asteroid-bases and so on.
* The ''TabletopGame/ArkhamHorror'' spinoff ''TabletopGame/MansionsOfMadness'' is this genre as applied to the Franchise/CthulhuMythos, with areas such as churches, university buildings, estate grounds, and the eponymous mansions serving as the dungeon.
* ''TabletopGame/BetrayalAtHouseOnTheHill'' is a modern-day, horror-based example of this genre. It takes place in the eponymous [[HauntedHouse abandoned house]], but features many staples of the genre, such as a graveyard, underground lake, locked vaults, and mysterious eldritch rooms.
* The old Creator/{{TSR}} board game ''TabletopGame/{{Dungeon}}'', which literally is "wander through the wizard's dungeon picking up treasure."
* Unsurprisingly, the expansive card game series ''TabletopGame/{{Dungeoneer}}'' is centered around dungeon crawls. Interestingly, it allows each player to play as the "dungeon lord" for other players while simultaneously giving each player a PC to explore the dungeon. The cards themselves form the layout of the dungeon like a board game.
* ''TabletopGame/DescentJourneysInTheDark'' is very similar to ''[=HeroQuest=]'' in its setup and mechanics.
* ''TabletopGame/MiceAndMystics'' is a series of dungeon crawls where the players are fantasy characters transformed into mice. It follows a linear story campaign, but is notable in that it is purely cooperative and no player is needed to be the "dungeon master".
* ''TabletopGame/MutantChronicles'' board game "Siege of the Citadel" is a campaign-style board game with a series of dungeon crawl style assaults on the titular citadel.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' has a sub-gameline, ''Dungeon Fantasy'', devoted exclusively to this genre. It is one of the most popular parts of the line.
* ''TabletopGame/MageKnight'' has a variant called Dungeons, which pits teams of heroes against each other as well as against the monsters and traps.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' is nothing but this. Along with much backstabbing and stealing. Especially with Munchkin 6: Demented Dungeons. Don't ask how it's possible for the party to be in not just one but ''two'' different dungeons ''simultaneously''!
* ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasyRoleplay'' allows for this style of play (alongside many others), and has had many dungeon-based adventures published for its three editions over its thirty-odd year existence. The original ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' wargame can be used to stage underground battles between adventurers and monsters too, and this was very much a popular use for it in its early days.
* ''TabletopGame/HeroQuest'' was a simple dungeon crawler boardgame, produced jointly by Creator/GamesWorkshop and MB Games in the late 80s iwth the successor ''Warhammer Quest'', set in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' world. A more complex and in-depth version with some RPG elements called Advanced Heroquest was produced by Games Workshop alone. Sci-fi versions set on giant derelict spacecraft -- Space Crusade and Advanced Space Crusade -- followed the same pattern.
* The Creator/GamesWorkshop BoardGame ''TabletopGame/SpaceHulk'' is basically this genre RecycledInSpace liberally crossed with the Creator/JamesCameron film ''Film/{{Aliens}}''.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Thunderstone}}'' is a deckbuilding game in which you build your deck in the village, then take it to the dungeon to kill monsters.
* One of ''TabletopGame/TheSplinter'''s two realities (the Realm) was created as by the citizens of the other (Earthside) to serve as a hyper-realisitic infinite dungeon crawl, making it a diegetic dungeon crawl within a recursive RPG.
* In keeping with its "Dungeons & Dragons InSpace" origins, ''TabletopGame/StarFrontiers'' featured this style of play often in its printed adventures, with alien animals filling in for the monsters.
* ''TabletopGame/BaseRaiders'': After the world's superheroes and villains all mysteriously disappear, an entire underground industry based on locating, breaking into, and looting their abandoned secret bases crops up.

[[folder:Video Games]]
%%* ''VideoGame/{{ADOM}}'':
%%* ''VideoGame/NetHack'':
%%* ''VideoGame/CryptOfTheNecrodancer'':
* The very core of ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' and its many, many sequels is DungeonCrawling.
* ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}'' came out in 1981. But Richard Garriot (of ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'') released ''Akalabeth'' in 1979. The game name comes from part of ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''; such "homages" were common with Garriot in his early games. Of course, ''Dungeons and Dragons'' came out in 1974... around the same time "Dungeon" was a popular game on mainframe computers.
* Also released in 1979 was Creator/{{Epyx}}'s ''VideoGame/TempleOfApshai'', where the entire point of the game was to enter the Apshai temples, fight the monsters, and grab the loot.
* A few very early Dungeon Crawlers existed on the Apple.
** ''VideoGame/BeneathAppleManor'' may be the UrExample on the system.
** ''Dungeon Campaign'' has a single [[ProceduralGeneration procedurally generated]] four-level dungeon with the exit on the bottom.
** ''Odyssey: The Complete Adventure'' was loosely based on ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', with the addition of random dungeons the player character could come across while sailing for their destination.
** Stuart Smith's oeuvre, including ''VideoGame/AliBabaAndTheFortyThieves'', ''VideoGame/ReturnOfHeracles'', and ''VideoGame/AdventureConstructionSet'', consisted of multi-room dungeons similar to those of ''VideoGame/TempleOfApshai'', above. While some areas were decorated to appear outdoors, they all followed a room-after-room-of-monsters pattern with occasional puzzles. The third of these allowed players to design or [[ProceduralGeneration primitively randomly generate]] their own.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' was originally a classic first-person crawler like those mentioned above, then became a third-person crawler with occasional first-person elements.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' series, which began life as a {{Roguelike}} which had you killing demons and undead in a sixteen-level dungeon and ultimately became the HackAndSlash series we know and love today.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' series intersperses semi-randomized dungeon crawling with visual novel style character interactions.
* Most of the non-overworld areas in ''VideoGame/DragonsDogma'' qualify. Notable in that the game gives the player lots of freedom of movement within the dungeons, often allowing interesting ways to approach obstacles. The expansion/remaster ''Dark Arisen'' features [[BonusDungeon Bitterblack Isle]], which fits this trope to a T.
* ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey'' is a contemporary dungeon crawler that pays homage to games like ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}'' and introduces some spins of its own, most notably the F.O.E.s which are visible [[BeefGate boss-like]] [[BossInMookClothing enemies]] that move with each step you take.
* ''VideoGame/MasterOfTheMonsterLair'' features this -- with a dungeon you make yourself -- along with a deconstruction of some of the assumptions usually implicit to this premise; having a dungeon near your town is considered ''desirable'', as it acts as a tourist attraction, lures monsters out of the wilderness where they pose more of a danger to ordinary people, and the items monsters hoard in dungeons can be quite valuable. In this game and ''VideoGame/MyWorldMyWay'', which is an [[IntercontinuityCrossover otherwise unconnected game that takes place in the same world]], "Dungeon Maker" is a respected profession.
* The ''Dungeon Maker'' trilogy, including ''VideoGame/DungeonMakerIITheHiddenWar'', and ''VideoGame/AdventuresToGo!''.
* Ubiquitous in ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games, but [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI the original game]] has some of the most basic examples. Not surprising, considering how much it owes to ''D&D''.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Runescape}}'''s Dungeoneering skill is exactly what you'd expect.%%ZCE
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', along with the bulk of its MMO kindred, buries most of its best treasure in various dungeons.
%%* The {{Roguelike}} ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl''%%ZCE
* ''VideoGame/SolomonsKeep'' for the iPhone is one, where you use a student wizard to traverse the eponymous keep, fight monsters and bosses, loot treasure and defeat the evil necromancer- as his graduation exam, no less.
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' with the Rubikon Dungeon Construct. The Modrons, beings of pure Law, are trying to study dungeon crawls in order to understand them, so they create a simulated dungeon with randomly generated rooms, filled with identical constructs that drop "loot" which looks valuable but is entirely worthless, even as VendorTrash. Somewhere in the dungeon is the Evil Wizard Construct, who is a CardCarryingVillain that you have to fight because that's what evil wizards are for.
