Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt

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Mel Schlemming is not having a good day.

Exacerbating the situation, Mario said, is the seemingly arbitrary placement of the hazards. "I could see why, if you're in a factory, you might find yourself jumping around on dangerous conveyor belts moving in different directions," he said. "But why would you have conveyor belts in a castle? Or in the middle of a forest?"

In Real Life, conveyor belts, escalators, moving walkways and similar conveyances are part of certain specialized environments, and serve the function of moving things in a convenient direction. In video games, conveyor belts can show up anywhere: in the middle of a forest, in underground catacombs, etc. These belts don't move in a logical direction. They carry pedestrians into Spikes of Doom or drop them down Bottomless Pits. Multiple conveyor belts move in opposite directions to trap players.

In short, the conveyor belt in video games often serves the purpose of hindering instead of helping its user.

This is almost always a sub-trope of Malevolent Architecture. (It could be some sort of Benevolent Architecture, but don't count on it.) Justified by the Rule of Fun, though it can get irritating on occasion, particularly when used with other, nastier hazards like Spikes of Doom, Smashing Hallway Traps, Descending Ceilings and the like.

In top-down games, a conveyor belt will often act as a Broken Bridge, going too fast for you to be able to run against. It's a one-way trip unless you can find a way to shut it off or reverse it.

Occasionally overlaps with Conveyor Belt-O-Doom, which may get adapted into this trope in Licensed Games. Common feature of an Eternal Engine level.

Video Game Examples:

