There are many types of video game levels. Some are easy. Some are moderately hard. Some are hated by many people for being too damn hard.
But some have a really easy way to beat them. A level that would normally take an hour to beat or high effort. But if you Google the level, stuff will come up, namely, people claiming that they beat it in 10 minutes tops. Tricks may include exploiting glitches or flaws
Some players feel that this method of clearing a level isn't considered "truly" beating it, or call it outright cheating. Sometimes this is acknowledged in-game due to the trick skipping items that are part of 100% Completion
, but in other games skipping the level makes no difference at all.
Some games may hint the player in on this by having target times or scores that are far too good to get the conventional way.
When portrayed in other mediums, it's usually to show that someone is really good at the game. If that person's character is friendly, they'll explain the trick to someone having trouble with the game. If less friendly, they'll take the controller, call them a noob, and do the trick themselves. Using a fictional trick in a real game is a symptom of Pac-Man Fever
Common in Real Time Strategy
games, when there are levels that have objectives other than "totally destroy your enemies".
Compare Sequence Breaking
, where you skip part of a game's story, and Dungeon Bypass
, where you can cut a lot of distance. Sometimes overlaps with Offscreen Start Bonus
rely on these, more often than not.
If this trick can be applied to any level and wasn't intended, it's a Game Breaker
open/close all folders
- The infamous Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features a trick that lets you bypass the locked center room door: after draining all the water, you can jump from the entrance and land on the middle ledge, then light the torch to open the door into the center room.
- The Tomb Raider 3 level, Thames Wharf, requires Lara to spend an hour traversing a complex series of underground puzzles in order to get from the roof of one building to the roof of another. Or she can just, ya know, jump across and be done in ten seconds flat.
- There are many more, if less blatant examples of this in the early Tomb Raider series, due to the compact nature of the levels and a simple but very consistent engine that treats every surface the same. Many a custom level designer can attest to that the tiniest oversight might result in an unintended shortcut.
Beat 'Em Up
- Double Dragon has a couple of enemies that can be ignored by climbing the ladder to the next area. For one of the bosses, you can go back the way you came and game will treat it as if you finished the level.
- Figure out a spot where the AI cars won't come or shoot you and half of the levels in the Twisted Metal franchise are done and done. The worst offender is the second game, where 6 out of 8 levels can be beaten simply by camping at a good hiding spot where enemies will come to you but cannot hit you, and one of these levels can literally be won by finding shelter and going afk while the enemies fall off the map one by one.
- The other half of the levels can typically be beaten by finding a loop through the level with plenty of cover and just driving in circles shooting enemies in front of you with a freeze missile and your choice of power-up ordnance.
- Destruction Derby 2 and its supposedly "hardest" arena, the Death Bowl with an instakill pit at one end. Drive away just right and all of the enemy cars will instantly ram each other into the pit, giving you a victory in about 5 seconds.
- Gran Turismo, particularly Gran Turismo 4, lets you utilise a trick where you drive as close to the wall in a corner as possible, and then steering along the wall, allowing you to get round turns with outside walls much faster than if you braked and steered normally. With practice, you can use this in the rally races without triggering the '5 second penalty' for heavy contact. Further more, one event, the Costa di Amalfi, has nearly EVERY turn like this, allowing you to power past your opponent easier, earning the bonus car (with a sale price of 250k credits) in about 10 minutes. And you can repeat it as many times as you like, meaning you could earn a ridiculous amount of cash within a couple of hours of starting the game.
- The technique falls just outside Game Breaker territory, as not many turns on the tracks actually have walls, so you'll still need to drive properly most of the time (sorry for anybody reading this and stuck on the Nurburgring challenges, then).
First Person Shooter
- Metro2033 has That One Level, Biomass. This Scrappy Level can be defeated easily by going counter to most of your instincts, and instead running ahead rather than trying to fight alongside Miller in the Escort Mission. Simply run ahead until you reach the safe area where the amoebas cannot reach you, and wait there for Miller to show up. He's tough and has a great weapon, so he'll most likely survive. With the hard part out of the way, all that remains is to use the crane, and then you've won.