* The many, many caves you have to explore in the various Franchise/{{Pokemon}} games. Places like, for example, [[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue Silph Co. and the Pokemon Tower in Lavender Town]] also count, as they both have stuff to find and are crawling with enemies to defeat, and usually contain one final Boss.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** Dungeon Crawling is a staple throughout the series. It fits in nicely with Tamriel being an AdventureFriendlyWorld where EverythingIsTryingToKillYou. You can't throw a rock without hitting a cave, ruin, or tomb ripe for exploring. Additionally, looting such places of weapons, armor and other things [[VendorTrash you can sell at a later date]] tends to be the main method of earning money in the series.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'':
*** Lampshaded by Farengar, the CourtMage of Whiterun. Most quests seem to involve "delving into an ancient ruin" to defeat a particular enemy or to acquire an item for the quest-giver.
*** The core of the ''Skyrim'' GameMod ''VideoGame/ConanHyborianAge'' consists in the exploration of a BonusDungeon loosely inspired by ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'' to find an ancient sword forged in a special metal, while fighting the monsters inside.
** The series' spin-off game ''Battlespire'' is essentially a pure Dungeon Crawler in a series otherwise known for being a WideOpenSandbox WesternRPG. The game drops you off in a dungeon full of nightmarish imagery populated by the BigBad's LegionsOfHell.
* In both ''VideoGame/MegamanLegends'' games, the protagonist is a Digger, someone who made exploring the many enigmatic ruins in the ScavengerWorld their profession. True enough, exploring these ruins is how you acquire most of the equipment and money you need.
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' has both Krazoa Palace and the two Force Point Temples. In terms of gameplay, the four satellital regions of Sauria are explored like dungeons, but they're more into DungeonTown territory.
* The trope is downplayed in ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'', since the dungeons and mini-dungeons are a secondary aspect of the games, both in plot and in gameplay, and only two of them (Moon Cave and Oni Island) are noticeably complex.
* One of the major gameplay devices in ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} 2'' is exploring underground caves that are based on different everyday places. These caves can be either short, long or ''gargantuan'', depending on the case. The caves' different sublevels are also semi-randomized; they'll always have the same stuff (Treasures to collect, enemies to defeat, eggs to break, obstacles to destroy or avoid...), but where all that stuff is and where you start off is picked at random every time you reach said sublevel, even by reloading a save.
* Dungeons are present in the first ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'', but almost all of them are optional and relatively small. Most of the time you'll be exploring the wilderness instead. The second game put much more emphasis on dungeons though, with more, larger and more complex dungeons, and very few wilderness areas to explore. Both {{Expansion Pack}}s added massive {{Bonus Dungeon}}s for your crawling needs: Durlag's Tower and Watcher's Keep, both of which have multiple levels, nasty monsters and traps, and of course treasure.
* ''VideoGame/LegendOfDungeon'' is, as the name suggests, grossly centered around this. Every new game starts you in the Tavern at the top, and you descend down through the eponymous dungeon, slaying monsters, collecting gold, weapons and other items, all trying to collect one most valuable treasure and then race it aaaaaalll the way back up the 26 dangerous floors you just fought (or ran) down.
* The second ''VideoGame/AdventureTime'' game, ''Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!'', was a somewhat tedious ''VideoGame/{{Gauntlet}}'' clone featuring ''Adventure Time'' characters and based around clearing out the dungeon under Princess Bubblegum's palace.
* The original ''VideoGame/SystemShock'' is a dungeon crawler with shooter combat.
* ''VideoGame/RecettearAnItemShopsTale'' is part "item shop simulation" and part Dungeon Crawler. For this purpose you choose one of up to 8 different adventurers, go to one of up to 6 different dungeons and start hacking away at monsters to loot useful stuff.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series is all about this, especially the first two games which had very small overworlds thanks to the limited capacity of early computers. The mazes can be sadistic at times, and quite convoluted if you're unlucky enough not to draw up a map. In particular Solomon Shrine and the Tower of Darm are large enough to require half the game's admittedly short length to trek through. While the bosses can be hard and much LevelGrinding is required, early on you'll get magic items that let you heal up simply by standing still.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' series, alien Vaults replace your standard dungeon. Exploring them makes up a very small part of the game; most if it is actually finding them. Obeying tradition, opening up a Vault always leads to one final boss battle-class monster fight.