  • Action 52: Even the Active Enterprises game Cheetahmen managed to contain them. Due to Action 52 being a bug breeding ground, results were messy.
  • The Adventures Of Rad Gravity: Effluvia and Telos are full of these, especially the latter. The former also has a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom you have to rescue your Robot Buddy from.
  • Batman has dealt with them numerous video games, including both NES Sunsoft games.
  • Blue Dragon has conveyor belt puzzles, in which you will generally need to flip a switch to make them go the opposite direction, since it's not possible to actively move around on them, for some weird reason.
  • The Castles Of Doctor Creep has these as one possible obstacle. Generally you need to find the switch to control them, so that they are stopped or set to go in a certain direction. Sometimes the switch will be impossible to reach, in which case it generally acts as a one-way path (since it's moving too fast to run against; if you try to run against it, you'll slowly get pushed by it toward the end).
  • Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) has a habit of taking this trope and laughing at you with it. Conveyor belts are not all too common in the game, but once you meet them (in the clock tower), they make you wish they did not exist. The belts alone are not dangerous, it is the combination of being attacked, risk of getting stoned and landing in a spike pit. Not fun especially since a stoned character takes a crapload of damage from the spike pits. The things return with a vengeance in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, and throw in collapsing platforms to make it even worse!
  • Chip's Challenge: Among the hazards is conveyer belts (known in-game as force floors), frequently leading either backwards in the level, or into another, more fatal hazard. But there's a powerup (suction cup shoes) that lets you negate their effects.
  • Chrono Trigger has several in the future factories, with limited control over where you can get off. It even works against the villains, as Ozzie discovers when he dumps two mooks on conveyor belts that lead to Bottomless Pits.
  • Code Name: Viper: The drug warehouse has them, some of which can lead you directly onto a bed of spikes.
  • Donkey Kong
  • Double Dragon: This game and its sequel are rife with these towards the end, when they turn into platform games.
  • Dynamite Headdy: Diagonal ones appear in the Terminate Her Too level, with switches to change their direction.
  • Everybody Edits: This is averted, even though you can get conveyor belts, they don't do anything.
  • Exile III: The golem factory was a maze of these. In the Avernum III remake, this puzzle was replaced by one involving mirrors and laser beams.
  • Exit Path: Much of both games' levels consist of these. Central seems very fond of using them as Conveyor Belt-O-Doom.
  • The Flintstones: Rescue of Dino and Hoppy has conveyor belt platforms in the Future stage.
  • The Flintstones: Surprise at the Dinosaur Peak: This game has them.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch for the NES from stage 3-2 to the end. This game used almost every common hazard (except solid clouds) which filled one of the most inhospitable office buildings in the world.
  • Half-Life has these in the Residue Processing level; Gordon has to ride them but beware of furnaces, Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom and other hazards.
  • Haunting Ground: Had one during one of the last boss fights. It doubled as both an instant Death Trap, and as the only way to kill the boss, by getting him onto it.
  • Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures: Featured in the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom game, as well as the Temple of Doom portion of this game.
  • Infernal Runner had a number of conveyor belts, which often led the player into crushing gears or Spikes of Doom.
  • In The Itchy and Scratchy Game, Scratchy operates one of these in the final battle against him.
  • Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu: Jackie encounters these most notably in an ancient temple with surprisingly modern technology while punching and kicking his way through everything.
  • Jet Set Willy. Interestingly, the belts in Jet Set Willy made the player character walk them instead of dragging him.
  • Journey To Silius: Most of the final stage consists of jumping between conveyors, with falling crates and autoscrolling to add to the misery.
  • Jumper Two has a lot of them in Sector 6. The Level Editor that comes with the game allows for putting conveyor belts in as well.
  • Keith Courage In Alpha Zones has conveyor belts all over the place in both parts of the last zone.
  • Kirby: Sometimes conveyor belts happen to be in one of these games.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has some dungeons with conveyor belts, and an incredibly annoying boss battle occurs on a floor that is fully made of one.
  • LittleBigPlanet has these in the Bunker, surrounded by electricity. And then there's the wheel, which is similar, in that it's a big rotating wheel and you are inside it. Surrounded by electricity.
  • Mega Man series:
    • In Mega Man 2, a large number of the platforms in Metal Man's stage work as conveyor belts, including the floor of the Boss Room.
    • And Flame Mammoth for those who played Mega Man X.
    • Those who have obsessively played the classic series will think of Knight Man's stage from Mega Man 6 and Proto Man's castle from Mega Man 5, examples of conveyor belts being located in castles. Then again, not much beyond handwaves have ever been given to justify stage layouts in the series.
  • In Metal Morph, some of the conveyor belts are especially inconvenient in that they occupy the edges of small platforms.
  • The Arcade Game Mirai Ninja takes this to extremes by having one level made almost entirely out of conveyor belt and spinning gear platforms.
  • Mr. Robot features many of these obstacles around the ship Eidolon. Sometimes they seem to serve a sensible purpose like transporting boxes, but others just...there for the puzzles.
  • In Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, there are two sections are dedicated to these in Dust Man's level. The first one had debris falling onto it. The second had holes in them; luckily, Eddie points them out to you.