- The Serious Sam games were full of these. There are any number of levels where you can avoid the big climactic fight, or at least make it a hell of a lot easier, by either rocket-jumping to an inaccessible ledge, or running off to a great distance so the huge crowd of enemies comes after you in a long, thin, easy-to-pick-off stream instead of converging on you all at once.
- While not exactly making it faster, an Escort Mission in Goldeneye 007 can be made much easier by "cleaning up" the whole bunker before opening Natalya's cell.
- In the N64 Bond game The World Is Not Enough, the first level involves infiltrating a bank, getting the contents of a lock-box, stealing files, and sneaking around without setting any alarms off. However, if timed right, the player can open the lock-box, trigger the alarm (convient button on nearby wall), and walk out of the bank with a "mission cleared" in under 30 seconds.
- Portal test chamber 14 can be solved in about 30 seconds using a clever fling and a portal next to the elevator. In the developer's commentary, they note that this originally came up in play testing, but since the solution was arguably more difficult to perform than solving the level straight, they christened it the "ninja solution" and left it in.
- In the original No One Lives Forever, you had to fight the burly Magnus Armstrong... with just your fists. The trick is to wait until he slams the ground for an AOE attack, run up to him, and jump on top of him. He won't move (because you are already next to him) but won't be able to reach you, either, with his fists. You, on the other hand, will be able to hit him if you duck—one boss down.
- Several times in Deus Ex:
- The first mission (Liberty Island) can be skipped less than three minutes in by picking up a gas grenade (which is conveniently located in a crate right near the entrance to the UNATCO base) and throwing it at the base's front door, which causes a guard to run out and investigate what's going on while you walk in unchallenged. The game actually acknowledges this possibility.
- Most of the NSF Generator mission can be skipped if, when coming to New York for the first time, you take a crate of dynamite from the subway station, walk it over to the locked warehouse by the 'Ton Hotel and blow the front door open.
- When you first arrive in Hong Kong, instead of looking for Gordon Quick, you can walk over to Tonnochi Road, use LAM-jumping to get to a high-up walkway, kill Maggie Chen with a GEP rocket from outside her window (resolving an entire quest chain), break into the MJ12 facility from the top floor, take the Dragon's Tooth Sword and return it to Max Chen at the Lucky Money to finish the entire questline in the area.
- Act 3 of Scrap Brain Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog is generally considered by players to be by far the hardest level in the game. That is, unless you use the shortcut at the beginning, upon which it becomes easily beatable in under a minute.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has a few:
- In Sonic's game, there's a logic puzzle where you must speak to a bunch of guards and use their clues to figure out which of them is actually the Captain. Or, you can be lazy and just keep talking to the first guard — the one who gives you the puzzle in the first place — because he is the Captain.
- In Silver's game, Dusty Desert has a puzzle where you must navigate a giant billiard ball around corners and obstacles, into a pocket at the end of a long corridor. You have limited time, and a limited number of times you can manipulate the ball, before the puzzle resets and you have to start over. Or, you can glitch through a door by using Silver's telekinesis on a crate, and skip the puzzle entirely.
- For Rouge's segment in End of the World, you can skip the entire level by climbing and flying from pillar to pillar to the end.
- The final section of Sonic's Lost World in Sonic Adventure can be defeated by spin dash jumping after the first wall tile puzzle (it will leave you standing at the switch to trigger the ring chain to light dash to the end).
- Large swaths of Ice Cap with Sonic can be cut out by using some creative jumping (the first area can be passed by dash jumping on top of the archway leading into the first cave up to the rocket and with some very precise jumping, you can reach the switch to activate the thin bridge in the second area).
- In Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, the first temple level can be made very short by doing a Leap of Faith from the first platform the Prince would otherwise have to drop down from.
- Mario Adventure, a full hack of Super Mario Bros. 3, has an auto-scrolling level in Desert Dares where you need to survive the attacks of a bomb dropping Lakitu for a long time. It seems absurdly difficult, enough to make one put down their controller and leave Mario to die. This is how to win, as the Lakitu and Mario's starting position are placed just right so that not moving won't get you hit. It does not look that way when playing the level.
- Getting a blue Yoshi in Super Mario World can let you skip any level, other than fortresses and castles.
- Donkey Kong Country 2 had a roller-coaster race that was very hard to get first place in; unless you go backwards after jumping on the cart, which gives a huge speed boost well worth the time to get it. Levels in the first and second worlds had secrets that let you skip them, but those are Dungeon Bypasses.