* Although the objective is usually to find some''one'' rather than some''thing'', a surprising amount of ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' consists of reskinned dungeon crawls -- although the dungeons are usually portrayed as space station environments, incomplete skyscrapers, Krogan hospitals, abandoned experimental compounds, spaceports and spaceships both derelict and functional (on one particularly memorable occasion said ship is a [[spoiler:derelict Reaper]]). True to form, you find treasure (new guns, research projects and money) and regularly fight bosses (mercenary leaders, top-tier Geth, gun-encrusted krogan warlords and Collector Praetorians, to name the major recurring adversaries). There are a couple of exceptions -- Archangel's recruitment mission involves defending a location rather than invading it, and most of Grunt's consists of fighting off various kinds of unpleasant Tuchanka wildlife in a semi-open arena -- but the majority of missions boil down to "go to place with dungeon-like map, kill everything in it, steal everything useful, complete the primary objective -- usually with a big fight of some description -- and leave".
* ''VideoGame/DragonFable'' has the 100 Rooms of Doom dungeon.
* This also happens in the [[VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG various]] [[VideoGame/PaperMario Mario]] [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi RPGs]][[note]]This even includes VideoGame/SuperPaperMario, which is essentially a {{Metroidvania}} platformer game.[[/note]] in some form or another.
* ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' eventually added a few as late-game content. While they all contain useful treasure such as crafting materials, armor and weapons and enchanted items once you get past their monsters and/or traps, the actual and often unique building materials that make them up are arguably just as much of a draw, as ''Minecraft'' is at its core a game a game focused around building things.
** Ocean monuments spawn in the deep ocean biome, and take the form of flooded temple-like structures inhabited by fish-like Guardians and three stronger Elder Guardians that have to be defeated to access the gold at their centers.
** End cities shaped like branching structures holding upside-down ziggurats appear in the End. They don't have many monsters besides endermen and camouflaged shulkers, but their chests hold valuable iron, diamonds and enchanted equipment, and rare elytrae which allow you to glide are found only here.
** Randomly-generated woodland mansions occur in roofed forests, and are composed of a number of randomly-chosen rooms and passages home to evil Villagers winding either axes or limited magic, plus regular monsters. Naturally, there's plenty of loot to be had after the monsters are cleared.
** There are also desert and jungle temples clearable earlier in the game, with some treasure and useful building materials behind some simple traps.
* In ''VideoGame/ShopHeroes'', players don't actually ''do'' the dungeon-crawling — instead, they dispatch parties of heroes to do it. There are a number of different quests, of varying difficulties. Each quest has a particular rare resource associated with it, which players can use to make better equipment for the dungeon-crawlers.
* The core gameplay of ''VideoGame/StarCrawlers'' involves this. Though considering the sci-fi CyberPunk nature of the game, the dungeons often consist of corporate offices, labs, spacecraft, and factories, but more traditional mines are an area that can be explored, and most of the story missions involving the ''Stella Marin'' are pure dungeon-crawling through the guts of the abandoned ship.
%%* ''VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga'' is an early arcade game example.%%ZCE
%%* ''Dragon Buster'' is another arcade game from Creator/{{Namco}} that does this.%%ZCE
* The ''VideoGame/{{Gauntlet}}'' series takes from two to four players through a variable number of different dungeon levels.
%%* ''VideoGame/ArkandianLegends'', though only one half, the other's a StrategyRPG.%%ZCE
* ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'', as one would expect from the name.
