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- 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.
- One temple also has a sliding climbable wall, with spikes on both sides. Obviously a painful timing puzzle, right? Nope, just Longshot your way up to the top section!
- The Tomb Raider III 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.
- 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.
- 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, open the envelope (and in order to avoid screwing up a different puzzle you'd best steam it, but not with pool water because that's radioactive and will kill you), 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'.
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.
- 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.
- Lawton in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2011: Over the Nexus is often considered That One Boss due to him starting with ten cards instead of the standard five. This kind of upper hand would be difficult but manageable with the right strategy against most decks, except that he uses a burn deck, meaning your life points will drop faster than an anchor. Add the fact that your partner uses a very atypical deck that normally doesn't blend well with most others, beating him becomes an infuriating Luck-Based Mission . . . unless you go first and summon Des Wombat (negates all effect damage) or use Heavy Slump (normally useless but thanks to him having ten cards forces him to only have two), then he becomes laughably effortless.
- Twisted Metal
- Figure out a spot where the AI cars won't come or shoot you and half of the levels 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. 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 (tough luck for those stuck on the Nurburgring challenges). 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.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the Parallel Quest "Dangerous Duo! Warriors Never Rest" is the preferred mission for farming XP, provided the player has reached 6-star PQs (which makes it perfect for speed-levelling one's newer characters). It's a standard Dragon Ball Fetch Quest mission, except that rather than dealing with hordes of enemies, this one only has one opponent: Broly, which means it's worth a lot of XP. Additionally, mirroring the plot of Second Coming, the player will quickly get support from Videl, Trunks, Goten, and finally Gohan. Broly will always go after one of these four first, meaning he won't attack the player unless the player makes a nuisance of himself. This means that all one has to do is retrieve the three Dragon Balls as quickly as possible while completely ignoring Broly, which will end the mission and rake in tons of XP, especially thanks to the bonuses earned for not taking damage and completing the mission quickly.
First Person Shooter
- The mass driver section from "The Pillar of Autumn" in Halo: Reach. The Covenant will begin maneuvering once you get close enough to the mass driver, regardless of whether or not you are in it. Your objective also only mandates that you kill the cruiser. So, use the mass driver for cover until the cruiser is in position. Then hop inside it and take out the cruiser with one shot, rather than subjecting yourself to the storm of Covenant aircraft.
- Metro 2033 has Biomass, which 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.
- While not exactly easy to pull off, it's possible to beat Aztec level without killing Jaws and without even operating the open/close exhausting bay terminal. If the player attracts the yellow jump-suited guards in the corridor between the room with the terminal behind the glass doors and the exhaust bay and returns to the room and hides in the back, it's possible that the guards will open the glass doors and Bond can use the guidance data and recover the launch protocol and finish the mission in any place within the level (even in the exhaust bay), as the level has no defined exit. It's not quite clear if this is a glitch or not as the level normally has no exit too. This trick is very popular among speed run players.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Half-Life, the entire "We've Got Hostiles!" level can be skipped if you stop the fleeing scientist and get him to open the locked silo door, or exploit dodgy hitbox detection to open it yourself. Similarly the "Power Up" level can be skipped by climbing over blocks obstructing the exit. Naturally these are in pretty much every Speedrun.
- Nova Prospekt in Half-Life 2 has three Hold the Line segments, and while the first and third are manageable the second is a nightmare that can easily overwhelm a player who isn't constantly vigilant throughout the whole thing. Thus an array of alternate strategies emerged, like bringing more turrets from the earlier segment, stacking boxes in front of some of the entrances to restrict enemy movement, or literally hiding in a cupboard and waiting until they go away. Most recently, the strategy used is to shove yourself through the floor with a turret.
- The Meltdown heist in PAYDAY 2 requires you to take at least six (all eight on higher difficulties) cases of nukes to a far-off train car before the group can escape with the loot. The items of desire are incredibly heavy, slowing anyone carrying them down to an ungodly pace. Forklifts nearby can be used to move the cases a bit faster, but even then it'll take numerous trips to secure six of the cases, and even more for all eight. Easily-missable is a muscle car hanging out nearby, which the group can commandeer to make the job of moving the items much faster. Lampshaded with an achievement received for finishing the job without using the car: "There Was A Car?!"
- MAP16 ("Protean Cybex") in Hacx can be completed in a split-second. The exit switch is hidden in the floor, and is supposed to rise out after you trigger four switches throughout the level. However, the pseudo-3D Doom engine does not take the Z dimension into account when deciding whether a switch is in the player's reach, so if you simply face towards where the switch is and press the Use key, the level ends.