- Similarly in the first one, the stage Stop and Go Station has you constantly flicking timed switches in order to not be attacked by a whole cave full of invincible enemies (which temporarily fall asleep when the switch is tripped). It's considered one of the harder levels in the game because of this, although a shortcut leading to just before the end of the stage exists, simply by going left and back into the entrance immediately at the start.
- One of the early Jungle levels in Donkey Kong '94 has the player start next to both the door to the next level and the key needed to open it, with a wall closing between you and the door before you can do anything. However, the player also starts near a temporary ladder block, which can be used to stop the door from closing, grab the key, and take it to the door. This might have been intentional - a much later level requires the player to do the same thing to another door controlled by a lever.
- In Mega Man X, there's a section of Sigma's first fortress that's full of springs. The springs launch you toward the ceiling when you step on them, making the section rather difficult, but if you just use the dash feature you bounce from spring to spring avoiding enemies and zooming past the lasers, landing at the end without a scratch.
- MDK 2 has one in Max's final stage. The next-to-last section before the boss involves climbing up a large tower by using the self-recharging jetpack Max just got to very carefully land on outcroppings from the tower. Or, if Max stands on a non-descript section of the floor around the tower, an elevator will rise out of the floor and take him to the top of the tower.
- Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex has a level where, immediately after starting the time trial, hitting a certain button on the controller would teleport you to the end of the level.
- Super Mario 64 DS has a lot of these, both the intentional and unintentional kind. For the intentional kind, the first Chain Chomp mission in Bob-omb Battlefield can be beaten by ground pounding the post three times and avoiding its attacks... or you could just run straight through the fence behind it with Luigi's vanish cap ability. Or just smash the post in one hit as an invincible Mega Mario/whoever equivalent. For every other mission in the game, the 'easy trick' was simply to use Luigi and backflip, since it basically let you glide gently down to just about anywhere from a high enough pointer.
- The infamous "We all fall down" levels in Lemmings have an easy shortcut that works in pretty much every version of the game except the DOS version. You have to get 20 (later, 40, 60 and 80) lemmings down from a height with only diggers; the canonical solution is to click on every lemming, and try again if you miss even one. The shortcut is to turn the release rate to about 30 and make one lemming dig a single pixel after the previous one, releasing him and making a step that the lemmings can walk down. The single-pixel requirement is tough, but you can keep trying with the next pair of lemmings without having to restart, so it's still much, much easier than the normal solution.
- Some rooms in Quantum Conundrum can be quickly completed by exploiting the quirks of the game's physics and collision-detection.
- "The Path to Higher Learning": Rather than collecting three batteries to create a stable path produced by a row of DOLLIs, it's possible to simply get on top of the DOLLIs and cross the gap by jumping from one to the other.
- "Not Your Typical Sushi Bar": Rather than jumping from conveyor belt to conveyor belt by manipulating various safes via the provided dimensions, it's possible to stand on top of one while it's rising. When you hit the roof, the safe squeezes to the side, causing it to move horizontally toward the exit, and can be rode there safely.
- "Through The Glass Flooring": Rather than collecting various extra dimensions to form a floating bridge from safes, the nearby support beams have one-inch ledges you can safely stand on. By jumping to this ledge, and edging along it, you can reach the same destination while eliminating much of the busy work.
- "Choose Wisely": Rather than collecting all four batteries so you can activate the two buttons, select the Fluffy Battery at the start. Place a safe against the wall near the vertical conveyor belts and another against a stud in the wall near the fan, before switching to Normal. Use Fluffy to place the first safe on the nearby button and immediately switch to Normal; the safe near the fan will have been blown down the hall and land on the button.
- "Beginning of the End": With careful timing and luck, it's possible to float the first safe in the level to the rotor and spin it up without ever leaving the first room.
Real Time Strategy
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2:
- In an early allied level you had an hour and a half to destroy a giant Soviet mind control device in Chicago. It starts with some jet pack troopers and some assault ships. The jet packers are to destroy two artillery batteries to let the destroyers past. The destroyers are then supposed to clear the ground for a base. But the device could be attacked by the destroyers and skip the base building.