** The Ruins were once the seat of the family's power, now twisted by eldritch forces and overrun with the undead. The Warrens are an ancient network of aqueducts and tunnels, overrun by discarded summoning experiments known as [[PigMan the Swine]]. For looser definitions of "dungeon", there are also the Cove (a maze of caves haunted by [[FishPeople pelagics]] and their allies), the Weald (a claustrophobic forest swarming with monstrous fungi), and (with the Crimson Court DLC) the Courtyard (a lavish garden transformed into a decaying marsh infested with half-mosquito vampires). Looming above it all, with a difficulty level of 6, is the Darkest Dungeon itself, a nightmare of powerful enemies, [[ArcSymbol stress symbols]], red mist, [[spoiler:flesh, organs...]]
** It's worth noting that ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'' is actually a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]], showing just how stressful and terrifying dungeon crawling would be in reality. The game incorporates a [[SanityMeter stress system]] that keeps track of how much mental strain any given hero has been placed under by the horrors of the dungeons, and accumulating too much stress results in them crossing the DespairEventHorizon and becoming [[HeroicBSOD afflicted]]. [[spoiler: Heroes who go into the titular [[EldritchLocation Darkest Dungeon]] will GoMadFromTheRevelation and receive unique dialogue, from doomsaying to simply begging for help.]] Add to that permadeath, [[NintendoHard high difficulty]], a very creepy art style and a general sense of gloom and foreboding, and you've got a ''very'' nasty dungeon crawling experience.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' started off as this, before the CerebusSyndrome hit it. One of the compilation books is even called ''Dungeon Crawling Fools''. There's also a lampshading of the activity by the cleric Mallack in reference to his membership in an evil adventuring party, "Ah, the life of an adventuring cleric. I remember it well. A perpetual struggle to maintain the hit point totals of four or five nigh-suicidal tomb robbers determined to deplete them at all costs."
* In ''WebComic/HeroOhHero'', the town of Rauel's economy is based on raiding dungeons which appear in the desert and disappear 24 hours later.
* ''Webcomic/ScenesFromAMultiverse'': The basis of the immensely popular Dungeon Divers storyline, ''SFAM’''s longest ongoing plot to date.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* A common setting for every other story arc in ''Literature/DesolateEra''. The hero travels through them to gain experience, insight, and of course, treasure.
* Under the surface of the world of ''Literature/MotherOfLearning'' is an enormous catacomb of tunnels literally referred to as "The Dungeon". Many missions for young mages involve going down into the dungeons.
* Created by an adventurer long ago for the purposes of younger adventurers to gain EXP, the dungeons of ''Roleplay/OverlordAscendant'' are omnipresent.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'' has one of these during the episode ''Wizards, Warriors, And A Word From Our Sponsors''. 66 floors of RPG references and parodies.
* Parodied in the episode "The Dragon Pig" in the Season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}''. The Dragon Pig's lair is built like a typical RPG-dungeon, giving [[IdiotHero Tristepin]] an edge due to being [[GenreSavvy "the only one of us with experience from dungeon crawls"]].
* As a HeroicFantasy parody with a heavy RPG influence, ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' has several examples, in particular "Dungeon", "Guardians of Sunshine", "The Limit", "Dad's Dungeon", "Lady & Peebles", "Mystery Dungeon", "Vault of Bones"...

[[folder:Real Life]]
* It is the job of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel_Rat Tunnel Rats]] (most notably in Vietnam and other guerrilla wars) to crawl into insurgent tunnel complexes to search for weapons, intelligence and the enemy. Being a tunnel rat is one of the worst jobs one can draw as it was highly dangerous and possibly one of the quickest paths to PTSD.
* This has been the job of military engineers since [[OlderThanDirt fortification was invented]]. One of the main ways to break down a wall, if you can do it, is to dig under the wall, burn the supports to the tunnels and let gravity do its job (it's more effective setting off a charge of gunpowder but works more or less the same). One of the most effective counters to that is to dig under that tunnel and do the same thing. If two tunnels run into each other they fight underground. Now do you see ''just one'' reason why TheEngineer is considered a badass kind of soldier?