Hack And Slash
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Several levels that are otherwise extremely hard in Super Monkey Ball 2 can be beaten by just running in a straight line, usually either because dangerous objects will narrowly miss you or because you can bounce over the holes & bumps in your path by building up enough momentum.
- 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.
- In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Tails can skip most of Sky Sanctuary Zone (including two of the three bosses) by flying.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- 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.
- Sonic Adventure
- The final section of Sonic's Lost World 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, castles, ghost houses, underwater levels, and levels without a koopa shell of any kind. Getting the feather for the flying cape can also let you fly right over many early levels and even some of the Brutal Bonus Levels.
- The Platform Hell Kaizo Mario World offers a feather as a reward for the infamous Special World... only it's positioned so that you can't get it without being forced to reset. It can be obtained successfully, however, with some very precise movement.
- Donkey Kong Country
- 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. You can also use the supercharged C. Sting weapon to become temporarily immune to damage and quickly pass through.
- 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 Bros.
- 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.
- In several of the underground stages of the original Super Mario Bros, if you're Super Mario or Super Luigi you can just break through the ceiling the first chance you get and skip large chunks of the stage that way.
- Super Mario 3D Land has World 7-1. The Goal Pole is up on a cliff right in front of you, and you must dive into the water below it to swim through a cave network to reach the top of it... Or with a Tanooki Suit (or even some skillful regular jumping), you can just scrape over the top of the cliff from the start point and finish the course in under 10 seconds.
- Super Mario 3D World has platforms and doors that move by tapping them on the game pad's touchscreen. Turns out you can tap other things as well to make a level or part easier. Flipswitch puzzles not your cup of tea? Just tap the switches instead of hopping around on them! Tired of chasing bunnies around? Tap them to make them stop! Venus Fire Trap bothering you? Tap a fireball to reflect it back! Etcetera, etcetera.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 has 4-3. If you're using the Princess or Luigi, then once you've made it across the large chasm at the beginning (not a difficult feat), you can pretty much skip the entire rest of the level with a properly-timed jump.
- 1001 Spikes has several instances where you can break or push blocks and stand on crumbling ones to open shortcuts. One particularly notable example of this is in world 2-5 where you can skip about 75% of a very tricky level.
- In Yoshi's Story you have to get thirty fruits to win a level, most levels have only 60 fruits in them. However some enemies (usually Shy Guys) will turn into Lucky Fruits if you ground pound near them while you are Super Happy from eating 6 of the same fruit in a row. Level 6-3 "Ghost Castle" is normally one of the hardest levels in the game, it features lots of Boo enemies that chase you and lots of Bottomless Pits. However the room right after the second Miss Warp which is in the second area of the level has a bunch of Mini Boos that turn into Lucky Fruits when you are Super Happy, and there is even a hidden Super Happy Fruit in the level you can get by ground pounding on a very obvious spot! If you turn Super Happy in this room by eating six Lucky Fruits or by using the hidden Super Happy Fruit you can get all 30 fruits in one ground pound! Plus since you just ate 30 of the same fruit in a row and it was the Lucky Fruit worth lots of points, your score will be good too!
- Super Mario Maker can have this if the person making the level doesn't check for unintentional shortcuts. Some people invoke the trope on purpose by making a path only known to the level creator (known as a developer's path) so that they can beat the level easily while making the rest of the level physically impossible to beat unless someone knows about the secret path. This is a common way to troll people online since you can't upload your levels unless you beat it and with this method, people "technically" did beat their level.
- Donkey Kong '94 has objects that can be temporarily placed around the field when Mario touches their default location. If part of the object is placed over a gate, it will jam the gate open if it's trying to close. There are several levels where the level can be made much simpler by quickly grabbing a temporary object as the level starts and making sure a gate stays open, or making a switch that controls multiple gates have one particular gate stay open.
- 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.
- 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.
- The existence of this trick becomes a double edged sword in Challenge mode where the gold trophy requires you to beat this test in less than ten seconds which requires extreme precision on every detail of everything you do.
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.
- 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 indefinitely. 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.
- 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.
- 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 slightly greater than that of the Apocalypse tanks, and once you get your first shot with those babies, enemies are helpless until rescued or killed, and prism tanks work wonder against stationary defense. So 3 IFV + 3 chrono legionaries + 1 prism tank + 1 chronosphere = easy win.
- 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.) Alternatively 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's 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 Allied mission of the same expansion involves Yuri having access to both Allied and Soviet superweapons, which lets him destroy your Construction Yard in one hit. Rather than having to prevent this or rebuild the Conyard, the Prima strategy guide recommends letting him fire the superweapons and then using a Chrono Legionnaire unit on your own Construction Yard - units that are in the process of being erased from history can't be harmed. The weapons hit, kill the Chrono Legionnaire and the Conyard reverts to existence unharmed. Rinse and repeat until you've taken out the superweapons.