- Also, the second-to-last Soviet level where the enemy has control of half the map and is constantly attacking you, and also hax mind control units. You start off with a few Kirovs, giant blimps with lots of hit points. To win, you only had to destroy the Kremlin, and the top left line of the map had little anti-air defense. If you wish to preserve your base, a second tactic involves sending out your entire starting force to destroy the first enemy base to the east (including the nuclear plants powering most of the enemy's defenses on the map), and using your Kirovs to make the main pass to your base impassible by having them bomb the site indefinately. Then you can build up your forces at your leisure, as the stakes have been dropped from a continual pounding of three-to-one to two-to-one, who can't even get their forces to reach your base. Yet another trick involved placing Tesla coils on the cliffs directly north of your base early (typically by sacrificing your Kirovs to destroy the enemy ones in place), which pick off most attackers with relative ease.
- An Allied mission protecting Einstein's lab has three soviet MCVs roll onto the map accompanied by troops. By quickly telling your starting troops to intercept the MCVs at the very start of the mission, it's possible to take out at least two of them, if not all three, right away.
- Similarly, one Soviet mission requires you to defeat invading Korean forces. However, if you're fast, you can intercept their MCVs before they even set up a base.
- And the last allied mission: You need to take out 4 elite level apocalypse tanks, 2 AA canons, two tesla coils and 2 sentry guns., while being attacked by huge waves of tanks supported by an Iron Curtain (make vehicles temporary invulnerable) and a nuclear silo. The range of an IFV loaded with Chrono-Legionaries is slighyly greater than that of the Apocalypse tanks, and once you get your firts shot with those babies, ennemies are helpless until rescued or killed, and prism tanks work wonder against stationnary defense. So 3 IFV + 3 chrono legionaries + 1 prism tank + 1 chronosphere = easy win.
- Likewise for an early Soviet mission in the original Red Alert, where you normally need to chase an enemy spy all across the map before finally cornering and killing him. The secret is that your attack dog units run faster when an enemy is targeted — so fast, in fact, that they can catch the spy within seconds of the mission starting. (Of course, the victory cutscene still shows the spy dying to a firing squad.)
- In the same mission, you can use the long-range grenade glitch to destroy the structure the spy is hiding in without triggering the scripted event of the spy fleeing to the next part of the map. This causes the spy to enter the map from the east, with your soldiers right in his path.
- In the Yuri Revenge expansion, the second Soviet mission can be won in under five minutes. According to the mission briefing, after some Allied chokepoints are fried, you need to set up base and fight your way to Einstein's lab and blow it up. In truth, take the troops you are given as soon as you get control, hug the right, then bottom sides of the map, and head for the bottom left, until you see some roads leading to some hilly areas. Go up those roads, right past three Allied bases, and the only things guarding Einstein's lab are a Mirage Tank and maybe some soldiers. Just cap them in the face and shoot the lab to win in under 3-5 minutes as opposed to the PAR time of an hour and a half.
- The final mission of Emperor: Battle for Dune would normally require simultaneously fending off three enemy bases while mounting an offensive on the mission structure located past a narrow canyon jam-packed with powerful defenses. Alternatively, you can simply produce a group of Fremen stealth troops, move them straight past enemy lines, have them attack the target, then position them out of range of its slow-firing defensive cannon, move them back to attack, then rinse and repeat to win.
- Empire Earth has the infamous second Russian level where you are being attacked from all sides and your enemies have a bottomless pile of all resources. But to win you just need to destroy their capitols. If you make two 3 Titan bombers and spend civilization points on upgrading their speed and hit points, you can win in less than 10 minutes.
- Age of Empires II had a late-game Hun mission that required you to destroy three cities and survive a counterattack from the Roman army, which spawns in when the third city is destroyed. However, if you know that there is a placeholder unit hidden on the map, you can break the script and skip the fight with the Roman army.
- Starcraft II has a level where you must use a small Protoss base, potentially two, to push through a horde of Zerg enemies and bring Zeratul to 4 heavily defended spots. However, it is possible to beat the mission in less than 5 minutes, as Zeratul can Flash Step across chasms, and is fairly durable in addition to being permanently invisible and able to stun the few units capable of revealing him. It helps that Zeratul is healed to full health upon reaching an objective.