  • Monster World IV had conveyor belts that were also small, moving, Floating Platforms.
  • In Moon Crystal, mines have conveyor belts hanging usually midair.
  • The fourth dungeon in Ōkamiden, the theatrical Playhouse, is filled with conveyor belts marked with arrow symbols colored orange and green. It's impossible to override them.
  • In Pepsiman, the first part of the Pepsi Factory area is entirely running along conveyor belts that run in either or neither direction while dodging things sliding along or falling onto them, as well as avoiding the inexplicably placed Bottomless Pits.
  • Persona 2 has the Abandoned Factory which is full of random, still-operating conveyor belts. Some seem to be logically placed in loading areas for moving heavy items to and from storage, while others exist just to provide one-way paths blocking off sections of the factory, teasing you with their presence until you're high enough level to open the doors into those other sections.
  • Pokémon Some gyms and dungeons have tiles that send the character moving in a straight line until the next tile or obstacle. This led to much hilarity in Twitch Plays Pokémon, since the premise is essentially several thousand people using the same controller at once, and a single misstep undoes hours of tenuous cooperation.
  • Portal 2: Most conveyor belts have an ostensible function ("The Turret Redemption Lines are not rides. Please exit the Turret Redemption Line."), but one in particular, late in the game, is deliberately set up this way as a Death Trap. Or, as the Big Bad puts it, more of a "death option", as opposed to confronting him in his lair, where he will most definitely kill you. If you wait, he spends upwards of three or four minutes trying to convince you to fall for it, and is very pleasantly surprised if you do.
  • Prince of Persia: The SNES version features conveyor belt floors in several levels, which is bizarre for a game set in Arabian Nights Days.
  • Purple has several conveyor belts, some of them including timing puzzles..
  • Ratchet & Clank: Both the original and Going Commando have movement sensitive conveyor belts. When Ratchet's moving on them they sense his direction and move to speed him on his way.
  • Revolution 1986: There are conveyor belts that can hinder the bouncing ball by moving it in the wrong direction.
  • Shantae snd the Pirate's Curse has a lot of these in the Abandoned Factory, placed around Spikes of Doom, Bottomless Pits, and falling ice blocks. However, some of them are actually helpful since you could use them to charge up Risky's Boots for an obstacle destroying Dash Attack.
  • Shatterhand: In the oil refinery.
  • Shining Wisdom has annoying grids of escalator panels in the crypt, usually interspersed with gnashing floor traps.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Soul Blazer:
    • Half the time they're slowing you to a crawl and the other half they're making you overshoot your mark or run straight into bad guys.
    • The very first true boss fight had three such belts. Though at least they were as helpful as you made them be there.
  • Stinkoman 20X6 has a couple, but none are more inconvenient than the ones on Stlunko, the Level 3 boss.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The final stage of Super Mario Bros. 2 consists almost entirely of series of conveyor belts (some Of Doom, some not).
    • A couple fortresses in Super Mario Bros. 3 feature them. They freeze when a POW switch is activated.
    • All New Super Mario Bros. games have fortresses and castles with conveyor belts (and in New Super Mario Bros. 2 the castle of World Flower has switches that allow them to change their orientation). The Conveyor Belts that appear in Super Mario Maker are modeled from these games, and have been retroactively adapted for use in the styles of the older games. Also, in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, several ground pieces spin, and usually hide pipes from rushing players.
    • The level Bullet Bill Base in Super Mario 3D World has conveyor belts in the walls instead of the floors. They're designed so Mario and his friends can climb them with the Cat powerup.
    • Wario Land II has a few of these, mostly in the factory levels; as do Wario Land 4 (also in the factory levels, where they become more annoying when Wario has only one health left and tries to climb a set of conveyor belts with enemies on), and Wario Land: Shake It!.
    • Mario Power Tennis: One of the themed courts is made up of conveyor belts, which require you to constantly stay on the move and impart unexpected trajectories to bouncing balls.
  • Super Meat Boy: They're found in this game.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: This is one of the items placeable in custom maps, giving the player the option of placing them inconveniently when building a sadist stage.
  • TaskMaker: One of these shows up in the tutorial level. The game instructs you to go over to a switch to turn off the belt. Interestingly, this actual trap only shows up in one place in the game — and all it's blocking off is a small pile of Skeleton Keys amid loads of garbage.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has loads of these in Area 4, in combination with Spikes of Doom and instant death fire pits.
  • Ultimate Stuntman: It is not explained why in walking sections, there are conveyor belts hanging mid-air and just being out of place.
  • VVVVVV has lots of them.


Non-Video Game Examples:

  • Animal Yokocho: Non-game example: in this anime, Mr. Yamanami fixes up Ami's room to be a jungle with a hot spring-sauna deep within. After Ami realizes that they've been walking an illogically long distance within her room, the camera zooms out to show that they'd been walking on a treadmill the whole time.
  • The board game Robo Rally takes place in a factory, so the belts have some reason to be there. However, some of them are arranged into swirling maelstroms of death which tip anything on them into bottomless chasms. (To say nothing of the pushers, crushers, lasers, and radioactive goo.)
  • Parodied in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The gang is trying to stage a scene in which kittens on a conveyor belt are being taken toward a chopping knife. Before they can start filming, however, they break down into arguments about how unbelievable the premise is.

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