- 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.
- A later mission has you be betrayed by your robotic overlord and switch with the enemy base. If you destroyed all your buildings, they'll get a rebuilt one, but if you severely damage them instead...
- Most pre-WWI missions are this thanks to Artificial Stupidity: the AI will chase the first unit it gets shot by, so it's possible to drag entire armies after a single archer while they completely ignore the rest of your army shredding them to bits until the archer dies. You can complete Alexander's campaign without losing a single unit this way.
- In one scenario of the Yamato campaign in Age Of Empires I, the goal is to destroy an enemy Government Center guarded by a large number of siege engines. The quickest way to do this is to send a few villagers to draw fire near the building in question. Thanks to the catapults' Artificial Stupidity, they will fire shots that hit their own Government Center while being easy for your villagers to dodge, winning the scenario for you.
- 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.
- In the Montezuma campaign, there's a mission where you're supposed to sneak about Tenochtitlan before raising an army to break in and destroy the wonder the Spanish are building in the occupied city. However if you rush past the castle you're supposed to sail around early on you can charge right up to the wonder unopposed and destroy it without having to do much fighting at all.
- Starcraft II
- A level involves using 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.
- 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, or mass Reapers, who do horrible things to both units like zombies and the structures they spawn from.
- In Starcraft I, one mission involves getting an SCV to a beacon, the idea being to destroy the base between the two. Or, you could use the Science Vessel you're given to repeatedly cast Defensive Matrix on the SCV as he runs towards the beacon, shrugging off tank and battlecruiser fire alike. Time elapsed: less than a minute.
- In a Starcraft fanmap, you have to hold off huge, repeated swarms of Zerglings for fifteen minutes. It's a very difficult map... until you realize that the AI ONLY uses Zerglings, so you can simply lift off a building, then read TV Tropes until you win.
- Dawn of War
- In Dark Crusade, the Instant Win Conditions for all the strongholds except for Eldar is to destroy a specific building or kill a specific enemy. You could fight through all the enemy forces and end the mission in a messy glorious free-for-all... or you could use the Imperial Guard's Defog of War ability and blast the target to bits with a Basilisk barrage from halfway across the map. Or sneak in a fully upgraded Tau Commander (which is permanently invisible and has enough firepower to easily kill everything that can detect it) and Cherry Tap the target from a safe distance. Or in some cases teleport in the Necron Lord, and transform it into a Nigh Invulnerabile 50-metre tall Grim Reaper to destroy the target.
- Most strongholds in Soulstorm are convoluted affairs where you have to go back and forth across the map to destroy several key structures, then attack the main base afterwards. The Tau however have access to powerful Barracuda fighters, which can simply fly over the terrain, level the buildings, and open the way for the final assault in one tenth the time.
- Soulstorm's Dark Eldar stronghold starts off as a Baseless Mission where you rescue your troops before being able to build a base. However, the Dark Eldar don't attack or use their soul powers until you've built one, so all you need is to take your stealth troops to the Dais Of Destruction and start beating on it (they have almost no detection).
- Age of Mythology mission 19, "Watch That First Step", has the Instant-Win Condition of killing Kamos. You have access to flying transports called Rocs, either building them yourself or finding a free one in the bottom of the map, so you can just load them up, hug the side of the map until you get to the top where Kamos is, and kill him without having to fight anyone else.
- In the Titans campaign, mission 7, Betrayal at Sikyos, you are tasked with defending your base for a certain amount of time against waves of zerg-rushing myth units spawned by the indestructible titan (which also spawn two weaker ones when the primary is destroyed), whilst at the same time, your ally must defend himself against another enemy's attacks. Whilst you could build up your base defences and hope that your ally survives, you can instead train a few rocks (aerial transport units), load up your workers and mission-critical heroes, and fly off to your ally. Once there, you will be out of reach of the titan and as an added bonus, the enemy attacking your ally is also allied with you, and the way to your ally's base is through a narrow mountain pass that can conveniently be walled off. After that, you just wait for the timer to finish.
- Grey Goo has a Beta mission to defend three resource extraction points scattered across the map, which is a tense enough Hold the Line mission as it is with everything spread so thin, with two bonus objectives. One essentially turns the map into a Timed Mission which becomes impossible if you lose even one of the resource points, the other requires you to destroy the enemy base, which you're discouraged from doing due to its awe-inspiring walls of defensive turrets, with all the victory-relevant structures in one cluster in the middle. Except... there's a cliff nearby that puts artillery units just in range of the enemy refineries, and destroying those knocks out power to half the base's defenses, including everything in range of the base itself.