- There's also the mission in Meinhoff, which is a tense Hold the Line-style mission against massive waves of slow-moving but numerous infested terrans. Ordinarily, part of the difficulty is that your forces are woefully poorly developed; usually you can only field infantry and light vehicles. However, it's possible to hold off doing the mission until you have Siege Tanks, whose artillery cannon will cheerfully chew up the entire attacking army, bit by bit.
Turn Based Strategy
- Some Fire Emblem maps can be completed in a single turn with a Staff-wielder with a High Magic Stat, One Heavy-hitter, a Warp Staff, and a Dancer.
- In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, the final chapter was beaten in 3 turns using the Geosphere (which hurts all units, friendly and enemy alike) and a few Fortify staffs. Throw in a Warp staff to send a Falchion-wielding Marth to take out the final boss and suddenly it has become the easiest chapter in the game.
- Alternatively, just warp someone with good strength and a crit chance up to the final boss. He can even be one-shot with luck.
- The final boss in the GBA Fire Emblem can be killed in one round if Game Breaker Canas or Eleventh Hour Ranger Athos crits with a Luna tome. Oh right, Ninian has the power to increase your crit rate for a turn.
- The best speedrun for ''Radiant Dawn'' involves using high movement, high damage, decent chance to crit Haar, pointing him at the boss and pulling a One-Hit KO in a single turn before the enemies get a chance to move.
- The eighth mission of Archibald's campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic 2 is a very difficult slugfest if you play the mission straight. You start an entire week behind as you need to find a town to develop in the first place, meanwhile your opponent starts with three fully upgraded towns right from the get-go, as well as several heroes with fantastic stats. Oh, and they have their own private island with all the resources they would ever need. However, if you took the time to beat mission 7 first, you gain the ability to get any stack of dragons on the map to join you, which turns this mission into an absolute curbstomp. Instead of capturing the nearby town and building it up, all you need to do is head to the north section of the map as fast as possible, grabbing any stacks of dragons on the way, then proceed to whoop the ass of any enemy heroes/towns you come across. If you do it quickly enough, you can make it to one of the enemy's towns before the one week time limit runs out.
- From the same game, the final mission in Roland's campaign can very much be That One Level if you play the mission straight, even moreso if you got the ultimate crown instead of reinforcements. If you chose to get reinforcements, and have a crapton of Black Dragons in tow, its possible to take the boat near Roland's starting location immediately and head for Archibald's castle. It will be a tough battle, since normally you're supposed to defeat everyone else on the map and build up your army first, but if you pull it off you can finish this mission in about 3 weeks flat.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The Grand Theft Auto series often forces the player to hunt down antagonists before battling them. Occasionally, it's possible to kill the antagonists before or during the hunt—for instance, Ryder in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas can be killed with a sniper rifle before he reaches the speedboat he's supposed to flee in. In Grand Theft Auto III, a racing game pits you against three other vehicles to collect points all over the city. The game fully allows you to explode all three vehicles just as the count down starts, say with the Rhino, and collect the points at your leisure.
- A lot of the escort mission also forces you to make sure your vehicle doesn't blow up while roaming gang cars are shooting from you at all angles. You could either have mad skills in driving... or just drive off road and avoid rival cars altogether.
- In one of the first missions in San Andreas, you have to follow a train in a motorbike with Big Smoke in the back seat shooting bad guys standing on top of the train. The short cut is to get the bike, run ahead of the train, climb a concrete rail and a bridge, stop at the roof of a building and jump on top of the train as it passes. Now shoot at will. But there's a time limit for this technique, as there's a certain bridge passing over the train that knocks you from the top of the train.
- Or tap the accelerate button instead of holding it to make the bike go faster. Which is also a Easy Level Trick on any bike races.
- In IV, the co-op level "Hangman's Noose" anticipates most players will grab one of the armored SWAT vans that pull up to make the difficult drive to escape the airport and the permanent 4 star wanted level. It does not anticipate a player simply running off to collect a nearby Blackhawk helicopter to pick up the NPC and fly him comfortably to his destination.
- Another mission in GTA III involves following a suspected traitor's taxi at a safe distance so that he isn't spooked. It can be finished much easier by using a taxi yourself and picking him up, at which point you can just drive him to the checkpoint.