- For Pump It Up players who are sufficiently heavy, there are two ways to play Pumptris Quattro's S17 chart: Actually hit the steps in time (i.e. the proper way), or—noting that preemptively holding down a hold arrow carries no penalty and that all of the steps in this chart are holds—sit down with your hands, feet, and butt holding down all five panels for the duration of the chart and obtain the easiest all-Perfect run ever.
Shoot Em Up
- 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.
- Darius Twin's Zone A can be safely completed up to the boss by simply parking your ship so that it's overlapping the Player 1 score counter.
- One room in 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.
- In Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes, for some reason, Vulcan Raven has issues aiming downwards. Meaning you can lie down, equip the PSG-1, and pick him off without him realizing he's shooting above Snake.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- 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.
- Alternatively, you can set your console's clock forward so The End will die of old age while the game is off.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:
- The fight with Quiet can be easily ended nonlethally by calling in a supply drop right on top of her. It takes out half her stamina bar and can be done as soon as you've tagged her position.
- Struggling with the Subsistence recycle of C2W? Just destroy the comm outpost's anti-air radar beforehand so you can deploy directly to the outpost in the helicopter, then shred the three transmitters with the helicopter's mounted machine gun.
- The lava chamber in Resident Evil 4 has three fire-breathing dragon statues that you must disable by killing the cultists operating them. You can go the obvious route by juking them and then sniping the guys from behind their cover, or you can look up at the chains each statue hangs from, notice the D-ring couplings keeping them attached, and shatter each coupling with a single handgun bullet.
Third Person Shooter
- 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 fact, at higher difficulties, the entire gameplay is finding tricks to bypass or ambush enemies to net you an easy win. You are part of an irregular guerrilla fighting force, act like it!
Turn Based Strategy
- Fire Emblem
- Some 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 Fire Emblem Elibe 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.
- Side Story 22 in Fire Emblem Awakening has your squad fighting alongside an NPC against a squad made entirely of exact copies (skills and stats) of the squad you fielded (though with some of the best weapons in the game) plus a copy of said NPC. Field plenty of weak units plus a Glass Cannon or two, and you've just turned the battle into a Rocket Tag Gameplay. In a turn-based tactics game.
- Chapter 12 of the Birthright route in Fire Emblem Fates consists of a bunch of narrow paths over water that don't all connect to each other. What the game wants you to do is hit the Dragon Vein in the middle of the map to freeze over the water... the problem with this is the huge number of enemies between you and that Dragon Vein. You could try that, or you could simply pair the Avatar up with one of your fliers and get to the escape point in 2-3 turns.
- Heroes of Might and Magic 2
- The eighth mission of Archibald's campaign 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.
- 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.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB, Seto Kaiba, the hardest fight in the game, can be rendered a Zero-Effort Boss if you bring a Dragon Capture Jar into the fight, which sucks up enemy dragons. Since his team consists of nothing but dragons, you can win without doing anything.
- The final postgame Liberation Mission in Mega Man Battle Network 5 is littered with impassable Barrier Panels, generates enemies that easily qualify as Demonic Spiders, and is so choked full of Dark Panels that it would be time-consuming to work through the stage. However, in the Colonel version of the game, ToadMan's abilitynote can also cause an ally to liberate through Barrier Panels, getting the key behind them far earlier than the level expects you to do so, quickly opening up a lot of the stage for maneuvering and dramatically reducing the average number of phases spent completing the mission.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Grand Theft Auto
- The 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 missions force 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. Alternatively, tap the accelerate button instead of holding it to make the bike go faster, which is also an 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?
- A mission for Donald Love has you protecting a friend of his from the colombian gang as he slowly drives along a pre-determined route. The easiest way to win the mission? Doing absolutely nothing. Staying put and letting him drive on his own will result in him reaching his destination without any complications.
- Ambulance missions in San Andreas moved even further into That One Sidequest territory, since every new level reset the timer, making it impossible to build up a reserve like in previous titles. Unless you did them in Angel Pine (the village you're dropped into after The Green Sabre mission), in which case all targets spawn within the village, seconds from one another.
- You're expected to win the fight with Johnny Vincent in Bully by taking out all his goons so Petey can use an electromagnet to take away Johnny's bike and then beating him in a fistfight (opening you up to his highly damaging Megaton Punch attack), but it's significantly easier if you leave at least one of his mooks standing and instead snipe at him with your slingshot while he rides in circles.
- 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.