- In yet another GTA III mission, you have to throw a grenade through a window to flush out an enemy, at which point he drives out of a nearby garage, and you have to chase after him and do enough damage to his car to make it explode. Or you could just park a bus or a garbage truck in front of the garage, blocking him in, then toss a grenade to destroy both vehicles.
- How to kill Chunky Lee Chong? Chase him down the street and hope he doesn't make it to his car? Or steal his car and run him over while he's trying to figure out what happened?
- Williams Electronics' Tales Of The Arabian Nights requires the player to complete seven Tales and collect a magic jewel from each. However, if he has at least one Wish available, he can ask his benevolent jinn to instantly give it to him.
- In Enter the Matrix, one level has you evading an army of Smith clones around a city. However the entire level can be bypassed simply by heading right at the start of the level instead of left, as the game tells you.
- In Guild Wars Factions, it is possible in the Gyala Hatchery mission to avoid activating the turtles, allowing enemies to be cleared out without risking any turtle losses (which reduces rewards and can fail the mission). However, while this method makes it easier to win, it's arguable as to whether or not it's an easier way to play the mission itself, as it's much more time-consuming and requires some planning.
- Mega Man NT Warrior has an interesting in-universe use of this. One of the villains poses as Higsby and gives Maylu a battlechip, which causes her netnavi Roll to turn evil. The chip gets stuck in her PET and continues to infect Roll for several minutes and nearly costs her and the hero Lan the match before the real Higsby shows up and tells Maylu that all she needs to do to get rid of that chip is to slap in another. Simple as that.
- In Magicka, That One Boss consists of fighting several groups of Elite Mooks on a series of floating islands. It's irritating because you can easily be knocked off, but on the other hand you can blitz through every single one of the battles (with the exception of the second because of the larger island and the enemies ability to summon more mooks) by using a water spell to punt them off the edge.
- The door to Dr. Fred's lab in Maniac Mansion has a four-digit code. To get this code, you could fix broken wiring in an attic by having a friend switch off the circuit breakers in the basement, use a flashlight to see the broken wires, fix them with tools, go up to another attic, open a wall safe which contains an envelope, steam open the envelope with tap water (not pool water, as it's radioactive), get the quarter therein, use the quarter to play the Meteor Mess arcade game and use the high score as the combination to Dr. Fred's lab. Or you could skip all that and simply punch in '0000'.
- One room in the NES Metal Gear has an entrance at the south end of a room and a locked exit at the right. If you press "right" upon entering the room, the engine will decide you are in a door and facing right and take you through the exit. This room is the penultimate boss fight in the game.
- Magic: The Gathering: Shandalar had a final boss with 100 life plus another hundred for each difficulty level. (You, by contrast, started with 10, minus two for each difficulty level, but you could gain more through side quests.) But even at 400 life, ten poison counters kill him. So does making him run out of cards.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, the fight with the Shagohod tank can be resolved fairly quickly by shooting out the treads so it can't move at all. The game, of course, doesn't tell you this.
- Shooting the End in the back when you first encounter him saves you an ungodly amount of time later on if you're not especially good with the sniper rifle. The Ocelot unit that takes his place can be gunned down or sneaked past with relative ease.
- In Super Thunder Blade, if the difficulty is set to Hard, the player can hide in the upper-right corner and continuously fire to avoid being hit for three levels.
- Most levels in Freedom Fighters have an alternate path to the objective with only a handful of enemies present, enabling you to bypass a massive setpiece.
- In Dead Island, the mission Waterdance requires you to turn off the electricity preventing you from reaching the petrol station roof. However, instead of going here, there and everywhere in order to turn off the power, just drive the nearby truck to the smaller roof, hop on top, and break through the glass, granting you instant access to the station.
- It's since been fixed, but World of Warcraft dungeon Zul'Aman has a gauntlet you had to run up of continuously spawning mooks to tag a witch doctor at the end to stop. Or, you could target him from a distance and send a hunter or warlock's pet up (since NPCs can climb walls PCs can't) and pull him down the hill to be killed at leisure. Several other dungeons and raids have similar gauntlets that can be bypassed in this manner, some 'fixed', some not.